Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Latest X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Hobbit Trailers! Plus November Movie Preview, Horror Story Trivia, and the Ninja News

Latest Movie Trailers

Just released - X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer - and it is really awesome!

Coming May 23, 2014. And just look at the cast: Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Halle Berry, Omar Sy, and Lucas Till.

And in case you missed this one a couple weeks ago – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Coming December 13!

November Movies

Here are the upcoming movies for November! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

1 –

Ender’s Game
The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.
Director: Gavin Hood
Stars: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin
I’ve read the book – curious to see how much they changed the ending…

8 –

Thor: The Dark World
Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Director: Alan Taylor
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård
THE movie to see in November!! Looks awesome. And already scoring great reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.

15 –

The Wolf of Wall Street
Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, P.J. Byrne, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze
Not the type of movie I see in theaters, but it does look quirky.

The Book Thief
While subjected to the horrors of WWII Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refuge is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.
Director: Brian Percival
Stars: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schnetzer
Based on the book. Before it was stolen…

22 –

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman
I don’t believe the box office will suffer if I just skip this one…

29 –

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.
Directors: Chris Buck | Jennifer Lee
Stars: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk
So epic, I’d never heard of it until now… But what else are you going to take the kids to see after Thanksgiving?

Ninja News

Madeline Mora-Summonte just released a book - The People We Used To Be. The stories in this flash fiction collection are like day trips - brief, illuminating journeys - across the landscape of the human condition. Congratulations, Madeline!

L.G. Keltner carved one wicked dragon pumkin!!

Horror Story Trivia

Name the author…

1 – The Exorcist 1971

2 – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1886

3 – The Dark Tower 1938

4 – The Anubis Gates 1983

5 – At the Mountain of Madness 1931

Excited about the next X-Men and Hobbit movies? Any movies you plan to see in November? Think LG’s pumpkin is cool? And can you name any of the authors…?

And now scroll all the way to the bottom - my name in lights, courtesy of the awesome Jeremy Hawkins!

Monday, October 28, 2013

M Pax’s Favorite Astronomizing Moments, WALL-E and ET Pumpkins, Ninja News, Monster Trivia Answers, and Mini-Alex!

I’m visiting fellow science fiction author, Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, and answering a few questions about myself, my creative process, and words of wisdom. (Don’t laugh at that last one…)

M. Pax is here today to discuss her best moments as a star guide!

Best Moments of Astronomizing

September 27th was the end of my 6th summer as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory. Despite the growing light pollution from an expanding population in Central Oregon, we still have relatively dark skies – skies that let us view the Milky Way in all its starry glory. Glorious it is. It never fails to awe me and make my heart race. Here are some of my favorite moments:

1. Discovery. Every time I find an object, it’s as thrilling as the first time. I don’t use a computer. I use star charts and an electronics-free telescope. When I started, my astronomy friends taught me how to point at Jupiter. It and the Moon were my entire repertoire. Now I can find a hundred objects.

2. My favorite summer object: M24. It’s a densely packed star field – a star cloud – above Sagittarius. It fills my eyepiece with stars. It’s stunning. Overall, the Orion nebula is my favorite [winter object].

3. Giving Robert his life’s dream. Robert visited a few summers ago. He told me it was his life’s dream to see a nebula. I gave showed him five then told him he needed a new life’s dream, because 9 was way too young to be done with that sort of thing.

4. Showing kids how to use my telescope and letting them. “Come see my star,” they like to say. Awesome.

5. Being able to give a person in a wheelchair a tour of the night sky. It was possible with my Dobsonian.

Yeah, most of my triumphs have to do with giving someone a special night, one made of stars and dreams. It’s the most awesome job, and that joy is what I’m paid. I can’t wait until next summer.

M. Pax-- Inspiring the words she writes, she spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. She writes science fiction and fantasy mostly. You can find out more by visiting her at: Website, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Wattpad

Find Beyond the Edge: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo

Ninja News

Doralynn Kennedy’s Spiders comes out today. Congratulations, Doralynn!

Karen Lange’s Homeschool Co-ops 101 is now available! Buy it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Congratulations, Karen!

Nigel Mitchell’s latest is now available – Six Guns of Madness. Purchase it at Amazon. Congratulations, Nigel!

Cover Reveal

Release date – January 2014
Add to Goodreads

Manny O’Donnell revels in his status at the top of his high school food chain…

Julie Musil is the author of YA fiction. As the mother of three teen boys, she’s immersed in teen speak, drama, and gym socks. She loves to chat--just ask her Super Supportive Hubby, the guy with the glazed eyes. Connect with Julie on Facebook, Twitter, or her blog.

Monster Movie Trivia Answers 

1 – Ginger Snaps 2000 - Werewolf
2 – Them! 1954 - Giant Ants
3 – Tremors 1990 - Graboids
4 – Dead Alive 1992 - Zombies
5 – Near Dark 1987 - Vampires
6 – Mimic 1997 - Insects

Mini-Alex and the Cassa Poster

I’m always envious of the prizes you guys win. This time however, my publisher sent me one of them – the Cassa Universe poster!
And Mini-Alex was very happy…

More Cool Halloween Pumpkins

From EgoTV Online - visit the site for even more!

Every viewed the stars from an observatory? Excited about the new books? Get any of the trivia right? And did you carve a pumpkin this year…?

Be sure to visit Sandra Ulbrich Almazan!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Being Humorous with The Vanished Knight! Plus Monster Movie Trivia, Haunted Castles, Man with the Iron Fist Movie Review, Cover Challenge, and Ninja News

Today I welcome the awesome Misha Gericke! And I may have stressed her a little with my request for snark. Let’s see how she did!

Be Humorous!

“Be humorous”, Alex said. “Humor always goes over well with the ninja crowd.” Do you have any idea how nervous this is making me. For one thing, I’m going to bust my chops and the ninjas won’t laugh.

Ninjas don’t laugh. Didn’t you know?

And even if they have a super secret sort of giggle, it’ll be too soft for human ears to hear. So… I guess the question is… If a ninja laughs in the blogosphere and I don’t hear it, am I ever funny?

Really though, writing humor gives me the heevie jeevies. It’s… sort of like… going into a room half naked. Anyone else know what I mean? I guess it’s because I know my sense of humor. It’s like 90% pure chocolate: dark, dry, a little bitter and absolutely wicked. Problem is, no matter how hard one tries, chocolate never really translates into writing. Same thing with what I think is funny. Not to say that my books are humorless. I believe there has to be bits of humor in all stories. Even fantasies with a possessed girl, a jackass (or fourteen), a nutty old man, a quiet kid, a heroic sociopath (or so people think, although I’m never sure if they’re right on the heroic or the sociopath side) and a half elf.

It’s easier then. My characters have senses of humor, and they make silly mistakes. And more often than not, I don’t plan any of it. The magic just happens, seemingly out of the ether. That, I’m comfortable with. Making the magic, not so much.

So… In the interest of humor, I thought I’d share a Nordian joke from Gawain in The Vanished Knight. *Clears throat*
What do you get if you tie two Merithians together? An irritation.
What do you get if you tie two Larisian Elves together? A headache. Unless you drown them.
What do you get if you tie two Ladrians together? Wait? You mean they’d notice?
What do you get if you tie two Nordian Saints together? Your hand back. Severed from your arm, of course.

Doo dum tsss!

Yeah… You’d need to read the book to get it. And in case you’re curious…

Purchase The Vanished Knight: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, All Romance Reads, Amazon France, and Amazon Germany

M. Gerrick (AKA Misha Gericke) has basically created stories since before she could write. Many of those stories grew up with her and can be seen in her current projects. She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain. If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)com, Circle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you'd like to see her writer-side (beware, it's pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog. You can also add The Vanished Knight on Goodreads.

Lexa’s Cover Reveal Challenge

Can you find the error on this cover?

To win a prize, find the cover error in each of these 10 blogs: Alex J. Cavanaugh, PK Hrezo, Father Dragon Writes, Bards and Prophets, The Write Game, Ellie Garratt, Klahanie, Julie Flanders, In High Spirits, and Mainewords.

For the correct cover, rules, and prize list, go to Lexa Cain’s BLOG.
Soul Cutter releases from MuseItUp Publishing on December 6, 2013.

Ninja News

Many of you are gearing up for NaNo and might be in need of a buddy at the NaNo site. Beverly Fox is looking to connect with other participants. Visit her or leave your NaNo name in the comments so others can find you. It helps to have friends in the hunt with you!

Lee at Tossing It Out has a special guest today – Liza Long from Anarchist Soccer Mom. She received national attention with her post Thinking the Unthinkable (I am Adam Lanza’s Mom) and talks about the impact of going viral had on her. This is a continuation of his respect series, touching upon blogging and pageviews.

Somerset Memories asked Ella to write an article about her grandparents – and here it is published! Congratulations, Ella.

Want to visit a haunted castle? Gadling lists the ten most haunted castles in the world, including Castle Bran – Dracula’s castle.

Movie Review

The Man with the Iron Fists
Directed by and starring RZA, with Eli Roth as one of the producers.
First off, this movie is not good. But, it is ridiculously entertaining! If you like way over the top wire-fu mixed with a bit of gore, then this might be the film for you. Won’t win any Oscars, but it was entertaining as hell.
Also starring Rick Yune, Lucy Liu, and a fat Russell Crowe.

Monster Movie Trivia!

Name the monster(s) or creature(s) in the following movies:

1 – Ginger Snaps 2000

2 – Them! 1954

3 – Tremors 1990

4 – Dead Alive 1992

5 – Near Dark 1987

6 – Mimic 1997

Misha does know humorous, doesn’t she? Have you picked up The Vanished Knight? Participating in NaNo? Ready to visit a haunted castle? Seen The Man with the Iron Fists? And do you know any of the monsters…?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Complicated Writing Life! Plus Who’s Your Hero Blogfest, Scary Places, Death Star Pumpkin, and Ninja News

Today I welcome friend and fellow author, Liesel Hill!

Complications I Wish Were Part of my Writing Life

As a writer, life is never complex, right? There’s always plenty of time to do what needs to get done, plenty of opportunity to complete our running list of tasks, plenty of “us” time on top of everything else life throws at us. Right? So, here are some complications I wish I could add to my busy writing life:

1) I wish I didn’t have all day to write. I wish I had to work a day job that would significantly cut into my writing time and complicate my thought processes.

Oh, wait. I do!

2) I wish I didn’t have the ability to isolate myself from the world to write. I wish there were other people, especially children, bursting in, whining, needing things, or just being cute and pulling me away from my work.

Oh, wait. There are!

3) I wish there were other things that needed to be done on top of my writing. You know, errands, housework, food preparation, just the jumble of day to day living to take away from my precious writing time.

Oh, wait. There is!

4) I wish writing didn’t come easily to me. I wish that I often had to slave for hours over the keyboard, then scrap everything and start over. I wish I had to write, re-write, and re-write again so many times it made my head spin.

Oh, wait. I do!

5) I wish publication weren’t such an easy process. I wish it was something I had to work for, honing my craft for years without any real guarantee of traditional success.

Oh, wait. It is!

So, why do we do it? Why do we novelists continue to churn out book after book when most of the world would have quite two pages in?

Because we just. Freakin’. Love it.

Happy writing everyone! May this coming holiday season complicate the heck out of your writing life! :D

I’ve recently put out book 2 of my dystopian series, Quantum Entanglement as well as book 1 of a new crime drama series, entitled Dark Remnants. Both are $0.99 for a limited time!

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who sent out messages on Facebook and Twitter for W4WS on Monday! I really appreciate it.

Don’t forget to sign up for the How I Miss You blogfest on November 8.

Sean McLachlan won the 2013 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, taking the gold in the Personal Comment category for his article Video Games with a Refugee, part of his Iraq travel series on the Gadling travel blog. Congratulations, Sean!

Rachel Schieffelbein and her horse won this past weekend – they are the Arabian and Half-Arabian US Nationals Champion. Congratulations, Rachel!

Want to see some creepy places? Check out Roland Yeomans’ POST and read about the abandoned amusement park, the Winchester Mystery House, and the Suicide Forest.

CassaStorm is on Goodreads’ Best Space Opera list, feeling lonely at the bottom. Mini-Alex would be really happy to see it closer to CassaStar and CassaFire, which are at the top!

Amazing Pumpkin Carving!

From Urlesque:

Who’s Your Hero Blogfest

JL Campbell is celebrating the release of her novel, Saving Sam, which coincides with National Heroes’ Day celebrations in Jamaica. She’s asked us to write about our source of inspiration.

I’m fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life. My parents are heroes. So is my wife. And so are many of you. All of the struggles you face, and yet you continue to push for your dreams. It’s very inspiring.

If I have to name just one though, I’d choose the person who has given me the most inspiration and peace in my life. As a born-again Christian, my Lord and Savior is my hero, and Jesus sets the most incredible example. I want to display the same loving and servant heart He possesses. I’ll never measure up, but He gives me a standard to aim for.

Who is your hero?

Do you wish for any of those things Liesel listed? Sign up for the blogfest? Check out the creepy places? Dig the pumpkin? And who is your hero?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Teleportation! Plus My W4WS Day, How I Miss You Blogfest, Ninja News, and Horror Taglines Trivia Answers

Today I tackle teleportation at Stephen Tremp’s awesome SITE! When did the concept emerge? How has it figured into science fiction? And is it possible…?


Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Mary Pax, Christine Rains, and CM Brown.

I have the honor of sharing W4WS today with the awesome Isis Rushdan. That’s right! It’s the Ninja’s turn today. And was it ever difficult coming up with the Tweets and Facebook posts.

Thank you to the hosts and to all the W4WS members – and anyone else who helps – for your efforts today.

For Twitter –

For fans of #StarWars and #Heinlein – CassaStorm by @alexjcavanaugh Amazon Best Selling author #W4WS #spaceopera

Space opera with heart – the Amazon Best Selling series by @alexjcavanaugh #spaceopera #bestseller #W4WS

“CassaStorm pushes the limits…” best-selling #spaceopera by @alexjcavanaugh #W4WS #scifi

For Facebook-

"CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery." - Edi's Book Lighthouse. From the Amazon Best Selling author Alex J. Cavanaugh Available in print and eBook at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and others. Watch the trailer on YouTube - #W4WS

For fans of Heinlein and Star Wars – space opera with a heart! CassaStorm concludes the Amazon Best Selling series by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Available in print and eBook at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and others. #W4WS

Ninja News

Nicole Zoltack’s Black Hellbore is out today in eBook – print coming in January. Congratulations, Nicole!

Rachel Morgan’s The Faerie War is out today!! Congratulations, Rachel. You have wrapped up your awesome trilogy.

Milo James Fowler had some exciting news this weekend - Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Space-Time Displacement Conundrum, his first novel, will be published next year! The novel will first be serialized for subscribers, followed by an eBook and print release. Congratulations, Milo!

Cherie Reich’s epic YA short story, Magna’s Plea, is available and free at Amazon. Congratulations, Cherie!

Toinette Thomas is celebrating her birthday today by independently publishing two new works of fiction! Happy birthday, Toinette. I think you mentioned cupcakes…?

Kyra Lennon is hosting the Game On Bloghop October 28-31. To celebrate the second edition release of Game On, Kyra wants to know – who is your sports crush? Get the details at her site.

Remember, every Monday is a new post at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website. We’ve also added a lot of new sites to the databanks, so check often.

Pat at it’s Rhyme Time created this video - Orlin The Rhyming Cat - The Ninja Wannabe. If you’ve visited Pat and read about the Ninja Wannabe, no need to be confused, it’s just me. (A rhyme in your honor, Pat!) As if the lyrics and head-butting from a cat puppet weren’t enough, just wait until you see what Cassie does with me in the end…

Horror Movie Tagline Trivia Answers

1 - Ding dong. You're dead. 1986 House
2 - Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas. 1992 Army of Darkness
3 - Man is the warmest place to hide. 1992 The Thing
4 - The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is…they're dead. 1986 Night of the Creeps
5 - The night HE came home. 1978 Halloween
6 - Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders...and another one in a dish on his desk. 1985 Re-Animator

The Second Annual Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest! 

November 8, 2013 - hosted by Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish

The bloggers we really miss…and the ones we would really miss!

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!

On November 8, list one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.

Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know!

Sign up below!

Thanks to all who send out the W4WS messages! Picking up some new books? Enjoy the video – even at my expense? Get any of the trivia correct? And can you think of some bloggers you miss…?

Don’t forget to visit Stephen Tremp!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror News! Plus Horror Movie Trivia, Ninja News, and Wednesday’s Response

Today I am visiting the lovely Sia McKye! She had some really great questions about CassaStorm, my music, and everything in between. Let me tell you, when Sia emailed me her private thoughts on CassaStorm, it was probably the most awesome thing anyone has ever said about my writing. So be sure to visit Sia!

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror News!

From JoBlo - another clip from Thor: The Dark World as Jane and Thor meet again. (And she smacks the crap out of him!)

White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, an Agent Pendergast story, comes out November 12!

From Blastr - Guillermo del Toro wants to make a new film adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel The Witches. Right now the fate of the project rests in Warner Bros. hands.

Wired featured some of the most amazing Lego creations ever built, including this old haunted house:

Looking for the best haunted house for your Halloween scares? Visit Haunt World for the one nearest you. They also list trails and hayrides.

Ninja News

Sean MacLachlan at Civil War Horror is looking for blogging advice as he contemplates the new direction in his writing career and the future of his two blogs.

Candilynn Fite had this bit of news - SCBWI announced the SPARK award for non-traditionally published children's books. You can read the rules HERE.

Thanks to everyone who has purchased and reviewed CassaStorm! I’ll take reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble – I’m not picky!

CassaStorm is now on Goodreads’ Best Space Opera list! (CassaStar and CassaFire are #3 and 4.) If you enjoyed it and have time to vote for CassaStorm, I would appreciate it!

Wednesday’s Response

There were some great comments on Wednesday’s post regarding blog content and pageviews. Overall, most of you thought blogging was about community and comments more important than pageviews.

A couple comments that stood out:

From Brandon and Bryan at A Beer for the Shower:
… we had our Amanda Bynes post reach 180,000+ views. Did it increase our regular readers, or increase our book sales, etc? Not in the slightest. It was just a bunch of people who got a quick laugh and left. We don't really care about that, so going viral only counts if those people stick around. If they don't, then it's just empty calories that really aren't even worth bragging about.

From Holly at I Am HR Sinclair:
Blog views are interesting as well as searches, but comments are the only way to really know if what you said of value to anyone. And I think we all want to know we have some to say that someone else liked.

From Keith at Musings of an Unapologetic Dreamer:
Blogging really is about community and friends. It's a family-type relationship in many ways isn't it?

From Julie Dao at Silver Linings:
The best blogs, for me, are the ones with humor and honesty. And those are usually the ones with the highest number of followers and comments!

Horror Movie Taglines Trivia

Guess the movies from these poster taglines:

1 - Ding dong. You're dead. 1986

2 - Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas. 1992

3 - Man is the warmest place to hide. 1992

4 - The good news is your dates are here. The bad news is…they're dead. 1986

5 - The night HE came home. 1978

6 - Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders...and another one in a dish on his desk. 1985

Are you excited about Thor? Amazed by what people can do with Legos? Little help for CassaStorm? (It would make Mini-Alex happy! He might even make an appearance next week.) Any other thoughts on blogging? Know any of the movies? And who is ready for a hayride…?

Don’t forget to visit Sia McKye!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Constitutes Quality Blog Content? Plus All I Want for NaNo (Everybody Sing!), Movie Trivia Answers, and Ninja News

I’m welcoming J. A. Bennett today to tell you about a couple amazing things that are happening in conjunction with NaNo. I’ve participated in NaNo and visited the site often, (I wrote CassaFire during NaNo 2010), but I had no idea what the organization was doing for the writing community.

All I Want for NaNo

I first heard about NaNo WriMo three years ago shortly after I started blogging. I thought people were nuts for even attempting to write 50k in a month. Yet, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try it out for myself. Since then, I’ve done NaNo (including camp NaNo) 4 times--this November will make 5.
Because of this, I’ve spent a considerable about of time on and they’re doing some amazing stuff for people. I have a 14 yr old cousin who went to LTUE last year because NaNo came to his school, and he decided he really liked writing. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is.
In these past three years I’ve felt awful for not giving back when NaNo has been doing so much for writers everywhere. That’s why I decided to write an anthology with a few awesome friends and donate all the proceeds to NaNoWriMo. Since the stories are about Christmas, we’re doing a bloghop entitled “All I Want for NaNo”.

I wanted to kick things off today on Alex’s blog with the Twelve days of NaNo (make sure you sing along)—

On the Twelveth day of NaNo my critique partner gave to me:
Twelve pens a scratching
Eleven beats a beating
Ten backed up hard drives
Nine pages of notes
Eight sprinters sprinting
Seven new ideas
Six hours of writing
Five thousand words
Four plot bunnies
Three metaphors
Two awesome hooks
And a climax that takes place in a tree

The bloghop and book release are taking place on November 1st. Please join us!
On November 1st post what you want for you NaNo and put a buy link to The Spirit of Christmas Anthology, as well as the blog hop code in your post. Get as creative as you like, pictures--flash fiction--video, think outside the box.
Get all the information and the code HERE at JA’s blog.

Congratulations to the contributing authors and good luck to all NaNo participants!
Now to go find that tree…

Ninja News!

Available Monday, October 22nd!

Just in time for Halloween, here's the cover of the latest installment of E.J. Wesley's Moonsongs series, Dragon's Game! (New Adult - speculative - Novelette)

Add Dragon's Game to your Goodreads shelf. And for a limited time, you can catch up on the entire Moonsongs series for just .99 cents (regularly $2.99). Moonsongs Anthology 1 (books 1, 2, & 3) is on sale October 15th - 20th at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Available now – Courage by Carrie Butler!

Rena Collins never thought she'd long for the past…

Buy it now at Amazon
Also, you can pick up the first book in the Mark of the Nexus series for free through Friday - Strength

Chicken Soup for the Soul - It's Christmas was just released and includes "The Treasure Hunt" by LD Masterson.

Congratulations to all three authors!

Movie Trivia Answers!

1 - “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.” (1978) - Dawn of the Dead
2 - “Be afraid… Be very afraid.” (1986) - The Fly
3 - “Smile, you son of a b____!” (1975) - Jaws
4 - “I will not be threatened by a walking meat loaf!” (1981) – An American Werewolf in London
5 - “Who’s laughing now?” (1987) – Evil Dead II
6 - “Mrs. MacNeil, the problem with your daughter is not her bed, it’s her brain.” (1973) – The Exorcist
What Constitutes Quality Blog Content and What About Hits?

Monday Arlee Bird tossed out a post about being respected as a blogger, most viewed posts, and what makes a post go viral. The comments were just as interesting and went off in several new directions. It sparked some thoughts in me (which can be dangerous) and I thought I’d continue a few idea streams here.

When it comes to page views and viral posts, I’ve blogged long enough that I know what topics are going to generate the most attention. (I know which ones are likely to kick my comment count over two hundred as well.) However, when it comes to page views and hits – I don’t really care! That’s why I don’t have a stat counter. They aren’t accurate anyway. And what does an extra five thousand views really do for me? I don’t get new followers or new people commenting, nor does it do anything for my book sales. Blogging is about community and friends – you guys – not about racking up the page views anyway.

(You want impressive when it comes to blogging? Someone led me to a blog that had 58,000+ followers and each post racked up 5000 comments (the maximum allowed) in one day. And as far as I could tell, it wasn’t someone famous, and the posts weren’t anything out of the ordinary. Heck with page views – that’s just amazing!)

Another aspect discussed was what makes for valuable blog content. Is it information? Controversy? Thoughtful, reaction-inducing posts? I guess it all depends on what you are looking for in a blog and what your goals are with your own.

As you know, I post a variety. My bio on the left states my interests up front, and it’s those things I usually discuss. I feature a variety of things, just so there is something for everyone. (If you come here and can’t find something on which to comment, then I am at a total loss.) It’s rarely anything like this or something that would stir up controversy. This blog is about fun. As it reflects my books and my writing, as I write light space opera, it’s a good fit.

And it’s by no means easy. It takes me two – three hours to put together a post. I put forth the effort because I want to present the best to you guys, my readers. You guys are important – you’re my friends, and that trumps all. And once I get through this month, there will be a little less promo and more cool Ninja stuff here

So there you have it. And I promise never to cop out on a post and slap a kitten photo up just to get hits. (Unless Pat’s cat Cassie poses as a Ninja for Halloween…)

Are you participating in NaNo this year? (Did you sing the song for JA?) Stoked about the new books? Get any of the trivia correct? And are you happy with your blog? What content matters to you? Do you care about page views? What matters most to you when it comes to blogging?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Infusing Character into Places and Objects! Plus Horror Movie Trivia, Movie Review, Sharcano, and the Ninja News.

Today I am a guest at Untethered Realms where I explain how to bring a character full circle. (Without going in circles, because that just makes me dizzy.)

MY guest here is the awesome and talented author, Christine Rains!


If you're welcome on the 13th floor, the door will open for you. You'll find comfort and protection from whatever is troubling you. The lights will dim or brighten to match your mood. Doors will lock to keep you safe or open to allow you freedom. If there's a stubborn reporter messing up your immaculate apartment, well, you best get out the rubber gloves and cleaning supplies.

The 13th floor is as much a character in the series as the tenants who live there. It isn't the first of its kind either. There are famous fictional haunted places like Stephen King's Rose Red or the Stanley Hotel in The Shining. I'm sure many of you know the tale of the Amityville horror house, and let's not forget Hogwarts. These places have personalities of their own, and sometimes become more memorable than the human cast of characters.

Buildings aren't the only things that are sometimes brought to life. I can list a few sentient spaceships that I adore: The TARDIS (Doctor Who), Nostromo (Alien), and Moya (Farscape).

Yet it isn't only the spirit in the buildings or ships that make them memorable. There are many more that gain life as a character through the love of the rest of the cast in the stories and the readers. Here are some famous ones: Tara from Gone With the Wind, the U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek), the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars), and Serenity (Firefly).

Places and vehicles are just as important to a story as the characters with a beating heart. I find a lot of writers do this unconsciously. Just like people name their cars or get teary-eyed when they move because they'll miss their old house. Since these things are so much a part of our lives, we imagine them with personalities of their own.

What's your favorite fictional place or thing that you consider a character?

The 13th Floor Complete Collection – out now! Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and on Goodreads

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.
Find Christine: Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Ninja News

Nick Wilford is celebrating two years of blogging with a huge giveaway that includes a full manuscript edit. Check it out!

WITCH TIME, volume 3 in The Cindy Chronicles is now available from RaShelle Workman. 

RaShelle’s books have sold around half a million copies – she rocks!

Pacific Rim comes out on DVD Tuesday! 3D Blu-ray, here I come…

If you’re looking for some cool Halloween t-shirts (or any occasion) check out Jeremy Hawkins’ store at the Netoshop.
Lots of new designs! And of course, my favorite…

And this news from Curiosity Quills Press - they signed screen-writer/director Jose Prendes and revealed the cover for his new novel, Sharcano.
Yes, it’s for real!

Movie Review

My wife and I ended up spending Friday night with friends, so we didn’t get to the theater to see Captain Phillips. However, we did watch a horror flick from NetFlix.

Executive produced by Guillermo del Toro – a man and his girlfriend find themselves caring for his nieces who were left alone in the wilderness for five years… or were they? Starring Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones.
An effective movie, it follows the Spanish horror film style of a sad and tragic storyline. There were some plot holes, including the fact the girlfriend was completely unqualified to take care of the girls. (Not to mention one of the girls should’ve stayed in therapy for a very long time.)
Fortunately, the director is skilled enough that these don’t completely ruin the film. It’s very creepy with some unusual effects and scares, especially the portrayal of ‘Mama.’
If you’ve ever considered adoption, this film will make you think twice!
Available on NetFlix and worth the rental.

Horror Movie Trivia!

Guess the horror film from the quote:

1 - “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.” (1978)

2 - “Be afraid… Be very afraid.” (1986)

3 - “Smile, you son of a b____!” (1975)

4 - “I will not be threatened by a walking meat loaf!” (1981)

5 - “Who’s laughing now?” (1987)

6 - “Mrs. MacNeil, the problem with your daughter is not her bed, it’s her brain.” (1973)

Answers on Wednesday!

Do objects and places in your stories possess personalities? Have a favorite? Picked up one of Jeremy’s shirts yet? Getting Pacific Rim this week? Have you seen Mama? And do you know any of the trivia answers?

Don’t forget to visit Untethered Realms!

Friday, October 11, 2013

New Ayeron Coming! Plus Options for Blog Comments, Halloween T-shirts, Want to be Interviewed?, and the Ninja News

Today I am visiting Misha Gericke with an account of my journey to publication. (It should really give you guys hope!)

Upcoming Epic Music Release!

Ayreon - The Theory of Everything
Release date – October 29

The trailer says they return to earth to explore the most complex creation ever – the human mind. After their AMAZING album, The Human Equation, one of the greatest concept albums ever, I am stoked for another that delves into the complexities of humans.

And Arjen Lucassen, the genius behind Ayreon, has a huge lineup of guest performers, including:
Tommy Karevik from Seventh Wonder and Kamelot
Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil
Keith Emerson from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
Rick Wakeman from Yes
Jordan Rudessfrom– Dream Theater
Steve Hackett from Genesis

And here’s the amazing trailer:

Ninja News

I am looking for two more people to interview for the A to Z Blog. If you participated in this year’s Challenge, posted around a theme, and are interested in a Challenge Participant Feature, let me know! I have November 4 and December 2 open.

Roland Yeomans just released his latest, Her Bones are in the Badlands. You can find it on Amazon. Roland is an incredibly talented writer, so check it out!

This weekend Captain Phillips comes out, and rumors of an Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks are already circulating.

Jen Naumann is revealing the cover for next book today. The Time Zombies Became the Least of my Worries comes out next month.Congratulations, Jen!

Jeremy, you’ll appreciate this! From Blastr - 18 T-shirts you can wear for Halloween if a costume seems like too much work. Here’s a couple – see the site for more!

Cover Reveals Results

The comments from Wednesday’s post revealed a wide variety of opinions, from those who really liked cover reveals to those who were burnt out on them. The overriding consensus was that they needed to be unique though, with something different on every participating site. I’ll still do cover releases, but I will limit them to my closest blogger buddies.


Next topic – comments! Because there is a wide variety of options for comments now.

Blogger recently changed their imbedded comment box. (And every time I use one, I worry that I’ll hit the ‘sign out’ button by accident!)

Blogger also has the pop-up comment box, which is what I use. (So far that one remains the same.)

There is also an option that takes you to a blank page and you can click to view the post.

Some people use the Disqus comment system. You can register to use it several different ways or post as a guest. Of course, comments continue to appear in your email afterwards...

Some have switched to the Google+ comment system. (And if you don’t check the little box, your comment also posts on Google+)

Wordpress and other blogs have a variety of different options. I know some people have problems commenting.

They all have their good points and bad points. Which one is best? Which one do you use? I like the popup box, because then I can still see all of the comments and the post with minimal scrolling. And since I reply to people in batches, I don’t have to keep scrolling back down to the comment box – I can have it off to the side.

Are you a fan of Ayreon? (Or any of the other bands Lucassen has started – Guilt Machine, Star One, Stream of Passion…?) Want to be interviewed for the A to Z Blog? Picked up Roland’s book? Seeing Captain Phillips? And what is your favorite comment gizmo?

Don’t forget to visit Misha Gericke!