Monday, February 11, 2019

Why Some Movies are Best Left as Memories, 18th Annual Golden Schmoes Awards, IWSG, and More!

Some Movies are Best Left in our Memories

My wife and I watched Mars Attacks this past weekend. We remember seeing it in the theater in 1996 and enjoyed it. The film wasn’t great, but we thought it was fun.

Seeing it again after all these years? Not fun, not good, and actually a bit of a train wreck. We should’ve seen it coming in the opening scene with all of the flying saucers headed toward Earth and special effects that looked like they came from the fifties. None of the characters were really that likeable. The story was a mess and it took forever to get to the Martians showing up on Earth. (We didn’t remember it taking that long.) What’s really sad is the amount of name actors Burton got for this crappy film - Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Paul Winfield, Pam Grier, Jack Black, Joe Don Baker, Christina Applegate…

The point is we remember a much better film. And that’s where it should have stayed – in our memory. Now I’ll think of it as one of Burton’s worst films.

That’s the danger of watching a movie you haven’t seen in years. It might not be as good as remembered. It might not have aged well. Your fond memory of that film might be shattered forever by watching it again. (There are movies from when I was a kid that I know better than to watch again because I’m pretty darn sure weren’t that good and I’d rather keep my memory of them.) Why do we remember them so well if they weren’t good? Were we just wishing they were better?

Some movies are still just as good. Jaws is still great. So are Close Encounters, Aliens, and The Princess Bride.

Some aren’t as good as remembered. Return of the Jedi was a bit disappointing. (The Ewoks alone are horrible – their faces don’t move.) Lifeforce was beyond terrible! We remembered it as an okay science fiction flick, but watching it again recently, it was a total train wreck. And Dragonheart with Sean Connery. I was watching/listening to it at work recently and I could not finish. Awful movie.

Have you watched an older film recently that wasn’t as good as you remembered? Is there an older film you’re afraid to watch again and ruin it? Please share!

Ninja News

Lisa Buie-Collard summed up the IWSG monthly posting so well last week and I wanted to share it with everyone:
This is more than a "blog hop" which is defined by hopping from one blog to another. We do hop, but we are doing more than that. We visit each blog to learn, gain confidence, spill our guts, boast, grieve, and to give advice, our opinion, comfort, and encouragement. We don't just travel. We sit awhile, read, comment and "be" there for those on the list that we can reach. IWSG is a community and we are here for each other.

The WEP 2019 February Challenge - 28 Days

What to do with 28 Days? What does 28 Days bring to mind?

You can sign up now at the WEP site.

Damyanti is hosting a very special blogathon to raise money for a school in New Deli that’s in danger of closing forever:

We’ll start a Linky list on the 14th February, Valentine’s Day. You can participate in the blogathon on any day from the 14th to the 28th.
During the blogathon, write one or more posts to talk about love, any kind of love at all, and about honouring the ones you love. All we ask is at the end of your post, you mention the fundraiser, and add the graphic above.

You can support the #HelpMithuSaveSchool fundraiser HERE.

And it’s that time of year again!
Time to vote for your favorite movies in JoBlo’s 18th Annual Golden Schmoes Awards.
Visit JoBlo’s SITE to cast your votes.
Voting open through February 20.

What movies have you watched that fell short of your memory of them? Any you’d be afraid to watch now? Participating in the WEP Challenge this month? Can you help save the school? Who gets your vote in the Golden Schmoes?

Next Monday is a holiday, so I’ll post again on February 25.
Before that, I’ll have a post at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University on February 22 - Twitter Pitch Like You Mean It. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day! Plus IWSG News, The Rookie Review, and New Releases

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.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

February 6 question - Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

I have numerous other creative things I do, but the biggest one involves music. I’ve played an instrument most of my life, but my current passion is the guitar. I started playing about fifteen years ago and now I own five guitars and play in a Christian band. I’ll never be great, but I enjoy it tremendously. If I never write another book, I’ll be all right – but Lord, please keep those fingers in working order for a few more years!

What about you? What’s your creative outlet?


The WEP 2019 February Challenge - 28 Days

What to do with 28 Days?

What does 28 Days bring to mind?

You can sign up now at the WEP site.

Post your entry on or around February 20.

Here are the prompts for February’s IWSG Instagram:

The IWSG Book Club on Goodreads is changing things up!

- 5 discussion questions instead of 10
- Discussion Day poll for quick and easy participation.
- Members can help us create Goodreads quizzes for the books we read.
- Giveaways exclusive to our members every Discussion Day.
- Freebies members can download when we announce our next reading selection.
- Writing and reading related polls for fun and insight.
We will still read a new book every other month, alternating between craft books and fictional books that demonstrate an aspect of writing, and our members will continue to vote on our fictional books. Our February/March 2019 book is…Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. This book was voted on by our members to be a good example of setting. Discussion Day will be March 20th.
Join us HERE

Show Review – The Rookie

I’ve always enjoyed police procedurals as long as they’re heavy on solving cases versus a lot of relationship drama. And since I’m a huge fan of Nathan Fillion (miss Firefly – curse you, FOX!), I was eager to check out this show.

I’m happy to report this show is a lot of fun!

It follows three rookies (Fillion being one of them) on their day to day exploits. While there is a little personal drama, most of the show revolves around the rookies and their training instructors as they patrol the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Part drama, part comedy, and always entertaining, this show works for me. Highly recommended!

New Releases

Splashes and Splishes by Pat Hatt
If wishes were fishes and splashes were splishes would splashes be splishes and wishes be fishes? Could splishes be splashes and fishes be flashes with wishes as splishes and splashes as flashes? Or would splashes and splishes make wishes with fishes to stop fishes and wishes for splashes and splishes?
Find it on Amazon

Razor Valentine by Roland Yeomans
A Mardi Gras/Valentine thriller set in the New Orleans of 1947.
Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, Our Lady of Holy Death, is stalking the French Quarter streets killing apparently at random.
What does the psychotic actress, Irene Dupré, know of this entity and what lies behind the murders? She remains silent, only smiling.
Find it on Amazon as an eBook and a physical book

What’s your creative outlet? Participating in the WEP Challenge or Goodreads Book Club? Have you seen The Rookie? And can you believe it’s February already?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Masquerade: Oddly Suited Cover, February Movie Preview, IWSG Admins, Game Trivia Answers, and New Releases

There is a Facebook party this Saturday, February 2, for Charity Bradford’s new release, The Hand of Atua. She is giving away copies of her favorite science fiction books, including one of mine!

Be sure to log into her Facebook event page and check it out.

Congratulations, Charity!

IWSG Anthology Cover Reveal!

And now, the cover of our next anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited…

Masquerade: Oddly Suited
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644
EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Find love at the ball…

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Who's ready for a party now?

Sadly, the IWSG is losing two of its admins - Lynda Young, who was second-in-command, and Joy Campbell are both stepping down. They have been with the IWSG Admin Team since the site began and will be missed. Thank you ladies for all of your help getting the IWSG to where it is today!

However, we’re not ending on a sad note - Elizabeth Seckman has joined the IWSG Admin Team! She will be in charge of the Publishers/Agents/Queries page and active on Facebook, as well as contributing to the site, the newsletter, and other areas.
Welcome to the team, Elizabeth!

New Releases

Anything Once by Meka James
Quinn has been happily married for ten years. Her relationship with Ian is built on love, trust, and honesty. At least that's what she thought...until a four-letter word changed everything.
Find it on Amazon

The Winner’s Circle by PJ Colando
Life in rural small town can dull the senses. A trio of gal pals--mired in middle age, Middle America, and other people's problems--long to escape.
Buy it in hardback, paperback, and eBook

Blood of My Sisters by Mel Chesley
Meet Isla Black. A young "Book Witch", one not born to a pure bloodline, but who learns through reading books and practicing spells. When she opens a portal on her own, the Seven Sisters are alerted of her power in the magical arts and whisk her away to the Sacred Heart Academy.
Find it on Amazon

Game Trivia Answers

Here are the answers to the board game trivia questions:

1 – If you don’t win, you’ll be… - Sorry
2 – Specialty dice for this popular game - D&D
3 – You will learn about this as you play - Life
4 – Second game in a series – first one was about islands – Forbidden Desert
5 – A thinking game - Chess
6 – Variation on an old classic – Tri-Ominoes
7 – Another variation – onward and… - Upwords
8 – Where it pays to be a slumlord - Monopoly

February Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for February! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

1 –

A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive.
Director: Joe Penna
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir
Hopefully they aren’t attacked by wolves or a feral Liam Neeson

8 –

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
A legendary American war veteran is recruited to hunt a mythical creature.
Director: Robert D. Krzykowski
Stars: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Ron Livingston
And the Oscar for strangest movie title ever goes to…

15 –

Alita: Battle Angel
An action-packed story of one young woman's journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Eiza González
Saw the first anime and read the manga, loved both – please don’t screw it up, Robert Rodriguez.

22 –

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn't the only Night Fury, he must seek "The Hidden World", a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first. Director: Dean DeBlois
Stars: Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington
Or as I like to call it, How to Depress Your Children…

Looking forward to Masquerade: Oddly Suited? Picking up some new books? Get the board pieces right? And what movies catch your eye for February?
Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day is February 6 – see you then!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Board Game Reviews: Ghost Stories, Star Trek, and Reign of Cthulhu; Top Prog Albums of 2018, Trivia, and Ninja News

Board Game Reviews

We play a lot of board games in our house. (Actually, a lot of all sorts of games.) We really enjoy the cooperative ones, as we win or lose together.
Board games have come a long way. I thought I would share some of the games we’ve enjoyed this past year.

Ghost Stories

From Board Game Geek:
Ghost Stories is a cooperative game in which the players protect the village from incarnations of the lord of hell – Wu-Feng – and his legions of ghosts before they haunt a town and recover the ashes that will allow him to return to life. Each Player represents a Taoist monk working together with the others to fight off waves of ghosts.

I recommend watching a couple YouTube videos first before attempting play. Once you get the hang of it though, this game is a lot of fun and sometimes a bit frustrating.

Each player begins his turn by bringing out a ghost/card. He then decides where he will move and what he will do. Each of the four Taoist pieces has two sets of special abilities and you decide which ones to use for the game. Some can move to any tile, some can fight two ghosts. Each tile is a villager with a special ability – setting Budda bombs, bringing a player back from the dead, etc. The goal is to survive to fight the boss ghost (card always placed tenth from the bottom in the deck) and then beat the boss ghost. Add in dice, tokens, and ghost figures moving in to haunt the town and you have one interesting game.

We really enjoy this one. There are four Taoists, so my wife and I each play two, but it’s still fun that way. Together we plot out the best strategy for beating ghosts, keeping the board from becoming overrun with ghosts, and gathering the right color tokens to win in the end. There are multiple boss ghosts (you pick blindly which one will be in the deck) and some are easy while others I pray we never get.

The frustrating comes from when a ghost card spawns another ghost – and then yet another ghost – or your dice rolls suck. (That’s right, Ray – don’t roll a one.) If you’re not on top of things (or you draw really crappy ghosts from the beginning) the board can become overrun rather quickly.

But beating that boss ghost at the end is so satisfying!

Star Trek the original series Road Trip

From the rulebook: Travel the game board of uncharted systems and planets to compete in Starfleet Academy's “Enterprise Challenge." Carry out board actions, gain phaser tokens, and acquire access codes to enter deep space in order to collect federation tokens. Be the first cadet to complete your score card by returning all 4 unique federation tokens to your dormitory and win the prestigious “Enterprise Challenge.”

Up to four players, you do play against one another. The race is one to get a token that allows you through one of the color-coded passages into deep space. Once you have a federation token, it’s a race to get back to your dorm and secure it. Along the way you can pick up action cards (good) and 50/50 cards (usually not good) and extra phaser tokens.

You also have to fight hostiles – how many depend on the space you land on. Then it becomes a battles of dice rolls to see who wins. Sometimes it takes several rolls. And many phaser tokens.

Everything can be going great – and then you land on detour that sends you to the other side of the board and away from where you were trying to get to. Or you lose the Federation token before reaching your dorm. Those things keep it as anyone’s game until it’s over.

It’s simple, quick to play, and fun.

Pandemic – Reign of Cthulhu

If you’ve played Pandemic, it’s the same basic premise of preventing an outbreak across the world. Only this time, you are trying to stop the evil Old Ones from taking over.

Each player selects an investigator card and each investigator comes with certain bonus qualities – the ability to kill three cultists at once, travel to any town without using a town card, etc. Players start with four sanity tokens, cultists and one shoggoth are randomly placed within the four cities (Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth, and Kingsport), and then the race is one to seal the gate in each town.

Players have four actions they can take each turn: move, take a bus, trade a card, kill a cultist, defeat a shoggoth, or seal a gate. They draw cards that correspond to the towns and it takes five of any one color to close a gate. Then there are the summoning cards which places new cultists on the deck. Or worse, evil stirs and a new Old One comes forth.

This cooperative game is a lot of fun. Two to four players work together, using each character’s strength, to wipe out cultists, defeat shoggoths as they appear, and close gates. Working against you are the Old Ones appearing (some of them mess with abilities), losing sanity points, and too many cultists appearing to control.

Even if you’ve never played Pandemic, you’ll have a lot of fun playing. And if you’re into Lovecraft and Cthulhu, you’ll really love it.

Tomb of Annihilation Board Game

From Board Game Geek:
Tomb of Annihilation Board Game is a cooperative adventure design in the same series as Castle Ravenloft that's based on the "Tomb of Annihilation" storyline for Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition.

We just got this game, so I’m still working my way through YouTube videos to figure it out, but it’s highly rated and looks like a ton of fun. I’ll post a review later this year.

Ninja News

The #IWSGPit Twitter pitch is once a year now – and the next one is Tuesday, January 15!.
If you’re reading this Monday, that’s tomorrow!
Don’t miss it.

New releases!
Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Book Reviews! by Toi Thomas
Have you ever wondered why it seems authors are often whining about book reviews? What's the big deal anyway? How much of a difference could your one book review really make? In this opinion piece, ten-time self-published author and blogger, Toi Thomas, discusses candidly why book reviewing culture isn't what it should be.
Find it on Amazon

Rob’s Choice by Sandra Albrich Almazan 
Find it online at these retailers.

Best Progressive Rock Albums of 2018

Continuing my best of 2018 series, I’m diving into music next. And since prog rock is my favorite,it’s the best of prog rock albums.

6 - Joe Satriani – What Happens Next -  This is Joe's best album in years. Amazing start to finish.

5 – Ayreon – Universe - Everything about this live performance is stunning. The number of well-known singers is pretty spectacular.

4 – Seventh Wonder – Tiara - Back from a very long hiatus, they continue to create intricate prog that is also catchy and accessible.

3 – Khemmis – Desolation - Continues to be one of the most interesting new band on the scene. This is a great follow-up to Hunted.

2 – Haken – Vector - They continue to re-invent themselves with each album. Vector is complex, heavy, and catchy.

1 – Amorphis – Queen of Time - While I love all of the other albums on this list, this is hands-down the best album of the year. Every song is incredible without a dud in bunch!

Board Game Trivia

Since I reviewed some board games today, the trivia is all about board game pieces. Guess the game from the board pieces:

1 – If you don’t win, you’ll be…

2 – Specialty dice for this popular game.

3 - You will learn about this as you play.

4 – Second game in a series – first one was about islands.

5 – A thinking game.

6 – Variation on an old classic.

7 – Another variation – onward and…

8 – Where it pays to be a slumlord.

Answers in two weeks!

Have you played any of those board games? Participating in #IWSGPit? Fans of any of those bands? (Why not?!) And can you guess the trivia…?
Since January 21 is a holiday (and a three-day weekend), I’ll be offline, but I’ll return with a post on January 28.