Monday, October 23, 2017

Unique Horror Films, Unique Halloween Decorations, Toi Thomas’ Birthday Bash, Scary Good Reads, and Ninja News

Recommended Unique Horror Films

To get you into the Halloween mood, here are some horror films I recommend. Rather than go with mainstream ones you’ve probably already seen, I decided to pick some smaller, less known films.

Near Dark 1987
Starring Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, and Jenette Goldstein. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this film is a unique addition to the vampire legend, and even more so that they never say the word vampire. Pasdar is bitten by Wright and then abducted by the rest of the vampire gang. Paxton really goes all out as a bad-ass vampire and it’s a great balance of action and quiet moments.

Ginger Snaps 2000
Directed by John Fawcett and staring Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins. This one tackles the werewolf lore and again, in a unique manner. Isabelle and Perkins are sisters with a goth streak who dabble in fake gory photos. Things go awry when Isabelle is bitten by a wolf. A mixture of horror and coming of age with some decent effects. The sequels were all sub-par though.

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn 1987
Starring Bruce Campbell and directed by Sam Raimi, this is one of those rare sequels that outshines the original. Now a cult classic, this film showcases Raimi’s unique filming style and is still his best film. Campbell and his girlfriend happen upon a cabin where the Book of the Dead’s contents has been unleashed. Over the top and gory, this film is funnier than it is scary and filled with one-line zingers you won’t soon forget.

The Devil’s Backbone 2001
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro with English subtitles, this is one of the director’s early masterpieces. Set at an orphanage/school during the Spanish Civil War, this film is as much a drama as a horror film. There is a ghost haunting the place, but it’s the horrors of the live people that are much more frightening. Filled with symbolism and poignancy, this stylish film is filled with atmosphere.

Let the Right One In 2008
Directed by Tomas Alfredson, this Swedish film is both powerful and creepy on so many levels. Many have seen Let Me In, the American version, but this film still shines with its unnerving atmosphere and undertones. A young boy befriends a neighbor girl who is a vampire and the movie follows their growing friendship even as the violent deaths escalate. While it doesn’t push all the limits found in the book, this quiet film carries a heavy impact.

Unique Halloween Decorations

Looking for just the right decoration to scare all of your neighbors? Here are some fun ideas.

If you are on a budget, this almost foot tall moveable skeleton rat is only ten bucks.

After the recent release of It, the six foot tall hanging clown with red flashing eyes is perfect.

You could also go with the six foot tall hanging animated phantom.

The barking skeleton dog with glowing eyes would be fun.

So would the four feet wide inflatable spider with kaleidoscope light.

And if you have the cash and want to go big, how about a six foot tall skeleton T-Rex with glowing eyes?

Welcome to Jurassic Park…

It’s Toi Thomas’ Birthday!

Hi there, Toi here. October 21st is my birthday so, all my ebooks are on sale $0 - $1.99 from October 20th – October 24th + I’m offering my Top 5 Angel Books as a giveaway on Amazon.

Legend of the Boy, In the Window, and Other short stories - Collection of multi-genre stories. The first title story is that of a boy who must destroy the world so he can save humanity.

It’s Like the Full Moon - A romantic comedy; the first in a series. The mild-mannered Rebecca gets caught up in a most unlikely love-triangle and her BFF Lisa isn’t much help.

Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel – He’s a creature out of time. Mira’s a doctor trying to classify him. Beauty and the Beast meet Jekyll and Hyde in this paranormal romance with biblical influences. *40 Days and Nights of Eternal Curse- a nonfiction companion guide to the novel.

Eternal Curse: Battleground - A family saga that touches the past and future. Giovanni’s story brings you to tears as loss and duty blur the lines of hope for what is to come. *Battleground Survival 101- a nonfiction companion guide to the novel.

Chip and Skip Need Each Other & What Does Joe Need - Two simple, yet vibrant, stories teach young children, and those with special needs, the difference and importance of needs and wants, at home, school, and overall. Sold separately.

Plants and Animals Change Over Time & Land Changes Over Time - Two simple, yet vibrant, stories teach young children, and those with special needs, the importance and inevitability of change in living things and the world. Sold separately.

If you aren’t familiar with me yet, don’t worry; this is your chance to learn that I love Batman, Betty Boop, Star Wars, and Angels. I like all kinds of angels. Good ones, bad ones, and even creatures with wings that look like angels. I don’t think it’s just a matter of wings. There are some winged creatures I don’t like such as flying monkeys or seagulls. LOL! But seriously, I’ve grown fond of angel lore and stories about and or containing angel-like creatures. Heck, I even write about them in my Eternal Curse Series. While my books are influenced by Bible tales, a many angel stories are not. Either way, if it’s about angels, I’m probably going to like it. Here’s a list and giveaway of the Top 5 angel books I’ve read in at least the last ten years; in no particular order.

Ninja News

Just a week to go to send in your submission for the IWSG Anthology Contest!
You have until November 1…

For those who like audio books or would like to see if you’d like it, you can listen to a sample of Dragon of the Stars on SoundCloud.

New release!
Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library
Book 2: Fairday Morrow Series
By Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson
Middle grade mystery from Willow Press

Fairday Morrow had no clue that moving from Manhattan to the small town of Ashpot, Connecticut, would lead to an unsolved mystery. Her parents’ dream of renovating a crumbling Victorian, called the Begonia House, into a bed and breakfast had seemed like treachery at the time. But Fairday found out that her new house kept secrets, and once inside its twisted front gates, anything was possible. When mysterious notes start showing up warning that a librarian is in trouble and a bookworm is eating words, Fairday thinks the Begonia House has more skeletons in its closets. What happens to stories when their words get eaten?

Recommended Halloween Reads:

Since I won’t post again until November 1, I’m sharing some good Halloween reads from my publisher.
Some are spooky, some are creepy, and some just full of tension:

Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain
Matowak: Woman Who Cries – Joylene Nowell Butler
Maski: Broken but not Dead– Joylene Nowell Butler
Parallels: Felix Was Here – IWSG Anthology
Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life – IWSG Anthology

What would you recommend?

Have you seen any of those horror films? What decoration do you want in your front yard – and why? Ready to try some new books from Toi? Entered the IWSG Anthology Contest? And who is up for a scary good read?

See you November 1 for the IWSG monthly posting!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fun RiffTrax Halloween Movies, Stranger Things and X-Files Trailers, Completing a Book Series, Monday's Music, New Releases, and Movie Trivia Answers

I need a IWSG co-host for November 1! If you can help, please leave a comment.
Sandra Ulbrich Almazan is also here to talk about finishing a series, but first...

Fun Halloween Movies from RiffTrax!

The next RiffTrax: Live is Wednesday, October 25 - Night of the Living Dead!

We recently watched this one and the movie has not aged well. I don’t remember it being that bad. But that makes it ripe for RiffTrax fodder.

If you’ve not seen them live, you’re missing a great time! Check showtimes at RiffTrax for a theater near you.

If you’re in the mood for some scary movies, we recently watched a few from RiffTrax. Sadly, they will only scare you in how bad they are. Fortunately, Mike, Bill, and Kevin are there to bring intended humor to the films.

A cast of stereotypical misfits trapped in a house and surrounded by giant spiders.
Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion special effects will look high-tech compared to the effects here.
Yes, it’s a SyFy movie. Yes, it’s horrible. And yes, apparently they hate us.

The Bermuda Triangle
A cast of stereotypical misfits on a boat looking for…well, they don’t know what they’re looking for and neither do we.
Add creepy evil doll for creepy evil looking little girl. And John Huston. Someone must’ve had pictures of him with a donkey or something.

When a Stranger Calls Back
A cast of stereotypical misfits…just kidding! Just Charles Durning and Carol Kane, in it for the money.
Oddly enough, the stranger never calls. He just sneaks in and moves a few things around. Too bad he doesn’t clean while he’s at it.

Creepy Fun Trailers!

Season two of Stranger Things – October 27!

Season eleven of The X-Files – January 2018!

Thoughts on Finishing a Series

I came up with the core idea of the fantasy Season Avatars series—a quartet of women who have to work together to save their country from magical storms that mix up the seasons—about twenty-one years ago. I was single, between jobs, and living in another state. Since then, I’ve moved several times, worked four different jobs at two companies, got married, and had a son. The publishing world has also changed. Self-publishing wasn’t easy and was heavily stigmatized in the 90’s, but now it’s allowing me to fulfill a life goal: completing a series.

Finishing a series carries a lot of mixed feelings with it. There’s relief that the story will be complete before you die and that readers won’t be left hanging for a resolution. There’s definitely a feeling of accomplishment, even elation. If writing one book is a marathon, writing and rewriting five of them is an Ironman and a half. Plotting across a series requires even more forethought than plotting (or pantsing) a single book.

Certainly I’ll miss my heroines, but as I plan to write a spin-off series, they’re not gone completely. They’re adult children now, stopping back occasionally to visit and bringing new characters from their world with them. Writing “The End” is never truly the end, but another beginning.

Summon the Seasons

Kay might be the youngest, smallest, and least confident Season Avatar, but her weather magic makes her the most powerful of her group. Now that she also can contact the souls of dead Avatars, her quartet has a chance to end Chaos Season permanently. All Kay and her sister Avatars need are three more bones.
To obtain them, Kay’s quartet must travel across Challen, evading the King’s Watch and Selathens who want to protect their demigoddess, Salth, creator of Chaos Season.
Kay’s deepest beliefs about her God and her longtime rival, Dorian, will be challenged during the trip. If she loses her faith and newfound courage, she will fail, and the rest of the Season Avatars with her.

Pick up Summon the Seasons HERE

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan is the author of the SF Catalyst Chronicles and the fantasy Season Avatars series. She’s also a QA Representative, a wife, a mother, a Beatles fan, and a member of the 501st Legion, but mostly she’s very tired.
Sandra can be found online at the following links: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram

Monday’s Music Moves Me

Hosted by Marie at Xmas Dolly.

This one is from Voyager, a pop-prog band from Australia. They are so underrated! These guys should be huge.

New Releases

Marked Beauty by SA Larsen - available October 17
Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.
Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Find Sheri at her Website or Blog

City of Ghosts by JH Moncrieff
On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.
Find it on Amazon Barnes and Noble, and iTunes

Jalapeno Cupcake Wench by Carol Kilgore
A Hot and Spicy Taste of Murder – and Beyond
Jalapeno Cupcake Wench is the first book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy, a story so big, it takes three books to tell it. 
Find it on Amazon

Swing Vote by Donna K. Weaver
An IED blew up more than Marc North's career as a Cobra pilot—it shattered his plans for marriage.
Find it on Amazon and Goodreads

Movie Trivia Answers

1 – Christian Bale, Taye Diggs 2002 - Equilibrium
2 – Michael York, Jenny Agutter 1976 - Logan’s Run
3 – Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich 1997 – The Fifth Element
4 – Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman 2014 - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
5 – Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman 2013 - Oblivion
6 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone 1990 – Total Recall
7 – Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux 1960 – The Time Machine
8 – Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence 1981- The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2)
9 – Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer 1997 – Starship Troopers
10 – Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman 2010 – The Book of Eli

Ready for some scary RiffTrax movies? Stoked about the next seasons of Stranger Things and X-Files? Have you wrapped up a series? Picking up some new books? Get the trivia right? And have you entered the IWSG Anthology Contest yet? You have until November 1. And let me know if you can co-host next month.

I’ll be offline this weekend but back on Monday with another guest and a slew of scary movie fun.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Blade Runner 2049, The Gifted, and Inhumans Reviews; IWSG Insecurity Contest Winners, Futuristic Movies Trivia, and Ninja News

Blade Runner 2049 Review

It’s rare when a sequel lives up to the original. Even rarer when that sequel equals or bests the original. Blade Runner 2049 is that super rare gem.
This film excels on every level.
It is visually stunning. Director Denis Villeneuve pays homage to the original while creating his own brand of breathtaking images and settings. It feels familiar and yet fresh and new.
The visuals, action, pacing, and music all combine for an amazing and solid style of filmmaking. The movie is long – 163 minutes – but you will be riveted to the screen the entire time. It’s long without feeling overlong. With so much depth, the film breathes with a life of its own.
The acting is superb. Everyone reached deep to hit their mark and more. Spoiler – Harrison Ford is only in the film for maybe thirty minutes. It is Gosling who carries the movie and he does so very well. Ironically, in a world of humans, replicants, and AI computer programs, it is the latter who shows the most emotion, and Ana de Armas shines as Joi.
The music also shines. It’s also homage to the original while innovative in its own right. And the story line – well, it’s better if you go in only knowing what you saw in the original Blade Runner. And you’ll think you have it figured out…until the end.
Highly recommended!

Television Series Reviews

These are based on watching the first episode of two Marvel-based series.

It felt cheap, miscast, poorly acted, and very predictable – and those were its good points.
It could have been a great show, but they decided to play it safe and trot out every cliché possible.
Iwan Rheon plays almost the exact same villain he did on Game of Thrones.
Ultimately, when your large, animated dog is best character, you’re in trouble. Unless he’s Scooby-Doo.
And that’s what this is – a bad Saturday morning cartoon.

The Gifted
Good cinematography, acting, intriguing special effects, and a compelling story.
I liked everything about the first episode. It’s not quite Legion quality, but really, really good.
Those who’ve read the comics will be familiar with the characters. I understand they are following the comic book story line closely as well.
Hopefully it can maintain its top-notch writing and acting.
This one was almost movie quality. And they didn’t even need a giant dog!

IWSG Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest Winners

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Wow, there were so many awesome photos. You guys were really creative.

But we only had three prize packages with dozens of books, audio books, IWSG features, and IWSG erasers…

Third place goes to: J Lenni Dorner

Second place goes to: Mary Aalgaard

And the grand prize winner who also finally told all his Facebook friends he’s a writer: Ken Rahmoeller

For more awesome images, visit the other participants:
Sarah, Karen, SE White, Carrie-Anne, Tyrean, Fundy, Sandra, Erika, Olga, Toi, IB Nosey, Morgan, Nancy, Deniz, Zan Marie, Allison Kathy, and Sharon.

Ninja News

Some new releases from Patsy Collins:

Slightly Spooky Stories – available now
Find it on Amazon

Leave Nothing But Footprints – available October 12
Pre-order on Amazon

My publisher is running a special all October - buy one audio book, get one free.
Buy any of the eleven Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. audio books in October 2017 from either iTunes, Amazon, or Audible, including my five audio books, and get another one of their titles for free.

Don’t forget the annual IWSG Anthology Contest deadline is November 1!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Writing for Profit Available Now!
Download it for free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Futuristic Movie Trivia

In honor of Blade Runner 2049, today’s trivia is all about movies set in the future. Name the film from the year and its stars:

1 – Christian Bale, Taye Diggs 2002
2 – Michael York, Jenny Agutter 1976
3 – Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich 1997
4 – Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman 2014
5 – Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman 2013
6 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone 1990
7 – Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux 1960
8 – Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence 1981
9 – Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer 1997
10 – Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman 2010 

Answers next Monday!

Anyone else see Blade Runner 2049? Have you watched either television show? Did you enjoy all the IWSG pictures last week? And do you know any of the trivia…?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Writing for Profit, and Contest! October Movie Preview, Buy One Get One Free Audio Book, 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 co-hosts today are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

October 4 question - Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Yes, I really do own a teleporter. Kidding! Just a clone machine. Truth though, I don’t think I ever have. And would you even know…?

Show Your Writer Insecurity Contest!

Are you proud to be an insecure writer? Then show us!
Today, post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.)
The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved:
Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh.
Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell.
Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers.

He’s not eligible, but Mini-Alex didn’t want to miss out today.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Writing for Profit Available Now!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this free anthology.

From writing to publishing to marketing, the Insecure Writer's Support Group members provide tips on making money as a writer. This guide represents the spirit of the IWSG - to encourage and support writers everywhere! It is our hope that this book will benefit you as a writer, no matter where you are in the journey. 

ISBN: 9781939844453 FREE
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Ninja News

My publisher is running a special all October - buy one audio book, get one free.
Buy any of the eleven Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. audio books in October 2017 from either iTunes, Amazon, or Audible.
Send a copy of your receipt (less any payment info) along with your 1st and 2nd choice of free audio book to
You will receive a code for a free audio book download.
Choose your free book from these ten titles:
He Gave Me Barn Cats by Maria Santomasso-Hyde, The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, Tornado Warning by Tamara Hart Heiner, CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh, CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh, CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain, Matowak: Woman Who Cries by Joylene Nowell Butler, Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure, and Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh. (You can also purchase my CassaSeries boxed set on audio, but it’s not available as a free selection.)

Don’t forget the annual IWSG Anthology Contest deadline is November 1!
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller
Theme: Tick Tock.
We have an awesome panel of judges this year and the winning entries will be published in a royalty-paying anthology.
See the IWSG Anthology Contest post for details.

IWSG member in need…
Many of you know author and IWSG member Christopher D. Votey and how in August he found himself homeless. He’s still working to get back on his feet and has started doing freelance work. Chris did a great job with his article on world building for the IWSG site and is hoping to gain more work.
You can check out his website, Concrete Desk Freelance Writing, and if you can help spread the word so Chris can get more work and find a permanent home, that would be great.

October Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for October! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

6 -

Blade Runner 2049
A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who's been missing for thirty years.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista
They are saying this is the movie of the year! So stoked to see it.

13 –

The Foreigner
A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers' identities.
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Jackie Chan, Katie Leung, Rufus Jones, Mark Tandy
I heard Chan had to hire a dialect coach to nail the Chinese accent…

20 –

The Snowman
Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloë Sevigny, Val Kilmer
I heard that since Fassbender is such a method actor, he spent last winter on his front lawn with a corn cob pipe…

When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it's a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.
Director: Dean Devlin
Stars: Jeremy Ray Taylor, Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Talitha Eliana Bateman
Yes, it’s yet another big-scale disaster movie. Nothing like watching the world explode. Grab some popcorn, leave your brain at the door, and enjoy!

Showing your writer insecurity today? Picking up the IWSG Writing for Profit? Want a free audio book? And what movies interest you this month?