Summer is about over. I’m finished with school supply shopping and the kids are gearing up to go back next week. In addition to school looming, I’ve had to say good-bye to so many of my favorite summer TV shows. The Closer aired its final episode ever, although it’s being replaced by Major Crimes (I have it recorded, but haven’t watched yet). Rizzoli & Isles finished up Tuesday night as well, but I didn’t even see that coming. It seems like it just started back. It will return mid-season for a few episodes like it does every year, but still. A new show this year that just ended that I really like is Longmire. I haven’t gotten to the last episode yet, but I’m sorry to see it go. Dallas was another winner for me for the summer season. And in true Dallas form, it ended with a bang. I did NOT see that coming (and no, no one shot JR — although they should). I’ve also fallen for Newsroom, but I’m behind in watching those episodes. I feel a catch-up night coming, especially since there’s nothing new for the next few weeks.
As much as I hate to see summer go, part of me is glad for the return to school. My writing schedule is nonexistent during the summer. Honestly, if my friends hadn’t organized a retreat day, I wouldn’t have gotten to THE END of my WIP (only the first draft, but it’s done). Plus, by about mid-July, the kids start to get buggy. They’ve been around each other too much and the bickering and fighting gets crazy. But this week, with the oh-my-god-school-is-next-week feeling, we’ve been filling our days once again with fun stuff. we’ll hit the beach one last time, one trip to the Art Institute as promised to Trouble, and a trip to Lego Discovery center. Fun stuff all around.
In fact, after our trip to Lego Discovery, we went to a late lunch. Eeyore looked at Trouble’s food and said, “Gimme a ficken chinger.”
She looked puzzled and then Shorty started to laugh at his play with the words. After explaining it to Trouble, they all got into the act of switching letters. It quickly devolved into potty jokes and swearing (hutt-bole and yuck fou). But it was hilarious and I laughed so hard, I had tears streaming down my face. It felt so good to just ride with it and have fun with my kids, even though there probably should’ve been a reprimand in there somewhere. I spend so much of my time being the drill sergeant and yelling at them, that for a few minutes, we all had a good laugh. It was definitely one of the best moments of my summer.
What’s one of your best memories from this summer?
It’s been a very busy week in the blogiverse. Between writers getting sued and RWA National conference, blogs have been filled with excellent advice.
First up, unless you’ve been buried for the past week, I’m sure you’ve heard about Roni Loren’s post about how a photographer sued her for using one of his photographs without permission. Because of that post, I’ve been going back through my blog and deleting most photos. I plan to go back and find new ones, but in the mean time, my old posts will have no pictures. In all honesty, when I first started blogging, I worried about copyright. This comes form using photos with my day job. But then, it seemed like everyone used photos from wherever without given any attribution. I almost always cited my source. But now, I’m playing it safe.
To help you avoid Roni’s fate, here are some great resources.
August McLaughlin has a post on making simple graphics. You might want to look through her archives because she has some older posts on Pinterest that would help here too.
Marcy Kennedy has 7 free and legal places to find photos. Bookmark these. I personally like Free Digital Photos. They give you the html code for putting with the photo that links back to their site. Easy-Peasy. Stock exchange is also good, but harder to wade through.
Tonya Kappes talks about getting into the flow of writing so she was ready to pound out 20K words in a long weekend. She did what I didn’t do, plan ahead.
Jody Hedlund writes about knowing when you should go to a writing conference. As I said yesterday, in the past, money has been a big issue in my decision to not go to RWA Nationals. In looking at Jody’s list, I see that the first 2 reasons she gives for going don’t apply to me: getting an agent and pitching publishers. But the next three are things I do need to keep in mind, especially building connections because that’s something I suck at.
Onto some fun stuff– Moriah Densley did a guest spot over at Coffee Time Romance about her hero’s first kiss. Not first kiss with the heroine, but first kiss EVER. I’m a sucker for a good kiss scene. If it’s done right, it could be better than the first sex scene. But I don’t know if I could ever write a hero that was a bad kisser. For me, that kiss is so important, I don’t know if a hero could bounce back from it being bad. I guess I’ll have to read Moriah’s book to see if she pulls it off.
Natalie Hartford has a post about how long it takes for love to develop. I’ve talked about this before, especially since I don’t really believe in love at first sight or soul mates. Natalie has some interesting stuff.
And finally, since I’ve been a total slacker on my TV posts as of late (not that I haven’t been watching a ton of TV), I’m going to rely on Tiffany White to give you good info about summer TV. First, Tiffany talks about Political Animals. I admit that this show looks really, really interesting, but I chose not to watch it because I already have way too many things on my DVR. Then Tiffany talks about one of my favorite summer shows, Rizzoli & Isles. I never miss this show (and I admit to having a bit of a girl crush on Angie Harmon)
I think we can all agree that I watch too much TV and the invention of the DVR has simply enabled me to watch more. But given all the vices I don’t have in my life, I think this one is acceptable. I’ve said it before — the best thing about cable TV is the seemingly never-ending supply of new episodes of something. It used to be that the TV season ran from September through May (with plenty of reruns along the way). Cable has redefined what a TV season is and I love it. Just as regular network stations are getting into reruns, favorites on cable start fresh. This summer, I have a whole bunch that I’m looking forward to.
image from http://watch-the-glades-episodes-online.blogspot.com/
First up, The Glades. This is another cop show. I was originally sucked into this one because the lead character, Jim Longworth, is a cop from Chicago, who moves to Florida. The cases he solves are pretty standard fare, but again, it’s the characters that draw me in. He gets involved with a nurse, who is a single mother, and still married. But her husband is in jail. Last season, the husband was released and Callie had some decisions to make. The Glades returns on June 3.
Another cop show I’m waiting for is The Closer. This is the last 6 episodes for this show. Admittedly, I mostly watch because I love Fritz. He’s too good for Brenda. The Closer will air on July 9.
Rizzoli & Isles is coming back on June 5. I’ve briefly mentioned my love for this show before, along with my girl crush on Angie Harmon.
I have 2 lawyer shows I’m looking forward to. The first is Franklin & Bash. This show feels
image from http://us995.cbslocal.com/franklin-bash-season-2-premiere-event-contest/
like Boston Legal, which is why I like it. There’s some good TV lawyering going on, but nothing too serious. The lead characters are good at what they do, but they act like kids a good portion of the time, which makes them fun to watch. Franklin & Bash returns June 5.
The other lawyer show is Suits. I love this show because the main characters are little more than conmen. Harvey is super-genius lawyer. Mike is a genius who has faked his way into a job as a lawyer (without ever attending law school or taking the bar for himself). Together they make a great team. Suits is coming back June 14.
Covert Affairs is one of my guilty pleasures. The show is not credible and Annie Walker as a CIA agent is not believable even for a moment, but it’s fun to watch. Plus I like Augie. Covert Affairs will air July 10.
Leverage is coming back July 16. You gotta love the bad guys who are the good guys. Think A-Team without blowing things up (usually).
image from http://collider.com/true-blood-season-5-trailers/155138/
The show I can’t wait for, however, is True Blood. It’s heading into its 5th season. Honestly, it’s a fluke I started watching. I’d heard a lot of buzz when it premiered. Then one night, I had laundry to fold and it was on, and I never looked back. I watched the entire season and then for Christmas, my husband bought me all of the Sookie Stackhouse books which are the inspiration. I like the books (at least the first 8 or so) but I love the show for entirely different reasons. It’s sexy and suspenseful and mysterious and just plain great stuff (unless blood makes you squeamish).
Here’s a little taste (no pun intended) of the vampires:
It has been a busy week in blogs. I came across so many great things, it was hard to choose.
First up, let’s talk TV:
(banner by studio D)
Personally, I am not a Dr. Who fan, but I know quite a few people who are. They routinely try to convince everyone around them to join the ranks. Since it’s now on Netflix, I might give it a try. As some of you might have noticed over on Twitter, I’ve been RTing tweets about a Dr. Who bloghop my writerly friends have created. There are great prizes each day that you can win just for commenting. Hop over to Erica O’Rourke’s blog to get the main details.
Debra Kristi talks about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and who was better — Angel or Spike? This was a show that I didn’t watch when it was on. At the time, the concept seemed silly. Then, as I embarked on my writing career, I kept hearing from so many writers (including Jennifer Crusie) that it was a fabulous show. I haven’t watched every episode, but I have seen quite a few. I’m definitely in the Angel camp. I love David Boreanaz, as I mentioned my love for Seely Booth last month.
Finally, Tiffany White talks about criminals we love. I don’t watch all of the shows she mentions, but Dexter and Justified I watch religiously.
Here are some fun, non-TV posts to check out:
Merry Farmer had me cracking up with her post on inappropriate crushes. I think we’ve all been there before. I currently don’t have a real-life crush, but I totally have a girl-crush on Angie Harmon. It’s
Image Credit: SBWALLS.BLOGSPOT.COM
inappropriate because I’m not gay and I don’t think she is either.
Jillian Dodd has a great post on whether men and women can be just friends. Watch the video; it’s really worth it. I think this is fascinating both as a woman and as a writer. I love to read friends-turned-lover stories, so maybe the guys are right here.
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (one of my favorite go-to sites for romance) had a great post about book fans and how paranormal romance readers seem to be “more active, involved, and at times rabid” than fans of contemporary romance. I read both paranormal and contemporary, but I lean more toward contemporary, but maybe that’s because it’s what I write.
Speaking of contemporary romance, Angela James (executive editor for Carina Press) has put out a call for submissions for contemporary romance series. Angela James is a smart, savvy person and I have no doubt that working with her would be a truly rewarding experience (no, she is not paying me to say that. She doesn’t even know me)
Finally, in my post yesterday, I talked about canceled shows. Sometimes, a good show gets canceled because it can’t stand out or it’s not great. I mentioned that as writers, we often face the same kind of rejection. Chuck Wendig has a great post listing the 25 things writers should know about rejection. Rejection sucks, but learn from it and move on. He says it all much better than I did.
That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoy the links. And the really burning question: Who do you love — Angel or Spike?
As I was reading some news headlines and articles earlier in the week (it’s part of my day job), I came across information about TV shows that were canceled in 2011. Of course, I had to click through all of the photos (85 of them) to see if I found any surprises. Check it out:
I looked through all 85 of the shows. Some I’d never heard of (Audrina), some I used to watch (Brothers and Sisters and Medium), and some I meant to tune into, but never did (Chaos and Human Target).
There are some shows that I had already heard about being canceled, so it was no surprise (Charlie’s Angels). Lie to Me is one show that I knew was being canceled, but it still made me sad because I came late to the party. I liked the premise of the show, but it was in one of those bad (for me) slots. I started watching when it came to Netflix and powered through the first 2 seasons and eagerly awaited the third. Then I heard it was being canceled. I’m not even sure I want to finish knowing that there won’t be more.
Only a couple of shows took me by surprise. It might be because I wasn’t paying attention. I had no idea this was the last season of The Closer. There have probably been a gazillion blurbs during the show, but since I DVR the episodes, I tend to cut out the extra talking. Another one that I will really miss and that I had hoped would return is Chicago Code. Living in Chicago, I’m a sucker for a show set here. The creators did a great job portraying the city and its politics. Jennifer Beals overdid her Chicago “accent,” but not enough to make me stop watching.
Prime Suspect is also on this list. It’s not on some other lists I checked out, so I’m still clinging to some hope that it will be renewed. I talked about my love for this show a couple of weeks ago.
Then, there are gobs of shows that were pretty decent, but are being canceled anyway. Of those, I watched Criminal Minds-Suspect Behavior, Memphis Beat, and The Protector. See, I told you I watch a lot of cop shows. These shows were good, but not great. I DVR’d them, but they were never a high priority. Usually, I’d watch these when there was nothing else on.
I think these shows are like the manuscripts many writers have. How many of us have received rejections along the lines of — “The writing is good, I just didn’t love it” or the dreaded “This isn’t different enough to stand out in a crowded market”? I think many of us want to get angry and say those agents and editors don’t know what they’re talking about.
But the truth is, they do. They have to make snap decisions because they’re in this to make money. Like I said, the shows I named in the last paragraph were cop shows. Criminal Minds-Suspect Behavior tried to tap into the original (like the Law & Order franchise) but wasn’t as good. The other two just weren’t different enough. They didn’t make me love them. At least not like I love Rizzoli & Isles or Castle or Blue Bloods. These are shows that I am invested in. They don’t wait long on my DVR.
I’m not saying that if you get rejected you should assume you’re like one of the canceled shows. It’s not that you’re not good enough. You just need to find the right audience, someone who loves your work. For some people, that will mean going the self-publishing route to find readers, for others that will mean continuing to query until you find just the right target.
The actors in these shows aren’t going to quit just because their show was canceled. They’re going to move on to find the next show or the next, whichever will get them where they want to be. As writers, we should take a cue from them.
Which of the canceled shows are you going to miss? If there was any show you could bring back (from any year) what would it be?
As I’ve said before, I watch a lot of TV. I always have. I was a latch-key kid who learned to do homework in front of the TV. Back then, there weren’t too many kids’ shows playing in the afternoon, but that’s a different story for another day. Today I’m talking about how much reality we like in our fantasy.
When we read a book or watch a movie or TV, there is a certain level of suspension of disbelief we’re willing to go along with. That’s a fancy way of saying we’ll follow the characters if we can at least buy into a portion of what they’re doing. I think we all know that in general, cops don’t really solve murders in 43 minutes. CSI techs won’t work a crime scene with long, flowing hair hanging over the dead body. (That one really bugs me.) We’re willing to accept this, though, if the characters and/or plot are compelling enough.
A new show that I started watching this season is Prime Suspect. I never watched the British version. I tuned in because I like cop shows and Maria Bello stars in it. I knew I liked her as an actress, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what she’d been in. Turns out, she was in ER many, many years ago, so I’m sure that’s where I knew her from.
Anyway, I tuned in for the first episode. Bello plays Jane Timoney, a tough detective newly promoted to the homicide squad. The good ol’ boys mentality of the men in the squad is a bit overplayed and it annoyed me because although I believe there are still men out there who think that way, they were a little too over-the-top. It makes more sense in later episodes when we discover part of their dislike for Timoney is because they think she slept her way into the position. (She didn’t, but she did have an affair with someone in command.)
What made me fall in love with the show, though, was the reality. In that first episode, Timoney is chasing down a suspect and when they turn down an alley, the suspect stops and then charges at her. She gets her ass beat. It’s not that I think this was necessary, but there are already many strong (almost unbeatable) heroines out there. For instance, I also watch Rizzoli & Isles. Jane Rizzoli is also a tough detective, and although she’s been shot at by perpetrators and tortured by a serial killer, I can’t remember a time when a suspect just hauled off and punched her.
I found this bit of reality with Timoney refreshing. It was enough to get me to tune in for more episodes and now I watch it weekly. Unfortunately, it might be on the chopping block. Although it hasn’t been canceled, it has been replaced for mid-season.
Here’s a clip with Bello talking about her character. As you watch, you will see the scene from that first episode where the suspect beats her:
I know some people avoid certain kinds of books based on the profession of the characters. For example, some lawyers won’t read books with a hero or heroine who’s a lawyer because they can’t stand the inaccuracies. I have a pretty high tolerance for things, but occasionally I get pulled out of a story or movie.
I also know some people stick with reading historical romance or paranormal because it’s so far from their everyday reality, it’s easy to go along with it.
How about you? What is your breaking point in movies or books? How much reality do you want in your fantasy?