Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Challenge – V – Cult Classics: Videodrome, Van Halen, Venus, and More! Plus Tips for Generating Speculative Fiction Names

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

Movies –

Directed by David Cronenberg, this mind-tripping science fiction/horror film received mixed reviews and did poorly at the theater. It found new life on video and received numerous awards.

V for Vendetta
This 2005 British film was release shortly after the 400th celebration of Guy Fawkes Night. Based on a graphic novel, the film won numerous awards.

Music –

Van Halen – 5150
The first album to feature Sammy Hagar as lead singer, 5150 debuted at number one and spawned many singles.

Science Fiction Book –

Venus series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Begun in 1934, this four book and one novelette series is also known as the Amtor Series. The stories have made several comic book appearances.

Blogger –

Vanessa Morgan
Are you fascinated by film? Want to know more about foreign films and festivals? Want to see amazing travel photos from around the world? Then you need to visit filmmaker Vanessa!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

Engineer Geld Vardy worked on several systems for the Dragon. Desperate to find the ship, the Hyrathian Council instructed him to develop a way to track it and accompany the team searching for the ship. He and Aden clash though…

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.

Very Special Gatehaven Release

Melissa Maygrove announced a very special release yesterday – a study guide by her mother!

The Gatehaven Study Guide by Jeanette Pierce

The Gatehaven study guide is a pair of workbooks for students and teachers that is designed for use with Gatehaven, an award-winning novel by Molly Noble Bull. Gatehaven is a gothic novel with a strong Christian message, based on Ephesians 6:11. Set in a scary mansion in the north of England in 1794, Shannon Aimee and Ian Colquhoun battle an evil Frenchman with dark secrets.

Buy the workbooks here: Kindle Student guide, Kindle Teacher's guide, Nook Student guide, Nook Teacher’s guide, Amazon Paperback Student guide, and Amazon Paperback Teacher’s guide

Generating Names for Speculative Fiction

Yesterday, there were several questions regarding naming characters at my guest post with Susan Gourley. How did I come up with the names? I have several different means for generating speculative fiction names.

The simplest is to brainstorm. Write down every unusual word that comes to mind on a piece of paper. Don’t think about characters – just churn out names. Keep the alphabet handy and don’t duplicate a first letter. That will guarantee that all the names are unique.

Apply a characteristic to the names if they need to be uniform. For CassaFire, all the Tgren names needed to begin with a vowel. That was my jumping off point. Maybe all the names need to be two syllables or end with a certain letter.

Look around and pick random words. Now mutate them. The word ‘world’ becomes Wireld. ‘Stars’ becomes Sturess. ‘Rock’ becomes Fock. Anything is possible!

Choose a cultural group of names and alter them. For Dragon of the Stars, I chose a variety of first and last names that were old British. Then I changed one or two letters to come up with names for the Hyrathians. This could be done with any language or culture.

The key is to keep them simple and easy to pronounce. Some of the names I’ve selected were a challenge, but overall I’ve picked simple names that wouldn’t trip up the reader. This is really important for speculative fiction, as readers are already contending with new words in the form of people, places, and things. If those words are complex or difficult to pronounce, the reader might give up.

Have fun with it though. Let those creative juices flow and come up with names that are epic!

Remember Videodrome? Which version of Van Halen do you like best? Want to know why Geld Vardy clashes with Aden? Have you read Gatehaven? And how do you go about generating names for your characters…?

If you missed it, I visited Susan Gourley on Friday and discussed a race called the Utothiaz.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A to Z Challenge – U – Cult Classics: U2, Uglies, and More! Plus Civil War and Daredevil News, New Releases, and the Utothiaz

Today I am visiting Susan Gourley and helping her with the letter U – Utothiaz. Who are the Utothiaz? (Not to be confused with What Are the Kargrandes?) Hop on over to find out!

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

Movie –

Universal Soldier
This 1992 film spawned three film sequels and two made-for-television sequels. Directed by Roland Emmerich, it was one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s most notable roles.

Music –

U2 – Achtung Baby
This 1991 album debuted at number one and went on to sell eighteen million copies. It re-launched U2’s career, spawned many singles, and won a Grammy.

Science Fiction Book –

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
The first book was released in 2005 and followed by three sequels. While the series has received mixed reviews, it has a huge following and is in development for film.

Blogger –

Carol Kilgore at Under the Tiki Hut 
Do you like crime fiction with a kiss? Want to learn more about the author journey and about Texas? Do you like the beach? Then hang out with the awesome Carol under the Tiki Hut!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

One of the eight races, they are aggressive and stealthy… To learn more, visit Susan Gourley today!

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.

New Releases!

Pat Hatt has been a busy man! He has three new Tarsier Man releases this month:

Foes in Rows

Food with Attitude

Pick of the Sidekick

Ghost of Death by Chrys Fey

Amazon, Amazon UK, and Nook

Movie News

Daredevil season two is coming! Actor Charlie Cox, who plays the lead, talks about the Defenders and what to expect at JoBlo

The lineup for Captain America: Civil War continues to grow. Scarlet Witch will also be joining the film alongside the Captain, Iron Man, Black Widow, Falcon, Hawkeye, and Black Panther. Read more at Blastr

Production begins on Ash vs. Evil Dead! Read more about it at JoBlo

And how much money has Furious 7 made now worldwide? 1.1584 billion dollars! It’s now the seventh highest grossing film ever, and with the pace it’s setting, will likely be number four when it’s over. (Behind Avatar, Titanic, and The Avengers.)

Seen Universal Soldier? Fan of U2? Have you visited the Tiki Hut? Confused by Kargrandes and Utothiaz and Dragons? Picking up some new books? And what movie news excites you…?

Don’t forget to visit Susan Gourley!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge – T – Cult Classics: This is Spinal Tap, Tremors, Triumph, The Time Machine, and More! Plus Divinity: Original Sin Review and Judges Needed

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

Movies –

This 1990 film harkens back to the classic monster movie. Starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, and Reba McEntire, it spawned three sequels and a series, and became a huge hit on video.

This is Spinal Tap
Directed by Rob Reiner, this rock mockumentary debuted in 1984. Selected for preservation by the USA National Film Registry, it became a huge hit, and many musicians said it hit close to home. The IMDB ranking for this movie was adjusted to eleven in honor of the film.

Time Bandits
This quirky 1981 British film featured an all-star cast, including Sean Connery and John Cleese. Directed by Terry Gilliam, it was the first of the director’s Trilogy of Imagination.

Music –

Triumph – Allied Forces
The fifth album from the Canadian trio, it was their first mainstream success. It featured the hits Magic Power and Fight the Good Fight.

Science Fiction Book –

The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
Published in 1895, Wells established the idea of a time machine. It’s inspired numerous movies, radio programs, comics and more. It’s likely inspired more works than any other story.

Bloggers –

Tara Tyler
Want to learn some fun stuff about marketing, organizing, kids, and everything in between? Need some tips, advice, or just a friendly smile? Then you need to follow the delightful author Tara!

TB Markinson at Making My Mark
Enjoy a variety of genres? Want some tips from authors who have gone before you? Then visit English lass TB today!

Teresa Powell Coltrin at Journaling Woman
Enjoy spiritual reflections on Sunday? Want to follow the adventures of Millie the dog? Get some writing tips? The you need to check out the wonderful Teresa!

Tonja Drecker at Kidbits
Want to learn more about the author journey? Learn about life on a farm? Meet someone who is uber-supportive? Then visit the joyful Tonja today!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

One of the oldest battleships in the Hyrathian fleet, the Tarquin saw the Dragon in action. Her age does not help her when the other races declare war against the Hyrathians though.

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.

Calling Speculative Fiction Authors!

Last fall I got to judge a short story contest for high school students and it was a blast. (Bold New Worlds is available now.) Well, judges are needed for this year’s volume of the anthology.
Charity Bradford states:
I'm ready to start looking for the 2015 Judges. Judging will take place during the month of November. During the contest your photo, bio and links to books and webpages will be up on Bold New Worlds. You'll also be listed in the 2015 BNW Anthology as a judge.
If you are a speculative fiction author, see her site for details.

Computer Game Review

Divinity: Original Sin

This computer game was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.
It’s a cross between Icewind Dale and Dungeon Seige. It’s old school – a free roaming with turn based combat RPG. You have the traditional three-quarter view looking down on your party of four and it can be either single or multi-player.
The main quest has dozens of side quests. When you add them all up, there’s at least a hundred hours of play.
If you have the patience and aren’t all hack and slash, you can get lost for months with this game.
A lot of fun – highly recommended!

And have you signed up for the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest yet?
Sign up – you know you want to!!

Fan of Spinal Tap? (This one goes to eleven.) Remember Triumph? (No, not the Insult Comic Dog.) Met those bloggers yet? Interested in judging for the anthology? Played any good computer games lately? And are you sad or excited the Challenge ends in one week…?

And if you missed it yesterday, I visited Donna K. Weaver and talked about building a strong online presence while maintaining privacy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z Challenge – S – Cult Classics: Suspira, Spaceballs, Soundgarden, and More! Plus The Equalizer Movie Review and Galaxy Quest Series

Today I am visiting the awesome Donna K. Weaver. My topic is - How to Build a Strong Online Presence While Maintaining Privacy

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

Movies –

Directed by Dario Argento, this Italian horror film boasts a unique style and a soundtrack by progressive rock band Goblin. Nominated for two Saturn Awards, this was Argento’s most successful film ever.

This 1987 film parodies Star Wars, along with numerous other science fiction films. With an all-star cast, this is Mel Brooks’ most popular film.

Music –

Scorpions – Blackout
This Platinum album gained the band a wider audience and featured the hit No One Like You. It paved the way for their mega-hit album, Love at First Sting.

Soundgarden – Superunknown
Released in 1994, this was their breakthrough hit, producing five singles. It went five times Platinum and won two Grammys.

Science Fiction Books –

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy – Timothy Zahn
These three books sold fifteen million copies combined and were adapted as comics and role playing games. Their success rekindled interest in the Star Wars franchise.

Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
This 1961 novel won the Hugo, was the first science fiction book to enter the NY Times Best Seller list, and was named one of the books that shaped America by the Library of Congress.

Bloggers –

Sarah Ahiers
Want to follow the journey of a writer dedicated to her craft? Someone who absolutely does not give up? Enjoy weird tales and funnies on Friday? Then follow the awesome Sarah and her dog, Yvie!

Sherry Ellis at Mama Diaries
Want to follow the funny stories of a mother? Think you’re smarter than a grade schooler and a German Sheppard? Then you need to follow the delightful author Sherry on her adventures!

Sia McKye
Want to enjoy life in the Rockies? Meet new authors and learn more about writing and marketing? Then stop by for coffee with Sia!

Stephanie Faris
Want a little slice of pop culture humor and observations? Enjoy middle grade books with a happy spin? Then visit the delightful Stephanie today!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

Lt. Shadvey is the squadron leader on board the Ryzell. The son of a Duke, he is an honorable man and cares about the pilots who fly under him. He’s known Aden since childhood and is probably his closest friend.

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.

Movie News and Review

A Galaxy Quest series is in development! Visit JoBlo for details.

For some reason, studios keep giving him money – M. Night Shyamalan has another movie coming out this fall called The Visit. Read more at JoBlo - trailer to debut on Thursday.

The Equalizer

Based on the television show, Denzel Washington is a man trying to live a normal life until he intervenes on behalf of a girl and goes after the Russian mob.
The movie is very stylish. It has an early Michael Mann feel to it. It’s not a fast paced movie – it’s more character driven than anything else – but when there is action, it’s electric.
Denzel plays Denzel and he does it well.
The villains are a bit too cookie-cutter though, and the film could’ve been twenty minutes shorter.
The best part of the film is when Denzel is interacting with the girl in the diner. Those are very genuine moments. (The girl is played by Chloe Grace Moretz – she was Hit Girl in Kick Ass.)
Overall it was a good film. Recommended as a NetFlix rental.

Spaceballs fan? Listen to those bands? Read Zahn’s Star Wars books? Following those wonderful bloggers? Have you seen The Equalizer? Think Shyamalan needs to stop making movies? And do you want to see Galaxy Quest on television?

Don’t forget to visit Donna K. Weaver!