Friday, March 29, 2013

A to Z Survival Tips, Ninja News, Mini-Alex and CassaStorm, and Revealing my Challenge Theme!

The A to Z Challenge starts Monday! Most of you have received a reminder email with suggestions and guidelines, but here’s a few more survival tips.

We recommend short posts. How short? Under five hundred at least, but two – four hundred is even better. Participants will be expecting shorter posts.

Make sure word verification is off. You as the blog owner can’t see it, so go into your settings and make sure it’s not on. For Blogger, it’s the default setting, so it may be on without your knowledge.

Don’t burn out the first week! Pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

If you miss a day, don’t panic. Start back up the next day with the corresponding letter.

We have thirteen hosts, each with minions, who will be patrolling the list and removing ad sites, non-participants, and bad links. We will do the best we can to keep the list clean. (And special thanks again to my Ninja Minions, Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes, Baygirl at That Girl Around the Bay, Ciara Knight, Elise Fallson, Heather Gardner at The Waiting is the Hardest Part, JL Campbell at The Character Depot, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Michelle at Writer-In-Transit.)

We will be doing a reflections post again this year, where you get to share your thoughts about the Challenge. The Linky List for that will open May 3 and run for a week.

Make new friends and have fun!

Ninja News

DL Hammons is giving away a $75 Amazon gift card during the Challenge! See his site for details.

Juliana Haygert’s book, Destiny Gift, is available Monday!!

Holly is looking for critique partners. If you write urban fantasy and can help, please visit her site.

She hasn’t blogged in a while, but those of you who remember the wonderful Laila Knight, she could really use your prayer. She just went through major surgery.

And special prayers for my good friend Gail - her husband went to the hospital Thursday and they are talking heart transplant.

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group will be posting next Wednesday, April 3, as scheduled.

Mini-Alex and CassaStorm Part Two

His scarf arrived!


And in addition to the scarf, Deniz sent one of her husband’s band’s CDs. Thank you, Deniz!!! That was so thoughtful. I really appreciate both gifts.



I also meant to take a picture of the back of the CassaStorm review copy, because I thought it was really cool. It’s a ground view of the launch pads on the front cover.

My A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

For the past two years, my theme has been to feature my blogger buddies. I wanted to do something a little different this year, and came up with a fun idea. And then another. And then another. (Needless to say, I’m still working on my posts! But they are mostly done.) But I hope it’s something all of you can enjoy.

So, taking a deep breath and praying I can pull this off:

My theme for the A to Z Challenge is Favorite Movies, Bloggers, and Music! I’ll name a favorite movie that corresponds with the letter, and then select a character from the film. I will then name a favorite blogger who reminds me of that character, and then dedicate a song to him. (Also corresponding with the alphabet.) I’ll wrap it all up with trivia and/or fun facts about the movie, the blogger, or the music!

Whew! Yes, I got a little over-ambitious with this year’s theme. But it’s been fun selecting all of those items, and I tried to select bloggers I haven’t featured in the past two Challenges. Some of the selections will be funny and some serious, but every person was chosen with care. The only bummer is that I had about seventy on the list and there are just twenty-six letters. I wish I could’ve named all of you, so if I don’t mention you next month, please don’t be offended.

Who did I choose? Some of you will be really surprised! You’ll have to check every day next month to find out who’s been featured.

But wait, there’s more!!

My publisher has agreed to give out two copies of CassaStorm to two lucky commenters next month. US and Canada will receive print books and overseas will receive eBooks. One comment per day. Each comment is one entry except – the first and one hundredth comments on each day will receive ten entries!

So there you go – movies, bloggers, music, trivia, and a giveaway! My blog just might explode…

Ready for the Challenge? Eager to win either at DL’s or here? Need an urban fantasy critique partner? Think Mini-Alex is a bigger celebrity than me? And do you think I’m going to pull off my over-ambitious Challenge theme…?
Have a blessed Easter and see you Monday!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Christine Overcomes Challenges, Frostbite, CassaStorm and Mini-Alex, Wednesday Movie Quote, and the April Movie Preview

Overcoming Challenges – Christine’s Odyssey

Howdy. I’m glad you’ve stopped in. My name is Christine and although I’m only eleven, I’m what some adults might call precocious. A lot has happened in my life, some of it bad, but like my dad used to say, good things can result from the bad stuff that happens to us.

To help me celebrate overcoming my challenges, a great gang of authors have teamed up and will be giving away copies of their books. Sweet, yes?

For a chance to win a pair of the books listed, you can do anything included on the Rafflecopter on Joy’s SITE site or on Facebook. However, for those who’d like to win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Voucher, hop on over to the Jamaican Kid Lit Blog to enter for that. And you can find Christine's Odyssey on Amazon US

Anyway, I tend to talk a lot, so before I carried away, here’s my story:

Raised in a hotbed of arguments and fights, eleven-year-old Christine Simms is the victim of her mother's cruelty. A domestic dispute ends in tragedy, sending the family into a tailspin.

A shocking discovery sends Christine on a quest to find the stranger who left her behind in Jamaica. Determined to unravel the mystery of her birth, Christine uses every tool at her disposal and treads with courage where no child should.

Thanks so much for dropping in! I hope you win the novels of your choice. I should tell you that you get to choose books based on how the Rafflecopter does the drawing of the winners. So, if your name comes up first, you get to say which pack you want.

J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican, who is always on the hunt for story-making material.She writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and young adult novels. She is the also the author of Contraband, Dissolution, Distraction, Don't Get Mad...Get Even, Giving up the Dream, Retribution and Hardware (written under the pen name Jayda McTyson.)

Cover Reveal!

And this is so cool because it comes out the same day as CassaStorm!

Frostbite (Touch of Frost #1) by Lynn Rush
Date of Release: September 17th, 2013

Amanda gives a whole new meaning to cool…

Driven to write, Lynn Rush often sees her characters by closing her eyes watching their story unfold in her mind. Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake, and a portion of the proceeds benefits cancer research and awareness.
Find Lynn and Frostbite - Website, Goodreads, and Amazon.

The Storm Has Hit!

And Mini-Alex is excited!


You just don’t know how amazing it is to hold all three books and realize they are mine. I never intended to write more than one book. I never intended to be an author! That the first two books are Amazon Best Sellers just blows me away. I really hope CassaStorm sends the series out with a bang.

Big thanks to all of you who’ve added it to Goodreads!

And very special thanks to Robyn for her post on looking for a few good men. Mini-Alex was stoked!

Wednesday Movie Quote

Today’s genre – horror.

So many great horror lines. I decided to go with a couple classics from Evil Dead II:

“Who’s laughing now?”

“Groovy!”

The Wednesday Movie Quote will be on hiatus through the A to Z Challenge.

April Movie Preview

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

5 –

Evil Dead
Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.
Director: Fede Alvarez
Stars: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci
The first one isn’t a classic like the second, but did we really need a remake?

Jurassic Park 3D
During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough
How can it possibly look more awesome???



12 –

Oblivion
A veteran assigned to extract Earth's remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko
Fingers crossed, this looks like the winner for April.

42
The life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Alan Tudyk, Ryan Merriman
Such a powerful story…



26 –

Pain and Gain
A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Mindy Robinson
Over-the-top Michael Bay and The Rock? I think you can see where this one is going…

Picking up Christine’s Odyssey? Looking forward to Frostbite? Marked CassaStorm “To Read” on Goodreads? (Mini-Alex would be so happy!) What’s your favorite horror movie quote? And what movies are you planning to see in April?

Friday will be last minute A to Z Challenge tips and the big reveal of my theme. Just might be my most ambitious one yet…

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Do I Blog, SyFy’s Chupacabra vs. The Alamo, Ninja and Entertainment News, and Movie Trivia Answers

Sydney Aaliyah has been celebrating two years of blogging this month with guests discussing why they blog. Today, it is my turn. Thank you for asking, Sydney! Please join me at her site and discover why I blog. (Besides the usual fame, fortune, and a shot at Kate Beckinsale!)

Ninja News

Michael Di Gesu is looking for new books and authors for his A to Z Challenge theme! You know how his introductions rock, and for twenty-six days, he will rock twenty-six books. Visit his site or contact him directly at mculi AT aol DOT com.

The A to Z Challenge starts in one week!! I’m revealing my theme this Friday. It’s along the same idea as the past two years, but with a twist or two. Or three!

Misha Gericke’s manuscript for Doorways was accepted by Etopia Press. Congratulations, Misha!

Donna Weaving had some great examples of past perfect and how to use it.

And you can now add CassaStorm on Goodreads HERE!

The SyFy Saturday Night Craptastic

Saturday night while surfing the basketball games, I discovered yet another SyFy movie original. Opting to take a break from watching my brackets go up in flames, I tuned in to the first ten minutes of Chupacabra vs. The Alamo. These were my thoughts:

Vicious animal attack in drainage tunnel, lots of blood…. Wait, that’s not a chupacabra, that’s a Chihuahua with a skin condition.

No, not Erik Estrada! Guess the director had a photo of him with a donkey as well.

Estrada has a teenaged daughter. Crap, the dude is sixty-three – he should be playing her grandfather.

They green screened Erik Estrada riding his motorcycle through the desert. We’re talking 1970’s local weatherman quality green screen!

Estrada drives through the hot desert and arrives at the drainage tunnel… soaking wet? Wow, he was so hot he pitted out his leather jacket.

I’m done! They should’ve named this movie Erik Estrada vs. His Dignity.

Entertainment News

The Croods were number one at the box office with a domestic take of almost $45 million.

The NCAA March Madness saw several upsets this weekend, including favorite Gonzaga losing to Witchita State. We won’t even discuss my bracket at the moment.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation comes out this Friday – and it actually got a good review from Jo Blo’s site.

The Swedish metal band Soilwork recently released their ninth album – and took a leap of faith with a double album! Their last disc was ‘all right’ and I almost didn’t purchase this one. Glad I did – The Living Infinite is brilliant!

And they just released an updated and extended version of the trailer for World War Z at Jo Blo’s site view it HERE

Movie Trivia Answers!

1 – “If this is foreplay, I’m a dead man.” Cocoon - Jack (Steve Guttenburg)
2 – “The Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, ‘We will not go quietly into the night…’” Independence Day – The President (Bill Pullman)
3 – “His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.” Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Spock (Leonard Nimoy)
4 – “Can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever retired a human by mistake?” Blade Runner – Rachel (Sean Young)
5 - “I just want to know that it’s really happening.” Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss)

Have a book suggestion for Michael? Catch any of the SyFy Craptastic? (My apologies if you did.) How are your brackets holding up? Seeing any movies soon? And how did you do on the trivia?

Don’t forget to visit Sydney Aaliyah!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cindy Borgne Discusses Wormholes, Ninja News, Celebrating Small Things, Mini-Alex and his Peeps, Special Thanks, and Movie Quotes Trivia

Today I welcome fellow science fiction author, Cindy Borgne!

Wormholes:

In my first book “Seer of Mars”, the main reason for mankind coming to Mars is a long-term project to reach an Earth-like planet called Hinun in the Cancri fifty-five system, which is almost identical to our solar system. Someone told me that it sounded so Star Wars-ish like the Dagobah system.

However, Mars and Cancri 55 are real places, and for the sequel “Visionary of Peace”, I needed to answer a question. How do they plan to reach Hinun? Finally, I settled on using a wormhole for travel purposes - maybe because they’re more artistic.

Although a wormhole has never been created, they aren’t just something from science fiction. The theory for them is based in physics. This led to the challenge of my characters creating the first wormhole in the most difficult of circumstances. Early attempts were less than impressive. At first, my physicists ended up generating small, unpredictable wormholes only capable of lasting for a few seconds in a lab.

No such thing as a small wormhole you say? According to astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, “wormholes may exist in quantum foam, the smallest environment in the universe. Here, tiny tunnels constantly blink in and out of existence, momentarily linking separate places and time.”

Yet even small wormholes don’t run on thin air and need something to generate them. I needed exotic matter – another conceptual aspect of physics. Where could I get this stuff? When reading the definitions for exotic matter.

Exotic Matter: Any kind of matter that is not made up of baryons (protons and neutrons) and has both negative energy density and negative pressure or tension that exceeds the energy density.

How rambling is that?

However, the biggest problem with the small, short-term wormhole is that it has no use in reaching Hinun. Still, I couldn’t let the dream of reaching Hinun die for my long suffering characters. I needed something more and I found it.

Thanks for having me today, Alex.

Find Cindy - Blog, Website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon
And her books - Visionary of Peace and Seer of Mars

Ninja News

Angela Brown’s book, Frailties of the Bond, is now available – congratulations, Angela!

Kelley Lynn’s book, Fraction of Stone, was released on Thursday! Congratulations, Kelley.
She’s on her blog tour right now and you can win a copy of her book. Check her site for details.


Misha Gericke announced the categories for this month’s Paying it Forward Awards:
Blogger Who Makes the Bloggosphere Amazing
Blogger With Unrivaled Determination
Blogger With Amazing Team Spirit
Blogger Who Brightens Every Day
Visit her blog to cast your nominations now!

And for VikLit’s “Celebrating the Small Things,” I have two things I'm celebrating!
First, this is post number 600. Whoa!
Second, I have over 1800 followers now. Double whoa!!


Mini-Alex and His Peeps

Mini-Alex may not get out much, but he does have friends!

Here he is hanging with his peeps, admiring Robyn Alana Engel’s book, Just the Right Time!


And it’s really cold today, so he hopes his scarf arrives soon.

Special Peeps

I want to mention two special ladies.

As I’ve noted before, my guest post guidelines state that I only allow blogger buddies.

I get requests every week, and I’m polite when I explain my guidelines and why. Most I never hear from again. One guy unfollowed me immediately.

However, two ladies, once I explained how it works, decided to become my blogger buddies. Two out of hundreds.

Joylene Nowell Butler and Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, I want to thank you for taking that step. You two can guest post anytime you like!

Movie Trivia

Movie quotes today – all science fiction! Name the movie – and the actor/character if you can:

1 – “If this is foreplay, I’m a dead man.”

2 – “The Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, ‘We will not go quietly into the night…’”

3 – “His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

4 – “Can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever retired a human by mistake?”

5 - “I just want to know that it’s really happening.”

Ready to read Cindy's books? Nominating someone for the Paying it Forward Awards? Ready to hang with Mini-Alex and his Peeps? And know any of the trivia answers?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Movie Blogfest Wrap-up, Ninja News, Covers, Wednesday Movie Quote, and Movie Reviews

Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest Wrap-up

Whoa! One of the most successful blogfests ever – 183 participants! Lots of great movies listed. If you want to continue browsing for movie suggestions, the list is HERE and all links go straight to the post. (Yes, I’m anal and took the time to do that.) Great turnout and lots of comments. Thanks to all who visited - I had almost 240 comments!

Ten movies was difficult, and I was reminded of a few that should’ve made my list – The Usual Suspects, The Princess Bride, and John Carter. (And since I visited everyone - most popular was LOTR, Avengers, and The Princess Bride.)

Did anyone visit all of the participants? I did! And special thanks to Jeremy, David, and Mark who also visited a ton of folks.

Now, who’s ready for movie night?

Ninja News

Laura Eno just found out that her book, Immortal Desires, has been nominated for Best Romance – Paranormal Romance 2012 by The Romance Reviews. Voting is now open HERE. Congratulations, Laura!

The Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Set arrived Monday. I’ve not had time to play it much, but so far it is awesome! Yes, like I need another time suck in my life…

Cover Reveals!

First one was supposed to go up Monday – my apologies, Christine!

1305 & 1306 - The Oracle and The Vampire
The 13th Floor series, #5
By Christine Rains
Release date: May 13th, 2013

Eye of the Soul
Pool of Souls, Book One
By Terri Rochenski

Ocean Slays
Book Two of Ocean Breeze
By Jade Hart
Release date: May 2013


Congratulations, ladies!

Wednesday Movie Quote

This week’s theme – Westerns.

My choices come from Tombstone, said by Doc Holiday –

“I’m your huckleberry.”

“It’s true, you are a good woman. Then again, you may be the antichrist.”

Next week’s movie quote theme – horror.

Movie Reviews

Resident Evil: Retribution
Still directed by Anderson and staring Milla Jovovich, the look and feel of the series remains intact. However, it just might be running out of steam.
Not much of a plot. Does it need one? Well, not really. The storyline just rolls into a new, unbelievable setting and sets it up for another movie.
I knew what I was getting and was mildly entertained.
And my wife wants Milla’s personal trainer.

Dark Shadows
Directed by Tim Burton and staring Johnny Depp. Of course!
Based on an old soap opera, the film follows cursed vampire Barnabas Collins' return to the family after years of imprisonment.
This film was odd. And overall, not very good. Instead of endearing quirkiness, it’s more like dysfunctional unease. This time Burton and Depp did not gel well for a good movie. Glad I skipped it in the theater.

Did you find some new films to watch on Monday? Vote for Laura? Pick up the new Starcraft? Dig the covers? What’s your favorite Western movie quote? And have you seen either Dark Shadows or the latest Resident Evil?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest, Google Reader Alternative, and Ninja News

Are you ready for the Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest?

First, some news and a Google Reader alternative.

Ninja News

SC Write is holding a query contest! Want to know if your query will get attention? Check out his site for details.

Writers4Writers is promoting Angela Brown and Kyra Lennon today!

Still on the fence about the A to Z Challenge? You need to visit Michelle at Writer-in-Transit! This awesome Ninja Minion posted a fun and creative piece on the benefits of the Challenge, and did it in true alphabet form.

Google Reader Alternative – Feedly!

After checking out several options this weekend, I went with the highly recommended Feedly. Go to the site and download the program. Once it’s complete and the main page comes up, click on the magnifying glass on the far right. You can click on Google Reader and it will import all of your feeds and folders directly into Feedly. (Note image at left.) From there, you can organize and adjust the view.

And even if you don’t use Google Reader, the blogs you’ve followed through your Dashboard are still listed in Google Reader and will be imported into Feedly.

Simple and easy to use – I like it!

Top Ten Movie Blogfest! 


List your ten favorite movies!

I’m counting down to mine…

10. Inception – Another film that proves Nolan is a genius. Original science fiction is so rare that you should treasure it when you find it. The cast is stellar and the storyline intricately perplexing.

9. Super 8 - Take one part E.T., a dash of Jaws, a pinch of Cloverfield, and toss in a bit of Stand By Me and you have the ingredients for a great film filled with nostalgia. This movie made me feel like a kid again - that wide-eyed sense of wonderment. J.J. Abrams’ movie is a tribute to the great works of Steven Spielberg.

8. Jurassic Park - I remember reading the novel by Michael Crichton and thinking there was no way they could turn this into a movie. Fortunately, Steven Spielberg picked up the gauntlet and ushered in a new age of summer blockbuster. So many jaw-dropping moments and amazing action set pieces. This movie took my inner child out for a two hour+ romp.

7. The Avengers - One of the greatest superhero films ever. It really captures the feel of the comic book. It was amazing to see all the heroes come to life on the big screen. Whedon did a great job creating a cohesive, engaging story.

6. Serenity – It was like Christmas when one of my favorite science fiction shows of all time ("Firefly") got the big-screen treatment. The characters are great, the dialogue crackles with energy and wit, and the show was given a wonderful send-off. This finally gave the fans closure. (Curse you FOX!!)

5. Raiders of the Lost Ark - This is as close as it gets to the perfect movie. Great pacing, amazing set pieces, and wonderful characters. This movie had me grinning from ear to ear and remains one of my all-time favorites. This should be required film school viewing when it comes to pacing and editing.

4. Aliens - James Cameron took a creepy, slow-paced, brooding film (Alien) and turned it into a non-stop roller coaster ride of action and excitement. If you’re a fan of this film, you quote lines from it all the time. This film is a non-stop juggernaut of action that keeps ramping up the excitement and tension. I'm a huge fan of all of Cameron's work but this one is truly epic.

3. Memento - Christopher Nolan burst on to the movie scene with this amazing, mind-bending film. Memento requires your entire brain to remain focused on the events unfolding as you are asked to follow a narrative playing in reverse. Every time you think you know what is going on, the next scene deconstructs every notion in your head. A masterpiece.

2. Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie - I am a huge fan of this great cult series. Joel, Mike and the bots have been like family since the show’s inception. Watching MST3K in the theater was such an amazing experience. The cinematic stinker that the crew skewers is "This Island Earth" and it is played up for big, big laughs.

1 - LOTR Trilogy - What an amazing piece of work from Peter Jackson and the team from Weta. Every frame has been lovingly crafted with intricate detail and care. It's quite apparent that Peter Jackson loved the LOTR books and he made films that appeal to the broad masses as well as the fanboys..

Visit other participants for a fun day filled with great movies!



Ready for a query pitch contest? Part of Writers4Writers? Ready for the A to Z Challenge in two weeks? Tried Feedly? And what are your favorite movies?