Monday, November 25, 2013

Crazy Cat Lady Advice from Elizabeth Seckman! Plus Godzilla, Indiana Jones, Ninja News, and a List of Upcoming Events

The Ninja is Everywhere!

I have an interview with the ever-enthusiastic Livia Peterson today! Short, simple, and unique – just the way I like it.

I’m also posting at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website today on revision tips. Perfect for those of you finishing NaNo soon. My very first writing tips post! Feel free to humor me…

If you missed the #SFFWRTCHT Twitter chat last week, the full transcript is now up at the SFFW Chat Website.

And on Tuesday, Cassafire is the featured science fiction book with The Fussy Librarian!

And now, please welcome one of the funniest, sweetest, and most positive authors I know - Elizabeth Seckman!

Advice from the Crazy Cat Lady

My grandmother was a writer; a dreamer; an agoraphobic cat lover. She owned several acres of “farm” land that bumped up against a busy city. It was a green oasis just a few turns from the interstate. There was never any live stock on the farm, just pets. Lots and lots of pets. Seems people knew Mary Hartman had a soft heart and kept any creature dumped on her. Many times all of her monthly income would be spent at the vet as she scrambled to keep all the animals healthy and spayed.

I was in my teens when it hit me- my grandma was a crazy cat lady!

At least I knew that was how the world saw her. People didn’t care that she was once a speakeasy songstress or a greeting card poet.

Nope. Most of the world didn’t see past the cats. People would be rude to her…make sneaky snide comments.

Wow. That would that light me up. I’d want her to get mad, to get even…but she never did.

One day, she calmly told me, “If you ever want to know a person’s true nature, watch how they treat someone they have nothing to gain from.”

That’s some highly beneficial advice for a writer.

The literary world is a striated mish mash. From the smalls to the bigs. The traditionals and the indies. We meander in many of the same circles vying for the same market. So, as I wander, I take note- who is snarky, who is helpful, who is kind to the newbie who can’t even spell query? Who won’t deign to mingle with the uncontracted? Offer help when it doesn’t further their own career?

These are important things to know because everyone starts at the beginning. And unless you have a crystal ball, no one knows who will be where in a year…or five…or ten. That’s a mystery, but who you can trust doesn’t have to be. While you’re sitting on the lower rungs? This is where you find out where the loyal, dependable, trustworthy, and true are. Take notes and remember.

Elizabeth Seckman is a simple chick with a simple dream…to write stories people want to read. Find her - Blog, Facebook, and Amazon.

Fate Intended is the third book in the Coulter Men Series.
Fate brought them together…reality may tear them apart.

And to celebrate the release of Fate Intended, Elizabeth’s publisher is offering the first two books for ninety-nine cents on Amazon - Healing Summer and Past Due!

Ninja News

The ever-amazing Father Dragon threw an anniversary party this weekend that is probably still in full swing. Honoring his best friends with kind words and this award, Al revealed his dedicated heart and wise soul. Thank you, my friend.

Karen’s Very Prestigious Blog Awards are now open for voting. Several blogger buddies are nominated and I’m up for favorite blog!

The trailer for Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson debuted last week – check It out:

All six volumes of The Cindy Chronicles by RaShelle Workman are now available in one set for one great price!

And she’s offering prizes to celebrate, so check it out! 

Upcoming Events

Frozen comes out November 27, and despite my initial reservations, I may have to go see this one. It’s currently 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and being hailed a classic.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving for those of us in the USA. Wishing all of you a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your day of food, family, and potentially crappy football.

Milo James Fowler is hosting another Freebies special – Tis More Blessed. “If you have a book/eBook/short story/collection you'd like to give away or raffle off on Friday December 6th, Friday the 13th, Friday the 20th, or Friday the 27th, just enter your name and the date(s) of your giveaway under Link Title.” I’ve signed up to give away copies of my books, but I’m a rebel – I will be giving them away on Monday, December 16.

The last Insecure Writer’s Support Group posting of the year is on December 4. Please note that the first one of 2014 will be the second Wednesday, January 8, due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

Lexa Cain and Julie Flanders’ Dream Destination Blog Hop is December 5-8. Lots of prizes for this one!

CheersFest 2.0 is December 9! We are roasting Lee ‘Arlee Bird’ of Tossing it Out this year. Yes, we are roasting the bird…
We also have a second badge now, designed by the awesome Jeremy Hawkins.

The Fifty States of Pray is Christmas Eve, December 24, hosted by Mark Koopmans. (Also known as The Madman or M-Koo!)

The signup list opens December 1 – join us in posting some encouraging words of prayer or blessing on Christmas Eve. 

Awesome Images

Jo Blo listed some awesome images they’d found around the net, including this one from Brian Rood, titled Indiana Jones. Check out his site for more amazing images.

From Blastr: they’ve kept his appearance mostly hidden, but “we get a teaser sample in a Godzilla tie-in book "kit" that will feature both a Godzilla figure that roars and 48 pages of material on the history of Godzilla and the making of the new movie will be released sometime next year.” And the cover:

Finally, this comes from Edi’s Book Lighthouse - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It’s fifteen minutes long, so if you don’t have time, please bookmark it to watch later. It’s a stunning animation…

Yes, it’s post overload, but I won’t post again until next Monday. (Really rocking with the outline for my next book right now.) 
Do you know a crazy cat lady? Participating in any of those events? Think the images are awesome? And what are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Be sure to visit Livia Peterson for my interview, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for revision tips, and if you missed my Twitter chat last week, the SFFW Chat Website for the transcript.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Almost Human, Grabbers, and Dr. Who in Whoville! Plus the Ninja is Rocking the Internet This Week, The Magicke Outhouse, and Ninja News

Almost Human Review

Based on the first two episodes, looks like it will be a winner.
It’s a good mix of action and humor, as well as an excellent mix of police procedural and science fiction. The first episode was at once comfortable, like it had been around a while, which is the mark of a good show. It blends aspects of Blade Runner, a touch of Robocop, and a generous mix of a hundred different police procedurals.
The casting is great with Karl Urban and Michael Ealy as the leads. I’m also really impressed they got Brad Anderson (Session 9) to direct the first episode.
If you want good science fiction on television, you’ll do yourself a disservice if you don’t check out this show.

Grabbers Review

Looking for something quirky and amusing? Check out this small budget flick. An Irish town comes under attack from tentacled space creatures who want to suck their blood and there’s only one way to survive – and it involves lots of alcohol.
By no stretch was this a great film. However, the effects are really impressive (especially considering the budget), the leads likeable, and the film is a fun horror/comedy hybrid. It didn’t stray quite far enough in any direction to be really effective, but it does achieve a good balance. Had a Tremors vibe (and hints of Shaun of the Dead) but not as good. The filmmakers did really try to make a quality movie and it shows.

Rocking the Internet this Week!

Wednesday November 20 - I have the honor of participating in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat on Twitter! These weekly chats can draw tens of thousands of people and are hosted by author-editor, SFWA affiliate member, and SF Signal contributor Bryan Thomas Schmidt and reposted later at the SFFW Chat Website.
The chat is one hour and begins at 9:00 pm EST.
Follow along on Twitter with hashtag #sffwrtcht!

Tuesday I visited Jessica Bell, discussing Indiestructible and beyond the book release.

Friday I am visiting Tyrean Martinson for her one-word interview.

Special Release

I was honored when Kym and Mark asked if I would read and supply a blurb for their upcoming book – and now it is finally out for everyone to read!

 Silverville Saga #3
By Kym O'Connell-Todd and Mark Todd

Everyone knows you can’t time-travel. But somehow those rules don't count in Silverville, where anything is possible. Combine ley lines with a mysterious privy fungus and you might end up anywhere, from Ancient Egypt to the Wild West or into the future. Add in an almost zombie and a pig that can sing “Happy Birthday,” and you’re in for a wild ride – if the tour guides can just work out the kinks.

“A unique cast of characters makes this a fun and enjoyable read!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of the Amazon Bestselling Cassa series

“This rollicking story keeps the reader captivated until the last, surprising chapter. Who would have thought that a journey that begins in an outhouse could be so much fun?!” – Charlie Craig, showrunner/head writer for SyFi Channel’s hit series Eureka and writer for Fox’s The X-Files

“Mystery, adventure, exotic locations – Kym and Mark Todd have a time-travel hit with this new adventure in the Silverville Saga series. As soon as those deadly kinks are worked out, sign me up.” – Stacia Deutsch, NYT Bestselling author

Find The Magicke Outhouse on Amazon
Find Kym-n-Mark: Blog, Website, and Twitter.

Ninja News

TF Walsh posted about a new site - Indicated is a pay-it-forward promotional and educational tool, offering self-published and small press authors the chance to gain exposure to new readers through features and reviews, and providing ongoing resources that will strengthen marketing endeavors. Visit Indicated for information and membership fees.

Laura at the Daily Dodo has launched a Kickstarter project for the Chick Lit Love Fest! It'll take place at Dartington Hall, Devon on Saturday, April 5, 2014. She has three authors lined up - Alexandra Potter, Carole Matthews, and our very own Talli Roland. Check out her site for details and how to donate. Good luck, Laura!

Pat Hatt has a new book out just in time for the holidays - The Bohlingaringding Christmas Ring.
Perfect book for anyone with a sense of humor. (Or someone who needs one!)
Find it on Amazon now.
Congratulations, Pat!

And this t-shirt design is for David at Yackity Smackity - I knew there was a Dr. Seuss/Dr. Who connection!

Have you been watching Almost Human? Seen Grabbers? Picking up The Magicke Outhouse? Any interesting news? And have you seen any other cool Dr. Who t-shirts?

Don’t forget I am visiting Tyrean Martinson on Friday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mini-Alex on Vacation, Upcoming Events, Ninja News, and the Big News – CheersFest 2.0 Roastee!!!

Vacation and Mini Alex Photo

I’m back!!!

The wife and I had a great time seeing the sights and consuming food. (Don’t worry – we were go-go-go all week and I worked off all of my indulgences.) Actually had a couple chilly days – should’ve gone farther south!

Mini-Alex went along although he spent most of the time chilling in the hotel room. (Probably watched Sports Center and drank beer all day while we were gone.) He did slip out one day and posed by the river, but otherwise he preferred to stay indoors.

I missed everyone and tried to check in every day, although thirty minutes isn’t enough time to visit more than a few blogs and my email. However, I did work more on my outline and will pull back a day or two from blogging to start writing again.

Upcoming Events!

Tuesday, I am visiting Jessica Bell at the Alliterative Allomorph. I talk about the journey beyond your book’s release and how the stories in Indiestructible can help you down that path.

Wednesday I have the honor of participating in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer’s Chat on Twitter! These weekly chats with authors, publishers, editors and others discuss relevant topics for SFF writing. They are hosted by author-editor, SFWA affiliate member, and SF Signal contributor Bryan Thomas Schmidt and reposted at the SFFW Chat Website. The chat is one hour and begins at 9:00 pm EST. Follow along with hashtag #sffwrtcht and @sffwrtcht or @BryanThomasS.

Ninja News

I’m sorry I missed most of the Realms Faire last week, but it appeared to be another successful and fun time this year. (And I believe the winning knight will be announced today.) Congratulations Mary – you’ve started an incredible event that will only continue to grow.

Rachel Schieffelbein’s Run for the Roses comes out Tuesday. The tour kicks off this week, so visit her site for details. Congratulations, Rachel!

Angela Orlowski-Peart’s latest, Almost Matched, is out now! She’s offering a great giveaway including books from other authors, so see her site for more information. Congratulations, Angela!

Crystal Collier’s latest is out, Moonless. Her blog tour for this historical paranormal YA story goes through the end of the month, so check it out. Congratulations, Crystal!

Last week I left you with some deep questions. (Not really!) The one I need to clarify was my question about people who don’t return comments. What I mean were those who don’t visit your blog after you comment on theirs. Not just one random comment, because I know those are easy to miss, but those who don’t return multiple comments. (And these can be seasoned bloggers, not just newbies.)
Hope that makes the question clearer.
And it really only takes three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.

Friday was amazing – so many balloons were released in Andrew’s honor! Kyra made a video for Nick Wilford’s family and Andrew, and it’s very touching:

CheersFest 2.0

“Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the one person who was always there for you during the past year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?”

So began the inaugural CheersFest (aka AlexFest) when our Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, was roasted and toasted in December 2012.

Everyone, including A-Cav had such a great time that we’ve decided to do it again.

(Tears really big envelope with a flourish…)

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 recipient of CheersFest is none other than Arlee “Lee” Bird.

On his main blog, “Tossing It Out,” Lee describes himself, in part, “as a writer, speaker, entertainer, music lover, collector, husband, father, grandfather, friend, traveler, seeker of truth and wisdom.” He majored in English while at the University of Tennessee, has blogged since 2008, and currently has six blogs that delve into his diverse mind.

The original brains behind the annual A to Z Challenge, Lee can be counted on to pay it forward and is a well-respected member of the blogging community.

Hosted again by Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp and The Ninja Captain himself, CheersFest 2.0 will go LIVE! Dec. 9, 2013.

In order to proper cheer (or roast) Lee:

Here are four questions for you to answer on CheersFest Day, but please keep the retorts short – (no longer than 20 words each):

·                     Why did Lee come up with the A-Z Challenge?
·                     If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean?
·                     Is a post by Mr. Bird worth two in the bush?
·                     Who could play Lee in a documentary? (Living or dead.)

In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:
·                     Bird
·                     Juggler
·                     Challenge
·                     Brown Jacket
·                     Tossing

For Bonus Points:
·                     In +/- 40 words, can you come up with a caption for Lee’s Facebook picture? 

As usual, the Very Demanding Rules of CheersFest include:

·                     Join the Linky List *below*
·                     Have fun
·                     Post your 200 (total) word contribution ON Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.
·                     No, seriously. Have Fun!

Two winners – chosen by Lee – will each win a prize:
·                     An autographed color photo of Arlee Bird appearing as the Court Wizard in the World of Fantasy Players. Also included in the first prize pack are an assortment of promotional materials from Lee’s show biz days with a personal letter and a brief history of his entertainment career.
·                     A personalized graphics design from Jeremy at Being Retro for the winner’s blog. (Jeremy will design a header, badge, button, banner, or whatever might appeal to the winner.)
Excited to roast and toast our blogger buddy, Lee?
If so, the Linky is now open. Sign up and we’ll see you on Dec. 9th

Did you miss me? Ready for a vacation? (I think I need another one.) Excited about the new books? Did you release a balloon for Andrew? Know why some people don’t comment? And are you ready to roast Lee this year for CheersFest? I’m ready to be on the other side of the roasting this year…

Don’t forget to visit Jessica Bell on Tuesday and follow the #sffwrtcht chat on Twitter Wednesday evening from 9-10:00 pm EST!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Review, Sad News, Sci-Fi Books Trivia Answers, Ninja News, and Some Deep Questions to Ponder…

Movie Review

Thor: The Dark World
An ancient evil race threatens all the nine realms and Thor must find a way to stop the darkness and save Jane.
It was exactly what I expected – a lot of fun! Still not Avengers level, but a worthy sequel. Some twists and turns and an ending that not only sets up the next Thor movie, but it really sets up a big question. (No spoilers, so I can’t reveal it!)
The exchanges between Thor and Loki are hilarious. So are any scenes with Jane’s friend, Darcy.
Saw it in 3D and the special effects were quite impressive.
Little extras: There is an Avengers member cameo and after credit bonuses. Not just one, but two! Stay until the end of the first credits and then stay to the VERY end of all the credits.
If you liked the first Thor, you will enjoy this one. Highly recommended.
Now, someone get me Chris Helmsworth’s personal trainer…

Sad News

We received word this weekend that Nick Wilford’s son Andrew passed away. Nick had put together the anthology, Overcoming Adversity, to benefit Andrew and send him to a college that could meet his need.

IWSG members and writers have pulled together for donation for Nick and his family. Please contact Kyra Lennon for how you can give.

Nick, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who participated in the How I Miss You Blogfest. Special thanks to all of those who mentioned me, either here or in your post. Don’t worry, the Ninja isn’t going anywhere! Just cutting back a bit. I would like to note that the person mentioned most often that would be missed is Father Dragon Al. That’s a hint, Al!

Julie Flanders and Lexa Cain are hosting the Dream Destination blogfest. “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Beaches of Hawaii? Slopes of Vail? Cancun, Paris, or Rome? On Dec 5 or 6, post about your Dream Destination.” There are some amazing prizes, including critiques from an agent!! You don't want to miss this one.

The Realms Faire begins today! Books, ebooks, jewelry, cds, giftcards, and a Kindle. Enter to win by playing games. Visit M. Pax for all the details and fun.

Sorry I will miss this one. I was asked to joust, but had to decline. 

Heather Gardner sent me a link to these cookie cutters available at Target:

Science Fiction Books Trivia Answers

1 – The Martian Chronicles 1950 – Ray Bradbury
2 – Dragonflight 1968 – Anne McCaffrey
3 – Rendezvous with Rama 1972 – Arthur C. Clarke
4 – Out of the Silent Planet 1943 – C.S. Lewis
5 – The Puppet Masters 1951 – Robert A Heinlein

Questions to Ponder

This week I am on vacation and will be hit or miss on the comments. (I will visit everyone who comments here though!) After a huge launch for CassaStorm, and many hours spent doing promotions, my wife deserves my undivided attention for a while.

However, I’d like to toss some questions at you and provide food for thought while I am gone…

Do you think there are too many Memes? Do they start to blur together?

Do ‘buy my book’ tweets really work?

Why do some bloggers never return comments?

Can they crank out a decent Star Wars movie in just two years?

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

Did anyone else see Thor this weekend? Excited about the Realms Faire this week? Get the trivia right? And what are your answers to those questions…?

Be back Monday with a HUGE announcement! Off to work on my tan. No, not really…

Friday, November 8, 2013

Marvel News – NetFlix and Marvel Team Up and Thor is Here! Plus Milestones, Science Fiction Book Trivia, Ninja News, and the How I Miss You Blogfest

Big Marvel News!

NetFlix and Marvel team up! From Deadline Hollywood - Diseny signed a deal with NetFlix, committing them to at least four 13-series episodes and a miniseries, The Defenders. The superheroes featured will be Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. These series will all be Watch Nows on NetFlix. They are calling this an “unprecedented deal.” I’m calling it awesome beyond belief!

And at last – it’s THE November movie event!

Thor: The Dark World releases in the USA today.

And I am very stoked…

Review on Monday!


Today’s post marks two milestones:

It’s my seven hundredth post.

I’ve been blogging now for four years. (Technically, my first post was November 9, 2009.)


Did I ever imagine where I am now? Not a chance! Three books, the IWSG, thousands of followers, so many good friends… I didn’t see any of it coming. All I knew was I had to get my butt online to promote my debut novel. Nothing could’ve prepared me for this awesome journey. I couldn’t have done it alone. Thank you everyone for sharing the journey with me. You have been one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Ninja News

Thanks to all of the IWSG participants for another amazing post day! Thanks to those who’ve responded to Wednesday’s post at the website.
And thank you for your encouragement - I will probably cut back some and start writing soon. I just don't want to let anyone down.

Missouri publisher Rocking Horse Publishing has just come out with Spirits of St. Louis, an anthology of ghost stories set in Missouri. It includes Sean McLachlan’s story "After the Raid," an offshoot of his Civil War horror novel, A Fine Likeness. Congratulations, Sean!

Kyra Lennon just released A Very Game On Christmas. Congratulations, Kyra!

Cathy Olliffe-Webster, the mad genius behind Green Eggs and Weezie, just released a collection of short stories called Friday Girls. And for the next five days, it’s free on Amazon. Congratulations, Cathy!

Cover Reveal –

Playing Pretend by Juliana Haygert

NA Contemporary Romance
Release date: March 2014

As the Governor’s daughter, Charlotte McClain is an expert in playing pretend…

Add to Goodreads HERE

Novel Trivia!

Science fiction books this time – name the author:

1 – The Martian Chronicles 1950

2 – Dragonflight 1968

3 – Rendezvous with Rama 1972

4 – Out of the Silent Planet 1943

5 – The Puppet Masters 1951

How I Miss You Blogfest!

Hosted by Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish.

The bloggers you miss and the ones you would miss.
List one to three bloggers you really miss.
List one to three bloggers you would really miss if they stopped blogging.
And then go let them know!

The bloggers I really miss…
Sadly, this could be a really long list. Melissa, Chuck, Cindy… So many of my blogger buddies have stopped blogging, either permanently or they only appear now and then. I look back four years and so many of my friends are gone. I could only pick three though…

Nancy Thompson
I was honored to supply a blurb for her book, The Mistaken, and just as grateful she gave me one for CassaStorm. We share many things in common (as we’re the same age) and she’s like the sister I never had. I’d hang with her in real life! Nancy is busy with her editing work and I really miss her online. I still want to read her next book, even though I know she’ll only torment poor Ty.

Father Dragon Al
I met Al a year ago on the recommendation of a friend, and I’ve never regretted it. Al possesses such a wise and generous spirit. Who knew dragons with dwarves were compatible with Ninjas with clones? Through our many email exchanges, I’ve come to know this gentle dragon. I see so much potential in his passionate heart. Al is currently pursuing a dream, which I completely support, so I’ll not begrudge the now infrequent postings from the dragon cave. I still miss those glimpses into his dragon heart though. Hopefully he stays with us.

Rusty Webb
He’s one of my best blogger buddies and good friend for the past three years. Rusty is an amazing writer and the most awesome critique partner. Rusty deserves a lot of the credit for the success of CassaFire and CassaStorm. We share the same passion for guitars and writing, although Rusty is light years ahead of me on both accounts. He has a wicked sense of humor, and while he’s participating in NaNo right now, I hope he returns to his blog in December. Miss you, dude!

Special mention – my co-host, Matthew
We’re only to mention three, but I have to make a special mention of my fellow blogfest and A to Z co-host. He was one of my first followers and a good friend for so many years. I miss your regular posts, man!

And those I would miss if they were gone…

Again, that would be most of you! It was really tough to narrow it down to just three….

Jeremy Hawkins
The person I would miss the most is my very best blogger buddy. We’ve followed each other for so long that I can’t recall a time when Jeremy wasn’t there. No one is more dedicated or more giving. He’d do anything in the world for his friends. Dude, I will always have your back. Should anyone ever speak ill of you, they would experience the wrath of the Ninja. We talk often through emails, but should your blog posts cease, it would feel very hollow and empty online…

Arlee Bird
Lee, you are the man. Back when I had about twenty followers, you followed me. And enticed me on a quest that would become the first A to Z Challenge. You taught me about consistency, blogfests, and friendship. You are stability, even as you throw out your ‘controversial’ topics. We see the world in a similar fashion, although you have developed more patience than I. Where I am now would not be possible if you were not a friend, and I thank you. If you stopped posting, who on earth would I visit first in the morning?

Tina Downey
My fellow A to Z co-host is a delight in more ways than she can imagine. You guys don’t get to see the exchanges between the co-hosts, but if it’s coming from Tina, I know I will get a kick out of her message every time. Despite the physical restrictions and challenges she endures, Tina is a very open and free spirit. She is the vibrant breeze on the trees, shaking the limbs and energizing the air. I never know what to expect when she posts, and that’s half the fun. Tina, you are a special lady, and I’m honored to call you my friend.

Who do you miss...?

Excited for Thor? Can you believe I’ve been blogging for four years? Excited about the new releases? Know the authors? And who do you miss or would miss…?