Friday, March 30, 2012

Important A to Z Challenge Guidelines, My A to Z Theme, and Sad Songs Blogfest!

The A to Z Challenge starts Sunday!

For those of you participating, here are the basic guidelines:

Post on a topic or word that matches the corresponding letter of the alphabet, starting with “A” on Sunday, April 1, then every day except Sundays after that.

Visit fellow Challenge participants starting with the blog immediately following yours on the sign up list. Aim to visit five blogs a day; more if you have time.

Keep posts SHORT!

Turn off word verification. Make it easy for others to leave comments.

Make it easy for others to follow you.

Use the official A to Z button. Link back to the A to Z BLOG.

Have fun and make new friends!

My theme for the Challenge? I’ll get to that in a minute…

First, it’s the Sad Songs Blogfest, hosted by Spunk on a Stick’s Tips

Disappear by Dream Theater from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Song tells the unbelievably sad tale of a man sitting by his wife’s bed as she passes away. Song almost guaranteed to make me cry every time. (And I never want to be in that position. My wife is in big trouble if she dies first.)

After Me by Marillion from Season’s End
Song takes you to the depths of heartache before the uplifting ending. Saddest line – “There’s a stray dog she feeds that she found in the street and he loves her to hold him but he won’t let her keep him. And he claws at the door to be let out at night and she makes do without him and she worries about him.”

Collapse the Light into Earth by Porcupine Tree from In Absentia
It’s a song about someone who’s gone through a very traumatic event. It’s a metaphor for a breakup. The poor man sings about how the light has collapsed in the spot where his lover should be.

Losing it by Rush from Signals
The saddest song about aging you will ever hear. “The writer stares with glassy eyes, defies the empty page, his beard is white, his face is lined, and streaked with tears of rage. Thirty years ago, how the words would flow, with passion and precision, but now his mind is dark and dull, by sickness and indecision, and he stares out the kitchen door, where the sun will rise no more.”

Now, my theme for the Challenge!

Last year, my theme was featuring blogger buddies whose blog title corresponded with the letter of the alphabet. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it so I decided to put a little twist on it this year.

My theme – I have selected a word for each day and will present to you blogger buddies who fit that description, along with movies, music, etc. My theme is to give back, highlight some awesome bloggers, and have fun in the process.

The only downside is that I have a lot of blogger buddies. (Note sidebar which is still missing some blogs.) I won’t be able to mention everyone, but I will try to highlight some cool people.

I’ll also be posting short bits of Ninja News, so if you have anything exciting happen, new book release, anything – leave a comment and I’ll mention it the next day.

So, you never know who I will be highlighting on a given day!

Oh yeah, and I’ll be announcing my next solo Blogfest during the Challenge (first one since Worst Movies Ever – whoa!) and it’s really going to surprise you.

Any questions about the A to Z Challenge? Any sad songs on your list? Want to guess what my next blogfest will be? Do you like my theme for the Challenge? Care to share your theme? I’ve been hearing about some good ones…

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ninja News and the April Movie Preview

Ninja News!

Thanks to everyone for your comments Monday regarding Jeffrey Beesler’s book, Spell of Entrapment. And for reading my interview at Emily King’s blog.

Thank you to author Jessica Therrien for featuring my book on Monday. That was a nice surprise!

And over at Mark’s Aloha and hi! from HI he interviewed Cassie and I was an interview question! Yes, I do sleep. No, I do not have clones. I’m a super Ninja. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The A to Z Challenge begins this Sunday April 1! I’ll be posting the basic guidelines and tips on Friday. Hope you’ve been preparing your posts. And I'm over at the A to Z Blog today talking about SHORT posts.

May 15 - Diablo 3. I am so there! And Baldur's Gate the enhanced edition is coming out soon for PC and the iPad. Yes, I will be getting both!

A movie is in development from the book, The Lies of Locke Lamora. That was my favorite book last year, so hopefully it doesn't fall into development hell.

And sometimes, we have epic Ninja fail. I completely forgot to mention Annalisa Crawford’s new book, Cat & the Dreamer, when it came out a few weeks ago. She is just the sweetest person and I feel like a shmuck for forgetting…

And now, here are your April movies!

As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

6 -

Titanic (1997) - [Opens April 4th in 3D]
Adventure | Drama | History | Romance
Director: James Cameron
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates
Why re-release in 3D? Because they can.

13 -

The Cabin in the Woods
Horror | Thriller
Director: Drew Goddard
Stars: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
This Joss Whedon project looks amazing! It is not the horror story you think…

Action | Thriller | Sci-Fi
Directors: James Mather | Stephen St. Leger
Stars: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Joseph Gilgun
A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president's daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates.
Ever since I saw the first trailer where Guy Pearce is smart mouthing the interrogator and getting punched for each response, this has been a must-see for me.

27 -

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Animation | Adventure | Family
Directors: Peter Lord | Jeff Newitt
Stars: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Brendan Gleeson
Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.
It’s from the creators of Wallace and Gromit – how could you not want to see it?

The Raven
Director: James McTeigue
Stars: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson
When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.
To quote the critics – “Nevermore!”

Anyone else get a good laugh out of Mark’s post? Did I miss any news? Ready for the A to Z? (I’m revealing my theme this Friday and I think some of you will really dig it.) Any movies catch your eye? Or are you holding out for May…?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Double Feature Day!

And who doesn’t like a double feature? Ah, the days of going to the drive in – a dozen people crammed in one car because it’s only five bucks; a speaker hanging on by a thread that barely worked; watching the vehicle in front of you bounce as if to hip hop… Hmm, doesn’t sound nearly as fun as I remember.

But today’s double feature is far better!

I am visiting Emily R. King’s site today for her Blogger Mentor Monday feature. Emily is one sharp lady, so be sure to stop by.

Meanwhile, I am handing my blog over to my blogger buddy and critique partner, Jeffrey Beesler. A fellow science fiction writer, I’ve had the honor of reading a couple of his manuscripts, including his new fantasy novel, Spell of Entrapment. Take it away, Jeffrey!

Like every other idea underneath the sun, the concept of entrapment isn’t new to fiction telling. How often do we have stories with the damsel in distress, or the little boy who falls down the well and has to rely on a border collie to come to his rescue? These tales can be a reflection of how we might feel trapped in our present situations. No matter how good we have it, we’re always looking for that quick fix, that perfect means of repairing whatever’s wrong with our lives.

When I wrote Spell of Entrapment, I had my own source of inspiration for the tale. Being trapped in a house has happened before in literature, and even pop culture. In fact, there was an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer several years back which had the characters trapped in a house. I wanted to explore a similar story, but in a different genre.

Fantasy seemed the perfect solution. I cast my characters in a world of epic fantasy, with swords and sorcery, the standard fare. I of course gave them their own unique twist, and made the circumstances that bound them to their own house much different than what I’d seen before. In doing so, I helped to cultivate my own unique bend on an idea that, like most other ideas, had already been done.

I’m glad to say I’m happy with the results I’ve achieved. Even with the book taking place mostly in one location, I’ve created quite a vivid world. I’ve even come to find that the name of the country I’d come up with, Trava, is Serbian for grass. You learn so many interesting things when putting together a project of this caliber, don’t you?

Buy Spell of Entrapment here:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Here’s hoping for huge sales, Jeffrey! You deserve it, dude.

Now you are no longer entrapped and can visit Emily R. King!

Conducted any interesting research of your own? Been trapped anywhere? Remember the old drive in theaters of the 70’s before they started using radio stations instead of those awful speakers? Got your posts all ready for the A to Z Challenge? (I do!) And who went to see The Hunger Games this weekend? Was it as good as the book? Should I go see it even though I probably won’t ever read the books?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ninja News and One Downside to the A to Z Challenge

Thanks to everyone who said my guest post policy was fair. My Ninja Army always comes first.

Ninja News to the extreme – are you ready?

We’ve been doing “Getting to Know Your Hosts” over at the A to Z Challenge Blog and today it is my turn! Do you know your Ninja Captain…?

Patsy Collins is currently on a blog tour for her upcoming book, Escape to the Country. Follow along HERE. Congratulations, Pasty!!

Prayers for Charles Gramlich and Lana as they face a tough challenge.

Diane at Spunk on a Stick’s Tips is hosting a Sad Songs Blogfest on March 31.

Congratulations to Theresa Milstein, Justine Dell, Jocelyn Rush, Roland Yeomans, and Hart Johnson for making the second ABNA cut. You guys rock!

Don’t forget the next posting for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is April 4. That’s the letter D for those doing the A to Z Challenge, so be sure to work it into your post. (Hopefully everyone doesn’t pick ‘Despair’ as their word!)

Big thanks to Rick and White Cat Publications for the awesome review of CassaFire this week.

And special thanks to CM Brown for her review of CassaStar!

One downside to the A to Z Challenge

You’ve all heard me talk about how the first Challenge changed my blog forever and that this year’s Challenge will be equally awesome. So what on earth could be the downside?

Not participating in the A to Z Challenge.

Last year as I visited blogger buddies who weren’t participating, I noticed something. With everyone focused on the Challenge, those blogs not involved seemed to get less comments than normal. So if you don’t participate, there is definitely a downside, which is why I encourage everyone to get involved.

However, those of us doing the Challenge need to be sure we don’t forget blogger buddies who aren’t participating. Ignoring those who aren’t involved for the whole month isn’t in the spirit of the Challenge, which is to make friends. And hopefully those not participating will continue to visit us as well. (I do know of one blogger who is unfollowing anyone doing the Challenge, which is really sad.)

So remember to maintain those friendships while you’re out making new friends!

Now, for a little insight into my world, visit the A to Z Challenge Blog.

Did I miss any news? Did I miss anyone who made the second ABNA cut? Are you ready for the Challenge? Starts Sunday April 1! And is anyone seeing a little movie called The Hunger Games this weekend…?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blogging Habits, the iPad 3, and a Question About Guest Posts

Thanks to everyone who left a comment regarding the blogging questions on Monday! The answers were so detailed, it was like scrolling to China to reach the end. Everyone seems to have his own style, so it’s all about what works for you. I’m a creature of habit, so my style has been set for a while. Besides, if I had to compose a post at 5:30 in the morning, it would make no sense!

And if you missed it, Rachel Morgan won the A to Z Challenge Video contest. Congratulations, Rachel! You can watch her entry HERE.

The iPad 3

For those with the iPad 2, the difference between the two probably doesn’t warrant an upgrade. (I like the latest, greatest geek toys, so I got it!) If you have the first iPad though, you’ll definitely want the new one.

The iPad 3’s processor is faster. The video and camera have improved. Biggest improvement is in the picture quality – I can really see a difference.

I did get something really cool for my iPad a few weeks ago. There are effects pedals you can hook up to your amp and change the sound of your guitar. These run $50 and higher. Well, a few weeks ago I purchased a special pedal that hooks up to your iPad, and from there you can go into the app store and purchase individual effects for $5-10 each. (I downloaded the metal one first – does that surprise you?) Now instead of paying almost $1000 for several different pedals, it will cost me less that $200.

And no, I haven’t blown any windows yet. However, my amp doesn’t just go to eleven, it goes to twelve!

Guest Post Question

How do you guys handle guest posts?

My guest post guidelines are listed on a tabbed page under my header HERE. I’ve learned what appeals to my followers and the guidelines reflect that. But I’m also selective. Any follower can ask for a mention during a Ninja News update. Blogger buddies (those that comment regularly) are invited to do guest posts. Outside of that, the answer is no. And here’s why:

My followers have taken the time to follow me, and for that I am grateful. You deserve consideration before any outside source. (And I don’t do ads, although I am asked several times a week.)

Those of you who visit and comment on a regular basis are taking time out of your busy day to come see me. I really appreciate that! And since I’ve made so many really good friends here, I want to share those people with my other blogging friends through guest posts.

My blogging schedule is as such that I average about thirteen posts a month. Hopefully you like hearing from me now and then (just say yes) so I try to limit guest posts to about four a month.

As for guest posts of mine on other blogs, I also try to limit that to no more than four a month, coinciding with days I post so I can promote it. (Win-win for both of us.)

Hopefully that sounds fair to everyone. My Ninja Army comes first because you guys are my friends! And currently, I’m booked into July. Scary, huh?

Did you see Rachel’s winning video? Any questions about the iPad 3? And how do you juggle guest posts? Does my policy sound fair?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Burning Blogging Questions, Movie Review, and Movie Answers

No, I don’t want to set my blog on fire. Besides, I think I already fried the Internet to ashes a couple weeks ago.

And yes, the new iPad 3 is awesome. I'll give you guys some details on Wednesday.

But first – movie review!

Enough people raved about this movie that I went on faith and purchased the 3D Blu-ray. And it was money well spent!
Hugo has to be one of the most unique and original films I have ever seen. It’s enchanting, touching, and very sweet-spirited. The storyline is about loss and how the main characters deal with it. Everyone from Ben Kingsley to Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz (who play the children) turn in incredible performances.
The visuals are stunning. They create such an amazing and vivid world. The 3D is a must, as it adds so much depth – it’s the best use of that effect since Avatar.
Hugo is wonderful and it should’ve won Best Picture.

Now for the burning questions. Just a little Ninja curiosity…

When do you blog? What’s your schedule?
I blog M-W-F and all posts go live at 5:30 am EST. I’ve noticed about half also post early in the morning.

How do you visit blogs?
I start with my blogger buddies folder in my Google Reader. It pulls up the most recent first, so those who posted late the night before are usually the last ones I visit unless I skip around.

How do you reply to comments?
I reply here on my blog, Usually I’ll leave one comment addressing about ten to twenty previous ones.

How many blogs do you visit a day?
On days I post, over a hundred; on days I don’t, it’s less. (Yes, I am a blogging Ninja.)

Do you schedule posts when you’re away?
I don’t because I wouldn’t expect anyone to visit me if I couldn’t visit others.

Finally, Roland Yeomans would like to thank everyone who visited Friday and provide the title of Mark Twain’s movie choices:

1.) THE THING (Any of the three versions.)
2.) THE THING (Again any of the three versions.)
3.) INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Again, any of the 3 versions. Jeez, Mark!)
4.) THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (Any of the zillion money-grubbing digitally polished versions.)
5.) ALIENS (one of the deleted scenes. Yes, I told Mark Twain that was cheating, but he just chuckled it was his way to keep us, the living, on our toes!)
6.) THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (Thankfully, the only version as yet made. Unless you count 2012!)
7.) ALIEN VS. PREDATOR I (Mark wanted to add it went triple for desert bars built on top of Aztec pyramids, but I told him we had hit our 300 word limit!)

Care to share any of your blogging habits? Guess any of the movies correctly? Have you seen Hugo? And did you finally go see John Carter?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Master of Words Takes Over and Ninja News

I’m back, refreshed and ready to go!

I have an incredible guest today, but let me point out some important news first:

Voting for the A to Z Video Challenge is now open! Go HERE by Sunday to cast your vote. There were some awesome videos created!

I also have a guest post today at the A to Z Blog about making it easy for people to leave comments. If you are participating in the Challenge, be sure to read it.

Brinda Berry’s new book, Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods #2), is available now! She’s throwing a party today at her BLOG with a giveaway - a Kindle Fire. You can purchase the book HERE and view the trailer HERE. Congratulations, Brinda!

Now, it is with great honor I turn over my blog to my good blogger buddy and master of words, Roland Yeomans. Some of you read his amusing tales of me being kidnapped by aliens, which I greatly appreciated. He is also holding a giveaway for a Spock bear. So without any further words from this simple writer, let me turn it over to the master…

Ghost of Mark Twain, here …

Roland was all set to guest post here at Alex’s electronic newspaper in honor of the man’s CassaFire, but I strolled by with the Borg Queen, and the two of them lit a shuck out of here.

And wouldn’t you know it? That dang fickle gal raced after them with the darndest come-on from a female I ever heard : “Resistance is futile.” For a bald filly she sure is certain of her sex appeal.

Guess I’ll have to fill in for Roland and tell you folks some facts about how to live that I learned from his dang sci fi films.

1.) If you find an ancient space ship trapped in the ice, children, you might just want to leave it there.
2.) If you're trapped in an Antarctic research station where things have gotten strange, and one of your colleagues keeps asking to see you privately. Bake him something. Like him … with a flamethrower.
3.) If your usual screaming mother-in-law becomes Valium Vickie, inviting you to her garden to see her crop of pods, shoot her. Even if she isn’t a pod person, you’ll still feel good about it.
4.) If you decide to cut open your tauntaun to keep yourself from turning into a man-sicle, it's probably best to keep that from the tauntaun until the very last minute.
5.) When you and other survivors stagger out of a spaceship of horrors, and the father says to his child “You’re safe now.” Duck.
6.) When the Super-Winter comes, and everyone else is burning books to stay warm? All that gloating you did about how awesome your Kindle is will come back to haunt you.
7.) Remember my advice about ancient space ships trapped in Antarctic ice? Goes double for pyramids. 

Answers will be revealed on Monday…

Roland’s books are available on Amazon, including The Legend of Victor Standish, French Quarter Nocturne, and his latest, The Rival.

Know any of the movies he described? Want to win a stuffed Spock bear? (Sorry, matching Kirk bear sold separately.) Read any of Roland’s books? (They Call Me Tombs was cool!) Ready for the A to Z Challenge?And are you stoked for the iPad 3? Mine arrives today...

Don’t forget to visit the A to Z Blog today! Be a shame to work so hard on A to Z posts and no one comments…

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to do a Successful Blog Tour. And John Carter! And Prize Package Winner!

Or maybe I should say how to survive a blog tour?

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments last Friday regarding FandomFest2012 Yes, it will be a bummer that my name won’t be listed on the program for FandomFest, but my wife is more important. Next year!

And special thanks to Chuck at Apocalypse Now for his amazing review of CassaFire. You the man, Chuck!

Cate Masters’ new book, Dancing With the Devil, is now available – congratulations, Cate!

John Carter – review and author revelation

One word – awesome!
This movie more than lived up to expectations for me. It was epic in scope, with a story that remained fairly faithful to Princess of Mars and featured believable special effects. It was adventurous, moving, and at times really funny. And hey, for all the guys, the princess played by Lynn Collins will keep your attention – close to the Frazetta interpretation and easy on the eyes. Shame it won’t do well in theaters as I would’ve enjoyed another John Carter movie.
And something dawned on me while watching the film. Several reviews of my books have stated they hearken back to the Golden Age of science fiction and adventure. While watching John Carter, I finally caught the connection – the innocent adventure portrayed in this type of story mirrored what I tried to capture in my own books. Now I am eager both to devour more stories like John Carter and to dive back into my third book. Not that I’ll create anything as classic or epic as what Burroughs wrote – but now I understand my voice and style. And I’m excited!
So, go see John Carter and enjoy the adventure!

CassaFire’s blog tour – what worked and what didn’t

Another heartfelt thank you to all of my hosts and everyone who posted for the Catch Fire Blog Party. The last two weeks were the most humbling I’ve ever experienced.

First let me tackle the Catch Fire Blog Party. WOW. I visited over two hundred and fifty blogs on February 28 and still missed a few I’m sure. It was overwhelming to see that banner featured everywhere. Will I ever do something like that again? Probably not. I spent over ten hours that day trying to visit every person who posted. And while it was cool to see my book cover everywhere, and many commented they were touched by the support for my book, I think it was too much. I’ll either spread it out or just let people post on their own next time.

Now for the tour itself. My hosts were awesome! Each guest spot was unique. My goal was for my post to generate more comments than normal for my hosts, and many of you visited every post – thank you for that! And the best hosts interacted with the comments, which was cool. There were ten official stops – next time, I might only do five. I don’t want to wear out my followers and I admit I was beat when it ended. Again, thanks to everyone who tagged along for the ride.

And I will need to make plans for a third tour, because this week I launch back into working on the third book, CassaStorm. After seeing John Carter, I am stoked!!!!

Now, for those of you still holding your breath, the winner of the awesome prize package is…

After random numbers generated for tour day and then comment…

Jeremy at Retro Zombie is the big winner!!! Congratulations, dude. And thanks for following my book tour.

Anyone else see John Carter? Share your thoughts on my blog tour? (I’m open to suggestions!) Think “Golden Age” is a good description of my books? Think I should write just one more book? Or are you just mad you didn’t get the CassaFire coffee cup?

And I will still be visiting blogs, but taking a break on posting Wednesday. Awesome guest on Friday though!!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

CassaFire Tour Last Day, Ninja News, Trivia, and FandomFest2012

We made it! Last day of the party and last stop in the tour. I don’t know about you, but I’m one day away from being beat!

The final stop of this crazy tour is at Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

I met Sia just under two years ago – I think! She’s my one and only returning host, as she also hosted me on my tour for CassaStar. Sia hosts authors often and always compels them to provide thoughtful insights into their world. Well, can’t say I did something thoughtful, but Sia did beat an account of how writing has changed my life out of me. Yes, life used to be so simple…

Think you’re ready for the changes? Then go visit Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

Don’t forget that everyone who comments here on my blog will be entered to win this cool prize package from my publisher. Last day to comment!

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who visited Damy at Daily Writes to see why critique partners rock.

My buddy George at Cinemarvellous is celebrating his birthday today! Yes, I thought it was Thursday. But today he’s posting his top ten favorite movies of 2011 to celebrate. Please go wish him a happy birthday!

Dreaming About Other Worlds posted a really thoughtful, in depth review of CassaFire on Thursday. All the major reviewers seem to echo the same thought – my books are throwbacks to the Golden Age of Science Fiction. I can live with that!

Yes, I did pre-order my iPad 3. Can't wait!

And to top off one heck of a blog tour, I’m almost to 1400 followers. Whoa! I remember when I had fourteen...

Earlier this week I got an email from the organizer of FandomFest2012 This convention attracts over ten thousand people and this year’s headliners are Timothy Zahn and Bruce Campbell.

The email? Would I like to attend and be one of the featured authors?

To have my name listed on a program with Zahn and Campbell? To be able to meet them in person, two of my heroes? Are you as shocked as I was???

Well, here’s where I’m really going to throw you for a loop. I declined.

Yes, I will one day regret it! But that weekend was already dedicated to a vacation I promised my wife back in January. She said she’d be willing to cancel, but I couldn’t do that. She’s watched me prepare for CassaFire’s launch, spending more and more time online. She’s hardly seen me for the past month. After all the sacrifices, the last thing I want to do is disappoint my wife. Besides, this isn’t going to be my career or anything.

So, I’m not going. But you know what – I was ASKED. And that’s really damn cool!

Special thanks to my buddy Edi at Edi’s Book Lighthouse - the organizer had seen my interactions with Edi and was very impressed. Plus I’m sure Edi put in a good word (or twenty) for me!

Trivia answers from Thursday

Quotes – name the movie:
1 – “I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sitting on the porch with my family, singing and dancing.” The Jerk
2 – “They don’t advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop…” Blade Runner
3 – “Where are you going, Mr. Fat Jack?” Splash
4 – “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” Blazing Saddles (It’s been in other movies, but that was MY source – awesome movie!)

Final Trivia – are you ready?

What is your name?

What is your quest?

What is your favorite color?

Who’s ready to win that prize package? Winner will be announced on Monday! (And I’ll do a post about my blog tour – what worked, what didn’t.) Think I made the right decision about the convention? Get any questions right from Thursday? Understand the real meaning behind the three today? Anyone got a sponge? Think after two weeks of catching fire I’ve melted…

Now, go visit Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

CassaFire Tour Day Nine, IWSG, Ninja News, Movie Trivia

Two more days to party. Can you stand the heat? If not, sorry, I probably added too many Hot Tamales.

Today’s stop is with Damyanti at Daily Writes

I met her last year during the second A to Z Challenge. She wrote a piece of flash fiction for every letter and then composed it all into a book called the A to Z Stories. I was so impressed! She really gave her all to the Challenge. And this year she is one of the co-hosts. I also call her Damy, since that’s what used to show up when she left a comment, and I really hope she doesn’t mind…

For this stop, I explained why critique partners rock - visit Damyanti HERE

Don’t forget that everyone who comments here on my blog over the next two weeks will be entered to win this cool prize package from my publisher. So be sure to comment every single day!

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Wow, once again your posts for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! were amazing. I’m not even halfway through the list. And I apologize to everyone that I haven’t visited yet! Not sure why I selected a Wednesday, since we tend to have meetings at work every Wednesday morning. But I will try to visit all the newcomers to the IWSG. So glad you could join this awesome family. And thank you for your comments here. They made everything I’ve gone through all worthwhile!

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who visited my stop with Lee yesterday!

I was asked to be a part of a huge science fiction conference – details tomorrow. Headliners include Timothy Zhan and Bruce Campbell!

My buddy George at Cinemarvellous is celebrating his birthday Friday! And he’s posting his top twenty favorite movies of 2011 to celebrate. No one reviews movies like George and he knows his stuff. Please go wish him a happy birthday!

Angela Felsted is offering her book Scarred for free until Friday. You can download it HERE Thank you, Angela!

Rick’s book, Tainted Blood, is now available for the Kindle. Congratulations, Rick!

 Trivia answers from Wednesday:

1 – “Turning Japanese” 1980’s The Vapors
2 – “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” 1993 Crash Test Dummies
3 – “Axel F” 1984 Harold Faltermeyer
4 – “Turn up the Radio” 1985 Autograph

Trivia Questions – Movies again!

Quotes – name the movie:

1 – “I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sitting on the porch with my family, singing and dancing.”

2 – “They don’t advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop…”

3 – “Where are you going, Mr. Fat Jack?”

4 – “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

Are you still laughing that I could offer any writing tips? Were you moved by the posts for the IWSG? Get yesterday’s trivia right? How about today? Last chance!!!

Now, go visit the awesome Damyanti!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

CassaFire Tour Day Eight, Insecure Writer's Support Group, and Music Trivia!

The party is still rocking with both a tour stop and the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Today’s awesome stop is Arlee Bird’s Tossing it Out!

Lee is one of my oldest blogger buddies. Not in years (sorry, not implying you’re old, Lee) – he’s been a friend since shortly after I began blogging. Lee is really darn stable, something that is needed here online. He prodded me to join the first A to Z Challenge, something I have never regretted. You the man, Lee!

Go see what insecurities my characters possess at Tossing it Out!

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 insecurity today – that my writing does not contain enough depth and meaning.

I’m not much for heavy descriptions or fine details.

There are no great life lessons in my work. Well, not any deep messages anyway.

My stories don’t stray into uncharted territory. I tend to stick to simple formulas.

I don’t write eloquently or with fancy prose. My work is more accessible than rich.

My books aren’t award winners. Never will be.

A hundred years from now (all right, ten years from now) few will remember my books. They will never be classics.

All I can hope is that people enjoy them now. That the characters and stories take readers on a fun adventure. That for a little while, they provide a little escape from reality.

Which ultimately is all I really set out to accomplish anyway.

Don’t forget that everyone who comments here on my blog over the next two weeks will be entered to win this cool prize package from my publisher. So be sure to comment every single day!

Trivia answers from Tuesday:

1 – What year did Disneyland open? 1955 
2 – What is Eminem’s real name? Marshall Mathers 
3 – What type of gas was used to float the Hindenburg? Hydrogen 
4 – What race always occurs on Memorial Day Weekend in the USA? Indy 500 
5 – What body of water in the Middle East is the saltiest and most mineral-laden in the world? The Dead Sea

Trivia Questions – Music!

One hit wonders! Name the band…

1 – “Turning Japanese” 1980

2 – “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” 1993

3 – “Axel F” 1984

4 – “Turn up the Radio” 1985

What is your insecurity today, writing or otherwise? Hope that your work will one day be remembered? Know any answers from Tuesday’s trivia? How about today?

Check out my character’s insecurities at Tossing it Out.< You just might relate to some of them…

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CassaFire Tour Day Seven, Ninja News, Ninja Fact, and More Trivia!

And the party continues! Hope I’m not keeping you all up past your bedtime.

Today’s stop is with the adorable Talli Roland!

Talli is without a doubt the cutest Canadian-English girl you will ever meet. She also possesses one of the happiest, most bubbly personalities you will ever meet. She’s an incredible author and one of the best cheerleaders in the world. Really glad Talli is on my side.

Be sure to visit Talli Roland for my take on women and female characters.

Don’t forget that everyone who comments here on my blog over the next two weeks will be entered to win this cool prize package from my publisher. So be sure to comment every single day!

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who visited me Under the Tiki Hut yesterday! Yes, the Ninja scored some points.

Tomorrow is the first Wednesday of the month – don’t forget to post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

A to Z Co-Host Tina Downey contributed a story to the book, Until They Have Faces. You can read about it HERE. Proceeds from the book go to benefit Boulder, Colorado’s homeless, and more information on the project can be found at Bridge House Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow. Congratulations Tina and all the volunteers that made the book possible!

The video contest is open until this weekend – visit A to Z Challenge Blog for details.

Ninja Fact

I’ve only regretted writing one thing. I won’t give away spoilers here, but there is a scene in CassaStar I wish I’d never had to write. I’m not an overly emotional person and live life on an even keel. No great highs or lows. But that one scene was really difficult. I regret it, and yet, there could be no other way to forward the story. Perhaps that is another reason why CassaFire jumps ahead twenty years. Like Byron, I needed some distance…

Trivia answers from Monday:

1 – In what movie do we reach Ludicrous Speed? Spaceballs
2 – Name the creator of Calvin and Hobbes Bill Waterson
3 – This 1981 movie boasted the tagline “From the director of Animal House… a different kind of animal.” An American Werewolf in London
4 – Name the quarterback who threw for 5000 yards in one season; a record held until this past year Dan Marino (Broken by two quarterbacks this past season, Tom Brady and the new record holder, Drew Brees.)

Trivia Questions – Hodge-Podge!

Let’s see how you do with this mix…

1 – What year did Disneyland open?

2 – What is Eminem’s real name?

3 – What type of gas was used to float the Hindenburg?

4 – What race always occurs on Memorial Day Weekend in the USA?

5 – What body of water in the Middle East is the saltiest and most mineral-laden in the world?

You didn’t forget the IWSG tomorrow, did you? Any regrets in your writing? Know any answers from yesterday’s trivia? How about today? Some of you need to at least try one of these trivia challenges…

Now, go visit Talli Roland! I heard she’s serving wine…

Monday, March 5, 2012

CassaFire Tour Day Six, Hearththrob Blogfest, Ninja News, Pronunciations, and 80's Trivia!

One more week of partying – can you handle it?

Today’s stop is a fun piece at Under the Tiki Hut

I’ve followed Carol for a long time now (i.e. – I can’t remember when I didn’t follow her) and her posts are fun and lighthearted, like her Friday Top Ten. Guest posts on her site always revolve around the guest sitting under the Tiki Hut. Now, usually the beaches around the Tiki Hut are filled with men and strangely devoid of beautiful women. However, knowing the Ninja was coming, there’s been a slight change of scenery…

Under the Tiki Hut will never be the same!

Don’t forget that everyone who comments here on my blog over the next two weeks will be entered to win this cool prize package from my publisher. So be sure to comment every single day!

Today is the Teenage Heartthrob Blogfest hosted by Sarah and Vic

There was only one for me when I was a teenager – Buck Rogers’ star, Erin Grey!

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who visited my stop on Friday at Michael’s SITE!

The best resource in the world for writing tips, promoting tips, and everything in between is Elizabeth Craig’s Writer’s Knowledge Base. More links to more articles than you can possibly imagine. I got lost in there Sunday afternoon…

Laura Eno’s new book, Immortal Desires, is out! Buy it on Amazon Congratulations, Laura!

Rachel Morgan’s new book, Guardian, comes out today. Congratulations, Rachel!!!

It’s Read an eBook Week! I’m doing my part…

The last stop in my tour will be with Sia McKye – and she posted her review of CassaFire last week HERE Thanks, Sia!

Very special shout out to Matthew at The QQQE Tina Life is Good. Matthew visited close to a hundred of my Catch Fire posts last Tuesday and one of his comments in particular was really special – thanks, dude! And Tina has been announcing my book and tour to every person who sends the A to Z Challenge blog an email – thanks so much! You are both just the best of friends.


Several have asked how to pronounce the names in CassaFire. I tried to make everything simple, but here’s a guide:

Athee – Like the Goddess “Athena”, just leave off the “na”
Mevine – “meh-vine”
Tgren – “ta-grin” said quickly
Ernx – “Urnks”

Trivia answers from Friday:

1 – “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” Raiders of the Lost Ark
2 – “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
3 – “Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.” Apocalypse Now
4 – “Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.” Top Gun
5 – “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Cool Hand Luke

Trivia Time – The 80’s!

1 – In what movie do we reach Ludicrous Speed?

2 – Name the creator of Calvin and Hobbes.

3 – This 1981 movie boasted the tagline “From the director of Animal House… a different kind of animal.”

4 – Name the quarterback who threw for 5000 yards in one season; a record held until this past year.

Whoa! Who was your teenage heartthrob? Been lost in the Writer’s Knowledge Base? Did you know how to pronounce those names correctly? How’d you do on last Friday’s trivia? And do you know any of today’s questions?

Now, go visit Carol at the awesome Under the Tiki Hut!