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!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z Challenge – Z – Cult Classics: Rob Zombie, Zap Gun, and More! Plus may Preview – San Andreas, Challenge Reflection Post, IWSG, and Ninja News

Last day of the Challenge – we did it!

A to Z Challenge– Cult Classics –Z
Movies-Music-Sci-fi Book-Bloggers-Dragon Term

Movie –

This bizarre post-apocalyptic film was written, produced, and directed by John Boorman in 1974. It features star Sean Connery in the worst outfit ever.

Music –

Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe
His best-selling album to date, Rob’s first solo album away from White Zombie went Triple Platinum. Giving homage to horror films, the album featured such hits as Dragula and Living Dead Girl.

Science Fiction Book –

The Zap Gun by Philip K. Dick
This 1967 novel was originally published as a serial and was one of his earliest works.

Blogger –

PK Hrezo
Want to follow someone who is multi-talented in writing and in art? Follow someone with a genuine heart, compassion, and passion for what is right? Then you need to be following author PK!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

Defined at ‘great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.’ While Aden’s pursuit of a command and the queen’s daughter is more dogged and methodical, Ensign Pavott’s pursuits are more heartfelt and passionate.

Dragon of the Stars is out now!
Check out the site What Are the Kargrandes? for clues as to how they tie into the story.

Ninja News

Next week will be the A to Z Challenge Reflections posts. Post your thoughts on this year’s Challenge anytime Monday-Friday and then add your direct link over at the A to Z Blog.

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

Reedsy is a great site for authors with tips and more, connecting writers with other industry professionals. They just started a new feature for authors to create a profile and integrate their social media, goodreads, amazon and blogging platform in one place. Get the details HERE.

Available today!
The Dragon Chronicles
Featuring a short story by Ted Cross - Dragon Play.

Cindy Borgne, who blogs at Dreamer’s Perch, has another blog called Good Book Alert. They are looking for indie authors to guest post, plus reviewers. If interested, see the site for details.

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.

May Movie Preview

Here is the final upcoming theatrical release for May. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

May 29 -

San Andreas
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter.
Director: Brad Peyton
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Colton Haynes
Fissures will open, buildings will crumble, and pecs will jiggle.

Have you suffered through Zardoz? Fan of Rob Zombie? Ready for the IWSG next week? Signed up for the blogfest? Going to see San Andreas? And how do you feel about the end of the Challenge…?
(I am BEAT! I’ll be taking Friday OFF and enjoying Avengers: Age of Ultron and some time with my wife. Catch up with comments on Saturday.)

And if you missed it, yesterday I visited Janice Hardy’s Fiction University and discussed the pros and cons of small presses.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z Challenge – Y – Cult Classics: Yellow Submarine, Yes, and More! Plus More May Movie Preview – Tomorrowland – and Ninja News

Today I have the highest honor of appearing at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. I’m discussing pros and cons of marketing and the small press. If you want to know more about what a small press can and can’t do for you, then check it out.

A to Z Challenge – Cult Classics – Y
Movies-Music-Sci-fi Book-Bloggers-Dragon Term

Movie –

Yellow Submarine
This animated feature capitalized on a psychedelic pop culture and was nominated for a Grammy and a Hugo. Ironically, while the Beatles performed the songs and appeared in person at the end, other actors did their voices during the cartoon segment.

Music –

Yes – Fragile
Released in 1971, the fourth studio album became the band’s biggest commercial success so far and featured the icon song Roundabout.

Science Fiction Book – 

The Year of the Quiet Sun by Wilson Tucker
This 1970 time travel novel won a John W. Campbell Memorial Award and was nominated for a Nebula and a Hugo.

Blogger –

Yolanda Renee –at Defending the Pen
Enjoy a good murder mystery with a little more? Want to meet a supportive author with a wonderful spirit? Then you need to meet Yolanda!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

A year on Hyrath would be longer than a year on Earth, although only by a few weeks. Their division of time is also numerically different, as their days have twenty-five hours. Their months and weeks are also more evenly divided.

Dragon of the Stars is out now!
Check out the site What Are the Kargrandes? for clues as to how they tie into the story.

Ninja News

NA Alley is holding an auction this week to raise money for this young lady:
Back in 2008, Queena was a vibrant eighteen-year-old with her whole life ahead of her. That changed the night she was brutally raped, beaten, and left for dead after dropping books off at the library. The attack left her blind and unable to walk or talk, requiring around-the-clock care.
PK Hrezo is currently writing a book about this young lady as well.

Available now!
Scattered Seasons by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
Only .99 cents for a week.
Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo

May Movie Preview

Here is the continuation of upcoming theatrical releases for May. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy
For all your tomorrow needs. Off the beltline. Free hotdogs and balloons for mom. (MST3K fans will get that.)

Remember Yellow Submarine? Fan of Yes? (And have you seen them in concert?) Would you want twenty-five hour days? Checking out the auction? And is Tomorrowland a must-see for May…?

Don’t forget to visit Janice Hardy’s Fiction University!