Monday, September 13, 2021

Small Forgotten Moments, Movie and Show Reviews, and New Releases!

If you loved these films, you might like Small Forgotten Moments

It’s my husband’s bugbear that I rarely watch new films. Of course, I do, but not as many as him, so when Alex suggested I share the films which tie in with my latest novel, Small Forgotten Moments, I realised I’d be taking you on a small detour into the dark and murky past…

The Others
Intense and claustrophobic, this is a film where nothing is what it seems. Despite the peaceful, almost docile ambience, the viewer is left unsettled and, personally speaking, more than a little creeped out.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
A wonderful observation on the effect and importance of memories. Although Small Forgotten Moments had to follow a linear path, I love books and films which don’t, and this is an excellent example.


While Eternal Sunshine looks at giving up memories, Memento deals with those which are never made and the struggles Guy Pierce’s character endures – battling through the fog to discover the truth.

Vincent and the Doctor (Doctor Who, series 5, episode 10)
I’ve included this because it’s such a beautiful portrayal of the artistic mind – fragile yet resilient. And because I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who. I doubt there’s anything more poignant than Amy running back into the museum when she thinks they saved Vincent expecting to see brand ‘new’ work. And nothing more stunning for an artist/author/musician to hear what their work means to people so far into a future they’ll never know. Bill Nighy gives an excellent speech where he expresses how important van Gogh is to the world. I cried when I first saw it; I’ve shed a tear each time since.

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and canine writing partner, Artoo. She is the author of four short story collections, and two novels.

Links: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Movie & Show Reviews

The Suicide Squad

Definitely the best film I’ve seen all year!
James Gunn brought his A game as director and brings out the best in every character.
It’s funny on so many levels. Plus sleek and stylish. So many great characters and moments.
A superior follow up to Suicide Squad, this was well worth the movie theater tickets and the HBO Max viewings. (Many!)
My wife would like to mention that you really have to pay attention to Weasel.
Highly recommended!

F9: The Fast Saga

Another entertaining entry in the saga.
Not the best, but it brought back a lot of favorites and a few you thought were long gone.
Charlize Theron returns as Cipher and just as evil as ever.
Still missing Paul Walker, but as always, a special nod to him.

Black Widow

A side adventure with Natasha and a final farewell to the character.
David Harbour is hilarious although it is Florence Pugh as Natasha’s ‘sister’ that steals the show.
Not the best Marvel film, but a lot of fun.

RiffTrax: Hobgoblins

MST3K did this film years ago, so I’d seen it riffed before. However, probably 90% of the jokes were new, which was a lot of fun. After almost two years of nothing, it was a delight to see the guys again. They brought their A game (plenty of time to practice!) and it was hilarious.
Enjoy the screen shots.

Monsters of Man

A very low -budget film, it’s actually quite impressive. The robot-killers are Terminator-like and the special effects really good.
It’s a bit long, but the cast and crew really put forth an effort.
The last third is a bit tedious as the Millennials do what they do best – scream and don’t follow instructions. If this were A Quiet Place, they would all be dead!


Starring Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) the movie starts out slow and depressing. This guy’s life really sucks! And then, something happens, and his past life comes out with a vengeance.
From that point, it is bat-crap crazy. Super violent fights. Super-spy type clever set-ups and twists. Odenkirk owns the role and plays it with gusto. Awesome ending!
Highly recommended

What If…?

An animated series exploring the ‘what ifs’ of the Marvel Universe. What if Peggy Carter became Captain America instead? What if T’Challa became Star Lord? The stories grew progressively better as the show went along.
While interesting and sporting many original voices (although not all) my interest waned.
Watch if you are curious.

Brand New Cherry Flavor

Naked Lunch meets Blue Velvet. Bat-crap crazy but not in a great way. Very disturbing, gross, and weird. Well shot and well acted though – high production values. This is a show for a very niche audience looking for something completely different and unsettling.
I can’t recommend it.

New Releases!

BETRAYED : A Renaissance Vampire Romance - Vipunin (Book One)
by Silver Tree/Denise Covey
Vampires have killed Vipunin’s family, now they’re coming for him!
Duke Vipunin de Castellina is his murdered father’s rightful heir.
To claim his inheritance, he rides from Florence to Castellina in Tuscany, where not all welcome him.
Vampires lie in wait in the forest. Vipunin and his army of de’ Medici knights battle for survival.
He calls on every one of his talents – his speed, his sword, his dagger, but is powerless against the vampire queen.
Is everything he gained - his beloved, his inheritance – lost? Lost to a betrayer? Or will revenge be bittersweet?
But to enact revenge he must become the very creature he despises.
Duke Vipunin de Castellina must embrace a wholly new life.
The life of a vampire.
And so the saga of Duke Vipunin de Castellina begins!
Betrayed, first in Denise Covey's series of Renaissance Paranormal Romance, follows the adventures of Duke Vipunin de Castellina. Come with her on a glittering trip through Florence, to Castellina in Tuscany where the action begins and never lets up.

Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, and Amazon AU

NIGHT SEASONS: An Occult Thriller of World War Two by Roland Yeomans

Existence has seasons.
The cruel winds of WWII destroyed with the Storm Season. A frigid dawn threatens with the Season of Treachery and its cold war of uneasy allies turned enemies.
Four former O.S.S. agents, one a Seraph Provocateur, are trying to survive the Night Season prior to that dawn.
It is an uncertain struggle:
Across dark waters aboard the ghost ship, SS Ourang Medan, spawned by WWII,
Fighting the gnomes of Zurich desperate to keep the spoils gained from that war,
Striving to keep “their tickets from being punched” aboard an occult train to Vienna filled with vengeful fellow passengers: gypsy witches, vampiric S.S. officers, and greedy human spies.
With pit stops in the past and in an eerie future yet to be.
It is a dark season, but it has its lights:
Friendship, Humor, Courage
But the greatest of these Lights is: Love
In the end, it is not if you survive the journey, but only if you traveled it well.

Find it on Amazon

Think you’d enjoy Small Forgotten Moments? Did you watch any of those films or shows in the past couple months? Picking up Betrayed or Night Seasons?
And who is ready for the next RiffTrax movie on October 26 - Amityville: The Evil Escapes?

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, September 2021 Movie Preview, #IWSGPit, Defining Success, and New Book 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.

My awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

September 1 question - How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Success to me was just having a book published. Holding it in my hands and watching people read and enjoy it was success.
Since that first book, there have been several others (and audio books), some hitting the top of the charts on Amazon, and providing royalty checks that did indeed pay the mortgage. Plus the reviews and readers reaching out for more. Opportunities to be in multiple anthologies. Not to mention being able to start the IWSG!
But it all comes back to that first book. That was success. All else has been bonus!

Today is the deadline for the IWSG Anthology Contest! Sweet romance – first love. Get your entries in by midnight EST tonight!

The next #IWSGPit Twitter pitch event is January 26, 2022!
See the IWSG site for details, hashtags, and more.

New Releases!

Small Forgotten Moments by Annalisa Crawford

Is Zenna a muse, a sleep-deprived apparition, or something much more sinister?
Suffering long-term amnesia, artist Jo Mckye is ready to start a fresh, new project after the success of her debut exhibition. But the fictional subject of the collection, Zenna, won’t let go so easily. Infiltrating Jo’s dreams—and increasingly, her waking hours—Zenna is fast becoming a dangerous obsession.
Jo is confident the answers lie at her childhood home, an idyllic Cornish village on the south-east coast; she just doesn’t know why. Only when she walks into the sea and almost drowns does the past start to unravel.

Universal purchase links HERE

One Year On Broadway: Finding Ourselves Between the Sand and the Sea by Kathryn McKendry

A true story of forbidden love, adventure, and letting go
How do you know when it’s time to close one chapter of your life and begin a new one? To let go of the past, open your heart, and trust in a new beginning?
At first we said, “no.” We knew it was ridiculous.
And yet something in our hearts led us back to the Island.
Having no idea where it would lead, my husband and I took a leap of faith and became co-producers of the Broadway Revival of Once On This Island, the musical that had given us so much.
Even if it failed, we would have a great story to tell.
We ended up with so much more.

Find it on Amazon

The Cure by Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne

Every human in the world becomes a zombie when they die. But Erin refuses to accept the world as it is now. She’s heard about a cure locked away in a lab in Upper Michigan, and she plans on retrieving it. To do so, she needs a zombie. Not just any zombie, though.
Zee is Erin’s link to the lab. His connection to the living world is her bargaining chip. But only if she can teach him to control his mindless impulses.
Can a zombie be trained? Or will Erin be Zee’s next meal and become a zombie herself? The fate of humanity rests in her hands.

Universal purchase link HERE 
Add on Goodreads

Fractured Princess by Debra Renee Byrd

Jonnie is the last princess of the Crystal Bearers, once a powerful people. When she was a baby, the metal army destroyed what was left of them, and now it is hunting her. Her watchmen keep her just out of the metal army’s reach, but she has spent her seventeen years running and hiding. Instead of standing by while her watchmen keep risking their lives for her, she decides to learn how to fight alongside them.
On the journey to hone her skills, long hidden secrets about her people reveal a connection between the Crystal Bearers and the metal army that only fuels Jonnie's will to defeat it. But the more she learns about her own powers, the more she realizes she may be responsible for the metal army – and the destruction of her people.

Find it on Amazon

September Movie Preview

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

3 –

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi, the master of unarmed weaponry based Kung Fu, is forced to confront his past after being drawn into the Ten Rings organization.
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Stars: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Michelle Yeoh
When One Ring isn’t enough to rule them all...

17 –

Cry Macho
A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam, Fernanda Urrejola, Brytnee Ratledge
Finally - a movie where Eastwood teaches Millennials how to be men…

What is success to you as a writer? Will you have something ready for #IWSGPit? Picking up more books? Either movie catch your eye? Don’t forget – last day to enter the IWSG Anthology Contest!
Next Monday is Labor Day and I will be offline. Come back the following Monday for a slew of movie reviews and more!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, August Movie Preview, Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murrary, IWSG Anthology Contest, CassaDark Tour & Reviewers, and More!

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.

My awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

August 4 question - What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it, you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder.
Despite it being a book for screenwriters, it has so much valuable information. I first read it after drafting CassaFire and the fifteen beats really struck me especially as I could see those beats in my story. I continue to pick it up and learn something new each time.

The IWSG Anthology Contest is open until September 1, so check out the details. Sweet romance – first love!!!!

It’s also the month the domain for the IWSG is renewed. I am happy to cover this, however – any purchase of IWSG swag goes to cover this expense. (Diane was nice enough to set this up for us.) Some cool stuff – please consider making a purchase this month.

Please welcome Toi Thomas as she takes over the IWSG Goodreads Book Club!
We’ve got some changes in the works and Toi will taking those head-on next month. Juneta and Ronell will continue to assist as moderators.

And finally – we need co-hosts for the rest of the year! Leave a comment or send an email if you can help one of the four months.

Jacqui Murray and Laws of Nature

The famous Lucy skeleton (found by Donald Johanson) was a 3.2 million year old Australopithecine, 1.5 million years older than this story. Why use that name?

Congratulations—you know your paleoanthropology! This story’s Lucy is more evolved than her namesake, I chose a name often associated with prehistoric man to make the story familiar to readers.

Laws of Nature by Jacqui Murray
Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Prehistoric fiction
A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.
Find on Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Amazon AU, and Amazon IN 

Find Jacqui website, blog, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Amazon

August Movie Preview

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

6 –

The Suicide Squad
Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Mikaela Hoover
Anything with Starro in it is cool with me.
*And saw the movie tonight - hilarious! One of the best films I've seen this year.

13 –

Free Guy
A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.
Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Utkarsh Ambudkar
Reynolds is not the best when it comes to picking movies…

17 –

RiffTrax – Hobgoblins
At an abandoned old movie studio, security guards keep getting mysteriously murdered. The mystery: Why are there so many security guards for an abandoned old movie studio?! But forget that; the real secret is Hobgoblins! Cheap rubber puppets from outer space! Who vaguely resemble Gremlins! But not enough to bring on a lawsuit! Their power: they’ll make your wildest fantasies come true, and then you die, laughingly and embarrassingly.
Get your tickets at Fathom Events
The world needs laughter right now – go see it!

20 –

A scientist discovers a way to relive your past and uses the technology to search for his long lost love.
Director: Lisa Joy
Stars: Natalie Martinez, Rebecca Ferguson, Hugh Jackman, Thandiwe Newton
My wife saw that Jackman was in it, so I’m committed now…

And I’m excited to finally have a new book coming out!
Looking for tour dates next April and reviewers now.
Pre-order links: iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribed, and Dancing Lemur Press
Add it on Goodreads

What’s your favorite writing craft book? Entering IWSG Anthology Contest? (One month to go!) Into prehistoric fiction? Ready for some movies this month? And can you help with a tour date or a review for CassaDark?
I will take most of August off but watch for my thoughts on RiffTrax: Hobgoblins on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Damien Larkin and War Movies, and July Movie Preview

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 July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, Chemist Ken, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

July 7 question
- What would make you quit writing?
I have an awesome guest today, so skipping the question. Damien Larkin's next Mars book just came out, Blood Red Sand, (reading it now!) and his first book was what I'd call bat-crap crazy! (Big Red)

Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology Contest is now open! Genre – sweet romance, theme – first love. See the site for details.
And please note this definition of romance from RWA:
Definition: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Damien Larkin, War Movies, and Blood Red Sand’s Release

Being a military sci-fi writer, it’s probably no surprise that I’m a big fan of war movies. With so many fantastic movies out there, it’s been a challenge to narrow it down and pick out my favourites. Hopefully, you’ll find something here that catches your eye and brings you a few hours of entertainment!

Full Metal Jacket
(1987): This classic film was written, produced and directed by legendary director Stanley Kubrick. Following a group of Marines from their brutal basic training to the Vietnam meatgrinder, this movie is filled with shocking and vicious scenes. Even decades later this is a powerful and moving classic film.

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006): Directed by Clint Eastwood, this movie is the companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers. Told from the Japanese point of view, we witness their grim acceptance of the fate that awaits them in the face of American military power. With virtually no hope of victory, Japanese soldiers dream of returning home to their loved ones yet are determined to defend their territory at all costs. Mr. Eastwood does a fantastic job of exploring the humanity of some of these soldiers, while not glossing over the savagery that awaited the American invasion force.

Platoon (1986): Directed and based partially on Oliver Stone’s experiences, this Vietnam war movie is packed with an all-star cast. Told from the POV of new recruit Charlie Sheen, we witness his struggles in a world completely alien to anything he’s ever experienced before. Rising tensions between feuding NCO’s culminate in one of the most recognisable scenes in modern cinema – with an epic battle scene towards the end to enjoy (look out for a brief cameo from Mr. Stone himself)!

Starship Troopers
(1997): Not exactly a traditional war movie (but hey, I’m a military sci-fi writer)! This incredible science fiction movie covers the Terran Federation’s war against the insidious Arachnids. Based on Robert Heinlein’s book of the same name, we follow reluctant soldier Johnny Rico’s progression from a raw recruit into a battle-hardened officer. Although criticised for its tongue-in-cheek jabs at fascism and excessive gore, this is a highly entertaining romp not to be missed.

The Siege of Jadotville (2016): This movie explores an event that, up until recently, has been airbrushed from Irish military history. In 1961, in the middle of the Congo Crisis, 120 Irish soldiers on UN duty were attacked and surrounded by a force ten times their size. For five days, they held out, inflicting casualties many times their number, without a single Irish soldier losing his life. Abandoned by the corrupt and incompetent upper echelons, they surrendered after running out of ammunition and were subsequently held hostage for a month.

Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. Visit his website.

Blood Red Sand

By Damien Larkin

Mars will run red with Nazi blood…
After World War Two, Sergeant McCabe knew the British army could send him anywhere. He never imagined facing down another Nazi threat on Mars.
In New Berlin colony, rivalry between Generalfeldmarschall Seidel’s Wehrmacht and Reichsführer Wagner’s SS threatens bloodshed. The Reichsführer will sacrifice everything to initiate the secretive Hollow Programme and realise his nightmarish future for humanity.
McCabe, Private Jenkins, and the Mars Expeditionary Force must overcome bullet, bomb, and bayonet to destroy the Third Reich. While Jenkins fights to stay alive, McCabe forms an uneasy alliance with MAJESTIC-12 operatives known as the Black Visors. Will this be the final battle of World War Two or the first confrontation in an interstellar war?

Science Fiction - Military FIC028050/Alternative History FIC040000/War & Military FIC32000
Print ISBN 9781939844781 / EBook ISBN 9781939844798

Find Blood Red Sand at Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Goodreads

July Movie Preview

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

9 –

Black Widow
A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
Director: Cate Shortland
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz
About time, Marvel. We’ve already had two Wonder Woman movies.

23 –

A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Embeth Davidtz, Thomasin McKenzie
The phrase never gets old does not apply to Shyamalan movies…

30 –

Jungle Cruise
Based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, Jesse Plemons
Unlike the ride, you’ll be amazed by the realistic animatronic Dwayne Johnson.

And in case you missed it last week, here is the cover for CassaDark, which comes out April 5, 2022!

What would make you quit writing? Favorite war movie? Entering the IWSG Anthology Contest? What movies catch your eye this month?