Monday, January 6, 2014

The Best of 2013, New Books, Ninja News, and What Was Your Best Year?

The Best and Personal Favorites of 2013

It was another awesome year for movies, music, and everything in between. Here were some of the highlights for me, in no particular order.

Favorite Movies

Star Trek Into Darkness – non-stop and just a very good and solid movie
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – another great entry and roller coaster of a ride
Pacific Rim – giant robots versus giant monsters – need I say more?
Gravity – very intense and Oscar-worthy
Thor: The Dark World – even better than the first one
Man of Steel – liked it even more the second time

Favorite Music

Rush – Clockwork Angels Tour DVD/CD – great live show and the orchestra puts it over the top
Dream Theater CD – their best album since Awake
Ayreon – The Theory of Everything CD – another amazing concept album from Arjen

Favorite New Television Shows

The Blacklist – Spader makes it
Almost Human – great interaction between the leads
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – fun and expands the Marvel universe
Defiance – support your local good science fiction show!
House of Cards – you’ll need a shower afterwards but it’s fun

Favorite Game 

Rocksmith 2014 – a lot of fun and better designed

What were some of your favorites?

New Books!

Lydia Kang’s Control is now out – her first book!

Roland Yeomans’ Death in the House of Life is now available!

Another masterpiece from Roland...

EJ Wesley’s Vampire's Ball, Moonsongs Book 5 was unleashed.

Watcher of Worlds by Brinda Berry
Whispering Woods Book 3
ISBN: 978-1-941133-00-2

Senior year should bring fun, friends and happiness. Not portals, treachery, and murder.

Find it on Amazon

Anne R Allen’s The Lady of Lakewood Diner in now out!

Emilyann Girdner’s The Labyrinth Wall was released!

Kimberly Afe’s The Headhunter’s Race came out last week!

Ciara Knight’s Pendulum is out!

Congratulations to all!

Ninja News

Today at the A to Z Blog is an interview with the awesome Michael Di Gesu! He turned his theme into a lucrative endeavor – check it out.

Terri Rochenski announced an opportunity with her publisher, Roane Publishing. They have an open sub call for an upcoming fantasy anthology titled Portals. See her site for details.

Special thanks to Robyn Campbell and Edi’s Book LIghthouse who both placed CassaStorm at the top of their favorite books of 2013. You both rock!!

For those of you who write poetry, Bossy Betty had a really creative idea!

Pat Hatt created a special video for Christmas, and I’m proud to say I defeat Evil Santa with my guitar playing! (And not because I was playing badly either.)

The 2014 A to Z Challenge Team is coming together! We’ll announce them and open up the sign-up list on January 27. We’ll also be looking for Minions again. Any volunteers…?

2013 and Our Best Year

2013 was another good year for me, although 2012 seemed better. However, I did launch CassaStorm, the final book in my series. I made huge improvements in my guitar playing. And of course, the launch of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website was a major highlight.

We remember years that boast major accomplishments and happy occasions. I can remember living in England, marrying my wife, accepting Jesus, and the launch of my very first book. Those were all good years.

So I ask you – what was your best year and why?

See you Wednesday for Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day!

What were your favorite movies, shows, books, etc. in 2013? Picked up any of the new releases? Ready for the A to Z Challenge? (Want to be a Minion?) And what year shines in your memory – and why?


Kyra Lennon said...

I think my best year ever was the year I turned eighteen. Everything was exciting and the world was full of possibility!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Great picks for your favorite 2013 TV shows! The Blacklist and House of Cards are also among my favorites. I think that you would also like Orange Is The New Black on NetFlix. My best years were when I got married, and when our sons were born. Hope you enjoyed your break Alex, and I'll see you on Wednesday. Happy New Year!


mooderino said...

I thought Gravity was the stand out movie of last year. Was looking forward to, but was disappointed by Agents of Shield.

Moody Writing

Annalisa Crawford said...

We loved Agents of SHIELD in this house - love watching telly with my kids and NOT having to suffer kids programmes all the time!

Best year, probably last year to be honest. My life seems to be getting better and better!

Mark Koopmans said...


Must say The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad both left me breathless (and checking the downstairs doors on more than one occasion!)

1990 remains a personal favorite. I was in a new city in a foreign country and I remember closing and leaning against the door of my very first I-did-it-all-by-myself apartment.

The adventures that led me (eventually) to Hawaii began the next day :)

Unknown said...

Wow. I've had so many great years that I can't narrow it down. However I did enjoy last year because I travelled a bit and spent lots of quality time with my family. Can't beat that. Love your picks for movies and music and such. Got into Person of Interest and Downton Abbey.

Brinda said...

Thanks for putting my book up there! I have to say I'm glad to leave 2013 behind. I'm looking forward to 2014. :)

Vanessa Morgan said...

Favorite movies: Enemy, Only God Forgives, Coherence

Favorite new televion show: Les revenants (The Returned)

Favorite music: the soundtracks of Maniac and Side Effects

Suzanne Furness said...

Favourite years? Married in 1985, had the girls in 1994 and 1995 so they were all good years and well I'm planning on this one being awesome too!

Old Kitty said...

Star Trek, Dr Who, Hobbit2 - made my 2013 viewing beyond awesome!! May I include Sherlock Holmes (strictly 2014 but who's keeping tabs! LOL!)?!

Aww lovely Capn Ninja!! Is that your guitar playing? Srsly?!?! LOL! Yay!!

Oh my favourite year? 1969! Someone walked on the moon and I was born! In the same month! Hah!! LOL! Take care

Rusty Carl said...

Man of Steel is better than a lot of fans give it credit for. I've probably seen it 4 times now. It's a good movie.

2013 was pretty good. 2014 will be different for sure. I'm nervous about it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Star Trek was my favourite this year! Can't wait to read Lydia's book too!

Gossip_Grl said...

Great List of everything 2013! It would be hard for me to pick just one thing in 2013. You mentioned the A-Z and it's almost unbelievable that it's getting close to that time again. Time sure flies doesn't it?

Martina Boone said...

Lydia's book is on my thr list, and I am loving The Blacklist. And, of course, The Walking Dead, which has fabulous characterization! Actually a lot of great shows on that I don't have time to watch. Great list, Alex!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. Congrats on so many new books coming out! Way to go.

I like your movie choices. However, Pacific Rim was a little disappointing in the end. Really? I had to watch all that fighting and the love interests didn't kiss at the end. *rolls eyes*

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great list of TV shows, Alex. But like Martina, I don't have enough time to watch them all. I'm trying to keep up with the shows I already watch.

Meeting my husband in India, getting married, and adopting my daughter in China were all great years.

Unknown said...

I haven't seen a single one of your fav movies - and I'm dying to see all but one! I can do without robots.

I don't watch TV, but I love me some Karl Urban!!! Perhaps I'll get a chance one of these days to enjoy an adult show. LOL!

Thanks so much for the shout - out. I'm excited about that sub call.

I think I'm opting out of the A-Z this year. Too stinkin' busy.

I had my debut novel release last year AND a novella, so it was my best year in publishing so far. Hoping for 2 novels this year. We'll see!!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

One of the big highlights of 2013 for me was the release of my flash fiction collection. I was proud of the result but also of the fact I FINALLY accomplished that goal. And then to see all of the support from the blogosphere was just incredible. :)

I'm hoping 2014 will be a year of more and better writing and creativity! Oh, and fun! :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

LOVED your movie list. I loves all of those films this year - especially Into Darkness and Gravity. I also love your TV list. I am DVRing Almost Human and can't wait to watch it.

The Angry Lurker said...

"Justified" was my favourite TV show, still waiting on "Almost Human" and to see "The Hobbit 2", my favourite movie was Despicable Me 2, Zero Dark Thirty, Django:Unchained.

Misha Gerrick said...

Mmm... 2012 was an awesome year. As was 2007... and a few others, but I don't really want to go back to calculate.

Honestly, though, every year has its great moments. Last year just had a huge sucky portion towards the last three months. Which is a pity, since it was the same time my book came out and I moved to an awesome new home.

Jo said...

You got me hooked on Almost Human although I download it from iTuns, not see it on TV.

Didn't realise you actually lived in the UK. Whereabouts?

At my age there are many years which stick out in my memory.

The Happy Whisk said...

A to Z, already? Oy.

Bob/Sally said...

We didn't get out to many movies this year, and the ones we did see were absolutely horrible - American Hustle, I'm scowling in your direction. Having said that, Pacific Rim & Gravity are two I'm really disappointed I missed in theaters.

Can't agree more with your music choices, though. Rush, Dream Theater, and Ayreon – all solid, amazing additions to some already spectacular catalogues.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kyra, as it should be!

Julie, I will check it out.

Mark, bet that was an awesome feeling.

Brinda, you're welcome. Hope this year is better.

Kitty, that means you're NOT old, because I am older than you! And not my guitar playing, but I do need to learn that song now.

Gossip Girl, yes it does.

Martina, too many...

Donna, you and my wife can discuss that issue in depth then...

Natalie, wow!

Terri, you're welcome. Hope you get some adult programming soon.

Madeline, I second that!

Keith, it's probably one of the best shows on right now.

Misha, hope those things balanced the suck.

Jo, I lived in London.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Alex! Happy new year! Happy January! Happy first blog post of the year!

Okay, I'll stop. :)

Your list is awesome. Loved Star Trek, Pacific Rim and THOR! Got the RUSH Blu-Ray for my husband for Christmas. Love Blacklist, Almost Human and SHIELD!

So many new books out. I wish someone had given me an Amazon giftcard for the holidays.

Minions? Hmmm. I could use a few of those. :o)

See you on Wednesday!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Thanks so much for this recap Alex! Lord knows I needed it! Gosh, best years, huh? Um, I guess they've all been best years. There have been some that were harder than others, but in all, I've been a lucky girl:) Happy 2014!

Jack said...

I too liked a lot of the movies you listed. I haven't seen Thor yet, which I'm bummed about, but I plan to soon. That was one of my movie disappointments so I have to make up for it soon.

It looks like there are a lot of new books coming! That is exciting. I am building up my summer reading list and love adding to it even though I know there will never be a way to finish them all.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Congrats to all those with new books!

Some of the years that stick out to me are 1988 (when I graduated from high school) and 2005-2007 (got married in 2005, went to London in 2006, and had my son in 2007).

Brian Miller said... are getting agreement on the movies, i would add a few....12 years a slave was intense....

thor was def better...we were rewatching the first this weekend and talking about it....

welcome back.

Laura Clipson said...

I can't believe I still haven't seen The Hobbit. I did see Thor, though, and I agree; better than the first.
2012 is my best year; it's the year I started writing, and I haven't stopped since.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

You've given me all kinds of things to look for on Netflix! And some books to add to the TBR list. Thanks! :)

Unknown said...

My favorite year would have to be the year I got married. I was 25 and all my friends had ran off with wives, so I was lonely.
Favorite Movie MOS
Favorite TV Arrow
Favorite Game Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I love Almost Human!

2004 was a good year for me. Lots of fresh beginnings and new things, with books and a cruise.

Al Diaz said...

I liked Thor and The Hobbit too. So you defeated evil santa, cool. I should have called you to defeat some other evil spirits. My favorite year was 1998, I think. Happy new year, my friend. Good to see you again. :) Dragon hugs.

Chemist Ken said...

I loved Thor, although it gave me flashbacks to Star Wars at times.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new BBC Sherlock Holmes episode. My daughter has already seen it - twice - but I'm stuck at the airport in St. Louis waiting for the snow to go away.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

it's a wonderful world, filled with great things... watched the wolverine over the holiday, a couple times... found it to be very paced entertainment. i am feeling your show choices to be very good, the blacklist is one of spader's best works.

dream theater, i have to check it out... i thought it was a live album... though i am so behind in my music, the scores in 2013 have been awesome.

have a great day, may it be above the -40 wind chill we are currently experiencing.

Unknown said...

Wishing you another good year, Alex, and thank you for your kind support. Carole.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bob, yes they are! And I really liked American Hustle...

Heather, I will miss you as a Minion. And I'm glad I got some iTunes gift cards for all those books.

Sandra, going to London always stands out!

Brian, I need to see that one.

David, that made me laugh.

Al, why was that a good year?

Ken, bummer!!

Jeremy, that is cold. They also have a live DVD that is just awesome in addition to the studio album.

Shell Flower said...

There was a lot going on this year, and I can tell 2014 is going to be even more action-packed. That Rush concert sounded pretty awesome. My favorite year was probably 1992 because I lived on a beach and was following the Grateful Dead around, but then again, the year I had my son was pretty big. It's hard to choose.

Pat Hatt said...

Some great picks, Shield is getting better, I just wish it wasn`t so much of an ncis wannabe, procedural.

Best year, hmmm best is yet to come maybe, worst I can name easy, 2012. The ninja wannabe on the attack haha and a to z all done for me!

Chris Desson said...

I have a few best years, and they all involve traveling or a major accomplishment. The Blacklist is on my Best of 2013 TV Shows too. James Spader is AWESOME!!! Congrats on 2013, Alex. Hope 2014 is even better. Cheers!

Bish Denham said...

Look at all the books being released! And such fabulous covers! Hubby and I were pleasantly surprised by Almost Human.

I think I would have enjoyed the Rush concert! Best year? Gosh that's really hard to say... but the year I met and married my hubby would be at the top.

Heather Musk said...

I loved Into Darkness (enough to see it 3 times at the cinema!), definitely my favourite of the year.

I wasn't sure about Man of Steel, I really need to see it again to make a better judgement.

Looking forward to this years A-Z, I might try something more creative and ambitious!

mshatch said...

A good year, huh...1987? Yeah, it's been a while but I'm hoping this year is going to make up for all those not so good years :)

Happy 2014!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

So many good looking books coming out! It's hard to keep up. :)
2004 was a pretty great year for me. I got married in February and had my first child that fall. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Alex,

I LOVED the new Hobbit movie. I actually want to go see it again!!!

WOW,,, lots of new books out by such talented authors! All the best to them!

As for 2013 .... I certainly had my highs and LOWS. It may not have been my best year, but it certainly was an interesting and CHALLENGING one.

I am hoping and wishing for a healthy and successful year for all of us in the blogosphere!

Juliana Haygert said...

Of your fave movies list, I just didn't watch Gravity. I liked the others very much.

My fave TV show is, right now, Once Upon A Time - I love how they interweave the fairytales and make the villains sympathetic ... you understand them, which is, to me, how a villain should be :)

Mina Burrows said...

There are no words for how much I loved Star Trek.

Haven't seen Almost Human and I loved House of Cards.

2013 was a great year for IWSG and a wonderful year for you too!

Happy Monday!

Christine Rains said...

Happy new year! Pacific Rim and Star Trek are two of my favorites from last year too. Congratulations to all those who released books! Quite an impressive bunch. My years just keep getting better as I get older. I think my best year is still yet to come. :)

S. L. Hennessy said...

I loved Star Trek. Can't believe I forgot it in my 13 of '13 post. Ugh.

I'd love to be an A to Z minion if you need one. The A to Z challenge is my favorite blog event of the year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shell, bet that was a free-wheeling lifestyle!

Pat, hope there are no more 2012s for you then.

Bish, the boys can still deliver.

Heather, I wasn't either, but upon watching it again, I really liked it.

Marcy, what rocked about 1987?

Karen, that sounds like a special year.

Mina, you rock.

SL, thank you! Consider yourself Minionized.

John Wiswell said...

Heck yeah on giving props to Into Darkness, Alex! So glad to see anyone sticking up for that movie.

I was blessed with a great deal of great media in 2013. Guy Gavriel Kay's River of Stars and Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni were superb novels, State of Decay and The Last of Us were wonderful videogames, and The Wolf Children is one of my favorite movies in years.

ilima said...

Wow. So many great books. Congrats everyone! After trying several times, I'm finally into The Walking Dead, but I still close my eyes at all the gory parts and wait for my husband to say I can look now, ha. I love it. And we started season 4 of Downton last night and it did not disappoint. I'm gonna say 2014 is my best year...gotta stay positive, right? :)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

i saw that, would you recommend something from them live that gives me the full experience of them?

Leovi said...

Yes, Dream Theater album one of the best of the year!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I'm excited to read both Control and E.J.'s new book. 2014 is starting out with a bang. I think my favorite new show from 2013 was Sleepy Hollow. Almost Human is quickly losing my interest. I hope it gets better soon.

Karen Lange said...

Congrats to everyone on their new releases!

The years that stand out to me are the ones where I came to the Lord, got married, had three kids, had a book published, and met great writers and blogging friends like you! Much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

Alex, sometimes I scroll through your blog and think, "wow, we really have nothing in common." We don't like the same movies, books or have the same tastes in music. But then I read your personal notes-- about your love of music, your heart for God and your love for your wife, and I see where it is we connect. Hope 2014 is a great year for you.

Frankie Miller said...

I'm reading CassaStorm at the moment. I love Bassan and can understand how he worried about doing something he knew he shouldn't have done.
It's quite amazing that you lived in England. It was in the Seventies when Billy Graham came to England when I accepted Jesus, and although I admit to being a backslider (only because I can't stand only "green" sermons and the rejection of the Bible by most church leaders). However - I still believe, read my Bible and pray. I'm definitely not writing for the converted since most people here are not only atheists but scoffers. You wouldn't believe the BBC now!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I agree with you on all the favorite movies. 2013 was a good year at our house though there were a few rough times. When you have six kids there are bound to be ups and downs. Favorites years are all those since I've had my children.
I'll sign on to be a minion. Do I have to paint my skin yellow?

Sarah Ahiers said...

Never got a chance to see Pacific Rim and I would replace Man of Steel with either Catching Fire or Iron Man 3, both of which i loved (and i pretty much hated man of steel)

And how great has Almost Human been? Love that show. And Agents of SHIELD. Both winners for us

M.J. Fifield said...

I liked Star Trek enough to buy it, and really enjoyed Thor 2. S.H.I.E.L.D. is a lot of fun, as is Almost Human.

Congratulations to everyone who has a new book out!

Emily R. King said...

I saw Pacific Rim the other night. I have to say, the Godzilla feel of it was pretty amazing. As for all the books coming out, yay! Lots to read!

A Beer for the Shower said...

On paper Pacific Rim sounds like it should have been idiotic and awful but I enjoyed the hell out of it so much I probably have already watched it 3-4 times. I don't care how intelligent someone is, if you don't enjoy the sight of giant robots and monsters smashing the crap out of each other then you just don't have a soul.

Lydia Kang said...

Aw, thanks Alex! And your blog post makes me realize I am SO behind on my movie watching! I wish I had time to watch Almost Human. It looks fantastic.

SK Anthony said...

Oooh great movies! I have yet to watch Pacific Rim though, and YES on the TV shows :D

Glad 2013 was one of those years, launching the final book in this series is pretty major. 2013 is dear to my heart because, well, I published my first novel but 2010 takes the lead since its when the twins were born ;)

See you on Wednesday!

SC Author said...

Watched all those movies except Thor and Hobbit and I plan to watch those too! And 2013 wasn't as productive as 2012 was, writing-wise, but it was good :)

Stina said...

I didn't know you lived in England. I lived there as a kid.

There have been too many good years to list. Every one just seems to get better.

Favorite movies in 2013: Frozen and Catching Fire. There were probably more, but those are the only two I remember (because I saw them last month lol).

Can't wait to read Lydia's book. Already sold my son on it. :)

Here's to a rockin' 2014!

H. R. Sinclair said...

Why is it the second someone asks a question like "What was the best year" our ('cause I know it's not just me) minds go blank!

I don't know about my favorite movie, but I did watch The Worlds End last night and it was ludicrous and great.

Nate Wilson said...

Is it bad the only thing you mentioned that I've seen or read is the very first one you listed? Ah, the perils of having a 2-year-old. Of course, he's also the reason 2013 was my best year ever.

Happy New Year, Alex!

Crystal Collier said...

Look at all those amazing releases! I might bottom out on my book budget this month...and then some.

I personally can't wait for the A-Z Challenge. It was such a blast last year, and talk about amazing new friends!

2013 has been pretty stellar, but I'm betting 2014 is going to be even better.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

John, don't know why so many didn't like it.

Jeremy, Score is a three CD/two DVD pack that's their twenty year anniversary disc. Excellent because they have an orchestra for half of it.

Leovi, yes! You rock.

Karen, amen!

Julie, ultimately that is the connection that will matter in the end.

Fanny, glad you are enjoying it! Just believe in the Bible. That's what matters.

Susan, thank you! No, you can be an evil purple Minion if you like.

Sarah, they both rock.

Emily, that's why I dug it.

Brandon and Bryan, amen!!!

Lydia, you're welcome, and congratulations!

SK, that is cool.

Holly, it will come to you...

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Every year is my best year because it means I'm still striving and still alive. Movies rocked this year and I'm excited about what 2014 will bring. So glad 2013 went well for you Alex.

Jen said...

Best year? Hmmm, not sure. Events stand out for me more than years: living in Savannah, going to Ireland, marrying my best friend.

Here's hoping I can add "living in England" to my list soon!

I AM ready for the A-Z Challenge! I've been thinking about it since November. Weird but true!

Here's hoping 2014 is a "best year" for all of us! So far, so good!


Jennie Bennett said...

Some much awesomeness in 2014! Someday I'll stand next to all these greats :)

Unknown said...

Good choices. I'm not sure if my best year has happened yet. There've been some doozies, though.

M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

Cate Masters said...

I am so behind on movies! I try not to get addicted to shows but I do love Almost Human.
I like to think my best year is ahead of me. :)

S.A. Larsenッ said...

My internet is currently beyond sucky. Hope this goes through. I'm watching Thor, right now. Loving it! Thanks for creating an awesome list of last year's besties.

Al Diaz said...

Why 1998? Someone believed in me so much that made me believe in myself too. I had the honor to be part of a wonderful team. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was where I belonged. It was over a year later but it was great while it lasted.

Patsy said...

2012 was my best year. I got married and had my first book published. 2014 is going to be good too though, I think.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The video wouldn't play for me. :-(

Thanks so much for including my book. Empress Meilori thanks you, too (and since she kills those who displease her -- boy, are you lucky!)

I watched and loved all but HOUSE OF CARDS. Don't have Netflix. I'm looking forward to the new season of JUSTIFIED and new episodes of THE BLACKLIST (makes me really look forward to Spader's take on Ultron in the new AVENGERS MOVIE)

My favorite year is this one since this is the only one I can still mold and craft with each day's choices and comments.

Have a great New Year!

Cherie Reich said...

Happy New Year, Alex!

Love the recap, and I'm anxiously awaiting for The Blacklist to come back on.

My best year? Hmm, perhaps 2009. That's when I decided to write with publication in mind instead of just writing for the sake of writing.

Robin said...

As usual, my movie watching is slow. I did see Star Trek and Thor. I also watch Almost Human, Agents of Shield, and The Blacklist. I think Sleepy Hollow is also one of the best new shows of the year.

Rhonda Albom said...

I am more of a comedy fan, and not a big TV watcher.This was the year we discovered The Big Bang Theory, so that's my pick even though it's not really a 2013 show (It was for us). We went around the world in 2012. It will be hard to beat that one of us.

If you still need a minion, I am in.

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

The best is yet to come- always! 2013 was a great year. Cheers to 2014.

I enjoy Agents of SHIELD, too. Lots of great new music and books from 2013, too!!! Best to you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nate, that is a good enough reason!

Crystal, the A to Z is always awesome.

Sheri, it came through, and enjoy!

Al, that's a special year then.

Patsy, I remember that!

Roland, wise choice.

Rhonda, your trip around the world was amazing. And thank you!

Elephant's Child said...

So many books, so little time.
Every year is the best, and the worst. All new, all different...

Carrie-Anne said...

I think my best year was my senior year of university, 2001-02. I came out of the shell I'd been in since surviving junior high, and finally had a social life again. It was essentially confined to the campus Jewish community, but it was a social life nonetheless. I was so attached to the community that I came back several times during the fall 2002 semester, in spite of having graduated.

Andrew Leon said...

I am mostly dissatisfied with 2013, and I'll just leave it at that.

Mark said...

Into Darkness, heck yeah! Happy New Years, Alex:)

Angela Brown said...

I particularly like your fave movie listing for 2013. I'm trying to think if I even made it to the theater during 2013. I'm thinking not lol! So much to make up for :-)

I think 2003-2004 will be my fave years. My then marriage was at its prime and I was blessed with my Chipmunk. Years since then have flown by, some decent, some nice. Maybe 2014 will be a bit more of a stand out year. Who knows? I'm just ready to take it one day at a time and enjoy each one to its fullest :-)

Glad to have great blogger buds like you to enjoy these days.

Sarah Foster said...

Not sure if there's one particular year that stands out in my mind as being the best. I find most years are a mixture of bad and good.

Looking forward to IWSG!

Luanne G. Smith said...

That's a lot of book releases!

And I still haven't seen Gravity. Will when it comes out on DVD I suppose. I'm almost afraid to watch it -- that whole stranded in space thing kind of freaks me out way beyond my comfort level.

Belle Wong said...

Happy new year, Alex! I hadn't realized the Insecure Writers Support Group has its own website now. Off to check it out, along with your other links.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Angela, I know how important Chipmunk is to you!

LG, it is very unnerving.

Belle, yes it does! We are still growing and building. said...

I haven't had my best year yet. Not sure why. Maybe 2014 is it.

Here's to many more successes and blessings for you, Alex.


Tina said...

Yeah we have an announcement date! I already have a minion! And invites out to two more. So excited about A-Z season. It's my favorite time of year.

As to favorite year? It most certainly WAS NOT 2013. Maybe 1992, starting June 20 when The Engineer and I married. It was so easy being married the first year...but we're now in the best place ever so that's certainly a good start to 2014 :-)

I don't disagee with you often, but OMGersh Man of Steel was disappointing. We'll have to debate another time...
Tina @ Life is Good

T. Powell Coltrin said...

2013 was mostly good. May had a challenge. December was not good at the ole school district. Glad you are having good years.

I like Almost Human, Revolution, and Grim. Movie:Star trek.

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed all three of your books, if anyone would have told me years ago I would have read three space book I would have laughed at them.
Welcome back and keep warm, we;re trying to keep dry .

Carol Kilgore said...

I've been out of the loop for about six weeks, and look at all the new books!

Congrats to all!

nutschell said...

lots of awesome books out this year! Congrats to everyone! Gah. I still haven't watched the Hobbit, Gravity or THor. I'm way behind on my movie watching sessions. I hope to find the time to catch up before the month ends.


Unknown said...

2013 has been a pretty mixed year for me. I'm hoping 2014 is going to be my year! :)

Anonymous said...

I know that many people thought 2013 sucked, but I have to say it's my favorite, tied with 1998 (when I got married). Welcome back to the blogging world, Alex!

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

I also expected to see Iron Man 3 on that list :) Since I'm FAR behind on movies, I still have to see half of those, but being a huge fan of Zack Snyder, I expect nothing, but to love Man of Steel ;) Glad to see that Pacific Rim made the cut too.

Unknown said...

The World's End was probably my favourite movie of 2013.

I've a little Ayreon on a compilation CD I had for Christmas; looking forward to giving them a shot :)

Here's to an awesome 2014 for the Ninja Army!

Anonymous said...

I have favorite decades. Does that count?? :)

Happy New Year, Alex!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tina, I'll get an email I'm sure...

Yvonne, and I'm so pleased you took a chance on them!

Jamie, happy to be back!

Hey George! Iron Man III would've been the next on the list.

Liz, that made me chuckle...

Cindy said...

Rush with an orchestra? That has to be amazing. Must check that out.

I have an idea for A to Z this year and I think it will work out.

ediFanoB said...

Another great post. I took me some time to go through.
Thank you for mentioning my blog.

For me 2013 has not been the best year ever. That title still goes to 1991 - I married my wife, the birth of our daughter, I got a new job, we moved to a new home.

I liked Star Trek Into Darkness
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Unfortunately there wos no opportunity to watch Gravity.

I watched with pleasure the Pat Hatt video.
And I found out that there is one more great video from Pat Hatt - Cassa Storm :-)

May 2014 be a good one for the Ninja and his Army!

Unknown said...

Cool picks for besties, Alex!

Congrats to Lydia, Roland, EJ, Brinda, Anne, Emilyann, Kimberly, and Ciara on their book releases. Wow! That's a lot of releases!

I'm still waiting for my best year. Fingers crossed it will get here eventually. ;)

farawayeyes said...

Wow! There's a lot going on in this post. I've only seen one of your favorite movies. I don't watch TV and you lost me on the music. It sounds like I live in a cave - really I don't.

Best year - I don't know, give me a few more decades to decide.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I haven't seen the new Hobbit yet or Almost Human, both of which I definitely want to see.

Except for IWSG (yippee), 2013 was a mostly quiet year for me because I'd decided to concentrate on one area of my writing. This year will be a big one. I've started a non-writing (eek!) project which requires a steep learning curve, I've started writing a whole new novel, AND I've resurrected an older novel and am editing that too. Again, I say, eek! :)

J E Oneil said...

There were lots of good books this year. Don't make me choose!

I don't know about a best year. I'm not very good at seeing the bright side of things, so I try to focus on the present and the future.

Unknown said...

Hey Alex. Awesome favorite movie picks. I'm still on a happy high from watching The Hobbit a couple weeks ago.

The Santa in Pat's video may give me nightmares, lol! Too funny.

Also, thank you so very much for posting about the release of The Labyrinth Wall and congrats to all the other releases as well.

My best years have been my freshman year of college, the year I married my husband and I'd say with the launch of the book, 2014 is looking good so far to make the list =) But I'll report back in 12 months.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I've been wanting to watch the SHIELD show, but I always forget. (I'm not a very good TV addict!)

My best years when the years my kiddos were born and the only thing better than accepting Jesus for myself was watching my two oldest boys get confirmed and accept Him for themselves. Last night, my youngest told me he prayed for snow to cancel school and threw in safe travel for people who had to work to balance it all out.

Kirsten said...

As always, thanks for the great recommendations in movies, books and music!
2013 definitely had some lows in it for me, but in the plus column I can put some solid progress in my writing craft. Finally gathering my courage to put some of my stuff out for critique helped me so much!
(Yes, the IWSG played a part in that. :) )

Nicole said...

Star Trek: Into Darkness and Thor 2 were both awesome! For "Best Year," I've always found there's some "best moments" in every year. Looking forward to the ones I'll encounter this year. :)

LuAnn @ BackPorchervations said...

My husband and I love that "Almost Human" show too!

One of my best years was probably 1992. I was in a play called "Ladies' Room" in February, while rehearsing for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as a tech. One week before the play opened in March, one of the actresses had to drop out and I took over her part. At the time I was also rehearsing "Happy Days" by Samuel Beckett, which opened in April. At the end of April I finished up classes for my BS degree in Finance. For the final exam in my last class, the instructor brought in pizza and said, "Here's your final."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cindy, it was amazing live, that's for sure!

Edi, thank you for mentioning my book! 1991 sounds like a good year. And yes, Pat did an awesome job with the CassaStorm trailer.

Lexa, I hope so!

Faraway, I don't think you live in a cave...

Lynda, you can do it!!! Have faith.

Emilyann, you're welcome. So many books the past two weeks! Hope this year rocks for you.

Elizabeth, that is awesome.

Kirsten, that's why I started the group!

LuAnn, you were juggling a lot of plays at once - well done!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Movie favorites of 2013: The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Thor 2, Frozen, and Saving Mr. Banks.
Favorite year (s): the year I married my husband, the year I accepted Christ's forgiveness, my daughters' birth years, my 13th year, and last year (when my first book came out).

klahanie said...

I'm still trying to figure out where you find the time to see all those movies and TV shows. You must have a clone doing your blog.

Links are noted and I've see quite a few of them on other sites. Much fulfilment to all of them.

That Pat in the Hatt cartoon. Crazy stuff.

Your writing and your guitar playing, both music in their own way. Your last two years have been truly inspirational for you.

I'm trying to avoid looking at that A to Z reference. I dread April. So, no way would I ever get involved in that monstrosity.

My best year is dawning, my friend.

Here's to an awesome 2014 to you and yours, Alex.


Cathy Keaton said...

My favorite new TV show from 2013 was Sleepy Hollow. Love Ichabod Crane!

I still haven't seen most of the movies that came out last year. I usually wait until I can rent them.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh, I loved the Desolation of Smaug! The kids have "cold" day off of school tomorrow...have you ever heard of such a thing?...and are talking about going to see it again. I might join them.

Congrats to all the productive writing Ninjas. They're starting 2014 w/ a bang.

Best yesr...I've had a lot of good years, but I don't think I've had the best one yet. ;)

Jennifer Hillier said...

Happy New Year!

I think 2013 was my best year, though I'm hoping to top that this year.

But I also think "best" is relative. Things can seem extra-great after they've been extra-awful (and 2012 was extra-awful).

Helena said...

2013 was a quiet one for me, so I really should resolve to make 2014 bigger, noisier and way better.

I didn't see enough movies this year, darn it! But I was really impressed with Captain Phillips, and The Conjuring scared the *@!!# out of me, just like old-fashioned ghost stories should.

Maurice Mitchell said...

2012 was a great year too.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Every time I think I've arrived at my best year, I think of something else that should factor in. I'll go with 1997, though, the year after I got married. We had a good year, despite being broke and working all the time. It was the first year I'd lived near my extended family since I was 7 years old, so I got to spend time with so many relatives. I'm glad I did, as the next year my grandpa died, the year after that my grandma, so on and so forth. That time was valuable, and my hubby and I were happy and living in our first home (rental) together.

Ray Rousell said...

Favourite album The 1975 by The 1975, TV programme has got to be Orphan Black and as Fran said Justified.....not really sure about my favourite movie?????

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tyrean, you have a lot of good years!

Gary, I have a clone doing my job for me so I can sit there and watch movies and blog all day...

Nicki, go see it again!

Jennifer, plus we tend to remember things better than they were sometimes.

Helena, The Conjuring was an excellent film.

Shannon, it was a time of prosperity for you.

Ray, I'm sure you've seen a lot though.

Leovi said...

I have to go see pending Gravity in 3D!

Huntress said...

Other than Star Trek, I haven't seen any of the other movies. *shame*
But I'll agree, Into the Darkness was amazing. Loved it.

I am ALWayS picking up new books from author I know and those just starting out. What a great life we have, reading AND writing!

Best year? Every year is my best year I think.

Cathrina Constantine said...

We must have the same taste in movies and TV shows, all good! I did see the Hobbit like you advised and I liked it better than the first movie! I had many good years I can't name just one. With 5 children each birth is a phenomenal year!

Ellie Garratt said...

Wow. So many new books! What was my favourite year? I'd say every year, because life is a gift.

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Alex!!! My hope is Poetry Jars become essential items in every home!

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Alex!!! My hope is Poetry Jars become essential items in every home!

Julie Flanders said...

Wow so many new books out. I didn't know about Lydia's - need to check that one out.

Love the video, very cute! Congrats on your stunning defeat of Evil Santa.

Theresa Milstein said...

Congratulations to Lydia and the other writers with book releases. And I'm happy to see you've made it onto some favorite lists, Alex.

My favorite adult book was The Herbalist by Niamh Boyce. My favorite book was Wonder by RJ Palacio.

JJ said...

I love the list, particularly the movie Gravity and the TV series The Blacklist.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Happy New Year, Alex!

"Person of Interest" was my favorite TV show until they killed off Carter who gave the show a special vitality.

Best year? Interesting that a best year does not stand out as much as a worst year.

Mary Montague Sikes

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Huntress, my iPad is overflowing with books to be read!

Cathrina, glad you enjoyed it. And five kids? Whoa...

Betty, you're welcome!

Julie, thank you!

Mary, always a bummer when they do that.

Melissa said...

2013 was a tough year for us. I'm looking forward to a better one in 2014.

Happy New Year. :)

Pat Tillett said...

We've spent so much time in the boonies this year that I am very behind of movies and TV. Not even much time for reading lately. I'd say my best year was 2013. We did and saw so many things that 99.99% of the population wouldn't dream of doing. Heck, they probably wouldn't want to do them.
I hope you had a great holiday season Alex.

Michelle Wallace said...

There are loads of new books coming out... congrats to all the authors!
I can't really pinpoint a specific year that shines in my memory... to be honest, I've never really thought about it... every year has its wonderful moments...
My favourite book in 2013 was The Book Thief.

And I'm looking forward to the A to Z challenge... with all it's madness... LOL. But I'm struggling to come up with a theme that will allow me to have as much fun & laughter as I had last year...

Sherry Ellis said...

Those are all great picks for movies! I really enjoyed Gravity. As far as the best year, I don't know that I have one. They all have good things, and a few challenges. Happy New Year, Alex! I wish you a wonderful 2014!

Hart Johnson said...

My favorite year was 1984... man, I loved starting college... but I don't know if BEST fits there... I'm not sure I could pick a best. I DO know the last couple have been really mixed--some hard stuff in there, but some great stuff too. higher highs, lower lows.

Feeling very out of touch. I haven't seen any of those movies...

Birgit said...

I still have to see LOTR-smaug-OK OK I can't remember the full title but I MUST see this. It's funny it is always easier, for me anyway, to pick lousy years and I don;t think I am alone on this. I love that you choose Best year. It makes me think and some years have been the "best of times and the worst of times" (Dickens). I can say, most recently, 2006 when I not only met my current man of my life, I found my strength, I went on a great trip to Panama and felt empowered. I also can say 2009 because we went to Europe and I could show my hubby such beautiful things that exist in this world, from magical mountains, great works of art and cathedrals that make one awestruck

Stephen Tremp said...

I loved all the movies, although Pacific Rim ending was predictable and anti-climatic.

Great news with all the new book releases! Best wishes to all the writers.

Control looks appealing if only for the scientific elements of technology gone bad. Love the cover art for all of them. Pendulum would make it pick it up and scan it if I saw it in a book store.

Anonymous said...

I liked 2011, 2013, and the year I was ten.

There's so many shows and movies I missed. I need to get with the times.

So many great blogger books here. I hope to read many.

Cortney Pearson said...

I agree with you on the movies, although Gravity was too intense for me! And I haven't seen the new Thor yet...

My best year was probably when I was 19. I loved college and that's also when I met my husband. :D

Anonymous said...

Read your interview with Michael and truly enjoyed it. 2013 came and went in a bit of a blur for me - I think I was on auto-pilot for the last half of the year.

Suze said...

Wow! Packed post. I enjoyed reading about which were your favorites over the course of 2013. The reminiscences about years past was also very nice, Alex. Overall, this was a really cool post.

I think my favorite film of 2013 was one I saw at the very, very end--and that was Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

PK HREZO said...

Great lists! I loved Desolation of Smaug too!! Total roller coaster.

Hmm... best year ever? That's indeed a tough one. But I do have fond memories of '93 going into '94. Just that youthful age of 20 and all the friends made and music shared--when life was so full of possibilities.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pat, that made me laugh! Your life is quite the adventure.

Michelle, time for some brainstorming.

Hart, you've been through a lot, but you made it and 2014 will be better.

Birgit, those both sound like fantastic years!

Medeia, I'll be a true gentleman and not ask what year that was...

Courtney, great combination!

MJ, this year will be yours!

Suze, I'll try to put more me into my posts...

PK, I remember those years...

DMS said...

Loved seeing your favorite picks for 2013 and congratulations on a great year! I will have to think about my best year- but last year was a wonderful year for me and one that I will always remember. :)

Wishing you a Happy New Year and a fun 2014.

DMS said...

Loved seeing your favorite picks for 2013 and congratulations on a great year! I will have to think about my best year- but last year was a wonderful year for me and one that I will always remember. :)

Wishing you a Happy New Year and a fun 2014.

Kimberly said...

I loved Gravity and the Desolation of Smaug. Still need to see the latest Thor movie.

Lots of great sounding books - I got Roland's a couple of days ago! Thanks so much for mentioning mine. :)

Anonymous said...

I feel like I only saw 2 movies last year in the theater, but I think I saw at least 3. The Desolation of Smaug was awesome. I can't wait for the last movie!

I read about 18 books last year, and I don't think I'll be trying that again. lol I don't have the attention span. Maybe 12. lol Set my goal low.

Jai Joshi said...

So awesome that Roland, Lydia and Ciara's books are out! Congrats to both of them and to all the other authors.

2013 has been a great year for me, mostly because I've been steaming ahead with the writing and releases. It's been non-stop with some major life changes along the way so I really can't complain about anything.


Samantha May said...

I never realized just how much went down in 2013!

For some reason, 2011 pops into my head as a really good year. I was the lead in the school musical, graduated from high school, started my blog, went to college, and turned 18!

2013 was a close second with the France trip. Bring on 2014!!

RaveAir said...

Unfortunatelly I haven't got time to write comments to my favorite blogs, because of the lack of time.
2013 was very tiresome, so I hope 2014 will be a little bit better. Not just me, but everyone.

Unfortunatelly I haven't visit cinemas last year, so I don't want to write movie top 10. Instead of it I'll share you with my Top 3 Boardgames of 2013:
1. Lords of Waterdeep (It's worker placement game, with fantasy elements on the world of Forgotten Realms)
2. Pandemic (Great co-op game, fighting against deadly viruses. Be careful! It's very infectious! :))
3. King of Tokyo (Easy filler, where big monsters fights with each other of the Kingdom of Tokyo)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kimberly, you're welcome!

Debra, one a month.

Jai, you have been a writing machine.

Samantha, I'd say that was a very good year.

Hey Zoltan! Hope you have more time this year. Will look for those games - haven't heard of any of them.