Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, @TheIWSG Anthology Contest, Allen/Olzon – Worlds Apart Review, and Ayreon - Transitus

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 today are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!

July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

Well, since I’m clueless as to most of the changes, what I would like to see next is a total guess. More science fiction book reading groups? More ways to reach people online? More people downloading eBooks and audio books? Any of those work for me.


Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open!

Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.
Our judges: Dan Koboldt, Lynda R. Young, Colleen Oefelein, Damien Larkin, Ion Newcombe, Julie Gwinn, and David Powers King


Music

Allen/Olzon – Worlds Apart


Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob, Ayreon, etc.) and Anette Olzon (Nightwish, The Dark Element, etc.) team up for a singing duo spectacular.

This prog album not only showcases their vocal talents, but it offers a fun variety of catchy songs. The album seems to build, so that by the time you near the end, the songs have gotten better and better.



This is the official video of the title song:

And here is an album cover only of My Enemy, which is on the second half of the album:


Same with this one of Who You Really Are, the song after it:


Those should give you a good idea on the band’s sound.

Nothing ground-breaking, but it’s a lot of fun.


Don’t forget – the next Ayreon album comes out this September – Transitus. Featuring the talent of Marcela Bovio (lead singer of Stream of Passion and featured on many Ayreon albums), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Tommy Karevik, Johanne James, and others.

It’s available for pre-order HERE




What changes would you like to see? Entering the IWSG Anthology Contest? Fan of Russell Allen?

I will be on break until August 5, the next IWSG post date.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Galaxy Quest and Deep Space Nine Documentaries, Dynazty: The Dark Delight Review, Alex’s You Rock Awards, and More!

Specials to Watch

Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary

Galaxy Quest is the best Star Trek movie ever made. Granted, it wasn't actually a Star Trek movie, but the 1999 sci-fi comedy is all about the power of fandom, especially geeky movie fandom.
A new documentary -- Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary -- celebrates how the meta movie became an enduring fan favorite, and influenced everything from the Star Trek movie reboots to quirky Marvel superhero movies like Guardians of the Galaxy.

This came out last year and it’s just about as funny as the movie.

It goes in depth how all of the elements worked perfectly together. The love for Star Trek is there, as is the high respect for the fans, and if any of that had been handled differently, the tone would’ve been all wrong. We get to learn where the Thermians got their funny walk and Mathesar his unique style of speech.

Sadly Alan Rickman is missing, but most of the cast makes an appearance.

Check out the trailer – then check out the special!



What We Left Behind – Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

What We Left Behind: Looking Back At Star Trek: Deep Space Nine celebrates the 25th anniversary of the self-proclaimed "black sheep" of the Star Trek spin-off series. Often described as dark and edgy, Deep Space Nine was maligned by many fans and critics at the time as a show that did not fit into Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future. But now, two decades after it left the airwaves, Deep Space Nine is being re-discovered by new, younger fans through streaming services, and championed by those who stuck by it from the start.

Also released last year, this documentary was fan-funded. And UI didn't need to see it to be convinced - DS9 was always my favorite of the Trek series.

Most of the actors return to discuss the love they felt for this show, although Avery Brooks is absent. Terry Farrell talks about how both she and the fans were upset when she left in season six. Aron Eisenberg talks about how influential Nog’s role was. (Sadly the actor died last September.) The cast looks great and it’s touching to hear them discuss the show with such passion and love.

At the end, the director and a group of writers brain-storm a potential eighth season episode that leaves you wondering – could it happen?

Here’s the trailer – again, check out the special!



Music Review

Dynazty – The Dark Delight

This is another band from Sweden. (Does everyone born there possess a high proficiency level of guitar playing?)
Now, power metal is not my normal gig. But the first track was so catchy – great hook and chorus – that I decided to check it out.
If you’re a fan of radio-friendly metal from the 80’s, this album is definitely for you. It has great singing (provided by the male half of the band Amaranthe), huge choruses, and phenomenal guitar playing. There are three solos on this album that are truly epic.
It’s a great band playing catchy music – recommended.
Just wish their name wasn’t so goofy!



Ninja News


The Case of the Karnak Killer by Sean McLachlan

The fourth in the Masked Man of Cairo series.

A scandal in America. A murder in Cairo. 

Find it on Amazon

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open!

Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.
Our judges: Dan Koboldt, Lynda R. Young, Colleen Oefelein, Damien Larkin, Ion Newcombe, Julie Gwinn, and David Powers King

Alex’s You Rock Award

Every year, I give out this award to special blogger buddies. There are so many deserving, but I am keeping the list short this year.

First, here are the previous recipients of the award, some of whom no longer blog… Arlee, Yvonne, RaShelle, Hannah, Jeffrey, Gail, Rusty, Chuck, George, Jeremy, Matthew, Old Kitty, Ella, M Pax, Roland, Melissa, Robyn, Lynda, Michael, Heather, Stephen, Father Dragon Al, the late Tina, Damyanti, Edi, Karen, Elizabeth, Suze, Susan, Pat, Jo, Michelle, Brandon and Bryan, Christine, Truedessa, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, Hank Kaykuala, JH Moncrieff, Nilanjana Bos, Liza, Yolanda Renee, Spacer Guy, Elsie Amata, L. Diane Wolfe, Natalie Aguirre,
Sandra Cox, C. Lee McKenzie, Elizabeth Seckman, Magic Love Crow, Birgit, JE Oneil, LG Keltner, Chemist Ken, and Sherry Ellis

And now for the bloggers who have made this journey a heck of a lot better:

Kim Lajevardi
Kim posts interesting articles every week and she is very consistent. And dedicated! I know I can always count on Kim, from blog visits to co-hosting the IWSG. She rocks!

Shady
Running the Shady Dell here online in honor of the real one he grew up with, Shady is all about the music. You’ll get retro at his site, but he’s willing to try and appreciate any music, which is just cool. Shady rocks!

Jemi Fraser
Jemi has been a blogger buddy for years and I was surprised I’d not awarded her sooner! A Canadian author with several books and a short story in one IWSG anthologies, Jemi has just such a great attitude. She rocks!

Mason Canyon
I think Mason was one of the first bloggers I followed, so I’m just as surprised she didn’t get an award sooner as well. She’s supportive in everything and very accountable. I can see sitting down with her and talking just like old friends. Mason rocks!

Stacy McKitrick

Stacy is a prolific writer and a world traveler. I know she is missing the multiple cruises she takes every year! She’s also a Penguins fan with a great sense of humor and a never give up (never surrender!) attitude. She rocks!






Have you watched either the Galaxy Quest or DS9 specials? Checking out Dynazty? Entering the IWSG Anthology Contest? Are you following those rocking bloggers? Which bloggers make your day?
See you July 1 for the next IWSG post!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, IWSG Anthology Contest, Favorite Sci-Fi Songs with Scott Coon, 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 today are Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!


We need co-hosts!! July 1, August 5, and September 2. If you can help, leave a comment or send me an email. At the moment, we have no one scheduled.

Today’s question - Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Well, before all this virus stuff went down, I was already really good at two things – washing my hands and social distancing. I am a compulsive hand washer and I’ve been social distancing my whole life. (No touchie!)

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open!

Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.
Our judges: Dan Koboldt, Lynda R. Young, Colleen Oefelein, Damien Larkin, Ion Newcombe, Julie Gwinn, and David Powers King

Top Ten Sci-fi Songs by Scott Coon

I am Scott Coon, author of Lost Helix, a story about DJ and an encrypted file, and these are my top ten favorite sci-fi songs:

#10
Pets, Porno for Pyros
A simple but fun song that always reminds me of the 1973 film Fantastic Planet.

#9
Fire Coming Out of The Monkey's Head, Gorillaz
A quirky spooky sci-fi fantasy story told over quirky spooky music.

#8
No Missing Link, Dan Bern
Based on his singing, I'd say he feels very strongly about his theory on this.

#7
Sci-Fi Wasabi, Cibo Mato
The lyrics don't make sense to me, but they include a shout out to Obi-Wan Kenobi. What more can you ask for?

#6
Destroy Puny Earthlings, Famous Monsters
I want someone to create a 1950s style sci-fi movie around having this song playing over the climactic scene.

#5
Astro Zombies, Misfits
A melodic call for the extermination of the whole human race.

#4
Rapture, Blondie
Who doesn't love the man from mars who eats guitars, and sometime cars, or even bars?

#3
UFOs, Big Rigs, and BBQ, Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors
It's punkabilly and it's the best song you'll ever hear about space truck drivers.

#2
Space Oddity, David Bowie
It's THE classic, ground control to Major Tom.

And My #1
Nothing but Flowers, Talking Heads
An ironic sci-fi vignette and my favorite sci-fi song. I strongly recommend hearing this, or at least reading the lyrics.

Scott Coon has been published in various magazines and has won accolades for his short stories. He served for six years in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Analyst, including a tour in Kuwait where he received the Joint Service Achievement Award. Now a software developer for a major bank, Scott brings his computer and military experience into his work, along with a sense of spectacle. See his website for links to his published shorts and his papers on the art and business of writing. Scot Coon SciFi

LOST HELIX
When his dad goes missing, DJ finds a file containing evidence of a secret war of industrial sabotage, a file encrypted by his dad using DJ's song Lost Helix. Caught in a crossfire of lies, DJ must find his father and the mother he never knew.
Find it on Amazon Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes



New Releases!

Wielder’s Fire by Elle Cardy – Lynda R. Young

Wielder’s Fire is the thrilling conclusion to the sweeping Wielder’s Storm trilogy. Lose yourself in this epic fantasy adventure set on the high seas. 

I read the first book and it’s excellent! 

Find it on Amazon

Walking with Jesus: Stories from One Hope Church is an anthology of stories, poetry, and scripture, edited by Tyrean Martinson

Read to discover how ordinary lives become extraordinary in the light of God’s love.
Real people. Real dilemmas. Real Jesus. 

Find it on Amazon and Smashwords

Mateos Law by Sandra Cox

A modern day, shapeshifting sheriff.

Find it on Amazon

The Medusa Effect: A Tomorrow News Network Novella by J.S. Pailly
 
Litho is a peaceful, isolated colony world on the frontier of space. Nothing bad ever happens there. So when a reporter from the Tomorrow News Network shows up, nobody takes much notice. Nobody except a young colonist named Milo. 

Find it on Amazon



And big thanks to Tara Tyler for sending the cool swag!



What are some of your writer secrets? Entering the IWSG Anthology Contest? What are your favorite sci-fi songs? (I’d pick either My House on Mars by Ayreon or When Worlds Collide by Powerman 5000.) See some new books to pick up? And who can help co-host?
I'm on a blogging break this week - see you June 15.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Nightwish - HUMAN. :II: NATURE., Music Videos and News, Underwater Review, Movies, and New Releases

Music News

Nightwish – HUMAN. :II: NATURE. Review

Truth be told, I didn’t pick up the new Nightwish album. In my mind, they are so incredibly popular that I equated their popularity to selling out to the masses. I listened to a couple tracks and was still unimpressed, but my wife dug it and she decided it was worth a purchase. Since we had it, I decided to give it a spin to see if my misgivings were founded. What I realized is whether or not they have ‘sold out’ is a nonissue - this is a very entertaining album.

Every track is an ear worm in the best way possible and the songs that didn’t quite click for me the first time work so well in a complete album context. Floor Jansen’s vocals are amazing with incredible range, control, and variety. (She sings in an operatic style at the end of Shoemaker and it’s really impressive.) The music is always lively and shifting from moments of rock, symphonic and folk melodies.

I’m super glad that the missus picked this one up because this is a great album.



A new Ayreon album is in the works!
The title is TRANSITUS.
Due out later this year.
Their last album was The Source.
Looking forward to this one!


From Metal Injection:
Canned water company Liquid Death turned all their negative publicity into one death metal song in 2019. Now with the help of Gus Rios (Gruesome, ex-Malevolent Creation), Seth Ringer (Eternal), James Malone (Arsis), Torin Ridgeway, they've turned the hate into a full album.
Liquid Death’s Greatest Hates is a full 10-song album available now on Spotify, as well as 12" vinyl over at the Liquid Death website.
Songs include Fire Your Marketing Guy and Selling Your Soul is Deplorable!


Now, enjoy some more videos!

Devin Townsend has been putting out a lot more quarantine videos, which are both master musicianship and rather funny. He still gets super nervous playing in front of others or the camera, even after thirty years of doing so!





And another Katatonia video, one a little more upbeat than Lacquer: 



Movie Review

Underwater

From the IMDB: A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. 
Staring Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, and Mamoudou Athie

This came out in January and despite the main two leads, received little fanfare. It’s derivative of a lot of movies (like DeepStar Six, Leviathan, The Sphere, etc.) but despite that, it works well and comes off as fresh.

Stewart has gone from a pouty teen (in almost every role she’s ever played) to a good adult actress. Her character is tough but not perfect – she doesn’t have all the answers and she’s just as scared as the others.

The effects are really good – very claustrophobic. (As is the whole vibe to the film.) And the creatures…like something out of a Lovecraft story.

Will it change your world? Heck no! But you will be entertained for ninety-five minutes, which is the perfect length for this film.

Recommended.

Book Releases

A Quick Bite by Patricia Josephine
Vampires.
Werewolves.
Zombies.
These monsters tickle our imagination.
Sink your teeth into a collection of tales about paranormal creatures that go bump in the night. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to give you a quick bite no matter how busy your day is.
Are you hungry?
Find it at Amazon
Patricia Josephine is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college. Her dreams were of becoming an artist like Picasso. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head for fun. That was the start of her writing journey, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes Young Adult Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the name Patricia Lynne.
Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Mateo’s Law by Sandra Cox

A modern day, shapeshifting sheriff. 

Find it on Amazon

The Matched Game anthology, featuring the work of Lidy Wilks

Find it at Amazon and Zimbell House Publishing

Available May 16!

Walking with Jesus: Stories from One Hope Church by Tyrean Martinson

An anthology of stories, poetry, and scripture.
Read to discover how ordinary lives become extraordinary in the light of God’s love. Real people. Real dilemmas. Real Jesus. 

Find it on Amazon and Smashwords


Movie News

How many new Star Wars films are in the works? A lot!
You can get a full list of stand-alones, trilogies, and series at Games Radar
And this November will bring season two of The Mandalorian.

Disney plans to reboot Pirates of the Caribbean!
But according to JoBlo, Karen Gillan from the Jumanji reboot movies will be cast in the lead role.
I’m all right with that…

Yes, this is for real!
Murder Hornet Movie on its Way
DVD available June 1.
So, you can only imagine the quality…



Fan of Nightwish? Enjoy the videos? Seen Underwater? Picking up some new books? Think RiffTrax will need to take a whack at the murder hornet movie…?
And I will see all of you again on June 3, IWSG day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

#IWSG Anthology Contest Opens! Voyagers: The Third Ghost Release, Katatonia – City Burials Review, and More

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 today are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

Today’s question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

Music! Progressive rock and metal. Loud. Always sets the tone.



2019 IWSG Anthology is out now!


Voyagers: The Third Ghost

Release date – May 5, 2020
Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press

Journey into the past…

Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?

Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!


Winners:
The Third Ghost – Yvonne Ventresca
Winter Days - Katharina Gerlach
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

Special thanks to 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


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

Doesn’t Louise look happy to get her author copies?



The 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest is now open!


Guidelines and rules:

Word count: 4500-6000

Genre: Science Fiction

Theme: Dark Matter

Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.

Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Our official judges:

Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder
Dan Koboldt is the author of the Gateways to Alissia trilogy (Harper Voyager), the editor of Putting the Science in Fiction (Writers Digest, 2018), and the creator of the sci-fi adventure serial The Triangle (Serial Box, 2019). As a genetics researcher, he has co-authored more than 80 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals. He is represented by Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Lynda R. Young, author
Lynda R. Young is an Aussie writing fantasy novels as Elle Cardy. Wielder’s Prize is her debut YA epic fantasy. She is also an editor, game developer, 3D artist, graphic designer, photographer, gamer and more.

Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Colleen Oefelein is an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides, a devourer of books, and the owner of the book review site North of Normal. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars.

Damien Larkin, author
Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was published by Dancing Lemur Press and went on to be longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and is working on his next novel Blood Red Sand.

Ion Newcombe, eidtor and publisher
is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia's longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998. His qualifications and employment range from horticulture through electronics into literature and communications.

Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency
Julie Gwinn most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Recently, she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words.

David Powers King, author
David's works include Woven, The Undead Road,, and Full Dark: An Anthology. He currently resides in the Mountain West with his wife and 4 children.





Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Dancing Lemur Press' imprint Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. (Please see their site for general submission guidelines.) Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!


Music Review

Katatonia - City Burials

I was late to the party when I discovered Katatonia. Their last album, “Fall of Hearts” made so many year-end top ten lists in 2016 that I had to check it out.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to think after my first run through. But that’s the beauty of the band. They’re not about instant gratification. The more I listened, the more I loved it.

The album is meant to be listened as a whole experience. It flows and crests like a wave, and the journey is amazing.

City Burials is another great entry in the Katatonia catalog. It’s nuanced and subtle yet full of stellar moments that you yearn to hear over and over. The musicianship and songwriting are amazing. This one will be on my top ten list come years end, and I hope you check it out.

Highly recommended!

And to go with Monday’s Music Moves Me, hosted by Xmas Dolly, here is the video for Lacquer, a melodic and haunting song:
Movie Review

The Willoughbys
This animated film dropped on NetFlix last month and after a couple good reviews, we decided to check it out.
Let me just cut to the chase – I hated this film.
Who thought a whimsical children’s film on severe child neglect and abuse would be fun?
The parents are absorbed with each other and don’t like their kids. They ignore them, don’t feed them, etc. The kids decide to orphan themselves and send their parents on a trip just hoping they will get lost forever. (Spoiler – And when they go to rescue their parents, mom and dad leave the kids on the side of a mountain and end up dying a fiery death in a derigible.)
The message is supposed to be about family, but the twisted messages about families overshadow any good message buried there.
Extremely not recommended!



Picking up Voyagers? Entering the next contest? Familiar with Katatonia - what did you think of Lacquer? Had the misfortune to sit through The Willoughbys? And what gets you into that writing groove?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Bullying Movies; Music Reviews: Joe Satriani – Shapeshifting and Wolfheart - Wolves of Karelia; Extraction and Mortal Engines Review; and Lucy!

Books Similar to Gabe’s Guardian Angel That Were Also Movies

When I started researching books for this post, I found more than I anticipated. Here are a few that sounded like my story, although I haven’t seen the movies. Maybe I will one day. These are considered the best movies about bullying and I can see a similarity to my book.

CARRIE: 1976 – CARRIE is considered one of the best bullying movies made. Carrie is a nerd who finally reaches her limit after the jocks pour animal blood on her at a school dance. She gets her revenge that is beyond anything anyone expected. (Now I have to see this one.) In my story, Gabe gets his revenge, but in a quite different way than it sounds like Carrie does.

A GIRL LIKE HER: Did you ever have a person in your school (or office) that tormented you, but you could never quite prove they were hurting you? Bullies can be slick that way. Mick, the bully in my story, is smart and does things on the sly to keep out of trouble from the teachers.

WONDER: This movie is the true story of a boy who was born with a rare facial deformity and he suffers bullying because of it. This story shows how he overcomes the cruelty of the bullies and helped make the world a better place. Gabe overcomes his bully, too, and makes his world better.

REVENGE OF THE NERDS: This is an 80’s movie that teaches about what it’s like to be bullied. The nerds manage to beat the bullies at their own game. (This one I want to see, too.) It’s a cult classic, funny and off beat. I would say in Gabe’s story that he got his revenge.

Books about bullies are nothing new. Unfortunately, bullies seem to be around in every generation. So, what do we do about them? The books and the movies may have the answer.

Thanks for hosting me today, Alex.

I’m delighted to be participating in author Beverly Stowe McClure’s Blog Tour today for her latest release, GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL. The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL
by Beverly Stowe McClure
* Paperback: 214 pages
* Publisher: Freedom Fox Press
* ISBN-13: 978-1939844668

Gabe Montana is clumsy. He's overweight, and he's dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable-so miserable he wants to die.
Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea and comes up with a different plan. He'll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn't just help with the bullies. What's with this self-confidence stuff?v Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel's advice?

GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL is available at the following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Nook, and Kobo

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her:
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.

For more on Beverly and her writing visit her at her: blog, Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
Author Beverly Stowe McClure is giving away one print copy of GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL to a lucky US winner.
To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter here and follow the instructions.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Beverly on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you think Guardian Angels come in all shapes and sizes?


Music Reviews

Joe Satriani – Shapeshifting

What else can be written about Joe? How many more superlatives does one man need? Well...I have some more for Mr. Satriani because his new album is outstanding.
Shapeshifting is a great follow up to his last record, What Happens Next. There is a wild combination of styles and genres on display. Of course, Joe always assembles an amazing group of top notch musicians and they need to be to keep up with a world-class talent that is Joe Satriani. But the playing would just be that without great song writing and Joe knows how to craft instrumental songs that don’t need a singer because Joe sings with his guitar.
The standout track Nineteen Eighty is a face-melter and proves that Joe is still at the very top of his game.

Wolfheart - Wolves of Karelia

I love me some melodeath. That’s melodic death metal for the uninitiated. How a small country can produce so many great bands and talented musicians is mind-boggling. Whatever is in the waters of Finland needs to be bottled up and sold (actually it is - there are many companies that bottle the water of Finland but they filter out the magical musical properties).
But I digress.
Wolfheart clocks in at a lean 41 minutes, but that just means all meat and no filler. The first half of the album is solid and heavy, but it’s the second half that is truly inspired. The last two tracks, Arrows of Chaos and Ashes, are truly epic.
This one gets better and better with every listen.




Movie Reviews 

Extraction

Extraction is a new Netflix release starring Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, as a merc on a mission to rescue the son of an evil drug lord from another evil drug lord.
I was psyched for this balls-to-the-wall action flick directed by Sam Hargrave, a long-time stunt coordinator, directing his first big time feature.
This film reminds me of a mix between The Raid and John Wick. The action and violence is brutal and grueling. For fun, play a drinking game where you take a shot every time someone is killed onscreen. You’ll make it about forty minutes before you pass out.
While the action is plentiful, it’s lacking in one major area—fun. Hemsworth’s character is shot, stabbed, beaten, and run over to the point you just want him to get to a hospital.
However, if brutal action flicks are your bag, there is enough here to warrant a watch.

Mortal Engines

Lackluster reviews kept me away from this release last December, but I finally checked it out on HBO free weekend. Glad I didn’t see it in the theater!
According to the IMDB: A mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw, emerges as the only one who can stop a giant, predator city on wheels devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.
Based on the children’s book by Philip Reeve. Yes, really.
While the story did reek of less-than-average young adult, it was certainly not that or a children’s story.
It was…boring.
Once you got over the initial wow of the special effects, the story was boring. You didn’t care about the characters. You didn’t care what happened next. And at over two hours, that’s a lot of time wasted not caring. (And with less than thirty minutes to go, my wife told me she was fine with not knowing how it ended – so we stopped watching.)
I also did not buy into the concept of cities on wheels.
So, despite Hugo Weaving, I’d avoid this snooze-fest.

Special Treat

Kathe at It’s a Snap! sent me a thank you email for just being a friend, along with this photo of her cat, Lucy. Thanks, Kathe!! You are all kinds of awesome.



What movie about bullying do you like? Have you picked up any of those new albums? Seen Extraction? Had the misfortune to see Mortal Engines? Friends with Kathe and Lucy? And are you looking forward to the day when all of the news isn’t about one thing?

Remember, not only is next week Insecure Writer’s Support Group post day, but we are celebrating the release of Voyagers: The Third Ghost and opening the next IWSG Anthology Contest!