Blog Archive - June 2012

Media Monday: British Sitcoms

Hello all! Welcome to this week's Media Monday. Today I'm talking about some of my favorite British Sitcoms. (Please remember videos don't show up on Goodreads)

Now before I spent a decade or so living in the UK, the British sitcoms I had been exposed to were some of the older classics they used to play over here on BBC America or PBS. Namely Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, Are You Being Served, and Keeping Up Appearances.

I loved Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, and Absolutely Fabulous more than the others I admit, maybe because they were a little newer, I understood them a little better, though sometimes some of the cultural references went over my head, as well as some of the humor. It was only while I was living in the UK, completely submerged in the culture that I was able to truly appreciate these shows and their cleverness, not to mention completely understand the humor.

What I love about many British sitcoms is the sometimes gray world these characters live in, and I don't just mean in a lack-of-sunshine kind of way. There's a sweet sadness, and amazing cynicism to them. Unless you're watching something like the Might Boosh which has very little to do with reality, the characters in most British sitcoms are real people that you know--people you work with, your family, your friends, even you.

Martin Freeman as Tim, and Lucy Davis as Dawn in The Office.
Which is why sometimes you feel them even more, because these characters--despite the shows being comedies, aren't always winners. They fail, they do incredibly embarrassing things that make you cringe, sometimes they can't seem to catch a break. A few of them hate their lives, themselves, or the world around them. Sounds depressing, doesn't it? Through some amazing writing, and humor, the characters become endearing, and memorable.

Now I'm not saying I don't enjoy American sitcoms. I have plenty of favorites, but American sitcoms aren't written the same way--obviously. Anyway, I'm not going to get into the differences here, merely share some of my favorites. I won't get into the old British classics, because they're a whole other kettle of fish. Trying to dissect British sitcoms from the 70s is not an easy task (Carry On...?).

For me, some of the characters in many of these sitcoms are so memorable, that years later I remember who they are, their names, and the great things about them. Why is that impressive? Because if you ask me what I had for lunch yesterday, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I have a terrible memory, and have very little control over what remains inside and what drifts away, just ask anyone who knows me. So the fact that these characters stay with me, really means something to me. Now, onto the shows.

One of my ultimate favorites: Black Books 

Bernard Black is the owner of Black Books, a bookshop. Sort of. He's rude, cynical, a drunk, a slob, smokes like a chimney, and is completely amazing. You just want to hug him because you know how much he'd hate it. His relationship with Manny, his employee and (possibly only) friend--except for Fran, is hilarious. I love Bernard. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live with him, but I love him.

The IT Crowd - because who wouldn't want to watch a sitcom about two socially dysfunctional, comic book reading, Wii playing, adorable IT guys and their department head 'Relationship Manager' who knows nothing about IT?

In this clip, Jen has been rather unbearable since she won employee of the month, so to get even, Roy and Moss have 'helped' her with the presentation she's to give about what it is she does. So they've given her a black box which they tell her is THE internet. Things don't exactly go as planned...

That Mitchell & Webb Look

Ricky Gervais' Extras (a show about a film extra trying to make it big)

Other great Brit sitcoms to check out:
Peep Show from award winning David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I love these guys.Where as That Mitchell & Webb Look is a comedy sketch show, Peep Show is an actual series, and it's fantastic.

Armstrong & Miller: Terribly British and terribly funny. Love the chav RAF pilots.

Panel shows: QI hosted by the amazing Stephen Fry. Loads of fun.
8 out of 10 Cats hosted by the funny Jimmy Carr, and I love team leader Sean Lock.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks fantastic music quiz type game show with guests from the music industry, movies, and TV.

Classic comedy duo: French & Saunders. Their movie parodies were the best.

x Charlie x

Theme Thursday: Confessions of an Accessories Addict

Theme Thurs

Hello all! Welcome to this week's Theme Thursday. Today I'm posting about yet another one of my weaknesses which leaves my pockets a little lighter each time: Accessories. I can't help it, I'm that kind of girl. I love to shop and I love pretty things, especially pretty vintage style things.

Accessory stores are very dangerous for me, because they tend to stock more than just fashion jewelry. They do bags, scarves, gloves, shoes, and so on. For anyone who's UK, I lived in Accessorize. H&M, River Island = Danger, Will Robinson. Heaven help me, even Primark.

Here in the US, I have Forever 21, scores of other shops, and the internet. I coordinate everything with my outfits. Earrings, bracelets, brooches, necklaces, rings, shoes, hair clips, nail color, and makeup.  Anyone going to GRL is going to get to see me in all my bling.

Even when I go out in t-shirt and jeans, I have to coordinate something, usually my converse (I LOVE converse, and have various colors) and a few bangles and some earrings. I'm also big on cardigans/ button down sweaters. I have thin cardigans in nearly every color. These are just some of my fave finds that I wear quite often.

Some other random necklaces. Most of them are nice and long so I can wear them with high collar and low collar tops. Most are either 20s or 30s styles, but I do have some that are just cute themes like Alice in Wonderland, hearts, a few Steampunk items.  I love Steampunk stuff.

I also love 40s and 50s style stuff so I have some rockabilly accessories and outfits, so I have quite a few dice earrings in black, red, and white, and dice necklaces. Still looking for a ring to go with them though. I have some anchor brooches and roses for my hair. I also love cute earrings that are just funky little shapes, like tea sets or sweets.

This was my latest purchase. I actually found it in this amazing little fashion jewelry shop at the airport on Monday when I went to drop off my mom for her trip. I really love big cuff bracelets.
Here are a few websites I love. Now all I need is to win the lottery so I could shop at all of them!
ModCloth - is awesome! They have vintage, retro, and just loads of amazing stuff.
Forever 21 -  I love this shop. Love the clothes and everything about them.
Daddy-Os - Gorgeous 40s and 50s styles.
MimiBoutique - Gorgeous stuff, some pricey, but a lot of reasonably priced items too.
I'm currently building up my US websites database, as everything else I've got is based in the UK as that's where I used to live, so I'm getting there. I also buy accessories from JC Penny, eBay, and Etsy.
x Charlie x

Ebook Giveaway: The Auspicious Troubles of Chance

Hello all!

The lovely Chris over at Stumbling Over Chaos is hosting a giveaway contest for The Auspicious Troubles of Chance which is due for release from Dreamspinner Press June 20th!

Contest is open worldwide and all you have to do is leave a comment on her post HERE. Rules are also on the post.

The contest closes 7pm CDT time, Tuesday June 19th. Good luck!

x Charlie x

Monday Media: Music Video Fun


Hello all! Welcome to this week's Media Monday. Today I thought I'd share some music videos from artists I enjoy. I love music almost as much as I love movies, and listen to pretty much anything that catches my ear. I listen to everything from 20s Jazz to Lady Gaga, and everything in between. (Please note if you're reading this on Goodreads, the videos won't show up. Thanks)

Many times, I use music to write to, sometimes to set a mood. It certainly inspires me. Sometimes I just sit listening to something, and scenes start forming in my head, dialogue begins to flow, or that brick wall I'd hit starts to crumble.  Sometimes it just relaxes me. When I have my headphones in, there's nothing but me and the music, I'm in my own little world and all is right.

I also love being introduced to new artists. When I was younger, I worked for Virgin Megastores and HMV, so I was always surrounded by music and movies. It was a lot easier at the time to keep up with new artists, especially since so many of the folks I worked with were either musicians themselves or part of the going to gigs scene, plus there were always bands being promoted who came to play at the stores. Now I mostly rely on the internet, radio, or friends, but I try to keep up.

This first artist, the lovely Hayley B. James introduced me to recently. She liked this video and thought I would too. I absolutely love it. I'd seen the artist's name here and there, saw a picture on someone's tumblr somewhere, but didn't think to investigate. As you can imagine, I'm all over videos that have a 40s or 50s vibe to them. This one happens to be an awesome video and equally awesome song.

Kimbra: Good Intent Kimbra: Cameo Lover. I love the fella at the desk(s). The colors!

The lovely C. Zampa sent me a link to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. I enjoy swing music, lots. I'd listened to fellas like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Brian Setzer Orchestra (and of course there's no one like Benny Goodman and Glen Miller), but I hadn't heard much from these fellas. Their videos are a bit tough to find, but I found this one. I love the sound of his voice, and the beat is just infectious.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Mr. Pinstripe Suit

Paloma Faith: Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful. I love her voice and her style. She's just awesomesauce.

Paloma Faith: Picking Up The Pieces

Scissor Sisters: Any Which Way. Lots of fun and plenty naughty. Also, Jake Shears is fit. That is all.

Fun: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe

Mumford & Sons: The Cave. Love his voice, love the sound.

x Charlie x

Weekly News Roundup

weekly news roundupHello! Welcome to this week's Weekly News Roundup covering Sunday June 3rd to Saturday June 9th!

It's been a pretty quiet week, but an exciting one. I received the most amazing cover from Anne Cain for my newest book, a release date, and have seen it go up on the coming soon page. Plus it already has a few pre-orders which I hadn't expected. So onto this week's roundup.

The Auspicious Troubles of Chance is up on Dreamspinner's 'Coming Soon' page! You can check it out here. It's also up on Goodreads if you'd like to add it to your tbr list here.

June 12th- June 19th The lovely Chris over at Stumbling Over Chaos is going to be hosting a pre-release contest for The Auspicious Troubles of Chance which will start at 2am CDT Tuesday June 12th and end 7pm CDT Tuesday June 19th where you can enter to win a free eBook copy. Rules will be posted on the Stumbling Over Chaos site. Link to come soon.

June 20th - I'll be a spotlight author over at Top 2 Bottom Reviews where you can read an in-depth interview with me as well as review of one of my Torquere books. You'll find  the post here on that date. From June 11th, you'll be able to find interviews and reviews from loads of fantastic Torquere Press authors.

June 21st - Come join the Summer Fling fun over at SJD Peterson's blog where I'll be sharing with folks which one of my characters I'd have a summer fling with, and why. Shame I could only pick one! ;) From June 11th, you'll be able to read which characters some of your favorite authors would have summer flings with. You'll be able to find it all here. July 11th - Join Remi over at the Carrying the Torch website where he'll be sharing with you a little about his childhood growing up in Berkshire where he was born. I'm sure there will be some tales of boyhood mischief involving him and Chess, so don't miss it!

July20th - I'll be a guest over at Guys Like Romance, Too! where I'll be talking about my Historical Shifter short story Believe Me, Beloved, due out in August as part of Torquere Press' Masks Off! anthology. It's a fun short story that will hopefully turn into more. I think you'll enjoy reading about Gabriel and Robert as much as I enjoyed writing them! Sneak peak coming soon!

Well that's what I've got lined up so far, but stay tuned as I'm sure more will pop up due to Chance being unleashed upon the world. Hold onto your socks! x Charlie x

Photo Friday: Sherlock

Welcome to this week's Photo Friday, featuring my second TV series obsession: Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. (If you're reading on Goodreads, please excuse the formatting).

I admit, Benedict Cumberbatch is a new to me actor. He's been in a good deal of British shows and films, but unfortunately, I haven't caught many/if any of them. Personally, I think Cumberbatch (and what an awesome name is that?!) makes an amazing Sherlock Holmes, because although it's a modern adaptation, Cumberbatch still brings to the role a very Victorian feel, and his voice is just dreamy. He plays the combination of genius and socially inept perfectly. Love it.

I love his expressions throughout the show, when he throws a tantrum or pouts, not to mention poor John's reactions to his shenanigans.

Martin Freeman I am much more familiar with. I was first introduced to him back when he was in the British series of The Office, and I thought he was adorable. His character's will-he or won't-he relationship with Dawn was almost too heartbreaking at times. He was funny without trying to be so, and one of the best characters on the show.

He was hilarious as Ricky C, part of Ali G's Westside crew in Ali G Indahouse. If you haven't seen that movie, and you've watched Martin Freeman in Sherlock, you'll never see him in the same light again. For those brave souls who want to see a clip, I direct you here. Don't say I didn't warn you. Oh yeah, and he's Beatboxing in that clip.

He was also in Shaun of the Dead, but if I remember correctly, it was a brief cameo. He was also in Hot Fuzz a little. He appeared quite a few times on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, which is a fun show. And now he's going to be Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, which will also have Benedict Cumberbatch.

I have to admit, I have a little crush on John more than Sherlock. He's just such a cutie!
Together, Sherlock and John have amazing chemistry, and I love watching how John slowly starts to crawl under Sherlock's skin. They're opposites in every way, but John is far from an idiot or simply someone placed there so that Sherlock can bounce his genius off him.

He's a strong man, a former soldier with a big heart who won't hesitate to throw himself in the line of fire. He quickly starts to see things in Sherlock that others don't. Watching their friendship grow has been one of the best parts of the show. 

You can check out John Watson's blog here. I love all the little comments between John, Mrs. Hudson, and Sherlock. Such as:

It's all very clever isn't it! Do you think in the future people will stop talking to each other face to face?
Mrs Hudson 12 March 11:50

That's something to live and hope for.
Sherlock Holmes 12 March 11:55

For some amazing Sherlock fanart and shipping, check out the Mysterylock tumblr, as well as the SPNandSherlock tumblr.

x Charlie x

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