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.

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

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 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!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Top Ten Murder Movies, IWSG and the Pandemic, Monday’s Music Moves Me, and Movie and Book News

My Top Ten List of Murder Movies By Yolanda Renee

1. A Perfect Murder (1998) Director Andrew Davis - Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow
A wealthy man, Michael Douglas, discovers that his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, has a lover. He blackmails the lover, Viggo Mortensen, into murdering his wife.
Turns out not to be so perfect after all. Great high tension-ending.

2. Seven (1995) Director David Fincher - Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman.
A rookie detective, Brad Pitt, and a veteran detective, Morgan Freeman, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motive.
Shocking end!

3 The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Director Jonathan Demme - Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins
A young FBI cadet, Jodie Foster, is sent to meet with a serial killer, a real madman, Anthony Hopkins, to help solve another case.
The quid pro quo is excellent!

4. Psycho (1960) Director Alfred Hitchcock - Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh
A remote motel. A young man, under the influence of his domineering mother. A woman just looking for a night's rest.
Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time. Excellent scare factor.

5. Body Heat (1981) Director Lawrence Kasdan - William Hurt, Kathleen Turner
The wife of a wealthy man, Kathleen Turner, manipulates William Hurt into killing her husband. The heat in this one is extreme.
But a magnificent twist means another great ending!

6. Rear Window (1954) Director Alfred Hitchcock - James Stewart, Grace Kelly
Wheelchair-bound and bored, Jimmy Stewart begins to spy on his neighbors. After a while, he's sure that one man has killed his wife. High tension as he sends his girlfriend to investigate because he can't! Hitchcock at his best.

7. Vertigo (1958) Director Alfred Hitchcock - James Stewart, Kim Novak
Jimmy Stewart, a former police detective, suffers from a fear of heights. When a woman kills herself by jumping from a bell tower, her death, due to his inaction, haunts him. When he meets her look-a-like, his sleuthing skills re-emerge.
The ending is supreme.

8. Dark Passage (1947) Director Delmer Daves-- Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
A man escapes prison, changes his looks, and goes after the man who killed his wife and framed him.
I enjoyed the way this was done, and those two together, nothing better!

9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Director David Fincher - Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara
A journalist, Daniel Craig, is hired to find a woman who disappeared forty years ago. He enlists the aid of a young computer hacker, Rooney Mara, to help him.
This is one tangled web of awesomeness!

10. Laura (1944) Director Otto Preminger - Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews
This movie is my all-time favorite. The police detective, Dana Andrews, falls in love with a woman, Gene Tierney, via her portrait while he's investigating her murder.
The way the romance was weaved through the story got to me!

Thank you, Alex, for hosting me and my latest book and allowing me to discuss my favorite murder movies.

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renee’s MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering an awesome tour-wide international giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Yolanda Renee
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mysteries
◊ Paperback: 291 pages
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ ISBN-10: 0985820632
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0985820633
◊ Contains explicit sex & graphic violence

It was a matter of beginner’s luck, but rookie detective Steven Quaid’s career and reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. But that was ten years ago.
And now…Jenkins is back.

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing. Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!
Find Yolanda at blog, Facebook Twitter Pinterest, and Email

This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.
To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter and follow the instructions.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out.
Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?


IWSG post day was very moving as most of the participants answered the monthly question with how they were doing during our world crisis.

Some have already gone through the virus - Sherry Ellis’ family all had it and recovered.

Some are in a bad situation - Lynn and her husband are trapped on their boat in Mexico and while they are both high risk, they can’t get tested.

Some have found something uplifting – Louise posted a short video by Chris Hadfield, a retired Canadian astronaut, and his view on how to handle isolation.

I think my favorite was by Em-Musing. She said she was doing what was necessary, but what wasn’t necessary was thinking the worst and getting scared. She’s lived through the polio outbreak, the Cuban Missile Crisis (and missiles set to fire at Cuba were just a couple miles from her home), having her first child during the Hong Kong Flu and no one could visit her at the hospital, and all the other viruses and scares. So while she is concerned, she refuses to be scared!

What was the most moving post you read that day?

Monday’s Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly.

Today it’s songs with the word fool in them.

I’m going with the first thing that popped into my head – Fool for Your Loving by Whitesnake!

Ninja News

Tales From the Loop
This is a new show on Amazon Prime.
Every episode revolves around an underground facility called The Loop and those who work there and live above it. It also covers several different time periods, as The Loop has been around for quite a while.
The first episode moved glacierly slow, but fortunately it was really interesting.
The cinematography was amazing. Really well done.
Based on the paintings of Simon Stålenhag.
I’ll keep watching!

The next season of What We Do in the Shadows starts this month!

From the IMDB -
A look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires, who've lived together for over 100 years, on Staten Island.

This series is hilarious!! If you haven’t checked it out, you need to.
This FX show also streams on Hulu

New Releases

Heroika Skirmishers, Created by Janet Morris and edited by Alexandra Butcher

Including the story In the Season of Rust by Charles Gramlich

Find it on Amazon

The Pain of Things by JL Campbell

Find it on Amazon

What are your favorite murder movies? What music moves you? Been watching Tales from the Loop? Ready for some more vampire comedy? Picking up some new books? And what IWSG posts moved you this month?

Monday, April 6, 2020

#IWSG and a Long Writing Career and Happy Easter

If you are looking for my IWSG post, it’s HERE.

Today I am directing you to the IWSG site for an article by Nancy Gideon on how to have a long writing career. (Nancy’s began in 1987!)

I’ll be back Monday with some movie picks from Yolanda Renee, who has a new book out.

Thanks to everyone who participated in IWSG post day.
There were some very touching responses to the month’s question and I’ll be highlighting some of them next week.

Everyone have a blessed Easter. Most of us can’t go out, but there are a lot of churches streaming services online. So stay home and stay safe. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, IWSG Anthology Contest, Really Great Villains, Bad Adaptations and New Stories, and New Releases

The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Erika Beebe, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Today’s question -
The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

We’re blessed there aren’t a lot of cases in our area. I’m still going to work! (Apparently I am essential.) But with most businesses now shut down and a stay at home order in place, there is a lot less traffic on the road.

I have faith we will survive this and my heart goes out to those who’ve been affected, either through the virus or the shut downs. Until it’s over, I’ll just keep praying and doing my part to keep me, my family, and everyone around me safe.

We’re revving up for the annual IWSG Anthology Contest!

It doesn’t open until May 6, but here’s a sneak peek.

The genre – science fiction!

And the amazing judges –

Dan Koboldt, author and #SFFpit founder

Lynda R. Young, author

Colleen Oefelein, agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Damien Larkin, author

Ion Newcombe, editor and publisher

Julie Gwinn, agent, The Seymour Agency

David Powers King, author

The IWSG Instagram prompts for April:

Really Great Villains by Jemi Frasier

Alex and I share a love of SF & Fantasy movies and books. Among my favourites are LotR, HP, Firefly, BSG, McCaffrey’s PERN, and of course Star Wars & Star Trek.

One of the commonalities we find in these stories is a really great villain. Sauron. Voldemort & the Death Eaters. Reavers. Thread. 1st Order/Vader/Palpatine. Cylons. The Borg.

Some adjectives for those great villains might be: subversive, sneaky, vile, insidious, unscrupulous, relentless. Great villains made for good reading and good watching, but aren’t so great in real life.

My book, Dancing With Dementia, deals with real life and a real life villain. Dementia. Like Thread from PERN, our villain isn’t human or alien, it’s not sentient. But it is a villain nonetheless and those adjectives apply.

Like any good story, Dancing With Dementia showcases our battle against our villain. We may not have lightsabers, wands, or phasers, but we do have our own weapons. Patience and a sense of humour are probably the most effective for us.

Having the Force on our side would be a good thing though!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Jemi Fraser’s DANCING WITH DEMENTIA, Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia MC Book Tours Blog Tour through today.
The author is offering a tour-wide international giveaway of an Amazon Gift Card. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia by Jemi Fraser
ISBN-13: 978-1-9991258-1-3

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch the lives of millions around the world, but so much is still unknown.
As first-generation Canadians, we didn’t recognize the early warning signs. We didn’t know the differences between regular aging and the early stages of dementia. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve learned a lot.
•Identify those early warning signs
•Use visuals to improve communication
•Choose your words wisely
•Redirect and reassure
•Stay calm and cope with your own emotions
•Consider nursing home options
•Improve caregiver self-care
We’ve learned to dance the early steps of the disease with our love and laughter intact. If you are looking for help recognizing early signposts along with practical ways to cope with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this book is for you.

DANCING WITH DEMENTIA buy links:              Apple Books       Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Add DANCING WITH DEMENTIA to your Goodreads shelf

Jemi Fraser writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction work focuses on the ways that dementia has impacted her family. Her fiction work varies from contemporary romance to suspense and flash fiction. Years as a teacher have taught Jemi that life is short and that happy endings are a must.
Jemi lives in Northern Ontario, Canada where snow is always a topic of conversation and the autumn leaves make everything better.
For more on Jemi and her writing, visit her following sites:

Amazon Page        BookBub      Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter       Quick Tips Videos

This tour-wide giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open internationally. To enter the giveaway, just click on this LINK and follow the instructions.

When Bad Movie Adaptations Inspire New Stories

About 12 years ago, when my wife and I were still newlyweds, we spent many a weekend watching a ton of movies (her favorites and mine). Then one Friday night, we watched an adaptation of one of her favorite fantasy books. It seemed weird to me. Maybe something you’d see on the Disney channel, but not in theaters. So then we discussed movie adaptations, and why it seems so difficult for Hollywood to stick with the source material. Then, out of the blue, my wife gave me a challenge: “write something I would like”. You see, until that point, I was a fledgling writer who had only written a Sci Fi trilogy. She’s more into fantasy, especially of the fairytale persuasion. I thought about it. I took her up on it, but not as a rewrite of other fairy tales. That’s been done over and over to death. Something different. A discovery novel. It would star a princess. It would need magical creatures. Oh, and a dragon! Definitely needs a dragon. In six months, I drafted my first fantasy novel with my wife’s interests in mind. Luckily for me, she loved it, and she still loves it to this day. I’m curious how an adaptation of it would turn out?

If you want in on this magical goodness, The Dragon’s Heart is available now in paperback and ebook, on Amazon. Also, it’s free with Kindle Unlimited. Free is good.

A princess. A dragon. Their quest.
Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy. She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses.

David was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to write. His works include the internationally published YA Fantasy Woven and The Undead Road: My Zombie Summer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He now lives in the mountain West with his wife and four children. Find David - Blog, Twitter, and Amazon

Find The Dragon's Heart on Amazon and Goodreads

New Releases!

Finding the Perfect Mate by Stacy McKitrick

Finding the Perfect Mate just got way more complicated.

Find it at iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords, and Goodreads

The Elusive by Pat Hatt

After thinking their long struggle had come to an end, Sally, Travis, and the others are thrust into more danger than ever before.

Find it on Amazon

How are you coping? Think you’ll enter the IWSG Anthology Contest? (Many of you have time to write now.) Who do you consider to be a really great villain? Has a bad movie adaptation ever inspired you? And if you’re doing the A to Z Challenge, good luck.
Special thanks to Tara Tyler for this badge and the prize in the mail: