Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, November Movie Preview, and Damyanti Biswas with Some Bollywood Horror!

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 November 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

Today’s question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I have, twice. Won the first time, came close the second. (Second time was a June event, but it was the same principle.) I'm a slow writer, so an event like NaNo is the kick in the butt I need to get it done. I go in with a detailed plan though. Can't imagine just writing with no plan!

We need hosts for December, January, and February!!! These are tough months so if you can help, we will be most grateful. If you have never co-hosted, please volunteer. It’s a lot more fun on the co-host side. Really! You get a ton more visitors, meet a lot of new people, and get to showcase yourself as a writer/author.

A Little Bollywood Horror

Please welcome my longtime friend and author, Damyanti Biswas!

Halloween is a relatively new celebration in India, more a marketing gimmick for eateries and costume shops than anything else.

The concept of horror movies though is pretty well established in Bollywood, and it is these traditions that have inspired some of the scenes in my latest book, The Blue Monsoon.

The Blue Monsoon is a literary thriller, but I wanted to incorporate horror/ cult elements in it, especially from the Bollywood movie tradition, which often features witches with long hair. Hair is a recurring theme in the book.

Here’s an excerpt:
Hair. So much hair hanging from long ropes strung across the open roof, like witches slung up in some medieval ritual against a gloomy sky, threatening rain. Even in broad daylight though, the thick clusters of dripping hair made her think of watching eyes, of dark, fetid places. Her skin crawled at the sight of all that shiny black, swaying gently in the wind, sinister, assessing, as if ready to rise in the air and surround her.

Since this book is set during the dark monsoons, I hope the use of movie-inspired scene props gives it that creepy, gothic air.

What kind of horror tropes and props have you seen in books and movies? Which are your favorites?

Find Damyanti Biswas at her blog.

Pick up The Blue Monsoon here.

November Movie Preview

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

10 –

The Marvels
Director: Nia DaCosta
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, Iman Vellani
Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.
Superheroes, right? Not the 50’s R&B group?

22 –

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Ludivine Sagnier
The film takes a personal look at Napoleon Bonaparte's origins, and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor viewed through the prism of his addictive, and often volatile, relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine.
Phoenix was so method, he never took his hand out of his shirt…

December 1 –

Godzilla Minus One
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Stars: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Yûki Yamada
Godzilla appears in post-World-War-II Japan, which is at its low point at zero, and knocks the country down one to the negatives.
Let’s hope that’s the title and not the average score on Rotten Tomatoes…

Have you participated in NaNo? Like the Blue Monsoon excerpt? Any of those movies strike your fancy? And can you co-host in the coming months? Please leave a comment or send me an email!
And Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.


Denise Covey said...

Hi Alex. Here's a turnup for the books! First comment! I've bought Damyanti's book and can't wait to read it.

Lisa said...

Love the Blue Moon excerpt! Want to see Napoleon…

Liza said...

Hi Alex! Another reason I don't do NaNo. I can't outline! Best wished to Damyanti on the new release.

Karen Baldwin said...

Damyanti's excerpt from Blue Monsoon is intriguing. Will definitely check it out. And Joaquin as Napoleon? Can't picture it....but he's such a great actor I'm sure he's amazing.

Jennifer Lane said...

Hi, Alex! I can co-host in December. Congratulations to Damyanti! I would definitely need a plan if I attempted NaNo, ideally having the first chapter already completed before starting.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Might have to check out the Napoleon movie.

We went old school - Poltergeist - on our Halloween movie watching. My husband had never seen it, and I first saw it when I was probably too young, but that explains a lot. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm a slow writer and don't outline a whole story before I write, which are two reasons NaNo isn't for me. You can sign me up for a January co-host and February too if you need one.

Lynn La Vita said...

Living in Mexico, we've learned about their tradition celebrating Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) today and tomorrow (November 1 and 2).

Home altars, called ofrendas, display the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. A holiday of joyful celebration rather than mourning.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends.

Lynn @ Lynn La Vita

H. R. Sinclair said...

Oh my! That is a great except! Got me wanting more. Congrats Damyanti!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love gothic elements in books! Congratulations to you, Damyanti. :)

Not sure about that Godzilla movie! The title is an odd one, for sure.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jennifer, thanks!

Madeline, he'd never seen it???

Natalie, thanks!

Lynn, that must be a neat experience.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another great post.
I hope to try NANO one day.
Congratulations to Damyanti for the new release! I think "jump scares" have increased in western horror movies recently.
The Marvels look interesting.
I always enjoy Godzilla movies, even when they are really bad.

PT Dilloway said...

Did they use CGI like in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies to make Joaquin Phoenix as short as Napoleon? Really they should have cast Tom Cruise for that. Or Danny Devito like in "Get Shorty."

That Godzilla Minus One seems kind of redundant since Godzilla was supposed to be symbolic of the atom bombs dropped on Japan and the rising threat of nuclear Armageddon.

The Marvels I'd just wait for Disney+ in a few months.

Computer Tutor said...

I can help out January or February, December if you're desperate for someone.

Janet Alcorn said...

Thanks for featuring Damyanti on your blog. The Blue Bar is wonderful, and I'm looking forward to reading The Blue Monsoon.

I'd be happy to co-host in January or February. I'll be traveling in early December, so I can't do it then.

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Alex! I too have done the challenge twice. But I don't think it's for me. Got Damyanti's book on day 1. Looking forward to reading it soon.

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats to Damyanti! She's such a talented writer - her books often have me losing sleep!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats to Damyanti and I am up for any Godzilla movie.

Jean Davis said...

Going into NaNo without a plan can be fun and I've done it many times, but I've been leaning toward a loose plan the past few years and that works pretty well. Everyone writes differently though and its all about finding what works best for you. I'm glad you found it helpful when you did try.

Napoleon looks good. I'll have check that out.

diedre Knight said...

Good morning, Captain!

You won NaNo? How wonderful that must feel;-) I get how motivating a setting like that can be, keeping you on your toes.
The Blue Monsoon sounds perfectly creepy!
The movies don't appeal to me this time, though Napoleon might be interesting with Joaquin Phoenix...
I'm up for January as long as I can wear my slippers ;-)
Happy November!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Best of luck to Damyanti. It's on my TBR list!

Lidy said...

I'm a slow writer too. That's why I love NaNoWriMo. It gives me the kick in the butt I need to build the story inside me onto the page.

I'm a plantser. And although I do outline, without straying too far from it, I let my characters take over and go with their flow.

I'm most looking forward to The Marvels.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I just put Blue Monsoon in my Amazon cart two day ago. No NaNo for me. None of those movies will draw me to a theater but I'll probably watch Napoleon at home sometime.

Jen said...

That IS an intriguing excerpt! Best of luck to Damyanti :)
I'll be honest...I don't get interested in most movies that come out these days. Which is fine. I just re-watch my old favorites!
I'll be participating in NaNo this year for the first time in a long time. Figured, why not?
Happy Thanksgiving, Alex, and have a wonderful November!

Damyanti Biswas said...

Happy Thanksgiving in advance, Alex and everyone!

Alex, thanks so much for having me.

Thank you so much for getting my books, Denise, Sonia, Janet, Susan. I appreciate you more than you know!

Thank you for the kind words and wishes, Jen, Elizabeth Seckman, Diedre, Diane, Jemi, Toi, Elizabeth, H R., Jennifer, Karen, Liza, Lisa. I'm having a rough time of it these days, and will take all the luck and good vibes you can send me.

The new Godzilla movie looks ...unusual. Thanks for all the snippets of news, Alex. You help me keep updated with everyone!

cleemckenzie said...

I’m reading Damyanti’s book now and enjoying it!

Elephant's Child said...

Glad that you have made NaNo work for you. Good to see Damyanti here too.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I can host for next month and the two after that, wherever you need me. I wasn't able to get my act in gear soon enough to participate this month. Travel also sets my world in a frenzy. Best to you on another wonderful IWSG Wednesday.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congratulations to Damyanti!!!

Alex, I'm available to co-host in January or February.

Arlee Bird said...

The first year I did NaNo I started on Nov 1 with no plan. I wanted to make it a real challenge so I wanted to start from scratch and really write by the seat of my pants. It actually went quite well and I had fun with it, but it was too much concentrated effort as far as I'm concerned.

The Napoleon movie has been getting advertised a lot on TV of late and it looks like it might be good. Still, doubtful that it would drag me into a theater to see it.


Olga Godim said...

Congrats to Damyanti for her release.
Alex, I can co-host any month of your choice, but I have one concern: comments. A co-host is supposed to comment, and lately, I have been having troubles with commenting on Blogger sites.

J E Oneil said...

NaNo never works for my method of writing. It's always impressive how many people go through with it--and win!

Patricia JL said...

I've only successfully done a Nano as a rebel. When I tried to do it the "normal" way, my brain threw a tantrum and refused to write.

Mary Kirkland said...

I've never entered a novel writing contest. Congratulations on winning though.

Birgit said...

I never participated and, wouldn't because I don't like that stress. I like being an underachiever. I wonder if there are Bollywood horror musicals?
How many Marvel hero movies are there??
I want to see Napoleon and, I believe, it will be good.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pat, not sure how they did it. But Tom Cruise - perfect, as the dude is so short! And doubt I'll see The Marvels in the theater.

Jacqui, thanks!

Janet, appreciate that.

Diedre, you can! Thanks.

Jen, go for it.

Damy, you're welcome.

Joylene, thanks! And no worries.

Thanks, Cathrina!

Olga, sorry! I did as well until I found a work-around.

Sandra Cox said...

Great blurb, Dami. Eerie.
'Lo, Alex.

Weaver said...

Not sure about The Marvels. The latest Marvel movies have kind of lost their heart.

Miffie Seideman said...

Hi Alex! I agree- I can't see going into NaNo without a plan. Boy, was that excerpt of Blue Monsoon visually provoking. Also, possibly can't get the dripping hanging hair out of my mind! Thanks for hosting this month.

Tonja Drecker said...

I can't write without, at least, somewhat of a plan. And Blue Monsoon looks so interesting!

Liz A. said...

I'm not a NaNoer either. It's not the way my brain works. The book sounds thrilling.

S.E. White Books said...

Bollywood horror? Count me in.

Happy IWSG day, Captain. If you're still looking for co-hosts in January or February I can be available.

G. B. Miller said...

Never really understood the concept/logic behind NaNo. I mean, if you're gonna write, you're gonna write. To me, it just sounds like one long writing exercise.

The book does sound intriguing though. Congrats to Damyanti on the release.

mail4rosey said...

Awesome that you won the first time, and almost the second time. Motivators are a good thing. :)

Damyanti Biswas said...

C Lee, thanks so much for reading!

Sue (Elephant’s Child), good to see you here too :)

Thanks for the kind wishes, Cathrina!

Thank you, Olga!

Birgit— I haven’t heard of a horror musical from Bollywood but since most Bollywood movies include songs, horror movies feature them too!

Thanks for reading the blurb, Sandra.

Miffie, thanks for reading. The book is set in the hair industry so if you’re ever curious about the wigs worn by stars like Beyoncé, the book will tell you a few interesting stories :).

Thanks for reading the excerpt, Liz A. , Tonja!

S E, Bollywood does have a ton of fascinating horror.

Thank you, G B!

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations, Damyanti!

Ray Rousell said...

Can't wait for Napoleon!!!

Loni Townsend said...

I think if I ever attempt NaNo again, I'll follow your example and go in with a detailed plan! said...

Good job with NaNo turns. I’ve never done it. Maybe some day.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Damyanti's book sounds ot might be really good. I've been trying to read more Indian horror and watcher Bollywood in the genre. Damyanti or anyone else, doyle you have any suggestions for Indian horror films or other books in the genre?

Kate Larkindale said...

Damyanti's book sounds chilling! I might be too scared to sleep afterwards though. I'm also quite looking forward to seeing Napoleon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Birgit, there just might be a lot of movies...

Donna, they have indeed.

SE, thanks!

Loni, it helps.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

A detailed plan for story. I'm with you, Alex. How can we start a longer work, a novel, without knowing where we are going?

Halloween in India? Interesting. But I can't do horror. I'm a "fraidy cat."

All best to you, Alex.

Samantha Bryant said...

Sounds like we write very differently. If I outline/plan too much, it gets stale and flat for me, so I lean towards complete pantsing or discovery writing. @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

J.Q. Rose said...

Congrats on the scary book to Damyanti! I never thought I would be interested in Napoleon, but maybe???

Truedessa said...

Happy Friday Alex

There isn't much I want to see at the theater. Hopefully, something interesting will come out soon.

A bit early but, i hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

ib said...

Alex, I would be up for co-hosting but I doubt I am at all qualified to do so. I am just beginning to rebuild what I had started so long ago. I will probably end up taking in The Marvels in at some point. My daughter and I went to see "Five Nights at Freddy's" on opening night and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Napoleon is intriguing but I am not sure that I'll venture to the theatre to see it. May wait until it is streaming. Have a good weekend my friend!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Blue Monsoon is a great book!

Ronel visiting for IWSG day Done and Dusted. An Author’s Year in Review 2023

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Victoria, my story would wander into the desert and never return...

Truedessa, much turkey will be devoured.

Hobbit, that's all the more reason to do so!

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Hi, I came over looking for your NaNoWriMo challenges. I could not find it, as I am visually challenged and you do not have any labels or other searching help for new readers here at your blog -- at least I found none.
But I still deeply admire you for getting it done (or almost) twice!

Botanist said...

Joaquin Phoenix was chilling as Commodus in Gladiator. I can imagine him playing Napolean well!

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

It was very kind of you to drop in to see what condition my condition is in. Here on your site, I am delighted to have the opportunity to learn a thing or two about Bollywood horror courtesy of friend Damyanti Biswas. Traditional horror tropes and props no longer scare me. It's the unexpected, the genuine shocks, the blindsides, the things I didn't see coming, that truly frighten me in horror themed books and movies.

I'm hooked on brooding method actor Joaquin Phoenix, and I can't wait to watch Napoleon. I wasn't a fan of Godzilla movies in my early years, and still can't muster any enthusiasm for the series. Superhero movies and TV shows are also beginning to bore me.

Thanks again for your kind visit and comment at Shady's Place, good buddy Alex. Have a wonderful November!

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Congrats to Damyanti on the new release!

Joanne said...

Just Damyanti’s blurb scared the bejeezus out of me. Good luck with the book.

I did NaNo a few times. Fun and worth the effort at the time. Now I have been too lazy and undisciplined. I need to try it again.

Happy November to all!

Al Penwasser said...

I have GOT to go to the movies! The last time I went I saw "The Many Saints of Newark," so, yeah, it's been a while.
"Napoleon" will probably get the nod.

Al Penwasser said...

And, incidentally, post-World War II Japan? Golly, you'd think those people had enough to worry about than having a dinosaur running around loose.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Never attempted NaNo, though went every year for the retreat organised by the local writers group in Bahrain. :) Got a heap of writing done too.
Napoleon seems interesting. And Damyanti is a wonderful writer. said...

Iforgotabout NaNo. I never participated, because writing under pressure isn't fun for me.

Have a great Thanksgiving and November, Alex.

Annalisa Crawford said...

So good to see Damyanti getting out and about. Halloween is something I just don't pay attention to.

I've done NaNo a couple of times, but, oh! the stress. I plunged in without a plan both times - it worked once and didn't work the other. The completed one is still in draft form - I couldn't bear to re-read it once I'd done. So, no, I don't think NaNo suits me very well at all. Good luck to everyone who's involved!