Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, #IWSGPit, Childhood Magic, Dune: Part Two Review, and March 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 March 6 posting of the IWSG are Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman, Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages!

March 6 question -
Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

I’ve not had a need to try it. While I can see the advantages and benefits, I can also see AI taking over more. To the point natural creativity will be threatened. And that’s sad.


The next #IWSGPit will be March 27, 2024.

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

Get all the details here.

And there is a new release from one of our IWSG admins!

In Darkness by L. Diane Wolfe
Romance-Paranormal / Fantasy-Paranormal / Romance-Science Fiction
Print ISBN 9798988625148 $17.95, 342 pages
eBook ISBN 9798988625155 $8.99

Find it on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Gardners, and Goodreads

Childhood Magic by Shannon Lawrence

Mythological creatures have a long history, one that precedes written lore. Looking back at The Odyssey, which many of us read in high school, this was a tale originally told aloud by at least one of a collection of bards who traveled around and shared stories, which were eventually transcribed by others in the name of Homer. The Greek mythological creatures told in stories of the time included Cyclops, the Minotaur, and Sirens. Namely, creatures that served to speak to the perils people faced when they left the safety of their homes.

My favorite mythological creatures tend to live in two basic worlds: endearing childhood creatures and those found in darker stories. I love a cautionary tale, but there’s also the endearing magic inherent in a creature existing for good. Today I want to focus on two mythological creatures from my childhood that represented a beautiful kind of magic.

The Last Unicorn:
I have such fond memories of this movie, and I still watch it occasionally to this day. (Okay, probably annually). The Unicorn, who doesn’t have a name until she becomes the Lady Amalthea, is true to herself, loyal, self-sufficient, and brave. But she’s also blunt and intellectual, something I identified with. The voices, the music, the illustrations, I feel hold up today. It’s a gorgeous movie, but as a neurodivergent kid the character truly spoke to me.

The NeverEnding Story:
Falcor is a great iteration of the dragon. He has a sense of humor, he’s graceful and lovely in his own way, and he’s powerful, but he also holds the familiarity of a dog in his appearance and, once again, loyalty. Plus, he scares the bullies. What kid wouldn’t want a magical dog-dragon to swoop down and help them exact [an age-appropriate] revenge on their bullies? Even better if you can snuggle up with that furry dog-dragon later and scritch him behind the ear as you continue to be wrapped in safety.

While as a horror and urban fantasy author I most often address the darker creatures of mythology, I do have a nod in the opening of my book to one of the nicer creatures of North American mythology: Sasquatch, another part of my childhood.

Myth Stalker: Wendigo Nights
by Shannon Lawrence
A late night call from her mentor sends Selina Moonstone on a mission to Canada, determined to track down a Wendigo and exterminate it.

Available in paperback and e-book, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. Find the book at your favorite store using the universal link.

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over fifty anthologies and magazines in addition to her collections. Her nonfiction title, The Business of Short Stories, is available now and her debut urban fantasy novel is releasing March 2024. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at The Warrior Muse.

Movie Review – Dune: Part Two

After over two years of waiting, the second half of the movie landed last Friday. We even watched the first part the previous weekend to remind ourselves what was happening. Didn’t like the wait, but it was worth it.
This movie is epic. It is grand on every level, from stunning special effects to sprawling, complex story to amazing battle sequences. The film has it all for both fan and novice to the series.
The action sequences are stunning, most notably the worm riding scenes. Not seen as often in the first film, they are in full force here. The attacks on the spice mining rigs are also impressive.
There were some differences from the book, but not enough to spoil it for fans. (I barely remember reading the book anyway!) I was never a big fan of the book, but the movies are spectacular. A must-see on the big screen.
Highly recommended!

March Movie Preview

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

8 –

Kung Fu Panda 4
Directors: Mike Mitchell, Stephanie Stine
Stars: Jack Black, Awkwafina, Viola Davis
After Po is tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace, he needs to find and train a new Dragon Warrior, while a wicked sorceress plans to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.
I wonder if he’ll ever have the noodle dream…

22 –

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Director: Gil Kenan
Stars: Pau Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon
When the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second ice age.
Maybe letting New York freeze isn’t a bad thing…

29 –

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Director: Adam Wingard
Stars: Dan Stevens, Rebecca Hall, Rachel House
Two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island's mysteries.
Weirdest buddy-cop movie ever…

Have you played with AI? Have a pitch ready for #IWSGPit? What movies spark childhood magic for you? Have you seen part two of Dune? What movies are you seeing this month?