Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Poetic, Awesome Online Mom, Ninja News, and MIB III Review

Today I have the honor of featuring one of my dearest blogger buddies, someone I often refer to as my online mom – author and poet, Yvonne Lewis.

I met Yvonne over two years ago during the very first A to Z Challenge. (Not me in the picture - that's Danny.) She is just such a wonderful person. Yvonne is loving, gentle, and very genuine. She also has a wonderful free spirit and an eye for beautiful moments. I just adore this gracious and special lady.

Her latest book, Written From the Heart, is a wonderful collection of her poetry. I was honored beyond words when she asked me to write a blurb for her book. Seeing my name on the back of her book was more thrilling than seeing my name on the front. Anyone can publish a book, but not everyone can give another author a meaningful quote. Yvonne, thank you again.

She is here today to share with you a little about her book:


This book that I wrote
Was to let the readers see.
That after many years of heartache,
There's fun and laughter in me.

Like going to the park,
And descend a slide
While my children and grandchildren
Conveniently disappear and hide.

The book also enlightens people
My blessings I do count.
There are many worse off than me,
That I do not doubt.

My love of traveling is evident to see,
Touring the U.S. and Spain.
So I can escape from
Britain's continual rain.

Also Daniel O Donnell concerts,
I really do enjoy.
I'd travel to the ends of the earth,
To see my "Danny Boy".

The "Blurb" of the book,
I'm proud of I confess.
For the final part was written
By fellow blogger less.

I wrote this book in the first place,
To let the whole world see.
But most importantly
That my family would be proud of me.

I know some of you have already bought,
I'm so grateful for a start.
I think there's a poem for everyone,
In "Written From The Heart"

- Yvonne

Visit Yvonne at Welcome to My World of Poetry and purchase her book at Amazon You can also catch Yvonne today at the A to Z Blog where she answers a few questions about the Challenge, Danny Boy, and Arlee Bird.

Ninja News!

Author Andrew Leon at Strange Pegs has taken some of the stories from a class he taught at his kid’s school and created a book, Charter Shorts. Proceeds from the book benefit the school, which is really cool, so grab a copy today!

Wendy Tyler Ryan’s new book, Fire’s Children is out now! Long fight to make it happen so congratulations, Wendy.

This comes courtesy of Edi’s Book Lighthouse - Incredible Submarine Themed Rooms. If you have a thing for submarines or steampunk, you’ll enjoy these images.

Movie Review

Men in Black III
A vast improvement over MIB II, which lacked in the humor department. This one plays more like a straight adventure film, although Will Smith has some very funny lines. It involves time travel and wraps up a lot of plot ties. Best part was Josh Brolin’s performance as a young agent K – he nailed Tommy Lee Jones. Not a movie that you have to catch in the theater, but it was good.

Following Yvonne? Enjoy her poetry? Any news I missed? Did you see MIB III? Or did you contribute more money to The Avengers’ billion plus take?And is anyone else hooked on watching The Hatfields and McCoys?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Epic Ninja News and the YOU ROCK! Award

Did you miss me Wednesday? I'm taking a few days off here and there to work on my next book. (And heads up – I won’t be posting on Monday either.)

Today I have an interview/review over at Michael Pierce Books. Michael is the author of Provex City and I’m honored to have a guest spot at his blog today.

Epic Ninja News!

Ciara Knight is revealing the cover art for her next book today – Weighted! And you can add it to your Goodreads shelf now. Congratulations, Ciara!

Weighted is a young adult post-apocalyptic with paranormal elements. It is a prequel novelette to The Neumarian Chronicles, and will be released August 2012. Book I, Escapement, will be released in 2013.
Blurb: The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Michael Malone’s new book, Blood Tears, comes out in paperback on June 6, but it is available as an eBook now. Congratulations, Michael! Visit his site, May Contain Nuts, for the links.

“Lady Gwen” Gardner tipped me off about this opportunity - Sharon Bayliss just signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press, and she’s having an Editor-Judged query contest (May 25-28) with a chance at a publishing contract for the winner. Go visit her site HERE to sign up. Thanks, Gwen!

Alex’s YOU ROCK! Award

Every year, I give out the YOU ROCK! Award to up to five blogger buddies. These are people who have become very special to me and been supportive friends beyond the call of duty. Past recipients include: Jeffrey Beesler at World of the Scribe, Gail at Familiar Spirits, Rusty Webb at The Blutonian Death Egg, Chuck at Apocalypse Now, George at CineMarvellous, Lee at Tossing it Out, Yvonne Lewis at Welcome to my World of Poetry, RaShelle Workman at A No. 2 Pencil Stat, and Hannah (who sadly no longer blogs) at Musings of a Palindrome.

I know SO many awesome people online that it was nearly impossible to narrow it down to five. I could give this to a hundred bloggers. So I cheated and picked seven! This year’s YOU ROCK! recipients are:

Matthew at The QQQE
I met Matthew around two years ago and at once identified with his attitude and demeanor. Can’t think of many others who are as supportive, honest, and genuine as Matthew. You think I am a commenting and networking Ninja, but my inspiration came from this man. And after working with him on a couple blogfests and the Challenge, I know he is for real. Maybe one day we’ll meet. Until then – thanks, Matthew. You the man! And you rock!

Old Kitty at Ten Lives and Second Chances
They say there are no guarantees in life, but that’s only because they haven’t met Kitty! She is one of the most consistent, stable, and faithful bloggers I know. And her comments are guaranteed to make me laugh every time! After two years of her positive, spirited presence, I don’t know what I would do without her. And Charlie. Kitty, you are a total doll and the brightest spot in the blogging world. You rock!

Ella at Ella’s Edge 
I met Ella during the first Challenge and she is the most thoughtful person I know. Her creativity knows no bounds and I watch it unfold on her blog with awe. Ella’s words flow like a peaceful stream and helped me develop an appreciation for poetry. Even more, she is a devoted friend who exchanges meaningful comments and observations. (Meaningful on her part – I probably just sound lame.) Despite the vast differences in our blogs, there is much about Ella to which I can relate. Ella, you rock on every level!

M. Pax at Wistful Nebulae
Mary is one of those people who flies just under the radar sometimes. But she is always THERE. In fact, I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t there! Mary has so many unique interests and she’s involved on every level, which I really admire. We share a lot of science fiction and geek interests, so I know hanging out with her in person would be a damn good time. She’s a gifted writer, excellent photographer, and special friend. Mary, you rock!

Roland Yeomans at Writing in the Crosshairs
I’ve followed Roland’s blog for a long time although at first I felt too inadequate to leave an intelligent comment. (Still feel like that but I comment anyway. I’m sure I amuse him.) Roland has a deeper understanding of the world than most and an appreciation for the human spirit in all its complexities. He truly paints with words. I am honored to have a friendship with this wise and devoted person. Roland, you rock!

Melissa Bradley at Melissa’s Imaginarium
I’ve come to know Melissa through a mutual admiration of all things geek. (And just where were all you cool geek girls when I was in school?) She’s a talented author, movie expert, and strong woman who knows where she’s going in life. Her friendship is unwavering and she goes to great lengths to support those dear to her heart. It’s easy to think of her as just one of the guys, but Melissa is a true lady. My dear, you rock!

Jeremy Hawkins at Retro Zombie
Last but not least, we have Jeremy. This guy is uber-cool on so many levels. Visiting his site, you might think he’s quirky, but Jeremy is the sanity in the midst of insanity. He is the voice of reason, colored by that awesome wit of his. A talented author and artist, Jeremy is beyond generous and willing to do anything to help another person. I appreciate his sincerity, his honesty, and his always positive attitude. Jeremy, you rock!

Whoa! Excited about Ciara’s next book? Plan to pick up Michael’s book or enter the query contest? Following those seven bloggers who ROCK? Seeing Men in Black III this weekend? Any other Memorial Day Weekend plans? Don’t forget to visit Michael Pierce Books. And have an awesome weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It’s All About the Movies – Author Jeremy Bates, Battleship Review, and Movie Trivia Answers

Triple movie threat for you today! First off, I have the awesome Jeremy Bates visiting. (Yes, I know a lot of awesome Jeremys – must be the name!) Jeremy’s new book, White Lies, is now available in hardback, paperback, and eBook formats. He’s here today to talk movies and plot contrivances. Take it, Jeremy!

First off, I’d like to thank Alex for getting me a spot on his blog! This place was one of the first blogs I found when I started blogging last year, and it’s my number one go-to for some good laughs and an update on anything happening in the writer’s blogosphere!

I love movies—a theme on this blog—and it kills me when I see idiotic plot contrivances. I mean, if a writer writes something screwy, I can forgive him or her because it’s one person on a budget of zero dollars putting thoughts to paper. Nevertheless, it’s mind boggling when Hollywood can’t put together a coherent script. Seriously, if you have a budget of fifty million dollars, splurge a hundred grand on a couple ambitious writers to proof read the script and brainstorm ways to iron out the wrinkles. Anyway, here are my top three movie idiocies of 2012!

· The Cold Light of Day: the protagonist and sidekick are chasing the rogue CIA woman in a massively long car chase to get a suitcase. They finally crash into her to get her to stop. She says something like “Now I’ve had it!” and pulls out her gun and begins to chase them in an equally long car chase! I actually laughed out loud in the theater at this disastrous lapse of logic. 

· Dark Shadows: Right at the end, the little girl turns into a werewolf and quips: “I'm a werewolf, let's not make a big deal out of it...woof.” No lead up, not even a hint; a complete deus ex machina. Come on, Tim, you can do better than this! 

· ATM: Three people trapped in an ATM booth. One crazy guy. There’s only one thing I can say about the entire premise here: It’s three against one! Attack him!

Wow. It actually feels good to get that rant off my chest! If you have can think of any ridiculous plot contrivances, post ‘em below! Would love to read some good ones!

Thanks, Jeremy!

Check out his Website and purchase his book on Amazon

Movie Review

This is nothing more than a B movie with a massive budget. It out-does Michael Bay for over-the-top everything. The storyline is dumb. When they are calling out the locations of alien ships (B-19) I about lost it. And the missiles the aliens fire look like Battleship pegs – I kid you not! But you know what? It is a hell of a lot of fun! Acting not required, although everyone did all right in his or her part. The ships and the aliens are cool and the special effects nothing short of impressive. Watching large destroyers blow up is really impressive. It’s not art. It’s just a fun ride. I enjoyed it! Leave brain at door before entering theater and you will enjoy!

Movie Trivia Answers

“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.” – Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight
“You know, I used to think it was benign neglect, but now I see that you are intentionally screwing me.” – Dr. Grace Augustine, Avatar
“C'mon. Let's go see how much we're going for on eBay.” – Hamm, Toy Story III
“Certainty of death, *small* chance of success... What are we waiting for?” – Gimli, LOTR: Return of the King
“I may have had... briefly, mind you... stirrings.” – Jack Sparrow, POTC: On Stranger Tides

And I keep an eye on the Amazon.con rankings, but I totally missed the Amazon.UK rankings for CassaStar and CassaFire, both of which are in several top one hundred lists. Whoa! Thanks to Laura at the Daily Dodo, author of 100 Blog Prompts, for directing me to her review on Amazon.UK.

Following Jeremy or picked up his book, White Lies? Can you name any ridiculous plot contrivances? (He wants to know!) Have you seen Battleship? More likely to see it now? And did you know any of the movies? There were only ten possible answers not counting the Avengers…

Friday, May 18, 2012

Diablo III, Ninja News, Guest Posts, and Movie Trivia

Diablo III

After three solid days of playing, I can now give you a review of Diablo III. If you dug Diablo II, you’ll probably dig Diablo III. If not, nothing about this game will change your mind. Picking up twenty years after Diablo’s death, the world of Sanctuary is under threat from a new hellish terror. Game play is fast and furious as usual. The one big change is you must be connected to the Internet while playing, even in single player mode. This is great, because your character goes with you everywhere. And not so great when the servers are down for maintenance (Happened twice to me already.) Doesn’t bring a lot new to the table, but if you like this style of gameplay, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Ninja News!

Purchase Jeremy Hawkins’ book, Retro-Zombie: Art & Words, (and do a review/post), and he will design an awesome banner, badge, or blog header for you. Many of you saw his awesome work during the A to Z Challenge, and above you can see the one he did for CassaFire. His work is top-notch, so visit his BLOG for details.

It’s almost time for my annual YOU ROCK! Awards. And I can tell you right now it’s going to be REALLY difficult narrowing it down to five bloggers…

This weekend – Battleship. My plan – leave brain at door and prepare for eye candy.

Guest Posts

I enjoy having guests on my blog and not just for book releases, either. My guidelines are listed HERE and I do stick close to them because I know what works on my blog. I want guests to get the full benefit just as much as I want my followers to enjoy the guest post.

And for those authors on a book tour, my personal goal is that you will get more comments here than at any other stop on your tour!

Billion Dollar Movie Quotes!

In honor of The Avengers joining the billion dollar movie club, here are quotes from movies that have also crossed over a billion dollars. Name the movie!

“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”

“You know, I used to think it was benign neglect, but now I see that you are intentionally screwing me.”

“C'mon. Let's go see how much we're going for on eBay.”

“Certainty of death, *small* chance of success... What are we waiting for?”

“I may have had... briefly, mind you... stirrings.”

Are you playing Diablo III yet? (Or have you lost a loved one to this addictive game?) Want an awesome banner from Jeremy? Seeing Battleship? Know the movie quotes? And what’s your goal for guest posts?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Big Thanks, Ninja News, and a Movie Review

Big thanks to everyone who participated in the First Loves Blogfest! (And if you didn’t, you missed something epic.) I wasn’t sure when I selected the subject, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of participants for my sixth solo blogfest – one hundred, fifty-three. For those of you still visiting participants, all links on the list lead directly to the First Loves post. (Yes, I spent time adding the exact links to the list.) Thanks for making this the best blogfest yet!

And special thanks to Jeremy at Retro-Zombie, Jeremy at Geeky Tendencies, and Jamie at Mithril Wisdom - you guys visited most of the participants and I really appreciate that.

For my next blogfest… I have no idea at this point! But I guarantee it will be something fun.


I have an interview today over at Jessica Salyer’s site, Just Following a Dream! Jessica is really awesome and she asked some deep questions that could change the course of the universe. Well, maybe not that deep! But it was fun and I hope you’ll pay her a visit.

Jessica Bell's new book, Fabric, came out this week – congratulations, Jessica! You are just so talented.

Roland Yeoman’s latest book, Best of Enemies, is also now available. You rock, Roland!

Lynda Young is one of six authors appearing in the anthology, Make Believe, which will be released this December. Way, to go Lynda! You are such a positive force and I’m really happy for you.

And yes, Diablo III is AWESOME!!!!


The Adventures of Tintin
Finally caught this on NetFlix. The visuals are beyond stunning – not a hundred percent realistic, but getting much closer. The film also had a Raiders of the Lost Ark feel. However, there was something… ODD about this film. It was too serious for kids and yet had moments that were too silly for adults. The story just didn’t engage me _ I was almost bored. I am not familiar with the original comic though, so I’m sure core fans enjoyed it more. Just didn’t do it for me.


Wanted to thank all of my awesome followers and blogger buddies who’s supported and followed me these past few months as I’ve floundered my way through another book release, the IWSG, the A to Z Challenge, my blogfest, and all the crazy features along the way. I’ve tried to do my best and know I sometimes fall short. This blog is now all about you guys and I want to keep it positive and fun. Whatever I can do to help my blogger buddies, you know I am there for you.

What did you think of the First Loves Blogfest? Excited about all the new books this week? Playing Diablo III right now? What did you think of Tintin? Am I doing all right? Don’t forget to visit Jessica Salyer!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Loves Blogfest and Ninja News!

Today is the First Loves Blogfest! Your first movie, first music (song/band,) first book, and first person. Four loves, one blogfest!

(And between my regular blogger buddies and a hundred and seventy blogfest participants, I did not get to everyone on Monday. If I missed your blogfest entry, rest assured I will visit you Tuesday. After two hundred blogs today, it's all beginning to blur...)

First, Ninja News! 
(Because something is always happening around here…)

Jeremy at Geeky Tendencies is celebrating a hundred followers! He has teamed up with GIANTmicrobes to host a giveaway in order to celebrate. Check out his blog for details.

My friend Dafeenah at Indie Designz worked with several others and started Ebook Deal of the Day. They offer low-priced and free eBooks for the iPad and the Kindle. Check out the information and links at her SITE.

This month, Laura Eno is on her Enchanted Life Book Tour. Go visit her for the full schedule. Congratulations, Laura!

Rick at The Writer and the White Cat had a big announcement last week – “White Cat Publications, LLC. is pleased to present the submission guidelines for its first anthology, Airships & Automatons, edited by Charles P. Zaglanis.” Congratulations, Rick!

Diablo III comes out Tuesday! Yes, I might be picking it up at midnight Monday night. Then I can play it all day long on my laptop at work.

Very cool news! CassaFire jumped back into Amazon's Best Sellers for science fiction/space opera last week!!

Due to some mean-spirited, anonymous comments, I’ve had to adjust the security on my comments. Sorry about that – hope it won’t be for long. In the meantime, pray for the anonymous commenter(s).


Movie – Jaws
This movie scared the crap out of me. I was even afraid to lift the toilet seat lid. Every time I swam in the deep end of the pool, the music haunted me. Despite all of that, seeing this film in the theater was exhilarating. It was a pure adrenaline rush and the first big summer blockbuster. It made me realize that movies could be major events.

Music – Rush
This was the first band I felt made music specifically for me. It dealt with complex subjects and ideas. The band never dumbed down their music or lyrics – they felt fans were smart enough to keep up. (Which is one of the reasons I so admire progressive rock.) If I was down, I could play a Rush song and it would turn my day around. And that is still true today!

Book – The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
I read The Hobbit and LOTR in grade school but found them ponderous and frustrating at times. Then I discovered this book. Brooks took a similar formula and made it more accessible. It’s one of the few books I’ve ever read more than once. (Read it three times as a matter of fact!) Definitely launched my love of fantasy and of writing.

Person – My wife
Yes, my wife was my first love. She’s been with me so long that I even insert memories of her into my life before we met. She has really taught me a lot about opening up, dealing with others, and becoming a better person. I truly admire her work ethic. She works harder in one day than I do in a month. (Really!) She is an all around joy and I am blessed to have her in my life.

Thank you to everyone who signed up for my blogfest! Please visit others on the list below.

Want to win a GIANTmicrobe from Jeremy? Looking for deals on eBooks? See a good movie this weekend? (Sorry, didn’t go to the theater, but we did watch Hugo again – damn that film is brilliant!) And what are YOUR first loves???

Friday, May 11, 2012

News, Reviews, Blogfests, Books, and the Kitchen Sink!


For those who missed it earlier this week, Cassie put together the most incredible special feature for me at Falling For Fiction. Morgan, Mark, David, and Leigh all contributed and I felt like a celebrity. Thank you all – this Ninja was very honored by your words!

I also had a special interview/feature with Callie Leuck this week, and she was so creative the way she put it together. Thanks, Callie!

Don’t forget the First Loves Blogfest is Monday, May 14! For details and to sign up, go HERE.

The A to Z Challenge Reflections List will be open through Saturday if you’ve not added a link to your post yet. Lee will be compiling participant's thoughts, ideas, and concerns at the main A to Z Blog in the coming weeks.

I’ve been trying to update both my blogroll and the Awesome Authors page. If you are a blogger buddy (regular commenter) and you do not see your blog or current book listed, please let me know!


The Avengers
One word – awesome! Joss Whedon masterfully worked together storyline, action scenes, and character development to bring us the perfect super hero ensemble movie. For me, the Hulk stole the show. “Puny God!” I rarely see films twice in the theater, but this will be an exception. 3D BluRay DVD purchase for sure! (And currently it is $702+ million world wide – almost $100 million ahead of The Hunger Games.)

Handling Negative Reviews
I learned a new trick for handling negative book reviews this week and thought I’d share it with you guys.
Another blogger/soon-to-be author posted a one star rating of CassaStar on Goodreads this past weekend. At first it bothered me, and then I remembered the movie Good Will Hunting. There’s a scene where Matt Damon’s character says something awful about Robin Williams’ deceased wife, and the next time they meet, Williams tells him that at first it bothered him – and then he though, “He’s just a stupid kid.” And that’s how you should view reviews like that, because one star with no explanation is meaningless. Maybe that person didn’t like your book. Or maybe he just doesn’t like you or anyone else. Or maybe he gives out one star reviews to almost everyone. Regardless, it’s not worth stressing over.
Maybe I’ve just coined a new term for meaningless, crappy ratings – “He’s just a stupid kid!


I’m not through reading it yet, so I can’t offer a review, but hopefully everyone has picked up M. Pax’s new book, The Backworlds!
Here’s the synopsis:
After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.
Available from: Amazon Smashwords and Feedbooks

Lynn Rush’s new book, Awaited, is now available. Congratulations, Lynn!

And Laura Pauling is currently on tour for her new book, A Spy Like Me. Congratulations, Laura!

Wow! See what happens when I take a day off? Ready for Monday’s First Loves Blogfest? Have you seen The Avengers – again? Seeing Dark Shadows? Prepared now for the “just a stupid kid” reviews? Reading M. Pax’s book? Is there anything I missed????

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A to Z Reflections and Ninja News!

Today is the A to Z Challenge Reflections Post! We invite everyone who took part in the Challenge to share your thoughts and concerns. Once your post is live, add the direct link to the list below. DO NOT ADD YOUR BLOG'S GENERAL ADDRESS - ONLY THE LINK TO YOUR ACTUAL POST.


But first, I have a special feature at Falling For Fiction. I hope it’s special, because I’m not sure what Cassie has in store for me. I think it involves what others say about me, and that could be scary!

On Tuesday, May 8, I also have a feature/interview with Callie Leuck. And it's up NOW! Yes, a guest post Monday AND Tuesday this week!

A couple sites were hit with malware this weekend, and blogs such as mine, Sia's, and Tracy's had warnings because we were linked to these sites. We have removed the links. We are not the ones infected with malware!

My good blogger buddy M. Pax’s new book, Backworlds, comes out today! I’ve enjoyed everything she’s written so far and looking forward to this book. Full information HERE and later this week I’ll give you more details. (Too much for one Monday!)

Glynis Smy’s new book, Ripper, My Love, comes out today – congratulations, Glynis!

And - The Avengers rocked! Saw the first showing Friday at lunch and can't wait to go see it again. AWESOME!


This was my third Challenge and my second time as a co-host. I am still a big believer in the Challenge, as it stretches you and connects you to other bloggers. There were only a hundred of us for that first Challenge, but it made a huge impact on me.

I wish I’d had more time to visit new blogs. Many of my blogger buddies also signed up for the Challenge, and I soon discovered that a hundred and fifty blogs a day was the most I could visit on a regular basis. So I have a lot of new followers I need to visit!

Only Stephen Tremp and I were returning co-hosts, and several of the new co-hosts really jumped in with some good ideas. I feel we were much more organized this year with the blog, Twitter hashtag and newsletter, Facebook page, and Triberr.

The suggestion to break up the list into several smaller lists has come up, but I hope it never comes to that. My followers, and those I follow, are an eclectic bunch, reflecting many interests, and I like that. I’ve enjoyed finding bloggers who are neither authors nor writers.

Several people commented that they followed a lot of new blogs but the follow wasn’t returned. Some of the blogs I followed that didn’t return the follow were newer bloggers, so I wonder if they didn’t understand the concept. Of course, I know some were just following to build their own followers without ever commenting or interacting, and that wasn’t in the spirit of the Challenge either. Just one of those things no one can control. (Except go back and do some unfollowing.)

Finally, I was pleased with the response to my theme for this year, which was a variation on last year’s theme. I’m happy it gave me a chance to give back to the community and that you guys enjoyed it. And the amount of comments rocked! I usually post every other day and average 140+ comments, but even with daily posting I was still getting 110+ comments per post. Wow!

Lee, thanks again for creating this Challenge. It continues to be the most awesome thing in the blogging world, beyond any campaign or blogfest, and I was honored to be a part of it for the third straight year. Count me in as a co-host for next year!

What did YOU think about the Challenge? (Whether you participated or not.) What can we do better next year? What can I do better next year? Ready to visit Cassie on Monday and Callie on Tuesday? I aim to amuse…

Remember, enter the LINK to your Reflections post once it is live:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Michael Offutt on Slipstream, Dyslexia, and Goatzilla

I have a really cool guest for you today!

First, A quick reminder that the A to Z Challenge Reflections Post is this coming Monday. Post your thoughts on the Challenge and then visit the main blog or any of the hosts and enter the link to your post in the Linky sign up.

My guest today is author Michael Offutt. His first book, Slipstream, just came out last month – and those of us who are authors remember how exciting it is with that very first book! Michael would like to share with you some of his writing rules and a giveaway he is hosting. Take it away, Michael!

Here are the seven rules I use when writing science-fiction:
1) Select a title that has already been done twenty times so that when people Google it, they will find old movies starring Mark Hamill and Anthony Hopkins. In this way you at least get the secondary traffic from people who have low standards.
2) Embrace your dyslexia. This is how you get some really cool alien names.
3) Use post-modernism in your story. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what that term means. No one else does either. But use it in your pitch and you’ll come across as smart.
4) Use a teenage male or female lead, an evil scientist, and a monster.
5) Recycle ideas that people find familiar. Instead of Godzilla, create Goatzilla—a 200-foot tall goat with radioactive breath who buries Puerto Vallarta under its own droppings. People will think you’re a genius.
6) Solicit good advice from people you know personally, but who really could care less about what you do. After querying 40 times and receiving 40 rejections from agents, it’s helpful to get told, “I think the key to publishing is getting an agent. Have you tried that?”
7) Solicit beta readers from a pool of people who would rather read OK Cupid and Facebook than read a book. These are perfect because they are looking for romance and boy are they ever gonna be surprised by your book. You can write love better than anyone.

And that my friends, is advice you can take to heart. But aside from my snark, you are wonderful. Never forget that. Never stop dreaming.

I have a contest for the release of my book, entitled SLIPSTREAM. I will pick one random person who comments on this post to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a SLIPSTREAM jeweled spider (the same person wins both prizes). The jeweled spider isn’t cheap either. It really sparkles in the sunlight. I hope whoever wins it really likes it. Please make sure that your email is linked to your signature in some way or I cannot contact you to let you know you’ve won.

1) Mark my book “To Read” on Goodreads.
2) Comment on this post.
3) Tweet this post if you have twitter. You don’t have to sign-up for twitter. It’s the “honor” system.

That’s it. I will choose a winner on Saturday, May 19th. And thank you, Mr. Cavanaugh for having me on your fine blog.

You can find Michael’s book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Thanks, Michael! Any questions? Have you embraced your dyslexia? Think you could create a story around Goatzilla? Want to win the gift card and pin? Still recovering from the A to Z Challenge? I intend to step away from my computer and do something wacky this weekend. Well, probably not that wacky. But I saw AVENGERS Friday morning and it was AWESOME! And might head over to Myrtle Beach with the wife...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

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.

The past few months were crazy for me. I was preparing for the launch of CassaFire and a two-week blog tour. I was preparing for the A to Z Challenge, promoting and scheduling all of my posts. During April, I was taking care of the Linky List and visiting around a hundred and fifty blogs a day. And coming up are some guest posts, Challenge Reflections post, and my First Loves Blogfest, not to mention a lot of new followers to visit.

Not a lot of writing time there!

So I will have to ease back just a bit online if I hope to complete my third and final book. I’ll probably skip a post now and then. I’ll have to scale back how many blogs I visit in a day. There aren’t enough hours to do it all.

Hopefully everyone will understand. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or miss some exciting news. I enjoy supporting my blogger buddies and sharing in your joys and accomplishments. So I hope the Ninja Army doesn’t desert me.

And if I did have a couple clones, I’d send one to my job and make the other one work on my manuscript! My clone can’t possibly type slower than me…

And quick NINJA NEWS announcement:
Juliana Haygert has started a new group blog for the genre of “New Adult” called NA Alley. If you read or write New Adult, check it out – they’re even doing a big launch giveaway!

Any words of advice on balancing it all? Will it be all right if I’m not online quite as much? And did you take Tuesday off after the Challenge ended? I intend to take the whole upcoming weekend off!