Friday, December 21, 2012

Surprise! Ninja News, Special Book Announcement and Reveal, Christmas Music and Movies, and the Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest!

Surprise!!! Bet you didn’t expect one more post this year – we Ninjas are sneaky that way. But with one of my best blogger buddies hosting his very first blogfest today, there was no way I was going to let him down. You the man, Chuck! Besides, we have some great news, book announcements, and silly Christmas music and movies to cover.

Ninja News

Roland Yeomans has been writing a series of tips for selling eBooks and Wednesday’s was really good. (And thank you for mentioning me, Roland – I was really surprised!) There are many other posts this week covering this topic, so be sure to check them out.

The Geek Twins, Maurice and Nigel, are hosting their first blogfest – My Favorite Martian! On January 14, 2013, post about your favorite alien – see their site to sign up.

If you’ve been around a while, you may remember Musings of a Palindrone. Well, she is back and has a new blog called The Write Mood. Please welcome the awesome Hannah Kincade back to the blogging world!

Special Book Announcement!

Description: After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas. 

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of New Adult, paranormal-horror-action novelettes--with a Texas twist--by author E.J. Wesley

Witch's Nocturne is available now:
Amazon     Smashwords (ePub & PDF)

Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1, is also available:
Amazon (Free to borrow for Amazon Prime members.)

(Note: These stories contain some language and content better suited for mature readers.)

Cover Reveal!

13th Floor series: 1302 - The Alpha by Christine Rains

You’ve probably seen her around the blogging world this week, touring for the first book, The Marquis. The second book in the series, The Alpha, comes out in January.

And look for Christine to visit the Ninja Army next May.

Christmas Music and Movies

With everyone posting their favorites, thought I’d have some fun with this!

There are some really great classics out there, but when it comes down to it, nothing beats A Christmas Story. Even though it’s set in the late 40’s, most of us can relate on some level with Ralphie’s life. (Although hopefully none of us got a bunny suit for Christmas.)

For music, I like the traditional songs with a contemporary twist, such as the spin TSO puts on the music. But for dumb fun, you can’t beat the Twelve Days of Christmas – Bob and Doug McKenzie style! I can’t hear the original version without thinking about French toast and beer. (And of course, the awesome Geddy Lee of Rush sang on that album on the song “Take Off,” so I’m a little biased.)

Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest

Hosted by Chuck at Apocalypse Now and Shannon at The Warrior Muse.

This is how I see it going down…

(Especially since you all believe I have a cloning machine.)

The Ninja clones were lonely, so I decided to clone Kate Beckinsale. Cloning takes time, and the Ninja clones were growing impatient. So I turned the dial to eleven to speed up the process.

All of a sudden, Kates were shooting out everywhere! I couldn’t even get to the plug and had to make a run for it. It wasn’t long before they covered everything, slowly smothering the land in a layer of Kates. We were all doomed.

Was I prepared to be smothered by a million Kate Beckinsales?

No, but what a way to go!

Now I’m done for the year! See you on January 2 for the first IWSG of 2013.

Been keeping up with Roland’s tips? Signed up for the Martian Blogfest? Picking up EJ’s books or reading Christine’s? What’s your favorite Christmas song or movie? And how would YOUR apocalypse go down?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:11

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mistress Snark, Ninja News, Best Movies of 2012, and Thoughts on 2012-2013

Tuesday I was a guest of Laura Eno and Mistress Snark. If you missed the exchange (and my escape) visit Laura’s SITE. (Just don’t drink the punch…)

Ninja News

This will be my last post of the year. I’m taking some time off to celebrate Christmas and will return on January 2, 2013 for the next posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Your co-hosts will be Jamie Gibbs from Mithril Wisdom and Tyrean Martinson. But don’t worry – the Ninja will be lurking…

The final installment of Michael Abayomi’s series, Guardians and the Lost Paradise, is finally available! You can pick up The Other Side at Amazon or buy all six books in a bundle HERE. Congratulations, Michael!!

And Mini Alex took a road trip! Elise took him with her to Paris and Mini Alex ended up in several photographs. Thanks, Elise! Poor little dude will be bored with my place…

Favorite Movies of 2012

Thought I’d do a roundup of my favorite movies of the year, even though Tarantino’s Django Unchained isn’t out yet. These are the films I enjoyed in 2012:

#9 – The Cabin in the Woods – Joss Whedon and a bat-shit crazy ending. It turned the horror genre on its head.

#8 - The Amazing Spiderman – No, we didn’t need a reboot this soon, but I enjoyed this version far more than Sam Raimi’s movies. Spiderman had snark!

#7 – The Hobbit – Fun, beautiful visuals, and charming. It was a comfortable and familiar place I didn’t want to leave.

#6 – Argo – Incredibly well acted and tense! And best unofficial tagline of the year. (If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.)

#5 – Lincoln – Powerful and riveting. Day-Lewis made me believe he was Lincoln.

#4 – The Dark Knight Rises – A little dark but a powerful ending to the trilogy. Yes, I am a DC geek and Christopher Nolan fanboy. So sue me.

#3 - John Carter – This is what a space opera/adventure is supposed to be! Epic. (And yes, I really wish I’d written it.)

#2 – Looper – Highly underrated small-scale science fiction film Great performances and second in plot twists only to Memento.

#1 – The Avengers – Best superhero film EVER. Joss Whedon hit this one out of the park.

And I wanted to note a couple other films:

Dumbest fun movie – Battleship – Yup, and just as dumb but fun the second time. Maybe even more so. And the Battleship references are hysterical.

Biggest Disappointment – Prometheus – The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. The Swiss cheese of movie plots.

Worst movie – Lockout – Save yourself and skip this film! Bad on every level except for Guy Pearce. Dude, you used to do great films like Memento and L.A. Confidential! What happened?

Did you see any memorable films this year?

Thoughts on 2012/2013

As we close out 2012, I have to say this has been one heck of a year! Everything about it was amazing. On the book front, my second book came out, I wrote the third book, and the first two both became Amazon Best Sellers. Online the IWSG continues to rock, I got to host the A to Z Challenge again, hosted some blogfests, and even WAS a blogfest. (Still singed, but I lived.) And on the home front I’m playing in a band and even got to take some real vacations this year.

Next year of course will be more awesome IWSG posts, the fourth A to Z Challenge, and of course the third and final book, CassaStorm, in September.

The final book? I’m not sure. Toying with the idea of co-writing a book with another author. Also thinking that I will miss the Cassan universe. I think three books is good though. Besides, since I keep jumping ahead twenty years, Byron will soon be a hundred, and I don’t think he’ll be all that exciting at that point.

But whether I continue writing or choose to focus on my guitar playing, I still intend to remain here for you guys. I’ve made so many awesome friends and found a tremendous community online. I want to continue to serve you and be a blessing! Thanks for making this year awesome. You guys rock!

Ready to kick off 2013 with the IWSG? Did you see Mini Alex in Paris? How was your 2012 and what are your plans for 2013? And what were some of your favorite movies this year?

Everyone have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ali Cross is Destined, Ninja News, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review

Today I have the honor of hosting the Ninja Master herself, Ali Cross! She just released the third book in her Desolation series, Destined.

It's always a good day to visit Alex's blog but it's fan-freakin'-tastic when you get to hijack it! Thanks Alex for being such a softie and letting me take over for the day! I'm here because my third book just came out! It's the last in a trilogy and it's landed me in a weird place.

It's sort of like riding a see-saw. Sometimes I'm up. Sometimes I'm down.

Sometimes I think, "Yeah! I'm done writing Desi's story!"

And other times I think, "I'm totally gonna write another Desi book!"

But mostly I think, "I did it!"

Signing on for a multi-book deal (doesn't matter if you're independently or traditionally published) is a big commitment. I mean, who wants to let their readers down? You've got to finish the story. And sometimes it's no easy task ~ especially when you've got other stories beating down your mental door insisting that you write them.

If you're currently stuck in the muck, I don't have any magic words to help get you through. All I can say is, strap yourself in and get ready for the ride of your life (up, down, all around). And when you're done (because you will finish!) we can go for a ride together and get our rock on.

Don't mind me if I do a little head-banging while I'm waiting. No matter what Desi says,

Check me (er, Desi) out! 
This is the last (huzzah!) book in the Desolation Trilogy (notice how I said TRILOGY, and not SERIES like I used to? Hey, I make no promises). You can learn more about the series by going to the site, to Goodreads, or to Amazon.

Thanks again for letting me hang out here today, Alex! You're the bestest!

Ali Cross is the sensei of the writer's dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin' husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles. 

Links: Blog Facebook | Twitter

Ninja News

I’m a guest of Laura Eno and Miss Snark! See how I respond to the strange questions and the stuff floating in Miss Snark’s punch.

Huntress at Spirit Called just signed with Musa Publishing, a small pub in Ohio, for her urban fantasy, The Magic Withheld. Congratulations, Huntress!

Chuck at Apocalypse Now and Shannon at The Warrior Muse are hosting a Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest this Friday.

Losing Hope, the sequel to Losing Beauty by Johanna Garth, is available now, You can purchase it at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Congratulations, Johanna!

Jack Lewis Baillot of However Improbable just released her first book – Haphazardly Improbable. Congratulations, Miss Jack! Buy it now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Andrew Leon has several books available for free today! Visit Amazon for the full list.

Healing Summer by Elizabeth Seckman is now available!
Find the author and the book at her blog, on Amazon, and on Facebook.

Movie Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Directed by Peter Jackson, it’s another great entry in the Middle Earth series.
Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to see another LOTR film though. The Hobbit is a very different story and moves at a leisurely pace. The movie is lighter and more whimsical.
Visually it’s stunning. Since we’re now familiar with Middle Earth, some of the ‘wow’ factor is gone, but the scenery and action scenes are still amazing. There’s a bit of backstory in the beginning and Jackson draws upon the appendixes to flesh out other scenes. We get to see Gandalf do more magic as well.
Martin Freeman is perfect in the role of Bilbo, and Richard Armitage does a strong turn as Thorin.
Overall, the movie is a little too long, but I was never bored. (I would recommend avoiding the giant sized drink.)
When it shines though, the film really shines! Looking forward to the second movie next December.

Any questions for Ali? Do you follow her or the Dojo? Excited about the new releases? Ready to celebrate the apocalypse this Friday? And did anyone else see the Hobbit?

Be sure to visit Laura Eno and Miss Snark!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Beginnings, Ninja News, The Hobbit Blogfest, Movie Trivia Answers, and the “Cheers Blogfest” Winners and Special Mentions

Today I have the honor of a guest post at Leave it to Livia. Now, if you’ve not met this enthusiastic fireball, get ready! Livia will knock your socks off. She asked me to share my beginnings, so brace yourself and jump on over to her site.

Ninja News

The Indelibles are starting new group that posts the second Wednesday of every month called Indie Life:
“Starting in the New Year, the Indelibles will host a monthly feature called INDIE LIFE. Modeled after Alex Cavanaugh's awesome Insecure Writer's Group, this will be a chance for indie authors to post about indie life, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints, and anything else that makes life as an indie author a little easier.”
See their site for details and to join the group!

The third book in the Desolation series by Ali Cross is now available – Destined. You should see the amazing stuff she is giving away as well. But wait, but you will, because the awesome Ninja Ali will be my guest on Monday!

Purchase Angela Felsted’s Chaste by December 15 and not only will all proceeds go to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, she’ll match them dollar for dollar. Full details at Jessica Bell’s site or at Lydia Kang’s site.

The voting is close in Karen’s Annual Blog Awards contest. If you haven’t voted for Blog of the Year, hop on over!!

Authors, need a book trailer? Brinda Berry is hosting a giveaway for one. See her site for details.

The Marquis by Christine Rains is now available!! This is the first book in The 13th Floor series. Congratulations, Christine.

Shelly F. Batt at Voice of a Writer is offering to critique the first twenty-five pages of one – two manuscripts – if you’re looking for a little help, see her site for details.

January 2, 2013 is the next posting date for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and the co-hosts will be Jamie from Mithril Wisdom and Tyrean.

The Hobbit Blogfest

Hosted by two awesome ladies, M Pax and Tyrean!

What is your favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that you think closely resembles you . . .? They know how to relax. (Although I could use more of that right now.)

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer? Second breakfast - I am so not the adventurous type.

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? Well, I lost my virginity on a band trip, but at the time, I really didn’t want it back. (That’s right – I was a heathen once!)

What is your Favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie? The full exchange with Gollum – the riddles were cool.

Movie Trivia Answers

1 - What is the name of Rudolph’s dad? Donner
2 – In what city did “A Miracle on 34th Street” take place? New York
3 – Who played Scrooge in “The Muppets Christmas Carol?” Michael Caine
4 – What is the full name of the BB gun Ralphie wanted in “A Christmas Story?” Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle
5 – What song made Santa’s sleigh fly at the end of “Elf?” Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Cheers Blogfest” Winners, Special Mentions, and Next Year

Over a dozen truly amazing posts went into the guitar case. Two names were drawn…

First Place – an autographed copy of CassaStar or Cassafire:
Elise Fallson!

Not only did Elise write a great flash piece that featured the blogfest hosts and say that Nathan Fillion could play me in a documentary, she made this:
Is that not awesome? I’m immortalized forever in plywood. And she’s sending him to me! Thank you SO much, Elise.

The Grand Prize – a picture of me and a recording of my guitar playing (and wow, that looks like a sorry prize on paper):
Ellie Garratt!

Ellie completely blew me away with what she claimed was her first video attempt ever:

Whoa!! Ellie, it’s amazing. Thank you so much for putting it together. You are a special friend.

And I hinted there might be a bonus prize, so I drew one more name…
Jeremy Hawkins!

Jeremy not only nailed it with his answers, he made several awesome banners for me:
And one had Kate! Dude, you are the man. Bonus prize is your choice – photo of me OR the guitar recording OR (since you live too far away for us to meet for a beer) a phone call from the Ninja.

Honorable Mentions:

TS at The Non-Review “What Cats are Saying About Alex…” HILARIOUS! Dude, thanks for bringing Melvin back for me.

Hart at Confession of a Watery Tart She wrote me a song to the tune of “Walk the Way” that is PERFECT!

Heather at The Waiting is the Hardest Part She had Stormy the Weather Gnome do the post – do I need to add anything? Stormy rocks!

Tara Tyler Look at the cool drawing she did for me!

And before this post gets any longer, special thanks to Chuck, Cassie Mae, Julie Kemp, Kimberly, DL Hammons, Angela Brown, Robyn Campbell, SpacerGuy, Mina Burrows, ”T” Tanya, Livia, and everyone else for the heartfelt and/or hilarious words.

And a big thanks to the awesome hosts, Mark, Morgan, Stephen, and David.

If you missed this event, you missed something really special. Everyone was saying this was different. It wasn’t about me – it was about this awesome community. You guys understand the importance of supporting one another and it really showed.

Several asked if this will be an annual event. Not with me! But Mark said I could name the Cheers Blogfest victim next year, and a couple people have already come to mind. Mark, because he was the madman who thought up this crazy idea, and Arlee Bird (Lee), the founder of the A to Z Challenge. Both are men of integrity with great attitudes and they understand the importance of this blogging community. And yes, I will be more than happy to co-host a Cheers Blogfest in either man’s honor! The roasted Ninja is ready for paybacks…

Whoa!! Sorry for the length. See some exciting news or new books? How would you answer the Hobbit Blogfest questions? (And are seeing it this weekend? I’m seeing it Friday afternoon!) Get any trivia correct? Did you read the blogfest winners’ and special mentions’ posts? Ready to roast someone else next year? I know I am…

Don’t forget to visit Leave it to Livia!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rush in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ninja News, Juliana and Her Heart’s Secret Wish, Awards, Blogfest Thoughts, and Christmas Movie Trivia!

Wow, what an incredible week! And I didn't die. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first…

Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!!!!!

This was the first year the public was allowed to vote, and they made their choice known. After years of being snubbed by the owner of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rush finally made it. Plus the remastered 2112 CD/Blu-Ray Super Deluxe edition comes out December 18. Party time!

Ninja News

Today’s Special Challenge Participant Feature at the A to Z Blog is Sherry Ellis of Gone Gardening! Her theme was “Gardens Around the World," so check out my tough questions. (I made her do math!)

Vine Leaves Literary Journal, created by Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius, launched a year ago, and this week the anthology was released. Congratulations Jessica and Dawn on the release of The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2012!

Gifts Aren’t Only From Santa Event December 14-15 – discounted and free books, with the proceeds going to the Children’s Hospital. See Gwen or Cherie’s sites for details.

If you haven’t had a chance to vote in Karen’s annual Blog Awards, they are in the final round now. I’m up for Blog of the Year, Retro-Zombie Jeremy if up for Favorite Other Blog, Cathy’s Life on the Muskoka River is up for Favorite Pee-In-Your-Pants Funny Blog, Ella’s Edge is up forFavorite Crafty-Type Blog, Robyn’s Life By Chocolate is up for Favorite Singles' Blog, Livia is up for Favorite New Blog, Tyreanis up for Favorite Inspirational Blog, Lynn Kelley is up for Favorite Blog By a Parent, and Sherry’s Gone Gardening is up for Best Kept Secret. Happy voting!

Mel at Writings, Musings, and Other Such Nonsense is holding a book giveaway – lots of books! See her site for details.

Book Release!

Her Heart's Secret Wish by Juliana Haygert

Genre: NA contemporary romance
Release date: December/12/2012

"With a renowned reputation as a player, she had everything figured out…"

Purchase Her Heart’s Secret Wish at Decadent Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and find it on Goodreads.

Find Juliana Haygert: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and at NA Alley.

2012 Blog of the Year

Patsy Collins gave me my first 2012 Blog of the Year! Thank you, Patsy.

The rules for this are -
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award — and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5 You can now also join the Facebook group.
6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars… Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star! There are a total of 6 stars to collect."

Wow! I’m just going to pass this on to one person – Lee at Tossing it Out, because if anyone deserves blog of the year, it’s Lee!

A Big Thank You!

Words cannot begin to describe my thoughts and feelings regarding all of the “Alexfest” posts this week. The funny stories and pictures, the kind words… it was just overwhelming. I didn’t die, but I was touched. And I laughed a lot! Thanks, everyone. My wife saw some of the messages to her, and she thank you as well. And I really appreciated the response to my post here on Monday.

I won’t mention any of the posts here (as a couple more are to appear today) but I will note some exceptional ones on Friday when I announce the winners. And I’ve decided that since selecting just two will be nearly impossible, I’m going to round up the very best (that will be difficult enough), toss them into a hat, and randomly pull two winners. Does that sound fair to everyone?

Thanks again, my friends. It’s just amazing how this blogging community comes together, and I’m honored to be a part of it. Never doubt that one person can make a difference. Even if he’s ”Just Alex.”

Movie Trivia – Christmas Style

1 - What is the name of Rudolph’s dad?

2 – In what city did “A Miracle on 34th Street” take place?

3 – Who played Scrooge in “The Muppets Christmas Carol?”

4 – What is the full name of the BB gun Ralphie wanted in “A Christmas Story?”

5 – What song made Santa’s sleigh fly at the end of “Elf?”

See some interesting news today? Voted for your favorite blogs at A Peek at Karen’s World yet? Picking up Her Heart's Secret Wish? Know any of the trivia? And did you have a favorite “Alexfest” post?

Don’t forget to visit Sherry at the A to Z Blog!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Who Am I?

Before I began this journey, I’m not sure how I would’ve answered that question.

I certainly wouldn’t have said author. I enjoyed writing but just couldn’t imagine a book with my name on it. I really couldn’t imagine putting myself out there for all the world to see. I’ve joked that I wanted to be a rock star, but I never would’ve made it. Hard to be a rock star when you’re hiding behind the drummer. (Even now, when our band practices or plays, I’m back beside the drum set.) The spotlight just makes me uncomfortable.

Because bottom line, I’m still just a head-banging movie geek who digs gadgets, science fiction, fantasy, and spending quiet evenings at home with his wife.

However, to say my life has been blessed since joining this online community is an understatement.

I didn’t agree to this blogfest for me. It’s really not about me. It’s about this blogging community. Yes, the posts will be silly things about me, but at the heart of today is the spirit of this community. People here are so giving and supportive. The blogging community is a force and stronger than most realize. Watching it come together for any reason is an amazing sight.

It’s one of the reasons I am so moved by the members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It’s like tossing a pebble into a pond and watching the rings ripple wider. After that first ring appears, it’s not the pebble that matters. It’s the rings. They are the force. They are all of you.

Where I am at now in life is important for one reason only – I’m in a better position to serve all of you. Yes, that line from Spiderman is corny – “With much power comes much responsibility” – but I take it to heart. I’m not here for me. I am here for you. I want to share your joys and triumphs with the world. I want you to accomplish your goals and realize your dreams. The glory goes to all of you.

I fail more often than I succeed, but my ultimate goal is to do everything for the glory of God. He is my peace and my strength. And if I am here because of Him, then I need to fulfill my purpose. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” 1 Peter 4:10

I’m not perfect. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I’ve lost friends and gained enemies. I’m sorry if I’ve let anyone down or given reason to doubt. I’m just trying my damned hardest to do the best I can. I’m just one person, no one special, trying to give back.

Funny, I wrote this two and a half years ago for the very first A to Z Challenge, and it’s still true:

Just Alex

Continuing the A-Z Challenge from Arlee at Tossing it Out - today is J.

I follow some great writers on Blogger who offer both advice and support. I read posts by reviewers who offer deep, eloquent assessments of books. I watch established authors participate in events, win awards, and offer incredible words of wisdom. I absorb all marketing tips offered online and elsewhere in preparation for my own book release.

And in doing so, I foresee only one problem.

I'm just Alex.

There are so many incredible science fiction authors with experience, expertise, and solid platforms, and I realize now how short I fall of that mark. I can't show you a pile of awards. I don't write for a magazine or newsletter. My resume lacks a bit when it comes to writing. I do have several things going for me, but for the most part, I'm just Alex.

Does anyone else harbor such feelings of inadequacy? Does anyone else look at authors who've spent years writing for magazines, winning awards for their short stories, and producing critically-acclaimed books, and think to yourself "I'm in way over my head"?

Who am I?






Follower of Christ

And ultimately, I’m just Alex…

And I always will be…

If you’re looking for a list of participants in the Cheers Cavanaugh Blogfest, visit Mark, Morgan, Stephen, and David. It’s open through December 12 and prizes include an autographed book, a sample of my guitar playing, and a picture of me.

Thanks to all my friends who have come out to support me, but mostly to support this awesome community. You are the heart of this blogfest.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cherie Reich and Horror Movies, Ninja News, Movie Trivia Answers, and a Personal Note

Today I have the honor of hosting Cherie Reich on her tour for The Nightmare Collection!

What I’ve Learned from Horror Movies

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Alex! Wow, being on THE Ninja Captain’s blog is so cool.

I believe we can learn a lot from horror movies and book, and I have created a list of my top five things (in no particular order) I’ve learned from them that also helped me create my horror story collection, The Nightmare Collection.

1. Never split up.
Power is in numbers, so if you split up, you’re likely to be the first to die.

2. Phones are evil.
They either don’t work when you need to contact the authorities and get help or it is the killer calling you. Just stay away from the phone and run for it.

3. Never look back.
Have you noticed in horror movies that no matter how slow the monster comes at you, it will still get you? I think that’s because people keep looking back. They then trip and fall, and it gives the monster time to catch up. Don’t look back. Keep running!

4. The best way to kill most monsters is to chop their head off.
Enough said. Just be sure you chop the right guy’s head off.

5. Don’t live in small towns, the forests, or near cornfields.
Monsters—and aliens—love to hide in rural areas. It’s just not safe.

And a special tip I’ve learned from a real life experiences ... Don’t laugh at guys with chainsaws! Seriously. Don’t! It pisses them off, and then they run after you, even if you’re an eight-year-old girl at a haunted cave.

What have you learned from horror movies/books?

Thanks, Cherie! I’ve learned always use the double-tap.

Find the awesome Cherie at her BLOG
You can order the paperback or eBook of The Nightmare Collection on Amazon or enter the giveaway on Goodreads.

Congratulations, Cherie – really looking forward to this one!

Ninja News

The A to Z Blog is looking for questions for 2013’s Challenge hosts. We had “Getting to know your hosts” posts earlier this year and need your help with fresh questions for next year. Go ahead, suggest anything!

Lisa Regan’s book, Finding Claire Fletcher, is finally out now! She has a great tour planned, so be sure to visit her site.

Thanks again to all who posted for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and special thanks to my two co-hosts, Livia and Tasha!

Jade Hart’s new book, Ocean Kills, is available now! And look at that great cover. Congratulations, Jade!

Kittie Howard’s latest, Rings of Trust, launched on Thursday. Congratulations, Kitty! Through January 15, royalties will go to the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Find it on Amazon.

Movie Trivia Answers

1 – From Aardman Animations, this clay-animation film took place on Mrs. Tweedy’s farm. Chicken Run
2 – This 70’s animated film was set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where two brothers, Avatar and Blackwolf, do battle to control the world. Wizards
3 – This Christmas animation features the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy – and a member of Santa’s family you never knew existed! Arthur Christmas
4 – Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for this cell-animated space movie set in the year 3028 and featuring a spaceship that holds the secret to the salvation of the human race. Titan A.E.
5 – Before Pixar put out their take on these small critters, Woody Allen voiced the lead, “Z,” in this film. Antz
6 – Written by Ted Hughes in 1968, this science fiction story set in 1957 became a critically-acclaimed movie in 1999 with its simple innocence. The Iron Giant

Personal Note

During the chaos that will ensue on Monday, I will be posting something really different that day.
For those who believe this is just a big ego trip for me and that I think I’m all that and a bag of chips (credit to Diane’s POST) I invite you to visit Monday for what will probably be my most personal post ever.

Special thanks again to Mark, Morgan, Stephen, and David.

See you Monday…

Cherie wants to know – what have YOU learned from horror films? Got a question for the A to Z Team? See some new books to add? Get any of the trivia questions right? Ready to see a Ninja naked? (Of course, how would you know…?)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Ninja News, and Animated Movie Trivia

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.

And this month I have two awesome co-hosts helping - Livia and Tasha! Be sure to visit them and say thanks for their willingness to help.

Right now, I am in waiting mode. My publisher has my manuscript and their editor is going over it before sending it back to me next month for revisions. CassaStorm has been my focus all year, and until the final edits are done, it will remain on my mind. I’m happy with what I created (and special thanks to Rusty, Cassie, Jeffrey, and my two test readers for making it SO much better) and won’t start thinking about another project until next year.

So while I’m not really insecure right now, I’ve been thinking about certain writing aspects. Seems like the great works are always far deeper than what’s on the surface. They are full of symbolism and metaphors. They tap into a basic human desire or drive in an all-consuming way. They are planned with care, guiding the reader down a path of inner discovery.

Um, yeah. And then there are my books. What you see is what you get. If you read anything deeper into them, it’s not there on purpose.

However, upon completion of the first draft of my latest, I realized I did have a theme! Again, not planned. Which means the theme rather surprised me. (Is that bad?) And at the risk of losing my “Stud-muffin” image (insert laughter here) the theme is LOVE.

CassaStar – love of a friend

CassaFire – love of a spouse

CassaStorm – love of a child

Yeah, I’m stunned. No idea how that happened.

Is it a good theme? Does your work or books have a theme?

Be sure to visit other members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Ninja News

Talli Roland’s latest book, The Pollyanna Plan, is available now. Congratulations, Talli! Wish I had your writing chops.

Jamie at Mithril Wisdom just celebrated three years of blogging. We started blogging within weeks of each other in 2009 and met during the first A to Z Challenge, so I feel like I’ve known Jamie forever. Congratulations, dude! Let’s keep rocking.

Writers4Writers kicks off on Thursday! Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Mary Pax, Christine Rains, and CM Brown, the first spotlighted author will be Nancy Thompson and her book The Mistaken. Visit the hosts for information on how YOU can help! You can also visit the W4WS Facebook page HERE.

Jeffrey Beesler has declared December to be Milk and Cookies Month! He kicked it off yesterday by listing a couple Chocolate Chip Hipsters. (EJ and I were listed,) Thank you, Jeffrey! You rock, my man. Shame you ate all the cookies though…

LG at Writing Off the Edge is celebrating her one year blog anniversary with a blogfest - The Beginnings Blogfest, Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Lots of options for telling us about your beginnings. See her site for details. And congratulations, LG!

I just hit 1700 followers. Thanks so much, guys! Whoa… Crap! Need to party or something. Let me think about it and get back to you on Friday.

And just to clarify one of my answers for Monday’s blogfest – yes, my Gibson Les Paul guitar cost A LOT more than $100. Add a digit and some bigger numbers and you get the picture. (And for you musicians, it has a Floyd Rose tremolo!)

Movie Trivia!

Because I haven’t done this in a while. Animation edition.

1 – From Aardman Animations, this clay-animation film took place on Mrs. Tweedy’s farm.

2 – This 70’s animated film was set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where two brothers, Avatar and Blackwolf, do battle to control the world.

3 – This Christmas animation features the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy – and a member of Santa’s family you never knew existed!

4 – Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for this cell-animated space movie set in the year 3028 and featuring a spaceship that holds the secret to the salvation of the human race.

5 – Before Pixar put out their take on these small critters, Woody Allen voiced the lead, “Z,” in this film.

6 – Written by Ted Hughes in 1968, this science fiction story set in 1957 became a critically-acclaimed movie in 1999 with its simple innocence.

What are your insecurities today? Have you signed up for Writers4Writers? (Come on – Nancy’s book ROCKS!) Ready to kick of 2013 with a blogfest? And know any of the answers to the animated film trivia questions…?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Special Updates, Ninja News, Lynda Young and Make Believe, Angela Felsted and Chaste, and the “And You Are…?” Blogfest!

There was a snafu last Friday with the timing of my article at Curiosity Quills Press about the beginnings and purpose of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Sharon Bayliss (who has a book coming out soon, The Charge) apologized for the delay, but sometimes these things happen. So if you missed it Friday morning, the article is HERE. Thanks again Sharon for the opportunity to share. (And remember that the next posting for the IWSG is THIS Wednesday!)

One more week until the Ninja dies. Yes, I’ve seen all those comments about roasting and embarrassing me!! But I’m honored and touched by the amount of people who signed up for the blogfest. I’m glad I’ve made a difference to so many. And that you care enough to say something. I guess it takes an embarrassing blogfest thrown in your honor to find out who your real friends are. Thank you.You guys rock.
And if you somehow missed it, read about it HERE.

Ninja News

The fifth book in Michael Abayomi’s epic fantasy series is out – The Passage. Congratulations, Michael!

Siv Ottem and Roland Yeomans have short stories in the anthology, Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales. The publisher states: “A socially conscious press, Wayman is dedicated to helping those in need. Much of the profit from this anthology will be donated to Primary Children's Hospital in the form of Christmas gifts we'll bring to the long-term patients staying there.” Congratulations Siv and Roland – and what an awesome cause!

Jeremy interviewed Chris Sarandon this weekend over at Howling Wolf Records.
Yes, THE Chris Sarandon of Fright Night and The Princess Bride fame! So go check it out.

Marta Szemik’s next book in the Two Halves series was just released, Evil-Bent. Congratulations, Marta!

Make Believe

Lynda R. Young’s short story titled Birthright, published by J. Taylor Publishing in the Make Believe anthology, launched TODAY! Make Believe is currently available in e-book format and includes Paranormal Romance and Fantasy stories inspired by the image on the cover. Congratulations, Lynda! 

Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.
She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.
Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.

About Lynda R. Young:
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads

Purchase Make Believe: J Taylor Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Lynda, way to go! You are an amazing writer and dear friend and I couldn’t be more excited for you.


Now available – Chaste by Angela Felsted!

When he steps into his physics class on the first day of senior year, Quinn Walker is too exhausted from staying up all night with his three-month-old nephew to deal with moral dilemmas. As a devout Mormon who has vowed to wait until marriage for sex, the last thing he needs is a very hot and very sexy Katarina Jackson as his physics partner. Regrettably, he has no choice.
Kat feels invisible in her mansion of a home six months after losing her older brother in a fatal car crash and will do anything to get her parents? attention. Since her pastor father has no love for Quinn?s ?fake? religion and her ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, she makes an impulsive bet with her friends to seduce her holier-than-thou lab partner by Christmas.

Angela Felsted is a Northern Virginia native who is overly fond of Olive Garden and Red Lobster. She grew up in a faithful Mormon home with three brothers and one sister where she learned to stand up for herself by tickling her attackers until they broke out into laughing fits. Her work has appeared in issue fifteen of Drown in Your Own Fears, Chanterelle's Notebook and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. Her chapbook, Cleave, was published by finishing line press in 2012.
Find Angela here: Blog, Twitter, and Goodreads
Purchase Chaste at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
View the trailer on YouTube.

Congratulations, Angela!!!!

“And You Are…?” Blogfest!

Hosted by Emily R King and Tammy Theriault.

We are to answer these questions or David Spade loses his Christmas bonus:

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten? Two. I’ve been REALLY lucky!

2. Can you pitch a tent? Is that like pitching a story? No? Then no would be my answer.

3. What was your worst vacation ever? Anything involving the woods and tents. That’s what four-star hotels are for.

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100? You really want to know? Splurged this past weekend and purchased a Gibson Les Paul guitar. Yeah, just a little over $100…

5. We're handing you the keys to what? A Bugatti Veyron!!! Hey, it’s my fantasy.

6. What was the last meal cooked that made even you sick? Twenty-five years ago – it involved Tuna Helper. I’ll never touch the stuff again.

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like John Goodman in a bikini!

8. What was your first car? A two-door Ford something. One of those crap cars you drive when you’re sixteen.

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first? My best friend is my wife – if I laugh, I’ll never be allowed in the house again!

10. What's the worst song ever? Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. No explanation needed.

Visit Emily or Tammy for a list of participants or to join us.

Did you finally see the article at Curiosity Quills? Ready for Wednesday’s IWSG? Picking up either Lynda or Angela’s books? And you are…?