Sunday, July 31, 2011

Name the Bear, Win Stuff!

Zumaya Publications, LLC Contest!

From Elizabeth Burton - 

Twenty-odd years ago, my mom bought me a little white wizard bear at an after-Christmas sale. When I joined Zumaya Publications, he/she became our unofficial mascot.

Now, we’re going to make the bear our OFFICIAL mascot, but he/she needs a name. So, for the next month, until ArmadilloCon 33 in August here in Austin, send us your suggestions for what to name the bear. If your name is chosen, we’ll send you a new Kindle loaded with Zumaya ebooks and some other cool swag or a terrific computer attache full of signed Zumaya paperbacks—your choice. We’ll give prizes to the nine runners-up, too.

Send your suggestion to; please include your address with your entry. Entries will be judged by a panel of Zumaya authors and the winner announced on August 28th. You may enter as often as you like, but you must be 13 years old or more to enter. Sorry–legal stuff. And Zumaya authors and their immediate families will have to forego the fun, too. I’ll make it up to y’all, I swear.

Let the contest begin!

Name the Bear Contest!

Little fellow needs a name. Won't you help?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Movie Review - Cowboys and Aliens

Cowboys and Aliens

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Abigail Spencer, Clancy Brown, Paul Dano, Adam Beach, Sam Rockwell, Keith Carradine, Raoul Trejillo, Walton Goggins, and more...

Directed by: Jon Favreau Writing Credits: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Steve Oedekerk Original Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams

Premise: In 1873 an amnesiac in the Arizona Territory, searches for his identity and past even as he finds himself in the middle of an alien conspiracy. Made more puzzling by the fact he's the only one with a weapon that seems capable of harming the intruders.

Review: I'd been waiting for this one for a long time. A lot of people think the premise sounds insane, but I wanted to see what they did with it. Being backed by Spieldberg, I knew it could be done. I wasn't wrong.

The movie begins and moves along where you might expect. But once things get rolling, the unexpected starts making an appearance, taking several items in directions you wouldn't have guessed, and ratcheting the enjoyment factor.

The vistas in the film are truly breathtaking - the arid plains, the colorful skies. Now throw in some flying ships, explosions, and some good old fashioned western stuff, and voila!  Loads of great visuals.

Great cast, with great performances. Cool CGI. Things about the aliens, the whys and wherefores, come out a bit at a time and they make sense. As the end nears we get to see more and more of the visitors.

Several subplots/character complications run concurrently with the mission at hand, some needed, some not, yet still satisfying in their own way. There are even several comedic moments. You might even get a flashback to the Poseidon Adventure - heh heh - you'll know it when you see it.

Overall, nothing too brainy or complicated, but a heap of gun totting, alien butt kicking fun!  

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 7/27/11

Have some of my own and some other cool ones I ran across that I thought I'd share. Food for your eyes!

I know I keep saying this, but man, Texas skies can be so varied! V for Victory!

I found a new sushi place (okay, my daughter found a new sushi place) in Frisco called Sushi Envy.  Rather than just a sushi bar, they work on the sushi conveyor belt system. I'd eaten at one of these in Japan, so thought it was great we got one here. Sushi was marvelous!

You can see one of the chefs in the background. The dishes in front are the moving sushi plates. This is the main menu.

Secondary menu for drinks. Some cool drink names like  Bloody Ninja. Heh.

 Wind did not cooperate on this one. Where I work, they change the plants seasonally. Thought these was too cute. Kind of work in a surreal way like this. heh

Cool statue/metal work at Medical City in Dallas. Been around forever. I hadn't been to this hospital in ages.

Ah, yes, the latest in Tres Chic neck wear (reason I was at Medical City) - gauze, tape, and stitches. You saw it here first folks! :P

Now for some pics I ran across to share with you!

From Jerry Davis - Too Cute For Mere Words.  She's so CUTE!!!!!!

NASA's Image of the Day - Through The Astronaut's Eyes.

ParkerXL shared a link to where they show of some Beautiful Black and White Photography. Check it out! Some of these are totally amazing. Here's a taste.

Nancy Cavanaugh has been going photo crazy and has set up free picture ebooks on all sorts of subjects - from turtles, to flowers, to butterflies and more! Here's one of the covers:

That plumage is gorgeous!

Toby W Neal shared a filtered pic for his cloud of the day.

This was very cool! The First Portrait Picture Ever Made. And he'd pretty nice looking too! Self portrait even!

That's it for this week.  If you have pics you'd like to share, put them in the comments section! I likes to look at the pretties. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mind Sieve 7/25/11

This may be a sparse edition. What with all the chaos last week at work, thyroid operation, recovery, etc, etc, etc.  But let's see how far I get.

Gene Lempp shared this link to the Chicago Sun Times and an article called CT Scans Unravel Mysteries of Field Museum Mummies. This is without taking them out of their sarcophagi so their preservation is not endangered. Make sure to check the attached gallery to the article. Several repeats but some cool photos as well.

John Carter of Mars preview!  YES!

I still have the vision of the Martians from the old time Edgar Rice Burrough's covers, so these guys look a little emaciated to me. lol. But with the lower gravity, it also makes sense. Looking forward to this one!

From the Peeps who made Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit – Pirates! YES! Looks too funny.

From FansOfMovies came a link for the Batman: Dark Knight Rises trailer. Sweet! With an article at the Holywood Reporter.

21 Google + Circles You Can Actually Use from Happy Place. Yes, very tongue in cheek, but quite funny too. Heh. Scarily, some of these will probably get used. lol

Tony Eldrige shared 6 Promotional Item Ideas for Your Book. I do some of these, others, I am probably not looking in the right places because I've not found them for cheap. Some of you may have better luck. And the M&M site? What fun!!!!  Uploaded a couple of covers and they look so cool! Haven't decided if I will buy though. Heh heh. But So COOL!

Pam Moore does a real nice breakdown on what is a Tweet Chat in Tweet Chat 101.  Very in depth and eye opening.

Debbie Ohi gives her take on Google + and what she's hoping to accomplish with it. (She's got a MG/YA project for authors/illustrators/etc going on it already!)

Ack!  Ran out of time! (Normally these buggers get set up on Thursday nights for Monday. I lost several nights here this past week and there's other things to do. Urk!) Will flood you next week with more Mind Sieve Madness!

Have an awesome week!  And feel free to suggest great blogs you've come across or other fun things for anyone who comes by here to see. I can't catch everything. :P

Friday, July 22, 2011

Movie Review - Captain America (YES!)

(Uhm, yeah, I was bad. I went to the movies today. I was feeling good enough after being released from the hospital. Went early so no crowds. Now relaxing, resting at home. I am! Really! I need to get super well!)

Captain America

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, and more

Directed by: Joe Johnston Screen Play by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely Based on the Comic Books by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Original Music by: Alan Silvestri

Review:  This movie was so much fun! Thoroughly enjoyed it. A nice current day teaser for the beginning and then we go back to the 1940s for the Captain's origin and more.

Loved, loved, loved several things about the film. One was several nicely sneaked in items that tie the movie to the Iron Man and Thor films, coalescing the movie universe of the three - the World Expo, Howard Stark, the origin of where Stark got the idea of the energy project which he abandoned but yet became so important to Tony Stark's survival and future, and even a tie in to the gods, which connects to Thor. Nicely done!  And you're not hit over the head with any of it. It's there to catch if you can, otherwise it is just part of the Captain's story.  Kudos!

The second thing I loved was that though Steven Rogers is successful as the experiment (as expected), due to things that happen, he's not actually used for anything! He ends up going on a totally different direction to help America during the war, a none fighting direction. I loved this! He had to go out there and do what there was to do, and eventually when an opportunity does arise, he lives to the truth of himself and shows what he can truly do as a one man army.

The acting from everyone involved was excellent. Even a bit shown in the previews takes a whole other tone when see in context. Lovely! You'll see a ton of familiar faces. Great work from everyone.

Great special effects, tons of explosions, shoot outs, and best of all, flying shield action! Oh yeah! And Red Skull, woohoo! And Hydra has such cool toys!  Red Skull's personal car is like a German Batmobile. Hee hee. Loved it! It was great seeing the characters from the early Captain America comics as well as the original uniform. And of course, the Stan Lee cameo. What Marvel movie would be right without one? Heh.

A fun, fast moving, great film! Make sure to sit through the credits!!!!  There's a preview to the Avengers movie at the very end to wet our appetites for the summer of 2012!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating - Would Pay Full Price of Admission Again!)

One of the Many Hats of an Author!

(Having surgery this week so prepping a post for Friday ahead of time because I've a feeling no movies will be seen for a week or two (*cry*) while I recover. Dying to see Cowboys vs Aliens and Captain America, but they will have to wait!)

Many people believe that all an author does is write their book. Twenty to thirty years ago that would have been true, but nowadays authors must wear many other hats to try to get their books out there and into the hands of readers.

One of the least expected ones (aside from Marketing Guru) is having to become an artist! And I'm not talking being an artist to make covers, I'm talking about art skills for all the extra materials you have to get out there - like logos, bookmarks, business cards, banners and more!

So anyway, I figured I'd share some of the things I've been busting myself on for the last few weeks. You see, I decided my old book marks were too boring.  Case in point:

Yeppers, the old book cover, back cover info and urls with fancy name. They've done me good service for many years, but I really felt it was time to spruce things up more! (I'd also ordered a way bigger size than I meant to back then! Oops!)

I lost a little room on what the book's about, but they look so much more handsome, don't you think?

I've double sided them, so two books per bookmark. With the last one odd out, I added a backside that I think came out quite nifty with all five covers. :)

What do you all think? Improvement or not? Do you prefer more book info? Or is the bits tantalizing enough?

I also have business card sized promo with the book cover and tag line on the front, the book back cover on the other side. Had the newest one I really wanted to show off but looks like I forgot to upload it. Will sneak it in if I can, if not, I'm sure I can find another time to foist it on you. Heh heh.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 7/20/11

Time for pics! And this week there's a ton!

Feathered skies like 70's hair. :P Okay more like light brushstrokes.

It always amazes me - the extremes of sky we get down here. Sheep in grazing in a prairie.

Kids are helping trying to spiffy up the house a little. The trees and birds came out great! Though the kids said the trees were a major pain to put up. Heh heh. (And yeah, those books there? Part of my TBR pile. Heh heh)

Hello sun! Live how gold the sky is in this one.

All these funky skies in a week. Texas skies rock.

Now for other peeps pics to share!

And talking of skies that rock, look at this pick by Trey Ratcliff. OMG! This was for the launch of Atlantis. Is that not just amazing?  Go Trey!

This adorable kitten pic is from Jerry Davis. So cute!!!!

Go take a peek at this super cool photo of a fly's wing by Chuck Wendig!  Well worth it!

Photo of the Day called Football by Kuntal Blaise D Costa.  Dang! Love that orange color.

Nasa had an awesome image of the shuttle.  The coolest part is the reflection!

MH Bohnam found and shared this beauty - Underwater Suite. Totally real.

Your eyes should be well and fed by now. Enjoy!  Heh

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mind Sieve 7/18/11

I got a ton this week. Let's see how far I get. :)

FansOfMovies share a link today to a film I've been waiting for for a long time - John Carter of Mars!

Gene Lempp shares ancient tales of the Devourer, Myth and Nightmare - chum for our imaginations taken from history. Sweet!

FansOfMovies shared a link to the first look at The Hobbit's Dwarves!

JonMolina shared a link to a preview of Batman: Year One. Eliza Dushku is doing the voice of Cat Woman. YES!

Patrick Thunstrom expounds on Hellenic Greek Fashion! If we could get a runway and some fashion models, this would be the bomb!

Torchwood is back on Starz!  But if you've never heard of Torchwood and want the quick lowdown, Amanda Rudd has done it for you.

FansOfMovies shared a new clip for the Smurf Movie called "Toy Store Part 1". Come on, you know you wanna see it!  

Big Casting news from Buddy TV for "Supernatural" and "Firefly" fans! Jewel Staite will play in the 3rd episode of Season Seven.  Coolio!

Simon Pegg let out the news from SFX that Bruce Campbell confirms that he will be in EVIL DEAD 4. Groovy! (The original link no longer worked, but did find another story at SFX)

Gene Lempp talks Sacrifice and Cannibalism - and who wouldn't want to? Huh? (Great segue from Evil Dead 4 too, I just realized. lol)

Hollywood Reporter has info and trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  Looks good!!!

Karen Harrington tells us the Two Items Needed In Every Author's Book Promotion Toolbox as a guest blogger at Marketing Tips. (I loved her energy!)

Chuck Wendig gives us his take on Google + in a post entitled of Google-Plus and Circle Jerks. (NSFW) (Feel free to add me to your circles - I'm already in there even if still mostly clueless - as per usual.) :P

Kristen Lamb warns Beware TADD (Twitter Attention Deficit Disorder) on Twitter Tuesday. (I stick to Tweetdeck at home and TechHit at work as it incorporates with Outlook.)

Kristen also tells us An Indie Cinderella Story for WANA Wednesday.(Dang! DANG! I need a clone, I need a clone BAD!)  Waaahhhh!

Candance Havens has a nice little post on The Courage to Create.

Rachel Gardner explains the different types of editing and shows and example of The Editorial Letter.  (Excellent post, peeps! Good to know what each type of edit means.)

Kristen Lamb tackles Struggling with Burnout? Word Poop Happens. (Good stuff here too!)

Fae Rowen wrote a great post on World Building: Part 1 - Physical Setting. (Just remember not to drown in it! There can be too much world building. :P)

Chuck Wendig once more cusses out the truth in The Trials and Tribulations of the Modern Day Writer. (WORD! Lots of truth here, peeps!) (Oh, and in case you forgot about Chuck - NSFW) :)

That's all folks! Happy reading!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Movie Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2

Starring: Daniel Radcliff, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis and more...

Directed by: David Yates From the Novel by: JK Rowling Screenplay by: Steve Kloves Original Music by: Alexadre Desplat

 Review:  The last of the Harry Potter films went out with a bang! The script was a lot tighter than Part 1, which did a lot to improve the film from the previous disaster.

As always, though the film is 130 minutes long, not everything can be covered, so you only catch glimpses or fallout rather than the whole scene for certain side matters from the books. This unfortunately meant that some of the losses of individuals during the combat were flashed by or seen after the fact and there is little time to grieve.

The intro catch up was quick and quite creepy and set the perfect mood for the somber times at the film's beginning. Everyone you know will be glimpsed sooner or later (except the Duddley's, though you do see Duddley's Mom as a teenager at one point).

The usual quips and little funny moments still peek out here and there, lightening the somber time even if only for a moment and from some unexpected sources.

The CGI effects were great! In the IMAX 3D the ride at Grimgots and the dragon, but specifically the defense shield set up and the raging fires looked magnificent. The Deatheaters and all the flashing magical attacks were great.

I found it quite amusing that the very lesson Snape tried to teach Harry in book 6 but which was then ignored by Rowling in Book 7 was actually used and taken to heart in the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - magic use without the need for words. Though in the beginning they do use it, once things get moving, they don't anymore.

The ending is even more brief than in the book, so be prepared. But over all it was well worth the ride.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating - Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 7/13/11

Pics time!

Petapixel shared this article on "Monkey Hijacks Photographer's Camera and Takes Self Portrait."  It's too funy. And they got some decent pics in too. Check them out! Here's a peek.

Let's play spot the sun! Hee! Texas skies are always changing. This is puffy sheep Texas sky. :)

Tried a new restaurant this weekend called Mojitos. Cuban and Caribbean food. Very similar to Caribbean Cafe.

John had Bistec Encebollado. They call it something else but I grew up with this name and can't recall theirs. (Doh!) Steak and onions, premixed black beans and rice, tomatoes, and friend plantains.

Forgot to take a picture of mine before I mixed it with white rice. It's called Picadillo. Sadly the cook forgot to mix in the potatoes. :(

Chuck Wendig shared this cute baby picture he took - Happy Baby Is Happy.  Personally? I swear Baby knows something and is giggling as he wallows in the reaction Daddy will have once it's discovered. Bwahahahahahaha~! (See, he almost has his picky up on his little fist. We'd best keep an eye on this one!) Heh heh

Douglas H Wheelock shared this amazing picture of Atlantis on the Move. You can see the shockwaves. Totally awesome! More info at the site.

Jerry J Davis took this adorable kitty pic entitled Mao?

Steve Wedel shared this link for some amazing photos on the Phoenix dust storm. Some just look bloody scary!

Some really interesting pics out this past week!  Enjoy!
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