Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July Movie Preview Already?

That’s right – the year is half over! Now prepare for another month of living in a cool movie theater.

All descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments provided by me.

Today – June 29

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson
The Plot: Against the backdrop of the space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA, the alliance between Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) and Optimus Prime is put to the test against a common enemy: Shockwave.
This was scheduled to come out July 1, but they bumped it up a few days. Critics say special effects are amazing but there’s no character development. Hello! It’s Transformers. Soon as I get off work, I’m off to see it in 3D!

July 8

Director: Jonathan English
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng, Brian Cox
The Plot: In 13th-century England, a small group of Knights Templar fight to defend Rochester Castle against the tyrannical King John (Paul Giamatti)
Could be way cool, but I bet it will be difficult to find in theaters.

Horrible Bosses
Director: Seth Gordon
Stars: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis
The Plot: Three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis) make a pact to rid the world of their respective bosses.
Okay, this one caught my attention with the line about Bateman street racing his Prius – “I don’t win much.”

July 15

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
Director: David Yates
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
The Plot: The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts to find and destroy the final horcruxes. But when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the battle we've all known has been coming -- Harry vs. Voldemort -- looms large on the horizon. And who will triumph?
Like we don’t know how it ends! Maybe this will be the first Potter movie to cross the billion dollar mark. Just please tell me Harry does more than run…

July 22

Captain America: The First Avenger
Director: Joe Johnston
Stars: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson
The Plot: After being deemed unfit for military service during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty -- a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals. His first mission: to combat the Nazi propaganda effort headed by Johann Schmidt (Weaving), also known as the Red Skull.
Marvel’s been hitting home runs lately and this one should be no different.

July 29

Cowboys and Aliens
Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
The Plot: In Silver City, Arizona, Apache Indians and Western settlers must lay their differences aside when an alien spaceship crash lands in their city.
Wicked cool! Tell me, what boy hasn’t wanted to see cowboys fight aliens? Besides, Olivia Wilde is hot. Which is good, because Daniel Craig stole Rachel Weisz.

Attack the Block
Director: Joe Cornish
Stars: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail
The Plot: Moses (John Boyega) and the rest of his teen gang look to protect Wyndham Tower -- their housing estate -- from an alien invasion.
Hard to say, but the buzz for this film is good.

So, what are you seeing this month?

Monday, June 27, 2011

GL, SyFy's SS, and Awesome Guest on Critiquing!

Before I unleash my awesome guest, I need to give you a movie update.

Green Lantern – It was fun! Glad I went. Dialogue was a bit cheesy at times, but hey – it’s a comic book. The film wasn’t Shakespeare, but thank God it wasn’t Catwoman, either. So while it wasn’t the perfection of either of Nolan’s Batman films, I still had a good time.

Swamp Shark – Entertainment Weekly gave it an F. Can’t imagine why. Oh wait, that’s because it SUCKED! At least Sharktopus was cheesy bad fun. I suffered through long enough to give you a short play-by-play this coming Friday. I better get some Hot Tamales for my effort…

Now to my awesome guest, Rusty Webb!

Rusty’s blog is The Blutonian Death Egg and he’s one of my amazing critique partners. The dude also has a great sense of humor. His critique comments are snarky, random, and sometimes go off on wild tangents – and fused with humor, they’re perfect! I couldn’t ask for a better critique partner.

I asked Rusty to share his thoughts on critiques…

Alex, the nicest guy on the internet, gave me the opportunity to talk for a few minutes about the art of critique. Funny that he would ask me, since the notes I sent to him after reading his most excellent sequel to CassaStar were rants about why I think Stargate ruined the SciFi (SyFy) channel and attempts to draw him into a debate about the physics of a fictional energy source. But ask me he did, and if there is anything I've learned in life, it’s to never turn down an opportunity, even if it’ll only serve to expose me as a fraud.

Once, earlier in my life, after much blood and pain, tears and heartache, I produced the greatest piece of written fiction the world had ever known. Still aglow with the glory of my achievement, I delivered it by hand to a friend to read and sat back to wait for the praise to come. They took a glance and said, “This is a mess.”

A piece of me died then. Right there, at that moment.

It wasn’t possible. I worked so hard, so long. How could they not see the brilliance? Did they even read it? Well, no. In fact, they said it was so bad they couldn’t get past the first page.

The first page? But the first page was awesome. Geez.

In the years since, I’ve managed to come to terms with the need for a critical eye – maybe not one so crushing as my first experience. But in the hands of someone you trust, someone who wants to help you make the story be the masterpiece you know it is, and not someone who wants to turn it into their story, or is venting because they’re frustrated by their own issues, then it doesn’t have to hurt so much.

Because here is the truth of it: Almost all the stories out there that any of us feel compelled to write are great, it’s just that sometimes the way we choose to tell the tale gets in the way. We emphasize the wrong parts, or forget to tell about why a character behaves the way he does. Writing is how we translate the story from the mind to the page – and sometimes it can lose something in the translation.

So here's to critiquing, the art of helping understand the human mind.

Rusty, if you understand Byron’s mind, you’re light years ahead of me.
Thanks, dude!

Any questions? Comments? Snarking? Thoughts on SyFy Craptastic movies?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bowing to Pressure and MC Blogfest

First, I have succumbed to the pressure – I’m going to see Green Lantern this weekend! So many of you were disappointed not to get the Alex review – didn’t realize I was such a go-to guy for movies. Anyway, Cars 2 is not receiving great reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes (it was at 38% last I looked – really low for Pixar film) and since Cars was not one of my favorites, I decided to just go enjoy Green Lantern. Expectations set to low, brain dropped at the door, and ready for eye candy.

Don’t forget SyFy’s craptastic Swamp Shark this Saturday. I hope to have a play-by-play for you next Friday.

Will at Fatherhood and Other Common Terrors posted a review of CassaStar this week – thanks, dude!

And Monday expect an AWESOME guest to appear here! An uber-cool rocker. Okay, not a real rocker. Don’t expect John Sykes or Joe Satriani. But he is cool and here for your amusement!

Today is Elizabeth Mueller’s Getting to Know Your MC Blogfest. With prizes and everything!

Three questions for my main character, Byron. Three questions as he prepares to embark on another adventure. (The as-of-yet unnamed sequel to my first book, although I recently dubbed it CassaStar II: Electric Boogaloo. That probably won’t fly with my publisher though.) Three questions – and for once, he refrained from snarking:

1 What is your greatest fear?

Cassans like to refer to it as disconnected, although you might call it a fear of intimacy. I’ve been alone all of my life. I like my privacy. Always felt letting someone in was a sign of weakness. But now I feel a bit empty and alone. I’d consider letting someone into my life if I only knew how.

2 What is your biggest accomplishment?

Most would say it was my contribution toward ending the Vindicarn War, but that brings up too many painful memories for me. I would choose becoming a pilot instead. Few of my instructors thought I’d amount to anything and I was determined to prove them wrong. Now, not only am I one of the best pilots in the fleet, I’m one of the few who can teleport multiple times.

3 What is your biggest regret?

Losing my friend and navigator during the Vindicarn War. The crash wasn’t my fault, but I replay that scene over and over in my head, wondering if I could’ve done anything different. Considering where we landed, I should’ve died as well. Sometimes I wish I had. Bassa was my first real friend. He was like a brother to me. I miss his guidance and wish he could’ve joined me in exploration. At least I’m living his dream for him. But I'll never find another friend like Bassa...

Who’s watching movies this weekend? I know Melissa has some lined up! Taking the kids to see Cars II? Suffering through Swamp Shark? Or do you just have to check out the bat-shit crazy girl in Black Swan now?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let Me Explain. No, There Is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up!

Lots of stuff for you today!

RJR Daydreamer is hosting Media Mayhem 3 day Blog Hop – Go to his site to participate this weekend.

I finished revisions and sent my manuscript to my publisher! Now comes the waiting...

Mini Movie Reviews-

Black Death
Soldiers journey to a village not infected with the Black Plague. Appropriately bleak look at a dark time in our history. Movie ramps up a good amount of tension and mystery. With Sean Bean!

Black Swan
Bat-shit crazy girl gets lead in Swan Lake. I understood the metaphors, but I’ve seen it before, and while the movie made me feel uneasy, it didn’t make for an enjoyable viewing experience. Did I mention the girl is crazy?

Watched Falling Skies the other night. Like it so far. Although after it was over, my wife and I both commented that it was like The Walking Dead. Except with aliens of course.

Don’t forget, the latest SyFy Craptastic original movie is this Saturday night - “Swamp Shark” with DB Sweeny and Kristy Swanson. Yes, expect a play-by-play in the coming weeks. I am willing to sacrifice a my sanity for my blogger buddies!

My Latest Tunes-

Amon Amarth’s “Surtur Rising”
Quite possibly the best Viking metal you will ever hear!

The new In Flames and Symphony X albums came out Tuesday. I’m so happy!

And Jeremey at IZombieLover made these really awesome zombie pictures for me! Yes, that is Woody Harrelson and Kate Beckinsale. (She’s looked better!)

Seen either of those movies? Watched Falling Skies? I’d ask if you like those bands, but I’m guessing the answer would be no…

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time for Some Super Powers!

I have the honor of hosting Elizabeth Spann Craig today on her blog tour, and she’s going to discuss super powers today. (And you know how I dig super powers!)

12 Super Powers and Super Tools for Writers—by Elizabeth S. Craig/Riley Adams

It’s not easy being a writer.

There’s a lot we’re carrying on our shoulders—crafting worlds, creating interesting people to populate those worlds, mastering POV, pacing the story—and that’s just the writing part of what we do! On top of it all, we’ve got to steel ourselves against rejection, poor reviews…it’s a rough life.

Why should super heroes be the ones with all the cool powers and tools? I know they’re busy saving the world and all, but writers could use some super powers, too. And I know just the super powers and super tools to help us out:

Super Lair: A lair isn’t a super power, but it’s just as important to superheroes. It’s a place for heroes to recharge their super selves. Batman had the Batcave, Superman had the Fortress of Solitude. What would be the perfect super lair for writers? I’m thinking Office Depot. We’d play with Post-it Notes, notebooks, and Sharpie pens in our spare time. We’d leave our lair energized and ready to attack our next chapter.

Superhuman hearing: Ever been in a coffeehouse or restaurant and wanted to eavesdrop on a fascinating conversation that you know could help your story? With superhuman hearing, we’d never again have to surreptitiously move closer to spy on our unknowing victims!

Magical objects: Doctor Strange had the Eye of Agamotto medallion, the Black Knight had the Ebony Blade. Writers could have the never-depleting cup of Java and the indestructible laptop/hard drive.

Speed writing: For those deadlines that sneak up on us.
Reality warping: For those inconvenient plot holes.

Omnipresence: Omnipresence is a must for all those writers with boring office day jobs. You could be compiling the monthly sales report and be at home, penning the next exciting chapter of your thriller—all at once!

Teleportation/wormhole at our Office Depot lair: Okay, just in case we can’t get omnipresence, we could settle for teleportation or a wormhole so we could instantly apparate from home/Office Depot to our boring day job.

Cool transportation: Invisible jet? Batmobile? No, actually, this might be a super tool that writers don’t need. We just don’t get out all that much.

Mind control: To convince the agent or editor we’ve queried that our manuscript is The One.

Endurance and sleep-snubbing ability: For the writer who needs to burn the candle on both ends, without inconvenient consequences.

Time travel: Could be useful for historical writers. Or heck, even SF/F writers.

Unlimited funds: Batman/Bruce Wayne, Iron Man, Geo-Force, Mr. Fantastic? All incredibly wealthy. I’m thinking writers could use a little of that. Writers and money, of course, don’t often go together. But think of how cool it would be—we could write on location for whatever exotic setting we choose. No day job for us!

But what do you think? Got any other ideas for useful super powers we writers could use? Thanks for hosting me today, Alex! I appreciate it.

Bio: Elizabeth’s latest book, Finger Lickin’ Dead, released June 7th. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.
Writer's Knowledge Base--the Search Engine for Writers
Twitter: @elizabethscraig

Thanks, Elizabeth! I'll take teleportation. And a Batmobile!

Friday, June 17, 2011

FFW - Critique Partners & BIG Surprise!!!

Well, there’s a good chance I’ll be skipping the theater this weekend – Green Lantern is getting awful reviews. That sucks - I’ve been looking forward to this film for so long!

On the positive side, Mel gave me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award and The Yard Bard gave me the Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks, ladies!

Today’s topic for the Fantastic Friday Writers is critique partners. I’m stoked – not only was this my suggestion, but it gives me the opportunity to brag on my critique buddies.

For those who’ve hesitated to find a critique partner, let me put you at ease. When you find the right ones, it’s awesome! There’s a ton of advice on what to look for in a CP as far as compatibility, strengths, experience – all that stuff. I’m just going to describe what my three CP bring to the table and maybe that will help you in your search. (Hey, you didn’t come here for expert advice anyway, right?)

Jeffrey Beesler is the detail man. He sees repetition, passive phrases, pronoun confusion – all the small stuff I tend to miss. He doesn’t hold back – he lets me know when something doesn’t work. Jeffrey gives it to me straight and I respect that!

Anne Gallagher writes romance. She is the master of relationships. Anne brings the passion. She looks for the flow between the two main characters, as well as my numerous typos. And, she is also part of my target audience – I was stunned how many non-science fiction people read my first book, and I want to continue writing stories they enjoy.

Rusty Webb keeps me sane. He sees repetition of phrases & words and unnecessary modifiers. Rusty also makes suggestions – detailed suggestions – of what I could add or modify or explain better. He goes to great lengths to give me ideas. Most important, Rusty does it all with humor. And for that dude, I salute you!

Now, what do you want in a critique partner? If you have them, what are they like? And do they make Coke come out of your nose?

Now, for the BIG SURPRISE for my author buddies!!! Above this post are tabs – one is marked awesome authors. Click it! I have done my best to present the latest release from every author I know, highlighting some really great writers and special friends. (And if you don’t see your latest book listed, let me know! I am still working on it.)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Really am a Writer

Really! I know I post about movies and stuff, but I really am a writer. Guess I can say author, since my first book came out last year. And just to prove it (because I know some of you may doubt) here’s some writing stuff for you!

Writing Tip
Crap, I got nothing… Oh wait! Listen to your critique partners, because they may have some awesome suggestions. And see the stuff you miss. Or omit. Or forget! Enough said.

What I’m Working On
The final revisions of the sequel to CassaStar. Got the last manuscript back from my test reader, and once I’ve fixed all the problems he found, I’ll send it to my publisher. (Before my June 30 deadline – cool!) Still no idea what to call the sequel. Back to oh crap…

What I’m Reading
A manuscript from Jeffrey Beesler and Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman. Next up is a manuscript from Rusty Webb and Breakthrough by Stephen Tremp. Good, no crap there.

Online Participation
Two upcoming blogfests for me –
Getting to Know Your MC Blogfest on June 24, hosted by Elizabeth Mueller
Retro Summer Blogfest on July 20, hosted by Amy
Definitely no crap there!

Which means I can now give you some movie news! Because I just can’t help myself…

The box office results so far here in America (my little narrow view of the world):
The Hangover II - $216 million
Pirates - $209 mil
Fast Five - $205 mil
Thor - $174 mil
Rio – 136 mil

And the box office results world-wide (the figures that really matter):
Pirates – $887 million
Fast Five - $583.5 mil
Rio - $467 mil
Thor - $431.6 mil
The Hangover II - $431.2

Interesting, huh? I don’t think Disney is too worried right now.

Care to prove you’re a writer? Bet you're more convincing than me!

Monday, June 13, 2011

News and Movie Reviews!

Too hot for anything but a dark movie theater this weekend! But first, a couple announcements…

Laura Eno’s new book, Tempest Child, was released last week! Wow, it was a busy week for books, wasn’t it?

Geof at The Man-Cave is hosting a giveaway – win a gift certificate from Retro Planet!

I also have something special planned for my author friends! Might take me a week or two to organize, but hopefully you guys like it.

Now, TWO movie reviews!!

Super 8

Take one part E.T., a dash of Jaws, a pinch of Cloverfield and toss in a bit of Stand By Me and you have the ingredients for what I feel is the best movie so far this summer. The best compliment I can give the movie is that it made me feel like a kid again - that wide-eyed sense of wonderment that’s been sorely lacking in many recent films. J.J. Abrams movie is an homage to the great works of Steven Spielberg and he shines in all elements of this film. The true highlight, however, is not the special effects or the action scenes (which are great) it's the cast of relative unknowns who nail every scene. Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning are particularly great and the interplay between them rings completely honest. The film deals with weighty subjects like loss, depression, sadness and pain but balances it all out with friendship, young love and (oh, by the way) an effective monster hunt story. Obviously, I highly recommend it to those who yearn for a bit of nostalgia and childlike wonderment. (But parents, leave the little kids at home!)

Troll Hunter

College film students trail a man they believe is a poacher, only to discover he’s a troll hunter! This faux cinema verite film doesn’t take itself too seriously. After all, they’re hunting trolls! The creators came up with plausible explanations as to why no one has seen a troll and how the government’s Troll Security System keeps the creatures in control. The effects are good, there are a few laughs, and the scenery beautiful. A unique film from Norway that’s a fun watch!

Anybody else see either film this weekend? Any good previews? Saved me some Hot Tamales?

Friday, June 10, 2011

You Can't Be Too Careful...

Today I have something really unique for you! Bob Sanchez’s new book, Little Mountain, came out recently. But instead of the usual guest post, he’s treating you to a humorous, prize-winning short story. (Shifty! as Hart would say.) Take it, Bob!

By Bob Sanchez

George knew the world was coming apart at the seams. Only by furious effort had the world avoided the Y2K debacle, with its attendant threat of planetary lockjaw. Citizens would have been shot dead for their bottled water, their gasoline, their triple-A batteries and their clean underwear.

“I’ve had it with you, George.” Lila was trying to tell him something. He examined an unopened roll of duct tape, wondering if the stuff had an expiration date. Maybe he’d better buy a fresh supply, just in case.

Okay, he thought, we dodged the millennial bullet only to take one in the heart with nine-eleven. We have Columbine shootings, no-fly lists, outsourced jobs and insourced illegals, corporate meltdowns, ozone holes, and Americans up to their asses in IEDs in Iraq. Now that Pacific Rim runt has Nagasaki-sized nukes he’ll be selling to terrorists to finance restocking his liquor cabinet and his porn collection.

Lila grabbed the package out of his hand. “This isn’t going to keep out sarin, anthrax, or radioactive isotopes.”

“You’re red in the face,” George said. “Are you sick?”

“Only of living in a bomb shelter, surrounded by” —she waved an arm in a sweeping motion—“sterile gauze and chlorine tablets. And a year’s supply of Charmin!”

“Because if you’re sick, you should sleep on the cot tonight.” He took back the duct tape and opened the package. “Maybe I didn’t seal the windows properly.”

“We don’t need to live like this! We are not a terrorist target—we’re a hundred miles from the nearest city!”

“But downwind,” he said quietly.

For the first time, he noticed that she had her winter coat on and that she had packed a suitcase.“I’m leaving you,” she said.

“Right now?”

“Now isn’t soon enough, but yes.”

“But you’re safe here.”

“I don’t care. I’m sick of being safe. I’ll risk sorry.”

George took Lila’s hand, and for a fleeting moment her expression softened. Then he placed the roll of duct tape into her hand. “At least take this,” he said.

He thought nothing of it when her jaw dropped at the sight of his gift.

Or when she gripped it tightly in her fist.

Or when she cocked her arm like a World Series fastballer.

So he didn’t blink when her arm whipped forward. The hard, black roll followed a short, swift trajectory from her fingertips to his temple. George had always suspected that his life would end in a flash of blinding light.

And so it did.

Bob Sanchez has written three novels, no two alike: When Pigs Fly is a comic crime caper; Getting Lucky is a noir detective novel aptly described as "seamy and steamy"; and his latest, Little Mountain, is a serious ethnic mystery that might give you nightmares. He shamelessly flogs them all at his BLOG

Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of your choice of these books, or to win a grand prize of all three signed paperbacks.

Thanks, Bob! And now this Ninja is off to see Super 8 – who’s with me?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Big Thanks, Releases, and Movies

Big thanks to everyone who participated in the It’s All Fun & Games Blogfest – all 111 of you! (And the awesome people who left comments.) Seems a lot of you like to play. The list is still up HERE and all links go directly to the blogfest post. Keep browsing – I found several new games to add to my list!

I also hit 800 followers on Monday. Wow! Never imagined that when I started blogging a year and a half ago. Welcome new followers! I am here for your amusement.

Special congratulations to Elizabeth – her book, Finger Lickin’ Dead, came out on Tuesday! I have the honor of hosting Elizabeth on her blog tour, so look for an awesome guest post in the future. Congratulations to Elana – her book, Possession, came out Tuesday as well. And Raquel Byrnes is holding a great giveaway to celebrate the release of her book, Purple Knot!

Now for some Ninja-fast movie reviews-

X-Men: First Class – Fun movie! Enjoyed the characters and watching the relationship between Charles and Eric unfold. Had a cool Cold War – James Bond vibe to it. And a cameo from Wolverine produced the best line of the movie!

The Tourist – For you Depp fans! A slow paced thriller with a huge cast. Some twists and turns and great settings. I enjoyed it more than anticipated.

A Perfect Getaway – Psychopaths are killing Hawaiian tourists – who are the real killers? Played its hand early, but it was a decent film. Featured Thor’s Chris Hemsworth as well.

And tonight, I’m watching Troll Hunter on HDNet!

Seen any good movies lately? Discover some new games during the blogfest? Any ideas for the next blogfest!? My brain has turned to tapioca...

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's All Fun & Games Blogfest!!

Shall we play a game?

Today is the It’s All Fun & Games Blogfest!! Everyone name your three most favorite games to play.

I am a game fan. Nay - a game fanatic! I developed a love of all things game at an early age. Board games, arcade games, card games, computer games, iPad games, I love 'em all! A majority of my formative years were spent either playing Dungeons & Dragons or chasing girls (another great game that only gets better when you win.) So, without further ado, my three favorite games...

1. Movie Trivia Games

If you need someone to fill out your movie trivia team, then I am your man. I've watched so many movies that it's either very impressive or very sad (and slightly pathetic.) I have a knack for remembering actors, directors, plots and titles. Just don't count on me for dates. I don't remember movie dates (heck, I don't even remember what I had for lunch yesterday.) I love all sorts of movie trivia from board games to iPad apps. I give my wife fits because when I am dialed in, I can win a game without giving her a turn. However, this happens with less frequency because I've watched so many movies that my brain is turning to tapioca.

2. StarCraft

This is a no brainer (which is helpful for good ol' tapioca brain.) For my money, the greatest RTS game ever made (that's Real Time Strategy for you noobs.) Featuring three distinct races (Terran, Zerg and Protoss,) a great tech tree, an engaging campaign and a pop-culture sense of humor, StarCraft is a rare game that works on every level and has amazing replay ability. I am not exaggerating when I say that I played the game on and off for nine years. Even though the graphics are a bit dated, the game still rocks and deserves a spot on the Mount Rushmore of gaming.

3. Dungeons & Dragons

I know, this just screams nerd in the basement with a 20-sided die and a half-elf named HoHo The Magic Newt. Well sir, (and madam) that nerd was me. Let's set the record straight, D&D did not make any of my friends lurk around the sewers and commit murder. This game helped me to harness my imagination, develop problem solving, and taught invaluable lessons on how to work as a team (and the consequences if you don't.) It also played a role in my moral upbringing. The scenarios that we encountered offered so many moral and social dilemmas. It's been a long time since I played but I will always treasure the friendships and the camaraderie.

Your turn! What games do you like to play?

Please visit others participating in this blogfest. Let’s have some fun, people! (And all links lead directly to the blogfest post.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

When New Ideas Attack – Plus News and a Cool Image!

When New Ideas Attack - not to be confused with When Animals Attack.

First, some cool announcements!

India Drummond’s book, Blood Faerie, just came out – congratulations, India!

Mel is looking for beta readers! Check out her site at Writings, Musings, and Other Such Nonsense for details.

Elizabeth Mueller is hosting a MC Blogfest and Giveaway!

And don’t forget the It’s All Fun & Games Blogfest this coming Monday!

It’s Fantastic Friday Writers again, with my partners Elizabeth, Anastasia, J. D., Deirdre, M. Pax, and Jeffrey.

Today – how to keep up the flow of ideas without abandoning current project.

This is Captain Ninja Alex’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink method:

When those new ideas hit in the middle of a project, dump them in your manuscript!

You heard me! Toss it into the mixture and see if the idea works. Hey, you don’t want those new ideas distracting you from your current manuscript, do you? Put them to work in your project rather than let them take over your imagination and attention. If the idea fits, great! If not, set it aside.

Does it work? Hey, I did it with the sequel to my book. Every time something new struck me, I threw it in the story. I tossed everything but the kitchen sink at Byron. (Thus the name!) And since my critique partners actually liked the results, I’d have to say affirmative!

Anyone care to share a method that’s a little less hap hazardous? I feel this post needs a disclaimer – should not be taken in place of real writing tips.

Now before I dash off to the theater to see the new X-Men movie, let me leave you with a really cool image – “Fifty Baddies.” Can you name them all? (I got forty-six correct.) Visit creator Robert Ball’s Draw the Line for the full sized image and the answers…

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Movie Preview Extravaganza!

It's June First and time for a preview of films hitting the theater this month! (I know, where the heck did May go? No clue.)

All plot descriptions courtesy of the IMDB

June 3

X-Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
The Plot: Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (aka Magneto) are two young men discovering their powers. Banding together with fellow mutants to stop a threat to the world, a rift grows between the two forces, leading to the founding of Professor X's X-MEN and Magneto's Brotherhood, and the beginning of their eternal war.
I’ve enjoyed the X-Men films and look forward to this one. Early review say it’s one of the best superhero movies ever!

June 10

Super 8
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, Kyle Chandler
The Plot: Ohio, 1979: when kids shooting a super 8 movie witness a train crash, their shock soon turns to feelings of suspicion and horror after disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town.
Have you seen all the sneak previews? Extended previews? This looks awesome! Abrams is at it again.

The Troll Hunter - limited
Director: André Øvredal
Stars: Otto Jespersen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Nærum
The Plot: After learning that real-life trolls exist after years of being covered up by a government conspiracy, a group of Norwegian film students set out to catch the creatures on camera.
CineMarvellous gave this an awesome review and the trailer looks amazing. Plus, it’s showing next Wenesday June 8 on HDNet - I get to see it early!

June 17

Green Lantern
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
The Plot: When he's granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds) becomes the first human to earn membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe. His mission: to combat an enemy called Parallax, which threatens to destroy the universe's balance of power.
I am a BIG DC Comics fan - can’t wait for this movie!

June 24

Cars 2
Director: John Lasseter Brad Lewis
Stars: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Plot: Lightning McQueen, pit boss Mater, and the rest of Lightning's crew enter the Race of Champions, a multi-national event taking place in Japan, Germany, Italy, France, and England.
It’s Pixar. It’s Cars. What else can I say? Pixar trailers never look great, but the movies always deliver.

What movie has your attention? Are you all geeked-out for superheroes and giant trolls?