Monday, January 29, 2007

HEROES, 1/29

There were a lot of twists and turns tonight but, somehow, the episode felt slow. Why?

Was it because Psychic Matt was on? I tell you--I love Greg Grunberg, but whenever his character comes on screen...yaaaaaaaawn.

Other thoughts about tonight's goings-ons:

* Claude Reins is the Invisible Man! Bwah!

* Oh, poor Hiro. He's in terrible need of time-space-continuum viagra.

* Random thought: Remember Adrian Pasdar from his TOP GUN days? That was his pre-naughty/wicked fiend stage. He looked like the Tony Curtis version of those frozen, blue-lit pretty boys from Madonna's "Open Your Heart" video. But I prefer the Profit/Nathan Pasdar. Much more interesting.

* Obviously, last Monday was *not* Zach's last show. Bad rumor.

* "This is how we roll." Love.

* Hey, Oprah is on HEROES now? Eerie twin sister-age. My overly analytical side thinks that they cast this woman as Niki's psychiatrist to emphasize the Niki/Jessica mirror theme. (Right.)

* Say, I wouldn't mind having Micah's power at all. I guess he can stop ATM cameras from recording him during these robberies and getting him busted. Or so he'd better hope.

* LOL--Hiro's dad!!! And GULP. Hiro is the monarch of my fangirl kingdom!

* Mama Firestarter. Sweet. That was a cool reveal with the finger flames. Moments like this are what keep me hooked on HEROES.

* Please tell me Sylar didn't get HRG. Surely not. I will cry.

* Big speculation here, so don't read on if you want to remain free of any type of spoiler-stain (even if my ramblings are way off base).... If Claude Reins is an "old school hero" from a previous wave, would it be possible that Linderman could be one of the old ones, too? Is that why he's a step ahead of everyone and seemingly connected to some of them, as if he has access to the list? And who is Hiro's dad exactly...?

What did you guys think of tonight?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tag: The name game

I've been tagged by Karm to play this fun name game, so here we go!

1. YOUR REAL NAME: Chris Green

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first three letters of your name, plus izzle) Chrizzle. (Hee.)

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three of your last) C-Gre. (That didn't work so well. I sound like a soft drink and that amounts to zero street cred.)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (fav color and fav animal) Magenta Meerkat. (Actually, my favorite color is purple, but this game persuaded me to become the number one magenta fan. Go magenta! But this name sounds very awful porno; luckily I prefer my regular porno name, Gidget Berlin.)

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, Street you live on): Marie Wigwam. (I sound like a lost boy.)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom’s maiden name) Gre Chfre. (Oh, I do not like this at all. It was very important for me to have a cool STAR WARS name and look what happened. I would be a freaky creature with blue skin and gills.)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (favorite color, favorite drink) Magenta Amaretto. (Better than my STAR WARS name.)

8. YOUR IRAQI NAME: (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden name, 3rd letter of your dad’s middle name, 1st letter of a sibling’s first name, last letter of your moms middle name) He-Irrgn. (What? I sound like a cat trying to dislodge a furball.)

9. YOUR STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/body spray) Beautiful. (Hmmm.)

10. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother & father’s middle name) Ann Harley. (That'll work!)

Who's turn is it now? I tag Yolanda, Nicole, and Angela, if they can come out and play!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

FAERIE DUST

Earlier, I told you I'd be back with a book that one of our own wrote. That would Yolanda Sfetsos, or "Y" on the comment boards! This is her first book, and I thought it'd be extremely cool for her to share some of her insights on this eve of her premiere release. I, myself, have always wanted to read a faerie story (besides my ARIA comic books), so I'm stoked about this. A note: if you want to read this, too, you can click on the Cobblestone Press link at the end to place your order once the clock strikes the hour of January 26th....

So, without further ado, here's Y!


Firstly, I’d like to thank C for giving me the opportunity to post something on her blog. You’re a great support and a wonderful person. I can’t wait to read NIGHT RISING!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering who I am? Well, my name is Yolanda and I live in Sydney, Australia. I’ve been writing stories since my teens and never gave up on the dream of having my stories published. Of course, life got in the way several times and writing took the backseat for a while. After my daughter was born over six years ago, I literally got smacked by my muse!

I think she’d had enough of waiting in the background for me to be ready.

Since I stayed home to look after my daughter, I took every available moment there was to grab a notebook, or sit behind the computer to put a story together. A whole bunch of short stories resulted from this rush, and soon turned into novel-sized tales.

I’ve been writing non-stop ever since. I got serious about the submitting process last year, and have had four stories accepted by three different digital publishers in the last few months.

It’s all very exciting, especially today!

Today is the release date of my first ebook, from Cobblestone Press.
FAERIE DUST is a fantasy tale, one that I had a lot of fun writing. I initially envisioned the story of these characters as a trilogy, but now I think a fourth installment might be on the cards.

That’s been happening a lot to me lately. I sit down with the intention of telling a story and when I’m about halfway through realize that there’s more to tell. So, who am I to deny these characters and plots when the muse is practically filling my brain with them?

How do you feel about a trilogy or series? Is it something you’re interested in as a reader? What about as a writer? I love to read more than one book about a certain world and characters. There are a whole bunch of series that I personally read.

This brings me to the next thing about me. What genre do I write in? Well, at the moment I’m writing a Sci-Fi with paranormal elements. My February release from Cobblestone Press is a Time Travel… and I’ve written quite a few urban fantasy novels. The only factor that always remains constant is the touch of the paranormal and otherworldly. I can’t help myself. Whether it’s a ghost, magic, dragon, faerie, vampire, werewolf, or any other creature of the night or land of fantasy, this thread will always be embedded in everything I write.

I love the mysteries of the world, the creatures of myth and legend. I love to think about the what ifs in life, and enjoy losing myself in the possibilities of what can be hidden behind the everyday life. And I also like to explore love. How the power of love can overcome so many obstacles, and hold the strength to overcome so much...
We all deserve a little bit of magic sprinkled in our lives. I was just lucky enough to be blessed with the ability to create a little magic in the way of writing.
Thanks for reading this post, and here’s a little more about my book:



Shay Lee is a Fae-Hunter, finding fellow Faeries amongst the humans.
Cases are usually cut and dry, but now that she’s hunting Glen Row, Shay starts to question her building emotions. Even if it’s forbidden for Faeries to fall in love...
FAERIE DUST is available from Cobblestone Press on 26 January 2007.
Cobblestone Press: www.cobblestone-press.com
Visit my blog at: www.ysfetsos.blogspot.com
Or pop by my page at MySpace: www.myspace.com/yolandasfetsos

OOTB book tour: PROTECTOR OF THE FLIGHT


Here's another of Robin Owens' wonderful fantasies! I like the horse angle--I, myself, haven't read any fantasy quite like this. Enjoy, and stay tuned for another sneak peek at a book later today--and it'll be a novel written by one of our own! (Come back later to see who it is....)

PROTECTOR OF THE FLIGHT by Robin D. Owens
Luna February 1, 2007

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY:

Fans of Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey will appreciate the novel's honorable protagonists and their lively animal companions.

The Story:

If horses could fly...

Then Calli Torcher might ride again. But a devastating accident left her in such pain, she thought the chimes and chanting in her ears were a hallucination...until she found herself transported to another world, and met the Lladranans who had Summoned her.

Lladrana was a parallel, magical earth filled with exotic creatures, noble humans and magic–-all threatened by an encroaching evil.

And when the might volarans stopped obeying the Chevaliers, the flying horses' unexpected rebellion had thrown Lladrana into an uproar. In desperation, the sorcerers had sought help from afar--and gotten Calli. If she could fulfill this mission perhaps she would also finally find all she had longed for – a mate, a home, a family. But against this great darkness she had no battle experience, no strategy plans. She had only a bond with horses...

Cover:
http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/0373802641.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V47698873_.jpg

Excerpt: http://www.robindowens.com/reads/Protector.pdf

ABOUT ROBIN D. OWENS

Robin D. Owens has been writing longer than she cares to recall. Her fantasy/futuristic romances finally found a home at Berkley with the issuance of HeartMate in December 2001. She credits the telepathic cat with attitude in selling that book. Since then, Heart Thief was a launch book for Berkley Sensation in June 2003, Heart Duel was published in 2004, Heart Choice in 2005, and Heart Quest in 2006. Her Luna Books series includes shape-shifting fairies and average American women Summoned into another world to fight monstrous evil.

REVIEWS

ROMANTIC TIMES:

Owens has an easy and engaging writing style which, when combined with her intriguing characters and interesting setting, makes for a fast and compelling read.

HUNTRESS REVIEWS:

This is among the most joyful series of novels in any genre...when the ending page arrives, YOU feel the Snap, pulling you reluctantly back to the real world. Ms. Owens has mastered characterization, interweaving the lives of previous main characters with those of the new expertly, so you meet new friends and catch up on the old. – Amanda Killgore, Huntress Reviews


Website: http://www.robindowens.com

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Finally, HEROES

Here I come, skidding up to the computer to chat about HEROES!

Angela and Karm already provided some insights in the last comment section: yay for more Heroes coming together, but boo for new ones being introduced when we still have so much to learn about the old.

I agree with all of that, even the point that nothing much happened on Monday. In fact, I was kind of more excited about the 300 preview than the episode itself. (OMG, doesn't 300 look awesome??? Art come to terrible life.)

Just some bullet point notes that I wrote while watching HEROES since I'm late to the party:

* Love how all the deputies shy away from Niki/Jessica. Hah! And kudos to Ali L. for the "precious" Gollum/Smeagol moment. My theory was that Niki was actually possessed by Jessica's superhero spirit, thus making Jessica the actual Hero and Niki a sort of host. But now we know that Niki herself can be just as strong as Jessica. I guess "Jessica" was a materialization of Niki's repression (like the ghosts in TURN OF THE SCREW); she was just a way for Niki to cope with her horrifying new powers...?

* Horn Rimmed Glasses continues his streak of awesomeness: when he said "Ooops," to Matt's "psychic" detective when the cop failed to read HRG's mind, I cracked up. HRG is so cool and cocky. I think he turns me on.

* I quite enjoyed Hiro's Excalibur-esque samurai story. And when Hiro and Nathan saw each other again--love!!! Those two have some chemistry that is certain to entertain me for months to come.

* I'm ready to meet Linderman.

* Interesting how the Haitian has taken it upon himself to act as Claire's mentor. Is it a set up? Is our naive and trusting cheerleader falling into some HRG-created trap?

* Sorry to say this, but Simone is dangerously close to being the Lana Lang of this series: stunningly beautiful yet utterly irrelevent. Please, TV gods, do not allow HEROES to shoehorn this character into any stories just so the cast can stay pretty.

BTW, it's interesting that I chose to watch HEROES over 24, another program that I'd rather watch live instead of seeing it on DVR replay....

Monday, January 22, 2007

HEROES message

I just wanted to let you all know that I won't be able to see HEROES tonight. (Sob.) Actually, there's no crying allowed for me, because I'll be chowing down at Prince's new restaurant at the Rio, 3121. (You heard me right--Prince has a restaurant!)

I'll be viewing HEROES Wednesday, but if you want to chat about the show with anyone else who's brave enough to post, go for it. Comment on this post, and I'll join you with my thoughts Wednesday. I want to remain unspoiled until then, so I won't be popping in until that point.

In the meantime...bring on the HEROES!!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Panel day at RWA

Today I have a public speaking engagement. Like about 99% of the rest of the population, I do not love standing up in front of a crowd and attempting to articulate meaningful sentences. This is pretty ironic, seeing as I ran a classroom for a few years, but it's true. Even as a teacher, I'd get anxious before class began; luckily, I was able to direct my fear into energy, and that gave my lessons a little life, I think. However, to this day, when I'm presenting, sometimes I make no sense whatsoever, but at least I work that room.

I'll be speaking today in front of the San Diego RWA chapter; I'm on a panel that's exploring "self-editing and revision." Leanne Shawler, fellow author, as well as a copy editor will be my speakers in arms. Panels are interesting because you can't set a real format: things basically flow because there are different participants and you can't control what they're going to say and what you're going to respond to. I like that, and I don't like that. On one hand, this means there's a limited amount of prep time involved. I prepare what I believe I'll need, but I have to keep in mind that my speaking time will be limited. All I can bring is my expertise (What there is of it.). On the other hand, this is "fly by the seat of your pants" speaking, and that's scary. Still, it can also produce a very entertaining and informative presentation, because you're responding to both the members of the panel and the audience.

So, for all you writers out there, when you decided to pursue this career, did you realize you'd be expected to speak in public because it's supposed to be good PR? Just another thing to prepare yourselves for....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Funny baby links

So I'm visiting with the Adorables (nephew and niece, remember?), and I find that my 22-month old niece is totally obsessed with a certain clip on You Tube. I've got to share it with you because it's weird and pretty funny. If you've got a near-2-year-old, he or she will probably get hours of entertainment out of this.

Laughing Baby

And here's another--and it's even stranger. It's a real baby, too, and I only realized this after a few seconds of viewing. Rather surreal.

Ninja Baby

Sorry if this leads to hours of You Tube life-wasting, but I couldn't resist....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Accentuating the positive

I'm on fire because I just got a nice message from my Ace marketing contact about a great Barnes and Noble review. This, coupled with another enthusiastic one from Lovesvampires.com, has put me in a good mood today, LOL.

Here's what they said:

Barnes and Noble

Veteran romance author and literary alchemist Chris Marie Green (The Huntress, Baited, et. al.) may have found the formula for literary gold: the perfect genre-blending saga. A sleek and sexy fusion of dark fantasy, steamy romance and hard-boiled mystery, Green's Night Rising - the first installment of her Vampire Babylon series - features protagonist Dawn "Mad Dog" Madison, a 24-year old stuntwoman who becomes entangled in an unfathomably deep supernatural-powered mystery while searching for her father, a down-and-dirty private investigator who inexplicably went missing days earlier.

The character of Madison is as serrated as she is seductive; a tough, sardonic and supremely confident woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. But for all her chutzpah, she is a deeply flawed individual - still struggling to come to grips with her identity as the only daughter of deceased Hollywood bombshell Eva Claremont. Once Madison becomes involved with the search for her father, however, she begins to see herself - and her abilities - in a whole new light: as a sword-wielding, gun-toting, butt-kicking instrument of unholy retribution...

The ability to seamlessly blend noir mystery, romance and dark fantasy is a surprisingly rare one: for every Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison, there dozens if not hundreds of would-be narrative alchemists who just don't get the recipe right. Green's storytelling prowess is hitting on all cylinders in Night Rising: a brilliantly developed plotline; compelling, realistically drawn characters; and enough ghoulish antagonists, horrific murders and erotic encounters to satisfy fans of all genres. Regardless of categorization, Green's latest is pure, unadulterated storytelling gold. Highly recommended.
-Paul Goat Allen

And lovesvampires.com:

Night Rising – Vampire Babylon is the first book in a new trilogy set in the exciting world of paranormal Hollywood written by author Chris Marie Green. Chris Marie Green is a pen name for Crystal Green, an experienced romance writer who has also written "The Huntress" a vampire/paranormal romance for Silhouette. Vampire Babylon is a world away from Silhouette romance. Described as a noir-mystery-fantasy series, it is dark, erotic and compelling reading.

The heroine Dawn is a likable, well written character with flaws, surprising depths and hidden strengths. She comes across as realistically human - with a less than perfect career and her feelings of guilt about her relationship with her father. If she does seem obsessed by the memory of her beautiful and perfect movie star mother forgive her, because (without wanting to give too much away) I suspect it is relevant to later plot developments.

The vampire underground makes imaginative use of vampire mythology, with a set hierarchy of vampires. Vampire Guards are at the bottom of the pile with brutal strength and formidable weapons but little intelligence except to follow orders. Groupies are next. These vampires are beautiful and alluring but weak. Then there are the Elite, stronger vampires who can pass for human and at the top of the hierarchy is the Master, strong and ancient he is a full blooded vampire. He is also a mysterious character who I’m looking forward to finding out more about as the series develops.

Night Rising has a well constructed mystery plot. In fact, as parts of the mystery are revealed we are left with more questions and new conundrums, which should not only keep readers engaged in this story but invested in the whole series. In particular the reader, like Dawn herself, never knows which characters can be trusted and who is telling the truth. As this is the first part in a trilogy we will just have to wait and see how the whole story turns out but Night Rising is an exciting start.
-Amanda at LovesVampires.com

So...just accentuating the positive. Thank you to those who are taking the time to lend their comments!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How to tweak your back in one easy step

This is going to be one of those wha-wha entries about how one dorky move can have bad consequences and how those consequences can, perhaps, stem from the way we work.

The other day, just before a seven-hour road trip, I was in Trader Joe's. Aside from all the yumminess that this food store contains, I needed water. Just plain water. Like I've done many times before, I picked up a case of 24 bottles, secure in the knowledge that I was lifting with my legs and not with my back.

Not so.

Tweak! said my back.

Actually, the "tweak" didn't actually start nagging me until later that night. OUCH. But since some very good friends were throwing a baby shower for their first child in L.A. the next day, I was determined to be there. Hence, I hopped (okay, I fell) in to my car the next morning, groaning back and all, and made the long trip. Oddly enough, the driving wasn't hard--it was getting out of the car after the driving that was the problem. I couldn't sit down for the duration of the party, and I left a tad early because the thought of a heating pad and ice pack was calling to me. But I made it.

Later, I looked online to see if I had pulled a back muscle or maybe if my tweak had something to do with my sciatic nerve. I'm no expert, but I think it's the latter, which tells me I should really look at an ergonomically improved way of working on the computer since I don't think that tweak came out of nowhere.

Just part of being a writer and sitting for long stretches of time, you all. Something to keep in mind as we all develop our careers....

Friday, January 12, 2007

I, guest blogger

I mentioned previously that our Nicole is hostessing a great number of authors at her blog through next month. As it just so happens, today is my day to be featured! If you go on over there, there's a contest and excerpts, but the best part is the questionaire. Nicole and her reader buddies came up with the most awesome queries and I loved answering them; seriously, these are queen geek questions, so I was absolutely on fire.

So click here and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just to tide you over....

For all you HEROES people out there (and I know you're reading, YOU ALL!), I found a couple of things this morning while procrastinating. (Don't worry--I'm just about to start revising something. Blech.)

First, a HEROES fansite.

Second, a TV GUIDE interview that hints at some spoilers, but doesn't give too much away. And they talk about Peter's bangs--a topic that is always of high concern to me.

These'll just have to tide us over until Jan. 22.

OOTB book tour: SURVIVING DEMON ISLAND


Okay, this sounds very cool: adventurous, hot, and fun, fun, fun. Must buy for me!

SURVIVING DEMON ISLAND by Jaci Burton
Bantam/Dell December 26, 2006

She's all curves and combat boots.
He's six feet of lean, dangerous male.
Join them in a game of survival.
That's as real - and hot - as it gets.
What's America's top female action star doing on a tropical island shrouded in secrecy? To Gina Bliss, competing in a survival-type reality show is a nice change from fending off on-screen villains. Until she meets real-life action hero Derek Marks. A survival specialist in a tight black T and sexy stubble, he's arousing every bad-boy fantasy she's ever had...and testing her survival skills to the max.
Martial arts, jungle warfare - Derek's done it all. But his latest mission is more dangerous than a stick of dynamite. Try telling that to the sexy, adrenaline-pumped actress who's got his libido racing off the charts. As the heat rises between them and real-life violence erupts, suddenly Derek and Gina are on the run...and when they uncover a secret so explosive it could blow the lid of their so-called reality show, these two unlikely heroes are about to discover what surviving's really about....


Excerpt:
http://www.jaciburton.com/survivingdemonisland.html

Cover:
http://www.jaciburton.com/suvivingdemonisland_200.jpg


ABOUT JACI BURTON
Jaci Burton was born and raised in Missouri but now lives on an acre-and-a-half in Oklahoma with her husband Charlie. Jaci loves to write about passionate relationships with sometimes stormy outcomes but always a happily ever after. She’s a sucker for romance and a happy ending!


REVIEWS
Burton has an uncanny aptitude for intertwining the human and the paranormal so seamlessly that sudden demon attacks and labyrinthine underworlds are perfectly believable. Realistic dialogue, spicy bedroom scenes and a spitfire heroine make this one to pick up and savor. – Publishers Weekly

Big applause goes to Burton for succeeding in setting up a rousing & timely premise that is a real roller coaster ride. Not only does this book set the stage for further exciting adventures, it also delivers a great group of characters that have plenty of room for growth. Burton doesn’t skimp on the sizzling sex or romance either; this book has it all! Brava! 4 ½ Stars – Romantic Times BookClub

Fantastic reading is in store for paranormal fans with Jaci Burton’s new series about fighting demons. It’s a great good vs. evil story that will leave you breathless at times with the chills and thrills, and ready to take a cold shower at others as two of the neatest hero’s and heroine’s pull out all the stops as they get beneath the sheets, and behind their weapons. – Reader to Reader Reviews

Website: http://www.jaciburton.com

Monday, January 08, 2007

The *bleep* is back!

Oh, little computer, how I missed you. [Psych! Actually, I had a great time away from my demanding machine, even though the workaholic in me was freaking out. I did miss blogging with you guys though, so I'm back for more. :) ]

In spite of that informational aside, I'll be honest. I feel overwhelmed right now. I returned last night to find 500 emails waiting to be read. I'm not kidding. There were about 500, and I almost started to hyperventilate. I was only gone for 4 1/2 days and look what happened!!!

But I'm *almost* caught up now. (Psych again! That was a huge lie. Actually, I'm kind of drowning in things I need to do for NIGHT RISING PR as well as other projects, like the Montana Mavericks story I'm going to begin drafting in just about a week, a proposal revision for another Special Edition, the polish that still needs to be done for my futuristic Western paranormal, and the chapters I need to write for my atmospheric thriller TWISTED. And this is not to mention the line edits I must do for *both* of my July releases as well as an article I must write by Friday for the Orange County RWA chapter's newsletter. When it rains it pours, doesn't it?)

Anyway, we all have busy lives, and in the midst of yours, I'm hoping you'll have the opportunity to visit our friend Nicole's website, where she's hosting a long list of authors this month. Here's a message from the great woman herself:

Hi!
I am currently having an Author Free for All on my blog. For the rest of January and all of February, wonderful Authors will be posting thier bios, excerpts and answering some questions. Warning these excerpts can be very hot there will be some excerpts that contain M/M. So, come on down and check it out. Leave a comment, ask a question and have some fun.


http://darkicegoddessmusings.blogspot.com/

I'm going to be featured on January 12 (Friday), so I hope you'll be stopping by!

Have a great, great week, you all, and no hyperventilating allowed. :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bits o'news


I won't be able to blog for a few days, so I'm adding this one to make up for it.

Here's a peek at the cover for my February Blaze! JINXED! is a Valentine's anthology that focuses on three heroines who are "cursed" after they reject a fortune-teller's prediction of love. Mine takes place on a cruise ship, first of all because it sounded like a good location for the story and, second of all, because I'd just taken a cruise, myself. Hah! Never let it be said that I waste a vacation.

Also, here's some news about the upcoming sequel to NIGHT RISING.... Vampire Babylon, Book Two, MIDNIGHT REIGN, will be released *next* February, in 2008. I know that's a long wait, but I've been told that the third book, BREAK OF DAWN, will follow MIDNIGHT relatively quickly....

And a bonus: Susan Kearny informed all the OutoftheBlogosphere authors that her new video trailer for ISLAND HEAT is up at www.susankearney.com. She uses the same production company who'll be bring you the NIGHT RISING trailer pretty soon (I've submitted the script and COS Productions is working on it now!). Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My very own top 10 TV list for 2006

Before we begin today, I just want to announce a couple of things.

* The winner of the December contest on my main site is Marcia Luongo! Congrats, Marcia, and I hope the prizes provide lots of amusement. :)

* Over at Gena Showalter's blog, she gives a shout out to NIGHT RISING. She provided an advanced quote for it, and she's telling people to read my book. How cool is that? I'm looking forward to her upcoming THE NYMPH KING since she writes such hot, creative fantasies. If you haven't tried Gena's work (and you might be able to since I'm giving away one of her books this month), you'll want to grab a copy.

Now, for the main event: I told you all that I'd get to this soon enough, and here it is--not that the fate of the world rests on my opinion or anything, but it's just fun to make these lists. And I'm telling you, once I got down to it, it was tough to keep this list to ten shows. Feel free to chime in with your own favorites!

Top 10 TV Shows of 2006 According to Me, Me, Me

10. 24 (Fox)
Being stressed out while watching a show has never been so fun. It's true that some of the action is contrived at times, but I can't say that this bothers me much--I'm too busy being entertained while watching Jack Bauer pull his balls-out save-the-world heroics. I love that even my most cherished characters might not make it out of any given episode alive. And Jean Smart? Was awesome.

9. ENTOURAGE (HBO)
The first season, I wasn't that into it. The second? Ah, that's where my love for Vincent and his posse flowered, and it went from there. The Hollywood in-jokes are hilarious (Jake Gyllenhaal is tapped to replace Vinnie in AQUAMAN--how great was that?) and the boys have not only developed a real bond with each other, but with their audience, as well. Johnny Drama kills me.

8. ROME (HBO)
This program started out as an interesting historical curiosity for me. But when it picked up steam--oooo, damn--it picked up steam. The assassination finale was some of the finest TV I've experienced, with a heartwrenching take on the famous "Et tu, Brute?" line. The subplots were equally tragic, giving the brilliant actors plenty to chew on. And who knew I'd be so into two mismatched Roman soldiers, the C3P0 and R2D2 of Caesarean times? Can't wait for this one to start up again.

7. DEADWOOD (HBO)
This is not a show to casually pick up every once in a while or to watch while you're doing anything more taxing than eating dinner. It takes that much concentration and loyalty, because the plots are thick with details and gilded-yet-gritty dialogue. This year--as George Hearst attempted his takeover--we saw some of the most intense and oddly beautiful moments of the series, complete with scenes like the children walking down the thoroughfare hand in hand while a war simmered on the sidelines. Also, this season gave most characters a chance to connect with the audience while Deadwood finally gelled into a true community. Too bad there'll only be a couple of movies to tie up the season's loose ends, and that's all we'll get. Sad but true.

6. HEROES (NBC)
The sixth position on my list seems low for this one, but there are so many other programs I love that this was a brutal competition. The only reason this isn't higher is that I'm too anxious for the heroes to finally come together, and that's frustrating, even though the anticipation itself is quite fun. But the characters (Hiro, Peter, Jessica!) are really compelling, and we've got the best cliffhangers on TV right now, followed only by LOST. My only concern is that HEROES is going the X-FILES route and setting us up for a mythology crash because the writers have no idea what the heck is coming next. But I'll keep the faith, friends, and I'll watch them save that cheerleader.

5. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (Fox)
I just might cry right here....
Okay, better now, but still bitter. It's too bad that this series either didn't appeal to the masses or was so buried by Fox's ever-changing scheduling that it never got the ratings it deserved. Each episode guaranteed at least seven belly laughs for me. Motherboy? Good heavens, even that word sends me into fits of giggles.
RIP, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. You lightened up many a half hour for me.

4. VERONICA MARS (The CW)
Here's another show that's floating somewhere in the ether of "fine unwatched TV." Luckily, I hear the ratings have been up recently, and that The CW put in an order for the full twenty episodes. Sweet! You've seen my blogs about VM before, so you know the basics: smarty girl detective graduates and goes to college, cracking her way through mysteries and life. VM's writing is twisty and clever, and the "beach noir" vibe is appealing. Please watch.

3. THE OFFICE (NBC)
Holy moly. So, first of all, there was last season's finale and THAT KISS. I am still swooning from Jim and Pam's liplock. But leave it to THE OFFICE to present a new season in which there's not only a barrier to Jim and Pam's soulmate-ness, but you actually have to like that barrier! Karen is fun and warm and smart--she's Pam in better outfits and you can't despise her for being Jim's reason for not getting hurt by Pam again. And lest I forget about everything else going on in Dunder and Mifflin... Like ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, this show provides constant crack ups. It's at its best when Michael is being wildly, cluelessly politically incorrect, but how can you possibly dislike a guy who wore a sad business suit as a child?

2. DEXTER (Showtime)
Unless you've watched this show about a sympathetic serial killer, you wouldn't get its appeal. Dexter is a complex sociopath who, long ago, learned to divert his homicidal tendencies--instead of killing good people, he goes after bad ones. He "takes out the trash," and this series is all about his struggles to cope in a world that demands more humanity out of a person, even as it demeans them. Lots of twists and turns satisfy the viewers' popcorn urges, too, but even the revelation of the Ice Truck Killer's identity led to more questions for Dexter himself. Season two can't come fast enough.

1. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Sci-Fi Channel)
This program has everything: action and adventure, romance, otherworldly encounters as our "heroes"--the last surviving humans--search for a new home in Earth. All the while, the "evil" Cylons are racing to get there, too, while wreaking destruction on the humans. The thing is, BG does all of this on a deeper level, making the audience consider philosophical and moral questions at the same moment. There's a lot of dark ambiguity because, at times, the Cylons have more human qualities than the humans themselves. Characters make some very bad choices, and it's fascinating to watch the fallout. And this is the show that made me cry at least twice so far this season. If you watch it, you know exactly what I'm talking about (hint: Tigh's last moments with Ellen, Starbuck and Apollo's boxing match). BG more often than not absolutely blows me away in every respect.

So there it is. Again, it was a challenge to put this list together, because I had many other shows I wanted to mention. Here are some runners up:
LOST, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, GREY'S ANATOMY, TOP CHEF, DANCING WITH THE STARS, UGLY BETTY, PROJECT RUNWAY. Including all of these would be cheating, because the point is to make hard choices.

Here's to a new year of great entertainment, you all. :)