Friday, September 24, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s that time of year again. No, not time for early Christmas shopping. No, not back to school time. No, not time to buy Halloween candy. No, no, no.

It’s time for the new fall season of television. It’s that time of year when you’re inundated by slick ads both on tv and the internet showing stars of the newest tv offerings and those old favorites.

I had been waiting for months for the season premiere of Vampire Diaries and I was not disappointed. I watched the first episode last year because I was going through vampire withdrawals. New Moon wasn’t set to hit theatres until November and True Blood’s season had just ended. Honestly, I didn’t expect Vampire Diaries to be anything to write home about, and I wasn’t advertising the fact that I was watching teenage vampires on the CW. After all, I am closer to 40 than to 20. But I got sucked in and haven’t been disappointed in an episode yet. In fact, there hasn't been one single episode where my jaw hasn't dropped open in surprise. For me, that's saying something. And… almost everyone I know is watching this show too. This year, I don’t care who knows I’m watching teenage vampires on the CW.

I also have been waiting for the return of Parenthood. There’s something about this show that perfectly captures the generational differences and family dynamics, or maybe just my family’s dynamics. Watching this last year with my son, he could easily relate to the young generation and viewed Craig T Nelson’s patriarch as a caricature of my father. That was a bit eye-opening. Then there are the adult siblings. I won’t reveal which of the four characters I most relate to (though those of you who know me won’t have a problem with that at all), but I can see myself, my sister and my two brothers in each of the main roles.

Then there are the NEW shows...
The ones you get all excited about before having seen so much as the opening credits. This year I am really excited, for some reason, about Hawaii Five-O. Maybe it’s simply nostalgia because I remember my father watching the original all those years ago, or maybe it’s because of the current cast. I can’t say enough nice things about Scott Caan. I adored him on Entourage this last season and I’m really anxious to see him in a bigger role.

I can’t be the only one excited about this fall season. So tell me, what are you most excited about seeing? An old favorite? Or something new

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cast of a Thousands

In keeping with the theme of Abundance this month, I thought for a while about what my favorite things are to have in abundance. The never ending basket of chocolate at my day job? Wonderful friends? Fan mail? Honestly, I love each and every one of those items and I can never have enough of any of them. But I am an author and so my mind eventually circled back to the art of story-telling. And do you know what I love in abundance?

Secondary characters.

How random is that?

But these are the characters who make movies, television shows and books really sparkle. They add depth and dimension that wouldn’t be there without them. They make you want to know their story and they tell you so much about the protagonist with very little effort. One of my favorite movies of all time is Casablanca. I am a huge Humphrey Bogart fan, but for me, it was the secondary characters who made that movie the classic it is – from the self-serving Captain Renault to the loyal, piano-playing Sam to the idealistic Victor Laszlo and everyone else in between. Each one of these characters and their interaction with Bogart’s Rick Blaine tell you all the important things you need to know about our cynical hero.

These days, I find myself fairly addicted to HBO’sTrue Blood and a little sad that season three has already ended. True Blood has an ensemble cast to be sure, but Sookie Stackhouse is most definitely the main character, and in my opinion – the least interesting. Of course it’s hard to compete with an enigmatic Viking vampire; an over-the-top flamboyant, good-hearted short-order cook; a ladies’ man older brother who wouldn’t have a prayer on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader; a tough-as-nails best friend who has the worst sort of luck; a good-guy shape-shifting bar owner; and I could go on and on. The secondary characters make this show and then some.

As an author, I use secondary characters on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s to add a bit of color. Sometimes it’s to move the plot forward. Sometimes it’s because I know there’s a story down the road with that character’s name written all over it. In A Certain Wolfish Charm, I knew immediately that secondary characters Lord William Westfield and neighbor Prisca Hawthorne would have to get a story of their own at some point. I didn’t know it then, but the story eventually became The Wolf Next Door. InTall, Dark and Wolfish, broken wolf Lord Benjamin Westfield traveled north of the border to Scotland in search of a healing witch whose legendary powers could return him to the Lycan he once was. Unfortunately, poor Ben discovers the witch he seeks belongs to a powerful coven. These particular witches may be my most favorite secondary characters ever.The young women were so intriguing – so enchanting (pun intended) – I knew each one would have to be developed more fully and most likely in a book all of her own. I’ve spent the last year working on the other witches in that particular coven. And as I finish writing the final book featuring a Còig witch, the first, The Taming of the Wolf, is just getting ready to hit the shelves. And already I’m wondering which of my most recent secondary characters will get to tell their own story next.

Who is your most favorite secondary or supporting character and why? Would the movie, show or book be the same without them?

Originally posted at 9/17/2010