Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fringe and Firefly Merged - In a Very Good Way

I am absolutely in love with Fringe. Yep, another TV show that has all of the elements of some of my favorites - instantly reminds me of "Farscape", but also "Altered States" (movie), "Firefly" the TV Show, and a bit of Buffy and Angel, but not so much. The characters are more deeply written...and definitely adult.

I've also found a wealth of other obsessive fans online. By the way, I wasn't a fan two weeks ago, but a friend of mine, Sierra, kept asking me if I were watching it. She said it was good. So I happened upon an episode by accident called "Marionette" - and bam! Hooked. I owned Season 1 but had never watched it, and broke it out and the next thing you know, I'm caught up and anxiously awaiting the next episode (Season 3-10).

In Marionette - I only caught the ending, and had to find it and watch the whole damn thing to know why two actors sitting in a dark, backyard played out such a deeply emotional scene, full of layers upon layers of angst without touching melodrama even once, and I didn't have to know what caused it, I saw it on their faces, heard it in their voices, and knew it from the lines written for them. Good stuff.

Anyway, the next episode airing January 21 is called "Firefly" (and by the way a Whedon is a writer on the show)...Check out this vid...




So yeah, I'm plugging a TV show. But a very good one.

Okay, now I'm back to writing...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Do You Like Your Main Character?

Photo by Denny S. Bryce

It's Christmas Eve and for those who celebrate - Merry Christmas! For those who don't Happy Holidays!

And yeah, I'm in the holiday spirit. That means I'm finally settling in to get some work done on the book. The endless project or so it seems. Especially since NaNoWriMo ended. It's been hard to keep up the pattern I established last month - not only with daily writing, but just daily attention paid to the act of writing. Be it revising, organizing, researching, November was a big month for Denny the writer. But after the success of NaNoWriMo - I went into a writer's slump. Not so much from not being able to write new copy - but from the aspect of wanting to sit down and focus on the damn book.

It's almost time for New Year's resolutions. The Catch-22 of annual traditions. Damned if you do - and damned if you don't. Yes, even the don't part implies you've already conceded defeat  - so yep, damned if you don't.

But year in, year out, I've become more and more gun-shy about resolutions. Except this year, I want to take the risk and make the commitment. I'm going to start with the commitment to my passion - writing. Going for it every day - even if it's only fifty words a day or 30 minutes of silence in front of the computer - it will be done. (I'm going to start with today for that because I have two weeks off and I might as well fill them with fun). Then, it has to do with health and well-being. That's hard. Bad habits are difficult to let go. But I'm going to have to start some where with that one. Next has to do with some personal business I'll keep to myself for now (even a blog has to have mystery, right?).

Finally, back to my blog title - the main character? Do you like her (or him)? Did that blog title refer to writing fiction or the main character in your life -- you? I mean - that's what resolutions are all about? How much do you like yourself and what are you willing to do to keep 'you' happy - or keep your main character interesting to your readers - or at least a like-able character.

Crossing the line a wee bit, but it's my blog:)!

Ask yourself, what are your protagonist's New Year's Resolutions?

Might be a fun way to jump start your character and find some new conflict for your story.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Victory Dance Can Now Commence!!!!

 OH YES, BABY!

I've been trying to finish NaNoWriMo for five damn years. Now I can claim the prize (and I grabbed as many as possible!)


Final number? 50,016 (I got over 50k, okay?) Wasn't trying to knock it out of the park!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving, NaNoWriMo, Golden Heart - I Need Sleep!

Photo of James Marsters (Spike) taken by Denny S. Bryce at his concert in London, 2004.

I read today that Joss Whedon is making a fuss about the new Buffy movie he is not involved in. It brought back all of my Whedon love and disdain in one big rush. His shows are the reason - seriously - that I'm writing fiction today. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (mostly) re-ignited my long, love affair with vampires, dating back to the first time I saw a Dracula movie in which he sensuously bit the neck of a lovely woman while she rived (is that a word?) in her bed (yeah, I was six, but still, I thought it was hot).

I didn't love Buffy the character as much as I loved the people surrounding her. I thought her bland and very young and fickle. It bugged me to no end how she mistreated vampires (Spike, in particular). The best episodes always included a vampire/slayer paradox (episodes like Beneath Me, Amends - brilliant, Angel, Something Blue)...

Anyway, my fellow Whedon-ites, what's your take on this new movie? Gonna give it a chance, or dump it before it airs because of its lack of respect for Whedon (by not putting him at the helm)?

NaNoWriMo - I may just win this sucker this year - I've got more than 42,000 words and counting!

Golden Heart - it's going to be tight...I may send it in knowing it's not ready - a good idea or what do you think?

Thanksgiving! - A great weekend, but I ate too damn much. Also, shopped on Black Friday. It wasn't pretty - fun, but not pretty...:)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Did I Learn Today? I'm An Introvert...

Photo taken by Denny S. Bryce on a flight...

I haven't blogged in a while and I feel bad about it. I really do. But what I learned today is that I work obsessively and sometimes you've got to raise you head from the computer in order to give your life balance. I've been preaching about balance lately. And like I've said, when you keep harping on something you can bet you are the main culprit of the issue you're going on and on about.

NaNoWriMo is part of the reason for my introspection. The other is I was reading about introverts and extroverts - trying to infuse more conflict in my WIP - I discovered (or decided) I must be an introvert.  Here's the scoop...(taken from another source)

Personality Traits - introverted, Introversion is "the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life”. Introvert likes reading, writing, music, drawing, tinkering, playing video games, watching movies and plays, and using computers. Is not necessarily a loner, very selective about their friends.


An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends. Trust is usually an issue of significance: a virtue of utmost importance to an introvert choosing a worthy companion. They prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate, especially observed in developing children and adolescents.


What are you?

Word count on NaNoWrimo...a bit low at 14669 - but that's from last night. I should hit 20,000 by tomorrow AM - if not more!

Friday, October 29, 2010

For Writing and Writers: There's No Place Like Home?

photo by denny s. bryce, south beach, florida, 2010

Have you ever seen a spot, a room, an island, a whatever, that has shouted - this is the perfect place to write? A haven where you feel positive you'll be able to write, write and write? No? Well, I guess we're in the same boat.

I've spent most of October writing on the road. Business travel has been eating up my life. But I've managed to keep up with writing, but not so much new words as editing and polishing (which is a familiar rut I tend to get into when I'm on the road a lot). But a friend asked me recently - have you found that place where you know you've just got to be? He wasn't necessarily talking about writing, but that's where I took it. And I thought I'd found a place (a bed and breakfast in Maui:), but everyplace I go is just another place to pull out a book, pull out my laptop and 'go' wherever my characters want me to go. So, the answer to the question is there's no place like the 'home' inside your mind when it comes to writing - at least for me.

But tell me, is there a spot you go that is your favorite place to write? Or a house you've been that has a dream room, porch or view that inspires you beyond belief? Tell me about it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What's at Stake? I Think I Need to Know, You Know?

More Fun Graphics available at NaNoWriMo.org!

Before diving into today's topic, I need to spend a moment on November.

Yes, I"m on board for 2010 NaNoWriMo. Are you? I want to expand my buddy list - need all the support I can get:). So please find me (Denny S. Bryce); or just reply here and I'll find you! If you've never done NaNoWriMo before - this is the year to get it done! (Note: I always say this and haven't finished once in the past four years. But, never say die!)

In other news: I'm on a mission and here it is: I have to figure out what's at stake in my story? I also must nail down the premise and the story question. Sounds simple? Well, apparently not in my book (double-meaning is deliberate:).

What put this top of mind (because I've been down this road before, read all the right books, took all the right workshops and writing classes, so why now?) Because getting better ain't easy. But the impetus for this focus is The 2010 Heart to Heart Contest at SFW-RWA.

I came in second place in the final in the Paranormal category! Hoorah! However, I didn't get a request for the manuscript - full or partial. In the score card arena, I received mostly 4s and a couple of 3s, but it's the 3s that made be sit up and pay attention. And although I should, and although I thought I had, I didn't have a clear picture of the answers to the following questions regarding my manuscript: What's at stake in the world? What's the story premise? What's at stake for my heroine? I keep thinking I know this, but not always...

So, I found this article - click here - by Bill Johnson.  I know I've read this before in dozens of books and heard it any number of times, but this article (an oldie, too) is working for me now. I'm also excited about a class I signed up for with Gotham - multi-time published, romance writer, author, and teacher, Leigh Michaels is the instructor for the online romance writing course at Gotham Writer's Workshop. So this will be fun!


Finally, check out some Steampunk links below. When I was at Phauxcon two weeks ago, I got some great info from the folks there you might enjoy!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Commander Black and Commander Brown

Photos snagged from Internet by Denny S. Bryce

Twitter buddy and fellow 2010 RWA National Conference attendee, Ricki Schultz put up a challenge today on her blog  - she needed a scare:). Okay, I said, recalling a short thing I wrote a few years back for a writing class. It was so creepy - it creeped me out and I wrote it ... lol! So, I decided to share with my blog readers a well as with Ricki!




Commander Black and Commander Brown

Two giant wolves, Commander Black and Commander Brown, were standing on snow banks outside the kitchen window of their grandmother’s house. The snow had fallen for days and the garage, the steps leading to the front door and the driveway, were all buried beneath tons of it. There was no way out for two eight-year old children. And all alone, they were terrified that the beasts would find a way to get inside.

But Grandmother said Chrissie and John were the two smartest children on the planet. Brighter than anyone ever and more resourceful than any two children born.

They ran up to hug her, proud of being so smart, but she pressed her round body against the wall, holding them off with an outstretched arm. Her big belly shook with something akin to fear.

Grandmother wasn’t as strong as Chrissie and John would have liked. But the wolves were strong. Powerful haunches, closely spaced narrow eyes, slanted with hatred. Chrissie told John she could hear their thoughts, and they wanted to kill, butcher the children, and chew them up mercilessly, like two little pigs.

John wasn’t certain what mercilessly meant, but he didn’t doubt Chrissie’s warning. They’d have to kill the wolves, kill them with a thought. They’d done it before. With the rats in the barn and the spiders in the basement. They’d even advanced to larger prey.

Right then, Grandmother flew down the stairs, landing at the bottom, twisted and quiet. She hadn’t been pushed. They’d been sitting on the sofa in the living room, watching the TV flicker, when they’d stared at each other and thought up her fall.

If they could do that, they could certainly kill Commander Black and Commander Brown.

By Denny S. Bryce

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Star Trek, YA, Steampunk and Me:)!

Photo of Captain Riker snagged from internet by Denny S. Bryce

Once a year for the past six years, I've attended an event called Phauxcon in Philadelphia. How I learned about this event isn't as important as the experiences I've had over the years and the people I've met and gotten to know. From notables (in the world of writing) such as Jim Butcher, L.A. Banks and Lawrence Schoen (a 2010 Hugo Award Nominee for his short story The Moment), and a laundry list of creative, obsessed, delightful women and men, who are professionals, businesspeople, artists, designers, writers, you name it. They take a day or a day and a half out of their busy lives to talk about their passions -- whatever those passions might be -- within the realm of popular culture. Let me emphasize the event attracts about 15 people on average - almost 40 the year Jim Butcher joined the fray, but it's always been small, intimate and friendly - but most of all, for me at least, informative.

This year I learned that "the sky is blue, and I am your god" (you had to be there:); Captain Riker of Star Trek fame belongs to only one woman who lives in Philadelphia; Deep Space Nine has been added to my Netflix cue (thank you Kelly); YA paranormal and SciFi is controversial, edgy, and there are a list of authors I'll be checking out real soon; and there is a Klingon Language Institute, and I met the man who created it and was instrumental (if he didn't handle the translation himself) in translating Hamlet into Klingon.

And what really scares me is that spellcheck on my Mac has no problem with Klingon...

My point with this post is to of course say a big thank you to Sierra and Rob for getting this done each year with their extremely busy schedules. My other point is to let you know that some of the best events are small, informal, and all about sharing the love.

And by the way, I like the fact that there's only a handful of people at Phauxcon. It can be the best kept secret on the planet for years to come as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blogging, Research and Writing & Shemar, Oprah and Boris

Photos snagged from the Internet by Denny S. Bryce


This blog is a summary of blogs I did not post (or write until now) during the month of September. I did, however, think about posting each and every one - a lot.

Oprah Winfrey and Me - Having to recreate this post is aggravating, but here goes. I got mad because Oprah's recent book club recommendation is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I'm confident it's a brilliant book, and have already downloaded a sample onto my iPad so I can add it to my reading list. However, I wanted her to break the mold for a change. Recommend a romance novel, not another 'important' book by another male author, but something different. No such luck though. So I'm a little miffed.


Research or Am I Taking My Writing Seriously or What? - I did something today I've never done - actually two things - but let's stay focused, huh? I went into a gun shop and interviewed the owner and his partner about guns. Guns purchased by law enforcement in particular. I learned about bullets (full metal jacket, hollow point, silver point) and barrels, size, weight, and more about bullets. While I was there a customer offered to show me his concealed weapon (a very cute Latino man:). I looked at the owner who said it was okay, and the man raised his shirt, turned slightly, and there it was - his weapon tucked into the small of his back at his waistline in a small holster that was attached to his belt. For some reason, I just thought that was so damn sexy.


Black Men as Romantic Hero - New TV season is off to a slow start IMHO. But a new show starring the very handsome black man, shown to the left (Boris), is UnderCovers. It's the first show in recent memory that stars African Americans (or blacks) as main characters in a dramatic series that isn't a 'black show' or comedy starring a black comedian. I'm watching it now, and wishing it well, but we'll see. I'm sort of teetering, feeling similar to the way I felt watching "Hawaii Five-O" Sunday night (or was it Monday). Lots of pretty, but wishing for arcs and substance. I'm a rough critic on pilots...


Finally, it's Wednesday and that means Shemar Moore Day - and yep, also a new episode of Criminal Minds tonight. Moving pictures always better than stills when it comes to Shemar.



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why Writing Contests? I'll Tell You Why!




Eye Candy: The photos to the left of Alex O'Loughlin and Shemar Moore, snagged from the Internet, have nothing to do with this post. Denny S. Bryce

Last week was one of those weeks during which I sat back and smiled big time (Cheshire grin for real), pleased with and proud of the recognition, accolades, and general good wishes I’d received for my writing – then I broke out in a cold sweat.

The latter will become more clear as I get this little tale out.

I’d learned that I’d placed (2nd) in the second writing contest I’ve ever entered in my entire writer girl contest life. The 2010 Heart to Heart Contest, presented by the San Francisco Area – RWA, is the instigator of my latest joy (and fear). I am a finalist in the paranormal category.

So what did I immediately do after letting the world in on the good news (via Facebook, Live Journal and Twitter) – I panicked. Why? I’m not all that sure, but…

I’ve been working like a minion for years (the number in print would make me wince) – writing more than a half a million words of fanfiction, taking writing classes, workshops (one with Rebecca Walker in Maui, you’ve got to do this if you can, and don't be thrown by memoirs - it's writing, okay?); RWA conferences, other writing conferences, reading, studying, questioning, in fact, where’s my Internet doctorate on writing romance fiction and what’s hot and what’s not in the publishing world today? Seriously, that’s how much time I’ve devoted to the craft, to the industry and to learning, and its only a smidgen of what I still need to do. Because I want to learn. I love the process – getting the information, figuring out the puzzle (one of the reasons I’m a plotter – with a heavy, heavy dose of character, I believe) I love the commitment required to be a writer.

Anyway…

The question on the table is why am I panicking and what is the value of entering writing contests (for me)? Does placing in a contest mean I am a good writer or is it a testament to the fact that I write good contest (not meant in a mean-spirited way BTW).  But a contest is a means to an end – a step on the journey.

So what do I look for when I enter a contest (this is a lesson learned from my former critique partner, Marta, a smart lass, who writes kick ass fantasies:) …(girl, where's your website!)

The judges. I look at the editor and agent or published author who will be judging the final round. I want that feedback. Sure, I also dream of having one or all of those editors or agent(s) request the first three chapters or the full manuscript – but as an unpublished author I also crave feedback.

And of course, it’s not just the final round. The feedback from authors and writers who volunteer to judge a contest can provide reaction to the excerpt submitted from your manuscript.  

Also, I suggest you volunteer to judge a couple of RWA contests this year, especially if you are an unpublished author. I did, and I learned a lot about analyzing and critiquing and how to apply that impartial screening to my own manuscript. I should add that of course writers can't be completely objective about their own writing. I mean we have to have a high level of ego to write IMHO. You're creating worlds, people, goals, motivation, your ego lets you bring these people to life - so it's not always easy to critique your own stuff (and critiquing to me is different from editing). 


NOTE: If you have doubts about your ability or have questions, email the contest coordinator - ask him or her questions, and then after you submit your critique ask the coordinator how you did. 

It all contributes to achieving our final goal - writing good books that get published and that people want to read (oh, first they have to buy them:)...

And still I don't think I've answered the question as to why I panicked.

That's easy – over and above the excerpt submitted--the rest of the book has to be a winner as well…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby Boomer Hotness: What it Takes to Rock an Old Girl's World:)

It's 'dream-man' Wednesday, and I'm going to throw some baby-boomer hotness at you. Also, I have updates and more insights on the tantalizing topics explored in my last two blog posts. But first, let's talk older men, quirky, stubborn, brilliant, confident, heroes, and perhaps the perfect antagonist. Stage left is Tim Roth, actor, director, star of  "Lie to Me", TV series on Fox. And you can bet I wouldn't throw him out of the boudoir.

At RWA Nationals last month, I attended one of the smartest, most informative workshops ever – “Boomers in Love” (Career). It focused on writing romances for an older generation of American women. Authors Laura Castoro, Marcia King-Gamble and Sandra Kitt provided statistics, make-sense descriptions of what an older woman wants, what an older hero's characteristics will need to be to attract that woman, etc. If you’re interested about the older heroine, check out their audio at RWA Nationals (if you’re a member:), or their books:)! NOTE: Older means over 35 to me...but I am interested in the 50 plus woman wants to read in romance, too.

I’ve been thinking about this topic not only because I fit in the category of baby boomer, but in a intriguing twist of the paranormal in which my current WIP takes place, my heroine is a baby boomer, kind of:) She’s a vampire. But I’m attracted to all ages of mankind – legal – I decided to take a moment to explore why the “Cal Lightman”, the character Tim Roth portrays rocks my socks. The top five reasons are:

1)      Brilliant, confident and shamelessly arrogant about what he knows he does best (Think J.D. Robb's ‘Roarke’ in the Eve Dallas ‘Death’ series).
2)        He loves his daughter. She is his weakness (See edittorrent post which explores the question of whether or not a romantic hero’s weakness can ONLY be his heroine-real intense discussion - actually it was a multi-post debate - just go to the blog and look around:).
3)        He respects his x-lovers. They are still his friends, colleagues, etc. The man has to be good inside.
4)         Flawed. Massively, wonderfully, flawed, and not sure he will succeed in fixing this issue. Vulnerability that he doesn’t perceive as a weakness.
5)         Patient. He will fall in love before the woman he loves knows/realizes/accepts that she loves him. He will then wait for her to get on the same page.

Just a little food for thought.

Now, a quick revisit of the last post (see below or click here). Alicia Rasley, author of “The Power of Point of View" and a new book, "The Richest Girls in Town" from bellebooks, slated to debut in early 2011, pointed me to Suzanne Brockmann, an author who has written many books NYC Best-Selling Books with a variety of heroes including African American heroes and heroines (main characters, stars of the sub-plot, you name it). I’m adding her to my ‘must-read’ list. (I told you I didn't know everything:)...

That’s it for today. I’ve got to rest up, write and pack – heading to Las Vegas tomorrow and will be posting from there. Attending something called the Hoodie Awards!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blue Eyes, Dark Skin: The Pretty Comes in All Shades



Photos of Jesse Williams, Grey's Anatomy, snatched from the web by Denny S. Bryce

This is supposed to be my let's talk about the pretty Thursday, originally slated for OMG Wednesday. But it's succumbed to a disjointed discussion (with myself) on the romantic hero. What? You ask. Here it is. How can we (writers of romance) make certain that more men of color fit into the shoes of the classic romantic hero...(okay, my goal, maybe not yours:)...

With that, can you help me please? Has there been a black male (or man of color) as a main character in popular romance fiction that you can point me to that was a cross over hit? I mean where tons of readers bought the book?

When it comes to romance, film, television and fiction, it is the white man who is the romantic hero that makes all woman-kind swoon (and I'm good with that. I'm an equal opportunity appreciator of the pretty). I came to this conclusion after decades (forget I wrote that word) of sitting in front of a television and going to movies and reading romance novels. 


(Sidebar - the man here - is FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. He also is now officially a regular on Season 7 of Grey's Anatomy, which had me with the first flash of those baby blues above his mask in the O.R. And in Season 7, let me just admit – he owns my soul).

I would love to write a good story that appealed to a large percentage of readers, regardless of race, etc. (which of course has already been written by such talented authors as L.A. Banks - the vampire huntress legend series - and more) but alas I'm not as well read in this regard as I should be. But remember I am blogging, which means I can make statements as if they were fact (and thoroughly researched).

Now what was I writing about?

See pics of Jesse Williams:). I also wanted to briefly address the nature of blogging and its pitfalls (done, but somewhat light in structure and format). 

Anyway, a good romance is a good romance.


On my bookshelf? Reading Covet by JR Ward. Is it a romance? I’ll let you know when I finish.

Tip for today…

Check out Editorrent’s blog – Theresa and Alicia are having a Throw Down – it’s the great debate on writing the romantic hero…

FYI...Jesse has a major role in a new Joss Whedon film written by Joss and Drew Goddard...Found accidentally - and am getting a little light-headed...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

To Critique or Not to Critique...

Book cover 'borrowed' from Nora Roberts' web site by Denny S. Bryce

I’ve been in a mild quandary the past few days after receiving a list of potential critique partners and on it one of the writers listed African American as a ‘genre’ she’d be uncomfortable critiquing. My initial reaction was ‘huh?’ And frankly still hovers in WTF-ville.

But am I over reacting?

In romance (or any number of genres including nonfiction), publishers, bookstores, you name it, present ‘African American’ as a genre or a separate ‘section’ in their store or bookshelves or web sites. Publishers market books to specific audiences based on content, style, and/or the ethnic niche it may appeal to. And as a marketer, I get that. To reach prospective buyers you want to point them toward their proven preferences. If publishers sell books with African American main characters to mostly African American buyers then they market those
books accordingly. If buyers want one genre over another, the marketer wants to save them time, by letting them know more about the main characters or what the story may be about up front. In today's get it fast world, a decision to buy a book is not pondered, it happens quickly. Mulling over a purchase is quickly becoming passe. Marketers subscribe to the buying publics buying habits.

But in a critique partner or critique group if I felt uncomfortable critiquing romances without African Americans main characters, I’d be limiting myself to a very small list of prospective partners (lucky to find more than a handful).

I’m not saying readers shouldn’t choose or not choose to read a romance based on such guidelines as African American or Interracial, or Gay or Lesbian or Historical or Paranormal (although I might question their sense of fun regarding the latter:), but it’s the critiquing that gets me.

As a romance critique partner, I want to support my partner (or the group) and that means I'm looking for a good, consistent voice, story, plot, character, you know, the stuff that makes fiction work.

I write fiction with non-African American main characters. I write fiction with African American main characters. I feel comfortable and qualified to write stories with a multi-cultural cast because I, Denny S. Bryce, exist in a diverse society. Raised, worked, loved, and hung out, and still do, with friends and loved ones from different ethnic backgrounds. So I know the emotional journey of characters in a romance ain’t all that different from race to race from culture to culture. And even if I start writing steampunk (which I’m thinking about, seriously. I had a dream and yeah, it was good:) or some other historical, I’ll research to find a make-sense way to create a multi-cultural cast, but mostly, my goal will be to write an effective romance in a really good book.

Hopefully, when I get published (boldness ensues on a Saturday afternoon:), the readers who choose to buy my book(s) will relate to the main character’s journey because it grabs them. Whether they are white or black (the readers) is neither here nor there to me. I just want to write a good book that people want to read.

But let me not be too self-righteous here. I know plenty of African-Americans who don’t read popular fiction, don’t read romance with non-black characters, and aren’t interested in paranormal stories. And sure, some of them may be writers, mainstream authors, or politicians, but I still don’t get saying in a list of genres you’d be uncomfortable critiquing African American romance.

Am I naïve? Missing the point? Being hypersensitive?  Could be…

But if Nora Roberts had called me (no, she doesn’t have my number) and invited me to be her critique partner for “The Search” (and yeah, I know she doesn't need a critique partner) I wouldn’t have turned her down. Because I know her goal is to write a main character that will intrigue and relate to many readers of romance. I can go on a journey with Fiona, and fall in love with her dogs (and Simon, too). It doesn't matter to me that they aren't black or that the dogs are dogs. 

It matters that it's a well-written romance. And that would be a joy to critique.

PS: In case you're interested (and for full disclosure), I listed the following as categories I'd feel uncomfortable or unqualified to critique: traditional fantasy, high fantasy, no elves or were-seals (the latter I actually meant as a joke, because I bet there's a good book out there with an insanely well-written romance with elves or were-seals). So, maybe I need to check myself, huh?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting Back to Basics

"Things That Should Never Be Eaten"
Photo by Denny S. Bryce

My recent vacation has given me a lot of new energy - more relaxed yes, but more confident, too. But I surely don't know why that's the case. After two weeks in Orlando (first week at RWA Nationals), I got a chance to meet and interact once again with a fabulous group of writers, women, and in general people who are doing the same thing I'm doing, trying to fit all of the things they enjoy doing into those snippets of life called 24 hour days. Which we know ain't really the case - we only get something like 18 hours of that day to really work with, the rest is sleep (and yes, six hours is really all you need:)...or at least that's what I've put into my head).

So what are the big plans? I got two agents interested in my manuscript - one requested the whole damn thing. That's a first. So, I guess the year of polishing has been worth it. I'll let you know when and if I get an actual contract with either one. I also had a request for a partial and a synopsis from an editor from a publishing house I'd love to work with. But after the excitement of last year this time - I'm guarded. I had an agent and an editor request the first three chapters - and to this date, I haven't heard a word. I hoped for at least a rejection email, but nothing. So I've let it go.

Next a published writer I admire gave me some encouraging words about my book, my process and my writing. That was a real boost, believe me.

But you know, it gets me how confident I am in my 'career' but when it comes to writing fiction, I really struggle with seeing every word I write as about as close to 'not very good' as you can get.

Some tips for writers - stop thinking and just write. Yes, simplistic, but it's amazing how much energy we put into the process and not into the actual writing. General, but I know it's true.

And by the way, I'm still looking for a focus for my blog, but just like everything else on my plate - it will come to me sooner or later.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spread the Love and a Shout Out for a Cyberpunk Romance Anthology


Photo by Denny S. Bryce

I've been busy writing, plotting and studying since leaving RWA Nationals, although I'm still in Orlando. Just switched resorts. 

Are you wondering what happened at this year's RWA as far as 'my manuscript' goes? Okay, even if you're not, I'm going to tell you anyway. Good news. I got a request for the full manuscript. Yes, that's right. The whole damn thing (from an agent), and a partial - first three chapters and synopsis - from an editor. So, let's just say I'm excited, but the entire thing is in my hands. The book, of course, needs more polishing. It's like an endless battle - me versus words (you know like man versus food on the travel channel. I love that show:). This week, I'm hanging out at my time share in Orlando with writing buddy Alicia Rasley, and we both have books in the works. She's working on a new sexy Regency (that means lots of sex, btw) set in London circa 1817, while her new women's fiction will be launched in February 2011 with Bellebooks.

That's enough about me. Now, I've got news for my writer friends. With the permission of Samhain Publishing, see below for news about an upcoming anthology:

Call for Submissions: Samhain Publishing Cyberpunk romance anthology

Welcome to the future, a cyberpunk future—-post-industrial dystopias where society has broken down; a world of advanced science, cybernetic and tech. The cyberpunk world is a dark and gritty place, blurring the border between actual and virtual reality.

I'm very happy to announce an open call for submissions for a new, yet-to-be-titled summer 2011 cyberpunk romance anthology. Don't know what cyberpunk is? Think The Matrix and Bladerunner, or the popular role-playing/computer game/book series Shadowrun. For more information on cyberpunk, you can check out the entry on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk.

I'm open to M/F, M/M, F/F, or multiples thereof, any sexual heat level, and the romance must end happily ever after or happy for now.
The novellas must range between 25,000 to 30,000 words in length, no more, no less—please note, only manuscripts that fall in this word count will be considered for this anthology—and will be released individually as ebooks in August 2011.

Submissions are open to all authors, published with Samhain or aspiring to be published with Samhain. All submissions must be new material—previously published submissions will not be considered. Additionally, manuscripts previously submitted, whether individually or for past anthologies, will not be considered either. Be aware that manuscripts submitted to this anthology cannot be resubmitted at a later date unless by invitation from an editor.

To submit a manuscript for consideration, please include:

The full manuscript (of 25,000 to 30,000 words) with a comprehensive 2-5 page synopsis. Also include a letter of introduction/query letter. Full manuscripts are required for this as it is a special project.

As well, when you send your manuscript, be sure to use the naming convention Cyberpunk_Title_MS and Cyberpunk_Title_Synopsis. This will ensure that your submission doesn't get missed in the many submissions we receive, and makes it easy for me to find in my ebook reader.

Submissions are open until February 1, 2011. No submissions will be accepted after this date—no exceptions. A final decision will be made by February 28, 2011. Send your submission to editor@samhainpublishing.com and include Cyberpunk Anthology in the subject line.

Questions and queries can be addressed to Sasha Knight (sasha@samhainpublishing.com) though do your due diligence and read this anthology call completely and check the Samhain Submission FAQ page before emailing. http://www.samhainpublishing.com/faq

Permission to forward or repost granted...

That's it for Wednesday!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another Day in Wonderland...RWA Nationals Day 2

Photo by Denny S. Bryce

Yesterday was another fabulous day at RWA#10 (for Twitter hash mark folks). Had editor and agent appointments - one asked to see the first three chapters and a synopsis, and the other asked for the full manuscript (OMG!). So there goes the next month of my life. I'm going to polish and clean and make as shiny as possible and send it off.

Had dinner with a great group including Susan Dansby, who gave a great presentation called Romance That Snaps, Sizzles and Pops. The Emmy Award Winning soap writer and director provided excellent insights and smart tips to help the writer spot how to keep character, exposition (or lack of) and scene-building on track. One of my favorite comments was when she said find the "aria" moment in a character's arc. She used film as an example - and it was not only an aria moment but a "light bulb" moment for me. The example really resonated, and I could clearly see the character journey, and the growth or changes in character that can lead to that aria...dialogue is music...

What else can I say? The joy of RWA National always surprises. Today is the last day and it's a long one. My first get together is at 7:30 and then I'm off to a day full of workshops and book signings (in particular visiting St. Martin's Press).

Tomorrow I set off for my time share and a week long writer's retreat with Alicia! We'll blog on it, but only after 6 p.m. because we are writing all day long. Every day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writers, Writing and Nora Roberts

Photo by Denny S. Bryce, Universal Studios

Writers, writing, Nora Roberts and general good stuff.

That's it in a nutshell. First full day of RWA Nationals in Orlando kicked off with a luncheon where I hung out with romance authors Renee, Kelly, Jodi and ShaSha (couldn't pronounce her name if I wanted to, but I asked first before giving her a nickname:).

The ballroom was packed. All 2600 attendees decided to drop in on the luncheon, and it was worth it to hear Madame Nora Roberts' keynote address. She has some 165 novels in the can as they might say since she started in romance in 1979 (I think I got the year right). But add to her writing credentials the joy of listening to her presentation. and voila!! She's funny, poignant, honest and just one of the best speakers I've had the pleasure of enjoying inside or outside of the publishing industry. So after getting fully charged I went to a workshop to find out whether I was a plotter, plotster or something else. What I found out is it doesn't matter what you do as long as you finish the book. Yep. That was it. But the three authors who did the presenting were funny, and gave good insights as to how the approach they used worked for them.

Next, I fell in love. Roxanne St. Claire's dynamic, incredibly eye-opening workshop - How to Mend a Broken Scene - was what she hoped it would be (at least for me) life-changing! The room was packed (there was a slight challenge with handouts), but frankly, it didn't matter. This workshop was all about content, dissecting a scene and getting to the heart of conflict, goal, tension and choices. It was info that you just had to be there to 'get' (and that's in more ways than one!).

Big day tomorrow. I have editor and agent appointments. It will make for a good Friday.

Also, found new friend over sushi. I'll tell more in later posts. Except to say, she's been in the TV writing business for more than a decade with a few Emmys to her credit. Delightful conversation. I intend to drop in on her workshop tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Today at the RWA National Conference


Found on the web - Thandie Newton.

The best thing that happened today is that I spent a crazy amount of time at the pool and didn't need to take a three-hour nap afterward. Yeah me!

However, seriously, it wasn't the best possible thing that happened today. I registered for RWA and got my editor and agent appointments confirmed. We'll see how I do going into year three of the quest to get some substantial feedback from an editor or agent. I've made improvements to the story. The comments I received from the Fab Five Contest I placed in were divinely helpful. So I'm pitching TOR and an editor from Book Cents Literary Agency. We'll see how those go later this week.

In the meantime, I've got some plotting to do. Way too many workshops to choose from and I intend to be focused. Make certain I get the most out of every minute of the next few days. So tomorrow, after my morning walk and swim, I'm going to spend time with my conference planning tools and get this puppy mapped out. good times!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On My Way to Orlando

This was taken at Universal Studios in April 2010
by Denny S. Bryce

Getting ready for Orlando has been in the forefront of my mind for a month. I've categorized it as vacation time, writing time, getting re-connected time - but I'm really just ready to be there instead of here. But I've got a problem...my son swiped my big suitcase (he's in Europe) and now I'm struggling to get two weeks worth of clothing (I'm staying an extra week at my time share) into a carry-on bag. Well, it ain't happening. So, I've got to get up tomorrow early, finish cleaning the house - really early - and buy a new suitcase!

Now that I've shared all of the fun packing nonsense, what I really need to do is finish my manuscript, nail down my pitch, and organize my brain for work, work, work. But I'm also excited about the prospect of being around so many writers. So many stars in the publishing business, so many talents yet to emerge. It just gives me energy to be around them. I wish I could capture that energy and sprinkle it around my house for the 11 months in between nationals.

Of course, I could get more involved in my local chapter WRWDC, volunteer, get into a critique group. All of which I did in 2010 now that I think about it, but there's something about RWA nationals.

So what are my goals for RWA in 2010? There's only one...finish the book. Bold statement. I paused before writing those words. But it has to happen sooner or later. Right!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lets Get Serious

Photo by Denny S. Bryce


Here is the question of the day. How much time do you spend deluding yourself about your writing? I'm not being super-negative. I'm just realizing - and okay, maybe this is all about me - but I'm not giving my writing the RESPECT it deserves and warrants because I'm a decent writer. I may well be a good writer, but I'm too busy thinking about writing and wishing my life was more organized so I had the time to write.

No excuses...make the time. Commit. Get it done. Tell me about your biggest  'excuse'? Does it fly? What will it take to turn the corner? Do you know? If so, come on and pull on your big girl pants and SHARE!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Maxwell - Pretty Wings



I just had to share this video. This album (whoops, showing my age:) CD- BlackSummers'Night by Maxwell is brilliant...this is a beautiful vid...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Few Thoughts about "Furious Love"

Photos lifted from the Internet

"She is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography ... she is an ache in the stomach when I am away from her ... I'll love her until the day I die!"  --Richard Burton 

Let's talk about creating memorable characters and memorable love stories. Then let's talk about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. I'm still working on the how of creating these characters in my fiction, but I think I've found some inspiration in this real life love story.

There's a new book out called "Furious Love" by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger. I'm reading it now, but I've been aware of Liz and Dick - as the tabloids used to call them -- since I was a kid in Ohio. Back in the 1950s, black families were mesmerized by Hollywood's movie stars just like any other family, and my grandmother, who raised me from 2 to 10 (or even longer in many ways), loved Liz Taylor. She was a huge fan of Liz's big-girl movies. Not the National Velvet or the other films Liz made in adolescence, but she watched the Liz who were low-cut dresses and black eyeliner and red lipstick. My grandmother would take my brother and me to watch 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', 'BUtterfield 8' (she LOVED that movie) and 'Suddenly Last Summer' to name a few of the remarkable Taylor vehicles made when Liz was at the height of her beauty and (unfortunately) also her personal tragedy.

I'm not sure what my grandmother thought of Liz's private life (probably helped that Liz married most of the men she slept with), but except for Liz Taylor I don't recall my grandmother ever sitting still or staying awake for 'fiction'. She watched The Ed Sullivan Show and Sing Along with Mitch because Leslie Uggams, "a Negro girl was on the show".  But when it came to Liz Taylor my grandmother would leave the house (go to the movie theater). She rarely left the house except to go to the grocery store or the AME church.

I'm not necessarily endorsing the book here. I'm recalling a time when movie stars were untouchable and eerily pretty and dangerous (James Dean). So far the book is good reading, but think about writing a book that takes the risks that Liz Taylor's 13-year love affair featured - marriage and divorce and marriage and divorce. Drunken brawls, passion, sex, talent ... to this day, she is still a conflicted character to me; searching for happiness. Talk about drama? All romance writers should study Liz and Dick, I know I am. Motivation - Liz's sheltered youth. Her dependency on men. Her lust for men. Then keep in mind the era she was born into that kept women from taking risks - personally or professionally. She wanted independence and back then for her that meant marriage.  Then she falls in love with a man who was a romantic, a brilliant talent, a tortured artist, an admitted drunk - a bad boy who worshipped her (Spike and Buffy anyone?).

"I am forever punished by the gods for being given the fire and trying to put it out. The fire, of course, is you." --Richard Burton

It's the tortured romance that requires an epic tale, with big heartache, which only comes from big love.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Placed in Fab Five Writing Contest - Excited...But...

Apartment with a View by Denny S. Bryce

After four years of writing original fiction I entered my first writing contest two months ago. It was with the Wisconsin Romance Writers. And let's just say, I was thrilled when I learned I'd placed 5th out of 28 stories in the paranormal category. But the writing contest world is making me a little crazy.

In my 'real' world job, I don't 'listen' to naysayers and/or take advice from just anyone in the industry because I'm confident in my knowledge of how to run my business/handle my projects. I know I know how to do the best possible job or at least how to ask the best questions to ensure I do the job the way it needs to be done. But Denny the writer is a jumble of nerves and insecurities and its an odd, exciting mind-set for me to explore.

Denny the writer is easily swayed by the comments of other writers, or people in general when it comes to my writing. But oddly, if they say something good, I rationalize the comment with reasons as to why I should distrust the response/reaction. Be it a co-writer in my critique group or a best friend or even the agent who judged the finalists, I can't just take it in.

Let me be clear about the agent's comments - they were glorious. I mean she pointed out the positive and then gave excellent advice/insights on my story. If you've judged contests before, you know how they work and what to expect. Opening, Plot, Main Character, Dialog. Each topic, if you will, is scored and analyzed.

So, I'm excited. I did really well - didn't win, but I did well.

So what's eating at me?

The comments have sent me into a major re-write mode. And I guess, each time I move forward, I feel like I'm taking a step sideways. And the bottom line is that I'm still not done!

I wish I had more to share. Something more introspective to make this post insightful, but the deal is that writing a book takes time and consistency and hard work. Each success is measured. Satisfaction has to be in the process.

I love the process, but I just wish I had more time to devote to it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Universal Studios, Orlando and Writing...

Photo taken by Denny S. Bryce during recent trip to Universal Studios in Orlando!

What does it take to inspire a writer who has spent weeks uninspired?

It has something to do with taking time off.

It's almost as much of a job to keep writing as it is to write. What I mean is that writing isn't just about sitting down in front of your laptop, desktop or notepad (or in my case my new iPad:) and committing to six hours or 10,000 words. There is the state of mind and the spirit that must be nurtured in order to ensure time spent writing is enjoyable (painfully so), productive and focused. Taking a break is important especially when you're beating yourself up about writing. When the story isn't coming, the words and the emotions all feel redundant or trite - walk away. Take a few days or even a few weeks off and forget about it. You will return. If writing is your heart, you'll get back to it and it will be better.

Okay, the pep talk is over. Now, I'm wondering when I finally get my near-future vampire romantic suspense story published will anyone care about vampires? The market is a little thick with them now, but my answer is yes. They will. Why? Because vampire stories have been popular for centuries.  And if it's written well, has a solid heroine readers can care about, and a hero who gives the readers chills (as well as gives the heroine chills), then the story will be worth the time spent (writing and/or reading it).  As I write and polish (it's already 320 pages) I keep reminding myself what it is I love about vampires stories. It's the danger and the inherit violence of their personalities and also the hopelessness of eternal life. It sucks on so many levels because of memories. The past influences the future. But so many times that past has to be remembered in bits and pieces. Those memories can be life-saving or life altering. Anyway, it's about living a long life - that's what gets me about vampires.

But I'm also gathering information on the next book - just a little at a time. So far I know my heroine's name and I know she's not a vampire. In fact, there may not be any vampires in the next book. Just demons, shapeshifters and angels...

FYI - RWA Nationals will be in Orlando at Swan and Dolphin. I love Orlando.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rejection Ain't All That Bad

Photo taken in New Orleans, LA, 2009.

Still glowing from a recent rejection letter, which has infused me with the will and energy to write and write and write. Still, I don't want to over analyze my reaction. That is too close to my usual approach to writing - over doing it.

But back to the topic ... it was the most encouraging email I've ever received.

Nearly a year ago, I submitted my novel (or a synopsis and the first 30 pages) to an editor and an agent - via request - following the RWA National Conference in DC, which will take place this year in Orlando (at the Swan and Dolphin property) following the tragedy of the flooding in Nashville, TN, which has closed the Gaylord until fall. The first six months without hearing from the editor and agent - except for an isolated email was still damn exciting and I was enthusiastic about writing and keeping to a schedule and all sorts of good, positive things. Then the last quarter of 2009 turned into a series of crisis, financial, emotional, stressful, health, you name it and it reared its head in the later portion of last year. Since then I've been in a semi-depressed state. If not phases of full blown depression. I regained weight I lost, struggled to keep on a writing schedule and have had numerous blow ups with family and colleagues - and a few public outbursts that fall under the category of road rage (which as long as no one suffers bodily arm can be quite comforting:).

So if you think one of the two RWA 2009 connections finally got back to me? Well no. It was another publication - which will go un-named and the letter talked about how much they enjoyed my voice, and my taunt, writing style (really liked that). They weren't interested because my novel is too long, and not as erotic as they are looking for.

Folks, it's not that I want to keep getting rejection letters, but sometimes, this kind of letter teaches you something.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Talking TV and that means Vampires!

I am writing about the TV show, The Vampire Diaries.

No real spoilers...believe it or not:)

This season started with me refusing to watch The CW's trite, watered down, poorly constructed, sadly redundant (TV version) of Twilight (not on my top 10 list anyway) for teeny boppers. Okay, I imagine that sentiment describes at least 75 percent of my friends who likely had similar reactions to the idea of watching the show, if they even bolthered to think about watching TVD at all.

I had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, by a friend who said, you've got to check this show out. So I caved in around episode five or six (I've since seen all episodes by the way). It took me a while to submit (not just because of the reasons stated earlier here), but that friend doesn't have my passion for well-crafted story lines and ensemble casts that showcase character, plot, arcs, etc. She liked BTVS, and AtS was perfect eye candy. But she didn't re-watch each and every episode of AtS or BtVS to the point where she could recite scenes or knew the title of the next episode (you know what I mean). I enjoy searching for details, getting to the heart of a story arc, character black moments, etc. She enjoyed the shows. Sure. But wasn't nearly as obessessed:).

Anyway, she's a good friend, so I said to her (when she wouldn't stop insisting I at least try TVD) okay, I'll watch. The first few episodes were a struggle. I was pre-occupied with Being Human (a superior BBC-2 paranormal TV show), but still I watched. Frankly, I can't remember the episode that added me to the list of fans who 'can't miss an episode' of TVD. Likely, it was more so about Damon and Bonnie, the witch. Those two characters caught my attention - especially Bonnie. I LOVED the way the show was developing the witch and vampire history/relationship and especially the role of the witch in the history of the town, and the potential for her character and her ancestors to be pivotal to the entire story (and yeah, I know - she disappeared for about four episodes but by then I was hooked into the overall story).

If you don't know me, there is one thing that's pretty clear when it comes to me and entertainment - be it reading, watching or listening. I love vampire stories. Paranormal grabs me in a huge way, and I seek it out. Most of it unfortunately falls short, I must admit. I imagine part of that is being spoiled by the likes of Spike and Angel - and before those two rascals, as far as TV vampire drama was concerned I've got to go back so far it's practically pre-historic - and yes, I'm talking Barnabas Collins - so there.

Anyway, what's my point?

Vampire Diaries is a classic in the genre. Very different from BtVS or AtS, but rooted in the same love of vampire mythology as either one of those shows, and in many ways more so. There are no statements here about the struggle or challenge of girls becoming women or metaphors about high school, young aduthood, first time sex, or other growing pains - those topics have been covered. This show is telling the tale of a scary old town filled with vampires, vampire killers, witches and werewolves (so far), and it's good. Damn good. What are my reasons for coming to this conclusion?

1) It' a complex family saga - those of us who LOVED the relationships and history shared between characters like Darla, Dru, Angel and Spike, and their tragic choices throughout those histories and their obsessions, will find the same surprises in this tale. The unique issues of vampires are exploited here. For me that means they live long lives during which they can obsess about everything, as was the case with Whedon's vampires. Hundreds of years of living or unliving during which a vampire relived whatever was the focus, missed opportunity or mistakes of their human lives.

On TVD we have a triangle that the writers are not shying away from, too - two brothers in love with the same woman (Spike, Angel, Buffy, if you will). Except this time we have two human brothers who fall in love with a vampire named Katherine. (And whoa, I'm waiting for the fic that slashes Stefan and Damon - although I won't read it - just like I don't read Wincest - but you know it's a coming.). Anyway, they are both sexy, intense and their love for each other and the issues they have with each other is as riveting as their obsession/love for Katherine/Elena. And there's huge back story here, too.

2) The femaie leads (for the most part) are strong, fearless heroines (Elena/Katherine - I can't separate them because I believe there is no separating them:) or Bonnie or the blond (sorry can't remember her name now) or Isobel (who promises to be Darla with dark hair). So far, although Elena has no super powers, she is fearless and believable. She will walk into any situation as if she were a slayer when it comes to vampires. She owns Stefan, and Damon is right on her heels.

3) Bad Guys. Can we just say Uncle John? (And yes, I know he's a new face - only showing up two or three episodes ago, but damn!). At first, it was Damon, and in the early episodes I couldn't see any way for the writers to redeem him - but they aren't necessarily redeeming him as much as explaining why he is the vampire that he is, and it's not contrived. It works and yes, I actually thought of Dexter during this last episode. I mean if Dexter can be loved why can't Damon Salvotore?

4) Excellent supporting cast and subplots. If a scene doesn't involve Elena, Stefan or Damon, I('m good. There's the witch, the teacher, the sheriff, Jeremy and Anna, Pearl, the list goes on and on and each character fits into the puzzle, although Uncle John is a SHIT, and still a major mystery. Okay, I'm emotional about him. He just offed a character I wanted to see more of...

5) Flashbacks. TVD uses flashbacks exceptionally well. When the viewer is taken back in time we learn something new, see a character from a new perspective, understand more about a character's motives, etc., and they don't mind being dangerous and exciting about Damon and Stefan and their lives back in the day. No wasted screen time there.

6) Pacing, pacing, pacing. Each episode rockets from one OMG to the next. I love good pacing, and the only way to carry it off on a TV show is with good writing. And yes, VD is well-written.

7) One thing that's not so good...the show has no mature characters. I think the oldest regular is the Sheriff, and she's not necessarily filling the shows of someone like "Giles' for example - no way no how. The witch's grandmother was interesting, but that entire story arch skirted in and skirted out rather awkwardly, IMHO. So there it is, my long, rambling overview of The Vampire Diaries.

There are only two episodes left of TVD this season, and I'm almost as excited to watch them as I am about watching the last two episodes of 'Bones'.

So that's it, and yes, I haven't even mentioned True Blood. Why? It's always entertaining, shocking and fun, but thought provoking? Good vampire lore? No, not really. At least not to me. And that's what The Vampire Diaries gives - plenty of story to mull over.

NOTE: I'm on the train heading back to DC from Orlando after a week off. I've been writing, reading {The Strain) and doing that thing I wish I had more time for when I'm up to my eyebrows working...talking TV:)

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