Monday, July 6, 2015

RiffTrax Live This Thursday! Plus LG Keltner’s Silent Soliloquy, Movie Reviews, Question of the Month, This is How I Work Bloghop, and Ninja News

Special Reminders!

RiffTrax: Live – Sharknado 2 is this Thursday! If you’ve never seen a RiffTrax show, this is an awesome opportunity. Get your tickets HERE

Final tour stop! I am visiting Bull Spec and contributing to their column, The Hardest Part. My topic - Starting a New Story After Finishing a Series. It's live now!

LG Keltner and A Silent Soliloquy

First of all, I’d like to thank Alex for letting me stop by today. It’s awesome to be here, and I promise not to break anything! I’d like to talk a little bit today about how the films I watched as a kid influenced my writing.

When I was younger, I used to watch all kinds of movies with my dad while eating copious amounts of buttered popcorn. Anthology-style shows like Creepshow and Heavy Metal were among my favorites.

Fast forward to last year. I had a handful of stories and an idea. That might sound like a corny first line from an autobiography, but it’s true. I started to notice commonalities between the stories. Dystopian societies, personal secrets, feelings being used against people, etc. Before I knew it, they were all coming together in my mind, and I had to write the story.

A Silent Soliloquy isn’t exactly an anthology story. In fact, I’m not quite sure how to describe it. There’s a narrator, and it is without a doubt her story. The other stories that have been woven into the narrative are her own accounts of the lives of others. While my story may not be quite like films like Creepshow and Heavy Metal, I credit them with its existence. Watching those shows when I was younger allowed my brain to see the connections that were there and gave me the courage to make the story happen. They infected me with their creative genius.

I’ll take an infection of creative genius over a real-life zombie apocalypse or super flu any day.

Now, who has the popcorn? I’m hungry.

Purchase Links: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords
Add it on Goodreads
Find L.G.- Blog, Twitter, and Facebook

Ninja News

Thanks for all the congratulations for making The Best Sci-Fi Books’ The 21 Best Space Opera Books. I still can’t believe CassaStar was number four!

Special thanks to my co-hosts and all the participants of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The heartfelt posts spoke for themselves and if you’re not part of this, please consider joining us.
Remember the point of the group is to encourage one another, so please visit others on the list and return comments of those who visit you.
I’ll be looking for co-hosts for the fall, so if you’d like to help out, let me know. Every co-host has said they really enjoyed the experience – trust me, it is a lot of fun on the hosting side!

Out now!

The Miracle Girl by TB Markinson

Purchase it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon CA

Movie Reviews

Dracula Untold
With poor reviews, I thought it would be atrocious, but it was much better than anticipated. Just don’t put too much thought into the history or it will fall apart.
Luke Evans (Bard in The Hobbit) was really good in the role.
It was a nice twist to turn Dracula into an empathetic character just trying to save his family and country. Also had some good action sequences.
Worth a rental!

The title should’ve began with ‘Muppets After Dark’…
Granted it’s supposed to be a comedy, but they could’ve put more than $1.99 into the special effects.
The fact that it was trying to be funny both helped and hurt the film. And there was nothing horrific about it.
Did I mention the puppet beavers…?
I’d wait until RiffTrax got a hold of this one.

Question of the Month

Hosted by Michael at A Life Examined.
"What are three things that you'd do tomorrow if you weren't blocked by fear?"

Quit my job.
Join a rock band and hit the road.

And sorry, Michael – I could only think of two things!

This is How I Work Bloghop

Hosted by MsMariah at A Space Blogyssey

What apps can you not live without? ITunes and Google Maps
What is your favorite blogging app? I just use Google
What gadgets (besides your phone) you can't live without? My iPad and my guitar pedals
What lifehacks make your life easier? Metal music is my lifehack – put it on and I’m a working machine!
Where do you get your news? USA Today
What are your favorite social media apps? Twitter
How do you blog? Once a week posting and lots of visiting
What is your day job? I work in web design, graphics, and technical editing. And I get to blog from work!

What sparked one of your book ideas? Can you co-host the IWSG this fall? Have you seen Dracula Untold or Zombeavers? How would you answer Michael’s question? What are some of your favorite apps? And who else is going to see RiffTrax: Live on Thursday?

Don’t forget to visit Bull Spec!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus Best Time for Blog Posts, New Releases, and Ninja News

Double shot today!
I am visiting Roan Publishing with The Importance of Community – How to Get Involved and the Unicorn Bell with What If?
Special thanks to Terri and Liz for those opportunities.

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 Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ, Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda!

I wanted to point out that the awesome Julie Flanders wrote an article for College and Research Libraries News about some of the best websites for writers, and she listed the IWSG site! Thanks, Julie.

Thanks also to everyone who helped announce the boxed set of my trilogy, CassaSeries! (And if you’ve read all three books, the series could use with some love on Goodreads.)

At the moment, I’m working on a short story that will take place after Dragon of the Stars. Truedessa has read the book three times and she told me it was because she was hoping for a different ending for Aden and Tamsin. So I am writing one for her that promises some happiness in their future.

And finally, this just blew me away. Thanks to Edi at Edi’s Book Lighthouse for finding it. The Best Sci-Fi Books site listed The 21 Best Space Opera Books and CassaStar was number four. FOUR!!! Ahead of Dune and Ender’s Game. In reality, no way, but it was really awesome to see.

Be sure to visit other members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Ninja News

Thanks also to Edi for this one – Dark Roasted Blend listed the World’s Strangest Theme Parks. (That site always has the wildest stuff.)

The the WEP-Write...Edit..Publish Bloghop is back!
Hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee, this is a fun monthly event you don’t want to miss.

Damyanti is hosting a blogfest on July 24, 25, and 26 – The Cherished Blogfest.

MsMariah at A Space Blogyssey is hosting a blogfest – This is How I Work Blogathon. The deadline is July 20 to join and post.

Liesel Hill gave me the Creative Blogging Award.
Thanks, Liesel!
I’m passing it on to Pat Hatt and the Cat at It’s Rhyme Time.

New Releases

Hands by L. Ashley Straker (Known to the blogging world as Ash-Matic.)
A novella
Find out more about the book HERE and purchase it Amazon

A Taste of Pain by G.B. Miller
For an autographed copy, visit his site HERE

When is the Best Time for a Blog Post?

I’ve always heard that it was best to post around 5:00-6:00 am Eastern. I thought I’d do a bit of research and found some interesting stats.

According to the Huffington Post:
70% of users say they read blogs in the morning
More men read blogs at night than women
Mondays are the highest traffic days for an average blog
11am is usually the highest traffic hour for an average blog
Comments are usually highest on Saturdays and around 9am on most days
Blogs that post more than once per day have a higher chance of inbound links and more unique views
From the graphic, it appears that the lowest times are in the middle of the night for those of us in the USA. 12:00–4:00 am are the worst. However, I’m not too sure about the highest comments coming on Saturdays. (Mine come on Mondays, except for IWSG Wednesday.)

Kissmetrics had a great graphic, breaking down times and readers. They also stated:
The average blog gets the most inbound links on Monday and Thursday.
The average blog gets the most inbound links at 7am Eastern Time

Bang for the bucks, I’m sticking with my 5:00 am Eastern Monday postings.

When do you see the most comments and visits?

What are your writer insecurities today? Signing up for any of the bloghops and fests? Picking up some new books? And when do think is the best time for blog posts to go live?

Don’t forget to visit Roan Publishing and the Unicorn Bell!

Happy Fourth of July to my American friends!

Monday, June 29, 2015

July Movie Preview, Reviews – BoxTrolls and Transformers 4, and Ninja News!

Today I am visiting long-time friend, author Elizabeth Mueller! Want a glimpse into the life of a Ninja and how I balance it all? Visit Elizabeth to find out. (My guest post is live now!)

Movie Reviews

Caught up on some films that were released last year.

Transformers: Age of Extinction
A bounty hunter is after the Autobots… oh, who cares? This is the fourth movie in a franchise that has made close to four billion dollars. Plot doesn’t matter.
My expectations were really low. And the film really wasn’t bad. Over the top on occasion, both with story and melodrama, but otherwise a serviceable entry in the series.
Here’s where the movie tanks – its length. Just before the two hour mark, when a pivotal event signified the end of the film, I checked the time remaining. Fifty minutes. What? That’s right – this is the never-ending movie. Wow, could this have used some editing.
The special effects are really cool. If you are into Transformers, you will dig this. If you’ve got three hours to kill, worth a rental.

The BoxTrolls
A boy raised by underground collectors has to save his friends from an evil exterminator.
Based on a book by Alan Snow, this tale has all the qualities of a Roald Dahl story. It’s quirky and the adults are idiots while the kids are smart.
There are so many messages in this movie: accepting others, breaking out of your shell, the value of family, coveting, etc. None of them are slammed in your face, though.
The Claymation is amazing. Few studios use it anymore (like Aardman Animations) and the color and style here are amazing.
While the film isn’t a hundred percent, I guarantee it’s one of the most original animated tales you will ever see.
Recommended when you are ready to see something unique and odd!

Ninja News

Al Penwasser made a video for Bones: The Movie about his best friend. The man is a creative genius. Or completely nuts. Either way, it’s hilarious.

Indie Author Pride Day July 1st 2015 on Social Media! For details, visit Lyons Book Promotions.

Great opportunity for self-published authors – Self-E. Get your books into libraries. Visit Elizabeth S. Craig for details.

Reading Alley is now open! This site helps authors deliver their books to readers for reviews. They are having a grand opening special, so check it out.

Available now!

Masked Kiss by Christine Rains

Dice & Debauchery series

Find it at Ellora’s Cave Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads

July Movie Preview

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

3 –

Terminator Genisys
John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.
Director: Alan Taylor
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke
The trailer looked awesome – sadly, the early reviews have not been good. Think it’s time to terminate this series.

10 –

Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.
Directors: Kyle Balda | Pierre Coffin
Stars: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton
The best part of the Despicable Me series gets their own film – prepare for silly fun and another onslaught of Minion merchandise.

An extremely wealthy man, dying from cancer, undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man. But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body's origin and the organization that will kill to protect its cause.
Director: Tarsem Singh
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Matthew Goode, Ben Kingsley, Natalie Martinez
Been done before and considering the director’s track record, the stars will wish they’d been transferred into a healthy movie.

17 –

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Director: Peyton Reed
Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Michael Peña
Will this superhero be a hit or will someone step on him?

24 –

When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.
Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage
Adam Sandler. Enough said. Dinklage needs to keep his day job, at least until Martin kills him.

Have you seen either The BoxTrolls or Transformers 4? Taking advantage of Indie Pride Day, Self-E, or Reading Alley? Looking forward to any of the movies in July? And are you ready for Wednesday’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group?

Don’t forget to visit Elizabeth Mueller!

Monday, June 22, 2015

CassaSeries is Available! Plus Cherie Reich's Favorite Monsters, IWSG T-Shirt, Monster Trivia Answers, and Ninja News

CassaSeries releases today! But first…

I am visiting Beverly Stowe McClure at Story of a Writer with a short piece on the best and worst of writing.

And the super talented Cherie Reich joins us here today!

Cherie Reich’s 5 Favorite Horror Monsters/Villains

1. Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. A clown with very, very sharp teeth. Can we get any scarier?

2. Big Jim Rennie and Junior from Stephen King’s Under the Dome. I loathed them in the book, almost as much as Umbridge from Harry Potter. They were cruel, manipulative, and downright evil. I must admit I like them more in the TV series, although Big Jim is still quite manipulative and evil.

3. The aliens from M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. These aliens are no E.T. or Alf. We may be their cattle, but at least we have water on our side. Strangely, I could have sworn I saw one in real life when I was a child (years before I watched the movie).

4. Michael Myers from John Carpenter’s Halloween series. My mom said she’d seen the movie while pregnant with me. I wonder what that says about us. Heh. I’m a big fan of the Halloween series, and my former housemate and I would spend hours discussing our theories about Michael Myers. No matter how slow he walks, he’s very persistent. Just be sure to cut off the right head, okay?

5. Jason from Friday the 13th series. A mother’s love can bring her creepy son back to life. Just be sure to stay away from lakes and cabins. And I have to admit seeing Jason beating one girl in a sleeping bag with another girl in a sleeping bag was the most memorable moment in Jason X.

What’s your favorite monster/villain from a horror book/movie?

A monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it’s ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.

Purchase Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection by Cherie Reich at Amazon. From June 22-28, the collection is only $0.99!

Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction author and library assistant living in Virginia. Visit her website and blog for more information.

Ninja News

Nigel Mitchell posted about a Hemmingway app that can be used to improve your writing.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group t-shirt is available now! Designed by the very talented Jeremy Hawkins, members can now show their support and commitment to the group.

Purchase your IWSG shirt at the NeatOShop.

New Releases:

Summer Vacation Devotions by Tyrean Martinson includes fifteen devotions for families having fun on summer vacation and center around God's Word and activities like car trips, camping, building sandcastles and cooking s'mores. The author earnings will go to Peace Rehabilitation Center in Nepal to fight human trafficking.
Available as an eBook and paperback.

Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets
Featuring a story by Leandra Wallace
Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

A Faerie’s Secret by Rachel Morgan
Book Four in the Creepy Hollow Series
Find it at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Movie Trivia Answers

1 – Hellraiser 1997 - Cenobites
2 – Reign of Fire 2002 - Dragons
3 – Near Dark 1987 - Vampires
4 – Lake Placid 1999 – Giant Crocodile
5 – Battleship 2012 - Aliens
6 – Deep Blue Sea 1999 - Sharks

Available today!

By Alex J. Cavanaugh
ISBN 9781939844118
Price - $5.99 eBook boxed set
Science fiction/adventure (FIC028010) and science fiction/space opera (FIC028030)

The Amazon Best-Selling Series!

CassaStar - Few options remain for Byron. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth to his instructor, Bassa. As war brews on the edge of space, Bassa must make a decision that could decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission destined to stretch their abilities to the limit?

CassaFire - Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters behind him, the detection of alien ruins sends him to the planet of Tgren. Forced to train a Tgren named Athee and deal with an eager young scientist, he feels invaded. Tensions mount as the ruins reveal a potential weapon, plunging him further into the chaos. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStorm - Commanding the base on Tgren, Byron watches as a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the planet. When the war hits Tgren, it triggers nightmares in his son. The ancient alien ship begins transmitting a deadly code and the probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago returns. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Find it at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Goodreads

What is your favorite monster? (Mine would be Godzilla.) See some cool new books? Picking up the IWSG t-shirt? Get any of the trivia right? And if you’ve never read the trilogy, CassaSeries is a great bargain!

Don’t forget to visit Beverly Stowe McClure!