Monday, June 26, 2017

RiffTrax: Live Summer Shorts Beach Party! IWSG Best Writer Site! Plus New Releases and Ninja News

Another fun show!

Mike, Kevin, and Bill kicked off the party with a short involving street safety with a raccoon that everyone kept calling a bear. This short was actually funded by the Department of Transportation. Scary!

Bridget and Mary Jo tackled one about a griper while Trace and Frank got one about office etiquette.

Special guest Paul F. Tompkins joined the guys for one about magic. No wait, it was about 1961 cars. No, it was about futuristic appliances. I still have no idea what it was about.

The street safety raccoon was outdone by a short on rhythmic ball skills featuring a group of kids. Drop-catch. Drop-catch. Drop-catch. Those poor kids were craving a history test after that ordeal.

The grand finale was with everyone and possibly the oddest short/story/thing they’ve ever done. It was about bags. A guy steals two burlap bags and throws them in his pickup only to have them come to life and run off. Or rather hop. Picture a bag race with the person completely inside the bag. He chases them all over town. Really! You’ll have to catch the hilarity when it’s available for purchase.

Not the funniest one I’ve seen, and Paul seemed a bit out of his element, but still a thousand times better than suffering through a Transformers movie.

Now for some pre-show screen shots: 

Don't miss RiffTrax Live: Doctor Who – The Five Doctors on August 17!

IWSG Best Website for Writers!

The big news today – the Insecure Writers Support Group site made the Writer’s Digest 19th Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers!

This is huge – and it’s been my goal with the site ever since we launched it almost four years ago.

Big thanks to all of you who have supported the group and its site over the years. We couldn’t have done it without you!

New Book Releases

Purr Empire by Pat Hatt
Cassie, Orlin and their crazy human Pat are once again up to their eyeballs in scat. In the fifth go around, walking, talking animals are found. Duke Drazin does not think much of any of it. He's also back to throw a fit. Who's fault is it this time? Why are humans no longer in their prime? All that and answers you never want to know surely will show.
Find it at Amazon

A Glowworm by Tonja Drecker
This is a UBook. It plays out, sentence by sentence, on a video, while music, which has been composed specifically for the book, plays in the background to help create the right atmosphere.
Pick it up at Black and White Publishing Company.

Forbidden by Feather Stone
Suspense/thriller, mystery, terrorism
Gunfire echoes within the walls of a Middle East police compound...
Find it on Amazon

Ninja News

Brandon and Bryan, those guys from A Beer for the Shower, have their own comic channel. Each week, something new to make you laugh.
Check it out on Tapas.

The latest issue of Six Strings is out.
Featuring interviews with composer Paul E. Francis, actress Dawn Cody, Actress Biana Allaine, director Amarish Olson, and much, much more.
Download your free copy here.

Stephen Tremp is putting together a special project that will launch very soon.
It’s a three eight-lesson courses to help writers and entrepreneurs to launch or relaunch their product service or cause.
Find out more at The Launching Pad

LG Keltner is part of an upcoming anthology.
The 2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide is composed of 24 stories written for middle grade readers.
The publisher, Dreaming Robot Press, just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with publication costs. One thing they aim to do is donate copies of the book to libraries, and the Kickstarter helps make that possible.
Learn more about the Kickstarter here.

Submissions are open for The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit. What are we looking for? Anything writing related – books, journalism, articles, whatever. What have you tried that was successful? What have you tried that didn’t result in sales or making money? We need to know what doesn’t work as well! Submissions are open to all IWSG members – monthly blog post members, Facebook, and Goodreads. Details here.

Finally, CassaStorm will be my publisher’s free audio giveaway book on Twitter from June 29 through July 5. Visit their Twitter and click the pinned Tweet to enter.

Anyone catch the RiffTrax shorts special? Do riffing Doctor Who sound more enticing? Picking up some new books? Following Brandon and Bryan on Tapas? Pick up Six Strings – it’s free. And are you working on your submission for the IWSG free guide? Do it!

See you next Wednesday, July 5, for IWSG post day!

Monday, June 12, 2017

New Movie Trailers, RiffTrax: Live, and Movie News; IWSG Anthology and Updates, CassaFire Giveaway, and Miles of Smiles

Movie News

First Black Panther teaser trailer is out!

New trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes that focuses on the girl, Nova:

Caught this on Blastr:
The clever folks at CineFix have chosen Michael Bay's lofty sci-fi spectacle to create a handcrafted, shot-for-shot remake of the main trailer using duct tape, cardboard boxes, twine, trash can lids, tissue paper, a filled bathtub, plastic army men and broccoli stalks:

There are now thirty films that have grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. Three have even crossed the two billion mark – Star Wars: The Force Awakens @ $2,068.2, Titanic @ $2,186.8, and Avatar @ $2,788.0. So far two films have crossed that mark this year – Beauty and the Beast and The Fate of the Furious. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is closing in on that number.
Full list at Box Office Mojo.
How many of the thirty billion dollar films have you seen? (I’ve seen twenty-nine of them!)

Don’t forget - RiffTrax: Live is Thursday, June 15! It’s the Summer Shorts Beach Party:
Mike, Kevin and Bill return to the stage with RiffTrax regulars Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl, The MST3K Mads Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff and special guest Paul F. Tompkins, to take turns riffing shorts in various permutations. The live show will culminate in a RIFF-A-PALOOZA with everyone on stage at the same time!

Reviews were average at best for The Mummy, so we skipped it. Not looking good for the Dark Universe series the studio planned.
Since nothing else strikes my fancy until the end of the month, probably not many movie reviews until then.

Miles of Smiles Challenge

Hosted by Kyra Lennon and Clare Dugmore.

The idea behind it was for people to sign up and tell each other about the small things in their lives that always make them smile. You can use your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter or your Instagram to share your joys. #MilesofSmiles

What makes me smile?

A great practice session with a jamming song on my guitar.
A comment or email from someone who loves the IWSG or one of my books.
Mini-Alex and friends – the thoughtfulness of those who made them.
My wife’s smile.

What makes you smile?

Another great posting for the IWSG. The point of the group is to encourage others, so be sure to visit others on the list. Especially the new members – make those writers feel welcome. It’s sad when they only post once or twice and then give up because they receive next to no comments.

Many commented that they were looking forward to the IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit, but they didn’t feel they could contribute. Some mentioned being able to tell others what not to do. And that’s perfect! If you’ve tried something that didn’t result in sales or making money, write a short article about it and submit. We need to know what doesn’t work as well. Submissions are open to all IWSG members – monthly blog post members, Facebook, and Goodreads. Details here.

I’d also like to highlight two of our Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life authors who recently had book events. Way to go, ladies!

Yvonne Ventresca shows off her table here.

Jen Chandler poses with a book at her signing.

CassaFire Giveaway

My publisher, Dancing Lemur Press, is giving away an audio book every week. Through June 14, you can win a copy of CassaFire. You must retweet their pinned Tweet HERE to enter.

And the Penguins won the Stanley Cup last night!

What do you think of the trailers? Catching the RiffTrax show? How many of the billion dollar movies have you seen? What makes you smile? Submitting to the IWSG anthology?

I will be offline June 19-24 but still checking email and Twitter.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Wonder Woman Review, June Movie Preview, CassaFire Giveaway, 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 JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

The optional June 3 question – Did you ever say “I quit?” If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I’ve never said I quit. I just never intended to say I’d keep writing. That’s what happens when you only plan one book. (But more keep happening.) And believe it or not, during my week off – I wrote something!

Today we are announcing another IWSG anthology opportunity for our members:

The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit


The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit--This will be a non-fiction book like our Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

What to write: Share experiences about making a profit as an author, what it takes to become a successful writer, the many skills a writer needs to learn other than writing, share the experience going from hobby writer to published author (without making it a self-promotion piece), the fallacies behind writing for profit, the little known facts learned along the way, what you wished you knew when you first started writing, or marketing tips based on experience of what has worked and what hasn't. Please include a title, your name, and a link to one of your sites. Send as an attached Word file or pasted into the email.
If you have any questions, email us at admin AT

Word limit: 500-1000 words.

Submission eligibility: All members of the IWSG Blog Hop, IWSG Facebook group and/or members of our IWSG Goodreads Book Club. It's free to join any of these groups and a great benefit to be a part of these communities.

Deadline: July 31, 2017

Send your piece to admin AT as an attached Word document and note which IWSG group you belong to. Please include your name, a one line bio, and one website link.

The one hundred best entries will be included in the book.

Wonder Woman Movie Review

The perfect superhero origins story. It will remind you of Captain America: The First Avenger but in a good way.
It’s a great blend of all the elements. It never gets too serious for long and there is an even mix of humor and lighter moments.
WWI is also a great setting. It adds unique elements to Diana’s integration into the world of man.
And Gal Gadot has found her role. She brings the perfect balance of wisdom, innocence, strength, determination, and devotion to the role. Diana sticks to her beliefs, and even when those are shaken to the core, she grows and adapts. Her evolution as a person is natural and captivating.
The action sequences are amazing. Diana’s run across No Man’s Land is spectacular. Her fighting moves – and those of all the Amazon women – are poetry in motion even as they are deadly. Perfect for 3D.
This is the DC superhero film I’d hoped for – strong, solid, passionate, and kick-ass. I think I enjoyed it even more than Guardians 2.
Highly recommended!

Ninja News

My publisher is doing a giveaway starting Thursday on Twitter for CassaFire on audio!
Tweet their Pinned Tweet to enter.

Toi Thomas announced the Reading Indie blog, featuring self-published and independent authors. They are looking for guests – contact her if interested.

Just released:
Chocolate Kisses by River Ford (aka – Charity Bradford)
Find it on Amazon

June Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for June! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

9 -

The Mummy
An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Stars: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe
The beginning of a huge new project for Universal. If it sucks, then the end of a huge new project for Universal.

16 -

Cars 3
Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he's still the best race car in the world.
Director: Brian Fee
Stars: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Nathan Fillion
Still not sure why they dropped the subtitle – The Fiery Death of Lightning McQueen.

23 –

Transformers: The Last Knight
Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Laura Haddock, Mark Wahlberg, Gemma Chan, John Goodman
It’s call the Last Night because it will literally take an entire night to watch this overlong film…

30 – 

Despicable Me 3
Gru meets his twin brother Dru he never knew about.
Directors: Kyle Balda | Pierre Coffin | Eric Guillon
Stars: Jenny Slate, Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell
We know it’s just another consumer-driven cash-grab, but my goodness, aren’t those Minions adorable?

Baby Driver
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Director: Edgar Wright
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Stupid title but great director – should be good.

Have you ever said you quit? Will you be contributing to the IWSG anthology? Did you catch Wonder Woman this past weekend? And what movies do you want to see in June?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Pluto RiffTrax - MST3K Channels, Alien Covenant Review, New IWSG Admins and News, The Happy Whisk, and Ninja News

IB Nosey interviewed me last week and the results were hilarious! Please read and have a good laugh.

MST3K/RiffTrax Channels - Pluto

In case you didn’t know it, Pluto TV has an MST3K channel!

The Internet based platform features several channels, available online, through dish services, and as an app.

In April, they added a RiffTrax channel to the mix, including movies with guest riffers. (You really have to pay attention to the British dudes, but they are hilarious.)

Now, whenever you need a fix, you can flick to either channel or pull them up online and enjoy!

Alien Covenant Review

Set ten years after Prometheus. Colony ship stops at uncharted planet. Xenomorphs ensue.
Critics claimed to those who hated Prometheus – this one is better. They were correct. I only disliked this one.
The set design is great. The film has a great feel to it. And it’s gory. Turn your brain off and you might enjoy it.
My brain would not shut off though. The plot holes wouldn’t let it.
Minor spoilers:
• Protocol would not allow the crew of a colony ship with over two thousand people on board to deviate from the carefully selected and perfect world to go explore another one just because it was closer.
• Common sense would not let people explore said world without spacesuits and masks. Airborne pathogens, people!! Have you never seen War of the Worlds?
• A company investing billions to transport people across the galaxy would hire trained people. A crew who knew what to do in a situation. Not a crew that went into panic mode and turned batcrap crazy at the first sign of trouble. Or deviated from protocol.
I’ll stop with spoilers and also mention that the ending twist was telegraphed. No tension, no surprise.
Michael Fassbender is good. So is Katherine Waterston and the rest of the actors. Just a shame the plot holes and lazy writing let them down. And the fact there really wasn’t much in this film that we haven’t seen before.
And it’s still been thirty years since we had a decent Alien film. James Cameron and Aliens ruined it for everyone…
Recommended only for diehard fans or casual fans who want some good gore and have time to waste.

IWSG stuff

In the past two weeks, the IWSG Admins have welcomed two new members. Nick Wilford will be manning the contests page and Pat Hatt will run Twitter - @TheIWSG. Please stop by both of their sites and welcome them!

Don’t forget our first Twitter pitch event, #IWSGPit, is on July 27. We have a lineup of publishers and agents who will be tuning in that day and more are added every week. See the site for details and start working on your Twitter pitch.

The IWSG Goodreads Group is in full swing and already read their first book. As a bonus, members got to ask the book’s author questions and you can read about it on Goodreads. This group is for writers only, focusing on the craft, so please join us.

The IWSG Newsletter is packed with great information and valuable links every month, so if you haven’t signed up, please do so.

And for those who don’t know it, we have an IWSG Facebook Group as well, with over 3600 members.

Finally, on June 7, the next IWSG post day, we are announcing another anthology! This will be similar to our IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, so tune in next month for details.

Special Blogger Buddy Feature

I’d like to introduce you to Ivy, also known as The Happy Whisk. I met Ivy several years ago and she never fails to entertain – and give everyone some good tips. She is an experimental chef due to allergies and comes up with some amazing stuff. She’s also into organizing, movies, and Bug. Just a special friend. Please welcome Ivy!

Favorite Recipes: This week I'm all about homemade rye bread with caraway seeds, cheeses made from plants and egg-free French toast. I'm allergic to eggs and dairy. Developing recipes is my way of telling my allergies to suck it.

Advice on decluttering: I've got gobs to share about ditching 95 percent of my crap. But today, I'll start with three words; I was ready. It's that simple. I wanted to do the work so I set aside four weeks to go through everything I owned. I sorted by category and began with the areas that made me the most uncomfortable, angry, frustrated and/or overwhelmed. This might not work for everyone, but I wanted to slay the biggest dragon first.
From there, I learned that people aren't things. Letting go feels amazing. Organized clutter is still clutter. And, I don't need 14 Pyrex bake dishes and 24 waffle makers.

Who is Bug? Her full name is Bogár which means bug in Hungarian. She's a loud mouth little brat and I love her to bits. She's half shepherd, half beagle. When I hurt myself in the kitchen, she makes a mad dash to check on me. Her hobbies include stealing Tim's hats, beating up paper bags and snuggling with her big sister.

Favorite Super Hero: As a kid, I twirled around the living room until I fell over and I wore my little Wonder Woman costume at the table during meal time. Hands down, BEST SUPER HERO EVER!!!!

Ninja News

JH Moncrieff just released two books!
City of Ghosts
On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.
Find on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes
The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts
Would you risk everything to save a stranger?
Find on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes

Are you a Rocket Raccoon fan?
Then you need to join the Raccoonatics!
Run by Leo Wyld, Raccoonatic Commander, it’s great place for fans to gather for news and discussions on all things Rocket Raccoon.
You can also follow on Twitter - @raccoonatic

Anyone else watching the MST3K Pluto channel? Were you suckered into another Alien movie last weekend? Participating in the IWSG groups and excited about the upcoming events? Following the Happy Whisk? And are you a Raccoonatic?
Don’t forget to visit IB Nosey!
Since next Monday is a holiday, I will not be posting and am taking the whole week off. Will check email and Twitter though. I’ll be back for IWSG post day, June 7.