Monday, November 23, 2015

MST3K and RiffTrax, iPad Pro review, Cassa Animation, Monster Movie Trivia, School of Rock/Monday’s Music Moves Me, and Ninja News

I have a guest post at Write-Edit-Publish - Writing Science Fiction – It’s Not Really That Alien!

MST3K and RiffTrax

Don’t forget that every Monday, RiffTrax releases a new MST3K episode!

And since Thanksgiving used to be MST3K Turkey Day, you can now run your own marathon of bad movies.

The next RiffTrax Live show is December 3 – Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny! Doesn’t that just sound awful?

IPad Pro Review

Sometimes it’s challenging to be an early adopter. The iPad Pro is incomplete without the pen, which won’t ship until next month.

The good news:
The work area is large and the screen gorgeous.
Working with two apps at the same time in split screen is a big plus.
It’s very, very fast.

The bad news:
This is where being an early adopter sucks. I haven’t found an app yet that measures up to what this device is capable of doing. They just aren’t taking advantage of the bigger screen yet.

I really like it, but until I get a pen and more apps become available for the iPad Pro, it’s just a really big iPad.

But yeah, it’s still really cool! And I have been doodling with a regular iPad pen. The creative applications will be incredible once I get the official iPad Pro pen.

Cassa Animation!

One of my very best blogger buddies, Jeremy Hawkins, made this awesome animation for my trilogy. Jeremy, you rock!!!

Ninja News

Don’t forget, Wednesday, December 1 is the last post day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group this year!

New Releases:

The Vig by Amy Brook
Available at Amazon in paperback and eBook

Pat Hatt has three more books out!
Find them at Amazon:
Profanity Granny's Crime Fighting
Ready Eddie’s Confessions
Happy Humper’s Confessions

Under the Willow by John Boswell (Jack Lewis Baillot)
Find it at Createspace

It's An Adventure by Kenneth Lynch (Al Penwasser)
Find it on Amazon

Ella is a cover girl!
Her article made the front cover of Green Craft magazine.

The very first volume of the Charleston Anvil is out!
Featuring Making Her by John Wiswell

School of Rock and Monday’s Music Moves Me

School of Rock hosted by Shady Del Knight.
Monday’s Music Moves Me hosted by Xmas Dolly.

I’m going to introduce you to two prog rock bands you’ve probably never heard of. I picked one from each end of the spectrum, just to show you the diversity.

First, we have the band Evergrey, formed in 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden. This prog song is very melodic. Title – Black Undertow.

Next, we have the band Scar Symmetry, another Swedish band formed in 2004. This one is very heavy. Title – Limits to Infinity.

You’ve now been schooled on Swedish prog rock!

In honor of MST3K, today’s trivia revolves around movies they have riffed. Name the classically bad monster film from the clues!

1 – 1975, eight legged creatures, Alan Hale Jr. in the cast
2 – 1955, sequel to fish man hit, Clint Eastwood’s first role
3 – 1959, starring James Best of Dukes of Hazzard fame, featuring giant rodents that were actually just dogs with carpets draped over their backs
4 – 1957, directed by Bert I. Gordon, and featuring a really big bald guy
5 – 1965, first in a series of many, this Japanese monster gave Godzilla a run for his money
6 – 1957, another Bert I. Gordon classic, starred Peter Graves, featured really large insects

Answers on Wednesday, December 2!

Ready for some MST3K? Anyone else pick up the iPad Pro? What did you think of the Cassa animation? Picking up some new books? Familiar with either prog rock band? And do you know any of the trivia questions?

Be sure to visit Write-Edit-Publish.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I’ll be gone the end of this week and won’t be back to posting until next Wednesday.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Future of Virtual Reality, Force Awakens News, Jessica Therrien’s Publishing Journey, Dark Was the Night Review, Annoying Blogger Verification, and Ninja News

My Publishing Journey by Jessica Therrien

Back when I was a super NOOB at this whole writing thing, I went to a writers conference with a manuscript as thick as a ream of paper. The book was crap, but somehow it got recognized, and I was signed pretty much on the spot by a local small press. They were pretty honest about my manuscript’s Twilight-wanna-be-ness, but they liked my idea and my writing style. We worked out the kinks and I learned a lot.

The release of my first novel went well. Better than well, actually. OPPRESSION (Children of the Gods #1) became a Barnes & Noble best-seller soon after its release. Online, the cover of my book sat right next to the Hunger Games. *Faints*

Things slowed down after a while. I had a baby. Then I had another baby… (Turns out I’m a professional baby-haver).

But somehow that zombie-writer in me took over and spit out two more books.

My publisher at the time began to struggle and was doing little for me in the way of marketing, etc. I had a few choices. 1) Stay with my small press. 2) Hit the market and hope to sell my series to another publisher (but what publisher would pick up a series on the third book?) 3) Do what all of my author friends were doing…leave my publisher to self-pub.

Honestly, I didn’t like any of the options. BUT I had an idea. *ligtbulb*

What if my author friends and I started our own imprint? Not our own publishing house, but rather self-published under the same name? Two of my writing partners already had a decent editing business, which could easily be expanded to include publishing. So we did it.

Acorn Publishing is the best of both worlds. The authors get to keep all of their rights, make all the decisions, and keep 100% of their profits while still maintaining that extra level of legitimacy: A publisher’s logo, being part of a collection of works that have been vetted by a team of professionals, and the support of a great group of people.

Sweet right?!

For more info on Acorn Publishing, check out our website. We are accepting submissions.

Find Jessica at her blog.
Find the Children of the Gods series on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and add Redemption on Goodreads

The Future of Virtual Reality

Recently, Muse released a music video for their song, Revolt. This is not your normal music video though. It was shot in 360 for a full virtual reality experience.

Video gamers are familiar with the V.R. experience. And you can purchase V.R. goggles for certain games and videos. But it’s limited in its use and expensive.

This shows the potential of where V.R. can go though. It’s more a gee-whiz factor, but it shows the potential beyond goggles and video games. A complete, immersive movie-going experience? A Star Trek holodeck? There are so many possibilities!

To view the Muse video (and many other short videos) download the app VRSE to your tablet or phone.

The Force Awakens and X-Men News

Blastr has a great interview with actor Anthony Daniels who plays C3PO in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

CinemaBlend announced the official run time of the film – 135 minutes. (So, I’d recommend avoiding the super-size drink.)

And, we also will get our first look at X-Men: Apocalypse soon – the trailer will air before The Force Awakens.

Movie Review

Dark Was the Night

Staring Kevin Durand and Lukas Haas, something lurks in the woods outside a tiny mountain town. This small budget horror film was surprisingly good and had a lot going for it.
Some of the scenes are shot with a blue filter, which really sets the tone. The tension is a slow mount and you never see the creature until the end. (Which is good, as that was one of the few low points – it’s not awful, but it’s not good.)
One really big plus is the development of the characters. There is a real human element to the people and a secondary story that deals with healing after the loss of a child. The actors all did a fine job in their roles.
Most of what happens is handled realistically. A date is never given, but a setting of late 1990’s to early 2000’s would work. (Otherwise, the takeover of social media after that blows the plausibility part.)
And the only other issue was the overall tone of the movie is a bit down. Don’t expect humor to lighten the load.
However, the quality was excellent and I would recommend it.

Annoying New Blogger Verification!

If you visit more than twenty-five Blogger blogs in a day, then you’ve encountered this:
The most annoying verification ever! Once in a great while, I hit a blog where it doesn’t appear. Not sure if it’s because the owner has gone in and adjusted the settings or not. (Most of us have it set to no verification, but maybe switching to yes and then back to no makes a difference?)

Blogger and Google offer no help or reason. Anyone know a way around this?

Because apparently, I really suck at picking out the road signs…

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who helped me to escape the Vortex last week!

An update on the IWSG Anthology Contest - this week, the top stories will go to our panel of judges. Once they have selected the winning entries (before Christmas) we will notify the winners and announce them by the first IWSG post in January. Thanks to everyone who entered – there were some really great stories!

New Releases:

The Haunted Realm by Emilyann Girdner
Book 2 in the Obsidian Series
A Young Adult Dystopian Epic Fantasy Book
Find it at Amazon Kindle, Amazon paperback, and Barnes and Noble

A Jefigoop Comes To Have A Poop by Pat Hatt
This is kids’ book number fifty-two for Pat!
Find it on Amazon

Think Jessica’s journey is one you would take? Getting excited for The Force Awakens? Seen Dark Was the Night? Annoyed by the new Blogger verification? Picking up some new books? And where do you see virtual reality going…?

I got an iPad Pro last week! Review coming soon...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Realms Faire – Trapped in the Vortex! Blog Comments – What’s Right? Plus Deadpool Video, Fargo Series and Let Us Prey Movie Reviews, Six Years of Blogging, and Ninja News.

The 2015 Realms Faire!

Hosted by author M. Pax
Twitter Hashtag – #RealmsFaire

Today, I am trapped in the Vortex!!

Alex needs your help. He’s trapped in Lucien’s Bar, the gateway to the Underworld, and challenging War to a sword fight is his only way out. Please come over and cheer him on. Your comments will improve his chances. The Immortals aren’t above cheating so here are three magic words to give Alex an edge in the contest: ninja, light, steel. Use these words in your comment to give him an added boost on Monday, Nov 9th, at River Fairchild's site.

Ninja News

Elizabeth S. Craig is visiting the IWSG today! Always an honor to have Elizabeth, and today she is discussing author newsletters.

Today’s Themes That Rocked the Challenge feature at the A to Z Blog is Jennifer Hawes! She posted about her hometown of Hannibal, MO, which also happens to be the boyhood town of a certain author named Mark Twain…

New release – The Deep Dark Woods Anthology
Featuring The Blue Mist by Shannon Lawrence
Find it on Amazon

Edi’s Book Lighthouse had some great links this past weekend regarding author blogs and social media importance. (Not to mention the world’s first underwater museum!) Edi mentioned that he enjoys blog tours as long as the content differs from blog to blog, and I have to agree. A blog tour should not be the same posts over and over or just an announcement.

And Edi and I will both be excited Tuesday, November 10 – Fallout 4 releases! Such an awesome series.

Deadpool Video

This funny promotional piece for next February’s Deadpool movie came out recently. There are words bleeped out, but my wife and I don’t think Ryan Reynolds was really cussing at the kids. (At least, we hope not!)

Fargo Series Review

Season two is a separate story line from season one. Rest assured though, the characters are just as quirky!
The acting is spectacular and the writing top notch.
It even includes some kind of alien intervention. (Yes, you read that right!)
This show will leave you scratching your head in confusion, but in a good way.

Let Us Prey Movie Review

This Irish film was highly rated on NetFlix.
It has a great style that covers up not a lot of substance. It’s a horror/psychological thriller that stretched plausibility, but not enough to stop watching.
Many will recognize the stranger from Game of Thrones. You’re never exactly sure who the stranger is, which is part of the reason you’ll keep watching.
Worth a NetFlix rental if you’re curious.

Blog Comments – What’s Right?

This is part of Jeffrey Scott’s monthly R.A.N.T. series.

This isn’t going to be just about returning comments, but will encompass other clog comment topics as well. Just some things I’ve been tossing around in my mind and with certain groups.

It is good manners to return a visit, but sometimes we miss a comment from a new person. Or maybe the person posted something that day we really just don’t relate to. Or maybe we just ran out of time. But if someone visits our site several times, then it’s rude not to return the visit. (And there are bloggers out there who just won’t visit a site outside of their comfort pool no matter how many times we comment, which is sad.)

What about those who follow and comment, enticing you to do the same, and then they just stop visiting? Maybe even unfollow you? I’ve noticed a lot of these types of bloggers lately. Are they just after followers to build their blog? They amassed a lot of followers and are now being choosy who they visit?

And how often should we expect our friends to comment? Every post no matter what? Some days, people are just busy! Maybe on vacation. Maybe it’s a topic that they can’t comment on. We can’t expect a comment every single time. I follow over 2000 blogs and my blogger buddy list is twice what’s in my sidebar – I just can’t visit every post of every single person. (The clones have tried, believe me. And then half of them went on strike during the A to Z Challenge.)

Blogging is still about being social and making friends. It’s not expecting everyone to come to you, or taking advantage of others, or possessing unrealistic expectations. It’s building new friendships and maintaining old ones. It’s being a genuine person who cares.

What do you guys think?

Six Years Ago Today…

And to end this on a happy note – today, November 9, marks six years of blogging for me!

I cannot begin to tell you what a wild ride it’s been. I started with no followers and a book release looming almost a year away. I had no ambitions of building a huge following or writing more books. No plans to become a part of the A to Z Team or host dozens of blogfests. And certainly had no idea I’d start something like the IWSG.

The bottom line – I couldn’t have done it without all of you. Thank you. You guys are the reason why this Ninja won’t quit. You haven’t given up on me and I won’t give up on you.

Don’t forget to visit the IWSG and A to Z Blog today.

Excited for Fallout 4? What did you think of the Deadpool video? (I really don’t think he said anything bad to those kids.) Watching Fargo? Seen Let Us Prey? Can you believe it’s been six years? And what are your thoughts on blog comments?

And please save me from the Vortex!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! MST3K on RiffTrax, Apple TV Review, Revival–The Donald Braswell Story, and Ninja News!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

My awesome co-hosts for today are Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson!

I’m in a good place right now because last month I polished and sent off two short stories.

One was for an anthology based on ‘turning points,’ and I opted to go with an early Cassa story, one featuring Byron before CassaStar begins. I like how it turned out.

The second was for Geekdom House, whose mission is to provide a refuge, workshop, a culturally relevant welcome center and place for discussing nerd and geek topics. (While also bridging the gap between geeks and Christians.) It was a Christmas story and I opted for something contemporary and very geeky.

And I have to admit – I enjoyed writing both stories. It takes me forever to plan, plot, write, and edit a novel. But I can knock out a short story in a month. Still slow compared to some, but maybe that’s a more viable path for me right now.


Today I welcome fellow author and brother in Christ, Mark Koopmans! Not only is the release of his first book a huge milestone for Mark, but for the subject of this biography, singer Donald Braswell II. I had the honor of reading Revival before its release and I promise – it is moving and inspirational! Mark and Donald, congratulations and God Bless!

When Alex invited me (Cheers!) to talk about my new book, REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story, he asked for snark.
I’m known for following all the rules of etiquette, so what better than the topic of rejection.
I’m un-agented, so when I started REVIVAL, I went a wee bit nuts and submitted requests to agents and publishers galore. (I mean, I was writing a memoir. I didn’t even need a finished manuscript.)
Emails shot off like beams of literary brilliance, and I thought, “this writing stuff is easy.” (Cue canned laughter.)
However, when batches of brilliance bounced back, I looked to see if:
• Consecutive rejections were similar?
• Rejections were due to grammar or style?
• Agents dismissed my use of the third person in the first place? Or the first person pretentious tense?
When I saw a pattern, I called Art Bell. After that, I looked for constructive criticism, made changes and shot off another quiver of queries.
Three years, and many rejections later, I still enjoy recycling the old letters (especially when the kids need coloring paper.) And finally, through hard work and a Churchillian belief, REVIVAL officially published yesterday.
So, the next time you get a rejection, tape it to a wall. Use it as a positive resource. Never take it personally. Cleave the good, and don’t you ever dare quit. If you believe in your ms, then make it happen.
Thanks to Alex for letting me share, and thanks to all of you, my fellow believers in the positive power of prose.
“We shall write on the beaches, and we will never surrender.” – (Nearly said by) Winston Churchill.

Tomorrow, I’ll be at Jo’s blog, where I’m sure there will be a word of wisdom and a recipe to boot.

From Juilliard to jumper cables; from wasting all the talent in the world to America's Got Talent, REVIVAL—The Donald Braswell Story is a memoir about the "Texas Tenor" who lost his voice in a random accident, but finds his calling through faith—and a musical miracle.

Buy Links: Pen-L Publishing and Amazon
Visit the authors: Mark Koopmans and Donald Braswell II


Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes are now available at RiffTrax!

New classic episode released each #MST3KMonday. Available to own and download/stream from your RiffTrax library.

First two episodes with Bonus Intros from Mike Nelson: The Pumaman and The Final Sacrifice.

Here's a message from Mike Nelson:

Apple TV Review

Last week, I received my Apple TV device. And wow!

This is a very cool app for those of us already in the Apple ecosystem. It hooks up to your television set and is a thousand times faster than accessing things through a smart TV. What does it do?

It plays movies from iTunes, NetFlix, Hulu, major cable networks, and media in your own library.

It will display your photos, music, and videos from the cloud and your other Apple devices.

Like the iPad, it features apps you can add and remove.

You can also mirror your iPad to your television for a giant iPad experience. (This feature tickled my wife to no end.)

Amazon is not releasing an app for this device, however – you can bypass it with airplay on your iPad. Sneaky!

The box serves as a one stop shop for movies, television, music, photos, apps, and home videos. Uber cool!

Ninja News

My apologies for not including The Peanuts Movie in my November movie preview on Monday! I ran out of room. I’m sure Snoopy is still doing the happy dance though.

Help Glorie Townson a.k.a. Toi Thomas, choose a cover for her upcoming contemporary romance.
Vote for the It’s Like the Full Moon book cover HERE.
Learn more HERE.

New release!
Firestarter by Patsy Collins
Find it on Amazon

Ready to read Donald Braswell’s amazing story? Thinking of picking up the Apple TV device? (It’s really cool!) Ready to watch some MST3K on RiffTrax? And what are your writer insecurities today?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bone Tomahawk Film Review, November Movie Preview, Monday’s Music, Introvert or Extrovert?, Tails for Vets, New Book Releases, Battle Results, and Ninja News

I have a short interview at Tim Knight’s site, Hero Press. If you’re into geek stuff, Tim runs an awesome site.

Movie Review – Bone Tomahawk

Four men set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.
This can best be described as an arthouse Western/horror film with drama.
Some might be frustrated by the slow pace. (Remember my review of Slow West?) However, I enjoyed the slow burn. By the end of the film, I was really invested in the characters.
It has some funny moments and all of the actors do an amazing job, especially Russell and Jenkins.
There are only a couple bloody horror scenes, but be warned – they are graphic. (As a dude, I really cringed at one scene.)
If you have to have a lot of action, skip this film. If you like a slow pace and watching the characters and story unfold at a leisurely pace, then I recommend this one.
Now playing in theaters and on Direct TV.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly She asked if I would be this week’s Spotlight Dancer. (Little did she know, I can’t dance.)
Fortunately, no dancing is involved. I get to pick the theme for today.
After deciding that Scandinavian heavy metal music might be too limiting (not to mention scare the crap out of the other participants) I chose the theme of Movie Soundtracks.

Here are my picks:

First off, I had to go with Extreme’s Play With Me. (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) 
Sadly, there’s no really good video version of this song…

Megadeth – 99 Ways to Die (Beavis and Butthead Do America) 
You might not like the music, but the video has a great message.

Pantera – Cemetary Gates (Tales From the Crypt – Demon Night) 
Great song, and probably their most accessible.

Visit Xmas Dolly to join the fun and visit other participants.

Ninja News

Stephanie Farris listed CassaStar as one of the best books she’d read in October. Thanks for taking a chance on a new genre, Stephanie!

Tails for Vets!
Tails of the Apocalypse is a collection of dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories featuring animals and features a story by E.E. Giorgi.
Samuel Peralta, who produced this anthology, paired with Pets for Vets, an organization that matches shelter dogs with military veterans. Pourteau plans to donate $1.00 to Pets for Vets from every copy of Tails of the Apocalypse sold through the end of the calendar year, regardless of format‚ e-book, paperback, or audiobook.
The project is called Tails for Vets, and you can help two different ways –
2 – Buy the Book – It releases on November 20, but you can pre-order now on Amazon.

New Releases!

Mayhem in the Air by the authors at Untethered Realms

A Faerie’s Revenge by Rachel Morgan
The fifth book in the Creepy Hollow series, and the second book in Calla’s story.

Redemption (Children of the Gods #3) by Jessica Therrien
Nobody promised freedom would be peaceful…
The first two books are only .99 cents at Amazon - Oppression and Uprising
There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Max Blizzard and The Cup of Kings by Pat Hatt
Find it on Amazon

Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
A handsome detective, a shadow man, and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.

Battle of the Banned Results

Hosted by Shady Del Knight. Here are the results from last Monday.

Two songs from horror movies – and this is how the votes fell:

Dokken – Dream Warriors from Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Warriors - 15
Lou Gramm – Lost in the Shadows from The Lost Boys - 10

Dream Warriors got off to an early lead and never let it go…

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined.

This month’s question - “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”

This one is easy. Introvert. However, I’m not a shy, awkward, don’t want to deal with the world introvert. I’m a musician who performs on stage and an author with several books published, so I have to be extroverted to some degree. I enjoy people and certainly enjoy this online community of friends. But I prefer to stay more in the background and let others take the spotlight. I’d rather ask questions and learn more about people than talk about myself.

Of course, my home is my castle and sanctuary and still the best place to hide!

November Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for November! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

6 –

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Léa Seydoux
Bond is back and probably not doing anything we’ve not seen before, but we’ll go anyway…

13 –

The 33
Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.
Director: Patricia Riggen
Stars: Naomi Scott, James Brolin, Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips
Just a word of caution – this movie not suitable for minors.

20 –

The Night Before
In New York City for their annual tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery, three lifelong best friends set out to find the Holy Grail of Christmas parties since their yearly reunion might be coming to an end.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lizzy Caplan, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie
Rogan turns what is meant to be a joyous family time into a night of vulgarity, debauchery, and excess. Merry Christmas, everybody.

27 –

The Good Dinosaur
An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.
Director: Peter Sohn
Stars: Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley
The only good dinosaur is a dead dinosaur. Oh, wait…

Victor Frankenstein
Told from Igor's perspective, we see the troubled young assistant's dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man - and the legend - we know today.
Director: Paul McGuigan
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott
This one could sneak in and be a cool gothic thriller for the holidays. (Fingers crossed.)

Anyone else see Bone Tomahawk? What soundtrack music moves you today? Can you help Tails for Vets? See some good new releases? Are you an introvert or extrovert? And what movies interest you this month?
See you Wednesday for the IWSG post!

And don’t forget to visit Hero Press!