Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v Superman Review, RiffTrax: Live – Time Chasers, April Movie Preview, Your Wicked is Showing, A to Z Challenge, and Monday Music - Plus Award!

Packing it in today before the Challenge begins!
Yolanda Renee is visiting today.
Meet the Ninja Minions on Tuesday at the A to Z Blog.
And I’m visiting David Powers King on Wednesday.
But first…

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

This film teeters around thirty percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but many critics say it is better than Man of Steel – which is at fifty-six percent. What???? (On the IMDB, this film is a respectable 7.6.)
The movie is not without its flaws. It's overlong, dark, and the subplots weave together in a convoluted manner.
That said – I had a great time! I was captivated for the whole two and a half hours.
The effects are amazing, of course. Especially in 3D. This is a spectacle film.
Affleck is a good Batman. He’s driven. And just like the Dark Knight comics, he uses both gadgets and guns to achieve his goals.
Most of the cast from Man of Steel return and slip easily into their roles.
The film keeps you guessing as to who is doing what and why. It’s sometimes confusing, but it does all come together.
Some have criticized that Wonder Woman isn’t in the film much. (It IS called Batman v Superman.) But she is present throughout the film as Diana Prince, thwarting Bruce Wayne. And when she does appear as Wonder Woman at the end – wow! She is beyond bad ass. I don’t remember her being that powerful in the comics, but she is immortal, and her presence in the final fight sequence is the best part. (Watch for the really old photo of her with Chris Pine. Yes, the Wonder Woman movie is filming now and comes out in 2017!)
While the tone does need to come up a notch for the upcoming movies (Snyder is directing both Justice League films but not Wonder Woman or the other spin-offs), it matches Man of Steel, and of course, the darker tones of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
Unless you hated Man of Steel, go and enjoy! Highly recommended.

Murder & Obsession Blog Tour

Alex's one request was to make the post snarky, and one of my snarkiest characters is Alice Foxx, a beauty with a heart of stone but with an eye for Detective Steven Quaid. This excerpt is from Memories of Murder, but Alice appears in Murder & Obsession and her snark is worse!

"Giving advice, Sarah? Do you really think you're qualified?"
With her hands on her hips, the slight tilt of Alice's head only made the sneer on her face more hideous. She reminded Sarah of the evil queen in every fairy tale ever told, a beauty hardened by selfishness.
Sarah met Alice's gaze with steely resolve. "I may not have your credentials, but I've been where Phoenix is, and, yes, I think I can offer her a lot. Diplomas will never equal experience."
"Well, she's my patient, and I disagree. Stay away from her. The last thing she needs is a lesson on how to run away from her problems."
Sarah's body surged with anger. "And what lesson do you intend to teach her? Unless you've been the victim, dear doctor, don't assume you know what's in the victim's mind or in the monster's." Sarah walked away but stopped for one more verbal blow. "Oh, and while you're making assumptions, Steven may fall for your tricks, but he'll never fall for you. I have his heart, and that's something I'll never let go of."
Alice's entire body reacted. She locked her spine, planted her feet, and raised her fist.
"Don't threaten me, Sarah. I'm not a woman prone to losing. But you? Your life is nothing but loss. Compete with me, and you will lose—you'll lose much more than Steven!" Alice threatened.
"Careful," Sarah mocked, "your wicked is showing."
Thanks, Alex, for giving me the opportunity to appear on your amazing blog for my Murder &  Obsession Blog Tour.

Links - Read the 1st Chapter - Goodreads - Twitter - Facebook - Blog - Pinterest - Amazon - BUY

The Next RiffTrax: Live Event!

Time Chasers! It's the story of a man named Nick who turns his airplane into a time machine with the aid of his beloved Commodore 64.
With it he woos the woman of his dreams, despite the fact that he doesn’t own a car and his wardrobe consists only of a pair of jeans and a threadbare t-shirt from Castleton State College.
Come join Mike, Kevin and Bill LIVE on Thursday, May 5th at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. CT (tape-delayed to 7:00 p.m. MT/ 8:00 p.m. PT) for a hilarious take on the original cut of this sci-fi classic along with an all-new short!
Get your tickets HERE

The Challenge kicks off this Friday! Are you ready for a month of complete and total insanity?

My theme this year - Origins of Science Fiction Terms and More.
The term, its meaning, and its first book appearance – a movie that features this term – and a featured blogger buddy who reminds me of that term! (And yes, this is scaling back for me. These posts only took three hours each to put together as opposed to five each from the past three years.)

I’m also the guinea pig for a special version of the Challenge. You’ll discover what and why this Friday.

Some last minute tips:
Make sure someone can find your blog through your comments.
Make posts short and easy to read.
Visit those who visit you.
Visit five new blogs a day, starting with the one after your own on the list.
Have fun!

Monday’s Music Moves Me/Music Award

Hosted by Xmas Dolly.

Patrick W. Weseland picked the theme - songs about you!

My choice is Digital Man by Rush. (And there is no good video, so I picked one with lyrics. You can listen or read.)

Chrys Fey and Sherry Ellis both nominated me for the Music & Words Award.
1.) Link back to the person who nominated you. 2.) Answer the questions with words AND music. (In the interest of space, I’m just going with words.) 3.) Pass the award on to 5 other people. Make sure you notify them. (This close to the Challenge, I’m not nominated anyone.) 4.) Tag your post with #MWA for Music & Words Award so we can all find you down the line. 5.) Quote these 5 steps and display the award icon in your post and also on your sidebar if you wish.

Question number 1: What does music mean to you? It’s my daily soundtrack and the energy that gets me through.

Question number 2: What is your first music-related memory? My father playing Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Question number 3: What was the first album you purchased? Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue.

Question number 4: What was the latest music you purchased? Amon Amarth – Jomsviking.

Question number 5: Which song did you listen to last? Wanderer by Amon Amarth, from Jomsviking. (Big surprise, huh?)

April Movie Preview

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

8 –

Hardcore Henry
A first-person action film from the eyes of Henry, who's resurrected from death with no memory. He must discover his identity and save his wife from a warlord with a plan to bio-engineer soldiers.
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Stars: Haley Bennett, Tim Roth, Sharlto Copley, Ilya Naishuller
In an emergency, your popcorn tub can be used as a barf bucket.

15 –

The Jungle Book
An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.
Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken, Bill Murray
Great cast and good looking trailer – bring your whole family or just the bear necessities.

22 –

The Huntsman: Winter’s War
As two evil sisters prepare to conquer the land; two renegades - Eric the Huntsman - who previously aided Snow White in defeating Ravenna, and his forbidden lover, Sara set out to stop them.
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt
I guess the producers realized that the only thing that didn’t work the first time was Kristen Stewart.

29 –

Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen kitten by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.
Director: Peter Atencio
Stars: Will Forte, Keegan-Michael Key, Jason Mitchell, Luis Guzmán
I have to admit, the trailer looks funny.

Ratchet and Clank
Ratchet and Clank tells the story of two unlikely heroes as they struggle to stop a vile alien named Chairman Drek from destroying every planet in the Solana Galaxy.
Directors: Kevin Munroe | Jericca Cleland
Stars: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, Sylvester Stallone
And how many video game adaptations have worked as movies…?

Who else saw Batman v Superman? Is your wicked showing? Going to RiffTrax: Live next month? What are your early music memories? What April movies interest you?
And who is ready for the A to Z Challenge?

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Great A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal! Plus News on Daredevil, Kingsman 2, Indiana Jones 5, and Ninja News

Today is the Great A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal! But first…

Entertainment News

Daredevil – Season Two is now available on NetFlix!
It was tempting to binge-watch the whole season, but I’m going to spread it out a couple weeks and enjoy it.
The first episode kicked off with a bang as The Punisher entered Daredevil’s world. It also has the same flavor as season one, which bodes well to yet another awesome season.

A sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service is in the works.
From JoBlo:
Matthew Vaughn's upcoming KINGSMAN sequel is set to kick off production next month with Taron Egerton reprising his role as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin. News of other cast members, both new and old, have been trickling in and now Deadline is reporting that Edward Holcroft, who played smarmy turncoat Charlie Hesketh in the first film, will be returning for the sequel as well.

From Blastr, we find that yes, they are making Indiana Jones 5.
Steven Spielberg re-teaming with Harrison Ford and they are bringing on writer David Koepp. Now, Koepp did write the screenplay for the amazing Jurassic Park, but he also wrote Indiana Jones 4. Not good…

Ninja News

New Releases:

Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure
No love in the Garden of Eden...
Find it at iTunes, Nook, Amazon and Amazon UK

Deb’s Daily Drivel by Deb Church
Find it on Amazon

Mage, Maze, Demon by Charles Gramlich
This publication is by David Cranmer’s Beat to a Pulp.
This is book #3 in their Veridical Dreams series.
Find it on Amazon

Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine
Find it at iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble

Can You Catch My Flow? By Lidy Wilks
Find it at Amazon

The Great Theme Reveal!

Today is the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal. Those of us with themes are revealing them today.

Most of you know my themes tend to be simple yet complex. As a co-host, I usually go all out. This year, I scaled it back a bit. One theme – three items.

And my theme is…

Origins of Science Fiction Terms and More!

The term, its meaning, and its first book appearance – a movie that features this term – and a featured blogger buddy who reminds me of that term!

Yes, that is scaling it back a little bit… And had to feature a blogger buddy for each letter, as that’s now a Challenge staple.

So join me on April 1 as we take a fascinating look into where those odd science fiction terms originated. Who knows? You just might learn something…

Visit others who are revealing their theme today, including the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Did you start watching Daredevil this past weekend? Does an Indiana Jones 5 worry you? Picking up some new books? Curious where some of those science fiction terms came from? And what is your theme for the Challenge?

Monday, March 14, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane Review, Upcoming RiffTrax:Live Shows, Movie News, Monday’s Music, and Ninja News

Over at the A to Z Blog, I’m talking about the importance of a theme for the Challenge.

Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane

Basic premise - A woman is held in a shelter by a man who claims there was a world-wide chemical attack. It’s set in the same universe as the movie Cloverfield, but it’s not a sequel. (And thank God, not a found footage film!)
Outside of that, I didn’t know what to expect going in and avoided spoilers.
I don’t do spoilers, but I will say, don’t go into this film expecting another Cloverfield. It’s an intense psychological drama/thriller. You will spend the entire time on the edge, trying to decide the truth.
The main cast of three are all excellent. John Goodman is especially good – sympathetic and sad one moment, extremely terrifying the next. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was also great, as was John Gallagher, Jr.
Some haven’t liked the ending. The first ninety minutes builds up the question of just what is going on, and you’ll either like the answer or not. (I happened to really like the answer.)
It’s PG-13, so not that bloody violent, but it is intense.
Highly recommended!

New RiffTrax Shows!

RiffTrax has two shows scheduled this summer and one of them is awesome!!

It's our 10th birthday this July, and to celebrate, we think we could go even bigger for what will be our 20th RiffTrax Live Event: an MST3K Reunion Live Show, as well as a May 5th live show featuring a new HD transfer of the sci-fi classic from Vermont, TIME CHASERS!

And too awesome – it’s already hit its Kickstarter goal.

A RiffTrax: Live show featuring a reunion of the MST3K cast – what could be more amazing?

Movie News

The new trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out last week – you have to watch it to the very end!

If you’re wondering if the Justice League movie will be as dark as Batman v Superman…
From Jo Blo’s site:
It's clear from the trailers that BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE won't exactly be a cheery picnic full of sunshine and rainbow barfing unicorns, but the DCEU won't necessarily hang on to that darkness for all of its future installments. Chris Terrio, who re-wrote David Goyer's BATMAN V SUPERMAN script, was brought back to pen the script for JUSTICE LEAGUE - PART ONE and the screenwriter told the Wall Street Journal that he doesn't expect the film to be quite as dark as BATMAN V SUPERMAN will be.

Blastr posted the synopsis and teaser art for the upcoming Supergirl/Flash crossover episode:
“Worlds Finest” – Kara gains a new ally when the lightning-fast superhero The Flash (Grant Gustin) suddenly appears from an alternate universe and helps Kara battle Siobhan, aka Silver Banshee, and Livewire in exchange for her help in finding a way to return him home, on SUPERGIRL, Monday, March 28 (8:00-9:00 PM) on the CBS Television Network. Grant Gustin crosses over as The Flash.

World Wide Box Office
Looks like Star Wars: The Force Awakens will end up as third highest grossing overall at $2,054. Billion dollars. (Titanic is just ahead of it with $2,187. billion and Avatar still leads the pack with $2,788. billion.)
Just one month after its release, Deadpool has taken in over $708 million dollars world-wide.
And just ten days after its release, Zootopia has grossed $431 million dollars world-wide. Whoa!

Monday Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly.

I was chosen to select the theme for today – Guitar Solo!

I had hundreds of songs to choose from, including some very heavy selections. (I’m really into the Scandinavian progressive rock scene at the moment.) I decided to showcase the amazing musicianship of the band, Redemption. Their latest, The Art of Noise, was just released last week. (Although this song is from an older album.)

Every song has a magical moment. The point of a great guitar solo is to be that moment.

I give you the beautiful Let it Rain by Redemption:

Ninja News

The first in Sean McLachlan’s post-apocalyptic series is free on Amazon through today, March 14.
Download Radio Hope for free at Amazon and Amazon UK

The A to Z Challenge approaches!

If you have questions, want to meet new people, or just join the fun, join us for one of our Twitter chats. #azchat

And don’t forget, the Great Theme Reveal is next Monday, March 21.

New Releases -

Murder & Obsession by Yolanda Renee
Book three in the Detective Quaid series
Find it on Amazon

Cloaked in Secrecy by T.F. Walsh
(The Wulfkin Legacy #2)
Publication date: March 14th 2016
What better way for a pack of wulfkin shifters to remain in seclusion than to hide in plain sight?
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iTunes / Kobo / Googleplay

Anyone else see 10 Cloverfield Lane? Excited about a MST3K reunion show? Getting excited for Civil War? Surprised how well Deadpool is doing? What music moves you today? And who’s ready for the Great Theme Reveal next week?

Don’t forget to visit the A to Z Blog and my theme tips!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Zootopia Review, Meeting Shannara’s Terry Brooks, MST3K/RiffTrax News, IWSG News, Monday Music Moves Me, New Releases, an Why is Everyone Sick?

Zootopia Movie Review

This animated film was really refreshing!
There was thought behind the plot. It was complex, more like a live action film than an anime. Zootopia focused on plot and character development beyond your average animated film.
Amazing animation as well. The different zones of zootopia were cool and certain scenes almost appeared real. The animals are very expressive and the animators used every aspect of their bodies.
A lot of the humor was aimed at adults, poking fun at pop culture. (Listen for the Breaking Bad reference!) So, between the plot and the humor, there is a lot here for adults as well as kids.
It also had a nice message of equality that was integrated into the storyline and never shoved down our throats.
Really a gem of a film.
Highly recommended!

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined

The question is - “Have you ever met an idol/influence/someone you really admire? How did it go?”

Around twenty-five years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Terry Brooks, author of the Shannara series. He was visiting a local bookstore and there were only about a hundred people.

It was a really pleasant experience! Brooks was super nice and sported a big smile. He seemed truly excited to meet his fans. He even asked me what books I’d read and which ones I enjoyed the most.

I still have that book – The Druid of Shannara – and the experience further cemented my admiration for Terry Brooks and love of the series he created.

Yeah, too bad MTV’s Chronicles of Shannara has turned into Fifty Shades of Shannara…

Insecure Writer’s Support Group News

First, my good buddy, Pat Hatt, is over at the IWSG Site today! Want a big following on Twitter? Between Pat and the Cat, they have over 150,000 followers. Visit the site to find out how Pat did it.

Second, we need IWSG Co-Hosts for April and May! Since next month is the A to Z Challenge, we’ll need at least six to seven co-hosts, and at the moment, we only have three. We’ll also need them in May, after everyone’s wiped out from the Challenge. If you can help either month, please leave a comment!

Third, we have a special gift for those who sign up for the IWSG newsletter! We compiled the top five articles from the site into one handy eBook – Fast Five – An IWSG Gift. Those of you already signed up should have received an email last Friday with a link to where you can download either the ePub, Mobi, or pdf. (And if you didn’t get one, check your spam file. If not, you might need to sign up if we have an incorrect email from the IWSG list.)
If you’re not getting the IWSG Newsletter, now is a great time to sign up! Do so HERE.
Thanks to all the admins for making this happen, especially Chrys for the graphic, Diane for formatting, and Lynda for coming up with the cool title.

And finally, please remember that IWSG is the first Wednesday of each month. Please make sure you post that day and that the post is front and center when people land on your page. (Squeaking it in late Tuesday night or sometime Thursday if you forget is acceptable.)

MST3K / RiffTrax News

Remember last December when I reviewed the RiffTrax: Live show of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny?
If you could project all the random thoughts inside a mental facility onto a screen, you’d come up with Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.
Well, now you watch it at home! The film that beats Manos: Hands of Fate for worst movie ever made is available at RiffTrax. Don’t miss the fun!

Be sure to check out their main page for all the latest releases, including a new MYST3K release very Monday. They also have the complete Film Crew season, and collections such as Oscar Winners, National Geographic, Twilight, Transformers, and Star Trek. (Because the ONLY way to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special is with the help of RiffTrax.)

Monday Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly.

It’s a freebie this week, so I went to the vault and found this treasure by Marillion – Easter. It’s not an actual video, so just let it play and enjoy this beautiful song.
And next week the theme is my choice – and I went with guitar solo!

New Releases

The Not-So-Innocents Abroad by Roland Yeomans
I’d hosted Roland last week for his Don’t You Hate Book Tours tour, and now the book is available!
Pick it up on Amazon

Big Yearnings by Christine Rains
The first book in the Sasquatch Susies series.
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave

One Final Question

It seems everyone has the flu right now. They’re sick, the kids are sick, they’ve been sick all winter…

Why is that? My wife and I get either a cold or the flu about once every four years. Maybe every five years. Why is everyone else sick all the time? Is it because we don’t have kids? Is it because we eat healthy, exercise, and take vitamins? Is it because we’ve told God we just don’t have time to be sick? I’d really like to know the secret so we can bottle it and make a fortune!

Did you see Zootopia? Ever met someone you admired? (Ever met Terry Brooks?) Can you help co-host the IWSG? Did you get your Fast Five gift? Ready to try RiffTrax’s Santa and the Ice Cram Bunny? Ready to rock the guitar solo next Monday? And why does everyone else get sick but we don’t?

I have work meetings the latter half of this week, so you might not see me around as much. Please think about me as I sit in yet another meeting, bored out of my mind…

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Television Show Update, A to Z Challenge, IWSG Newsletter, 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 Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard!

Most of my writing has been A to Z Challenge posts (simpler than previous years but still require a bit of work) but I did outline a story last month. Not sure it would be enough for a novel, but I went back to the Cassan universe and planned an adventure for Byron’s son, Bassan.

At this point in my career, I don’t feel any pressure to whip out another book. Just enough has drizzled out to keep interest in my other books, plus I have a story in The Thing That Turned Me, and anthology coming out later this year from Stay Classy Publishing. So, I’m just going to take my time.

Be sure to visit others on the Insecure Writer’s Support Group list!

Television Show Updates

Here are some short updates on recent shows:

The Chronicles of Shannara
Still enjoying it, but maybe they should’ve called it Fifty Shades of Shannara. (I was thirteen the first time I read the books – trust me, I would’ve remembered if there was ANY sex in them!)

Better Call Saul
Very intriguing – so far, the second season is as good as the first.

Some hit and miss episodes, but Supergirl is so darn cute, I don’t care.

Face Off
This is how all reality based artistic competitions should be handled – it’s all about the art and zero drama.

Part of me thinks it was the perfect way to end its six episode run and part of me wants to slap the crap out of creator Chris Carter.

IWSG Newsletter

Many of you received the first issue of the newsletter last week! Whether you are part of the monthly IWSG blog or not, you can sign up for the next issue HERE. It’s packed with articles, writing tips, and information.

It also features an article every month by an IWSG member! Here’s the details:

Topic Ideas: your number one writing, publishing or marketing tip; a motivational pep talk or inspirational story; a snippet about something you used to be insecure about but overcame or an aha moment you had about writing/publishing.

Length: 200 words or less

How to Submit: Send a DOC attachment to Chrys Fey at ChrysFey(at)yahoo(dot)com Put “Member Article” in the Subject Line.

A to Z Challenge

April is the A to Z Challenge – blogging every day but Sundays and in the order of the alphabet. If you’ve not yet signed up for this incredible event, go HERE.

For those participants with a theme for the Challenge, there is the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal happening on March 21. Sign up HERE.

We also have chats every Thursday evening at 9:00 pm Eastern – look for #azchat and join us – ask questions and make friends.

If you’ve never participated, 2016 is a great year to begin. I was part of the very first one in 2010 and it changed my blog forever. I had fun, I made a ton of new friends, and I proved I could come up with a post almost daily. (I also had no theme, something I will never do again!)

Only one month away – join us!

New Releases

Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry by Tyrean Martinson
An eclectic mix of 90 short stories and poems written between 2013 and 2015.
Pick it up HERE

Catalyst by Lydia Kang
Now in paperback!
Pick it up on Amazon

Just Because…

Saw this on Heather Gardner’s site last week. Really, it’s not one of my goals (well, maybe when I was younger) but I found the snark hilarious:

What are your writing insecurities this month? Did you enjoy the first newsletter? Want to contribute an article? Have you seen any of the television shows? Signed up for the Challenge? And who else wants to slap Chris Carter...?