Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flash Reviews: Scan, Knights of Sidonia, Guardians of the Galaxy, Rule of Thoughts, and The Maze Runner!

I'm way behind on reviewing stuff, so hold on to your helmets. We're doing these fast! Set all review thrusters to full. Let's do this thing!

 Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine

I was lucky to win an advanced copy of this YA sci-fi thriller. I say lucky because it was an excellent read. Loads of science and dealing with secret technology in a world were most humans are actually aliens. And the scary thing is many of these "humans" don't know that they're aliens. What an unsettling thought! This held me hostage from page one. I recommend it.

You can find Scan here!

Knights of Sidonia

Netflix has a long list of new shows lately, even sponsoring new shows as Netflix Originals. This CGI anime series about the last humans traveling through their alien-destroyed galaxy took me by surprise! Save for one man, everyone is genetically altered to photosynthesize, saving food while fighting an alien race. The animation takes some getting used to, but the story, Attack on Titan meets Battlestar Galactica, is killer.

Guardians of the Galaxy

You guys have likely heard (mostly seen) this movie already. I assume this since it's the #1 box office movie of the year. I was expecting a colorful action flick, something along the lines of Hellboy. Talk about blown expectations!  I freak'en loved this movie! And something tells me the space opera is going to experience a revival because of it. I'm buying the Blu Ray for this one.

Watch baby Groot dance here!

The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner

It's no secret that I'm a Dashner fan, and this followup to The Eye of Minds only solidifies my love for his books. The sequel follows Michael through the virtual world of VirtNet as he discovers that computer generated beings are scheming a plan to invade and replace the intelligence of human beings. It's a truly sick premise that made me rethink how safe the future of gaming will be. Find it here!

The Maze Runner

While we're on the subject of Dashner stuff, I had the amazing opportunity to see a screening of his book-to-movie The Maze Runner in the same screening as Dashner himself. And the movie was excellent, an improvement on the novel is some ways. It has doubled its budget and the sequel will release next year. This is a thrilling sci-fi adventure that forces you to think and never lets up. Bring on The Scorch Trials!

Return thrusters to cruising speed. This review session is over. Be sure to click back next week for an Insecure Writer's Support Group post where I'm going to get a little personal, for a good cause.

Did any of the titles catch your attention? Who's survived the maze? The Galaxy? Any sci-fi and /fantasy stuff I missed this summer?

I'm David, and it's time to find out what we're up against!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September Reads: Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flats, Michael Vey: Hunt for Jade Dragon, and The Watchers!

Autumn is my favorite season. The Earth axis tilts. The temperature cools down. The leaves change color. And there's pumpkin-flavored everything. It's also the start of Fall season for new book releases. This month, I'm seeing all kinds of fall colors in these book covers. And these are the titles that I'm excited about this September!

Sky Jumpers: The Forbidden Flats: by Peggy Eddleman

After Hope and her friend's first adventure, her town is threatened when an Earthquake causes the Bomb's Breath to sink closer to White Rock. It's up to Hope to travel across the Forbidden flats and the Breath's deadly descent.

I was privileged to be in Peggy's critique group while she was writing this. Post-apocalyptic adventure lovers, you won't be disappointed. Find it here!

Michael Vey: Hunt for Jade Dragon, by Richard Paul Evans

A child prodigy is being held captive in Taiwan, a girl that the Elgen hope they can use for world domination. It's up to Michael and the rest of the Electroclan to find her before it's too late.

I read the first Michael Vey and enjoyed it. Something tells me I need to pick up this series again. Richard was in a very interesting interview about this release. You can find a copy of this here!

The Watchers: Knight of Light, by Deirdra Eden

Accused of witchcraft, Auriella has fled her home. When the forces of darkness pursue her, Auriella must find the balance between magic and humanity -- to save herself and everyone.

I've been a long-time follower of Deirdra, and I looked forward to the day when I could check out her work. That day has come!

And yes, you can find it here!

Now that I suggested these books for your TBR lists, don't forget to see THE MAZE RUNNER this weekend. I'm seriously geeking out!

Did any of these books catch your attention? Which one would you pick up? Who's seeing The Maze Runner this weekend? 

I'm David, and "no matter how dark the night, the sun will rise ..."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guest Post: "Authors I Can't Write Without!" by Teri Harman, Author of Blood Moon and Black Moon!

You guys remember that rave review I did for Blood Moon? Well guess what? Teri Harman is BACK with the second novel in her Bloodlight Trilogy, Black Moon! And today she's taking over the Cosmic Laire to talk about the authors who've inspired her.

The bridge is yours, Teri. Don't run into that asteroid belt!

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I am a story addict. I am addicted to reading. It is my love of reading that helped shape my love of writing. It’s symbiotic in some ways: I suck all the greatness from my favorite writers, nourishing my ability to put words on the page.

These are some of the authors that inspire me, that make me want to try harder in my writing. That make me better.
Roald Dahl

Such imagination! Roald Dahl taught me to twist and turn the normal into the bizarre. To stretch my creativity to mold ideas into stories that feel fresh and yet familiar in all the right ways. Favorite titles: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ ‘Matilda,’ and ‘Tales of the Unexpected.’
Kate Morton

Beautiful, intoxicating words. Kate Morton’s writing is so amazing – her descriptions, her solid plots, her gothic sense of place. I devour her books and always want to run to the computer when I’m done. Favorite titles: ‘The Forgotten Garden,’ and ‘The Secret Keeper.’

Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah does steamy romance and magic realism so well. Her books are magical and her characters authentic. I love her stories and want mine to be as absorbing. Favorite titles: ‘The Sugar Queen,’ and ‘Garden Spells.’
Sue Monk Kidd

The queen of emotional narratives that you never forget. I want to write as honest and deep as Sue does. She captures characters and how they feel in every situation so perfectly. That is not easy. Favorite titles: ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ and ‘The Invention of Wings.’

Which authors inspire you?

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For more about Teri Harman and her books, including BLACK MOON, the sequel to BLOOD MOON, which Kirkus Reviews calls ‘unusual and absorbing,’ check out these links!

Having met Teri personally, she's a fabulous person and an even better writer. As if my reading list wasn't big enough. But I'm committed. I gotta know what happens to Willa! 

I'm David, and who invited these witches on the bridge?

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Good, Sunflower Life: Remembering Tina Downey


On August 23rd, the blogosphere lost one of its brightest stars: Tina Downey from Life Is Good. She's blogged since 2009, sharing her life through good and hard times while maintaining the gift of sunshine.

Among her many talents, Tina was the soul of the A-to-Z challenge and an ardent supporter of the Insecure Writers Support Group. It wasn't until this summer that I got to know Tina better. Her attitude in the face of adversity is one I will always remember, cherish, and hope that I may be as strong when my time on this earth is over.

For those interested in showing their support this day, the Downey Education Fund has been set up to assist her two boys with their college education. Be it a dollar or more, they will appreciate it.

My one regret is I didn't know her as well as most, but I think she'd love this video I found in her memory. Here comes the sun, Tina!

I'm David, and you lived a great life, Tina. We will miss you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG: On Social Media and Impostor Syndrome

Need A Little Support?Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer's Support Group gives bloggers a monthly chance to express their concerns, worries, and insecurities without fear of reprisal. It's a seriously big group now, and with well over 300 participants, it shows no signs of slowing down! I'd like to thank Alex for keeping this group going for so long, as it has proved wonderful in the supporting of fellow authors and the revealing of needed and sound advice.

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Hey guys! I'm back. August was a whirlwind month in the cosmos. Things may have been safer if I stayed on the bridge. But where is the adventure in that? So where have I been? I'll tell you about it.

I took a social media break over a month ago. Completely unplugged. Partially because I had a two week road trip across seven states. The other part is (and I hate saying this) I was going through a bout of social media burnout. Don't get me wrong, I love SM. I'd never have the same level of outreach or the platform I have today without it. And on top of that, all of the amazing writerly friends that I have.

So what's the problem?

A discussion on SM has become prevalent in recent months in how people conduct themselves. Namely on Facebook. I'm proud of the wide spectrum of friends there who post a variety of things. Then a topic sprung; those who post only positive things have something to hide; their real life isn't the sunshine they leave on their statuses.

I fall into this category of positive posting, but I will be the first to admit that life on my end of the spectrum is not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. My motivation for being positive is my wall is often full of memes, political bashery, complaints and clickbait. Why not shake things up with a glass half-full? Reach for the positive vibes? It made sense from my end of the screen, but was I ingenuous to others?

This question led to fear, which sadly spread to the point that I didn't know what to say on any of my SM platforms. I felt unqualified.

As a Behavioral Science guy, I knew this was irrational. So I took a break, enjoyed my vacation, and was later reminded of something called Impostor Syndrome. It's real, people! And thanks to a super secret writing support group, a healthy dish of Reality was served.

And guess what? I'm perfectly normal!

Except I should chat on Twitter more ...

It's weird how we fall into the trap of internalizing negativity to the point of crippling our motivation and self worth. No one is immune, nor should they be. Hiding problems solves nothing. Given all of our feelings and junk, we are complicated creatures. The best thing any of us can do is talk about them, even if it makes no sense at all.

I did, and the group gave me the best advice I've had in months:

"Keep doing what you're doing!" they told me. "Be consistent!"

And I will. 

What's your opinion on conducting yourself on social media? Have you ever experienced Impostor Syndrome? Who likes rainbows?

I'm David, and on September 8th, we remember Tina Downey.