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!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - congratulations on the essay entry - Vanessa's collection has a stunning cover. I've helped the New Delhi school - such a worthy cause giving children a chance to learn and grow with an education behind them. Good luck to Nick with his Corruptions and Villains book ... cheers to one and all - Hilary

nashvillecats2 said...

Yes Alex congrats on the essay entry . A good post as always.
Also good luck to Nick with his book.
Have a good week.


J Lenni Dorner said...

Excellent post. I haven't seen these movies. Way to go, Nick, on the book. And on Strange Blood. I could help in June, if you let me know what to do. April is going to be crazy, what with the 10 year Anniversary of the A to Z Challenge. So much to do!

Pat Hatt said...

Assuming command seems to be the ultimate goal.

Didn't know Alita was any good. Good to know. Yeah, many such films are depressing, as are a lot of the done to death zombie films these days.

G. B. Miller said...

The book's plot reminds me of an episode of Star Trek TNG, where one planet species was confronted with fact that they were keeping another species hooked on drugs and profiting from their misery.

Congrats on the essay and I've always like the non-traditional vampire films. Will definitely look into this one.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Yes, I am ready to learn about some unique vampire films! Strange Blood: 70 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies is right up my dark alley. I am intrigued by your review of Alita: Battle Angel and want to see it, but I will probably avoid Train to Busan because I don't like the use of music as a prompt.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Lunkin sounds like a great character!

I haven't heard of either of those movies...they sound interesting! I'd have to be in the right mood to see a film with a sad ending, though.

Truedessa said...

There aren’t many movies out right now that I am interested in viewing.

Nick’s book sounds intriguing, I may give it a read.

What does love mean to me? Ha I could have a very long discussion on that topic. My mantra is ‘I choose the frequency of love’ We are surrounded by vibrational energy and it’s important to tune in to the vibration of love/ positive energy. Love should come from the heart unconditional. It can be painful at times when we connect it with unrealistic expectations. Love must be embraced inward before it can be felt outward. My thoughts are on a roll, however, I will spare everyone the wandering of my mind.

Wishing all peace, light and love always...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

J, as soon as I know some details, I'll be in touch.

Pat, Alita was very good. Hope it makes its money back.

GB, I'll keep you posted on the release date.

Truedessa, you should post that for the bloghop.

Joanne said...

Always nice to see so much writer news. Books are popping up like spring flowers.
Have a good week

Mason Canyon said...

Congrats to Nick and everyone else on their new releases. Alita: Battle Angel sounds intriguing but I'm not sure I can watch a movie that tugs at the heart. Damyanti has a wonderful project, wishing much success.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've had Train to Busan on my To Watch list for ages now! I've been waiting to get new glasses so I can better read the subtitles. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks for hosting me today. An honour to be here on the last day of my tour!

Never been into manga, but Alita does look good. Congrats on your inclusion in that anthology. Sounds like an eye-opening read!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats to Nick on his new book. I'm off to check out your post on Janet's site. And I can co-host in April. I'd like to start helping more with this. It was fun.

Jennifer Lane said...

Congratulations to Nick! Sounds like a modern-day villain.

I'm having trouble commenting on some blogs (it's a cookies/cache issue I'm trying to figure out) so I couldn't comment on your post about Twitter pitches, but well done! I now understand them better.

Cathrina Constantine said...

A big congrats to Nick. Book 2 sounds amazing!!

Hopping over to Janice Hardy's now.

The Angry Lurker said...

Looking forward to some decent sci-fi viewing!

Chemist Ken said...

I haven't seen Alita, but the trailer caught my interest. I kept trying to decide if her character was CGI or not. Sometimes it was obvious, others not so much.

I can co-host any of those months you mentioned.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Madeline, you will need to read the subtitles!

Nick, you're welcome! Wrong end of the tour but we made it work.

Natalie, thanks! Told you it was fun on the co-host side.

Jennifer, no worries.

Tonja Drecker said...

Congrats on the essay! My brother was very surprised by Battle Angel too (said the romance thing was a little weird though). Congrats, Nick! And the New Deli school has caught my eye before. I agree with God and the ultimate example of love. Real love.

J.Q. Rose said...

Congrats on the essay AND the IWSG award!! You're on a roll!!!
JQ Rose

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's quite an honor to make the best writing blogs list. Now I need to follow the link and see what else is out there I might have missed. Thanks, Alex!

The Cynical Sailor said...

That's fabulous news about the IWSG and well deserved recognition! Congrats to Nick on his new release - it's a great read. Congrats also to Donna on her new release.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats on the book.

I loved Alita. It made me cry more than once.

Arlee Bird said...

Here's wishing well to Nick and his book.

I've been seeing the commercials for the Alita film but they haven't drawn my interest much. Your review stimulated some curiosity within me, but I still might not see it just because of the genre.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Victoria Marie Lees said...

If we don't enter, there's never a chance that we could win, so bravo to you, Alex. These book covers are wonderful. Good luck, Nick, with your new release. I always learn so much, visiting your blog, Alex. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on having an essay included.
Nick was on my blog last week and I really like the excerpt he shared.

Andrew Leon said...

I want to see Alita, though who knows if that will happen.
And that other one sounds interesting, too, even though I'm not really a zombie person.

Sherry Ellis said...

Great article on Twitter Pitches!

Congrats to IWSG for the award. It's well-deserved.

Very cool about Nick's new book. I'll have to check it out.

Liz A. said...

I've seen the trailer for Alita several times. The eyes on the lead character... They're just creepy. I suppose one doesn't notice when one gets immersed in the story, but in the trailer... said...

Congratulations to Nick on another big accomplishment. And all the other congratulations that are earned. =)
Have a great week, Alex.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ken, thanks! The actress was real, but she looked CGI. It was an odd blend.

Tonja, it is real love!

Sherry, thanks!

Liz, they did it to match the graphic novel.

Thanks, everyone!

Rhonda Albom said...

Congrats to Nick, that book sounds gripping. And more congrats to IWSG. I think I am going to get a copy of Strange Blood for one of my girls, it is right up her alley.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That sounds like a cool collection of essays. Haven't seen either of those movies. I'm not a fan or anything zombie.
My love list is similar to yours. I'm very blessed to have a large, wonderful family and equally lucky with dear friends.

Juneta key said...

Hi Alex. I can host any month you need me. Just let me know. Enjoyed reading about Nick Wilford's villain. Congrats on the release.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Good luck, Nick, on your book!!! Looks super interesting.

Alex, congratulations on your essay and the Insecure Writer's site being one of the bests in the UK. It is one of the best for writers. I can help co-host in May, if you need me.


J E Oneil said...

I guess Alita is less white-washed then most of the anime to live action films made. I haven't heard of Train to Busan. I really want to watch it.

Mary Kirkland said...

Congrats on the essay entry.
I haven't seen the movies.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rhonda, cool!

Juneta, thanks!

Teresa, thank you!

projectwhy said...

Thank you so much for your support

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations on all the great news. My poor brain can't remember it all, but it so exciting for everyone. As for Love - This old saying came to mind when I heard it: "Love is never having to say you're sorry." I like that. What you said is awesome too. Have a great week.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for the review of Alita! Congrats on the essay!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

The description of how the professor views the young people is actually how several professors are, unfortunately (myself not included, of course). I've met a lot of academics who don't pay as much attention to the young people in their classes as they should because they care more about their research. And congratulations to Nick on the book!

Helena said...

Here's to Nick's book doing splendidly, and the same to Donna. And I'm not surprised at all that you have an essay in the anthology, Alex. Well done.

Fundy Blue said...

How cool that the IWSG made the UK Writers Hub's list. Congrats on that and your essay, Alex. Congratulations to Nick on his book. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on love. And I agree that there are many forms of love. Love is what makes life worth living!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have been watching This Is Us on NBC and it's got me depressed enough for now.

Congrats to Nick on the new book and to the IWSG! And on your vamp book essay. I enjoy a good vampire movie.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Louise, it is!

Thanks, everyone.

Lynda Dietz said...

What a great bunch of features you have this week! Nick's book sounds so interesting. I love dystopia. And the vampire book compiled by Vanessa not only caught my eye with that killer cover, but it sounds as fascinating as it looks.

Your assessment of Asian movies cracks me up. I'd never thought about the sad endings, but there you go. You are not wrong.

Your thoughts on love mirror my own. I don't think we can really understand how to love people unless we love God and learn his way of loving first.

Jo said...

Corruption sounds like a good story. I must check it out. Not seen any new films lately. Never get to the movies any more.

I find my love for my friends expanding these days. Especially having found what true friends they are.

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Nick! His villain sounds wicked! A fresh take on the zombie genre is always welcome. And congrats to you on Strange blood! It's a striking cover.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Highest of sales for Nick! TRAIN TO BUSAN is a riveting film ... and yes, it is sad at the end but still with echoes of redemption and hope. ALITA is one I will definitely watch, but only on Blu Ray or streaming. Rare blood courier is a demanding occupation! :-)

Mark said...

Looks good, Nick! :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Nick!

Thanks for the shout-out, Alex!

We saw Alita. I thought it struggled a little with the story part, but it's also based as you mentioned on the manga - anime stories. I find their ending not to be satisfactory, and this one was definitely a set up for another film. What I don't understand is the point in saving a character just to kill them off a few minutes later. The visuals in the film were amazing.

XmasDolly said...

DUDE! CONGRATS on your essay entry! Sounds like fun to me. Your Post is as marvy as always. Sorry I cannot stick around and chit chat, but it's just one of those busy kinda days, but a big HELLO to let you know that I was thinkin' of ya. Hey do you plan on doing a review of that generic Oscar show last night plus I'd love to know what you thought of the winners and the non winners. have a great day my friend! HUGS

Carrie-Anne said...

Congratulations on your guest spot at Fiction University, and congratulations to Nick on his release!

Strange Blood sounds like a great read. I love a real Vampyre, the foreboding, blood-sucking kind, not the sparkly kind defying all vampiric laws.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I loved Train to Busan. Really well done movie.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Congratulations on the award! Well deserved.

I've already signed up to be a cohost for April, but I can take May too if you're short of people.

Patsy said...

I can co host again if you're still in need of someone, Alex.

mail4rosey said...

I like your definition of love. That's how I see it too. Happy to "meet" Janice!

Anonymous said...

Great to see Nick, a familiar, old face to me :) has a new book out. Haven't checked that Train to Busan, but your review is intruiging!

Congrats again on IWSG earning an international nod of the hat.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Congrats, Donna!

Not familiar with Alita, but I wouldn't mind seeing it.

Diane Burton said...

Congrats to Nick on his new release.

Also congratulations on IWSG's recognition. Wowl

mshatch said...

A big congrats to Nick and thanks for the review of Alita. My brother really wants to see it so I'll tell him you give it a thumbs up. As for love, well, what's not to love? Being in love is the best thing ever, imo.

Birgit said...

Congrats to Nick for his book and being able to have it showcased on your blog. I have seen Near dark which is better than many big vampire movies. This would be a fun series to see. I am not all that interested in the films but i do like Christoph Waltz so...maybe:) Without love we would not grow as human beings, we would not have music, art, film We know the love of love, the lust, the pain, runs the whole gamut

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynda, amen!

Donna, that part was a bit rushed. The story arc is longer in the graphic novels.

Marie, I didn't even watch it. Too much political crap.

JH, thanks!

Patsy, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you on your essay feature. That's awesome. Congrats to Nick too.

I've been watching Passage and am pleasantly surprised by how well it's done. Although it's vampires, not Zombies. I think you'd enjoy it too.

Elsie said...

I'd be happy to co-host in June. If that's full already, I can also do it in April.

John Wiswell said...

If you're looking for more good Korean cinema after Train to Busan, I strongly recommend Flu! Similar themes of devotion to family in outbreaks, with even better acting and just as much heart.

Lisa said...

Cool to hear about your essay! I can't wait now to see Alita! I wondered if it was worth it. Corruption sounds interesting....

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Whew! Lots of info here, as always. Congrats to Nick on the new book release. It was very clever of him to offer the first book of his series for free, too. I just ordered it, so I reckon I'm about to get hooked on yet another series... (So many books, so little time!)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elsie, I'll check it out.

Kim, we could use one more for April!

John, thanks for the recommendation.

Heather R. Holden said...

Have seen nothing but praise for Alita: Battle Angel on Twitter. Glad this movie was such a win for you, especially since you're a fan of the manga and anime!

And oooh...Strange Blood sounds just like my kind of read. Very cool how you have an essay included in it!

Susan Kane said...

Totally loved Alita. Christopher Walz is always a treat.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Congrats on your essay entry inclusion. And good luck to Nick with the books. Good luck to Damyanti too with her very laudable cause.

My take on love is that it's many splendoured but also quite ordinary tap-water-out-of-faucets kind stuff.

Sandra said...

Many congrats on the essay entry.
Hopping over to Fiction University now.

Magic Love Crow said...

Congrats to Nick! The book sounds very interesting!
Congrats on the new book releases everyone! Congrats to you too Alex on the essay!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I will tell anyone who will listen that Train To Busain is a great movie. It's the freshest and more interesting take on Zombies in a long time. Fast zombies are also very scary to me. Kingdom on Netflix is another Korean zombie story but one set in ancient Korea. The Koreas know their zombies.

Sherry Ellis said...

Ordered Nick's book. Looking forward to reading it.

DMS said...

I have been seeing Nick's book all over the blogosphere! Best of luck to him and to all the others with new book releases. :) Congrats to you, Alex!

SpacerGuy said...

I love female vampires cause they've got bite, hehe. Real little vixens although crikey... look at that Strange Bloods arm! Its red! Shes been feeding... Just saying is all...I wonder though...

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Oooh I hope Alita: Battle Angel gets a sequel. Also congrats to Nick. I have so many unanswered questions about Alita. Sigh.

Sandra said...

I just started Black and White. I'm very impressed with Nick's writing.

Toi Thomas said...

Corruption sounds like a complex book.
I never really got into the Alita anime, but I always liked the concept. I do plan to watch the movie one day.
Strange Blood sounds crazy, in a good way. Might be worth checking out.
Missed a lot last month, but hope to catch up this month.