Monday, February 28, 2011

Super 8 Debut Albums Blogfest

Today is the Super 8 Debut Albums Blogfest, hosted by DiscConnected!

“On February 28, we're listing our all time eight favorite debut albums from artists where they hit paydirt the first time!”

Visit other participants from the list below and feel free to join in! This was a little more difficult than anticipated, but I finally came up with eight, great debut albums:

Pantera - Cowboys From Hell

Released on July 24, 1990, Pantera brought heavy metal to a whole new level. Featuring Phil Anselmo's growling and screaming vocal style and Diamond Darrell Abbott's insane shredding, this disc was just brutal for the time. I thought Metallica and Megadeth were heavy but this took heavy up to 11. This band literally changed the sound of metal and it all started with this amazing disc.

Alice In Chains - Facelift

Another great 1990 release, Facelift was a huge debut. Even though they formed in Seattle, I never placed them in the grunge category. Alice In Chains is its own singular entity, with a sound that is unique and instantly recognizable. Wow, so many great songs on this one from "We Die Young" and "Man In The Box" to "Sea Of Sorrow" and "Bleed The Freak.” What I love most about this disc is that it feels as fresh as it did 20 years ago.

Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction

Here's a debut that launched a band to superstardom. G N' R's first disc was a juggernaut selling over 28 million copies. While it had several tremendous hits ("Paradise City," "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Welcome to The Jungle") its the lesser played tracks that I truly love ("It's So Easy," "Nighttrain," "Mr. Brownstone".) It's truly a shame that Axl Rose pulled a Charlie Sheen and ruined what could have been the greatest rock band ever.

Boston - Boston

Also known as the official college party album from 1976 through the 80's, this album is one long string of hits. This disc sold over 17 million copies and stayed on the Billboard 200 for 132 weeks. Tom Scholz, the mastermind behind the iconic sound of Boston created an album so epic that it's still in heavy rotation today on classic rock stations. "More Than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," "Hitch a Ride," "Long Time" - these songs are iconic and stand the test of time.

Blue Murder - Blue Murder

I know what you're thinking - "who the heck is that?” Formed by John Sykes of Whitesnake fame, this debut disc is a stunner from beginning to end. With an epic sound and some of the finest guitar work you will ever hear, Blue Murder's debut album is amazing. If you like hard rock, then I encourage you to check out this gem.

Saigon Kick - Saigon Kick

If you're not a dedicated fan of hard rock, you may have never heard of this amazing band. Crunching guitar mixed with brilliant harmonies made for a spectacular debut. Saigon Kick has a unique sound and style that separates them from all the bands of the early 90's.

Dangerous Toys - Dangerous Toys

Some bands have longevity and some burn hot and fast. Dangerous Toys only released four discs but their first was truly special. Lead singer Jason McMaster and the boys made a debut album that still kicks butt. Laced with humor and innuendo this disc is a hard rock classic.


Super groups don't last long and this is no exception. Formed by Steve Hackett (Genesis) and Steve Howe (Yes), GTR only made one album but it's a classic. "When The Heart Rules The Mind," "The Hunter," "Here I Wait" - just one brilliant song after another. It's a shame they never made a follow-up but at least we have this gem.

Join in the fun or feel free to name a major debut album in the comments. Come on – I know you can think of at least ONE!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

March Movie Preview!

It’s movie time again! All plot descriptions courtesy of the IMDB

4th -
Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant
The Plot: The story of a chameleon with an identity crisis.
Previews for this one are quirky and funny.

Director: George Nolfi
Stars: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt
The Plot: A rising politician (Damon) falls for a ballerina (Blunt), only to be stymied by mysterious forces keeping the would-be lovers apart.
Sounds mysterious.

Director: Daniel Barnz
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen
The Plot: Manhattanite Kyle Kingson (Pettyfer) is young, wealthy, beautiful, and cruel, but he picks the wrong classmate to prank when Kendra (Olsen) casts a spell that turns him into everything he despises.
This was supposed to come out last summer – never a good sign.

11th -

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan
The Plot: As a full-scale alien invasion threatens the Earth, in Los Angeles, a veteran Marine staff sergeant (Eckhart) leads his new platoon into battle with an uncommon enemy.
Have you seen the previews? Wow, this looks so cool!

Director: Christopher Smith
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Carice van Houten
The Plot: Set during the height of the Black Death, a seasoned knight (Bean) and a young monk (Redmayne) travel to a village rumored to be unaffected by the pandemic.
Similar to Season of the Witch, but with Sean Bean, it’s got to be better.

15th -


The Fighter – Up for many Oscars!

Sharktopus – For those of you who missed this SyFy travesty last fall, please check out my Sharktopus Play-by-Play. You have been warned!

18th -

Director: Greg Mottola
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen
The Plot: Two British comic-book geeks (Pegg and Frost) traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51, and with their unexpected new companion aboard their RV, they find themselves chased by federal agents -- as well as the father of the young woman the trio accidentally kidnaps.
Potential to be bad, however – it has Simon Pegg and Nick Frost! Those guys are awesome.

25th -

Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish
The Plot: A young girl is institutionalized by her wicked stepfather. Retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, she envisions a plan which will help her escape from the facility.
Again, have you seen the previews? This looks kick-ass!

29th -

Tangled – Sweet movie. Should’ve been nominated for Best Animated Picture.

Don’t forget the Oscars are on Sunday night! I’m prepared for triumph and disappointment. Inception will get further shafted and How to Train Your Dragon will lose. And it will be WAY too long...

Monday - The Super 8 Debut Albums Blogfest!

What movies have caught your eye for March?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Double Tips!

Double tips today! No, not double dips. Double dipping is disgusting…

A to Z Challenge Tip

For those of you participating in the Challenge, I hope you’re following all of the hosts - Arlee Bird, Talli Roland, Jennifer Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen Gowen, Jeffrey Beesler, Stephen Tremp, and me. From now until April, we’re all offering tips.

As the numbers swell, you might be wondering – how on earth will I visit all of those blogs in a day? The answer? You can’t! Not even Captain Ninja Alex can master that feat.

Can you visit about a dozen a day? That’s what this Challenge is all about – finding new blogger friends. Explore the list on a daily basis and visit a handful of the bloggers. Even with eight co-hosts, we can’t possibly visit every blog every day – which is why we are counting on YOU, the participants, to visit one another!

Now, if you DO manage to visit every blog every day, you will be forced to reveal your secret…

Fantastic Friday Writers – Research Tip!

I invite your to check out my Fantastic Friday Writers partners - Elizabeth Mueller, Anastasia V. Pergakis, J. D. Brown, and Deirdra Eden Coppel - for their take on this subject. I’m sure it’s better than mine!

Since research is such a broad subject, I decided to focus on the research I conducted for my book’s space fighters. And I’ll make it simple for you!

Go with fact –Military fighter jets most closely resemble my book’s Cosbolts. I researched plane design and flight, and even spoke to some fighter pilots. I wanted to convey the proper feel of flight and use the correct lingo.

Go with speculation – Since real space fighters don’t exist, I turned to the next best thing – science fiction movies and TV shows. Anything that showed fighters in action! I needed a good sense of movement, firepower, and the craft’s capabilities.

Between fact and speculation, I came up with the look, feel, and movement of my Cosbolts!

Anyone else use both fact and speculation?

And who’s ready for a good science fiction movie now???

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movies, Fests, and Stuff!

Thanks everyone for your awesome comments on Jeffrey’s guest post Monday! And thank you to Geof at The Man Cave for hosting me as well.

A couple movies for you…

Vanishing on 7th Street
Caught this on HDNet last week. It had some tense moments and an interesting premise but with no place to go. “Stay in the light” reminded me of Pitch Black. It could’ve (and should’ve) been so much more and I was a little frustrated in the end. The idea of a force so strong it can control the sun just made the plight of the characters seem hopeless. It wasn’t if they would vanish, it was when. Worth a watch, but Anderson’s Session 9 (filmed in a real abandoned insane asylum) is a far better film.

The A-Team
NetFlix rental. It’s preposterous, silly, over-the-top, ridiculous, noisy – and those are its good points! Let’s face it – if you went in expecting realistic action and drama, you chose the wrong movie. This movie is all about fun over-the-top action, a nonsensical plot, and the interaction of its four leads. And that’s where the movie really shines, as the four actors eat up the campy one-liners and buddy-buddy dialogue. A fun film and if the actors are willing, there will be a sequel.


A to Z Challenge! You know I have to mention that one. We’re closing in on 300 participants.

Larry at DiscConnected is hosting the Super 8 Debut Albums Blogfest on February 28. I’ve signed up, so join the fun!

Hart at Confessions of a Watery Tart is hosting the Delusional Doom Blogfest! And you know Hart doesn’t do anything halfway. Not even naked.

Any other cool events? Movies? Nakedness?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rocking with Jeffrey Beesler!

Today I’m going to rock your world! (Or damn near close.) I have the honor of playing host to fellow blogger and A to Z Challenge Co-Host, Jeffrey Beesler. The dude is awesome, so listen up! And while Jeffrey is here, I am visiting The Man-Cave today. But listen to Jeffrey first!

Thank you, Alex, for offering me this opportunity to speak with your audience on the matter of the A-Z Challenge. This is my first official guest post on another blog, and I am almost at a loss for words with which to convey my gratitude.

I’ve been mulling over this posting for quite some time, actually. What would it be like for me to not just visit another blogger’s site, but to actually post an article on it? What would I say? How would I say it? Would anyone be interested in what I had to say, or would they show me the palm of their hand and make a hasty exit, leaving me with a slacken jaw and eyes ready to pop right out of my sockets?

Then there are questions like, should I even attempt the A-Z blogging challenge? Can I possibly visit 300 blogs a day? What would people say if I didn’t get around to them all?

With so many things like these in mind, I could easily lock myself away in my room, never to see the light of day again.

But that would be an epic scale of wrong. It’s already hard enough being a writer, having stories to tell to a world which might not even want to listen. For some reason, writers seem to have the worst possible chance at doing the thing they love the most. A bad review on Amazon here, an unsupportive family member there. Not to mention the fact that the very act of writing itself is solitary. It’s enough to boggle the mind.

So what can a writer do to balance this onslaught?

A writer can start by connecting with other writers. At conferences, in critique groups, and oh yes, social media, too! This is why participating in blogfests like the A-Z Challenge can be so beneficial. Because I’m establishing friendships. I’ve met some awesome people over the past 6 months (when my blog really kicked into gear back around August.) I’d like for that trend to continue.

So, I must ask, do you want more friends? Getting them is as easy as A-B-C.

About Jeffrey:
Jeffrey Beesler lives in Kitsap County of WA. He has had one short story, The Broken Pipes of Drei City, published in Abandoned Towers #4. His first novel, The Flettleglag Force, will be published by Cyberwizard Productions. When not writing or blogging, Jeffrey (who also goes by Jeff) enjoys playing Settlers of Catan online and tormenting digitalized characters called the Sims.

Please show Jeffrey that Alex’s Army Rocks and visit his blog, World of the Scribe!

Oh, and now you can go visit me at The Man-Cave!

Friday, February 18, 2011

We Called in Reinforcements!

First, thanks to Geof at The Man-Cave for his review of CassaStar (I'm visiting his site next Monday for a fun interview.)
And a big hug to Mary at Giggles and Guns for her five-star review and wonderful words that made my day! Mary, you're awesome, and your quest to read CassaStar would make for a riveting story

Now, the big announcement - the challenge had continued to grow, so we decided to call in reinforcements!

I’d like to welcome Candace Ganger at Misadventures in Candyland, Karen Gowen at Coming down the Mountain, Jeffrey Beesler at World of the Scribe, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs.

The brainchild of Lee at Tossing It Out, the A to Z Challenge began last year with a hundred participants, including me.

This year Lee is thinking BIG. Really BIG! Three hundred participants. I’m thinking five hundred! In addition to the four bloggers above, Talli Roland, Jen Daiker at Unedited, and myself are proud to co-sponsor this event.

What is the A to Z Challenge?

It’s blogging a letter of the alphabet every day the month of April (with Sundays off for good behavior.) It begins April First with the letter A and ends April 30 with the letter Z.

And it’s more than just a challenge! It’s a way to get in the habit of blogging on a schedule. It’s a chance to gain followers. Last April, I was a new blogger and went from thirty to eighty followers in one month. But more importantly, those of us who participated became like family. We grew and stretched together. And we had a blast in the process!

So please join Lee, Talli, Jen at Unedited, Candace Ganger at Misadventures in Candyland, Karen Gowen at Coming down the Mountain, Jeffrey Beesler at World of the Scribe, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs. and me as we set off on a quest for three hundred participants in the A to Z Challenge!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Revisions and Number Four

I’ve been working on revisions for the sequel to CassaStar, but it’s slow going. There are only so many hours in the day! I’m afraid I will have to cut back a bit on blogging if I hope to finish. So, if I’m not commenting as much, you’ll know why!

Since I’ve a big announcement planned for Friday, I wanted to post this today. Many of you had asked what was the deal with the author and the book, I Am Number Four, when I commented that I refuse to see this film.

The real author’s name is Jobie Hughes, and he was paid a whole $500 for his book. It was published by a book-packaging company called Full Fathom Five, created by James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces. (Remember him? The dude that lied to Oprah?)

Helen Ginger posted about the situation last November. For the full story, visit Straight From Hel.

So, I won’t be seeing I Am Number Four. Fortunately, Unknown comes out this Friday, and unless the critics bash it, I’ll go see that film instead.

See you all Friday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Special

It’s Valentine’s Day - time for love and lining the pockets of Hallmark stores and chocolate makers around the world.

It’s also a day men demonstrate the power to read between the lines. With a little practice, we’ve learned that “You don’t have to get me anything” really means “If you don’t get me something, you don’t get anything for a week!” See, we’re not so dumb.

Jules at Trying to Get Over the Rainbow created a special button for us to share with one another and I decided to save it for today. You are all awesome people and I appreciate each one of you who visits my site.

I’d like to say a special thanks to Jeffrey Beesler. Last week, after reading a really crappy review of my book, he offered some encouraging words. Thanks Dude, I needed that, and I don’t intend to give up.

The Words Crafter at The Rainy Day Wanderer gave me the Write Hard Award. Thanks, Words Crafter!

I’m passing it on to:
Clarissa Draper at Listen to the Voices
Rayna at Coffee Rings Everywhere.

And wanted to let you know about another cool blogfest coming up soon! DiscConnected is hosting the Super 8 Debut Albums blogfest:


Remember that first helping of Meat Loaf?
How about when you "Got the Knack?"
On February 28, we're listing our all time eight favorite debut albums from artists where they hit paydirt the first time!
Visit his SITE to sign up!

And to all you ladies who said you loved the Resident Evil series - that's just too damn cool!
Now, where were all of you when I was a teenager, and the girls thought that stuff was gross and weird?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Followers Answers and Movie Reviews

I’d asked about followers without profiles and here are the best answers:
Some people don’t have blogs, so all you can do is friend them.
Sometimes Blogger flakes and doesn’t include a link or profile.
Often a person with a Google account hasn’t gone back and claimed their blog, so it doesn’t show up.

Jeremy at iZombie Lover came up with a button to encourage those who follow to comment so we can find their blog, if they have one:

A big congratulation to M. Pax - she sold her first story this week!

And some brief movie reviews for you…

The Mechanic

Not an original story but well executed. It’ll hold your interest and there are some cool assassin tricks. Jason Statham is, well, Jason Statham, and Ben Foster turns in a decent performance. (He makes a good scummy character!) It’s hard to root for the killers though, despite their penchant for taking out bad guys. Not a memorable film, but if you dig Statham flicks, you’ll enjoy it.

Resident Evil: Afterlife

The fourth movie in this series, based on the popular game. As long as they keep making money and Milla Jovovich remains hot and athletic, Resident Evil movies will continue. This one was better than the third and there’s some amazing special effects. Would’ve been cool in 3D, but I saw it at home. A lot of things happen that aren’t explained (what was the giant creature with the axe?) and it contains numerous plot holes. But hey, depth and plot isn’t why you watch these movies, is it?

Thanks again to Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs for allowing me to visit yesterday. Hopefully I’ve encouraged more of you to sign up for the A to Z Challenge!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hogging the Blogosphere and Beginnings

I’ve the honor of visiting Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs today, discussing why challenges and blogfests rock!

Yesterday Lynda Young at W.I.P. It claimed she loved and inhaled my book! I don’t believe literal snorting was involved though… Thanks, Lynda!

Yes, I know – I’m hogging the blogosphere. I’ll stop…

Today is another edition of Fantastic Friday Writers! I invite your to check out my Fantastic Friday Writers partners - Elizabeth Mueller, Anastasia V. Pergakis, J. D. Brown, and Deirdra Eden Coppel - for their take on this subject. I’m sure it’s better than mine!

Once again, I’m sure my take on this topic will be way out in left field compared to my fellow FFW. Rather than post the beginning of my first chapter (because dear Lord, you’re not reading all that!) I’m going to do something different.

When writing, where do I begin? The first chapter. Yes, I create my characters and an outline, but when it comes to actual writing, I start at the beginning. I admire those who start at different points or write scenes and move them around. My brain just doesn’t work that way, though. I start with the first scene and don’t stop until I’ve reached the end!

Do you start at the beginning?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Elsewhere and a Question

Elsewhere this week…

Yesterday I appeared at the blog of Alison Pearce Stevens! She has a Marketing Monday feature, so check it out.

Another review by the The Electrical Book Cafe appeared on Monday - she gave CassaStar an A-. She wasn’t crazy about the cover art, but it was a very positive review overall!

And thanks again to iZombie and Ellie Garratt for hosting the Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest on Sunday! That was a blast.

And you’re not forgetting the A to Z Challenge, are you? Click on the button in the right sidebar for details!

My question

What do you do when someone follows you and clicking on his or her icon in your Followers section reveals no blog to follow back?

Sometimes I’ll pull up someone and there’s only a list of blogs he’s followed, but no blog of his own. If that person has left a comment, I can pull up his profile that way, but if not, I’ve no way to follow back.

What do you do? Is there a trick I’m missing? Captain Ninja Alex doesn't like to miss tricks.

(And if you are one of those people who’s followed me but I’ve never followed back, that may be why – please leave a comment so I can find you!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Movie Quotes Blogfest!

I'm appearing at the blog of Alison Pearce Stevens today!

It's the Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blogfest, hosted by iZombie and Ellie Garratt

I’m a movie fanatic and can quote a lot of films. Narrowing it down to ten was difficult, but here are my favorites in no particular order. (Wonder if we get bonus points if we match someone else?)

Wash: This landing is gonna get pretty interesting.
Mal: Define "interesting"
Wash: Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die?
- from Serenity

Mike: Putting the men's room in the tower, what was I thinking?
- from Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie

Max: Two days ago, I saw a vehicle that would haul that tanker. You want to get out of here? You talk to me.
- from The Road Warrior

Ash: That's right... who's laughing now... who's laughing now?
- from Evil Dead II

John: All major theme parks have had delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Ian: But, John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.
- from Jurassic Park

Hudson: That's it man, game over man, game over!
- from Aliens

Jack Burton: Are you crazy... Is that your problem?
- from Big Trouble in Little China

Crow T. Robot: Hey, Mike, you think you can toss me my calculations? Thanks! Ah, here it is. "Breach Hull - All Die." Even had it underlined.
- from Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie

Batty: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.
- from Blade Runner

Gwen: Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it! Okay?
- from Galaxy Quest

So, what’s your favorite movie quote?

Big thanks to Jeffrey at World of the Scribe for his fantastic nine out of ten review of CassaStar!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Everybody Smile!

What a week! Where to begin...

Big congratulations to:

Cheeseboy at Blog O Cheese! He passed the 500 followers mark a couple weeks ago and celebrated with a video of him picking up Chinese food in a Barney suit. Really! (He offered me the use of the suit, but I said no thanks.) Go watch the insanity HERE

Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out! The A – Z Challenge mastermind passed 500 followers this week. Good stuff, man!

Maybe we need to start a 500 Club, guys? (No, not a hair club!)

Ciara Knight has an experiment in the works – Did I Notice Your Book? And was I ever stunned with her first choice – CassaStar! I am so honored. Thank you, Ciara – guess I’m doing something right. Wonder whose book she’ll notice next week…

Oh! And the eBook price on CassaStar was reduced by my publisher! It's now $2.95 everywhere - iBookstore, B&N's Nook, Amazon's Kindle...

Michelle at Beautiful Chaos gave me the You Make Me Smile Award. Thank you, Michelle!

And since I usually give these out to the ladies, I decided to grace the dudes with this one!

Dezz at Hollywood Spy
Jeremy at I Zombie Lover
Geof at The Man Cave
Jeffrey at World of the Scribe
Kal at Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool
Michael at In Time
TS at The Non Review
Paul Joseph
Copyboy at Not Worth Mentioning

All right guys – I better see a cute kitten in your sidebar!

A to Z Challenge is in April! You don’t want to miss this event. Click on button in right sidebar for details.

Don’t forget this Sunday - Top Ten Horror/Science Fiction Movie Quotes Blog-fest. Hosted by iZombie and Ellie Garratt Come on – join the fun!

And big thanks to Chris and Elizabeth for allowing me to visit their blogs this week, and to Denise for her amazing review of my book. You guys rock!

Whew! Is that it? Is this a wrap? I wonder what's on NetFlix...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Managing 500 and Stuff

First, “The Stuff,” and no it’s not that awful 80’s horror flick...

Yesterday I visited the blog of Chris Phillips with a song that inspired the writing of CassaStar. It’s a short post – and also a cautionary tale for those who leave suggestive comments. (Read it and you’ll understand!)

Today I’m visiting the lovely Elizabeth Mueller, and has she got a treat for you guys – a really unique and special giveaway! What is it? Let’s just say it has to do with my autograph and a guitar…

And I was completely floored by a wonderful review of CassaStar over at Reading at Dawn. Our own L’Aussie Denise is a contributor and her first review is my book. Even more stunning – she doesn’t read science fiction! It’s a small but growing site, so be sure to check it out and support those reviewers.

Now the managing 500…

I am still STUNNED! 500+ followers. I need to do something really awesome. I’m sure everyone’s sick of my book as a prize, though. I’ll get back to you on that…

But for those of you wonder how I manage that many followers… How do I visit that many blogs a day? Here’s my honest answer – I can’t! (Have you done the math? 500+ blogs times five minutes…)

My goal is 100 a day. I have a group of buddies I try to hit every time they post and everyone else I try to visit at least once every one – two weeks. But if I’m busy at work or I go out for the evening, I can’t even manage 100. I usually have to skip long posts and writing blogfest entries as well. But I do try to visit as many of you as possible! (Without my computer privileges being revoked by angry boss or wife.)

I do appreciate those who take the time to comment on my blog. (Really, there are so many cool blogs out there – why on earth are you visiting the NetFlix addict’s site?)

Thanks to everyone who visits – you guys (and gals!) ROCK!