Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ninja News, July Movie Preview, and Ninjas on Vacation!

Not to be confused with Ninjas on Ice.

Ninja News!

Special treat – I’ve interviewed my buddy Jamie Gibbs of Mithril Wisdom over at the A to Z Blog today! Every other Wednesday is a challenge participant feature and Jamie’s theme for the Challenge rocked!

Today is the launch day for Laura Eno’s next book, Wraith, Book Two of the Carriena Oracles!

Someone wants them dead. Another wants them captured. No one can be trusted. Secrets, lies, and revelations await Raven and Mikael as their search for Mikael's missing friend leads them to Wraith, a mysterious moon owned by Jeffrey Hamilton, cybernetics genius and Ben's creator. How much of the Oracle's technology does Hamilton possess and where did it come from?

Raven's nightmares from the past threaten her sanity, while Mikael's guilt slowly consumes him. Ben's in more danger than anyone as they race to find the answers to uncertain questions—questions which could lead to death for them all.

Available for only .99 on AmazonUS, AmazonUK, Nook, and Smashwords.
As a bonus you can download the first book, Raven, for free Wednesday only! CLICK HERE and enter the code PU65D.

Morgan Shamy, Cassie Mae, Leigh Covington, and Mark Koopmans are hosting the What If Fairy Tale Madness Blogfest in August! Visit any of their sites to sign up.

Cherie Reich’s new book, Women of Foxwick, is available now and for one week only, it’s just 99 cents. Congratulations, Cherie!

Carol Kilgore at Under the Tiki Hut is hosting another contest this week – are you Team Frozen or Team Rocks?

Thanks to everyone who Championed my buddy Andrew Leon last week in the Star Wars Blogathon – he won!!! Congratulations, Andrew.

Don’t forget that since the next posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group falls on the USA’s Fourth of July holiday, we will be posting on either Tuesday OR Wednesday of that week.

And starting Friday, I will be on vacation for four days! Yes, I gave up a chance to appear at Fandom Fest to spend time with my wife. I’ll be checking email and my blog, but otherwise I’ve promised her no Internet. I’ll return Tuesday with my post for the IWSG.

July Movies

Here are the upcoming releases for July. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

3 -

The Amazing Spider-Man
Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father's former partner.
Director: Marc Webb
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen
Did we need a reboot this soon? Heck no! But it is getting good reviews…

6 -

Pot growers Ben and Chon face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend.
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta
Stone is hit or miss, but for Kitsch’s sake, hope this is a hit, or the dude may never act again.

13 -

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Manny, Diego, and Sid embark upon another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Using an iceberg as a ship, they encounter sea creatures and battle pirates as they explore a new world.
Directors: Steve Martino | Mike Thurmeier
Stars: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Peter Dinklage
The third film is one of the top grossing films of all time. No idea why. But according to my wife, we are not missing this one. Stupid Scrat movie…

20 -

The Dark Knight Rises
Eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face's crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that brands him an enemy.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine
After The Avengers this the next most anticipated film of the summer. Nolan can do no wrong – this movie will rock!

27 -

The Watch
Suburban dads who form a neighborhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion.
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Billy Crudup
Could easily suck. I usually don’t like this type of film, but the previews were funny.

Any new books strike your fancy? Or blogfests? Ready for the next IWSG posting next Tuesday/Wednesday? Any movies strike your interest? Don’t forget to visit Jamie at the A to Z blog. And do you think I need a vacation?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Elana Johnson Talks Music, Ninja News, and Movie News!

Special Guest – Elana Johnson!

I am very honored to host Elana Johnson today. Two years ago, Elana asked me to participate in a blogfest with her and Jen Daiker. At the time, I was closing in on two hundred followers. Jen had around eight hundred and Elana over 1500. At the time, it looked like a million to me. Not sure what she saw in this science fiction geek, but I’m grateful she saw something good. Thank you, Elana!

Music that Inspired the Writing: Misery by Maroon 5

I am a huge fan of Marron 5, I’ll freely admit. I like almost all of their songs, because they’re the kind you can turn up loud in the car and scream-sing to. And I like to do that.

One of their songs really captured the essence of writing SURRENDER for me. There’s one main character, Raine, who’d really rather talk about the issues at hand, but feels like she can’t. So these lyrics really sum her up:

So scared of breaking it
But you won’t let it bend
And I wrote two hundred letters
I will never send.

Sometimes these cuts are so much deeper than they seem
You’d rather cover up
I’d rather let them bleed.

Then later on in the story, the song sifts to mirroring how Gunner (the male MC) in the story when he can’t get Raine to answer any of his communications:

I am in misery
There ain’t nobody who can comfort me, oh yeah
Why won’t you answer me?
The silence is slowly killing me.

The song just has such an angsty vibe to it, and it was perfect for SURRENDER.

Do you have a song you listen to that sums up your novel so succinctly?

Be sure to participate in this week’s SURRENDER blog tour for a chance to win an e-book of your choice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, Elana! And yes, Stream of Passion’s Street Spirit fit one very powerful and pivotal scene in CassaStar. Those who’ve read it probably know which one…

Ninja News!

Heather McCorkle is hosting a giveaway that benefits the Ian Somerhalder Foundation - “I’m going to be giving away some great swag, a signed hardback of To Ride A Puca and up to $10 in gifted eBooks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or The Book Depository.” Stop by her blog for details!

Juliana Haygert just signed a deal with Lyrical Press for her book, Destiny’s Gift. Congratulations, Juliana!

Don’t forget that since the next posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group falls on the USA’s Fourth of July holiday, we will be posting on either Tuesday OR Wednesday of that week.

I’m still making progress on CassaStorm. Doubt I’ll win BuNo, as my wife and I go on vacation this Friday, but it certainly kicked me into writing overdrive.

And this is post number five hundred for me! Whoa...


We were going to see Brave Friday night but ended up spending the evening with friends instead. So sorry, no movie review today! But I do have some movies news for you.

Remakes! Love them or hate them, there are many in the works:

Total Recall – it’s not even be set on Mars anymore!
RoboCop – why?
The Evil Dead – now that is just wrong!
Godzilla – this one is needed.
Judge Dredd – also needed.
Excalibur – Cool when I was a kid, little dated now. This one might work.
Highlander – no one can replace Sean Connery!
The Crow – did they learn nothing from the dismal flops of the sequels? You can’t take Brandon Lee out of the equation. Or director Alex Proyas.

Have you purchased Possession? Is there a certain song that fits your story? Did you see a movie this weekend? (I watched the first Blade again – forgot it was so cool.) And do any of those films need to be remade?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Epic Ninja News, Movie Review, and Kela Thinks I’m Famous

Special Feature and Special Request!

Kela is the sweetheart who runs Teardrops on my Books. Tuesday, she honored me by saying I was famous. Thursday, she featured me in her Thursday Tag HERE. For your amusement, I invite you to read my answers. Thanks, Kela – you rock, my friend!

I have a very special request of the Ninja Army. Not for me, for my friend Andrew. I’d previously mentioned the book he did for his students, Charter Shorts, which goes to benefit the school.
Friday is the last day for Briane's Star Wars Trivia Marathon. Andrew is in second place but can still pull out a win with some help. If you go to Briane’s blog and state that you Champion Andrew, he gets an extra 10,000 points. (And it’s been an ongoing thing this week, so if you’ve already commented on an earlier post, you can comment again on the latest one.)
Thanks to all who showed their support for Andrew! Championing is now over.

Epic Ninja News!

This is what happens when I skip posting just one day…

Candilynn Fite has started a monthly contest, Follow My Lead – and the prizes include a fellow author’s books. This month, it’s Roland Yeoman’s End of Days. Awesome idea, Candy!
Here’s the basics:
Entries must be original work of the writer.
Only one entry per contestant.
300 words or less.
The piece must follow the prompt provided, but may sway in any direction.
The contest piece should be written about the image, in some form or fashion.
The prompt should be used in the story and included in word count.
Ends June 30, 2012

Jamie at Mithril Wisdom has more fun at work than I do – they created a zombie game app that works with Google Maps. Visit his site so you too can send zombies to attack your friends where they live!

The awesome Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out is looking for people to hijack his blog! If you are interested in doing a guest post, contact Lee.

Author Bryan Thomas Schmidt lists Five Great New Epic Series for Your Summer Reads. And hey – my Cassa books are listed! Thanks, Bryan.

Michael Abayomi had some great news about his 6-part epic fantasy series, Guardians & The Lost Paradise: “The first two chapters are now on display at The Lost Paradise as part of my about-to-be-launched Indiegogo campaign to raise enough money to produce all 6 books in the series.” Good luck, Michael!

The ladies at Falling for Fiction (Cassie, Jade, Hope, Kelley, and Jenny) are hosting the Hookers & Hangers Blogfest on July 16 and 18. Go HERE to sign up!

Rick at The Writer and the White Cat announced that starting the first of July, White Cat Publications, LLC. will begin accepting submissions for their new magazine of urban poetry titled Nain Rouge a Journal of Urban Poetry, Prose and Art.

Lydia Kang is hosting an amazing giveaway – critiques, books, and Amazon gift card!

JA Bennett is hosting a two hundred followers giveaway – Amazon gift card and a critique!

Heads up! Since the next posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group falls on the USA’s Fourth of July holiday, we will be posting BOTH Tuesday and Wednesday of that week.

Movie Review

Finally saw this on NetFlix. Glad I waited.
This movie misses the mark on every level. It’s poorly edited and constructed. Everything about it feels odd. Even the special effects. The worst part is the goofy costuming. My wife commented that in one scene, the Oracles looked like matching salt and pepper shakers. Part of the problem is this movie takes itself way too seriously. Directed by Tarsem Singh who directed The Cell and… not much else. The best thing I took away from the film was that actor Henry Cavill will make a good Superman in the remake.

Don’t forget to visit Kela You guys are awesome!

Whoa! Participating in Candy’s monthly contest? Ready to unleash some zombies? Reading for some summer reading? Feeling lucky with a contest or two? Did you lose part of your life watching Immortals? Both Brave and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter come out this weekend – seeing either of them?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ninja Naked with Hart Johnson, Movie Review, and Ninja News!

Special Guest, Hart Johnson, Gets Ninja Naked!

Ninja Fail

First of all, I want to throw out a HUGE thanks to Alex. Alex is probably the most generous blogger I know for spreading the love and helping us feel like a big blogging family. (So we're clear... I am one of the black sheep—erm... maybe rainbow sheep (I only WANT to be a black sheep)—and he loves me anyway). So I really appreciate the chance to share a little love with the Ninja Team today.

I thought, in honor of Alex, I would do a little Ninja assessment of my MC and her posse... though it's not really a posse, you understand... Cam being neither cowboy, nor rapper... But she has a best friend, a boyfriend, a dad, a sister, a brother-in-law... are there any ninja's in The Azalea Assault?

Cam: My MC is darned efficient when it comes to damage control. She spots a problem and can either hide it or spin it so her client, the Roanoke Garden Society comes out smelling like jasmine (which is better than roses, by the way, unless there is a dead body contaminating the experience *shifty*). As the book begins, Cam and Rob (the boyfriend) have a nearly ninja coup! (other than the near groping experience, but never mind), but honestly... Cam gets caught more often than not... her heart is in the right place, but she is NO NINJA!

Her sister Petunia doesn't even TRY to be a ninja. She is so non-ninja she can't deliver a cocktail without being goosed! Poor woman. Her husband, likewise, fails to blend... but for him it is a shady past... a ninja should NEVER have a shady past or EVERYBODY will think he is UP TO SOMETHING!

Cam's dad, Nelson is in his 60s, but that has NOTHING to do with his non-ninja status... you see, HIS problem is he is a BABE magnet. I kid you not. Eligible women of a certain age just are drawn to his charm... hard to be a ninja with a harem... [want to know a secret? Revealed HERE first—the inspiration for this character is the dad on the TV series Frazier—talk about a charmer!--if you were a 50+ woman, wouldn't YOU want to hang out with him?]

So we are left with Annie. Oh, Annie shows PROMISE. She LOVES to sneak around and get away with stuff. But she has a contagious sense of fun and a bit too strong of a channeling of a certain Tart some of you might now... Do you remember the scene in My Cousin Vinny where Marissa Tomei says, “Oh, you blend,”? Unfortunately, THAT is Annie. Very hard to ignore the woman daring people to streak or paint each other with frosting. (And in a blueblood crowd? Not so much...)

On the PLUS side... while Ninjas ROCK, they are better as friends than mystery characters... no suspense in anybody who always succeeds...Much more amusing to watch them SQUIRM! *cue evil laughter*

And we are ALL Ninjas in spirit, eh?

The Azalea Assault
Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).

Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook Amazon Paperback or Kindle
Visit Hart at Confessions of a Watery Tart

Movie Review

We Bought a Zoo
Yes, the stupid zoo movie, (Not to be confused with the stupid owl movie or either stupid horse movies.)
Directed by Cameron Crowe and staring Matt Damon, it’s the true story of a widowed man who takes his two kids to the country to run a dilapidated zoo. (The movie is set in America, but the real zoo is the Dartmoor Zoo, located in the UK.)
This was a sweet story about a family finding themselves again and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the film. A lot deals with handling death, including a situation at the zoo with an aging tiger. Be warned, it is a tearjerker. Overall, a good story with solid performances.
(All right, bring on the next stupid animal movie – I’m ready!)

Ninja News!

Stephanie at Scribbler to Scribe noted that Nightmare Magazine is now open for submissions!

Time-sensitive news from a Challenge co-host buddy - Stephen Tremp’s book, Breakthrough, is free June 18 and 19 on AMAZON Get your copy today!

A.J. Walker’s latest book, a fantasy entitled Hard Winter, was just released. Congratulations, AJ! Check it out on Amazon

It’s cool when someone posts a review of your book – twice as cool as when someone posts two at once! Big thanks to DG Hudson for the reviews of CassaStar and CassaFire.

Do you consider yourself a Ninja? Have you picked up Hart’s new book? Seen We Bought a Zoo? Catch another movie this weekend? Ready for more books? Or do you just want to get naked?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Soundtracks for Novels, Rush, Movie Trivia Answers, Prometheus Questions, and My Next Blogfest…

As you know, I am all about music! So I’ve invited my buddy Roland Yeomans to talk about soundtracks for novels.


My novel, END OF DAYS, does. My favorite movies have stirring soundtracks. I hear music when I write scenes. When I was writing the climatic chapter, DUEL OF THE FATES, I heard … no, not that tune but ANAKIN VS. OBI- WAN.

How do you write music into your novel?

In the chapter, THERE IS NO FAIL, Samuel McCord is evading and firing upon a swarm of dragons attacking the Blackhawk helicopter he is piloting. I have Alice hearing in her thoughts (courtesy of Victor Standish who is haunting her mind) Jesse Cook’s RATTLE & BURN.

The title to the tune says it all. If you look it up on YouTube, the music will add to the scene. Yet, the title is all that is needed.

As Alice is playing poker with Samuel in the haunted jazz club, Meilori’s, I have the ghost of Hank Williams singing the song written by his son, TUESDAY’S GONE WITH THE WIND. Alice is mourning Victor, and again, the title says it all. If you listen to the tune, it will add to the scene but you don’t need to hear the music.

Earlier Alice encountered DayStar, who believes himself Lucifer, as she is about to enter Meilori’s. Samuel is playing the WWII British song, THERE’S A TAVERN IN THE TOWN. DayStar is livid and explains why. It is the song the RAF pilots sang during the London Blitz. Its upbeat tempo was in defiance of the fact that they were fighting a losing battle in the skies and knew it.

Samuel playing it and Father Renfield singing it means that they have accepted that this is the End of Days. They are refusing to give into despair but are pledging their lives to fight to the death for a cause larger than they … as the two of them had done with those valiant RAF pilots.

(In CAPTAIN AMERICA, it is the tune in the background when Steve Rogers persuades the prisoners he rescued to become the Howling Commandos.)

Now, do you see how you can put music into your own novel?

Thanks, Roland! His latest book is End of Days and you can get the scoop at his BLOG

Ninja News!

Thanks to those of you who left comments about a feature at the A to Z Blog. I will try to get to everyone within the next week!

Cate Masters Is offering her book, Orion Risings, free for a limited time. Beat feet to her site for details.

Mark your calendars! Monday, September 17, 2012 will be my next blogfest. What is it? You have to wait until August to find out…

Picked up Rush – Clockwork Angels this week. Their 20th studio album, it’s a great disc. Not what you’d expect from guys approaching sixty! The fact they can remain relevant for forty years is a testimony to their great songwriting and musicianship. I’m an unabashed fan, so check out the reviews online – it’s been very well received!

Movie Trivia Answers!

Movie tagline answers – don’t kick yourself!

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Fly (1986)
An adventure 65 million years in the making. Jurassic Park (1993)
A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge, and seafood. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
The coast is toast. Volcano (1997)
Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas. Army of Darkness (1992)
Does for rock and roll what "The Sound of Music" did for hills. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Thank God it's only a motion picture. Airplane! (1980)


Caught this at MsMariah's Space Blog-yssey The Red Letter Media guys ask some hard questions about the movie Prometheus. Some of the questions can be answered, but some are valid observations. And it’s hilarious! (Sorry, some crude language – you’ve been warned.)

Does your novel have a soundtrack? Have you read End of Days? Ready for another blogfest in September? Pick up the latest Rush CD? Kicking yourself for not knowing the answers to the movie taglines? Think the Red Letter Media guys made some valid points? Anyone going to the movies this weekend…?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Double Feature, Ninja News, and Movie Trivia!

Double Feature! 

Two special features today.

First, I have an interview with Laura Barnes, awesome blog critiquer. No critique today, but I do talk about book promotions and blog tours.

Second, every other Wednesday is a special A to Z Challenge participant feature at the A to Z Blog. Today I’ve interviewed Stormy the Weather Gnome. Come hear what Stormy has to say about challenges, dating, and foot moss.

Ninja News!

I’m also looking for bloggers to feature at the A to Z Blog. If you participated in the Challenge with a theme and are interested in an interview feature, let me know.

Vine Leaves Literary Journal is offering you the opportunity to win free critiques from publishing experts and a one-year subscription to! Visit Jessica Bell’s BLOG for details.

And I got these Tuesday and just had to share. My publisher sent me the new design they are using for my promotional postcards. Look at the new graphic - Amazon Sci-Fi Best Seller!
And no, I never, ever imagined that happening!

Movie Trivia!

Below are seven taglines – can you name the movies without Googling the answers? (All are from the 80’s and 90’s. And yes, I saw all of them in the theater. Does that surprise you?)

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

An adventure 65 million years in the making.

A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge, and seafood.

The coast is toast.

Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.

Does for rock and roll what "The Sound of Music" did for hills.

Thank God it's only a motion picture.

Answers Friday!

Interested in a feature on the A to Z Blog? Excited about the Vine Leaves Contest? Know any of the movies? Do you realize June is half over????
Be sure to visit Laura Barnes and Stormy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Movie Reviews – Prometheus, Madagascar III, John Carter – and Ninja News!

Movie Reviews

I liked it, but… Yes, I know that’s how most reviews of this movie begin, and now I understand why. Some spoilers, but they won’t ruin the film and certainly can’t add to the confusion.
Basic storyline is a group travels to a distant planet to find our creators.
First, it is a stunning looking film. Scott can deliver visuals like noboby’s business. Just massive in scope.
Now, this movie raises far more questions than it answers. It begins with grand ideas (think 2001) but somewhere along the way it returns to earth, bogged down by scenes that made no sense. We pieced together some of the story (check out Cinema Blend) but some of it remained a mystery due to gaps. Some scenes made sense, but the characters were not fleshed out enough to make their actions believable. Either there are many missing scenes or a lot of plot holes left open. (Inception was a complicated puzzle but it could be put together - with this movie, there are pieces missing and extra pieces, resulting in an incomplete puzzle.)
I found the film intriguing and enjoyable – it was quite a spectacle to behold. Ultimately though, it felt like a missed opportunity and was a very frustrating film to watch.

Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Watned
Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman, and the gang are back and still trying to get home to New York. The big box office winner of the weekend, this film returns to the silliness of the first one. Placing the characters in a traveling circus is the perfect setting. The animation and settings are lush, and the movie is a splash of colors. With animals leaping, spinning, and shooting out of cannons, the 3D really pops. We meet many new characters, the best of which is Stefano the sea lion and a group of grumpy little dogs.
The story is simple. This isn’t Oscar material, folks! It won’t change your life. However, it is very funny. Yes, I enjoyed this one. Take the family!

John Carter – 3D Bluray DVD
I caught this in the theater back in March and reviewed it HERE. Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ book, Princess of Mars, this movie is a throwback to classic science fiction-fantasy. Visually stunning, epic in scope, and coupled with a great story, this film should’ve done far better at the box office. (Thank you Disney for screwing up the marketing!) A second viewing in 3D confirmed my first impression – this movie is awesome. It’s the kind of story I wish I could write. If you haven’t seen John Carter, rent it now!

Ninja News!

Thanks to everyone who commented on Michael Pierce’s guest post last Friday and downloaded his book, Provex City!

Talli Roland has a new book out this week – Construct a Couple. Congratulations, Talli!!

Carol Kilgore at Under the Tiki Hut is holding a contest this week and giving away early copies of her upcoming release, In Name Only. Check her site for details.

In the world of sports, the Miami Heat face the Oklahoma City Thunder, pitting Lebron against Durant in basketball. And the LA Kings lead the series against the New Jersey Devils in hockey. Then it will be a long five-six weeks until preseason football begins...

And despite all of my movie-watching, I did knock out a good chunk of CassaStorm this weekend!

Did you see Prometheus this weekend? Agree with the “It was good, but…” reviews? What about Madagascar? Anyone else pick up John Carter in 3D? What team are your pulling for? How’s your June writing progress? I think I’ll scale back the movies next weekend and write more…

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tips & Offer from Michael Pierce and Ninja News!

Special Guest!

Today I am welcoming author Michael Pierce! He’ll share his journey to publication. Some snark may be involved!

Self-Publishing in 300 Words or Less
(Self-imposed challenge accepted!)

I’d like to start off with thanking Alex for the opportunity to be a guest blogger. It’s quite a privilege to be here, and frankly, a little intimidating. I self-published my first book, Provex City, a few months ago and this is the Cliffs Notes to what I’ve learned. (This isn’t included in my word count.) Cheater! I'll let it slide...

Congratulations, you’ve decided to self-publish! It’s a life and death decision (for your story) and you made it. Now what? Start by looking at those who’ve come before you, successful authors like J.A. Konrath, Colleen Houck, and Amanda Hocking. Following their examples can save you a few whacks and welts along the way.

I assume you already have a blog firing on all cylinders. Check! Your new bible is The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing and be sure to visit Konrath’s blog of the same title. Then follow his roadmap to self-publishing and you can’t get lost, though some roads may need repaving.

Writing is a solitary process, but getting your writing to the masses takes a highly trained team of professionals. What you will need to start:
· An editor. You may want to throw a proofreader in the mix. Check!
· A cover designer (unless you’re a graphic designer, in which case email me!). Check!
· An e-book formatter. You can do this yourself if you’ve got the patience. I don’t. Check!
· A Print-on-Demand team (CreateSpace). A majority of sales comes from e-books, but a print copy is good for showing off to the family and submitting to book bloggers for reviews. Check!

Headache Saver #1: Have your e-book and print copy become available on or about the same time. My e-book came out a month before my print copy and I was surprised at the confusion it caused. Never again.

The two largest venues for your e-book are Amazon and Smashwords. Smashwords will distribute your freshly formatted e-book to and the iBookstore. Now your book is available to millions of people worldwide. Holy adjectives and expletives, Batman! Stop shaking; it’s a good thing. Now it’s time to start promoting, which will take me over my promised— Good save!

Provex City is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon. Today through Sunday, the Kindle edition of Provex City is available for FREE! Don’t hesitate to download it HERE Enjoy, members of Alex’s Ninja Army and thank you so much for reading. And I’m participating in the Debut Author Blog Hop Giveaway right now with 2 signed copies of Michael Offutt’s Slipstream.

Michael Pierce lives in Southern California with his wife, daughter, and two ultra-protective Chiweenies. Provex City is his debut novel and the first book in the young adult fantasy Lorne Family Vault Series. Visit him at his Blog, on Twitter, and on Goodreads

Ninja News!

Donna Shields has a new book out, Secrets of Jenkins Bridge, and to celebrate she is giving away all sorts of cool loot. Congratulations, Donna!

Vic Caswell just launched her freelance illustration business, Sketcher Girl Studios,and she’s celebrating by holding a giveaway of cool stuff. Check out the giveaway on her blog. Congratulations, Vic!

BIG thanks to everyone who participated in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Those were some of the best posts I've read yet and I appreciate those of you who visited someone new.

And in case you missed it, Prometheus comes out today! After watching John Carter last night in 3D, Prometheus today, and Madagascar III this weekend, I just might be movied-out. (Who am I kidding? Never!) Reviews to follow on Monday. And I do promise to write this weekend as well.

Following Michael? Self-published a book or thinking about it? (And if you are thinking about it, Vic does covers!) Don’t forget to take Michael up on a free copy of Provex City. And finally, who’s going to the movies this weekend???

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group 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.

The very first posting of the IWSG was September 6, 2011. While I do cull the list now and then for non-participants, the group is now three hundred strong.
First, I’d like to thank Christine Danek, Rusty Webb, L. Diane Wolfe, Robyn Alana Engel, Marta Szemik, Siv Maria, Jamie Gibbs, and Annalisa Crawford- these awesome bloggers have posted every single month for the IWSG. (And if I missed someone, let me know.) Thanks for your dedication, guys!
Second, the list is so big, there is no way I can visit everyone. Those from the middle of the list to the end seem to receive less comments, so if you guys could pop in and visit a couple new bloggers, I would appreciate it!

My post today is a good one! With BuNoWriMo motivating me, I’m making good progress on CassaStorm. It helps that I spent over four months on the outline, adjusting and adding, to the point I told Rusty I needed to stop before the outline became my novel. I’m not the fastest typist, especially as the perfectionist in me ponders every word and line as I write. My pace is about 350 words an hour. Go ahead and laugh – I know some of you can type that in five minutes! It takes me longer, but I am making good progress.

Now this is something that might help other writers. When planning CassaFire, I relied on reviews to tell me where I needed to improve. Some people don’t read reviews, but I like to know what I can do better and what fans want, so I look for common themes. Usually I look at Goodreads and Amazon. Well, since I discovered my books were bouncing around on the Amazon UK bestseller charts, I noticed something else – many of those reviews were different (As in, new to me.) So, if you do look at your reviews for input, be sure to check all sites!

Click on the tabbed page above for a list of all IWSG participants!

Ninja News!

Michelle Gregory at Beautiful Chaos has something special today just for IWSG participants! She is giving away nine paperback and ten eBooks of her novel, Eldala. Thanks, Michelle – that is really awesome!

Several blogger buddies of mine, Helen Ginger, Stephen Tremp, and Mary Montague Sikes, have contributed to a short story anthology from the BBT Café called Corner Café – and it’s available now! Congratulations, guys.

Jennifer Hillier’s Freak comes out soon! And she’s holding a contest – write a story using the word freak. Signed copies of Freak and an Amazon gift card are at stake. That rocks, Jennifer!

And I just purchased the 3D BluRay of John Carter. I’m going to be busy watching movies this weekend!

What are your insecurities today? Do you read your reviews to improve? Ready to take advantage of the cool offers above? Want to come watch John Carter in 3D? We have extra glasses!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Huntsman Movie Review, Ninja News, Book Releases, Awards, and Visiting the Geek Twins

Maurice asked me to be a guest at The Geek Twins ages ago – and we finally made it happen! Want to know who I think are the smartest and sexiest women in science fiction and why? Come on, you know you do! Then jump over and visit The Geek Twins, Maurice and Nigel, when you’re done here.

Movie Review

Snow White and the Huntsman
Definitely not the sweet Disney version! This movie had an uneven pace. Certain scenes were well executed and visually stunning, like the faerie forest, while others dragged or seemed odd. I think in the hands of a better director this film would’ve been a major contender. The beginning was slow although it picked up once the dwarves appeared. Stewart did all right although the girl can’t smile to save her life. Ultimately, it was Chris Hemsworth who carried the movie. If not for him, it would’ve had no heart or soul.
Certainly not a bad film but overall a bit disappointing. Full potential not realized.

Ninja News

Anna Smith’s book, Alphabet Wishes, is now available – congratulations, Anna!

Allison at Geek Banter is holding a Hundred Followers giveaway and you could win one of several Terry Brooks novels. Now that is a cool prize. Way to go, Allison!

RaShelle Workman unveiled the cover art for her new book series, Blood and Snow. Looks awesome, RaShelle – you rock!

And my BuNoWriMo progress is around 5000 words so far!

June 5 Book Releases

The Azalea Assault by Alyse Carlson (aka Hart Johnson) Confessions of a Watery Tart
This is Hart’s FIRST book release and I couldn’t be happier for her.
She will be amusing the Ninja Army during her blog tour on June 18.

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder
Another great cozy mystery from Elizabeth, founder of the Writers Knowledge Database.

These two ladies have teamed up for the Crazy Cozy Blogfest on June 5. Blog about the craziest idea you have for a cozy mystery. Make it entertaining and humorous. Winner receives signed books from both Hart and Elizabeth. For details, go HERE

Surrender by Elana Johnson
The follow up to her debut novel, Possession!
Elana will be entertaining the Ninja Army on her blog tour June 25.

She is also hosting a contest June 11-15 – the Never Surrender Blogfest. All participants get a swag package and three winners get a Barnes and Noble gift Card. To sign up, visit her BLOG


I’ve received many awards, including a couple new ones, and been tagged in a blog hop. In the interest of time, I shall do what I do best – be brief!

I received the Fabulous Blog Ribbon from the energetic Cassie Mae.
Name five of your most fabulous moments; five things you love; five things you hate.
One answer for each – Accepting Jesus, my wife, mowing my lawn
Passing this on to the happiest blogger I know, Morgan Shamy.

Napper Blogger Award from the sweet and caring Kela
Name something you do to take time for YOUEasy – play my guitar.
Passing this on to Laura Pauling who probably needs a nap after her blog tour.

Vicki at Page After Page tagged me with the Be Inspired Blog Hop. Thank you Vicki – I will save that one for another day.

Anyone else see Snow White and the Huntsman? Finally watch Hatfield and McCoys? (Surprised so many of you recorded it!) Participating in either Hart and Elizabeth’s or Elana’s book release blog hop/contests? Been awarded lately? And if you are participating in BuNoWriMo or Camp NaNo, are you on track with your writing?Don't forget the next posting for the Insecure Writer's Support Group is this Wednesday!

No, go visit The Geek Twins!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ninja News, BuMoWriMo, Movie Reviews, and Epic June Movie Releases!

Ninja News!

Thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments Wednesday for my online mom, Yvonne Lewis. And just to clarify, the man in the photo with her was Danny, not ME!

Cate Masters just released a new book, Orion Rising. Congratulations, Cate!

Helen Ginger at Straight From Hel announced a contest for unpublished science fiction and fantasy writers – Writer’s Toybox and Netherworld Books are looking for the next best selling author. Check it out!

It's June First, which means the next posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is next Wednesday. Mark your calendars.

I’m participating in BuNoWriMo in June. (Thanks Hart for making me an unofficial member due to my lack of a Facebook account.) I have my badge ready and plan to knock out most of CassaStorm this month.

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Hatfields and McCoys
This was the highest rated regular cable show ever (outside of sporting events) and safe to say the History Channel is on to something. Good director and top-notch actors really made the difference. Sad how such bitterness led to so much bloodshed. One of the best mini-series I’ve ever seen.

The Woman in Black
Effectively creepy ghost story – and no one does anything incredibly STUPID. (Although I wouldn’t stay overnight in that house for anything!) While not really original, it has some genuine chills and tense moments. Refreshing to see Radcliffe in a different role. Throw it in your NetFlix queue – worth a watch!

June Movies!

As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

1 –

Snow White and the Huntsman
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Director: Rupert Sanders
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin
This one looks wicked cool. Hemsworth is becoming a star.

Piranha 3DD
After the events at Lake Victoria, the pre-historic school of blood-thirsty piranhas make their way into a newly opened waterpark.
Director: John Gulager
Stars: Danielle Panabaker, Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff, Matt Bush
No, I have no desire to see this in the theater, but I just HAD to mention it since Piranha 3D was one of the goriest films I’ve ever watched. (And I have watched some gorefests.)

8 -

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron
Ridley Scott is due for another epic masterpiece and this could be it! The child of Alien and Aliens on steroids…

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.
Directors: Eric Darnell | Tom McGrath | Conrad Vernon
Stars: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer
I was informed by my wife that we ARE seeing this movie when it comes out, so this will be a double feature weekend for me. Sigh. Help me!

15 -

Rock of Ages
Set in 1987 Los Angeles, Drew and Sherrie are two young people chasing their dreams in the big city. When they meet, it's love at first sight, though their romance will face a series of challenges.
Director: Adam Shankman
Stars: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin
Despite the title, they didn’t have permission to use Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages until this movie. Hey, I know all the music – why not?

22 -

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.
Directors: Mark Andrews | Brenda Chapman | Steve Purcell
Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters
Pixar is also due for a comeback film and this looks amazing. The voices alone sell it for me.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
I’m reading the book right now. This will be one weird and twisted movie!

Anyone else doing BuMoWriMo? Or Camp NaNo? Think you might enter that contest? Did you watch Hatfield and McCoys? Any movies strike your fancy for June?