Monday, May 26, 2014

X-Men Days of Future Past Review, You Rock Awards, and Ninja News

Movie Review – X-Men Days of Future Past

One of the best X-Men movies so far!

I can’t say too much about it without spoilers. It’s a compelling story that melds past and future together well.

There is an all-star line-up of mutants. You’ll see a lot of familiar faces and several new mutants. (One of the best and funniest scenes involves Quicksilver.)

This film is epic in scope – the storyline, action, and special effects. You will walk out of the theater thinking ‘Wow!’ It’s a spectacle movie you’ll want to see in the theater.

It competes with Captain America: Winter Soldier for the best superhero film of the year, and definitely one of the best movies so far. And with this film, they have completely rebooted the series.

Highly recommended!

Ninja News 

Today I am at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website with tips on author etiquette online.

Over at the A to Z Blog, Themes that Rocked the Challenge continues with Lanise Brown,
who posted images of amazing libraries from around the world.

Out now!
Leverage by Nancy Thompson
This is the sequel to The Mistaken, an incredible thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
You can pick up Leverage on Amazon

Pat Hatt has a new book – The Cosmic League: Rise of the Allies.

Citadels of Fire, Book 1 of Kremlins by LK Hill comes out on Tuesday!

Shelly Arkon and her pups gave me the Bonefied Blogger Award. Her husband was recently in the hospital, so prayers for Shelly.

During the A to Z Challenge, Sia McKye was recovering from an injury, but author Kat Sheridan was awesome enough to step in and blog for her. Kat’s first book, Echoes in Stone, came our recently, and you can purchase it on Amazon

Eric Buffington is giving away copies of Stones of Power Book 1, The Exile this month. Use coupon code sw69s at Smashwords

From Randy Johnson at Not the Baseball Pitcher - Ten Coolest Movie Spaceships

You Rock Awards!

Time for the fifth annual You Rock Awards!

Every year, I select a handful of blogger buddies and highlight them. I keep making new friends, so it doesn’t get any easier as the years pass! The people below are very special to me, and I hope you’ll read why and then pay them a visit.

Past recipients include Arlee Bird, Yvonne Lewis, RaShelle Workman, Hannah, Jeffrey Beesler, Gail, Rusty Webb, Chuck, George, Jeremy Hawkins, Matthew, Old Kitty, Ella, M Pax, Roland Yeomans, Melissa Bradley, Robyn Englel, Lynda Young, Michael Di Gesu, Heather Gardner, Stephen Tremp, and Father Dragon Al.

This year’s You Rock recipients are:

Tina at Life is Good

This one is long overdue. Tina has been a dear friend for years, and through her posts and email exchanges, I know more about her than anyone else.. She is an integral part of the A to Z Team, which could not function without her organization and wit. Yes, if you’ve not met Tina, that’s the first thing you need to know – she is hilarious. I never know what she’s going to say, but I know it will be both funny and genuine. Tina, you are a delight in all things you do, and I could not be more honored to be your friend. Since we both claim Jeremy as a brother, that would make you my sister. Yeah, aren’t we a wild family?
Tina, you rock!

Damyanti at Daily (w)rite

Another one that is overdue! I’ve known Damyanti for even longer, and she’s also an important part of the A to Z Team. Hailing from India, she is an incredibly talented writer and deep thinker. She’s a gentle soul with an inner strength. And she’s very forgiving and patient – she’s put up with me calling her Damy for years! (I worried I would misspell her name.) We have a strong mutual respect for each other and I know I can always count on her. Damy, you can always count on me – I have your back.
Damyanti, you rock!

Edi at Edi’s Book Lighthouse

I met Edi four years ago while searching for book bloggers who reviewed science fiction. Not only did he agree to review CassaStar, he posted the most amazing review just before its release. I’d already become a fan of his blog, and from that point onward, we became more than reviewer and author – we became friends. Sometimes you just need someone who ‘gets you’ and understands the heart behind what you write. Edi is that person. We have a lot in common and I always trust his judgment. If we ever get the opportunity to speak in person (he lives in Germany) I know we’d discuss books, movies, ideas, and life well into the night. Edi, honored to be your friend – and to know you by your real name.
Edi, you rock!

Suze at Subliminal Coffee

Suze is probably the most introspective and wise person I know. If you visit her blog, take your brain. There’s no skimming her posts – and you wouldn’t want to, as you would miss so many nuggets of wisdom. No one knows how to craft words like Suze. (She’s currently working on a rewrite for an agent and he damn well better sign her, because no one deserves publication more than Suze.) You’ll learn a bit more about life and people, and come away looking at the world a little differently after spending time with her. Lest you think she’s all pomp, she does have a geek side, and it’s fun to see that come out now and then! (The geek stuff is probably why she visits me. Either that, or I amuse her.) Suze, you challenge me, my friend. And that’s good.
Suze, you rock!

Karen Walker at Following the Whispers

I believe Karen was one of my first followers. (I think we were in the BBT group together?) She is incredibly honest and open, and in ways I can’t ever imagine sharing with the world. There is such strength in that kind of transparency. She’s devoted to her friends and I don’t believe she’s ever missed one of my posts except when traveling overseas. Karen’s both author and singer, so we share a love of writing and music. (And if you’ve never read her book, Following the Whispers, pick it up today!) Karen also makes me think. She makes me appreciate life. And she prods me to live for the joy of today. She is a true friend.
Karen, you rock!

Elizabeth Spann Craig

Elizabeth is one of my very first followers. (Probably one of the first ten!) Considering she is the most successful author I personally know, I’ve never figured out why she followed me – or why she visits every time I post. (I must amuse her as well!) Elizabeth maintains a very professional author site, offering incredible information and tips. She shares what she’s learned and even set up the Writer’s Knowledge Base to help others. A full time writer, she really has her act together. And she’s real. I think that is what I admire most about her.
Elizabeth, I know the award doesn’t fit your site, but it fits you – and you rock!

My friends, I’ll email you a personalized You Rock badge today!

And I will be on vacation this Friday through Monday with very limited Internet! So no post on Monday. Looking forward to getting away and I will even have a little time to write.

Anyone else see X-Men this weekend? Excited about the new releases? Do anything fun Memorial Day weekend? And what blogger buddies rock your world…?

Don’t forget to visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and remember IWSG post day is Wednesday, June 4!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Godzilla Movie Review, How I Found the Write Path, IWSG Milestone, and Ninja News!

Godzilla Movie Review

Caught one of the first 3D showings on Friday, which was great as I was surrounded with die-hard Godzilla geeks.

Did they get Godzilla right? Yes! This is the Godzilla of old, complete with his signature roar and atomic breath. He’s bigger and heavier, but that means he just packs a more powerful punch.

The movie is not perfect. It doesn’t click on all cylinders. I think the main reason is the writers and director weren’t on the same page. The writers went for story and spectacle and the director tried to bring out the human element. He’s a new director, so Edwards probably didn’t have much sway, and the pacing is sometimes a little uneven. (The first big monster fight we don’t really see, as they cut away to the main character’s family.)

The tone of the film Edwards nailed though. This isn’t your campy Godzilla – this goes back to the original movie. It’s serious and scary. Humans are really helpless against these beasts.

The special effects are incredible, from Godzilla swimming in the ocean to the monsters fighting in the city. The dark, gritty feel adds to the realism. And when that atomic breath fires up, be prepared!

The actors do a fine job in their roles. Cranston is probably the best, while Taylor-Johnson holds his own as the young hero.

And ultimately, the big battles at the end will leave you cheering.


Ninja News

Big thanks for Blog Blitz last week! I certainly didn’t expect it. Yes, it did wipe out my previous comment record by about forty comments - there were over three hundred and less than twenty were mine. Big thanks to DL Hammons for starting the Blitz Team.
And don’t forget Write Club is open for submissions until the end of the month! Visit the Write Club page at DL’s site for details.

Sarah Ahiers signed a book deal for All That Remains!

Birgit is a talented card maker and she made one just for me!!

Cherie Reich’s Reborn is now available!

The ABC’s of Sandwiches by Holly Sinclair is available now!
52 sandwich recipes following ABC order. Included are classics (like French Dips), favorites (like Beer-battered Fish Sandwiches), and my own creations (like Veggie Supreme Sandwiches).

Lynn Rush’s Absolute Zero comes out this week and she’s holding a party! Check her site for details.

Jeff Chapman’s Last Request: A Victorian Gothic is out now – buy it at Amazon.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Milestone!

The IWSG Facebook hit a milestone last week – one thousand members!! Big thanks to the IWSG admins who run the Facebook group – you ladies rock. (I’m not on Facebook. Probably why it’s growing so fast!)

Just a reminder about the IWSG Facebook Guidelines:

1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...

3. News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.

How I Found the Write Path

Carrie Butler is putting together a free eBook for writers. To contribute, we were asked to write a letter to our younger selves. Here is my letter, short and simple:

Prepare For Changes!

Right now, you’re writing. It’s comfortable and fun. But once you’re on the path to publication, prepare for everything to change! This journey is going to rock your world.

You are going to meet so many amazing people along the way. Writers, readers and bloggers. Learn from them. Become a sponge and soak it up. You don’t want to go into this blind – learn from their mistakes and their successes.

Be a giver. That’s probably the most important thing. You may not think you have anything to give as a new author, as a social media newbie. But you do. You can support. You can uplift others. You can take what you’ve learned and the blog you established and let it be a blessing to others.

Don’t underestimate the support you’ll receive, either. The writing community is the most generous on earth. They want to celebrate with you. Your success isn’t a threat – it’s a beacon of hope. Let others help you with promotions, as their reach is far greater and packs a bigger punch.

Understand the reach of your work. Don’t narrow its appeal. Think bigger. Think beyond those people you believed you were writing for. What you wrote will have a far greater impact than you can imagine.

Last piece of advice – don’t stop writing. There’s more than one book in you. Your readers will demand more! And with each one, you’ll get better. It won’t be easier, but each time you’ll dig deeper and try harder.

Prepare for these changes and enjoy the ride!

Anyone else see Godzilla this weekend? Excited about the new releases? Participating in Write Club? Part of the Facebook IWSG? And what you tell your younger self if you could write a letter?

Come back next Monday for my X-Men review and the annual You Rock Awards!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Invasion of the B Movies! Plus Insomnium Album Review and Ninja News

Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun

This Finnish, melodic death metal band just gets better and better. I was a huge fan of their last album, One For Sorrow. This one is definitely a progression of their music, and expertly balanced beautiful and brutal.

I’d list the standout tracks, but there are too many to mention. The music is soaring and epic. The singing wavers between growling, screaming, and singing, but it never overpowers the music.

These guys are HUGE in Finland, and their albums shoot to the top of the charts every time.

If you want more from your metal, check out Insomnium!

Ninja News

The Awesome Challenge Themes feature begins at the A to Z Blog today. Kicking it off is David Powers King, who had an awesome music theme.

The A to Z Road Trip has begun! If you didn’t get time to visit everyone on the list (yeah, did anyone?) then this is your chance to explore at your leisure. Visit the A to Z Blog for details and to sign up.

I found out that the Goodreads Community Space Opera Fans selected CassaFire for their book of the month in May! My thanks to the group and hope you enjoy it.

And Tara Tyler gave me a special award – thanks, Tara!

Out today!

Come Back by Melissa Maygrove
Western Historical Romance

Sometimes a single choice alters the course of a person’s life forever.

Buy it at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Available now!

Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit, and Grit

Twenty-four moms (and one dad) explore how parenting shapes them as writers, how they make time to write, how they record memorable parenting moments, and more. (Including Claire Hennessy!)

Visit Write On Mamas for more information about the book and the group!

Prom Impossible
By Laura Pauling

Buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Cover Reveals!

Shadow Warrior
Book II in the steampunk series, The Mechanica Wars
By Jay Noel
Release date – August 4, 2014

The agony of a failed quest haunts Kanze Zenjiro, but the betrayal by those he once trusted has turned his world upside down…

Champion in Flight
By Tyrean Martinson
Release date – June 2, 2014

Induction Day
By PK Hrezo
The Butterman Travel sequel

Invasion of the B Movies!

MsMariah posted a link to this blogfest, and it looked like fun. Hosted by Girl Meets Cinema, we are to choose a super cheesy blockbuster B-rated movie, post why we love it, and include pictures.

My choice – Deep Rising!

What’s not to dig about this over-the-top horror-monster thriller? A group of hijackers have chartered a boat and intend on robbing a stranded cruise ship, but giant, deep-sea creatures have got there first…

There are so many great one-liners and funny dialogue. Treat Williams and Kevin O’Connor are both hysterical.

In a scene where O’Conner and Wes Studi are being chased by the giant creatures:
Studi: The only way to slow ‘em down is to feed ‘em!
O’Conner: FEED ‘EM? The only thing I got is a wet stick of gum and a breath mint!

Famke Janssen is sexy (of course) as Trillion the thief.

The film is also unbelievably gory.

Directed by Stephen Sommers, Deep Rising is a fun, cheesy popcorn flick!

Have you listened to Insomnium? Participating in the A to Z Road Trip? Excited about new books? And what cheesy B film do you really dig…?

I am back to my Monday only (with IWSG Wednesday) schedule now. I will also be taking some time off during the week from blogging while I complete and edit my current manuscript. If I miss anything awesome, please send me an email! And yes, I did enjoy a few days off this past weekend.

And I just found out this morning from Nancy Thompson that CassaStorm was nominated in Science Fiction for the eFestival of Words 2014 Best of the Independent eBook Awards!!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus Massive Book 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 Mark Koopmans, Joylene Nowell Butler, Elsie, and Lisa Buie-Collard! Please stop by their sites and thank them for helping today.

Now that the insanity of the Challenge is over – I am working on my manuscript again! I’m in the final stretch and it was no effort to jump back in and continue with the story. Endings have always come first for me, so what I am about to write has played over in my head a hundred times. So I am eager to finish the first draft. Then editing, which will involve adding many new elements and twists. Good thing I really like the editing phase.

But I did write more than blog posts during April!

I was asked to contribute to audiomachine’s next project, an eighteen track movie soundtrack called Phenomena. There will be a free eBook available for download. With every purchase, audiomachine will make a donation to the LA Youth orchestra. My story will accompany a piece called Drakon's Empire.

What’s my story about? Well, it focuses on a young man by the name of Bassan…

Be sure to visit other IWSG members!

Book Releases and More!!

Break Time
A Steampunk Anthology
by Pat Bertram, J.Conrad Guest, J.J. Dare, Dale Cozort, Suzanne Francis, and Joylene Nowell Butler

Welcome to Break Time, a collaborative steampunk anthology written by seven authors from four countries -- USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia -- who have never met.

Available on Amazon - eBook and Print

Living the Afterlife: A Death and Chronos flash fiction collection
By River Fairchild

Thirty stories filled with laughter and mishaps as a Harley-riding Death and anachronistic Chronos create havoc in Purgatory and on Earth. A host of Immortals join in the misadventures.

Buy it on Amazon

How to Seduce a Band Geek (How To #2)
by Cassie Mae
Buy it at Amazon

Hey, I resemble that...
Rescue Squad, Book 9 of A Shot in the Light
By Hart Johnson
Buy it at Amazon

Chasing Luck
by Brinda Berry
A Serendipity novel - New Adult Romantic Suspense
Buy it at Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble

Second Chances 101, the fifth Ripple Effect Romance Novella
By Donna K. Weaver
Buy it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Stones of Power: The Invasion
By Eric Buffington
Buy it at Center One Publishing and Smashwords

Altered Perceptions is an anthology of great authors, donating their work to help author Robison Wells, who's crippled by debt, caused by his mental illnesses. David Powers King is pledging one dollar for every comment on his IWSG post today. So visit David and donate his money!

Anyone else diving back into their writing this month? Picking up Phenomena? (You should see the list of authors contributing stories to the eBook!) Picking up any of the new releases? And what’s your writing insecurity today…?

And heads up – I will be out and about enjoying life this weekend, so you won’t see me around much. After last month, I hope I remember how…

And please, special prayers for Melissa Bradley. She was admitted to the hospital on Monday and they discovered a huge mass around her lymph nodes. The biopsy is today, so please keep her in your thoughts.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man II Movie Review, A to Z Challenge Reflections, and Ninja News!

Movie Review – The Amazing Spider-Man II

Caught it Friday in 3D. The plot follows an Oscorp employee’s transformation into Electro and Peter and Gwen’s on again, off again relationship.
The action scenes are great and there is a lot of snarky humor. There is a lot of slow-motion, bullet-time style action, which the 3D takes advantage of.
There are three villains, but the main focus is on Electro, and you see far more of Harry than you do the Green Goblin.
This film isn’t as good as the first one. For one thing, it’s too long. Filmmakers seem so determined these days to make long movies. Had they trimmed the extra stuff, the action would’ve flowed faster and they would’ve had a leaner, more dynamic film.
Ironically, the best parts of this film involve the interaction of Peter and Gwen.
It’s not a film I’ll probably watch again. Not because it wasn’t good, but because – (SPOILER it was dark and very sad.)
Cool in theaters for the 3D, but better as a rental.

Ninja News

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts this Wednesday!

Someone posted a link to this site last week. Hopefully you never see your book here – Lousy Book Covers

Dean K Miller is part of a special Mother’s Day Sale!

Cover Reveal –

By Tara Tyler
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Available today!

A Dragon’s Lament, book 2 of the Jewels of Chandra series by River Fairchild

Magic is real. So is betrayal.

Purchase it here - Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, and iBookstore. Also available in paperback.

A to Z Reflections

Between today and Friday, the A to Z Challenge hosts invite everyone to post their thoughts on this year’s event. What you liked, what you didn’t, and what we can do to make next year even better. Once you have posted, visit the A to Z Challenge Blog and enter your post’s direct link on the Linky List.

My thoughts on this year’s Challenge…

As always, overwhelming! This was my fifth Challenge and fourth as a co-host, and it’s been amazing to watch it grow from a hundred of us that first year to over two thousand this year. As a co-host, I have a section of the list that I monitor (HUGE thanks to my awesome Minions, Joy, Michelle, SL, Susan, Rhonda, Madeline, LG, Cathy. Diane, and Melanie) and I am the Linky List Master, responsible for cleaning the list of bad sites, non-participants, and broken links. Plus the IWSG participated, so there were posts for that site. Add all of my blogger buddies, who I TRIED to visit every day, and the Challenge was pretty much my life for the month of April. (But that’s cool – it’s worth it!)

My next thought – some of you guys are so YOUNG!!! (My theme was retro and featured a different year for each letter, and comments were what others remembered that year.) Dear, Lord! David, LG – I could be your father. Wow, I feel so old…

I didn’t gain a lot of new followers. (That’s all right – I can barely keep up with everyone now!) But I did make some new friends and reconnected with some followers I didn’t visit often in the past.

Some people didn’t return comments or follows. That was rather sad. Maybe some people just didn’t get the following thing?

The only real bummer is that as a co-host, and one with so many followers and commenters, I don’t get a chance to meet as many new bloggers as I would like to meet. Some of my best blogger buddy friends I met during previous Challenges. I miss that.

Finally, I hope that everyone who visited enjoyed my Retro-Blogger Buddy Feature theme. It was a lot of fun to put together.

How did I do it? Yes, there was some snooping involved. And some emails. But earlier this year, I had a post that asked everyone what was their best year and why. Then I narrowed it down to twenty-six years and started my search for a movie or album that came out with a certain letter that year. (I knocked out X and Z right away!) I also found a couple sites that listed major events, sporting events, and time capsule information. Then I scoured the web for movies, music, and games that were released that year. Finally, I snagged all the images I needed. The basics of my Challenge posts were html formatted and ready to go by early February – everything else I added the night before.
Total time per post – four to five hours.

Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment. But I wanted to do something unique and as always, feature a blogger buddy or two.

And big thanks to the Challenge Team, Tina at Life is Good, Jeremy at Being Retro, Damyanti at Amlokiblogs, Nicole Ayers at The Madlab Post, Stephen Tremp, M. J. Joachim, Heather M. Gardner, AJ at Naturally Sweet, Pam at An Unconventional Librarian, and the founder of the Challenge, Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out!

Visit the A to Z Blog for a list of other Reflection posts and to add your own.

Anyone else see Spider-Man this weekend? Ready for some new books? Ready for the IWSG post? Did you enjoy my Challenge theme? And what are your thoughts about the Challenge this year…?