Monday, April 6, 2020

#IWSG and a Long Writing Career and Happy Easter

If you are looking for my IWSG post, it’s HERE.

Today I am directing you to the IWSG site for an article by Nancy Gideon on how to have a long writing career. (Nancy’s began in 1987!)

I’ll be back Monday with some movie picks from Yolanda Renee, who has a new book out.

Thanks to everyone who participated in IWSG post day.
There were some very touching responses to the month’s question and I’ll be highlighting some of them next week.

Everyone have a blessed Easter. Most of us can’t go out, but there are a lot of churches streaming services online. So stay home and stay safe. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, IWSG Anthology Contest, Really Great Villains, Bad Adaptations and New Stories, and New Releases

The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Erika Beebe, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Today’s question -
The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

We’re blessed there aren’t a lot of cases in our area. I’m still going to work! (Apparently I am essential.) But with most businesses now shut down and a stay at home order in place, there is a lot less traffic on the road.

I have faith we will survive this and my heart goes out to those who’ve been affected, either through the virus or the shut downs. Until it’s over, I’ll just keep praying and doing my part to keep me, my family, and everyone around me safe.

We’re revving up for the annual IWSG Anthology Contest!

It doesn’t open until May 6, but here’s a sneak peek.

The genre – science fiction!

And the amazing judges –

Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder

Lynda R. Young, author

Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Damien Larkin, author

Ion Newcombe, editor and publisher

Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency

David Powers King, author

The IWSG Instagram prompts for April:

Really Great Villains by Jemi Frasier

Alex and I share a love of SF & Fantasy movies and books. Among my favourites are LotR, HP, Firefly, BSG, McCaffrey’s PERN, and of course Star Wars & Star Trek.

One of the commonalities we find in these stories is a really great villain. Sauron. Voldemort & the Death Eaters. Reavers. Thread. 1st Order/Vader/Palpatine. Cylons. The Borg.

Some adjectives for those great villains might be: subversive, sneaky, vile, insidious, unscrupulous, relentless. Great villains made for good reading and good watching, but aren’t so great in real life.

My book, Dancing With Dementia, deals with real life and a real life villain. Dementia. Like Thread from PERN, our villain isn’t human or alien, it’s not sentient. But it is a villain nonetheless and those adjectives apply.

Like any good story, Dancing With Dementia showcases our battle against our villain. We may not have lightsabers, wands, or phasers, but we do have our own weapons. Patience and a sense of humour are probably the most effective for us.

Having the Force on our side would be a good thing though!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Jemi Fraser’s DANCING WITH DEMENTIA, Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia MC Book Tours Blog Tour through today.
The author is offering a tour-wide international giveaway of an Amazon Gift Card. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia by Jemi Fraser
ISBN-13: 978-1-9991258-1-3

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch the lives of millions around the world, but so much is still unknown.
As first-generation Canadians, we didn’t recognize the early warning signs. We didn’t know the differences between regular aging and the early stages of dementia. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve learned a lot.
•Identify those early warning signs
•Use visuals to improve communication
•Choose your words wisely
•Redirect and reassure
•Stay calm and cope with your own emotions
•Consider nursing home options
•Improve caregiver self-care
We’ve learned to dance the early steps of the disease with our love and laughter intact. If you are looking for help recognizing early signposts along with practical ways to cope with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this book is for you.

DANCING WITH DEMENTIA buy links:              Apple Books       Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Add DANCING WITH DEMENTIA to your Goodreads shelf

Jemi Fraser writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction work focuses on the ways that dementia has impacted her family. Her fiction work varies from contemporary romance to suspense and flash fiction. Years as a teacher have taught Jemi that life is short and that happy endings are a must.
Jemi lives in Northern Ontario, Canada where snow is always a topic of conversation and the autumn leaves make everything better.
For more on Jemi and her writing, visit her following sites:

Amazon Page        BookBub      Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter       Quick Tips Videos

This tour-wide giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open internationally. To enter the giveaway, just click on this LINK and follow the instructions.

When Bad Movie Adaptations Inspire New Stories

About 12 years ago, when my wife and I were still newlyweds, we spent many a weekend watching a ton of movies (her favorites and mine). Then one Friday night, we watched an adaptation of one of her favorite fantasy books. It seemed weird to me. Maybe something you’d see on the Disney channel, but not in theaters. So then we discussed movie adaptations, and why it seems so difficult for Hollywood to stick with the source material. Then, out of the blue, my wife gave me a challenge: “write something I would like”. You see, until that point, I was a fledgling writer who had only written a Sci Fi trilogy. She’s more into fantasy, especially of the fairytale persuasion. I thought about it. I took her up on it, but not as a rewrite of other fairy tales. That’s been done over and over to death. Something different. A discovery novel. It would star a princess. It would need magical creatures. Oh, and a dragon! Definitely needs a dragon. In six months, I drafted my first fantasy novel with my wife’s interests in mind. Luckily for me, she loved it, and she still loves it to this day. I’m curious how an adaptation of it would turn out?

If you want in on this magical goodness, The Dragon’s Heart is available now in paperback and ebook, on Amazon. Also, it’s free with Kindle Unlimited. Free is good.

A princess. A dragon. Their quest.
Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy. She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses.

David was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to write. His works include the internationally published YA Fantasy Woven and The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He now lives in the mountain West with his wife and four children. Find David - Blog, Twitter, and Amazon

Find The Dragon's Heart on Amazon and Goodreads

New Releases!

Finding the Perfect Mate by Stacy McKitrick

Finding the Perfect Mate just got way more complicated.

Find it at iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords, and Goodreads

The Elusive by Pat Hatt

After thinking their long struggle had come to an end, Sally, Travis, and the others are thrust into more danger than ever before.

Find it on Amazon

How are you coping? Think you’ll enter the IWSG Anthology Contest? (Many of you have time to write now.) Who do you consider to be a really great villain? Has a bad movie adaptation ever inspired you? And if you’re doing the A to Z Challenge, good luck.
Special thanks to Tara Tyler for this badge and the prize in the mail:

Monday, March 23, 2020

Quarantine Music, Movie Release Changes, Music Review – Novena, and New Releases

Quarantine Music

What do you do when your tour is canceled due to the virus? You work on the next album!

Here is the first of several news songs/videos from Devon Townsend - Quarantine:

Movie Release Changes

With the world in crisis, one of the many things affected by the virus is the release dates of movies.
Many have been pushed back or taken off the table entirely.

According to JoBlo, Minions: The Rise of Gru is on indefinite hold:
“In response to the severity of the situation in France, we are temporarily closing our Illumination Mac Guff studio in Paris. With this decision we are abiding by the French Government’s guidelines and doing everything possible to slow the spread of the virus as we care for our artists and their families,” Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of Illumination, said in a statement. “This means we will be unable to finish ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ in time for our planned global releases in late June and early July. While we all grapple with the enormity of this crisis, we must put the safety and protection of our employees above all. We look forward to finding a new release date for the return of Gru and the Minions.”

However, other movies are making themselves more available to movie goers: Bloodshot opened in theaters just over a week ago, but owing to the rather interesting situation we find ourselves in, Sony Pictures has announced that they will be making the film available for Digital purchase on March 24th for $19.99.
That might seem a lot, but considering the price of movie theater tickets, that’s a steal for a family and even a couple. I’ll be supporting and watching it when it comes available.

Onward is also available for $20 to watch now.
In two weeks, it will be free on Disney+.

Bummed your favorite con has been cancelled? Steven Arellano Rose, Jr. at A Far Out Fantastic Site lists several online cons you can attend both science fiction/comic book and genre writing related. Check it out!

Music Review: Novena – Eleventh Hour

Those of you who follow my ramblings know that I am a huge fan of progressive rock and metal. Bands like Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Seventh Wonder, Haken and the like are without a doubt the cornerstone of my music passion.

So when I heard that Ross Jennings had a side project band named Novena, I was instantly intrigued. (For those that don’t know, and I’m assuming that’s all of you, Ross is the lead singer of Haken.)

A few weeks ago, Novena released their first full length album titled Eleventh Hour and it is everything a prog fan loves. With Ross singing lead vocals, it sounds like a Haken album (how can it not with his unique voice) but at the same time seems fresh and adventurous. Elements of jazz, Latin, rock, and death metal are interwoven to create a wildly entertaining record. Ross’s clean singing and incredible harmonies are interwoven with death metal growls placed at just the right moments to keep you wondering what direction each song will take.

One of the stand out tracks “Corazon” is a Latin infused prog masterpiece with salsa, death metal, and a way cool hand clap sequence. (It sounds super weird but it actually works.)

I’m so happy to see bands like Haken and Novena ushering prog metal into the 21st century and I’m excited to see what’s to come. This is a must buy for prog fans.

New Releases

This one is from a fellow Dancing Lemur Press author!

Gabe’s Guardian Angel By Beverly Stowe McClure

Gabe never asked for an angel…
Gabe Montana’s clumsy. He’s overweight, and he’s dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable—so miserable he wants to die.
Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea, and comes up with a different plan. He’ll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn’t just help with the bullies. What’s with this self-confidence stuff?
Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel’s advice?

Young Adult Fiction: Boys & Men / Loners & Outcasts / Bullying
Print ISBN 9781939844668 $15.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844675 $4.99
Find it on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, ITunes, Kobo, and Goodreads

Avenging Angels: The Wine of Violence by A. W. Hart, aka Charles Gramlich

Find it at Amazon

Realize Your Writing Dreams by Doreen McGettigan

Find it on Amazon

Ready for some new music? Got some new movies to watch at home? Picking up some new books? What have you been doing while the world is put on hold?

Be back April 1 for Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day – and we’ll be announcing the genre and judges for this year’s annual anthology contest!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Picard, Freaks, and Color Out of Space Reviews, Plus Ninja News

Show/Movie Reviews


Seven episodes in (ten total) and I can at last do a proper review of this series.

This series is a love letter to everyone who enjoyed Next Generation. Picard is such a great character and it’s always joyous to see him return to the screen.

Some find the series slow but I think the pacing is perfect. It gives the story and characters time to fully develop.

The characters are great and they are allowing them to grow and be fleshed out over the course of the series. None are perfect—they all come with baggage—but that makes them real. Raffi especially is a damaged person, but she still tries to do her best and the right thing.

Slight spoilers:

Dahj and Soji the daughters of Data? Now that is just awesome.

Seven of Nine is basically a ranger now and needs her own show. (And yes, Jeri Ryan is still hot.)

The interaction between Soji and the Romulan was the weakest part, but now that he’s shown his true colors and she knows who she is, it’s kicked up into a higher gear.

Episode seven featured Picard visiting Will Riker, Deanna Troi, and their daughter. In another series (like Discovery) they would be bitter and hateful and bad things would happen because Picard visited them. But no, true to the pureness of Rodenberry’s vision and spirit, Riker and Deanna were happy and still in love. It was touching to watch.

Unlike Discovery, this is a show I will watch again. Highly recommended! And I can’t wait to see how it ends.


Released in 2018, this small film stars Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker, and Grace Park (Boomer/Athena/Number Eight from Battlestar Galactica.)

Young Chloe is not allowed to leave the house. Her father has barricaded them in, leaving only for food and supplies, telling her the world outside is very dangerous. But there’s something unique about Chloe and you wonder what is real and what’s not. What’s up with the ice cream truck outside? What happened to her mother? What is really going on?

This film is a unique take on the mutant genre. It’s small scale and intimate, and you can tell the creators and crew cared very much and made the most of their tiny budget. (The emphasis is on the characters, but the special effects are still well done.) While not a great film, that caring translates into a really solid film that will keep you guessing for a while.

Color Out of Space

An alien invasion movie based on a Lovecraft story of the same name.

The daughter is a practicing wiccan, the oldest son a stoner, the youngest son has security issues, mom has cancer, and dad (played by Nicolas Cage) is your typical bat-crap crazy Nicolas Cage. Oh, and they live on a remote estate, a hippie also lives on the land (Tommy Chong!), and they raise alpacas.

And things only get weirder when the meteor lands on their property and the alien entity starts to spread…

The movie is very trippy. It has elements of Annihilation and The Thing, and while the original story was set about a hundred years ago, this one is firmly planted in today’s time and modernized.

There’s not a lot I can say about it without giving the story away. That and the weirdness is difficult to describe. You have to see it to believe it!

If you like trippy films or just enjoy watching Nicolas Cage go even more bat-crap crazy, then this is an interesting movie to watch.

Ninja News

It was another great Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day! Thanks to all who participated and commented – and to those who offered to co-host. We are good to go the next two months.
We will also be announcing the genre and judges for the next IWSG Anthology Contest on April 1! You’ll have to wait until May 6 for the theme and the opening of the contest though. But the theme is really cool and we have seven awesome agents/authors/editors lined up as judges.

Write Club starts soon!
DL Hammons is looking for judges – see his site for more information and to contact him.

The A to Z Challenge starts April 1. (Which is also April Fool’s Day and the next IWSG post – it’s going to be busy in the blogging world!)
Visit the site to sign up and get the scoop on upcoming dates.

According to JoBlo, shooting will start soon for the Hawkeye series. Jeremey Renner will reprise his role as Hawkeye. The series is set to appear on Disney+.

Also on JoBlo, there is early praise for A Quiet Place: Part II:
The release of A QUIET PLACE: PART II is mere weeks away and one of the biggest questions leading up to its upcoming release is if it can possibly live up to the nerve-racking inducing horror and tension of the first film? It might be time for some of us to rest easy because the film recently screened for the first round of press and it appears that we're in for a sequel that isn't a shameless cash grab and it more than justifies its existence.

Have you been watching Picard? Seen either Freaks or Color Out of Space? Excited about the next IWSG Anthology Contest? Participating in either the A to Z Challenge or Write Club?
My next post will be March 23.