Monday, December 14, 2015

Geekdom House, IPad Pro Update, Into the Badlands Review, Mini-Alex, Christmas Blog Hop, and Ninja News

Geekdom House

Two months ago, I was asked to contribute a story to Geekdom House for their quarterly magazine, Area of Effect, and website. Today, my contemporary piece, Dungeons and Cookies, appears at their site!

What is Geekdom House?

Geekdom House is a Christian non-profit organization which celebrates the bridge between one’s Faith and one’s fandom—science fiction, fantasy, comics, anime, board games, video games, computers, and all the art and creativity that comes along with these things. The Area of Effect magazine is published four times a year.
Geekdom House’s three-fold Mission Statement:
The first is for the nerds and geeks who identify as Christian believers.
The second is for the nerd and geeks who do not have a faith-filled community.
Lastly, the third is to build the bridge and bring these two groups closer together.

My story also appears in their Winter edition of Area of Affect. You can check out the magazine HERE.

Big thanks to Allison from Geek Banter for recommending me!

I’m also visiting Elizabeth Seckman - it’s Christmas with the Ninja!

IPad Pro with Pencil Update

Now that I have the accessory to go along with it, I’m pleased to report that my ‘like’ might have slipped into ‘geek-boy puppy love.’

With the addition of some graphics apps (including Autodesk Graphic, and Sketchbook), the iPad Pro has morphed into a very good production tool.

How does it compare to the Surface Pro? While the Surface is a great tool, you’d have to spend $1800 for the mid-range version to match what the iPad Pro does. (In comparison, it’s $899 for the Pro, plus $250 for the pencil and keyboard, for a total of $1149.) I didn’t even bother with the keyboard, so I spent less than that. What it really comes down to is the eco system you’ve already invested into.

Since I’ve been with Apple since the Nano and the iTouch, might as well stick with them! (Although all of our computers are PCs.) Besides, I’m so close to an iPad for every room of the house…

Into the Badlands Review

From the IMDB - A mighty warrior and a young boy search for enlightenment in a ruthless territory controlled by feudal barons.
It’s an ultra-cool show set in the future.
The action sequences are unparalleled on television. They’re as good as anything from The Matrix or Crouching Tiger. They simply drip with style.
The storyline and characters are also compelling.
This show just reeks of coolness. If you haven’t seen it, check it out!
Highly recommended.

Ninja News

Today’s Themes That Rocked the Challenge feature at the A to Z Blog is Diane Gordon from Part Time Monster!

New Releases:


Heart in a Box by Catherine Stine


Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters by Donna McDine
Find it on Amazon


Crimson Earth by Anna Soliveres

Coming December 18
Six Degrees of Boss by Rayven Godchild (Angela Brown)
He was the shadow who saved her life. She was the spark who reawakened his soul.
Find it on Amazon


Christmas Joy Bloghop

Hosted by Elizabeth at Liz’s Random Ponderings

Tell us what makes Christmas special for you. Here are some things you could include:
- A special Christmas memory
- Favorite Christmas song/carol
- Share why you celebrate Christmas
- Favorite decorations, favorite food or treats, etc.v - The best gift you ever gave or received
- Traditions

My favorite Christmas tradition is spending Christmas Eve with my wife, munching snacks and watching Christmas movies.

The best gift I ever received was a guitar. Two, in fact! (My wife is awesome.)

And the reason I celebrate Christmas is because it is the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Have you ever checked out Geekdom House’s site? Interested in the iPad Pro now? Watching Into the Badlands? See some new books you want? And what makes Christmas special for you?

Mini-Alex and I would like to wish you all a most Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
We’ll be lurking some and then taking a break – see you January 4.



Monday, December 7, 2015

RiffTrax Live – Santa and Ice Cream Bunny Nightmare! Plus Caroling Tips from LG Keltner, Ex Machina Review, Question of the Month, and Ninja News

Today L.G. Keltner gives us some snarky caroling tips, but first…

RiffTrax: Live – Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny

If you could project all the random thoughts inside a mental facility onto a screen, you’d come up with Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.

The story has so little substance that they had to insert a story (told by Santa to the kids) of Jack and the Beanstalk into the middle of the film. It was really bad, but ironically better than the actual movie.

The film was so short, they had to insert THREE shorts to riff before it began. (The third one was hilarious.)

Overall, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny was the most I’ve laughed at a movie in a very long time. Probably one of RiffTrax’s best! And it just might rival Manos: Hands of Fate for the worst film ever made…

There is an encore showing – go HERE to see if it’s playing in a theater near you.

Some pre-show screenshots:


Caroling Tips from Author L.G. Keltner

Thanks for hosting me, Alex! It’s an honor to be here.

Some people love Christmas caroling. Others not so much. The world should be grateful that I don’t take part in this tradition, because my voice is terrible.

For those of you who are going to be caroling this holiday season, I have a few tips for making the experience an enjoyable one.

Tip #1: If you don’t like to sing, haul a portable sound system with you. Put “Carol of the Bells” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra on repeat. It rocks, and there’s no singing involved.

Tip #2: Bring a kazoo. No one can resist the charm of a plastic kazoo, and they’re fun to play. Plus they come in pretty colors.

Tip #3: Bring a drum and do a freestyle solo during “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Tip #4: Wear an ugly 3D Christmas sweater. Believe me, such things exist, and they’ll grab attention.

Tip #5: Make up funny lyrics in your head. Just don’t sing them aloud unless you like living on the wild side. That might get you into trouble.

Now enjoy an excerpt from Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family.
* * *
I finally pulled away, gulping air as I tried to muster a cool response. “I had to shut you up. I couldn’t risk you saying that it was a mistake, because then my whole wanting-my-first-kiss-to-be-something-the-other-person-wanted thing would’ve been ruined . . . then, um, I would have had to push you in a snowdrift.”
“So you kissed me for my own good?” Seth asked breathlessly.
I nodded.
“That was considerate of you.”
* * *

Find Self-Help 101 at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Createspace, and Goodreads
She’s also hosting a giveaway – visit her blog to enter.

Movie Review

Ex Machina
A young programmer is chosen to participate in a test with a female A.I. built by an eccentric millionaire.
It’s not action science fiction – this is a thought-provoking flick. But it’s so fascinating that you won’t be bored. At all.
This film poses the big questions about self-awareness versus clever and manipulative programming. It’s a little unsettling but not enough to make you stop watching.
Everyone is excellent in their role. Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasely in Harry Potter) is the star and Oscar Isaac plays Nathan, the eccentric. Alicia Vikander was scary perfect in the role of Eva, the A.I.
If you’re a patient viewer and can stand a quiet, thought-provoking film, you will find this movie fascinating.
Definitely recommended.

Ninja News



Thanks again to all participants and co-hosts for a successful Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day.
I do my best to get to as many participants as possible, but I know I can’t visit everyone. (One of the reasons I have new co-hosts every month.) I also try to visit my blogger buddies not involved in IWSG. Altogether, I visit about two hundred blogs on IWSG Wednesday. I visit a few more participants on Thursday and Friday, but I’ll be the first to admit, by that point I am beat.
So if you don’t see me for your regular posting those days, please forgive me.

Elizabeth at Liz’s Random Ponderings is hosting a blogfest – the Christmas Joy Blog Hop – on December 14.
Join us!






Just Released:

Fright Before Christmas: 13 Tales of Holiday Horrors
Featuring stories by Medeia Sharif and Laura Pauling
Find it on Amazon

The Art of Losing: A Thinkerbeat Anthology
Featuring a story by Patsy Collins
Find it on Amazon

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined.

Which one social convention would you get rid of? 

I’d like to get rid of the trending political correctness to the extreme and absurd.

At this rate, all jokes will soon be considered taboo. People are way too sensitive. Just stating a difference of opinion is perceived as hateful.

Folks, it’s all right to agree to disagree if at the end of the day, we still respect the other person. We all have different morals, values, standards, and opinions, and that’s all right.

What’s your best caroling tip? Enjoy the IWSG last week? Have you seen Ex Machina? Joining us for the bloghop? What social convention would you get rid of? And did you see Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny last week? And if not, do you want to see RiffTrax take on one of the worst films ever…?

I'll be off the grid from Thursday through the weekend this week. My last post of the year will be next Monday – stop by for some Christmas and geeky fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus RiffTrax Live, December Movie Preview, Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, MST3K Movie Trivia Answers, and New Releases

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 Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!
 
First, I have to announce - CassaStar on sale! The first book in my Cassa Amazon best-selling trilogy is only .99 this week at Amazon. If you can help spread the word, that would be awesome.
Tweet:
Amazon Best-Seller CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh on sale for .99 cents http://www.amazon.com/CassaStar-Alex-J-Cavanaugh-ebook/dp/B0045Y261I/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= #99cents #scifi

I’ve been tossing around my next story idea. I’d like to take on a couple more short stories, starting with one set in either universe I’ve created. I could continue with stories about the Dragon or follow one of the many secondary characters in the Cassa universe. (Any requests?)

After that, I just might try a little fantasy…

Be sure to visit other IWSG members and be watching January 6 when we announce the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest!

The Wizard of Oz: Book vs. Movie

Hello all! We’re the DMS¬ Fairday Morrow, Lizzy Mackerville, and Marcus “aka Brocket the Rocket” from the new middle grade book THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW, and we’re here to talk about The Wizard of Oz, the movie vs. the book. There are a lot of differences between them. The slippers are the most obvious. Everyone thinks of them as ruby slippers, because that’s how they’re portrayed in the movie, but in the book, they’re silver. Isn’t that crazy! All this time you thought of them as red. ;)
FAIRDAY: I have my grandma’s copy of The Wizard of Oz, which is very special to me. I remember her reading me the story when I was little, and how she did the characters voices perfectly. I will always cherish the book, BUT I also really like the movie. I mean, it’s just so fun! Plus, my little sister, Margo, belts out the lyrics to the movie soundtrack when it’s playing in the Morrow family cruiser.
LIZZY: I like the movie more than the book. The power of the ruby slippers being divided between each shoe in the book was cool, but I loved the Emerald City in the movie. I thought that part was awesome when they first walk in and the horses change colors and everything is sparkly green.
MARCUS: I haven’t read the book, so I can only talk about the movie, and it’s the best! The flying monkeys are AWESOME, and so is the part when Dorothy throws the water on the wicked witch and she melts. You have to wonder what the witch was made of to fall to pieces just by getting wet.

DMS top 10 favorite things about The Wizard of Oz/ the movie
1. Ruby Slippers
2. Flying Monkeys
3. Awesome music
4. Munchkin Land
5. Toto
6. Flying over a rainbow in general
7. Hot air balloons and wizards
8. The Emerald City
9. The wicked witch¬ needs a shout out.
10.Traveling in a bubble like Glinda.

- Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Find The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow at Penguin Random House
Find Jessica and Stephanie: website, blog, and on Twitter - @DMSfiles and @mrsrobinson229

Ninja News

Don’t forget RiffTrax Live is December 3 with an encore on December 15!
Santa and The Ice Cream Bunny is one of the most bizarre and popular RiffTrax titles of all time and a cheesy holiday classic. This rare version of the film includes a never before seen Jack and the Beanstalk story as told by Santa for an as yet unknown reason. Join Mike, Kevin, and Bill as they present it live on the big screen for the very first time!

New Releases:

Lovelorn Spirits by Christine Rains
Find it on Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, and Goodreads

She also has a short story in the just released 9 Tales Told in the Dark. #7


The Reader, Rifters Book 3 by M. Pax
With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon.
Find it on Amazon, iBook, Barnes and Noble, and more!


Guardians of Telesma by River Fairchild
Find it on Amazon


Aced (Blocked #2) by Jennifer Lane
Find it on Amazon


A Clueless Woman by T.B. Markinson 
Find it on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Amazon AU, and Goodreads


The Water Holds No Scars: Fly Fishing Stories of Rivers & Rejuvenation
Edited by Dean K. Miller
Find it at Tulip Tree Publishing

Beverly Stowe McClure’s story, A Tiger-Sized Heart, will appear in an upcoming anthology.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat will be published February 9, 2016.





Movie Trivia Answers

All have been riffed by MST3K:
1 – 1975, eight legged creatures, Alan Hale Jr. in the cast – The Giant Spider Invasion
2 – 1955, sequel to fish man hit, Clint Eastwood’s first role – Revenge of the Creature
3 – 1959, starring James Best of Dukes of Hazzard fame, featuring giant rodents that were actually just dogs with carpets draped over their backs – The Killer Shrews
4 – 1957, directed by Bert I. Gordon, and featuring a really big bald guy – The Amazing Colossal Man
5 – 1965, first in a series of many, this Japanese monster gave Godzilla a run for his money - Gamera
6 – 1957, another Bert I. Gordon classic, starred Peter Graves, featured really large insects – The Beginning of the End

December Movie Preview

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

11 -

The Big Short
Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Finn Wittrock, Karen Gillan
If you’re not already disgusted by our lending institutions, then just watch this film.

In the Heart of the Sea
Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw
Man versus Dick – the Real Story.




18 –

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver
Wait, there’s a new Star Wars film? Why haven’t I seen any advertising for it?




25 –

The Revenant
In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Stars: Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
The director of Birdman is at it again to bring you a fascinating yet most likely bizarre film spectacle.

The Hateful Eight
In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Tarantino on Christmas Day! Give the gift of gallons of bloodshed.

Concussion
In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.
Director: Peter Landesman
Stars: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Moyer
I bumped my head on a cabinet and I honestly can’t remember what this movie’s about…


Whoa! So, what should I write next? Grateful for any help I can get promoting CassaStar’s sale. Which do you prefer - Wizard of Oz book or movie? Seeing RiffTrax: Live? Picking up some awesome new books? How’d you do on the trivia? And what movies perk your interest this month?

Monday, November 23, 2015

MST3K and RiffTrax, iPad Pro review, Cassa Animation, Monster Movie Trivia, School of Rock/Monday’s Music Moves Me, and Ninja News

I have a guest post at Write-Edit-Publish - Writing Science Fiction – It’s Not Really That Alien!

MST3K and RiffTrax

Don’t forget that every Monday, RiffTrax releases a new MST3K episode!

And since Thanksgiving used to be MST3K Turkey Day, you can now run your own marathon of bad movies.

The next RiffTrax Live show is December 3 – Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny! Doesn’t that just sound awful?

IPad Pro Review

Sometimes it’s challenging to be an early adopter. The iPad Pro is incomplete without the pen, which won’t ship until next month.

The good news:
The work area is large and the screen gorgeous.
Working with two apps at the same time in split screen is a big plus.
It’s very, very fast.

The bad news:
This is where being an early adopter sucks. I haven’t found an app yet that measures up to what this device is capable of doing. They just aren’t taking advantage of the bigger screen yet.

I really like it, but until I get a pen and more apps become available for the iPad Pro, it’s just a really big iPad.

But yeah, it’s still really cool! And I have been doodling with a regular iPad pen. The creative applications will be incredible once I get the official iPad Pro pen.

Cassa Animation!

One of my very best blogger buddies, Jeremy Hawkins, made this awesome animation for my trilogy. Jeremy, you rock!!!



Ninja News

Don’t forget, Wednesday, December 1 is the last post day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group this year!

New Releases:


The Vig by Amy Brook
Available at Amazon in paperback and eBook

Pat Hatt has three more books out!
Find them at Amazon:
Profanity Granny's Crime Fighting
Ready Eddie’s Confessions
Happy Humper’s Confessions


Under the Willow by John Boswell (Jack Lewis Baillot)
Find it at Createspace

It's An Adventure by Kenneth Lynch (Al Penwasser)
Find it on Amazon


Ella is a cover girl!
Her article made the front cover of Green Craft magazine.





The very first volume of the Charleston Anvil is out!
Featuring Making Her by John Wiswell

School of Rock and Monday’s Music Moves Me

School of Rock hosted by Shady Del Knight.
Monday’s Music Moves Me hosted by Xmas Dolly.

I’m going to introduce you to two prog rock bands you’ve probably never heard of. I picked one from each end of the spectrum, just to show you the diversity.


First, we have the band Evergrey, formed in 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden. This prog song is very melodic. Title – Black Undertow.


Next, we have the band Scar Symmetry, another Swedish band formed in 2004. This one is very heavy. Title – Limits to Infinity.


You’ve now been schooled on Swedish prog rock!


In honor of MST3K, today’s trivia revolves around movies they have riffed. Name the classically bad monster film from the clues!

1 – 1975, eight legged creatures, Alan Hale Jr. in the cast
2 – 1955, sequel to fish man hit, Clint Eastwood’s first role
3 – 1959, starring James Best of Dukes of Hazzard fame, featuring giant rodents that were actually just dogs with carpets draped over their backs
4 – 1957, directed by Bert I. Gordon, and featuring a really big bald guy
5 – 1965, first in a series of many, this Japanese monster gave Godzilla a run for his money
6 – 1957, another Bert I. Gordon classic, starred Peter Graves, featured really large insects

Answers on Wednesday, December 2!


Ready for some MST3K? Anyone else pick up the iPad Pro? What did you think of the Cassa animation? Picking up some new books? Familiar with either prog rock band? And do you know any of the trivia questions?

Be sure to visit Write-Edit-Publish.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I’ll be gone the end of this week and won’t be back to posting until next Wednesday.