Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sticking with the CW on Thursdays

Well, I must say, I'm pleasantly surprised with the way things are shaping up on both The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural. Despite relatively rocky starts, the shows are into their third episodes, and I'm definitely entertained.

First up, The VD. Oh. That's not a good abbreviation, is it? Well, as I said earlier, the best part of this show really is Damon Salvatore, the evil vampire brother of Stefan. But I have to admit, I'm finding Paul Wesley more attractive as the series goes on. When he's not brooding, he's actually pretty hot. He has a nice smile. I'm digging it.

The show certainly isn't going for any original story lines here, but it's tough to resist a familiar story if it's done well. Damon is so deliciously bad, it's lovely. Actually, he reminds me a bit of the character from Williamson's short-lived Hidden Palms named Cliff Wiatt, who was easily the best thing about that show too. Unfortunately, Williamson couldn't figure out how to keep that show on track. Plus, it got pushed into the summer by some show about the Pussycat Dolls, and I'm sure that didn't help matters much.

Anyway, here's hoping that this time around, Williamson can keep his bad boy in the spotlight. Damon is devious. He's sucking blood from one of Elena's best friends and hypnotizing her into forgetting it. He's trying to sabotage Elena's relationship with Stefan, and because he's so good at what he does, part of you is rooting for him. You want Elena to give into Damon, even though you know he's so, so bad. Ooh. That's awesome, and it gives me chills.

If the show can keep up that delicate balance of tension, I won't be able to stop watching it for anything.

Supernatural isn't in a bad place either. Dean and Sam are separated, which I like. It's a good twist, and it builds on what has happened to them in earlier seasons. I didn't realize this is where the show was going when I complained about Dean capping on Sam in the first episode, I wouldn't have complained. Dean and Sam fighting all the time is old hat. Dean and Sam going their separate ways is new.

Also, I was right!

Sam was supposed to be the vessel of Lucifer. So that little story arc I laid out a few weeks ago in the blog could still happen. I feel smart.

I'm not sure how I feel about the addict metaphor for Sam's dance with the dark side. I mean, every show has done it, from Forever Knight to Buffy. But--it's a good metaphor. And there's something compelling about Sam fighting something within himself.

Dollhouse premiered last Friday, and I've still got to watch it. If there's anything worth typing about, I certainly will.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gossip Girl: The College Years

We're two episodes into the new season of Gossip Girl, and I'm still watching it, so that's saying something, right? ;)

There's no claiming that Gossip Girl is excellent television. It's fluff, and I know it. We all need some fluff though, right? Guilty pleasures?

With a sudden (but handy) shift for Serena--who's suddenly into finding her father (who knew she cared?) and Connor Baisden--the show has cleanly been able to keep all its principles in New York. Serena's not going to Brown. She's taking a year to "find herself." Dan, Vanessa, and Blair are at NYU. Chuck's running around town trying to buy restaurants (and having business meetings with old guys even though he's, what, 18? I suspend my disbelief for this show, but come on!). And Nate? Well, God knows what Nate was doing because I was distracted by this scene where he wasn't wearing his shirt, and...well, my thoughts about all of that are a little...personal.

At least they didn't send them to Cal U, where both the kids from 90210 and Saved By the Bell went. Incidentally, I don't think it even exists.

If the silliness of thinking that a group of high school pals would actually stay close through college can be overlooked (which it must should the show survive), it's an okay set up for the season.

Last spring, I was complaining because I felt Blair's character had changed too much. She had grown and become mature and was in love with Chuck, and I whined about missing bitchy Blair. Someone must have read my post in the writer's room at GG, but they decided to just throw all that character development from last season out the window and turn Blair into a clueless bitch who does ridiculously juvenile things like hand out gift bags in her dorm. What? Blair would never do that.

See, here's the thing that people writing television shows don't understand. It's good for your characters to grow and change. It's excellent, actually. But when you make your characters grow and change, you can't make them change into something that's going to make there be less conflict. All changes must create more conflict, different conflict, and worse conflict. If you make a change that doesn't create conflict, but rather resolves it, you end up doing stupid things like pretending the change didn't happen. Which makes your viewers scratch their heads and feel confused, because they were following all that character development and now it all seems like it never happened. It's like using RetCons. All the time.

Shows that have done it right: The Logan-Veronica arc of Veronica Mars. Watch: Logan hates Veronica and Veronica hates Logan. Logan, however, needs Veronica's detecting expertise several times. They become close. They start dating (and breaking up and dating and wasn't there some other guy in there who's name started with a D--whatev--none of that's important). As their relationship deepens, Logan begins to resent the very thing that drew him close to Veronica in the first place--her detecting expertise. Conflicts blooms like mushroom clouds. And I am glued to the screen for every second of it.

I don't know what I'd do in this case. How about something more like this? Blair and Chuck begin to get closer and closer in their relationship. Suddenly, Blair realizes that her relationship with Chuck is getting in the way of her ability to be a socialite bitch. (Tons of ways this could happen--especially with Georgina in the mix.) Then, at this point, I would move her into the dorms, her reasoning being she and Chuck need space. Then we could have double conflicts--resentment from Chuck coupled with Blair's inability to be a socialite bitch anymore, having lost her touch when she grew up and fell in love with Chuck. This thing could go on at least until Christmas, when I would then have Georgina roofie Chuck and frame him for cheating on Blair. Blair would then be convinced this had happened (and Chuck would too, since he'd have no memory of the evening), but instead of dumping Chuck, decide she needed to get revenge by cheating with someone else. She'd get really close to doing it, but would find out Georgina's scam, (this would take until about March), and could then spend the rest of the season having revenge on Georgina.

See--there's the Blair-Chuck arc for the entire season. And I guarantee you my version is better than whatever they're going to throw at us.

Well. Maybe.

Anywho, till next time. You know you love me. :P

Friday, September 11, 2009

Last night's CW Premiere Night

The Vampire Diaries: I had high hopes for this, mainly because of Kevin Williamson's involvement. I am a big fan of Scream and early Dawson's Creek. So, I thought that if anyone could take the hella awful source material (sorry L. J. , but how DID you get published? Yecch.) and spin it into gold, it would be him.

I'll be tuning in next week just to see if I'm wrong, but so far, no dice, Kev.

Elena is sympathetic, but she's boring. I hated Elena in the book because she was a stuck-up B-I-T-C-H who didn't seem to really care about her dead parents--just making sure she nabbed Stefan. She treated him more like a notch on her belt, too, not like a real love interest. I hated her. But this sobby, I'm-saving-my-druggy-brother, brown-haired, doe-eyed, sugary-sweet Elena is kind of making me want to wretch.

Course, I'm not so big on Stefan either, who is the pansy-est pansy who ever lived. At least they're sticking to the book's guns and keeping it so that not drinking human blood makes him weak. I like that.

No, as I guess I predicted, the only bright spot of the show is Ian Somerhaulder, who plays the bad guy--a smouldering hot, smirking bad guy who I would just love to try to win to the light side. Mmmm.

Since that's unlikely to happen, I'm giving this show four episodes. If I don't love it by then (or if I can at least stand it), I'll keep watching. If not...I'm not going to bother.

Supernatural: This really wasn't great either. Honestly, I thought the show was going somewhere daring at the end of last season. I thought that they were really going to toy with the idea of using evil to fight evil. My prediction was that Sam was Lucifer, and that this season would be an interesting battle within Sam--perhaps with Sam's humanity infecting Lucifer and changing him. That's a story arc I would have tuned in for.

I'm tuning in for this one too, don't get me wrong. I'm pretty sure this will be the last season of Supernatural, and that's a good thing, because it's losing its focus and morphing into something strange.

I'm just sick of Dean being so self-righteous. Cut Sam a break, okay? You treat him like your dumb kid brother, and he doesn't deserve that. This whole, "I can't trust you anymore" crap was annoying.

Plus, what the heck was up with Castiel basically implying that God had brought him back to life and transported Sam and Dean onto the plane? God? Really?

You know, what I used to like about this show was the fact that there was evil, and that was that. There was no duality. (Kind of like the Buffyverse, actually.) Why can't people leave a good thing alone? I mean Whedon had to go all, powers that be on us in Angel. And now, Supernatural is talking about interference from God?! Really?!


All I can say is this: The True Blood finale had better not suck.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Contest Updates

Getting tons of beta reader requests, but don't forget to design Azazel's prom dress as well.

Here's the contest page link: contests!! Scroll down to read about the prom dress contest!! I haven't gotten a single entry yet, so the competition is not at all stiff. :)

In regards to the beta thing, I realized that I've grown close to some of you through the world of the interwebs, and I didn't want the nice things you've said to me to color my judgment. Therefore, I've got Aaron helping me scan the beta readers entries. He'll take off the names and just let me read the info. That way I can make a fair decision based on qualifications and not how flattering you guys are. :)

Thanks everyone for everything!! Trembling has sold a total of 31 copies at last count, just in the last ten days. You guys rock!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Be a Tortured Beta Reader!

This contest idea comes from Melinda, over at the forum.

Many of you guys have been helpful in pointing out typos, mistakes, etc. in my stuff as it's posted. Unfortunately, this is usually too late, considering that by that time, the book has already gone to the printer and is being sold with the mistakes in it.

Melinda suggested I utilize you guys as first readers to help correct errors. So…five lucky readers will get to read a draft of Tortured first, before anyone else…as long as you commit to helping me fix my errors.

How to Enter
1) Send an email to jasonandazazel (at) with the subject line: Beta Reader
2) Include your name and why you think you're the most qualified to help me fix my novel. (Are you a writer? Do you make awesome grades in English? Do you work in copyediting? Etc.)
3) Send the email before 09/17. I'll have the book email out to the winners by 9/19, and will need your replies by 10/3.

Design Azazel's Prom Dress!

In Tortured, Azazel's going to prom. The only problem is that I have no idea what her prom dress looks like.

Help me out by designing Azazel's dress. Your entry can take the form of a written description, a drawing of the dress, a representation of the dress in photoshop, etc.

Please only submit your own work. If you find a really awesome picture of the dress, do not simply send me a link to the photograph. I want your own designs, not something that someone else created.

Three finalists will have their designs voted on by the Jason and Azazel reading audience. The readers will pick the winner, who will receive:
-her (or his) dress featured in Tortured
-a page on my website about the designer.
-copies of all three books in the trilogy

How to Enter

1) Send your design as an attachment to jasonandazazel (at) or snail mail it to: V. J. Chambers, P.O. Box 1747, Shepherdstown, WV 25443.
2) Include a brief bio and an explanation of where your design inspiration came from.
3) Entries must arrive by 9/30.