Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal, Weird and Future News, What Are the Kargrandes, Battle of the Bands Results, and Ninja News

Double A to Z Challenge shot today!

I’m a guest at Curiosity Quills Press, explaining why the Challenge is a great opportunity for writers and authors. (It's live now!)

I’m also at the A to Z Blog with tips on how to make friends.

Interesting Weird and Future Stuff

Caught these first two items at Edi’s Book Lighthouse:

From Web Urbanist - The Capital: Egypt Plans Largest From-Scratch City in History.
Slated to be constructed in just 7 years and cost $300 billion (more than the GDP of Egypt), this ambitious design for a brand new capital city of 5 million people is unprecedented – if completed, it will be a record-setting endeavor. And it is not just a conceptual vision, or at least not entirely- the site has been selected and a 100-square-kilometer test section has already been approved by the Egyptian government.

Edi also posted this from Dark Roasted Blend - Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s. Check it out – not as far-fetched as you might think.

And in a similar vein, Dark Roasted Blend had an article about Videophones from Future Past. Some of these really are far-fetched!

What Are the Kargrandes?

New clue today at What Are the Kargrandes? This is clue number eleven. (Why eleven? Because it’s higher than ten!) New clues every Monday until the release of Dragon of the Stars on April 7.

Sample Tweets for this week:

What are the Kargrandes? Can you guess? What are their powers? #whatarethekargrandes @alexjcavanaugh

What are the Kargrandes? Solve the mystery by April 7! #whatarethekargrandes @alexjcavanaugh

The Thunderclap campaign is a go! Thanks to all who signed up. If you are on either Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr and want to help me spread the word on April 7, click HERE.

I also have an awesome (and easy) Scavenger Hunt planned for that day that involves Mini-Alex. Many thanks to the bloggers who have volunteered to participate. (I’m sure the promise of an exclusive Mini-Alex photo was the deciding factor!)

Ninja News

DL Hammons is looking for volunteers to read through the entries of the upcoming round of Write Club. See his site for details.

Mark Koopmans signed a book deal!
REVIVAL: The Donald Braswell Story will be published Nov. 3, 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Way to go, Mark!

The giveaway for The Great Time Lock Disaster by C. Lee McKenzie is coming to an end soon. Register to win at Goodreads.

New Releases –

Double book release!
There’s a Goat in my Boat by Pat Hatt


Vault of the Gods by Pat Hatt

Seducing Fortune by Brinda Berry
Book 3 of the Serendipity novels

Battle of the Bands Results

I pitted Dream Theater against Redemption with Elton John’s Love Lies Bleeding. Ironically, several voted for Elton John. For those who voted for the two featured songs, this is how it all came down:

Redemption - 5

Dream Theater - 21

And, no surprise, my vote went to Dream Theater. Both are good, but Dream Theater took it to a much higher level.

Challenge Theme Reveal

And now, the day we’ve all been waiting for–the Great Challenge Theme Reveal!

My theme–Cult Classics!

Cult classic movie.
Cult classic album.
Cult classic science fiction book. (Boy, that was tough!)
And of course, a featured blogger buddy. (Or two or three.)
Plus, a term from Dragon of the Stars.

All alphabetically!

In choosing blogger buddies, I tried to select those who hadn’t been featured in the past two years. I hated that I couldn’t feature everyone, but my goal was to keep this year’s Challenge posts short. Some will go by name, some by blog, and some by a crazy Ninja equation. So you’ll have to check every day to see who I’ve featured!

And I know a lot of you have your posts scheduled and ready to go for April. I have mine in Word, html formatted and ready, and all of the images sized properly – but I won’t schedule each post until the night before. (Everyone do a collective gasp.) I still intend to run the Ninja News, announcing any new books, movies, news, whatever. I’ll probably throw in a movie review now and then. Or a cult classic image. So I can only plan ahead so far. But I’ll manage.

Even though the Challenge opens on Wednesday, April 1 is still Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day. Plan accordingly and prepare for a wild ride that day.

Plus, my next book releases on April 7, right in the middle of the Challenge. There will be a Scavenger Hunt Blitz that day, with lots of Mini-Alex photos and a chance to win an autographed copy of Dragon of the Stars, bookmarks and swag, and $20.00 in iTunes gift cards. There’s also an extensive blog tour (which begins next Monday at Stephanie Faris’ site) and other cool stuff to win.

I’m also posting at the A to Z Blog and the Insecure Writer’s Support Group next month.

Yeah, it's a lot! I’ll survive. At least that’s the plan…

If you’re participating in the Challenge, what’s your theme?

Visit the A to Z Blog for the full list of theme reveal participants!

What do you think of Egypt building a new capital? Get a kick out of the concept cars and phones? Figured out the Kargrandes yet? Battle of the Bands’ result surprise you? Does my Challenge theme sound interesting? What’s yours…?

Be sure to visit Curiosity Quills Press and the A to Z Challenge Blog!

Monday, March 16, 2015

No Escaping Food Porn, What Are the Kargrandes, Battle of the Bands, Movie Trivia Answers, New Releases, and Ninja News

Please welcome fantasy author,L. Blankenship!

No Escape

When I was in the early stages of my fantasy series, Disciple, there was a joke going around about how GRRM’s Game of Thrones would turn into food porn whenever the characters sat down at a table.

So I foolishly said: I won’t do that! How silly! My story’s about war! and romance! and magic! No room for food porn!

For a while, it went fine. My characters ate humble fare: bread, potatoes, cabbage, the occasional hunk of roasted meat. Maybe even some infamous “stew.”

But then came the elk. There was a dinner at a countryside baron’s and there were kings and queens in attendance. Nobody would serve potatoes and cabbage to kings and queens unless there was a famine going on. Serving elk was perfectly reasonable. And then sure, they’d dress it up with a nice presentation -- that impressive rack of antlers -- and some tasty side dishes. Wouldn’t they?

That one dinner opened the floodgates. Next thing I knew, everything had fancy sauces and was being wrapped in pastry. There’s just something about fantasy stories that requires food porn. No writer can escape!

The six-part gritty fantasy romance series is now complete!
Disciple, Part VI on sale.
Disciple Omnibus, the collection of all six books, is also available now.

What Are the Kargrandes?

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

Sample Tweets for this week:

What are the Kargrandes? Tenth clue – can you guess? What are their powers? #whatarethekargrandes @alexjcavanaugh

What are the Kargrandes? Are they connected to the Dragon? Solve the mystery by April 7! #whatarethekargrandes

The Thunderclap continues! If you can help spread the word of Dragon’s release on April 7 through either Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr, please join the campaign. I just need a couple more people. Many thanks to those who have joined – it’s great to know I have some awesome and supportive friends.

My good friend Spacerguy has a blog dedicated to all things Star Trek. He also has a Wikipedia page, and I’m honored to say the Kargrandes are mentioned there!

Ninja News

Donna McDine is visiting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site on Wednesday, discussing book festivals and their importance.

The A to Z Challenge kicks off in a few weeks! It’s not too late to sign up and join the mad fun. Don’t forget the Great Theme Reveal is next Monday, March 23. Think I can outdo my theme from last year? Not sure, but I did try! We also Twitter chats every Thursday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm Eastern and 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm Eastern. Look for #azchat.

My buddy Jeremy Hawkins runs the website for Howlin’ Wolf Record’s Online Magazine. They feature movie soundtracks, video releases, interviews, and science fiction and horror conventions. Posting several times daily, you’re sure to find something fascinating there!

New Releases -

One Good Catch by Heather M. Gardner

Ignoring a recent trauma that is affecting her everyday life, ER Doctor Kate Maguire engages in some high risk activities, but putting herself in these dangerous situations isn’t enough to feed her edginess. She needs something more...

Heather's a full-time mom, works part-time from home, a chocolate enthusiast, coffee junkie, cat addict, book hoarder and fluent in sarcasm.

Of Blood and Sorrow by Christine Rains

Zodiac Killer: Newly Discovered Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Holy Ghost Writer

Loyalty by Carrie Butler
Mark of Nexus Book III

Battle of the Bands!

Hosted by Stephen T. McCarthy and Faraway Eyes.

Back in the 70’s, Elton John did a song called Love Lies Bleeding.

Several rock bands have covered it since then, including these two prog bands. You know the drill – select your favorite. And with both, the singing doesn’t start until several minutes into the song.

First, Redemption:

Now, Dream Theater:

Movie Trivia Answers

1 – Ratt – Body Talk, 1986 The Golden Child
2 – Queensryche – Real World, 1993 Last Action Hero
3 – U2 – Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, 1995 Batman Forever
4 – AC/DC – Who Made Who, 1986 Maximum Overdrive
5 – Journey – Open Arms, 1981 Heavy Metal
6 – Guns ‘n’ Roses – You Could Be Mine, 1991 Terminator II: Judgment Day
7 – Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son, 1977 Heroes
8 – Extreme – Play With Me, 1989 Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Do you write about food porn? Figured out the Kargrandes yet? (Spacerguy thinks he has!) Ready for the Great Theme Reveal? Picking up some new books? Get all of the trivia right? And which band I is your pick…?
And sorry, having site issues I'm trying to solve, so some links have been removed while I try to find the problem.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hawkeye Joins Civil War Cast, Arrow and JLA, What Are the Kargrandes, Movie Soundtrack Trivia, Mini-Alex, and Ninja News

I am over at the A to Z Challenge Blog today with a ‘Getting to Know Your Co-Hosts’ segment. Still time to sign up for the Challenge! We’re also hosting Twitter chats every Thursday.

Movie News

Hawkeye will be in Captain America: Civil War

From two sources -

JoBlo announced that Renner is scheduled to shoot Civil War next spring:If true, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is going to be one jam-packed film. The confirmed cast already includes Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, and Chadwick Boseman in his first appearance as Black Panther.

And from Cinema Blend: While the bulk of Steve Rogers' team has already been confirmed for the third Cap installment, it wasn't until nowthat we got confirmation that Hawkeye will also show face.

According to io9, DC is creating a Justice League in the Arrow universe: With the announcement that the CW is expanding its superhero show roster with an Atom/Firestorm/Black Canary team-up show, it looks like we might finally be getting something Smallville tried (and ultimately failed) to do: Create the Justice League on television.


And finally, now that we are into March, we can list the top films of 2014:
Transformers: Age of Extinction - $1,091.4 million (no idea why!)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - $954.5 million (still making money)
Guardians of the Galaxy - $774.2 million

What Are the Kargrandes?

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

Sample Tweets for this week:

What are the Kargrandes? Ninth clue – can you guess? #whatarethekargrandes #scifi @alexjcavanaugh

What are the Kargrandes? Are they connected to the Dragon? Solve the mystery by April 7! #whatarethekargrandes @alexjcavanaugh

The Thunderclap campaign went live late Wednesday morning! If you missed it, please sign up to announce the release of Dragon through Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. I am at the halfway point and need more commitments for the Thunderclap to happen. If you can share my campaign, I’d greatly appreciate it. Would really suck to miss it by just a couple sign ups.

JC’s Book Haven also had a really nice review up last Friday.

Ninja News

Editor Dianne Gunn is this Wednesday’s guest at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Milo James Fowler posted about a new site for both authors and readers - Quarter Reads. The short stories are basically .25 cents each and the author sees .22 cents of that. Milo has a huge list of stories available HERE. Sounds like a great opportunity for short story writers!

Donna McDine announced a very special library drive:
Numerous studies from both government and the private sector provide clear evidence that early reading skills are an investment in a child's future. Early reading skill development dramatically affects the quality of life for children as they grow into adulthood. Sadly, a recent article by Carole Dickerson on the Journal Standard website quoted a local social worker who stated that many of the parents in the homes she visits do not own a single children's book.
This is quite shocking to me and in response, I am announcing a children's book drive within my county to support the Rockland County Department of Social Services. I encourage other authors of children's books to do the same or if you have gentle used children's books to please donate to the book drive.

A to Z Challenge Minions urgently needed!
The following co-hosts still need a few more Minions:
Jeremy Hawkins (He only has one!!)
Joy Campbell
Heather Gardner
Zalka Csenge Virág
Susan Gourley
Matthew Rush

Jack Lewis Baillot is hosting a WWII themed contest and giveaway! See her site for details.

Out now –
Song Remains the Same from Tony Laplume
The second volume from his Mouldwarp Press Presents anthology series.
Find it in paperback and eBook on Amazon


Mini-Alex soaks up some afternoon sun with his best Dragon friend.

Trivia – Movie Soundtracks

I’ve listed the song, artist, and year – name the movie!

1 – Ratt – Body Talk, 1986
2 – Queensryche – Real World, 1993
3 – U2 – Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, 1995
4 – AC/DC – Who Made Who, 1986
5 – Journey – Open Arms, 1981
6 – Guns ‘n’ Roses – You Could Be Mine, 1991
7 – Kansas – Carry On Wayward Son, 1977
8 – Extreme – Play With Me, 1989

Answers on Monday!

Have you figured out the Kargrandes yet? Can you help with the book drive or as a Challenge Minion? Know any of the trivia answers? Excited Hawkeye will be in the next Captain America? And can you help with the Thunderclap campaign…? (I’m willing to grovel.)

Be sure to visit the A to Z Challenge Blog.