Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, June Movie Preview, Death Love and Robots Review, and What to Watch


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 June 1 posting of the IWSG are SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!

June 1 question - When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

I might slow down, but I’m rather determined, so I just power through. I let the story simmer a bit and usually I figure it out. And by simmer, I just let it slide to the back burner and allow ideas to come and go, but I don’t dwell on it or let it drive me nuts. That won’t help a thing.


The IWSG has launched a new program - IWSG In-Person Writing Groups.
We have the basics set up and you can register your group under the IWSG banner right now. But watch for more as we expand this option!




Ninja News

Sunday was the last stop of the CassaDark tour with Armed With a Book!

Looking for something to watch?

Mystery Science Theater 3000’s next season is rocking over at the Gizmoplex, their own platform. Season pass gets you access to a ton of back shows of MST3K as well as the new season.

Season four of Stranger Things dropped last week! You can binge all seven episodes now.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is several episodes into its first season. This one harkens back to the very first Star Trek series from the sixties in tone and feel. (Although my wife still wonders why everyone on the bridge is a woman…)

And Obi-Wan Kenobi just kicked off.

Love, Death, and Robots Series Review


Season three ushers in some stunning animation. And be warned, a lot of gore. Some of the highlights:
Bad Traveling – A ship’s crew must meet the demands of a giant, man-eating crab in their hold. Animated people are good, animated gore best.
The Very Pulse of the Machine – One of the few cell animated (and the only one with no gore), this excellent piece is trippy and would fit right into the Heavy Metal universe.
Night of the Mini Dead – Computer animated miniature train sets invaded by zombies. Get past the first scene (which is just wrong!) and this is the funniest of the bunch.
Swarm – Great animation, this one begins introspective and ends pure horror. (And thus the gore.)
In the Vaulted Halls Entombed – The military meets Cthulhu, this one is great and boasts stunning animation.

Jibaro
– Deaf Spanish knight meets Puerto Rican siren. Great story and the absolutely most amazing animation you will ever see. The water is stunning. Closest to real I have ever seen – dying to know how they did it.
This series is definitely recommended if you can handle the gore!


June Movie Preview

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


10 –


Jurassic World Domination
Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live--and hunt--alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history's most fearsome creatures in a new Era.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill
Fossil fuel is bad – bring on the electric dinosaur!


17 –



Spiderhead

In the near future, convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects to shorten their sentence. One such subject for a new drug capable of generating feelings of love begins questioning the reality of his emotions.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth, Jurnee Smollett, Nathan Jones
Does whatever a Spiderhead can!



Lightyear

The story of Buzz Lightyear and his adventures to infinity and beyond.
Director: Angus MacLane
Stars: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, Taika Waititi
A movie about a child’s toy that isn’t a toy but a real astronaut on another world who inspires a toy based on a guy we should know nothing about…what?!



What do you do when the going gets tough? Interested in an IWSG In-Person Group? Watching any new series? Seen Death Love and Robots? Seeing any movies this month?
If you get a chance, visit Armed With a Book!
Enjoy June - see you July 6 for the next IWSG post.

Friday, May 27, 2022

CassaDark Tour Ends and New Releases

The last stop of the CassaDark tour on May 29, Sunday - Armed With a Book!



New Releases!!


Spine Tingling by Elizabeth S. Craig

The Village Library Mysteries | Book 7
Unintended snooping can mean getting into someone's bad books.
Links to purchase o all platforms can be found here.



Fool’s Iron by Melissa Maygrove

The way to a man's heart is through his ego.
The way to a woman's heart is through her child.

Find it on Amazon



Chaos in the Jungle and Other Stories by Rachna Chhabria

Enter a forest, a garden, a meadow, a field, and a classroom, where the birds, insects and animals are all too human.
Find it on Amazon






Visit Armed With a Book on Sunday and I will see you Wednesday, June 1 for Insecure Writer’s Support Group day!

Monday, May 9, 2022

Reviews: The Northman and Doctor Strange, A to Z Challenge Favorites, and New Releases

This Wednesday, I’m visiting Shannon Lawrence!

Movie Reviews


Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness


Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.
This is how the movie is being billed. This is not the movie at all!
Without giving anything away, it’s another solid if a bit underwhelming entry into the Marvel Universe.
I was a bit disappointed with the main villain. (No spoilers.) And for whatever reason, I just wasn’t as fully invested as I was in other Marvel films.
Sam Raimi directorial style lends itself well to this horror-tinged Marvel entry. He throws in a lot of Evil Dead references.
There are a ton of surprise guests that relate back to the Disney+ television shows. And even more than that. (And one Sam Raimi regular that will make you smile.)
There were not enough multiverses. They flash through dozens on the first venture, but there are only two they dwell in.
Overall I liked it, and everyone did a great job in their roles, but I didn’t love it.
Recommended for fans and for fun.


The Northman


An action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder.
This is the original Hamlet, based on a Norse story. (Shakespeare wrote his Hamlet after reading this story.) Alexander Skarsgård is Hamlet, Nicole Kidman his mother, Claes Bang his murderous uncle, Ethan Hawke his father, and Anya Taylor-Joy is Olga, his love.
If you know the works of director Eggers, you know this is going to be a bit strange. Go into it thinking art house meets action film.
Skarsgård is perfect as Hamlet. A hulking Viking figure. On a noble quest that goes horribly awry.
It really had the feel of an epic Viking tale. From the haunting soundtrack, the strange musical interludes, and the incredible cinematography. And a special mention to some of the camera shots which I have no idea how the director got them.
This is a film for anyone who is in the mood for something different, something other than the standard Hollywood fare.
If the above review hasn’t scared you away, then I highly recommend it.

A to Z Challenge


Those of you who participated in the A to Z Challenge, did you have fun? I participated the first year and for many years afterwards as an admin, but I know it would overwhelm me now. Life changes.

There were some fun themes though. In case you missed them, here are some I enjoyed. (Being the geek that I am.)

Diedre Knight’s posts focused on design, namely unique designs of buildings around the world. Every day was fascinating. Most of the places I’d never heard of but would love to visit someday.

J.S. Pailly did a series on Our Place in Space. In his words - I’ll be taking you on a partly imaginative and highly optimistic tour of humanity’s future in outer space. And it was a fun and educational adventure.

P.T. Dilloway posted his collection of action figures, which is impressive considering he covered every letter! Since I’m a DC guy, some of the Marvel character he posted were new to me.

Carrie-Anne paid homage to famous people from Ukraine, really giving in depth history into their lives. Amazing the talent that came from that area.

And Challenge founder Arlee Bird posted about his remaining vinyl collection. Want a trip back to the 60’s and 70’s? Check it out and thank him for starting the A to Z Challenge.

New Releases and More


Particular Passages 2: East Wing
Featuring The Killing Tree by Shannon Lawrence

15 Stories 15 Authors
Down another forgotten hallway lie more unexplored rooms.
Each room contains another world waiting to be discovered.
Some are wonderful and beautiful, others are dark and terrible.
You won't know which until you step inside.
So take a deep breath, and open the door...


Find it on Amazon



The Omen of Crows Nest by Cathrina Constantine


No blood. No body. No murder.
That's what the police found after Penelope spun her bizarre tale. In a hysterical state, she said her father was butchered and eaten by a mob of birds ~ in her bedroom.
They claim she's crazy.
That she suffers from delusions.
Penelope is dead set on proving them wrong.
After being institutionalized for eight months, Penelope is out and more determined than ever to find answers to her so-called hallucinations. With her father's untimely disappearance, she's convinced her family is hiding something sinister.


Find it on Amazon


And finally, the IWSG was asked to do a podcast and Diane Wolfe represented us. Check it out!
Voice America




Have you seen either movie and what did you think? What were some of your favorite themes during the A to Z Challenge? Picking up new books?

Be sure to visit Shannon Lawrence on Wednesday!

My final tour stop will be Friday, May 27 at Armed With a Book. Outside of that, I’ll see you June 1 for the next IWSG!


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, May Movie Preview, Series Influencer, Star One Answers, and Ninja News


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 May 4 posting of the IWSG are Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!


Big news today! We are welcoming a new IWSG Admin to the team - Sandra Cox!
She will take on the Publications/Conferences page.
Please stop by her site and thank her for donating her time to this awesome group!

May 4 question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Writer highs include the first draft done, cruising through edits and hearing from readers who enjoyed my books. Lows are when I a out of story ideas or slogging through the first draft.

CassaDark tour continues! Today I am visiting Damyanti Biswas and Christine Rains
On May 11, I’m visiting Shannon Lawrence


A Series Influencer by Sandra Cox

I’ll watch nearly any series, any genre, if the characters pull me in. Three of my favorites that have strong characters are: Black List, Reacher and Longmire. All different but all with protagonists that stick around a long time after the television is flicked off. Since I write Westerns, Longmire particularly stuck with me. The two main characters, Walt Longmire performed by Robert Taylor and ‘Vic’ Moretti performed by Katie Sackhoff, played well off each other. Their amazing chemistry strengthened the acting of the other in this modern-day police thriller set in the wilds of Wyoming.

Those two personas influenced two of my main characters in the Mateo series. One of the primary differences between Mateo and Walt: Mateo is a shifter. Somehow, I don’t see Walt Longmire shifting, do you? 😊


MATEO’S BLOOD BROTHER by Sandra Cox

Behind the amicable façade is a man who’s tough and determined. He’s Mateo’s Blood Brother.
They were friends, close as brothers. Then they weren’t.
Mateo and Jesse are cautiously working their way back to friendship when Jesse discovers the unthinkable. Delilah, the sultry shifter who’d had affairs with both men, is still alive. The tumble she took over a mountain ridge—a fall that nearly killed Mateo—should have finished her.
Now, there’s no choice but for the two men to work together to take down a she-devil straight from hell. As the stakes escalate and the hunt becomes more intense, another wolf appears on the scene. Always where Jesse’s at. Always when he’s in trouble. Jesse is divided between ending Delilah, a new love interest, discovering the identity of a certain brown wolf and staying alive.


Available at Amazon

A funky little giveaway:
Commenters names will go into the proverbial hat and one name will be drawn to win an I Heart Books stretch bracelet.

And happy to say I was the winner on another site and soon my wife will be enjoying the bracelet. Thanks, Sandra!

Ninja News


New release:

Revenge of the Space-Surfing Butt Monkeys (Gale Harbour Book Two) by C.D. Gallant-King

Newfoundland, Canada, 1993.
It's been a year since a handful of kids defeated the Psycho Hose Beast in the sleepy town of Gale Harbour, Newfoundland. Our heroes have entered into the era of rollerblades, Super Nintendo and oversized plaid shirts… unless you’re a goth, then it’s the era of Maybelline eyeliner, boots with too many buckles, and infected safety-pin piercings.
Thirteen-year-old Niall O'Neil is navigating a blossoming relationship with his crush, Harper Jeddore. Unfortunately, the power that allowed them to defeat the monster from the deep is still within them, and they are no closer to understanding or controlling it. When just touching your girlfriend can kill innocent bystanders, it complicates the already precarious practice of teenage dating.
But lurking in the backdrop of teenage romance, a sinister power is growing in Gale Harbour, and dangerous people are turning up in the small town with possibly deadly intentions.
Will the kids defeat this new threat? What did the US Air Force leave in the abandoned Hansen Air Force base? What is a space-surfing butt monkey? And most importantly—will anyone get to touch a boob?

Horror / Science fiction / Comedy
Print ISBN 9798542434674 $13.99 USD
eBook ASIN B09RKG6772 $3.99 USD
Find it on Amazon, Amazon CA, and Amazon UK

C.D. Gallant-King is a comic fantasy and horror writer currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, though he was born and raised in Newfoundland, in a town eerily similar to Gale Harbour. He has self-published four novels, including HELL COMES TO HOGTOWN, which was a semi-finalist in Mark Lawrence’s 2018 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. His short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies by Mystery & Horror LLC and Dancing Lemur Press, as well as in The Weird and Whatnot magazine.
Find CD here - website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Goodreads

Star One Lyric Answers

Knowing no fear, feeling no pain
No grief, no compassion, no guilt and no shame

The Terminator, song title – Fate of Man.

He lost his aim, each day the same
He's had enough of this boring game

Groundhog Day, song title – Today is Yesterday.


May Movie Preview

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



6 –


Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Elizabeth Olsen, Michael Stuhlbarg
Multiverse of Madness – sure it’s Dr. Strange and not Dr. Fauci?


13 –


Firestarter
A young girl tries to understand how she mysteriously gained the power to set things on fire with her mind.
Director: Keith Thomas
Stars: Zac Efron, Kurtwood Smith, Gloria Reuben, Ryan Kiera Armstrong
A remake because fire has come such a long way since 1984…


27 –


Top Gun: Maverick
After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy's top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Val Kilmer
Who does Maverick fight this time? His age.


What are your writer highs and lows? Your writing influences? Get the Star One songs right? And what movies interest you this month?
Be sure to visit Damyanti Biswas and Christine Rains!