Monday, December 15, 2014

12 Movies of Christmas

It's Christmas time, the most wonderful time of the whole year! And with the metaphorical Jack Frost biting at my nose (metaphorical because it's only about 68 degrees where I live - much too warm for snow), I am feeling the Yuletide spirit. So in preparation of my favorite holiday, I've got my TV queued up to some of the very best films this season has to offer. And what are they you might ask? Without further ado, I give you . . . 

The 12 Movies of Christmas:

1. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
2. Die Hard
3. Elf
4. Home Alone
5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
6. Love Actually
7. Rise of the Guardians
8. All I Want for Christmas
9. Fred Claus
10. The Santa Clause
11. A Charlie Brown Christmas
12. Muppets Christmas Carol

What about you guys? Any Christmas movies you like to watch every year? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


This year for Thanksgiving my family all headed up to New York City for a fabulous vacation together. We went to Rockefeller to see the tree, Times Square (on Black Friday, so it was a bit crazy), and the 9/11 Memorial (where I almost lost my cool watching a group of girls taking duck-faced selfies in front of the memorial fountain).

In keeping with tradition every time I go to NYC, I couldn't leave without checking out at least one Broadway play. There were a lot of options to choose from, but after great discussion, we all agreed upon Cabaret -- in large part because we found out that Emma Stone and Alan Cumming were headlining. And believe me when I say, it did not disappoint. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the storyline, it's based on the novel Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood and set in Germany during the Nazi rise to power. This surprised a number of our party who recognized many of the more well-known songs but weren't initially aware of their context in the story's overarching plot.

However, despite Miss. Stone's brilliant performance as Sally Bowles, I think what impressed us most was the role of the Emcee. Equal parts narrator to the audience and character within the play itself, he has the unique metatheatrical ability to critique the story and call the audiences' attention to some of the darker themes hidden beneath the bright lights of the cabaret. In many ways the Emcee is reminiscent of the Shakespearean Fool, characters most known for their veiled examination of misdeeds within Shakespeare's works. 

It was a fantastic play that reached far beyond it's popular soundtrack, with characters whose depth reach far beyond the surface. I'd recommend it to anyone who has the good fortune and opportunity to see it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge shout out to or fearless leader Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing online collaboration and this month's hosts for all their hard work! If you're an insecure writer or looking to support others who are, check us out here!

I fear that my insecurities this month are much the same as they've been the past several as I struggle to get back on the writing horse and actually make some headway on a new piece. It's hard to stay motivated when I have a completed novel out there wasting away without a publisher, and an agent I'm worried might have lost my number. But I battle on, trying to nudge that cynical voice whispering dark thoughts in my ear to the back of my mind. 

On a happier note, the IWSG's Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for download! For those of you who are new to the group, it's a collaborative work with contributors across the blogosphere and it's bursting with great tips on writing and the publishing industry. 

Here's a quick synopsis from the IWSG website: 

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

If you're interested in getting a copy, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashword, and Goodreads.
ISBN 9781939844088

Good luck fellow IWSGer's. No matter your insecurities this month, keep up the hard work. And of course, happy blogging!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is the day we collectively as a nation sit around watching football, eat too much food, and most importantly, remember the things we are thankful for. I myself am thankful for so many things. My friends. My family. The husband I still can't quite believe I get to call my own and the six books I've been saving for holiday reading. 

I'm also thankful for a nice home and a warm place to sleep during these cold, November nights . . . a blessing so many in this country live without. I would like to urge everyone in the spirit of this holiday of gratitude to think about giving back. Organizations across the country are collecting food, clothing, and warm blankets for those in need. If you're feeling blessed this year, take some time to give a little back. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Note: If you're looking for ways to make a difference this Thanksgiving, check out this site. You can type in your zip code and find organizations in your area that are looking for volunteers and donations. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blogging from A to Z Challenge - 2015 Team

Today is a big day over at the Blogging from A to Z site -- they're announcing the team behind the upcoming 2015 challenge. And though I've been posting there for the past two months, this is the first time I'm making the official announcement on my own blog that I will be making my team debut this coming April. I am so thrilled to be apart of this challenge, and I can't wait to get started!
So head on over to the Blogging from A to Z site and meet the rest of my amazing cohort! And don't forget that it's never too early to start thinking about themes and what you might want to write about for next year's challenge. Happy blogging!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. I am honored to be one of this month's co-hosts, along with Donna Hole, LG Keltner, Lisa Buie-Collard, and of course, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to give some support to those of us who are, check us out here!

Two days ago a friend of mine posted something on my Facebook about writing -- it was an excerpt from Amy Poehler's newest work 'Yes Please', and it was dead on. On the subject of writing, she says: 

Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea. They talk about their “morning ritual” and how they “Dress for writing” and the cabin in Big Sur where they go to “be alone” — blah blah blah. No one tells the truth about writing a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of s***. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.
- Amy Poehler, Yes Please

I hate the term 'lol', but I literally (and I mean literally in the literal sense, not figuratively as people often do) laughed out loud when I read this. Because she's absolutely right. When I write, it's not lovely. It's not some BBC version of the melancholy artist, shut up in a beautifully sparse attic diligently hand writing great works of literary fiction. 

It's ugly. It's typing out two pages of text, only to delete all but three paragraphs. It's reminding myself over and over again "show, don't tell" or "active voice, active voice, active voice". It's cursing at the monitor or taking a two hour "break" to binge watch cat memes because I have no idea where my story is going next. And when it's done, it's endless hours of edits and revisions. Of changing things that seemed to make sense at three in the morning when you originally wrote it. 

And though I can't imagine doing anything else, it's rarely fun. It's work. It's hard. And it's what we do. So let's go out there and do it. Happy blogging people, but more importantly, keep up the good work and keep writing. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's-A Mario Party

I'm sorry to see the end of October, and with it, the passing of Halloween. The sun may be setting on my 20's, but I'm still child-at-heart enough to love dressing up for the holiday. Every year my friends and I go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science's Spirits and Skeletons party, and this year was no different. 

With our critical success last year with as the cast of Firefly (check our costumes out here), we knew we had to come up with something spectacular if we wanted to continue our upward momentum and outdo ourselves for 2014. And thus an idea was born. 

It started out with this . . .

A few refining details . . .

The we added a little paint . . .

And voila, we were ready to go Mario Kart-ing . . .

From Left to Right:
Princess Peach, Mario, Toadette, Yoshi, Waluigi and Luigi

My husband and I as Luigi and Princess Peach.
Don't we look awesome? It was a lot of work making those karts, but we are nothing if not committed. And by god if we didn't have the best costumes at the party (which, by the way, I hear reached over 8,000 guests). We were stopped over and over again to have our pictures taken by our many admirers, and even had fellow party-goers helping us pop each other's balloons (I survived the night with one balloon still remaining). 

It was a blast! Anyone else have any great costumes this year? Or go to an amazing Halloween bash perhaps? 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A New Monster Universe

Last weekend my friends and I went to see the new Dracula movie, Dracula Untold. It was a decent movie, about what you'd expect for this type of genre (which, considering my love of cheesy vampire flicks, I enjoyed immensely). 

But when doing a little research on the ending (and the potential it left open for a sequel), I stumbled across some news that made me very excited. Apparently Universal has begun a relaunch of the Universal Monsters franchise that made a splash from the 1920's to the 60's with big names such as Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney. Some of the truly classic monster films come from this series, films like Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolf Man . . . the list goes on and on. 

And now these films that shaped the horror/monster film industry are back! And sure, we can question for the thousandth time if Hollywood really has run out of new creative ideas (the answer is an obvious yes). But as long as they're going to steal from past genius, I'm more than thrilled to hear that monster universe is getting another moment in the sun. 

But better yet, Universal has borrowed from their Marvel counterparts and decided to launch a Cinematic Universe for their creepy classics (it's really all about franchising these days). With Spider-Man's Alex Kurtzman and Fast and Furious's Chris Morgan at the helm, this shared universe will feature big names in the monster world -- Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon -- in a cohesive cinematic world. 

Granted, Dracula Untold was written and filmed before Universal's plans came together, but last minute reshoots of the final scene made for a quick fix, stitching the famous vampire into the fabric of their new monster universe. And I for one can't wait to see what they have in store for us . . . 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Survive and Thrive Bloghop

Today I am participating in a very special blog fest hosted by Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolfe, Michael Di Gesu and Alex J. Cavanaugh. Thank you guys so much for hosting this amazing event. 

The Survive and Thrive Bloghop is aimed at bringing awareness to disease prevention and early detection for medical conditions that could be avoided with the proper care. This is something I've always felt very strongly about, as a little awareness, a few check ups and screenings can save countless lives. So join us today and help spread the word!

I have a few things I'd like to bring up today, both related to one of the leading causes of death in the United States -- cancer. My maternal grandmother died of melanoma when she was only in her early 30's and my paternal grandfather died of pancreatic cancer when I was a little girl. How many countless others of you have also lost friends and family members to this deadly disease? I implore everyone out there to do a little research into their family history, as genetics do play a role. Knowing what diseases your relatives have battled can give you a better idea what you might face, and what you should screen for. My grandmother (and several other more distant relatives) have died from skin cancer, therefor I need to take special notice of any discolored skin or moles. 

But don't stop with your family history. Until my mother found out that she had breast cancer, there wasn't one other relative in my family tree that showed any signs of it. And yet, when she went in for her yearly check up, her doctor noticed a lump and did a biopsy that showed Stage 1 breast cancer. Getting checked out once a year saved my mother's life, and it could save yours too.

There are also tests now that can check for genetic risk factors in regards to cancer. For example, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests can help women determine the likelihood of breast or ovarian cancer. This might be a good test for anyone out there who doesn't know enough about their family history to determine whether they might be at risk. 

So please, take the time to do your homework and get tested, even if it's just once a year. You never know what might be the difference between Stage 1 (treatable) and Stage 4!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Zombie Cookie Extravaganza

I was feeling a little sad last night -- it was the would-be 29th birthday of a friend of mine that died two years ago -- so I asked my husband if he'd like to make Halloween cookies with me. I looked forward to using my new zombie cookie cutters for the first time. So we got all the supplies together, busted out the cookie batter, dyed some icing a delicious shade of green and got down to business. Here's a taste of the finished product:

Hmm, I probably need to work on my pastry decorating skills. Anyway, after a while we got a bit more creative: 

The heart was mine -- a gift for my husband. The spider was his creation, a tribute to his rampant arachnophobia. And then, to my great displeasure, I had to abandon my culinary creations and head out for a late night soccer game. I left him in charge of our "son" Freddy, a zombie toy I gave him when we first started dating. When my soccer game was over and I checked my phone, here's what I found waiting for me. 

"Freddy getting started."


"The Skeleton."

"Freddy is good."

"Father and son watching Avengers post-cookies."
Needless to say, it cheered me greatly. My husband is the cutest! I hope you come up with some fun, Halloween related festivities to celebrate this spooktacular holiday! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Best of TV's Halloween Episodes

We're already more than a week into October and I haven't written a single post on Halloween yet! I'm behind on my holiday festivities (or rather, I'm behind on my blog - my apartment has been decorated since September).

Every year I have a series of Halloween activities I like to complete before the big, spooky day - carve pumpkins, watch Hocus Pocus, eat waaay too much candy. And of course, make my way through the best Halloween related episodes of my favorite TV shows. This year I thought I'd be a bit more organized and make a list of what I consider the 'best of the best'. Here goes . . .

The Best of TV's Halloween Episodes:

1. Bones - "The Mummy in the Maze"
I love this episode of Bones. Watching Booth and the squint team dressing up for their annual Halloween party as they team up to find a missing girl and take on a killer clown (a real challenge in light of Booth's Coulrophobia). It's one of the best.

2. The Office - "Halloween"
I simply love the antagonistic relationship between Jim and Dwight, and nothing shows it off better than a Halloween episode. With Dwight's elaborate 'Sith Lord' costume and Jim's more creative 'Three Hole Punch Jim', hilarity ensues.

3. The Big Bang Theory - "The Middle Earth Paradigm"
What could be funnier than a handful of scientists in their nerdiest costumes amid a sea of inebriated slutty nurses and chest baring ex-boyfriends? Not much, I'd say.

4. Community - "Epidemiology"
I'll admit I was late to the Community game, and frankly didn't have that much interest in the show. That is, until my friend insisted that I watch the Halloween episode in which the study group and their classmates get transformed into zombies. How could I possibly resist Troy and Abed dressed up as Ripley and the Alien? After that, I was hooked.

5. Castle - "Vampire Weekend"
The season 2 Halloween episode was just the right blend of spooky, funny, and touching. But Nathan Fillion's Castle dressed up as a "space cowboy", aka. Mal Reynolds, aka. Captain Tightpants makes my heart grow three sizes in my chest, just like the Grinch. I simply could not love this episode more. Side note: He absolutely gets my vote as they winner of The Best of TV's Halloween Episodes costume contest.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "Halloween"
There are so many things I just love about this episode. The deliciously evil Spike. Catty Cordelia. The first glimpses of the Willow/Oz relationship. And most especially, Buffy the Butt-Kicking Vampire Slayer transformed into a weak, dimwitted aristocrat. Its one of the greatest Buffy episodes and Joss Whedon at his finest. 

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "Fear Itself"
The show is so great I had to give it a second episode. This Buffy episode takes haunted houses to a whole new creepy level, with a dash of Anya in a "terrifying" bunny costume to lighten things up. A must-not-miss for the Halloween season. 

I've definitely got a lot of TV viewing to do to get ready for Halloween! Not to mention finishing up my costume for the annual Houston Museum of Natural Science - Spirits & Skeletons Party. I just can't wait for All Hallows Eve! Only 22 days to go . . . 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Fair Selfie

The other day my friends and I gathered together for a afternoon of fun, frivolity, and musicals. As two members of our ranks had never seen My Fair Lady before, we decided to start with the Audrey Hepburn classic that answers the question 'where does the rain in Spain mainly stay'? 

I'll admit that while I know nearly every word to the film's soundtrack, it had been years since I'd actually sat down and watched the movie from start to finish. And I have to say, watching it through the eyes of adulthood made me see the movie I'd always thought a bit of lighthearted fun in an entirely new light. 

The ever so cheerful "Get Me to the Church on Time" is in fact not a song about a man anxious for his wedding day, but rather a man enjoying his last night of freedom before being dragged into matrimony [complete with him being carted off to the church in a simulation of a funeral procession]. And the "love story" between Eliza and Henry was a far cry from the romantic dream I remembered and something more akin to a feminist nightmare -- for what else would call a story where the fiercely strong female protagonist who admonished her admirers to not speak of love but show her ends up with a man who, upon her return, lounges back in his chair, places a newspaper over his face and asks where his slippers are. 

As beloved as the songs from My Fair Lady have always been, I really struggled to enjoy the movie. It infuriated me that Eliza would end up with a man who showed her so little regard upon growing into a strong, self-possessed woman with all the necessary tools to start a more satisfactory life. I much prefer the ending of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, the play from which My Fair Lady draws its inspiration. For those of you unfamiliar with the original story, Shaw's version rejects the idea of a romanticized finale and shows Eliza leaving Henry in the end. Despite overwhelming criticism, Shaw avidly fought audience's desire for a "happy ending", staying true to his vision in which Eliza emancipates herself and starts a new life on her own terms. An ending which I respect and admire as much for Shaw's defense of it as for Eliza's triumph. 

And as long as I'm discussing adaptations, there's one other I'd like to mention. Despite its loathsome title, I actually liked the reinvention of My Fair Lady in the new ABC sitcom, Selfie. Sure, its use of texting vernacular grates on my nerves and it tries to fit three hours of content into one half hour show. But despite its flaws, I think the series' portrayal of Henry and Eliza gets something right. Eliza remains a course, class-less girl in desperate need of elocution lessons [with modern substitutions of "lol" and "hashtag" for a Cockney accent]. But rather than depicting Henry as a cold, unlikable gentleman with little regard for people's feelings, he acts instead as a means for social commentary. Henry critiques the common practice of using sexual innuendo when communicating with our opposite-sex friends/acquaintances and the excessive presence of cell phones in our daily interractions, while generally encouraging us to devote our attention to the people around us rather than turning to electronic sources for human contact. 

Together, Selfie's Henry and Eliza act as a reminder that social media is a far cry from real relationships. And while the show may soon disappear in the sea of mediocre sitcoms, I think its core ideas do greater credit to Shaw's Pygmalion than its predecessor, My Fair Lady

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group, One Year Webiversary and Upcoming eBook

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A big shout out to our fearless leader, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing online collaboration. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to give some support to others, check us out!

Today is a very special day for the IWSG -- it's the one year anniversary of the launch of our amazing website (just click here for the link). If you haven't visited before, it's a wonderful tool for writers with all manner of tips for finding agents, publication, etc. And of course, a way for us to connect with one another and offer up advice or reach out for a little support.

In honor of our one year webiversary, IWSG is putting together an ebook benefitting writers, inviting all it's members and followers to contribute. So if you have any advice to offer on writing, publishing or marketing, get blogging! (See more details on how to participate here.)

On that note, here's my own contribution . . .

How to Find a Literary Agent

Writing is hard work, but getting published is infinitely harder. They say the first step to getting published is finding a literary agent, but how is a first time author supposed to get their attention? Smoke signals? Fireworks? Kidnapping and extortion? 

While I've certainly given all three some serious thought, there are a few more "official" options to consider:

The first is the loathsome and dreaded query letter. Write them well, send them in droves, and pray to whatever deity you believe in that they get the job done. If you choose this option, may the good fortune of J. K. Rowling be with you. And if you need any advice, check out former literary agent and bestselling author Nathan Bransford's How to Write a Query Letter

The second option is writing conferences.

Writing conferences are critical tools for first time authors looking to network and build contacts in the writing world. From keynote speeches on how to get published to workshops on writing query letters or understanding the changing nature of the publishing industry, these conferences are a wealth of untapped knowledge. Furthermore, they supply unpublished authors with a golden opportunity -- a chance to pitch their work to agents in one-on-one sessions. 

I've found personal success through these pitch sessions, as it allowed me to discuss my work in greater and more personal depth than any query letter I might send. In fact, it was through a writing conference pitch session that I landed my own literary agent to represent my work. So write a query, sign yourself up for writing conferences, and most importantly, keep at it!

S. L. Hennessy, Middle Grade author and blogger at Pensuasion 
Category: Publishing 
I hereby give my permission to use this piece in the IWSG ebook. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banned Book Week 2014

Banned Book Week is an annual event centered celebrating the freedom to read without restriction. We sometimes think of censorship as a thing of the past, but every year the American Library Association reports hundreds of books being challenged in libraries and schools across the nation. In 2013, there were challenges to everything from Fifty Shades of Grey to Captain Underpants (Seriously? Captain Underpants?). 

Every year when Banned Book Week rolls around I can't help but picture the events Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (which is, poetically, one of the many banned books). I picture peoples' houses being raided, novels ripped from secret shelves, the smoke from the book bonfires ripping through the night sky. Dramatic though that image may be, it's what my mind conjures up every time I hear of another attempt at book censorship. 

Here's just a few of some of our most beloved stories that have been previously challenged: 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury 
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins 
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling 
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne 
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 

Imagine what life would be like without some of these amazing classics. So read a banned book, check out the Banned Book Week calendar of events here, blog, tweet #FreetoRead14 or find some small way to help fight censorship this week (September 21-27)!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that you simply loved, but no one else has ever heard of? Well, today Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting a the Underrated Treasures Bloghop to help get the word out! So if you haven't already, sign up and tell us about your favorite book, movie, TV show or band that no one has ever heard of.

Gosford Park
With all the fans of Downton Abbey out there, I would assume that Gosford Park would have reached greater notoriety. After all, it shares a similar premise, time period, and even the phenomenal Maggie Smith. But for all my love of this spectacular movie, few of my friends and acquaintances have ever heard of it, let alone seen it. If you like whodunnit films starring British all-star casts, this is a must not miss.

The Man in the High Castle
My second book entrant (I couldn't limit myself to just one) is by a similarly well known author, Philip K. Dick. Most often associated with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (aka. Blade Runner), Minority Report and Total Recall, people rarely read the lesser known The Man in the High Castle. However, it's definitely a work worth reading. In fact, it was recently optioned by Amazon Studios and a TV series is currently in the works. If your a sci fi or alternative history fan, check this read out. 

This may not count as a TV show, but I've been a big fan of the Sci-Fi Channel mini series Taken since it first aired in 2002. It takes place over the span of five decades with interwoven plots all surrounding alien encounters. It's phenomenally well written and features a terrific cast, including a very young Dakota Fanning and Anton Yelchin. 

Well, those are just a few of my underrated treasures. What about you? Any books, movies, or TV shows I've never heard of that you'd recommend? 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Premiere Week is Almost Here . . .

I love this time of year. The air starts to get a little crisper, pumpkins start appearing in grocery stores, and the new and returning TV shows finally get their premiere dates. Of the wide array of new series premiering every fall, I generally only stick with a few (I'm fairly picky about what I tune in to watch every week). But I like to think of the last few weeks in September as my opportunity to "window shop" for new shows. I set my DVR to record all the new potentials, pop some popcorn and take them out for a test drive. Only a few will make it past the first cut, but it's fun nevertheless. 

With the in mind, I took some time this week to look over the upcoming series and see which ones look like something that might interest me. Let's check out a few of the candidates: 

Z Nation (SyFy Channel)
It looks a little like the poor man's version of The Walking Dead, but certainly has some appeal. Unlike the uber-popular AMC series, Z Nation looks like a slightly more hopeful series, with a potential "cure" for the devastating zombie virus. My hopes aren't high on this one, but it's worth a look. 

Gotham (Fox) 
I've been anticipating this show for months now. A look at the streets of Gotham City before The Dark Knight became it's dark, avenging angel, this new series sheds new light on some of Batman's most notorious villains. And of course the young Commissioner Gordon, one of my favorite characters from the comic book series. I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for this one. 

Scorpion (CBS)
I'm a sucker for a good computer hacker story (oh Alec Hardison of TNT's Leverage, how I miss thee), and this one looks like a lot of fun. Teaming up a bunch of genius computer techs in order to solve global crises . . . count me in. 
Forever (ABC)
I'm a little more hesitant about this series. It has the potential for a cool story - immortality, always an interesting plot device - but could possibly border on maudlin. Still, I approve of the casting choices so I'll at least give it an episode to see if it impresses me. 

How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Though I absolutely love the title of this new series, I'm always a little weary of Shonda Rhimes's work. It's a little on the dramatic side for my taste. But I'm a big fan of Viola Davis, and again . . . that title. And I'm a sucker for a good murder mystery, so I'll probably tune in just to see what it's all about. 

Stalker (CBS)
This show looks super creepy. It's sort of like watching every woman's (and I'd guess most men as well) nightmare, wrapped up in into one series. Though I'm sure it'll terrify me to the core, I love a good crime drama. I guess I gotta check this one out. 

Gracepoint (Fox) 
I love mini series. They have the episodic appeal of a TV show, but a the finite nature of a film. If I could make every new show a mini series, I absolutely would. This one in particular has some great things going for it: 1) A terrific murder mystery plot. 2) A picturesque setting that hints of something seething beneath its quiet surface. And 3) David Tennant. I am so there. 

Constantine (NBC)
I liked the movie Constantine, and loved the comic book series Hellblazer. So good or bad, I have to give this new TV series a look. I haven't seen any previews for it, so I have no idea if it shows any promise. But oh well, it'll have a least one more viewer for opening night.  

Well, I think that's all of them. I suspect that I'll only watch a few of them more than once, but hey, you never know. And with the return of some of my more established favorites - Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow - it should be a good September. 

Any other cool shows I haven't mentioned that look good? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Special e-Book News

First I'd like to take a second to say a special thank you to everyone who helped make Sunflowers for Tina Downey #LifeisGood a success. I'm sure it would have meant the world to Tina to see so many beautiful sunflowers lighting up the blogging world in her honor.

In further news, Samantha Redstreake Geary made the announcement that a special ebook will be launched this Friday, September 12th. It features the collaborative works of 26 amazing authors, including Tina Downey and Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and is set to premiere on Amazon. The stunning book cover was created by incredible graphic artist and composer, Ryo Ishido

All the proceeds from this collaborative effort will go to the Downey Education Fund set up for Tina's two sons (see the badge on my sidebar to contribute further). So please check out audiomachine's TREE OF LIFE: Branching Out this Friday!

In addition to TREE OF LIFE, the Insecure Writer's Support Group Team is putting together an eBook benefiting all writers, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. And what's better, they are inviting all IWSG members and followers to contribute!! If you're interested in this exciting opportunity, here are the details: 

The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing. 

Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Focus on one of those three aspects and give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.) 

You can either post it for your October 1 IWSG post or email it directly. or (Since the length can go over the standard IWSG post length.) Include a one sentence byline and a link to your site. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.) 

All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014. We will compile them into an eBook and aim for an early December release. The book will be free and available for all eReaders. 

So check out the Insecure Writer's Support Group is you're interested in participating in the eBook, or if you're just looking for a group of amazing writers and bloggers to offer you a little support. 
       - Insecure Writer's Support Group link 
       - Insecure Writer's Support Group Facebook page 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunflowers for Tina #LifeIsGood

Many of you knew Tina Downey, a devoted mother, wife, friend and blogger. She was a huge part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and had her own blog, Life is Good. She was a kind, zany, wonderful woman who touched the lives of many while she was here on earth, and the world is a little darker without her shining presence.

In honor of her recent passing, we'd like to light up the blog-o-sphere with her favorite flower. So please join us today in our special bloghop, Sunflowers for Tina, and post a picture of a sunflower dedicated to Tina's memory.

Tina Downey, these sunflowers are for you . . .

I hope Heaven is brightened by your spirit, and I hope you see these sunflowers as you smile down at us.

We also wanted to spread the word about the fund set up in Tina's honor - the Downey Education Fund. Tina was a devoted mother, and all proceeds go to her family. If you'd like to contribute, please check out the Downey Education Fund badge on my sidebar or simply click the link below:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to give out support to other writers, check us out here. And a huge shout out to our fearless Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group and being the greatest support of all.

First of all, happy three year anniversary to the IWSG! It's helped so many, and made a real difference to many insecure writers, myself included. 

For my IWSG post this month, I'm not going to talk about an insecurity. Instead, I want to discuss loss, and how writing can help us cope. Many of us are dealing with loss this month, mourning the death of blogger Tina Downey. In the past year I've also dealt with the loss of an old friend, murdered long before her time. Sometimes these kinds of tragedies can affect our writing, making it harder to focus on the day to day aspects of our craft. I certainly struggled with that these past two years.  

But sometimes writing can be a solace to us, can comfort us and help us deal with the pain of loss. A journal, a story honoring the people missing from our lives, even a blog post -- writing gives us an outlet for our grief. And perhaps it can even help us move on. 

Also, for anyone who knew Tina Downey, please take a look at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge website for a tribute to her memory. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sunflowers for Tina Downey

For those of you who knew blogger Tina Downey of Life is Good and the A to Z Challenge, I wanted to write a quick post letting you know about tribute we've set up in her honor. 

Tina had a special love of sunflowers, so before September 8th, we ask that anyone who would like to join us in honoring the life of a wonderful friend, mother, wife and blogger, please purchase or plant a sunflower in her memory. Take a photo with your sunflower and upload it to your blog as a tribute to Tina. 

You can sign up now or add your link when you've posted. Please help us spread the word by using Tina's motto #LifeisGood as a hashtag when you share about this blogfest in any social media forms.

Let's honor Tina's memory and light up the blogging world the way she did throughout her life.