Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Riff Trax Live – Anaconda! Plus the Trick-or-Treat Bloghop, Living Dead Girl, Alex the Author, and Ninja News

Riff Trax!

This Thursday, October 30 2014 is the next RiffTrax Live - the guys from MST3K strike at 1997's ANACONDA!
You can visit their site for a theater showing the broadcast, and if you live near Durham, NC, you can see it live. That’s right – time to hit the road north! I’m very stoked to see Mike, Kevin, and Bill do the show in person. I’ll give you a full review of the experience on Monday.

A Little Halloween Tune

Since it’s almost Halloween, if you’d like a little scary music while you read the rest of this post, just click play and enjoy Rob Zombie’s Living Dead Girl:

Ninja News

We are VERY honored to have million-copy NYTimes bestselling author, Ruth Harris, at the IWSG Site today!

The IWSG has also expanded with a second group on Facebook – the IWSG Critique Circle.
The aim of that group is to put writers who want to exchange critiques and find beta readers in touch with each other. And of course, there's the support and encouragement with the WiPs. So check it out!

Jeff Chapman’s Give Me Your Teeth: A Fae Tale comes out this Friday on Halloween!
Like most children, ten-year old Jimmy wonders where the Tooth Fairy keeps all those teeth.
He learns there's more to his mother than he ever imagined, and the Tooth Fairy isn't so harmless.
You can pre-order it now on Amazon.

Cindy is looking for guest reviewers for Good Book Alert. In return for a review, the guest reviewer will receive one guest post on the site. In both posts, your book/bio information will be posted as well. Visit Good Book Alert for details.

Sylvia Ney is holding a NaNo contest and giveaway – visit her site for details!

J E Oneil alerted me to this freaky story –
The ghastly Lake Natron, in northern Tanzania, is a salt lake—meaning that water flows in, but doesn’t flow out, so it can only escape by evaporation. Over time, as water evaporates, it leaves behind high concentrations of salt and other minerals, like at the Dead Sea and Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
Unlike those other lakes, though, Lake Natron is extremely alkaline, due to high amounts of the chemical natron (a mix of sodium carbonate and baking soda) in the water. The water’s pH has been measured as high as 10.5—nearly as high as ammonia.
You have to see the stunning images of birds turned to stone by the water at the Smithsonian Mag! In black and white, they are haunting.

And thanks to everyone who weighed in on Monday’s post - Are Authors Killing Blogging? There were some really detailed and thoughtful comments weighing in on promotion overload. If you missed it, go back and check it out.

Trick-or-Treat Book Bloghop!

Hosted by Patricia Lynne
The theme is EBooks are the Candy. We’re giving away books to one or more lucky commenters.
Hashtag #trickortreatreads

My treat for one lucky commenter is your choice:
EBook copies of all three of my books or
One print copy of your choice (CassaStar, CassaFire, or CassaStorm) with swag or
One print review copy of Dragon of the Stars (when available)

Just say Trick-or-Treat in comments to enter – winner will be announced Monday.

Alex the Author

Since I’m trying to put more of me here, I thought I’d give a unique run-down of what I’ve written. Some of you might not know what I write. Yes, it is mostly science fiction, but of the lighter space opera variety. (Think Star Wars.)

Sometimes it's wild to look back and think Holy crap, did I do that? This journey wasn't planned. I mean, how do you predict all of this - the blog, the books, the IWSG, the friendships? I'm grateful for the opportunity though.

The original version was written in the 70’s when I was a teen. Thirty years later, I rewrote it, and the story will always have a special place in my heart. Yes, this book started it all. I wouldn't be here otherwise.

Readers wanted a sequel. And a female character. (Crap!) Fortunately, I had a short story I could rewrite and I knew the main character well now. I wrote this during NaNo 2010. So if you’re participating in NaNo this year, if I can do it, you can do it!

This story came from scratch and took me a long time to pull together. I’m proudest of this one, especially the fact I was able to write a convincing ten-year-old boy. (And I don’t even have kids!)

I was invited to contribute to an anthology that tied in with a CD. I chose the song Drakon’s Empire and wrote a short story called CassaFate. I actually had to cut words to hit the 1500 word limit. (That has never happened before. Trust me!)

Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle
I was also asked to contribute to this anthology. I wrote a piece about the power of networking and having an online presence. (I sure as heck wasn’t going to offer any writing tips. I wanted to help not hinder.)

How I Found the Write Path: A Compilation of Letters
My letter was Prepare for Changes. Yeah, big time!

Overcoming Adversity
This book was a fund raiser for Andrew, who sadly passed away. My contribution was My Friends, My Heroes

Coming soon -

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond
Available this December, this book features over a hundred articles on writing, publishing, and marketing. So much good information! Ironically the word count is higher than any of my books…

Dragon of the Stars
Available next spring, this story is separate from the Cassan universe. I took the story idea of the song Dragon on the Sea by Ayeron and wrote my own. (I don’t recommend doing that, as a book is much longer than a seven minute song…)

Crap, that’s a lot! And I didn’t even want to be a writer. I’m just a dude with many guitars. And even more clones…

Anyone else seeing Riff Trax? Ready for Halloween? (Any other Halloween songs you’d like to suggest?) Did you go look at the Lake Natron photos? Did you say Trick-or-Treat? And are you as stunned as I am that a man of few words actually wrote all that…?

Don’t forget next Wednesday is IWSG post day!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Have Authors Killed Blogging? Plus 2014 Box Office, Horror Movie Trivia Answers, Mini-Alex, and Ninja News

2014 Box Office So Far…

Nine films have grossed over a half a billion dollars so far this year. With Interstellar and the final Hobbit film still to come, there will undoubtedly be more. Here is the breakdown so far:

1 Transformers: Age of Extinction - $1,087.3 billion
2 Maleficent - $757.4 million
3 Guardians of the Galaxy - $752.6
4 X-Men: Days of Future Past - $746.0
5 Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $714.1
6 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - $709.0
7 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - $707.2
8 How to Train Your Dragon 2 - $615.0
9 Godzilla (2014) - $525.0

(Guardians leads the US box office with $328.6 million.)

Ninja News

At the A to Z Blog today is Nicki Elson with her awesome 90's Pop Culture Favorites Challenge theme.

Available now –
Mage Revealed by CD Coffelt
Book two in the Magic Withheld series
Find it on Amazon
Check out the trailer on You Tube

Lisa Regan is celebrating the one year anniversary of her first novel’s release by holding a t-shirt fundraiser:
Buy a Finding Claire Fletcher t-shirt and all profits will go to Operation Underground Railroad or O.U.R., a non-profit organization founded by a former CIA/Homeland Security agent. They use cutting-edge technology to locate and track child pornographers and human traffickers. They use their findings to assist law enforcement all over the world to stop these monsters and rescue kidnapped children.
You can purchase one HERE

Milo James Fowler’s Creepy Freebies is back! Check his site for a list of participants, plus keep an eye out for those joining the giveaway, such as Roland Yeomans. Creepy Freebies lasts through Halloween.

Horror Movie Trivia Answers

1 – Simon Pegg, Nick Frost 2004 – Shaun of the Dead
2 – Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David 1982 – The Thing
3 – Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci 1999 – Sleepy Hollow
4 – Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner 1976 – The Omen
5 – Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox 2002 – The Ring
6 – JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O’Rourke 1982 – Poltergeist


In a piles of leaves, as requested! (Sort of - I don't rake leaves, I mow them.)

Have Authors Killed Blogging?

For the past six months there has been a lot of discussion about blogging losing steam and dying out. While I doubt it’s dying, there have been a lot of changes and a slowdown in growth. New blogs still appear, but fewer bloggers are returning comments and follows. Since blogging is all about being sociable, that’s a problem.

Are authors and writers putting a damper on blogging? Are the constant book announcements, cover reveals, book releases, blog tours, and reviews drowning out interaction and interest?

I pull up my Feedly reader, and over two thirds of the posts are just that. It looks almost like a Twitter feed of promos and links.

We all want to help each other, but I’ve begun to wonder if we are the only ones paying attention anymore. I follow almost two thousand blogs and used to have an eclectic following, but it seems that many who weren’t writers have fallen away. (And yes, I do know I gained a lot more writer followers when I started the Insecure Writer’s Support Group three years ago.) They aren’t blogging much anymore, if at all. (I know a lot of writers and authors who aren’t blogging, either.)

I’ve always tried to offer a variety here, because no one wants to read all promo. (Besides, I’m not a book blogger site or a review site – that’s not what I do.) I want to focus on entertainment and fun, and yes, I am trying to work more of me into the posts.

What do you think? Have authors and writers put a damper on blogging? Have we hit promo overload?

How many of those top films of 2014 have you seen? (I’ve only missed the top two.) Any news that interests you? Get any of the trivia correct? Ready to dive into a pile of leaves? And do you think authors are hurting blogging…?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Movie News and The Book of Life Review, Horror Movie Trivia, Mini-Alex, BOTB Results, and Ninja News

Movie News

The Book of Life movie review
Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.
The animation is truly unique and I recommend seeing it in 3D. The Land of the Remembered is colorful and stunning.
While the story won’t be the greatest thing you’ve ever seen, it did have several refreshing aspects. One is the Mexican setting and the legend of the Day of the Dead festival. Another was that although the two friends, Manolo and Joaquin, are vying for Maria’s hand, neither is perfect nor a villain.
The best characters are the two Gods. La Muerte rules the Land of the Remembered and Xibalba rules the Land of the Forgotten, and their love-hate relationship is charming to watch.
Death plays a major part in the story and there is some violence, so not recommended for the really young.
For something refreshing and new, The Book of Life is a fun watch.

According to Blastr, there could be more John Carter movies, just not with Disney. Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. regained the rights to the books and is seeking other opportunities.
"We will be seeking a new partner to help develop new adventures on film as chronicled in the eleven Mars novels Burroughs wrote," Burroughs Inc. President James Sullos said. "This adventure never stops."
I enjoyed the books and really dug the 2012 John Carter film, so I hope it happens.

Have you seen the trailer for Tommorrowland?

Ninja News

The amazing Sarah Allen is our guest at the IWSG Site today, discussing how helping other writers helps you.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Survive and Thrive Blogfest, and my other co-hosts, Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, and Diane Wolfe!

DL Hammons is hosting his Déjà vu blogfest again.

New releases –

The Initiate by M. Pax
Secret Keepers by Gwen Gardner

Blocked by Jennifer Lane

Battle of the Bands Results

Last Wednesday I pitted Thin Lizzy against Metallica with the song Whisky in the Jar.

Stephen T. McCarthy made it interesting when he voted for Thinallica. (I split the difference.)

However, after casting my vote for Metallica, we have… a tie!

Thin Lizzy – 18.5 votes
Metallica – 18.5 votes


We found this large display of sunflowers recently and thought of Tina Downey…

Movie Trivia!

Since Halloween is approaching, today we focus on horror movies. Name the film from actors and year listed:

1 – Simon Pegg, Nick Frost 2004

2 – Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David 1982

3 – Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci 1999

4 – Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner 1976

5 – Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox 2002

6 – JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O’Rourke 1982

Have you seen The Book of Life? Want more John Carter Movies? Excited about the new releases? BOTB results surprise you? Know any of the trivia? And where should Mini-Alex go next…?

I also received edits for Dragon of the Stars from my publisher, so I will be busy working on them the next week or so...