Monday, October 17, 2016

RiffTrax on Amazon, The Accountant Review, Devin Townsend Project, Movie Trivia and Answers, and Ninja News

I was to feature a guest today, but it fell through. And that’s all right. I recently told Truedessa that I wanted to scale back. Less promoting and more about what I want to share. I want to share more amazing speculative fiction stuff. More cool movies, more prog rock, more geek happenings and items. And certainly I want to share news of the IWSG and my books and writing.
The posts will still be packed, but it will be with geeky goodness!

RiffTrax Now on Amazon Prime!

My wife discovered that RiffTrax is now on Amazon Prime.

So of course, we had to watch one.

And our choice led us down a dark road…

Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe
This movie may have been forgivable had it released in 1971. That it came out in 1990…shame on everyone involved. It’s the equivalent of a dumpster fire three weeks after a garbage strike.
There’s no point in summarizing, because it’s completely inane.
And it starred Jesse Ventura in a role that should’ve killed his political career. Like, nuclear bomb killed.
Fortunately, RiffTrax manages to make the unwatchable hilarious!

Movie Review

The Accountant
First, I don’t understand the wide split in critics’ reviews. How could one not be entertained by this film or appreciate its clever uniqueness?
And it was original and clever. It was smart and subtle rather than in your face dumb action.
Great performances by everyone, especially Affleck. It was cool to watch a character who was a high-functioning autistic who possessed incredible math skills – and who was a trained killer.
It has a slower pace, but there are many great action sequences. The fights were more about stealth than over the top.

Music Review

Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence

For those not familiar with the artist, and that’s unfortunately a lot of you, Townsend has been making music very a very long time. He began as the singer for Steve Vai in 1993 and since then he’s separated himself as a truly unique singer and personality.
Over the years, he’s been the creator of several projects including Ocean Machine and Strapping Young Lad. Transcendence is the culmination of everything he’s done so far.
It’s progressive rock, which means it’s very complex, but it’s also very accessible. It features some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. The songs are incredibly layered and rich, resulting in a sound that is both moving and sonic. Listening to Transcendence is more of an experience than anything else.
If you enjoy powerful and melodic music, you’ll enjoy this album. As the title states – it’s transcending.

And while you read the rest of this blog post, please enjoy my favorite song on the album, Storm Bending. This is the generic YouTube video, but if you want to see the brand new video that plays more like an epic movie, visit Vemo. Believe me, it’s amazing!

Ninja News

There were two very special posts this past week. Toi Thomas gave a great review of CassaFire and Truedessa wrote the most amazing poem about the Dragon. Thank you, ladies!

Reedsy Learning
Presenting a new learning platform for writers - Reedsy Learning>
From Reedsy Co-founder, Ricardo Fayet:
Reedsy Learning is a brand new learning platform for authors. It offers free courses on pretty much every subject useful to an author, from story inception to marketing the book. Better yet, we've leveraged our network of friends and professionals to make sure each course is taught by a relevant industry expert.
Here's how the courses work:
• you can register for only one at a time
• you get 1 email every day for 10 days
• emails are 5-min reads (max)
• emails are sent in the morning (your timezone) so you can read them while sipping your coffee
Sounds like a great deal – and it’s free!

The IWSG Anthology Contest is open two more weeks! If ever there was a year to enter, this is it – we’ve not had as many entries as last year, so the odds are better. (Unless everyone is just polishing and will send the final week, which is possible!) Theme is fantasy/hero lost – 3000-6000 words. Make it happen!

New Releases

A special new release from one of my best blogger buddies and fellow IWSG admin:

Cling to God: A Devotional by Lynda Young

Way to go, Lynda! This book will be a blessing to many.
Christmas Pets & Kisses anthology
Featuring Sold! by J.L. Campbell
Find it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Ghosts of Fire anthology
From Untethered Realms
Find it at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

The latest Six Strings is out!
This is Issue 8 and it’s packed with awesome content.
Visit the site and download your free copy.

Movie Trivia

Movie trivia answers from last week:
1 – Iran, John Goodman, movie – 2012 - Argo
2 – Football, Tim McGraw, homeless – 2009 – The Blind Side
3 – London, Kate Winslet, Peter Pan – 2004 – Finding Neverland
4 – Coal mining, Laura Dern, Sputnik – 1999 – October Sky
5 – Arabia, Omar Sharif, cowboy – 2004 - Hidalgo
6 – Musician, Reese Witherspoon, legend – 2005 – Walk the Line

This week – hit men/assassin movies. Name the movies from the character names and the year:

1 - Leon and Mathilda, 1994
2 – Ed and Anton, 2007
3 – Vincent, Jules, and Butch, 1994
4 – Ah Jong, Jennie, and Yi Ying, 1989
5 – Arthur, Steve, and Big Harry, 1972

Who’s ready to binge-watch RiffTrax on Amazon now? Were you misfortunate enough to see Abraxas without their help? Did you see The Accountant? Ready to check out Transcendence? What about Reedsy Learning? Did you get the trivia right? Now, what about this week’s trivia?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Steampunk, Dragons, and Werewolves! Plus Deepwater Horizon Review, Movie Trivia, and Ninja News

Today at the IWSG site we have an amazing special guest – award winning author, K.M. Weiland! She’s offering some great words of wisdom, so please stop by.

We managed to ride out Hurricane Matthew without any damage and only brief loss of power, but our state was hit hard. Several counties (including ours) received fifteen inches of rain on Saturday and there have been many flood-related deaths. With rivers still rising and dams threatening to burst, not to mention so many without power, we're in a bad way. Please pray.

Don’t Buy My Book

“Oh, no!” you say. “Not another Indie Author pleading with me to buy his/her book.”
Nope. This is my “DON’T BUY MY BOOK!” Blog Tour.
That’s right: don’t buy my book. It won’t hurt … much. I’m an unattractive guy. I’m used to pleading and not getting any … thing.
Yes, there’s humor in my Steampunk book.
“Oh, Steampunk,” you groan. “I know about those books.”
Just because you saw SUPER 8 doesn’t mean you know what STRANGER THINGS will be like … until you see it.
This is the wild child of the Steampunk family.
Yes! Here be dragons! The savage Germanic breed and the mysterious arcane Celestial Dragons from China.
And more:
A cursed Texas Ranger sent across the ocean to rescue the kidnapped Princess Victoria. The culprit: High Fae Queen Oyggia of the Sidhe Royal Court.
It doesn’t go well, and the consequences follow Samuel McCord to dog his honeymoon voyage aboard the first Air/Steamship, Xanadu, as it sails to the mystery-laden shores of France …
Where he and his deadly wife, the alien Empress Meilori Shinseen, grabble with enemies from both their pasts …
The Rougarou, werewolves of Paris. Worms of the Earth, evolved raptors. Vying Vampire Kingdoms, one ruled by Abigail Adams, the other ruled by Empress Theodora of the Unholy Roman Empire.
But sometimes your friends are among your worse enemies, and sometimes you are your worst.
This is a stand-alone book thought it follows my first Steampunk effort. It also has a section for book clubs to discuss the topics I bring up … and a lagniappe short story! How cool is that?
What are you waiting for? Buy my book! I know what I named my tour, but you never heard of Reverse Psychology?

Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan. But his last memories of that city are hub-caps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana. The hitch-hiking after their speeding car from state to state was a real adventure. Once in Louisiana, Roland learned strange new ways of pronouncing David and Richard when they were last names. And it was not a pleasant sight when he pronounced Comeaux for the first time.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology. He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate since he once worked at a tax preparation firm.
So far he has written thirty-four books. You can find Roland at his web page or at his private table in Meilori’s. The web page is safer to visit. But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you. You can also find him on Amazon and Facebook.

Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon
Based on the true story of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, causing the worst oil spill in history. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich.
Director Perter Berg has really come into his own with movies lately. He knows how to take a tragedy such as this and do it right – straight with no overly-dramatic moments, paying due respect to the men who were on that rig.
The cast is top notch, Wahlberg is solid as the top electrical engineer and family man. Russell really shines as the general supervisor, his concern for his men genuine.
We know what happens, but the mounting tension as systems fail and all hell starts to break loose is effective. The intensity really hits you when the survivors finally reach land.
You’ll learn a lot about the event and the daily operations of an oil rig. And you’ll come away with a healthy respect for the men and women brave enough to work on such rigs. Highly recommended – and stay for some of the credits.

Ninja News

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open – fantasy/hero lost is the genre/theme and the word count is 3000-6000.

The trailer for CassaDawn has now been adjusted to include the cover art. (Fortunately there was no mention of the defunct anthology so that was the only adjustment needed.)

Chrys Fey is hosting her first blogfest - If I Were a Mobster Blogfest - on October 21.

October makes six years that Sylvia Ney has been a part of the blogging community! As a thank-you, she is offering two giveaways. The first is a free copy of Broken Angel to anyone who comments. The second is for anyone who reviews that story – they will be entered to win this cool collection of prizes. See Sylvia’s site for full details.

New Releases:

Motley Education by S.A. Larsen
Find it on Amazon

Sunrise Summits: A Poetry Anthology
Edited by Dean K. Miller
This is the first poetry anthology from the Northern Colorado Writers. Purchase it HERE and use code WXXPC7LH to save $1.00 off the $8.95 cover price.
Also available at Amazon

Movie Trivia

It’s been a while since I offered any movie trivia! Today it’s all about movies based on real events. Guess the movie based on the clues:

1 – Iran, John Goodman, movie – 2012

2 – Football, Tim McGraw, homeless – 2009

3 – London, Kate Winslet, Peter Pan – 2004

4 – Coal mining, Laura Dern, Sputnik – 1999

5 – Arabia, Omar Sharif, cowboy – 2004

6 – Musician, Reese Witherspoon, legend - 2005

Answers next week!

Follower of the awesome K.M. Weiland? Care to meet the werewolves of Paris? (And despite his words, are you picking up Roland’s latest book? It is his birthday you know!) Have you seen Deepwater Horizon? Any news strike your fancy? Can you guess the movies?
And is everyone all right after Hurricane Matthew attacked the East Coast?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, CassaDawn, The Dungeon at Annaberg, Luke Cage Review, Question of the Month, and Ninja News – Opportunities and Releases

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 Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Viola Fury, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Angela Wooldridge, and Susan Gourley! Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open – fantasy/hero lost is the genre/theme. We have changed the word count! It’s now 3000-6000 words. See the site for full details.

Today's question - When do you know your story is ready? My answer - when I start reverting back to what I originally wrote I know I've gone too far and I'm done.

Writing has ground to a halt. Too many plot holes in the outline I was working on, so I’ve chucked it. Which is weird for me, as it’s only the second time I’ve tossed an idea completely. (I wrote the ending for CassaStorm before I’d finalized the outline, and I eventually tossed it as it didn’t fit the story.) Not sure what I’ll try next, if anything.

However, I do have some cool book news!

First, the winners of CassaStorm on audio are… Sheena-kay and Crystal Collier Congratulations!
You’ll enjoy it, if only because the narrator put so much effort into the sound effects and voices. And although CassaStorm is the third book, you don’t need to read the other two to follow the story. Nor do you need to be a fan of science fiction! (And if you like middle grade, one of the main characters is Byron’s ten-year-old son.)
Find it on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible

Next, my publisher just reduced the price of Dragon of the Stars to $2.99 for the eBook!
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ITunes, and Kobo

Finally, a story I wrote last year for an anthology that was delayed many times before the publisher scrapped it will be available soon!


A pilot in training...
Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator…

The Dungeon at Annaberg by Bish Denham

Thank you Alex for letting me usurp your blog!

The dungeon at Annaberg, a sugar plantation on St. John in the U. S. Virgin Islands, plays a small but important role in my story, The Bowl and the Stone. A little history might be interesting.

The factory building where sugarcane juice was boiled down. Imagine the hillside behind the building completely cleared, terraced, and planted with sugarcane.

Earliest records show the land was already under cultivation in 1723. By 1733 it was one of 109 plantations.

Annaberg soon became the largest sugar producer, adding to the 1.1 million pounds per year the island produced between 1820 and 1826.

Tucked away, out of sight, is a small room, no more than six-by-twelve feet. At one time heavy, wooden doors locked people in. High in one wall a small window with bars lets in the only light and air.

As I child I saw manacles still hanging from another wall. A prisoner would have had his or her hands shackled above the head.

The aura of lives spent time in the small space is still strong, for etched into the plaster are pictures. Look closely. A slave, perhaps with a rock, scratched out what Annaberg looked like at the time of his or her imprisonment. The wooden second stories are long gone.

And this one is even harder to see, but it's a ship, flying a flag. Perhaps it’s like a ship the slave endured during the Middle Passage, or a trading ship that plied the waters of the Caribbean. In my story The Bowl and the Stone, Sam and her best friend Nick, discover an etching they've never seen before.

It’s mysterious because it looks new; the scratches in the wall aren't dark with age, but white. Stick figures of bodies lying on the ground look like they’re being tended by someone carrying a bowl. Sam knows cholera, yellow fever, and small pox ravaged the islands. Could this be a scene from one of those epidemics? Who put it there and why? When the etching disappears, Sam and Nick know the ghost that's haunting them must be involved.

The Bowl and the Stone
Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.
Available at Amazon and Smashwords
Visit Bish at Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Luke Cage Review

This NetFlix series has a solid cast and the story seems to be meshing together well. I’ve never seen the lead in any other roles, but he’s been acting a long time – and he’s perfect as Luke Cage.
The music ties in well with show, which is very cool. In tone, it’s similar to Daredevil and lighter than Jessica Jones. And while the latter’s pace feels slow, Luke Cage’s story is developed faster.
Marvel has fully embraced its adult fare – this one is not for the kids.
I’ve only watched a couple episodes, but overall it’s a great start.

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined

“What’s a decision you’ve made in the past that you know, logically, was the right decision to make, but which you still feel guilty or regretful about?”

I really can’t think of anything. If I regretted it, that’s because it wasn’t the logical decision. And if it was, then I didn’t regret it. Sorry, just too narrow a focus for me to come up with an answer this month.

Ninja News

Take this survey to see what species of BEAST you are from BROKEN BRANCH FALLS by Tara Tyler.
I was Steve the Vampire. Which fits, as I’m pale and I like Batman.

New Releases:

I’m excited to announce this release from my publisher –

Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Find Bloodwalker at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, BAM, and Dancing Lemur Press
L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers. Contact L.X. Cain at: Blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Circuits and Slippers – an anthology
Featuring stories from LG Keltner and Leandra Wallace
Find it on Amazon


The WEP Challenge this month:
You can respond to the CONSTELLATIONS challenge, or
you can respond to the HALLOWEEN challenge, or
you can be very clever and combine the two
We accept flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photographs/photo essays, artwork. Written work needs to be 1,000 words or under to help with reading time.
The list is now open. Visit Write…Edit…Publish to sign up or get more information.

Tell-Tale Publishing announced their annual Scariest Story Starter Contest. Prizes include Amazon gift cards and an opportunity to be published by Tell-Tale Publishing.
Last year, I had the opportunity to be a judge in contest. (I had to decline this year due to the timing.) The stories were great and it’s awesome to see the winners released in this year’s horror anthology, The Keeper’s Secret and Other Stories. (Available October 15.)

Jessica Therrien’s publishing company, Acorn Publishing, is now accepting submissions for the 2016 Author’s Circle Awards. There is a fee to enter but it is open to any author with a book release this year. (Or last year depending on the category.)

MJ Freiheit announced that The Great Flash Fiction War is now open! It offers cash awards to the top stories, including publication.
For more information, visit their site, sign up for the newsletter for a discount code, and follow on Twitter.

Yes, I had a good time catching up with family this past week – glad to be back though.
What’s your writing insecurity this month? Want to visit the Dungeon at Annaberg? Catch any Luke Cage episodes? Taking advantage of any of those opportunities? Think I could cram more into this post…?

Monday, September 26, 2016

CassaStorm Audio, The Magnificent Seven Review, October Movie Preview, Monday’s Music, The Witch Review, and New Releases

CassaStorm on Audio!

We saved the best for last! Not only is CassaStorm the best of the three books, the narrator did an incredible job bringing so many characters to life. He did a great job with Bassan and Pitan’s voice, and he nailed it with Cherzta, leader of the Vindicarn, giving him the perfect level of nastiness. (And if you want to know what it’s like to listen to this series on audio, Mason Canyon reviewed the first two books last week.) This one amazed me. I still can’t believe I wrote it…

A storm gathers across the galaxy…
The days of battle behind him, Byron now commands the Cassan base on Tgren. As a galaxy-wide war approaches the planet, he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, and the ancient alien ship begins transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago might be on its way back. As Byron’s world begins to crumble, he suspects a connection. The storm is about to break…

Find it on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible

And I have two copies to give away!

Movie reviews

The Magnificent Seven
This was just a really fun film!
They stayed true to the original storyline, which I appreciated. Seven gunmen/fighters come together to defend a town against an evil mining lord.
The leads all do a tremendous job in their roles. Denzel Washington is perfect as the leader, Chisolm. Chris Pratt has a ton of fun with his character, as does Vincent D’Onofrio, and Ethan Hawke rounds it out as Goodnight.
The scenery is stunning and the setting really feels like the Wild West.
The movie moves at the perfect pace, building up to the showdown at the end while giving the audience time to get to know and care about the characters.
And when that showdown comes, prepare for gunfire! Along with explosions, arrows, and some mean knife throwing.
This is just a fun, solid Western that fills all the squares. Very entertaining.
Highly recommended!

The Witch
Great buzz sometimes doesn’t add up to a great film.
This is a fairly interesting and yet depressing drama about Puritan life in the seventeenth century. The youngest son of a family living in the wilderness goes missing and the threat of witchcraft begins to tear them apart.
There’s constant, menacing overtones of something about to occur, and while there are a couple shocking moments, overall nothing really terrifying happens. In fact, far more disturbing than the witch are the young twins. (You’ll have to watch it to understand.)
The cinematography was beautiful and the acting very solid. The director went for authentic with the dialogue, which unfortunately makes it really difficult at times to understand the actors.
Interesting effort, but not the game changing film everyone claimed. (Although the creepy twins might stay with you a while.)
Marginally recommended if you’re looking for something different.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly.

Evergrey continues to come out with great, accessible prog music. Released a couple weeks ago, their latest, The Storm Within, is solid from start to finish. 
Today I’d like to feature the song Passing Through:

New Releases

Warpath into Sonora by Sean McLachlan
Available at Amazon

Self-Help 101 or: How to Select a Costume to Help You Deal With People by LG Keltner
Available at Amazon on September 27.

October Movie Preview

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

7 –

The Girl on the Train
A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.
Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Haley Bennett, Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans
Hope it’s better than Girl on a Bus and Girl in an Uber…

14 –

The Accountant
A forensic accountant un-cooks the books for illicit clients.
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Stars: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons
Stick around for the post-credit tax audit sequence.

21 –

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.
Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper, Aldis Hodge
Maybe Cruise can reach for a better film this time.

28 –

When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan
More of Dan Brown trying to convince the world he’s much smarter than everyone.

Heard any of my audio books yes? Enjoyed any good audio books lately? Seen either of the movies? And what movie is on your radar for October?

My wife and I are taking off Thursday for a couple days. Will check in when I can.
I won’t be posting on Monday but I’ll be back for Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day next Wednesday. Don't forget the October 4 Question: When do you know your story is ready?