Tuesday, July 14, 2015

InfoBarrel Newbie of the Month: Browna86

When I began writing about the unfair and deceptive Squidoo-HubPages business deal, I had numerous supporters. Naturally, people get busy after a few months and move on. But there were a few key people that continued to support me long after the initial brouhaha wore off.

Browna86 was one such person that seemed to keep me going when I felt like giving up. On my piece Squidoo Authors Who Migrated to HubPages: Here Are Your Choices, she wrote:
"I really enjoyed your articles ever since I first came here. It is odd that nothing has been done about this and odd that HP is still running especially with that tricky TOS stuff about earnings and other stuff."
No worries Browna86 (and others). The FTC received my complaint in April of 2015. When I read Christopher Soghoian's post How long does it take for the FTC to investigate a company?, I learned it's at least a year. He posted a chart which shows the duration of FTC privacy investigations of six companies. So, it's not over (far from it).

Keep your proof that you are owed earnings and royalties from either Squidoo or HubPages. 

Back to Browna86

InfoBarrel avatar for Browna86 and for her Blogger and Google Plus profiles
Avatars of Brown86 on InfoBarrel and Topaz Blu on Blogger / Google Plus (used with permission)

After Browna86 settled in, she introduced herself in the forum. I fondly remember her first post. She wrote:

"Hi everyone. Been here a few days and looking forward to participating on the site. Nervous but excited. It's a wonderful site and already ran into a fellow deviant. Great to meet all of you."
I perked up at the word deviant. So I responded:

"Welcome aboard! For a sec I thought you meant me (re: deviant)." [Little did I know she meant deviantART.]

Her kind and respectful commentary prompted me to check out her work. Since I'm not cool enough to be into games (like Amerowolf and others), I went for her Urban Legends by State series. Her conversational style kept me interested and her documentation was exemplary. 

I also read her Dollar Tree Love piece and was impressed by her sincerity. She doesn't pad her work with fluff. Just honest and genuine. It's like speaking to a level-headed person who has the best of intentions.

I loved the message in her charity article Encouraging a Biz Kid. Her introduction proved she has a knack for storytelling that I think even Vic Dillinger would enjoy.

Without Further Ado

I present to you my interview with Browna86 – one of the sweetest people I've ever met online.

Writing-related questions: 

Q: I noticed your InfoBarrel profile page states you've "been writing professionally since Spring 2010." How did you end up on InfoBarrel? And what do you like about it here?

A: It was late August 2014 and I was just getting ready to update my lenses on Squidoo when I saw this announcement (after logging in), about a site closure and moving things to HP. I disliked the idea of the transfer as well as the timing and went in search of another platform.

After exploring some of the forum posts, I came across one that linked to a blog that mentioned InfoBarrel as a potential writing platform.

One of the things I liked [about InfoBarrel] is how mistakes are caught and brought to the writer's attention. There were so many mistakes in my old articles that I didn't even see. To top it off, IB is filled with helpful members that don't have a problem with offering a helping hand. [Nods.] 

Q: You also mentioned that you are a digital and traditional illustrator and photographer. Have you showcased some of your work in your articles on InfoBarrel? 

A: Free Online Course Providers features two pieces I did myself. One was a personal logo design (the winning design out of several drafts) and a tossed together illustration featuring various icons to represent available online courses. [Browna86 donates all of the revenue generated from this article to charity – as she also did with her Biz Kids story.]   

Browna86 cont'd: So far there's one photo I took which is featured in Urban Legends by State Part 1 which was taken within White Point Gardens near the Battery.

If I can't produce an ideal image myself, I will usually outsource to other creatives to help meet my objectives as well as give the creator and their work exposure.

Q: What topics get you fired up to write an article?

A: It varies but usually topics featuring food, video games, games (in general), earning money online and anything that catches my attention while I'm browsing articles.

Q: Do you have any weird (or helpful) writing rituals?

A: Going straight to the computer to work has never been my strong point. I like to work by hand first; in this case writing everything down with pen and paper first. If I'm experiencing a writer's block, I will play some online games, watch some movies, and even browse the local library catalogue.

Q: What bothers you the most about writing online?

A:  In general...ever-changing writing environments where the norms and acceptable writing topics vary on a daily if not weekly basis.

Highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q: Who was your first (or longest lasting) famous person crush? 

Face by Pure_Nutter on flickr (CC-by-SA 2.0) Taken August 19, 2009 at Flamingo Land
Face by Pure_nutter on flickr (CC-by-SA 2.0)
A: Can't recall if I had one.
[Hey I believe you, but my new mascot, Skeptical Flamingo, isn't so sure.]

Q: If you could be any rock star or singer (male or female), who would you choose to be (and why)?

A: Vic Dillinger. 'Cause we all wanna be big rock stars. 

Q: What author, famous person, TV character or cartoon character do you most relate to (and why)?

A: It's currently a tie between Yomiko Readman and Major Kusanagi. There's more to the characters than initially meets the eye. They have good days, bad days and days where it's best to give them some breathing room.

Q: What is the most pressing problem (in your view) facing young women today?

A: Fitting in and being accepted as you are. [Impressive observation me thinks.]

Q: I noticed you used French in your first forum post; are you fluent in other languages?

A: I'm fluent in American English (the proper kind). I speak very little French but can read it so-so. I've studied a little Latin, a little Spanish, a little Japanese, a little German and a little Italian. [Wow, that's fabulous.]

Back to you and your work:

Q: Name three InfoBarrel articles you are most proud of.

A: The Urban Legends by State series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3); the Wartune articles (Wartune Overture and Wartune: an Overview) and Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda.

Q: Where can readers find you? And what other pen names do you go by?

A: Most of my writings appear on InfoBarrel and some on Blogger (it's kind of quiet right now but stuff is coming). My 'pen name' on Blogger is Topaz Blu:

Q: How do you spend your free time (aside from writing, illustrating and taking photos)?

A: Well, I like to hang out in the library, take naps, learn a new language and compile ideas for a potential graphic novel/manga/comic strip. [Mmm, I love napping too – especially in the library when people are learning a new language.]

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, are there any questions you'd like me to ask them?

A: Rainy Kua -- Favorite genre of book?
HLesley -- What are some fascinating discoveries you've made while studying other languages?

P.S. Does Vic count as a rock star? [I'd say yes, but I'm sure Vic will let you know his thoughts.]

Thanks again. This is so awesome!

In Closing:

I'd like to thank Browna86 for a most enjoyable afternoon getting to know her better. Her positive energy always leaves me wanting to read more of her work. 

InfoBarrel Newbie of the Month is a fairly new Google collection. So far, I've been featuring new people mid-month (in case you were wondering). My rough definition of "Newbie" is an InfoBarrel author that has less than 25 articles or has been on the site for less than a year. 

Every weekend I feature an InfoBarrel Author of the Week. In this Google collection, I feature highly successful veteran InfoBarrel authors.

Thank you for tuning in. Drop by again next month (or weekend) to discover the secret writing lives of famous and soon-to-be famous InfoBarrel authors.           


  1. Gaming? Anime? I think I'm in love~

    1. Oh I was hoping you'd comment. I enjoyed Browna86's descriptions and use of hip lingo in her http://www.infobarrel.com/Halo_Ghosts_of_Onyx piece. Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting Amerowolf, I know it means a lot to new writers (especially).

  2. If its casual type writing, then words pretty much flow out the way they appear in my head. I didn't think anyone was fascinated by my writings but its nice to be wrong at times. Writing is like my little happy place after stress filled days.

    I'm still enjoying myself and getting ready to publish some works. Thanks for the encouragement Rose.

    PS: You and others were included in the 'fellow deviants' comment.

    Thanks Again!!

    1. You are most welcome. I sure hope this interview brings you a little more traffic. Glad to hear you will be publishing some more on IB. The new IB 4.0 is rolling out soon (check IB's forum - big announcement today).

      RE: Us "deviants" need to stick together.

  3. Skeptical Flamingo: Hilarious! Also, I'm no rock star just a guy who writes ( who occasionally rocks, when the mood strikes).

    1. Well Vic, you ARE a rock star in our books. BTW, check IB's forum (big announcement about the new roll out). Would love to see you as an ambassador.

    2. Forgot to mention: glad you like Skeptical Flamingo

  4. I saw the post. I have no idea what I could possibly be an Ambassador for.

    1. An Ambassador of Awesomeness and Pure Awesomeness sounds good.

    2. What about History or Entertainment Vic?

  5. Hi. HLesley here.

    In answer to your question about interesting things I have learned studying languages - I really like it when I discover a word in another language which is can't be translated into English because we have no word for the concept. Here are a couple of examples.

    What do you call the type of meat which is salted and smoked, such as bacon, ham, salami, etc? Well the French have a word for it - "charcuterie." Neat, huh?

    And here's one from Japanese. They have an honorific which is like a combination of Mr. & Mrs., so Rose would be Rose San, and Vic would be Vic San. However, they also have a special honorific for kids which is "chan" which means a cute little honorable person. So when Rose was 5 she would have been called Rose Chan. However, now that she's grown up she would be miffed to be called Rose Chan because she would feel that she is being talked down to as if she were a child (and I believe that sometimes Japanese men refer to grown women as "chan" which really irritates the women).

    1. I discovered translation issues while hanging out on the old Winx Club Forum. Certain words would get censored because they take on a completely different meaning when translated. Trying to translate slang is even worse.

      So happy you responded.

      Hajimemashite and Domo arigato!


  6. I enjoyed this interview! Dollar Tree Love was a fun read and I could appreciate it because I used to shop there for my Girl Scout craft supplies. Biz Kids was another outstanding choice because I can relate to that. I encourage my kids to earn online with their talents because they need to learn now the value of a dollar and the feeling of working and earning and being self-sufficient.

  7. Q: Who was your first (or longest lasting) famous person crush?

    A: Can't recall if I had one.
    [Hey I believe you, but my new mascot, Skeptical Flamingo, isn't so sure.]

    Erm... there were about a handful; aka too many to name.

    1. I know (I'm in the same boat, actually) but I just wanted to have some fun with ya. Plus I was dying to show off Skeptical Flamingo. I have 3 more animal mascots who will be making their appearance on upcoming interviews.

      Hope you weren't feeling "picked on" in any way (and if you did, I'm so sorry). I meant it all in good fun, Browna86.