Monday, May 25, 2015

Metal Band Name Generator, Muse Party Blogfest, Bee Shortage, Movie Review, and New Releases

Today I am visiting Tyrean Martinson and discussing writing influences. And there's trivia!

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest!

Heavy Metal Band Name Generator

In need of a metal band name or just a good laugh? Check out Heavy Metal Band Name Generator – one press of the button randomly generates a suitable metal name.
So far, my favorite has been Boob Holocaust.

Movie Review

Probably seeing Tomorrowland today, so will post review next week. In the meantime…

White House Down
Directed by Roland Emmerich, the story is ridiculous and very unrealistic. It’s full of gaping plot holes.
However, the leads are very likeable and manage to pull some entertainment out of the flick.
Watch if you’re really bored.

New Releases

Fixation by J. L. Campbell
Find on Amazon and Smashwords

A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford
A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.
Find it here: Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Goodreads

Ten Zany Birds by Sherry Ellis
Find it on Amazon

Bees in Danger by Jo

Jo on Food, Life and a Scent of Chocolate mentioned a shocking report she had read on honey bees and how they were declining in numbers. A report featured on IFLScience described how in recent decades honey bee numbers in the US had declined by 60%. This is shocking in itself but the latest report by the Bee Informed Partnership together with the Apiary Inspectors of America, which surveyed over 6,000 apiarists, indicates that there has been a further loss of 42% of honey bee colonies in the United States. Some of this has been caused by the destructive varroa mite, a lot of the problem is related to toxic chemicals used by humans, but some is totally unexplainable. While the bulk of the cereal crops (which are wind pollinated) would survive, many fruit and vegetable crops would disappear. Australia has been protected from pests like the varroa by their very strict quarantine laws but, even if they end up with the only healthy honey bee population, that won't save the world's food crops. We need the honey bee. If it dies out, we are in serious danger of dying out too. Visit the blog of Helen Venn for more information.

The Muse Party Blogfest

Hosted by Sarah Foster.

I don’t really have a muse, so I decided to bring along one of my characters instead.

Who is your muse (or character)? Tell us a little bit about him/her and why you brought them. I’m bringing Athee from my Cassa series. She’s beautiful, strong-willed, outgoing, and will offset the fact I’m not really a party guy.

What are you guys wearing? Dressing up or keeping it casual? I’m always dashing in a tux and I hope she’s wearing something low cut.

It's a potluck! Did you bring something yummy? She would bring a traditional Tgren dish with all the trimmings and I would bring a traditional snarky guy dish of Hot Tamales and Gummy Worms over rice.

Open bar! What are you both drinking (booze or otherwise)? I’m drinking whatever makes me not care about the awkward words coming out of my mouth.

Wallflowers or social butterflies? I’m the wallflower of the two.

What song(s) will you and your muse sing for karaoke? She opts for a traditional Tgren song and I opt for Cowboys From Hell by Pantera.

What's your favorite party game? Whatever gets my date naked the fastest. (Hey, you asked!)

Which one of you is more likely to end up dancing on a table top? Definitely Athee. I will be sleeping under the table at that point.

Has your muse been a good date and would you ever hang out with them again? Excellent date… reminds me a lot of my wife!

What heavy metal band names did you get? Seen White House Down? Picking up some new books? Have you seen a decrease in bees in your area? And what would your muse or character be like at a party?

Don’t forget to visit Tyrean Martinson!

And happy Memorial Day.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Max Fury Road Review and Blood Boobs and Carnage Blogfest! Plus Nightcrawler and Pompeii Reviews, Dragon News, and Ninja News

Mad Max Fury Road Movie Review

This is one of the most visually stunning films I have ever seen.
You do not go to this film for the deep, complex storyline. You go because this is Road Warrior times a hundred.
Fury Road is a ballet of vehicular manslaughter of the highest order ever put on film. I’m not sure I even breathed during the final thirty minutes. And it’s impressive how little CGI was used. Those car chases are all real.
The world building is amazing and done in a unique manner – they just dump you in the middle of the ride and you learn as you go.

The art direction and cinematography is beyond breathtaking. Every frame is filled with bizarre and surreal imagery that will stick with you for a long time.
Charlize Theron is the real star. She’s the heart of the story. Tom Hardy’s Max is just along for the hellish ride. But he is perfect as Max – distant and just wanting to survive.
All performances are batshit crazy, which fits the film perfectly.
Highly recommended!

Dragon News

I received word from my publisher last Friday - Dragon of the Stars is under consideration for the Philip K. Dick Award! It won’t win, but I am so stoked to know my book was selected and is being read by the judges.

My publisher also sent copies of the program guide for Treklanta. It’s exciting to know that Dragon is appearing in so many science fiction convention guides.

Movie reviews

Fascinating movie. It’s like spending two hours with the best used car salesman in the world.
The performances are great. I’m just not sure how I feel about the movie. How do I root for a sociopath?
It’s worth watching for the great directing and acting, but you might want to take a shower afterwards.

This is a film with great special effects but a flat and lame story. They struggled to build a decent story just to showcase the volcano erupting.
Kiefer Sutherland is horribly miscast. His acting is hammy and over the top, and the character is very one-dimensional.
This film is a step up for Emily Browning after Sucker Punch but a huge step down for Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington.

Ninja News

Pat Hatt had a great time with his You Rock award!

Nigel Mitchell posted an excellent piece about book reviews – the do’s and don’t’s.

Operation Underground Railroad is a nonprofit group that works to help rescue some of the 2 million children trafficked as sex slaves around the world. Donna K. Weaver has started a fundraiser for OUR -
We've created a donation campaign called Authors United Against Child Slavery. We're offering people books in exchange for donating money to the campaign--a $20 donation gets a book (paper, ebook, audiobook)--depends upon what authors can donate. Obviously, what we need are books, and that's where I'm hoping you can help. All donations go directly to O.U.R. Our goal is $2,000. That means 100 books.
Sign Up Link - Authors United Against Child Slavery Campaign

Out Now –

Precipice, Backworlds Book 6 by M. Pax
Find it on Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

The Mission by Lexa Cain

SF Women A to Z – A Reader’s Guide by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest!

Hosted by me and Heather Gardner.

Today, post about a movie, television show, book, or all three that falls into the category of Blood, Boobs, and Carnage. (Or just Blood and Carnage or other mixture.) It can be any genre that fits the bill – fantasy, science fiction, action, adventure, western, thriller, etc. Post the badge and visit other participants.

My selections are…

Movie – Conan the Barbarian
Camp classic, it contains everything you’d want in a Conan movie, including a ridiculously pumped Arnold.

Television – Game of Thrones
No other show better exemplifies blood, boobs, and carnage than this. However, in between all that is an incredibly compelling series.

Book – Books of Blood by Clive Barker
If you like your blood mixed with boobs, Barker has a creepy way of mingling sexuality with violence.

Visit other participants below!

Anyone else see Fury Road? Or Nightcrawler or Pompeii? Anyone attend Treklanta? Picked up those books? And what do you consider blood, boobs, and carnage material? 
I am easing back and taking some time off later in the week for a while.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bloody Mary with Chrys Fey! Plus the You Rock Award and Ninja News.

Today I have the honor and privilege of appearing at C S Lakin’s Live Write Thrive. My topic - How to Handle Writer Insecurity.

I was that Kid...

I was the skinny girl who would sit in the dark with a flashlight, making up ghost stories to frighten my friends. Their squeals were cheers to me.

When I was twelve, my friends and I liked to huddle in a dark bathroom, stand in front of the mirror and call out, “Bloody Mary.” One of my friends would say “Bloody Mary” once and then chicken out. Another would shriek, “Did you hear that?” or “Something touched me!” Yet another would be in charge of the lights and would turn them on if we got too scared. The lights went on a lot.

I was the girl who would have the guts to blurt out “Bloody Mary” three times. Immediately after, I’d hear gasps of fear and awe. Seconds later someone would scream, which would prompt us all to scream and shove each other out of the bathroom only to go back in minutes later and do it again.

Available Now: GHOST OF DEATH at Amazon US, Amazon UK, The Wild Rose Press, and Nook.

Available for PRE-ORDER: WITCH OF DEATH at Amazon US and Amazon UK

Find Chrys: Blog, Facebook, Website, and Goodreads

Ninja News

Today at the A to Z Blog, I am kicking off the Themes That Rocked the Challenge feature with someone really awesome - J.H. Moncrieff! You like strange, ghostly, and bizarre? Then check it out.

Edi at Edi’s Book Lighthouse announced a writing contest – Epic Worlds. Check out his site for details.

Available now!
Iron Warrior by Jay Noel
(The Mechanica Wars Book 3)
Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Available May 13!
A Taste Of Pain by G. B. Miller
Find it at Smashwords

The Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest is May18 – next Monday! Movie/show/book that exemplifies the theme, or part of the theme. Hosted by me and Heather Gardner. Join us – it will be epic!

You Rock Award!

I started this five years ago, right after the very first A to Z Challenge. This is to honor blogger buddies who have come to mean so much to me over the years.

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 Engel, Lynda Young, Michael Di Gesu, Heather Gardner, Stephen Tremp, Father Dragon Al, the late Tina Downey, Damyanti, Edi, Karen Walker, Elizabeth Spann Craig, and Suze.

Every year, it gets harder! There are those on the IWSG team, the A to Z Challenge team, and my faithful blogger buddies. How do I only pick a handful when so many are worthy? You guys are all awesome. I can only honor a few though.

This year’s You Rock recipients are…

Susan Gourley
She’s one of my IWSG admins and a fellow A to Z co-host. She’s a talented writer and an excellent organizer. No matter what, I know I can always count on her. But more than that, she’s been an awesome friend for so many years now. I don’t know what I’d do if this amazing woman vanished from the blogging world. Susan, you rock!

Pat Hatt at It’s Rhyme Time
Pat is a talented writer and poet, with dozens of books to his credit. He is owned by two cats, Orlin and Cassie, and blogs a snarky poem every single day. His sense of humor is awesome and matched only by his giving heart. Despite the fact he’s buried Mini-Alex in the litterbox more than once, Pat is a dedicated and amazing friend. Dude, honored to call you a friend – you rock!

Jo at Jo on Food, Life, and a Scent of Chocolate
Hailing from Canada, Jo posts daily about her life, interesting facts, and recipes. She also has a quick wit – her animal for Z last month was a zebra, followed by a recipe for zebra! She is also Grandmother Dragon to our private Dragon Fellowship group, watching over us and giving sage advice. Jo, you’re a very caring and supportive friend – you rock!

Michelle at Writer in Transit
From South Africa, Michelle is one of my IWSG admins. She’s a flash fiction master and isn’t afraid to tackle anything. What I admire most about Michelle is her enthusiasm. Plus her creativity knows no bounds. She gets an idea and runs with it. I’m fortunate to know her. Michelle, you keep me on my toes – you rock!

Brandon and Bryan at A Beer For the Shower
I’ve known these dudes for five years now, although we lost touch for a while during blogging growth spurts. The authors of numerous books, their site is bursting with humor and snark. These boys pull no punches – they call it like it is. Despite the rough edges they exhibit, both have morals and strong values. (Bryan is even a minister!) They are just the nicest guys and I’m honored they are my friends. Brandon and Bryan – you guys rock!

Christine Rains
Christine is a talented hybrid author, dabbling in numerous genres. I’m always astonished by what she accomplishes considering her busy schedule. She writes and blogs on a tight schedule, and always with considering as to how she can help her fellow writer. She is indeed ‘Fearless’ and an amazing friend. Christine, I really admire you – and you rock!

Most of the You Rock recipients I’ve known for years, but every now and then someone comes along who really speaks to your heart. Truedessa is an amazing poet, one with a gentle and loving spirit. She often embarks on adventures with Pat Hatt, and her natural innocence and pure heart shines through even then. Truedessa, you are the brightest star in the sky – and you rock!

Did you ever say Bloody Mary to a mirror? Ready for Blood, Boobs, and Carnage? Do you miss the A to Z Challenge? (Road Trip opens this week.) Are you following those blogger? Who rocks your world…?

Be sure to visit C S Lakin’s Live Write Thrive!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus NetFlix’s Daredevil, Ninja News, and New Releases

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 Eva Solar Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp!

Dragon of the Stars came out last month in the middle of the A to Z Challenge. It was a struggle to balance my blog tour, marketing for Dragon, and the Challenge. The book has sold well and promotion efforts continue. My publisher is working with a lot of science fiction conventions and my blog tour continues. (My stop this week was at Teresa’s Journaling Woman site.)

Anne R. Allen posted this week reasons why authors should write short stories. I’ve contributed to four anthologies, and since my novels are all really short, short stories might be something I pursue. I do have an idea for an adventure involving Bassan…

But the one thing I really want to focus on now is the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I want to bring in some awesome guests, add many more sites to the database, and elevate the site to Writer’s Digest level quality.

Writing is tough business. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to continue. (I didn’t sign on to do more than one book anyway.) I know the bad reviews on Amazon were inevitable, but it always sucks. I’ve been through some incredible highs and lows, and I want to do my part to help other writers going through the same stuff. I’m not a great writer, but maybe I can be a great supporter.

Ninja News

If you’re looking for my A to Z Challenge Reflections post, it is HERE.
Sarah Foster is hosting The Muse Party Blogfest on May 25 2015 – visit her site for details.

Cherie Reich’s book Reborn is a finalist in the Rone Awards – please help her by voting HERE.

Michael G D'Agostino just started a monthly hop - Question of the Month. It’s on the first Monday of the month, so sign up at his site for June.

Ray at Don’t Throw a 1 is hosting a mega 500 posts giveaway. If you are a gamer or a painter, you definitely want to check it out.

The Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest is May18 - movie/show/book that exemplifies the theme. (Or part of theme.) Hosted by me and Heather Gardner.

Just Released!

Titanic: Newly Discovered Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Holy Ghost Writer

The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave by J.H. Moncrieff

The Botanist by Liesel K. Hill

Melissa Maygrove announced the release of Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. She and many other contributed to the book, which was edited by JQ Rose.

Daredevil Review

If you’ve not been watching this series on NetFlix, you are missing out!
This is one of the finest shows I have ever seen. It not only sets the standard for comic book series, but for any series.
It’s not a candy-coated comic book show. It’s real and sometimes brutal – part character study, part serious drama, and part amazing action sequences. It’s built for people who love comics and those who’ve never read one in their life.
All of the characters, good and bad, and fully fleshed out and real people. You sympathize not only with Matt as Daredevil but with Wilson Fisk as the villain.
This is an event series – and they don’t come around often.
Highly recommended!

Joining any of those blogfests? Picking up some new books? Have you been watching Daredevil? And what are your writing insecurities this month?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review! Plus A to Z Challenge Reflections and Ninja News

Today I am visiting Teresa at Journaling Woman and discussing a writing schedule that works. Need help with your schedule? Then check it out!
Plus, Mini-Alex is also stalking Pat Hatt's cats today...

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Tony Stark uses Loki’s scepter to create a higher level of artificial intelligence to protect the planet. The result is Ultron, an unbeatable villain determined to bring peace by purifying the Earth.
In a nutshell – the movie is chalk full of geeky goodness!
There are many great action scenes and the story moves at a rapid pace.
It contains a huge cast, even bigger than the first Avengers. There are several new characters and few returning from other films.
There is a bit more character development as past issues and current situations are revealed and relationships develop.
The banter between the characters is awesome. There were so many funny lines, it will take multiple viewings just to remember half of them.
The film continues to expand the Avengers and the Marvel universe.
(Slight spoiler! It sets up the Infinity Wars and the inclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy next time.)
And to address a few of the reviewer’s complaints – the plot does make sense in a comic book universe, Thor is not left out of the story, and Hawkeye doesn’t take over.
Ultimately – it’s a lot of fun and a worthy follow-up to the first Avengers film. Highly recommended!

Ninja News 

Don’t forget Wednesday is Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day!

The Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest is May18 - movie/show/book that exemplifies the theme. (Or part of theme.) Hosted by me and Heather Gardner.

And Next Monday – the You Rock Awards!

A to Z Challenge Reflections

Between May 4 and May 8, post your thoughts on the Challenge – what you liked, didn’t like, your experience, etc. AFTER you have posted, go add the direct link to the Linky list at the A to Z Blog.

My theme this year was Movies-Music-Science Fiction Book-Bloggers-Dragon of the Stars Term. As always, it was a lot to research and put together, plus gathering of links and images. Choosing blogger buddies to feature was tough, as I know so many awesome bloggers, but I did my best to feature those I knew well and hadn’t featured in the past. Most of them found their feature, which was cool.

I’d like to thank all of my fellow co-hosts - Jeremy Hawkins, Nicole Ayers, Stephen Tremp, Heather M. Gardner, AJ, Pam, Matthew MacNish, Zalka Csenge Virág, S. L. Hennessy, C. Lee McKenzie, Joy Campbell, Susan Gourley, Lisa Buie-Collard, and John Holton. Special thanks to Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out for starting this back in 2010. And thanks to all of you for allowing me to skip a section of the List to monitor this year. I might’ve imploded otherwise.

And a big thanks to my Insecure Writer’s Support Group admins who kept the site rocking with inspiration throughout the Challenge.

As always, the main issue is time. The Challenge opened on Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day, which meant double-duty for me. Plus my book, Dragon of the Stars, came out on April 7. Add to the fact that I average over a hundred comments per post, and you can imagine I was really strapped for time to get it all done.

The only thing that saved me was switching tactics at the end of the second week. I started focusing on those who were leaving comments. I realized there were a lot of blogs I was visiting, blogger buddies even, who were not returning my visit. That was a sad realization, but it helped to lighten the load by sticking to those who did visit me.

Of course, this meant I didn’t get to visit a lot of new blogs. The past few years, that has really frustrated me. Fortunately, several new followers found me, and I did make some new friends. So, I welcome you, and hope I can continue to entertain you!

We always suggest posts of three hundred words or less. And of course, there are those who ignore that and write these long tomes. I did my best, but I’m a slow reader, and could only visit a few with long posts.

Some people never returned comments. Or follows. It’s easy to just drop a feed into Feedly or Bloglovin’, but unless there is a follow through Google Friends Connect or Google+, I have no way of knowing. (So if you are following but haven’t hit one of those two, please do, so I’ll know!)

There were some amazing themes this year. I’ve already started scheduling Themes That Rocked the Challenge posts for the A to Z Blog.

Ultimately, I’m beat. And I still have the IWSG post this Wednesday. Plus my tour continues every Monday through June. So Lord, just give me the strength to keep going…

And if you survived this year’s Challenge, be sure to pick up your survivor t-shirt, courtesy of Jeremy Hawkins, at the Neatoshop.

Did you see the new Avengers movie this weekend? What are your thoughts on the Challenge? Did you make a lot of new friends? Who had the coolest theme? Did you feel overwhelmed? (Or left out if you didn’t participate?) What was your favorite part of the Challenge?

Don’t forget to visit Teresa at Journaling Woman and Pat Hatt!