Saturday, May 30, 2009

DVD Review: THE WIRE

So I heard, many a time, that I needed to watch THE WIRE. It's so awesome, the chat boards said. It's television at its best, the critics shouted.

And they were right.

This was one of those times I should've listened sooner, just like with SUPERNATURAL, because when I started getting my DVDS in the mail, I was a camped-out mailbox puppy once again.

THE WIRE is a short five seasons long (about ten through thirteen episodes per cycle) and it was presented by HBO, which means you get sex and grit. It's very complex, and I don't recommend hopping into the middle of it--this one is something to appreciate one episode after another, like a multi-coure meal that builds on what comes before.

If you watched HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS (one of my favorite series ever), you're a ready-made fan. THE WIRE was conceived and run by David Simon, who used to be a newspaper journalist in Baltimore and turned to producing and writing after getting bought out of his job (a nice term for laid off). Hence, the action takes place in Baltimore, focusing primarily on what starts out as a rag-tag bunch of cast-off police who are put on a seemingly hopeless drug detail. Lest this sound like a trite set up, the execution drives the story in a very different direction, using the points of view of the drug dealers, too. No one is simply good or bad in this series, but the characters are always facinating and even endearing in their own imperfect ways. Even the dealers have saving graces (most of the time).

Each season features a different aspect of Baltimore, fleshing out the city so that you feel as if you know it: season two centers around the port; season three has politics; season four goes to the schools; season five brings everything together by using a newspaper room as its "new character." At the same time, we follow the cops as well as the "evolution" of the drug trade on the streets--old dealers have to bow to the power of the new.

My favorite season was four, but only because of the school focus. As a former eighth grade teacher in San Diego, I felt that the issues really, really hit home: the politics of "teaching to the test," social promotion, and the basic struggle of middle schoolers trying to go beyond what society and family expects of them. I was *dreaming* about this stuff every night--that's how much this season got to me.

Bottom line--this series is a work of art. No joking. The way it sews its stories together into a tapestry of bleak (and sometimes hopeful) reality is stunning. It's inspiring for any author. Plus, this is the series you whip out if you're having a conversation with someone who wants to tell you that TV is junk.

Highly, highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blog at Deanna Cameron's Site Today

I'm the guest blogger at Deanna Cameron's writing site today. The focus is on promotion, so if you're looking for tips, you might want to see what I usually do for my bigger releases. Also, there are a couple fun little facts, like what I keep near my desk. :)

To go there, click here on http://deannacameron.blogspot.com/.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fun Site

Guys, if you're looking to while away more time on the Internet, may I direct you to a great site? Outlaw Vern is an occasional contributer to Ain't It Cool News, and his reviews are always so right on and hilarious that I rush to read them. He just got the TERMINATOR review up, and in the comment section, he talks about an earlier draft of the script that's being analyzed on the CHUD site. Interesting stuff.

Go to http://outlawvern.com/ by clicking here!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Terminator: Salvation


I saw TERMINATOR: SALVATION, and it was pretty good. For me, it fell between “good action” and “emptiness.” What I mean by that is there were plenty of explosions and some really decent fight scenes (especially with the motorcycle and “snake” terminators) but I didn’t connect to everything else that was going on.

Now, before anyone reminds me that this is just a “popcorn movie,” I have to say that I believe “pop flicks” can transcend the somewhat demeaning title. Just because you’ve got robots and pyrotechnics doesn’t mean that there can’t be characterization that sticks with you. Even in a dark, post-apocalyptic world, you can still find yourself attached to what’s going on. With T:S, I didn’t feel that extra “oomph”—moments where the world reaches out of the screen and into you. But having said all that, this movie has nothing at all to be ashamed of—the performances are top notch and it looks great, with a bleak view of the kind of future we’d hoped to see in this series.

I guess what surprised me most was the lack of screen time for Christian Bale/John Connor. I expected the action to focus primarily on him. It doesn’t. Instead, we concentrate on a guy named Marcus, and while his story is a good one, I wanted more John. And I have to say that my favorite performance didn’t even include John or Marcus; I loved the teenaged Kyle Reese because, as played by the Chekhov kid in the recent STAR TREK, he was a perfect rendition of what Reese might’ve been before he became the time traveling hero we know and love. When Kyle is first identified on screen, it’s a bit of a shock because of Anton Yelchin’s big blue eyes and delicate features—this will be one of Connor’s best soldiers?—but immediately Yelchin made me see the burgeoning kick-assedness in him, as well as the heart that will be swayed by a mere picture of Sara Connor.

So…there are definitely things to like in the movie. But also a bit of disappointment, though not to a high degree.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blogging Today at Love Is An Exploding Cigar

I'm blogging today over at Love Is An Exploding Cigar, and if you comment there, you could win a signed copy of one of my Blazes, ONE FOR THE ROAD. The catch is that you must be registered with the site to win. My topic is about how to use symbolism in your writing (and, briefly, how I used it in my upcoming June Blaze, WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN...).

Click here to come on over!

Monday, May 18, 2009

13 more eppies for CHUCK!

If you're a CHUCK fan, it's Good News Monday.... There'll be 13 more episodes of the show. It's no full order, but I'm not complaining.

For a look at a sort of funny impassioned fan plea, watch this vid (But be aware of the f-bomb at the end if you don't like "language"!):

Friday, May 15, 2009

SUPERNATURAL Finale, 5/14/09

What a finale! Jeez, first there was LOST, which blew my freakin’ mind, as usual, and then came SUPERNATURAL, which pretty much does the same for me but with hotter guys. (Sorry, Sawyer, Jack, and Desmond. I’m a victim of the Winchester Pretty.) Also, Ruby’s no more! Sweet!

Come with me to the water cooler for some chattery….

* It just occurred to me that we’re going to get another version of the opening title card next season. Can it get any scarier? They outdo themselves each time. And you know what? I CAN’T WAIT FOUR MONTHS FOR IT.

* Tell it, Bobby! Harsh words for Dean about him acting like a “princess,” but I want Dean to get out of this swamp of emo and into kick-ass gear. Not that Dean didn’t deserve some princess time with what he’s been through. Most people would’ve jumped off a bridge.

* LOL for Zacharias offering Ginger from “Gilligan’s Island” to Dean—and throwing Mary Ann in for free. (You had to know that Dean would be a GingerBoy.)

* It figures that Sam’s voice mail would cut Dean off just before he finished saying, “I’m sor—“ry.

* Any agreement on the notion that Zacharias is being a tad too cocky about winning in the apocalypse Olympics?

* Um…”God has left the building”? Om-i-nous.

* Is it significant that the convent is “St. Mary’s”? (As in Mama Mary Winchester?)

* Bitch move #5677 by Ruby—changing Sam’s voice mail.

* SAM’S DEMON EYES! Ahhhhhhh!

* I’m actually relieved that Ruby was playing Sam like a slack-stringed violin. She made him a chump but maybe…MAYBE…he’ll learn from this.

* WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Don’t let the hellgates hit you in the ass on your way out, Rubes.

* We all knew they’d leave us hanging here at the end with Lucifier’s rising! Argh. But the good news is that the brothers are back together, baby! Hell approacheth earth, but this reunion leaves me very happy and satisfied.

So, a whole summer. Four months. Forever. And then there’ll be no more SUPERNATURAL. Woe is me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another Great Summer Read: ENTERTAINING ANGELS

Earlier in the week, I suggested the sizzle of SUBMISSION by Cherie Feather (AKA Sheri Whitefeather). For an equally wonderful read, I give to you ENTERTAINING ANGELS by my other friend and critique partner, Judy Duarte.

This is what could be called "inspirational women's fiction," and it continues the tradition of Judy's first book, MULBERRY PARK, where members of a community come together and improve their lives through love and companionship. This time, there's a stranger walking among them, and "Jesse" seems to have quite a knowing store of anecdotes that sets everybody's lives in a new direction. Here's the back cover blurb:

As a teen, Kristy Smith spent her nights dreaming of a college scholarship - dreams that ended abruptly when she became pregnant. Now Kristy works hard to support her young son, Jason, and her ailing grandmother, staving off regrets about the chances that slipped away. When Craig Houston became a pastor, he envisioned making a difference in some distant, poverty-stricken country, not dealing with youth groups and shut-ins in a tidy suburb like Fairbrook. But things aren't always what they seem. Soon, Craig finds locals who need guidance even if they'll never admit it - like Kristy's best friend, Shana, who's always strived to be the perfect daughter; Renee, a pregnant teen trying to make it on her own; and Kristy herself, a vibrant and loving young woman unaware of just how much she has to offer. One by one, the residents of Fairbrook are about to learn that the future can surprise and redeem us, especially when there is courage and true friendship in abundance, and a little help from an unexpected source...

So snap these up and have a great time! (BTW, Judy's working on her third book in this series, TAPESTRY, and Sheri just finished writing MASQUERADE. You've got awesome stuff from these authors in the future, too!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Need a Hot, Hot Summer Read? Submit to SUBMISSION


SUBMISSION is the second erotic romance novel by my friend and critique partner, Sheri Whitefeather (writing as Cherie Feather here). I'm not just pimping out her novel because of that, though--I'm genuinely telling you that her ART OF DESIRE and now SUBMISSION are two fantastic reads. She has a way of really steaming up the pages (and how...whoa!) as well as weaving high emotion into the tale. Here's what SUBMISSION is about:

Ethan Tierney is infamous in the art world for his shocking paintings—and his reputation for seduction. He’s found a perfect subject in Kiki Dion, an art historian with kinky fantasies of her own. Now, behind the closed doors of his historic estate, they’re making those fantasies come true— and bringing something else to life as well…

A century ago, the house’s late occupants recorded the details of their consuming affair in explicit letters that have become Kiki and Ethan’s erotic obsession. But the ghosts of the past are not at rest. They’ve been aroused to bring closure to a sensual mystery of the past, to take possession of the warm and willing bodies of Kiki and Ethan, and to teach them the true meaning of undying ecstasy.


As I said, the sex is super sizzly, and Sheri is a master at weaving the present plot in with the historical subplot. (BTW, the male ghost reminds me of what Rhett Butler might've been like behind closed doors.) You're gonna love this one.

BTW, I'll be giving away a copy of ART OF DESIRE during my next contest, which is going to be updated in about a week....

(I'll be back later in the week with another recommendation--this time from the opposite side of the spectrum with Judy Duarte's latest inspirational!)

Friday, May 08, 2009

SUPERNATURAL, 5/7/09

Dark!

You all know I like my dark stories, but, oh, how draining this episode was. I loved it because everything is coming together, but how the soul weeps for the Winchester brothers.

Water cooler talk:

* Okay, before we start, I just want to say that I saw Jensen Ackles in a little horror movie called DEVOUR. It was all right as far as horror goes, but what struck me was how good of an actor this guy really is. We're used to him bringing it on SUPERNATURAL, but the character he played in this movie had an innocence about him that contrasted with Dean's bravado. When this show's over, I'd love to see him do some indie dramas and comedies that show his skills to an even bigger audience.

Anyway.

* I'm rooting for Dean, of course, because who wants to see Sam utterly destroyed? Still, I can see where they're both coming from in their arguments to either use Sam's powers or not. Sam really thinks he's doing the right thing, but Dean just wants to save him.

* How awful to see Sam's inner demons coming out. When Big Sam was talking to Little Sam (and, no, I'm not being dirty), they mentioned Jess, and I thought it was interesting that Sam has never tried to bring Jess back to life, what, with all the magic he has access to. Not that Sam still holds a pure love for her, but he carries Jess's death around with him; she haunts him, and I wonder if he'll ever try to exorcise the lingering guilt.

* When Mom appeared to Sam, I almost thought Ruby was screwing around with him because she was calling Dean weak and urging him to go after Lillith. It's not so, but, woe is me, we do get our Ruby appearance later.

* Oh, Dean--taking one for Sam again as he makes a bargain with the angels this time (instead of demons)? Wasn't going to hell for Sam enough? Hero.

* You can imagine how hard I was cheering for Dean to rip Ruby to pieces. Then, alas, Sam step in. Bleh.

* So what do you think--last shot of the season = Lucifer busting out of his "cage"?

* These boys break my heart.

Next week...utter creepiness.

BTW, I saw STAR TREK and it's rolicking great fun. Emotional, hilarious, exciting--totally worth the moola, guys!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

BRIDE OF THE WOLF (OOTB Book Tour)


Bride of the Wolf
by Jennifer St. Giles
(Shadowmen Series Book 4)
Release Date 4/28/09

When the heroic werewolf Navarre is trapped in the twilight realm, his Shadowmen comrades are unable to rescue him. Only a passionate woman with a spirit as wild as his own can set him free….

Oil heiress Marissa Vasquez fled the jungles of Belize to avoid becoming a pawn in her vicious uncle’s wicked schemes. Though she has found temporary sanctuary in little Twilight, Tennessee, only in her dreams does she taste freedom. At night, her spirit intertwines with a magnificent black wolf, and they run together under the glow of a forest moon. When a wounded stranger is brought to the camp where she is hiding, she glimpses in his eyes the mysterious being who has been the partner of her visions. But before she can explore her strange reaction to this man, they are kidnapped and imprisoned once again.

Navarre is a shapeshifting Shadowman, captured by the evil Vladarian vampire who hopes to control Marissa. Injured and blind, he struggles to regain his warrior’s strength as they fight for their freedom — and their lives. Together, their spirits form a powerful link matched only by the passion they discover in each other’s arms. But can a mortal woman attain true love with a man who is half wolf? And will their enemies give them time to find an answer?

Reviews
With a spin that will shake fans with delight, Jennifer St. Giles continues to make The Shadowmen saga one of the best urban romantic fantasy series on the market today.”—Klausner

“Magically believable and overflowing with affecting emotions, BRIDE OF THE WOLF holds your attention during every gripping scene.” Singletitles.com
“Jennifer St. Giles packs an emotional punch that will take your breath away.” Bitten by Books, Brianna.

“BRIDE OF THE WOLF is yet another intense and powerful story from the very talented Jennifer St. Giles.” CK’s Kwips and Kritiques, Debbie

Excerpt: http://jenniferstgiles.com/brideofthewolf.shtml

Website: jenniferstgiles.com

Blog: jenniferstgiles.blogspot.com

USA Today Bestselling Author, Jennifer is a former nurse and homeschooling mother of three. She has won a number of awards for writing excellence including, two National Reader’s Choice Awards, two time Maggie Award Winner, Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Romance Writers’ of America’s Golden Heart Award, along with RT Book Club’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Gothic/Mystery.
Website: jenniferstgiles.com Blog jenniferstgiles.blogspot.com.

Books: The Mistress of Trevelyan 8/04, His Dark Desires 11/05, Midnight Secrets 5/06, Touch A Dark Wolf 9/06, Darkest Dreams 12/06, The Lure of the Wolf 7/07, Silken Shadows 12/07, Kiss of Darkness 4/09, Bride of the Wolf 5/09. Point of No Return: Mammoth Book of Vampire Romances Book 2 9/09. Romance’s first graphic e-book through betweenyoursheets.com. Jennifer St. Giles writing as Jennifer Saints in Wild Irish 5/09 and Smooth Irish 5/09.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Another Sneak Peek at a Cover!

Here's my next Special Edition cover!

THE TEXAS BILLIONAIRE'S BRIDE is coming out in July, and it's the first book in the Foleys & McCords continuity series. As you can tell from the flash title, the series has a family feud premise, and it involves really fun stuff like a lost, cursed diamond and Romeo-and-Juliet relationships. My own story is a nanny-and-the-boss type romance, with a hopeful caretaker winning the heart of a brooding widower with a daughter in sore need of love and guidance.

July is also going to bring the mass market reissue of MIDNIGHT REIGN, Vampire Babylon, Book 2, before THE PATH OF RAZORS (book 4) comes out in August! Good times ahead....

Friday, May 01, 2009

SUPERNATURAL, 5/1/09

Only two more weeks to go!

I would've liked to have seen more Winchester boys in this eppie, but I found Jimmy's story to be interesting, and it dovetailed nicely with the set-up needs of the mythology for the big finale. (Sob--only TWO MORE eppies, you guys. This will be the first time I'll be waiting an entire summer after one of those killer SPN cliffhangers. Gah!)

Here's the water cooler points:

* Do you all watch THE AMAZING RACE? Doesn't "Jimmy" (not "Castiel," because Misha Collins can really differentiate the two) look like Racer Luke?

* As I was saying, it's so wonderfully obvious when Castiel is in that body and when Jimmy is. Kudos to the actor, Misha Collins!

* Yeah, I, too, would've freaked if I were Jimmy's wife and I came home to find my hubby's hand being boiled in water.

* "Ginormo." ROFLAO. That's a shout-out to televisionwithoutpity.com, which I looooove.

* Interesting depiction of Jimmy's marriage. Both Jimmy and wife have faith, but only one of them takes the big leap. And I like how Jimmy realizes, bit by bit, the consequences of his faith. Interesting, also, that he chooses to lie to his family about where he's been for almost a year(!) instead of testing his wife's faith again. (Or does he really regret inviting Castiel in that much?)

* Is it just me...or are you also hoping that Ruby's not returning Sam's calls because she was sucked right back into you-know-where?

* OMG--Roger-as-demon reveal and Jimmy's kill-and-protect reaction. He is SO never getting his family back.

* Nice! The little girl is carrying Castiel. Didn't expect that.

* Oh, CRAP--Sam and that demon blood. Secret's out.

* Oooo--will there be a lil' girl throwdown between Claire/Castiel and whatever Lolita-like body Lilith decides to inhabit next? That would take care of any issues regarding a grown-looking man (Castiel) working it out with a lil' chick (Lilith).

* Damn--Castiel goes back into Jimmy. I was kind of stoked about the lil' girl wars. But I do like Castiel in this body. Castiel's hot even though Jimmy isn't. Weird.

* BOBBY!!! But, oh, my, he and Dean are forcing Sam to go cold-steel turkey. Good.

And the previews? Holy heart palpitations. Looks like Dean isn't about to let Ruby get away with her garbage anymore though. Please, please, please have this mean that she's gonna be gone next year....