Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Plus November Movie Preview and Shattered.

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 for the November 3 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

November 3 question - What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

Title!! Blurb is difficult, title darn near impossible for me.

The IWSG is looking for an admin to run our Instagram. Tyrean is stepping down at the end of the year. If you are comfortable with Instagram and would like to join the team, send an email to the IWSG.

Movies don’t always get it right. That applies to movies that include paraplegic characters. There are often two extremes—those who are helpless and miserable, and those who are depicted as heroic for simply doing what everybody does—make it through a day.

Screenwriters ignore some of the most significant challenges for some of the disabled community. When I spoke with spinal cord doctors before writing this book, I discovered that often losing mobility wasn't the hardest part of life for paraplegics, but learning to take over some of their body’s automatic functions was. Many paraplegics must monitor their bladders and bowels, they have to be sure to shift positions frequently, they must exercise regularly—no excuses, and they have to stay on top of pain. A big change is that they have to allow a lot more time for just the basics, like getting up and getting dressed.

Some movies (Wheels, 2017 & Passion Fish, 1992) depict such a dark picture that I had a hard time watching to the end. From the reading and interviews I did, I learned that the trauma following such a life-altering event is devastating, but it doesn’t send everyone into suicidal despair or non-stop drinking. There are a lot of stories out there of people who have worked through the tough emotions and are happy and content with their lives. They’re doing what they used to before paraplegia. They’re falling in love, having children, skiing, playing basketball—the difference is in how they do it. It’s called adaptive living

One of the major things I learned while writing Shattered was to think differently about paraplegics (actually, about anyone living with a disability), to think of them as people first, and find ways in which we’re alike, not different. 

Available at Amazon . B&N . Kobo . Smashwords

I'm a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I write most of the time, hike and practice yoga a lot, and then travel whenever I can. 
In my young adult books, I take on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. My Evernight Teen Publication, Double Negative was voted as one of the best top ten Young Adult books, 2019. My other books, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Sliding on the Edge, Sudden Secrets and Not Guilty are out to four and five-star reviews.  

November Movie Preview

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

5 –

The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.
Director: Chloé Zhao
Stars: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek
These guys make Ant Man seem like an A-lister.

12 –

Five elite hunters pay to hunt down a man on a deserted island, only to find themselves becoming the prey.
Director: Edward Drake
Stars: Bruce Willis, Neal McDonough, Lochlyn Munro, Alexia Fast
Bruce Willis is hunted for sport. What won’t this guy do for a paycheck?

19 –

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.
Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Sigourney Weaver
If this doesn’t work, they’ll give the Ghostbusters a pet monkey and shoot them into outer space.

What’s more difficult for you – title or blurb? Interested in the Instagram IWSG Admin position? Picking up Lee’s new book? And what November movie strikes your fancy?

Ran out of room, so tune in next Monday for reviews of RiffTrax: Live – Amityville: The Evil Escapes and Dune, plus several music reviews and other updates. Then it’s off until December 1!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - so good to see Lee and her book ... I've got it here to read and write a review and a post tomorrow. It's wonderful how people adapt to their changed lives ... the therapists who help them adapt and to think positively. They're alive - which allows them to help others and to live differently. We all need to read Lee's book - we'll learn so much. I'm looking forward to your review of the new Dune film. Cheers Hilary

Kalpana said...

Based on what C.Lee Mckenzie wrote on your blog about her research for Shattered, it's going to be a brilliant read.
BTW - I thought you had written the entire thing till I came to the last paragraph.
Enjoyed your snark - especially Bruce Willis is hunted for sport. What won't this guy do for a paycheck?

Erika Beebe said...

Lee’s book sounds like a difficult book to write but if anyone can write it, she can make it magnificent. I can’t wait for your movie reviews Alex. Happy IWSG day :)

Ray Rousell said...

Apex sounds good, I'm a bit worried that I've never heard of it though?

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Speaking of titles, Shattered is a great one, Lee!!

Lots of interesting movies to watch, Alex. If only I had time to go watch them. Thanks for the IWSG. Where would we be without it?


Liza said...

Hi Alex! Titles just come to me...and I figure if I'm even published traditionally, they'll change the title anyway. Writing blurbs kills me!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

"Adaptive living." I love the idea of that, Lee!

Titles, which often are puns for cozy mysteries, are tougher for me.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congrats to Lee, I can't wait to read it!

I saw Dune and really liked it, can't wait for part II. I'm a Ghostbuster fan, and will probably see this new installment, but nobody will ever beat the original!

Titles are my downfall too!

Have a great week, Alex.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad I'm not alone in struggling with titles. Congrats to Lee on her new book!

Nick Wilford said...

Funny how writing the book itself can often be the easiest part. Everything around it, from titles to marketing, is hard.

Congrats to Lee. I have seen Shattered around a lot. Sounds like she has the right approach. Many movies oversentimentalize or sensationalize disability.

Jennifer Lane said...

Congrats to C. Lee! Glad I'm not alone in struggling with titles.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Lee's book sounds awesome! Added it to my Goodreads TBR and cannot wait to buy and read it :-)

Ronel visiting for IWSG day That’s a Wrap! An Author’s Year in Review

Lynn La Vita said...

I admit, when I saw the title, "Shattered" I assumed it was a in the horror genre. After reading this blurb, I recognized my husband.

You nailed it. With compassion and understanding, you captured the reality of living with disabilities. The daily pain battle, exercise-no excuses, and more. The social side: silent avoidance of TABs “Temporarily Able-Bodied.”

Thank you Alex for featuring Lee's book. I have more to learn about disabilities. I will buy it and read it.
Lynn La Vita @

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kalpana, glad you enjoy the snark.

Ray, that is always a problem.

Elizabeth, good to know I'm not the only one who struggles.

Cathrina, Dune was amazing.

Nice to hear I'm not the only one who sucks at titles!

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Lee! As for what's more difficult, it depends on the story. Sometimes the title comes to me before everything else, but there are other times when I'm done the final edited version and still can't think of a good title. Then I call out to my writer friends and they are always happy to help. :) I can't wait for Ghostbusters! I must get out and see Dune too.

Nancy Gideon said...

Lee's book sounds like a tough, emotional read - just what I need to invest in. Thanks for the movie update - heading for the Eternals this weekend. The rest can wait for Netflix.

Jemi Fraser said...

I struggle more with the blurb!
Congrats to C Lee! Looking forward to the book. It's so important to see the person first. As a teacher, I don't know if there's a more important lesson for us to learn.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Lee is a great writer who draws you into the heart of her characters ... not an easy thing to do. Like Christine wrote: it is always different with each new book I write ... but blurbs tend to be harder for me.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for hosting another great hop.
I'm looking for to Ghostbusters and Eternals, but mostly because I've seen all the others and why not?
C. Lee's book sounds great. If I don't win a copy, I'll still get a copy. Sounds like a good read.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Congratulations Lee. The cover is spectacular. My niece has been in a chair since 1984. It's been rough witnessing so much trauma. But you're absolutely right, they're not often depicted properly in books and movies. Best to you, Alex.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Blurbs are harder for me than titles. My husband and I brainstorm title ideas once the story is done so that helps. :)

Apex sounds kind of interesting....

Pat Garcia said...

Hi Alex,
I suffer when I have to write my blurbs too.

Thanks for featuring Lee. I so agree with everything that she has said. One of my main things is to write books with characters that people have shut away from society as if they don't exist.

Shalom aleichem,

Melissa said...

Wow. Excellent interview! I'm sure Shattered is awesome. Congrats, Lee!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Overall.. I guess I struggle more with the blurb than the title. Although not by much! Haha!

The Ghostbusters movie looks interesting. I may venture to the theatre if it gets good reviews.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nancy, we'll make it movie night!

Joylene, that is rough.

Stacy, I will let you know as we'll be there opening night.

Diane Burton said...

Congrats on your new book, Alex. I loved it!!! As always, I enjoy your movie reviews. LOL Lee, I have your book and am looking forward to reading it. Best wishes to both of you.

Meka James said...

Love the insight on the character. Movies do show extremes, especially if the person used to be more able bodied and something caused the disability. There's a TV show I watch every so often (NCIS: New Orleans) and I love that they have a disabled character who isn't shown as angry and/or bitter about his circumstances.

Chemist Ken said...

I'll be interested in what you think about Dune. I saw it last weekend and I have mixed feelings. I didn't know it was only Part 1, so I was surprised when it only made it a third or halfway into the book.

Sadira Stone said...

C. Lee MacKenzie's book sounds fascinating! As always, thanks for this opportunity, Captain!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

C. Lee is right about Hollywood stereotyping mobile-impaired characters. The world needs more works like hers to break these stereotypes and show more stronger disabled characters in a more positive light. I've lost faith in the Marvel Universe although I thought Shang-Chi was good. The Eternals I'm a little more skeptical about because of where Marvel's been going with it's super heroes (Shang-Chi didn't really have super powers, at least not his own). I am thinking about seeing Dune though, mostly because it's one of the few space operas that have been out lately.

cleemckenzie said...

Thanks so much for giving me all this space on your blog today, Alex. And also for suggesting the topic. I really loved writing about how movies depict the disabled, but I hadn't thought about turning it into a post.

I'm looking forward to Dune. I hope it's good because I loved the book. Then Ghostbusters is on my list for sure.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, whenever you are having trouble with your book's title, I will try my best to help you.

Nice to see Lee's book here.

Birgit said...

Congrats to Lee and her new book! I hate trying to figure out a title. They always say it is supposed to grab your attention and I never could figure that out. I would like to see all 3 films but have to wait until video as am still resting. I’m coming along slowly. I had to laugh about Bruce Willis who does love a paycheque. I watched Expendables 3 and read why he was kicked off. He is a greedy bugger.

Elephant's Child said...

Lee is so right about the portrayal of people with disabilities. It is often true of books in which we feature too. And news stories.
Nice to hear that someone else struggles with titles.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm excited about Ghostbusters.

Lee, have you ever read the book Joni? It's a true story (and was even a movie) about a young woman paralyzed after a swimming accident.

Andrew Leon said...

Apex is just a variation on The Most Dangerous Game, which is a pretty classic story.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Sorry I'm late arriving here this morning, good buddy. I just got home after traveling some distance to undergo a routine medical procedure.

It was nice of you to have mutual friend Cheryl-Lee as a guest to tell us more about paraplegia and about her new book Shattered - a Story of Betrayal and Courage. Clearly Cheryl-Lee's latest work is informed by countless hours of interviews and research into this important but neglected topic.

The movie Apex looks good. I am currently watching Neal McDonough in the historic role of President Ike Eisenhower on American Horror Story. For years, I enjoyed his villainous performances as as Damien Darhk in Arrow and Legends of Tamale.

Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Alex!

Carol Kilgore said...

I still love the original Ghostbusters :)
Congrats to C. Lee McKenzie on SHATTERED. Wishing you much success, my friend.

Loni Townsend said...

Wow. Lee's book and her research sounds intense and well done!

Hmm, not sure about the movies for November. Not a whole lot of appeal there for me.

Carrie-Anne said...

Congratulations to Lee! It really is true that many books, films, and TV shows only depict two extremes, without any nuance or a range of diverse experiences and personalities.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Lee! Looking forward to her new book!

However hard they are to come up with, your titles rock! I need fewer titles, more finished content.

I always love your mini movie commentary! As for Bruce Willis, there is nothing he won't do for a paycheck. And he'll smirk through the whole thing.

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

It doesn't seem like you have a problem with titles. All of yours are good!
I'm definitely getting the new McKenzie book. I've enjoyed every one I've read so far. "Apex" might be interesting. Can't imagine Bruce Willis slowing down, but the real shocker (for me, anyway) is that Sigourney Weaver is still working!
I love book titles, and blurbs can be really fun. Long as I do them for someone else ;-)

Happy November!

J E Oneil said...

I'd hunt Bruce Willis for sport, no question.

I always think titles are easier. You can just pick a word and then go with it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Meka, that is nice.

Ken, I thought it was amazing.

Steven, if you like the director, you'll dig Dune.

Lee, you're welcome! Glad I had a good idea. They happen now and then.

Patricia, I won't watch it either!

Thanks, Rachna!

Andrew, it's definitely nothing new!!

Shady, hope everything went well with the procedure.

Lee, thanks!

Diedre, that's because I had help...

JE, that made me chuckle!

kjmckendry said...

I can't wait to read Lee's book!

Mary Aalgaard said...

I think the blurb is harder. Titles come pretty easy to me, or I get some good suggestions from others.

Lee's book sounds great! I was a Beta reader and am excited to read the final product.

Dihiwi said...

Thank you for sharing your insights, Alex. As always, they are helpful and encouraging - that as writers we're not alone in what we experience. Happy writing in November!

Olga Godim said...

Lee's book sound very thoughtful.
Of the movies, I think I want to watch Eternals.

newsstand pilgrim said...

Congratulations, Lee! I couldn't find the comments prompt on your own site, so you'll have to collect your kudos here. How great that our fearless leader promotes our work on his site. What a great group to be part of.

And let's hear it for writing the Title!

Julia Quay

Liz A. said...

Congrats to Lee. Movies seem to be irritating me more lately than enticing me to see them. Of course, that's probably a me issue.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! I hope you're having a good day! I must read Lee's book, because my first husband was a quadriplegic. She is such a good writer. I'm not going to race to the movie theatre to see any of the movies you previewed. I've still got to see "Dune!" Sorry, but I can't help you with Instagram. I'm barely functioning in it. Take care, my friend!

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats to Lee on her latest release.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great words from Lee. And congrats on your new release, Lee!

I'm looking forward to the Ghostbusters movie.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats to Lee. I'm hoping for something at least entertaining from The Eternals. And blah to Bruce Willis appearing in 3 movies a year and playing the same guy in each one.

Jennifer Hawes said...

What is happening to the Ghost Buster franchise?? I hope it's good. Seems a bit weird. I'm enjoying more TV series that have hit the old Netflix.

John Wiswell said...

The Ghostbusters movie could be alright. My expectations are low. While the original is huge to me, even the same cast couldn't make a sequel that came close to it.

Personally I'm mostly looking forward to The Deep House, Passing, and The Harder They Fall this month. Allegedly Last Night in Soho is going to hit streaming this month too, and I'll jump on that.

Jenni said...

Shattered sounds really good. I'm a special ed teacher, so I've worked with some students who had a relatively normal life until something happened which caused their disability. I've always been struck how they rarely feel sorry for themselves and just go on with their lives.
I liked what C. Lee said about seeing the person first.
Sounds like my kind of book! said...

Titles are easier for me than blurbs.

Congrats to C. Lee!

DMS said...

Blurbs are harder than titles for me.

Best of luck to Lee!

JEN Garrett said...

Titles and blurbs are both difficult, but it depends on the book which is harder for me. Sometimes the title just pops, while other times is the blurb that writes the book.

Either way, Shattered sounds amazing!

Jeanna Massman said...

I love the cover! The colors and graphics are great.

Joanne said...

Congrats and good luck to Lee with her book. Sounds like she put a lot of thought and effort into a tough subject. As for blurb or title - both are tough. You have great titles so somehow you come through your struggle. And movies - I'm just getting tired of the Marvel universe - hard to keep up with all of these characters. I may skip Eternals. Ghostbusters Afterlife - they are stretching the boundaries. Tough to mess with the original success.
Hope your week is going well. We've plummeted to 40s in the morning - brrr.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, that's the only guy he knows how to play now.

John, I've heard good things about The Harder They Fall.

Joanne, we are just as cold!

Arlee Bird said...

From the Ghostbuster blurb, this movie sounds like a suicide pill for the franchise. Just doesn't sound very good to me--kind of trite.

Congrats to C.Lee on the book. Sounds like careful thought has been put into it.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Hi Alex! What, another Ghostbusters movie? I love the original! Lee, LOVE your book and research. My favorite line is when you say we need to remember people with disabilities are just people--first. Paraphrasing here. I entered to win in your rafflecopter. Good luck with this new release. All best to you both!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I picked up Lee's book. Now, I just need time to read it!

I want to see the Ghost Busters movie. I'm intrigued... I'd see the monkey version too.

Mary Kirkland said...

I'm looking forward to Eternals. I hope its as good as it looks.

Gwen Gardner said...

Alex, titles are way harder for me too!

Lee, thanks for the eye-opening post on disabilities!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hey, Alex, love your sense of humor. Right on! I have Lee's book on my kindle. Looking forward to reading it. She always addresses important issues in teen's lives and lessons to learn even at my age!

Cherie Colyer said...

It's the blurb for me. I hate writing them.

C. Lee, I love that you did your research before writing the book. Shows great attention to detail. Love the cover!

Botanist said...

None of the November movies really catch my eye. Will be keen to see Dune at some point, but maybe a bit closer to when part 2 comes out. Glad to see they're taking the time to tell the story and not trying to cram it all into one movie.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I have two poems - one is titled 'the title is the hardest part' and the other begins with that as the first line :) I'll have to stand by those!

Shattered sounds amazing for its depth of research and realism. Best wishes to C Lee McKenzie.

Have a wonderful November.

Shannon Lawrence said...

That's a great way to look at people with disabilities. People first, with things in common with you. I learned a lot while caring for my dad. And congratulations, Lee!

I'm looking forward to Ghostbusters. The others...meh.

Liesbet said...

Congratulations to Lee with the release of “Shattered” and for tackling “tough subjects” in her writing. Her introduction makes one pause. Yes, we need to stop and think more often about people with disabilities and what their challenges are. Especially when we - as being healthy - complain about the smallest inconveniences. Is “Shattered” a young adult novel too?

Of all three movies, I’d pick Apex, based on the description - and snark. :) Sorry, but I don’t have the time or resources to become an Instagram admin. As it stands, I might give up on that platform all together as I’m spending too much time on social media with limited internet. I need to change my priorities at this point in my life. Fingers crossed that someone will step up.

Have a fabulous weekend, Alex!

Sherry Ellis said...

I'm with you on the blurb thing. So much harder to write a blurb than the title!

Congrats to Lee on her new book!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, that made me chuckle.

Liesbet, we are hoping someone will!

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love this guess post by C. Lee. I agree that we need to see the people first, and find the similarities first. As a daughter of someone with a prosthetic leg, I've always seen the things my dad is capable of and I don't really consider the rest. What matters is a life lived well and with joy.

Renee Scattergood said...

There are so many good movies coming out and I don't have enough money to see them all! :( We did just take our daughter to see the new My Hero Academia movie and it was pretty good. She absolutely loved it!

H. R. Sinclair said...

I love your idea for the NEXT Ghostbusters! LOL

Blurbs are harder for me (for the most part as both as hard), but somewhere along the way a title pops into my head. Now, I don't know if it's any good or not, but I like it. :)

Janet Alcorn said...

One of my best friends was a paraplegic (he passed away a couple of years ago), and based on what I know of his experience, Lee is exactly right about the challenges. Sounds like she did some great research!

G. B. Miller said...

Both are equally difficult for me to do. But lately I lean towards trying to come up with a title that makes sense to the story in question.

Sounds like that writer C. Lee McKenzie has a good book out. Hopefully, narrow minded people won't come out an give her static about writing something that she has no personal experience with, because it sounds like she did a fantastic job on it.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I really enjoyed Dune's soundtrack!

Titles and blurbs--blurbs pose more of a challenge since it takes more moving parts. :) Happy IWSG!

Anne Higa said...

I think you do okay with titles, so not that impossible. Have a great rest of your November!
Anne from

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations C Lee!
Wish I could volunteer for the instagram job!