Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Reviews, RiffTrax Live, and August 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 August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

August 3 question - When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I think it’s a blend of both. A writer must be more original and inventive with subsequent books or he loses readers. But one must always please the fans and give then what they want so they will continue reading. It’s a bit of a tight rope to walk.

Special shout out to IWSG Newsletter Admin, Elizabeth Seckman - she had a book release recently and kept it low key.

About Her : A Second Chance Romance

Find it on Amazon

And note to anyone with an embedded Blogger comment box – Blogger/Google have just made it more challenging to comment. There will be an offer to sign in with Google, leave name and web address, or anonymous. Sometimes, it won’t let you sign in with Google and you have to use another option. (Typing in your name and web address yet again.) Sometimes Google is the only option and sometimes it won’t let you sign in:

Note that any blog not on Blogger or one has a popup comment box instead will not be an issue.
Anyone have a clue? There are a couple people I just can’t comment on their site due to this issue.

Mini-Reviews and Stuff

Thor: Love and Thunder

The fourth Thor movie ends up being the least effective. Too corny, too slapstick, and just not enough substance in terms of story. Soundtrack was cool (several Guns ‘n’ Roses tunes plus a Dio song) but overall this film was a letdown. Will not be buying the DVD, that’s for sure.
When viewing the trailers, my wife commented that there appeared to be no plot. She was correct.

What We Do in the Shadows – Season Four

Staring Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillen, and Mark Proksch, the fourth season of this movie to series kicks of in a grand and hilarious fashion.
Colin, the energy vampire, died at the end of season three, and a baby crawls from his dead body. Part of the hilarity of this season is watching the creature from Colin grow at an accelerated rate and the insane things he does along the way.
Natasha is determined to open a vampire night club.
Nandor wants to impress is wife with a giant penis.
Laszlo really wants to prevent baby Colin from growing into another boring geek like Colin.
And Guillermo still wants respect and to be a vampire.
The hilarity continues!

The Sea Beast

Think How to Train Your Dragon with sea monsters. Red even looks like Toothless.
That said, it’s still an enjoyable movie although it runs a little long. (Almost two hours.) The animation is stunning, especially the water. It’s a mix of realistic and cartoon, similar to How to Train Your Dragon. With epic battles, adventure, comedy, and a very kind heart.
Main character voices include Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
Definitely worth a watch on Netflix.

The trailer for Prey, a Predator movie set 300 years ago into America, looks really good. Fingers crossed it is.

RifTrax Live!

Yes, another RiffTrax Live show is coming.
On August 18, RiffTrax is riffing Return of the Swamp Thing.
And his love interest this time - Heather Locklear!
You don’t want to miss it. I’ve been seeing some of the teasers and it’s going to be good.
Visit RiffTrax Live for a list of movie theaters near you.
Be sure to get there early for the screen shots!

August Movie Preview

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

5 –

Bullet Train
Five assassins aboard a fast moving bullet train find out their missions have something in common.
Director: David Leitch
Stars: Brad Pitt, Joey King, Karen Fukuhara, Zazie Beetz, Sandra Bullock
This just might be a bullet train wreck…

19 –

A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Stars: Idris Elba, Sharlto Copey, Iyana Halley, Leah Jeffries
Family wanted to see lions, they got lions. Quit complaining!

31 –

Three Thousand Years of Longing
A lonely scholar, on a trip to Istanbul, discovers a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.
Director: George Miller
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba, Pia Thuderbolt
Love the director, but wish this film didn’t look so damn odd.

Are you more original or do you give the readers what they want? Having comment issues? Watched Thor, season four of What We Do in the Shadows, or The Sea Beast? Going to see RiffTrax tackle The Swamp Thing Returns? What movies catch your eye for August?
I will be back August 29 with a special feature - Steven Arellano Rose Jr. of A Far Out Fantastic Site are trading Books-to-Movies posts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Insecure Writer’s Support Group; Movie Reviews – Minions, Spiderhead, Maverick; 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 6 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!

July question - If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

I have a couple I would select, but my heart goes back to Shannara. I grew up on those novels, fell in love with fantasy because of the series. Give me the magic of that book world.

The IWSG Goodreads Book Club July picks are –

Reaching For Normal (Bloo Moose #1) by Jemi Fraser

Magic at Midnight by Ronel Janse van Vuuren

Awaken: A Love Story by Elizabeth Mueller, our new IWSG Admin!

What good is "perfect" without love?
There is no crime in the Balance. No aging. No death. Living on the outskirts of society, Daemos escapes his prison with dark secrets that threaten the Balance. Because of this evidence, his life is forfeit. N'reena is drawn to him and the impossible happens--she falls for him. Lives are at stake, especially their own! Can she keep him a secret, or will the Balance destroy them?

Find it on Kindle Vella
You can also watch the author read the first episode on YouTube

And we need co-hosts for August 3, September 7, and October 5! Please let me know if you can help any of those dates.

Movie Reviews

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Picking up where the last Minion movie left off, this film boasts quite the list of voice actors: Steve Carell (as Gru), Taraji P Henson, Jean-Claude Can Damme, Michelle Yeoh, Dolph Lundgren, Lucy Lawless, Danny Trejo, Alan Arkin, Julie Andrews, and Pierre Coffin – the director of all other Minion/Despicable Me movies but this one.
If you’ve enjoyed the last four movies, you’ll enjoy this one. Nothing deep, just a lot of Minions being silly. And really, that’s about all I expect from a Minion movie.
Several nods to character we see later in the Despicable Me series.
Quite a few laughs and a lot of shenanigans from the Minions, but as always, their hearts are in the right place.


Starring Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett, and Mark Paguio. In exchange for a shorter sentence, convicts volunteer for drug experiments at a hidden facility.
This one was much better than anticipated. A mix of drama and thriller, the strength of the movie lies in its actors’ ability to keep you watching. What is the purpose of these drugs? How will this all end?
Hemsworth is the director of the facility and is both charming and unnerving. Teller (also in Top Gun: Maverick) is the criminal you really find yourself rooting for despite his past and what he does when on the drugs.
On NetFlix, I’d definitely recommend it.

Top Gun: Maverick

Picking up thirty-plus years later, it stars Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, and Miles Teller, with a short, special appearance by Val Kilmer.
Similar to the first film in many ways. This time Maverick is wooing Connelly’s character, training the team for an impossible mission, and dealing with an estranged relationship with Goose’s son, played by Teller.
The flying sequences are amazing, really placing you in the cockpit. You get carried up in the story, emotionally involved.
Unfortunately, I know way too much about the military and planes, and my eyes rolled many, many times. The mission is one that could be solved a hundred different ways and much more effectively than sending the pilots on a near suicide mission. So, the complete lack of realism kind of blew it for me.
I was never a big fan of the first one, but it was fun to watch once. Recommended for fans of the first one, of which there are apparently many of you!

July Movie Preview

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

8 –

Thor: Love and Thunder

Director Taika Waititi
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bakle, Taika Waititi
Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct.
And Sweet Child ‘O Mine will be permanently stuck in your head going into this film…

15 –

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
Directors Mark Koetsier, Rob Minkoff, Chris Bailey
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Samuel L. Jackson, Mel Brooks, Michael Cera
Hank, a loveable dog with a head full of dreams about becoming a samurai, sets off in search of his destiny.
I saw this for free as a kid. It was called Hong Kong Phooey.

22 –

Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Steven Yeun
The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.
Yep! Maybe. I don’t know…

29 –

The Reef: Stalked
Director: Andrew Traucki
Stars: Teressa Liane, Ann Truong, Tim Ross, Kate Lister, Saskia Archer
After her sister's murder, Nic, her younger sister and two friends seek solace through a Pacific island kayaking adventure. Hours into the trip the women are stalked by a shark and must band together, face their fears and save each other.
Are they 47 Meters Down in The Shallows and pursued by The Meg, or are they Shark Bait in the Deep Blue Sea with the Swamp Shark…?

What book world would you live in? Can you co-host the IWSG? See any of the movies? And what films are you seeing this month?
Enjoy your July! After next week, I will be mostly offline for the month but return August 3 for the next IWSG day.

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.

– 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 –


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!


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!