Monday, February 23, 2015

RiffTrax Interview with Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett! Plus What Are the Kargrandes, ColorIQ Challenge, Movie Trivia Answers, and Ninja News

Last week saw the release of RiffTrax Live: Sharknado. I was honored when Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett agreed to answer a few questions. These guys have been my idols since Mystery Science Theater 3000 and have been a source of laughter for over twenty years.

Without further ado, I present RiffTrax’s Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy!

1. I believe that BBC (Blood, Boobs, and Carnage) is the benchmark for cinematic greatness. What drew you to the greatness that is Sharknado?

BILL: Like you, the British Broadcasting Corporation.

KEVIN: The Three I’s: Inconceivability, Incoherence, and Ian.

2. RiffTrax is so freaking awesome and you riff such a variety of films, both good and bad. Are there any movies you feel are untouchable?

BILL: Of course. We would seem like monsters if we tried to make funny out of SCHINDLER’S LIST, HOTEL RWANDA, etc.

KEVIN: I’d say Schindler’s List is one we’ll never do.

3. Do you derive any perverse pleasure from watching your cast mates screw up their lines at a live show?

KEVIN: I derive even more pleasure in the artful ways that they recover and make the show even funnier for it.

BILL: I am too busy watching myself screw up lines.

4. What’s the strangest cosplay outfit you’ve seen at one of your live shows?

BILL: Someone actually pulled off a strange-but-wonderful version of the sharknado itself at our Sharknado live show. Big funnel cloud with sharks in it. A+!

KEVIN: I don’t think there’s a Torgo costume that doesn’t qualify as strange.

5. Besides Sharknado, are there any other ‘Nados’ you’d like to see the SyFy Channel ruin? Squidnado? Cownado? Scissorsnado?


BILL: NicCageNado.

Thanks, Bill and Kevin! Special thanks to Jeff at RiffTrax who made it happen.

What Are the Kargrandes?

New clue today at What Are the Kargrandes? This is clue number seven – new clues every Monday until the release of Dragon of the Stars on April 7.

Sample Tweets for this week:

What are the Kargrandes? Seventh clue up this week- #whatarethekargrandes #scifi @alexjcavanaugh

Solve the mystery by April 7–what are the Kargrandes? Animals? Weapons? #whatarethekargrandes @alexjcavanaugh

And big thanks to Bob at Beauty in Ruins for his review of Dragon this week - It's still as fun and exciting as his first forays into space opera, but the darker themes and deeper level of introspection absolutely elevate the novel to a new level.

Ninja News

I’m at the A to Z Blog today, talking about the advantages of a theme during the Challenge.

Ella is a very talented artist and writer. She just had two of her hearts published in The Stampers' Sampler.

Julie Dao landed an agent - Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency!

New Releases –

Apocalypse Weird - Immunity by EE Giorgi
When greed, mayhem, and a deadly virus collide on the high deserts of New Mexico, it's Outbreak meets World War Z in the deserts of the Apocalypse Weird. One of five books launching today from Wonderment Media.

Cassie and The Wild Cat: Host A Ghost by Pat Hatt
Find it on Amazon

Love, Lattes, and Mutants by Sandra Cox
Finding love is hard, even when you aren’t a mutant.
Find it on Amazon. Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

A Woman Ignored by TB Markinson
Find it on Amazon

Stephen Hayes has TWO stories in On SEX: 69 Hilarious Stories About Everything SEX.
You can read one of them HERE

Online ColorIQ Challenge

JE O’Neil posted about the Online ColorIQ Challenge. This was my score:

What did you get?

Movie Trivia Answers

Sorry, forgot to post them last week!
1 – Who played Erik in Erik the Viking? (1989) Tim Robbins
2 – What comedian voiced Reepicheep the mouse in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian? (2008) Eddie Izzard
3 – Who voiced Hiccup’s father, Stoick, in How to Train Your Dragon? (2010) Gerard Butler
4 – Who played Gimli In LOTR: Return of the King? (2003) John Rhys-Davies
5 – Who voiced Draco the dragon in Dragonheart? (1996) Sean Connery

Whoa!!!! Are you a fan of RiffTrax or MST3K? Did you pick up their version of Sharknado? (It’s 8.5 stars on the IMDB – the original version is only 3.3.) Planned your Challenge Theme yet? How’d you do with the Color Challenge? How about the trivia? And have you figured out the Kargrandes yet…?

Be sure to visit the A to Z Blog.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Become a Best Selling Author in Just One Week! Plus A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal Signups, What Are the Kargrandes, Movie Review, Ninja News, and RiffTrax Interview Coming Soon!

Best-selling author in just one week? Elizabeth Seckman shows you how…

I was a best-selling author bringing in over $13,000 a week in royalties. I could afford any house in town and could buy anything in the store I wanted. I was rolling in Simoleons!

Here’s how I did it:

I left my family and moved to a house by myself.
I quit my day job. To pay the bills, I left the bank repossess whatever they wanted to come in and suck up.
I quit taking daily showers, for the most part a good hand wash kept me out of the red zone. I quit sleeping. Naps on the couch worked fine.
I quit cooking. Grab a snack and get back to work.
I shunned all face to face encounters. When I was in desperate need of human contact, I made a quick phone call.
I didn’t waste time on classes or skill development. I just forced myself to sit and write for twelve to fourteen hours a day.
I wrote the same genre over and over. I got better royalty checks if I never tried to step out of my literary box.
I hired a maid.
I shut off the age progression feature in the menu setting.

It only took me one week to become a best-selling author on the virtual reality game, The Sims. Now, I know it’s not real life, but there are real life applications. As I look over the list, I wonder- what things would I sacrifice to be rolling in real Simoleons? Well, I could be talked into the maid. And if I could shut off age progression, well now, I’d have bigger news to share than a new book! Other than that, there’s nothing worth becoming a smelly, malnourished, sleep-deprived hermit for.

Elizabeth writes books and eats chocolate. Find her - Blog / Website / Facebook
Find her books on Amazon
What Are the Kargrandes?

New clue today at What Are the Kargrandes? This is the sixth one, and there are new clues every Monday until the release of Dragon of the Stars on April 7.

Sample Tweets for this week:

What are the Kargrandes? Sixth clue up this week- #whatarethekargrandes #scifi @alexjcavanaugh

Can you solve the mystery before April 7–what are the Kargrandes? #whatarethekargrandes @alexjcavanaugh

Movie Review

Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Based on the 1960’s series, it was updated for a new generation. However, it didn’t really capture the spirit of the original series. It was very odd, but not odd in a good way like the series.
The animation is all right. It does boast some great name actors for the voices – Patrick Warburton was the best, although he doesn’t come in until late in the film.
Overall, it seemed too long and the result is a movie that’s just ‘all right.’
Not recommended

Ninja News

DL Hammons has an agent - Sarah Negovetich of the Corvisiero Literary Agency!

New Releases –

Perfection by J.L. Campbell

The Great Time Lock Disaster by C. Lee McKinzie

Holy Ghost Writer has THREE new books out, including Where the Hell Did She Come From?

Wastelands 2 – includes a story by Milo James Fowler
Get it on Amazon

And coming soon – an interview with the biggest guests I’ve ever had on this blog: the RiffTrax guys!!! Yes, I scored an interview with them in conjunction with their release this week of RiffTrax Live: Sharknado.

The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest!

Sign-ups for the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge are already under way. If you have done it before, you know how much fun it is (good for you!) and if you have not, this is your chance to give it a try! You can sign up to participate here.

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: "Should I have a theme?" Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus: They let you participate in a whole separate blogfest! Two years ago A to Z participant Mina Lobo stared the Theme Reveal, and we thought it was such a great idea that we made it tradition. It is now our very own, grand and festive way of rolling out our themes together!

Here is how the Theme Reveal Blogfest works:
Sign up on the Linky list below, and on March 23rd (Monday) publish a post on your blog in which you reveal your theme, tell us why it is exciting, and give us a hint of what to expect from it! Then, once your post is up, use the Linky to visit all the other blogs announcing their themes. Enjoy!

This is a great opportunity for all of you to get a jump start on your A to Z experience. Sign up below, ready your theme, and post March 21st on your calendar!

Think you’d be willing to sacrifice a few things to become a best-selling author in one week? Getting closer to the Kargrandes answer? Seen the movie? Excited about the new books? Participating in the Challenge? And are you excited to reveal your theme…?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fantasy and Ghosts, Fantasy Movie Trivia, More or Less Science in Sci-Fi, Movie Reviews – Automata and Stonehearst Asylum, and Ninja News

Today I welcome authors David Powers King and Michael Jensen!

Fantasy and Ghosts: Combining Our Favorite Genres

Hello everyone, and thank you Alex for letting us “possess” your blog for a moment.

The top question we get asked is “Where did you come up with the idea for Woven?” It started as a dream Michael had years ago, getting crushed by a tree and becoming a ghost. When he shared this idea with me, I caught his vision right awake and asked if we could write a story together.

But we needed more than one idea. Thankfully we’re both super nerdy and had a wealth of inspiration behind us with such favorite movies/books like Stardust, Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, and then some, like one of my favorite ghost novels When Marnie Was There (btw, Studio Ghibli made a movie of it—geeking out—release it in the US already!).

We had to go even deeper than what we knew, so Michael and I researched everything we could find about fantasy stories that feature ghosts. We truly wanted to create something special that we had never experienced before, which manifested as an unlikely pair who set out on a journey to thwart death itself—besides playing a game of chess with him, of course (he cheats anyway).

If you’re writing, don’t just read/watch the latest, most popular story today and start writing in that genre. Read up on all you can find in that genre. Many gems and much inspiration awaits.

Mind your eggs, watch your threads, and get yourself Woven. It’s now available at any major bookseller. Thank you again for having us, Alex! You’re the best Ninja Captain ever.

Find David – Blog - Twitter - Goodreads
Find Michael – Facebook - Goodreads
Find Woven at Website - Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes

Movie reviews

Antonio Banderas is an insurance agent investigating robots altering themselves and discovers a whole lot more.
You’ll see bits of Blade Runner and I Robot in this film. It’s a dystopian future and the outlook isn’t good.
Banderas is good in his role, but Melanie Griffin an odd choice in her part.
It all meshed together to make an interesting yet not great science fiction story.
Not quite recommended.

Stonehearst Asylum
A medical school graduate starts working at a mental institution and finds a horrifying situation.
Director Brad Anderson leads a stellar cast through an obscure Poe story.
This should’ve been spectacular, but it ended up just being interesting. (Seems I’ve seen a lot of ‘interesting’ movies lately.)
Watch for the great cast, and of course, for Kate Beckinsale.
But for a really great Anderson film, watch Session 9 instead.
Not recommened

Ninja News

Today at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site we have none other than literary agent, Alexander Slater talking about foreign rights!

And thanks to everyone who visited my post on pros and cons of small publishers at the IWSG on Monday – and special thanks to all the authors who contributed.

Found this site courtesy of Medeia Sharif - Awful Library Books. It’s old, odd, and just plain bad books discovered at libraries.

New Releases:

Of Mist and Magic, the product of another collaborative music and words project put together by Samantha Redstreake Geary.
It features a lot of authors you know, so check it out on Amazon!

It's Not Just a Job by Al Penswasser
Find it on Amazon

And thanks for all of the Minion volunteers last week! Due to the fact I have a book coming out in the middle of the Challenge in addition to all the other insanity of the month, the co-hosts graciously excused me from tending a section of the list. In return, I promised to help them find Minions, so hopefully if you wanted to be a Minion, one of the co-hosts has already contacted you.

Heavy or Light Science in Your Science Fiction?

Susan Gourley had a guest post on Christine Rains’ site where she talked about balancing the elements in her romantic science fiction series.

Susan said:
Romance readers don’t want a long explanation of the physics needed for my hero and heroine to travel between solar systems and galaxies at warp speed.

You know what? I don’t think all science fiction fans want that either.

Now, there is high tech and hard science fiction that goes into the scientific details. And then there’s the other end of the spectrum, like space opera and adventure, that is very light on the science.

Since I write space opera, you can pretty much guess how much science I want in my science fiction. I don’t care how something works, I only want to know that it does. That doesn’t mean it’s not plausible or the author didn’t do his research. I just don’t want to read it.

How about you?

Movie Trivia

In honor of David and Michael’s Woven, we’re going for fantasy movie trivia. Name the actor or actress.

1 – Who played Erik in Erik the Viking? (1989)
2 – What comedian voiced Reepicheep the mouse in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian? (2008)
3 – Who voiced Hiccup’s father, Stoick, in How to Train Your Dragon? (2010)
4 – Who played Gimli In LOTR: Return of the King? (2003)
5 – Who voiced Draco the dragon in Dragonheart? (1996)

Answers Monday!

How many fantasy books have your read that feature ghosts? Seen Automata or Stonehearst Asylum? Want to learn about foreign rights? Know any of the trivia? And how much science you enjoy in your science fiction?