Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Movies of the Year!

Yes, it’s time for December movies. Less than a month to Christmas! Nobody panic.

Before I dive into the movies, a couple quick announcements and reminders:

S.A. Larson’s picture book story is in a publisher’s competition and it would be really cool if you could go vote for her! Visit her SITE for details. Kelly Polark’s piece is also in the competition! Too many awesome writers...

Never thought about posting a link for CassaFire, but for those who’d like to add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf, go HERE.

My blog is a finalist in Karen's Blog Awards! You can vote now at A Peek At Karen’s World I'm under Favorite Writing Blog. (Ironic, huh?)

And the next installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is in one week! You guys have amazed me with your posts and the support you’ve shown to one another. Hopefully it keeps growing so that more writers can benefit.

Now for the December movie releases. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

9 - 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
Oldman is such a cool actor… 


16 - 

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris
Downey is perfect as Holmes – can’t wait for this one! 


23 - 

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol 
The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name.
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton
It looks cool and I’ve enjoyed all of the M:I movies so far.

The Adventures of Tintin 
Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor. But someone else is in search of the ship.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
The animation looks stunning! One of two Spielberg movies this December.

(Daniel Craig is also in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - busy man!) 


25 - 

The Darkest Hour 
In Moscow, five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.
Director: Chris Gorak
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella
This has the quirk factor going for it. 

War Horse 
Follows a young man named Albert and his horse, Joey, and how their bond is broken when Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent to the trenches of World War One. Despite being too young to enlist, Albert heads to France to save his friend.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Somehow, I have a feeling my wife will drag me to see this one. We saw the last stupid horse movie… 

Which movie catches your eye? Still playing catch-up from November? Or is there a special Christmas movie you plan to watch this month? One can never see A Christmas Story too many times…

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dreams and the Muppets

Everyone have an awesome Thanksgiving? Finish your Nano project? Invent teleportation over the weekend? (Send me a private email if you did!)

I have some announcements and a movie review for you today.

First, Amity at Dreams are my Reality is celebrating her three-year anniversary of blogging today! And, I was honored when she asked me to contribute a few words to the event. My short tribute to Amity is now up at her site, accompanied by an even longer introduction that is really, really sweet. If you don’t already follow Amity, you need to visit Dreams are my Reality today!



Michael at In Time is hosting a one year blogaversary and (almost) five hundred follower celebration. Amazon gift cards, people! Get with it and go follow now!





I confess, I was a slug this past weekend. Outside of some eating and football games, I did nothing. Well, I did spend Sunday trying to figure out why our oldest computer died. Think the mother board ate itself. That’s never good. Seeking the help of a friend today and if we can’t fix it, there’s only one solution. Buy a new computer. That’s right – force me to purchase another geek toy! Damn I have such a rough life…

But, I did get out to the movies this weekend! That’s right, it was The Muppets for me.

The movie started out a little slow, but once they crossed that fourth barrier and let the audience in on the movie, it picked up. From that point, it was a trip down Muppet and the 80’s memory lane. Not sure how much anyone under the age of thirty-five will dig this movie, but Generation X and older will appreciate the nostalgia. As always, the story has a sweet spirit and positive message. Best parts for me were Jim Parsons (Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory) as Walter’s human counterpart and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) as the drummer for the evil Moopets.

And I watched Super 8 again on DVD. Damn that was a great movie!

By next weekend I hope to catch Arthur Christmas.

You guys see any good movies? Finish your NaNo project? Have a computer meltdown?

Don’t forget to visit Amity at Dreams are my Reality

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Long Weekend News...

Lots of cool stuff happening! And Thanksgiving for my American friends. Food, family, and football – the essentials to a comatose day of overindulgence. 

All nominations for The 411 Movie Awards must be in by November 28! I’ve been nominated for Best Science Fiction Blog and Best Blog Post (for the Worst Movies Ever Blogfest.) But, it’s only the top five nominated blogs who go on to the voting stage. No groveling, but I would be really thankful if you clicked over and nominated me. 


And don’t forget these awesome sites, also in the running for an award or two:  
Cinemarvellous! GOLD! Nominate George’s site for the Gold Award and Best Design

DL at Cruising Altitude, along with several co-hosts, are holding a Déjà vu Blogfest

“On December 16, re-post your favorite blog offering or one that never received the exposure it should have.” 

I already know which post I’ll select – do you? 

This is also the weekend for three family-friendly movie releases. I’m not ashamed to say I will be seeing the Muppet movie. It’s part of my childhood. A part I’m not letting go of just yet! No laughing – I’ll have to sic Animal on you. 

Arthur Christmas also intrigues just because it’s from Aardman Animations. (The people who created Flushed Away, Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken Run.) Ladies, you can swoon over James McAvoy’s voice – he’s Arthur! 

And since it’s Thanksgiving weekend, here’s my short list of things for which I am grateful: 
My wife 
My relationship with Jesus 
My job 
My home 
My friends, including all of you
The case of Hot Tamales I’ve requested from Santa for Christmas 
(And a new guitar would be cool as well!) 

Your turn – what are you grateful for? 
Don’t forget The 411 Movie Awards nominations. 
And the Déjà vu Blogfest. 
And Muppets! 
Don’t make this Ninja go all Animal on you…(Bet some of you would like that, wouldn't you?)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Comment Question and Some More Naked Facts


*Hart will be so happy with the naked title!

And hey, this is post number four hundred for me! That’s about two hundred per year. Yeah, I’m really burning up the blogging world…

Also, my buddy Sean at Civil War Horror has a new book! It’s a civil war horror novel called A Fine Likeness and is available at Amazon Congratulations, Sean!

First, another round of CassaFacts.

Hey, let’s just go with the question I get the most -  
Why were there no women in CassaStar?

1 - Wasn’t sure I could pull of a female character! Yeah, dumb but true.

2 - As I said before, there was a war going on - Byron really didn’t have time for a girlfriend. (Although he might’ve had time for one of those ‘fast women’ on Spaceport 89.)

3 - Since the story focuses on a mentor/brother friendship, set during a time of war, I didn’t want any other distractions, so I went old school with the war setting. (During WWI and WWII, it was mostly men in the trenches.) Since my father was military, I understand the bond when your buddies stand between you and death. I wanted that atmosphere, that focus. (And women are distracting - trust me! I'm thinking about Kate right now...)

4 - Finally, there really is a reason why Cassan women don’t pilot ships and why only a few serve on the various spacecraft. I explain it in the next book… (What, you didn’t think I was going to TELL you, did you?)

Now, as I am totally out of ideas, your turn - what would you like to know?

Second, I have a question about comments. All right, several questions.

If you read, do you always comment?

Are you ever afraid to comment?

Do you return comments? (As in, do you visit those who leave comments?)

If I read, I almost always comment. I sometimes wonder if others are afraid to leave a comment though. Do the amount of comments I receive scare some people. (Crap, some days they scare me!) And what about those who never return your comments? Do they only visit their regulars? I TRY to return comments!! Really, I do. Do you?

So many questions for a Monday morning.

And sorry no one was really naked. Just be thankful it wasn’t me!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Anniversary, Award, Challenge Book, and oh Crap...

I'll get to the oh crap part in a minute...

I received an award from Maurice at The Geek Twins - The Pied Piper Award. (And I’m the first recipient – too cool!)

Here are the rules:
List three of your favorite followers and why. 
Pass the award onto three bloggers you feel deserve their followers the most. 

You are all my favorite! All right, just three awesome bloggers…
Bossy Betty
Karen at Coming Down the Mountain
L.G. at Bards and Prophets

The Campaigner Challenges 2011 book is now available! And one of my stories is included. (You remember the one about the twitching little freaks?) The book is on sale for $2.99USD, and all proceeds will be donated to "Help Harry Help Others," a fund-raising organization of eleven year old Harry who recently died of his inoperable brain tumor. Full details on Rachael’s BLOG Purchase it on Amazon or Smashwords



In other news…

My book is still bouncing around in the top science fiction titles on Amazon. It’s mind-boggling to think how many people have downloaded my book! Several new reviews have appeared as well. And of course, it was bound to happen – someone zapped CassaStar with a lame two-star review. (This is the oh crap part.) So a big thanks to those of you who’ve posted four and five star reviews to balance it all out!

Don’t forget my Catch Fire Blog Party on February 28, 2012! Many thanks to those who’ve already signed up. Full details HERE

Finally…

I totally missed the two-year anniversary of this blog! It was November 9. Can’t believe I’ve been doing this for two years now. Never envisioned I’d be where I’m at now, but I’m really grateful for all of you and to be a part of this community. You guys rock!

Any other news? Ordering the Campaign book? Thoughts on crappy reviews? Hit any milestones? Wonder why on earth you’re still following me…?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On The Other Side...

Today I am hosting Jessica Bell on her tour for String Bridge. However, this stop isn’t about her book. It’s about the CD partnered with the book, Melody Hill: On the Other Side.

When Jessica asked me to review her album, I said yes - and then panicked. I knew her music sounded nothing like what resides in my collection. I asked if she was sure a metal head should be the one to review her very un-metal album. I’m sure she went on faith when she said yes. So, employing a little of my own faith, I listened to Melody Hill
                       
And this metal head Ninja was impressed!

As a fellow musician (lame thought I might be) I was impressed by the talent behind this CD. Jessica wrote the music, sings, and plays three different guitars. The result is a solid mix of songs with a vibe similar to Sarah McLachlan and a hint of folk music.

The music drifts you down a winding river, lazy in some parts and rushing in others. The journey is accompanied by soulful vocals that will haunt and echo long after the music ends.

These words in particular spoke to me:

From Famous

So you really want everyone to hear you?
And you want everyone to see you?
But do you really want to be this famous?

(I’m not sure my answer would be yes…)

Somewhere along the way we realize we have been given a glimpse into Jessica’s soul. And it’s a pretty amazing sight.

I had a few questions for Jessica:

This CD accompanies your new book, String Bridge - how?

Well, the songs were written from the perspective of the main character, Melody, a woman who plots a return to the stage, and the person she used to be, before relinquishing her music career for motherhood. I also channeled Melody’s musical influences to write the songs, including PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Joni Mitchell, Nightmares on Wax, and Enigma (which are, mind you, my influences as well).

Which song is your favorite and why?

My favorite is the title track, On the Other Side, because in the past, when I actually wanted to be a rock star, I always wanted to write something heavy enough to head-bang to. I think I succeeded.

Will you be performing this album?

Actually, I think I will be. I've been encouraged to get a band together in order to do some gigs here in Athens. I'll let you know more when I know more!

Which is closer to your heart - music or books?

Now I can't answer that because neither one thrives without the other. My bigger ambition is to write books. But the heart is not a place where ambition resides.

She just raised more questions, didn’t she?!



Visit Jessica at her BLOG, WEBSITE, or on TWITTER 

Purchase Melody Hill: On the Other Side at Amazon, Amazon UK, and from ITunes (No really! Buy it if you haven’t already!) 

For more information on her book, String Bridge, visit the official SITE. 

Any questions for Jessica? Have you listened to the CD? I’m not losing metal head points for this am I…?

Monday, November 14, 2011

CassaFacts and the Noughties Blogfest


Double shot today! Starting something I’ve dubbed “CassaFacts” – little bits of information about CassaStar and the upcoming CassaFire. If you have any questions or details you’d like to see covered, let me know. Although the Ninja does not tell all…

Everyone wants to know what celebrities resemble the characters. This question caught me off guard last year, as I knew what they looked like, but never matched that look to a celebrity.

Bassa was fairly easy. I think Sean Bean resembles him the closest.

Byron was tough. I had a visual – even had an actor in mind, but he was too old for CassaStar. At the time, I selected Chris Pine. (And do you know how difficult it is to find a photo of this dude NOT smiling? Byron doesn’t smile!)

However, since CassaFire takes place twenty years later, that actor now fits – Richard Hatch from the original Battlestar Galactica. He looks serious and intense – just the way I imagine Byron. (And he probably inspired the character as well.)

CassaFire introduces a female character, Athee. (By overwhelming, popular demand. Hey, CassaStar was about a war – Byron didn’t have time for a girlfriend!) 
And who resembles Athee? Come on, people! Kate Beckinsale, of course!
No, I’m not living out my own fantasy. All right, maybe just a little…

Anything else you’d like to know?


Dave at Dave Wrote This is hosting The Noughties Blogfest today!


“List something from each year (2000-2009) that you loved.”


I’m going to keep it simple and go with movies, music, and games. 

2000
Movies -Memento; X-Men
Music -In Flames: Clayman; Pantera: Reinventing the Steel
Games - Diablo II

2001
Movies - Fellowship of the Ring
Music -Andromeda: Extension of the Wish; Dream Theater: Live Scenes From New York

2002
Movies - The Two Towers
Music - Rush: Vapor Trails; Chevelle: Wonder What’s Next; Killswitch Engage: Alive or Just Breathing
Games - Need For Speed Hot Pursuit II

2003
Movies - Return of the King
Music - OSI: Office of Strategic Influence; Dream Theater: Train of Thought

2004
Movies - Spiderman II; Shaun of the Dead
Music - Ayreon: The Human Equation; In Flames: Soundtrack to Your Escape
Games - Half Life II

2005
Movies - Serenity
Music - Dream Theater: Octavarium; Shadow Gallery: Room V

2006
Movies - The Illusionist
Music - Vandenplas: Cristo; Dream Theater: Score
Games - Titan Quest

2007
Movies - Transformers; Ocean’s Thirteen
Music - Serenity: Words Untold and Dreams Unlived; Nightwish: Dark Passion Play

2008
Movies - Iron Man; The Dark Knight
Music - Seventh Wonder: Mercy Falls; Scar Symetry: Holographic Universe
Games - Fallout III

2009
Movies - Avatar; Inglorious Basterds
Music - Dream Theater: Black Clouds and Silver Linings; Alice in Chains: Black Gives Way to Blue

Not bad for someone who doesn't remember what he had for dinner last night!
What did you dig about the 2000’s?

Friday, November 11, 2011

WHAT THE (*#^% KIND OF NAME IS THAT?

RaShelle Workman ROCKS!

And today, I have the honor of hosting her on the release date of her book, EXILED, part of the Dark C.A.R.M.A Tour. Rock on, RaShelle!

Names for the characters in our novels are important (or not - LOL). They may represent a time in history (Abraham), be mythological (Venus), or be symbolic.

When I first wrote EXILED, the male MC"s name was Ethan. An awesome name. I loved it. But in the course of three months I read several books, and in six of them the male MC's name was... GUESS??? Yep, Ethan. So I changed his name to Justus. Loved the name. Loved what it stood for. I thought to myself, oooooh, I'm being all symbolic. Then I read the story out loud...

The female MC's name is Venus. The bad guys name: Dervinius, and the other male MC's name: Zarus. Can you see the problem? Every one of their names ends with US. OYE!!! So I changed the names again... And ended with Venus. Michael. Dervinias. And, Zaren. Aaaahhhhh, much better. And, and, Michael's name does have symbolism. SCORE!

What about you? When you write or read a novel, do character names matter to you? How do you go about choosing?

Bio:
RASHELLE WORKMAN lives with her husband, three children and three dogs on a long, unwinding road. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe.


EXILED Book Summary:
Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.
Now she wants revenge.
First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate.
Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.
Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.
Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.
Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.
But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.



Available through Polished Pen Press in cooperation with Literary Underground Purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Visit RaShelle at her Website and Blog and on Twitter

Questions? Answers? Be sure to tell RaShelle she ROCKS!



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Secret Ninja Code

In order to read this post, you need to swear by the Secret Ninja Code.


Come a little closer.

Closer . . .

I need to whisper it to you . . .

I don't know the code.

But wait! Don't tell Captain Ninja Alex--he might kick me out of his ninja army and thing is? I kinda need this gig. Ever since I became a writing ninja, things have been going really well for me.

I have work ethic.

I have permission to use lots of fighting in my books.

I look good in belts.

I can wear black every day.

I can tell people I'm a ninja and they automatically think I'm cool.

Without it? I'm just a chubby white girl writing kick butt teen books. Kinda sad, really.

So please, if Captain Ninja Alex asks you about the code, just nod and say "Yes, Captain,"--he'll totally buy it.

But until we figure out the code, just bow a lot, and bust out some awesome ninja-moves whenever the ninja captain looks your way. Plus, if you read my book, BECOME, you'll learn a thing or two about fighting with a bo staff--that should help.

BLURB:

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.
When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.
Smashwords Goodreads

BIO:
Ali Cross is the sensei of the Writer's Dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles
Blog Twitter Facebook The Writer’s Dojo Dark C.A..R.M.A. Blog




Crap, do you know the code????

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ninja News… and More!

Guest post!

I’m honored to have a guest post this afternoon at TL Conway’s site giving a convincing argument that NaNo Novels Can Rock!

Thanks again to Lynda at W.I.P. It for allowing me to talk about writer support on her blog this week!

New Books!

Elizabeth S. Craig’s new book came out on Tuesday - Hickory Smoked Homicide.

Donna Shield’s book, The Swan Cove Murders, comes out November 9.



Groups!

Charity Bradford’sBirth of a Novel Blog Chain is available for those not officially participating in NaNo. (And she’s looking for guests.)

Sommer Leigh’s group is for those officially participating in NaNo.
(You’re covered either way!)



Giveaways and Awards!

Lydia Kang is hosting an awesome 1000 followers giveaway.

Karen is hosting the Best Awards Show Ever Blog Awards. Nominate your favorite today.

The 411 Movie Awards are still in the nomination stage. I’ve been nominated for Best Science Fiction Blog and Best Blog Post (for the Worst Movies Ever Blogfest.) But, it’s only the top five nominated blogs who go on to the voting stage! George at Cinemarvellous! had been nominated for Gold and Best Design and Melissa at Melissa’s Imaginarium for Sexiest Female Blogger, so don’t forget these awesome bloggers when casting your nomination.



Fests and Opportunities!

The A to Z Challenge blog is up, so be sure to follow to get all the news on this awesome challenge for next April.

Dave Wrote This is hosting The Noughties Blogfest on November 14.

And Draven at Another Slightly Scary Story is looking for short scary stories or guest posts.


To wrap it up, this week’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group! posts were amazing and so heartfelt. You guys are awesome in the way you supported one another. Which I appreciate, because try as I might, this Ninja can’t be everywhere…

And yes, now I understand the obsession of checking Amazon rankings. I can’t help it - it’s freaking me out!

Don’t forget to visit TL Conway’s site this afternoon for NaNo Novels Can Rock!

That’s the Ninja News. I’m your host, Ninja Captain Alex…

Whew! Did I miss anything? Any movies this weekend? How is Nano coming along? (And since so many of you are writing, I just might take Monday off. But be back Wednesday for an awesome guest post from another Ninja!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!

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 read what we're about and sign up there or below. 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.

I’m also visiting Lynda R. Young at W.I.P. It today, talking about writer support.

Thought I’d offer something encouraging today.

Be happy where you are right now.

God says to be happy and give thanks in all things. Writers always say they write because it makes them happy. But while we all want more, if we’re not happy where we are right now, even if it’s just the writing stage, how can we be happy with more?

I have to remind myself of that as well. I’ve been dry of ideas lately, which has been a bummer, but so many other good things are happening. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, for one. CassaStar’s recent jump to Amazon’s Top Ten. (Took almost a year – is that a slow burn, or what?) CassaFire’s upcoming release, along with blog tour and blog party.

Most of all, I’m really happy with the friends I’ve made online. No one can put a price on that!

So, are you happy right now?

Don’t forget to visit W.I.P. It! Lynda has a wonderful spirit and is the master of writing tips.