Monday, June 27, 2011

Books Coming Out This Week

I'm just lacking blurbs -- which are under construction. And then the first two novels in the Maddie Pryce Hollywood mystery series will be available. I believe all the rewriting/editing/proofing we've done over the last two months has really paid off. I'm going to be talking about how we put together the covers and promotional copy at the other blog later, but for now here's the first three covers in the series!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer of Our Semi-Discontent - Tales from the DVR

I'm in the formatting stages for Darker By Degree and Director's Cut, having just realized the in my format-stripping ministrations, I have lost all my italics. Since it's mystery series featuring an movie-buff actress as the first person protagonist, there are A LOT of italics for movie and TV series titles. Grrr. At least rereading everything again, I'm sure I'll find more pointless stupid errors, even though each book just came back from two rounds of proofreading. And did I mention they'll be published by the end of next week? Woot!

As stress relief, I'm trying to keep up with the DVR.

The Glades is back on A&E, and apparently between season one and season two, they replaced the writers with monkeys. The actors -- Matt Passmore, Kiele Sanchez, and Carlos Gomez -- are great, but the plot of the second episode was so strained and contrived that midway through I was tempted to dash off a strongly-worded letter outlining the shortcomings of the plot, and the absolutely nonsensical character "motivations." (My strongly-worded letters are devastating.) Hopefully it will get back on track and be as watchable as it was last season. (The Mentalist went through a period where the scripts appeared to be just random sentences strung together and it got better, so there is hope.)

Outcasts on BBC America:  A human outpost on the planet Carpathia is searching for the remnants of a flotilla of escape ships that left shortly before/during the destruction of Earth. (Random fact for the day: the Carpathia was the first ship to reach the debris of the Titanic and start pulling survivors out of the brine.) Starring Hermione Norris (Wire in the Blood) and Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers), it has possibilities. I'll hold back until I've watched episode two. I was disappointed that they dispatched the eye candy (Jamie Bamber) so early. And I will predict that Eric Mabius will be evil, because when is Erik Mabius not evil?

I have not watched TNT's Falling Skies, simply because it's two hours long, and I feel guilty staying still for that long at one time. It's on the DVR for the weekend.

Watched USA's Suits as an antidote to the other law show on TNT, Franklin & Bash. I will say that I enjoyed it roughly a hundred thousand times more. I think a large measure of my goodwill stem from the fact that the lead actors don't make me want to run them over with a bus and bury them in an umarked grave. Gabriel Macht (channeling Adrian Pasdar in Profit) and Patrick J. Adams are actually quite interesting, with none of the forced "look at me, I'm weirdly, charmingly eccentric" mania of that other show. And as a bonus, Gina Torres. (Hi, Zoe!)

Also Burn Notice is back, Leverage starts on Sunday, and in a couple of weeks the return of The Closer, Rizzoli and Isles, Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Haven, plus the premier of SyFy's Alphas. The DVR is holding steady about 50 hours, but I fear that won't last....sigh.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Your Pets Do When You're Not Looking

Next time you yell at the dog for barking, make sure the cat's not just trying to get him trouble.

Friday, June 17, 2011

For My Daughter

Dexter Season Six is on it's way:

She's loves Dexter. You realize there was no way my children would not be warped, right? 

Hockey Comedy

Via the Daily Beast, a photo from the Vancouver Loser Riots with a anonymous-reader-contributed caption:

At least someone from Vancouver can score on the road.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Random Thoughts - No, I'm Not Dead Edition

Hard as it may be to believe, I'm still rewriting/editing/proofing/formatting. The good news: Director's Cut is DONE. (Except for the cover and the blurby-stuff. The cover is designed, but not made. And the blurby stuff will entail a six-pack and some free time.) I'm doing more surgery on Darker By Degree, having realized that there's a meandering chapter (Chapter 17, I'm looking at you) that is not pulling its weight and needs to be taken outside and slapped around a bit. Running Red is sitting in the corner looking dejected and wondering why I can't stick to a simple timetable. Funny thing is, having a third of the people in my house off in the wilds of Virginia fending off mutant spiders and hillbilly cannibals has not really given me any more usable time. I'm forming a study to committee to get to the bottom of that. (As an aside, the S/O informs me that in Meridian, Mississippi, there is a Long John Silvers/A&W root beer joint. This means you can get to-go clam strips and an A&W root beer float in the SAME LOCATION. This makes me excited for reasons I can't articulate. He found it humorous because in one of our pointless conversations before the great adventure I remarked that if I were going to open a fast-food franchise, it would be a Long John Silver's/A&W combo, not realizing that one actually existed.)

On the hockey front, congratulation to the Bruins for crushing Vancouver last night. I hate the Canucks. (If you know anything about Avalanche fans, you'll understand why.) The Canucks have become a whiny cheap-shot team, much like Detroit. The proof of this is the sore-loser Vancouver riots.  You run a cheap-shot team, you get cheap-shot fans. Suck it, Vancouver. Karma is a harsh mistress.  On the upside for me, today hockey season starts all over, which means that the Avalanche are officially undefeated this season. YAY! (I am working out my issues from last season, when Peter Forsberg BROKE MY HEART. Of course, I don't blame Forsberg, I still blame Pierre Lacroix. Because there is nothing that Pierre Lacroix can do to convince me he's not a pin-headed idiot.) And now that Foote has retired, who will be captain? Sources say Liles, Statsney, Hejduk or Duchene, but I want Christ Stewart.

Now that I've bored you all with hockey talk, an awesomely weird, disorienting, occasionally inexplicably terrifying link. It is called simply Internet K-Hole: Pictures. And that's what is is: pictures. Just random pictures and ephemera, like a truck carrying old photo albums turned over on the Information Superhighway. There's no context, no providence, no rhyme-or-reason (although sometimes there are runs of themes, like pregnant women or goths holding cats, and rolls of film that obviously came from the same camera at the same time, like an awkward tweener showing off all her NKOTB memorablia.) Mostly it's snapshots -- the kind with the white borders, the kind you'd take on vacation or a school trip, drunken parties, college dorms -- but there's other stuff too, old pulp paperback covers, concert ticket stubs, screenshots that you'd take of your favorite celebrities off the TV in the days before we had a computer stronger than a Tandy. WARNING - it it not safe for work or anyone too young to drive an automobile legally. There's a fair amount of nudity and creepy still porn randomly scattered in between pictures of Gramma's b-day cake and random mug shots from the '50s. (And more distrubing than the porn is the '80s hair. Oh, the '80s hair.)

But that's part of what makes it compelling: the sheer, gritty, randomness of it, like an allsorts bag assembled by a being from another planet. I found it obsessively fascinating. Trying to deconstruct it is fruitless.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And So It Begins - Tales from the DVR.

So the one thing I've doing for leisure has been to feed my TV obsession, which has consisted of cleaning up my database to reflect cancellations and the addition of new shows and trying to clear the DVR off a little before the onslaught of new and returning programs that begins this week.

First of all, I love Castle. The writers/actors/production co have done a great job of creating a pretty little soap bubble. Yeah, if you poke it too hard, it's going to burst. There are tons of things that wouldn't happen in the real world. But it's such a nice, comforting, enjoyable little world inside that bubble, that I'm liable to forgive them just about anything. This is due in no small part to charms of Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic and the rest of the cast. They all just seem like swell people. Since we had no small children yesterday (kid #1 took kids #4 and #5 watersliding) the S/O and I picked up too much food from the little taqueria down the road and watched 9 episodes. (We have a habit of saving up whole series and watching them in a rush). We only have three episodes left, and I'm going to feel a little lonely when I have to say goodbye for the rest of the summer. One other downside -- I think I know what the final episode twist is. I've managed to stay unspoiled, but as Castle said on the show, "For a writer, you should have a better grasp of subtext." Well, I think I've caught the subtext and if my conclusion is correct, I'm going to be a little sad.

Second: Franklin & Bash was not good. I watched Franklin & Bash, the new legal series on TNT, and within the first 15 minutes, I wanted to break something. It got better later, but not better enough. It was like a giant tic. It was "quirky" and "irreverent" and whatever other air-quoted words you want to use for "not really very good." Despite Malcolm McDowell -- and I do love Malcolm McDowell -- it was, again, the big wheel of character traits: spin it 10 times for each character and then stick those things together like a third-grader's version of Frankenstein's monster. Breckin Meyer made me want to punch him in the face. Repeatedly. He was Ratso Rizzo, but without the charm. Or the consumption. Reed Diamond was every Reed Diamond character from the past five years. There were two kind of cute bits, one involving Malcolm McDowell and his sensei and another involving an agoraphobic assistant, but other than that, it was something poured out of one of those prepackaged jugs of pancake mix: flat and bland and utterly, utterly predictable.  Blah. I predict it will last exactly three years and then be forgotten by everyone.

Third: I still don't know who killed Rosie. The Killing is down to the final three episodes, and I have yet to figure out whodunnit. That's a rare occurrence.

Forth: Kickoff! It's time for the returning cable series to start showing up over the next six weeks, along with some new stuff on BBC America. What I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks: The Glades returns tonight on A&E, Tuesday is the double feature of White Collar and Cover Affairs on USA, and on June 18 on BBC America, new SF series Outcasts and inimitable comedy stylings of Matt Lucas and David Walliams in Come Fly With Me.

For those keeping score at home, the official TV program database now stands at 61.  Hopefully this unreasonably high number will come down once I realize how much the new coming programming sucks. Either that or I will be forced to clone myself.

Did You Miss Me?

So, I've been gone.  Well, not so much gone as just shutting certain aspects down. I've not blogged or tweeted or read much on the Interwebs. I've been swept up in kid stuff: kid #5 graduated kindergarten, kid #3 finished her sophomore year in college by getting straight A's and making the President's list. There have been swimming lessons and jobs and doctor visits and various other things that have kept me driving at least two hours every day even though it's summer.

And in honor of the first summer of driving in literally 103-degree weather with no working air conditioning, the car has temporarily been re-christened from the Spymobile to the Easy Bake Oven. I find that by 3 PM, after having driving in said Easy Bake Oven for roughly an hour,  that I need to lay down with a cold cloth for an hour before I am able to stand up again. This is not conducive to a productive workflow.

Despite the non-optimal workflow, I have managed to stay on top of the daily bread situation. (CHILDREN ARE EXPENSIVE - USE BIRTH CONTROL). And I've also been editing/rewriting, which has mainly consisted of picking at things and picking at things until they fall apart like Rivers Cuomo's sweater.

Somebody somewhere said that the unique thing about writers is that they can look at their work and simultaneously think it's both fabulous and hideous and see no cognitive dissonance in holding those two views. I can attest that this it true. It's the ultimate case of manic/depressive because it's being manic AND depressive at the same time. It's wearing the masks of comedy and tragedy melted together and then NOT BEING ABLE TO PRY THEM OFF.

Anyway, I am in the final stages on the rewrites of both Darker by Degree and Running Red. Not sure how long it's going to take me to finish these off. So if I am scarce, it's only the sheer effort to focus that is keeping me quiet. They're going up before the end of July, regardless. Period.