What Writers Can Learn From Tru Calling–A Rant

 

                 

Some of you may remember the FOX sci-fi TV show, Tru Calling and if you don’t…I’m not surprised. Tru Calling was a unique show with a lot of promise and potential, however they made some key mistakes and the show was ultimately cancelled.

For those of you who never found this hidden gem, Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku) was a med-student who wound up working at a morgue. When she arrived there, she found she had a unique talent–the dead ask her for help, her day restarts and she has a chance to help stop that person from dying. Unique premise, right? I was hooked. For most of the first season, she worked on cases and helped people but the show really turned interesting when a mysterious man showed up and displayed the same power to “relive days”. Jason Priestley’s character, Jack, wasn’t like Tru, though. In fact, he was her opposite and when the day restarted it was his job to make sure the person who asked for help stayed dead. Tough job, but someone has to uphold fate’s design, right? After all, there are ripples in fate and tragic, long-stretching consequences for cheating the design (or so we’re told repeatedly, but we never actually saw these consequences Jack was always warning us about.)

The second season of Tru Calling was EPIC. This dynamic duo were evenly matched, evenly resourceful and very dedicated to their jobs. To watch them compete against each other was like the ultimate cat and mouse game. The second season (all 6 episodes) were packed with action and twists and turns and an eery sense of looming danger and consequences to come. In many ways, this show did a lot of things RIGHT. They had a  heroine you could relate to and root for, quirky and fun supporting characters and two intimidating villains. Plus, they took an antihero like Jack (who was called ‘Death’ many times) and made us root for him. They made us understand why he wanted these people to stay dead; which isn’t a very understandable or likable goal for a character to have.  So why was Tru Calling cancelled within the first half of the second season?

I’ve spent many hours debating this with my TV buff sister and we’ve come up with a list of where the show went wrong, and what you can do to ensure you don’t lose your readers the way Tru lost her viewers.

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Jasmine Hits the Streets

Well, the cyber streets, that is. And only with your help. :)

In an effort to bring me closer to my readers, I’ve created a street team via Facebook groups. Join Jasmine Denton’s Street Team to stay up-to-date on my newest releases and help me spread the word about these great books. It’s also the #1 place to learn about new giveaways and promotions. Don’t forget to share with your friends and followers :)

 

 

 

Clock in with The Night Shift

 

With all of my favorite fall shows ending for the season, I’ve been on the lookout for a great new show I could look forward to every week. When I tuned in for the pilot of Night Shift, I found everything I was looking for. Before watching, I’d never heard of creator Gabe Sachs, but he’s quickly become my favorite showrunner. The show airs every Tuesday night on NBC at 10:00.

 

 

Let me start by saying I’ve never been a fan of medical dramas, so when I tuned in, I was cautious. I figured I’d give it one episode and see how I liked it. I don’t know what I’d been expecting. Something like E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy, but this show surpasses those. It’s fresh and witty, but there’s a deeply emotional feel to it, too. This show has heart—it reminds me a lot of One Tree Hill in the artistic shots they do, the songs they use and the way they bring all of this around so we get into the character’s minds. There are parts of it that are downright beautiful.

 

 

And while we’re talking about characters, Night Shift has some truly great ones. They take a stereotype—like the PTSD suffering soldier and turn it on its head. Not only is TC Callahan (played magnificently by Eion Macken) a former army medic being haunted by battlefield ghosts, he’s a badass doctor with an incredible love and passion for his patients. This guy will risk his medical license, his job and even his life to help someone who needs medical attention. These qualities are more than enough to make us overlook his gambling habit, love for drinking and violent tendencies. Did I mention he’s a hot head? I wouldn’t want to stand in his way. Who doesn’t love a tortured soul? This one is the hunkiest broody guy I’ve seen in a long time.

 

And then there’s Dr. Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint). She’s responsible for wrangling the…charismatic staff of Night Shift. With a sassy nursing staff, knowledge-thirsty interns, and a pain-in-the-ass boss, she’s definitely got her hands full but she manages them like an expert. Not to mention she has a sweet past with TC and I can’t wait to learn more about them. Their relationship is definitely not over, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that it is.

 

 

About that pain in the ass boss….talk about turning a stereotype on its head. Michael Ragosa (Freddy Rodriguez) is arrogant, stern and seemingly insensitive. He’s all about the bottom dollar and making sure the hospital stays within budget, even if it means turning sick people away. (I kind of see where he’s coming from, but still.) Ten minutes into the pilot, I hated Ragosa’s guts. But by the end of that first episode, the writers had made me feel for him. I literally teared up when his inner struggle was revealed. What happens when a surgeon can’t practice because of failing eyesight? Well, I guess I’d be pretty bitter too. His storyline is made sweeter by the compassionate counselor who takes it upon herself to be there for him. Dr. De La Cruz (Daniella Alonso) is so sweet and is such a good listener, she immediately won my heart. I see a very likeable romance brewing for these two.

 

 

Did I mention that this show also has Brendan Fehr? Drew is a war-toughened doctor struggling with his sexuality. Or rather, struggling with being open about his sexuality in a world of macho soldiers. I’ve loved this actor since Roswell and I’m super psyched to see him on TV again. He’s brought such depth and emotion to this role; he deserves an award or something. One of the main reasons I choose series television over movies is because of character development, and Night Shift is delivering that in every single episode. I can only imagine the things they will accomplish this season.

The Night Shift - Season 1

Yes, this is TC pulling a little boy out of a demolished house! He’s an E.R. doc and he does things like this all the time!

Another trademark of Night Shift is its great writing. It takes talented writers to pull off such intense scenes.  Some shows focus on having great special effects but let writing fall to the wayside, or vice versa. But Night Shift doesn’t skimp on anything—it delivers in full. It has surgery scenes and wounds that make squeamish little me squirm and cover my eyes and medical cases that make you scratch your head and think. I tuned in for one episode, but I’ve greedily been tuning in every week.  Next week’s episode looks really intense, so if you haven’t started watching it already, I recommend you do a quick catch-up and join in. Only 5 episodes have aired so far, so there’s plenty of time for you to catch up. Again, Night Shift airs Tuesday at 10 on NBC. This show is too great to be missed!

 

I’m giving it five giant stars for great writing, artistic beauty, character development and intriguing plots.

And if you’re not convinced, maybe the official trailer will help you tip the scales.

 

 

What do you think of The Night Shift? Are you as hooked as I am? Let me know in the comments section, I love talking about TV!






 

Jasmine Denton is the author of several books for teens and young adults. Check out her Amazon author page to see if any of her stories are right for you. You can also follow her on twitter.

 

 

 

Another Life Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Another Life is running free on Amazon all weekend as part of Amazon’s KDP select program. So far, people are downloading like crazy. :) So exciting! To celebrate, I wanted to share an excerpt from the book. This is one of my favorite scenes overall (and definitely one of my favorite scenes with Cameron and Shane together.) These two have a refreshing kind of bond and I just love them.

In the scenes preceding this one, Cameron and Shane have been playing a pool game. Whoever makes a ball in the pocket picks a question for the other to answer. Shane has been honest, but now it’s Cameron’s turn…

 

“A deal’s a deal. Ask away.” Bringing the glass to her lips, she tilted her head back and drank. By now, she was feeling more than a little fuzzy.

“What did you mean when you said that all guys were the same?” he asked. “What do you think we’re like?”

“That’s two questions,” she’s said, holding up two fingers to show him.

He laughed. “Come on, Cameron. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but you have no faith in people. Like none. It’s like you’re always watching for someone to stab you in the back.” Shane started moving around the table, sinking the last remaining pool balls into the corner-pockets as he spoke. “People don’t get like that on their own. They get like that when the world turns cruel.”

Coming closer, he stopped just a few feet away, looking at her intently as he waited for an answer. In his eyes, she could tell he wanted to understand her, and it made her cringe at the thought. “Is there a question buried in all that?”

He thought a minute, wording carefully. “What gave you that inherent suspicion of people?”

“This is a stupid game.” She took one last drink and stood, placing the bottle on her stool.

“It was your idea,” he said.

“Well, I have stupid ideas,” she said, chuckling as the world start to tilt around her. She realized she should’ve taken it a little slower on the drinking and grabbed on to the back of the sofa to steady herself.

“Cameron pulls away,” he announced. “What a shocker.”

Insulted, she turned to face him. “Fine. Let’s just say that my fill-in parents weren’t any better than yours were and my only real friend was a very spoiled guy with questionable ethics and a hot temper. So yeah. I have a little bit of a problem not looking for the knife that’s always headed straight for my back. But what I can’t, for the life of me, understand is why you would care.”

He raised an eyebrow, looking startled and a little impressed by her outburst.

“I thought I had you pegged,” she continued, pointing at him. She could feel her drunken tongue starting to ramble, but couldn’t stop it. “I thought you were that tough party-guy, the player who can’t be tamed. But then, you don’t hit on me, you don’t drink and you’re so concerned with finding out who I am, but who are you, Shane? And why do you care?”

He was quiet, taking all of this in. Finally, he lifted himself to sit on the edge of the pool table, looking down at the floor. “You want to know why I care?” he asked. He just looked at her, those wise and insightful eyes studying her in that same damned way they always did. “It’s because I remember you.”

She blinked. She didn’t see how that was relevant. So what? He’d known her a million years ago, before life had a chance to tear everything away. But before she could question, he started telling a story.

“Sam was babysitting you and Chad,” he started. “And my dad was drunk, my mom was already gone and I just wanted to be anywhere but home, so I went over to your house. I remember we were all playing in the back yard—Simon says or something like that. You and Chad were arguing about the rules.”

Figures, she thought with a snort.

“When all of the sudden, the sheriff pulls up and he wants to talk to Sam. I’m standing there—absolutely mortified—because I just knew my dad was being a dick and said I ran away or something.” He took a short pause, inhaling a breath before continuing. “But it wasn’t about me. It was your parents.”

Suddenly, she felt like a hundred pound weight had dropped onto her stomach. It was like being engrossed into a movie, only to find out halfway through that it was a genre you hated. Who did he think he was, to bring this up so unexpectedly?

“When Sam had to tell you guys,” he shook his head, remembering. “Chad just stood there, totally dazed and you…you just started screaming for your mom. For like five minutes, that’s all you did. It was like…like your mind couldn’t process it and all you could do was scream.” He blinked a few times and she noticed his eyes looked damp.

She just listened, trying to remember this, but there was nothing. That memory was long gone.

“For days after you walked around with this…vacant look in your eyes. I remember thinking…” he cleared his throat, “that you were like me now. One of the lost ones.”

She stared at him, speechless, while her rage faded and something softer started to stir inside her.

“Sam thought that a change of scenery, being around another woman would help.” He looked at her again, his voice quiet. “But here you are…with that same exact look in your eyes.”

She glanced away from him as the feeling inside her started to grow, filling her stomach with an uneasy kind of warmth. She realized it felt remarkably like hope, but she couldn’t be sure. It’d been so long since she’d had anything resembling hope or faith.

“I couldn’t help you then, I was just a kid,” he said. “But now…at least I can try.”

When he said that, she wanted to let him. Part of her wanted to open up the same way he just had, and she realized she could tell him everything if she wasn’t careful. It was so aggravating, the way he could do that to her. She needed to keep her outlook realistic and practical; she didn’t have time to believe in things that were never going to happen.

For instance, when he looked at her with those eyes, when he talked about her the way he did and offered the guidance he did, she found herself daring to believe him. Daring to want more than just one kiss or one night with him. She found herself wanting to be with him every day, to have him encourage her every day and somehow find a way to fix her. But to entertain that idea, to hope for it, was silly. She knew enough to understand that just because something starts out to be good; it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Life could take a dark turn at the most unexpected times and even some of the nicest people could hide dangerous personality traits. And even the most normal seeming person could hide the most twisted secrets.

 

What do you think? Interested in reading more? Another Life is free until Monday morning, just go here and download your copy. If you liked this excerpt, tell your friends! You can tweet with the image below.

 

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To stay up to date with the latest news on my books and promotions, please follow me on twitter or check out my amazon author page.

 

10 Easy Ways to Create 3-D Characters

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about writing tips, but it’s something that I really love to do. Today, I thought I would share with you some ways to create three dimensional and realistic characters for your story. This post is mostly for beginners or people looking to hone their craft, but pro’s might find it helpful too.

  1. Know your creation–and I mean, know everything about them. Their favorite color, favorite food, when they popped their cherry and how they feel about politics (if they even care). Not all of this information will be pertinent to your story and so all of it won’t be needed in the manuscript. But, the more you know about your character, the more capable you will be of introducing that person to your readers.
  2. Character Profile Sheet--If you haven’t created one already, fill out a character profile sheet like the one found here. This will definitely help with step #1. Keep this as a reference while writing or during revisions.
  3. Everybody has a past–even your fictional characters. I hate opening a book and feeling like the character never existed before the opening lines. Maybe they have some glimmer of a past, but you don’t feel like it was real.  I like to feel like I’m picking up in the middle of a character’s life or at an important moment in the course of their life, not at some random point when the person happened to be created. Everybody has a past, so make sure your character has one, too. This could be a scandalous past or a meek one, it’s up to you–as long as it feels like it happened.
  4. Pick a model–find a picture of someone you think looks like your character. It could be an actor or friend or model. Study this image and come up with different ways to describe the person’s features. (This is particularly helpful when writing romance, since romance readers love elaborate descriptions.) This will help you create a visual picture in the mind of your readers.
  5. Trivia Quizzes–get together with a trusted friend or relative who knows your story and do a trivia quiz. Asking each other questions back and forth will help you retain knowledge of your character’s stats. **It may be helpful to keep an answer key on hand, just in case.
  6. Lather, rinse and repeat–While it may seem tedious, repeat these exercises for all main characters in your book. If the book is a romance, do it for the hero and the heroine (and their villain, if any). If it’s a book about friends, do this for each friend.
  7. Character Interview–If you’re still having trouble gaining knowledge on your character, try doing an interview with them. Come up with some questions or Google some premade sheets. I’ve done this a few times and found it to be helpful, and at the very least, entertaining. This is also a great way to identify your character’s unique voice so you can incorporate that into your manuscript.
  8. Motivation–Everybody wants something and your characters should, too. Identify what your character wants, and why they do the things they do. For example, in my new release Another Life, the protagonist Cameron is desperate to keep her secrets buried. Identifying what she was hiding and why was a major obstacle in writing the book, but without it the story made no sense. What drives your characters will drive your plot forward as well, and without a clear-cut motivation, your story could fall apart. Dig deep and ask yourself “What does (name) want most right now?” Do this for all key players in your story.
  9. Obstacle–A person’s strength isn’t shown until they’ve struggled, and the same goes for characters. Now that you know what your people want, come up with ways to keep them from getting it. Is there that one person or one event that could mean total ruin for your character’s dreams? In Another Life, it’s Cameron’s ex, Julian. He’s the last person she ever wanted to see again, because he used to be her most trusted confidant and now that she’s kicked him to the curb, he has no reason to keep his mouth shut. For a character whose peace-of-mind hinges on secrecy, this adds up to disaster. What is it that will be your character’s downfall? Why is this the worst possible thing that could happen to them?
  10. Triumph–What is the point in watching someone struggle, if it isn’t to see how they triumph? For Cameron, the solution turns out to be something as simple as being honest, but her moment of triumph will never come until she has the strength to do that. What inner-battles do your characters struggle with and how will they win the fight? Or, if your major obstacle is another person, how does your main character finally take the villain’s power away? This moment of triumph is your chance to leave a lasting impression on your readers. This will be one of the things they think about when they remember why they loved your book. Make it epic–it’s your chance to shine.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Do you have any questions about writing? Ideas for future posts? I’d love to hear them! If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on twitter or check out my amazon author page.

Meet the Characters-Another Life

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about my new adult novel, Another Life. I just can’t help it. Even though I have (a little too many) other projects on my plate, I’m obsessed with this series and I know that if people give it a try, they will be too. So I’ve been working really hard to come up with some eye-catching character promos. Hopefully these will pique your curiosity or intrigue you.

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What do you think? If you like any of these, please share them on your social media accounts to help spread the word.  I’ve been using the hashtag #ALseries. And if you’re interested, you can buy the book here. :)

 

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons You Should Read Another Life

 

Cameron Baker has always felt like the punch line to a bad joke. She’s an orphan, borderline alcoholic party-girl and chronic screw-up, but the summer she turns eighteen, her life hits a new low. She wakes up after a drunken night to find out she’s married to her very manipulative frenemy, Julian. In a panicked frenzy, she packs her belongings and flees. On the run from the police as well, she seeks refuge with her two older brothers, whom she hasn’t seen in years.
Returning to her childhood home in a small town in Georgia, Cameron makes up an excuse about bonding with her brothers for the summer, and secretly tries to figure out how to get herself out of this mess. Though Cameron is seemingly safe, she can’t shake the urges to drink her pain away, and her brothers notice this quickly. As awkward and protective instincts fly in the wounded family, Cameron feels like the black sheep among them. She harbors more resentment about their estranged years than she initially thought. Shane, a reformed bad-boy and long time friend of the family quickly takes her under his wing. His belief in hope and second chances is just the ticket she needs to straighten out her life, and a reluctant romance blooms between them. Just as she’s about to settle in and allow herself some happiness, Julian tracks her down. His threat: leave with him, or he’ll tell everyone all of her dirty little secrets—and she has much more to hide than her marriage.
As the family struggles to accept each other, flaws and all, the past just won’t stay buried. With so many secrets to hide, it’s only a matter of time before it all blows up in her face. Her only way out is to admit the terrible truths she’s been running from, and finally face her demons, but will she be strong enough?
Since I know deciding to read a book can be a hard choice, I’ve compiled a few reasons that could tip the scales.

1.) It’s the little engine that could- I’ve been editing, rewriting, and trying to publish this book for 8 years! Everyone who is anyone in the business passed on it, some more than once. Obviously, I’m not the type to be stopped, so with today’s wonderful technology I published it myself. Aren’t you a little curious if it was worth passing on?

2.) Hot guys!– Lot’s of metaphorical eye candy in this one. Not only Cameron’s two love interests, Julian (a manipulative trust-funder) and Shane (a sweetheart mechanic) but she also has two hot brothers. One is love sick and pining for a girl who got away and the other is a cop. Who doesn’t love hot, tortured guys?

3.) Speaking of tortured…you’ll never meet a girl more tortured than Cameron. She’s a hot mess. Reminiscent of my favorite hot mess of all time…

R.I.P Katherine :( 

4.) It’s a testament to the NA Genre–Another Life is a book that wasn’t possible to publish just a few years ago. Too edgy for YA and not right for Women’s Fiction. For so long, I thought the book just didn’t make the cut. Then the New Adult genre was born and boom….there’s a place for it at last.

 

 

5.) Toxic relationships–the relationship between Cameron and Julian is reminiscent of Chuck and Blair (though I didn’t become a fan of Gossip Girl until recently). Julian will do anything to get under Cameron’s skin…and he always gets what he wants.

 

6.) Healing–but it’s not all just eye candy and hot hookups. It’s really a story of a family reconnecting after 12 years apart and rediscovering the healing power of family.

 

7.) It’s cheap!– It’s a good sized story (212 pages) and only 1.99 per kindle copy. So you save…

 

 

8.) It’s a series–It’s the first in a series and you can start today. If you like it, you’ll get to watch these characters grow and change from the beginning. Lots of drama planned. :)

9.) It’s ebook only– so it’s good for the environment. Go green!

 

10.) You can download a free sample here.

 

Again you can buy the book or read the sample by clicking the picture below.

 

 

Any questions about the books or writing in general? Leave them in comment section below and I’ll respond ASAP. Happy reading :)