Film Review: Men in Black International (2019)

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Promotional Poster for the 2019 film “Men in Black International”

The other day, my wife suggested that “the guys” should go see a movie together, so a few hours ago, my two sons, my grandson, and I saw Men in Black International (2019). I’m a huge fan of the 1997 original starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, though I’ve shied away from the sequels. I probably wouldn’t have seen “International,” at least in the theater, but that was my grandson Landon’s choice, and it was nice for we “guys” to get together the day before Father’s Day.

In a word, the movie was “okay”. It was a decent way to kill a couple of hours (running time is 1 hour, 38 minutes, but there were a ton of trailers beforehand) but nothing spectacular. In fact, I had a tough time getting into the film in spite of action, shooting, explosions, and aliens.

This is a story that starts with a little girl named Molly (Fandeiya Flory) whose parents encounter an alien and are “neuralized” by two MIB agents when she’s about eight. Molly, whose memory remains intact, helps a cute little alien escape, which turns out to be important later in the story. She spends the next twenty years trying to find out about the mysterious agency the men came from so she can join.

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Excerpt From My Latest WIP

vampire verona

Found at “Book More Brides”.

I’ve been editing this one for days and it’s close to being finished. Here’s a sample of my latest short story:

It wasn’t a man and there was nothing average about her. The companion lamp to Leah’s on a table at the other end of the short corridor to her room, shone behind the intruder. It illuminated her diaphanous gown, which draped over her lithe curves like a cloud. Her long hair was almost as white and seemed to float around her head. The woman’s pale skin was offset by ravenous green eyes and luscious ruby lips. Her teeth, when she slightly parted them, were pearls.

“Hold it right there, sister. Who the hell are you and what do you want?” The gun in her right hand shook as she trembled, which caught Leah by surprise. Her breathing became shallow, and a horrible feeling or recognition overwhelmed her, though she knew she’d never seen this person before.

“Surely you remember my kiss, delicious one.” She smiled broadly, exposing twin fangs and confirming the worst possible notion of Reese’s fears. The apparition hissed menacingly like a feral animal.

“Vampire.” It came out as a gasp.

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Spring Into SciFi 2019 Is Now Available!

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Promotional image for the cover of the 2019 edition of the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring into SciFi.”

The Cloaked Press science fiction anthology Spring Into SciFi 2019 is now available on Amazon. It features my short story “The Recall” and the foreword to the book is by SciFi author Ian Hugh McAllister. Be the first on your block to get a copy, and don’t forget to write an Amazon review.

Coming Soon!

spring scifi

Promotional image for the cover of the 2019 edition of the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring into SciFi.”

Apparently there was some delay getting approval for Cloaked Press to be listed as a publisher in the Library of Congress’ new system, but things are moving forward. I was beginning to think the anthology title “Spring into SciFi” would have to be changed into “Summer into SciFi.”

The book also has to be approved for distribution by Amazon, so another speed bump however, Jonas’s cover looks fabulous.

More info soon.

Film Review of Avengers: Endgame (2019)

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Promotional poster for “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

Warning: Spoiler Alert

I was unprepared for how Avengers: Endgame (2019) hit me emotionally. I knew all the spoilers (or most of them) ahead of time, both from talking with my son Michael who had already seen the film, and from subsequently reading them online. I knew Natasha/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) would die, I knew everything.

Yet, near the end of the movie, when we were at Tony’s memorial service, I didn’t just tear up, I actually cried. I don’t think my son and grandson noticed, but it was an intensely emotional sequence in the film. I’d recovered by the time Clint/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) were talking about the loved ones they’d never get back, and when Steve/Captain America (Chris Evans), aged over 100 after he went back to 1945 and stayed in the past, gave his shield to Sam/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) with Bucky’s (Sebastian Stan) approval so he could become the new Cap.

I lost it again during the credits when the core Avengers actors literally signed off, which is something I haven’t seen since the end of the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) nearly thirty years ago. I realized I was saying one last goodbye to my friends and my heroes, not just their film incarnations, but the Avengers I had grown up reading about in the comic books back in the 1960s. My childhood ended all over again.

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Quick Victory Cry

Last night, I got an email saying that another one of my short stories has been accepted for publication in an anthology. I can’t give out details yet, but I just went through their insertions, deletions, and comments and sent them back my updated short story (basically “English 101” corrections).  This makes the seventh tale of mine this year that will see the light of day. Twelve more are still in the queue.

On other fronts, my son, grandson, and I will finally be seeing “Avengers: Endgame” this afternoon. Look for my review later.

Author Update May 30, 2019

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Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi”

As of today, I still have six stories accepted with four in print. Haven’t heard back again from Cloaked Press about the status of their 2019 edition of the SciFi anthology “Spring into SciFi” which features my short story “The Recall.” However, the Impossible Hope anthology which accepted my tale “The Switchman’s Lantern” is going through final edits.

Now for the more distressing news. As of a few days ago, my rejection list grew to 11. Actually, it’s more like 14 since a publication that accepts multiple submissions rejected all 4 of the stories I sent them.

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Proposed cover for “Impossible Hope” anthology

As of last night, the number of stories I’ve submitted that are still pending is up to 13, although I think a few of the magazines are struggling with deadlines and are (temporarily) in limbo.

I’m toggling between working on my novel and writing short stories to keep my focus from getting bogged down. The continued lack of a day job also preys on my mind, since unemployment insurance is meager and won’t last forever.

All I can do on all fronts is to keep plugging away and to trust in providence, which up until now, has never let me down.

Is Harrison Ford The Only Indiana Jones?

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Promotional image for the 1981 film “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

This morning on the radio, I heard a clip from an interview with actor Harrison Ford where the host asked him who he’d like to see play Indiana Jones after Ford retired from the role. Ford replied no one. When he goes away, Indy goes away, too.

The fifth and last Indiana Jones film starring Ford is slated to come out in 2021, though after 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I think Indy’s getting a little long in the tooth for this sort of thing.

The DJ on the radio program I was listening to thought Ford was being arrogant in making such a statement, but I think he’s spot on. It’s not just that Ford originated the character and is terrific at it, but the first Indy movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981, and the only other Indy movie worth a damn (in my opinion) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade hit the theaters in 1989.

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WORLD WAR FOUR is available for 40% off the ebook for the next four days

 

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Promotional image for my short story “Joey” featured in the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “World War Four.”

World War Four, a science fiction anthology published by Zombie Pirate Publishing, features my short story “Joey” as well as a novelette by best-selling author Neal Asher. For the next four days, the ebook is 40% off its regular price at Amazon. This is a great time to download it to your kindle device and enjoy twenty outstanding SciFi tales of the war after World War Three.

From the Rejection Roster: Excerpt from “Sharing Destiny”

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Image: hongkiat.com

Fresh round of rejections came in yesterday and my SciFi short story “Sharing Destiny” was among them. I’ve submitted this story to various publishers a number of times and so far, no one has found it worthy of seeing the light of day. It actually began life as one of those song/lyrics challenges. It’s a love story with a strange twist. Here’s a scene near the tale’s climax. Let me know what you think.

She stared down at him. Isaac was sitting on the floor on his legs, face buried in his hands, weeping like a hysterical child, and over what? The fact that she would save the human race from extinction? He had engineered his betrayal of her, and of the Earth, for decades. It was all a lie. Every “I love you,” every night in bed together, their wedding vows; they were all lies.

He had almost destroyed her and the planet, but she still couldn’t begin to understand why.

“You cold-blooded bastard.”

He didn’t bother to correct her, to say that Saurians were warm-blooded like mammals, not like the reptiles people assumed they were. Then again, that’s probably not what she’d meant.

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