Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus Reviews of Kingsman, Night at the Museum III, and Muppets; The Listing Hop; and Ninja News.

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

My awesome co-hosts today are TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open until November 1! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging (must post for the IWSG at least once in September or October) or Facebook member. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.
If you write speculative fiction, you need to enter!

We are still trying to get the IWSG site listed as one of Writers’ Digest’s Top 100 Best Websites for Writers! Please email them at, subject line 101 Websites, and suggest the IWSG -

Now, from the guy who thought he was done writing…

Last month, I wrote and edited not one, but two short stories for publication! And both are due at the end of this month.

One is for an anthology with the theme of ‘turning points.’ I decided going back to a point before CassaStar began would be a good place for a turning point. That one is over four thousand words and just came back from my critique partners this week.

The second one was an invite from Geekdom House. At their core, they aim to bring together Christians and geeks. This one was to be much shorter, under a thousand words, and involving Christmas. I decided on a contemporary theme with humor and it was a lot of fun to write. I’m polishing it now and will be bugging my critique partners soon.

After writing CassaFate and Dragon’s Destiny, I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t focus more on short stories. At least I can crank them out faster than my novels, which is about every eighteen months.

I’ve also been trying an experiment. Randi Lee posted about her success with images for her novel, and I decided to try something along those lines. Since I already had the thirteen graphics for my WhatAreTheKargrandes site, I used those to create images I could Tweet. I started almost two weeks ago and it has made a difference in sales.

Today is this one, if anyone cares to Tweet it for me! Find out in Dragon of the Stars! #scifi #spaceopera


Kingsman: The Secret Service
It plays like those old Matt Helm 60’s spy movies, except with gratuitous violence and language.
The whole movie is over the top, which makes it fun because you can’t take any of it seriously.
It is a bit dark and mean spirited, though. And it moved a little slow at times.
Worth a rental if you can stomach the extreme violence.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
The Tablet of Ahkmenrah is corroding, taking away the magic that brings the museum to life, and the group travels to London to stop it.
The third installment is probably the smallest of the stories, but it’s still a lot of fun.
In addition to the regulars (including Robin Williams in his last onscreen role), there are appearances from Ben Kingsley, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Hugh Jackman.
If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll enjoy this one. Worth a rental.

The Muppets
I think Jim Henson is rolling over in his grave right now.
The whole shtick of the Muppets was their wholesome, light-hearted family fun. This show has lost that innocence though. Let me give you some examples. I don’t remember much from the first episode outside of the fact it was dark and depressing. So, let’s look at last week’s episode. This is what you got:
Pot smoking Muppets.
Fozzie bear is a kleptomaniac.
Josh Grobin is sleeping with Miss Piggy. (Yeah, just try to get that one out of your head.)
One Muppet drew a penis on a card and then claimed he could make it a saxophone instead.
Gonzo has a mother. (He has no mother here on earth – he’s an alien, remember?)
The show is trying to be edgy and relative and it lost everything the Muppets stood for in my eyes. Remember, those are some of the same Muppets your kids watch on Sesame Street. Imagine how they will view them now?
This show is a big fail in my book.

Ninja News

Toi Thomas had the most amazing review of CassaStar – she loved it! And she got it. That’s so satisfying for an author.

Despite the rain lately, Dragon and Ninja remain best friends:

If you’ve been thinking about buying Dragon of the Stars but you’re not sure, you can take a sneak peek at the first chapter at Jessica Therrien’s site!

And thanks to everyone for checking in on me. My area received a lot of rain, but unfortunately I was further south due to a band commitment on Sunday. And was there ever flooding! They say this was a thousand year flood for most of South Carolina and I believe it. Prayers for those affected by the flooding.

New Releases:

I’m a Little Green Witch by Kelly Polark
Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Childhood Fears
Featuring the story The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave by J.H. Moncrieff

The Christmas Pets and Kisses Boxed Set
Featuring The Vet’s Christmas Pet by J.L. Campbell

The Listing Hop!

The brainchild of Bish Denham to celebrate eight years of blogging. I am helping co-host this blogfest – and it’s beyond simple!

The rules are:
Sign up, grab the banner and make a list.
Keep your list to between 5 and 25 items. You can list whatever you feel like (except for adult type content.)
Post on October 26 and visit fellow participants.
That’s it!

Sign up below:

What are your writer insecurities this month? Submitting to the Anthology Contest? Can you help us make the Best list? Seen either movie or the Muppets? And what list would you create for the Listing Hop?

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Martian Review, RiffTrax Live, Salem’s Daughters, October Scary Stuff, Question of the Month, and Ninja News

So much good stuff today - The Martian review, Rifftrax Live - Miami Connection review and slide show... and we’re kicking off this week with a visit from my good blogger buddy, author Stephen Tremp!

Thanks Alex for hosting me as I kick off Salem’s Daughters Blog Tour! Your website is a launching pad and I greatly appreciate the momentum. The year is 1705 outside Boston. Thirty nine witches are flushed from their coven by a drunken mob and are running for their lives. Only thirteen (ages 13-17) survive by separating their souls and inhabiting six-month old cats in the first of their nine lives. The story then fast forwards to present day.

Now in their sixth life, they use their gifts for mischief and mayhem at a bed and breakfast named Murcat Manor. Salem’s Daughters is a supernatural thriller and will please a wide variety of audiences including paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense

Okay, time to meet the ladies:

Emily Livingston - leader and possesses each ability the other cats have, as long as they’re alive.
Rebecca - start fires. Short tempered.
Annie - speed things up and slow them down, like a person’s heart rate.
Chloe - levitate objects and opens things.
Amy - teleport herself instantly.
Helen - reverse things and locks and unlocks doors.
Angel - cause people to dream, influence their dreams, and prophecy about their future.
Scarlett - cast a bout of madness on a person.
Isabella - telepathy and illusion casting.
Rachel - astral travel: separate her soul from her body and travel outside it.
Jacqueline - freeze things or cause a body’s temperature to drop.
Esther - cause small explosions and heated bursts of energy.
Madelyn - genius, remembers everything and processes information faster than anyone.

Thanks again Alex for hosting me! You’re the bestest. My next stop is this Friday September 9th at Susan Swiderski’s blog, I Think Therefore I Yam.
And now the pertinent links for a full synopsis, downloads, and other fun stuff:
Amazon Kindle, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and blog

The Martian Movie Review

Directed by Ridley Scott – and the movie is so good, you can almost forgive the awful Prometheus.
Overall, this is great science fiction. Very plausible.
It moved a little slow, but the story is so enthralling that you’ll be riveted from beginning to end.
Matt Damon carries a lot of the film by himself. His character is smart, in control, and sometimes snarky. And in contrast with Gravity, you really like and care about him.
The supporting cast was incredible. Each one had their own, individual role and came across as so real and genuine.
The special effects were of course good. And they blended well – I didn’t even notice them.
What I really liked was the film’s hopeful message. People working together to solve a problem. That’s not something you see often in the age of cynicism.
Highly recommended!

RiffTrax Review

Another RiffTrax classic! Miami Connection was a cheap 80’s production with no continuity whatsoever. Easy fodder for the guys and it was hilarious. Some great lines:

Scene: Ninja in white walks into room of ninjas in black. Oh, we’re wearing black today? Thanks for telling me. You guys are dicks.

Scene: Gang members at night waiting for a fight. And waiting. And waiting… Like a bad 80’s video that won’t start.

And of course, many funny pre-show screens:

Ninja News

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open until November 1! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging (must post for the IWSG at least once in September or October) or Facebook member (must join by today.) Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

Special re-release!
UPRISING (Children of the Gods #2) by Jessica Therrien
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Goodreads

Jessica Therrien is also hosting the Read and Review Challenge and it kicked off last week! Runs until March 31, 2016, so pick some books, read and review, and be eligible to win cool stuff.

Battle of the Banned

Hosted by Shady Del Knight. Here are the results from last Monday.

The song was Holy Diver, originally done by Dio. Killswitch got my vote, although they didn’t need it:
Ronnie James Dio –15
Killswitch Engage – 18

Another battle next week!

Halloween and October Happenings

Looking for some creepy stories? Haunted places? Ghosts and more? Then check out these bloggers in October:

Steven Symes is posting the 31 Days of Halloween. Something paranormal every day.

Jeremy at Hollywood Nuts is sharing some old horror comic covers every day.

Yolanda at Defending the Pen is featuring a selection of authors for a Halloween interview and flash fiction challenge.

Every Friday, Stephanie Faris is posting a scary story about a real place.

JE Oneil is posting scary websites, scary stories, and scary movies every Tuesday.

And if you want chills year-round, JH Moncrieff is always posting about strange phenomena and places.

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined.

“Who would play you in a movie of your life?”

Ryan Reynolds? We both have two legs, two arms, and a head.

Actually, I’d have to play myself. There’s no one out there who could understand the crazy depths of my brain.

It’s also quite possible the film would be a cartoon...

Ready to meet Stephen Tremp’s ladies? Anyone else see The Martian this past weekend? Did you go to the RiffTrax show? Have you written your entry for the IWSG Anthology? Battle of the Banned results surprise you? Ready for some Halloween chills? And who would play you in a movie…?

See you Wednesday for the IWSG post!

Monday, September 28, 2015

RiffTrax, October Movie Preview, Alien Movie Trivia, Battle of the Banned, Ninja News, and New Releases!

RiffTrax Thursday!

This Thursday, it’s RiffTrax Live - Miami Connection!

The show will be broadcast live from Nashville. (If you live in that town, for God’s sake, go see them live!) And they are being broadcast live into over a hundred movie theaters across the nation. Go HERE to find a theater near you.

You’ve heard me rant about RiffTrax before. Go and enjoy!

Blogroll Restored!

It took hours of work, but I built back up my blogroll in my side bar.

I may have missed someone, so if you are a regular visitor and blogger buddy, please let me know if you don't see your blog listed.

Ninja News

Jessica Therrien is hosting the READ AND REVIEW CHALLENGE! The event runs from October 1 to March 31, 2016. It challenges readers to read and review ten or more books from the list. Each review will enter the readers into a raffle for a monthly giveaway and those who review ten or more will be entered into the grand prize raffle. To add your book to the list (you have to supply a copy to the readers) fill out the form HERE. This is open to both traditional and self-published authors.

New Releases!

Static by SK Anthony
Find it on Amazon

We Had Flags by Sean McLachlan
The third in the Toxic World series of post-apocalyptic novels.
Find it on Amazon

Ghost Dancer by Christine Rains
The Paramours - ghost hunting with a kiss.
When Nina Azure’s talent as a ghost dancer doesn’t persuade a handsome phantom to talk, she entices him with sizzling sexual energy…
Find at Ellora’s Cave, Kobo, and Goodreads

Ghost for Sale by Sandra Cox
Find it at Kensington Publishing

The Art of the Sparkly Fart by Pat Hatt
Find it on Amazon

Demon in the Basement by River Fairchild
Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Alien Movie Trivia Answers

1 – Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde – 2011- Cowboys and Aliens
2 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura – 1987 - Predator
3 – Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rihanna – 2012 - Battleship
4 – Kurt Russel, Wilford Brimley, Keith David – 1982 – The Thing
5 – Scoot McNairy, Whitney, Able – 2010 - Monsters
6 – Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin – 2002 - Signs
7 – Joel Courtney, Ellie Fanning, Kyle Chandler – 2011 – Super 8

Battle of the Banned

This is Shady Del Knight’s Battle of the Banned. (Yes, Banned, not Band.) It pits two songs against each other and you vote for your favorite.

It might seem unfair to pit an original version against a remake. But VH1 lists the remake as one of the best ever – even better than the original. The band made it their own. So, you tell me – which version of Holy Diver do you like best?

Original Ronnie James Dio version -

Killswitch Engage’s version -

You know the routine – vote for your favorite!

October Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for October! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

2 –

The Martian
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara
Sometimes, when I’m on a trip, I wonder if I forgot to turn off the oven. I can’t imagine how these people must feel…

The Walk
In 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale
This is a must-see in Imax. I heard it’s jaw-dropping. (And I hope that’s all that drops…)

9 –

12-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny -- to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Jimmy Vee, Rooney Mara
Lots of bad buzz and a grim story line. I don’t think it will pan out well…

Steve Jobs
Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter.
Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Sarah Snook
I’ll probably wait for this to show up on iTunes.

16 –

Crimson Peak
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Del Toro and a horror film dripping with atmosphere – a must see!

Bridge of Spies
An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Peter McRobbie, Alan Alda, Billy Magnussen
It’s a film about a group of spies who live under a bridge like trolls. Wait, that might not be right…

23 –

The Last Witch Hunter 
The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.
Director: Breck Eisner
Stars: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine
The Iron Giant and Groot team up to kick some witch butt!

Going to see RiffTrax on Thursday? Participating in the Read and Review Challenge? Picking up some new books? Get any of the movie trivia right? Which version of Holy Diver do you like best? And what movies are on your radar for October…?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Disappearing Blogrolls, Alien Movie Trivia, Lucy Movie Review and Movie News, and Contests and New Releases!

The Disappearing Blogroll

As many of you probably noticed, last week Blogger at my blogroll. All of the blogs I had listed vanished. I was going to clean it up, but really hadn’t planned on starting from scratch. Bummer.

I was gone this past weekend, hanging out with friends, so I didn’t get to work on it. No worries if your blog isn’t listed yet. I’m still working on it and it will take me the rest of this week to complete the task.

And yes, I do use Feedly to follow and visit blogs. But the blogroll works better when I’m using my iPad. Besides, I like featuring my blogger buddies in the side bar.

On another note, I finally have a domain name for my blog. Hey, only took me six years!

Movie News

Movie Review -Lucy

With Luc Besson directing, you know it will be quirky.
The movie was fun but rather forgettable. It’s also really short. It felt like there was a longer, more fleshed out movie in there somewhere.
Scarlett Johansson was good and the evolution of her character as she learned to use more of her brain interesting.
If you like a science fiction action flick, it’s worth a rental.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is in production. Slated to come out January of 2017, you can read about the cast and more at JoBlo. Will it be the final chapter? Doubtful.

The Richest has an article, 12 Actors Who Hate The Role That Made Them Famous. Among them were a few former Star Wars actors – Alec Guiness thought Star Wars was poorly written and hated playing Obi-Wan; Jake Lloyd felt Lucas let down the fans and had angry fans criticizing both him and the movie; and Carrie Fisher didn’t like becoming a sex symbol and now has enough stalkers to last a lifetime.

Ninja News

The IWSG Anthology Contest is open until November 1! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging (must post for the IWSG at least once in September or October) or Facebook member. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

I’ve been asked to be a judge for Tell-Tale Publishing’s Halloween 2015 Scariest Scene Writing Contest.
Entries are due October 31. They are to be the beginning only of a completed unpublished story and no more than five hundred words.
See their SITE for further details and the entry form.

Blastr posted some amazing images of Pluto - check them out.

New Releases!

Simulation by Tara Tyler
Sequel to Pop Travel!
Find it on Amazon and Goodreads

A Not So Natural World by Pat Hatt
Find it on Amazon

9/11: Terrorists' Descent Into Jahannam by Holy Ghost Writer
Follow the real and fictional lives of those that lost theirs on 9/11, most into heaven, others into hell.

Bloodbrothers by Melanie Schultz
The fourth and last novel in the Newstead series.
Find it on Amazon

Movie Trivia – Aliens

Aliens coming to Earth! Name the film from the actors and dates.

1 – Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde – 2011
2 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura – 1987
3 – Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rihanna – 2012
4 – Kurt Russel, Wilford Brimley, Keith David – 1982
5 – Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able – 2010
6 – Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin – 2002
7 – Joel Courtney, Ellie Fanning, Kyle Chandler - 2011

Anyone else ever lose your blogroll and have to start from scratch? Seen Lucy? Surprised so many Star Wars actors hated their roles? Entering either contest? Picking up some new books? And do you know any of the movie trivia…?