Monday, May 8, 2023

Shark Tales, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Review, and Insomnium/Enslaved Concert Review

Shark Tales by L. Diane Wolfe

Alex asked me about shark movies that were similar to my newest release, In Darkness: The Shark. Unfortunately, there aren’t any! My story is a paranormal romance involving a human (Jewels) and a great white shark (Clarence). (And no, there is no beastiality.)

Several shark movies came to mind: The Meg, The Shallows, Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, 47 Meters Down, Open Water. But I decided to go with something closer to my actual story.

Finding Nemo – Nemo happens upon three sharks who recite the phrase “Fish are our friends!” They don’t want to hurt fish, anymore than Clarence wants to hurt Jewels.

– This was actually a 70’s Saturday morning cartoon, and yes, I watched and loved it. Jabberjaw is an amphibious great white shark and the drummer for a rock group consisting of four teenagers. It’s silly, but it showed a shark as friends with humans.

The other three are documentaries.

Playing With Sharks – Photographer Valerie Taylor becomes a trailblazing advocate for the ocean's most maligned and misunderstood creatures. He shows that sharks are not just evil eating machines.

– Arguing that sharks are misunderstood as dangerous creatures, biologist Rob Stewart travels to the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica and other places where the animals can be found. Another one showing they are more than just eating machines.

Sharks –Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau documents face-to-face encounters with a wide variety of the ocean's ultimate predators, including white, hammerhead and whale sharks. The son of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, he also had a passion for sharks.

Ultimately, the one film that is similar to my story was a 70’s Saturday afternoon TV movie about a boy who befriends a baby nurse shark. (There is also an obscure 1962 movie called Ti-Koyo e il suo pescecane about a boy who makes friends with a shark.) So, I would have to say that 70’s movie influenced my story and set me on a path to show a deep friendship between a shark and a human.

Of course, one difference—Clarence the shark can talk!

In Darkness: The Shark by L. Diane Wolfe

Release date - May 9, 2023
Romance/Paranormal - Fantasy/Paranormal - Fantasy/Romance
eBook ISBN 9781939844910 $3.99
Souls shrouded in darkness…
Focused on her studies and duties at the aquarium, Jewels prefers her solitary life. Burned many times and short on trust, she has more in common with her aquatic friends than the people around her. But she never imagined coming face to face with a shark named Clarence…a shark who talks!
As their friendship grows, Jewels must overcome her deep set mistrust. There are dangers, both in the Australian ocean and on dry land. Can Jewels depend on the great white or will his animal nature betray her?

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Find Diane at her website, blog, and IWSG

Find In Darkness: The Shark at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribed, and Goodreads


Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3

Wasn’t sure what to expect after the last few disappointing Marvel films, and it did have a slow start, but then it gained steam and found its footing.
It was enjoyable and presented many funny moments. Nice also to see some older characters return.
It could’ve used some editing though. There are scenes that would’ve benefited from a cut, bringing the movie down from its two hours and thirty minutes run time.
It also tackles a dark subject – Rocket’s origins. If you are an animal lover or animal experiments upset you, be warned. The villain is one twisted maniac.
And as always, two end credit scenes.


Streaming on Amazon and starring Mason Kane, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Stanley Tucci.
From the Russo brothers (Marvel movies) comes a spy show that reminds me of Agents of Shield meets James Bond. Only the first two episodes are available as of this review, but so far it’s enjoyable, well-produced, and fun. All the standard spy tropes are front and center, but there are enough fresh ideas to keep it interesting.
We’ll see where it goes!

Concert Review - Insomnium/Enslaved!

It’s so great that live music is back. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. As a fan of Scandinavian metal, I’ve been a huge fan of Insomnium for a long time. They are one of the godfathers of melodic death metal.
And they brought the goods. Playing selections from their new album as well as some of the classics, they had the crowd rocking and moshing through the entire set. The standout tracks for me were While We Sleep, Lilian, and Valediction.
It was great to finally get a chance to see them and I hope it’s not the last time.

Enslaved is a band that I wasn’t too familiar with, so I checked out some of their stuff a couple weeks before the show. They started as a Norwegian black metal band (not really my cup of tea) but have morphed over time into a band that is very progressive.
It’s these aspects that I really enjoyed. They also brought the tight musicianship and even a sense of humor.
Overall, a great night of live music and the heaviest music I will subject my wife to. (She was such a trouper!)

What shark movies do you enjoy and would you like a shark romance book? Did you see the new Guardians or watch Citadel? Fan of Scandinavian metal? What’s the heaviest band you’ve ever seen?

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group; May Movie Preview; and Reviews – Mandalorian, Battlebots, Picard, and Nope

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 3 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour!

May 3 question - When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

This should come as no surprise – music! Whatever prog-metal band has me captivated at that moment. Jam some tunes and the words flow.

We are sad to say Elizabeth Seckman will be stepping away from the IWSG Admin team. Juneta Key has assumed her duty of producing our newsletter.

Elizabeth, we’ll miss you!

Quick Reviews

The Mandalorian

It just wrapped up its third season and is still as great as ever. A little more focus on Mando as opposed to Grogu, but you still get plenty of ‘Baby Yoda’ cuteness. Also a bit more side-quest and not as focused on the overall story. And the final ten minutes are just perfect. So far Disney is still telling a great story without any agenda and it’s refreshing.


Also on its third season, it’s an improvement over season two which I never could finish. (Season two was an insult, three more of a love letter, although it still falls a bit short.) Lots of previous Trek characters are back – lots! Still slogs in part when the villain goes into a long dialogue about why she’s so evil. But the action is good and some episodes harken back to Next Generation in feel.


Yes, it’s another round of ‘Robot Fighting Time!’ A few surprises and a few lame fights, but as always it’s great to see giant metal monsters beat the crap out of each other. Finals approaching soon, so don’t miss it.


This is one weird film. It’s a mesh of many genres, from Western to science fiction to horror. Mostly horror. But it was too long and some of the subplots were unnecessary. It was well done, actors were great, and it was very unique. Just…weird.

May Movie Preview

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

5 -

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Still reeling from the loss of Gamora, Peter Quill rallies his team to defend the universe and one of their own - a mission that could mean the end of the Guardians if not successful.
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
From what I understand, James Gunn has replaced all of the Guardians with DC characters. (Just kidding! Looking forward to it)

12 –


A detective investigates a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Star: Ben Affleck, William Fichtner, Alice Braga
Perhaps they can hire a hypnotic to get people into the theater?

19 –

Fast X

Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrease Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa, Ludacris, John Cena, Jason Statham
Finally! A Fast and Furious-Aquaman mashup.

26 –

The Little Mermaid

A young mermaid makes a deal with a sea witch to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can discover the world above water and impress a prince.
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy
I understand they changed the lyrics from something I don’t care about to…something I don’t care about.

What inspires you? Have you seen any of those shows or the movie? What May movies catch your interest?
I will be back next Monday with a special guest!

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post Day and News, D&D and Shazam Movie Review, and April 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 April 5 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

And before we begin, we need co-hosts for May 3, June 7, and July 5! We only have one scheduled for July (Natalie) so we really need some volunteers.

April 5 question - Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I wrote my first book when I was thirteen. It was awful and I stuffed it in a drawer. Wrote some other things but nothing caught fire like that first story. I pulled it out of the drawer about thirty years later. Promising storyline, great characters, just needed a total rewrite. I wrote a new story and it became my first published book.

I never planned on an author career. I just fell into it. I kept writing and fans kept wanting more. Five novels, a short story, many anthologies and articles later and it’s far and above what I ever envisioned. Add the success of the IWSG and it just blows my mind.

As an author, I have no more goals. I think CassaDark summed up the ending well. Maybe continue more stories for Dragon of the Stars? I know Trudessa would love that!

Over at the IWSG site, Pat Hatt posted about a scammer alert from Tonja Drecker – writers, you need to be aware! Check it out.

IWSG Goodreads Book Club:

For the month of April, we will continue to read the two selections from the previous month and will host the discussions on 4/27/23. The challenge theme, for anyone interested, will be Libraries. The general "What are you reading" discussion is going really well.
IWSG Member Book: Spiral of Hooves
Craft Book: Fight Like A Girl


To enter the April Challenge, go here.
Life is Beautiful Post April 19 to 21at 2023.

A new release from IWSG member Patricia Josephine Lynn
Revelation of Love : A Sweet Fantasy Romance (Influenced Book 3)
Universal buy links here.

Many of you remember author M. Pax. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer. See how you can help her on her website: Books for a Cause: Purchase My Work and Help me Battle Cancer!

And I helped kick off the A to Z Challenge at the Operation Awesome site! Check it out.

Movie Reviews

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Did you like the first one? Then you will love the second one.
Sadly trailing at the box office, this second instalment is just as good as the first film – great action, great humor, and great characters.
This one focuses more on Shazam than Billy, although the rest of the kids are featured more as themselves than their superhero alter egos.
There are some really funny moments, like the scene with the unicorn. (Not going to spoil it for you!)
Shazam has the hots for Wonder Woman, dreaming about her…and yes, Gal Gadot is in the film!
And Helen Mirren – why didn’t she start doing these actions flicks years ago?
Highly recommended!

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

So much fun!
If you know nothing about D&D, you will thoroughly enjoy this funny fantasy-adventure.
If you are familiar with D&D, you will enjoy this film even more and on a whole other level!
The leads are perfectly cast and fit their characters so well. (And play their characters well.)
There are so many Easter eggs and nods to traditional D&D. (Remember the D&D cartoon? You will be pleased!) Plus there are so many jokes. I need to go see it again to catch all those items.
The writers are definitely fans. This is a love letter to D&D fans. The writers and director did the story full justice.
Very highly recommended! And my favorite film of the year so far.

April Movie Preview

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

7 –


In PAINT, Owen Wilson portrays Carl Nargle, Vermont's #1 public television painter who is convinced he has it all: a signature perm, custom van, and fans hanging on his every stroke... until a younger, better artist steals everything (and everyone) Carl loves.
Director: Brit McAdams
Stars: Owen Wilson, Ciara Renée, Stephen Root
I guess the happy little trees turned on him…

The Pope’s Exorcist

Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican, The Pope's Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy's terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.
Director - Julius Avery
Stars - Russell Crowe, Franco Nero, Ralph Ineson
We all want to know – will split pea soup be involved?

14 –

Renfield Dracula's henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum.
Director: Chris McKay
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Schwartz
Finally, a role that requires Cage to suck!

28 –

Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World
The life and boxing career of George Foreman.
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Sonja Sohn, Matthew Glave
I know how it ends – he invents his grill.

What were your thoughts on your author career path? Reading the IWSG book selections? Did you see Shazam? (If not, go give the movie some money!) Any of those April movies interest you?
Big question – who can help co-host the IWSG the next three months?
Now, go read the scammer alert at the IWSG site and my piece at Operation Awesome!

Saturday, April 1, 2023