Tag Archives: True Blood

Confessions of a Story Binger

Hello, I’m J Monkeys.   I’m a story binger.   Phew.   Boy, it feels good to get that out.   They say you can’t solve a problem until you recognize you have one.   Well, I do.   I binge on stories.   Only good stories, by good storytellers…but still.   I’m a story binger.

You may wonder what brought me to this point in my life.  Lots of things, really.  Specifically, Julia Quinn, Lynn Kurland, Jude Deveraux, Aaron Sorkin, Eric Northman, Temperance Brennen, Piper Halliwell, Jack Bauer, Benedict Cumberbatch, the fellas of Ripper Street, the ladies of Downton, Walter White and Francis Underwood

Back in the days before Netflix, I binged mostly through books.  In my high school and college years, I’m not exaggerating when I write that I read at least a thousand romance novels.  It’s a good thing I’ve had a job since I was 8 years old, to support my habit.  And I discovered second hand book stores about the same time I learned to drive.  very handy, that. 

When the last couple of Harry Potter books came out, my boys weren’t born yet, so I declared each of those days “Harry Potter Day” and nobody was allowed to interrupt me until I had finished the book.  I recall wandering the house, cooking and eating all while sobbing my way through the end of Book 6.

the west wing castIn my 20’s I would occasionally by a season of 24 on DVD, then watch the whole thing in 36 hours or so.    And Mr. Monkeys bought me wonderful Valentine’s Day gifts a couple of years in a row, the complete series of The West Wing and Charmed.  Not together, that would be a strange combination, but two different sets.  Charmed comes in it’s very own book of shadows.  😉

I’ve had to limit myself to not watching episodes in order, because that leads to another one and another one until half a day has gone by with me watching shows that I can probably recite.  Sigh. 

And True Blood?  I’ve bought the last few seasons and watched the whole thing in less than two days.  Pretty much every moment that the children were unlikely to walk into my office, I was sitting at my laptop, with my headphones on watching the show.  If you are unfamiliar, it’s the kind of show that you never know what someone might say (HBO – f-bombs galore – and that’s not the worst of it!) or what might pop up on the screen in the time it takes to hit pause on the remote. 

bonesBut now, Netflix is enabling me in heretofore unheard of ways!  I watched 7 seasons of Bones in a month.  A MONTH!  That’s like 7 episodes a day.  I watched all of Breaking Bad in a few weeks.   I watched so much 24 in two weeks that I had to take a break from it.  House of Cards, the whole season in a weekend!   I’m chomping at the bit for the next seasons of Sherlock and Ripper Street

Is it any wonder that I seem to have trouble finishing writing projects?!   Okay, I’ve admitted my problem.  Now it’s time for a solution.  Here’s the one I’ve come up with: I vow to stay away from all stories (but my own) until I have written 500 words every day.   No word-y, no story.  That’s my new philosophy. 

Anybody else have this problem?


Hello wet campers!  It’s pouring here in CT…well it’s supposed to be pouring by the time this post goes live tomorrow am.  J Monkeys here on another happy Saturday.

If you’ve read any of my posts over the past year, this likely won’t come as a shock to you, but I’m just a tiny bit obsessed with True Blood.  Eric Northman, specifically.  I love him.  Especially in season 4, which I bought on DVD yesterday.  As soon as my kiddies nod off, and I’m finished with responsibilities like this post and getting stuff ready for an event I’m doing tomorrow, I’ll be right back in front of the TV.  I’ve got about 10 minutes of episode 5 left to watch – I had to turn it off when the school bus arrived this afternoon.  While I LOVE True Blood, I’m sure we can all agree that it’s wildly inappropriate for anyone under age…well…16ish at least!  And then there are 7 more episodes and some bonus features.  Yippeee!

No, your math skills haven’t failed you.  Somehow I’ve managed to watch 5 hours of TV in the last 24 hours – no mean feat with my brood.  Why am I obsessed with this show?  Aside from the obvious reasons,

Eric Northman
Alcide Herveaux









as a writer, I love how the screenwriters manage to end every episode in a dear-Lord-what-will-happen-next kind of cliff hanger.   It’s very difficult not to watch the next DVD.  And it’s not just the beefcake.  This same thing happened with the first few seasons of 24.  I remember laying in bed at night thinking to myself, “Just one more episode,” at 3:00 in the morning because I needed to know what would happen next.

This is an incredible skill for a writer – making a story a page turner, something that people can’t put down.  I haven’t actually read any of Charlaine Harris‘ Sookie Stackhouse books.  I don’t know why…maybe because I understand that the HBO series follows them fairly loosely and one favorite character from the series didn’t make it out of the first book alive.  So I can’t say if the books have this same incredible momentum that just pushes you along with the story, but on HBO, it’s a wonderful ride.

Today’s Secret: Writer friends, study how True Blood, 24 and other shows do this because it is a very valuable skill.  Constantly hook and rehook your audience to keep those readers coming back for more.

Today’s Question: What other shows, movies, plays, books do this well?


Hello, ‘ello, ‘ello, Scribblers!  J Monkeys here.  I saw this nifty little joke a few months ago on Facebook and I thought I’d share it.

🙂  He-he.  Cute, huh?  But it got me to thinkin’.  I love True Blood and Rome.  And lots of folks have been recommending something to me.  Even though it really isn’t quite my cup of tea, I decided to give Game of Thrones a try. 

Have you read this series by George R.R. Martin?  It took me a while to get through the first book, about a week (compared to the five hours it took me to read All for You, Lynn Kurland’s newest romance, out this week), but I liked it.  I had a hard time picturing Game of Thrones in my head, though.  See, when I read a book, I’m basically watching a movie in my head where I (of course) star as the heroine. 

I finished Game of Thrones (technically the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series) last week, and then on Tuesday of this week, my town library called me saying that something I had reserved a while ago and forgotten all about, had come in.  You guessed it: disc one of season one of HBO’s series, Game of Thrones.  

I picked it up today and watched the first two episodes whilst folding a mountain of laundry.  I loved the show, but I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I hadn’t read the book.  Does that make sense?  I loved seeing the world I had read about come to life, but again, since that kind of fantasy is just a kissin’ cousin to my favorite stories (medieval romance, especially time travels) I don’t think I would have connected with the story as much if I didn’t already know what was going on. 

HBO’s Game of Thrones is almost as good as True Blood.  Really, the only things missing are: 










Alcide and Eric Northman may have their obvious charms, but I’ve gotta tell you, Lafayette is truly my favorite True Blood character.  Nelsan Ellis is a brilliant actor.

Today’s secret: Try new stuff, you might find that you like it.

Today’s question: What have you read lately that was off the beaten path?  Or at least a stray from your usual path?  Did you like it?


A Sense of Impending Doomsday

Greetings and Happy Solstice, my friends!  Suze here.  Yup, it’s the shortest day of 2011.  What you might not have realized, and you’ll thank me for telling you this, is that it might also be the first day of the last year of your life.  

Wait, wait, wait.  I’m not trying to jinx myself or anyone else.  But unless you’ve been living a hermit’s existence somewhere, you must have heard about December 21, 2012.  As in the day the Mayan Long Count Calendar ends.   (If you haven’t read Jessica Andersen’s Nightkeepers series, do it while there’s still time!  Click here for a link to our interview with Doc Jess earlier this week)

Terence McKenna analyzed the Chinese I-Ching and found patterns suggesting that the world will end on, you guessed it, December 21, 2012.

The Web Bot project, which involves a lot of spiders crawling the web searching for keywords, and which supposedly taps into humanity’s collective unconscious, predicts a cataclysmic event on that date.

Back in the 12th century, the Irish St. Malachy predicted that there will be only one more Pope after the current Pope, Benedict XVI (the new, last guy’s name will be Peter, by the way).

Admit it.  It freaks you out, just a little.  Or maybe a lot.  I don’t really believe it, but . . . what if?

If this really were the last year you had on earth, how would you spend it?  I’m talking about a bucket list, here, distilled down to its most basic elements.   Not: I want to skinny dip in a champagne fountain with Johnny Depp.  (Although if you’re able to manage that, this Scribe wants to hear the details!)  For me, I plan to focus on just a few things:  getting and staying physically healthy, eradicating negative thoughts that hold me back, loving my family and friends, and selling at least one of my novels.  That’s it.  If the world ends a year from now and I’ve stayed true to this vision, I’ll be kind of OK with being annihilated.

Now, please don’t go out and max out your credit cards, figuring if you time it correctly you won’t have to pay any of the money back.  I’m pretty, kinda sure we’re gonna make it.

And now, because I want to leave you on a happy note, I think today would be a good Gratuitous Hunk day, don’t you? We deserve it!  You can’t reach into the Scribes’ candy dish, but you can enjoy some dishy eye-candy.  Have a blessed December, whatever your beliefs.

Care to share?  Tell us what you want from 2012.  Maybe we’ll check in with you half way through the year, just to make sure we’re all on track!

My, My, My . . . Dell-ilah

Hello, Scribe Friends, Suze here.  Last week we had a great discussion about e-readers.  Let’s take it a step further and talk about computers, shall we?

Like virtually every writer out there, I do my writing on a computer.

Meet Dell-ilah, Suze’s Laptop

Now I know there are still a few people who write longhand.  In fact, I just read somewhere that writing longhand provides a brain/hand connection that enhances creativity and intelligence.  (I can’t find that article right now, but when I do I’ll post it). Stephen King wrote Dreamcatcher, nearly 900 pages long, with a fountain pen.  Whatever Mr. King is doing seems to be working, and I’m not arguing.  And of course, most of the great literature of the world was written without electronics.  Somehow, I just can’t picture Jane Austen, little frilly cap on head, pecking away at a keyboard by candlelight.  Kind of takes away the romance, don’tcha think?

Me, I’ve been typing for so long, it’s a real effort for me just to fill out an occasional check, though I do make most of my to-do lists by hand in a spiral bound notebook.

My little laptop, Dell-ilah, and I have been friends for a long time. She’s very low tech as far as computers go — her CD drive is external, her Wi-Fi antenna is external (can’t use both of those things at the same time unless I buy a splitter of some kind, which I haven’t bothered with), and she can’t play a DVD at all.  Which, if you think about it, is all kind of a good thing when you’re writing.  Because you’re just supposed to be writing, right?  Not watching marathon episodes of True Blood and drooling over Alexander Skarsgard.

But I know Dell-ilah cannot live forever.  Her case has a crack.  Her hinges and some of her keys are loose.  Her processor brain is still pretty sharp, though.  (Even so, I back up my work on a flash drive after every writing session, and periodically I e-mail my WIP to myself.)  She and I have discussed it, and she’s given me the Do Not Resuscitate order.  When her time comes, I will need to let her go.  Right now, I’m researching with what I will replace her.

Dell-ilah is a PC.  I’ve always worked on PCs, but I’m open to exploring the Mac option if somebody can convince me that it really is worth the price differential.  Should I get another laptop?  A sweet little netbook?  What about a tablet with a wireless keyboard?  That might be fun.  Oooh, how about an iPad?

What kind of computer do you use, and what do you love/hate about it? This inquiring mind would love to know!