Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, November Movie Preview, and Damyanti Biswas with Some Bollywood Horror!

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 November 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

Today’s question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I have, twice. Won the first time, came close the second. (Second time was a June event, but it was the same principle.) I'm a slow writer, so an event like NaNo is the kick in the butt I need to get it done. I go in with a detailed plan though. Can't imagine just writing with no plan!

We need hosts for December, January, and February!!! These are tough months so if you can help, we will be most grateful. If you have never co-hosted, please volunteer. It’s a lot more fun on the co-host side. Really! You get a ton more visitors, meet a lot of new people, and get to showcase yourself as a writer/author.

A Little Bollywood Horror

Please welcome my longtime friend and author, Damyanti Biswas!

Halloween is a relatively new celebration in India, more a marketing gimmick for eateries and costume shops than anything else.

The concept of horror movies though is pretty well established in Bollywood, and it is these traditions that have inspired some of the scenes in my latest book, The Blue Monsoon.

The Blue Monsoon is a literary thriller, but I wanted to incorporate horror/ cult elements in it, especially from the Bollywood movie tradition, which often features witches with long hair. Hair is a recurring theme in the book.

Here’s an excerpt:
Hair. So much hair hanging from long ropes strung across the open roof, like witches slung up in some medieval ritual against a gloomy sky, threatening rain. Even in broad daylight though, the thick clusters of dripping hair made her think of watching eyes, of dark, fetid places. Her skin crawled at the sight of all that shiny black, swaying gently in the wind, sinister, assessing, as if ready to rise in the air and surround her.

Since this book is set during the dark monsoons, I hope the use of movie-inspired scene props gives it that creepy, gothic air.

What kind of horror tropes and props have you seen in books and movies? Which are your favorites?

Find Damyanti Biswas at her blog.

Pick up The Blue Monsoon here.

November Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for November. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

10 –

The Marvels
Director: Nia DaCosta
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, Iman Vellani
Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.
Superheroes, right? Not the 50’s R&B group?

22 –

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Ludivine Sagnier
The film takes a personal look at Napoleon Bonaparte's origins, and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor viewed through the prism of his addictive, and often volatile, relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine.
Phoenix was so method, he never took his hand out of his shirt…

December 1 –

Godzilla Minus One
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Stars: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Yûki Yamada
Godzilla appears in post-World-War-II Japan, which is at its low point at zero, and knocks the country down one to the negatives.
Let’s hope that’s the title and not the average score on Rotten Tomatoes…

Have you participated in NaNo? Like the Blue Monsoon excerpt? Any of those movies strike your fancy? And can you co-host in the coming months? Please leave a comment or send me an email!
And Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, The Creator Movie Review, Commenting Issues, and October 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 October 4 posting of the IWSG are Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

Today’s question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

The Writer’s Guild strike recently ended as they were fighting against AI writing. They won, but I predict it won’t be long before they don’t and AI replaces most writers. (I think AI will replace a lot of workers unless one knows a trade.)  AI just needs a touch of humanity first.

And while on this topic, have none of these people seen The Terminator? It doesn’t end well for us…

Plus it leads into my movie review!

Movie Review – The Creator

From the IMDB: Against the backdrop of a war between humans and robots with artificial intelligence, a former soldier finds the secret weapon, a robot in the form of a young child.
Directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One, Godzilla, Monsters) and starring John David Washington (Tenant), Madeleine Yuna Voyles, and Ken Watanabe.
Visually, it is just stunning. Beyond words. Edwards excels at that.
He also excels at the human condition. As with all of his movies, the emphasis is on the people.
There were a lot of elements from other movies though. Black man saving Asian child – it’s The Golden Child without the humor!
While I didn’t love it, I did really like it. Excellent science fiction film and that rare one-and-done film that wasn’t a sequel or a prequel or part of a series. One that will mesmerize you in the theater.

Commenting Issues

I know I’m not the only one who gets this:

It only appears with Blogger blogs with embedded comments as opposed to a popup window. Most of the time, I can sign in with Google, hit ‘Allow”, and all is good. (Although if you get that middle image, the third image never appears and you definitely can't sign in.) But more often now, it won’t let me. I did find a setting in my browser that for individual sites, I can turn off protection, which allows me to comment. However, that is a risky thing.

So, if anyone else has a solution, let me know. (Besides encouraging everyone with a Blogger blog to switch to a popup comment box…)

October Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for October. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

6 –

The Exorcist: Believer
Director: David Gordon Green
Stars: Jennifer Nettles, Ellen Burstyn, Ann Dowd
Sequel to the 1973 film about a 12-year-old girl who is possessed by a mysterious demonic entity, forcing her mother to seek the help of two priests to save her.
I believe Ellen Burnstyn is really old in her role now…

20 –

Killers of the Flower Moon
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone
Members of the Osage tribe in the United States are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s, sparking a major F.B.I. investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover.
Flower Moon is my favorite Marvel superhero! (Those of you who know Scorsese’s take on Marvel movies will get that.)

29 –

Miracle in East Texas
Two con men try to convince a group of widows to invest in worthless oil wells during the Great Depression.
Director: Kevin Sorbo
Stars: John Ratzenberger, Kevin Sorbo, Louis Gossett Jr.
Hercules fights bandits during the Great Depression.

What’s your take on AI? Have you seen The Creator? Any commenting suggestions? And what movies catch your attention for October?

Monday, September 18, 2023

Top Ten Werewolf Movies and IWSG Day Responses

Today I have a special guest, fellow author and my publisher, L. Diane Wolfe!

Top 10 Werewolf Movies

In celebration of the release of the third novella in my series, In Darkness: The Werewolf, Alex asked me about the top ten werewolf movies. There are dozens of lists, so I decided to go with MY top ten werewolf movies.

Silver Bullet – 1985

In a small town, brutal killings start to plague the close knit community. Marty Coslaw, a paraplegic boy, is convinced the murders are the doings of a werewolf.
This one will always be my favorite. I loved the story and the scenes with the werewolf scared the crap out of me. (I should mention that most werewolf movies scare me. A giant, vicious, furry creature outside? Probably why I never camped in a tent.) And I do own that German movie poster to the right, too.

Brotherhood of the Wolf – 2001
In 18th-century France, the Chevalier de Fronsac and his Native American friend Mani are sent to the Gevaudan province at the king's behest to investigate the killings of hundreds by a mysterious beast.
This foreign film is so stylish. There are so many things going on besides the beast killing people and quite a twist near the end.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – 2009
An origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the race of aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.
I could’ve filled up most of this list with the Underworld films since they all have lycans in them. This hits all the notes and is bittersweet.

Ginger Snaps – 2000

Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf.
This was a big surprise for such a small film. You really care about the two leads.

The Cabin in the Woods – 2011
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
The werewolf is only in a little bit of this crazy-ass film, but he looks the part!

An American Werewolf in London – 1981
Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.
This one tops most lists as the transformation by Rick Baker was revolutionary at the time. Another bittersweet tale.

What We Do in The Shadows – 2014

Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are vampires who are struggling with the mundane aspects of modern life, like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
Just a lot of laughs and the vampires are sworn enemies of the werewolves.

The Wolf of Snow Hollow – 2020
Terror grips a small mountain town as bodies are discovered after each full moon. Losing sleep, raising a teenage daughter, and caring for his ailing father, officer Marshall struggles to remind himself there's no such thing as werewolves.
Not perfect, but another quirky film that was tense and enjoyable.

The Howling – 1981
After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.
Another one that tops a lot of lists, this classic is good but best when the werewolves are not clearly seen.

Wolfen – 1981
A New York cop investigates a series of brutal deaths that resemble animal attacks.
It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but this was a unique take on the legend and very brooding.

So, there you have it – my favorite werewolf movies!

In Darkness: The Werewolf
By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…
On her own in England, Vicki trains at a prestigious fencing school. Face marred by a birthmark, she’s suspicious of Nicholas’ attention. A dinner date reveals his genuine interest and they begin to connect. Nicholas is attractive and she wonders why he’s so shy and reclusive.
Then one evening she happens upon him changing into a lycan. Every werewolf legend is challenged by the gentle, fearful creature before her. Vickie accepts his secret, but Nicholas knows he’s an unpredictable beast. Can they trust love enough to overcome their physical challenges?

Romance/Paranormal/Shifter, Romance/Paranormal, Fantasy/Paranormal
$3.99 eBook ISBN 9781939844927
Links: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribed, and Goodreads

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Find her: website, blog, and at the IWSG site.

IWSG Day Responses

To say the last IWSG day was overwhelming is an understatement. You guys are amazing! So many touching responses to the question about what the IWSG means to you. Too many to name for sure!

I never envisioned this group would still be going twelve years later. The blog hop is smaller, but that’s all right. More intimate. (And I managed to visit everyone last time!) We also have other IWSG groups for writers to join – Facebook, Twitter/X, and Instagram. Pus don’t forget there is our newsletter and the main website.

So, thanks to everyone who is a part of the IWSG in some way. I’m excited it means a safe haven for writers for those who participate, because that’s exactly what I wanted A place for all of us insecure writers to hang out!

What are your favorite werewolf films? What did you think of the IWSG responses this month? You guys rock!

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Twelve Year Anniversary and September 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 September 6 posting of the IWSG are Sonia Dogra, J Lenni Dorner, Pat Garcia, Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen, and Meka James!

Today’s question: The IWSG celebrates 12 years today! When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

Over twelve years ago, a casual comment to a writer friend led me to the name and idea of an Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

We began as this blog hop before launching the website a year later. Then followed Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a newsletter. And book contests! Our Twitter pitch, #IWSGPit. Plus we even sell IWSG swag. (Profits help pay for the domain name and email.)

First, big shout-out to my fellow IWSG Admins - Michelle, Diane, Pat, C. Lee, Juneta, Sandra, and the dozen previous admins who kept everything going.

Second, a big shout-out to all of you! Those of you participating in the blog hop, members of the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram groups, subscribe to the newsletter, participated in the contests and #IWSGPit, support writers by reading…you are all awesome!

September Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for September. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

1 –

The Equalizer 3
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, David Denman, Sonia Ammar Robert McCall finds himself at home in Southern Italy but he discovers his friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends' protector by taking on the mafia.
How many sequels do we need before Denzel can balance his checkbook?

15 –

A Haunting in Venice
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kelly Reilly, Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh
In post-World War II Venice, Poirot, now retired and living in his own exile, reluctantly attends a seance. But when one of the guests is murdered, it is up to the former detective to once again uncover the killer.
Spoiler alert – the gondola did it!

22 –

Director: Scott Waugh
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, 50 Cent. Megan Fox, Dolph Lundgren
The Expendables will square up against an arms dealer who commands the might of a massive private army.
Surprisingly, this movie is about tea parties and long, intricate conversations…not!

When did you discover the IWSG and what has it meant to you? Any movies catch your interest this month?
Be back in a couple weeks with a special guest!