Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus March Movie Preview, Chef Movie Review, Mini-Alex, and Ninja News

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 Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence!

It’s about a month away from my book’s release date, so what am I NOT insecure about?

I’ve been working hard on the guest posts for my tour and I’ve completed all of them through May.

Set up a Thunderclap campaign. Hopefully it’s approved and I can announce it on Monday.

The website for my book - What Are the Kargrandes? is up and running with new clues every Monday.

My publisher has the eBook on pre-order at several sites:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon UK

They are running a special promotion on CassaStorm the week prior to Dragon’s release.

They are also sending out promotional materials, books, and ads to a half dozen science fiction conventions taking place this spring.

The book is on Goodreads
And it’s also on several Goodreads lists: Most Anticipated Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Novels of 2015, Can’t Wait SciFi-Fantasy of 2015, and Excellent Space Opera. (Yes, I’m still groveling for votes!)

I don’t have a release day blitz planned outside of the Thunderclap, but if anyone is willing to help spread the news, let me know.

Yeah, it’s a lot. My insecurity? Will it be enough…?

And I need IWSG co-hosts for April and May! For April, it would be best if you were not doing the Challenge. (As IWSG and Day One of the Challenge are one and the same.) Please leave a comment if you can help either month.

Movie Review

Directed by and starring Jon Favreau, the director behind Iron Man.
I’d heard a lot of good things about this film and finally watched it on NetFlix.
Favreau is renowned chef Carl Casper, working at a posh restaurant serving ‘popular’ dishes. His world is turned upside down when the biggest food blog critique pays a visit and rips the food.
This is an amazing feel-good movie! The characters and their relationships are the focal point. There are many touching moments, especially between Casper and his son. As a divorced dad, he’s not quite sure what constitutes quality time, but he learns along the way.
It’s also hilarious, especially when Casper’s world begins to spiral. He’s trying to do the right thing, but he makes a lot of mistakes. (His son sets up a Twitter account for him, and let’s just say that doesn’t go well at first.)
Rounding out the excellent cast is John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey Jr. in a priceless role.
It’s about food, family, friendships, and one fun road trip.
Highly recommended!

Ninja News

Mary at Play off the Page posted that KUMD, Duluth Public Radio, is currently welcoming women authors to read their work on the air. See her site for details.

The A to Z Challenge starts in less than a month! If you haven’t signed up, please join us for the biggest blogging event of the year.

And finally, Mini-Alex would like to report that he’s not too fond of snow and ice…
Although he still rocks in any climate!

March Movie Preview

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

6 –

In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser
Apparently, the future looks very bleak to Blomkamp…

13 –

A live-action retelling of the classic fairy tale about a servant step-daughter who wins the heart of a prince.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Lily James, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden
I’ll wait for the animated version of the live action version of the animated film…

20 –

Do You Believe?
A dozen different souls-all moving in different directions, all longing for something more. As their lives unexpectedly intersect, they each are about to discover there is power in the Cross of Christ ... This stirring new film from the creators of God's Not Dead arrives in theaters Spring of 2015. More than a movie, it's a question we all must answer in our lifetimes: DO YOU BELIEVE?
Director: Jonathan M. Gunn
Stars: Ted McGinley, Mira Sorvino, Andrea Logan White, Lee Majors
Do I believe? YUP!

27 –

When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
Director: Tim Johnson
Stars: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez
But I already knew Sheldon was an alien…

Anyone else stressing with similar insecurities? Seen the movie Chef? As frozen as Mini-Alex? Can you help co-host the IWSG? And what movies catch your interest this month…?

And the Thunderclap campaign just went live! If you can participate and help me, please sign up HERE.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Back to the Future! Plus Leonard Nimoy, Lame Blog Comments, Housebound Movie Review, What Are the Kargrandes, and Ninja News

Please welcome Jamie Ayers today! She was gracious enough to let me move her appearance to today so I could feature Bill and Kevin from RiffTrax last week, so please give her a warm welcome.

We all have a vision of what the future holds. In 1989, the future meant flying cars, self-lacing shoes, and the hoverboard. This is the year Back to the Future Part II was set, but like most things in life, what we often expect doesn’t happen.

Often times, it’s better! In the final installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts, my three amigos (Olga, Nate, and Conner) do a little time traveling. Instead of traveling to the future though, they’re going back to the past, so they can have a future. Confused? Well, then maybe someone should head to Amazon and download the first two books, 18 Things and 18 Truths. *stares expectantly*

All caught up now? Great J Anywho, my trilogy is all about hope. Hope that everything will be okay in the end, no matter how crazy things get in-between. After my seriously jacked up childhood, that ‘thought’ never bloomed in my mind. But over the course of my adult life, I’ve been able to look back on everything with a wondrous panorama of what was God’s plan all along. So be full of hope today and hold onto faith! Most people can’t see time for what is really is, but we are in fact infinite.

I still desperately want a flying skateboard though and discovered some DIY instructions on Ryan Craven’s blog. Alas, I’m a DIY moron, so instead of the brutal torture I’d undergo making this myself, who do I have to bribe to make one for me? I’ll do ANYTHING! I will even *gulp* give my babies away. And by babies, I mean the books in my trilogy, in ebook format (because I’m desperate but poor). Okay fine, you just have to comment on this post and I’ll leave it to to pick a winner.

*What do you think our future holds?

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld anxious to return to normal, but fate had other plans; now she’s caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, torn between past and present.

18 Thoughts on Goodreads| Amazon |YouTube

Jamie Ayres writes young adult love stories stories by night and teaches young adults as an English teacher by day. She lives in southwest Florida with her husband and two daughters. Visit her website at

What Are the Kargrandes?

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

Sample Tweets for this week - thanks to all who are spreading the word for me:

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

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

And there is an awesome review of Dragon of the Stars at Edi’s Book Lighthouse!
Since the book is on pre-order at Amazon, reviews can’t be posted until its release–however, Edi started a forum discussion with his review. (Never knew you could do that!) So if anyone wants to chime in or add a discussion/review there, feel free!

Ninja News

Thanks to everyone who visited last week for my INTERVIEW with Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy of RiffTrax and MST3K fame!

Don’t forget Wednesday is Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day!

New Release –
Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble by Lori L. MacLaughlin
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out has an amazing post today and coming up Wednesday. His Battle of the Bands post on Sunday pit two rock bands playing a piece by Beethoven. His post today is an interview with the lead guitarist of the Greece band, Orion's Reign. Wednesday, for IWSG day, he’s doing a video interview with the L.A. musician, Sebastian Sidi, and he offers up some great advice for writers about overcoming insecurity. So check it out!

Leonard Nimoy

Last Friday we lost a great science fiction icon, and the inner geek in me is still crying.
Nimoy was many things–actor, director, poet, singer, and more. He created one of the greatest characters of all time in Mr. Spock, up there with Sherlock Holmes. I grew up with Star Trek and consider it the greatest science fiction franchise ever created. Nimoy brought true depth and meaning to the character of Spock.
It’s a sad day for all and he will be sorely missed. Prayers for his family and friends.

Movie Review

The main character, Kylie, is sentenced to house arrest and must return to the home she grew up in. Strange sounds and happenings begin to occur.
From New Zealand, this film really surprised me. It didn’t rely on gore or shock tactics, and there are many funny moments. There are also many twists and turns, which is why I can’t reveal much else about the movie.
Overall, it was very satisfying, well-acted, and very well done. A really original film.
Available on NetFlix.

Lame Blog Comments

We all enjoy blog comments. Sometimes even the lame ones. Just what is a lame comment?

Is it the ‘Great post’ comment? Is that better than nothing? Do we leave comments like that when we just can’t find something to say about the post? Now, I can usually find something to comment about in a post. Just by reading, one or more things will jump out. (Besides, ‘Great post’ is R’s trademark comment. No one else should be able to use it, right Pat?)

Is it the ‘Hello’ comment? Someone just stopping by to say hello without reading? Or just to leave a comment so you’ll comment back? I recently visited a blogger who had obviously spent a great deal of time and researching the post, and the very first comment was basically a ‘Hello.’ I thought it was a shame–the blogger had put so much effort into writing and this person didn’t even read it.

Is it the comment that has nothing to do with the content of the post? Someone who is just asking an unrelated question or leaving a reply to something else or just making a random comment?
I’d recently told Arlee Bird that leaving a comment that has nothing to do with the post is rude, and he agreed and added ‘That is one of the biggest indicators that a blogger is either just immersed in self-interest or in la-la land.’

It takes time to write a blog post. (Mine take between two and three hours to put together.) With that kind of effort, a blogger deserves a decent comment. Doesn’t need to be long, just relates to the post. (That’s why I offer a variety of topics in my posts–something for everyone. Plus I ask questions at the end.)

What’s your opinion on lame comments and what constitutes a lame comment?

What do you think the future holds? (And do you still want a hoverboard?) Any idea about those Kargrandes? Seen Housebound? What are your thoughts on Nimoy? And what’s your opinion on lame comments…?

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.