Posted by Donna MacMeans May 1 2012, 12:14 am in Anna DeStefano, Cara Elliott, Casey Daniels, coming attractions, Ellen Hartman, J. A. London, Karen Kelly, Karyn Gerrard, kristan higgins, May, Sandy Blair, Sister Pact, Trish Milburn
It’s an exciting month in the lair! Not only do we have some fabulous guests chatting alongside some fabulous banditas – we also have a launch party! Trish will be introducing another in her Teagues of Texas series on May 4th. Doesn’t this cover just make you smile ?
Don’t forget to check out the contests offered for May at the bottom of the post. Prizes, prizes everywhere!
On Wednesday, 2nd May, we have great Aussie authors Ros Baxter and Ali Ahearn visiting the lair as Anna Campbell’s guests. Ros is a debut author and Ali is better known to the Banditas and Bandita Buddies under her Medical Romance persona Amy Andrews. (www.amyandrews.com.au <http://www.amyandrews.com.au> ) Ros and Ali are sisters and they’ve written a wonderful book together called SISTER PACT.
On May 3, Anna Destefano chats with Nancy about Anna’s new release from Entangled Publishing, HER FORGETTEN BETRAYAL.
Don’t forget Trish will be launching THE COWBOY SHERIFF on the 4th.
May 5th – We have the lovely Cara Elliott launching the second book in her “Lords of Midnight” trilogy, TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST!
May 6th – Prepare to have laugh. Kristin Higgins is joining us with SOMEBODY TO LOVE.
May 7th – Have you ever had the urge to travel back in time? How about forward in time? Karyn Gerrard joins us to talk about her unique time travel, TIMELESS LOVE.
MAY 16th – What’s a girl to do when she gets kicked out of hell and only has a week to steal a soul? Easy, she heads straight for the delicious corruptible looking cowboy sitting at the bar and all hell breaks loose. USA Today Bestseller, Karen Kelly is in the lair with WHERE THERE’S SMOKE. (and that cover is sure smoking )
May 18th – Casey Daniels is back! Can’t wait to see what she’s working on this time. It’s bound to be fun.
On May 21st Superromance author Ellen Hartman joins us to discuss her latest release THE LONG SHOT!
May 28th – JA London joins us with a debut YA paranormal DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN, The first novel in the Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy
May 31st – What a way to wrap up a month. Sandy Blair joins us with her print release of her book THE KING’S MISTRESS. (Another gorgeous cover!)
We do give a monthly prize of books selected from our newsletter subscribers. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss out!
To celebrate the release of her novelette, “The Chinese Bed”, in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE which is available on 7th June, Anna Campbell is giving away THREE copies of this wonderful anthology to lucky readers. All you need to do is email Anna on anna @ annacampbell.info (remove the spaces) with the name of the hero and heroine of “The Chinese Bed.” Just a hint – you might find the answer here: http://annacampbell.info/chinesebed.html
The contest closes 30th June, 2012, and entry is open internationally. For more information, please check out Anna’s website at: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
To celebrate the June release of THE CASANOVA CODE, Donna MacMeans is choosing a name from her newsletter list to receive a cherry blossom pendant necklace from the Smithsonian Institute(cherry blossoms play a role in the book). To see the necklace and to enter, go to www.DonnaMacMeans.com and sign up. A winner will be chosen for both May and June.
Posted by Jeanne Adams Mar 1 2012, 12:23 am in Addison Fox, Anna Campbell, Annie West, coming attractions, Diane Kelly, Jana Oliver, JD Tyler, Jo Robertson, Joan Swan, Jules Bennett, Kate Carlisle, Robin Perini, Teresa Morgan, Trish Milburn
Wheeeeeee! Welcome to March!
Is it blowing in like a Lion where you are, or as mild as the proverbial Lamb? Aas usual, we’ve got a great lineup for March and a lot of exciting things going on. There’s also the Ides of March and the ever popular, green-beer-drinking joy of St. Patrick’s Day! WOOHOO!
We’ll all be lifting glasses of Guiness in March (or other beverages of choice…Irish Coffee, perhaps?) to celebrate book releases and MAJOR MILESTONES!
Lesseeee, where do I start? Bandita Trish has a fabulous new book coming out with Harlequin American. Her March release is COWBOY TO THE RESCUE, second in her Teagues of Texas trilogy.
Bandita Jo’s wonderful FRAIL BLOOD will hit the market later this month as well. It’s another brilliant read from Bandita Jo! (And I’m dying to get it b/c I only got to read a little bit….)
Our own Bandita Kate has a great new book out, ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE, and yes, I know we talked about it last month, but did you know it hit the
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST!? Kate’s latest debuted on the list at #15!! She also hit PUBLISHERS WEEKLY! Garnering a Starred review (nearly impossible!) and making a splashy #9 debut on THEIR list of great books!!
WOOT!!! Party Hats and Shamrock stew for EVERYONE!!!
Let’s see…ahem…okay, back to our regularly scheduled Coming Attractions pot….
So, what’s up in MARVELOUS MARCH?
Look out tomorrow, March 2, becauase our own Anna Campbell is coming on with the fabulous Annie West! (www.Annie-west.com) It’ll be a rocking day in the Bandit Lair with those two! Annie’s popping in to tell us about her latest American release, teh fabulous GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT. Get out your Lawrence of Arabia gear for this wonderful sheikh romance, gals!
I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for (har, har!) a great read from Annie West! And when you get Anna and Annie together, in the same blog space….WATCH OUT!!
Diane Kelly makes her Lair debut on Saturday, March 3, with Bandita Nancy.I f you’ve never seen the humor in the IRS, prepare to have your eyes opened. Diane’s second mystery, DEATH, TAXES, AND A SKINNY NO-WHIP LATTE features the return of IRS agent Tara Holloway. Diane and Nancy will chat about Tara’s adventures and the hunky boyfriend she romances when the bullets aren’t flying.
Now you KNOW you want to be here for that! I’m betting that something goes BOOM! in this book, so I’m going to be front and center on Saturday to chat with Diane!
Now, as much fun as that’s going to be, brace yourselves for the wild and wonderful trio of authors coming on March 5! JD Tyler and Addision Fox visit with Bandita Suz to talk about their forthcoming e-novellas BLACK MAGIC and WAVE OF MEMORIES. A lot of you have your e-readers poised and ready to go for this one, I know. With all the wonderful success of Suz’s book, and the fabulous following both JD and Addison have garnered, this should be a fabulous day to tune in and hear about the amazing world of the e-novella!
March 6 is going to be yet another rockin’ day as Joan Swan (www.JoanSwan.com) visits the Lair with Anna Campbell again acting as hostess! This is Joan’s debut visit to the Lair with her debut book. She’ll be telling us all about her hot new romantic suspense, FEVER. Wow, that’s some cover!
On March 8, join Bandita Nancy for a Reader-Writer-Roundtable! Nancy hosts Maureen Hardgree, Eilis Flynn, Gerri Russell, Louisa Cornell, and Barbara Monajem for a discussion of who’s reading (and writing) what this month. I know you’ll want to join in THAT as all the Banditas, and Bandita Buddies are constantly updating their To Be Read piles!
Then we’re headed back to the dessert climes as Teresa Morgan, author of CINDERELLA AND THE SHEIKH, HANDCUFFED TO THE SHEIKH, AND SHEIKH WITH BENEFITS will guest with Jo on March 12. She’ll be discussing “What’s Your Hero Fetish?”
Oh my, THAT should get some interesting posts going, don’t you think? Hmmmmm? Grins.
Be sure to stop in. Sven and the gang are making hummus, importing a wide variety of olives, dates and other “desert-y” foods. (But don’t worry, if you don’t like hummus, he’ll have his usual array of other delicious delicacies!)
And Bandita Donna brings Jules Bennett to the lair on the 16th for an inaugural visit! Woot! We love meeting new authors in the Lair!! Jules new book IN THE SPOTLIGHT will be out this month from Harlequin Desire.
The ever-popular and well known Robin Perini guests with Nancy on the 18th, celebrating the release of her first Harlequin Intrigue, Finding Her Son.
And last but not least, join Bandita Nancy again on the 21st as she welcomes Jana Oliver to the Lair. Jana Oliver will return to the Lair with her demon-trapping heroine, 17-year-old Riley Blackthorne. Jana and Nancy will talk about Riley’s latest adventure, FORGIVEN.
Contest, contest, contest! Check it out!
In March and April, Bandita Anna Campbell is running a Catch Up on the Campbells Contest. Anna’s giving FIVE lucky people the chance to win a book of their choice from her backlist. That’s CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, UNTOUCHED, TEMPT THE DEVIL, CAPTIVE OF SIN, MY RECKLESS SURRENDER or the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance of 2011, MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. Just email Anna on email@example.com and tell her which book you’d like and you go into the draw. The contest closes 30th April, 2012, and entry is open internationally. For more information, please check out Anna’s contest page: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
Posted by Trish Milburn Jan 15 2012, 12:02 am in Bandita Booty, Launch Party, The Cowboy's Secret Son, Trish Milburn
I have a new book out this month, so you know what that means. LAUNCH PARTY!!!
The Cowboy’s Secret Son is the first in my Teagues of Texas trilogy about three brothers whose family own and operate a guest ranch in the Texas Hill Country. I love the Hill Country and have used several real towns to create my fictional town of Blue Falls. If you’re familiar with the central part of Texas, you might recognize touches of Fredericksburg, Marble Falls, and Gruene in Blue Falls. I love the wide-open country, the touches of wild west and German heritage, the landscape that is so different from the verdant South where I’ve lived my entire life. There’s a beauty in the starkness of western landscapes.
I’ve also incorporated my lifelong love of cowboy stories. I know much of what I’ve seen in movies and TV shows is romanticized, but that’s okay. I like the romanticized cowboy way of life. For my stories, I’ve tried to create a mixture of the romanticized vision and real-life issues people face every day. And Harlequin has been doing a great job of putting a picture with my words by giving me beautiful covers. I’ve seen the covers for the first two books in the series, and they’ve been great. Hey, what’s not to love about hot cowboys, right?
So to celebrate my love for Texas, today I’m going to list some of my favorite places to visit when I hit the Lone Star State.
1. The Hill Country — I like driving through the entire area and stopping to poke around the shops, particularly in Fredericksburg and Gruene. The latter is also home to the oldest dance hall in Texas as well as The Gristmill, a popular restaurant overlooking the Guadalupe River. My timing has never been good to see the fields of bluebonnets in bloom, but I plan to get there at the right time at some point. Also, by driving down Highway 281 to San Antonio, I can avoid the horrendous traffic in Austin.
2. Guenther House — Every time I visit my bestie, author MJ Fredrick, in San Antonio, we have breakfast at Guenther House. This restored 1860 home of the founders of Pioneer Flour Mills serves up the best biscuits I have had in my life. Even when I’m not eating white flour and watching carbs, I take a time out to eat biscuits and gravy here. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
3. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park — I love mission-style architecture and American history. This park is the perfect combination of the two. There are four missions along the San Antonio river that are a part of this park: Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Jose, and Mission Espada. They were constructed in the 1700s as part of the Catholic church’s efforts to spread Christianity to the natives of the area. I could literally spend an entire day just walking around these missions and enjoying their beauty and rich history.
4. The Alamo — The Alamo is San Antonio’s most famous landmark. It’s also the fifth of the five missions in San Antonio, though it is not part of the national park. Instead, it is owned by the state and operated by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. As you might expect, it is the most crowded of the missions. But it’s one of those places where you step inside and get a surreal feeling that you are literally walking in the steps of history. That’s MJ and me at The Alamo.
5. San Antonio Riverwalk — This five-mile series of pathways winds through San Antonio along the San Antonio River and is lined with lots of restaurants, shops and attractions.
Have you ever been to Texas? What’s your favorite place to visit there? Do you like stories set in Texas? Cowboy stories? What are your favorites?
I’ll be giving away a copy of The Cowboy’s Secret Son to two commenters today. If you tweet or post a Facebook status update about this post, I’ll enter your name a second time in the drawing. Be sure to let me know you’ve done one or both of these.
Posted by Trish Milburn Nov 15 2011, 12:01 am in Trish Milburn, TV
We are fully into the new fall TV season now, and my TiVo is filling up faster than I can view things. There are the returning favorites like Castle, Hawaii 5-0, Supernatural, Fringe and The Walking Dead. But today I want to talk about a few of the new shows that I’m really enjoying.
Once Upon a Time — How can a writer resist a show with this title? Plus, there are the classic characters of Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, Prince Charming, and even an evil queen. I love the twist that all these characters have been cursed into our modern world and they don’t remember who they really are. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the relationship between Snow White and Prince Charming plays out in the modern world setting. I have to believe they’ll fall in love there too.
Hart of Dixie — Are there some over-the-top southern stereotypes in this show? Plenty. Do these usually bother me in shows and movies? Yes. Yet, despite those, there are lots of reasons to love this show, particularly the characters. Dr. Zoe Hart is a heart surgeon who has to get some real-world experience as a general practitioner if she has any hope of getting the position she wants back in New York. So off she goes to Bluebell, Alabama, a place as different from her experience as possible. I just love Zoe, and there are two potential love interests in her life. Some people like George, who is the town lawyer but also engaged, but I’m in the camp of local bad boy, Wade Kinsella. I’d love to see Zoe fall for the one guy she’d never expect to.
Grimm — Detective Nick Burckhardt learns he is a Grimm when he starts seeing things he can’t understand. A Grimm is a supernatural hunter. He can see the creatures who hide behind human faces. I also love that he’s being helped, albeit reluctantly, by one of the beasts he’s not supposed to trust, a blutbad (big bad wolf) named Eddie Monroe (played by the wonderful Silas Weir Mitchell, previously of Prison Break).
Terra Nova — I’d been waiting for this one ever since I heard the first mention of it being created. In a future where things are so bad on planet Earth that people can’t even breathe the air safely, a portal back in time is found and groups of people are sent back to the time of dinosaurs to start over. In addition to the cool story, there are two other reasons to enjoy this show — Jason O’Mara (who plays lead Jim Shannon, a police officer) and Stephen Lang (who plays Commander Taylor, head of the Terra Nova colony; he was also Col. Quaritch in Avatar). Are you watching any of these shows? Other new programs? Tell us about them. And what are some of your returning favorites?
Posted by Trish Milburn Oct 15 2011, 12:01 am in Trish Milburn
There’s nothing quite like a best friend. She (or he) is there when you need an ear to share exciting news, sympathy when you get not-so-great news, a shoulder to cry on, to squee over a favorite actor or show, or a buddy with whom to take a road trip. As we go through life, our friends often change as we ourselves change. We often remain friends with the besties of our youth, but we fall away from daily contact. As we grow up and move to different parts of the country or even world, as we go into different careers and lead different types of lives, new friends become our daily contacts.
I can remember a time when I was young when I didn’t have any friends. But then in the 4th grade, I got my first BFF. Allison and I were in Girl Scouts together, went to school together, and were nerdy together. Yep, we were good students and remained so through high school (where she was valedictorian of our class) and college (where we roomed together for a year). As we moved to middle and high school, I spent a lot of time at her house since she lived next to the schools. She always had (and still has) lots of cats, and I watched MTV for the first time at her house. Her mom is really smart and we’d always be amazed at how many questions she knew on Jeopardy and in Trivial Pursuit.
Me, Kristy and Allison at our reunion
When we reached 7th grade, we gained another best friend to make a trio. Our county at that time still had more than one elementary school, and Kristy had gone to a different one than Allison and I. She and Allison had a lot in common because they both ended up in band. I would go to football games to watch them perform in the ha
lftime show. We were all on the speech and drama team, had advanced classes, and had a lot of slumber parties. After Allison moved to a different dorm in college, Kristy and I roomed together until she moved off campus. After graduation, we moved to different towns and started our different careers. We all got married, and they both had kids. I like to joke that they both had enough that they’d had my allotment too. When we had our 20th high school reunion a couple of years ago, we fell right back into hanging out together and it felt great.
MJ and me in Luckenbach, Texas
Years passed after college and I became a writer. My circle of writer friends is big, and that makes me extremely happy. I have chaptermates in my local RWA chapter, friends from various Golden Heart finalist classes (including the awesome Banditas), and people I’ve met online. I’d be here all day if I talked about each of these lovely women individually, but there are two with whom I stay in frequent contact. MJ Fredrick and I have to e-mail each other at least once a day or things just feel wrong. More often, it’s multiple times a day. We talk about everything from what we’re working on to what’s on TV. I’ve traveled to Texas several times in the past few years and always make a point to visit her in San Antonio – and eat Guenther House pancakes while we’re there. Yum! We are freakishly similar in many, many ways.
Fellow Harlequin American author Tanya Michaels and I met through another friend who was in my 2003 GH class, and over the years since we’ve become sci fi geeks together. Each year we go to Dragon*Con and have been known to dress in costumes. She’s been Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, and I’ve been Kahlen Amnell from Legend of the Seeker. It’s not just anyone who will help you sinch up your leather bustier.
Tanya and I at the Supernatural conference
MJ, Tanya and I are three of the five bloggers at the Supernatural Sisters blog because we love the show Supernatural. Tanya and I even went to a Supernatural con and got our photos taken with Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins. Did I mention we’re geeks?
So, tell me about your besties – either from childhood or present.
In honor of best friend and to continue our Trick or Treat party in the Lair, MJ, Tanya and I will all be giving away books today to one lucky commenter. MJ’s is Something to Talk About; Tanya’s is her upcoming release, Claimed By the Cowboy; and mine is my upcoming release, The Cowboy’s Secret Son.
Be on the lookout later today to find out what the trick is and who the “lucky” winner of that will be.
And don’t forget to sign up to get our newsletter to be in the running for the Kindle giveaway on Halloween.
Posted by Trish Milburn Oct 12 2011, 1:03 am in Trish Milburn
Trish Milburn recently won the Maggie Award of Excellence in the Young Adult Category for her book, Winter Longing. The award is given by Georgia Romance Writers.
Posted by crocodesigns Sep 11 2011, 4:01 am in 9/11, Trish Milburn
By Trish Milburn
History is filled with life-altering events both big and small. Sometimes those events are so big that they change the lives of everyone, not just those directly affected. When those things happen, people tend to remember where they were when they heard the news. Members of the Greatest Generation remember the attack on Pearl Harbor. People my parents’ age remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. I remember that I was at home from school for a snow day when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.
But nothing holds the clarity of that morning ten years ago when we all suddenly realized that Sept. 11 would never be just another day on the calendar again.
I remember exactly where I was standing when I heard the news about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center’s North Tower. It was outside the office of a coworker at the magazine where I worked at the time. I hadn’t been at work long, less than an hour, and another coworker arrived at work and told us she’d just heard about the crash on the news in her car. We went to the TV thinking that this was a horrible accident. When the second plane hit the South Tower, the reality that this wasn’t an accident hit us. The day just got more horrible and surreal as the minutes passed. Flights were grounded nationwide, leaving an eerie silence in the skies. Less than an hour after the first plane crash, another hit the Pentagon. The shocking images of the towers actually collapsing. The crash of the fourth plane into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the passengers revolted, and speculation it was heading toward Washington, D.C., perhaps the Capitol or the White House.
Throughout the day, we would wander back and forth between the conference room where the TV was located and our offices because we were on deadline for the magazine. After leaving for the day, I came home and watched TV for hours, in shock at the devastation and wondering what this would mean. Would there be more attacks? Were we going to go to war? Who was responsible? Was any place safe? Because we now live in a 24-hour TV news cycle, the coverage was endless. I watched the stories of rescues, of people looking for loved ones, of heroism and loss for days after Sept. 11. I can’t remember how many days later it was, but I finally had to turn off the TV. I couldn’t handle all the sadness anymore.
It’s been 10 years since that day, and it seems like maybe half that. Our way of life has been forever changed with increased security measures and what has been dubbed the War on Terror. I choose not to focus on those aspects overmuch though because they cause too much anxiety and sadness.
Instead, as the stories about the 10th anniversary have been written and broadcast, I find hope in the stories of how survivors changed their lives after 9/11. One man was a stock trader (or investment banker, I can’t remember) on 9/11, but in the aftermath he started taking tango classes. Here he met a woman and fell in love. Now they travel the world teaching the tango. Another man, who lost his wife and unborn child aboard one of the hijacked planes, worked hard to have a maternity wing built and named after his wife at the hospital where their child would have been born. While these stories were born of great sadness, they also speak to the tremendous resilience of the human spirit, our innate need to go on and to find something good amidst so much sorrow.
In the days after the attacks, there was a tremendous swell of people helping each other, even people they didn’t know. First responders from all over the country flocked to New York to help the FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority, who’d lost so many of their fellow firefighters and police officers. People on the streets aided each other any way they could. Blood banks across the country saw huge numbers of donors show up. Support for first responders, real heroes, skyrocketed. It was a national tragedy that brought out inspiring amounts of kindness. That’s the part I like to focus on. And I think that outpouring of kindness is part of what we shouldn’t forget and what we should try to emulate every day, whether it’s the anniversary of 9/11 or the most ordinary of days.
Posted by Trish Milburn Aug 15 2011, 4:04 am in history, travel, Trish Milburn
By Trish Milburn
One of my favorite school subjects has always been history, particularly American history. One of my minors in college was in History. So it’s no surprise that I love visiting historic sites be they homes, battlefields, roads, whatever.
Growing up in the South, you can almost pitch a rock in any direction and hit something that has a tie to the Civil War. Historic re-enactments almost always pit the blue against the gray. But one of my favorite periods in American History is actually Colonial/Revolution. So this summer when I had the opportunity to visit New England for the first time, I was mucho excited. I was going to see places that really helped to shape our country before it even became the United States of America.
There have been times when I’ve visited a place of such historical significance that it was surreal. I felt that way the first time I visited Washington, D.C., in high school. All those monuments, the Smithsonian, the White House — those were things that you just saw on the nightly news. Several years later, I took a driving trip out West and stopped at several points along the Oregon Trail in Nebraska and Wyoming. There are parts such as Windlass Hill in Western Nebraska where you can still see the ruts from the wagons that were headed west along the Oregon Trail. Fast forward to 2003 and my first trip to New York City. I had the same surreal feeling when I visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
This summer, I experienced it again when I stopped at Minute Man National Historic Park outside of Boston. Here I walked along the road (pictured here) that Paul Revere rode down to warn the countryside that the British were coming. The park and the Battle Road commemorate the famous Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the beginning of the American Revolution. I stood in the middle of the road and was hit with an overwhelming sense of history.
The big destination for my trip, however, was Salem, Massachusetts, set of the infamous witch trials in 1692. I have a YA paranormal trilogy coming out next year, and books 2 and 3 take place in Salem, so I wanted to see it firsthand. I walked all over town, and you can tell how steeped the town is in its witch history. Museums dedicated to the witch trials, businesses with names like the Witch’s Brew Cafe, and visitors touring cemeteries. There’s also a memorial comprised of 20 carved stone benches. Each one lists the name of one of the victims of the trials, when they died and how they died. 19 people were hanged and one pressed to death as a result of the hysteria that had no basis.
In nearby Marblehead, I visited the grave of Wilmot Redd, the only person from Marblehead to be executed for being a witch.
Another must-see in Salem is a literary landmark. The famed House of the Seven Gables (pictured), made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne, sits overlooking the harbor.
They have a very nice tour that takes you through the circa 1668 house and showcases its history and construction. I happened to visit on Hawthorne’s birthday, so everyone was in a festive mood. Also on the property is Nathaniel Hawtorne’s birthplace and a nice gift shop where I just might have purchased some witch-themed novels and a very pretty pair of earrings.
Now I’m curious — do you enjoy visiting historical sites? If so, what kinds in particular? Have you ever visited a site where you really felt the history of the place? If so, where? And tell us about your favorite historic site.
Posted by Trish Milburn Jun 15 2011, 4:01 am in Trish Milburn, TV
By Trish Milburn
If you were standing in a field surrounded by all the shows on television, you could pretty much throw a rock in any direction and hit a reality show. They’ve boomed in popularity in recent years because they’re easier and cheaper to make than scripted television comedies or dramas. And I’ll admit I’m a fan of Survivor. It’s my mind candy. But, to me, there’s a difference between “reality” TV like The Real Housewives of Atlanta or Celebrity Apprentice and what I refer to as real reality TV, things like Deadliest Catch and Extreme Couponing.
While some “reality” TV is all about the manufactured drama, the drama on Deadliest Catch is all too real. Lives are at stake as the fleets of crab fishermen take to the Bering Sea in the most dangerous job in the world. There’s nothing manufactured about giant waves coming over the sides of the boats or engine failures that could lead to the disaster of the boat capsizing.
Extreme Couponing is a show I’ve gotten into lately. I don’t have the time or the dedication to go to the extremes these couponers do, but it has inspired me to coupon on a smaller level and save money I can use on other things. But I’m endlessly fascinated by how these couponers get hundreds of dollars of groceries and other products for next to nothing.
I decided to ask the other Banditas if they have any favorite real reality shows. Here’s what they had to say.
One show I like is Must Love Cats. It features a guy who fancies himself a minstrel and who…loves cats. He travels the country to highlight people involved in rescues, unusual kitty things, i.e. a woman in Dallas who invented “Kitty Wigs”. I kid you not, she fashioned different styled little wigs to put on cats and takes their pictures. Evidently, people have gone wild for it.
Another story involved a cat who woke up his owner and alerted him to their neighbor’s house being on fire. A woman who runs a sanctuary that holds 600 cats. Her motto is “They may not find a home, but they’ll have a life.”
It offers me reassurance that despite my propensity for buying my baby cats toys….I’m NOT at crazy cat lady level yet, LOL.
The other one is My Cat from Hell. This is interesting in that a cat behaviorist goes into psycho kitty households and tames the wild beasts…and their owners who are partly to blame. I discovered a slow blink of the eyes reassures your cat that you are not a threat. I tried it with Grayson the Monkey Cat who gave me a “what’s up with that look.” It’s also given me my new idea on how to train them off the counter. We’ll see.
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is the new one I started watching recently. Freaky deaky insights to Irish Travellers lifestyle. Kind of like Jersey Shore meets the Amish type of thing. TLC is a learning channel…but BOY…some of the things you learn!
I watch Border Wars on NatGeo. I started out watching it as research but then just got interested in the various problems Customs & Border Patrol staffers face. Some of the ways people hide things in vehicles are mind-blowing.
The dh likes American Pickers. I think he fantasizes that they will show up here, clean out our clutter, and finance the boy’s college education. No harm in dreaming.
I love What Not to Wear, the British version, with Trinny and Susannah. It’s not just a makeover show. They really dig into why a woman might let herself go or only dress in power suits at work, and it’s a very cathartic process for the women who go on there. I often find myself in tears (yes, I’m a watering pot!) when I see the struggles these women go through. Another favourite is The House of Tiny Tearaways, which is sort of like the Nanny only it’s a psychologist who brings three families to live in a house together for a week. All the families have difficult children, but it’s often the parents who need to sort out their own issues and it’s fascinating for a writer of romance to see the real emotional struggle there to make a relationship work. Plus, I pick up tips on dealing with my boys when they’re troublesome! Oh, and of course, The Antiques Roadshow. Every item has a story and that’s what I love about it, as well as seeing beautiful things my Regency characters might have owned.
I would have sworn up and down that I didn’t watch reality shows, until I realized that those shows I love on the Food Network are, um, yeah…reality shows. I love the competitions. Cupcake Wars, Iron Chef and Chopped are total faves. Mostly because they are 1-episode competitions and I don’t have to worry that I forget the shows exist when I fall into deadline and miss them for a month or so. But I have gotten sucked in to The Next Food Network Star and The Next Iron Chef.
I have a few…my favorite is One Born Every Minute, which is the Lifetime show based in Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus. They’ve posted 47 cameras all throughout the L&D unit and it’s what “really” happens. Cracks me up!
Then there is the cooking competitions, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, The Next Foodnetwork Star and Chopped! Uhm, Project Runway and The Next Design Star are pretty good.
And sadly when my insomnia starts in at 1 am, I have to confess I do like one Housewife show…NY. The rest drive me crazy, but I actually like Jill and hate Ramona. (Sigh, they do say confession is good for the soul!). But honestly, for me it’s like watching a train wreck. I can’t imagine agreeing to meet someone I can’t stand for lunch, let alone go on a trip with them! Seriously, people, just walk away and don’t have any further contact!
I’m not a big fan. I’d much rather watch a scripted show (and keep the writers employed). I do watch the auditions for American Idol – not so much the final shows, and I used to watch the auditions for So You Think You Can Dance. I often see parallels in the judges’ comments and the responses to the sort of things we see in the writing world. But like I said, I don’t really watch the shows when it comes down to ranking up public votes. My favorites never win…maybe because I never vote (grin).
My faves are Top Chef, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, and Project Runway. I love that they call out the best in people and challenge them to play full out. The drama comes in when people try to worm out of being responsible for their decisions or their performances. :> Grins. Or when they make the wrong decision and try something that’s a HUGE stretch and they don’t commit fully and so it fails. Or succeeds brilliantly because they DO stretch.
Okay, dear readers, are you a fan of any of the shows mentioned? Or are there other “real” reality shows you enjoy? Let us know which ones and why.
Posted by Trish Milburn May 15 2011, 4:01 am in Trish Milburn, TV
Earlier this week, I watched the series finale to Stargate Universe. And while it was a really good episode, I was upset afterward. Why, you ask? Because SyFy had canceled the show, but the cancellation came too late for the show’s writers to wrap up the story. It ended on a big cliffhanger! I want to know what happens to the crew of the Destiny, dang it! I hate when this happens, and I seem to have this talent for liking shows that end up in some sort of similar demise. So I thought today I’d talk about shows that I feel didn’t get the chance they deserved and were canceled too soon.
1. Firefly — This is my all-time favorite show. After all it combined two of my favorite genres (westerns and sci-fi), was created by Joss Whedon (who is awesome!), had that fantastic Whedon dialogue, and…what was the other thing? Oh, yeah, it starred Nathan Fillion. It lasted less than a season and I blame FOX for showing the episodes out of their intended order for part of the failure. Don’t even get me started on how much I loathe the powers that be for canceling this show. But fans did get the movie Serenity after the cancellation. And if there’s any doubt about how popular this show was with its fan base (known as Browncoats), you only have to go to Dragon*Con when any of the stars are there. I’ve waited in lines for 3 hours, lines that wrapped around the downtown Hyatt in Atlanta close to three times. The people in the back of the lines never got in because the number of people in line always exceeded the fire marshal’s limit for the huge ballroom. And the lines for photographs and autographs with these stars are always very, very long. (Hey, look, it’s me with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk!)
2. Jericho — This post-nuclear attack drama had so much more to explore. And it had Skeet Ulrich — I love Skeet Ulrich. It was canceled after one season, but a highly publicized fan campaign in which fans sent the network tons of nuts gave it a second chance. But the network canceled it again only 7 seasons into the second season.
3. Roswell — Three alien teens who landed at Roswell pass as human and fall for humans. My YA-loving heart loved this show. Katherine Heigl and Colin Hanks had two of their earliest roles on this show. It lasted three seasons, but I think it could have gone a couple more.
4. Veronica Mars — Another wonderful show with snappy dialogue, great characters, and the best father-daughter relationship on TV played by Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni. It was a modern day Nancy Drew mixed with the sass of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I loved the romance between Veronica and Logan.
5. Legend of the Seeker — This fantasy series based on the Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind was a lot of fun and welcome in a TV landscape that doesn’t have a lot of fantasy in it. I liked this show so much that I dressed as one of the main characters at Dragon*Con last year.
6. Moonlight — Vampire show starring the oh-so-easy-to-look-at Alex O’Loughlin. It was canceled after one season.
7. Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles — This was an interesting take on the Terminator stories starring Lena Headey, who is in Game of Thrones now. Sarah kicked ass. Cameron, the working-for-the-good-side Terminator kicked ass (and was played by Summer Glau, who also kicked ass in Serenity). In case you can’t tell, I like strong female characters who kick butt.
8. New Amsterdam — Only got 8 episodes before being canceled by FOX. It was about an immortal, 400-year-old NYPD officer who’d been in Manhattan as a Dutch soldier in 1642. Starred Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who is also in Game of Thrones.
9. Invasion — This alien invasion show only got one season, though it was conceived as having a five-season arc. So, guess what. Yes, viewers were left with lots of questions.
10. Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe — Atlantis got five seasons, but I still think it could have gone several more. And SGU got the plug pulled after two seasons even though it was getting better all the time. That’s the problem now — shows have to be a hit out of the gate with no room for a slow build, or they get the ax. I don’t think shows like The X-Files would be able to make it in today’s cut-throat TV world.
11. Men in Trees — Quirky show set in Alaska. I love stuff set in Alaska with quirky characters (hello, Northern Exposure, I’m talking to you too). I think they killed this one because they resolved the love interest too soon.
So do you agree with any of these? Or are there other shows which you think were canceled too soon? Did they leave you with burning questions? And just how annoyed were you when you found out they’d been canceled?