Friday, November 30, 2012

Curiosity Quills and the IWSG, Ninja News, Just the Right Time, Personal Values in Writing, and the December Movie Preview

I have the greatest honor of a guest post at Curiosity Quills today. Sharon Bayliss asked me to write a piece on the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Those of you familiar with Curiosity Quills know this is a big thing, so stop by there today for some history and to learn more about the IWSG.
It's up now!

And thanks for all the cheers for CassaStorm's acceptance by my publisher and schedulded release next September. You guys rock!

Ninja News

Jeremy Bates is holding a Christmas giveaway – twenty eBook copies of The Taste of Fear

Visit Roland Yeomans’ SITE to find out how you can win an autographed Ray Bradbury book! He also has this CONTEST going on with so much cool, signed stuff, it will blow your mind!

Sean McLachlan is giving away two copies of his book, A Fine Likeness. Sign up to win one at Goodreads.

Next Wednesday, December 5, is the next posting for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Livia and Tasha are helping with co-host duties that day. Thank you ladies! If you’re a writer and you’ve not yet joined the IWSG, I recommend joining us – it’s the most supportive, encouraging group you will ever find.

Just the Right Time

I am very stoked to announce that my dear blogger buddy, Robyn Alana Engel at Life by Chocolate, has a book out!

“It's Just the Right Time: a magical mixture of poetry and paintings for folks of all ages. It's not too late It's not too soon To watch the stars dance towards the moon. So begins this little jewel, featuring Robyn Engel's poetry and Robin Mead's artwork. "Just the Right Time is a blessing, a loving embrace with colorful, whimsical pictures and words. I can't wait to read these poems to my grandson and show him the beautiful, twinkly illustrations. You'll want to visit these pages again and again." -Susan Wooldridge, author of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words.

Buy it now at Amazon.

Robyn, congratulations!!! I am very excited for you.

Does Your Writing Reflect Your Morals and Values?

I don’t talk writing often (and with good reason) but a few posts lately got me to thinking about this one.

Does your writing reflect your morals and values?

Now, I’ll watch movies and read books with all sorts of vile characters in them. If the character redeems himself at the end, I’m good with it. But as far as my own writing, I can’t write characters like that. My moral compass won’t let me.

For example:

In CassaStar, Bassa comments that the women of Spaceport 89 are “pretty fast.” Let’s be real – thousands of men on a flagship get a day to relax on a spaceport. Think wild west – of course there are brothels! However, I was not about to show Bassa and Byron visiting one.

In CassaFire, you learn more about “bonding.” Cassan and Tgren women have the ability to “bond,” which means a permanent mental connection to their mate. Once a man and woman are bonded as mates, they are in effect “married.”

So yes, my own moral compass appears in my work, as I place great value on the sanctity of marriage.

(And I'd like to note that Byron does do things I would never do, and there are some immoral secondary characters. It isn't all pure!)

How about you?

December Movie Releases

Here are the upcoming movies for December! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

7 -

Deadfall
A thriller that follows two siblings who decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist, and their unlikely reunion during another family's Thanksgiving celebration.
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Stars: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek
Could be intense and Olivia Wilde is a bonus.


14-

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis
Are you kidding? I’m hitting the first showing! 


21 -

Jack Reacher
A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall
I’ve never read the books, but the preview was funny.


28 -

Django Unchained
With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington
Tarantino can do no wrong… And it’s a Western!



Any contests entice you? Ready for the IWSG next week? Do your values wind up in your work? And what movies look good to you?

Don’t forget to visit the awesome Curiosity Quills website!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kyra and Christmas Movies, Ninja News, Author Book Page, and Awesome News – CassaStorm is a Go!

Today I welcome the wonderful Kyra Lennon! She’s going to talk to you about Christmas movies. (We’re past Thanksgiving now, so bring it on!)

So … Christmas movies. There are so many out there, it can be hard to pinpoint a favourite. I know I have a list a mile long, but I want to talk about Christmas movie memories. Those movies that remind you of being a kid, or the ones that make you think of a particular Christmas. Ones that, when you see them, take you back to another time.

For me, it’s The BFG. I know that sounds ridiculous because it’s not even a Christmas movie. I can’t recall why it makes me think of Christmas, all I know is that whenever it’s on TV, I see myself surrounded by coloured wrapping paper, gifts, and … just feeling excited. My guess is that The BFG was on TV one Christmas, and that’s what makes my brain go to that happy place. Even if it doesn’t make any real sense to me, I love the feeling I get from that film.

The other movie that sparks Christmas memories for me is Elf. It had been out for quite a few years before I saw it for the first time, and I stumbled over it by chance one evening when there was nothing on TV. I clearly remember crying with laughter over Elf’s antics, and saying out loud, “I think everyone should have an Elf in their life!” It’s the one Christmas movie I MUST watch every year, just because it brings a smile to my face. Who wouldn’t love a movie that gets even the most cynical people believing in Santa?

So tell me, what are your favourite Christmas movie memories?

Blindsided Synopsis:
After a successful first soccer season in L.A, Jesse Shaw heads to London with his best buddy, Hunter, but his world is turned upside down when a dangerous prank threatens his career and his blossoming relationship with Hunter’s cousin, Isabelle.
Isabelle Mills lives in Notting Hill with her parents and her twin sister, Georgia. When she finds out her cousin is coming to stay, along with his famous soccer player friend, her first instinct is to hibernate until they’ve gone. However, once she meets Jesse, everything changes. He’s everything she ever wanted, but with so many obstacles in their path, can she really risk putting her heart on the line?

Author Bio:
Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. After years spent working in retail, where she met enough versatile characters to write hundreds of books, she finally took the plunge and quit her day job. Kyra's debut novel, Game On, was released in July 2012. While fiction writing has always been her passion, she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites.

Find Kyra’s books on Amazon US and Amazon UK
Find Kyra here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Thanks, Kyra – you rock!

Ninja News

Today’s Special Challenge Participant Feature at the A to Z Blog is Sydney Aaliyah! Her Challenge theme was “Traveling in Australia.” So if you’ve ever wanted to explore the land down under, check out the highlights from Sydney.

Karen announced the 2012 Blog Award Semi-Finalists - and I’m up for Blog of the Year! And quite a few of my blogger buddies are nominated as well. Be sure to stop by and vote.

Laura Pauling has TWO new releases – a children’s book and the sequel to A Spy Like Me. Congratulations, Laura!

Hildie McQueen’s latest is now available – Highlander’s Captive – and she’s holding a giveaway for five copies at her blog. Congratulations, Hildie!

Stephen Tremp just launched E. T. Registry where you can Own A Piece Of The Universe! You can buy extra-terrestrial real estate for a friend, family member, or that certain person you are not quite sure what to buy for Christmas. E. T. Registry gives fully fifty percent of all proceeds to four organizations that benefit the youth of today in math and science so they can develop into our leaders of tomorrow.

Lynn Rush is just one of twenty authors who contributed to Christmas Lites II – and all proceeds are donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. That’s awesome, Lynn!

HM Sinclair has a new cookbook – 365 Nights: Menus & Recipes for Every Night of the Year. Congratulations, Holly!

Patsy Collins’ book, Escape to the Country, is a free download Wednesday and Thursday! Find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Author Books!

I updated my Awesome Authors and Books page this week. If you are one of my blogger buddies, one of your books should be listed on that page. Please check to be sure yours is listed, as I’m sure I forgot someone!

The Awesome News!!!!!

Yes, I’m going to overuse the exclamation point! I got a call from my publisher yesterday afternoon – CassaStorm is a go!!!!

They’d asked me to change one thing Monday morning and I’d worked on it that night, sending the new version the moment I was finished. Tuesday afternoon the call came – they were emailing me the contract and wanted to publish CassaStorm. There was even a signing bonus. (Is that what it’s called? Sorry, resorting to sports terms here.) Of course I signed that bad boy!

Projected release date – September 2013.

Whoa…

My third book is coming out next year. I never envisioned any of this when I wrote the first one. NEVER! One book – what the hell, let’s see what happens. I never even wanted to be a writer…

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and purchased my books. I am truly blessed.

So what is your favorite Christmas movie? See any new books to add to your collection? Did you vote for the 2012 Blog Awards? Ready to buy some space real estate through E. T. Registry? Blogger buddies, did you find your book on my Authors and Books page? And how many think September is a long ways away…?

Don’t forget to visit Sydney at the A to Z Blog!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ninja News, Peaches D. Ledwidge, Novel Pimping, Lincoln and Life of Pi Movie Reviews, and CassaStorm Update

Gossip Girl is pimping my blog and books today! Thank you so much for the honor. See what she has to say at her site, Whatever.

Ninja News

Thanks to the almost hundred people who signed up to embarrass the snot out of me on December 10. You rock, my friends! (And in case you missed it - The Day the Ninja Died.)


Trisha at WORD and STUFF is hosting the Baby Faces Blogfest on December 2-3.

Mary Montague Sikes’ new book, Daddy's Christmas Angel, came out last week, and her publisher's designer created the cover using one of her art images. Congratulations, Monti!

Julie Luek at A Thought Grows had an awesome proposition – Writers for Readers. FirstBook is an organization that donates books to children, and she put out the call for others to make a donation. Good stuff, Julie!

Cindy Borgne runs a book review site called Good Book Alert, and for a very limited time she has opened up submissions to her fellow authors and bloggers. So if you need a book review, check out Good Book Alert.

Authors Angela Orlowski-Peart, Angela Brown, and Gwen Gardner are all part of Black Friday-Cyber Monday Indie Deals It ends today, so visit their sites for a list of books on sale.

CassaFire is up for Goodreads’ Best YA Covers for 2012. (And it’s not even young adult!!)

Special Feature

Peaches D. Ledwidge recently launched her website and her book, Day Laughs, Night Cries: Fifteen.


Peaches is currently on a blog tour giving bloggers a glimpse of her past in this amusing and sad mother-daughter story, so check it out. Congratulations, Peaches!

Movie Reviews

Life of Pi
Based on the novel (which I haven’t read), a man recounts to a writer his tale of being the only survivor of a shipwreck, trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger.
There is so much going on with this movie. At its heart, it’s the story of a young man finding God. It will wrench every emotion out of you by the end as you watch Pi struggle to survive while taking care of a tiger named Richard Parker. That he finds God after losing everything is a true testament to faith.
The visuals are stunning beyond words. I can imagine the challenge of the author trying to bring those to life in the book. On the screen, everything possesses depth – the power of the storms, the vastness of the sea and sky, and the beauty of the Bengal tiger. Not to mention the wide range of emotions.
In the end, we are asked which story we believe – the one of God and love or the one of the devil and hate. I believe the former.
Highly recommended!

Lincoln
The film focuses on Lincoln’s attempt to pass the 13th Amendment and a race to abolish slavery before the war ends.
And it’s not only likely to win Best Picture, but Daniel Day-Lewis is a shoe-in for Best Actor at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Watching all of the events unfold as the day to vote on the Amendment approaches is incredibly tense. So many driving forces, political dances, and turn of events - we know the outcome, but still sit on the edge of our seats. Most of this is achieved in quiet moments of reflection and discussion, which is no small feat.
Day-Lewis nailed Lincoln. He’s perfect. Sally Field is great as his wife and Tommy Lee Jones chews up scenery. The cast is huge – Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader – and everyone is outstanding.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, it’s an incredible piece of historical fiction and highly recommended!

CassaStorm Update

I forgot to mention last Monday – I send the finished manuscript to my publisher! Just waiting to hear back…

Hope my American buddies had a great Thanksgiving! Lots of news this week – see any enticing books or blogfests or need a book review? Donating to FirstBook? Anyone else see Life of Pi or Lincoln this weekend? (Or another movie? I’m still considering Wreck it Ralph.) And how are you NaNo people doing?

Don’t forget to visit Gossip Girl!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Big Reveal and the Day the Ninja Died…

You’ve been waiting for this moment for months. I’d like to say I was coerced, but nay, I was TOLD this blogfest event was happening. Hosted by Mark “The Madman” Koopman, ”Marvelous” Morgan Shamy, Stephen “Breakthrough” Tremp, and David “Kingpin” Powers King, here it is:

Or as Mark has nicknamed it, the "Hi, my-name-is-Alex-and-I'm-squirming-with-embarrassment" blogfest.

I’ve dubbed it the Day the Ninja Died blogfest.

I’m going to let Mark tell you about it in his own words:

Aloha,

Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the person who was always there for you during the last year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?

If there’s one person in the Blogisfear who you want to say cheers to, who would it be?

For us, it was a no-brainer: Alex “no hyperlink needed” Cavanaugh.

Alex is an awesome blogger who’s helped hundreds of us via book releases, guest posts, guest interviews and always positive comments. While we can’t have a live part-ay for the Ninja Captain, we can host a BlogFest:

Welcome to the “Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest.”

Hosted by Mark “The Madman” Koopman, ”Marvelous” Morgan Shamy, Stephen “Breakthrough” Tremp, and David “Kingpin” Powers King, the BlogFest runs from December 10 - 12.

While Alex is an awesome blogger, he’s also an enigma. J

So, here’s four questions: 

In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?

In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.)

In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?

In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:

Cavanaugh
Ninja
IWSG
Cosbolt
Guitar

For Bonus Points:
In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing J

Rules:
Join the Linky List
Be a follower.
Post your 200 (total) word contribution Monday, Dec. 10.
Have Fun!

Two winners – chosen by Alex – will each win one prize:

FIRST PLACE: A signed copy of CassaStar. (Or CassaFire)

GRAND PRIZE*: A picture of Alex and a download of him playing the guitar. (There might be another prize… all depends!)

(*One caveat: Alex asks the picture or download NOT be shared online.J)

The Linky is open until Dec. 12, 2012.

Now the dead Ninja’s thoughts…

When Mark informed me of this blogfest back in September, I was speechless. Literally. (You can ask him.) I NEVER expected anything like this. I’m not co-hosting this blogfest – I AM the blogfest! I’m humbled beyond words.

When I began this journey, I had no idea what would happen. I was just establishing my author platform. I had no idea I would make so many good friends along the way. I couldn’t see more than one book in me, but you encouraged me to keep writing. I didn’t foresee the IWSG taking off and bringing so many writers and authors together. I never imagined I would be so blessed to be a part of this community.

That is why I am so driven to give back to you guys. It took all of you to get me here, and here is far beyond my expectations. I am here before you now as a servant, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help all of you achieve your dreams.

Thank you Mark, Morgan, Stephen, and David for thinking enough of me to put this blogfest together.

And I want to mention last Friday’s I Miss You Blogfest. I was stunned at the number of people who mentioned me. That meant a lot to me. Julie had a wonderful poem – “A special thanks to our Fearless Leader, Who tends to his devoted ducklings, Like Father Goose on speed reader.” Lisa created an amazing video. Nancy, your words were the most touching. Thank you. And thanks to all who participated. (The links all lead directly to the blogfest posts, so feel free to keep browsing.)

So yes, this is the day the Ninja dies – of embarrassment. (Thanks, Madman Mark!)

Of course, if no one signs up, that would be even more embarrassing…


And if you weren’t expecting this, trust me – neither was I!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ninja News, Writers4Writers, and the I Miss You Blogfest!

It’s Time for the I Miss You Blogfest!

But first…

Ninja News

Cassie Mae and Tara Tyler hit 500 followers and are holding a giveaway! Tara is creating a blog banner for one lucky winner, and I’m sure you’ve seen her awesome banners all over the blogging world. Cassie is giving away a manuscript critique since she’s now in demand. (I’m sure I had nothing to do with that…)

Denise at L’Aussie Writer is hosting a Holiday Spirit Blogfest that runs December 12 – 21. For this Holiday Spirit blogfest (open to the whole blogosphere), RFW is looking for excerpts of up to 800 words of fiction or non-fiction stories of family tradition, favorite/unique recipes, inspirational articles, etc.; that involve the essence of the holiday spirit.

And on Monday, November 19, the details of this blog event, hosted by Mark “The Madman” Koopman, ”Marvelous” Morgan Shamy, Stephen “Breakthrough” Tremp, and David “Kingpin” Powers King, will be revealed. You’ll be surprised. You’ll be mystified. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss three bucks goodbye… (Wait, that’s the tagline for the spoof Hardware Wars!) Safe to say, you will not be expecting it. Like the Spanish Inquisition. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition… (Wait, that’s a Monty Python skit!) Just forget all you know, or think you know… (Crap, that’s the tagline from Willow!) Just tune in Monday!

Writers4Writers (W4WS)

Mission:
· Help writers bring awareness of their book(s) to tens of thousands of new people
· Help writers reach Amazon Top 100 in at least one category (i.e., suspense, free, whatever)
· Increase sales of their book(s) after the promo is over
· Drive new traffic to their blog and increase following
· Create verbal and viral buss.

In A Nut Shell: the spotlighted author (December will be Nancy Thompson and her book The Mistaken) will choose a social media avenue such as Twitter or Facebook (or both). Then, the good people of Blogdom will promote the author’s book to their Twitter followers or Facebook friends, that is, incredibly large new audiences the author could not reach on their own.

Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Mary Pax, Christine Rains, and CM Brown. You can also visit the W4WS Facebook page HERE.

Kickoff is December 6!

I Miss You Blogfest

Hosted by Andrew Leon, Matthew Rush, and Alex J. Cavanaugh

The bloggers we really miss…
and the ones we would really miss!

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!
List one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.
Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know!

The bloggers I miss

Clarissa Draper After her book release, Clarissa posted just a little bit less, and then she went on vacation for a month. I’ve known her for two and a half years and really miss Clarissa’s words of wisdom. (Fortunately, she is now back from vacation! So maybe I won’t have to miss her anymore.)

Jeffrey Beesler Met Jeffrey the summer of 2010 and he became a good friend and critique partner. His books and real life events have kept him busy though. He used to post daily, featuring theme weeks, and I could always count on seeing his comments. I really miss seeing Jeffrey around the blogging world.

Baygirl After over two years of her wit, I really came to appreciate Baygirl’s fun posts, which often included pictures. She posts much less now and there’s a definite void without her voice online.

The bloggers I would miss if they quit:

All of you! Really, how can I select just three people? Everyone who visits is important to me. I notice when any of you are gone for a few days. I could do a really long post and say something wonderful about all of you. But since I’m restricted to just three…

Jeremy at Retro-Zombie If I’m ever backed into a corner, I want Jeremy at my side. Only once before have I met someone so willing to do anything to help another. He’d give you the shirt off his back. He has a graphics business, and yet he’s so willing to do them for free for his friends. I can always count on Jeremy. If you’ve ever visited his site and thought ‘odd,’ then you just don’t understand the heart of the man behind that blog. Jeremy rocks, and hopefully he never leaves us.

Ella at Ella’s Edge I met Ella during the first A to Z Challenge. She is without a doubt the most creative person I have ever met. She sees the beauty in the simplest things, and her words flow like a gentle stream. Even her artwork, crafts, and photos are poetic. She has a peace about her that speaks volumes of love. I would miss her spirit and the safe haven that is her blog if she ever left us.

Chuck at Apocalypse Now No other way to say it – Chuck is THE MAN. It didn’t take me long after finding his blog two and a half years ago to realize that Chuck and I have a lot in common. He’s someone I could hang with and shoot the breeze over a couple drinks. Chuck is one of the most supportive people I know – I think he’s talked more people into buying my books than I have! He’s dedicated and possesses a great sense of humor. Hopefully when the Mayan calendar runs out next month and his countdown to the Apocalypse ends, Chuck doesn’t vanish on us.

Your turn – who do you miss and who would you miss?

List of participants below. Feel free to join us!



Signing up for Cassie and Tara’s giveaway? Joining the Holiday Spirit Blogfest? Signed up for Writers4Writers? Who do you miss or would miss in the blogging world? And don’t forget to come back Monday…

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ninja News, Show & Tell in a Nutshell, 2013 Movies, Movie Remakes, and More Critique Comments!

Today I have the honor of a guest spot on Ellie Garrett’s site! I’m discussing critique partners, so if the thought of others reading your work scares you, visit Ellie today. Or if you just want to read more great critique comments from Cassie and Rusty!

Ninja News

Today’s Special Challenge Participant Feature at the A to Z Blog is Nick Wilford. His Challenge theme was “26 Things that Made Me a Writer,” so visit the A to Z Blog for some inspiration.

Christine Rains revealed the cover for her upcoming book, 1301 - The Marquis, which will be out December 13. Congratulations, Christine!

Sean McLachlan has a new article series, Destination: Iraq, about his 17-day trip through Iraq. It’s over at Gadling and the first article is Going on Vacation in Iraq

Julie Luek at A Thought Grows called for revision tips from blog visitors. She compiled them into one post on Monday, and there were some good ones. You’d be amused by her favorite…

 Don’t forget the I Miss You Blogfest is this Friday! Show appreciate for the bloggers you miss and those you would miss.

And my co-hosts for the December 5 posting for the IWSG are Livia and Tasha Seegmiller. Thank you, ladies! I know you will rock.

Show & Tell in a Nutshell

Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry it around in the pocket of your jeans or jacket, to enhance your skills, keep notes, and jot down story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

If you purchase the e-book, you will be armed with the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page, where you can toggle backward and forward from different scenes with ease. Use your e-reader's highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes instead.

Purchase the paperback:
$4.40 on Amazon US or £3.99 on Amazon UK
Purchase the e-book:
$1.99 on Amazon US, £1.99 on Amazon UK, or $1.99 on Kobo

For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit: Website, Blog, Twitter, or Facebook

Movies in 2013

It’s not 2013 yet, but there are some amazing movies coming out next year! Just a few to whet your appetite:

May 3 – Iron Man 3 – Guy Pearce is in the cast. Been a while since he’s been in a movie that didn’t suck.
May 24 - The Fast and the Furious 6 – After the awesomeness of the fifth movie, I’m ready!
July 12 – Pacific Rim – Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Need I say more?
November 8 – Thor: The Dark World – Thor battles an ancient race of Dark Elves. Yes, it’s a year away, but get excited, people!

Movie Remakes

Since Hollywood is determined to remake every film, thought we’d have some fun with it. What’s one of the worst remakes you’ve ever seen? What’s one of the best? What film would you like to see remade? And what film do you pray no one ever remakes?

Worst remake – Clash of the Titans
Yes, the original is campy, but it had heart and Ray Harryhausen creatures. The remake was a soulless piece of special effects.

Best remake – The Thomas Crown Affair
The original was good, but with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, it’s perfect.

Please remake – The Relic
Including the main character, Agent Pendergast, would be a big plus!

Never remake – Aliens
Cameron’s masterpiece is the ultimate roller coaster ride. Remake my favorite movie and I WILL go all Ninja on you!
(And while I’m at it, don’t remake Raiders of the Lost Ark, either.)

See some things you’d like to read? Ready for the blogfest this Friday? Did you pick up Jessica’s book? Excited for the 2013 movie season? And what movies were the best/worst remakes and what do you want/not want remade?

Be sure to visit Nick at the A to Z Blog and Ellie Garrett for more Cassie and Rusty comments!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ninja News, The Nightmare Collection, Hetty Locklear and Jousting, Skyfall Review, and Movie Trivia Answers

Ninja News

Thanks for all of your kind words last Friday when I celebrated three years of blogging!

Victoria H. Smith’s latest, The Crimson Hunt, was released last week. Congratulations, Victoria!

Kyra Lennon's new book, Blindsided, is available now! Kyra will be visiting here later this month on her tour. Congratulations, Kyra!

Don’t forget the I Miss You Blogfest is this Friday!

The Nightmare Collection

Available later this month - The Nightmare Collection by Cherie Reich

A legend is hungry tonight.

A child monster will get its first taste of blood in Nightmare at the Freak Show. Four friend will enter the forest on December night, but only one can survive in Once Upon a December Nightmare. Almost ten years after Cassie's December nightmare, the monster awakens to hunt again in Nightmare Ever After.

Add to Goodreads
You can find Cherie here: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Congratulations, Cherie!

Jousting with M. Pax and Hetty Locklear!

M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at her SITE. Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear
New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist. Mature content.

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.
To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.

Available as an ebook at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, iTunes, and Kobo.

Cheer on your favorite knight this week at M. Pax’s SITE!

Movie Review

Skyfall
Another solid entry in the Bond franchise.
Daniel Craig proves once again that he has mastered the role of James Bond with style and substance. (And I’d really like to work with his personal trainer.) Judi Dench is perfect, as always, and Javier Bardem plays one of the oddest villains we’ve seen in a while.
The action scenes are great and Bond travels to some really great locations. (I think I need his travel agent as well.) Perhaps just a little too long, but otherwise another sleek and stylish Bond film.
If you dig Bond movies, you will enjoy!

Animated Movie Trivia Answers

1 – What film won the first ever Best Animated Film Oscar in 2001? Shrek
2 – Who voiced Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Kathleen Turner
3 – What was Disney’s first animated feature movie? Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
4 – What animated film featured rats and singing slugs? Flushed Away
5 – Who voiced Gru in Despicable Me? Steve Carell
6 – What was Disney’s 50th animated feature movie? Tangled
7 – Who voiced the title character in Rango? Johnny Depp

See some great books to add to your list today? Are you ready for some jousting? See Skyfall this past weekend? And how did you do on the trivia?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ninja News, Gifts, Animated Movies Trivia, and Three Years Ago Today...

Ninja News

Thanks again to all the participants of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Every month you guys share the most amazing things and work so hard to encourage one another. It’s just amazing. Special thanks to my co-hosts this month, LG Keltner and CM Brown. You did a fantastic job, ladies. I’ll be contacting potential co-hosts for December this weekend.

Karen at A Peek at Karen’s World is hosting her annual blog awards again! Nominate your favorites now.


Michael Offutt’s sequel to Slipstream, released last May, is out now – Oculus! Check his site for ordering options. Congratulations, Michael! You’re a writing machine. You’ll have three books out before I even finish editing my third…





David Powers King won the I’m Thankful for my Readers Blogfest, hosted by Tara and VikLit with his poem, Who Ate My Pie Crust? Well deserved win, because it was hilarious. I was even mentioned:

I asked her - no luck, so I expanded my riot,
by asking Alex Cavanaugh, a starship pilot.
"I hope you catch a red-handed culprit soon,
but I have 100 comments to write before noon!"

(And yes, I did write a hundred comments before noon that day!)



Don’t forget the I Miss You Blogfest is next Friday! Perfect time to show your appreciation for special blogger buddies. 

 

Gifts

I received several cool gifts this week. My publisher said soon I’ll get more mail than they do!

I won a zombie package from Susanne at Putting Words Down on Paper which included these cool items:

And I was completely surprised to receive two bags of Hot Tamales from Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner! Thank you so much, ladies! You are both super special.

I need to ask for Hot Tamales more often!

Three Years Ago Today…



I started this blog.

I’d signed the contract for CassaStar and my publisher told me to get my butt online.

I had no followers. My blog was plain. And my first post was a lame “Hi, I’m Alex…”

And now, three years later… whoa!

Almost 1700 followers, over 500 posts, and my blog definitely isn’t plain anymore. (Can’t confirm the non-lame posts though.)

This journey has been nothing short of incredible. I’ve made so many awesome friends and you’ve been supportive beyond my wildest hopes.

Thank you everyone for your support, your comments, and your friendship. It means the world to me. Today, I am not just a man of few words. There just aren't words to describe my appreciation.

Think we should celebrate with some Hot Tamales, don’t you?

Movie Trivia Time!

Animated films this time!

1 – What film won the first ever Best Animated Film Oscar in 2001?

2– Who voiced Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

3 – What was Disney’s first animated feature movie?

4 – What animated film featured rats and singing slugs?

5 – Who voiced Gru in Despicable Me?

6 – What was Disney’s 50th animated feature movie?

7 – Who voiced the title character in Rango?

Did you enjoy the IWSG posts this week? See some cool new books and news today? Envious of my gifts and the Hot Tamales? (I’ll share!) Know any of the animated film trivia? Going to see Skyfall or Lincoln this weekend? And where were you three years ago today…?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Ninja News, and How to Set up a Blogfest

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.

And this month I have two awesome co-hosts helping - LG Keltner and CM Brown! Be sure to visit them and say thanks for their willingness to help.

Since many of you are in the middle of NaNo, thought I’d give you a word of encouragement. Maybe you’re thinking your writing sucks at this point. Maybe you’re terrified to let anyone see the mess you just wrote. If you’re feeling down, I am here to amuse. Actually, I’m not that funny, so I’ll let Rusty Webb and Cassie Mae entertain you. If you’re worried about what others will say about your work, consider this wonderful feedback I received on CassaStorm:

“…we destroyed their main supply forty years ago.” - Oh my gosh. Is this how you spell this??? I’ve been writing my checks wrong for years!

…her hips twisting in an enticing fashion. - Oh the butt wiggle! Works every time

…you’ll be damned grateful we’re here! - I’m still not ready to get into in any detail. At the pace I’m going I’ll get these notes to you about six months after the book is released

“Dreams and more. Their brains processed information and increased in knowledge during the trip to Tgren.” - I wish a computer would make me smarter while I slept.

Because tonight I need you. - Bow chicka bow wow!

If he choked down just one more, he might satisfy his mother enough she would excuse him from the table. - Oh God, I have so many memories just like this. Seriously.

From the olkajhfdjnqlmdfnfqwhjnd;ocnther reports… - Ack! Sorry, baby butt on the computer! And I tried to delete it but he must’ve butt pressed another button that’s doing something funky. So… um, ignore this!

Athee didn’t possess the authority to interfere. - Whatever. That gives her all authority, lol.

Oh, and this is session number two, I think somewhere around comment number 20 I switched over to another day. I know, for you it seems like only seconds, but for me it’s been days. It’s like time travel, except for this is a much lamer version without causality violations.

At least I accomplished something today, he thought. - For someone who doesn’t have children, you sure know how to write heart-wrenching father /mother/ son moments. Now I don’t have an excuse to write something crappy just cuz I don’t know how it is, lol.

Her son needed help, but if Byron had ordered for evacuation preparations… - Dude, they just need to do it! All this crap, a good romp in the sheets will take their minds off it.

She held her breath, resisting the urge to look out the canopy. - Sorry, in all my ranting and complaining I forgot to mention that his is really well written. It’s tense, it’s exciting, and it’s awesome.

I think you guys will be all right!

Be sure to visit others participating in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Ninja News

The fourth book in Michael Abayomi’s fantasy series, Guardians & The Lost Paradise, is out now – The Shadow. Congratulations, Michael!

Liz Fichera received her review copies this week and is holding a giveaway for three signed copies! See her site for details.

Talli Roland’s latest book, a Christmas novella aclled Mistletoe in Manhattan, is available now!

Jessica Bell’s next book, Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing, will be out soon! I know I’m buying a copy. (If I don’t, my critique partners will send me one anyway.)

Rachel Morgan just launched The Faerie Guardian, which is the compilation of four of her Creepy Hallow novelettes. Congratulations, Rachel!

Setting up a Blogfest

Since several people have asked me, I decided to give you guys some tips for putting together a blogfest. Hosting blogfests are a great way to get involved in the blogging community and a lot of fun. There’s extra work if you are the host, but there’s also benefits. Here’s a checklist for organizing a great blogfest:

  • Select awesome theme
  • Select date – Be mindful of other events in the blogging world. Monday-Wednesday-Fridays work best
  • Design a cool button
  • Write a short and simple description – Trust me on that one!
  • Create a Linky Code and require emails – Post it somewhere on your blog so you can enter your name (and co-hosts) and then remove until you’re ready to announce the blogfest
  • Announce a month before the date of the blogfest
  • Remind people at least once a week and have button in sidebar with link to original announcement
  • A few days before the blogfest, send out an email reminder – Be sure to send it to yourself with everyone else as a BBC. Not everyone wants to share their email address with the world
  • Compose your post with all the information, your entry, and the link, and schedule it to go live early
  • Visit everyone who participates
  • Note those who don’t and remove their links the next day. (If you’re really ambitious, add the direct links in the Linky List. Yes, I do this. Call me anal.)
  • Thank everyone in your next post.

Any questions? And if you don’t have a Linky Tools subscription, let me know and I’ll create a Linky List for you.

What is your insecurity for the day? Excited about all the new books? Any questions about setting up a blogfest? And did this post make you smile? (I always aim to amuse!)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Exercise Tips, Ninja News, Awesome Surprise, and Thankful for my Readers Blog Hop!

I have the honor of a guest post on Michael di Gesu’s site, In Time! And it’s not about writing or movies or music – it’s about exercising! I work out several times a week (first rule of Zombieland – Cardio) and I outlined a few things everyone can do to stay in shape. So if the Halloween candy attacked you or the approaching holidays and all that food make you nervous, visit Michael now!

Ninja News

Nigel G. Mitchell, half of The Geek Twins, has a new release – Dead Links. Congratulations, Nigel!!

Hildie McQueen has a new book – Highlander’s Captive – and you can win a $10 Amazon gift card. See her site for details. Congratulations, Hildie!

Andrew Leon’s next installment of Shadow Spinner, Part Eight: The Cold and The Dark, is available for free on Amazon now!

While he was traveling in Iraq, Osprey Publishing released Sean McLachlan’s latest book. The Last Ride of the James-Younger Gang: Jesse James and the Northfield Raid 1876 came out on October 20. Congratulations, Sean! Nice surprise waiting when you got home. He’s also offering several of his books at a reduced price – check out this POST for details.

The Indelibles are hosting the INDIE-giving Blogfest the week of Thanksgiving. See their site for details.

Don’t forget the I Miss You Blogfest is Friday, November 16. We’re paying tribute to the bloggers we miss and the ones we would miss if they were to vanish. Excellent time to show appreciation of your fellow blogger buddies. Co-hosted by Andrew Leon, Matthew MacNish, and me.

This Wednesday is the next posting date for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Mark your calendar.

And either Wednesday or Friday I will have some blogfest tips for you.

Awesome Surprise!

Saturday I received a package containing a copy of Nancy Thompson’s book, The Mistaken. She even signed it for me and wrote the most wonderful words:

And look! I had the honor of reviewing an early copy and my quote made it into the book:

My name, on the first page with the awesome Jennifer Hillier and best seller Kevin O’Brien. Whoa!! That’s even more exciting than my name on the cover of my own books. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Nancy. (And if you haven’t picked up her book yet, get it. The Mistaken is awesome.)

I’m Thankful for my Readers Blog Hop

I’m Thankful for my Readers Blog Hop Tara and VikLit.

Where do I begin?

I’m thankful for the readers of my books. When my first book came out, I thought I’ve be lucky if a hundred people read it. I never envisioned that number would swell to five digits. Thanks to everyone who has purchased and read my books. You’ve spurred me to keep writing and I’m honored so many want to share the adventures of Byron. Hopefully the third and final book doesn’t disappoint.

I’m thankful for those who’ve sacrificed time as my critique partners and test readers. They’ve suffered through my crappy dialogue and poor grammar! Special thanks to the delightful and energetic Cassie Mae, whose input was not only excellent, it was hilarious! Thanks to the very thorough and thoughtful Rusty Webb, who critiqued my last two manuscripts. His input before I began writing CassaStorm led to one of the coolest characters I’ve ever created. (Not to mention the fact that he’s damn funny as well!) And thanks to Jeffrey Beesler who has also braved two of my manuscripts. You guys made all the difference in the world!

Finally, I’m thankful for my blogger buddies and followers. Without you guys, I’d just be talking to myself, and that’s a lonely way to blog! The Ninja Army is my family and this blog the kingdom. And according to the Bible, the Kingdom represents deliverance, righteousness, joy, peace, justice, healing, and wholeness. That is what I want all of you to find here. I may be the captain, but I’m not the ruler – you are. Thank you for being a part of this Ninja family.

Visit Tara and VikLit for a full list of participants.

Excited about all the new releases? Have you signed up for the I Miss You Blogfest? Ready for the IWSG post? Purchased Nancy’s book? And if you could thank your readers, what would you tell them?

Don’t forget to visit Michael for some exercise tips! Don’t let turkey day catch you by surprise. Or be eaten by zombies. That would be worse…