Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Muse - David Ramsey as John Diggle on Arrow

I got season one of Arrow on DVD way back at Christmas time, and since 90% of my favorite shows are in hiatus, now seemed like as good a time as any to start re-watching this series.
I find it amazing when you go back and watch something for the second time around, how much you miss during the first viewing, how many clues to future happenings are left, and how many things appear in a different light once you've got a bigger picture to work with. So for today's Monday Muse, I'm talking about John Diggle, Oliver's kind-of-but-not-really sidekick.
Diggle started out as a hired bodyguard to protect Oliver after he was abducted in the first or second episode.
Of course, the last thing Oliver wanted was a nanny, so he continuously gave Diggle the slip. You could see this frustrated Diggle, but also gave him a challenge. Diggle did his best to keep up with and/or find Oliver whenever he escaped, but obviously he was no match for The Hood/Vigilante/Arrow.
However, Diggle did manage to impress Oliver with his skills, and was obviously very perceptive, confronting Oliver with the fact that he thought there was more to the playboy billionaire than everybody else saw.
When Diggle eventually got himself between Oliver and a target, getting shot with a poison bullet, Oliver made the decision to bring Diggle in on the operation. At first, Diggle didn't want to know about it, but after giving it some thought, changed his mind.
However, Diggle joined on the condition that he would be Oliver's partner, not his sidekick, which is fair enough if you ask me!
I really like the balance that Diggle brought to the team, with the addition of Felicity soon after rounding things out very nicely. Diggle works as Oliver's voice of reason, giving a balance to the guy who literally was walking the edge for a while there.
However, interestingly enough, when it came to Diggle getting revenge for the death of his brother, some role reversal happened, with Diggle being the revenge-driven impulsive one, while Oliver tried to reason with him.
Diggle's story lines have been interesting in their own right, totally aside from Oliver's story arc. There's still some mystery as to exactly who John Diggle is, what he's done and what he might be capable of. I'm hoping the writers will continue exploring this in depth, and wouldn't be surprised to find Diggle has some darker aspects to his past/personality than one might necessarily expect.
And of course, because this is a Monday Muse, we'll finish on this note:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - Wild at Heart by Birds of Tokyo

Yes! I have come up with a new theme day to make posting easier on myself.
For my first ever Tuesday Tunes, I'm quickly going to talk about a song that has pretty much become the theme song to Atrophy (coming out with Entangled some time in the near future).
I have a kind of core playlist that I tend to write to, no matter which book I'm working on. This playlist is pretty fluid, its slowly changed over the years, with some songs being taken off, while I've added new ones. My tastes are kind of all over the place, though hard rock/alternative is definitely a feature. Some songs have remained constant because something about the music easily puts me into that writing space.
But the one song I want to talk about today has set itself apart from my generic writing playlist.
Wild at Heart by Birds of Tokyo.
Birds of Tokyo have a lot of great songs that I really love, and the lead singer is also singer with another band, Karnivool, which are also really awesome.
At the time I started writing Atrophy, Birds of Tokyo's self-titled album had just come out and I was listening to it a lot. I can't remember exactly when I realized this song embodied the book, or vice-versa, but I do know from the first moment I heard this song, it lit something up inside me.
And I still don't know how to explain it, except to say that when I hear this song, I get the same feeling as when I'm immersed in the Atrophy universe.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quick Work Update

I've been writing the 3rd Atrophy book, currently titled Diffraction, in the past few weeks, and have really enjoyed being back with the crew of the Imojenna. I always wondered if when an author got 3 or 4 books into a series, it was hard to maintain the character's voices and the feel of the original book, especially if you've been working on other books/series in between. But I have to say that getting into book 3 of the Atrophy series, it actually felt familiar and comfortable. Slipping back into that world, one I love so much, was enjoyable and easy.
However, late last week, I got second pass edits on Escape Velocity, so I had to put writing on hold and change my mind set into that series. They're both sci-fi, so I suppose it wasn't too hard to switch gears.
So far the edits are going smoothly, and I've been lucky to a great editor who totally gets my work.
I know I've said it before, but I'm really looking forward to getting my books out with Entangled, which hopefully should start happening later in the year. I'll post release dates and covers as soon as I have them.
Meanwhile, I better get back to those edits!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Muse - Dylan O'Brien as Stiles Stilinski on Teen Wolf

Yes, another character out of Teen Wolf features in a Monday Muse post, following Tyler Hoechlin as Derek Hale. This likely won't be the last Teen Wolf character who gets the Monday Muse spotlight, as I'm really loving this show at the moment.
I'll admit in the past that some of my Monday Muse posts have been more about a pretty face and well-honed body, but since Dylan O'Brien is a little young for me, today's post is entirely for the sake of character. No, seriously. 
So let's talk about character! Stiles is the human best friend of teen werewolf, Scott. It was actually kind of Stiles' fault that Scott got bitten, because Stiles dragged his best friend out into the woods in the middle of the night looking for a dead body. You know, because teenagers regularly go looking for dead bodies on a school night. 
Anyhoo, Stiles is the one who initially works out what's happening to Scott, does all the research, and generally helps his best friend learn how to cope with his new reality. 
In this sense, Stiles started out as the classic goofy sidekick. He could be a bit of a spaz and got the typical sarcastic one-liners, often adding comic relief to otherwise intensely emotional scenes. Unexpectedly, he and older werewolf, Derek, play off each other really well, but I won't go into the whole thing about the Sterek shippers again.
The reason I decided on Stiles for my Monday Muse today, is because I think Stiles got to do something very few goofy sidekicks ever get to achieve. Stiles grew beyond the usual bounds of the sidekick to become a pivotal character in his own right.
While most of these archetypal shows -- in some respects spoored from generation-changing Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- feature a single 'special' protagonist with a team behind them, I actually think Teen Wolf has successfully changed up the dynamics of this convention. 
During season 2, after Derek had unsuccessfully been trying to convince Scott to join his pack, Derek made the observation that Scott didn't need to join the pack, because he already had one (in Stiles, Allison - a hunter, and Lydia - a banshee). In large part, I think this came out of the brother-like relationship that Stiles and Scott have. So Scott's team was established, with Stiles acting as the anchor. 
Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Stiles' character is a bit like Zander in Buffy, and while Zander had his own story arcs, love interests and problems to navigate, I think as a viewer you always got the sense that if Zander wasn't there (or indeed, any of the "Scoobies" in Giles, Willow, and various other characters that came and went over the seasons) Buffy would adapt and continue on, because when it came down to it, she was the chosen one, and was kind of held apart from her friends in that regard. 
While the same could be said of Scott and his pack (which was proven in the death of Allison, Scott adapted and moved on) I get more of a sense that if Scott were to lose all of his pack, especially Stiles, then the results would be very dark and dire; he would become a completely different person. 
This dynamic is fascinating, and I think partly what makes the show so successful. Saying that Stiles is important to Scott and the show isn't just empty platitudes. 
I think the audience really got to appreciate Stiles, and realize his potential in the second half of season 3, or season 3b, I think is what they were calling it. Stiles was possessed by a dark, malevolent trickster spirit called a Nogitsune, and Dylan O'Brien got to flex his acting muscles. I love it when good characters go bad (some prime examples being Angel/Angelus on Buffy, and Stephan/Silas on the Vampire Diaries) and evil Stiles was no disappointment. He had that creepy evil look down. Being in his early twenties, I think we're going to see some great things from this actor, and when Teen Wolf does eventually finish (I mean, I'm hoping they'll get at least another five or six series out of it first) it will be interesting to see what Dylan O'Brien goes on to do. 
But back to Stiles. While he's had a minor love interest in Lydia -- established from the first episode that he had an unrequited crush on her, and yes they did share a kiss -- the true chemistry wasn't there, and it was more believable that they'd end up being friends as opposed to anything else. 
However, late in season 3, and so far in season 4, Stiles has gotten a more solid love interest in Malia, a teenage girl who was trapped in her were-coyote shape after her first full moon change, where she accidentally caused the death of her mother and sister. It also turned out Malia is Peter's (Derek's uncle, the bad-guy werewolf from season one, who has kind-of-but-not-really become a good guy) daughter, which Malia found out in the last episode, leaving her with the realization that Stiles had been keeping the secret from her. For the time being, I'm actually far more interested in the Stiles/Malia relationship than I am with Scott's new love interest, Kira. 
With Malia finding out that Stiles had been keeping a life changing truth from her, the last episode ended with her walking away from him, despite the fact that during the course of the episode, he'd left her sick and possibly dying, not knowing if he could save her, Scott and Kira in time. Some of the upcoming episode previews show Stiles and Lydia teaming up again, presumably because the two of them are really the brains behind the operation. This will no doubt create some interesting extra tension in the Stiles/Malia relationship.
So as we head into the second half of season 4, I can say without a doubt that I'll be glued to my seat to take in these new character developments as they happen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

True Blood 7x07 ...And I'm Out

Yep, that's right. This week's episode of True Blood went to the one place I didn't want to know about. After the sweet Eric/Sookie reunion a few weeks back, I'm sure more than a few Eric/Sookie shippers thought their dreams of the pair getting back together were well within reach, despite the foreshadowing of Bill and Sookie growing closer once again.
The first nail in the coffin came last week, when Sookie was waiting for test results to determine whether or not she was hep-V positive and had accidentally infected Bill. She was talking to Jason about the men she'd loved; recently Alcide, and the fact that Bill as her first would always be special. However, her relationship with Eric was annoyingly glossed over and even taken down a peg by her line of "I even loved Eric in my own way." (not an exact quote)
What the hell, people? So she went from loving Eric as much as she loved Bill, which was why she decided not to be with either of them, to the throw away line of "loving Eric in her own way"? What does that even mean?!
The next bad sign for the Eric/Sookie shippers came in the fact that once again, Eric had gone off with Pam to do awesome stuff like pretend to be Republicans (I won't repeat the term Pam used, but it was hilarious) and fighting off ninjas so Eric could get his revenge on Sarah Newlin, while Sookie stayed back in Bon Temps.
Sookie was understandably upset by the fact that she was the one to infect Bill, and it seems his infection is spreading faster than the usual strain because of the fact that Sookie is half-fae.
I knew we were in trouble when night fell and Sookie went running out of the house in a little white dress, reminiscent of the first night she and Bill had been together. Still, I didn't want to believe it, and kept telling myself that no, they weren't going to get back together, right up until they kissed.
Now usually the sex scenes on True Blood are done quite well, I'd say almost artistically in some cases. The kiss that started them off was pretty good, yet the actual consummation scene between Sookie and Bill had to easily be the worst love scene on True Blood out of all 7 seasons. And that's saying something, because who could forget the freaky vampire sex-tape thing Jason watched in the first couple of episodes of season 1?
There was barely any chemistry, the whole thing seemed very forced to the point where I ended up skipping past it. Maybe some of that came down to the fact that I really didn't want to see these two together, but I still think there was something about it that wasn't working. A quick search of the Internet reveals I'm not the only fan who found the scene less than appealing. My favorite had to be over at Shallow Graves blog: "Bill flops himself all over Sookie, and its gross. The end."
The preview for the coming last few episodes (what are we down to, 3 left?) showed some interesting scenes to come, but absolutely no Eric/Sookie interaction, which I am feeling totally ripped off about. Like I said in my previous post about this final season of True Blood, I don't actually expect Sookie to end up with either Eric or Bill (at this point, I'm hoping that once Bill is cured, or dies, or whatever, Sookie will brush off their night as a moment of weakness or some such thing) but I was at least hoping for a bit more dedicated Eric/Sookie screen time in these final hours.
I'm holding out one last sliver of hope that something, anything will happen between Eric and Sookie before the end, but things aren't looking promising.

Incident Report IBC-726A-39

FORMAL INCIDENT REPORT SECTION ONE Incident Date:___ 25 th August 2436 __ Incident Time:___ 22 :30 hours approx ___ Incident...