The Originals – S01E01 – Always and Forever

- If You See This Boat a Rockin’ Don’t Come a Knockin’ -

Elijah: Hi everyone! I’m Elijah Mikaelson, the most noble of all the vampires. I’m extraordinarily loyal, which only comes back to bit me in the ass always. For example, right now I’m laying in a coffin on a boat in the Mississippi, with a magic dagger in my chest.

Rebekah: And I’m Rebekah Mikaelson, and I really really really want babies. And to eat the guy who found my brother.

Klaus: Speaking of brothers, I’m Klaus Bastardson, and I’m sinfully delicious! Super Original Werepire extra eating powers activate!

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Vampire Diaries – S05E01 – I Know What You Did Last Summer

Once again the Dark Times came, and joy fled the land like a Bulgarian princess fleeing the wrath of a Jewish Viking angered that her suicide prevented him from murdering her himself.

Not that joy was a constant, nor even common, companion in the enchanted Falls. No, this was a land where a single year stretched out across four seasons, and the bonds of love and loyalty stretched to the breaking point and beyond. A place where motives were murky, sympathy was a switch, and evil enticing.

Once again a villain rose to challenge our heroes, and once again the Teachers spun a tale of bravery and cowardice, of heroism and treachery, of life and death and all states in between.

And that was just Katherine.

The battle raged as fierce as the howling winds. Champions fell and villains were vanquished as the war rocked the ever-dwindling community. The price paid was steep. Immortals fell from grace. Hunters bowed their knee. Progenitors fled to New Orleans. Sorcerers succumbed to the siren song of death. And a lover spurned learned that his unrequited was not the only creature entangled with a soul from the past…

Darkness closed in and air grew scarce, until finally, there was nothing.

But once again the Teachers spake, bidding us to heed the lessons of the past, reminding us of what happened…

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries

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Love You To Death – Season Four

The entire Love You To Death series stands as an entertaining, exhaustive bible of the character arcs, plot lines, mythology, and the behind-the-scenes happenings of a TV series made by people who are crazy in love with their work.

-Julie Plec, Executive Producer of The Vampire Diaries, destroyer of joy, and frequent target of internet rage

Love You To Death Season 4

I know what you’re saying. “Thomas? Shouldn’t you be using this valuable blog space to pimp out your own books?”

Well, yes, probably. And don’t worry, I’ll get back to that soon enough. But I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to the latest book in the Love You To Death series, written by two friends* of mine, Crissy Calhoun (@crissycalhoun) and Heather Vee (@dieslaughing). In addition to tolerating my presence, Crissy originated the LYTD series, and Heather is the co-owner of Vampire-Diaries.net, the number one TVD fan site in the world.

Julie wasn’t kidding when she said these books were exhaustive. Not only does LYTD4 recap each and every episode of TVD season four, it also includes insights from the cast and crew (director Pascal Verschooris became my favorite person ever when he said “it was a lot of fun to bring candy canes to the screen, but more so (and this is gonna sound creepy), it was really cool to kill the mayor with Christmas in the background”), facts and trivia, a running commentary on The Rules (compulsion, the sire bond, et cetera), continuity, and a discussion of the points that weren’t quite clear. If you like my post mortems, you’ll be wild about Love You To Death.

Confession: I originally wrote “you’ll love Love You To Death.” I’m paid to write, people. Jesus.

LYTD is available from ECW Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Get your copy today, before Jeff Bezos destroys books forever!

*Friends here defined as they wouldn’t run me over if they saw me walking down the road. Probably.

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The Great Batfleck Controversy of 2013

Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman, and the internet has exploded.

Affleck is a great actor, and an even better film maker.

That’s kind of a funny statement to make, because a lot of people still seem to think of him as “that guy from Gigli,” or maybe “that guy who got into Jennifer Garner’s pants by playing Dardevil.” And to be honest, a lot of his roles are pretty forgettable. Affleck doesn’t really have an iconic character to his name.

But he was fantastic in The Town and Argo, and the man has two fucking Oscars, for Good Will Hunting and Argo. The man has chops.

But he’s not scary.

Christian Bale, weird bat-voice aside, is a fucking maniac. You can honestly believe that he’d throw himself into a Chinese prison for half a decade just to see what it’s like. When you watch him, you get the sense that he might just break ever bone in your body, just because. Bale had a menacing presence, and when you’re playing the scariest man in the world, that’s important.

Affleck is a great actor, but he’s not intimidating, and that’s why I don’t think he’s going to be a great Batman.

Of course, everybody said the same thing about Michael Keaton, and I still think he’s the best Batman of all time …

Oh, and by the way: Buzzfeed totally picked up on my #batfleck rage last night.

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The best way to celebrate a finished manuscript

Last Wednesday, I finished my first screenplay.

It’s an adaptation of an unreleased, forthcoming novel called The Janus Project. My co-writer is really excited about the project, and our agent thinks that the script will have a lot of appeal to the CW demographic, which is exactly what I was aiming for. The treatment is already sitting at Madhouse Entertainment and Bad Robot, and we’ve got plans to submit it to a handful of other carefully chosen producers.

This is fantastically exciting. Everyone who’s looked at the project loves the idea, and I think we have a real shot at telling a fun, exciting story. And come on, who doesn’t dream about making it in Hollywood?

So how did I celebrate? What did I do on Thursday?

I started working on the next story.

I could take a break. I could congratulate myself. I could set all of my hopes on this one script. But fuck that. Maybe, despite the positive feedback we’ve gotten, no one will bite. Maybe, even if it does get picked up, the movie will flop. That would be disappointing, but it wouldn’t be the end.

Because as excited as I am about this project, I realize that it isn’t a special little snowflake. It isn’t an event. It’s just one more story that I’ve told, one more work that I’ve finished. There are more stories, more works, and the only way that they’re going to get from my head to your eyeballs is if I do the work and write the words.

And even if it is a hit, I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder. I didn’t stop writing after Sire. I didn’t stop writing after Debutante. I didn’t stop writing after Scion. I won’t stop writing after The Godless Saint.

And I’m not going to stop writing now.

I’m a writer, and writers write.

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Privilege

I have a lot on my mind.

Some of the worries are big. Some of them are very small. I’m trying to sell my house. I’m worried about the economy, and the Congress’ near-constant efforts to destroy it. I’m worried about teaching my dog not to eat our shoes. I’m worried about the outline for my next novel. I’m getting old enough that I’m starting to worry about my health, about taking care of myself.

But there are a lot of things I don’t have to worry about.

Even though the economy is crap right now, I have a very good job and earn a very good salary. And if this job went away? I have skills that are very employable. For people like me, people who went to college and work in a professional field, the Great Recession and the crushing unemployment rate aren’t really a thing.

Even though I can’t pull all-nighters and live on pizza and Mt. Dew anymore, I have good health insurance and a good doctor, and those two things have kept me in good health. I don’t worry about getting sick and not being able to afford getting well. I don’t worry about getting sick and being told that getting well is actually against the law.

There’s been some crime in my area recently. Drug busts, a murder not far away. But I don’t worry about someone breaking into my house and killing me. I don’t worry about the police breaking into my house and killing me. I don’t worry about being followed down a dark street and killed because of my choice in clothing.

I have a lot of worries, but there are a lot of things I will never, ever have to worry about, simply because of who and what I am.

I’m a straight, white, college educated male, and I can tell you from experience that it is fucking awesome. There are more job prospects, and those jobs are better paying. For the most part, no one is trying to legislate my health choices. No one is trying to pass laws that make it harder for me to vote. I’m not going to be shot dead because I go for my cell phone.

But there are entire classes of people for whom this is not true.

If you didn’t get to go to college, it’s far more likely that you’re out of work right now. And if you did go to college, and you had the bad luck of being born ten years or so later than me? Well, good luck with your debt and your non-paying internship.

If you’re a woman, there is a religious crusade to legislate what happens in and to your reproductive organs. Old, angry, white men, apparently, have to step in and make women’s medical choices for them, and need to correct the medical advice given by doctors. And if you dare try to exercise your constitutional rights? Well, they may have to let you, but they’re going to rape you, first … and the law will back them up, because they wrote it.

And if you’re a young black man? Well, in Florida at least, it’s now legal for an armed man to pursue you and, if you resist, for him to kill you. But if you’re a black woman who tries to use that same law? You get twenty years in jail.

Gay marriage has gotten a lot of good press lately, and the US Supreme Court has recently made some incredible strides toward marriage equality, but the fact remains that in thirty-seven of our fifty states, you cannot marry the person you love if they’re the wrong gender. You can’t be carried by their health insurance. You don’t benefit from inheritance laws. It’s possible that you won’t be allowed to be by their side when they die.

I have a lot of worries, but being a straight, white, college educated man is still fucking awesome.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” That is the founding sentiment of this nation, that is the goal we’re striving for, but we are still learning, discovering, exactly what that means.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote those words, “all men” were white, male, land owners. Over time, we looked inside of ourselves and realized that it isn’t fair to deny a man his rights because he rents an apartment. We realized that maybe having a penis isn’t a prerequisite for participation in government. We woke up to the fact that melanin isn’t a good metric by which to judge a person’s worth.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote those words, it was acceptable for one human being to own another. We believed that all men were created equal, but we didn’t know what that meant, not exactly.

We still don’t. There are still systematic, fundamental forces that make being anything other than a straight, white, college-educated male harder. Sometimes, a lot harder.

That’s what privilege is. It isn’t about being part of a secret club where we all light cigars with hundred dollar bills and plot to screw over black people. It isn’t about knowing a secret handshake that gets you a job even though a single mother was better qualified. It isn’t about you, or me, at all. It’s about all of the things we don’t have to deal with. All of the things that keep other people up at night.

So maybe, just maybe, we should have a little empathy for the people who don’t have the same privileges we do. And maybe, just maybe, we should think about how we can make them a little more equal.

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A Quick Intro to Markdown Writer

Markdown Writer is an application I threw together because 1. I love Scrivener and 2. I hate configuring Scrivener’s export options. This post isn’t going to be anything resembling an exhaustive documentation of features; instead, it’ll be just enough to get you up and running.

Step One: Install Pandoc

Markdown Writer uses Pandoc on the back end to convert from it’s native format to ePub (and other formats). You can grab Pandoc for Mac, Windows, and Linux here.

Step Two: Download Markdown Writer

You can grab the Mac version of Markdown Writer here, and the Windows/Linux version here. Just unzip and put in in your Applications or Program Files directory.

Step Three: Point Markdown Writer at Pandoc

Open Markdown Writer, and in the toolbar, click Help > Preferences. A dialog will pop open, where you can tell Markdown Writer where you installed Pandoc. On Mac, this is probably /usr/local/bin/pandoc. You can also use this screen to point to KindleGen, if you want support for creating .Mobi files.

Step Four: Create your masterpiece

Markdown Writer’s composition features are similar to Scrivener’s, or at least the subset of Scrivener features I ever used. You can create folders and documents, move things around, rename them, and add metadata. To create an ePub (or other export format), go to File > Export and choose your options.

Markdown Writer supports Markdown as it’s native format, which is documented in Help > Show Help. Hint: if you’re just creating HTML, ePub, or Mobi, you can also code directly in HTML without losing anything.

Markdown Writer is just some software I threw together for my own use. It works for what I do, but I offer no guarantees of usefulness, extend no warrant, et cetera et cetera. Use at your own risk. Back everything up, regularly. This is always a good idea, but especially when you’re using beta software.

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Morganville Vampires – The Series

Welcome to Morganville, Texas.

Just don’t stay out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero.

When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

The Morganville Vampires, a bestselling series written by Rachel Caine, are pretty much my favorite YA vampire novels. The story focuses on Claire Danvers, a smart, tough freshman in college who just happens to live in a town controlled by vampires.

Claire is the perfect answer to the Hollow Shell Mary Sue protagonist you’ll find in a lot of today’s YA, and the supporting cast is just as wonderful. You have Michael, the hot, barefoot musician who never seems to be around during the day–but you won’t guess why–Shane, the rebel with a heart of gold, and Eve, a gothed-out princess who drives a hearse and packs a stake.

On the vampire side of things, you meet Amelia, founder of Morganville and the oldest vampire in the world … at least, as far as anyone knows. In her employ is Myrnin, the resident mad scientist / alchemist / vampire in bunny slippers. Contending for Amelia’s throne is … but that would be telling.

The Morganville books are great, quick reads, and at fifteen entries so far, there is a ton of material for a live-action adaptation.

Enter kickstarter.

Rachael Caine and Pen Ultimate Productions has launched a campaign to create a high-quality web series based on the Morganville books. How high are they aiming? They’ve got Amber Benson, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, attached to play Amelia.

There are four days left in the campaign, and an ~*~anonymous benefactor ~*~ has stepped up and offered to match the next $15,000 in donations. The campaign is this close to being funded, and the world is close to having another fantastic vampire show to devour. If this is your kind of thing, head on over to kickstarter and make your pledge today.

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Today in the Gym

My dog is psychic.

That’s the only explanation I can think of, because no matter what time I set my alarm clock for, he always wakes me up fifteen minutes early. Today was one of my heavy days in the gym, and if I wanted to get to work at anything resembling a reasonable hour, I had to get up at 5:30am.

My dog started licking my hand at 5:15. It’s uncanny.

Today was a mix of lower-rep, higher weight work followed by higher-rep, lower weight work, and as usual, it was a full-body session.

1. Deadlift – 235- 3×5
2. Squat – 115- 8×8
3a. Bench – 235- 3×5
3b. Chinup – BW – 3×5
5. Overhead press – 65 – 8×8
6. Motorcycle row – 120 – 8×8
7a. Dragon flags – 8×8
7b. Hyperextensions – 8×8

On Saturday I’ll repeat this workout, but the heavy and light exercises will be reversed.

My dog will probably wake me up at a quarter to seven.

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Get Scion (or Sire) for free

Update II

Thanks again, everyone. The giveaway is now closed. I look forward to hearing what you all think about Scion!

-thomas

Update

Thanks, everyone. Response was fantastic, and all 50 copies are gone. But, since I love you all so much, I’m extending the offer until midnight Eastern time.

-thomas



My debut novel, Sire, is currently enjoying thirty 4- and 5- star reviews on Amazon. The feedback has been wonderful, and I’m truly thankful for everyone who’s left a review and sent me a note to let me know that they enjoyed the first Vampires o St. Troy novel.

The sequel, Scion, premiered a few days ago, and I need your hep to spread the word. The single best way to promote a book is for someone who read it and loved it to tell everybody else, so I’m making it super easy for you to give Scion a try.

The first 50 people who send me an email will get Scion for free. All you have to do is promise to leave a review on Amazon once you’ve finished reading it. And if you haven’t read the first book? Let me know, and I’ll send you Sire for free, too.

Just promise to leave a review on Amazon, let me know what format you want (ePub, Kindle, or PDF), and I’ll send you Scion for free. When I did this for Sire last year, the free copies went fast, so don’t wait. Get your copy now.

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