Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beautiful British Men

It has been far too long since I've done a shallow man-centric post. It's just the thing to cheer me up. Here are some of my current favorites in no particular order:

John Simm- A more subtly attractive man, he has a quiet quality that is sexier than mere looks, though he is equipped in that arena as well. I first saw him as The Master in Doctor Who, but he has also starred in The Devil's Whore, Life on Mars, and Exile.

Rufus Sewell- A man who is aging beautifully, if I may say so. He never tries to be a boy, but sits comfortably in the man he is. I first discovered him in A Knight's Tale, buy have enjoyed his work in The Illusionist, Shakespeare Retold: The Taming of The Shrew, The Pillars of the Earth, and the recent series Zen.

Benedict Cumberbatch- He has the unfair advantage of playing one of the sexiest characters ever in Sherlock, his intelligence and beautiful voice increase his appeal. His other films include The Last Enemy, Atonement, The Other Boleyn Girl, and the upcoming The Hobbit

Michael Fassbender- This beautiful actor of Irish/German descent has played roles in Inglorious Basterds, 3oo, Angel, The Devil's Whore, and Jane Eyre, . Perhaps what is most attractive about him (other than those eyes...) is his intensity which he brings to emotional moments.

There are, of course, many more worthy gentlemen that could be in this post, but I don't have the time for all of them. Here are just a few that I have not sufficiently written raptures about on my blog before.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Trouble with Costume Dramas

I've had a sinus infection this week, so I've been languishing in my room watching costume dramas. Historical drama is one of my favorite genres. the problem is, the more I watch them, the more I despair over modern clothing. Sure, some garments (especially those Victorian bustles) are impractical, but the richness of fabrics and delicacy of cuts are incredibly enviable. I keep feeling like I was born in the wrong time-- though I surely would not have been content with much of 19th century society. The modern world seems to have less to discover, less optimistic possibility. It's a very cynical world.
I've been outlining my own work of historical fiction this week, my main inspiration is actually The Childrens Book by A.S. Byatt. The way she wove together history and fiction was breathtaking. I'd love to write a novel like that. It's a period piece that doesn't posture in any way. It moves at such a natural pace and does not over-idealize or scandalize the history it covers.
However, on a more practical level, I have submitted more articles for magazine publication this week. Most of the PR work I've been doing this summer is finished, which is a relief.
No more response from literary agencies, but I keep polishing my manuscript, buffing away at it. I've begun drafting the sequel as well, it's turning out to be a different creature than I originally imagined.
I must venture out into the heat now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Case of the Sneaky Computer

Guys, my computer has been doing things behind my back at 3 am.
Yesterday I logged on and found that my "updates were complete" and "malicious software" was removed... and now I can't use Internet Explorer. So it removed my LAN thing (sorry to be so technical) and now I have to log onto the internet through my old AOL software I haven't used in three years. However, this has led me to discover that I have 600+ emails in my old AOL account and that spammers are using email addresses from my address book to send things to me.
That is unbelievably cruel. I see an email in my box from someone I haven't spoken to in a year. I think maybe he wants to reconnect and I get an elated feeling in my collarbone. Then I find out it's spam.
I'm only in this situation because my computer's default setting is apparently to do updates at 3 in the morning without permission. I looked up my update history and have found that this has been going on every two since I purchased the computer.
I know the days of this laptop are numbered, but I was hoping it would last through the fall semester. Actually, my fervent prayer was that it would last until I completed my degree, but that is two years away and my computer seems to be having seizures.
I hate technology.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Some Responses Coming In...

I've heard responses from three of the agents I've queried (and I have a list of several more agents to try in the coming weeks). Three out of three are no... well, one was a 'we're not taking submissions right now, try us again in a few months,' so it's not a complete no.
The other two rejections were so vastly different. The first was very kind, thanking me for considering the agency and telling me that my story sounded interesting, just not what the agency is looking for.
The other was a simple one sentence that told me 'no,' while making a grammatical error in that short sentence to add insult to injury. I sighed deeply and then laughed.
Oh well, I supposed I among the ranks of real authors now. I've never heard a story of anyone being accepted at the first agency they try with the first query they send.
I'm rewriting my query to prepare to send out to some more agents before the end of the week.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Uncomfortable Plateau

I've reached the point in my summer where I am in a slump. My sleeping schedule is obliterated, I've done some things that can marginally be considered achievements, but I'm not sure how I can best use the next month.My plans for travel are distant, fragmented dreams thanks to circumstances beyond my control.
I've realized that being self-employed is a major test of my self-discipline. My vigor toward freelance writing has diminished somewhat due to the lack of response from many editors. Most are not even courteous enough to reject me. This is something I'll have to get used to, especially if I do want to make part of my living from it in the future.
I've pretty much finished with this round of edits on my novel and I've written a basic query letter and book proposal. However, I've yet to send anything out to anyone. Perhaps it's because while it's still in my hands it's still my wonderful masterpiece. Once it enters the world it could be shredded in an instant.
I know it doesn't have to be ready for immediate publication, it will have to go through more editing even after someone has agreed to represent it, but it's a matter of professional pride I suppose-- I want it to be perfect.
This past week I've made no progress on either my freelancing or my search for an agent. I've been making soap and reading novels. I'll be at the farmer's market next weekend selling some.
So, sorry it's been quiet on this front, I have been a curious mix of busy and idle recently.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Hunger Games

After many suggestions and hearsay, I finally picked up a copy of this novel at the local book store. I started last night around 11 and finished it just before 3 am.

In a dictatorship made from the wreckage of what once was North American, The Capitol hosts a yearly competition called "The Hunger Games." One male and one female child between 12 and 18 is chosen from each of the 12 districts (district 13 was nuked years ago). Placed in an arena that changes landscaped every year, the 24 children must battle until only one remains. It is to remind the people of the districts that The Capitol is in control, they can make them watch their children kill each other on tv and there is nothing they can do about it.
When Katniss hears her 12 year old sister summoned for a place in the games, she volunteers to take her place as the girl from District 12, the coal mining district.

The novel sprints along at an unstoppable pace, making it a definite one sitting book. Though there are moments that fall from expectation, Suzanne Collins is not lacking in creativity when it comes to illustrating the brutality of The Games. Her creation of a bleak, futuristic world is a believable projection. The eerieness of reality tv becoming a weapon feels almost prophetic.
Her main character, Katniss is strong. She is aged beyond her years and a skilled hunter with a bow. Watching her tentative relationship with fellow competitor Peeta bloom is riveting, but sometimes frustrating as her wishy-washy interal monologues continue. Still, Katniss is a survivor. That is why she is so hesitant to trust anyone, but the moments when she is touched in spite of her armour are truly emotional.
Of course, the real battle is not just against the other competitors in The Games, but the government that forces it on the people... which is focused on in the next book Catching Fire. I just started on that this afternoon.