Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Observations on Justified season 3 (so far)

Three down, 10 to go. Hard to believe I'll only get ten more weeks of this before I have to go back into withdrawal mode like those junkies trying to go off of oxy. Thus far, season 3 has had its share of surprises, thrills, and the occasional funny moment thrown in. It's too early to tell if this season is better than the second one. The first episode was great and did a marvelous job setting the standard. The two more recent episodes haven't been bad, but they're more like transition episodes. They help advance the overall plot, but they have tended to be more in the background. The final ten minutes of tonight's episode have started to bring the story around a bit, but I'm sure Yost and his cadre of writers are going to have a couple more episodes that have an "A" story that stands on its own while the "B" stories keep serving the overall plot.

The one noticeable difference I've seen in season three so far is that this season is darker. There's always been violence in Justified, but the cold brutality hasn't quite sunk in like it has in this one. Take the first episode with the character Nix (who is a combination of Anton Chigurh and Killshot's Armand Degas with his partner's last name as an homage) when he kills the pizza guy and the other man. The cold-blooded delivery combined with the splatter is quite jarring compared to what has been done in the first two seasons.

This reminds me of Elmore Leonard when he was a tough dude writing in the seventies and eighties. In books like Swag, Split Images, and Glitz bad things happened to good people as well as vice versa and it left you on edge. While this is TV and we can be pretty sure of who'll live and die, the uncertainty of the peripheral characters and even secondary characters is growing. Pretty good bet Rachel lives during the situation in the second episode, "Cut Tide," but not a guarantee. Not after the first episode.

In the third episode there is an unsettling scene involving "Harlan Roulette," which goes along the way we expect until the end when the man playing meets a much colder fate than the one we expected. And then there's Neal McDonough at the end giving Raylan an ice-cold warning. And boy, do we believe him after the first episode. He's looking poised to be the best villain yet for the series (apart from Boyd, who is in another realm).

The stories themselves have been very good and I look forward to what they have planned for all the disparate storylines, but if the series does end after season three (which might not be a bad idea) expect it to go in some very dark directions with characters being given fates you wouldn't have guessed in seasons one or two.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm back...

Been a while since I've been on here. There are a lot of reasons for that. The main one being I wanted to get my house in order, so to speak, before going back at this. There was a lot going on and I couldn't focus and what have you on the eight or nine things already going on on top of the book I was trying to sell. So, I let it go by the wayside and got my shit together.

But now I'm back and I am ready to get back to work. There are some changes for my book Coercion and some general changes for how it'll be sold.

First and most obvious: It has a much more visually appealing cover now. That was another reason for the delay, but I am quite pleased with the results.

Second and equally important: The book will only be available on Kindle. It has the biggest market and the most friendly towards writers. It will be available through KDP select, as well, because I like what they have going on. While I am apprehensive about some of the limitations, the pluses, I believe, outweigh the minuses. Things may change, but for the moment that's where I'm at. The book's price will be $2.99 USD.

As for the future, I haven't the foggiest what it will bring. I'm about 100 pages into a book right now, but I don't want to say anything because I have a tendency to jinx it. All I will say is that it takes place in the Oak Villa universe, some of the characters in Coercion (though not many) will be making a return in some form or another, and that it takes some ideas from aborted cuts I've been trying for a second book. When they say a second book is tougher than your first, they ain't kidding. This isn't the second book I've ever written, but as the second published book I do feel the same weight and expectations to do even better than the first time.

The actual re-release of the book will be in a couple of days. I made a couple of minor continuity adjustments (names, that sort of thing) and updated some of the first page info.

Stay frosty and stay tuned for updates.