Monday, November 24, 2014

Cool Geek Christmas Gifts, How I Miss You Blogfest, and Ninja News!

Cool Christmas Gifts for the Geeks in Your Life

Christmas is just one month away! Don’t panic – I found some cool, geeky stuff that Santa can bring…

Dancing Groot – only $9.99 from Toys R Us

Star Trek t-shirts – only $28.64 from RedBubble

Captain America Minion iPhone case – only $7.05 from Ali Express
(And they have a lot more Minion super heroes.)

The Ewoking Dead t-shirt – only $15.00 from Gifts.com

Pre-order for 2015
Melting Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark candle – only $31.29 from Firebox

And of course, retro t-shirts from Jeremy Hawkins’ Neat-O-Shop, including the Better Off Dead hamburger and the Ninja Army!

Ninja News

At the A to Z Blog today is Joss from Dreaming of Publication, talking about her theme for the Challenge – dogs!

It’s time for the second annual Holiday Food Drive! Started by MJ Joachim and the late Tina Downey, MJ is continuing the tradition with Jeremy Hawkins again providing the graphic. Check out how you can participate HERE and at the Effectively Human Community on Google+.


Are you a self-published indie author? Then you need to check out this giant list of indie book reviewers – over five hundred! Courtesy of laekanzeakemp.

Want to know what it’s like to be a full time writer? Then you need to read this post by Steven Symes.

Thank to everyone who has added Dragon of the Stars to their Goodread lists and voted for it in the Most Anticipated Science Fiction of 2015 list. It’s climbed to number three!




New releases!

Tarsier Man – A War Like None Before
By Pat Hatt

Dead Wrong
By Patricia Stoltey

Beacon
By Angela Brown

How I Miss You Blogfest

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

The bloggers you miss and the ones you would miss.
List one to three bloggers you really miss.
List one to three bloggers you would really miss if they stopped blogging.
And then go let them know!

The three bloggers I miss are…

Mark Means at Left and Write
Mark still posts now and then, but not at the same pace he used to post. The dude is a cool geek and I miss the geeky updates. Plus his A to Z Challenge themes always rock.

Old Kitty at Ten Lives and Second Chances
One of my first blogger buddies was Old Kitty. She’d post photos of her cat Charlie, now joined by Gumtree. It’s been many months since she posted and I really miss her. No one is as upbeat and positive as Old Kitty.

Tina Downey at Life is Good
I couldn’t do this list without mentioning Tina. I think about her often and there is still this void where her snark and humor used to reside. There are people you can’t imagine being gone, can’t imagine dying, and that’s what I always thought about Tina. I know she’s having a grand time in Heaven, running through the sunflowers, but the world is just a little bit dimmer without her light. Love you and miss you, Tina.

People I would miss if they stopped blogging:

This was tough! I’d miss all of you. Rather than play favorites, I thought I’d list three people who might not realize how much I’d miss them…

LG Keltner at Writing Off the Edge
LG, you are a fellow science fiction geek and writer, and you are so faithful to your friends. You always have the best A to Challenge themes and have dedicated yourself to the IWSG. (And you’re one of my best co-hosts.) You would be sorely missed, so don’t ever quit!

Ivy at The Happy Whisk
Ivy, I count on you for my daily laugh and chuckle. We’ve followed each other for years and I enjoy both your posts and our email banter. You paused in your blogging once before, and it really sucked. Don’t do it again. You are indeed Wonder Woman. And you always make me laugh.

Heather Gardner at The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Heather!!!! If I ever posted and there wasn’t an ‘Alex!!!’ in the comments from you, I’d send out a search party. You are one of the funniest, snarkiest, most spirited and strong-willed people I know. You rock the A to Z Team, keeping us in line. You’re such an awesome supporter and someone I can count on a hundred percent. You’re also one of my best friends. You ROCK!

Who do you miss? Who would you miss?



See some geeky gifts you just have to buy? Joining the Holiday Food Drive or picking up some new books? And who do you miss and who would you miss in the blogging world…?

I will be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, so I’ll be very sparse here online Wednesday through Saturday. To all my American friends, have an awesome Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Babadook Movie Review, Dragon of the Stars News, Movie Trivia Answers, Mini-Alex, Music, and Ninja News

Milo James Fowler asked me to discuss small press success at his site today! Please stop by.

Dragon of the Stars Update

First, the winner of my giveaway for those who cheered for me during the Realms Faire is - Michelle Wallace. Congratulations! You get a review copy of my upcoming release.

Dragon of the Stars is now on Goodread’s Most Anticipated Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror of 2015 list! If you’re looking forward to it, please hop over and vote for it.

There is also a Goodreads giveaway! (Feel free to share it.)



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Dragon of the Stars

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Giveaway ends November 24, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


(And you can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.)

The Babadook Movie Review

A single mother battles her son’s fear of a monster and her own pain.
This movie has been getting a lot of press, so I decided to check it out on Pay-Per-View.
The result is a mixed bag. It has great atmosphere and some really tense moments, but there is a lot of confusion. Starting with where does the Babadook’s book come from? What was up with the tooth? What did it all mean?
Just what is the Babadook? A real evil presence or all in her mind as she tries to deal with past trauma? I’m still not sure.
The kid was annoying as well. He needed a shrink or a bop upside the head. Preferably both.
However, should things not work out for the Babadook, he has a great career making children’s pop-up books ahead of him!
Dodgy.

Ninja News

Wednesday at the IWSG site is the amazing RaShelle Workman, who is closing in on a million books sold worldwide!

The 2014 Karen's World Blog Awards is now open for nominations! Visit A Peek at Karen’s World and let her know what are the best blogs of the year. Nominations open until November 22.

New release –
Jack the Ripper: Newly Discovered Tales of Sherlock Holmes by Holy Ghost Writer

Suzanne Furness’ short story, From Byron to Shelley, is now in print. The story was short listed for the Yeovil Literary Prize in 2012 and now appears in their anthology. Find it at Amazon US and Amazon US

Don’t forget the Miss You Blogfest - those bloggers you miss and those you would miss the most. Coming November 24.

Robot Movie Trivia Answers



Hector (1980) – Saturn 3
Fembots (1997) – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Johnny 5 (1986) – Short Circuit
Pris (1980) – Blade Runner
Dot Matrix (1987) – Spaceballs
Huey, Dewey, and Louie (1972) – Silent Running
EVE (2008) – WALL-E
V.I.N.C.E.N.T. (1980) – The Black Hole

Mini-Alex and the Turkey

Thanksgiving decorations are appearing at my house and Mini-Alex was conned into appearing with a turkey:

And for those of you who are new and wonder why I have a miniature version of myself, it was the creation of Elise Fallson two years ago. She made Mini-Alex, posted pictures of him for the Cheersfest, and then graciously sent him to me. Deniz Bevan then knitted a scarf and sent it to him. Thanks again, ladies!

Mini-Alex would still like a Mini-Kate someday.

And to give credit where credit is due, my wife comes up with most of the ideas for the photos.

Music Sample

Yes, many of you have told me you want to hear me play. I know I’ve drug my feet on this. I think I am more nervous about sharing my music than I am my writing. I’m such a perfectionist and I want to post something both amazing and flawless for you. I promise I will pick something soon and work on it until I am comfortable recording it. Might take a couple dozen recordings, so be patient! Never rush a perfectionist with a guitar…

Entering the giveaway on Goodreads? Has anyone else seen The Babadook? Nominating someone for Karen’s awards? Ready for Monday’s blogfest? Get any of the robot movies right? Ready for Thanksgiving? Anyone else care to hound me about my music?

I’m not posting on Wednesday (work promises to be hectic) but I will be back on Monday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Big Hero 6 Movie Review, Robot Movie Trivia, the Power of Friendship, and Ninja News

Big Hero 6 Movie Review

Five geeks and one personal medical assistant robot make for an unlikely bunch of heroes.

This film is all heart. It has a very gentle spirit and solid relationships among the characters. Love your family and stick by your friends is a great message.

The animation is the best so far this year. You don’t want to miss it in 3D.

The humor is spot on. Robot Baymax steals the show, both with his actions and words. (‘We jumped out a window!’ is one of the best.) Fred the fanboy also has some great lines.

The story is fresh, fun, and original. (Except for a device that looks like the Stargate, but we can let that slide.) Set in San Fransokyo, it’s a blend of high tech, America, and the Orient, and it’s dazzling to behold.

Considering the lack of competition this year, Big Hero 6 will likely win the Oscar for best animated film. Take the family and enjoy. Highly recommended!

Ninja News

The Realms Faire continues!! My official joust was Monday, but you can visit M. Pax every single day to cheer for the Ninja Knight – Ninja Army Rocks!! Prizes daily and there is a review copy of Dragon of the Stars up for grabs.
And don’t forget you can add Dragon of the Stars on Goodreads now!



Today at the IWSG site is rhyme master and prolific author, Pat Hatt! He’s as skillful as the Ninja when it comes to juggling many obligations – read how he does it.


Thursday, at the A to Z Blog - we are officially announcing the 2015 A to Z Challenge Team!!

MJ Joachim wants your writing and author tips! Visit her site if you are interested in a guest post.

Tuesday saw the release of How to Train Your Dragon 2 on DVD and Pink Floyd’s The Endless River on CD.

Out now - Captured Love by Juliana Haygert

Ted Cross’ first book was just released - sci-fi thriller, The Immortality Game.
Awesome cover, Ted!

Be sure to sign up for the Miss You Blogfest - those bloggers you miss and those you would miss the most. Coming November 24.

Movie Trivia

In honor of Big Hero 6 – robots!
Robots listed – name the films.

1 - Hector (1980)
2 - Fembots (1997)
3 - Johnny 5 (1986)
4 - Pris (1980)
5 - Dot Matrix (1987)
6 - Huey, Dewey, and Louie (1972)
7 - EVE (2008)
8 - V.I.N.C.E.N.T. (1980)

Answers on Monday!

The Power of Friends

I’m part of a special group of people, the Fellowship of the Dragon. We have a private blog where we keep one another on track with our goals and we email daily quotes of encouragement. (There is also a fair amount of good-natured bantering that goes back and forth.)

One of our members was in need recently. The rest of us conspired to help and came up with a plan. In secret (and with the help of two other bloggers) we pooled money together to help this person. It was a complete surprise and from what I understand, will cover the cost of what this person needed.

The power of friendship is amazing. I feel blessed to be a part of this group. Most of us have never met, but we pulled together to help another member and trusted one person to send the money. And we did it without question because the person in need had touched all of us and been an amazing friend.

And that’s what it takes sometimes – one person to pull together many. One friend who has everyone’s back, who stands against the enemies, who is the champion, and who goes above and beyond every time.

I’m blessed to have the Fellowship of the Dragon, along with the A to Z Co-Host Team, the IWSG Admins and members, and a great group of blogging friends. (Along with a couple great groups of friends offline.)

Do you have friends like that?


Have you seen Big Hero 6? Participating in the Realms Faire? Fan of the awesome Pat Hatt? Know any of the trivia? And do you have a group of friends that pull together for one another…?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Interstellar Review, Jousting in the Realms Faire, Mini-Alex, Five Years of Blogging, and Ninja News and Writing Opportunities

I’m a guest at Caffe Maggieato today for the Author Interview Series: Behind the Scenes with Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Interstellar Movie Review

The earth is dying and a group of explorers is sent through a wormhole to find a new home. Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey.

Interstellar is a unique film. It has the feel of 2001: A Space Odyssey and tackles some really big concepts – worm holes, relativity, gravity, and time.

The effects are amazing, especially those of the wormholes. Nolan really shows what it might feel like to travel to another galaxy.

It’s a slower paced film, but it’s incredibly intense with some excellent action scenes. The film is long – 169 minutes – and probably could’ve been trimmed shorter.

Emotionally it packs a punch. This is not a feel-good film, but there is a sense of hope. You will be exhausted when it’s over.

The film isn’t perfect. There are tiny holes and I have no idea how much of the science is accurate.

Considering the scope and time frame of the film though, Interstellar is incredibly ambitious. Not many directors would’ve been capable of pulling off such a massive story. It sticks with you and you’ll find yourself thinking and talking about it for hours.

Recommended.

Realms Faire!

Today kicks off the week-long event of the Realms Faire, hosted by M Pax.

And today the Ninja Knight is jousting! Visit M Pax. and cheer for me today (my cheer - Ninja Army Rocks!) and you will be entered to win a review copy of Dragon of the Stars.

There are tons of games and prizes all week long. You can continue to cheer for me every day and be eligible to win books and gift cards. Plus the knight with the most cheers at the end of the tournament wins!

Please show everyone that the Ninja Army is a force to be reckoned with!

Ninja News

At the A to Z Blog today is Karen Jones Gowen with her theme of life in Guatemala.

Thanks to all who commented on the cover for my next book, Dragon of the Stars. (And you can add it on Goodreads now!) Thanks to those who shared it on their site. It releases April 7, 2015, right in the middle of the A to Z Challenge, and several of you suggested I make it part of my Challenge theme. Thanks, I intend to do that!

Tonja Reynolds is the new fiction editor at Licking River Review, a literary/arts journal published annually at Northern Kentucky University. We are accepting submissions of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, critical essays, and art until January 31. We invite submissions of traditional and experimental styles by both new and veteran writers. Please review the submission guidelines for details.

Samantha Redstreake Geary announced this opportunity: Enter the world Of Mist And Magic, where fairy tales are reimagined under the influence of Epic Music Vn & Really Slow Motion‘s enchanting music! Submit your own twist on a classic fairy tale, inspired by composer, Phill Lober‘s ‘The Eternal Rest of a Ronin‘ (featuring gifted violinist, Kelly Ryu), and YOU could win a spot in the upcoming Of Mist And Magic anthology!

Interested in reviewing books? Sher A Hart has started a Review Queue for kid lit authors – visit her site for details.

PK Hrezo has started a Story Scientist service for writers – see her site for details.
Plus, her book, Induction Day, is now available!





New Releases:

Gears of Brass is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills. Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings. Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets – including our very own S.A. Larsen
Find Gears of Brass at Curiosity Quills Press.

Now available – The Attic of Sand and Secrets by Medeia Sharif

Lily, a learning disabled girl, attempts to unravel the mystery of her abducted mother using supernatural clues from an ancient stranger, even when it means posing a danger to herself.

The book takes place in 1976. Every host for this book blast is going to post one fun fact for that year.

My fun sports facts: The Pittsburg Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys in Superbowl X, the Montreal Canadians beat the Philadelphia Flyers for the Stanley Cup, and the Boston Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals.

Christmas novella, Married by Midnight by Talli Roland
Find it at Amazon US and Amazon US

You Cannot Kill a Swan by Carrie-Anne Brownian

Mini-Alex

Just a friendly reminder – forty-four more days until Christmas!






Five Years

And November 9 marked five years since I began blogging. That first post was lame and I had no followers. My heartfelt thanks to those who decided to follow me and continue to visit. You are all awesome friends and I could not have done it without you. Here’s to another five years!

Anyone else see Interstellar? Participating in the Realms Faire? Interested in those writing opportunities and new books? What do you remember about 1976? And who’s done with his Christmas shopping? And how many years have you been blogging…?

Be sure to cheer for my Ninja Knight at the Realms Faire!
And visit Caffe Maggieato!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, plus Dragon of the Stars Cover, November Movie Preview, Dragon and Ninja, 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 LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy! Be sure to thank them for their efforts.

We are a month away from the release of the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. So much effort has gone into this book, and I’m proud of the IWSG Admins for their efforts. And I’m very proud of the contributors – the book is packed with awesome information and tips!

I’m not insecure about that book.

However, I am nervous about the next step in my personal author journey.

April 7, 2015 is the official release date for my next (and last) book, Dragon of the Stars. (Yes, right in the middle of the A to Z Challenge. I may have a meltdown that month.)

However, I am not nervous about the cover art, which I finally got to see Monday afternoon:


One more time – can I do it?

My Dear Dragon Friend

The Dragon and Ninja, created by the amazing and talented Father Dragon Al, arrived last week.


Thank you, Al. You are one of the best friends I’ve ever had and an amazing person.

Ninja News

Leandra Wallace and many others have started an awesome new blog. Across the Board is a group blog featuring writers from all different genres, kidlit to adult, posting on Mondays and Thursdays. They love to have visitors stop by!

The Realms Faire is coming next week! And guess what – I am one of the jousting Knights. My joust is Monday and you can cheer for me then and throughout the week. Tons of prizes, from books to gift cards. Don’t miss it!






New Releases -

Wickedly They Dream by Catherine Constantine
After Seeley is possessed by an evil wraith, Jordan must dig deeper into the Satanic realm. Against Markus's direct orders she offers herself, body and should in a blood covenant to rescue Seeley from the clutches of hell. Jordan assumes her guardian angel will not leave her to fight along. But there's trouble in paradise, and Markus has been reassigned. Can Jordan defeat both her internal and external demons to win him back? Or is he gone for good this time?
Find it on Amazon

Max Blizzard and The Gem of Camelot by Pat Hatt

Yakuza Territory by Milo James Fowler

Guide to Hot Water Bath Canning by MJ Joachim





November Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for November! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

7 –

Interstellar
A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy
Nolan is an amazing director – feels like I’ve been waiting years for this one.

Big Hero 6
The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.
Directors: Don Hall | Chris Williams
Stars: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller
Marvel’s foray into kid friendly heroes – and the previews are pretty darn funny.




21 –

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Katniss Everdeen is in District 13 after she shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson
I’m looking forward to part ten where Katniss is eligible for social security benefits…

Extraterrestrial
A group of friends on a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods find themselves terrorized by alien visitors.
Director: Colin Minihan
Stars: Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Melanie Papalia, Jesse Moss
Part horror, part science fiction, all probing!





28 –

Penguins of Madagascar
Super spy teams aren't born...they're hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, from destroying the world as we know it.
Directors: Eric Darnell | Simon J. Smith
Stars: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch
Ninety-nine percent sure my wife will drag me to this one…

The Babadook 
A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.
Director: Jennifer Kent
Stars: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
Heard great things about this film, but doubt it will be playing anywhere in the Carolinas. (Thus I will be dragged to see Penguin movie above.)



What are your writing insecurities today? Picking up some new books? What do you think of Mini-Alex’s new friends? What movie catches your eye this month? Think I can survive another book release? And what do you think of the cover art…?