Monthly Archives: February 2010

Still here…

It has just been a tad busy with the business and other blogs recently and so I have loads of draft posts on this blog, just waiting for me to finish them off…

However, I have set up a google group for THE Music Reviewer, which will enable you, the listener/reader to get a bit more from this blog, click on the link to get yourself in the ‘in-crowd’.

You can also get e-mails sent direct to your inbox, rather than go hunting around for this pesky blog, just by signing up on the left – now don’t say I never give you anything!

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Favourite Characters in TV Series: Volume One

Been chatting a lot with various people of late about characters and characterisation. Although the chats have been mainly in terms of literature, it got me thinking of my favourites in TV series I watch and why.

And so here is a list of characters from shows I am watching, or have recently watched, to give you an idea of who I like and why. I may well come back to this with the best characters ever at some point but for now here’s a few for you. I’ve put where I am in the series too, as that can have a bearing on favourites…

Spartacus: Blood & Sand (series one, episode five) – Batiatus (played by John Hannah)

There are actually quite a few characters I really like on this show but Batiatus comes out on top of the bunch for me. He’s quite a complex character, very loving and at times honourable but a real nasty piece of work too. I think one of the things nudging him to the top of the pile for me is that he is played by John Hannah, a cracking actor.

LOST (series six, episode four) – Juliet Burke (played by Elizabeth Mitchell)

John Locke was my favourite for so, so long and I was actually quite surprised when Juliet came on the scene and almost immediately became my favourite. Juliet has a real charisma in the show, backed by a really tragic reason for ending up on the island. She has a drive and a fire and she can be mean as hell when she wants. She’s also extremely caring and devoted – a sure fire winner for me!

Dollhouse (ended) – Dr. Claire Saunders (played by Amy Acker)

A very meh series this one, with lots of unlikeable characters. I warmed to Claire early on, as she seemed to have an interesting background, and so it proved to be, with her ending up being one of the most complex characters Whedon has ever done, much more so than the bland/insipid Echo.

Six Feet Under (series one, episode six) – Brenda Chenowith (played by Rachel Griffiths)

I know, I know, I’m five series behind buy hey, you can’t keep up with all of them can you? I’m enjoying the early episodes here and like a couple of the characters, Brenda being the pick of the bunch. I like her negativity but I also like how complex (and real) she is. Another classic film actor too, which shows that TV is getting a lot more solid.

Dexter (series four, episode twelve) – Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall)

I suppose this one is very obvious, although Deb Morgan is a very strong character too. One of the main reasons I watch this program, though, is the development of Dexter, and I’ll continue to watch as long as he is as compelling as he has been throughout.

Supernatural (series five, episode fourteen) – Castiel (played by Misha Collins)

I was all ready to write Dean down for this until I thought about it more and came to the conclusion that Castiel is actually my favourite. Even though it seems that he is actually more in the series for comic relief than as a really heavyweight character, there is still something interesting and engaging about him and I’m really curious to see what is to become of the lost angel.

Damages (series three, episode four) – Detective Victor Huntley (played by Tom Noonan)

I realised that I don’t actually like any of the main characters in this program, even though I really like the show, but another great actor, Tom Noonan (remember Manhunter?), stands out. He seems very mild-mannered when in the interview room but you get a real sense of who he is when he is chatting with his colleagues. One of the best bit parts in a TV series ever!

Fringe (series one, episode four) – Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv)

I do like my strong women (see Juliet) and Olivia is really standing out as a strong and likeable character in this show. I think the other members of the team are pretty cool too but Olivia stands out. Looking forward to seeing how this show develops.

Lie to Me (series one, episode thirteen) – Dr. Cal Lightman (played by Tim Roth)

Am a huge fan of Ria Torres (another hit for the strong women) but due to my adoration of Tim Roth and of the way he plays his character, another full of complexities, and flaws aplenty, I have to go for Cal. I thoroughly enjoyed the first series and realised that I was less concerned about the stories every week and very intrigued by Lightman and his relationship with young Torres.


The Phantom Queen Awakes now available!

Love, death and war…

The Morrigan goddess represented all three to the ancient Celts. Journey with our authors as they tell stories of love, war, hatred, revenge and mortality – each featuring the Morrigan in her many guises.

Re-visit the world of Deverry, and of Nevyn, with a previously unpublished tale by Katharine Kerr, watch the Norse gods meet their Celtic counterparts with Elaine Cunningham, meet a druid who dances for the dead with C.E. Murphy and follow the path of a Roman centurion with Anya Bast.

These are but a few offerings from the stories collection in The Phantom Queen Awakes. If you are searching for a rich blend of dark fantasy, then this is a collection perfect for you.

The Phantom Queen Awakes stories:

Rising Tide: Ruth Shelton
Kiss of the Morrigan: Anya Bast
I Guard Your Death: Lynne Lumsden Green
Gifts of the Morrigan: Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
Cairn Dancer: C. E. Murphy
Washerwoman: Jennifer Lawrence
The Raven’s Curse: Sharon Kae Reamer
Ravens: Mari Ness
The Lass from Far Away: Katharine Kerr
The Trinket: Peter Bell
The Dying Gaul: Michael Bailey
The Children of Badb Catha: James Lecky
The Plain of Pillars: L. J. Hayward
The Silver Branch: Linda Donahue
The Good and Faithful Servant: Martyn Taylor
The White Heifer of Fearchair: T. A. Moore
She Who is Becoming: Elaine Cunningham

UK, Australian and European release dates to follow.

US: $20 (Amazon.com)

US: $20 (PayPal)


Are your online friends really your friends?

Yesterday I read some rather horrible things written about me on the net, from someone I considered a friend. They were obviously angry with me (and some of that justified) and felt the need to vent on their blog.

Which is my little intro for something I’ve been thinking about for some time, and that is this new internet social network we have come to see as integral to our lives. And for most of us it is, I mean where else are writers, publishers, reviews, etc. all going to build up networks, find out about new markets, hear about new books, make new like-minded friends if not for the www?

But at times it comes with a price, as I’m sure we’ve all found out and surely nothing beats actually seeing these people and talking face to face, does it. I mean, does it?

Well funnily enough I have spoken to several people online who consider this a forum to be comfortable in, to be themselves, or at least who they would be if they weren’t socially uncomfortable and tended to freeze in pubic gatherings.

I am very much for meeting the people I work with, those that write for me, and those that I interact with on the net, to get a better sense of who they are, and to, quite simply, get to know them better.

Yet I know not all agree with me here and I accept that, for we are all different, all have our own comfort zones, and just as I feel much more comfortable chatting to people over a beer or a coffee, or even, failing that, Skype being the next best thing, I know some people would rather IM, tweet or blog.

My other reason for preferring the face-to-face contact is that I feel much more comfortable in future contact with the person, feeling that I have got a sense of who they are from our meeting and where our relationship/friendship lies. No matter how well I get on with somebody online, and there are a few reading this who I care deeply for, I always have that sense of dread that when I meet them, that our personalities are not going to match at all. I say this because it’s already happened and I say this because I am aware that not everybody is in person how they are online.

Even myself, I was shocked to find, when travelling to Australia, was told by a writer that they had even though they read my Live Journal, thought I was a bit of a dick (they may not have used those words but I do like to embellish!) yet meeting me in person thought I was quite nice really and even put the family up for one night on our five week journey through the country.

And very recently, on my last visit to England, one of the friends I met for the first time had been a little apprehensive, as even though he thought I was a nice guy, felt I was maybe a little ‘prickly’. He decided upon finally meeting me that I wasn’t prickly at all.

Here is where it’s tricky though, as I can definitely see myself as prickly and am a very reactive person, which not everyone takes to (for different reasons). However, I feel that I am this way when provoked, rather than when having a sit down chat with friends. Which is why I was similarly surprised when a friend round at ours the other week said I was a very calm person. Did she mean when I sit with friends and have a coffee and a chat (who isn’t then?).

Over the years online, first with IMs, Live Journal and Blogger, and later with Facebook, Twitter and Skype, I’ve met a lot of people and have tried to meet as many of those in person as I can, at cons, when visiting England, Australia (the US when I do next) and generally the people I meet match up to their online personas.

Meeting people like Amanda Pillar, Carole Johnstone, Lorna Johnstone, Mike Stone, Gary McMahon, Kaaron Warren, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, Deborah Biancotti, Andrew McKiernan, Ross Temple, Nicole Murphy, Donna Hanson, Paul Finch, Joseph D’Lacey, Ian Whates, Chaz Brenchley, Peter Ball, Sharon Kae Reamer, Allyson Bird and many others has been a joy, and has made me feel like I actually know them much more than if we had just shared the odd e-mail back and forth.

I am aware that I have some pretty damn good online friends too, who I have yet to meet but the hope is that I can change that soon and lay those fears to rest.

I’m not sure I had a point here but was just curious about how the rest of you see this world of online communication – is it the bright new future, or is it all a bit scary?


The next stage in the whole to pay or not to pay for our writing…

…is to be found in a rather amusing play, in three acts:

Why In Fact Publishing Will Not Go Away Anytime Soon


Stokers 2009

Just read the preliminary shortlist for the Stokers 2009 and am over the moon to see Grants Pass in there!

Here’s the list: Stoker preliminary ballot

Great to see Kaaron Warren’s Slights in the novel section too!