Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Boxing Day!

How y'all doin'? I'm fine, more or less. The family's finally finished with our enormous Christmas dinner, and now we have a week's worth of leftovers to tide us through until New Year's. I got my first iPod, a Nano, and I've already been to iTunes (I bought the Beauty and the Beast Special Edition Soundtrack).

I've been kinda worried lately, because throughout the week, I've been waking up with headaches, really weird ones that are either right behind my right eye or at the back of my head. They've come and gone (gone when I'm busy doing something, come when I try resting or reading), but lately they've been getting worse, like the motion-headaches I get when I try to read in a moving car. But I'm not moving. Of course, I've already entertained all thoughts regarding brain tumours and aneurysms and the like, but really I have no idea. It's not something to do with my eyes, as I thought originally, because I've been waking up with these headaches.

I'm beginning to suspect I might be allergic to something in my room (which is cleaned once a week but hasn't been dusted since God knows when), so I'm going to try cleaning out my room, and then sleeping on the couch for a couple of nights to see if my headaches go away.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I've changed my format!

I was a little hesitant about joining the Blogger Beta, and especially in "customizing my design," because I didn't want to lose all the handy-dandy sidebar things that I'd painstakingly edited into my HTML code everytime I wanted to add something, but the customization process, as you can probably guess, made the actual sidebar creation process so much easier - especially in updating the "Currently Reading" and "To Be Read" sections.

I'm quite pleased with it - I adore the new label system, and now my website looks a tad more streamlined - and less pink, I KNOW, but there are nice pink accents to it now that are perfectly to my taste without overcoming the new "professional" look.

I've also started reading Jane Austen, and already I adore her. I think Elizabeth Bennett could afford to be smacked upside the head occasionally for being so incredibly gullible, but when you have a sister who's "perfectly perfect in every way" named Jane (hmmm, I wonder if Miss Austen was trying to imply something there), I guess you can afford to be an incredibly poor judge of character. And Mr. Darcy - good Lord, what an asshole! Yes, yes, I know, he's so shy and secretly sensitive...Well, I guess it could have been worse. He could have been anachronistically tolerant, and that would not have been half as realistic a romance. I'm not quite finished the book yet, but so far I'm having a fine time and I'm looking forward to reading Pamela Aidan's take on Mr. Darcy's character in the first novel of her trilogy, An Assembly Such as This.

EDIT: I keep spelling Jane Austen's name wrong...urgh! Austen not Austin!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Speak of the Devil...

Ironically enough, after making a cough-induced jab at On Spec's long wait times, I received a letter back from them. Yes, another rejection - another rejection followed by the requisite letter explaining how they receive 100 manuscripts a month and how all the workers at On Spec on volunteers, which explains why it took them four months to get back to me.

On the PLUS side, though, they had a very nice typed note at the bottom (which I nearly missed, because the On Spec rejection letter has a very bizarre space format), which offered criticism about very specific parts of "Whiff," followed by an offer to look at my story again if I rewrote it.

Now, hey! I seem to have been very lucky with my rejection letters lately - I haven't received all that many, but many of them have had encouraging notes on them entreating me to send more things. And On Spec, which receives 100 manuscripts a month, has stated that they would be willing to give my manuscript another go if I tightened it up a bit.

If I keeping working steadily through the holidays, by January, I might have a fleet of stories to send out - not only the rewrite of "Whiff," but also "Parasite: A Love Story," and "House Hunting" (now that it's been rejected for the MacTaggart Award). Better get to work!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

But it's not my fault...

Okay, maybe I have a little bit of a problem.

I KNOW I've been worrying (somewhat wonderfully) about the SHEER NUMBER of unread books I have stacked in tottering piles on my desk, and I realize that with book reviewing and school I'm going to have assloads more to get through.

I bought two more discounted books today, anyway.

I couldn't help it - one was Elizabeth Hand's Winterlong, mostly because while I can't give you the exact review of her story collection Saffron and Brimstone before Green Man publishes my review in January, suffice it to say that I want to have its literary babies.

And in the bottom of the discount Young Adult books bin they had Black Juice by Margo Lanaghan! BLACK JUICE! For $3.00!

It's really not fair.

I wonder if there are some sorts of programs for people like me...

Free at last! Free at last!

As I am typing this, my headache-addled eyes are resting on the final copy of my Asian Film Studies research essay, recently completed. It took three days of stress to write the damn thing, and now that I'm done I can hand it in and simply not worry about anything else until January, when I will have to start fretting over important things, like my birthday.

Also, my story "House Hunting" got rejected for the MacTaggart writing award. Hey, I tried, I think it's a pretty decent story, and they got back to me surprisingly promptly (I was expecting the story to be tied up until February), unlike some people...*cough*ON SPEC*cough*.

Anyway, I think I'll start shopping "House Hunting" out to the fantasy mags, along with "Parasite: A Love Story". I've also started working on another story for Creative Writing that pokes fun at some fairytales, and that's coming along quite well . I dunno, considering "My Brother's Own Words," maybe my strengths lie with young-adult writing. I know Alice Hoffman writes for both adults and teens, and look at her work!

Yes, I'm starting to get really interested in Alice Hoffman - I adored her book The Ice Queen, and the film Practical Magic was so non-offensive I remember thinking, "If the movie's this interesting, the book has to be a billion times better!" Ha, ha. I managed to get another one of her books on Bargain at Chapters (and I also got another two books at the discount bookstore at my University--one of which, Cecelia Ahern's If You Could See Me Now, simply because I'm 75% sure it's the source material for an upcoming Hugh Jackman movie [and yes, I KNOW that getting books because my crush du jour starred in the film adaptation is not the best idea....I'm not looking forward to reading Crime and Punishment because Patrick Dempsey starred in the TV movie]), so I still have TONS to read.

Because I've been a combination of lazy/busy, I haven't updated my Reading/To Be Read graphics, so I'll update you: finished Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series for Green Man, as well as Kat Richardson's Greywalker--look for the reviews to come up sometime in January. Right now I've returned to Elizabeth Hand, and after that I will try my first Jane Austen novel--because another one of the books I'm reading for Green Man Review involves the second book in a trilogy that deals with the life of Mr. Darcy.

And oh, did I mention I picked up about fifteen novels at the University Bookstore that have to be read for next semester??? Squee! More reading!