Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, December Movie Preview, Movie-Show Reviews, and IWSG Stuff!

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 December 7 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

December 7 question - It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

I usually keep my goals a bit lower since there is so much going on this month. But I usually accomplish what I set out to do.

#IWSGPit is coming!

The next #IWSGPit will be in January 25, 2023
9:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 25, 2023, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.
Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

Get the full details here.

Here are the December selections for the IWSG Goodread Book Club

Little Ragdoll by Carrie-Anne Brownian

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Nice tribute to Chadwick Boseman and the Black Panther character.
It was also a very emotional film as it dealt with death, grief, and moving on.
However, it just didn’t quite rise to the same level as the first one and something felt missing. (And beyond Boseman.) I just didn’t connect with it or Namor – just can’t quite place my finger on it.
And of course, it was way too long. Cut thirty minutes and it might’ve been a tighter, better film.
Certainly worth seeing once.

Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities

This horror series dropped on NetFlix late October. Eight episodes, eight different directors.
Interesting mix of horror, some worked much better than others. Quality and acting are all top notch, it’s just the story itself that lets me down a few times.
A couple of the stories are based on Lovecraft.
The best are polar opposites – The Autopsy will have you covering your eyes while The Murmuring will haunt and touch you.
I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would enjoy it. But if you like horror, it’s a decent mix of stories.

The Contractor

Chris Pine is a discharged Special Forces guy who is contracted out to a private organization. Then things go wrong.
The main problem is it takes almost a third of the way in before the film gets interesting. Once it does, it’s picks up the pace and your interest as it throws you full into the action. Pine holds his own in a movie that really isn’t anything you haven’t seen before.
Worth a watch if you’re a Chris Pine fan or bored.

December Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for December. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

16 –

Avatar: The Way of Water

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Sam Worthington
Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their planet.
The Na’vi are blue because the water is really damn cold.

21 –

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Directors: Joel Crawford, Januel Mercado
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillén
Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll: he has burned through eight of his nine lives. Puss sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives.
Actually, his last wish is to reverse his neutering.

Don't forget that today, December 7, marks the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
I will be mostly offline after this week.
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As a Christian, I do celebrate the birth of our Lord, as it was His sacrifice that set me free – set everyone free who believes in Him. He is my Father, my salvation, and my peace, and I will never forget that. May He bless all of you!


T. Powell Coltrin said...

First of all, Merry Christmas, Alex!!! Jesus is my salvation, too, and I am so grateful to know where I'll be spending eternity when I leave this world. With a world in total chaos, and lots of evil stuff going on, I am striving to be filled with God's peace and love for others (not easy to do).

Chris Pine is one of my favorite actors, but not every movie he does. I enjoyed his dad as an actor, too.

Have a great rest from social media. I feel blessed to know you even if it's through blogging.


Liza said...

Merry Christmas, Alex. Wishing you joy.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that you lower your writing goals and keep them over the holidays. Merry Christmas, Alex! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Jennifer Lane said...

The plot for Puss n Boots is hilarious! Chris Pine is very easy on the eyes, so I might check that out. I still haven't watched the original Black Panther--must get on it.

Merry Christmas, Alex!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for being my official movie reviewer, Alex. Looking forward to seeing Avatar. I enjoyed The Contractor. I enjoy his films. He's a great Captain Kirk.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I can't wait to see both movies!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

This does not surprise me at all - "But I usually accomplish what I set out to do." :)

Making a note of The Cabinet of Curiosities.....

Merry Christmas, Alex!

Jemi Fraser said...

I haven't seen Wakanda yet - I'm always slow to see the movies - I imagine I'll be an emotional mess when I do watch!
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season!

Truedessa said...

Hmm, Can you tweet a pitch for a chap book of poetry? Twitter has become an unstable place these days. Sigh

I am going to see Avatar at the theater, I haven’t been there in 2 years.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and bless you for being a lighthouse for the writing community.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Teresa, Amen! Have a blessed Christmas.

Truedessa, I don't see why not! And good you are getting back to the theater.

Nick Wilford said...

We watched about half of Cabinet of Curiosities, found it a mixed bag. Might finish it at some point.

Have a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Have a great week, Alex, and have the Merriest of Christmas'. Bless you Too!

Bish Denham said...

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's, Alex!

Loni Townsend said...

Sounds like the recent movies have been a bust for you. My son wants to see Wakanda Forever. He's a big Black Panther fan. I'll probably have to wait until it's in the dollar theater, though, unless a ticket coupon comes available.

Lynn La Vita said...

Wishing you and all our IWSG members a joy filled holiday season and a healthy new year.

Enjoyed your personal movie reviews very much. This time, I'll try to catch Puss i Boots: The Last Wish.

Lynn La Vita @

H. R. Sinclair said...

Setting time appropriate goals for the month is crucial to success. It's a big month. Happy Holidays!

Lidy said...

I actually enjoyed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The silent Marvel intro of just Chadwick Boseman as Prince T'Challa and Black Panther was touching. I felt for Princess Shuri. She lost so much. And I love the introduction of ReRe Williams. Looking forward to what Marvel will have planned for her in the future.

And have you noticed that the latest and upcoming Marvel movies have been featuring young heroes? Makes me think the next Marvel phase will be all about the Avengers, second generation. The young avengers: Peter Parker, America Chavez, ReRe Williams, Thor's adopted daughter Love, Ms. Marvel, Antman's daughter.

I'm 50/50 about the Avatar sequel but might watch it.

As for holiday time and goals, I tend to fall behind. So try to make up for it by setting new year writing goals. In the past, those goals used to be a lot. Was really gungho about achieving them. Then would feel bad when I couldn't. Now they're more realistic and low, making them more achievable.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Pat Garcia said...

It is always good to slow down and take it easy. To do some of those things that you've always wanted to do.
Have a Merry Christmas, Alex, and great crossover into 2023.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Chemist Ken said...

Yes, Wakanda forever was mostly about loss and grief, probably not the best movie for my wife to see these days.

On the other hand, Violent night was just the ticket to get the family back into the Christmas spirit.

Thanks for allowing me to co-host this month. It meant a lot to me.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.
I watched Respect, biopic about Aretha Franklin, this past week. Inspirational.

cleemckenzie said...

Adjusting goals is very smart.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love your reviews!
Merry Christmas! Immanuel!

Patricia JL said...

Have a Merry Christmas, Alex.

Elephant's Child said...

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours. I am not in the slightest bit surprised you usually achieve your December goals.

Meka James said...

Normally I don't do much writing during December but that'll be different this year. However I'll still be making time for family and looking forward to my daughter coming home for Christmas.

Happy holidays, Alex.

Liz A. said...

It's been so long, I forgot what the first Avatar was about.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hey Alex, we saw the trailer for Puss in Boots and it was so funny. And I don't think it's just for kids!

Wishing you peace, hope, joy and love to fill your heart and home this Christmas season. Have a blessed Merry Christmas!

Gwen Gardner said...

Merry Christmas, Alex! Enjoy your time off <:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nick, mixed bag is a good description.

Lidy, good point that they are all much younger.

Ken, I'll have to check out Violent Night. Really glad you were able to co-host.

JQ, my wife loves those movies so not just for kids.

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

I always marveled at that pretty blue color of the Na'vi ;-)
I'll be up for Puss in Boots soon as we all get over the flu.
Your message of peace through peace, through belief and love for our Savior, is well taken, sir. Merry Christmas!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I truly wish I were brave enough to compete in the IWSG Pitch on twitter. More power to all who participate. My daughter likes that Avatar stuff.

Thanks for all you do to help your fellow writer, Alex. Have a beautiful Christmas!

The Happy Whisk said...

Happy Holidays.

I write constantly it's not a goal, I just love the work, so I get it done.

Olga Godim said...

Puss in Boots should be interesting. I really want to see it.

Olga Godim said...

I wish you happy holidays, Alex.

Fundy Blue said...

Have a joyous and meaningful holiday season, Alex. Guillermo del Toro can certainly write horror and capture horror in film. I find his creative work very scary. I'm so behind in movies. This weekend Terry and I watched a strange movie set in Ireland over a century ago. It was called "A Wonder." Very though provoking. Have fun today.

Debbie Johansson said...

Cabinet of Curiosities is on my watch list. Thanks for the review. Wishing you and your family a happy Christmas!

Blue Grumpster said...

Hello Alex. Avatar part 2... I'm not sure if I even want to sit in a movie theater for over 3 hours. I guess I'll just wait and see.

Hope you're doing fine.


mail4rosey said...

We will probably see Wakanda Forever. My teen students said pretty much what you did, a little too long. Good. Not as good as the first.

I want to see the new Puss N Boots! Maybe I can get a grandkiddo to go with... :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

Steph W. said...

I'm definitely excited about Avatar. I may or may not watch the trailer every few days...

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Accomplishing what you set out to do is great! I don't always... ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Diedre, sorry you have the flu!

Victoria, do it anyway.

Louise, I'll look for it.

Blue! So good to hear from you.

Rosey, perfect! Go see it with the grandkid.

Sandra Cox said...

I love Chris Pine;) said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Thanks for the movie reviews!
And it seems wise to adjust goals during a busy month. :)

Jenni said...

Merry Christmas, Alex! I'm very grateful for my relationship with Jesus as well. Thanks for all you do for ISWG. I hope you have a wonderful break from social media.

PT Dilloway said...

I'd like to watch The Contractor and Black Panther at some point but I'm in no big hurry.

Seems hard to believe James Cameron needed 13 years to come up with the bad guys from the first movie come back. It's like if it had taken George Lucas 13 years with the idea of the Empire Striking Back.

Birgit said...

I am hoping to get my mojo back creating cards. I would like to see the Wakanda movie but not sure when. I have no desire to see Avatar. The first film, aside from the great special effects, stunk. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and great time with your wife.

Rhonda Albom said...

Merry Christmas Alex, enjoy the holidays. For me, I write less, but not because of the holidays exclusively. It's also summer here in New Zealand. I prefer to hang out outside in the sunshine. As for your movies, I think Puss in Boots is the only one I will see.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Alex, I enjoyed your post today! I love your testimony of our Lord. Thank you for letting your light shine. You rock!

Merry Christmas!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Hope your IWSG day is inspiring.
“The only limit to your success is your own imagination” – Shondra Rhimes
I wish you a merry holiday ⛄ season, and a New Year full of peace, joy, and creativity.
Excellent action movies. I enjoyed watching WEDNESDAY on Netflix.

Blue Grumpster said...

P.S. Alex, where's Patrick? Miss that cat.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, holiday times see no writing goals from my side nowadays. Have a fantastic holiday season and a very Merry Christmas to you.

kjmckendry said...

Merry Christmas, Alex.
My daughter said similar things about Wakanda Forever, it just didn't really connect with her.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I've been watching Cabinet of Curiosities an episode a week (yes I do the old school manner of TV viewing since a week an episode is all that i have time for if even that). I think I've seen half the episodes so far. Of what I've seen I've liked all except The Autopsy. That one did good in just about everything but I felt like the gore in the end went a too far, specifically the self-amputating. I saw the need for that but felt it was overdone. I can't wait to see the other episodes.

You have a Merry Christmas as well, Alex and we'll see you in the new year!

Jemima Pett said...

Puss in Boots!!! I'm so excited now. You've found the perfect Christmas present for me. (It's Banderas who makes it, of course).

Have a lovely holiday season and enjoy your downtime, if there is such a thing. See you in the new year. I'm all ready for it, Cap'n. :)


Kate Larkindale said...

Happy Holidays, Alex! I hope you get a good break and start the New Year refreshed and ready for everything 2023 might throw your way.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another great hop.
Still haven't seen Black Panther: Wakanda Forever but I want to.
Merry Christmas!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Maybe I'll give the Chris Pine movie another try. I stopped watching because I was bored.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas. said...

HAHA, I love your remark about Puss's last wish, Alex. But sometimes they regret the neuter-reversal. Is the reversal reversal? It usually is.

Cheers and love.

Fundy Blue said...

I forgot to tell you yesterday, Alex, that the anniversary of Pearl Harbor is the anniversary of our first date. Terry invited me over after a snow storm for hot stew. We call December 7th Stew Day. Our first date was 40 years ago yesterday. I'm still making the rounds. I have no idea why hectic days for me continue to fall on IWSG Day! 😂

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jenni, have a Blessed Christmas!

Pat, Cameron does take his time...

Elizabeth, amen! You rock.

Blue, he's only on Twitter now, and I guess Instagram. Yeah, miss him as well. I sent an email - did it come through?

Steven, ironically I think that was the best one. And The Murmuring.

Susan, it really takes almost a third into it before it gets interesting...

Louise, that's cool.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - have a lovely break attending and being part of the Services. I can believe you stick to your goals, which as you say tend to be lowered at this time of year. All the best ... I'm seeing a Frida Kahlo film in the New Year ... and film society one about Blind Wine Tasters/Sommeliers (who achieve) from Zimbabwe - I don't tend to see blockbusters ... Thanks for all your encouragement to authors and bloggers during 2022 - here's to 2023 - cheers Hilary

Mary Kirkland said...

Merry Christmas to you too.

I plan on watching the new Black Panther movie at some point.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I was pretty disappointed in Cabinet of Curiosities, but I'd give a second season a chance to improve. It just felt to me that everything took forever to get to the point. I haven't seen the others yet. I admit I'm a bit over the endless stream of Marvel flicks and shows right now, so I'm not rushing out to watch any of them, but I will see them eventually.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've been wanting to see Wakanda. Now I'll wait until it's on Prime.

Blue Grumpster said...

Yes, it came through. A pleasant surprise. Thanks, Alex.

You can find me here:

Christine Rains said...

I usually expect less of myself in December too. It's a time where I allow myself to relax after the frenzy of NaNoWriMo. I have yet to watch Cabinet of Curiosities but it's on my to watch list. I loved Wednesday and 1899. I saw Violent Night yesterday and it was hilarious. Lots of violence, of course, but it was better done than I thought it would be. Have a very merry Christmas and here's to a great new year for all of us! :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Merry Christmas, Alex.

Joanne said...

Merry Christmas to you, Alex. As always, it's been a good year of writing and posting. Thank you for your humor and I appreciate your comments on my blog too.
Very behind on movies and I do want to see Black Panther on the big screen. But it is attention span these days is nil. I'm quite a shamed of myself.
I do want to see new Avatar and Puss N Boots. We'll see if I get my act together.
Take care and all the best for the season and into the new year.

SpacerGuy said...

Merry Christmas everyone. Its curious seeing characters hop through franchises to block buster movies, eventually getting replaced by new fresh talent. Actors sure make lots of money these days.

Deniz Bevan said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Alex! Rejoice! <3
Thanks for the heads up about IWSGPit, I may actually have a story to pitch!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Merry Christmas!

Cherie Colyer said...

I wouldn't say that I catch up, only because I'm terrible at setting writing goals, but I write more in winter.

Happy Holidays! May they be filled with joy and magic.

Sherry Ellis said...

I wondered about that Black Panther movie. Thanks for the review. I was also curious about Avatar. The music at least should be good.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Blue Grumpster said...

Merry belated Christmas, Alex! I hope it was a good one.


DMS said...

I fall behind with everything the whole month of December- writing included. :) I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Samantha Bryant said...

Faith is a great word to focus on. Best of luck to you in 2023!