Monday, March 24, 2014

My A to Z Challenge Theme, Saving Mr. Banks Review, Melissa Maygrove’s Puzzle Contest, and Ninja News

Movie Review

Saving Mr. Banks
Staring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, and Colin Farrell, it focuses on author PL Travers as Walt Disney tries to woo her into a movie version of Mary Poppins. Half of the movie is told in flashback to Travers’ childhood and her relationship with her father, played by Farrell.
While a bit overlong, the story is charming and moving. All three leads shine, especially Thompson, and some of the best scenes involve the three writers working with Travers and moments with her chauffer, played by Paul Giamatti. At its core, the story is about letting go of the past.
Recommended

Ninja News

This Wednesday, March 26 – Milo James Fowler will be at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site, so be sure to stop by.

Carrie Butler’s Honesty (Mark of Nexus #2.5) is now available!



Nicole Singer posted funny, failsafe blogging tips. This was my favorite - when all else fails, mention Firefly!

The Hostile Smile by Pat Hatt is now available – this makes book #31!

Cover reveal –
Love’s Sorrow
By Terri Rochenski



And we are now just one week away from the start of the fifth A to Z Challenge!



Cover Puzzle Contest!

In anticipation of her debut cover reveal on Monday, March 31st, Melissa Maygrove is sharing some teaser images this week. A trivia question has been paired with each one. It’s a contest!

Hop around to participating blogs and collect all 7 answers, then give them to Melissa by Saturday. Your answers don’t have to be correct to win, but you must submit a complete list by the deadline to be entered in the drawing for the giveaway. The prize is a free e-copy of her book once it’s published and a $10 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

‘Sometimes a single choice alters the course of a person's life forever.’

Come Back
Western Historical Romance
Adult / New Adult
Coming May 2014

Teaser images designed by Carrie Butler, Forward Authority Design Services


Check Melissa’s blog for links to all the questions - HERE

A to Z Theme Reveal

Hosted by Damyanti’s team, you can visit team member Jemima Pett for the full list of participants.

Every year, my theme revolves around featuring my blogger buddies. I wasn’t sure how I would top last year, but I finally hit upon a cool idea –

Retro Feature!

I’m going retro this year – every day will be a movie or music feature (matching the alphabet) that corresponds with a given year.

There will also be fun facts and information with each year – cost of a house, world events, sports, and movies, music, and games released.

Where does the feature come in? Each year was chosen because something significant happened to a blogger buddy that year, and they will be featured!

It’s always a new batch of blogger buddies for the Challenge, but this year it’s wide open, so be watching – you never know who I will feature or when!

Anyone else see Saving Mr. Banks? Excited about the new and upcoming releases? Think you can solve Melissa’s puzzle? What’s your theme for the Challenge? And what do you think of mine?

My work project is almost done, but due to health issues within my family, I will be completely off the grid at the end of this week. (I’ll try to check emails once or twice a day.) My next post will be April 1, day one of the Challenge. Thanks for understanding.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Avengers: Age of Ulton, X-Men: Apocalypse, Stargate Extinction, True Detective, Ninja News, A to A Challenge, And Epic 2000 Giveaway Winners!

I have an interview today at the blog of the talented Medeia Sharif. An author with multiple books coming out this year, she’s also a generous, genuine spirit. Please stop by her site!

The A to Z Theme Reveal is Friday, March 21. Since I do not post on Fridays, I will reveal my theme on Monday, March 24.

Genre News

From Blastr - Avengers Easter egg in Captain America 2 revealed.

At the end of The Avengers, Stark Tower was decimated and only a A remained of the name. That was a hint, as fans will get a brief look at the new tower – now the Avengers Tower. We’ll see more of it next year in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

From JoBlo - Bryan Singer is already talking about the next film, X-Men: Apocalypse.

“Apocalypse will have more of the mass destruction that X-Men films, to date, have not relied upon. There’s definitely now a character and a story that allow room for that kind of spectacle.”


Total Film also posted eight images from the next movie.

From Gateworld - aborted Stargate: Atlantis movie may become comic instead.

The unfilmed movie could be released as a four-issue comic through BOOM! Studios. In it, Atlantis becomes the new base for Stargate Command and faces complete destruction. The script for Extinction has been in development hell after MGM backed out due to financial difficulties. This is not the first time the series has appeared as a comic.

I know I would prefer a movie, as the series ended so suddenly...

Review – HBO’s True Detective

HBO hit a homerun with this series. It’s dark, menacing at times, disturbing, and utterly brilliant.
McConaughey and Harrelson do a spectacular job in their roles. Big props to McConaughey – he’s improved with every role. He owns this one.
The arc of both characters is refreshing and surprising. I won’t give anything away, but the season ended on a great note for me.
Highly recommended.
Prepare to be creeped out.

Ninja News

This Wednesday, March 19 – Susan Kaye Quinn will be at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site, so be sure to stop by.

Sean McLachlan just released The Scavenger, a short story set in the same universe as Radio Hope. Buy it now for .99 cents on Amazon.

Marcy Hatch’s first book is out – West of Paradise!!
Set in the Old West, this high-spirited tale of mistaken identity, romance, and murder is part historical fiction, part time travel fantasy, and completely captivating.
Buy it now on Amazon.


Authors - Michael Di Gesu is looking for YOU! He had eye surgery recently and since everything appears to be fine now (we’re saying he’s healed) Michael is ready to dive into the Challenge and feature a new book each day. See his site for details.

I believe it was Susan Gourley who asked that the next picture of Mini-Alex be an indication of spring. This is for you, Susan – our trees are starting to bloom!



The A to Z Challenge

We are now just two weeks away from the start of the fifth A to Z Challenge. I’ve been blessed to participate in every single one and can’t imagine an April without it.

If you’re still on the fence, let me offer this – it’s the most amazing online event you will ever experience. It will stretch you as a blogger. You’ll make so many new friends. You’ll learn so many fascinating things as you visit other blogs. And you will experience an incredible sense of belonging.

You can sign up HERE.

If you have questions, we are hosting Twitter chats every Thursday from 1-2:00 pm EST and 8-9:00 pm EST. Hosted by two of our co-hosts, these chats are a great place to get answers and meet fellow participants. Look for hashtag #AtoZChat

We also have badges to match each day of the Challenge. Pick those up HERE.

This Friday is the Challenge Theme Reveal! Hosted by Damyanti’s team, it’s your chance to reveal your theme for the Challenge. Visit team member Jemima Pett to sign up.
Since I do not post on Fridays, I will be revealing my theme Monday, March 24.
Wait until you see what I have planned!!

Epic 2000 Followers Giveaway Winners

Time to announce the winners! There were almost 10,700 entries when everything was tallied. (Whoa!) Thanks again to my followers and everyone who spread the word.

First place winner is…

Andi-Roo!

She is getting a signed copy of CassaStorm and $10.00 iTunes card, plus a copy of CassaStorm donated to her local library.

Grand prize winner…

LG Keltner!!

She’s getting a signed copy of all three books, a $10.00 iTunes card, and a t-shirt designed by Jeremy Hawkins. (And upon visiting the Neat-O-Shop, she selected the Ninja Army t-shirt. Awesome!!) In addition, all three books were donated in her name to LG’s local library.

Congratulations, ladies! And thank you.

2000 followers through GFC is something I never thought I’d see. It’s also just the tip of the iceberg, as 3500 follow me on Google+. Plus there’s those who follow via RSS feed, Bloglovin’. Feedly, Linky Followers… No idea how many total. But I appreciate each and every one of you!

Excited about the upcoming movies? (A little bummed we won’t get one for Stargate: Atlantis?) Excited about the new books? Ready to join the Challenge or reveal your theme?

Be sure to visit Medeia Sharif!

And due to a huge project at work and some other things going on in life, I will be sparse the next few weeks until the Challenge begins.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Escalation and National Wormhole Week! Plus 300: Rise of an Empire Review, Wormfest, and Ninja News

I am triple posting today! (Not to be confused with triple dipping.) At the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I posted Where to Advertise Your E-Books – Discounted, Free, and Otherwise and at the A to Z Challenge Blog, I posted A to Z Tips – Making Friends and Building Relationships.

Escalation!

Today is the day! Stephen Tremp is kicking off his Escalation Blog Tour right here. And we’re celebrating with a potluck for the entire population of Blogdom.

Bring a dish cleverly named as a pun. Example. Stephen Tremp is binging Square pies (pi) and Interstellar Cookies. They’re out of this world. You can choose a food inspired by science, sci-fi, a book, movie, or music. But it’s open to any and all food puns. You can leave the food you’re bringing in my comments.

Example: Stephen’s bringing Square Pies (Pi) and Interstellar Cookies. They’re out of this world.

Other examples could be:
Harry Potter jelly beans
Motley Crutons
Souper Salad
You should get married if you cantaloupe
A salt and battery Fish and Chips
Tequila Mockingbird
Locks Stocks and Bagels
Lettuce enjoy this salad
Iggy Popsicles

Use your imagination or Google food puns, then stop by my blog Monday March 10th and leave what you bring in the comments.

Stephen Tremp is the author of the Breakthrough series. Together, Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, action, horror, and even romance.

Stop by Stephen’s Blog for more information on the Breakthrough series.

To download Escalation: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan CLICK HERE.

Movie Review

300: Rise of an Empire
Blood, boobs, and carnage! And all in the first minute of the movie.
This film overlaps the first one, following Themistokles as he defends Greece against the Persian navy, led by Artemisia.
The first battle, which sets the stage for the Persian invasion later, is very cool. Visually it’s stunning (and best viewed in 3D) but we’ve seen it before. The characters aren’t as compelling, and while there is nothing wrong with the film, it won’t leave much of an impact. (It does feature the angriest sex scene you’ll ever witness.) It will appeal to young men looking for some bloody carnage. (And boobs – don’t forget those.)
Recommended as a rental, although you’ll miss the 3D.

Ninja News

Last week my March preview movie theme was blood, boobs, and carnage. I like to say a special thank you to Heather Gardner for making that the title of her IWSG post! Thank you for the laugh, Heather.

Thanks to everyone who offered to co-host the IWSG in April! I was overwhelmed with offers, so many of them I will save for future months. You guys are so supportive and awesome.

Worlds on Edge, Backworlds 5 by M. Pax is now available! Pick it up here - Amazon US Amazon UK Smashwords


Are you a slow writer? That’s actually a good thing according to Anne R. Allen. (She also had me explain why I’m a slow writer. She says I have a real life!) EJ Wesley quoted her and went over some other good points. Check out their informative posts!

Confessions of a Sex Fiend: Retreat Bound by Rayven Godchild is now available. (a.k.a. Angela Brown )

Epic 2000 Followers Giveaway!

Crossed 2000 GFC followers this weekend! Thanks to everyone who spread the word. This week I will compile all the entries and announce the winners on March 17.


Wormfest!

Today is the Wormfest blogfest, hosted by Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolfe, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. (Yes Mark, I just hyperlinked myself.)

The rules:
Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology with unforeseen consequences will go too far and set mankind back. (And they can be the same thing.) Example: De-Extinction, or bringing back extinction species through back breeding, genetic engineering, and cloning. With all the breakthrough discoveries mankind is on the cusp of, are we playing God?

My choice – the cell phone. In particular, the smart phone.

Yes, smart phones are a huge advancement. We can do so much on them – play games, watch movies, listen to music, take photos, and even talk to people. (Yeah, imagine that?) We are always connected and much safer.

However, it sets us back because we are losing the ability to communicate with others. Everyone is too busy looking at their phones to talk to the real people around them. (Adults as well as kids.) And no one needs a brain anymore – the answer is just a Google away on the cell phone.

Am I right or what?

Visit others participating in Wormfest!



What dish are you bringing today? Picking up Escalation? Did you see 300? Are you a slow writer? And what would you say advances and/or sets back mankind?

Be sure to visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and the A to Z Challenge Blog!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, March Movie Preview, and Ninja News!

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 awesome co-hosts today are Tina Downey, Elsie, Elizabeth Seckman, and Julie Flanders! Please visit and thank them for helping today.

I also need volunteers to co-host next month! Since it’s April, it would be best if the co-hosts aren’t participating in the A to Z Challenge. (Trust me, the two combined is a scary, scary thing.) Let me know if you can co-host on April 2. Thanks!

I’m between 8,000 and 10,000 words from finishing my current manuscript. Things are moving along great and I still wish I typed faster. But the first draft is almost done.

And then comes something I’ve never had to do. Go back and add new scenes, plot points, twists, and even a subplot.

Now, I’ve always had to go back and add details. That’s just a given, as I am such a barebones writer. (Hacking and slashing to bring down the word count? What on earth is that?) But I’ve never faced the task of adding so many scenes.

Some will be small, some just embellishments on existing scenes, and a couple will be several pages long. I’ve made notes where I need to go back to, so I do have a plan. But it will be a new experience for me.

Anyone else had to add a lot of new scenes?

Be sure to visit others on the IWSG list!

Ninja News

Playing Pretend, a new adult contemporary romance by Juliana Haygert, is out now. Congratulations, Juliana!

Just eight followers away from someone winning the Epic 2000 Follower Giveaway!
Just click the Google Friends Connect if you haven’t already to enter.



March Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for March! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me. (And upon request, I went for full out snark today!)

7 –

300: Rise of an Empire
Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy. Director: Noam Murro
Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, Lena Headey
More blood, boobs, and carnage than you can shake a Spartan at! (And actually, it’s getting good reviews.)

Mr. Peabody and Sherman
The time-travelling adventures of an advanced canine and his adopted son, as they endeavor to fix a time rift they created.
Director: Rob Minkoff
Stars: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann
Big fan as a kid. (Before blood, boobs, and carnage came along…)

Jodorowsky's Dune
The story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's ambitious but ultimately doomed film adaptation of the seminal science fiction novel.
Director: Frank Pavich
Stars: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss
Probably better than the real movies...


14 –

Need for Speed
Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.
Director: Scott Waugh
Stars: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi, Imogen Poots
They cast Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad so SOMEONE would go see this film. (Alternate title – Need to Cash in on Fast and Furious Franchise.)

Veronica Mars
Years after walking away from her past as a teenage private eye, Veronica Mars gets pulled back to her hometown - just in time for her high school reunion - in order to help her old flame Logan Echolls, who's embroiled in a murder mystery.
Director: Rob Thomas
Stars: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, James Franco
No one’s laughing at Kickstarter now! (However, I’m still not putting money into anything lacking in blood, boobs, and carnage. Except Firefly.)

21 –

Muppets Most Wanted
While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tom Hiddleston
Hopefully this really is the most wanted Muppet film.

Divergent
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.
Director: Neil Burger
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney
Another young adult, futuristic, dystopian, blah, blah, blah, blah… (Maybe there will be blood, boobs, and carnage?)

28 –

Noah
The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson
Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please don’t mess up this Bible story!!

What’s your insecurity today? Can you help co-host in April? And what movies strike your fancy this month…?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Third Time’s a Charm, Mini-Alex, Gratitude, Wormfest, Movie Trivia Answers, and Ninja News

All of the Challenge Co-Hosts are to do an ‘About Me’ post at the A to Z Blog.
I decided to pass the job to Mini-Alex and let him post instead.
I really hope he did a good job.

Mini-Alex wouldn’t turn on me, would he…?



Third Time's A Charm

By the awesome Hart Johnson (aka: Alyse Carlson)

So you know how the first time you are nervous and excited and you worry that you don't know what you're doing, but you're also in a rush and want to just do it already, so you go for it. You fumble a bit because you don't quite have this skill set, but people are helpful if you ask... Though some of THEM don't know what they're doing, either...

And it goes okay, but mostly you are just stunned to have gotten through it. You are a little wiser now, if a little bruised around the ego.

So you get another chance to give it a go and you think... yeah, I've done this before... I can do it again! I know what I'm doing! I've got nimble fingers and moxy... Dare I say it? I'm sexy! And you give it a try... and somehow you realize you have forgotten some things... and there were things you maybe we excused on the first time as a newbie that this time you should have gotten right... and it's just... AWKWARD. In fact you have to give it a couple attempts before everyone is even satisfied, which is not very satisfying...

But see the THIRD TIME... you know how to do it and you even feel the confidence to try a few new things... break a couple rules... get a little kinky!

So I am releasing my third book tomorrow... What? You thought this was TMI Hour? *cough* Seriously, folks... and it was a BLAST to write, because I neither had the 'I don't know what the heck I'm doings' OR the 'Yeah, I got this... wait, WHAT?'s when I was writing it. I knew my characters well and knew my genre well enough to follow all the necessary rules, while adding some twists to shake things up from typical Cozy fare. My two most reliable beta readers BOTH said it is their favorite of the set, so I think it comes across how much fun I was having.

Keeping Mum is the third Cozy Mystery in the Garden Society Mysteries by Alyse Carlson (pen name for Hart Johnson).

Cam and her best friend, Annie, are planning a gala for a local Senate candidate—a murder mystery themed silent auction where the guests bid on who will be the night’s “victim.”
Murder mystery dinner. What could go wrong?

Hart/Alyse writes books from her bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart and multiple places on Facebook (Hart Johnson personal, Hart Johnson Author, Alyse Carlson Author). On rare occasions she Tweets, but she's sort of a Twit about it.

Ninja News

Jeremy Hawkins is back today! He broke his ankle several weeks ago and has not been online, but he rejoins us today.

Jamie Ayers posted about a boy in her class (she’s a teacher) who died last week. She came to know him better because he read and enjoyed her books, and her touching post is about how we as authors can make a difference. God really can use us to change lives!

Tara Watson is hosting the Self-Lovin’ Bloghop. Between March 17-21, writers are to share what they are good at. (I signed up – anyone care to tell me what I’m good at?)

Steven Symes is looking for critique partners!
“…my paranormal writing crosses genre lines many times. It's not really horror, my current book touches on some low fantasy and science fiction as well as thriller, and I have interests in writing for pretty much all age groups as well as fiction and nonfiction. The big common thread is the paranormal slant on my stories.”

Nigel Mitchell posted a list of links to some really good writing articles, especially if you write in our genre, science fiction.

Cover reveal –
Sidelined (Game On Book 3) by Kyra Lennon
Release Date: March 31st 2014
At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Don’t forget, Wednesday is Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day!!!

Movie Trivia Answers


1 – Title character from The Iron Giant, 1999 – Vin Diesel
2 – Z from Antz, 1998 – Woody Allen
3 – Title character from Puss in Boots, 2011 – Antonio Banderas
4 – Moses from Prince of Egypt, 1998 – Val Kilmer
5 – Sulley from Monsters, Inc., 2001 – John Goodman
6 – Rocky from Chicken Run, 2000 – Mel Gibson
7 – Fozzie Bear from Muppets From Space, 1999 – Frank Oz
8 – Emperor Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove, 2000 – David Spade

Wormfest Potluck Party!

On Monday March14th, Stephen Tremp will be kicking off his Escalation Blog Tour right here! He thought the best way to launch his tour is have one big party for the inhabitants of Blogdom. And you’re all invited. Just bring a dish cleverly named as a pun. Example. Stephen Tremp is bringing Square pies (pi) and Interstellar Cookies. They’re out of this world.

You can choose a food inspired by science, sci-fi, a book, movie, or music. But it’s open to any and all food puns. You can leave the food you’re bringing in my comments. Examples of dishes you could bring: Harry Potter jelly beans, Motley Crutons, Souper Salad, You should get married if you cantaloupe, A salt and battery Fish and Chips, Tequila Mockingbird, Locks Stocks and Bagels, Lettuce enjoy this salad, Iggy Popsicles, etc.

Use your imagination or Google food puns, then stop by Stephen’s blog Monday March 10th and leave what you bring in the comments. (This is separate from the actual 2014 Wormfest Bloghop, although both events kick off the same day.)

It’s All About Gratitude Bloghop

Hosted by SA Larsen

There are so many things I am grateful for – my beautiful wife, my church family, my Lord and Savior, my job and home, the talents God has given me… I’m really grateful for this amazing community. You guys have always been there for me.

Gratitude keeps me humble. None of this is a given. I didn’t earn it. It’s a gift from God.

All I can do is to attempt to pass on the blessings.

What has gratitude done for you?

Is the third time a charm? (I know my best writing is in my third book, even if it’s not sold as many as the other two.) Did you read Jamie’s post? Can you critique for Steven? Ready for IWSG day? Get any of the trivia correct? What can you bring to the Wormfest potluck party? And what has gratitude done for you…?

Be sure to visit Mini-Alex at the A to Z Blog!