Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Alien Romance, and February 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 February 7 posting of the IWSG are SE White, Janet Alcorn, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!

First up – we need co-hosts for March, April, and May! Four to five for March, three to four for April (Natalie, got you down), and four to five for May. If you can co-host, leave a comment or send me an email. If you’ve never co-hosted, it’s fun and easy! Just visit fifteen or so blogs in a range and leave a comment. That way everyone on the list has visitors and feel appreciated.

February 7 question: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author's books? Constant mention of books?

I think many will say a constant mention of the author’s books, especially on a blog or Twitter, is a turnoff. It’s like a constant commercial.

But for me, a drone of negativity is even worse. Life is negative enough without adding to it. And it probably wears on the fans, eager to hear what is happening but getting a wave of what’s going wrong, why the writing sucks, etc. instead.

#IWSGPit is back on!

The next #IWSGPit will be March 27, 2024.

10:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Get all the details

Alien Romances by L. Diane Wolfe

Alex asked me to list the top movies similar to my latest release, In Darkness: The Alien. It’s a sci-fi, paranormal romance, so I have selected movies that have a romance between a Terran (human) and an alien.

– An alien crashes on earth and takes the form of a woman’s deceased husband, enticing her to help him reach his rendezvous point. The reluctant romance is sweet to watch and the alien so genuine in his innocence.

The Fifth Element – Pure Evil is destroying the universe and only the fifth element can stop it. As the lead discovers, that element is a beautiful woman. This film has some sweet and very funny exchanges and is one of my favorites.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars - A series that ran for many years, it ended with a full length movie. Throughout that time, the human lead and alien lead had an on again-off again relationship that did end in love and a baby.

Avatar – A human in an alien avatar on the planet of Pandora falls in love with one of the natives. Since almost everyone has seen it, you know it ends well.

Guardians of the Galaxy
– An unlikely team is thrown together and it takes the male human a while to convince the alien woman to accept his advances. A fun series.

John Carter
– Transported to Mars, John lands in the middle of a power struggle and war, forming a reluctant alliance with the Martian princess. If you’ve never seen it, this is a fun and exciting sci-fi movie.

Cocoon – Residents of a retirement community discover a revitalizing pool that aliens are using to revive those left behind years before. While it’s a romance that could never be, it’s sweet to see the young man and young alien woman interact.

And there you have it–seven stories involving human-alien romances. Eight if you decide to read In Darkness: The Alien!

In Darkness: The Alien by L. Diane Wolfe

From Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Romance-Science Fiction / Science Fiction-Alien Contact / Romance-Paranormal
eBook ISBN 9781939844972 $3.99

Souls shrouded in darkness…
Abducted from her research station, Liz’s life is flung into chaos. Sold into servanthood for her knowledge of planetary mining to a race called the Stren, she discovers her problems go far deeper. She is to marry her alien master, Krist, after enduring a procedure designed to eradicate her emotions.
Desperate, Liz persuades the Stren to grant her the duration of a short voyage to change his perception of emotions. But how can she convince someone lacking feelings of their value? Is there a means of accessing the emotional side of Krist before it's too late?

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s an editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Find her at website, blog, and the IWSG

Find In Darkness: The Alien at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Everland, Gardners, and Goodreads

February Movie Preview

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

2 –


Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Henry Cavill, Catherine O’Hara, Sofia Boutella
An introverted spy novelist is drawn into the activities of a sinister underground syndicate.
I know they’re running out of ideas, but socks? Really?

14 –

Madame Web

Director: SJ Clarkson
Stars: Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced, Emma Roberts
Cassandra Webb is a New York City paramedic who starts to show signs of clairvoyance. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she must protect three young women from a mysterious adversary who wants them dead.
Fifty Shades of Spiderman.

16 –

Land of Bad
Director: William Eubank
Stars: Russell Crowe, Milo Ventimiglia Liam Hemsworth
A rookie air force combat controller and a seasoned drone pilot support a Delta Force team as they try to shift a mission gone wrong into a rescue operation.
Maybe the title shouldn’t be so easy for critics to destroy…

What turns you off an author’s site? Can you help co-host? Seen any of the Alien romances or eager to read In Darkness: The Alien? And what movies catch your eye for February?


Leigh Caron said...

In Darkness: The Alien sounds intriguing. Will be checking it out. I don't watch many sci-fi movies though of course I've seen Avatar and loved it. I didn't realize there were that many romances in sci-fi. Aliens? Hmm? Could I ever be attracted to a Gray?

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Diane your list makes me want to watch those movies again!!! In Darkness: The Alien sounds really good. I just bought it.

Alex, I can cohost in April or May, if you need another.

Liza said...

Alex, I can co-host in March.

Aww. I forgot about Cocoon. And oldy for sure, but so lovely. Diane's books sounds intriguing. Hope you are well, Alex.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congrats to Diane!! The only movie I haven't seen on your list is Farscape. I'll have to check it out.

Aryglle has a top notch cast, I hope it's decent. Haven't heard of Land of Bad just yet, but like the actors.

Have a fabulous month, Alex.

If you need someone, I can co-host in May.

H. R. Sinclair said...

I agree about the negativity. Hold back, I get it everywhere else!

Congrats Diane and that's an awesome list!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad to know I'm on the co-host list. I don't like negativity either. I agree with you that there's way too much of it these days. That's awesome you're doing the Twitter Pitch contest again. It's such a great resource for writers and authors. I wish I was ready to pitch.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you for featuring me here today. And thanks to everyone interested in my latest book.

Jennifer Lane said...

Congratulations to L. Diane! I loved Starman and Cocoon. (And I'm dating myself with that comment!) I agree that it's tough to hear a writer get stuck in negativity post after post.

Nick Wilford said...

Too much promo or negativity are both a turn-off. Although we might want to vent sometimes, so creating the IWSG was a genius move to do that safely if necessary!

PT Dilloway said...

I called someone out about doom posting and I think he's still a little sore about it.

I really haven't heard much about that Madame Web movie and I haven't really read any of the comics. I wonder if it will even pull Mobius numbers.

The marketing for Argylle was so bad I thought the spy was the cat at first.

Pat Garcia said...

I can't stand negativity, either. I stop reading immediately.
I can co-host in April or May.
Have a lovely month.
Shalom shalom

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Diane's novel is on my TBR pile. I agree about the negativity. I had to stop following a few authors on Twitter and FB because of all their negativity and the politics.

Janet said...

So happy to see IWSGPitch is back! I plan to participate this year. And I agree about a drone of negativity. I don't mind writers sharing their frustrations, but too much whining (or any bashing of others) is a huge turnoff.

I can co-host again in April or June if needed.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Love you list, Diane. Seeing the titles brings back good memories from when my sons were young and S/F movies were a normal Friday ritual. Hi Alex!

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another great hop.
It's cool to see the IWSGPit is back.
Thanks for hosting L. Diane today. Fun article. Did you know that Cocoon isn't available on streaming anywhere and isn't in print anymore? I really enjoyed In Darkness: The Alien.
I always enjoy your movie preview snark. It's the best.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I know John Carter didn't do well in the box office, but we enjoyed it a lot.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Your comment about the "Land of Bad" title totally cracked me up! Thanks for the laugh! :)

Botanist said...

Some in that list are my favorites too, particularly The Fifth Element and Guardians.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I need to watch Cocoon again! It's been a long time. Such a great movie.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Teresa, thanks!

Liza, appreciate it

Thanks, Cathrina.

Natalie, we didn't want to let #IWSGPit slide this year.

Nick, that's part of the reason for IWSG!

PT, I bet the cat would make a better spy.

Pat, thanks!

Janet, thanks, and we're glad we can do the pitch one more year.

Toi, that's an odd movie not to be available. Airplane isn't either because we recently searched for it.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Congrats to Diane, and what a great list of movies! I must watch Fifth Element again, because I swear I was watching a different film to everyone else the first time I saw it!

And that's a great IWSG question this month. Although I don't participate anymore, I love reading these posts, and I'll be doing so with this question eagerly.

Nancy Gideon said...

I'll see all those movies . . . once they get to Netflix. I'm a rare theater goer - though Jason Statham did draw me out into the world of buttered popcorn.

I can co-host in May! (and it IS fun!)

A Hundred Quills said...

I am usually upset if the website is too cramped up or takes longer than usual to open up. Thanks for the blog hop, Alex.

Jemi Fraser said...

Negativity is a big turn-off for me as well.
Congrats to Diane!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

T., thank you for buying the book.

Jennifer, I dated myself by listing those films. Saw both in the theater.

Thank you, Susan.

Toi, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Carrie-Anne said...

I'm really turned off by constant promotion, as well as polarizing political views that have nothing to do with writing. It doesn't matter what side of the spectrum they're on; you can't assume all your readers share your views and make statements insulting anyone who feels differently! That's not a very professional look. Save that for a personal blog.

cleemckenzie said...

Negative blogs are a definite turnoff. I skip those.

Here's another congratulations to Diane!

Meka James said...

I have a friend who said she saw Argylle. She liked it and said it was fairly entertaining, especially since she's an author herself. She get a kick out of stories that feature authors being pulled from their mundane lives to become part of the action.

Jacqui said...

Only three movies, Alex! I do like Russell Crowe, not sure about the theme of this one, though. Still, I'll check it out.

Lynn La Vita said...

Another turn off is constant popup ads, self promotion, and folks that don't visit after I've commented on their blog post.

On the flip side of the coin, I enjoy reading sites when the author takes the time to share tips and tricks or movie reviews.

Lynn @

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

Fabulous line-up of books and movies! In Darkness, the Alien sounds especially interesting. Love the premise. It reminds me of how I vowed to one day have my feelings removed back in Junior High. Careful what you wish for, right?
Happy to help in May. Today's late start was just an atmospheric river anomaly ;-)
Happy February!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, 70% positivity is good at an author's website. There can be a gamut of emotions, but it needs to land on the positive for the best experience. I saw Argylle - recommend a watch at home because the last half goes from silly to ridiculous, but it is a fun movie.
Congratulations to Diane!

ib said...

Alex, I like simple things. More content, less clutter. I'm eying Bob Marley: One Love and Argylle for February but will not likely watch either. Not a big fan of going to theatre. I'd rather watch them at home. I'd be interested in co-hosting but don't know what I need to do.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Congratulations to L. Diane on the new book!

I hadn't even heard of Madame Web yet, but I'm in for Argylle, just because I always enjoy Sam Rockwell in a film. I think he's a bit underrated.

Patricia JL said...

Congrats to Diane!

Being able to comfortably read a blog is a big issue for me. If it hurts my eyes then I have to pass.

PJ Colando said...

The previews and the sly slogan have enticed me to go to Argyle, though, like you, it's a sloppy title.

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Lidy said...

Love The Fifth Element. Some of my favorite scenes is how the ML and FL first met. The Diva concert scene and whenever Ruby Rhod was in the scene. And definitely how love ended up saving the world.

Also liked all three Guardian of the Galaxy volumes. It's the first time hearing about Madame Web as I'm only knowledgeable about the well known and iconic Marvel heroes. But willing to give it a try.

Looking forward to Argylle. As Meka said, like her friend, I like the kind of movies where authors are pulled into the action. Good movie examples of that are Romancing the Stone, The Lost City and True Memoirs of an International Assassin.

Olga Godim said...

They need to make a movie out of Diane's book.
My favorite alien romance books are the Class 5 series by Michelle Diener. They all involve human women, abducted from Earth by bad guys, and wonderful alien fellows who rescued them. Plus cranky and powerful AIs.

Carol Kilgore said...

Much luck with your new release, Diane!
Hi Alex!

Jen said...

I've always been drawn more towards fantasy than Sci-fi even though the hands down best movie ever made are the original three Star Wars films (you know they only made three, right?) Anyway, congratulations, Diane, on the new book!

I'm with you on the negativity turning me off of a writer's site. That and erratic design. Anything splashed with moving ads turns me off of any site. But if the author does nothing but rant against the publishing industry or talk about how horrible their writing is going - all the time, that is. we all need to vent every now and then. That's a turn off for me.

Happy February!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Gosh, Alex, I didn't know aliens had romances. Oh, and the movies sound too scary for me. Your posts are always so interesting. Thanks for all you do, Captain. Have a great day!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Alex, I forgot to say, I can co-host for May 2024 if you need me. Just let me know. Thanks!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Congrats to Diane on her new release! Agree with you on the topic of negativity. Keep it positive and interesting and don't post only about writing.

Gwen Gardner said...

Negativity is the worst! And droning. But when they're combined? 'nuff said.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nancy, thanks!

Carrie-Anne, well said.

Diedre, thanks!

Tyrean, noted about the movie.

Thanks, Victoria!

Kristina Kelly said...

I've never done a cohost, but I'd be open for March or April!

Arlee Bird said...

I hope L.Diane sells a ton of her new book.

I figure book promo is one of the main goals of having an author site so talk of the author's books doesn't bother me much since I can always just skip through it. Same for the negativity. I just read what draws me in and ignore the rest.


Melissa said...

Congratulations, Diane! I enjoyed the book.

Alex, hit me up this summer. I will make time to co-host June or later.

Liz A. said...

I think I've seen most of those movies. And a couple coming out in February look kind of interesting.

Sandra Cox said...

'Lo, Alex. Congrats, Di. Wishing you much success on a grand read.
Saw and enjoyed John Carter, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Fifth Element.

Jean Davis said...

I love Farscape! That's the good stuff. :D

It's hard to stay positive all the time, but yes, a constant drone of negativity is definitely a turn off.

Let me know when you need me to co-host. I'd be happy to help out.

F. Stone said...

So great to be back. Your inspiring leadership speaks to the blog's longevity and enthusiasm of the members. Blessings

Truedessa said...

Congratulations - Diane - the story-line is intriguing

Alex - Happy IWSG Day!

There nothing currently out at the theater that interests me. I am excited about some of my favorite TV shows coming out with new episodes. It's been too long.

Have a great week, my friend!

Samantha Bryant said...

How fun! I love the idea of listing films that have similarities to your own story. Might have to steal that idea for a future post! @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I just bought Diane's new book. Can't wait to start reading it. Like Truedessa wrote: there is nothing coming to the movies that interest me.

Miffie Seideman said...

This was a fun walk down memory lane. I LOVE Guardians of the Galaxy. Love the romance, but teared up in Infinity War (not saying why, hate to ruin it for someone else!).

Miffie Seideman said...

@Alex- I'd be glad to help co-host either March or April. My email is

Birgit said...

I don’t like when people sell constantly nor do I like negativity so I’m with you. I love Starman which deserves to be known more. John Carter is better than what has been said and should be given a second chance. Guardians is fun but not much for 5th Element. I’ve seen all but the 3rd one. There’s a 1950s movie starring Tom Tryon, I Married a monster from outer space that’s pretty good.
I’d like to see the movie with Russell Crowe. I’ll see the cat movie when it’s on TV said...

I can co-host in May.

Joanne said...

Good luck to L. Diane Wolfe on her latest book. Not really my genre, but darn intriguing. I also liked her list of movies. Starman - you have me at Jeff Bridges!
As for author websites, I like modesty. Just give me the info in a very clean fashion.
and Alex - your 2024 snark is spot on for these new movies. Ugh. I'm spending less and less time in a theater. Kinda makes me sad.
Cheers, my friend.

S.E. White Books said...

As always, the movie previews were entertaining! I admit I got a bit too excited about the alien romance in your post title. That's definitely my jam, as a reader. Diane had some good, solid, classic recommendations for us, so thank you Diane!

mail4rosey said...

In Darkness sounds like a challenge to have written. So many roads the author could have taken.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the only movie I've seen from the list. 1 1/2 if I count Avatar (which I tried to watch twice but couldn't finish). I know so many people loved it but I just didn't.

The blue captions under 14 and 15 both made me laugh.

Have a happy day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kristina, thanks!

Thanks, Melissa.

Jean, appreciate that.

Feather, glad to have you back.

Miffie, thanks!

Thanks, Kim!

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I know Argylle is supposed to be bad, but I still want to see it. It has a great cast.

Loni Townsend said...

Yeah, I don't think anyone likes the constant drone of commercials. Unless those commercials were made by Ryan Reynolds... then maybe I'd happily sit through a few. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too negative on my blog. Hopefully not. And hopefully someone tells me if I am.

I'm looking forward to Argyle. I really want to watch it. That and The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare in April.

Grats to Diane!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I've seen "Starman" and thought it was really good. It has good characterization and interaction and it's funny too. I've also seen "John Carter" and thought it was way better than what most people give it credit for. It was more of a fun, escapist kind of film but I liked it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Diedre, yes! Careful what you wish for.

Olga, I would love that.

Jean, Farscape was such a great series. I miss those characters.

Roland, thank you so very much!

SE, thank you. I tried to pick good ones.

Steven, Disney totally screwed up the release of John Carter.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Thank you for dropping by Shady's Place today, good buddy!

I agree that too much self-promotion on a writer's blog is cringeworthy, and constant negativity is another major turn-off.

Seems like Dakota Johnson's star is burning brightly lately. She was a hit in her latest appearance as host of SNL which coincided with the release of Madame Web. Ever since the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in 1956, I have been enthralled by sci-fi stories dealing with aliens who seek to strip humans of their emotions, the assertion being that superior races have outgrown the need for them. It would be intriguing to have the tables turned and read about humans helping aliens get in touch with their emotions.

Enjoy the rest of your month, good buddy Alex!

Tonja Drecker said...

I need to squeeze In Darkness into my schedule. Congrats, Diane! Negativity is is a huge turn-off. Luckily, that's hard to find on IWSG. Oh, and if you need a co-host for any of those months, feel free to count me in.

G. B. Miller said...

I think for me a big turnoff is the lack of variety on the blog. Not necessarily the website, since its primary focus is on the selling of books, but if they have a blog, the constant sameness of the content. I know with mine I try to mix it up with non-writing related topics. said...

Yeah, too much mention of this book I wrote and that book I wrote and...turnoff.

Happy hearts week, Alex.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Madame Web looks really bad actually, and I’m not feeling compelled to see Argyle either. Both of these film offerings seem to be par for the course for February. I suppose the next big thing I’m looking forward to is Dune 2, to see how that adaptation goes. Regarding what irritates you in visiting a blog, I myself have been attempting to stamp down on my own negativity. Sometimes my spiraling thoughts of what I see get away from me :)

Sandra Cox said...

I'm not sure if I'd like Land of the Bad, but I do like Crowe and Hemsworth.

Deniz Bevan said...

I agree about negativity!

Congratulations to Diane! It's so exciting to send a book into the wild :-)

Al Penwasser said...

I haven't seen any of these movies. I really should get out more.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I don't have an issue with authors writing about their books -- as long as it's relevant and easy to read. The same with other topics. They do need to have a contact page, an about page and a books page, though, so I can get a feel for them as a person and an author outside of whatever the blog post was about.

I think I'll skip this month's selection of books -- especially the sock one. LOL.

Ronel visiting for IWSG day Ronel’s Top Ten Indie Publishing Tips

Sandra Cox said...

Good point by Rawknrobyn.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

And what's worse is when a writer only appears when they are selling a book. It's like only resurfacing to say- buy my stuff!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Eep. "Madame Web" is getting some horrible reviews. I'm not entirely certain I'm going to venture out and see that particular Marvel movie. I also didn't go and see "Argyle." However, I am looking forward to "Dune 2" and also "Shogun." I think "Shogun" has got me more excited that "The Last Airbender" series that is happening on Netflix.

Fundy Blue said...

I was so sure I had commented on this post, Alex! I've been having trouble with commenting here and elsewhere. First, congratulations to Diane! I'm going to order a print copy of her new book because it's challenging for me to read books on a computer. I enjoyed her list of movies, many of which I've seen. Land of Bad is a movie and book genre I enjoy. I hope your work has been going well, Alex. I can't do March or April, but I could do May (unless my eye operation gets scheduled then). Let me know if you still need help cohosting.

Sandra Cox said...

Hope you're having a productive and fun week, Alex.

debi o'neille said...

I don't like negativity in a blog. To me, it can spread just as fast as encouragement. I prefer encouragement.

Blue Grumpster said...

Cocoon.... now that's a movie! I used to have it on DVD. Now, I can't find this movie on any platform.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Diane, I like your selections. I remember the movie about Starman. It really was charming and funny too. Hubby loved John Carter and thought it sad it didn't do well in the theaters.

DMS said...

I don't enjoy when there are tons of ads (though I understand why author's and bloggers have them).

Congrats to Diane! :)