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Reality TV

Survivor - Can’t beat a classic. There’s a reason it’s still going strong.

Face Off - A great competition show that features make-up and effects artists trying to break into film and television in their craft. I like watching the process, and I like that the contestants are supportive and help each other rather than getting into fights for no reason other than producers want them to happen.

Shark Tank - When I first saw this show, I immediately thought of my guys Grey and John from Grey’s Awakening and The Sweetest Tattoo respectively, who are both venture capitalists in the books. Seeing real life counterparts is fun.

RuPaul’s Drag Race - Love me some drag race. Some seasons are better than others, and it seems Ru’s decisions to eliminate queens is very subjective, but I still enjoy the small glimpse behind the scene of this world.

The Voice - Probably the only music competition I still watch. Even if you don’t have a favorite contestant to root for, the coaches are interesting and fun. Particularly in the beginning stages of the seasons.

King of the Nerds - Another show that celebrates nerds. It’s pretty low budget, but I still love Curtis and Robert as the hosts, and there’s usually always at least one person to root for, an underdog, who isn’t always the same person at the beginning of the season as at the end, so that’s fun too.

Comedy

The Big Bang Theory - Yep, all these seasons in, I still love Big Bang. There’s still something wonderful and heartwarming about celebrating nerds. I am one, so it’s nice to see a version of them on TV.

@midnight - I don’t know how to write comedy, but I love to laugh, and I do like the format Chris Hardwick has created with this show. The humor is often off color and tasteless, but sometimes that’s okay, and this is a case where it is. At least for me.

Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver - Boy, John Oliver took what he learned at The Daily Show and created a show of perfection that has its own slants and angles on the news. If you can sit through one of John’s rants about FIFA in particular without cheering and dying of laughter, then I don’t know how to help you. If you don’t get HBO, check some clips out on YouTube. You won’t be sorry.

The Middle - This is the only standard type sitcom format I know from my youth that I watch. I love the disorganized Heck family, and how they show their warts to the world, but always come together to back each other up, yet never in a sappy way.

Silicon Valley - Another celebration of nerds. Do you sense a theme here? LOL. This one with lots of blue language and an adult slant, but still surprisingly full of heart in its own cynical way.

Maron - For many years I’ve loved Marc Maron’s comedy and rants. He’s incredibly intelligent and yet his simultaneous insecurity, which is a real thing and not show created, is a fascinating thing. I was so happy when he got his own show, and even happier when it was really good.

Black-ish - I think my main love of this show is the mom, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, who is a truly underrated comedic actress. She has great chemistry with all her costars. And then to see a different side of Laurence Fishburne, when he pops in for his little one liners and ‘back in my day’ rants, is gold.


Drama

Game of Thrones - Come on. Do I even have to say anything? Brilliant. Can’t pick a favorite characters or storyline; I love them all so much. And goodness, such a visual feast for the eyes while all that drama is happening. Wonderful.

Orphan Black - A must watch just for the stunning multi-characters performance by Tatiana Maslany. Holy mama, she’s so amazing. One actress creating on the regular 4-5 clone characters, sometimes adding one offs that give additional work to Tatiana, each with their own distinct personalities and quirks and ticks, is something incredible to see. You have to stop every once in a while and remind yourself that this isn’t multiple actresses in these roles. It’s one person.

Hannibal - Ahh, Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelson. Each so handsome with insane depth in their own way. There is a lot of blood and gore; you have to be okay with that aspect of the storytelling, but if you can, it’s another beautifully shot show.

Bates Motel - A must watch for the off the charts chemistry between Vera Farmiga and Nestor Carbonell. My goodness. I love the slow burn between Norma and the sheriff, and I want it to drag out even longer before they succumb, but when it does it will be crazy good. Plus there’s the really interesting, twisted relationship between Norman and Norma that gives the back story of how Norman Bates became who he did in the movies. And you can’t overlook Max Thieriot and his expressive, beautiful eyes. Wow.

Broadchurch - A procedural mystery on BBC America. Of course I love David Tennant. He’s amazing as a detective on the hunt for a killer while being tormented by the killer who got away. But the revelation for me is the absolutely brave performance of Olivia Colman as his partner, who doesn’t know her life is about to explode. She’s not afraid to have a chip on her shoulder with David’s character or to not always look pretty, but instead sometimes very pulled down by life and it shows on her face. That fearlessness makes her portrayal all the more believable. If you like a show that takes a season to unravel a mystery and is sometimes slow moving in its exploration of characters and a small town, then this show is worth a watch.

Sleepy Hollow - I loved this show for most of the first season, almost gave up on it in the second, but it turned itself around, got a new showrunner, and now I’m super excited for S3. Love Abby and Crane together, and if John Cho can make another guest appearance, I’ll be one happy girl. Lots of supernatural baddies and having to save the world, some fun recreations of historical figures, and you have a good time for an hour a week.

The Walking Dead - Rick, Daryl, Carol, Michonne and co on the run from zombies and even worse groups of humans left living after the apocalypse. There are highs and lows with this show; sometimes I want to shake the TV when I’m watching, but that’s okay, because that means I care. No matter what, I’m along for the ride with this group, and I’m rooting for them to stay alive and find some kind of happy ending, even an unconventional one.

Once Upon a Time - Heroes and villains and saviors and fairy tale authors, oh my! Sometimes you want a show that has simple concepts of good and evil and is fun and has some couples to root for to get together, and Once Upon a Time is that show for me. Plus, I could listen and watch Hook for a whole episode all by himself, so I’m happy he has become such an integral part of the show.

12 Monkeys - Time travel and trying to save the world from a virus that is going to wipe out most of the world, and secret sinister organizations, and never being entirely sure what’s going on…that’s 12 Monkeys, and I love it.

Gotham - I have to admit I’m not a huge superhero person, so I didn’t know how I would feel about Gotham when I first heard it was going to be on the air, but I like a lot of the actors connected to the show so I decided to give it a shot. And I really like it so much. So much gleeful over the top scenery and storylines and even acting sometimes, and it’s all wonderful.

Penny Dreadful - Oh Penny Dreadful. Penny Dreadful, how I love thee. This is possibly my favorite show on TV right now. Such gorgeous lush scenery and costumes, and shot so beautifully, it’s like an amazing fifty-five minute postcard of history and the supernatural and classic literary characters brought to life. Yes. Give me more please.

 


A few books on my keeper shelf, in no particular order:

The Hired Man by Jan Irving - I fell in love with the men in this book from the first pages and the more I read the more my empathy and attraction to them grew. This is a wonderfully written, tender love story that also is smoldering with heat when needed. I wonít forget this story, and Iím sure Iíll read it again.

To Love a Dark Lord by Anne Stuart Ė She gives tortured heroes a whole new level of cynicism and darkness. This is the first book of hers I ever read and itís still my favorite. I love her.

Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath Ė I donít think Iíve ever read a more well written vulnerable hero who just absolutely breaks your heart from page one on. His name is Houston, and if you havenít met him yet, I implore you to run out and find him, pronto.

The Tin Star by J.L. Langley Ė Read it and just try not to fall in love with Jamie and Ethan. I dare you.

In My Wildest Dreams by Christina Dodd Ė Hot, hot sex scenes that also pack a great emotional punch. Just Great.

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie Ė This is the first book of Crusieís that Iíd ever read and when I finished it all I could think was, ďWow. I want to be just like her.Ē

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas --A must read purely for the hero of the story. I adore all of Lisa Kleypasís books, so this easily could have been Dreaming of You or Devil in Winter, too. Love the heroes in both of those equally well.

A Lady of the West by Linda Howard --There are some tough scenes in this book, but with three compelling, satisfying romances between the pages, this is a story I go back to again and again.

Bound by Deception and Bound to Him by Ava March - Regency set male/male novellas. I fell in love with Vincent and Oliver in the first book, and adored them even more in the second. I think there might be a third, and I canít wait for it.

Jacksonís Pride by Lynn Lorenz - Historical male/male. I love Jackson so much in this book. He is my kind of hero. So poignantly written. The second half is so powerful you wonít be able to stop reading.

The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson - One of my favorite male/male books ever. I read it in one sitting and there wasnít an off moment in the entire book, in my opinion. If you havenít read it, give it a try. You wonít be disappointed.

Bareback by Chris Owen - The emotion of this book is so subtle and well-written (I know nothing about subtle myself. LOL) that I was almost shocked to find myself tearing up at certain points in the second half of the book. You donít even realize that it grabs you until youíre choking back tears.

 


Also in no particular order. And just a side note, there isnít going to be anything brand new on this list. I havenít been to a theater in at least two years.

Secretary - What can I say? I love when James Spader plays a tortured hero in a movie, and he is wonderful in this one. Maggie Gyllenhaal is fantastic as well. This is so much more than a fetish movie. It is a beautiful, tender love story. If youíve stayed away because of the BDSM elements -- donít. Give it a try. You wonít regret it.

Zombieland - A zombie movie. Seriously? I know what youíre thinking. But this zombie movie is different. I promise. It is very clever. Woody Harrelson is a joy to watch (he gets you a little teary in a surprisingly sad moment too) and it has the hands-down best celebrity cameo of a famous person playing himself in Bill Murray. Thatís all Iím gonna say.

Different for Girls - Why do I love this movie? Itís right in the title, I guess. Itís different. Two boy school chums meet again many years later, only now one of the boys is a girl. Itís a story of them coming to terms with this change and the growing attraction and love between them. It tugs me in every time I watch it. Thereís some awesome punk music in it too.

All Over the Guy - I enjoy watching this movie for so many different reasons, the chief one being that itís just a great romantic comedy. Dan Bucatinsky and Richard Ruccolo have amazing chemistry, which makes their relationship very believable -- and hot! Plus, as a bonus for me, I love any time I get to spend with Adam Goldberg and his extremely dry delivery, and he has a supporting role in the film.

Shelter - A wonderfully quiet, lovely movie about two young men finding each other, discovering who they are and what theyíre made of, and falling in love. Kudos to the director for the brilliantly subtle way he filmed this movie. And bravo to the two leads for finding such great chemistry and playing so well off of each other.

Pay It Forward Ė For my money one of the most wonderfully romantic movies ever. Plus, Iíll watch anything with Kevin Spacey at least once.

Beautiful Thing Ė Small British movie about two teenage boys who fall in love. Itís not stylized or preachy in any way, just a nice story of new love.

Christmas Vacation Ė Mindless fun, but the saucer scene still makes me laugh every time I see it. Also, if I donít watch it at least once during the holiday season I feel as though thereís something important Iím forgetting to do.

Brokeback Mountain ĖThe only thing that would have made it better is a happy ending. Iím just sappy that way.

White Palace Ė For me, James Spader has never been better or more heart wrenching than in this film. Itís a really good little movie.

The Reader - I havenít read the book, but the movie was excellent. SPOILER ALERT! When he starts putting books on tape for Hannah and sends them to her while sheís in prison so that she can still hear these stories that she so loves, I have to say I thought that was one of the single most loving things Iíve ever seen in a movie or read in a book.

Just A Question of Love - A very sweet, wonderful little French film about two young men falling in love. Itís not sappy or manipulative, itís just a great movie where the young men actually get a happy ending.

Big Eden - I canít really explain why I love this movie so much. Maybe itís just the pure flat-out goodness of Pike, a quiet, soft-hearted man who is in love with Henry and just wants him to be happy. Or it might be the townsfolk who all love Pike and want him to be happy and try to help him get Henry. Itís a romantic comedy that happens to feature two men finding each other, rather than a man and woman.

 


I tend to skew old school where music is concerned.

I am a true kid of the eighties and early nineties, so give me anything from those old MTV days and Iím generally happy. It can be anything from Guns-n-Roses Appetite for Destruction, to U2ís The Joshua Tree. I will say that my favorite soundtrack of all time is Empire Records. It was a so-so movie, but the CD is exceptional. Strangely enough, when I write, I always have CMT or GAC playing very softly in the background. For some reason I find country music to be very soothing and it allows me to focus when I sit down at my computer to write. Go figure.

 


Other stuff I love:

Hockey Ė Something about it turns me on, in particular hockey goaltenders. I enjoy football and baseball as well, and I make it a point to keep up with my local Tampa Bay teams.

Ice-cold apple juice Ė We stop drinking it when we grow up and I donít really know why. Make it a point to try it again and just see if your taste buds donít thank you for it.

Giving a little bit of something every month to charity Ė It can be hard when times are lean, but it always makes me feel good when I write a check, even if on some months it can only be ten dollars. (Trust me, Iím not richÖyet. I have big plans though. Do you hear me Publishers Clearing House, Lotto, Deal or No DealÖ Somebody? ÖAnybody?) My most recent fave is the RED campaign, but I also love Habitat For Humanity, Americaís Second Harvest, Heifer Project International. If youíre not sure I donít think you can ever go wrong with Oprahís Angel Network. She covers a wide variety of bases with that organization, and I love that every single penny of your donation goes directly to the cause.

The Internet - I honestly donít know how I ever lived without it. Itís as simple as that.

Great friends who are always there for you Ė This is for my Gold Crown Gang. B, J, J, J, M, and C. Most of you will never see this, but thatís all right. It was important for me to acknowledge your friendship. Weíve managed to stay connected when others did not, and that makes us all pretty damn special.

 

Go to the 'Tell me about youí page and share some of your favorites. Iím always looking to discover something new. This page will be added to quarterly, so check back often!

  

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