Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Ninja News, and Animated Movie Trivia

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.

And this month I have two awesome co-hosts helping - Livia and Tasha! Be sure to visit them and say thanks for their willingness to help.

Right now, I am in waiting mode. My publisher has my manuscript and their editor is going over it before sending it back to me next month for revisions. CassaStorm has been my focus all year, and until the final edits are done, it will remain on my mind. I’m happy with what I created (and special thanks to Rusty, Cassie, Jeffrey, and my two test readers for making it SO much better) and won’t start thinking about another project until next year.

So while I’m not really insecure right now, I’ve been thinking about certain writing aspects. Seems like the great works are always far deeper than what’s on the surface. They are full of symbolism and metaphors. They tap into a basic human desire or drive in an all-consuming way. They are planned with care, guiding the reader down a path of inner discovery.

Um, yeah. And then there are my books. What you see is what you get. If you read anything deeper into them, it’s not there on purpose.

However, upon completion of the first draft of my latest, I realized I did have a theme! Again, not planned. Which means the theme rather surprised me. (Is that bad?) And at the risk of losing my “Stud-muffin” image (insert laughter here) the theme is LOVE.

CassaStar – love of a friend

CassaFire – love of a spouse

CassaStorm – love of a child

Yeah, I’m stunned. No idea how that happened.

Is it a good theme? Does your work or books have a theme?

Be sure to visit other members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Ninja News

Talli Roland’s latest book, The Pollyanna Plan, is available now. Congratulations, Talli! Wish I had your writing chops.

Jamie at Mithril Wisdom just celebrated three years of blogging. We started blogging within weeks of each other in 2009 and met during the first A to Z Challenge, so I feel like I’ve known Jamie forever. Congratulations, dude! Let’s keep rocking.

Writers4Writers kicks off on Thursday! Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Mary Pax, Christine Rains, and CM Brown, the first spotlighted author will be Nancy Thompson and her book The Mistaken. Visit the hosts for information on how YOU can help! You can also visit the W4WS Facebook page HERE.

Jeffrey Beesler has declared December to be Milk and Cookies Month! He kicked it off yesterday by listing a couple Chocolate Chip Hipsters. (EJ and I were listed,) Thank you, Jeffrey! You rock, my man. Shame you ate all the cookies though…

LG at Writing Off the Edge is celebrating her one year blog anniversary with a blogfest - The Beginnings Blogfest, Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Lots of options for telling us about your beginnings. See her site for details. And congratulations, LG!

I just hit 1700 followers. Thanks so much, guys! Whoa… Crap! Need to party or something. Let me think about it and get back to you on Friday.

And just to clarify one of my answers for Monday’s blogfest – yes, my Gibson Les Paul guitar cost A LOT more than $100. Add a digit and some bigger numbers and you get the picture. (And for you musicians, it has a Floyd Rose tremolo!)

Movie Trivia!

Because I haven’t done this in a while. Animation edition.

1 – From Aardman Animations, this clay-animation film took place on Mrs. Tweedy’s farm.

2 – This 70’s animated film was set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where two brothers, Avatar and Blackwolf, do battle to control the world.

3 – This Christmas animation features the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy – and a member of Santa’s family you never knew existed!

4 – Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for this cell-animated space movie set in the year 3028 and featuring a spaceship that holds the secret to the salvation of the human race.

5 – Before Pixar put out their take on these small critters, Woody Allen voiced the lead, “Z,” in this film.

6 – Written by Ted Hughes in 1968, this science fiction story set in 1957 became a critically-acclaimed movie in 1999 with its simple innocence.

What are your insecurities today? Have you signed up for Writers4Writers? (Come on – Nancy’s book ROCKS!) Ready to kick of 2013 with a blogfest? And know any of the answers to the animated film trivia questions…?


  1. Love works as a theme because it's such a fundamental part of life. So don't worry about that. Love is something we can all relate to.

    Congratulations on hitting 1700 followers (that's insane!) and thanks for mentioning my blogfest! You rock!

  2. Bah, you got your post up before me! And you shouldn't lie, because -I- know you are thinking about a next project, even if you aren't thinking about writing until next year. :P

  3. Love is what I look for as a theme in a novel, even if it is a horror novel. DUMA KEY wins for me because it is of love: love of two new friends, love of a father for his daughter, and the lost love of a husband for his wife ... and really Salvador Dali style horror!

    Congrats on the 1700 followers!

  4. If there is a theme to my work it's quite by accident. I just love to tell a story for fun and escape. ;)

    Congrats on hitting 1700!

  5. It's an awesome theme. It's funny how themes often sneak up and pounce on you from behind. Hehehe. At least that's what happens to me as well.
    Congrats on getting Storm to that stage.

  6. Thanks for the shout out, Alex! Hope the feedback from CassaStorm is all good :)


  7. Ah, Alex,

    You're just a big, squishy marshmallow.... just like the rest of us dudes. Nothing wrong with that. A real man is sensitive, caring, and STRONG.

    I am not surprised at all that your theme is love. You give it to your blogger family daily with the support you give all of us.

    Congrats on CassaStorm and 1700 followers!

    Oh, I have a few insecurities today... Will feature them in my post... But I feel better already just dropping by your place.

    Thanks for everything you do Alex.

  8. Oooh! I know the answer to #4!! But it's Joss Whedon related so of course I know it.

  9. OMG; I'm not #153 this time :) I've been doing some "research" on your blog (for the blogfest) and went back to your earliest days. Wow, I found some posts with no comments. So weird. Congrats on coming so far in the blogging world.

    Sometimes the themes in my stories surprises me too. I get an idea, a character, and write where the scenes take me. Eventually, an abiding theme shows up in the characters and their plots. Nice when that happens, huh?

    Dude; who else but you remembers any of that animation stuff?


  10. I love it when you don't set out with a theme and of course there is one or more when you analyse your work. Great themes you've discovered in your books. D

  11. You will never lose your studmuffin image, and love is the greatest theme of all. Congrats on 1700 followers! LG's blogfest sounds like fun.

  12. I agree with Julie. What better theme is there? I have several intentional themes, and my writing group picks up on others I hadn't noticed. It's neat when that happens.And I haven't a clue as to any of the above.


  13. PS I also agree with Julie about your studmuffin image. =)

  14. 1 – From Aardman Animations, this clay-animation film took place on Mrs. Tweedy’s farm.
    Chicken Run

    2 – This 70’s animated film was set on a post-apocalyptic Earth where two brothers, Avatar and Blackwolf, do battle to control the world.

    3 – This Christmas animation features the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy – and a member of Santa’s family you never knew existed!

    4 – Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for this cell-animated space movie set in the year 3028 and featuring a spaceship that holds the secret to the salvation of the human race.
    Titan AE

    5 – Before Pixar put out their take on these small critters, Woody Allen voiced the lead, “Z,” in this film.

    6 – Written by Ted Hughes in 1968, this science fiction story set in 1957 became a critically-acclaimed movie in 1999 with its simple innocence.

  15. Hi Alex - congratulations on finishing off your book for your editor to give you his notes pre publication .. that's great news.

    Interesting how your themes just appeared - and as everyone says 'love = just is' ..

    Still can't do your films .. but it's certainly not an insecurity of mine - just canna not do!

    Cheers .. and good luck to everyone with all the blog fests .. Hilary

  16. Saying hello from IWSG...I do agree that many good books tap into the readers' need for personal discovery... Many of my stories do have themes, but I try not to beat the reader on the top of the head with them.

  17. #3 is Arthur Christmas

    #6 is gonna bug me. The Iron Giant?

  18. 1700 followers are great!

    I'm very curious about your 4th book (love) theme as well. ;)

  19. Congrats on your 1700 followers and good luck with your new book. It must be exciting but at the same time an apprehensive time until published.


  20. You can't really go better for a theme than love - it's basically what connects us to each other, regardless of our individual circumstances.

    Love as a theme works whether it's two people struggling to get together or an ex-military guy killing whoever's in his way to rescue his family. Nothing un-masculine about it!

  21. It's great that your theme came about by accident, it makes it more genuine :) some novel themes can be so contrived. I seem to keep writing about families, so maybe that's my theme!

  22. Love's a pretty good theme to have. My books do have themes, they differ, in my zombie dog books it's about loyalty and responsibility, in my kids mystery the theme is fathers and sons.

    I'm reading one of Tali's books now, my first one and it's really funny! (Mistletoe in Manhattan).

  23. LG, thanks and you're welcome - you rock!

    Andrew, I just didn't want to give anything away...

    Jamie, you're welcome!

    Michael, stud muffin!! No squishy here. Thanks and glad you feel better - that's what I am here for.

    MJ, of course!

    Donna, someone will remember! And yeah, those first few months were crickets around here.

    Julie, that is good to know.

    Robyn, glad the image is intact!

    Lurker, four out of six!

    Cynthia, I certainly wasn't beating.

    Tony, you got two!

    Noon, that's right!

    Catherine, I wouldn't even know how to contrive...

    Charmaine, I read my first Talli book last week! Yeah, I feel really bad about that...

  24. I think that's an excellent way of figuring out your themes! I'm hoping my theme in my novel is "Trust yourself & others that love you" but we'll see how that goes. :)

    My Insecure Writer Issue

  25. Congrats on 1700 followers. I don't write with a lot of symbolism either so I know what you mean about that.

  26. Love as a theme is a good choice, I suppose my series is about love as well in a round about way.

    Congrats on the 1700 follower, that is really an incredible amount!

    Thanks for the W4W's mention. I am sure my fellow hosts are all looking forward to the launch as much as I am.

  27. Love is a great theme. Being the mom I am, I always say with the last one.
    I'm familiar with guitars because of my son. Yes, that costs a lot more than $100.

  28. Good luck with your manuscript...nail-biting time, but I'm sure you don't need to worry. I think that often themes find us rather than we look for them. Look forward to CassaStorm. And 1,700 followers...wowza! What would you do if you had to hold a party for all your followers in your house LOL?

  29. I think love is a great theme. And it's a series theme for!

    Congratulations on finishing and submitting CassaStorm. :)

  30. December is milk and cookies month? Yum! CONGRATS on 1700 followers!

  31. OK,

    So I don't do guitars, but I think a Floyd Rose tremolo could be an awesome SOMETHING in a fantasy book

    PS... Love the love themes :)

  32. You do not understand the term 'stud muffin' if you think saying your books are about love will ruin your image.

    Sensitivity is the Ahh Factor, essential to being a stud muffin and you just ratcheted it up a degree.

  33. You are so the Capn Ninja of Love!! Awwww!

    1) Chicken Run
    6) The Iron Giant

    Yay!! Take care

  34. I think all my stories rotate around Love as well. And learning to trust yourself/know yourself. But, like you, I never think of a theme in advance :)

  35. Hey Alex,
    Have you read Stephen King's 'On Writing'? In it he writes about how themes emerge organically for him, and that the best ones are sometimes he doesn't see until the story is finished. So, I think you're in great company in how you work!

    Your themes are wonderful and ones I love to read about.

    I'm off to look up what exactly a Floyd Rose tremolo is ... (I'd love to read more about your exploits on guitars. :) )

  36. So much here - cookies and Talli and beginnings and stud muffins...

    Themes - I think we all have them but many aren't discovered until after we write the book, or during it. IMHO, many times it comes from deep in the subconscious. Same with symbolism. My mind puts those things in without my being aware of it at first. Maybe someday I can do it all on purpose. :)
    Love as a theme is crucial to many stories. It's one of the necessities in life for most of us.

  37. Natalie, you can relate then!

    CM, you're welcome. Looking forward to Thursday.

    Ciara, yes it did.

    Susan, I'll need a much bigger house...

    Mark, that made me laugh!

    Huntress, I'm going to hold you to that assessment.

    Kitty, you got those right!

    Kirsten, that's cool then! And maybe I do need to write more about my guitar playing...

  38. I don't think there can be a better theme than love and maybe its even stronger because it was accidental.

    Congrats to Talli, Jamie and you Alex! 1700! WOW!

    1. Chicken Run -that's the only one I know. I love that movie!

  39. Haha, I know what you mean! I didn't know what my theme was until I finished my first draft of my second book. Good luck with revisions next month!

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. I think the theme is awesome, whether you intended it or not. I'm happy things are going well and glad you can relax for the holiday.

  42. Great news and nice theme to your books also. Congrats on the 1700 fans and followers here. Your blog rocks!

  43. I think Love is a great theme! Way to go! It's awesome when we discover our inside genius and everything just falls into place - even if not planned. Yes, I'm signed up for W4WS - it's a great idea!

  44. Love is the best theme! And somehow, I am not surprised at all that was your theme, you show an amazing amount of love for others in just what you do here. We all love you Alex!

  45. i am dizzy, i fell down... now great stuff...

  46. You're busy, busy. And the holidays makes us all dizzy with all the busy.

    I'm still on the blogging hiatus. Still on Glowstick watch, too. Working on perfecting Secondhand Shoes. Soon and very soon.

    Did you send your interview questions back to Sir Poops and Hair Ball.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  47. I remember a post you wrote recently that was about how the values of a writer come through in their stories. You seem to be a very loving guy - makes sense that love would be an underlying theme.

  48. I'm in waiting mode myself - and have never felt better. I finally kicked all the excuses, polished off my novel, and (more importantly) managed to let go. There's something to be said for impossible deadlines. :)

  49. I think theme is unavoidable. Pretty much every work of art has a theme, whether you want it to or not. Even if you were going to intentionally write something without theme, it would still have theme—even if the theme is "no theme," that's still a theme! Okay, now I don't want to say the word ever again.

    Good luck with Cassastorm, Alex!

  50. Beautiful theme for your books.
    And congrats on the 1700 ninja followers!!!

  51. Um, well, a sci-fi book could have worse themes than love. Well played. :D

  52. I love the themes of your books. It's nice when put down that way.

  53. It's always interesting to try to boil down one's stories by their themes. Tough sometimes.

  54. Happy IWSG day, Alex! Funny how unplanned themes have a way of rounding out at the end. Congrats on 1700 followers!

  55. It's hard to imagine a better theme than what you've come up with. Can't wait to read CassaStorm. :)

    I'm not familiar with LG's blog, heading over to check that out now. Thanks as always for sharing all the news!

  56. Thats whay makes your theme so awesome then--it was there all the time and not even you knew it.
    Congrats on 1700 and wow my brain is stalled and I can't think of any of those animations. Guess I could google them and look like a total brainiac, but .... nah. :)

  57. wow. i'm ashamed to say i don't recognize any of the movies from your trivia. oh well. *ducks head in shame*

  58. The theme progression of your books is eerily similar to the progression in the average person's life.
    So many things happening, how do you keep up.
    Happy IWSG. I might just join the blogfest and embarrass you further. :)

  59. I'm totally digging the theme, Alex. And yes, mine tend to have an underlying theme or a double meaning in all of them. Tiring, but stories with layers are my favorite.

    Congrats on reaching 1700! :)

  60. Hahaha! I'm laughing 'stud muffin'..,the term, not you. I haven't heard that one in a long time.

  61. I think the theme for your books should of been the love for blogging

  62. Nah. Your stud-muffin status is safe. Better for it, even. :)

  63. Isn't it funny how themes emerge after the fact? Sometimes you don't know what you're writing until it's on the page and done! Our subconscious is an amazing and mysterious thing. :)

  64. Love is an awesome theme! I don't write with a theme in mind, but I do have to admit theme shows up in the stories, planned or not.

  65. "What you see is what you get. If you read anything deeper into them, it’s not there on purpose."

    That had me in stitches.

    I think all book end up with some sort of theme, but I like that all yours ended up with an overall theme.

    Ha - Got yourself!

  66. Kathy, you got it!

    Marta, still looking for genius...

    Jaybird, that's sweet.

    Shelly - will get to those!

    Tonja, I guess so.

    Rek, I didn't eve notice that. And good to hear from you!

    Leigh, I am here to amuse.

    PTM, maybe the next book...

    Thanks, EVERYONE!!!

  67. So much to celebrate, Alex, writing a successful trilogy, an uber-successful blog, a loving wife. You are truly an inspiration to the rest of us - I am so happy to see it happening to such 'nice" guy.

  68. I just finished reading a book about how in the process of writing we are given what we need. It's not that we go after a theme (if we did, it would come out contrived); it's the miracle that we end up with a theme.

    And there's no reason to laugh at that theme :). No need for insecurities there!


  69. I have a couple themes: Mankind is not ready for new technologies. greed and incompetence will once again threaten to use it to destroy rather than further civilization.

  70. Love is an awesome theme! I've tried to have a theme, but I don't think I have symbolism in any of my writing . . .or at least nothing deep and not blatantly obvious.
    I think I signed up for Writers4Writers - must check that.
    and answers - nope, just the tantalizing thought that I should know those movies.

  71. Holy moley it's a long way to the nosebleed section.

    Love is always a great theme.

    And one of the answers is "AntZ" :o)

  72. Ha, I remember when I first realized I had a theme too. It was such an eye-opener. Mine's the complexity of the child-parent relationship. Who knew!

  73. Aw, how cute! Love is your theme! Well, what is life without love, right?

    Congrats on 1700 followers!

    #3 - Arthur Christmas? I think so ...
    #5 - Antz

  74. Love is such an enduring theme! Since I write romance novels, I'm definitely into that theme, but as a psychologist I focus on HEALING and REDEMPTION. The indomitable human spirit.

  75. Accidental themes are the best themes! I think novels are better written off the cuff without a theme in mind.

  76. Your stories having a theme doesn't surprise me at all. You seem like a thoughtful, intuitive type, so purpose both in life and in books probably comes natural.

  77. Love is a great theme - my theme is usually HELLLPPPP!

    The answer to 1. is the one with the pigeons (name escapes me).
    No idea about the others, thought I might because I have kids!

  78. CRAZY how the themes are tied together... totally like it was planned... And 1700 is such a beautiful number! Those ninja clones are hard at work. :-)

  79. Love of a child? Wow...that is such a teaser.

  80. Love is always a most bodacious theme, my friend. Everyone can relate to that in one way or another. SWEET!

    Yay Talli! Yay Writers4Writers!

    I know Chicken Run is #1, Wizards? #2, Arthur Christmas #3, Antz #5. Not sure about the others. I know number 4, but cannot think of the name. Dang it all.

  81. Congrads on your 1700, Alex! AWESOME!!!

  82. AWW CRAP! I can't believe i forgot about IWSG this month! Completely slipped my mind!

    And i didn't know Joss Whedon wrote Titan A.E. (assuming that's #4 of course)

  83. Love is an excellent theme :)
    And I know none of the trivia answers. Sigh.

  84. I love your discovery of your themes. Not only did each one have a theme but they fit together to make a whole.

  85. I really thought I was going to know some of the trivia today but I can only guess at one of them and I'm probably wrong.
    The very first writing conference I went to, an editor told us all great stories are love stories so I guess you have the right theme.

  86. Love sounds like a great theme. I'm the same when it comes to my writing. I don't plan any themes, but they do manage to slip in there and I only end up noticing when a reviewer points the theme out.

  87. I totally thought your theme was on purpose, lol. It came so naturally to those stories :)

  88. I often wonder how much deepness in literature, even from the greats, was born organically instead of being planned. We writers are too hard on ourselves!

  89. Great theme! You heart went there, as it should be :D

    I think that is the most wonderful way to write~
    You surprised yourself-I think Ninjas are good at that ;D

  90. Oh, I just watched Arthur Christmas. So I know the answer to that animated movie question. I didn't like it though. It just seemed a little too weird.

    That makes me feel better that you said you took all year to work on CassaStorm. I will probably take a year to even write my sequel to Oculus. I've been working on it for the last month and just hit 10,000 words. Yeah...I'm that slow. That's like Chapter Three. And I'm exhausted so I've shelved what I've written until sometime next week.

  91. Congrats on your manuscript. I love the part where you said "...while I'm not really insecure right now...". Can I get some of that? LOL!

    Love is a wonderful theme. I think bits and pieces of our real selves come out in our writing whether we mean for them to or not.

  92. Hi Alex
    Love is the best theme. Without love where would we be. On other fronts, I am woefully behind and not feeling well enough today to check it out. Have a great day.

  93. Book themes? I feel like I'm in High School Literature class. Don't worry I'm actually one of those who love literature. A lot of my wips deal with finding your place in the world, love and sacrifice. Not intentional of course but we each write in our own way. Glad Cassastorm seems to be doing well and best of luck with next round of revisions. Oh and congrats on beating the 1700 mark. Amazing Alex, just amazing.

  94. Here's to bye-bye insecurity and a new book!

  95. Nice to have a clue about CassaStorm!!! Thanks.
    I'm about to put up my IWSG and came over to say "hi" and grab the link.
    1700 - def calls for a party!
    Tina @ Life is Good

  96. I'm not convinced every reader wants a deep theme. I think they just want a good book and it seems like yours fits that bill very well.

  97. That's exactly how it should be. Books should not be written with theme & symbolism in mind. If its a good story, those elements will surface all on their own. The hard part is recognizing it. I loved the theme the CassaStar. I bought, but haven't read yet, CassaFire & can't wait to discover the theme within it! And thanks for promoting me yet again, Alex! You are sweetest friend!

  98. I love when themes happen like that!

  99. a theme?!
    sounds like a familiar dreaded assignment (from what holiday movie!)
    yours are so perfect!
    new news! jotting down

    and trivia, i got 2 out of six...
    1- chicken run
    5- antz

    ps, cant wait for enders game! speaking of sci fi movies!

  100. Congrats on finishing CassaStorm and submitting it. You have a great theme going there. And, you also have such interesting news here, thanks.

    Thoughts in Progress

  101. Holly, glad I could make you laugh!

    Aw, thanks Karen.

    Jen, then it was a miracle!

    Tyrean, you'll know them when you see them.

    ML, sorry, and you are correct!

    Juliana, you got it.

    Hannah!!!!!! So glad to have you back.

    Elizabeth, I can live with that.

    Morgan, yes they are.

    Brinda, it went into new territory for me.

    Robyn, you got those right.

    Sarah, that's all right, and you are correct.

    Helen, funny how that worked...

    Cassie, surprise!

    Michael, I take forever to write a book...

    Melissa, take as much as you need.

    Tina, you've been clued.

    Thanks, Nancy!

    And thank you everyone! Stupid work meetings have kept me away all day...

  102. Hey, who are you (rightfully) calling neurotic? :P ;)

    *flails* XD

    I dislike that limbo you end up floating in briefly after submitting a story. I mean, you do keep in mind that there were plenty of other submissions, that each one has to be read through carefully, etc, but if you're waiting for more than a couple of weeks, it can start to make you a wee stir-crazy. So far I've had good feedback and positive results, but the waiting is really no fun, especially if the answer you finally get is not the one you were hoping for .__.

  103. Wow, pretty amazing that our #IWSG topics are on such similar tracks. Must be something in the air.

    Wrote By Rote

  104. I was always a little daunted by the idea of trying to work a "theme" into my books. So I didn't.

    And yet, both books I wrote came out with a very definite theme. Love. Family. What people are willing to sacrifice for the person they love...

    I think it's a good theme, since it's something everyone can relate to. And look, now we have something in common. :)

  105. Got this song in my head now..."All you need is love..." lol, guess who?....

  106. I love the theme, Alex. Totally works for me. Maybe that's part of what I love about your books--the unconscious.

  107. I love your theme! The stud muffin status and man card are not being revoked :D

  108. Holy cow! 1700 followers is amazing!

    As for themes, I think the best ones are subtle. It makes sense that you would have picked up on the love theme after the fact.

  109. teehee--I think most of my themes are accidental, too. I love to read those deep books, but if I were to try to write one, I think it would end up contrived. I'm more a twisty plot person than a theme/motif/complexity of language one.

  110. Tara, you got those right!

    Laura, that's why you dive in to something else to stay occupied.

    Lee, I know!

    Tamara, and that's good!

    Siv, channeling some Beatles?

    Thanks, Donna!

    Samantha, that's good to know.

    Johanna, took me until the third book...

    Hart, I couldn't do it.

  111. Are you kidding me? Love is the best theme!

    As far as the Trivia goes I think I actually know one or two!

    1 - Chicken run

    2 - No idea

    3 - Arthur Christmas

    4 - Wish I knew this one, Love Josh Whendon!

    5 - Ants?

    6 - No idea

    That was kinda fun :)

  112. With money, love is a pretty hot ticket item around which many thoughts revolve. Them pop singers know what's what. ;-)

    But seriously, it's very natural that love would be at the heart of your writing (or anyone's). Apart from food and shelter, what we bipeds need to thrive in this world are loving relationships, yo.
    Some Dark Romantic

  113. You're most welcome for the shout-outs, Alex! And thanks for sending a nod my way for my Milk and Cookies. As far as where the cookies went, at least there'll be more, unlike the Twinkies!

  114. I think waiting is the HARDEST part. It's a lot harder than writing, that's for sure.

  115. Congrats on 1700! Themes can arise even when you don't know it, and honestly, I really like your theme :) And I laughed inwardly when you said "Stud-muffin" image, not because you AREN'T a stud muffin, but just the way you said it :) I love it :D

  116. I like your themes! Good going, even if it wasn't intentional. :)

  117. "Um, yeah. And then there are my books. What you see is what you get. If you read anything deeper into them, it’s not there on purpose." LOL Alex, that's me, too.
    Love is a cool theme to accidentally have, though. There's nothing wrong with that:)

  118. Love definitely works as a theme. I think all books that have well written characterization give some aspect of theme about the human condition.

  119. LOL- they are all book related. Congrats on the publisher- best of luck to you! ~ Jess

  120. I absolutely love that your theme was there by accident Alex! I can't think deep enough to be putting it in as I write. Maybe that makes me a poor writer?

  121. I do have a theme and didn't even realize it.

    Forgiveness and redemption

  122. Well I think love is the best theme there is; that is cool that you just noticed that trend! Congrats on getting CassaStorm submitted to your publisher. Oh, the waiting...

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  123. JA, you got three!

    Mina, very true!

    Jeffrey, if you have Twinkies, might want to keep that to yourself!

    SC, I am here to amuse...

    Gwen, then you can relate.

    Rebecca, maybe that makes you a smart writer. You don't have to think as much.

    Thanks, guys!!!

  124. Sorry I did not comment on Monday.

    Congratulations on 1700 followers! I will definitely sign up for your celebration!

    Thanks for letting me co-host IWSG! I commented on a handful of blogs and met some new people! It was fun!

  125. I read your title first as 'automated' movie trivia. lol I need my eyes checked.

    I haven't figured out how to go really deep yet either. Maybe at some point... we'll see.

    My insecurities remain stubbornly in place, despite some really nice fan mail lately. One dude thinks I'll be immortal. He's so awesome. A couple more letters like that and my insecurities might go away.

  126. There are all styles of stories and all styles of readers. The right ones find each other and that's what makes a successful author. Kudos to you, Alex.

  127. Ok, I know the first of these animations, that being Chicken Run. Love that movie. Not a clue to the rest, but maybe I'm too young for this? That's my excuse...

    Currently all my insecurities have to do with revisions and rewriting and editing. I meant to see about joining in this month, but biscuit making took priority sadly. I'm going to have to make a resolution to join in next year.

  128. I feel so confused, love? ehh whats that? I must look into this illogical human phenomena and find out more. It seems to be catching hold.

  129. Funny how you worked those themes into your books without even thinking. I think that's what is so great about reading great books...that underlying theme or message.

  130. Sounds like you let your subconscious take over at some point during your storytelling, which can make for some great reading and a more natural flow. Me, I can think of the them before I start but then I kinda spread out into other themes. I need more mental discipline.

  131. I LOVE it when the themes surprise even the writer - shows that the Big Guy is right there guiding our hands. :)

  132. Livia, thanks for being a co-host! Couldn't do it without you.

    Mary, that's funny. And I could live off a couple emails like that.

    Thanks, Liza.

    Imogen, you are correct, and please join us next month!

    Spacerguy, it's a cool thing.

    Jay, they;re not great, but a theme is there.

  133. Ninja's always have a theme. Usually its painful!

    I understand how difficult it is to wait.

    I should know all those trivia questions, especially Mr. Whedon's, but I'm fried.

    I'll be back to hear the answers from you!


  134. Glad your third book is moving forward! I thought the way you handled the love theme in the first book was believable and touching. I'm looking forward to the second one now.

  135. I think that's a good theme. And I like the progression you're presenting over the course of the books.

    Congratulations on 1700 Followers!

  136. I like your book themes a lot! Those are great!

  137. What you see is what you get. If you read anything deeper into them, it’s not there on purpose.


  138. I just realized I missed IWSG this month! I've been so busy recently that I haven't been blogging. sorry :(

  139. Love is a beautiful theme.

    And I know Chicken Run! Love that movie.

  140. Alex, I think love as the theme is beautiful.

    #5 - Antz? I dunno. I suck at these.

  141. Now I want milk and cookies. Good thing I happen to have my Chips Ahoy right here beside me. (Gotta run downstairs for the milk though.)

    Congrats to all mentioned. And Alex, it's great you've found a theme! I like its progression through the books. Great work with the IWSG.

  142. Congratulations Talli and Jamie! Alex love makes the world go round.

  143. Love is a fabulous theme of which I never get tired of reading about. We humans can do some truly amazing things for love. My theme's tend to be faith. Faith in oneself, faith in others, faith in the divine. I love themes. Great post!

  144. Congrats on topping 1700 followers!! Woohoo!!
    Yeah, all my books have themes, metaphors and symbolism on top of the most exciting plots I can dream up. I try to tick all the boxes and still can't interest an agent. Oh, well...
    I'm sure your editor will love your ms! :-)

  145. I'm too sick too have insecurities today, which I guess is good when it comes to insecurities, but not my health. Aw-well. I'll survive and be back and at it soon. Insecurities and all :)

  146. I agree with some of the other posters about you intuitively creating a theme. Some of us do it consciously and some do it instinctively, but as long as you're honestly telling the story, readers will relate. Great IWSG post!

  147. Ah, yes, love is always a great theme! There are, as you say, so many kinds of love, and each type is fascinating in its own way. Themes in my books? Hmm, one asked the question Is there ever a worthy war? Another asked the question If you think someone is your enemy, think again and take a deeper look. The one I'm writing now asks If Everything About you changes, what's left? Personally I like asking big questions, or having themes to chew on because it helps drive me to write, in order to figure out the answers (which I often don't know!)

  148. 1. Chicken Run
    2. ?
    3. ?
    4. gah! I know this one, but can't think of the answer, and I know looking it up is cheating.
    4. Ants?
    5. ?

    I think those are lovely themes. I am also mostly themeless in my writing, but I often wonder if I'm accidentally putting something in there that I don't realize. An accidental theme.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  149. So glad for Talli getting the Pollyanna Plan out to the world.

    And 1700 followers...WOOT! We'll keep coming cuz we heart you Alex :-)

  150. Of course your books have a theme, silly... all good stories do. Themes don't have to be "deep" or metaphorical to tap into the fundamental aspects of storytelling. If you can carry a story from beginning to end, especially spanning a trilogy, there's bound to be more than one theme in there. When I get through all three, I'll let you know if I see any more ;-)

    Congrats on a successful year and reaching out to over 1700 followers... we are all better bloggers as a result of IWSG... so expect that number to keep growing!

  151. Oh congrats on all those followers! Bravo. And on getting your book to the stage of pre-trad-publishing. I envy you the reassurance of that. Standing in my shoes - indie-pubbing - that's the one thing I's trade. Just finishing up my editors recommendations then it's out for Christmas after a few years of heard slog and many curve-balls. I totally get that theme pops up in spite of us and my theme is love. I think it's always going to be the best theme. Who doesn't want love in their lives. Good luck for the month ahead - I'm going to look at the blogfest. And no, I came up zero with the movies! :(

  152. Love is a great theme and I can't wait to read your books. They're on my Christmas list. (:

  153. Great theme! Thank you once again for hosting this much needed party and good luck with your edits!

  154. What are my insecurities TODAY? Let me count the ways...

    Very cool about your book themes, Alex.

  155. I'm not surprised that ended up as your theme without you noticing. You've got a love of humanity! Sorry, that sounds sappy...

    1 - Chicken Run
    3 - Arthur Christmas (Aardman too)
    5 - Antz
    6 - The Iron Man

    That's much better than I do normally, but with four kids cartoons are kind of my speciality!

    Congrats on 1700!

  156. You don't lose any cred on the love themes. Love is a universal emotion, and it's neat that you explored those different facets of love (it's not all romance! Love between friends is just as valid and important as love between spouses).

    I think it's good for stories to have theme, and good that your series continues the theme. I guess I'd say my first story, 'Bright Star', is about blind devotion and fallen heroes. My next, 'Dark Skies' is about forgiveness and redemption.

  157. The Beginnings Blogfest interesting.

  158. I love when I’m surprised about my own writing. When a reader finds a deeper meaning into something, and I think, that’s good. Love is a great theme. In my published novel and it’s hopefully soon-to-have-more-news sequel the hidden theme would be friendship. Being there for the people you love.

    Congrats on 1700 followers! I’m off to check out the links you shared.

  159. That's the weird thing about themes, Alex -- they sort of just ARISE.

    Still very much looking forward to your next book :)

  160. Of course I'm insecure. I'm a writer. My job is to pour my heart out and then get rejected over and over and over again. Just goes to show how much we really love the writing part.

    And I knew almost all the answers, I think
    1-Chicken Run
    2- I have no idea!
    3- Arthur Christmas
    4- Titan A.E.
    5- Antz
    6-Iron Giant

  161. I usually discover my books' themes after writing them. And having love as a theme is great, you still have all your man power, no worries:)

    I understand the consuming focus on one novel, even when it's out of your hands for a month or so. Best of luck on your revisions. I'm sure you'll nail them.

  162. What better theme is there than love? I know how you feel. I hate having my book out of my hands. It's a very vulnerable time. Can't wait for the cover to be released!

  163. Thanks, Alex. A shout-out from you is better than a ride in that car you want in your stocking. Having said that, you know the scene in Casino Royale where James Bond take a water taxi? That's to the Metropole Hotel. Have stood there and sighed. Er, not about the taxi!

  164. Congratulations on 1700 followers! That's amazing.

    I like the themes of your books. Love always works for me!

  165. Thanks, Rose!

    Karen, it's the truth!

    Heather, that's all right. It happens.

    Diane, you are correct.

    Mina, yes!

    Lexa, you do better than me with that stuff.

    Catherine, you give yourself a quest then.

    Shannon, you got two right.

    Thank you, T!!

    Elise, thank you!

    Nick, you nailed those.

    Nickie, don't want to lose cred.

    Lily, you got five!

    Robin, need my man power.

    Kittie, you're welcome.

    Thanks everyone!

  166. A Les Paul guitar is a grand thing to own. Hubs and both brothers in law know their guitars. Hubs doesn't play though.

    A love theme! Who would have thought. If you had seen it earlier, you might have diverted the story arc. I'm interested in how you handle this development, Alex. Sorry to be late here, I was mailing Christmas parcels.

  167. I've just started to follow this blog because you write beautifully but I understand half of what you say. Most be because I'm new at blogging as well. Should make a glossary for the new folks. ;)

  168. oh, and I think my theme is struggle and awareness evolution. :)

  169. I'll return with my IWSG postings in January. Promise! :)

  170. 1700 followers is crazy! Congrats, Alex!

  171. No clue about the trivia answers, but now you have me curious about #3!
    Congrats on 1700 followers!
    Writers 4Writers sounds like a fantastic idea. I'm going to have to get over my Twitter panic attacks. :)

  172. Congrats on hitting 1700! W4WS group had a great kickoff. I'm excited about it. I hope Nancy sees a great boost in sales.

  173. Great themes! Awesome, Alex!!!! :)

  174. I recieve a good amount of comments on themes I didn't know existed within my work. It's amazing what gears turn on a subconscious level!

  175. A double thumbs-up to that Gibson guitar!!!
    ...and congrats on 1700 followers!

  176. A double thumbs-up to that Gibson guitar!!!
    ...and congrats on 1700 followers!

  177. Ow wow! congrats on being up to date with everything for Christmas, Alex. Wonderful. Yes I try to give my stories have a theme. Just posted my IWSG entry.
    Congrats to everyone for their successes and interesting upcoming events.
    I recognise Chicken Run, Pirates, Iron Man only.

  178. I think, in the end, all great books have a theme of love. The movie trivia was fun, but I only knew the Joss Whedon one--Titan A.E.

    Congrats on the 1,700 followers!

  179. I have several intentional themes, and my writing group picks up on others I hadn't noticed vimax canada . It's neat when that happens.And I haven't a clue as to any of the above...!!


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