Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, January Movie Preview, Movie Reviews, 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.

My awesome co-hosts today are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, and J.H. Moncrieff!

January 8 question - What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

What started my writing journey was this illustration by Frank Frazetta for Battlestar Galactica:

It inspired me to write a scene that would later become part of a novel. That story sat in a drawer for years. When I pulled it out, that one scene and the two characters were all that survived the rewrite. And it became my first published novel, Cassastar.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group made the list - The Write Life’s Best Websites for Writers 2020! 

That's four years in a row now.

Thanks to all of you for making it happen.

#IWSGPit is next Wednesday!

If you have a manuscript to pitch, don’t miss it.

Presenting the cover for the next Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology:
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!

Pre-order on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo

Movie Reviews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I’m sure the fanboys will whine, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film!
A little uneven in the beginning. But wow, the second half really redeems it with a ton of great action scenes and scenes that will hit you in the heart.
A lot a familiar faces show up, which is a lot of fun.
It ties it up nicely with several great twists.
And very cool in 3D.
(If you did hate it, go back and watch episodes 1-3. Now those sucked. Lucas was a horrible director and the dialogue worse than a soap opera.)

Jumanji: The Next Level

Not as fresh as the original, which was to be expected, but still a lot of fun. Also just a little slow in the beginning as it finds its footing.
Even with the newness off, the movie still gives viewers some new twists, which includes new characters – and new game characters.
Some of the scenes are incredible and others hilarious.
And a touching ending about friendship and growing older.

The Mandalorian

Let’s just get this out of the way – baby Yoda is damned cute. No denying it.
I’ve never been a fan of any of the animated Star Wars series. But I ended up absolutely loving this show.
It’s just like the Star Wars movies, but with eight episodes, there was more time to develop the characters.
The story is a space western. Mando is a hired gun who ends up doing the right thing and puts together a team to save the child – baby Yoda.

Each episode got stronger and stronger. Lots of replayability – I’ll definitely watch it again. If it were a movie, I’d place it at number two or three on my list. (Rogue One definitely number one.)
Highly recommended!

The Lion King

Let’s get this out of the way – the animation is stunning. One step away from totally realistic. Rivals The Jungle Book.
Now, let’s get to the truth.
How did this film make over a billion dollars?
The animals are realistic, which means – the voice comes through, but not the expression. The effect is – cold. Expressionless. Total lack of connection. And totally empty.
The film is also ninety-nine percent, shot-for-shot like the original. Same songs as well. Bottom line – there was zero reason for a remake other than a cash grab.
You want to see a Lion King that will move you and stay with you? Watch the original 1994 version. Skip this hollow, cold adventure.
Not recommended.

New Releases

And Then You Fall by Heather M. Gardner
Third in the Maguire's Corner series
Now the series is complete!
Find And Then You Fall on Amazon

Tales from a Hack by Ryan Bevan (Husband of our very own IWSG member, Deniz Bevan
Reminiscent of horror classics from film and pulp, this collection of original stories of the macabre will transport the reader to a delightful land of evil things.
Find it on Smashwords

January Movie Preview

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

10 –

Two young British soldiers 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: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth
Yes, I featured this movie last month as a December release. That was its limited release (for Oscar consideration) – this is its wide release. Got it? Good, glad we got that clarified.

17 –

A physician discovers that he can talk to animals.
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes
Tony Stark invents a gadget to talk to animals and discovers they all like Captain America better.

24 – 

The Gentlemen
A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong
Going out on a limb, Richie makes a London crime drama/dark comedy - we'll see if it works out...

What started your writing journey? Participating in #IWSGPit? Dig the Voyagers cover? Seen any of the movies/shows? And what movie strikes your fancy for January?


Elephant's Child said...

Another anthology nearly here? Consider me happy dancing.

Botanist said...

TBH I've grown kinda meh about the mainstream Star Wars movies as time's gone by. Enjoyed Solo, though, and want to watch The Mandalorian.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I can see how Frank Frazetta's art inspired you :)

I LOVED The Mandalorian! So awesome! More please!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Congrats to the IWSG on making The Write Life’s Best Websites for Writers List again! I’m also excited for all the writers in the new IWSG Anthology, as well as the captivating cover. Thank goodness you were inspired by that illustration, Alex. 2020 is off to a great start!


Ray Rousell said...

Firstly I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year Alex!!!
Really looking forward to 1917, I haven't seen the last few Stare Wars films, not sure If I want too, even though I love the original 3 films???

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations to the authors with new releases, and everyone who's part of the anthology! And to the IWSG gang for hosting such a great website!

Tim Knight said...

Happy New Year!

THIS fanboy absolutely loved Rise Of Skywalker. It was my favourite movie of the year. Yes, I'm sure there were plotholes... but every Star Wars has plot holes if you scratch away at them enough. I see them as camp fire tales, told to a willing audience by an enthusiastic orator. You're not supposed to dig too deep, just sit back and let them embrace you in their warmth and excitement.

Sarah Foster said...

I liked The Rise of Skywalker but I did think it was a bit predictable. Or maybe as I writer I just tend to see things coming!

ShannonL said...

Congratulations on making the list and on your upcoming release!

Looks like you're really poking the fanboys today, eh? I have to agree about Episodes 1-3. Utterly forgettable. I haven't seen Skywalker, but enjoyed The Mandalorian. And Baby Yoda. Aww.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

It's awesome that a single illustration inspired your writing career. That alone is inspiring to others. Mrs Shady is a history and war buff and therefore we want to watch 1917.

Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Alex!

ShannonL said...

Whoops, ShannonL = thewarriormuse. I switched computers and it has me signed in under the wrong ID.

Pat Hatt said...

Ugg, Episode 1-3 were some of the most awful pieces of trash I have ever watched. Especially the third one. The acting wasn't even soap opera worthy. Just so so bad. I may have found 8 boring, but nothing like them. And yeah, The Lion King was soooo pointless and nowhere near as good as the first version.

You proved a picture can be worth 200,000 words or so huh?

Erika Beebe said...

Congratulations anthology authors! Love the illustration that got you started writing, Alex. I saw Star Wars, Jumanji, and the Lion King. Happy IWSG Day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ian, definitely check out The Mandalorian.

Lynda, yes!

Ray, they are much better than the second three.

Tim, good for you! No, it wasn't perfect, but none of the movies were perfect. They are just mindless fluff.

Shannon, I knew it was you.

Pat, I guess I did!

Liza said...

I love that your story sat in your drawer for so long, but still managed to become a part of Cassastar! Inspiration lurks...for however long it needs to. Happy New Year, Alex!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I LOVE Battlestar Galactica. And that picture is so inspiring, so I get it.

I also love anything Star Wars.

Congrats to the authors' new releases. That is so exciting. Also the new anthology looks amazing.


Ellen Jacobson said...

Love the Voyagers cover! Dancing Lemur Press does a nice job with their covers. I'm off to see the new Star Wars movie this weekend. It's gotten a lot of flak, so it's reassuring to see your review.

Donna K. Weaver said...

We enjoyed Star Wars a lot, even though the main storyline was repetitive. There was some seriously cool stuff happening. I love how it circled back to a lot of stuff from the original series (episodes 4-6). They had a couple of plotlines they kind of dropped so should have either edited out or done something with, but I'd gladly see it again.

We LOVE The Mandalorian. Got Disney+ just so we could watch it.

Nick Wilford said...

That's awesome that you can pinpoint the start of your writing adventure to that one image. I also still love that it came to fruition so spectacularly so many years later. I ducked the question because it couldn't pin it down to any particular thing - I just knew I wanted to write.

Excellent cover for the new anthology! Gets the reader asking all sorts of questions.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I love it that you were inspired by an illustration and that your first scene carried through to publication. Great movie reviews. I haven't been to the movies in a while! Here's to a Shiny 2020!

Lynn La Vita said...

Thank goodness you saved the picture that inspired you to write Si-Fi, especially Dragon of the Stars. Otherwise, I would never have known about the Kardrandes.

I'm sure you read about the luner lander crash in April 11, 2019 that may have released a few thousand of these water bears on the moon. The Live Science magazine article listed 8 reasons why we love tardigrades. Scary stuff.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Hi Alex!!!

I haven't seen the new Star Wars yet. We were supposed to go over the break, but it didn't happen. Probably soon.

We did get Disney plus for Christmas and watched Mando. Besides the fact that the big bad bounty hunter got his a$$ kicked all the time, it was a great show. :)

Thank you so much for sharing my books. You're the best!

1917 looks like a crying movie, but it looks really good, too.

Congrats on the list! I went back to add it into my post!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex – I knew your stories came from way back when for you ... but it’s interesting to see the illustration that the Cassa series set you on your way. Congratulations on the IWSG site making The Write Life’s best website for writers 2020. Congratulations on the Anthology …

I have seen a few movies … McQueen; The Good Liar … and some others – all good … I must see 1917, and others …

My writing journey came out of writing letters re my time in South Africa, and then when my mother was terminally ill – hence the blog name: Positive Letters … Good luck to one and all re 2020 and our future … cheers Hilary

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love hearing how your writing journey started, Alex!

Yeh for IWSG!

I've been disappointed by the last batch of movies I've seen. One was just so weird I found myself forwarding big chunks of the end of it, and two were okay but had more potential.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Great story to your beginning years as a writer! Congrats on the blog being chosen again. What an honor! I did get to see both Star Wars and Jumamji. I'm not complaining. I loved Jumanji. The two main characters as old folks made me laugh way too hard. Hope you had a nice Christmas.

Joanne said...

Happy New Year. A lot going on in this post. So many positives for fellow writers. That's exciting. And your beginning, inspired by an illustration, is excellent. I wish you more success in 2020. And good movies to see....
I do fear for Dr.Doolittle - it's been pushed back several times - not a good sign. Cheers!

Pat Garcia said...

Happy New Year!
We have something in common. My story sat for years in my journals and later on my computer. I've just started submitting it. Let's hope an agent or publisher takes its on.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Unknown said...

How awesome that the site made the best list again. Definitely well deserved! Happy 2020 to you, Alex!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I want a baby Yoda!

I'm hoping to see 1917 this weekend.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Congratulations, Alex. It's great news about the new anthology. And best of success to Heather. Wow, 2020 is off to a great start.

Jennifer Lane said...

How cool to be inspired by an image.

I enjoyed Star Wars as well, though I was bummed about the ending for Kylo Ren. I want to get to know a redeemed character better! Not just replay Darth Vader's redemption followed by immediate death.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Regarding the Disney remakes we liked Aladdin and want to see Mulan. Burt after that it's a steep falloff. Kids had no desire to see Lion King.

We did like Star Wars about time Disney did something right with the movie. It was solid but not great.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Teresa, glad you get it!

Ellen, get some popcorn and just enjoy.

Donna, we got Disney+ for the same reason. Enjoying it now.

Lynn, glad it got you interested in Tardigrades.

Heather! You're welcome.

Hilary, and I'm glad you've continued with your letters.

Joanne, it's a hit or miss movie for sure.

Pat, it could happen!

Jennifer, it was a bummer he died.

Stephen, Mulan looks good, but just be glad you avoided the Lion King.

Stephen Tremp said...

Regarding the Disney remakes we liked Aladdin and want to see Mulan. Burt after that it's a steep falloff. Kids had no desire to see Lion King.

We did like Star Wars about time Disney did something right with the movie. It was solid but not great.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that you got inspired to write from an illustration. Congrats on getting on the 100 best website list. said...

Cool anthology cover! Ideas come from everywhere, don't they? I've had a couple ideas born from images. My last book was just such a story. I'm going to have to check out Mandalorian at some point. I've heard so many good things about both it and baby Yoda.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Rise of Skywalker was fine, but the more I think about it the angrier I get. Especially since I loved the Last Jedi and Rise went out of its way at every opportunity to say f-you to Last Jedi.

But yes, Mandalorian was far better than it had any right to be.

Congrats to all the anthology writers This year!

Cathrina Constantine said...

The entire family has been watching The Mandalorin and loving it. I'm done with it and rewatching with my daughter. It's always a long wait for the next episodes. My daughter love the new Star Wars, and I'm looking forward to that one too!

Like you Alex, it took me years and years to get back to writing. Now the thought that keeps bothering me, I'm too old for this writing thingy. It takes me forever to write something half decent. Should I keep plugging away?

mshatch said...

I'm hopefully going to see Star Wars this weekend. Thanks for the review, I was a little worried!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay on the IWSG making the list again!!!
Looking forward to Skywalker :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

How cool that something as simple as an illustration could launch your writing career. Just think... maybe YOUR books and YOUR cover illustrations will inspire someone else to write.

I've loved all things Doctor Doolittle ever since a third grade substitute teacher read the book to our class, so I'd like to see the new movie version. The previews look good. We'd hoped to see Ford vs. Ferrari, too, but haven't made it yet. (Better hurry!)

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another year of IWSG.
The new anthology looks great. Can't wait.
Loved the Mandalorian. Still haven't seen Rise of Skywalker, but I will.
Looking forward to the Gentlemen because it will either be really good or so bad that's it's good.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Well, I was able to access your site by making it a "safe" URL on my Malwares. I don't know what's going on with that, but I'm here now.

What started my writing journey? Probably Twilight. I never thought about there being good vampires and I wanted to know what Edward thought in those books, so I started writing my own. Best thing I ever did!

Saw the new Star Wars movie last weekend. I really enjoyed it. Before that, Hubby and I watched Mandalorian. That was really great (and yes, I'm in love with Baby Yoda!). We plan on going to see 1917 and Doolittle this month. Now that football season is pretty much over for us (don't care for any of the teams playing now), our weekends are free!

M.J. Fifield said...

I didn't care much for Rise of Skywalker, but I agree that Episodes I-III were much, much worse...I also haven't seen The Mandalorian yet, but I'm already super obsessed with Baby Yoda. :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Happy New Year to all IWSGers. Thanks, Alex, for all you do. I'm going to try doing a better job of visiting blogs this year...and leaving comments, too. I'll admit to lollygagging through most of 2019, unable to decide what to do with my writing and publishing plans (lack of plans, to be precise) so an examination of what got me writing in the first place is a good way to start. For me, it was a high school English teacher who thought I had a way with words and suggested I consider writing. As an avid reader and lover of books, the suggestion stuck with me over the years and when I retired from real world work, I finally just did it.

Lidy said...

Congrats to IWSG for making The Write Life’s Best Websites for Writers 2020 list! And congrats to the IWSG anthology winners!

Though I'm more of a Star Gate and Star Trek fan, I'm interested in watching The Mandalorian. But mostly for baby Yoda. Have you heard that baby Yoda dolls are a huge collectible item now?

Finally saw The Joker on New Year's Eve and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Can see why influencers and other people were going crazy recreating that scene where the Joker danced down those long stairs. That scene so reminded me of when Jack Nicholson played the role.

Have yet to see Jumanji 2 but will eventually. In the meantime the only movies I'm looking forward to aren't coming out until the blockbuster season of spring and summer. Can't wait for Bad Boys 3 and Black Widow.

Chrys Fey said...

The cover for Voyagers is really cool.

I do want to see the newest Jumanji. I loved the last one.

Jan Morrison said...

What a wonderful inspiration story! And congratulations on IWSG making the list for the fourth year. That is your hard work, Alex! Haven't been to a movie for awhile but my next one is sure to be Little Women. Never seen one I didn't like. Might go to the newest Star Wars too, but need to find me an obsessed fan to see it with. I'm always reminded of Asimov's Foundation series which I truly loved back in the day.

Christine Rains said...

Happy New Year, Alex! And congrats to all the anthology authors. I've been creating stories since before I could print. Everything inspires me! We did see the new Jumanji movie and it was fun. Everyone tells me I need to see Knives Out. Have a great week. :)

PJ Colando said...

I look forward to your pithy and perfect movie reviews - my husband is picky about sitting in a dark movie theater for several hours, so your advice is appreciated!

Looking forward to the Twitter Pitch - this newbie needs some how-to prep, please

Chemist Ken said...

I did enjoy the Star Wars movie, but I was put off by the frantic jumping around between scenes, especially in the first quarter of the movie. Then again, that's JJ Abrams style, so it shouldn't come as a surprise.

David Powers King said...

I'm also in the "liked Rise of Skywalker" camp, did its job wrapping up the saga more so than the sequel trilogy, but I'll take it. 1917 looks amazing. Loving that cover for the anthology, well done! :)

Bish Denham said...

Interesting that it was an illustration that jump-started your writing career, which lead to your blog, which lead to IWSG, which lead to being on the 100 best websites for writers for the 4th year in a row. CONGRATULATIONS!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congrats to all of the anthology winners!
I really liked the Rise of Skywalker! I'm an old fan of Star Wars and I like elements of each of the trilogies (even the cringeworthy 1-3. I like Yoda and Chewbacca in those films). Also, not a fan of the animated series, I've been cautious to check out the Mandalorian. I might do it now.

I'm so glad IWSG made the Write Life list!!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kim, you have to watch it.

CD, the problem was the film tried to make amends to the fanbase that hated Last Jedi and it shouldn't have.

Cathrina, I will if you will!

Susan, that would blow my mind...

Toi, that's a great description!

Stacy, I'm still watching. It's almost better the Steelers are out of it. No stress.

Patricia, I hope you continue.

Lidy, I'm a huge Stargate and Star Trek fan! Not sure I'll ever watch The Joker again but it was a brilliant film.

Christine, yes! Go see Knives Out. Brilliant film.

PJ, just prep your pitch and run it by several critique partners.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Alex, it was a real pleasure coming to your blog and seeing some Frank Frazetta art for the first time in years. It instantly took me back to a kid, and I thought...Wow! I remember being awed by that stuff!

I liked Rise of Skywalker, but only because I decided to embrace the silliness of Star Wars in the same vein as J.J. Abrams. "If it looks cool, let's just do it!" As opposed to "Can forests even exist on Mustafar?" I think once you let go of anything making sense it becomes a real treat. Also the prequel trilogy of Star Wars movies (although I liked them a lot), have not aged particularly well. I watched Attack of the Clones recently and was kind of shocked at how bad CGI Yoda looked.

Lisa said...

Pre-ordered my copy of the anthology! Good way to start 2020. Return of Skywalker was okay. What I didn't like was the way it all felt like the originals in that the lines by the big bad were not only almost identical, but it's like he learned nothing. I liked seeing all the familiar faces and all, but, it lacked until the end.
Manalorian I ABSOLUTLY LOVED and like you will watch again. Soooo very cool. Can't wait till the next season!!! Happy 2020!

Sadira Stone said...

Happy New Year, Cap'n! I always enjoy your movie reviews. Thanks for all you do for all of us. Here's to a happy, healthy, peaceful, productive 2020.

Kalpana said...

Like Elephant's Child I'm looking forward to the anthology.
And the twitter pitch is coming up too. I plan to participate this time around.
Congratulations for being on the The Write Life's best website for Writers. IWSG deserves it.
Happy New Year!

Mary Kirkland said...

I think it's fun to find out how writer's got their start and what inspired you.

Nicki Elson said...

Rogue One is SO good! I'm happy to see you give good reviews to Rise of Skywalker & The Mandalorian - both are up soon on my to-watch list (but first want to give Episode VIII a rewatch).

It's very cool to see the image that started you on your writerly journey.

Birgit said...

Frazetta is a great artist and so is Boris but can't recall his last name but similar is art style. funny how one painting or music can strike a chord. I have written short poems and it is usually based on a painting, image or what has happened to me or a loved one. I can't wait to see 1917. Doolittle looks dumb although nothing compares to the musical starring Rex Harrison. I like the Eddie Murphy version. I like Guy Ritchie so this film also sounds quite good. The lion king looked meh to me

Arlee Bird said...

I used to have a book with a cover illustration by Frazetta. Got rid of it long ago, but I probably should have hung onto it. In 1980 I rented a dumpy old apartment in Richmond Virginia in which a previous tenant had begun a mural depicting a Frazetta work in the bedroom. The artist only had the outline drawing sketch finished and had not yet added the color. Too bad. It was very well done. I didn't stay in that roach-infested dump for very long though.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Fundy Blue said...

I have to admit it, Alex, it's a thrill to see my name in your post as an author! I'm still basking ~ LOL! I loved hearing what started you on your writing journey. I've enjoyed all of your books! So many good movies to see ~ Thanks for your reviews! Have a good one!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tyrean, watch it - you will like it.

Michael, good to hear! And yes, just leave brain at door. These are not thinking movies. I know just what you mean about the CGI Yoda. I thought it looked bad then.

Kalpana, awesome you are participating!

Nicki, you are awesome!

Birgit, the Lion King was meh. And the artist is Boris Vallejo.

Lee, I don't blame you!

Louise, you are an author now!

H. R. Sinclair said...

A painting. Brilliant! Technically, my journey started by telling scary stories at sleepovers.

Carol Kilgore said...

Congrats to all with new books! I've read the first two Maguire's Corners novels by Heather M. Gardner, and they're fantastic. Book 3 is waiting on my Kindle right now :)

I'm also looking forward to Doolittle ... Downey, Dogs & Company.

Suzanne Furness said...

How cool that it was an illustration that started you on a writing journey.

J E Oneil said...

I love that the scene and the characters stuck through everything. Isn't that always how it goes? When you've got it right, you've got it RIGHT. Anything else, rewrite.

I can almost see the token woman on the poster for The Gentlemen.

John Wiswell said...

1917 looks like a special movie. I hope I can find time to see it in a theater.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on hitting the top 100 again! IWSG rocks!

The Lion King remake? The trailers alone put me off. You nailed it - hollow and cold. I love authentic war movies, so 1917 is definitely on my list.

Rhonda Albom said...

Oddly, my current writing journey started out of boredom. I don't ski, but we spent three winters on the slopes for our girls. I started writing, but it was a long lost passion. It's pretty cool that you still have the original illustration that triggered your success.

As for the movies, the Gentlemen is the one that most interests me.

cleemckenzie said...

I'm excited for the Twitter Pitch and really excited for the anthology!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Carol, I've only read the first book - need to catch up.

JE, you said it.

John, we're going this Friday.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Love your inspiration. I always enjoy your reviews. I don't have Disney+ so I haven't seen The Mandalorian. I've never been a big Star Wars fan and the drama of fandom really turns me off. The anthology cover is awesome. Congrats on being best again.

Tonja Drecker said...

I see why the art inspired you...but then, I was a big Battle Star Galactica fan. I've heard a lot about The Mandalorian and will have to take a look at it, but I've been hesitating since I haven't gotten into Star Wars really since the original 3. Can't wait for the pitch part next week!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

It's a good thing you kept that scene for years. Look what you have now.

Truedessa said...

Welcome Back! I went to see the new Star Wars movie and I actually enjoyed it. It was entertaining and some pars were emotionally moving.

Congrats on the ISWG making the 100 best list. The new cover for the anthology is wonderfully done.

Also, I find it amazing how an image can inspire the muse. All one needs is a spark of inspiration. I am glad you kept your work and decided to turn it into something so much more.

Liz A. said...

As we were leaving Star Wars, someone else commented that those who were most critical seemed to be the people who didn't have to wait for each installment in the theaters (those who were younger and saw them first on TV). Something to ponder.

XmasDolly said...

Hello, my friend, I thought I'd add a thought regarding the Lion King. I think the biggest draw on that lil' sucker was that Beyonce was in it (well, her voice was), and I wouldn't doubt if she chipped in too to put that bugger together. You know spoil the Queen Bee so to speak. Great job on all the rest too. I swear where do you find the time of day to do all that you do. I will forward a lil' tip for retiring. Start putting something away NOW! Once you retire if you don't have a nest-egg somewhere you're not going to make it. Dave & I are suffering now and I'm thinking of going back to work part-time is all I can do... maybe a receptionist. It's a big bite from being a paralegal. So 3 surgeries later, paying medical bills, then hubby also getting sick... ughhhh... even he is looking for part-time work. So sad. So if we can find something we'll be okay, but right now even with health insurance these bills are killin' us. Wish us luck or say a prayer for us. Whatever you're into. Sure do need it about now. I tried the blogging thing even that died out when I was gone so long with this last surgery. Bummer :( Heed my warning my friend. HUGS to you and family!

Angela Brown said...

Happy New Year, Alex and this is a great post to start the year of IWSG off right.

I have a confession, I think I am the only person who enjoyed the Star Wars prequels. I talk to everyone else and they hate them lol! I must see Rise of Skywalker. I should be able to now that I'm back active.

I loved Jumanji and agree about that beautiful bittersweet ending. Nicely done.

Congrats on being a "go to" blog for writers again. Which should happen since this blog is a "go to" blog for writers :-)

Glad to see things moving along well with the next anthology. Looks great!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tonja, you are cool! And I think you'd like the Mandalorian. Takes place after Jedi.

Truedessa, look how it inspires your beautiful poems.

Liz, I had to see them all in the theater.

Maria, sorry you are struggling. We have several retirement funds set up, so we should be good.

Thanks, Angela!

Allie Bock said...

That's great you were able to use a little bit of your first work. I also agree with your review of the Lion King. Not worth the money to go see.

Allie Bock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen Gardner said...

Like you, I used very little from my first attempt at writing. I kept the main character, just made her older. But that’s where it started.

I’ve been wondering where all those baby Yoda memes were coming from! Now I’ll have to look it up.

Thanks for all the updates and congratulations to the IWSG for making the top 100 best writers list again!

Denise Covey said...

Love the cover for the anthology. Congrats to the IWSG for inclusion on the Best 100 list again!

dolorah said...

Really love the Anthology cover! Congrats to all the authors.

I can see how a captivating image can spark a writing desire. I've had several pictures that move me to at least write a short story. A picture is usually worth more that a thousand words though, lol.

I don't think I've ever read a "not recommended" from you before. Interesting. Love love your Dolittle write up.

Happy New Year Alex.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, the picture that started your writing journey is indeed wonderful. Its giving me a story idea :)

Congratulations on IWSG making it to The Write Life’s Best Websites for Writers 2020 list! IWSG deserves a lot of success.

I'm very excited for IWSGPit, I have a manuscript ready.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Congrats on making the list of best writing websites once again! Well deserved.

That's cool that a picture inspired your writing journey. Did you ever have a desire to write before that?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Allie, it wasn't.

Donna, a lot more than a thousand words. And I have posted a few not recommended. Not many though. I am picky about what movies I watch.

Rachna, that's great!

JH, not really!

Anonymous said...

I love what inspired you to start writing! That's so cool. And what a complex (and stunning) thought-provoking picture. No wonder it made your mind create an adventure.

My husband felt the same way about the latest Star Wars movie. He felt it was well worth the price of the ticket. He said he could nitpick it, but why? It was a fun movie for him. If I have to hear any more about Mandaleria from him...grrr....hahaha He LOVES that show. He can't wait for me to go watch one of my reality shows on Friday night so he can watch the latest episode.

Do you remember Anne? She was a blogger a few years ago that painted minis. Anyway, she encouraged me to write a fictional book and I did. Then came my self-help books. The rest, as they say, is history.

Have a great weekend!


Debra Renée Byrd said...

I actually liked The Lion King, but I also didn't expect as much as everyone else did. I really want to see Jumanji!

nashvillecats2 said...

Hi Alex, great post as always. sorry I missed this month, didn't realise what the date was. Happy new year to all at ISWG.


Diane Burton said...

Congrats, Alex, on your 1st book getting published. Mine's still under the bed. LOL I agree about Rogue One. My fav. Love your movie reviews.

Loni Townsend said...

That's a pretty cool picture. I can see how you'd find it inspiring.

I've been looking forward to Jumanji, and we've been trying to find a time to take the kids to see Star Wars. Glad to hear both are recommended. And I totally agree with the Lion King. The realism totally killed the expressions.

Mark Koopmans said...

I'm such a slacker. Sorry I missed another IWSG, lol. Useless person that I am, and if I get kicked out again, I'll do better next time - if I simply set up 11 Draft IWSG posts for the rest of the year.


S.A. Larsenッ said...

Battlestar Galactica . . . YES! I was a major fan. I can't remember how old I was; pretty young, I think. But a show/film like this can inspire so much within us, awaken that creative master inside. I've had a lot of moments with different shows like this; just never thought I could actual do it. Funny how life works, huh?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elsie, I remember Anne! I miss her. Good to hear your husband just went in and enjoyed it.

Debra, Jumanji is much, much better.

Diane, you are too cool!

Loni, it did kill them!

Mark, prepare to sign up again next month...

Sheri, yes! Don't go back and watch it now though. Keep the memory instead.

Andrew Leon said...

My OMG moment from Mandalorian: the appearance of the Darksaber at the end.
Baby Yoda was great, but the Darksaber was a real shocker.

I liked Rise just fine. As I said in my review, Abrams did the best he could with what was there.

Caitlin Coppola said...

I love that your writing journey began from an illustration. Shows how powerful the mind really is. Happy 2020!

Juneta key said...

That is so cool a piece of artwork inspired you to write such good novels. I like Battlestar Galactic too and all the spin-offs I love Mandalorian, and baby Yoda is too cute. It probably is the main reason I subscribed since I own most of the major movies they offer on Disney. Anyways, I'm a little late making the rounds. Happy IWSG!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Thanks again, Alex, for allowing me to be a co-host IWSG's January question. I truly appreciate it. My husband and daughter have seen Star Wars twice. They love it! And my daughter is addicted to these Jumanji movies. I like Robin Williams' movie the best. Some day I hope to participate in the pitching on IWSG. All best to you in the New Year, sir!

Jacqui said...

I'd be happy to promote this with you. I'm impressed with how many Indies get involved in your books. Let me know!

Susan Kane said...

I loved Jumanji and Lion King. I would see them again. I didn't go to the bathroom during them.

Star Wars was okay. The ending made me say "Ah, finally!" Kylo and Ray finally coming together was wonderful.

We are going to see 1917 today. WW1 fascinates me, my gr-pa fought in it, and its brutality was unheard of at that point.

Tony Laplume said...

Cool that you can remember the exact picture, and included it in your post.

Yvonne Ventresca said...

I love that you were inspired by an illustration.

Renee Scattergood said...

Wow, I can't even think about January movies yet. I haven't even seen the new Star Wars movie. It's been a crazy month. I'm still trying to play catch up!

Nilanjana Bose said...

I liked the Rise of Skywalker. 1917 is on my wishlist, hopefully this weekend or next.

A very happy and happening New Year 2020 to you and yours.

Jemima Pett said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Lion King. Duly noted!

Have a happy 2020.


Liesbet said...

That is amazing, that an illustration led you to writing and to the inspiration necessary to become a successful author. Well done!!

The cover for the new anthology is fantastic, like always. Eye-catching and professional. And, congratulations to IWSG, making the Write Life list of best websites for writers in 2020. Again! So much going on over at your side, Alex!!!

Big sigh about time going so fast... Only recently, this upcoming IWSG Twitter Pitch Party was six months away. I can't believe we're now down to just a few days to get our act together! :-) I'd love to participate again.

I'm glad you clarified the repeat of the movie preview "1917", as I thought I'd read the descriptions before (on your blog last December), but started to doubt myself. :-)

Have a fantastic, successful, and inspirational 2020!!!

Olga Godim said...

I like it that your writing started with a visual prompt - a sci-fi illustration. Some of my own stories were also inspired by an image - usually a painting.
Congrats on being one of the best 100. Again!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Juneta, I only subscribed to see that show but now we're enjoying Disney Plus.

Victoria, thanks for co-hosting.

Thanks, Jacqui!

Susan, 1917 was amazing, wasn't it?

Liesbet, I hope you participate in the upcoming #IWSGPit.

DMS said...

Loved hearing how you got inspired to write!

I haven't seen the new Star Wars yet- but I plan to at some point. Also- Baby Yoda is so cute- though I haven't seen the animated series.

Happy New Year!

Carrie-Anne said...

The Voyagers cover is great! The anthologies always have such wonderful artwork.

Susan B.Rouchard said...

Thank you Alex for this lovely first IWSG post of the year. Interesting question which hatched wonderful stories of each blogger’s muse.
Love the drawing for Battlestar, no wonder it triggered your novels. Congratulations on taking hat manuscript out of that drawer.

Congratulations on making the Write Life 100 best websites again. Love the cover for the Voyager Anthology. Looking forward to reading all the stories.
Thanks again for all the film reviews . still some catching up to do on the Star Wars and Jumamji series. Been travelling down memory lane lately. Last night watching for the upteenth time Little Big Man.
Keep up the good work and Happy Twitter pitch (not on this media, myself, so won’t be participating).
Have an inspiring month.
Susan Rouchard.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Alex...

Sorry it took to stop by but my surgery was a more than I expected. It was deeper and the first two days after were not at all pleasant. Thank God, all is well and I should recover well with little scaring. At least the cancer has been cut out and hopefully it will not pop up anywhere else.

I remember Frank Frazetta's work very well! I was an illustration major in the late 70's and 80's. I loved his work: an incredible illustrator!

It is amazing how a piece of art could inspire a whole new career. That IS the power of art.

Speaking of art, the cover for the next anthology is very cool!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

It's amazing how one piece of artwork inspired you to write!

I think I'll skip the movies this month... maybe watch something from 2019 I haven't seen yet.