Monday, February 25, 2019

Corruptions and Villains, Alita: Battle Angel Review, Train to Busan Review, #HelpMithuSaveSchool, IWSG Award and Co-Hosts, and Strange Blood!

Quick note! I was a guest at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University last Friday. Please check out the article – it was an honour to contribute to her site. Janice Hardy is also visiting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site today.

Corruptions and Villains

Hi Alex! Thanks for offering to host me on the last day of my tour. I’d like to introduce your readers to the villain of the piece, Professor Roger Lunkin. Who is he and what does he want?

When we first meet Professor Harold Lunkin, he’s about to embark on the newly named Princess Ezmerelda to travel to Loretania under the leadership of Chief Scientist George Tindleson. Their mission: carrying crates of antidote to rid that country’s people of a crippling disesase. Our young heroes – Welles, Ez and Mal – are there to wave the scientists off, and there’s lots of jovial banter between them and Tindleson, but Lunkin comes off very differently. He doesn’t acknowledge the youngsters, seeing them as more of a nuisance. They’ve seen him around the science labs but never really spoken to him.

The truth is, Lunkin liked the way things were before under the Reformers’ Government. That was when the truth about Loretania had been kept hidden from the people of Harmonia, who lived in the lap of luxury. He’s going along on this trip grudgingly, loath to give up the comforts he’s enjoyed all his life for a land that’s dirty, smelly, even primitive. That said, he’s nothing if not ambitious. While most of his colleagues have always looked up to Dr Tindleson, he sees him as a pompous gasbag with a dangerous habit of clinging on to ideas and trinkets from the pre-Reformers days – the bad old days, as Lunkin would see them. If he sees a way to get something out of this trip, something that can offer him a personal benefit, he’s going to take it. Maybe he’ll even get a chance to do what he’s always wanted – assume command.

Corruption by Nick Wilford
Book two of the Black & White series
YA dystopian

Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment…
*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Find it on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Goodreads
And part one, Black & White, is currently free: Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Goodreads

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, or Amazon.

Movie Reviews

Alita: Battle Angel

I was hesitant to see this film. I’ve read the manga novels and watched the early 90’s anime film and really enjoyed both. Despite the Cameron/Rodrigues pedigree, I was worried.
Fortunately, nothing to worry about!
In the 26th century, a cybernetics doctor (Christoph Waltz) finds the remains of a female cyborg and revives her. Unable to remember her past life, Alita (Rosa Salazar) sets out to find answers and to connect to the new world around her.
The story follows the graphic novels very well. It feels a bit rushed at times, but the movie is trying to cram several novels into one. It does manage to cover the key story points really well though.
Visually it’s stunning. The blend of anime and reality is amazing, especially with Alita. The actress becomes a CGI anime figure that is both real and yet not. It does cause a little bit of a disconnect, but not enough to take away from your enjoyment.
The story really focuses on the characters. My wife thought the character development was great and tugged at the heart. It doesn’t lack in kick butt action scenes, though. The bar scene with all the hunter-killers was just awesome.
Highly recommended!

Train to Busan

2018 movie - A zombie virus breaks out in South Korea and passengers on a train struggle to stay alive.
Asian cinema has a theme that runs through every film I watch – cue the sad and depressing music. Whether it’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero or The Host, one thing is for sure – you will be sad at the end.
Having said that, this is a solid entry into the incredibly overcrowded zombie genre. There are some really great set pieces and the train provides a feeling of claustrophobia. I appreciated that the film was bloody but not over the top gory. (Good news for squeamish viewers!)
If you’re looking for a film that breathes a little life into a genre done to death (pun intended), this South Korean film gets the job done.
Recommended and bring the Kleenex.


The IWSG made UK Writers Hub’s 50 Best Writing Blogs in 2018 list!
Thanks to everyone who nominated us – we are honoured.

We need co-hosts for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for April, May, and June! Leave a comment or send me an email if you can volunteer.
Many of you IWSG members have never volunteered – make this your year. It really is more fun on the host side. And all you have to do is visit twenty blogs in a batch. Easy!

Save a New Delhi School

Damyanti is hosting a very special blogathon to raise money for a school in New Delhi that’s in danger of closing forever.

During the blogathon, write one or more posts to talk about love, any kind of love at all, and about honouring the ones you love. All we ask is at the end of your post, you mention the fundraiser, and add the graphic above.

You can support the #HelpMithuSaveSchool fundraiser HERE.

There are many forms of love.
I love people. I used to not love people. At all. But I realized that to love God meant I needed to love His people.
I love my friends. They are there for me, without conditions.
I love my family. No matter what the quirks. They are special people.
I love my wife. She is my best friend. She is the person who brings out the best in me.
I love my Lord. Without Jesus, I have no hope of eternal salvation, and yet all he asks in return is that I accept Him as my saviour and love Him with all my heart. His love for me is true Agape love and He loves me no matter what.
That is how I see love.
How do you see love?

Book News

Coming soon - Strange Blood: 70 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies compiled by Vanessa Morgan

Featuring an essay by yours truly! Yes, my piece is on the movie Near Dark.

This is an overview of the most offbeat and underrated vampire movies spanning nine decades and 23 countries.
Strange Blood encompasses well-known hits as well as obscurities that differ from your standard fang fare by turning genre conventions on their head. Here, vampires come in the form of cars, pets, aliens, mechanical objects, gorillas, or floating heads. And when they do look like a demonic monster or an aristocratic Count or Countess, they break the mold in terms of imagery, style, or setting.
Leading horror writers, filmmakers, actors, academics, and programmers present their favorite vampire films through in-depth essays, providing background information, analysis, and trivia regarding the various films. Some of these stories are hilarious, some are terrifying, some are touching, and some are just plain weird. Not all of these movies line up with the critical consensus, yet they have one thing in common: they are unlike anything you've ever seen in the world of vampires.
Just when you thought that the children of the night had become a tired trope, it turns out they have quite a diverse inventory after all.

There is also a giveaway through March 12, so don’t miss it.

New release:
With the Magic (Twickenham Time Travel Romance Book 7) by Donna K. Weaver
When Gareth Hildebrand travels from the year 1850 to a future time, he’s not expecting to fall in love.
Find it on Amazon

What do you think of Corruption’s villain? Did you catch Alita: Battle Angel? Seen Train to Busan? What’s your take on love? Can you help a New Deli school? Ready to learn about some unique vampire films? And can you co-host the IWSG in the next three months?

Don’t forget to visit Janice Hardy’s Fiction University.
See you next Wednesday for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog posting!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Why Some Movies are Best Left as Memories, 18th Annual Golden Schmoes Awards, IWSG, and More!

Some Movies are Best Left in our Memories

My wife and I watched Mars Attacks this past weekend. We remember seeing it in the theater in 1996 and enjoyed it. The film wasn’t great, but we thought it was fun.

Seeing it again after all these years? Not fun, not good, and actually a bit of a train wreck. We should’ve seen it coming in the opening scene with all of the flying saucers headed toward Earth and special effects that looked like they came from the fifties. None of the characters were really that likeable. The story was a mess and it took forever to get to the Martians showing up on Earth. (We didn’t remember it taking that long.) What’s really sad is the amount of name actors Burton got for this crappy film - Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Paul Winfield, Pam Grier, Jack Black, Joe Don Baker, Christina Applegate…

The point is we remember a much better film. And that’s where it should have stayed – in our memory. Now I’ll think of it as one of Burton’s worst films.

That’s the danger of watching a movie you haven’t seen in years. It might not be as good as remembered. It might not have aged well. Your fond memory of that film might be shattered forever by watching it again. (There are movies from when I was a kid that I know better than to watch again because I’m pretty darn sure weren’t that good and I’d rather keep my memory of them.) Why do we remember them so well if they weren’t good? Were we just wishing they were better?

Some movies are still just as good. Jaws is still great. So are Close Encounters, Aliens, and The Princess Bride.

Some aren’t as good as remembered. Return of the Jedi was a bit disappointing. (The Ewoks alone are horrible – their faces don’t move.) Lifeforce was beyond terrible! We remembered it as an okay science fiction flick, but watching it again recently, it was a total train wreck. And Dragonheart with Sean Connery. I was watching/listening to it at work recently and I could not finish. Awful movie.

Have you watched an older film recently that wasn’t as good as you remembered? Is there an older film you’re afraid to watch again and ruin it? Please share!

Ninja News

Lisa Buie-Collard summed up the IWSG monthly posting so well last week and I wanted to share it with everyone:
This is more than a "blog hop" which is defined by hopping from one blog to another. We do hop, but we are doing more than that. We visit each blog to learn, gain confidence, spill our guts, boast, grieve, and to give advice, our opinion, comfort, and encouragement. We don't just travel. We sit awhile, read, comment and "be" there for those on the list that we can reach. IWSG is a community and we are here for each other.

The WEP 2019 February Challenge - 28 Days

What to do with 28 Days? What does 28 Days bring to mind?

You can sign up now at the WEP site.

Damyanti is hosting a very special blogathon to raise money for a school in New Deli that’s in danger of closing forever:

We’ll start a Linky list on the 14th February, Valentine’s Day. You can participate in the blogathon on any day from the 14th to the 28th.
During the blogathon, write one or more posts to talk about love, any kind of love at all, and about honouring the ones you love. All we ask is at the end of your post, you mention the fundraiser, and add the graphic above.

You can support the #HelpMithuSaveSchool fundraiser HERE.

And it’s that time of year again!
Time to vote for your favorite movies in JoBlo’s 18th Annual Golden Schmoes Awards.
Visit JoBlo’s SITE to cast your votes.
Voting open through February 20.

What movies have you watched that fell short of your memory of them? Any you’d be afraid to watch now? Participating in the WEP Challenge this month? Can you help save the school? Who gets your vote in the Golden Schmoes?

Next Monday is a holiday, so I’ll post again on February 25.
Before that, I’ll have a post at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University on February 22 - Twitter Pitch Like You Mean It. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day! Plus IWSG News, The Rookie Review, and New Releases

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 February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

February 6 question - Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

I have numerous other creative things I do, but the biggest one involves music. I’ve played an instrument most of my life, but my current passion is the guitar. I started playing about fifteen years ago and now I own five guitars and play in a Christian band. I’ll never be great, but I enjoy it tremendously. If I never write another book, I’ll be all right – but Lord, please keep those fingers in working order for a few more years!

What about you? What’s your creative outlet?


The WEP 2019 February Challenge - 28 Days

What to do with 28 Days?

What does 28 Days bring to mind?

You can sign up now at the WEP site.

Post your entry on or around February 20.

Here are the prompts for February’s IWSG Instagram:

The IWSG Book Club on Goodreads is changing things up!

- 5 discussion questions instead of 10
- Discussion Day poll for quick and easy participation.
- Members can help us create Goodreads quizzes for the books we read.
- Giveaways exclusive to our members every Discussion Day.
- Freebies members can download when we announce our next reading selection.
- Writing and reading related polls for fun and insight.
We will still read a new book every other month, alternating between craft books and fictional books that demonstrate an aspect of writing, and our members will continue to vote on our fictional books. Our February/March 2019 book is…Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. This book was voted on by our members to be a good example of setting. Discussion Day will be March 20th.
Join us HERE

Show Review – The Rookie

I’ve always enjoyed police procedurals as long as they’re heavy on solving cases versus a lot of relationship drama. And since I’m a huge fan of Nathan Fillion (miss Firefly – curse you, FOX!), I was eager to check out this show.

I’m happy to report this show is a lot of fun!

It follows three rookies (Fillion being one of them) on their day to day exploits. While there is a little personal drama, most of the show revolves around the rookies and their training instructors as they patrol the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Part drama, part comedy, and always entertaining, this show works for me. Highly recommended!

New Releases

Splashes and Splishes by Pat Hatt
If wishes were fishes and splashes were splishes would splashes be splishes and wishes be fishes? Could splishes be splashes and fishes be flashes with wishes as splishes and splashes as flashes? Or would splashes and splishes make wishes with fishes to stop fishes and wishes for splashes and splishes?
Find it on Amazon

Razor Valentine by Roland Yeomans
A Mardi Gras/Valentine thriller set in the New Orleans of 1947.
Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, Our Lady of Holy Death, is stalking the French Quarter streets killing apparently at random.
What does the psychotic actress, Irene Dupré, know of this entity and what lies behind the murders? She remains silent, only smiling.
Find it on Amazon as an eBook and a physical book

What’s your creative outlet? Participating in the WEP Challenge or Goodreads Book Club? Have you seen The Rookie? And can you believe it’s February already?