Friday FabOoolousness – New York Times bestselling author, James Rollins

On Saturday, May 7th, I was sitting around (eh-hem, I mean doing research) watching television, when I decided to give a shout out to a fellow Twitter-mate that Kristen Lamb had recently introduced me to.  Imagine my surprise when he responded that he was at the Pirates premiere in California and would tweet more after the movie.

Questions started circling in my head: Pirates premiere?  In California?  The Pirates of the Caribbean premiere?  Pirates, as in Captain Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp? 

The answer to all of those questions was – YES!

New York Times bestselling author James Rollins

Who in the world had Kristen just introduced me too?  Don’t get me wrong, I knew the name James Rollins, but was @jamesrollins the James Rollins?  The James Rollins New York Times bestselling author??

Did I think that I had been chatting with a NYT bestselling author the past few weeks?  No, I didn’t.  Had I actually been chatting to a NYT bestselling author on Twitter?  Yes, I had! 

For those who may not know, James Rollins is indeed a New York Times bestselling author.  He’s written over sixteen books as James Rollins, and seven under the pen name James Clemons.  His works span several genres including action-adventure, thriller, suspense, mystery, and fantasy.  For all you Indiana Jones fans, James wrote the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. 

We could celebrate James for any of his many accomplishments.  For one, he’s a licensed veterinarian.  We could also celebrate James for any one of his literary series, like his Jake Ransom series for children and adults; his many individual works such as Subterranean or Ice Hunt; his short stories, including his most recent release: The Skeleton Key; his The Banned and the Banished series; but, today we’re celebrating James for his SIGMA Force series

James Rollins' SIGMA Force Series

The first novel in the SIGMA series, Sandstorm, was released in June, 2004.  The SIGMA Force is a fictional division inside the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and consists of highly trained and skilled operatives as well as expert scientists whose primary focus is fighting terrorism and protecting sensitive and confidential information. 

The SIGMA series also includes Map of Bones (May, 2005), Black Order (June, 2006), The Judas Strain (July, 2007), The Last Oracle (June, 2008), and The Doomsday Key (June, 2009).

Guess what?  It’s June, 2011.  Do you know what that means?  It’s time for a new SIGMA Force novel! 

The Devil Colony, book number seven in the SIGMA series, releases this Tuesday, June 21st

Join us, Tuesday, at the world premier launch party of The Devil Colony!  Find us gathering for twenty-four hours on Twitter in the hashtag #DevilColony.  This gathering may be online, but make no mistake – this will be a HUGE cyber-party. 

What’s the party’s theme?  You guessed it – Devil

Dress up for a costume party, or dress up for a fancy New York or Los Angeles book release party.  Wear devil costumes, eat deviled eggs or deviled ham, and take pictures!  Not in the costume mood?  Put on that sexy cocktail dress and high heels or your Mad Men suit, and take pictures!  Post all of your pictures on twitter in the #DevilColony hashtag.  Why

James will stop by periodically to say “Hi” to all of his friends, family, and fans.  Why else? 

James will also select his favorite pictures from our cyber-party and post them on his site’s Wall of Fame.  Why else? 

The best pictures will win a big mystery prize

Camera shy?  That’s okay!  Join us anyway.  Tuesday’s #DevilColony hashtag will be the social event of the Twitter-verse.  Come, have fun and hang out! 

Do all the writers out there need added incentive?  This is James Rollins, the NYT bestselling author.  What if other agents, editors, and bestselling authors stop by?  Do you really want to miss that opportunity? 

All success aside, James Rollins is an everyday guy.  He’s funny, smart, compassionate (he’s a veterinarian for goodness sake), and most importantly, he’s my friend.  

In the meantime, stop by James’ website here and his bookshelf here!

Check out Jenny Hansen’s fun post about James here and read a fun interview with James by Kristen Lamb here

Have you read any of James’ books?  Will you join us Tuesday at our cyber-party?  Have you ever pinched yourself when you realized you were talking to one of your favorite authors via social media?   Leave a comment and share; I’d love to hear from you! 

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Just Teen TV?

About a month ago, Amber West approached me and suggested we join forces to share more of our love of television with our friends and family.

More TV?  You don’t have to ask me twice!

So, after a few weeks of preparation, we’d like to welcome everyone to our first installment of Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Each week, we’ll each take one television show and provide a mini-review with our readership.  Sometimes we’ll compare and contrast, other times we’ll write separate posts covering two different shows – like today. 

We’ve also created a fun ratings chart for each post – can anyone tell what was on our mind when we hashed out these details?  My other favorite thing: FOOD!

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more

MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies

JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds

SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out

LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

And now, to the main event: Teen Wolf, MTV

On an earlier Tele-Tuesday post, I introduced MTV’s new series: Teen Wolf.  We all remember the 1985 comedy starring Michael J. Fox, right?  MTV promised to take the generalized idea behind Teen Wolf, but compared their story to a transformed version with a darker side, similar to the CW’s The Vampire Diaries.

First, a few similarities:

MTV's Teen Wolf - Scott McCall

In 1985, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard; today, Tyler Posey plays Scott McCall.

In 1985, Scott Howard’s best friend was an oddball named Stiles; today, Scott McCall’s best friend is an awkward oddball named Stiles.

In 1985, Scott Howard wasn’t the best basketball player on the team, not until he transformed into his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall isn’t anywhere close to the best lacrosse player on the squad, until he endures the cursed bite, that is.

Now, to a few differences:

1985's Teen Wolf - Scott Howard

In 1985, Scott Howard suffered from a family curse, a long line of male werewolves that sometimes skipped a generation; today, Scott McCall is bitten by a werewolf while out in the woods searching for the remains of a dead girl with his best friend. 

In 1985, Scott Howard show-boats around as his wolf-self; today, Scott McCall works desperately to keep his curse secret from everyone, excluding his BFF, Stiles.

In 1985, audiences laughed along with Scott Howard in Teen Wolf; today, viewers and Scott McCall cringe as another person in the community is brutally attacked by an animal.

I’ll be honest; MTV’s Teen Wolf has pleasantly surprised me.  The show’s claim to focus on the mythology of the werewolf, and the darkness of the curse, has been an accurate, so far. 

Episode three (aired Monday, June 13th) introduced the idea of the alpha and beta wolf.  Scott McCall and Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven) are beta wolves; an alpha is the strongest, most powerful, and the most deadly kind of werewolf.  An Alpha bit Scott, and wants Scott to join the Alpha’s pack.  The conflict here?  This Alpha is obviously a nasty and horrible werewolf, and Scott wants nothing to do with this violent lifestyle.  Will Derek help him?  Or is Derek setting Scott up?

We also saw our first werewolf on werewolf fight scene in episode three.  While it wasn’t as exciting as a Salvatore brother fight (Yes, I’m talking about Stefan and Damon, ladies!), it was a nice twist away from the typical nerdy high school boy who wants to lead a normal life and date the beautiful new girl (Allison Argent played by Crystal Reed) storyline that’s also a large element to MTV’s Teen Wolf

Need more conflict? Did I mention that Scott’s dream girl’s father is the lead hunter out to kill the werewolves in the area?  And let’s not forget that Scott’s humiliation of “top-jock” Jackson Whittemore (played by Colton Haynes from The Gates) on the lacrosse field now drives Jackson to discover exactly what Scott is hiding. 

After three weeks of viewing, I give MTV’s Teen Wolf a MacTV rating; it’s definitely a guilty pleasure.  It’s not perfect, but it satisfies. 

What do you think?  Do you prefer the 1985 comedy or the newer, darker version of Teen Wolf?  Is Derek a good wolf, or is he setting Scott up?  Will Allison follow in her father’s footsteps and train to hunt werewolves?  How will Allison react when she learns Scott’s secret?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now, remember to click over and read Amber’s post discussing the new series Switched at Birth on ABC Family. 

Are you on twitter?  Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about today’s posts and any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series in the future.

Tele-Tuesday: “Real” Summer Fun

The networks produce tons of reality television for basic cable over the summer months.  Let’s be honest – the networks produce tons of reality television every month for all of the networks – period.  One can find reality shows on almost any network at any time, including A&E and The History Channel.

While there is more than enough out there for everyone to choose from, June and July bring back two of our favorite reality shows – Hell’s Kitchen and Big Brother.

 

First up, Hell’s Kitchen

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey hosts one of the best cooking shows on television, and definitely the most-fun.  Along with his British accent, his multiple Michelin stars (one of the top hotel and restaurant annual guides), his multiple renowned restaurants, and six television programs, Chef Ramsey might just as well be known for his stellar vocabulary.  He drops the “F” bomb a lot, and the television sensors bleep him quite a bit.  “You, Donkey,” happens to be one of our favorite Ramsay-isms.

Lewd language aside, Chef Ramsey shares his knowledge of cooking and invites twelve chefs (some aspiring chefs, some sous-chefs, and some executive chefs) to compete for an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win a high paying position at a top restaurant in popular cities such as Vegas, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and Whistler, British Columbia.

Each season promises drama as the cast members’ personalities inevitably clash.  But most importantly, and ironically, each season the cast members appear to cook the same dishes incorrectly over and over again driving Chef Ramsey absolutely bonkers.  Such dishes include scallops, risotto, and beef wellington.

One by one, the competing chefs’ jackets are burned, leaving only two to battle it out for the prize.  The final two select previously eliminated teammates to work alongside them in the final competition of the season, and there’s nothing quite like watching the two struggle with this decision, knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and tempers of their cohorts.  These two finalists build their own menus and sometimes even design their half of the dining room giving Chef Ramsey a full view of their potential as Executive Chefs.

Chef Gordon Ramsey and season 3 winner Rock Harper

Former winners of Hell’s Kitchen include: Michael Wray (Season 1), Heather West (Season 2), Rahman “Rock” Harper (Season 3), Christina Machamer (Season 4), Danny Veltri (Season 5), Dave Levey (Season 6), Holli Ugalde (Season 7), and Nona Sivley (Season 8).

If you love food, love to cook, or love to laugh, I highly suggest giving Hell’s Kitchen a try.  I have added dining at a Ramsey restaurant to my bucket list.  Do you know what I’ll order?  Scallops, risotto, and beef wellington!

Hell’s Kitchen premiers Tuesday, July 19th on FOX.

 

Next, we have Big Brother

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Big Brother’?  “Big Brother is watching you,” right?  Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell still lives strong today.  Only today, many people immediately think of CBS’s hit reality show, Big Brother, not the classic literary work.

Each season, approximately thirteen houseguests arrive for their summer of seclusion cut off from the outside world completely – no television, no telephone, no radios, no newspapers, no computers – no contact.  They compete against each other in food and luxury competitions, as well as the ever-powerful Head of Household (H.O.H.) and the Power of Veto competitions in the hopes of winning the $500,000 cash prize.

Alliances inevitably form, and usually only the strongest survive the game.  On the other hand, forming and publicly acknowledging an alliance will most often times ensure the members of said alliance have the largest targets on his/her backs.  Two of the most successful alliances in the history of Big Brother formed the previous two seasons – Season 11’s Jeff Schroeder and winner Jordan Lloyd, and season 12’s ‘The Brigade’ consisting of winner Hayden Moss, and his three buddies: Enzo Palumbo, Lane Elenburg, and Matt Hoffman.

Video cameras capture the houseguests’ every move.  In addition to CBS’s airing three episodes a week, live 24/7 feeds are available online, and Showtime airs Big Brother: After Dark every night from midnight to 3am (EST).

America watches and votes on special circumstances to make the houseguests’ lives even more difficult. For example, the losing members of the food competitions are forced to eat “Big Brother Slop” for seven days.  The slop has been compared to oatmeal in texture, but lacks all taste.  America votes each week and allows the losing houseguests the opportunity to eat other selected food items such as bok choy and baby food.

America has also voted some of the biggest twists into the game – The Power of Coup D’Etat (season 11 awarded to Jeff Schroeder), re-entry into the house (season 6 awarded to Kaysar Ridha), and the Saboteur (season 12 awarded to Ragan Fox).   But don’t worry; Big Brother doesn’t always need America’s help to thrust the houseguests into a deep paranoia.  In Season 11, Big Brother introduced Pandora’s Box.  Each time the houseguest of choice decides to open the box, the remaining houseguests endure a good consequence and a bad consequence.  They never know what might happen until it’s too late and the decision has been made.

Big Brother host – Julie Chen

CBS and Julie Chen host some of the most fun summer television programming has to offer.  If you love watching men & women battle it out physically, go insane and breakdown, and engage in some of the most strategic game-play on television today, check out Season 13!

Big Brother premiers Thursday, July 7th on CBS.

 

Are you a fan of Hell’s Kitchen or Big Brother?  Who’s your favorite winner from Hell’s Kitchen?  Who’s your favorite houseguest from Big Brother?  How about your least favorite and why? Which reality television shows do you enjoy?  If given the opportunity, would you audition for reality television?  I’d love to hear from you!

Special Announcement – Tomorrow, Amber West and I launch our new blog series, Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Come back and check out our first editionsSwitched at Birth (ABC Family) and Teen Wolf (MTV).  Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series.

Friday FabOoolousness – Kristen Lamb

When I lost my job in 2010, I decided there would not be a better time to embark on my next journey.  I immediately started my first manuscript, a story I’ve dreamed of telling since college.  The writing came naturally, but then I started to ask myself – what’s next? 

In November, I registered to attend DFWcon, and hoped to answer just that.  My friends had always laughed at my refusal to set up a Facebook account, and one friend harped on me for years that I needed to blog.  So, I faced my fears, and walked into a Branding and Social Media Introduction class led by Kristen Lamb.

Kristen Lamb

At the conference, I heard over and over again that social media leads the way, and helps aspiring authors build their community & platform.  If people like you, they’re more inclined to buy your novel.  Isn’t that what all writers want?    

So I bit — I took a big bite for me — I enrolled in Kristen Lamb’s online workshop.  For thirty days, she provided her FabOoolous insight and held my hand as I took baby steps into social media.  And I mean baby steps.  I think they may have coined the saying, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question,” for me; to make me feel better.  At the end of the first month, I started panicking.  I wasn’t ready to go out on my own!  Kristen proved herself even more FabOoolous when she extended the workshop for another thirty days.  Whew!  That was music to my ears! 

Now, thirty-six days in, I have tweeted, blogged, and Facebooked.   I have officially joined the 21st century.

Kristen Lamb knows what she’s talking about.

Facebook is one thing; I found most of my old elementary, high school, and college friends, and have built my community around them.  And you know what?  I should have joined years ago.  I’m having a blast catching up with everyone! 

But Twitter?  Day one, I had two followers.  Two weeks later, I am just shy of 200!  I have met hundreds of writers who are just like me.  What a relief, I am not alone!  I love reading their posts, and have found so many useful tips by simply following the writing community on Twitter. 

And the blog – I was probably the most nervous about blogging.  I’m not an expert in anything, so what do I blog about?  Kristen recommended that I reach out to friends and family and build a list of 100 words that described me:  my very own spaghetti sauce ingredients.  What a fun exercise!  The word that most of my dearest replied with was opinionated.  I have to laugh, there’s no surprise there!  With my list, I built my platform. 

My Platform = My Opinion

Week one, I had over 470 visits to my blog.  To me, that is amazing!  And now, I’m blogging two posts a week:

 Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday – where I give my opinion based on my addiction to television

Friday FabOoolousness – where I give my opinion based on all other things fabOoolous (authors, books, movies, sports, etc.)

I didn’t know Kristen Lamb in February, but today I have the honor of saying I do. 

Kristen, you are absOoolutely FabOoolous! 

Kristen, you are my social media guru!

I highly recommend everyone check out Kristen’s FabOoolous blog, her FabOoolous website, & buy a copy of her FabOoolous bestselling book, We Are Not Alone – The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.  

Who is your guru?  Who has helped you achieve a goal?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Check back next Friday for a FabOoolous Scream edition!

My First Post

For as long as I can remember, I’ve nearly centered my social life around the nightly television schedule.  As a small girl, I vividly remember rushing home from Friday night high school football games to watch Miami Vice.  Not the normal play-date for an eight-year old.    In high school, I looked forward to Thursday night when my parents were out and I had the TV to myself.  To this day, Thursday is still my favorite day of the week because of the television lineup in the 90s.  Plus, Thursday means only one more day until the weekend.  In college, I made my friends wait until the series finale of 90210 wrapped before I’d join them at our favorite bar, and then asked them to wait longer so I could repaint my face from all the crying.  I have the best girl friends a woman could ask for – love you, you know who you are. 

The past decade, I worked in a very crazy environment serving as a multi-business owner’s Executive Assistant.  He was always out of the office leaving me behind to handle all the b-s.  Don’t get me wrong, I adored working for him but I wasn’t really a fan of all my co-workers.  Come six o’clock, I used television as my outlet to relieve my stress.  Maybe it’s not the healthiest habit but definitely enjoyable.

Today, I stay home and write fiction not leaving much time for my beloved pastime.  My minor case of OCD (well, I say minor but my friends and family insist I have more of a problem than I recognize) nags at me because I have over 130 recordings on my DVR, but I’m battling those demons one day at a time.  For the first time in my life, I’ve found something I enjoy more that curling up on the couch with my blanket and remote control: writing. 

Last month, I attended DFWCon and I can honestly say it’s the best investment that I’ve made in a long time.  At the conference, I signed up for a Social Media Workshop led by the great Kristen Lamb.  Until then I didn’t Facebook, Tweet, or Blog.  I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with long-lost friends via FB and this week, I successfully launched my new twitter account: @Tiffany_A_White.  I’ve met some wonderful writers’ online suffering through the same struggles I battle daily and it helps to know that I’m not alone.    

I dedicate my inaugural blog to Kristen and my fellow classmates.  Thank you for the inspiration!

Kristen Lamb – http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

Damian Trasler – http://dtrasler.com/

Amy Shojai – http://amyshojai.com/

Danielle Meitiv – http://daniellemeitiv.com/

Pamela Mason – http://www.writermason.blogspot.com/

Jen Greyson – http://www.thesurvivalmama.com/

Shellie Sakai – http://shelliesakai.wordpress.com/

Jenny Hansen – http://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/

PJ Kaiser – http://pjkaiser.com/

Grace H. Lewis – http://sweetdreamsflyingmachines.wordpress.com/

Michele Blaker – http://micheleblaker.wordpress.com/

Tune in Tuesday for my first edition of Tiffany’s Tele-Tuesday!  Please feel free to leave comments.  I would love to hear from you!

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