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 –


Old
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?

Monday, June 28, 2021

Breaking News!

This couldn’t wait until IWSG day. Cover reveal and CassaDark will be available for preorder this week!


CassaDark

By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Print - 9781939844842
EBook – 9781939844859
Science Fiction – Adventure/Space Opera/Space Exploration
Coming April 5, 2022

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prison planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each truth reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?


Movie Reviews


A Quiet Place Part 2

Just as good as the first one, this movie picks up exactly where the other one left off, with a quick flashback to show the invasion of the aliens. Many tense moments, made more intense as the characters split up and face new challenges. Couple times I wondered why the person was doing that, but overall an excellent film that is worth seeing in the theater.


F9

Dumb and over the top, just as expected. The scene in the previews with Dom and Letty’s car catching the rope and swinging wide over a large canyon? Nowhere near the craziest stunt in the film. They bring back many characters from the past, which is fun.
If you are a fan of the series, you’ll enjoy it.


The Conjuring III: The Devil Made Me Do It

The least of the three films so far. Not bad, but they pose a question throughout the film and then never resolve it! Frustrating. Glad I saw this at home and didn’t pay money for it.




I have an awesome guest next weeks, so be sure to stop by.

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.

See you next Wednesday for Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day!



What do you think of CassaDark’s cover? Seen any of the movies? Ready for IWSG day? Happy July Fourth to my American friends!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Quick Mid-June Update

Now that today is a National holiday, I am starting my vacation a day early. I’ll be offline for the next week, checking emails and Twitter only once a day.


The next Insecure Writer’s Support Group post is July 7. I’ll also have a guest that day, author Damien Larkin as well as the July movie preview and some movie reviews.

The IWSG Anthology Contest is open until September 1, so check out the details.

Happy Fourth of July to my American friends as we celebrate freedoms fought for and won two hundred and forty years ago. God bless America!


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, June Movie Preview, and IWSG Anthology Contest


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 2 posting of the IWSG are Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

June 2 question - For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

By the time I finish a first draft, I’ve completely forgotten how it began, so I usually start in on revisions within a couple days. After the torture of getting the darn thing on paper, I’m ready for some relaxing editing!


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.



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


4 –


The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.
Director: Michael Chaves
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook
A movie and political statement all in one subtitle.


18 –


The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
The bodyguard Michael Bryce continues his friendship with assassin Darius Kincaid as they try to save Darius's wife Sonia.
Director: Patrick Hughes
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson
Because The Hitman’s Shameless Cash Grab was too obvious a title.


25 –


F9
Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom's younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.
Director: Justin Lin
Stars: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson
F yes!



How long do you let a first draft sit? Entering the IWSG contest? Watching any movies this month? I will be posting once a month during the summer but back into a regular groove in September. Too much to do this summer!