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 –

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!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Gojira-Fortitude Review: The Nevers, Mitchells vs Machines, Without Remorse Reviews; and Alex’s You Rock Award!

Gojira - Fortitude

latest is more prog than their previous albums. It’s heavy but accessible.
Standout songs include Amazonia, Hold On, and Into the Storm.
There are lots of messages in the music – destruction of the rain forest, the plight of the people of Tibet, etc.
Start to finish, this is one of their most enjoyable albums.
You enjoy French metal/prog, I recommend it!

Here is The Chant, which highlights the horrible things China has done to Tibet – and continues to do to this day:

Movie/Series Reviews

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell
From the IMDB:
A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.
It was enjoyable but not really memorable.
At two hours, this animated film was way too long.
The message is good – adjusting during that awkward transition from teen to adult. But they did beat you over the head with it.
Pig-dog was funny. Best part of the film.
Worth a watch if you’ve nothing better to do for two hours.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell
From the IMDB:
An elite Navy SEAL, goes on a path to avenge his wife's murder only to find himself inside of a larger conspiracy.
Jordan does a fine job as an action hero. Nice to see him in a hero role. (He was the antagonist in Black Panther.)
However, it felt like the least Clancy story of all the Clancy movies. I’ve never read the book, but I’m guessing they are vastly different.
Passible entertainment but not really memorable.

The Nevers

Stars: Laura Donnelly, Ann Skelly, Olivia Williams
From the IMDB:
An epic tale following a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.
Think of it as X-Men in 1890’s London.
Joss Whedon wrote and directed this series, and it has his style all over it. I don’t know if the mistreatment rumors about him are true but the dude can make a great series.
It’s filled with great characters, funny dialogue, violence, and of course – unnecessary gratuitous nudity. (It’s HBO Max – of course!)
The plot and pacing are fantastic. I’m very intrigued where the show is going.
Airs Sunday nights.
Highly recommended!

Alex’s You Rock Award!

Every year, I give out this award to special blogger buddies. There are so many deserving, but I am keeping the list very short this year.

First, here are the previous recipients of the award, some of whom no longer blog… Arlee, Yvonne, RaShelle, Hannah, Jeffrey, Gail, Rusty, Chuck, George, Jeremy, Matthew, Old Kitty, Ella, M Pax, Roland, Melissa, Robyn, Lynda, Michael, Heather, Stephen, Father Dragon Al, the late Tina, Damyanti, Edi, Karen, Elizabeth, Suze, Susan, Pat, Jo, Michelle, Brandon and Bryan, Christine, Truedessa, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, Hank Kaykuala, JH Moncrieff, Nilanjana Bos, Liza, Yolanda Renee, Spacer Guy, Elsie Amata, L. Diane Wolfe, Natalie Aguirre, Sandra Cox, C. Lee McKenzie, Elizabeth Seckman, Magic Love Crow, Birgit, JE Oneil, LG Keltner, Chemist Ken, Sherry Ellis Kim Lajevardi, Shady, Jemi Fraser, Mason Canyon, and Stacy McKitrick!

And now for the bloggers who have made this journey a heck of a lot more special:

Mary @ Dark Thoughts

I’m not sure when I found Mary’s blog, but she has some great weekly features. While I can’t get into the book reviews (you review what you like, Mary!) she does an Apartment Life Hell, Raturday, and weekly freebies. Mary entertains us, but I often worry about her, mostly because of where she lives in Vegas. Mary, you rock!

Liesbet @ Roaming About

She has spent the past few years roaming the country in Zesty and before that on her sailboat. It’s not a lifestyle for the faint of heart, but she and her husband see some amazing places. She recently launched her book, Plunge, about her adventures on the high sea. Liesbet has such a great attitude – she rocks!

Carrie @ Welcome to my Magick Theatre

I started following Carrie’s blog many, many years ago. Probably from an early A to Z Challenge. Carrie writes historical fiction, mostly European and Russian, and it’s fascinating stuff. She stands her ground, both on her writing and what she believes in, and I admire that. Carrie, you rock!

Picked up the new Gojira? Seen either movie or the series? What bloggers rock your world?

Don’t forget the new IWSG Anthology Contest is open! Genre is sweet romance, theme is first love. See the site for details.

See you June 2 for the monthly posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Dark Matter: Artificial Release Day, Next IWSG Anthology Contest, and May 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 May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

May 5 question - Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

We need co-hosts this summer! Leave a comment if you can host June, July, or August. We already have two for June.

Our next anthology is now available!

Dark Matter: Artificial
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition!

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database; articles; monthly blog posting; Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram groups; #IWSGPit, and a newsletter.

Release date: May 4, 2021
Print ISBN 9781939844828 $14.95
EBook ISBN 9781939844835 $4.99v Science Fiction: Collections & Anthologies / Space Exploration / Genetic Engineering

LINKS: Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Nobel, and Goodreads

Our official judges:
Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder
Lynda R. Young, author
Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Damien Larkin, author
Ion Newcombe, editor and publisher
Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency
David Powers King, author

The Seventh Annual IWSG Anthology Contest!

Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance

Theme: First Love

Submissions accepted:
May 7 - September 1, 2021

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group. You must belong to at least one aspect of the IWSG to enter.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Our official judges:

Author Nancy Gideon
Nancy Gideon is the award-winning bestseller of over 70 romances ranging from historical, Regency, and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormal and horror, with a couple of produced screenplays and non-fiction writing books tossed into the mix. She’s also written under the pseudonyms Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West, and Lauren Giddings.

Agent Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates
Caitlin Blasdell has been a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates since 2002 with a focus on commercial fiction. Before becoming an agent, she was a senior editor at HarperCollins Publishers.

Author Susan Gourley

Susan Gourley is traditionally published in fantasy and science fiction romance using the name Susan Kelley. She is currently serving as the President of the Pennwriters writing group renowned for the annual conference.

Author Meka James

Meka James is a writer of adult contemporary and erotic romance. A born and raised Georgia Peach, she still resides in the southern state with her hubby of 16 years and counting. Mom to four kids of the two legged variety, she also has four fur-babies of the canine variety. When not writing or reading, Meka can be found playing The Sims 3, sometimes Sims 4, and making up fun stories to go with the pixelated people whose world she controls.

Agent Melissa Gaines, Victress Literary

Author Jennifer Lane
Jennifer Lane writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She has published nine novels and two short stories, including Behind the Catcher’s Mask as part of the IWSG Masquerade Anthology.

Agent Rachel Beck, Liza Dawson Associates
Rachel Beck joined Liza Dawson Associates in January 2020 after working at a boutique literary agency for four years. She has been in the publishing industry since 2009 and worked at Harlequin editing romance novels for nearly six years before transitioning her skills to the agent world in order to be an advocate and champion for authors.

Author Loni Townsend

By day, she writes code. By predawn darkness, she writes fantasies. All other times, she writes in her head. People call her peculiar with a twisted sense of fashion, but don't let those understatements fool you. Her behavior is perfectly normal for a squirrel disguised as a human.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Dancing Lemur Press' imprint, Freedom Fox Press, next year in the IWSG anthology. (Please see their site for general submission guidelines.) Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

This is our seventh anthology contest! In addition to Dark Matter: Artificial, previous titles include Voyagers: The Third Ghost, Masquerade: Oddly Suited, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, Hero Lost, The Mysteries of Death and Life, and Parallels: Felix Was Here.

May Movie Preview

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

7 –

Wrath of Man
The plot follows H, a cold and mysterious character working at a cash truck company responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles each week.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Rocci Williams
I know it says Guy Ritchie, but it looks like every Jason Statham film ever made…

28 –

A Quiet Place Part II
Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
Director: John Krasinski
Stars: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe
My quiet place too is in the bathroom with my iPad…but they may not be talking about that.

Picking up Dark Matter? Entering the next IWSG Anthology contest? Any movies strike your fancy this month?

Monday, April 19, 2021

Falcon and Winter Soldier, The Head, and New Mutants Reviews; Movie News; and Ninja News

Movies and Series Reviews

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

From the IMDB - Following the events of 'Avengers: Endgame,' Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities -- and their patience.
Sam and Bucky are reluctant comrades but working toward the same end.
The plot revolves around the guys going after a terrorist group called the Flag Smashers.
They’re also at odds with the new Captain America, crowned after the Falcon put the shield in a museum and it was taken out and given to someone new. You can tell there is something off about the new hero.
It’s a little dark but really good so far.

The Head

From the IMDB - Winter has fallen on the South Pole. A small team, known as the Winterers, will remain at the Polaris VI Antarctic Research Station to continue their innovative research, a crucial part in the fight against climate change.
It puts you in mind of John Carpenter’s The Thing ( and they actually watch it!) What happened to those who stayed the long winter? What horrors did the lone survivor witness?
There’s a strong sense of isolation and claustrophobia.
Acting and effects are really good and it’s very tense.
I’m only a couple episodes into it but it’s really intriguing so far.

The New Mutants

From the IMDB - Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.
Released last year, this is a mutants film on a small scale. Almost all of it takes place on the grounds of the facility. So there is an intimacy to the film.
Not everything jived with me, but they did faithfully follow the comics, which I applaud. But it was a bit odd only one person was running the entire facility.
It’s not a great or memorable film, but it did not deserve the bashing it received when released. I enjoyed it.

Other Movie and Series News

Finished the first season of Resident Alien and what a fun ride! Alan Tudyk is perfect for the role. And the ending guarantees a season two.

Just started watching The Nevers. Very interesting and I like the Victorian setting. Will review once I’ve seen a few more episodes.

According to JoBlo, the upcoming first season of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings cost $465 million dollars to make. Yes, you read that right!
They are planning on five seasons total and the other four will not cost that much as most of that went into costumes, props, and initial set design.
Still, that’s quite the gamble.

Production on Aquaman II starts later this year. In addition to Jason Momoa, it will star Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Temuera Morrison, and Pilou Asbæk.
The first film made over a billion dollars worldwide.

Ninja News

There were some great posts for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group on April 7.
One that was just awesome came from Lee Lowery - Trying to avoid controversy in your writing – good luck with that!
Little bit of language, but it’s hysterical.

Some new book releases:

Quilt-Ridden by Elizabeth Craig

Southern Quilting Mysteries | Book 14
Do good fences make good neighbors?
Miss Sissy is a talented member of the Village Quilters guild in tiny Dappled Hills, North Carolina. She’s also somewhat difficult to deal with as her new neighbor, Linton, discovered. Linton doesn’t understand why Miss Sissy’s house is almost entirely covered by thorny weeds like something out of Sleeping Beauty. Miss Sissy, on the other hand, doesn’t understand why that’s any of Linton’s business.
When Linton ends up very dead, Miss Sissy seems to be the obvious suspect. But Beatrice and the other Village Quilters are determined to discover the real murderer and clear Miss Sissy’s name—before the killer strikes again.

Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women by J.Q.Rose

Non-fiction eBook for Girls 10-13 years old
Empowering Girls to Dream Big!!

And don’t forget – Dark Matter: Artificial, an IWSG anthology comes out on May 4.
The same day we announce the new anthology contest!

Have you been watching Falcon and Winter Solider or The Head? Have you seen The New Mutants? Surprised by LOTR series’ budget? And do you want to hazard a guess what the next IWSG Anthology Contest will be…?
I will be mostly offline the last week of April. You nutty A-Z Challenge people have fun and I’ll see everyone on May 5 for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!