Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Furiosa and Shōgun Reviews, and June 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 June 5 posting of the IWSG are Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim!

The June 5 question - In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

This is where you need to let us know what you want – what would help you as a writer? We are no longer doing anthology contests and our #IWSGPit is on hold. However, we still have:
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group website with weekly tips and a huge database of information. Plus we are partnered with Reedsy, Medium, Mary Kole, the Ninja Writers Club, and we have a monthly newsletter.
Our Facebook group with prompts, tips, and connection opportunities.
Our Twitter/X account with tips and shares.
We’re also on Instagram with prompts and writing tips.
So, what else can we offer you?


Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Beginning with Furiosa’ abduction from the Green Place, she ends up under the control of Chris Hemsworth’s character, Dr. Dementus. From there, she ends up in the Citadel with Immortan Joe, hiding out as one of the War Boy workers and eventually part of the team driving the big rig.
First off, there is no way to beat Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s the perfect action film. Once this gets going, it’s got some amazing sequences and strong characters.
The beginning is a little frustrating (your mother said run from danger) but once at the Citadel, it takes off.
Taylor-Joy and Hemsworth are excellent in their roles. So is Tom Burke as the driver who helps her learn the ropes.
There is a chase scene involving a car flipping over onto the hood of the semi that is amazing.
Like most movies these days, it’s too long. A little less action means more scenes that should’ve been trimmed. Plus you know Furiosa and Immortan Joe will make it as they are in Fury Road.
However, it was an entertaining film and I would recommend it.


When a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village, Lord Yoshii Toranaga discovers secrets that could tip the scales of power and devastate his enemies. Series on hulu and FX. Based on book by James Clavell.
This is a great historical (fictional) drama. It felt very authentic and genuine. No agenda other than telling a grand story. The acting, production values, settings, etc. – everything top notch.
I loved that most of it was in Japanese with subtitles. That’s a turn off for some, but don’t let it stop you from watching this incredible show.
Highly recommended!

June Movie Preview

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

7 –

Bad Boys: Ride or Die
Directors: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Stars: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens
This Summer, the world's favorite Bad Boys are back with their iconic mix of edge-of-your seat action and outrageous comedy but this time with a twist: Miami's finest are now on the run.
How far into the film before Smith slaps Lawrence?

14 –

Director: Ishana Shyamalan
Stars: Dakota Fanning, Olwen Fouéré, Georgina Campbell
A young artist gets stranded in an extensive, immaculate forest in western Ireland, where, after finding shelter, she becomes trapped alongside three strangers, stalked by mysterious creatures each night.
Trapped in a glass house with people outside who want to kill them – must be how mimes feel.

28 –

A Quiet Place: Day One
Director: Michael Sarnoski
Stars: Joseph, Djimon Hounsou, Alex Wolff
Experience the day the world went quiet.
Technically, it probably wasn’t very quiet – lots of screaming, gunfire, explosions, etc.

What do you think the IWSG should offer its members? Have you watched Furiosa or Shōgun? What movies will you see in the theater this month?
Enjoy your June

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Fallout Series Review, May Movie Preview, and New 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.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG are Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

May 1 question - How do you deal with distractions when you are writing? Do they derail you?

Life is a distraction. So, not much distracts me. I might take my time, but I keep writing and plodding forward. And, thank God, I’ve not had anything happen in my life that was so massive it derailed me. Other than a few years when nothing inspired me. (Then I envisioned CassaDark and another book sprang forth.) As for little distractions, headphones do wonders.

What about you?

We need co-hosts for the next few months! June through September. Let me know if you can help. We have to have at least three co-hosts each month. If you’ve never volunteered (and many of you haven’t!) consider doing so. It’s a ton of fun.

Series Review - Fallout

I’m a huge fan of the games. I’ve spent more time wandering the wasteland than I’d care to admit.
And I can safely say that this series was obviously made by dedicated fans who loved and admired the game. Every detail is near perfect.
If you’ve played the game, there are thousands of Easter eggs.
If you’ve never played the game, you can immerse yourself in the world with a compelling story, great acting, and amazing effects.
It’s rare I plow through a series (I’m not a binge watcher) but I watched all the episodes in five days – it was that good. (And I plan to rewatch them soon.)
If you like your post-apocalyptic stories on the crazy side, you will dig Fallout.
Highly recommended!

Upcoming Release!

ONE TUESDAY, EARLY by Annalisa Crawford
(14 May 2024, Vine Leaves Press)
You’re on your own and you shouldn’t be. Your partner is missing. The streets are empty. Even the birds have disappeared. What do you do?
Links: Vine Leaves Press store (paperback only) and all other retailers (paperback and ebook)

Mom’s Memories and Reflections on Motherhood by JQ Rose

Mom’s Memories and Reflections on Motherhood is adorned with bright yellow sunflowers and created with pages to chronicle mom's unique journey, capturing the laughter, tears, and growth that define motherhood.
Find it on Amazon

Margie "The Scaredy Dog" Finds A Home by Toi Thomas

Margie is a bit skittish. She’s a hunting dog who doesn’t know how to hunt, but she loves a good walk. Living in a shelter with other dogs, she has no idea that she could have a home and a set of humans all to herself.
Find it on Amazon

May Movie Preview

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

3 –


Directors: Jianping Li and Salvador Simó
Stars: Bill Nighy, Anthony Howell, Bill Bailey
In ancient China, dragons were once friends of humans, but our greed ended their alliance, and these magical creatures were hunted down. Years later, in a remote fortress, a young slave girl, Ping, strikes up an unlikely friendship.
A Chinese/Spanish production – now I’m hungry for egg rolls and tapas.

The Fall Guy

Director: David Leitch
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor
A down-and-out stuntman must find the missing star of his ex-girlfriend's blockbuster film.
There better be a Lee Majors cameo or I’m walking!

10 –
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Wes Ball
Stars; Freya Allan, William H. Macy, Kevin Durand
Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he's been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike.
Don’t count on any monkey business…

17 –

Director: John Krasinski
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Cailey Fleming, Steve Carell
A young girl who goes through a difficult experience begins to see everyone's imaginary friends who have been left behind as their real-life friends have grown up.
Ryan Reynolds stretching his acting chops to play…Ryan Reynolds.

24 –

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Director: George Miller
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke
The origin story of renegade warrior Furiosa before her encounter and teamup with Mad Max.
I bet Charlize Theron is furiosa she didn’t get the part.

What distracts you when writing? Can you co-host this summer? Have you watched Fallout? And what movies will you be seeing this month?

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, #IWSGPit, Godzilla x Kong Review, April Movie Preview, and New 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.

The awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, T. Powell Coltrin, Natalie Aguirre, and Pat Garcia!

April 3 question - How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?

I began blogging fifteen years ago. It took me a year or so to find my footing. Then blogging just exploded. The A to Z Challenge. I was a Blog of Note. Then I began the Insecure Writers Support Group. It was a roller coaster ride.
Things began to change maybe six-seven years ago. The pandemic didn’t help. Blogging has since really dipped.
However, the core people involved are still going strong! New people join the IWSG every month. I am grateful for those of you who still blog every month for the IWSG. And stop by here once or twice a month for some movie, music, and writing stuff. This is still a great way to connect.

I want to take a moment to thank all of the writers, publishers, and agents who participated in #IWSGPit on March 27. Tweets were into five digits, with tons of pitches and many Tweets from agents and publishers. I also want to thank the IWSG admins who monitored the thread that day, including previous admins Elizabeth Seckman and Tyrean Martinson.
This will likely be our last pitch event, as we simply don’t have enough admins to cover all the shifts. That might change in the future or we’ll choose another platform. Either way, we appreciate those of you who’ve participated in our nine events.
And if you land a publisher or agent from this last one, please let us know!

Movie Review – Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

The fifth in the franchise (and fourth with Godzilla), this one goes for it in a big way.
Plot – strange signal coming from Hollow Earth, where Kong lives. The signal triggers Godzilla to attack more Titans. A crew ventures down to see what’s happening and Kong finds a tribe of giant apes. Battles ensue.
Heck with the plot - all I can say is this film was a lot of fun! A good balance of monsters and people, the highlights were of course the epic monster fights. We get a ton of giant beasts in this film, and they and the scenery look amazing.
It also accomplishes something unique. It captures some of the silliness of later Toho films but makes it look really damn good.
Two very funny moments:
After one battle, Godzilla curls up in Rome’s Colosseum like a cat would in a kitty bed.
Godzilla jumps into the air and eventually lands in the ocean. And all I could think about was the ending scene from Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster done by MST3K – ‘I can fly! I can fly! I can’t fly. I can swim!’
And a certain Titan makes a return. (Can’t tell you, that would spoil the surprise.)
I’d place this one above the previous film. A ton of fun that will put a smile on your face.
Highly recommended! 

New Releases!

A Toast to Murder by Eizabeth Spann Craig

Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries | Book 24
April 9, 2024
Uncorking secrets, one grape at a time.
Find purchase links here

The Type-A Guide to Solving Murder

A Sunset Ridge Mystery | Book 1
April 9,2024
Sam turns murder into her most challenging project yet.
Find purchase links here

April Movie Preview

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

5 –

Monkey Man

Director: Dev Patel
Stars: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Pitobash
An anonymous young man unleashes a campaign of vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimize the poor and powerless.
Is this a prequel to Planet of the Apes?

The First Omen

Director: Arkasha Stevenson
Stars: Nell Tiger Free, Ralph Ineson, Sonia Braga
A young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, but encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.
I thought The Omen was the first Omen?

19 –

The Ministry Ungentlemanly Warfare

Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Eiza González, Alan Ritchson, Henry Cavill, Cary Elwes
The British military recruits a small group of highly-skilled soldiers to strike against Nazi forces behind enemy lines during World War II.
Superman, Jack Reacher, and the Dread Pirate Roberts duke it out!

26 –

Boy Kills World
Director: Moritz Mohr
Stars: Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Rothe, Michelle Dockery
A dystopian fever dream action film that follows Boy, a deaf mute with a vibrant imagination. When his family is murdered, he is trained by a mysterious shaman to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death.
Is this a video game? Do I get to play that character?

How long have you been blogging and how has it changed? Did you participate in #IWSGPit? Catch Godzilla x Kong yet? And what movies catch your interest this month?
Good luck to all of you A to Z Challengers! I will be taking most of April off, but there were some really cool themes revealed that I will have to check on throughout the month.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, #IWSGPit, Childhood Magic, Dune: Part Two Review, and March 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 March 6 posting of the IWSG are Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman, Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages!

March 6 question -
Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

I’ve not had a need to try it. While I can see the advantages and benefits, I can also see AI taking over more. To the point natural creativity will be threatened. And that’s sad.


The next #IWSGPit will be March 27, 2024.

10:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Get all the details here.

And there is a new release from one of our IWSG admins!

In Darkness by L. Diane Wolfe
Romance-Paranormal / Fantasy-Paranormal / Romance-Science Fiction
Print ISBN 9798988625148 $17.95, 342 pages
eBook ISBN 9798988625155 $8.99

Find it on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Gardners, and Goodreads

Childhood Magic by Shannon Lawrence

Mythological creatures have a long history, one that precedes written lore. Looking back at The Odyssey, which many of us read in high school, this was a tale originally told aloud by at least one of a collection of bards who traveled around and shared stories, which were eventually transcribed by others in the name of Homer. The Greek mythological creatures told in stories of the time included Cyclops, the Minotaur, and Sirens. Namely, creatures that served to speak to the perils people faced when they left the safety of their homes.

My favorite mythological creatures tend to live in two basic worlds: endearing childhood creatures and those found in darker stories. I love a cautionary tale, but there’s also the endearing magic inherent in a creature existing for good. Today I want to focus on two mythological creatures from my childhood that represented a beautiful kind of magic.

The Last Unicorn:
I have such fond memories of this movie, and I still watch it occasionally to this day. (Okay, probably annually). The Unicorn, who doesn’t have a name until she becomes the Lady Amalthea, is true to herself, loyal, self-sufficient, and brave. But she’s also blunt and intellectual, something I identified with. The voices, the music, the illustrations, I feel hold up today. It’s a gorgeous movie, but as a neurodivergent kid the character truly spoke to me.

The NeverEnding Story:
Falcor is a great iteration of the dragon. He has a sense of humor, he’s graceful and lovely in his own way, and he’s powerful, but he also holds the familiarity of a dog in his appearance and, once again, loyalty. Plus, he scares the bullies. What kid wouldn’t want a magical dog-dragon to swoop down and help them exact [an age-appropriate] revenge on their bullies? Even better if you can snuggle up with that furry dog-dragon later and scritch him behind the ear as you continue to be wrapped in safety.

While as a horror and urban fantasy author I most often address the darker creatures of mythology, I do have a nod in the opening of my book to one of the nicer creatures of North American mythology: Sasquatch, another part of my childhood.

Myth Stalker: Wendigo Nights
by Shannon Lawrence
A late night call from her mentor sends Selina Moonstone on a mission to Canada, determined to track down a Wendigo and exterminate it.

Available in paperback and e-book, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. Find the book at your favorite store using the universal link.

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over fifty anthologies and magazines in addition to her collections. Her nonfiction title, The Business of Short Stories, is available now and her debut urban fantasy novel is releasing March 2024. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at The Warrior Muse.

Movie Review – Dune: Part Two

After over two years of waiting, the second half of the movie landed last Friday. We even watched the first part the previous weekend to remind ourselves what was happening. Didn’t like the wait, but it was worth it.
This movie is epic. It is grand on every level, from stunning special effects to sprawling, complex story to amazing battle sequences. The film has it all for both fan and novice to the series.
The action sequences are stunning, most notably the worm riding scenes. Not seen as often in the first film, they are in full force here. The attacks on the spice mining rigs are also impressive.
There were some differences from the book, but not enough to spoil it for fans. (I barely remember reading the book anyway!) I was never a big fan of the book, but the movies are spectacular. A must-see on the big screen.
Highly recommended!

March Movie Preview

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

8 –

Kung Fu Panda 4
Directors: Mike Mitchell, Stephanie Stine
Stars: Jack Black, Awkwafina, Viola Davis
After Po is tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, he needs to find and train a new Dragon Warrior, while a wicked sorceress plans to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.
I wonder if he’ll ever have the noodle dream…

22 –

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Director: Gil Kenan
Stars: Pau Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon
When the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second ice age.
Maybe letting New York freeze isn’t a bad thing…

29 –

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Director: Adam Wingard
Stars: Dan Stevens, Rebecca Hall, Rachel House
Two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island's mysteries.
Weirdest buddy-cop movie ever…

Have you played with AI? Have a pitch ready for #IWSGPit? What movies spark childhood magic for you? Have you seen part two of Dune? What movies are you seeing this month?