Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CATCH FIRE: The Launch of CassaFire

Join the Party!

Today we are celebrating Alex J. Cavanaugh's new book release entitled CassaFire. It is the sci-fi sequel to the critically acclaimed CassaStar. You can read them in order, or work backwards; either way you'll be hooked. Everyone who comments at Alex's Blog over the next two weeks is eligible to receive a spectacular tote bag filled with prizes that are out of this world!

I first met Alex last year when he was co-hosting the A to Z Blogging Challenge. He immediately  welcomed me, and popped in whenever he could in between visiting the vast array of other bloggers. My first impression was that he appeared to be friendly and mild-mannered. Little did I know that he possessed strengths of a super blogger.

Known as Ninja Captain Alex, he works at the speed of light empowering bloggers from all around the world. With over 1300 followers, he's on a mission to lend a helping hand. He founded The Insecure Writer's Support Group, as well as hosting and co-hosting several blog-hops to enable bloggers to join forces.

Like Batman, Alex has never shown his face. He is humble about his accomplishments, while graciously showcasing other authors. The man of mystery is able to comment within seconds after a blog is posted, without a single typo. He is able to swoop from blog to blog, fearlessly joining in on every subject.

For all we know, Byron the space opera protagonist in CassaFire is the real Alex J. Cavanaugh. Hence, the extremely likable, down to earth man with the computer skills of an octopus, may be an ingenious work of fiction. Alex or Byron? Visit the blog, buy the book, be in control...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Opening At The Oscars

Billy Crystal at the 2012 Oscar Announcement

For the 2011 Academy Awards I decided to write my own opening incorporating all of the best picture nominations. The hosts were Anne Hathaway and James Franco, so I really didn't know what to expect. With Billy Crystal hosting this year, the grand opening is bound to be an extravaganza featuring a memorable montage with all of the nominations. My interpretation is more like if Billy Crystal had a head cold, and his socially awkward cousin had to fill in for him.

Our story begins when the bases are loaded and Billy Crystal is up to bat. Brad Pitt is pacing around the stands as other footage from Moneyball is being shown. Before he takes a swing his life flashes before his eyes.

Suddenly, he's a little boy wearing a dress while seated in the comfort of The Help's arms. Abilene looks into his eyes and declares, "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

Then he is transported into an older boy named Hugo who is being chased through a Parisian train station while bumping into things, because he's still wearing his 3D glasses. Just as he's about to be caught by the inspector, the clock strikes 12, and he becomes a young man at Midnight in Paris. He is seated at a table with the Fitzgerald's, Hemingway, Picasso, and a lovely woman named Adriana.

Without warning, The Artist walks over and silently motions for Adriana to dance with him. Billy immediately gets in his face and starts objecting. The Artist calmly smiles and hands him a breath mint while the caption reads, "You are Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." Then Billy becomes part of the silent movie, as they dance their cares away.

The next scene takes place in a hospital where George Clooney is delivering a speech from The Descendants. "Goodbye my love, my friend, my pain, my joy. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye." The  camera zooms in on Billy Crystal's face as he wakes up, and starts pulling tubes out of his body. "Hello handsome! I'd love to catch up, but I have a show to host."

Meanwhile at the Academy Awards, the crowd is getting restless, as Billy Crystal has yet to arrive. Jean Dujardin from The Artist rushes to the stage to help out, with his adorable dog Uggie. They do a few tricks when he is mesmerized by a beautiful pair of legs dancing behind a screen.  He joins in the dance wondering who this mysterious goddess could be.

On stage left, Billy Crystal makes his entrance riding in on the War Horse. Suddenly, the triumphant horse gets caught in the branches from The Tree of Life.  Jean Dujardin rushes over to  free the horse to no avail, as the woman from the screen emerges. It's none other than Betty White who instantly rescues the horse, while Billy and Jean look on. She turns to them and gives a disgusted look while the caption reads, "Do I have to do everything?!" Then she exits the stage as Billy, Jean, and Uggie silently finish the dance.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest: The Writing Bug


DL Hammons, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl) and Matthew MacNish (The QQQE) are hosting the Origins Blogfest where writers share their stories behind what inspired them to become writers in the first place.  Please be sure  to visit the Origins of the many talented authors and bloggers.

I began blogging a little over a year ago when both of our sons were away at school, and we were officially empty nesters. This was a perfect opportunity to be heard, without the shock of being seen in my pajamas. Through blogging I could connect with the outside world before I brushed my teeth in the morning, and after I finished flossing at night. This enabled me to still spend quality TV time with my husband,  as well as, having an outlet to temporarily distract me from missing my children. In the meantime, I got back in touch with  a few old friends who actually read my blogs on Facebook; although, I had hoped to reach my second grade teacher.

I'll never forget the assignment to write a story about my best friend. While most students were writing about other classmates, I decided to write a story about my mom. I wrote about all of the fun things we did together including our special "girls day" in Disneyland where we went on the Mad Tea Party, and It's a Small World  rides, while my dad and brother went to an All-Star Game.

I really don't remember which other activities I included in the story, but I just enjoyed spending time with my mom. Whether it was going shopping, playing Barbies, or going to the movies, we always had fun; unless I got punished for crying for no reason.

After the papers were graded, my teacher read my story to the class, and I wasn't the least bit embarrassed that everyone else wrote about having real friends. She even told my parents at the open house what an accomplished writer I was for a seven-year-old. That was probably the first time that I was told I was actually good at something, aside from cleaning my plate.

I continued writing throughout grammar school, high school and even college. In high school my parents bought me a portable electric typewriter which was also a great gift to my teachers. Now they no longer had to endure deciphering  my smeared lefty cursive prose. I always enjoyed the exhilaration that came from playing with words, and attaching meaning to them. The ability to evoke a wide range of emotions, made me feel empowered; yet I chose to play it safe with a dependable job that included writing letters instead of stories.

Decades later at a special birthday party for my mom, I mentioned my gold star paper in a toast. I said that she was still my best friend, and even though she managed to save her TV Guide collection from 1972, my touching second grade story about her somehow went missing.  Then she looked up at me, and marvelled at how well I cleaned my plate.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Higher Learning

She looked off into the distance,
Deep in thought for what lies ahead.
She fought off the resistance,
As I yanked her out of bed.

Why did things have to change?
She was happy back at home.
Plagued by piercing nervous pangs,
As her imagination began to roam.

She was new to her surroundings,
Most of her friends had gone away.
In a sea of self- doubt she was drowning,
While I reassured her it would be okay.

After I helped her settle in,
She looked up at me betrayed.
As if  I tore her from her humble origins,
To be thrust in the wilderness as prey.

Suddenly, a welcoming committee of her peers,
Invited her to join them for dinner.
She discreetly wiped away her tears,
As she waved goodbye to me a winner.

When I turned to close the door,
Alas she hugged me all forgiving,
By her side, as she glided down the floor;
Introducing me to her new friends in assisted living. 

-Julie Kemp Pick