Saturday, July 01, 2023

Mind Sieve 06/30/23


Table of Contents

News/MusingsStoryOrigin Swap 1
Mini Movie/Show ReviewsStoryOrigin Swap 2
Movie/TV Show PreviewsJust for Fun!
Cruel, Cruel Summer Group PromoStrong Women – Strange Worlds




We’ve been melting, melting, all this week out here in Texas. Temperatures have been super hot! 🔥 As the old saying goes, you could cook eggs on the sidewalk! 🍳 😋

I hope you are keeping it cool! 🧊




We have an air conditioning window unit for where I am most of the day and the poor thing keeps throwing the breaker trying to keep up with this heatwave. Ugh! (Luckily it has a breaker all for its lonesome or it would be taking out who knows what else with it. Eek!)

There are only a few (double eek!) weeks to go before The Secret Humankind goes LIVE! What reviews have come in have been excitingly positive. Squee!

Tomorrow starts the month-long release celebration! Aside from the out-of-this-world two-lamp set (US Only – sorry!), there will be a ton of freebie urban fantasy short stories, samples, and novels.

The giveaway page is up and goes active 7/1/23. Sing up to win or grab freebies here

The Secret Humankind Giveaway Banner

Writing news

Book 3 of the Daiyu Wu Mysteries – The Music of Death Blues is now up to 30K. Woot! If I can keep at this pace, the first draft should be done in three more months. It would be a new record for me! 🤞

I’ve been toying with Midjourney, which is an AI driven art generator. Several of the pics I used in The Secret Humankind’s book trailer were made there. It seems to do best when you do things in pieces, depending on what you need. It’s amazing how wrong it can take a simple prompt, too! 

So this week I’ve been toying with trying to make character cards for The Secret Humankind. I shared one on FB Thursday and figured I’d share a few more here.

Not all are spot on to the actual character descriptions, but I figure they’re decently close to give you a good idea. 

Dawn Anghelescu

Dawn Anghelescu

Owner and CEO of Remington Safe & Clean, a trauma and crime scene decontamination company. 
She’s good to the employees and for those specially vetted, has extra ‘secret’ work for them.

Julia Xero

Julia Xero

The series protagonist. Julia is looking for better employment when she comes across the ad for RSC. Much to her surprise, she gets the job, even as she warns herself it’s too good to be true. She’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Karamel Oaks

Karamel Oaks

Receptionist for RSC. Bubbly, friendly, and loves to take care of everyone. She’s hyper-excited when Julia “another girl!” joins the company.

Stan Lockhart

Stan Lockhart

3rd shift employee at RSC and Julia’s work partner. Laid back but hard working. Keeps insisting the work they do is important. Has nicknamed their work van ‘Rocinante’ after Don Quixote’s steed.


Extra stuff I’ve shoved in here:

1) StoryOrigin Swap 1 (UBL)

2) StoryOrigin Swap 2 (Freebie)

3) Cruel, Cruel Summer Group Promo

4) Strong Women Strange Worlds Rapid Fire Reading


More deets on all of these in their sections. 😊


StoryOrigin Swap 1 (UBL)

StoryOrigin Swap 1 (UBL)

A Pandora Initiative

Get the first three thrillers of the Pandora Initiative Series in one box set.

John Seal is a spy whose patriotism is admirable, but the motives of his famed handler are questionable.

The collection contains:


John Seal thought investigating the cause for an uptick in greenhouse gas emissions in the middle of a desert would be easy. He was wrong. As a CIA cybersecurity operative, Seal is working for the ongoing covert Pandora Initiative.


CIA agent John Seal is a marked man the moment he steps off the plane in Tel Aviv.
From a previous assignment, Seal collected intel that an Iranian weapon of mass destruction is moving forward unhindered.

Silk Road

Disavowed, burned and forgotten, CIA agent John Seal is learning to play by his own rules.
During his previous mission, vital intel that sheds light on the development of a weapon of mass destruction was stolen – intel needed to clear his name.

Mini Movie/TV Reviews 🎥

★ – Why did I go see this? Why?!

★★ – Showed promise but on execution, crashed

★★★ – Enjoyable, just don’t look under the hood too closely

★★★★ – A great film, totally worth seeing!

★★★★★ – 🤯 Too fabulous for words!




Elemental is a super adorable film. It weaves into its premise a lot of the things many deal with today—familial expectations, assumptions, traditions, bureaucracy, and love in all its forms. How even one person believing in you can make all the difference.

One thing that was very subtle but spoke volumes were the fact the city had actually been made with the intention of creating a place where all four elements could live and thrive. A quick pan during the beginning showed how each element had come to the city in phases. Yet as many things do, something was lost in translation as time passed, and rather than the fire element getting included, it was just easier to shunt it to the side and those of fire were happy to go. 

Oh, there’s a short before the film – post “Up” – it was nice to see Carl and Dug again! 

Rating: ★★★★.25 out of 5 Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again!

Spider-man Across the Spider-verse

Spider-man Across the Spider-verse

This is PART 1 – just thought I’d warn you upfront. 😋 (Everybody seems to be doing multi-part films now! It’s not a bad thing, but it would be nice to get a heads up!)

All the awesomeness of the first film is back in the second. This time, the starter POV is from Gwen’s side so we see her before and after she met Miles. This gives us a good foundation for all that comes after. 

Family, friendship, hope, trust, guilt, love, parenting, we run the full gambit. Loads of new spider guys and gals we get to have a ton of fun with. 

In a weird type twist, while Elemental shows you how one person can boost someone to greater heights, here in the multiverse we see how not taking someone seriously can send them in the opposite direction and with dire consequences! 

Rating: ★★★★.5 out of 5 Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again!



There is a lot of notoriety around the lead actor of this film, and people have boycotted it due to his actions. The only problem is when they do, they are hurting 100s of people who also worked on the movie, not just the actor. So something to keep in mind?

In recent years I have noticed a tendency to make what had been serious characters in the comics into somewhat comedic characters in the films. (Thor, Aquaman, etc.) So though Barry is a genius, he doesn’t always come across as smart. 

Great effects, the CGI stays great aside from a couple of blips, a good buildup leading to the big reveal (you can see it coming, but only if you really pay attention—bwahahaha—and that’s the best way to know it’s been done right. So kudos, guys!) Some nice ways to use Barry’s powers.

I was impressed with the fact they took the time to give Barry a unique way/pose to run. It made me think of the ancient statues of Hermes. Giving his run an identity rather like the way Superman would take off back in the day.

I loved Bruce Wayne’s explanation of the multi-verse. Tons of homage to the different Batmans and Supermans over the ages. They even brought back pieces of music from the older films. 

Yet another super hero is about to be taught the dangers of time travel and mucking about with it. Bwahahahahaha

Rating: ★★★★.25 out of 5 Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again!

Asteroid City

Asteroid City

This film won’t be for everyone. Wes Anderson’s films tend to be quirky, odd, thought-provoking, and even weird. I’ve seen a number of them, so I knew what to expect. 😋

This one crosses and blurs the lines between reality and fiction and vice versa. It is about a play called “Asteroid City” which we see played out in movie-magic reality (despite the fact it is a stage play), but also get glimpses behind the curtain. The narrator’s comment when speaking about the writer’s creative process and all the things it took months to do all condensed into a sentence or two was EPIC! (Too many films depict writing as easy, one draft affairs instantly ready for publication – which it is not!)

I think older audiences will see a lot more to like/recognize than younger ones. There are tons of nods and winks to 50’s and 60’s Hollywood SF films and famous movie stars. For example, Scarlett Johansson in the play is a Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor mix.

Some of the zingers are fast. Others are subtle and in the background (So keep your eyes peeled). They are things to be seen and assimilated yet not said forthrightly. (The paintings in the writer’s home are a perfect example. At first, they seem like typical cowboy paintings until you take a better look!)

Hubby has enjoyed some of the other films, but not this one. I did! So take from that what you will! 😂

Rating: ★★★★ out of 5 Hubby’s Rating: Better on Cable.

StoryOrigin Swap 2 (Freebie)

StoryOrigin Swap 2 (Freebie)

Braden Hawk

Framed for a crime he did not commit. Braden Hawk seeks vengeance.

My life changed forever in a single, tragic evening.

They convicted me of killing twelve people with a single swipe of my Sword of Wind. Little did they know someone else committed the crime.

They never knew I was betrayed. Betrayed not just by an ally, but by my dear cousin. My best friend at the Celestial University of the Northeast, she fought alongside me in the Elemental War against the notorious Machis. Then, she revealed her true colors and took everything I had. My parents, my little godsister, my freedom.

Now I’ve broken out of my little cage and I will avenge their deaths, along with everything else she and the Machis took from me.

I am Braden Hawk. I am a Wind Master. I am a Sentinel. I am out for blood. And I will reveal the truth.

Movie/TV Previews 🎥

Dune Part 2 Trailer 2 – can’t wait! 

Wednesday Adams Season 2 is coming! Sweet!

Just for Fun!

Noodle the Singing Cat – he’s awesome! Wait till you hear him sing!



Noodle the Cat reveals who is behind his singing voice. Awesome rendition of Live and Let Die!

The Sounds of Ancient Languages video. Pretty darn cool!

Cruel Cruel Summer Group Promo Banner

Cruel, Cruel Summer Group Promo – creepy books to chill your blood and keep you cool! 😋

Strong Women Strange Worlds 07.07.23

Strong Women – Strange Worlds QuickReads for 7/7/23!

Stay hydrated and have a ton of fun!

Till next time!


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