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Friday Favorites – The Weekend Edition

image from freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t know where my head was this week. I thought about writing this post Thursday night, but it fell to the wayside. Then, we went to the beach on Friday and it was a perfect day for the beach. Don’t be jealous ;)  Anyway, better late than never:

Misa Ramirez and Anna Destefano over on The Naked Hero Blog discuss what knid of hero is better: the good guy or the bad good guy. Although I’ve always loved a good bad boy, my latest reading has been in the good guy camp. Really, though, I like a little bit of everything.

Asrai Devin has an excellent post about things she’s learned from romance that apply to real life. These are some real words to live by.

Emma Burcart writes about how we’re all daddy’s girls. She has some interesting thoughts about the old adage that women will marry someone like their father. I don’t know that I necessarily believe that. For me, it’s hard to say since my dad died when I was 4. Without a doubt my stepfather had some influence there (namely all the mistakes I made regarding men), but I don’t remember enough of my dad to know if my husband is like him.

Marcy Kennedy gives 4 reasons we should all be more like the Mandalorians in Star Wars. I love Star Wars references because Star Wars is  a big deal in our house. It’s so bad that when we went bowling as a family for Father’s Day, my husband put in our names as Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Chewy (I got to be Chewy).

If you want more Dallas discussion, Tiffany White wrote about the return of Dallas the day before I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t see her post before I wrote mine, or I probably would’ve stolen some of her ideas. It’s pure coincidence that we used some of the same pictures.

Over on Pink Chocolate Break this week, some awesome quotes on following your intuition.

And finally, I saw this earlier this week over on Dear Author. It’s just an amazing video.

What are you doing for fun this weekend?

Dallas – Redux

When I first heard that TNT was bringing Dallas back, I was a bit leery. Dallas was a show from my childhood. I remember watching it, especially with my Grandma (how she loved her soaps). The drama and backstabbing kept us tuning in each week. I wasn’t sure how TNT would manage to bring it back and still capture may attention.

Now that I’ve watched the first 3 episodes (2 aired for the premier last week), I can say that it looks like TNT got it right. Obviously, we’re only 3 episodes in and there’s plenty of room to screw it up, but I like it.

First, the thing I just might like best in this show, is that for a change, the older female actresses look way better than the men. I think it’s unfair that men seem to look better with age (Sean Connery, George Clooney). But I remember Sue Ellen from the original Dallas, and she looks a billion times better than JR.

Beyond that very superficial observation, the plot right out the gate is typical Dallas. Different branches of the family tree are all out to get their hands on money, this time in the form of South Fork, the family ranch. The backstabbing and betrayal is full force from the first episode.

John Ross, JR’s son, wants to drill for oil on South Fork land. Bobby, JR’s brother and land owner, won’t hear of it. John Ross gets his father involved in a scheme to take the land, and John Ross plans to double cross his father so the land will be his alone.

Bobby’s son, Christopher, is back in town and trying to develop alternate fuel possibilities. His ex-fiancee is now dating John Ross. On his wedding day, Christopher finds out that Elena, his ex, didn’t leave him. She fled to Mexico because she received an email from him telling her that their relationship had been a mistake. But he didn’t send the email.

Love the Dallas betrayal.

This sets us up for a love triangle because we can see that Christopher and Elena still have feelings for each other, but he does marry Rebecca. Coincidentally, Elena has the knowledge and skills to help Christopher with his alternate energy project that has run into problems.

At the end of episode 2, we also find out that Rebecca and her brother are not simply new members to the family, but that they have strategically inserted themselves into the Ewing clan for some sort of revenge. We still don’t have the details, but we do know that Rebecca has real feelings for Christopher.

Overall, the new Dallas is a nice mix of old and new. Bobby, JR, Sue Ellen, and Cliff Barnes are all characters from the original and they seem to hold true to those characters. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I mean, after 30 years, people should change, right? But there’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing that JR is still the self-absorbed asshole he’s always been.

The new characters, the younger generation, are all sexy and fun to look at, which is part of the draw of watching soaps.

If you’re looking for high quality TV, this isn’t it. But if you like some good old-fashioned guilty pleasure nighttime soap opera, this is a good bet.

Have you watched Dallas? What do you think?

Friday Favorites 6/15

Sorry for the lack of a good title for today’s post. My brain just isn’t into titles right now. Here are your links for great reading this week:

Book stuff:

Over at The Naked Hero, Amy Andrews touches on a hot button issue. Is it ever okay for a hero to cheat? Is it a redeemable action? For a long time, I would’ve said no, it’s completely unacceptable. And really for a romance hero, I think it should be unacceptable. BUT… this is something that happens in real life and real life couples sometimes do get past it. That makes me think that depending on the circumstances and how it’s handled in the book, it might be possible. My gut still says, though, that books are escapism and I don’t want too much reality there.

Dana Kaye, publicist, has a great flow chart of how a book is born. You can probably spent 10 minutes just following different paths. :)

Kat Latham posted a test to see how fast you read. I came in at 376 words a minute, which means I could read War and Peace in about 26 hours (not that I’d want to). I’m faster than 50% of people. I guess being an English major finally paid off.

Although not directly related to books, since I write romance and think about relationships for my characters, I’m adding a post by Emma Burcart here. Emma talks about choosing safe guys. You know the ones — you know exactly what to expect from them. They exist for a good time, no commitment, no permanence. Emma writes from her own experience in relationships, but for me, this is great fodder for character development. In fact, in the book I’m revising right now, the heroine always chooses guys who aren’t serious because serious scares her.

Fun Stuff:

Myndi Shafer has a fabulous list of things she is pretty sure she knows. I personally love #4. It’s a common belief in my house.

(4)  If momma ain’t happy, ain’t no-one happy.

One thing that I’m pretty sure I know is that a good book can often erase a bad day.

Over on Pink Chocolate Break this week, we have some quotes about love.

And finally, Tiffany White has a post about great summer TV. She manages to cover more shows than I did in my post because she talks about shows I haven’t watched.

What is one thing that you’re pretty sure you know?

Longmire vs. Justified

(Let me start with an apology if the formatting of this post is wonky. I’ve been fighting it all day and finally gave up)

When I first talked about new shows starting for the summer, I mentioned that I hoped that Longmire would fill the gap left by one of my favorite shows, Justified. I mean, troubled lawman in a cowboy hat — sounds pretty good. Now that I’ve watched the first two episodes of Longmire, I’m ready to report.

Walt Longmire

First, Walt Longmire is a good looking man, but he’s definitely of the old West cowboy flavor. I’d much rather look at Raylan. Longmire does offer up a deputy, Branch, who I remember from Saving Grace, and while he’s yummy, I don’t like the character much, which takes away some of the pleasure from the eye candy.

Branch Connelly

Next, in looking at the characters, I think Walt could be almost as fascinating as Raylan. I remember way back in the first season of Justified, Raylan’s ex-wife Winona (ugh) said that he was the angriest man she’d ever known. And deep down it’s true; Raylan is an angry man. Walt, on the other hand, is a sad man. His wife died a year ago and he checked out. Although he kept his position as sheriff, he hasn’t much participated in life, and his deputies covered for him. Now, though, he’s coming back in. He’s decided that he wants to run for sheriff again, which puts him running against his deputy, Branch. One little quirk about Walt that I like is that litter drives him nuts. He’ll chase down a paper wrapper just so he can pick it up and get it off the street.

The last thing, and this is a big one, is dialogue. I wrote months ago about the superb dialogue in Justified. The dialogue in Justified reads they way we would all love to sound if we planned out everything we wanted to say, but it suits the characters, particularly Raylan, perfectly. After watching the first episode of Longmire, I thought maybe I hit another great example.

In that first episode, Walt stops and watches birds flying overhead. His deputy, Vic, says, “Hey, Walt. Wacha doin’?” His response?

“Thinking. I do that sometimes before I talk.”

No, it’s not the rambling God-I-love-this-dialogue speech, but this kind of line sums up who Walt is, much like Raylan’s commentary on his lack of “interest in shitkicker-on-shitkicker crime.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that same feeling about the dialogue in episode 2. While I still enjoyed the show and Walt is one of those intelligent, well-seasoned sheriffs that is often underestimated because he’s old school (doesn’t have a cell phone, doesn’t use a computer). I’m going to keep watching because my hope is that we’ll get more of that character-revealing dialogue.

I also think that the secondary characters, if they get a chance to be fully developed, will be interesting to watch. The one female deputy, Vic, is a transplant from Philadelphia where she was a homicide detective. We haven’t gotten her story about why she moved, but really, it has to be good, right? What could get you to move to Wyoming if you were a city girl? I think Branch running against Walt will make for good drama. They’re both good cops, but they antagonize each other. Lou Diamond Phillips plays Walt’s best friend, Henry Standing Bear. I wonder how they became friends.

The last thing that makes this show watchable is the setting itself. The big open expanse of land is beautiful. From what I understand, the show is filmed in New Mexico, which disappointed me. I watched the first episode believing that I was seeing Wyoming. Either way, still beautiful.

Have you watched Longmire? What do you think?

Friday Favorites – Relationships, Writing & Language Fun

Another week gone and only one more until the kids are out of school. I’m beginning to worry about keeping up with 3 posts a week while they’re home. I’ve gone back to teaching part-time (college level writing) and although it’s only one night a week, I spend hours prepping and grading. Add in the kids and keeping them busy, and something’s probably going to give. Usually my writing suffers over the summer, but this year, I have a deadline, so that can’t really happen. Right now, I’m ahead of schedule and I’d like to keep it that way.

Anyway, onto great links for the week.

Modern relationships:

Samantha Warren likens modern online romance to romance when back when. She has some interesting ideas about how contact through email mimics communication only via letter. Since I’ve been married a long time, I don’t know if this holds true, but I do agree with her that the idea of building a relationship with words is far more fascinating that jumping into bed together.

Mike Stolar is guy getting his 15 minutes of viral fame for sending a survey out to his dates when things didn’t work out. Some articles call this creepy, but isn’t this the stuff of a fine romantic comedy?

Speaking of romantic comedies, Fabio Bueno has an excellent post on building your own romantic comedy. I’m thinking I should bookmark it for future book ideas :)

Writing:

Chuck Wendig has one of his fabulous 25 things post up. This time it’s 25 reasons you should quit writing. I know most writers will tell you that they can’t NOT write. I don’t know if I fall into that category. It’s certainly true at this point in my life, but I stopped writing from the time I left college until about 5 years ago. I was busy building my career and writing didn’t enter the picture. I don’t know if that would happen again if I went back to teaching full-time. I tend to throw myself 100% into whatever I do. Chuck’s points are great, though. Writing is tough and it’s not for everyone.

On the other end of advice, Ingrid Schaffenburg was recently at a conference and she shares the advice she learned from seasoned professionals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: conferences are a great way to fuel yourself as a writer (even if you’re an introvert like me)

Tonya Kappes writes about how often writers are expected to produce books. It used to be that an author could be successful writing one book a year. Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes one about every 18 months. But with the advent of self-publishing and ebooks, readers have gotten impatient. They want it NOW. I get it. I hate having to wait for a favorite author’s new book (I’m looking at you Julie James) and we want them to write faster. I’m currently set to release 2 books a year. I hope that’s enough to build a following.

TV:

Tiffany White has a post this week about the return of one of my summer favorites, The Glades. When I posted a couple of weeks ago about returning TV shows, I talked about The Glades. It’s a cop show with a lot of sexual chemistry and conflict between the main characters. Tiffany does a great job explaining everything if you’ve never watched. (plus, you can catch up on Netflix)

(this one’s a little TV and more on writing, but…) Over on Romancing the Naked Hero, Paula Altenburg writes about secondary characters who steal the show. She opens with talking about Boyd Crowder from Justified. How could I not include this?

Fun:

So Bad So Good has a post on words that don’t exist in the English. My favorite?

Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire

OR maybe…

Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

Here’s another list of relationship words that don’t exist in English (I’m getting the idea that our language is quite boring)

And finally, a little inspiration to find happiness from Pink Chocolate Break.

Who is your favorite secondary character either from a book or movie/TV?

New Summer TV

So, last week I wrote about shows that are canceled that I’ll miss and the week before I talked about shows that are returning for the summer. Today, I’m talking about shows that are new, premiering this summer (some have already started).

image from imdb.com

First up, Common Law. This show premiered a couple of weeks ago on May 11. I’ve watched the first 2 episodes and I’ll continue because it’s pretty funny. The premise is that 2 cops, who are partners, are forced into couples counseling. Of course, the idea is ridiculous, especially when you take into consideration that everyone else in the group is married. But the main characters are fascinating. We don’t have all of the backstory yet, but it is unfolding. Wes is a former lawyer who became a cop because of something bad that happened that he feels responsible for. We don’t know yet what that thing is, but we know that the career change ended his marriage. (He has shared custody of the lawn.) Travis is a player. He’s slept with too many co-workers, which causes issues while he and Wes are trying to work. Travis grew up in a string of foster homes and because of this, he has a lot of connections that help solve cases. The banter is funny and keeps me watching.

Duets airs tonight, and although I can’t say that I’m really looking forward to it, my daughters are. They got so caught up in watching The Voice, that they can’t wait for Duets to start.

Longmire is a show that I haven’t heard much about, but I think I’ll give it shot. It airs on Sun 6/3. It’s a contemporary crime drama about a sheriff in Wyoming. He lost his wife a year ago, and he’s just starting to put his life back together, when one of his deputies decides to run against him for sheriff. I’m thinking this might fill the void left by Justified. Just check out the cowboy hat. :)

BBC America is bringing in a BBC show called Inside Men. BBC tends to be hit or miss for me, but I might watch this. It’s about 3 security depot employees who plan and execute a heist. The story is told from all of their points of view, so that’s interesting. This has a little Leverage feel to it, for me anyway.

TNT is starting 2 new crime dramas: Perception and Major  Crimes. Major Crimes is a spin-off of The Closer and my initial reaction was that I’m not that big of a fan to want to watch a spin-off, but the main character is Capt. Raydor, who played a by-the-rules bitch in The Closer, and I might tune in for her.

Perception is about a neuroscientist with paranoid schizophrenia who helps the FBI solve crimes. The thing is, he sees things that other people don’t. Seriously, sometimes he hallucinates. I might watch just for the crazy factor.

Finally, TBS is airing a new comedy called Sullivan & Son. Now, if you’ve paid attention to my viewing habits, you’d notice that the comedies are almost non-existent. It tends to be a timing thing. This one caught my attention because it’s about a guy who goes home to visit and ends up taking over the family bar. Since a family bar is the setting for a couple of my books, I think I’ll watch just for inspiration. Plus, I was always a fan of Cheers.

What new TV show are you most looking forward to?

Don’t forget the Diamond Jubilee blog hop and raffle are still going on. Click below:

Canceled Favorites

I’ve been hearing for the last week or so about shows that are being canceled and those that are being renewed for next season, and I’m a little depressed. A bunch of shows that I decided to try (many of which I like) are being canceled.

Some of the cancellations are not surprising, like NYC 22. I’m also not that surprised that Breaking In and Bent are being canceled, although I really liked them. GCB was one of my guilty pleasures. I didn’t look forward to it every week, but when I had some extra time, I’d catch up. Some shows I won’t miss, even though I watched regularly. Unforgettable tops that list. I liked the premise of the show, but something about the main character bugs me. Maybe it’s the actress, but there have been too many times that she’s come across as an airhead. Awake is a show that I’ve watched, but I have a bunch of episodes on my DVR to catch up on. Now I’m questioning if I should bother.

There are three shows that are chopped that I will miss. Missing doesn’t surprise me. I mean, really, how long could you draw out a single kidnapping? But I watched it every week. The Finder is another show that’s a little on the weird side, but since it aired on Fridays, it gave me something to watch over the weekend. The one show that’s being canceled that I think I’ll miss the most is Alcatraz. I like everything about that show. It had unique characters with some baggage, small conflicts in the search for the weekly criminal, and the overall plot arc of how and why the 63s were in 2012.

Image taken from Amazon

I will say that I’m happy that my truly favorite shows have been renewed — Revenge, Castle, Blue Bloods, Mentalist, Criminal Minds, and Bones. I have all of the episodes of Scandal on the DVR but haven’t watched them yet. Since it too is being renewed, I think I’ll catch up. Body of Proof has also been renewed, and I’ve watched pretty regularly, but if I could trade this for Alcatraz, I would.

The list I used to double check things I heard on Twitter is here. With all of these cancellations, I certainly hope there are good shows in the works for next year, otherwise, how will I fill all of my free time?

What show are you sorry to see go?

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