Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group; #IWSGPit; Reviews – Avatar, Wednesday, and Puss in Boots; and January Movie Preview!

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 January 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!

January 4 question - Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? For instance, in 2021 my word of the year was Finish. I was determined to finish my first draft by the end of the year. In 2022, my word of the year is Ease. I want to get my process, systems, finances, and routines where life flows with ease and less chaos. What is your word for 2023? Why?

After this past year – heck the past three years – my word is faith. Faith in my God, in Truth, and in myself.

#IWSGPit is coming!
The next #IWSGPit will be January 25
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 January selections for the IWSG Goodreads Book Club

Fractions of Existence (Existence #1) by J Lenni Dorner

The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass

We need IWSG co-hosts for the next three months! Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you can help in February, March, or April.


Avatar: The Way of Water

We return to Pandora many years later. Jake and Neytiri’s family is threatened when the Sky People return and they must hide with a water clan of Na’vi.
Yes, it’s over three hours long. No, you won’t even notice. You’ll be so enthralled by what you are watching.
The first Avatar was groundbreaking with its special effects and ten-plus years later, this one does the same. The underwater scenes are beyond stunning. As are most scenes in the film.
It’s a simple story, told in detail. It’s full and rich, with incredible creatures and characters you care about. You’ll be surprised by who plays some of them as well.
Cameron pays tribute to his own Titanic at the end. And that final battle is almost a third of the movie!
Do not skimp – see it in 3D.
Highly recommended!


Wednesday Adams is sent to Nevermore Academy where she deals with monsters, mysteries, and an annoying perky roommate.
This is the best series this year!
The girl who plays Wednesday nails it – perfectly. Her delivery, her expression, how she speaks, it’s all just prefect. Plus her dialogue and attitude are hilarious.
The entire cast is well fleshed-out, with no agenda, just real people with real issues. (Well, as real as werewolves and the like can get.)
The story spans eight episodes and it’s just the right length.
Highly recommended!

Puss in Boots

Puss has used eight of his nine lives and sets out to find the mythical Last Wish.
Voice actors include Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillen, Florence Pugh, and Ray Winstone.
Did you like the first Puss in Boots? Then you will enjoy this one.
A solid cast and humorous adventure story pack in some fun entertainment. The film is often just silly but that’s its charm. The characters have heart though and ultimately they are all looking for the same thing – a family.
The animation is really good and what you’d expect for this offshoot of the Shrek franchise.

January Movie Preview

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

4 -

A Man Called Otto
Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Tom Hanks, John Higgins, Tony Bingham
Otto is a grump who's given up on life following the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. When a young family moves in nearby, he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol, leading to a friendship that will turn his world around.
I wonder if tacocat is also a grump...

12 -

Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes
Special agent Orson Fortune and his team of operatives recruit one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars to help them on an undercover mission when the sale of a deadly new weapons technology threatens to disrupt the world order.
Statham stars in a new action thriller that will eventually come down to him just punching people.

What is your word for 2023? Participating in #IWSGPit? (If you’re a published author, please let your publisher or agent know about it!) Seen either movie or Wednesday? Seeing any movies this month? And can you co-host the IWSG?
Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday! I will be back Monday with a guest and some other fun stuff.


Elephant's Child said...

Faith is the perfect word for you. I suspect you don't realise just how many people have faith in you either.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - wise words from EC ... I think I'm going for Soothing - many need to adjust their lives, and I go with the flow - live as it happens ... quietly and calmly ... soothing and helping others. Cheers and Happy New Year - Hilary

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Happy new year, good buddy!

I would say that my word for 2023 is "focus." Staying focused on one thing at a time, the task at hand, enables me to complete it sooner and move on to the next challenge.

I became familiar with Jenna Ortega three years ago when she played the role of a precocious, intuitive teenager named Ellie on the hit psycho thriller Netflix series You. Jenna made an impression on me, and I need to get around to watching her as Wednesday Addams. I love to watch Tom Hanks practice his acting craft. For that reason, I am eager to see A Man Called Otto.

Enjoy the rest of your week and have a super year, good buddy Alex!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love that you chose faith. It's such a good word for the year.

Glad you liked Avatar. I started Wednesday but didn't like it that much. I'll try it again since you liked it so much.

And I can host extra months whenever you need me to.

Jemima Pett said...

Ease is a great word. Maybe I've been easing through life rather than drifting :)

I've seen other reviews that rate Avatar as 'Fantastic experience, but what happened?' I'm looking forward to Puss in Boots... just love that character. And Cary Elwes is still going! Great. Never forget him in Robin Hood Men in Tights.... lol

Ditto (from Natalie) on extra months when you need me :)


Liza said...

Wishing you a happiest New Year, Alex. Thank you for all you do for other writers. Heard good things about Wednesday. Now you've inspired me to watch it.

Lynn La Vita said...

Faith. That is a good word for me, especially now. I write about my struggle in our January blog hop. I'll include Faith as part of my healing process.
Thank you, my friend.

Lynn La Vita @

Melissa said...

I should add faith to that I'll figure out a way to go to church with my work schedule. LOL Great post. You made me want to watch every show you recommended.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Wednesday was really enjoyable.
I hope your Faith goes well.
"Without having a goal, it's difficult to score." Paul Arden
I hope 2023 will become everything you need it to be.

Jennifer Lane said...

Faith is an important word!

I loved Wednesday. So clever. My 5-year-old niece saw the Disney version and asked me to braid her hair in pigtails and dress her in black. Then she made everyone call her Wednesday at the playground!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

That's a great word, Alex, and perfect for you. Wishing you all the best this year and always!

Nancy Gideon said...

Great word, Alex. It's the cornerstone of success in all things. Loved Wednesday for it's unapologetic dry, deadpan humor and great effects.

Put me down for co-hosting in April!

J.Q. Rose said...

Faith is a powerful word. Excellent choice.
Happy New Year 2023!!

Jemi Fraser said...

We definitely have faith in you Alex - sounds like a perfect word for you!!
I'm going with Brave this year - unless I chicken out!

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Alex. Believe is my word for this we are on the same page. Thank you for putting the IWSG together.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Beautiful word: Faith. One of my favourites. My husband and I were sad when we reached the end of Wednesday. What a wonderful series. Thanks for the reviews, Alex. Happy 4th new day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, Elephant's Child.

Shady, you definitely need to watch Wednesday then. She will stun you in that role.

Natalie, thanks, and I think the next one for you will be April.

Jemima, thanks.

Melissa, there are churches that hold services on days other than Sunday.

J, well put.

Jennifer, too funny.

Nancy, exactly! And thanks.

Thanks, Jemi.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

"Faith" is a good word for the year :-)
I LOVED Wednesday. Can't wait for season 2...
I can co-host in February or April. You have my email.
Happy 2023!

Ronel visiting for IWSG day An Author’s Goals for 2023

PT Dilloway said...

The reviews of Avatar 2 sound like the reviews of Avatar 1: basic story but it looks amazing! I hope that Jason Statham/Guy Ritchie movie is better than their last one.

Cherie Colyer said...

Faith is a wonderful word. Mine is Balance.

I agree about Wednesday. I thought they did an amazing job on the series and hope there will be a season two. I haven't see the others yet.

Happy New Year!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

My sister wants to see the Otto movie, so I might go see it.

Faith means everything when you put your entire life in the hands of God. This life is a hardcore trial at best, brutal and heartbreaking. Of course there are good things, but I just keep my eyes on Jesus.


Diane Burton said...

Faith is a great word. Without faith, depression can set in. Wishing you much success this year.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, wishing you a very Happy New Year. I like your word Faith a lot. That word has such a lovely feeling and emotion attached to it.

Nick Wilford said...

Here's to faith staying strong this year. We watched Wednesday. A lot of fun.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I loved Avatar and want to see it again. I also loved Puss in Boots, probably more than the first one.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Happy New Year, Alex!

I loved Wednesday! And hoping there's another season. Looking forward to watching Avatar. I read the book, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I liked the book and the B-movie was good. This new version with Tom Hanks, I'm sure will be excellent.

I Love your word-words for this year. Words to live by and to pray for.

Computer Tutor said...

Happy to help as a co-host, Alex. I love all the people I meet through your blog hop.

diedre Knight said...

Happy New Year, Captain!

Wow, I really have to get up early to beat the morning rush at your comment section. The sun has only just buttered the mountain peaks here ;-)
Your reviews are so tempting; I want to see them all.
Faith. Such an encouraging word could invoke the return of hope in a weary old world. I'm all for that!
I'd be happy to help out in March.
Have a wonderful month!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi, Alex,
I like your word for the year.

Happy New Year!

I can help out in February or March. Either one is okay.
Shalom aleichem

H. R. Sinclair said...

Happy New Year, Alex! I think my word for 2023 might be...hum...moving or forward.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Happy New Year! I haven't seen any movies since this summer. I was hesitant about sitting through three-hour time frame for Avatar. Have you watched Glass Onion yet?? I love my mysteries.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Some of my piano students have seen the new Avatar and loved it. Over three hours, though! Woof. I might need to wait until I can watch it at home and pause it for bathroom breaks and snacks. I'll check out the Wednesday series. I've been curious about that one. Tom Hanks as Otto (originally Ove) will be great. I loved the book and enjoyed the Swedish film adaptation.

Computer Tutor said...

Thanks for the Avatar review. I was wondering about it. You make it sound as good as the first.

Gwen Gardner said...

Your word is perfect, Alex. A great reminder for me that I can have more than one word. I chose "patience".

I loved the Wednesday series 1. I hope there will be a series 2.

I can co-host whenever you want. Let me know!

Patricia JL said...

I think you're right to pick those words for this year. After how 2022 ended for me, I'm sus of 2023.

Stephen Tremp said...

Faith is a great word to have especially after the last few years for sure! Here's to a healthy and prosperous New year!

kjmckendry said...

Happy New Year!!
Those are great words! These last three years have been a challenge!

I haven't seen Avatar yet but I want to! I saw the original A Man Called Otto (I think it was Swedish or something) and it was a great movie so I'm excited to see this new version!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Loved Wednesday - it was so well done! Great acting, script, filming. Wow.
I haven't seen the others yet, but someday.
Thanks for the reviews!
And Faith is a good word.

Jean Davis said...

I'm noticing a peace and grace trend with our one words for 2023. Best wishes for the new year!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Faith is an excellent word in all its contexts. I've never chosen a word before, perhaps I should start.

I'm really interested in seeing A Man Called Otto. Equally interested to read the novel.

Meka James said...

Faith is a good word. My main one for 2023 is belief. Belief in myself that I can get done what needs to be done. Belief in my support system that they will continue to keep me afloat when I feel like I'm drowning. Really going into the year hopeful of things that can be accomplished.

talklady said...

"You gotta have faith" -George Michael, in song so long ago, but ever-apt.

Thanks for the movie reviews - and I note more positivity! I have faith in 2023 -

Does Hank's character, Otto, seem like a rip-off of 'A Man called Ove' to you?

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

So many of us depend on you to keep this group going, so have faith in yourself--you matter!

J E Oneil said...

I don't know how I'm supposed to pick a word for the year when I don't know what the year will bring. I can't even pick a single word for last year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ronel, thanks!

Teresa, Amen.

Cathrina, I didn't know they were one and the same.

Jacqui, got your email - thanks!

Diedre, thanks. And buttered the mountaintop - great phrase.

Pat, appreciate it.

Jennifer, haven't seen it yet.

Mary, you will need a bathroom break but you won't notice the length.

Gwen, thanks!

Same to you, Stephen!

PJ, I just found out it's the same story.

Rebecca, thanks!

Carrie-Anne said...

Happy New Year! I'll let my writing group know about IWSGPit.

Now that I think about it, a good word for me would be light, since I take great inspiration from the line "Light has been given you for right or wrong" at the exact midway point of the Divine Comedy.

cleemckenzie said...

Your faith is well-placed.

Liz A. said...

I've heard lots of good things about the new Avatar. I'll see it eventually.

Karen Baldwin said...

FAITH.. a perfect word. "For we walk by faith...not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 Words I live by everyday.
I wasn't sure about Avatar 2. Now I'm definitely to see it.Thanks. said...

Faith is the way, the only way.
Happy, Faithful 2023, Alex.
Much love and gratitude for all you give to everybody in your life.

Loni Townsend said...

Faith is a great word choice. :)

We watched Wednesday with my kids because it's totally up my daughter's alley. We're even planning a Wednesday costume for her for Halloween!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! I should have guessed that your word was "faith." A great choice! I can volunteer to co-host in March. I absolutely loved Wednesday. Jenna Ortega is brilliant, and the contrast between her and her roommate played by Emma Myers is hilarious. This is one of the best things I've seen, ever. I really want to see "Avatar." Have a great January, my friend!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

"Faith in my God, in Truth, and in myself." Thank you for this, Alex! I needed to hear this. And believe. My daughter said the same thing when she saw Avatar yesterday. She didn't even notice how long it was. She wants to go see it again. A Man Called Otto sounds like a good movie. I'll have to check it out.

All best to you in 2023!

Sarah Foster said...

I've been wanting to watch Wednesday! I just got rid of cable after talking about it for years so I'll definitely be getting around to all of my streaming watchlists.

Tonja Drecker said...

Faith - I love it! Count me in for March if needed, and a few of those shows/movies are on my to-watch list...if I get around to it. Have a happy January!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I haven't seen Avatar yet, but I loved Wednesday. It was so fun. I read the book, A Man Called Ove, that the movie is based on. It was a great book and really full of heart. I hope they get the movie right.

Olga Godim said...

Good word choice: Faith. It helps.
I need to watch Puss in Boots. Thanks for the review.
I can do hosting whenever you need it.

Steph W. said...

So true! Sometimes our words don't need to change, they just fit!

Truedessa said...

My word for the year "gratitude" even in the midst of chaos in the world, one can still find beauty if one looks around. Maybe, it is a sunrise, sunset or a bluejay that comes to visit you on a dreary gray day that makes you smile.

I still haven't seen Avatar, unfortunately , I cannot view it in 3D as it gives me a migraine.

Happy New Year, Alex

gratitude, faith and love always!

Joanne said...

I like faith and peace. Happy New Year Alex. My real word is calm - my brain gets too busy. I need calm, seek calm, and if everyone could slow down a bit, perhaps the world would be better. We'll see.
I loved your reviews. Wednesday is awesome. Need to see new Avatar and Puss in Boots.
Seriously - just read A Man Called Ove - a brilliant book. That's all that's needed! No Tom Hanks to Americanize crap. Oh my goodness.
Here's to 2023, my friend. All the best to you and your wife.

Michelle Wallace said...

Happy New Year, Alex!
Faith is the perfect word. It underpins everything else.
Thank you for all that you do to keep the IWSG community moving along.
All the best for 2023!

Bish Denham said...

I too, enjoyed Wednesday, and I know I'd enjoy Puss in Boots. Hubby and I couldn't sit through the first Avatar as we were disappointed that it devolved into a Cowboy v Indians sort of scenario. So I'm not sure if I'm into watching another beautifully done film spend a 1/3 of it in battle.

That said... I'd be happy to co-host in March.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Karen, amen!

Loni, that will be fun.

Louise, appreciate it.

Victoria, glad to hear that.

Tonja, thanks!

Olga, appreciate it.

Truedessa, sorry you can't experience the 3D.

Joanne, but that's what Hollywood does...

Bish thanks!

Birgit said...

Your word is s good word. Mine is bathroom. I am the queen of plugging up toilets! My hubby almost lost the fight tge other day. I could say this is TMI but, you know me, I just blab away. I have cut down on my fiber which has given me issues. I also hope that my main floor bathroom will be done this year. It is 5 yrs sho today, when the pipes burst. We have had to vlimb the stairs ever since. Often that was not a nice climb.
I want yo see The Whale. Maybe I will see Avatar but I really disliked the first one except for the stunning special effects. From what I hear,bits, again, all about the special effects with a very simple story. We shall see if I'll see it. I know..what is this gal talking about!
I hope you and your effects had a beautiful Christmas and may your new year be healthy and happy!

Stacy McKitrick said...

Wanted to see Avatar on Christmas, but the weather changed our plans. And then the movie stopped playing at the theatre closest to us. Bummer! May check out Wednesday, though. That'll be easier to watch!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I've heard and scene in the trailers that Avatar II is visually mesmerizing with its big visual effects and cinematography. But I've heard from others ot wasnt as good as the first one. I'm going to try to see it on the big screen and in 3D this weekend.

I saw the preview to Wednesday and I think I'm going to skip this series. Of what I saw in the trailer it gets a little to gory for being based on a comedy and comic strip.

I hope the holidays went by good for you too!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

My daughter saw the Avatar movie in 3D and really enjoyed it! Happy New Year, Alex. :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

"Avatar: The Way of Water" was an incredible movie. I may talk about it more on my Monday post. One thing I can say here is that I knew that Cameron filmed it at 48 frames per second going into it. However, I was unprepared for just how that would be affected by the incredible 3D technology. More than ever, I felt like I was in the actual movie. At times, I felt like I was inside the submarine or about to go over a cliff, etc. It was intense and more of an experience than an actual film. I would see it again in a heartbeat. However, I'm having to cut back this year due to an incredible increase in my property taxes. I was unprepared for how breathtaking a jump it was going to be (it literally doubled).

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Faith is my word of every day :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Birgit, main floor bathroom done this year? How long has it not been finished?

Stacy, why would any theater stop showing that film????

Steven, we'd just watched the first Avatar before seeing the second and I'd say they are even. And yes, Wednesday is gory.

Michael, exactly! You felt like you were in the movie. And that is crappy your property taxes doubled!

Lynda - amen!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Alex! Happy New Year! Persevere is my word and I aim to keep it in mind to meet the challenges of 2023. At WEP we're being inspired by movies this year. Knowing you're a movie lover, hope you can pop by occasionally.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another great hop.
I like your word for the year.
I keep forgetting Avatar 2 is out. I'll see it eventually.
I thoroughly enjoyed Wednesday.
Operation Fortune actually looks funny to me but I'll wait for streaming.

Chemist Ken said...

Wow! It's hard to believe I missed this month's IWSG post. J/K. I NEED A calendar these days. Time keeps flying by on me. Wednesday on Netflix seem interesting. Operation Fortune seems like a good excuse for my wife to eat theater popcorn

Susan Kane said...

comes down to him just punching people! Excellent use of words.

We plan to see Avatar as soon as John has recovered from surgery. We NEED see a movie. We saw Titanic twice, lengthy as all get out. 3 hours is hard.

Adrienne Reiter said...

Faith is a wonderful word. Thanks Alex. Happy New Year!

Susan Kane said...

Seeing your name made me so happy!

Could you check my blog to see if those two stubborn pics have emerged? Please let me know.

The Happy Whisk said...

Draconian changes would be my word of the year, though that might be more for this year, though started last year.

mshatch said...

I don't have a word for the year, though maybe persevere would be appropriate. I definitely want to see Avatar, I'm partway through Wednesday and love it (especially the endearing nicknames Gomez has for her, lol), and I'm always on board for a cat story. Probably won't watch A Man called Otto as I read the book it was based on and loved it to pieces.

Thank you as always for the recommendations and Happy New Year!

mail4rosey said...

My oldest granddaughter was here for a week during the holidays with her family. I wanted to take her to see Puss N Boots but she said she was too old for it. Goodness, in all of her 9 years, lol, when did she get so grown? ;) I should have just driven her and watched it without saying anything. Bet she'd have loved it. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Denise, two certainly caught my attention.

Ken, I'll send you a reminder next time.

Susan, three hours is long but you won't even notice.

Rosey, you should've! I'm in my fifties and went to see it.

Christine Rains said...

Happy New Year, Alex! Good luck to everyone participating in the pitch. I LOVED Wednesday. Definitely the best thing I've seen in a long time. I'm currently watching Three Pines on Prime. It's good for those who like mysteries. said...

I just realized I didn’t drop by last week. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wednesday. I’m going to have to check it out.

I can co-host in April.

Deniz Bevan said...

Ooh, so much going on!

I can't wait to see A Man Called Otto, after having read the book (A Man Called Ove) and loved it.

I'd love to co-host in March or April!

Great choice of word, Alex. I think it'll be in the back of my mind, since it fits so well with my choice of Trust.

Sandra Cox said...

Enjoy the weekend, Alex. Take in some movies;)

Damyanti Biswas said...

Thanks so much for featuring THE BLUE BAR! And I'm looking forward to all the upcoming events!! If you still need a co-host, am happy to volunteer :)

Lidy said...

Faith is a good word choice. For 2023 I've chosen Steady as my WOTY.

Not too into sci-fi so still on the fence about the new Avatar movie. my sons are dying to watch new Puss in Boots movie. And my husband loves the Wednesday series. Me, I'm just waiting on Quantamania.