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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lost Hero Movies, MST3K Robots Tackle NetFlix, Ayreon: The Source Review, RiffTrax: Live, and New Releases

Hero Lost Movie Heroes

I’m hosting the Hero Lost authors today and I had just one question for them.

What movie or movies inspired your hero and why?

Jen Chandler:
This is a great question! When the story came to me, it came with the very first line. I had no idea at first who Gaston was or who the narrator was. Then it hit me: The Angel of Death. The very first thought I had after that was of the Shinigami (god of death) Ryuk from the movie Death Note. It was originally a manga series of the same name and turned into an anime series then a movie in 2006. I definitely picture Gaston looking differently, though, because I don't believe Death should be frightening. I love the idea of Death being a beautiful being, not at all terrifying. Still, it was Ryuk that popped in my head and I went with the Angel/God of Death theme because of Death Note!

Ellen Jacobson:
Hmm...good question. I think I'll have to go with the classic Star Wars movies and Hans Solo's character. He hesitates to join in with the rebellion, but in the end he does the right thing and helps save the day. The hero of my story is reluctant to join the fight against the powers that be, preferring a simple, ordinary life, but in the end he conquers his fears and summons the courage to join in with others like him who are different.

Renee Chung:
When I was envisioning Cormac, I started a very traditional knight, so if I had to relate to a movie, it would be A Knight’s Tale (because come on, Heath Ledger). Although the story differs greatly from the movie, I’d like to think that Cormac came from the same place as William Thatcher with their humble beginnings and their desire to embody the values and honour of a knight. And despite facing different foes, William with the villainous knight and Cormac with a dragon, they both do end up testing their mettle, with varying outcomes.

Roland D. Yeomans:
My mysterious Caretaker was inspired by a book that became a movie: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Erika Beebe:
Star Wars. I’m thinking Ethan closely resembles Hans Solo, a man with great character who doesn’t use it. Life has hardened his skin and he’s crawled into himself as a defense mechanism. Like Solo, Ethan thinks first about himself “and what can I get out this?” Love transformed Solo in the end and maybe the new purpose of noble cause did too. It’s the lost soul idea. They often need something profound to shake them out of their inner worlds.

Sarah Foster:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a big influence on me for the early stages of “The Last Dragon.” It kind of all started with this idea of someone who once was a hero and now is gone, and we don’t know why, kind of like Luke Skywalker in the movie. In my story, Raynor and his sister are in search of their uncle not only to find out why he left, but so that he can help defeat a new evil that has risen in his absence.

Elizabeth Seckman:
King Arthur—but without the cheating queen.

Olga Godim:
No movie inspired my protagonist. I’m not a big fan of movies in general, so no movie ever inspired any of my characters. When I first wrote about my heroine, Altenay, in another story altogether, she came to me as a non-white, some kind of an eastern girl or maybe a Gypsy. I started looking for a name for her and came up with a real woman I admired. Her name, with a slight change in vowels, became the name of my heroine. The real life inspiration for my Altenay’s name was a prima ballerina with the Marriinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, Altynai Asylmuratova. Ethnically she is a Kazakh, and like many women of that nation, very pretty, with a breathtakingly beautiful body lines. A superb ballerina too, she was very popular in the Western world while she performed in the 1980s and 1990s. She doesn’t perform anymore. Since 2000, she has been the artistic director of the Vaganova Ballet Academy, a teacher of many young ballerinas.

Yvonne Ventresca:
The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. Sylvia in “The Art of Remaining Bitter” questions society’s values and beliefs the same way that Offred does. They both have to face insurmountable forces to attempt to retain their individuality.

Tyrean Martinson:
A movie that inspired my hero? Hmm. I didn’t think of one before I wrote the story, but I guess that my character Maud reminds me a bit of Mal in the Firefly series – he has lost his sense of purpose and thinks that his highest calling is to serve his own sense of freedom, but a heroic spark still flickers on the inside.

Lots of Star Wars influences. (It also influenced my first book.) Do you have a movie hero that inspired one of your stories?

Review – Ayreon: The Source

This is the ninth Ayreon album and an incredible prog rock effort. As with all other double discs, this is a concept album, and not only does it lead into the album 01011001, it ties together with all of the others.

The storyline: The Alphas’ world is dying and the President gives the supercomputer known as The Frame total control to find a solution. It does – exterminate all of the humans. The race is on to select a group to voyage into the stars to a new planet. A drug called The Source will enable them to live underwater on the new planet, although due to the drug, they begin to forget what happened on Alpha. They take one robot with them, who at the end predicts he will become the new Frame. Thus it leads into the first song on 01011001, Age of Shadows.

Arjen Anthony Lucassen is the brainchild and anchor – a true musical genius and legend in prog rock. He has consistently pulled storylines, music, and musicians together to make cohesive albums over the years, no small feat indeed.

The music harkens back to earlier Ayreon albums. The music is both complex and accessible, and the musical harmonies and talents incredible. James LaBrie, Tommy Karevik, Simone Simmons, Tobias Sammet, Russell Allen, and Floor Jansen are among the voice talent, not to mention a slew of great musicians.

The Source is a prog lover’s dream album! There’s also a bonus DVD. Highly recommended.

New Releases

The Connective by Pat Hatt
Find it on Amazon

An Artful Animal Alphabet by Mary Montague Sikes
This is a collection of the animal paintings she did a couple years ago for the A to Z Challenge.

MST3K and NetFlix

Tom Servo and Crow took their ideas to NetFlix this week with this video - Tom Servo and Crow Pitch Shows to Netflix.

Then JoBlo posted the results. Now, we can see them doing what they do best: riff on other movies, or in this case, other Netflix shows:

There’s a couple other videos to watch at JoBlo’s site.

RiffTrax: Live

Don’t forget, RiffTrax: Live has two shows this summer.
Summer Shorts Beach Party is on June 15 and features the guys along with Bridget Nelson, Mary Jo Pehl, and a couple special guests.
Then on August 17, Mike, Kevin and Bill riff the legendary 1983 feature-length Doctor Who episode "The Five Doctors."
You don’t want to miss either!

Do you have a movie hero that inspired one of your stories? Have you listened to The Source yet? (I’d featured two videos from the album earlier this year.) Excited Tom Servo and Crow are tackling NetFlix shows? And who’s catching the RiffTrax: Live shows this summer?

My wife found these notebooks and insisted I take a photo...