Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology Winners! Plus Knives Out and Frozen II Reviews, December Movie Preview, and Ninja News

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 Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!

Please note – since the next first Wednesday falls on New Year’s Day, we will be posting for the IWSG on the following Wednesday, January 8!

December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Skipping the question today. But I do want to announce I finished the first draft of my story (currently dubbed CassaDark) last week! Now to the edits which will involve upping the word count.

Announcing the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest!

Coming May 5, 2020 -
Voyagers: The Third Ghost

Middle grade historical/adventure
Featuring these stories and authors:
The Third Ghost – Yvonne Ventresca
Winter Days - Katharina Kolata
Feathered Fire – Roland Clarke
The Ghosts of Pompeii – Sherry Ellis
Dare Double Dare – Louise MacBeath Barbour
The Blind Ship – Bish Denham
A World of Trouble – Rebecca M. Douglass
The Orchard - Beth Anderson Schuck
Return to Cahokia – L.T. Ward
Simon Grey and the Yamamba - Charles Kowalski

We’d like to thank our amazing judges:
Elizabeth S. Craig, author and honorary judge
Dianne K. Salerni, author
Lynda Dietz, editor
S.A. Larsen, author
Rachna Chhabria, author
Lindsay Davis Auld, agent - Writers House
Tonja Drecker, author
David Powers King, author

And a big thanks to everyone who entered! There were some great stories.

Our previous IWSG anthologies -
Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
Hero Lost: The Mysteries of Death and Life
Parallels: Felix Was Here

Nominations for best writing website are now open at The Write Life!
Please go nominate the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

The WEP Challenge for December – Footprints.

And the theme came from our very own IWSG Admin, Tyrean Martinson!

Footprints in the sand...Footprints in the snow...and they don't have to be human - alien, monster, unknown creatures...all up for grabs.

The next #IWSGPit will be in January 15, 2020, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Did you know the IWSG has a Goodreads Book Club? Why the heck not?
If you’re on Goodreads, join this group to learn and grow as a writer.

Ninja News

Got an early Christmas present – this year’s three RiffTrax Live events on DVD! Plus some other fun stuff.

Want some great gift ideas? Make it a Bookmas!

Visit Tui Snider or Patricia Lynne for a list of great books.

Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories by J.Q. Rose
The story of your life, the struggles, the joys, the accomplishments, will be what the next generations understand. Your account will be a guide to help them through their own lives. Start now to put together the stories that make up your life story, a treasured family keepsake.
Find it on Amazon

Movie Reviews

Knives Out
An eccentric family unravels when the wealthy patriarch dies…or was he murdered? A famous detective is hired anonymously to investigate.
One word – entertaining!
This film is a classic whodunit, with Daniel Craig, sporting a Southern accent, chewing up scenery as the detective. Twists and turns abound as you see the truth, what the characters think is truth, and what they want the inspector to believe.
The ensemble cast brings it – Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer – even Frank Oz! Ana de Armas shines as Marta, the patriarch’s nurse.
If you’re looking for a movie for adults (while highly entertaining and funny, the pace would bore kids) then this is the film for you. You’ll be talking about it for hours afterwards.
Highly recommended!

Frozen II
One reviewer said this movie was like a snowflake – dissolves on contact. And that’s pretty accurate. As I’m writing this review a week after seeing the film, I’m struggling to remember it.
You’ll enjoy it while watching and of course kids will eat it up. Olaf has some hilarious lines. And the animation is stunning. But it’s a thin plot with way too many songs. (The one with Kristoff and Sven is cringe-worthy.) And slight spoiler – a fifth element? Haven’t we seen that movie already? I was waiting for Leeloo to show up with her multi-pass.
There are worse ways to blow two hours though.

December Movie Preview

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

13 –

Jumanji: The Next Level
In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to rescue one of their own, the players will have to brave parts unknown from arid deserts to snowy mountains, to escape the world's most dangerous game.
Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan
Two years since the first film and I’m still shocked how much I enjoyed it…

20 –

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Stars: Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Billie Lourd, Lupita Nyong'o
Spoiler – Ewoks invade earth and attack all the whiny fan boys who hated the last film.

27 –

Two young British privates during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldier's brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Mark Strong
Not only the year of a world war but the year I graduated high school…

Excited to read Voyagers: The Third Ghost? Participating in WEP or #IWSGPit? See either Knives Out or Frozen II? And what movies are you seeing this month?

This will be my last post of this year, but I’ll poke in now and then during the next two weeks before Christmas.
Remember, the next IWSG post is January 8.
Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Geek Christmas Gift Ideas, Movie Remakes, IWSG News, and More!

Geek Christmas Gifts

Got someone geeky or all into science fiction and stuff on your list? Here are some wild and fun ideas:

Yes, I have these! Big surprise, huh?

Is that a banana in your pocket…?

I desperately need this for work…

Season 12 on Blu-ray!

We have one! Works great.

Just don’t get them mixed up…

Yes, it’s $1200, but free shipping!

Movie News

Remakes! Gotta love them. Or usually hate them. Here are some movies that are on the table for a remake in the next year or two:

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Disney wants to do a live action film. But of course!

The Matrix – Yes, really!

Labyrinth – Definitely without David Bowie.

Flash Gordon – Yes, the 80’s one was campy but I liked it. Still, curious about this one.

The Chronicles of Narnia – The Silver Chair was rumored, but now NetFlix has purchased rights to all of them.

Batman – Robert Pattinson is confirmed to play the role.

Mulan – Another Disney cash grab and move to live action.

The Neverending Story – That’s right! Your beloved memories are about to be trashed.

Short Circuit – Why?

The Creature From the Black Lagoon – With better special effects, this one might be good.

The Birds – And Michael Bay is attached to the project. Fans can scream now…

Ninja News

Nominations for best writing website are now open at The Write Life!
Please go nominate the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

The next #IWSGPit will be in January 15, 2020, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Visit the site for details.
Don’t miss it!

The Case of the Golden Greeks by Sean McLachlan
Third in the Masked Man of Cairo historical mystery series
Find it on Amazon and Amazon UK

What geek gifts look good? Need a Death Star fire pit in your backyard? What remakes are making you cringe? Ready for #IWSGPit 2020? And can you nominate the Insecure Writer’s Support Group over at The Write Life?

Thanksgiving is next week! I will catch you all on December 4 for the next IWSG post day.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Terminator: Dark Fate Review, November Movie Preview, and Ninja News

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 Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

Today’s question - What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

Easy! When I was researching my Kagrandes in Dragon of the Stars, I turned to the real life super-tough creature, the Tardigrade. That little sucker can actually live in space with no air or food. It’s the toughest animal on earth. And while my Kargrandes aren’t nearly that tough, it was fascinating to learn about these tiny animals.
And if you would like to fall down that rabbit hole - Wikipedia

Good luck to those participating in NaNo. I'm focusing on finishing my story this month and have been writing 300-1100 words every day.

And we are now good for co-hosts through March! Thanks to all who left a comment or emailed me. 

The Write…Edit…Publish challenge for December:

Here is November’s IWSG Instagram:

Movie Review – Terminator: Dark Fate

Taking place twenty-five-plus years after Terminator 2: Judgement Day (and replacing the last three Terminator movies) this one brings a new target, a new champion, a new breed of Terminator, and two familiar faces to the screen.
This movie does not break new ground. After six movies, they’ve covered most of the angles.
However, I enjoyed the heck out of this one!
With a possible reboot to the series, this movie, sanctioned by James Cameron, delivers all the essentials for a good Terminator movie. (SPOILER – And the fans might finally get the ‘John Connor’ resistance movie they always wanted.)
The action scenes are incredible. Some amazing stunt work.
Special effects – really impressive. Wait until you see the new Terminator. One scary, unstoppable creature.
And then there’s the great cast. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Conner and Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as a Terminator, and both add new depth to their roles. Both are damaged people trying to do their best. Newcomers Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes have great chemistry as two young women trying to stay alive and outrun the Terminator.
Some scenes feel a little familiar, but they are executed so well and with such passion that they work. And you’ll enjoy them so much, you won’t care!
You like the original Terminator movies? You’ll enjoy this one!
Highly recommended.

Ninja News

Not Guilty by C. Lee Mckenzie
A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.
Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords

Out of Dreams: Nightmares by Charles Gramlich
Find it on Amazon

Chrys Fey is host the Favorite Holiday Memory Blog Hop on November 15.
Sign up at her site.

October Movie Preview

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

8 -

Doctor Sleep
Years following the events of "The Shining," a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Stars: Rebecca Ferguson, Ewan McGregor, Carel Struycken, Jacob Tremblay
Here’s Ewan! Yeah, doesn’t have the same ring to it…

15 -

Ford vs. Ferrari 
American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal
Obviously, it’s the start of a franchise. Next up – Chevy vs. Bugatti, Kia vs. Lamborghini…

22 –

Frozen II
Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa's powers in order to save their kingdom.
Directors: Chris Buck | Jennifer Lee
Stars: Jason Ritter, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood
Frozen 2: Electric Olaf-loo!

29 –

Knives Out
A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.
Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Edi Patterson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, Frank Oz
I grew up in the 70’s. I see this many big names in a film, I’m expecting an earthquake or a ship to overturn…

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever researched? Did you catch the new Terminator film? And what movies catch your attention for this month?
Next Monday is a holiday and I'll be visiting family that week, so I will catch you again on November 18.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Movie Influences, Edititis, Joker and Zombieland: Double Tap Movie Reviews, and New Release

Movie Influences by Elle Cardy/Lynda R. Young

Everything writers experience becomes fodder for their ideas to blossom and grow. This is how some of my absolute favourite movies may have influenced my debut novel, a YA fantasy adventure, Wielder’s Prize:

The Princess Bride – Love, adventure, pirates, revenge, and the triumph of good over evil. What’s not to love? I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen this movie. Of course it’s going to influence my writing because it has everything I love in a story.

Firefly/Serenity – Awesome characters who do the best they can with what they’ve been given. Yup, this is another influencer, even though it’s a scifi and my debut is a fantasy.

The Pirates of the Caribbean – Because my book is set on the high seas, this is the more obvious influencer, but the story itself wasn’t the influence. It was the gorgeous tall ships. For research, I also went to the Maritime museum in Sydney and clambered all over the Endeavour replica and the James Craig, both ships originated around the 18th century. So much fun!

Aliens – This is the least obvious influencer, but influenced, I’m sure it did. How? The atmosphere, the art, the beats, the tension and the stakes that ramped up as the story progressed.

Some honourable mentions: The Dark Crystal, Ladyhawke, Ghostbusters (original), Fifth Element.

What are some of your favourite movies of all time?

Wielder’s Prize by Elle Cardy (the pen name of Lynda R Young)
Jasmine’s whole life is a lie. It isn’t until she’s snatched and forced to work on another ship that she learns how much of a lie it has been. Not only can she wield, but she’s a danger to everyone if she can’t control her magic. And worse: there’s another out-of-control wielder out there who wants her dead.

The ebook and paperback are available on Amazon
You can find Elle on her website or Instagram - @ElleCardy, her blog, and Goodreads

Edititis by Sandra Cox

Edititis. I’ve got it. Have you had it?

Symptoms: Feverishly going over your manuscript just one last time…and then one more. And after telling yourself you can’t bear to look at it anymore, combing through it again.

Side effects if not properly treated: Headaches from banging your head against the wall. Thinning hair, from yanking it out. Hoarseness from continual cursing after finding a typo, missing punctuation, or a misused word on the story you’ve already edited a dozen times.

Treatments: Lots of caffeine or wine. Sleep after the caffeine wears off. Typing in bold for emphasis The End.

Like the flu, just because you’ve had it once doesn’t mean you can’t get it again. Unfortunately, there’re no inoculations available for it at this time. If you’re an author, chances are you’ll succumb with your next book.

I caught it AGAIN when working on TumbleStar.

Warning. Besides hand-tooled boots, content contains: a big-hearted, hasty-tempered cowboy, a homeless young woman, an orphaned little girl and a wild, white stallion.

Available at Amazon
Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and several cats in sunny North Carolina.
Besides all things western, she also writes in several other genres. She is a category bestselling Amazon author, Eppie finalist and Golden Ankh Award winner.
Find Sandra at her blogsite and on Twitter

Movie Reviews

Origins story of a man’s descent into madness.
I didn’t want to see it and I probably won’t ever watch it again – but the film was brilliant.
It does tie into the DC Universe, coming from Detective Comics which focuses just on Batman and the Joker. It’s very dark, gritty, and grounded. Makes the Dark Knight Trilogy look like a comedy.
Phoenix’s performance is amazing and certainly Oscar-worthy. His descent into madness is very believable. He’s already unstable before a series of events pushes him beyond the brink. The story is pretty harsh on the state of health care for lower income people.
The cinematography is also amazing.
It’s a character study, so it’s a quiet and slow-paced film, interspersed with some rather shocking moments.
Not for everyone, but definitely a film to see.
Highly recommended

Zombieland: Double Tap
Picks up several years later with the gang fighting zombies and each other.
Did you like the first one? Your answer will determine whether you like this one or not.
It doesn't bring much new to the table, but it's still really, really funny.
Zoey Deutch as newcomer Madison steals the show. Can someone really be that dumb and still live, even without zombies?
Want zombie gore? Want it in slow-motion? Got you covered! Actually, there are some spectacular stunts and effects.
There's also Graceland. Well, not quite Graceland. But enough to get your Elvis fix.
Not quite as fresh as the original, as I expected all the meta and for them to be in on the joke with us. But this one is still a blast.

New Release

Stone Man
And the Trail of Tears
By Charles Suddeth
Print ISBN 9781939844620
EBook ISBN 9781939844637
Find it on iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Dancing Lemur Press LLC, and Goodreads

I enjoyed my vacation but it’s good to be back!
What are your movie influences? Do you suffer from edititis? Seen Joker? Picked up Stone Man? Been on any good vacations lately?