Friday, January 22, 2010

My New Favorite TV Show...

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not huge on television. Earlier in my life, I used to live by my show schedule to the point where I would debate if I should go out because my favorite show was on. I would tape (yes, tape...before TIVO) my favorite shows and would freak if they didn't record. In fact, to this day, I have yet to own a TIVO or DVR of any kind. I see no point because there isn't any show on TV that my life would end if I didn't watch.

Several years ago, I just stopped cold turkey. I pulled away from the hypnotizing quality of tv and looked around realizing that I didn't do as much reading, drawing or just plain hanging out with my friends than I should at my age (late teens/early 20's). It was quite sad really. That doesn't mean I didn't turn it on once in awhile. I tried to watch a few shows, Lost...American Idol...Heroes. A few episodes in, they all lost (no pun intended) my attention. I had better things to do like read the books that I love. There are too many books in this world that I want to read to spend time watching tv, I said.

Then why am I writing a blog post about tv? Because I feel like I have to be honest with myself. Of course I watch movies, hockey and shows on channels like TLC and even MTV (man, do I love TruLife) at home. I play video games. Trust me, I sit in front of the tv a ton. I have even found love for Netflix streaming online and various websites to watch tv to get my through the workday. But, still nothing caught my attention 100 percent. To be hoenst, the last shows I watched religiously was Alias and Everwood (damn I miss that show!).

Everwood had to be one of the first "teen" shows I ever enjoyed. I always felt shows like Gossip Girls, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls, Roswell, Buffy (sorry Tracy!) and Supernatural (and again...) were written like what the writers thought teens felt and emotions they thought they expressed but in the end wrote lower than the intelligence of most teens. (I know tons of people who love these shows, but I guess they just aren't for me). Everything felt so blown over proportion or like I was watching a PSA for sex/drugs when I watched them.

Today, I found my modern Everwood. I saw a bunch of people mention a new show on CW, Life Unexpected. I figured I would give it a whirl, just like I have with most of the above shows. I went to the CW website (linked above) and saw that the pilot episode was on the site. I clicked to watch, trying to keep an openmind. What did I find? *Smart writing, an interesting story, decent acting. I don't want to give the plot away, so just click on the link and watch for yourself.

I felt like I was watching a YA book I would finish in one sitting because I loved it so much. I hope you all give this show a chance. If you like YA books (which, if you're reading this post, you probably do), you won't be sorry. This might be one of the first shows in years that I have to watch Monday's at 9/8C.

The great thing about loving a show today, if I miss it when it airs, I always have the internet. Watch the pilot and try to catch the show this Monday. I hope Life Unexpected gets enough people watching to stay on the air. If it continues the way it started, I know I'll be a loyal viewer.

So, did any of you watch it when it aired? Did you watch it online? Please tell me what you thought of this great new show!

*By no means did anyone tell me/pay me to write this post. This is just my honest opinion!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bringing UMS to Life

One of the most amazing experiences on my crazy road to publication has been the opportunity to work closely with Val Cox, the graphic artist Leap Books commissioned to create several illustrations for Freaksville by Kitty Keswick, as well as my book (a la my pen name, Judith Graves) Under My Skin.

From the moment I saw Val’s work, I knew she would get my characters and the paranormally infested town of Redgrave. Her illustrations celebrate the magical, the supernatural and are a blend of contrasting colours and gothic sensibilities. Plus, she appreciates the quirky and offbeat.

We started the process with a phone call / brainstorming session. From there I went through the UMS manuscript and found key scenes which would translate well into visuals and those that held the most drama. We had the go ahead to create ten images in total, so I had to be selective.

Then came the fun part. Providing Val with enough physical and personality descriptions for her to bring the UMS cast to life. There were several incarnations of Eryn McCain, the main character. Ultimately we funked up her hair and gave her such a stellar look, that I had to go back and tweak the manuscript to reflect her new image. Here's a very cool illo, Val calls, The Three. Eryn with her two love interests (Wade on the left, Alec on the right). I'm thrilled with the devil/angel over her shoulder concept as these guys appeal to very different facets of Eryn's half human/half paranorm nature.

I'm crazy about the final images and can’t wait to work with Val again on book two, Second Skin. Hopefully we’ll be able to add a few more illos. ;) You can find out more about Val from this Leap Books interview, and on her website.