Wednesday Briefs: March 1, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Broken Path, Starless Tail Chapter One; by Cia Nordwell

Beckett rolled a blade of grass between his fingers. The bottom of the stem was full and round, and the blade fluttered when he spun it again. Grasping the two pieces, he pulled slowly, trying to get the whole blade off the stem before it broke.

“Damn.” It tore, so he tossed the grass down on the field and pursed his lips, looking for another one. A foot kicked his hip, rolling from his belly to his side.

“What are you doing?”

“Dying of boredom.” Beckett squinted up at the dark shape, the sun burning his eyes so they watered.

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Film Review: Ip Man 4: The Finale

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ip Man 4: The Finale

Ip Man (Donnie Yen) is having troubles with his moody son Ching (He Ye). He doesn’t want to do anything his father tells him and gets into fights at school. Ip decides to travel to San Francisco, to see about getting his son into a school there. Time is of the essence, as he has just been diagnosed with cancer. A former student, Bruce Lee (Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan) invites Ip to witness a martial arts demonstration when he is there.  In order to get his son into the school, Ip needs a letter of recommendation from the Chinese Benevolent Assocation, located in Chinatown. However, the head of the association, Wan Zong Hua (Yue Wu) is dismissive of Bruce Lee’s desire to teach Chinese martial arts to other people, and refuses to give Ip the letter.

Ip receives a letter from another source and takes it to the school, but he is told he still needs the letter

from the CBA. While there, he witnesses a Chinese girl being bullied by a jealous classmate, and leaps to her defense. She turns out to be the daughter of Mr. Wan. However, when Ip returns Yonah (Vanda Margraf) to her home, her father is still not impressed. To complicate matters, Yonah’s bully is the daughter of a racist Marine who advocates karate and has no use for kung fu or Chinese people. He is determined to close down the CBA and teach the Chinese their place. Something  has to give!


Sorry to say this is the last film in the series, and we have to say good-bye to Mr. Ip, but this film does not disappoint. The racist sergeant will make your blood boil, and I am angry that his bully daughter never faces any real consequences. The actor playing Bruce Lee did a good job, and all the fight scenes are well choreographed and very interesting. Although this is the last Ip Man, I plan to watch more Donnie Yen films. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #102 – Terrifier

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


It’s Halloween night, and Tara (Jenna Kanell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran) are out having a good time. But they have a bit too much to drink, so they decide to get a bite to eat to eat at a small diner. There they see the same creepy clown (David Howard Thornton) that was annoying them earlier. Did he follow them? Dawn doesn’t let him get to her and cheekily asks for a selfie while sitting on his lap.


After he leaves, they return to the car only to find one of the tires has been slashed. Distraught, Tara calls 

her sister Victoria (Samantha Scaffidi) for a ride. Although she’s studying for midterms, she agrees to come get them when her roommate returns unexpectedly with a male guest, and it’s obvious they are going to be noisy. While they wait, Tara has to use the bathroom, but where? Dawn smiles a man stepping out of a building and asks him on Tara’s behalf to let her in. Mike (Matt McAllister) is an exterminator and he’s reluctant, but finally agrees to let her in while Dawn waits in the car.

The building is disgusting and filthy, and it has rats, but beggars can’t be choosers. But then Art the Clown makes his appearance and everything goes downhill from there…


This film was… I guess torture porn would be a good description. The little plot there is only serves to bring everybody together in this location in order to be killed. Why? I have no idea what this guy’s problem is. He never speaks, remaining mute throughout the entire film. Why? No clue. Maybe we’ll find out in the sequel. Is there gore? In spades. One scene after another. This movie is not for the squeamish, not at all. There is one scene where a girl is hung upside down, naked, and split open, down the middle, starting between her legs.

I had many questions, but few answers. One of the biggest was why this scummy building would even need or call for an exterminator. It looked to be abandoned. So why was he there? Or is that just bad writing? The guy playing the clown did a great job. Definitely gave up very creepy vibes. Did I enjoy this movie? Not really. Am I going to see the sequel? Of course I am. So, I’ll so that if you know what you’re in for going into this, you’ll be fine. I wouldn’t blindside anyone with this though. I’ll give this film 4 Stars for doing what it meant to do pretty well. 

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 7

Assassination Classroom, Vol 7   

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  December 1, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Koro Sensei’s study methods prove invaluable to his students when it comes time to take their exams. Several students won first place in their class, one even beating out the principal’s son! Of course his father was less than thrilled with that news, and was certainly less than supportive of how well Gakushu did, focusing on what he didn’t do instead. Koro Sensei promised that those students who came in first place could shoot off one of his tentacles, so that makes seven tentacles he’s going to lose!

More importantly, the students in Class 3E have bested those in Class A, and are thus entitled to the summer prize of a three-day, two-night trip to Okinawa! Of course they will be spending the time before they go in devising new ways of assassinating Koro Sensei! The first semester under his tutelage may be over, but the assignment is still on!

Irina’s superior, Mr. Lovro, returns, determined to bring in the winning assassin to complete the job! He believes there is only one real person who can do this, the greatest assassin of them all, known simply as the Grim Reaper. The students are excited as they sail to the island of their holiday, planning how to kill Koro Sensei. Since one of his weaknesses is water, this seems like an ideal location for an assassination! They break up into groups with varying agendas, but at the same time they are timing their opportunities to kill their teacher very carefully. They devise a plan that includes the ballroom of the hotel where they are staying, a structure which sits over water! But just as they reduce Koro Sensei to an indefensible state, someone else strikes who turns all their plans upside down! And now it’s up to them, as well as Karasuma and Irina, to save Koro Sensei!

I loved the exams and their outcomes, and how the students showed up the supposedly superior class. I feel sorry for the principal’s son with such a terrible father. The vacation on the island is just what the students needed, but who could have predicted what happened at the end? Looking forward to seeing how they utilize the skills their teacher has taught them in order to rescue him.

Wednesday Briefs: February 22, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #62 (13.1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Once the process server had put us in her rearview mirror and gone on her merry way, Joey sat looking rather stupidly at the documents in his hand in what I imagine was stunned disbelief. Nobody said anything. Probably because nobody wanted to kick a man when he was down. At least we had some kind of explanation for Heather’s disappearance. Nothing sinister, or even really surprising. She’d left his dumb ass and filed for divorce. Who could blame her? Although I still suspected that the minister’s new leaf he’d so recently turned had something to do with that too.

Moments later, the parents returned and took their seats at the table once more.

“Who was that lady I saw standing here?” Joseph Senior asked. “She didn’t stay

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Saturday is Horror Day #101 – Haunt, Frankenhooker

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


It’s Halloween night and a group of friends are bored and not in the mood for the usual Halloween tricks or treats. When they happen upon a flier for an “extreme” haunted house, they decide to check it out. But they quickly discover that some nightmares are for real…

This film is by the writers of A Quiet Place, and while it may not be a great film, it’s a pretty good horror film, and will keep you guessing as to what is going on. This may even put you off of going to haunted houses, as it becomes hard to distinguish between what is staged and what is real. High gore factor as well as hitting on common phobias, such as spiders and confined spaces. All in all a satisfying watch. Also, it was produced by Eli Roth of Hostel fame. I’ll give this film 4 Stars.


Jeffrey (James Lorinz) is a bit… unusual. A wannabe doctor/inventor, who dreams of the great contributions he’ll make to help mankind. But when his fiancé Elizabeth is killed in a tragic lawn mower accident, he realizes he must do something to keep her alive. He steals her head and vows to rebuild her body. But how? Of course! He must come up with new female parts, so he decides to shop for them among the hookers!

Armed with a lot of money and drugs and little common sense, Jeffrey becomes involved a group of

hookers who work for Zorro (Joseph Gonzalez). When Jeffrey realizes he can’t go through with his plan, the hookers discover the drugs he has brought and ingest them, and chaos ensues. What else can he do but go through with his original plan? Although maybe the result isn’t quite what he envisioned.

This was one hysterically funny and campy horror movie! From the same guys who brought us Basket Case, no less, it’s an homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as well as low budget gory horror films of the 50s and 60s. It is simply hilarious from start to finish, from the lawn mower accident to the ending. Jeffrey finds relief from stress by inserting a drill into his brain. Also, look for a cameo by Louise Lasser (of Mary Hartman fame, and ex wife of Woody Allen) as Jeffrey’s mother. I had no idea how good this film was or I would have watched it soon.

The acting is spot on, writing is great, lots of gore and lots of laughs. Definitely a fun time. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: February 15, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #61 (12.6) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Troy was, not surprisingly, the center of attention at our table. Not that he did anything to hog the spotlight, but there was just something so naturally attractive, so very charismatic about him, that drew people to him, like moths to a flame. It didn’t hurt that he was good at speaking to people, not to mention he was a great storyteller.  But he was also sweet and sincere and he had a great heart. Ethan and I were proud to call him our friend. We loved him and Brendan too.

Despite all of charms, Troy was considerate. He made sure to show a genuine interest in other people and had a knack for making those around him feel good. Unfortunately, we may have forgotten to warn him about Ethan’s brother and what a miserable

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Film Review: Ip Man 3

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ip Man 3

In 1959 British Hong Kong, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) lives a quiet life with his wife Cheung Wing-sing (Lynn Xiong) and his younger son Ah Ching (Xiao Long Li). Ah Ching gets into trouble with another boy in his class and both parents are called to the school. There Ip Man meets Cheung Tin-Chi (Jin Zhang), who also practices the Wing Chun style of kung Fu. He is struggling as a single parent, and makes a living pulling a rickshaw, but his dream is to have his own martial arts school. However, he can’t afford the rent. The boys reconcile and the fathers become friends.

Trouble comes in the form of a rich businessman, Frank (Mike Tyson) who desires to own the property the

school sits on and is willing to do whatever he can to get it, including the use of force. He uses his thugs to terrorize the school, forcing Ip Man and his students to step in. While his wife understands what he is doing, she wishes he were at home more. And she hasn’t told him, but she isn’t feeling well, and fears something may be wrong.

Complicating matters, a jealous Tin-Chi has decided to make a name for himself by battling the other kung fu masters. He then challenges Ip Man to a fight… for the title of Grandmaster of Wing Chun. When Ip Man does not show up for the scheduled match, Tin-Chi declares himself Grandmaster. Meanwhile, matters at the school escalate, and some children are kidnapped in order to force a showdown with Ip Man

The third installment of the Ip Man series is just as good as the others. He and his family don’t live the opulent lifestyle they once did before the Japanese invasion, but they have a good life. Ip Man is well known and respected in the community. The film deals with respect, and family, and standing up for right is right. Tin-Chi is not a bad man, and he means well, and has to make choices between getting ahead and doing the right thing. I have to say that I found the addition of Mike Tyson jarring. First, he is no actor, and he speaks mostly in English with a few Mandarin phrases thrown in for good measure, but his slight lisp doesn’t help with the Mandarin. Secondly, he’s a boxer and his movements are powerful and seem rough when seen in juxtaposition with the graceful moves of Ip Man. The fight between Ip Man and Frank is inevitable, as is the outcome. Side note: Donnie Yen broke Tyson’s finger in that scene. The best fight in the film, among many good fights, is between Ip Man and Tin-chi. Also, there is a scene in an elevator between Ip Man and a Thai fighter  with poor Mrs IP trapped in the corner that is pretty good.

There is one more film in the series and I look forward to that. Also, there is another one with Tin-Chi called Master Z, and I’ll watch that too. I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #100 – Smile, Silence of the Lambs

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

I’d like to start by saying welcome to the 100th post of Saturday is Horror Day! Little did I know when I first began to write this weekly adventure into the horror genre that it would last this long, but here we are. My first review is for the movie Smile, but I am going to look for something I like better before I post this for a second review. Thanks for taking the journey with me, hope you are enjoying the reviews and plan to continue to ride along!


Psychiatrist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) has a disturbing encounter with a patient who insists that she is being stalked by an entity who changes faces and forms, but has only one constant – its smile. Trying to probe further into the young woman’s problems, their session comes to a chilling end, traumatizing Rose.  Having witnessed her suicide, not only can Rose not get it out of her mind, but she is beginning to see strange things herself. The more she sees, the less people believe or trust her, and she is about to become a part of the same institution where she works, except for viewing it from the inside! Will no one save her from the creature who smiles?

I will admit this was a creepy film, but not anything extraordinary. Decent writing and acting, but a not

overly complex plot which isn’t even fully explained. I never did understand who or what the creature was. Nonetheless it’s worth watching at least once. If for no other reason, than to see Kal Penn as Rose’s boss. Also, Robin Weigert plays Rose’s therapist. A good evening’s entertainment. I’ll give it 3.5 Stars

I decided to rewatch one of my favorite films for this post, hope you enjoy it too!

Silence of the Lambs

FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is called into the office of her supervisor, Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), the last thing she expects is to receive an actual field assignment. He tells her that they are doing a survey among a number of known and incarcerated serial killers for a study. Most of them have been cooperative, but one in particular has not and he wants Starling to approach him with the survey and to see if she can get answers out of him. Clarice is surprised that this seems to take priority right now, what with the killer Buffalo Bill on the loose – so-called because he likes to skin his humps. But what can she do but obey? So off to Baltimore she goes.

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) has been incarcerated at the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane for a dozen years. He is held securely behind a wall of glass at the end of the hall. The director of the hospital, Dr. Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) is not only obnoxious but ambitious. He’s miffed when Clarice snubs his advances and his assistance. Dr. Lecter becomes intrigued by Clarice and her naivete and toys with her. But when another inmate disrespects her, he gives her some actual information.

Clarice follows the clues Lecter obliquely gave her and discovers a severed head in the back seat of an

old car in a storage unit. Crawford takes her with him unexpectedly after the discovery of another corpse in West Virginia, and she suddenly realizes she has become part of the Buffalo Bill case. In the meantime, Catherine Martin  (Brooke Smith), daughter of Senator Ruth Martin (Diane Baker) is kidnapped, and finds herself at the bottom of a well, being told to put the lotion on her skin.

Jealous of Clarice’s continued association with Lecter, Dr Chilton bugs his cell and learns some interesting information that Crawford has fed to Lecter through Starling. But Chilton decides to make his own deal with the distraught senator in hopes of fostering his own career. However, he’ll learn soon enough what it means to make an enemy of Hannibal Lecter. Clarice is racing against time, as Buffalo Bill is known to kill his victims after three days. But why? And what is the meaning of the marks on their backs? And why a death’s head moth?

Tick tock, tick tock…time is ticking, Clarice…

Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, Silence of the Lambs is a magnificent thriller that keeps you guessing to the very last minute. Jodie Foster shines as Clarice, the naive young woman whose greatest desire is to be in the FBI, and aspires to be a profiler. Scott Glenn is her supervisor, Jack Crawford, who takes a chance on a trainee to entice Lecter into helping with the Buffalo Bill case, although he doesn’t tell her that. Ted Levine is incredible as Jame Gumb (I am a huge Ted Levine fan) and his dance is pretty amazing. But the star of the show, without a doubt, is Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, one of the most fascinating characters to be found both in the book and on the silver screen. Prior to this, there was a film of the novel Red Dragon, called Manhunter, which starred Brian Cox as Lecter. But once Hopkins assumed the role, it became his.

Direction, acting, writing – this film has it all. And it stands up to repeated viewings. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this. I’ll give this film 5 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: February 8, 2023

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #60 (12.5) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Even as we were working out the details of where to have breakfast, something kept tickling the back of my brain, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And then I realized with a start what it was. Today was Sunday. So why wasn’t Reverend Thorne in the pulpit, pontificating and doing his weekly minister thing?

The same thought must have occurred to Ethan as we exchanged troubled looks. Sundays to us were usually days of rest, being lazy as we relaxed around the house (when we weren’t on assignment, of course).

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