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 for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, Chemist Ken, and Louise – Fundy Blue!
July 7 question - What would make you quit writing?
I have an awesome guest today, so skipping the question. Damien Larkin's next Mars book just came out, Blood Red Sand, (reading it now!) and his first book was what I'd call bat-crap crazy! (Big Red)
Don’t forget the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology Contest is now open! Genre – sweet romance, theme – first love. See the site for details.
And please note this definition of romance from RWA:
Definition: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.
Damien Larkin, War Movies, and Blood Red Sand’s Release
Being a military sci-fi writer, it’s probably no surprise that I’m a big fan of war movies. With so many fantastic movies out there, it’s been a challenge to narrow it down and pick out my favourites. Hopefully, you’ll find something here that catches your eye and brings you a few hours of entertainment!
Full Metal Jacket (1987): This classic film was written, produced and directed by legendary director Stanley Kubrick. Following a group of Marines from their brutal basic training to the Vietnam meatgrinder, this movie is filled with shocking and vicious scenes. Even decades later this is a powerful and moving classic film.
Letters From Iwo Jima (2006): Directed by Clint Eastwood, this movie is the companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers. Told from the Japanese point of view, we witness their grim acceptance of the fate that awaits them in the face of American military power. With virtually no hope of victory, Japanese soldiers dream of returning home to their loved ones yet are determined to defend their territory at all costs. Mr. Eastwood does a fantastic job of exploring the humanity of some of these soldiers, while not glossing over the savagery that awaited the American invasion force.
Platoon (1986): Directed and based partially on Oliver Stone’s experiences, this Vietnam war movie is packed with an all-star cast. Told from the POV of new recruit Charlie Sheen, we witness his struggles in a world completely alien to anything he’s ever experienced before. Rising tensions between feuding NCO’s culminate in one of the most recognisable scenes in modern cinema – with an epic battle scene towards the end to enjoy (look out for a brief cameo from Mr. Stone himself)!
Starship Troopers (1997): Not exactly a traditional war movie (but hey, I’m a military sci-fi writer)! This incredible science fiction movie covers the Terran Federation’s war against the insidious Arachnids. Based on Robert Heinlein’s book of the same name, we follow reluctant soldier Johnny Rico’s progression from a raw recruit into a battle-hardened officer. Although criticised for its tongue-in-cheek jabs at fascism and excessive gore, this is a highly entertaining romp not to be missed.
The Siege of Jadotville (2016): This movie explores an event that, up until recently, has been airbrushed from Irish military history. In 1961, in the middle of the Congo Crisis, 120 Irish soldiers on UN duty were attacked and surrounded by a force ten times their size. For five days, they held out, inflicting casualties many times their number, without a single Irish soldier losing his life. Abandoned by the corrupt and incompetent upper echelons, they surrendered after running out of ammunition and were subsequently held hostage for a month.
Damien Larkin is an Irish science fiction author and co-founder of the British and Irish Writing Community. His debut novel Big Red was longlisted for the BSFA award for Best Novel. He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. Visit his website.
Blood Red Sand
By Damien Larkin
Mars will run red with Nazi blood…
After World War Two, Sergeant McCabe knew the British army could send him anywhere. He never imagined facing down another Nazi threat on Mars.
In New Berlin colony, rivalry between Generalfeldmarschall Seidel’s Wehrmacht and Reichsführer Wagner’s SS threatens bloodshed. The Reichsführer will sacrifice everything to initiate the secretive Hollow Programme and realise his nightmarish future for humanity.
McCabe, Private Jenkins, and the Mars Expeditionary Force must overcome bullet, bomb, and bayonet to destroy the Third Reich. While Jenkins fights to stay alive, McCabe forms an uneasy alliance with MAJESTIC-12 operatives known as the Black Visors. Will this be the final battle of World War Two or the first confrontation in an interstellar war?
Science Fiction - Military FIC028050/Alternative History FIC040000/War & Military FIC32000
Print ISBN 9781939844781 / EBook ISBN 9781939844798
Find Blood Red Sand at Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Goodreads
July Movie Preview
Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for July. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.
A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
Director: Cate Shortland
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz
About time, Marvel. We’ve already had two Wonder Woman movies.
A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Embeth Davidtz, Thomasin McKenzie
The phrase never gets old does not apply to Shyamalan movies…
Based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, Jesse Plemons
Unlike the ride, you’ll be amazed by the realistic animatronic Dwayne Johnson.
And in case you missed it last week, here is the cover for CassaDark, which comes out April 5, 2022!
Pre-order links: iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribed, and Dancing Lemur Press
Add it on Goodreads
Add it on Goodreads
What would make you quit writing? Favorite war movie? Entering the IWSG Anthology Contest? What movies catch your eye this month?
Haven't seen most of the movies listed save for Full Metal Jacket. I have mixed feelings about it. While I thought the first half of the movie was great (boot camp), the 2nd half (post boot camp) felt like a let down. Maybe it's just me, but I felt like the 2nd half was pretty much like some of the other war movies that I'd seen: a bit cliched and a tiny bit tired.
I may go watch it again just to see I'd missed something the first time around.
Not sure what would make me quite writing beyond moving into the afterlfe, so there's that.
Hi Alex - yes I'll keep writing - blogging as long as there's engagement. Good luck to Damien with his new book. I still can't get into SciFi- but have some books here in that genre ... so am moving along. Thanks for all your support for all writers and particularly the IWSG group - cheers Hilary
Good morning Alex,
Blood Red Sand sounds like a powerful book. Terrific review. I wish Damien Larkin the best of luck.
Some great films listed today. I'm sure Black Widow will feature in my near future :-)
Hooray for your cover, Alex! Favorite war movie...well, not a huge fan of war movies, but Bridge Over the River Kwai is one that comes to mind.
@ G.B A lot of people who've watched that film say the same thing. The tone of it does change after boot camp. I enjoyed the psychological aspects of the second half, how the characters adapt to the death and violence that surround them.
@Hillary Thank you!
@Lynn Cheers, much appreciated!
@Annalisa I can't wait for Black Widow!
@Liza Excellent suggestion!
@Alex Cheers for posting and congrats on Cassadark!
GB, I felt the same way about the film.
Hilary, if you have one of mine, I'm honored.
Liza, good one.
Damien, thanks and you're welcome!
We saw Platoon at the theatre. I wish they showed old films in theatres in Canada. Experiencing Platoon on the big screen was outstanding. Especially the music. I hope they make more Jungle Cruise. That was a fun film.
Wishing you much luck, Damien, on your new book. It sounds interesting.
Alex, I love the cover so much. Re: The M. Night Shyamalan movie. I've watched all his movies, I think.
LOve your new cover! While my family wasn't a "military" family...many of my family served. My dad was in WWII and he would take us to see every war movie there was. My sisters and I would pay "war" and throw dirt bombs at each other. My first husband served in Vietnam. I've seen Platoon, Hamburger Hill, Apocalypse and many times. Thanks for your list. I see more movies in my future.
Starship Troopers is such a classic. We have the book and the animated series, all of it! We also call our children roughnecks and make silly propaganda comments to each other. I definitely recommend that one!
Thanks for hosting Damien today.
I'm looking forward to Jungle Cruise as I love both actors.
I'm not surprised that you like war movies given what you write. My husband was a fan of them too, and we watched a number of his favorites together. Congrats to Damien on his new book!
@Joylene That must've been amazing. I'd love to see Platoon on the big screen!
@T. Powell Thank you!
@Leigh Well done to your family for serving! Glad you like the list!
@Steph I watched it last night (for the millionth time) and it never gets old. Will have to root out the animated series again as that was excellent.
@Thank you Natalie!
I say I'm not writing, but I keep rolling with the blog. Something will trigger more one of these days. Meanwhile - Go Cassa series!
Fave war movie - probably Saving Private Ryan. They all get to my heart.
And yes - time for ScarJo/Black Widow. I did laugh at your animatronic Dwayne comment - you are funny!
Congratulations to Damien! I've never heard of Jabotville. What a great idea for Clint Eastwood to represent the war from both sides.
@Joanne Saving Private Ryan is an excellent movie and partially inspired one of the opening scenes in Blood Red Sand.
@Jennifer The Siege of Jadotville (involving the Irish army on a UN mission) was largely airbrushed from Irish military history due to cowardly, backstabbing politicians. It came to popular attention (outside of military circles) after Netflix made their movie. Would definitely recommend both of Mr. Eastwood's films. They're masterpieces!
CassaDark cover looks great! Can't wait to read it!
Letters From Iwo Jima was a fantastic movie!
Blood Red Sand sounds fascinating.
Congrats to Damien and the others on the releases!
I don't handle some of those movies well, but Starship Troopers is awesome!
@KJ Cheers! It seems to be going down well with readers so far!
War movies are too tough for me emotionally. I’ve seen a few of the tamer ones. Looks like tons of good movies are finally coming out! Congrats to you and Damien!
Damien's book looks excellent. Best of luck to him. Another great war movie, Apocalypse Now.
Those are great pick Damien!
Wow Alex! The new release is coming. I love the cover!.
Congrats, Alex!! Love your new cover!
Congrats to Damien on the release of his new book!! I have many fave war movies, I can't pick just one.
I am finally looking forward to seeing some good movies this summer!
@Erika Thank you!
@Nick Cheers, much appreciated! Yeah, such a classic movie!
@HR Thank you. Hard to whittle it down to five, but I enjoy them!
@Cathrina Thanks so much!
I've already got "Old" on my To Watch list!
Over the holiday weekend, we re-watched "Jaws" and "Jurassic Park" - so much fun! :)
You sent me right down a rabbit hole, Alex, on my first blog visit of the morning. I've seen a lot of war movies, and I have many favorites. Based on the number of times I've watched it, The Dirty Dozen" is my favorite, but maybe not. Others: Saving Private Ryan, Eye in the Sky, Life is Beautiful, The Killing Fields, Zero Dark Thirty, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Mash, Braveheart, Good Morning Vietnam. I could go on LOL. Love your cover, and I can't wait to read CassaDark and Blood Red Sand. Have a great day!
Good morning, Alex! Looooong time no see!
As always, your movie posts intrigue me. I've heard of most of them this time, but I haven't seen any of them. Not a big fan of war movies (unless Star Wars counts!) I DO want to see Jungle Cruise. Any preview that makes me laugh out loud makes me interested in the film.
What would make me stop writing? Only death (and only then, I'm sure it would be temporary).
Happy IWSG day! It's good to be back.
Leigh, dirt bomb sound painful!
Steph, it's a dumb but fun movie.
Diane, happy to host.
Joanne, I am here to amuse!
Madeline, classic films!
Jen, welcome back!
Hi Alex, I can never imagine quitting my writing. Damien's book sounds wonderful. Love the title 'Blood Red Sand.'
If all my friends told me that my writing sucked. I would trust their honesty. Love your war movie picks from Full Metal Jacket which is just brutal but so well acted and directed to Platoon which just shows how brutal the Vietnam war was. I do want to see Black Widow and hope it is not too much CGI. I am noticing the CGI effects which makes me think I am watching a video. One is not supposed to notice, now, the war movies that come to my mind are “All Quiet On The Western Front” an early sound film but so well done. “The Longest Day” is an excellent telling of D Day. 13 Hours is excellent and not well known..worth seeing and it takes place in the Middle East. “The Battle of Britain” is such a good film about the RAF and how they stopped the Luftwaffe despite overwhelming odds. “Apocalypse Now”..a heart of darkness retelling but such a good one that I need to rewatch. There are more but that’s what came into my head.
Love your movie reviews. I’m looking forward to seeing Black Widow. Have a great writing month. Love the cover for your newest.
"Blood Red Sand" sounds intriguing!
I'll watch the movies if I have nothing better to do. LOL.
Ronel visiting for IWSG day Obstacles to Overcome and My Podcast is Live!
There are a few war films I've enjoyed.
Great list of movies. I love the old war movies. I was getting into Mars movies but not sure about a Nazi takeover!
I am curious about Black Widow.
I don't usually watch war movies but I am not against them. I saw Platoon and I always liked the intense moments on Star Trek Voyagers when the episodes was about war.
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange
I've seen Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, but not the others. However there are loads of classic war movies out there to choose from.
Love the cover of Cassa Dark. Very clean and professional-looking.
I'll go really old-school and list The Big Parade (1925) as my favorite war film. Though it's super-long, the time always flies by in the blink of an eye, since it's so engrossing. I also really like Wings (1927), and several WWII films that were made during WWII, like Pride of the Marines (1945).
Congrats to Damien on the new release! I love alternative history books. I’m also a big war movie fan. Favorites include Midway, Platoon, All Quiet on the Western Front.
Another excellent post! Damien's book sounds interesting. I'll never forget the first time I watched Full Metal Jacket. Your CassaDark cover is awesome! The movie "Old" seems quite disturbing. I'll have to see it :-) Not sure about "Jungle Cruise", but, maybe.
LOVE war movies! Grew up watching them with my WWII vet dad, who got me hooked on Audie Murphy. Thanks for your list. Since I'm visiting Ireland in September for three weeks of writing, I've been immersed in all things Irish. On the hunt for Siege of Jadoville! Thanks for bringing new authors into my sightline and, as always, for helming this insecure ship!
I've seen a clip of Old, that looks good.
Damien's book sounds really intriguing! I like the alternate history/sci fi combo.
I'm sort of intrigued by Jungle Cruise, but it could be awful.
Congrats on your cover release! I like how it fits in so well with your other books.
Sorry, no favorite war movie. Not a fan at all. LOL Black Widow, that I'd like to see.
They're letting a woman direct the Black Widow movie, so that's a plus. Here's hoping they didn't let Joss Whedon anywhere near the script.
Congrats, Damien, and you, too, Alex. Love the cover for CassaDark!
Congratulations on CassaDark, Alex!
I'm not sure if I have a favorite war movie--I don't like those because they are so dreary and heartwrenching...
Birgit, there are a lot of great war films.
Jacqui, read his first one, Big Red. He'll make you a believer!
Nancy, Damien could probably point out some good places to go in Ireland.
Fun guest post.
I'm looking forward to Jungle Cruise. It looks like a fun cross between Jumanji and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Cool cover and congrats on your upcoming new release :)
Thanks for the further tips on writing a romance... I have an idea that might work....
And Hooray! Another CassaStar novel. Must catch up with the series :)
Thanks for keeping this going for another month :)
The CassaDark cover looks incredible, Alex! Best of luck to Damian on his new release. Just thought of an old classic war movie, "The Best Years of Our Lives." The movie starred a real WWII veteran, Harold Russell, who lost both hands during an explosion. He won an Oscar for his performance. Thanks for hosting the IWSG, Alex!
I've seen Platoon, but none of the other war movies. It's one of hubby's favorites.
Definitely want to see Black Widow! Think I might actually venture downstairs to the movie theater I live above rather than shell out the $29.99 on Disney Plus!
While I enjoy your books, I am not a fan of war movies. I prefer light topics in movies, humour, romance, etc. And, as for your question, what got me to stop working on my book was my critique group changed it so much, it wasn't me anymore. But I have moved on to flash fiction and am loving it. So, I didn't stop writing, just stopped writing that.
Huge congrats to Damien. I've never been a big fan of watching war movies but Platoon is a favorite. Looking forward to seeing Jungle Cruise and Black Widow. Don't want to age any faster than I already am.
Hank remembered 'To Hell and Back' and The Longest Day' among them. Not really taken up by War movies though! The CassaDark cover looks great!
Jungle Cruise sounds right up my alley. Love Dwayne Johnson:)
Sarah, go! Much cheaper.
Rhonda, that's good.
Even the thought of Platoon makes me want to cry. That music??? Ugh. Gets me every time.
I'm looking forward to reading your new words!!
Great to see Damien has written another book :)
And a big congrats to you too for your up coming release. Exciting!
Nazis on Mars, eh? Sounds like an interesting story.
Black Widow is finally here. I hope I still recognize the Marvel Universe after all this time.
Awesome cover indeed.
Yeah. Starship Troopers sure is a great one.
Great list of military movies, Damien! And, Congratulations on your latest novel!
Alex - Congrats on your new novel cover and upcoming release!
Loved the movie snark, too. :)
Ken, we've been keeping up by watching the shows on Disney.
Congrats to Damien. And congrats on your new release as well. I liked the ride the Jungle Cruise, but I don't hold out much hope for the movies based on those rides.
I've seen trailers for Old. Very creepy!
Favourite war movie? I actually have two: "Apocalypse Now" and "Full Metal Jacket". I especially like Stanley Kubrick's directing style!
I'd like to check out the "Black Widow" movie. Black Widow's been one of my favourite Marvel super heroes; she's like the esponiage version of Spider-Man and Spider-Woman and she has the aggression of Batman.
Thank you for all the best wishes, folks. Really appreciate it and great suggestions for other movies to check out. Cheers!
Wow, Alex, I didn't know Clint Eastwood was a Director. Good for him! The Old movie sounds terribly scary. I guess because I feel I'm getting old-er. Thanks for all you do to assist your fellow writer. All best to you, sir!
If you built a robot that hit me in the face every time I wrote a sentence, it would probably slow me down.
I was an Airman, married an E9 Tech Sarg. I've always been surrounded by military and they gett all my support and best wishes. The book sounds interesting. Good luck Damien.
And congrats to you also Alex on your next book.
The sweet romance anthology sounds interesting. I'm a bit of a sour grape though = who knows, lol.
Illness or disability are the only things that might stop me from writing. Congrats on CassaDark!
I've seen Full Metal Jacket and Platoon because Ken loved those kinds of movies.
You list many movies we love (syfy is our love). The movies listed had many we enjoy. We were surprised by Letters from Iwo Jima. the two views, plus the soldiers' longing for home. Clint Eastwood is brilliant.
Victoria, he's directed quite a few movies now!
John - funny!
Donna, give it a try.
For once, I've actually seen most of the movies you mention! That's probably a record for me, and it shows where my movie interest is, I guess.
I haven't read Damien's books yet, but I do love sci fi and military sci fi, so both of his are going to get bumped to the top of my TBR!
Oh boy, I blew the rules on the writing (the definition of romance). That's okay. I never write, and just did it on a whim late one night. I usuallyl go to bed super early, but for some reason I've been staying up. I guess because it's summer. I can't watch Full Metal Jacket. Just the scenes I saw of it were so unsettling to me. I'm a wimnp. We went to see Space Jam last night because the online listing said the times...got there and it's not released yet. I told them the times are wrong on their website so someone could fix it, but the guy blew me off. Phft. I wanted to see Black Widow but my son didn't. -_- Who is this kid, and who raised him??!!?!?! :) My oldest son will go see it with me. He loves the action movies. :D
Just checking to see if you had a post today. See, I'm making progress on catching up. Have a great week, my friend!
I like the Starship Troopers reference. It's funny how both the film and book make you think about things from a very unusual perspective. :)
Hi Alex - thanks ... I do have one of your books here. I wanted to send you an email about The Clash and an exhibition and display that's been on and is on here in London - but it bounced back. Mine hasn't changed ... so if you let me know re your new one - I'll forward the details on ... cheers Hilary
The last war film I watched was 1917, before all this pandemic rubbish started. Rather bleak. Saving Private Ryan and Bridge Over River Kwai are two I've watched more than once.
The cover looks great - all the best for the release!
Favorite war movie for me would be Apocalypse Now--or maybe that's an antiwar movie? I do like war movies and there are many good ones.
Saw the preview for Jungle Cruise and it looked interesting, but I'm essentially boycotting Disney as much as I can. Disney has been corrupted by wokism and anti-God movements.
Tossing It Out
I've never been a huge war movie fan, but for some reason I loved Platoon. Just the score of that movie makes me cry. I think it did a really good job making us care about a character and showing us through his eyes how horrific and senseless that war was.
Also, Dog Soldiers is worth a watch. Was surprised by how much I liked it.
I actually watched one of your previous recommendations last month--The Conjuring 3--and really liked it. Thanks for mentioning it on your blog.
Hope you're having a great summer. :)
I've seen most of your listed "war movies," Alex. Some classics there. It's been a while, so revisiting them would not be a bad idea. The movie "Old" sounds interesting. Just because I have found myself on secluded tropical islands before. :-)
Your Casa Dark cover is still super awesome!!! I'm wishing you loads of success with the book!
We have watched Starship many times. Good bad? depends on the day.
The cover looks great!
Waiting to see Black Window either in the theater or when I don't have to pay Disney extra for it.
Hey, just stopping by to return your visit to my blog. I already answered what would make me quit writing, so I won't bother saying again... and I'm not much of a war movie fan, but I have a friend who is. He'd probably know every one of those movies, and may even enjoy Blood Red Sand, too. I'll tell him about it!
Thanks as always for a great hop, even if I am playing catch up.
Damien Larkin's book sounds good, but I have to be in a special mood to watch a war movie. Still, I can see the appeal for others.
I'm looking forward to Black Widow.
Very excited about CassaDark and love the cover.
I can tell you from experience that the start of a global pandemic would make me quit writing for a while! I've taken breaks for other reasons, but I can't imagine stopping completely.
Happy Monday, Alex! I hope you have a great week!
This may be your best cover yet....
Have a great one.
The Tomorrow War with Chris Pratt reminds me of Starship Troopers. However, I liked Starship Troopers more. I haven't watched it in many years, and I wonder if the effects are still decent.
Good luck to all the entrants in the anthology contest!
I don't watch a lot of war movies- so I haven't seen any of these. Your new cover looks great!
I like the premise of Jungle Cruise.
Very excited about your book launch, Alex. Soar high. Woohoo.
As a huge fan of the book Starship Troopers, I found the movie a travesty. lol
I don't watch too many war movies. I did enjoy The Dirty Dozen.
Have a great reading/writing day.
Damien Larkin's book sounds amazing! Congrats to him!! So happy about your book Alex! The cover is so cool! Jungle Cruise sounds like a lot of fun! Take care Alex! Big Hugs!
A stunning cover, Alex. I have not seen any of these films. My excuse is that I rarely watch films.
Hi Alex. Sorry I haven't dropped by sooner. Some classic movie choices.
Apparently for me to stop writing I simply need a day job😁.
Black Widow was good. Her sister is hilarious.
Congrats on Cassadark. Lots of great movies here with Full Metal jacket outstanding performances highlighting Vietnam. What a war.
Hi Alex thought I would catch up on posts today, still having problems with Blogger. I can read my followers but can't read a new one myself.7 enjoyed yours as always. Hope you are well and happy.
Oh, and hubby will be excited to hear about CassaDark. He keeps asking if you've written more.
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