Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Movie Reviews, Movie Trivia, Ninja News, and Cosmic Knighthood!

Something cool is happening at David Powers King’s blog today – the Ninja is now a Cosmic Knight! Check it out as we discuss teleporters, blogging, and Hot Tamales.

Movie Reviews

The Croods - 2012
A caveman family trying to survive as their world falls apart.
It was better than expected and had a good heart. Beautiful visuals, humor, and a good story about being willing to try new things. Probably the best film Nicolas Cage has done in the past ten years.

The Sorcerer and the While Snake - 2011
A monk (played by Jet Li) tries to protect a young man from a thousand year old snake demon.
While the sets are colorful and lavish, the special effects fall short. So does the story, which is all over the map, following several characters. The movie isn’t sure what it wants to be – it’s too intense for kids and yet the dialogue and action are too childish for adults. I’ve seen worse, but I’ve seen a lot better!
Not recommended

Movie Trivia

Location, location, location! In what city or town does most of the action in these films take place?

1 – Rango 2011
2 – Tremors 1990
3 – Ocean’s Eleven 2001
4 – Doc Hollywood 1991
5 – Ghostbusters 1984
6 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 1986
7 – Ratatouille 2007

Ninja News

Sarah Ahiers has an agent!!! Congratulations, Sarah.

Michelle Wallace is celebrating three years of blogging with THE UBUNTU BLOGHOP February 18-21.
What is ubuntu? "In Africa, there is a concept known as UBUNTU – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others." – Nelson Mandela. Any form of creativity that captures the spirit of ubuntu is welcome!
See her site for details and to sign up.

On February 28, Kyra and Rachel are hosting the WIP Movie Bloghop. See their sites for details.

Julie Musil’s book, The Boy Who Loved Fire, was released this week!

This Friday is the release of Decadent Kane’s second book in The Trouble With Elves series, Tempting Clover!

Ali Cross announced the dates for IndieReCon 2014 - February 25-27. See her site for details.

The A to Z Challenge list is open and filling fast! You don’t want to miss the biggest blogging event of the year. And if you need ideas for your Challenge theme, Lisa at Flash Fiction posted a great list.

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post date is next Wednesday!

And the Epic 2000 Followers Giveaway continues!

Who will be GFC follower number 2000?

Have you seen either movie? Know the trivia answers? Excited about the new books and blogfests? Did you sign up for the A to Z Challenge? You know resistance is futile…

Don’t forget to visit David Powers King!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The 2014 A to Z Challenge!! Plus Jamie Ayres on Failure and Darth Vader, Truths and Lies, and the Ninja News

The A to Z Challenge list opens today! 

But first…

Jamie Ayres on Failures and Darth Vader.

We all have, “Luke, I am your father,” moments. But when we’re hit with bad stuff, remember something beautiful can come out of it. I don’t claim to be an expert on much (okay, I do, but pretty much all writers are pathological liars), but I know how to fail. In 1984, my cousin dared me to jump in our ruptured septic tank on the farm, and I did. Can you say gold star? That’s why Mama’s always said I’m full of crap. HA! I could’ve died! But instead of ending up on Jay Leno’s stupid headlines (“5-year-old Girl Willingly Jumps Into A Pile of Poop and Suffocates to Death”), I got to use it as a funny anecdote in 18 Things instead, the first installment of my trilogy. You’re probably wondering why I did such a thing in the first place?

Pride. Many times our failures are rooted in pride, just like mine, just like my heroine, and just like Anakin. Spoiler Alert! Anakin was manipulated his whole life by the emperor, but somehow, he redeemed himself in the end. George Lucas said, “Even when Anakin became Darth Vader, he was still the chosen one.”

I’ve good news for you! Everyone loves good news, right? If you don’t, then slap yourself. Or drink coffee and eat chocolate! Trust me, I’m a doctor (not really, but I thought I’d say that just once while I have a captive audience. Thanks, Alex!) Okay, ready now for the most super BIG TRUTH ever? Our destinies aren’t thwarted by failures. We’re not bound to our mistakes. I don’t know most of you, but I can tell you no matter what happens in your life, the universe isn’t done with you yet. We’re all created equal (unless you’re a Jedi, then you’re more equal than the rest of us), and we all have a destiny to fulfill. I can’t deny the ugly stuff in life made me the person I am today, set me on the path I was meant to take. The same goes for my heroine in 18 Truths. She has many “EPIC FAIL” moments in the second book. But hey, everybody has a little Darth Vader and Anakin in them . . . we just have to remember our failures still serve our purpose in life.

Do you agree the “tough stuff” produces something shiny in the end we can chase?

With the lessons the 18 Things life list taught her engraved on her heart, Olga embarks on a new adventure as a spirit guide, but nothing prepares her for the chilling truths she’s learning along the way.
Add 18 Truths at Goodreads and watch the trailer on YouTube

Jamie Ayres writes young adult love stories by night and teaches young adults as a middle school teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. Her books include 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her website HERE

Can You Handle the Truth – The Answers

Today I reveal the truth for Jamie Ayres’s blogfest.

1 – I saw Rush five times on one tour alone. Yes, I am a die-hard fan! I’ve seen them multiple times on several tours, including five times in one tour. Total truth.
2 – I partied with the band Night Ranger at a bar. After going to see Y&T perform, we turned around to discover that Night Ranger was also there enjoying the show. So we hung with them for a while and I got Jack Blade’s autograph. Big surprise, but this one is true! (And even then I really didn’t drink much.)
3 – I got to jam with Rik Emmett of Triumph once. The lie – but a good friend of mine did jam with Emmett before a performance. (Lucky bastard.)

Only a handful of you guessed right! And I do believe it was Mark Koopmans who said “you soooo didn't do #2 and if you did... I will find and post a picture of me in a grass skirt.” Time to scare the masses, oh Baldinator!

Ninja News

David Powers King and Michael Jensen signed a deal with Scholastic for Woven! Congratulations, guys.

My dear friend Roland Yeomans is facing expensive surgery for cancerous growths. He is in need of prayer and support, now more than ever.

The Marine's Heiress by Susan Kelley
Sequel to the bestselling The Marine's Queen, a science fiction romance.

A Recon Marine set on vengeance finds duty, honor and love instead, but it may be too late to stop the explosion of violence he has set in motion.

Find the Marine’s Heiress at New Concepts Publishing

And the Epic 2000 Follower Giveaway is still going!
Less than thirty GFC followers to go and someone will win books, iTunes cards, and a t-shirt.
BIG thanks to those special friends who have spread the word for me.

The 2014 A to Z Challenge List is Open!

Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.

To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts will be removed.

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:

2. BOOKS: (BO)
3. FILM: (FM)
6. CRAFT: (CR)
7. ART: (AR)
8. MUSIC: (MU)
14. GAMING: (GA)
19. HUMOR: (HU)
20. TRAVEL: (TR)

Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Challenge Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Author Stephen Tremp
Tina @ Life is Good
Damyanti @ Amlokiblogs
Jeremy @ Being Retro
Nicole Ayers - The Madlab Post
M. J. Joachim's Writing Tips
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian

We also have a Facebook Page
Email address is
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge

I am also in need of five more Minions!!! If you are willing to be an A to Z Challenge Minion and can visit ten to twenty extra blogs a week, just let me know. Thanks to those who are already part of the Ninja Minion Army - Joy Campbell, Michelle Wallace, Susan Gourley/Kelley, S. L. Hennessy, and Rhonda Albom.

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!

Do tough situations and failures result in good things for you? Were you surprised by my truths and lie? Did you enter the Epic 2000 Followers Giveaway? And who’s up to the 2014 A to Z Blog Challenge?!?!

Be sure to let me know if you want to be a Challenge Minion.

Sign up for the A to Z Challenge AFTER reading the instructions above!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Epic 2000 Follower Giveaway! Plus Genre News, 18 Truths, and Ninja News

Genre News

Blastr posted photos of a wall in London covered with Alien graffiti.

The cast of Godzilla recently talked about the film. It’s been confirmed that part of the 2014 Godzilla movie will take place in 1954, the same year the very first Godzilla movie was released. You can read more at KpopStarz.

And on JoBlo, they confirmed that Amazon Studios will be making a Barbarella television series.

18 Truths

In celebration of her upcoming release, 18 Truths, Jamie Ayres is hosting a special blogfest this week and it includes prizes:
Players tell two truths and one lie. The object of the game is to hop around the blogs and determine which statement that each blogger posted is the false one. Anyone who posts for the Can You Handle The TRUTH? blogfest between January 22nd-28th can enter to win a number of prizes donated by 18 terrific people.

My two truths and one lie:
1 – I saw Rush five times on one tour alone.
2 – I partied with the band Night Ranger at a bar.
3 – I got to jam with Rik Emmett of Triumph once.

Which is the truth and which is the lie? Answer on Monday.

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Online Marketing Symposium on Monday. There were some awesome ideas. All links lead directly to the symposium posts, so check them out. Special thanks to my fellow co-hosts, Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, and Jeremy Hawkins.

Juliana Haygert’s latest is out - Cup of Life. This novella takes place between book 2 and book 3 of The Everlast Trilogy. Congratulations, Juliana!

Cherie Reich revealed the cover for her upcoming novel, Reborn, Book One of The Fate Challenges.

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

Is that not a stunning cover? Congratulations, Cherie.


C. Lee McKenzie is participating in a contest and if she wins, she’ll sell one hundred copies of Alligators Overhead. She just needs a few more votes at Linked In

Tara at Feel of Something New just released a new book - Hands-on Therapy. Congratulations, Tara!

The Epic 2000 Followers Giveaway!! 

This blog is nearing 2000 GFC followers and to celebrate, I’m hosting a giveaway!

Here’s the rules: 

Must be a GFC follower. (If you’re following in another manner, time to click that GFC button!)
Open to everyone.
Open until the magic number 2000 is hit and holds for one day.

To enter:

Leave a comment. Current followers get five entries, followers after 1962 get ten entries, and follower number 2000 gets twenty entries. (One comment per person.)

Tweet about it – five entries.(@alexjcavanaugh)

Blog about it – ten entries. (Leave a link here. Bonus five entries for creativity!)


First place – Signed copy of one book, $10 iTunes card, and one book donated to the library (middle school, high school, public) of your choice.

Grand prize – Signed copy of all three books, $10 iTunes card, t-shirt of your choice from Neat-O-Rama, designed by Retro Jeremy Hawkins, and three books donated to the library of your choice.

There you have it! Bribing allowed – Hot Tamales always welcome.

Think the Graffiti is cool? Can you guess the lie? Learn a lot from the symposium? And are you feeling lucky…?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Online Marketing Symposium! Plus Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Movie Review, TV Trivia Answers, and Ninja News

Movie Review

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Staring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, and Keira Knightly
It’s a good start to a reboot of the franchise and takes place in current time. Ryan’s first mission as an operative is to go to Russia to analyze some accounts. He’s an ‘analyst out of water’ as he discovers a terrorist plot to destroy American’s economy and forced to go beyond his job description.
The actors all did a good job and I really like Kevin Costner in the film. Branagh pulls double-duty as both actor and director and does it well.
Not a great film, but a really good action-spy thriller. And certainly one of the best films I have ever seen in January. Shame it didn’t do better at the box office this weekend.(Shame what DID do well this weekend.)

Ninja News

Yvonne Lewis has been having issues with commenting on certain blogs and with others finding her blog. So if you’ve missed Yvonne, hop over and follow her new blog.

In celebration of her upcoming release, 18 Truths, Jamie Ayres is hosting a special blogfest this week and it includes prizes:
Players tell two truths and one lie. The object of the game is to hop around the blogs and determine which statement that each blogger posted is the false one.Anyone who posts for the Can You Handle The TRUTH? blogfest between January 22nd-28th can enter to win a number of prizes donated by 18 terrific people.

Donna Weaver had a special release last week – Hope's Watch. This eBook-exclusive short story includes special excerpts from both A Change of Plans and Torn Canvas, coming April 2014.
Talli Roland revealed the print version of The Pollyanna Plan, coming March 11.

For those of you who are members of the IWSG Facebook Group - remember that promotions are to be posted on Saturday News & Promo Day only. (And I understand the group is over five hundred strong now!)
Jessica Therrien announced a great opportunity and giveaway:
To celebrate our new blog, the authors at Darkly Delicious YAalong with Book Nerd Tours are hosting a huge giveaway, and we’re looking for authors of Young Adult and New Adult (provided there are no graphic sex scenes) to submit their books for the giveaway. The grand prize will be a Kindle Fire HD loaded with all our books. Giveaway will start on March 1st and run through March 17th.

TV Trivia Answers

On The X-Files, what's Mulder's nickname? Spooky
What show starred Michael Landon as an angel? Highway to Heaven
On The Simpsons, who shot Mr. Burns? Maggie Simpson
What was the name of the charter boat that shipwrecked in the 1960s show "Gilligan's Island"? S.S. Minnow
What 80s show is Frasier a spinoff of? Cheers

What Works – Online Marketing Symposium
A blogfest with information you can use! Hosted by Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

We want you to tell us your stories of success (or not so successful) as we present a blogging event that will help us learn. Tell us about a marketing idea that you've used and what worked or didn't work. Your post could describe a campaign that succeeded in a big or small way or one that failed drastically. Tell us about a business campaign, an organizational event, a fundraiser – anything where a bit of promotion was necessary! The What Works.. Marketing Symposium is not limited to authors but also to anyone in a business that has a promotional aspect – online or otherwise!

I’ve seen a lot of blog tours in over four years of blogging (and conducted three of my own) and I think they are still very effective. Based on my experience and observations, here are my tips on how to get the most out of a blog tour:

One tour stop a day. If a blog was nice enough to host you, return the favor by making that the one and only, front and center stop. (It’s just being courteous.)

All guest posts and interviews should be unique. No duplicates.

Announcements aren’t tour stops.

If bloggers are announcing the release of your book (or whatever) try to send something a little different to each one.

Select high traffic stops with lots of followers. (Those with smaller followings can do an announcement for you.) You want to get in front of a lot of people, plus putting together a guest post takes time and effort – make it count.

Avoid weekend stops unless that is the blog’s prime traffic and post time.

Announce each stop the day it occurs on your blog, Twitter, etc. (And once you have the exact link, go back and edit it into your blog post.)

Keep your interview answers and guest posts short. (Just being real here.)

Offer a couple giveaways during your tour.

That’s what I’ve seen work best. And I didn’t mention the use of clones, but those also help!

Visit other participants:

Anyone else see Shadow Recruit? Signed up for those blogfests? Part of the IWSG Facebook Group? Get any of the television trivia right? And what online marketing tip would you offer?

Stop by on Wednesday for the announcement of one awesome contest!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Movies Based on YA Books, TV Trivia, Space Opera, Ninja News, and More!

Today I’m making an appearance at the blog of Kim Van Sickler! find out why the Space Opera genre isn't just for science fiction fans.

To entertain you here with movies and books is Nutschell from The Writing Nut!

5 Movies Based on YA Books to Look Forward to This 2014

I’m looking forward to seeing tons of awesome new movies this year. Most of them are Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies and I’ll run out of space if I list all of them. So I thought I narrow down it down to movies based on YA (Young Adult) books, which I’m looking forward to watching.

Here they are in no particular order:

Divergent is the first book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling trilogy. The books are all about a dystopian Chicago, where teenagers are forced to make a choice between five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Each faction is meant to play a particular role in society based on their most distinguishing virtue. On her Choosing Day, 16 year-old Beatrice Prior chooses another faction over her family’s and discovers a dark truth behind their seemingly perfect society.

Mockingjay Part 1
Mockingjay is the final book in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games Trilogy. As with all big hits, the final book was broken into two parts. In this first installment, we’ll see how Katniss and the rebels begin the war against President Snow and the rest of the Capitol.

The Giver
Bases on Lois Lowry’s classic novel, “The Giver” tells of a future society that appears perfect—until the twelve year old protagonist Jonas uncovers its dark side. Jeff Bridges is set to play the Giver in this film adaptation.

The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner is the first book in James Dashner’s dystopian series. In this story, 12 year-old Thomas wakes up with no knowledge of his past. He finds himself in the Glades, an encampment at the center of a strange and frightening maze. Surrounded by other boys with memories of their previous lives, Thomas learns to survive, and soon finds out what lies beyond the walls of the maze.

The Fault in Our Stars
Shailene Woodley, who plays the lead in the YA blockbuster movie Divergent, also stars in this film adaptation based on John Green’s best-selling novel, The Fault in Our Stars. In this story, Hazel, a sixteen year-old with terminal cancer, falls in love with Augustus, a former basketball player whose right leg had to be amputated due to bone cancer. The two meet in a support group and quickly begin a relationship that is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching.

If you’re a fan of Young Adult books (or good stories, in general), add these movies to your “must-watch list.” You’ll be sure to enjoy all of them!

Super thanks for having me on your blog, Alex!

19 authors – 10 writing exercises – 38 combined anthology entries!

Find it on Amazon
Learn more about Story Sprouts HERE
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles HERE
And find Nutschell at Blog, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest

Ninja News

Today at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group we are featuring are very first guest, the super-talented and awesome Elizabeth S. Craig! She’s sharing the best practices for self-publishers – you don’t want to miss it.

Catherina Constantine revealed the cover for her upcoming book, Tallas.

Isn’t it awesome?

Road to Somewhere by Kelley Lynn and Jenny Morris
New! From Bloomsbury Spark, a sunny heartwarming story of discovery and sisterhood.

A road trip. A singing competition. And super-hot cowboys.

What could be better?

Available now – visit their sites for a giveaway!

Don’t forget the Online Marketing Symposium is on January 20! Sign up and let us know what has worked (or didn’t) with your online promotions. Open to everyone, not just authors. Hosted by Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Cat Trivia Answers

Although some of your answers were awesome!

1 – How fast can a housecat run? 31 mph
2 – True or false – cats can drink seawater. True – their livers filter out the salt
3 – What’s the technical term for a hairball? Bezoar
4 – How many different sounds do cats make? One hundred
5 – Which pet is more popular in North America – the dog or the cat? The cat – 73 million cats compared to 63 million dogs

TV Trivia!

Random questions!

1 -On The X-Files, what's Mulder's nickname?
2 -What show starred Michael Landon as an angel?
3 -On The Simpsons, who shot Mr. Burns?
4 -What was the name of the charter boat that shipwrecked in the 1960s show "Gilligan's Island"?
5 -What 80s show is Frasier a spinoff of?

What movie based off of a young adult novel are you looking forward to? Have you picked up Story Sprouts? Excited about the new books? Signed up for the Online Marketing Symposium? Get any of the cat trivia correct? And do you know any of the TV trivia…?

Don’t forget to visit Kim Van Sickler!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pat and the Cat - Festivals for All! Plus Trivia, Ninja News, and National Wormhole Week - Wormfest!

Today I have for you a special treat
A funky rhyme that can’t be beat.
Because today Pat and his cat
Are here to amuse at my mat!

Please welcome Pat Hatt of It’s Rhyme Time, who will show you a proper rhyme.

Festival Time In Rhyme!

So since the cat is all done the A to Z he figured he'd fill some time with a guest post for the ninja wannabe. But what could he do? Why give festivals to visit for all of you.

Frozen Dead Guy Days.
Catch some sunny rays,
In dead guy land.
Wouldn't that be grand?

Tomato Fight Festival should be on your list.
Then just make sure you are good and pissed.
Take a tomato and whack one in the head.
They could join the above if they turn out good and dead.

Monkey Buffet Festival sounds yummy.
Don't you want monkeys in your tummy?
Could get a neat disease,
Or maybe just fleas.

This one I'd avoid,
Of them the cat is paranoid.
Although Crying Baby Festival may be for you,
Especially if you have one or two.

And if that isn't your cup of tea,
You can grab your baby and flee.
Going to the Baby Jumping Festival around the corner.
Just don't step on little Jack Horner.

I bet some could pass this test.
They have such zest.
They would prove they are the best,
By winning the National Hollerin Contest.

Don't come near my OCD, bud.
I do not want any mud.
But Boryeong Mud Festival could be fun,
If you like that type of thing under your sun.

This one will be all the craze.
You will get there and gaze,
Maybe even graze.
Soaking up Mike The Headless Chicken Days.

I'll skip the Festival of Near Death Experiences this year.
Although I have been there I fear,
The dress code is rather strict.
Bring your own coffin the rules depict.

Ewww ewww ewww.
But that is all the more for you, 
As you go to the Testicle Festival event,
Joining 10,000 people eating 4,000 pounds of bull testicles under a tent.

See, there are lots of other fun things to do, and surprisingly, none of these were made up at my zoo. So if you ever need a good festival at your sea, you can now find one thanks to me. On most though I would pass, especially the last one, as it scares my little rhyming ass.

Enjoy your winter, smash a printer.

Pat is the author of over twenty books and his latest is Fight for the Light, available on Amazon.

He also had a little fun with his IWSG post last week!

(Sorry, it’s not real!)

Trivia Time!

And in honor of Pat and his cat, today’s trivia is all about cats.

1 – How fast can a housecat run?

2 – True or false – cats can drink seawater.

3 – What’s the technical term for a hairball?

4 – How many different sounds do cats make?

5 – Which pet is more popular in North America – the dog or the cat?

Answers on Wednesday!

Ninja News

Thanks everyone for another amazing Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day. I wish I could visit every person on the list, but I do give it my best effort to reach as many as possible.

Bish Denham released her first book last week, Anansi and Company. Congratulations, Bish!!

Cate Masters’ latest is out now, A Wedding at the Blue Moon Café. Congratulations, Cate!

Angela Orlowski-Peart revealed the cover for her next book, Almost Broken Up. Looks great, Angela!

Chasing Anya by JL Campbell

Available today!

Been there. Done that.

Feisty and independent, Anya Davies lives by her own rules. The one thing she’s hell-bent on avoiding is a conventional relationship.

Enter Christophe Mondesir…

J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican, who is always on the hunt for story-making material. Find her: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Amazon.

Michael di Gesu is hosting the Coffee Hop this Friday!

Visit him for details and your chance to win Columbian coffee.


That’s right, it’s back – National Wormhole Week, March 10-16!

Hosted by Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolfe, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Kicking off Wormfest week will be the release of Stephen’s third book in the Chase Manhattan trilogy, Escalation.

2014 National Wormhole Week: Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology will go too far and set us back. They can be the same thing or different.

De-extinction or bringing back extinction species through backbreeding, genetic engineering, and cloning.
With all the breakthrough discoveries mankind is on the cusp of, are we playing God?

Where do you see science moving us forward and where do you see it moving us back? Feel free to quote a movie. (Jurassic Park is a great example.)

Join us below for Wormfest!

Follower of Pat and his rhyming cat? Know any of the cat trivia? Excited about the new releases? And who’s up for Wormfest?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus January Movie Preview, American Hustle Movie Review, 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.

My awesome co-hosts today are Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao, and Sarah Foster! Please be sure to thank them for their time and effort to make all IWSG members feel welcome.

I’m about seven thousand words into the new manuscript and it’s starting to come together. There will be rewrites of the first several pages, but I’ve hit a good spot now.

The most difficult thing is creating everything new from scratch. My last two books were easier because I knew the universe and I knew the main character. But for this story, it’s a brand new part of the galaxy, a more complex world and political scene, and a new character.

The last one is probably the most difficult. I’m still not a hundred percent sure of Aden’s voice. I found some character exercises online and the one that was the most helpful was writing what the characters thought of one another. At first it was odd, as I don’t write in first person, but it helped to see what the characters were like based on how they viewed everyone else.

Still hope I can pull it off. The whole story came from one song, and expanding it to fill a whole novel has proved to be a challenge!

Anyone else work on a story that wasn’t part of your previous work? What helped you get into that world?

Be sure to visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site and other members on the list!

Ninja News

Don’t forget our Online Marketing Symposium is on January 20! Sign up and let us know what has worked (or didn’t) with your online promotions. Open to everyone, not just authors.

Hart Johnson released episodes 6 and 7 of Shot in the Light today!

SA Larson posted the Writer’s Creed for 2014 – sign up at her site.

Charity Bradford is now in charge of blogfests at the Unicorn Bell, and she announced their first one this year - Love is in the Air Blogfest, which runs January 20-24.

Movie Reviews

American Hustle
A fictional retelling of the real life Abscam, which took place in the late 70s. A con man and his partner are forced to work for an FBI agent who wants to take down politicians and the mob.
It had a slow beginning, but once it got going, it was a game of who is hustling who. Similar in tone to Silver Linings Playbook, all of the characters are very odd but likeable. (Typical for a David O Russell film.) The leads were all amazing – Bale, Adams, Renner, Lawrence, and Cooper. Lawrence’s character in particular was just plain crazy but brilliant.
The theme was reinventing yourself if you don’t like who you are and doing whatever it takes to survive.
Definitely an Oscar contender – highly recommended!

Escape From Planet Earth
Had no idea what to expect from this small 2013 release, but it was actually entertaining.
Scorch is the daring hero brother and Gary the nerdy, smart brother who always gets him out of trouble. When Scorch is held captive at Area 51, Gary comes to free him. The animation was good and the characters funny. It’s a simple story that’s just a step below the top animated films out today.
If you liked films like Megamind, you’ll enjoy this one.

January Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming movies for January! Such a sad offering that I included some DVD releases as well. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

14 – DVD – Riddick

17 –
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh
Excellent cast and director – this one has potential.

21 – DVD - Captain Phillips

24 –
I, Frankenstein
Frankenstein's creature finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans.
Director: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto, Virginie Le Brun
It’s either going to be really cool or really bad, not sure which…

28 – DVD – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs II

Some awesome things coming next week!

Monday, I have a special guest with a wit that can’t be beat!
Wednesday is huge – another awesome guest, I have a guest post about space opera, and the IWSG is hosting its very first guest!
And coming soon – one epic contest!

Signed up for the Online Marketing Symposium? Taken the Writer’s Creed? Seen American Hustle? Any movies look good to you this month? And what are your writer insecurities…?