Monday, July 17, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes and The Void Movie Reviews, #IWSGPit and IWSG Anthology, Monday’s Music, New Releases, and Ninja News

Want to know the steps for an author when it comes to audio book creation? Then visit Sandra Ulbrich Almazan today for my take on how it all goes down!

War for the Planet of the Apes Review

An army of humans led by the Colonel threatens the survival of the apes, setting Caesar on a path to avenge his kind.
First word – exhausting. Emotionally draining on every level. You will be put through the wringer watching this film.
However, the film is brilliant. So moving, so compelling. It’s a slow, purposeful pace, powerful in its intent. So many incredible moments along the journey. And such a terrible, tragic journey, but change one thing and it would’ve been worse. The apes are more human than the humans.
The special effects in this film are the best I have ever seen – bar none. You believe the apes are real. Minutes into the film, they are no longer CGI. And they aren’t – the expressions, the eyes – so real and amazing. You really see Andy Serkis as Caesar. He so deserves an Oscar nomination for this film. All of the apes – so incredibly real. Props go to all of the human actors behind the voices and the actual actions.
The cinematography is incredible. Again, Oscar worthy.
There are several nods to the original films, including a mute girl who takes the name Nova and Caesar’s youngest son, Cornelius.
Critics are calling it a great end to a trilogy. They could keep going with the stories if they wanted. But after seeing it, I understand why they are calling it that.
If you’ve seen the other two films, you cannot miss this haunting and powerful chapter in the series.
Highly recommended.

The Void Review

After delivering a patient to a closing hospital, a police officer and the small staff start experiencing strange things involving hooded figures and more.
This is a throwback to classic 80’s horror films. There is very little CGI – it’s all realtime monster effects.
The filmmakers were also obviously fans of both early John Carpenter films and of H.P. Lovecraft. There are strong elements from both creators here.
The film has issues. But give the writing and directorial team credit for trying to make a respectable horror film in 2017. (Not a lot out there right now.) The director could’ve phoned it in, but he tried to do something of quality.
It’s gory, weird, and ramps up the tension level. The cinematography is also great.
If you are into gory creature features, especially with a throwback vibe, this is the film to watch.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

Hosted by Marie at Xmas Dolly.

I am the Spotlight Dancer today and I choose the theme European Favorites!

First up is Katatonia with Serein from their album The Fall of Hearts. This band began life as a screaming prog band but when the lead singer could no longer do it, the entire band changed their style to produce this beautiful album. They hail from Sweden.

Next is Harken with Earthrise from their album Affinity. They hail from London.

New Releases

Pat Hatt has three new Tarsier Man tales!

Tarsier Man: Thugs and Love Bugs
Find it on Amazon

Tarsier Man: Buyers and Liars
Find it on Amazon

Tarsier Man: A Plot By Polka Dot
Find it on Amazon

Young Seasons by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
Find it on Amazon

Ninja News

The Cherished Blogfest is this October!

The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit is open for submissions until the end of July!
What have you found that makes a profit?
What have you found that doesn’t?
Please share your experience! Guidelines here.
Deadline is July 31 – what are you waiting for?

The IWSG’s first Twitter pitch party, #IWSGPit, is July 27! We have a great list of publishers and agents who will be watching the hashtag with many more checking in.
If you have something ready to submit, you don’t want to miss this.

Have you seen War or The Void yet? What music moves you today? Participating in #IWSGPit or contributing to the anthology? Have some fun stuff planned for the remainder of summer?

Don’t forget to visit Sandra Ulbrich Almazan.

I’ll be offline next week but I will be on Twitter, especially Thursday, July 27 - #IWSGPit day! Good luck to all those who are Tweeting pitches.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spiderman: Homecoming Review, Princess Breeze, Upcoming Super Hero Films, IWSG News & New Admin, and New Releases

Spiderman: Homecoming Movie Review

A couple months after his involvement with the Avengers, Peter tries to find his place in life as both high school student and superhero while battling The Vulture and his gang of alien artifact weapons dealers.
In a nutshell, incredibly entertaining!
This is the first film to capture the essence of the real Spiderman from the comics. He’s a loveable, dorky, awkward teen trying to work out his new powers.
The action set pieces are really good, even the small ones.
Tom Holland is great as the lead. He’s the perfect gangly teen.
Michael Keaton is a decent villain, although the villain isn’t the strongest part of the film. He does come with a wicked twist though.
Peter Parker’s best friend is hilarious!
The love story was really toned down and I appreciated that. It was more like infatuation and what awkward teen love is really like.
It’s not my favorite but it’s a worthy piece of the Marvel puzzle that you can watch over and over again.
Highly recommended!

A Cinderella Tale

Do you ever imagine your book as a movie? That would be fun, wouldn’t it? In thinking what type of movie my latest novel, Princess Breeze, would be like I came up with one of my favorite fairy tales, Cinderella. My story is a Cinderella story with a happy family, instead of a hateful one, like in the fairy tale.

Where Cinderella lived with a wicked stepmother and two stepsisters that were mean to her, Breeze lives with her father, mother, and siblings that love her, even though they may have disagreements at times. What family doesn’t?

In Cinderella’s story, all the young girls in the kingdom received an invitation to a royal ball at the palace. The prince was looking for a bride. But the wicked stepmother would not allow Cinderella to attend the ball. Here, Breeze’s story differs. When she receives an invitation to visit Prince Cam at his home on the tropical island of Isla del Fuego, not only does Breeze go, but her whole family and two best friends go with her. Also, Cam, the boy she met at school a few months earlier, heir to the kingdom, was not looking for a bride. They’re only fourteen.

There is a bad guy, of course, who is determined that he will one day be king of the island, and who is determined to get rid of the prince and Breeze, as well. No fairy godmother saves them. Instead, Breeze and Cam use a legend of the island to help them fight the would-be king.

So, Princess Breeze and Cinderella are both stories of a commoner girl meeting a prince and hopefully living happily ever after. Fairy tales do come true.

As part of the celebration you can enter the tour-wide giveaway (courtesy of the author) for one of two paperback copies of the book (U.S. only) being given away. Please visit the Rafflecopter to enter.

Princess Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure
For months, Breeze Brannigan has heard nothing from Cam, the prince she met at school and who disappeared one night, without telling her goodbye.
Find Princess Breeze at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 4RV Publishing

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds. She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.
Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.
Find Beverly at blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The IWSG would like to welcome Christine Rains to the admin team! We are excited to have her on board. Please stop by and welcome her.

Christopher Votey is our guest this week at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He has an excellent article on world building, so check it out.

The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit is open for submissions until the end of the month! What have you found that makes a profit? What have you found that doesn’t? Please share your experience! Guidelines here

The IWSG’s first Twitter pitch party,#IWSGPit, is July 27! We have a great list of publishers and agents who will be watching the hashtag with many more checking in. If you have something ready to submit, you don’t want to miss this.
And if you can help spread the word, we appreciate that as well! You can also retweet the pinned Tweet at our Twitter - @TheIWSG.

New Releases

Hunter's Exiled Lady: Survivors of the Apocalypse # 1 by Susan Kelley/Gourley
In a dystopian future, a fierce, frontier survivor and a cultured, vulnerable city lady battle humanity’s extinction as well as their personal ill-advised attraction and mistrust…
Find it on Amazon

Strangely Funny IV anthology, with a story by C.D. Gallent-King
Edited by Sarah E. Glenn and published by Mystery and Horror, LLC.
Find it on Amazon

Star-Crossed by Megan Morgan

Super Hero News

While the super hero film trend annoys some, this childhood comic book fan is loving it! I was a DC fan, but I’ll take Marvel and whoever else wants to make a good super hero movie. And we do have a lot coming up on the horizon…

November 3 – Thor: Ragnarok
November 17 – Justice League (Yes, I am so stoked for this one!)
February 16, 2018 – Black Panther
April 13 – X-Men: The New Mutants
May 4 – Avengers: Infinity War
June 1 – Deadpool II
June 15 – The Incredibles II
July 6 – Ant-Man and the Wasp
November 2 – X-Men: Dark Phoenix
December 21 – Aquaman

Yes, it’s a super hero fan’s paradise!

Anyone else see Spiderman: Homecoming? Ever imagined your book as a movie? Submitting to the IWSG anthology or participating in #IWSGPit? Picking up some new books? And what super hero film do you want to see most?

And Dragon of the Stars is the current audio book giveaway from my publisher! Re-Tweet THIS TWEET to enter and to spread the news. Thanks! 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus July Movie Preview, Baby Driver and Despicable Me 3 Reviews, and CassaStorm Giveaway

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.

My awesome co-hosts today are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan!

Today’s optional question - What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Never underestimate my actual readers – or who they are. My books appeal to as many women as men, something I never foresaw happening, especially with science fiction stories. But I accepted it and wrote to please my actual fan base, both men and women.

The IWSG is hosting its first Twitter pitch party - #IWSGPit!
We have a lot of agents and publishers lined up who will be watching the Twitter feed that day.
You don’t want to miss it! Details HERE.

Submissions are open for The IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit.
What are we looking for?
Anything writing related – books, journalism, articles, whatever.
What have you tried that was successful?
What have you tried that didn’t result in sales or making money? We need to know what doesn’t work as well!
Submissions are open to all IWSG members – monthly blog post members, Facebook, and Goodreads. Details here.

And in case you missed it - the Insecure Writers Support Group site made the Writer’s Digest 19th Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers! This has been a goal of mine for the past several year and we finally made it. Thanks to all of YOU for making the group and the site awesome. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Audio Book Giveaway

My publisher, Dancing Lemur Press, has been giving away an audio book every week since the beginning of May.
Today is the last day you can enter to win a copy of CassaStorm.
Just go to @DancingLemurPre and click the pinned Tweet to enter.
Thanks for helping me spread the word!

Movie Reviews

Baby Driver

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail. Staring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx.
This film is classy and stylish, slick but casual in its execution. It takes you on a ride that is both exhilarating and laid-back.
One of the coolest things about this film is how the music and action line up perfectly. From Baby lining up music for a getaway scene to the overall score, it is in perfect harmony.
The car chases and driving are amazing. Your jaw will drop at some of the tricks and stunts.
Baby is a sympathetic character. He’s a good person caught in a bad situation. He loves his foster father and cares about people in general. He and Debora (Lily James) have real chemistry on screen and make a good couple.
Reviews for this film have it at near-perfect. While I wouldn’t give it an A+, it was an excellent film.

Despicable Me 3

Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.
In a nutshell – silly and fun.
The Minions and Gru end up parting ways, so there becomes two storylines. Three if you count Judy’s efforts to find her place as Mom to three young girls. That's probably the movie's biggest fault - too much going on.
Dru – the twin brother – could’ve been annoying, but he’s not. He’s a good balance with the more dour Gru.
The animation is stunning. Some of the best I’ve ever seen. Some of the scenes were so real, it was incredible.
Fans of the 80’s will also get a kick out of the villain, Balthazar Bratt. Or you’ll have horrible 80’s flashbacks – one of the two.
While not the best animated flick I’ve ever seen, it was entertaining. If you enjoyed the other films, go for it. If not, then Minions in prison will not change your mind…

July Movie Preview

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

7 –

Spiderman: Homecoming
Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Peter Parker attempts to balance his life in high school with his career as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man.
Director: Jon Watts
Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei
It’s getting great review and buzz- and it’s not an origins story! Ninja happy.

14 –

War for the Planet of the Apes
After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: Toby Kebbell, Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer
This could be the movie of the year. Advanced word – amazing and heart wrenching all at once.

21 –

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Elizabeth Debicki
Pray it’s The Fifth Element and not Jupiter Rising…

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance
Batman loses his short term memory and moves to Alaska to tap into people’s dreams…oh wait, I’m mixing up my Nolan films…

What have you learned since you started writing? Sending an entry for the IWSG anthology? Entering #IWSGPit? Want to win a copy of CassaStorm on audio? And what movie catches your eye for July?