Monday, October 26, 2015

Listing Hop: Top Ten Things You Won’t Hear at The Force Awakens! Plus Snow on Cinders and Global Disasters, Crimson Peak Review, Battle of the Banned – Halloween Style, and Ninja News

Today I welcome the wonderful Catherine Constantine! Her latest book is Snow on Cinders and she’s here to talk about preparing for global disaster.

I can’t thank Alex enough for hosting me today. If it wasn’t for him and the IWSG, I don’t know if I’d still be blogging. He’s quite an inspiration to us all.

My new release Snow on Cinders is the sequel to Tallas, but can be read as a stand alone. A family fleeing a tyrannical Management to save their son from a dangerous assignment sets the stage in these post-apocalyptic novels. After years of chemical warfare a metamorphous has taken shape on the planet, not only with vegetation, but animals and humans as well. Talk about diversity in books, you’ll become acquainted with mutants that only want to live in peace. A loving family and a band of misfits struggle to survive in the wilderness.

Think about a civilization without computers, cell phones, or landlines to communicate. I grew up without a cell phone or a computer. How’d we survive?

Lack of clean drinking water and medical supplies are dwindling in Snow on Cinders. Do you prepare for an emergency? Here in Buffalo, I always prepare to have on hand at least, if not more, three days of supplies due to the harsh winters.

I think about the strangest things. Like ~ toilet paper. Stock up on TP!

What would you want to hoard in case of a global disaster?

Find Catherina - Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon
Find Snow on Cinders at Amazon

Movie Review – Crimson Peak

Don’t be fooled by the ads – this is not a straight up horror film. It’s a gothic romance with ghosts, wrapped in a psychological mystery.
As an ode to the early 1970’s Hammer films, director del Toro has crafted a movie that unspools at a leisurely pace. It works, especially since the acting is so good and the production so amazing.
Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) is Edith, the new bride troubled by what is happening in her new home. Tom Hiddleston is her husband, and he plays, well, he plays Tom Hiddleston. The dominating character is his sister, played perfectly by Jessica Chastain (The Martian, Interstellar.)
However, it is the house that steals almost every scene. It’s a character in its own right, decaying, dark, and alive.
There is some gore – the ghosts are ‘bloody’ and the head smashing scene is rather intense.
This movie is closer to The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth (less the devastating depression) than Hellboy or Pacific Rim.
While not his best work, it’s a great tribute to gothic romance movies. Recommended!

Ninja News

John Wiswell had a great week with a short story publication, another story being read on a podcast, and he’s contributing to SF Signal. Way to go, John!

Last week to enter the IWSG Anthology Contest! You have until Saturday, November 1. The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (blogging or Facebook) is encouraged to enter. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

Make Me Wonder and the Minions team have paired up for a nationwide robotics competition for kids. The grand prize is a STEM field trip to California, where they'll be able to meet the artists who work on the Minions, present to engineers at Google, and learn about how games are made at EA. Deadline to enter is November 1.

New Releases!

Poltergeist’s Pleasure by Christine Rains
Find it on Amazon, Kobo, and Goodreads

Boppity Blue and the Kangaroo That Stole His Shoe by Pat Hatt
Find it on Amazon and Goodreads

Under the Tuscan Moon by Denise Covey
Find it on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon AU

A Matter of Taste, From the Sweet to the Spicy, Romance for Every Palate
Featuring Queen of Diamonds by Sandra Cox
Find it on Amazon

Forever Lucky: Book Four by RaShelle Workman
This is the final instalment in her Lucky Clover Mystery Romance series.
Find it on Amazon

Veritas: Shadow of the Rose: Book Two by M. L. Chesley 
Find it at Amazon, iTunes, and Scribed







Battle of the Banned

Hosted by Shady Del Knight.

I’m also participating in X-Mas Dolly’s Monday’s Music Moves Me with this entry.

We’re running with a Halloween theme one final time.


First up – Dokken’s Dream Warriors from A Nightmare on Elm Street III:

Next, we have Lou Gramm’s Lost in the Shadows from The Lost Boys:

Halloween is creeping closer! Which song captures scares and thrills? You know the routine! Vote for your favorite.

The Listing Hop!

The brainchild of Bish Denham to celebrate eight years of blogging. I am helping co-host this blogfest – and it’s beyond simple!

The rules are:
Sign up, grab the banner and make a list.
Keep your list to between 5 and 25 items. You can list whatever you feel like (except for adult type content.)
Post on October 26 and visit fellow participants.

In celebration of the upcoming Star Wars film, I chose to do a list based on The Force Awakens.



Top Ten Things You Won’t Hear at The Force Awakens:

I wish Lucas had more involvement with this.

The villain was good, but not as terrifying as the trade federation from episode 1.

I was hoping for a two hour in depth explanation of midi-chlorians.

This film could use a healthy dose of Jar-Jar.

These character names are weird. Why couldn't they just use normal names like Dooku, Salacious Crumb, and Porkins?

Isn't this the same plot as the "Star Wars Holiday Special?”

How many Ewoks would I need to reupholster my couch? (Actually, somebody might say that).

I hope no one minds my Eau de freshly opened Tauntaun musk after shave.

I prefer my spaceship explosions to look like a Skittles factory just blew up.

So, which character is the love child of Han Solo and Chewbacca?

Visit other participants below:




What would you think of first in a global disaster? Have you seen Crimson Peak? Sent in your IWSG Anthology entry? Are your kids entered in the robotics competition? See some new books? Which song would you pick? And what is your list????


Monday, October 19, 2015

Defining Author Success, RiffTrax: Live, Sicario and San Andreas Reviews, Mini-Alex on Vacation, Ninja News and New Releases, BOTB Results, and Movie Trivia Answers

I’m at the IWSG today and my subject - Lists of Markets Open to Writers and Hot Writing Topics

RiffTrax: Live!

RiffTrax Live #18: SANTA and The ICE CREAM BUNNY - December 3, 2015. Get tickets through Fathom Events. You can also see Mike, Kevin & Bill perform LIVE on stage in Nashville at The RiffTrax Theater (Belcourt) or as a simulcast in a theater near you. Plus, there is an encore presentation on December 15.

Movie Reviews

Sicario
IMDB - An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
This is a very intense and slow but well-paced film. The tension builds nicely and the soundtrack plays a big part in that. I liked the gritty realism of the film.
All performances are outstanding - Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Josh Brolin do a great job in their roles.
The audience experiences the film as Blunt experiences it – we don’t know things until she knows – which adds to the mystery.
This is definitely an adult film and not for kids.
Highly recommended and couldn’t be surprised if it was nominated for several Oscars.

San Andreas
IMDB - In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.
This is a follow-by-numbers disaster film. No surprises, dumb, but enjoyable.
Dwayne Johnson is the star and everyone turns in a serviceable job of acting. The effects are also decent and what you would expect of a large-scale disaster film.
If you want to turn off your brain for two hours, this is your movie.
Worth a rental.

Mini-Alex on Vacation

I’m back from vacation and it was great! Involved family, which was fun. And yes, despite the odd looks from strangers (and some family members,) Mini-Alex went along (at my wife’s insistence.)


Ninja News

Alexia Chamberlynn is hosting a monthly fest.
The blog hop is called Taste of Magic, and it's the third Friday of every month, to share things literary and culinary!
Visit her BLOG for details.

Join Denise Covey, Yolanda Renée, and the enthusiastic writers at Write…Edit…Publish, (WEP) as they gather together around the campfire for their Halloween challenge this week -- October 21 - 23. You are invited to share a scary book, poem, movie, artwork etc for Part A and tell everybody why it's your favorite. The optional Part B is where you can post your own creepy story, non-fiction piece, poem, photo/s or artwork. So if you have a creepy gene, now is the time to exploit it. Oh, and there's a prize for the best entry, judged by Annalisa Crawford and a random prize just for entering. Click over to Write…Edit…Publish, for more information.

David Black is one of the authors involved in a Kickstarter campaign - Arts in Entertainment: A Series About Art Impacting Life. Reflections on how creative works shape lives and the way we view the world. A six-volume series by six accomplished authors.

Next week is the The Listing Hop, hosted by Bish Denham and myself. Join us for a list of good fun!

Just a two weeks remaining for the IWSG Anthology Contest. November 1 is the deadline! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.

New Releases!

The Gaijin Girl by E.E. Giorgi
Find it on Amazon

The Wishing Steps by Karen Helene Walker
Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia
Find it on Amazon
Be sure to visit Karen’s new Website.




Battle of the Banned Results

Hosted by Shady Del Knight, here is the vote tally. It was neck and neck until the very end, but even with my vote, the tie could not be broken. (I voted for Rob Zombie.)

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark at the Moon – 15
Rob Zombie – Living Dead Girl – 15

New battle next week – continuing the Halloween theme!

Movie Trivia Answers – Submarine Movies



1 – Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Viggo Mortensen – 1995 – Crimson Tide
2 – Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider – 1996 – Down Periscope
3 – Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasance – 1966 – Fantastic Voyage
4 – Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill – 1990 – The Hunt for Red October
5 – Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Jon Bon Jovi – 2000 – U-571
6 – Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon – 1975 – The Land That Time Forgot

What Defines Author Success

My post last week garnered a lot of comments on the topic of Five Years or Five Books to Make it as an Author.

Many of you said it depended on the goals of the author. That author success cannot be measured by money earned or books sold.

So, what does define author success for you?

There is no wrong answer. Some of you aren’t published yet. Some of you have no desire to be authors. But your viewpoint still matters. And it might be something that published authors need to note.

Before I answer, I want to thank everyone who stated that I was already a success, between my books and contribution to the blogging world and the IWSG. I was very humbled by the response.

So, what defines success to me? The amount of people I have reached. And regardless of sales or royalties, when I boil it down to that one thing, I’ve reached over 100,000 people. Toss in all the friends I’ve made along the way and the IWSG, and it’s just mind blowing. I can’t think of anything else I could’ve done to touch so many lives.

Especially since I never wanted to be an author.

And today marks a special moment in my author career. Five years ago, CassaStar was published. My first book. The one that started it all. The book that would go on to hit number one in science fiction on Amazon almost a year after its release. The book that would spawn a series I never intended to write. The book that sat in a drawer for thirty years before I drug it out and decided to re-write it. Having that book picked up by a small press and published was a dream come true.

Which means all else is gravy. And more precious than any sales ranking.

Going to Rifftrax: Live? Seen either movie? Been on vacation lately? Participating in any fests or hops? BOTB results surprise you? Get any of the trivia correct? And what is your definition of author success…?

Don’t forget to visit the IWSG today - Lists of Markets Open to Writers and Hot Writing Topics!

Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Make it as an Author, Black Sea Review, Submarine Movie Trivia, Battle of the Banned, and Ninja News

Five Years or Five Books to Make it as an Author

Jamie Ayres said something really interesting last week in her IWSG post:

Almost everyone I’ve talked with or listened to on panels took five years or five books to truly ‘make it.’

Now, I’m about to hit five years come October 19. (That’s when my first book, CassaStar, was released.) But if it truly takes five books, I’ve only had four published. (Not counting my boxed set and numerous anthologies.)

My first thought? Crap, you mean I have to write another book?!

I was just starting to enjoy writing short stories. Writing yet another book – I just wasn’t planning on it. And what do I write? Another science fiction book?

I got news for you guys. Science fiction is not a big seller. If I wanted to write in a genre that sells big, I’d write mysteries. But that’s not my genre. I could write fantasy, but unless I’m doing detailed, high fantasy with a lot of sex and violence, I don’t think I’ll do well there, either. My Cassa series is done. Dragon of the Stars is a stand-alone book. Outside of Dragon’s Destiny, the short story I wrote for anyone who has read the novel, I can’t think of anything more I could do with the characters.

So, where does that leave me?

Well, even if I never ‘make it,’ this journey has been far more amazing than I ever imagined. Four books, one boxed set, numerous anthologies, the IWSG, and a multitude of friends. That sounds like I made it to me.

Movie Review – Black Sea

From the IMDB: In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.
An interesting movie – had a great claustrophobic atmosphere to it.
Jude Law is great in the film as the lead. The other characters are good, ranging from Scottish to Russian. Ben Mendelsohn’s character was a head scratcher, though. Why would they allow a mental case on the boat?
It had some flaws, but overall entertaining. If you like submarine movies or even adventure films, it’s worth a rental.

Ninja News

Angela Ackerman is visiting the IWSG today, talking about One Stop For Writers and how it all came together.


Today’s Themes That Rocked the Challenge feature at the A to Z Blog is Saraallie’s Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme with lots of pictures!

On Blastr: Marvel announced some new movies and release dates:
Ant-Man and the Wasp will release July 6, 2018
Black Panther has been shifted to February 16, 2018
Captain Marvel will release on March 8, 2019
Three unnamed movies will release May 1, 2020, July 10, 2020, and November 6, 2020

Patricia Lynne is hosting the Trick or Treat Book Blog Hop. Free books and a great chance to promote! Visit her site for details.

Mason Canyon of Thoughts in Progress posted about a writing contest - World’s Best Story. Top three winners will receive a full publishing package by FriesenPress. Lots of other prizes. Deadline November 8. See Mason’s site for details.

Despite a lower return on the third film Expendables 4 will begin shooting next year. Like Resident Evil, this series will go on as long as most of the cast lives…

Jessica Therrien’s Read and Review Challenge is underway! Tons of books available for free for a review. (Including one of mine.) Read and review ten books by March 31 to be eligible for some really awesome prizes. Visit the Read and Review Challenge Library for details and a list of books.

New Release!
A Beautiful Betrayal by Saran Torchre (Shah Wharton)
Her blog tour kicks off this week!
Find A Beautiful Betrayal on Amazon

Just a few weeks remaining for the IWSG Anthology Contest, open until November 1! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.



Battle of the Banned and Monday’s Music Moves Me

This is Shady Del Knight’s Battle of the Banned. (Yes, Banned, not Band.) It pits two songs against each other and you vote for your favorite.

I’m also participating in X-Mas Dolly’s Monday’s Music Moves Me with this entry.

The theme this month is Halloween. Now, I am all about the rock and metal. My initial search yielded no results for Halloween themed songs with covers. So, I decided to be a rebel and pit two different songs against each other.

First up is Rob Zombie’s Living Dead Girl. Rob is a huge horror movie fan, and his music and videos reflect that. (He’s also headed up the production of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights and made several horror films.)


Next up is Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon. In his early days, Ozzy went for the evil look, wavering between horror and the occult. (Because it was hip. Now we know he wasn’t a Satanist – just a dude who’d fried a few too many brain cells.)


You know the drill – which song do you like best?

Movie Trivia

Submarine movies! Guess the movie from the stars and the year.

1 – Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Viggo Mortensen - 1995
2 – Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider - 1996
3 – Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Donald Pleasance - 1966
4 – Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Sam Neill - 1990
5 – Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Jon Bon Jovi - 2000
6 – Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon - 1975

Answers next Monday!

Do you think it takes five years/books to make it as an author? Seen Black Sea? Excited for more Marvel movies? Participating in the Read and Review Challenge? Which song do you like best? And do you know any of the trivia…?

My wife and I are going on vacation this week, so you won’t see me much around the blogging world. I’ll stop in when I can and keep up with emails.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus Reviews of Kingsman, Night at the Museum III, and Muppets; The Listing Hop; 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 TB Markinson, Tamara Narayan, Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar!

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open until November 1! The theme is Alternate History/Parallel Universe and any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging (must post for the IWSG at least once in September or October) or Facebook member. Winners will be published in a royalty-paying anthology next year.
If you write speculative fiction, you need to enter!

We are still trying to get the IWSG site listed as one of Writers’ Digest’s Top 100 Best Websites for Writers! Please email them at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, subject line 101 Websites, and suggest the IWSG - http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Now, from the guy who thought he was done writing…

Last month, I wrote and edited not one, but two short stories for publication! And both are due at the end of this month.

One is for an anthology with the theme of ‘turning points.’ I decided going back to a point before CassaStar began would be a good place for a turning point. That one is over four thousand words and just came back from my critique partners this week.

The second one was an invite from Geekdom House. At their core, they aim to bring together Christians and geeks. This one was to be much shorter, under a thousand words, and involving Christmas. I decided on a contemporary theme with humor and it was a lot of fun to write. I’m polishing it now and will be bugging my critique partners soon.

After writing CassaFate and Dragon’s Destiny, I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t focus more on short stories. At least I can crank them out faster than my novels, which is about every eighteen months.

I’ve also been trying an experiment. Randi Lee posted about her success with images for her novel, and I decided to try something along those lines. Since I already had the thirteen graphics for my WhatAreTheKargrandes site, I used those to create images I could Tweet. I started almost two weeks ago and it has made a difference in sales.

Today is this one, if anyone cares to Tweet it for me!

http://www.whatarethekargrandes.com/ Find out in Dragon of the Stars! http://tinyurl.com/pel2mun #scifi #spaceopera


Reviews

Kingsman: The Secret Service
It plays like those old Matt Helm 60’s spy movies, except with gratuitous violence and language.
The whole movie is over the top, which makes it fun because you can’t take any of it seriously.
It is a bit dark and mean spirited, though. And it moved a little slow at times.
Worth a rental if you can stomach the extreme violence.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
The Tablet of Ahkmenrah is corroding, taking away the magic that brings the museum to life, and the group travels to London to stop it.
The third installment is probably the smallest of the stories, but it’s still a lot of fun.
In addition to the regulars (including Robin Williams in his last onscreen role), there are appearances from Ben Kingsley, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, and Hugh Jackman.
If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll enjoy this one. Worth a rental.

The Muppets
I think Jim Henson is rolling over in his grave right now.
The whole shtick of the Muppets was their wholesome, light-hearted family fun. This show has lost that innocence though. Let me give you some examples. I don’t remember much from the first episode outside of the fact it was dark and depressing. So, let’s look at last week’s episode. This is what you got:
Pot smoking Muppets.
Fozzie bear is a kleptomaniac.
Josh Grobin is sleeping with Miss Piggy. (Yeah, just try to get that one out of your head.)
One Muppet drew a penis on a card and then claimed he could make it a saxophone instead.
Gonzo has a mother. (He has no mother here on earth – he’s an alien, remember?)
The show is trying to be edgy and relative and it lost everything the Muppets stood for in my eyes. Remember, those are some of the same Muppets your kids watch on Sesame Street. Imagine how they will view them now?
This show is a big fail in my book.

Ninja News

Toi Thomas had the most amazing review of CassaStar – she loved it! And she got it. That’s so satisfying for an author.

Despite the rain lately, Dragon and Ninja remain best friends:

If you’ve been thinking about buying Dragon of the Stars but you’re not sure, you can take a sneak peek at the first chapter at Jessica Therrien’s site!

And thanks to everyone for checking in on me. My area received a lot of rain, but unfortunately I was further south due to a band commitment on Sunday. And was there ever flooding! They say this was a thousand year flood for most of South Carolina and I believe it. Prayers for those affected by the flooding.

New Releases:


I’m a Little Green Witch by Kelly Polark
Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Childhood Fears
Featuring the story The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave by J.H. Moncrieff

The Christmas Pets and Kisses Boxed Set
Featuring The Vet’s Christmas Pet by J.L. Campbell





The Listing Hop!

The brainchild of Bish Denham to celebrate eight years of blogging. I am helping co-host this blogfest – and it’s beyond simple!

The rules are:
Sign up, grab the banner and make a list.
Keep your list to between 5 and 25 items. You can list whatever you feel like (except for adult type content.)
Post on October 26 and visit fellow participants.
That’s it!

Sign up below:



What are your writer insecurities this month? Submitting to the Anthology Contest? Can you help us make the Best list? Seen either movie or the Muppets? And what list would you create for the Listing Hop?