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 –

1917
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!

87 comments:

Deniz Bevan said...

Alex! I miss you! Congratulations on finishing your draft! Funny, a friend just went to see Knives Out yesterday and was recommending it.

Pat Hatt said...

Knives out has been getting great reviews. Frozen 2 seems to be the same all over, good but forgettable. Congrats on getting the first draft done. Hopefully the Ewoks leave me alone, as I'm not some whiny fanboy, but found the last one super boring.

Rhonda Albom said...

Congratulations on finishing your draft, and to all the winners. As for your question, I stepped way out of my comfort zone on my last blog post, and it took off in the way I have always wanted them to go, so for the moment, I am not role-playing, and it feels terrifying.

Mason Canyon said...

Congrats on finishing your draft and to the winners of the anthology contest. Knives sounds like a fun movie to see. Also looking forward to seeing Jumanji. Wishing you and your family a safe and Merry Christmas.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Congrats on finishing the first draft! Great title too.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

I've been watching the trailer for Knives Out and can already tell it's my kind of movie. (SPOILER ALERT: Mrs. Peacock did it with a lead pipe in the conservatory.) I am also eager to tell Mrs. Shady about 1917. She is a history buff with an interest in wars, particularly WWI and II.

Merry Christmas and happy 2020 to you as well, good buddy Alex,!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations to the winners!

"CassaDark" is a great title. :)

I saw "Knives Out" with my kids and really enjoyed it!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Congratulations to the anthology winners and to you for the draft. It's a busy season for everyone, but writing is my hideaway.

Thanks for the movie reviews!

Teresa

Lynn La Vita said...

Congratulations on completing the first draft of CassaDark!
I enjoyed reading the WEP "Footprints in the sand..."

I wish all the winners and competitors of the IWSG Anthology contest continued success.

Liza said...

Hooray on your first draft, Alex! Congratulations to the anthology winners. Well done!

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats to the anthology winners! Some stellar authors there. And congrats on finishing your draft, Alex.

The kids have already seen Frozen 2. Seemed to enjoy it... but I don't know much more than that.

Ellen Jacobson said...

Huge congrats to all the anthology winners - looking forward to reading their stories when it's released!

And congrats to JQ for her release. I've started to read through her journal and it's a great tool for people to capture memories.

Can't wait for CassaDark to be out there in the world!

I love your spoiler for Star Wars :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Deniz! Thank you.

Pat, watch out, your cats might be Ewoks in disguise...

Rhonda, no fear!

Lynda, that's good to know.

Shady, go and enjoy.

Elizabeth, thanks!

Ellen, thank you - I aim to amuse.

Thanks, everyone!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Well done on finishing that draft, Alex.

Congratulations to all the anthology winners!

Haven't seen too many good movies lately, but added Knives Out to my To See list - hearing lots of good things about it.

Merry Christmas, Alex! Hope it's a lovely one!

Joanne said...

Excellent news on CassaDark first draft. Keep plugging along. Congrats to anthology winners - the titles sound intriguing. And Knives Out is on my list, just didn't have time over T-giving. But you need to zoom into F v F.
This time of year sure gets busy - kick back, slow down, and enjoy the season. Happy December.

Jennifer Lane said...

Congratulations to you and the anthology authors, and thank you to the judges!

Have you seen Ford vs. Ferrari? Really good!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Congrats on getting that first draft done! That's always the hard part... now you can have fun with it.

That journal idea for writing stuff down for future generations is a cool idea. I gave something similar to to all four of our parents when our children were small... and none of them wrote a single word in it. (Darn it!)

There are several movies out now that I wouldn't mind seeing, but for now we're keeping Smarticus away from crowds. Too many sick people around here!

Enjoy your break, and Merry Christmas!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Thrilled for all the winning stories that will make up this next anthology. Congratulations to all!

I'm glad you mentioned Knives Out. I've been thinking about seeing it. Movies to watch soon - I've wanted to see It 2, but so many people told me they were kind of disappointed with it that I haven't yet. Did you see it?

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and lots of goodness throughout the new year!

Donna said...

Haha Right. You graduated from HS in 1917. Dude.

We're looking forward to Knives Out. The trailer reminds me of The Murder on the Orient Express with everyone wanting to kill the guy.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Still chuckling from your final comment about 1917...LOL....

Congrats on finishing your first draft!!! That's the hardest part for me.

Congrats to all the winners for the anthology!

Looking forward to viewing Knives Out.

Merry Christmas!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on finishing your manuscript. I think you are in the minority in needing to add words in a revision, but that's a good place to be at.

Good luck to the anthology winners!

Julie Flanders said...

Congrats on finishing your draft! And wow, you graduated high school even longer ago than I did LOL. ;)
Merry Christmas to you and your family, Alex!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay on the first draft!!
Looking forward to Skywalker!

Lidy said...

Congrats on finishing your draft! And congrats to the winners of the anthology contest! Knives Out reminds me of Clue. Can’t wait to see the Jumanji sequel. But the movie I’m really looking forward to is Black Widow which is coming out May 2020. Have you seen the trailer yet?

Lisa said...

So happy for you on that first draft finish! Go Alex! I want to see Knives Out now. And of course I'll be seeing the Last Skywalker, because I have to. Can't wait to read the anthology!

Lisa said...

Oh, and I nominated IWSG on Write Life!

Tamara Narayan said...

Merry Christmas!

We've been so busy, we missed our chance to see Dr. Sleep in the theatre. Oops. Waiting on Red Box now.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Is that for real, Clark? About the ewoks? LOL

Have a very blessed and happy Christmas.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great movie reviews today. I want to see Knives Out this weekend. Just my cup of tea. Looks a bit Agatha-Christie-esq! (Still working on my IWSG post, up soon.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Madeline, go see it!

Jennifer, as Joanne pointed out, I need to see it?

Shari, I saw it and yes, was a little disappointed. First one was much better.

Donna, my body sometimes feels like I'm that old...

Natalie, I'm just a bare bones writer.

Lidy, yes!

Lisa, thanks!

Thanks, everyone!

Sadira Stone said...

Knives Out is on my must-see list. Thanks as always, Alex, for your movie recs, and for all you do for all of us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Carrie-Anne said...

Congratulations on finishing your story, and good luck with the edits! Congratulations also to the anthology winners!

I let my local writers' group know about IWSGPit. Several people are looking forward to it.

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to the winners and to you for finishing the first draft! I've been hearing really good things about Knives Out. I did manage to see JoJo Rabbit which was much more endearing than I thought it would be. Definitely taking my son to see the new Jumanji! Have a wonderful Christmas and here's to a great 2020 for all of us. :)

PJ Colando said...

My husband and I saw 'Knives Out' last night - We laughed aloud a lot in the near-deserted theater!

Thanks to you for your informative posts -

Merry, merry!

Cherie Reich said...

A big congrats to the winners who'll be published in the next IWSG anthology! And I had to laugh at your spoiler about the upcoming Star Wars movie. Is it bad I hope that happens?

cleemckenzie said...

I've heard a lot of good things about Knives Out. I guess I'll have to buy a ticket and go to the movies. Congrats to all the anthology winners! This is going to be a great collection for 2020.

Liz A. said...

And I thought you were about my age...

Looks like Knives Out was good. I'll be waiting for TV, of course, but I'll probably check it out then. Congrats on your new release.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm very excited you finished the story.

I want to see all three movies.

Yvonne Ventresca said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Knives Out later this month. And I'm thrilled my story was selected for the upcoming IWSG anthology!

Pat Garcia said...

I can't believe how fast the year has gone by. For me, it's amazing. I am happy to hear you have the first draft of your book finished. Now it comes down . to the real writing, revising. Something that I like. Wishing you all the best during the Christmas season and a blessed start in the new year.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, congratulations on finishing the draft of CassaDark. I like the title.

I enjoyed judging the stories for the IWSG anthology contest, The Third Ghost was my favourite one. Glad that it will be the title of the anthology. Thank you for making me one of the judges. I loved reading all the stories. It was so difficult to choose ten. Congratulations to the winners.

I'll go and vote now.

Merry Christmas in advance.

Chemist Ken said...

Whew! I almost forgot about the Star Wars movie. Not sure about Jumanji, though. The first one was lots of fun and games, but can they keep that up in a sequel or will it fall flat?

Have a great Christmas, Alex!

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

Congratulations on finishing your first draft! All the best to the winners and judges of this year's anthology.

I can't wait to see Knives Out.
"dissolves on contact..." That's funny!
I too was surprised by how much I enjoyed the last Jumanji. I hope the next one is just as good.

Happy holidays!

Patsy said...

Yay! Well done on geting the first draft cracked.

Elephant's Child said...

A big hooray for finishing that first draft.
This greedy reader is really looking forward to another anthology.

T Drecker said...

Congrats on getting that first draft done! Yay to the winners. The stories are awesome, and I'm looking forward to reading the anthology. Gosh, Christmas time snuck up this year again. Enjoy the season!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Your comment on Star Wars about the whiny fan boys - LOL! Thank you, Alex!
I saw Knives Out last night and loved it! However, my favorite movie of the year so far is Ford Vs. Ferrari - the acting is superb, the directing is great, and other than a bit of tech problems on the straightaways (shifting in corners makes sense, but in the straightaways?), I highly recommend it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

Congrats on finishing your first draft, and thanks for giving #Indiebookmas2019 a shoutout.
I totally LOLed at your Star Wars quip.

Suzanne Furness said...

Yay, congrats on finishing that first draft, Alex.

Jo said...

Sigh, I have to wait such a long time in order to see movies, good, bad or snowflakes.

Loni Townsend said...

Woot on finishing the first draft, and grats to the winners!

Lee Lowery said...

Congrats on the finishing the first draft!! I cannot wait to see Knives Out!

David Powers King said...

Happy to help judge, congrats to the winners! Stars Wars and 1917 are on my radar, sad that aside from Ghostbusters 2020, nothing in the cinema is catching my like like it used to. Merry Christmas! :)

S.E. White Books said...

Honestly I'm just here for the movie reviews. LOL! I love ensemble casts, so Knives Out sounds just my style. Congratulations on finishing your next story, and a good eye to you as you move into edits. Happy IWSG day!

J E Oneil said...

Please let your description of the new Star Wars actually happen. I would pay so much for that one.

Have a nice end of the year!

Fundy Blue said...

I can't wait to read your book, my friend! Have a fabulous Christmas and the best of New Years!

Unknown said...

Congrats on finishing the draft and writing! If I were a writer, it would be nice not to worry about money and be able to travel but never losing the want to write. I want to see Noises Out which reminds me of Clue and Murder By Death. Work has been crazy and I have lost my google chrome-personal-when i am at work. I hope they can bring it back. it has been nuts! Merry Christmas!

Erika Beebe said...

Congrats on your draft of CassaDark! What a huge feat! I saw Frozen II with the kids. I did yawn half way thru, but laughed at the Olaf scenes. The fifth element threw me seemed like an easy out. But that’s me. I can’t wait for so many upcoming movies! Skywalker, Jumanji, it’s going to be a fun holiday break.

Spacer Guy said...

Congratulations on finishing the first draft, I bet you kiss your laptop when you get done with the next draft or maybe your walls in a Cassadream - where all your characters spring to life. Look forward to seeing you around the blogosphere Alex, happy Christmas

Bish Denham said...

Congratulations on your first draft, and congratulations to the winners going into the next anthology. I didn't know they were going to be announced today.

Yolanda Renée said...

Very informative. This is the place I always come to when I want to know what I've missed or what's really going on. Thank you!

Time to get to work!

Congrats to all the winners!

Sarah Foster said...

Congrats on finishing your first draft! And congrats to the anthology winners!
I'll just have to agree to disagree about Frozen lol. Kristoff's song was my favorite and I thought the 80s music video vibes were funny.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Hi Alex!
I'm looking forward to watching Knives Out!
That looks great!

Congrats to all the winners!
Heather

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations on finishing your first draft, Alex. A great accomplishment. Now for the fun. Enjoy. So exciting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sadira, thanks and same to you!

Christine, heard a lot about that one.

PJ, glad you enjoyed it!

Cherie, why no, not at all...

Yvonne, big congratulations!

Rachna, thank you for being a judge!

Ken, we'll see!

Tyrean, you're welcome! And everyone keeps saying I need to see that film.

Patricia, you're welcome.

David, we appreciate you judging the stories.

SE, it won't disappoint.

JE, so would I!

Erika, it was a bit boring save for Olaf.

Spacer Guy, I only kiss my wife...

Yolanda! Good to see your comment.

Gwen Gardner said...

Congrats to all the winners of the anthology contest! AND congrats to you on finishing your next book!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I want to see both of those movies but I'll wait until I can rent them. Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

Juneta key said...

Congrats on finishing your story. Congrats to all the anthology winners too. I can't wait to see the new Star Wars, but some of the other too.

kimlajevardi.com said...

Yay on finishing CassaDark! I hope your Thanksgiving was good and Christmas and New Year are even better, Alex!

J.Q. Rose said...

Congrats to the winning team of authors selected for the next anthology. Thanks to the judges for their time and dedication to the project. Thank you, Alex for spotlighting Your Words, Your Life Story. I hope memoir writers will find a gem or two in the pages. Happy Holidays!!

Sandra Cox said...

Can't wait to see Jumanji and Star Wars.
YOU have a great one, Captain Ninja:)

Botanist said...

Knives Out sounds fun. My wife loves murder mysteries and this sounds like something in the Agatha Christie tradition.

Denise Covey said...

Great to see the list of winners for Voyagers: The Third Ghost, some I know. Excited to read for sure. Thanks for the shout out for WEP.

Diane Burton said...

Congrats on finishing your 1st draft. WTG! Some fun movies coming out soon. Star Wars is my absolute must-see; Knives Out sounds like a hoot. So much going on or coming soon. Enjoy the holidays. See you next year.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Not a huge fan of Frozen. I don't care for winter. :-) Now, Jumangi is my jam. I can't wait to see the sequel or whatever it's considered! Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

JQ, you're welcome!

Denise, you're welcome!

Jennifer, the first one was really funny.

Thanks everyone and Merry Christmas!

Kalpana said...

Congratulations on finishing your first draft and also for the new Anthology.
Middle grade is not my thing which is why I didn't try to send a story for this one.
I loved Knives Out too - sooo clever.
A Bookmas it must be.
Enjoy the holidays and see you in the New Year.

Susan B said...

Thanks Alex for this very informative post. Congrats on finishing your draft for CassaDark. Lots of great things happening in December.
Congratulations for the IWSG Anthology and all the amazing writers included.
So Denise brought your Cass series to the four through blogging, how great is that. She gave the link on her December post but it doesn’t follow through. How can I gain access to read this landmark ?
Have a Merry Christmas writing..

H.R. Sinclair said...

You go Alex! CassaDark!

I'm glad to hear Knives Out is good. I'm looking forward to that one.

Congrats to all the anthology winners.

Arlee Bird said...

Congratulations to all the winners in the anthology. A lot of names I remember.

There are a lot of movies that I forget soon after I watch them, but maybe that's not so much the fault of the movies. I don't think I've seen any films released after 2017--at least not many if I have.

Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

Good luck with the edits - such a horrid stage in the writing process - and wishing you a successful new decade, Alex 🤗

Roland Clarke said...

Congratulations to the anthology winners - I'm in awe to be in your company.

Alex, I'm confused when you say you graduated in 1917. Why weren't you at the front?
I'm looking forward to Jumanji: The Next Level, having enjoyed the last film.

Nicki Elson said...

Congrats to you on completing that first draft, and congrats to all the winners of the anthology contest!

Powdered Toast Man said...

So is Knives Out like the movie Clue?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, I might have the link saved somewhere. From the beginning, I've tried to save links for all my guest posts. I think about ten bloggers like Denise featured my first book.

Lost, editing is actually my favorite part.

Roland, I was as part of the secret Ninja division...

PTM - better!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The question for this month made me giggle. I AM my future self. And I'm getting lazy. Ooh, not good. Loved the movie reviews. So glad you liked Knives Out. I was hoping it would be good. Merry Christmas, Alex. I love your posts.

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks for another wonderful year of IWSG and all that spins off from it, Alex. Have a great holiday season.