Archive for May, 2007
My treasure hunt for paintings from the 18th century has once again been successful!
I’d like to share with you the following two pieces of art by George Morland, an English artist who made his name in the late 18th century with his paintings of life on the country, animals (dogs – that’s how I found him! Though his pigs are adorable, too, but that’s another story…) and nature in general.
There are tons of wonderful pictures by this artist; I chose the following two because they reminded me of two of my tales (my apologies for being self-centric…), and because they show two scenes you hardly ever get to see in “serious” art (people often forget that today’s classics were yesterday’s pop culture… Mozart, anybody?)
A father sees his son for the first time. I absolutely adore this picture; Morland caught that intimate moment so well. I had to think of “Cross and Pile” here when Elizabeth tells Jamie about the day he was born. I doubt Norrington carried a riding crop, though…!
Have a wild guess what story that one reminded me of! 😀
Hope you’ll like them!
With my new mobile contract came a free new mobile with camera. I hardly ever use the phone, but I’m fascinated with the idea of having a camera with me at all times.
We have a beautiful botanic garden here in my hometown, and I went there to test this new camera. I was impressed by the results, and I thought I share.
One of my favourite parts of the botanic garden is the “Victoria House”, which was built specially for housing the giant Victoria water lilly. It was built in 1898, but it’s a copy of a Victorian building from 1840. As many of you like the style of that aera, I thought I post the pictures here. 🙂
I hope this was “only” an accident, and not really some idiots with too much time at their hands and too much booze in their tank. It would still be bad, but not in the “urge to use blunt instrument” category of bad. A good thing a lot of the original timber and the masts had been removed for restauration and were safe, but still:
“(…) Speaking to BBC News, the chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust, Richard Doughty, said he feared what would be lost in the blaze.
“When you lose original fabric, you lose the touch of the craftsman, you lose history itself,” he said.
“And what is special about Cutty Sark is the timbers, the iron frames, that went to the South China Seas, and to think that that is threatened in any way is unbelievable, it’s an unimaginable shock.”(…)”
I bet it is. What’s next? BBQ on the “Victory”?
For more information on the Cutty Sark, please go here.
Talking about idiots – any suggestions for a suitable punishment for the kids who applied tags on the walls of the Anne Frank House? The Anne Frank House! Because they were bored. I have no words (at least none that aren’t expletives).
The gods must love idiots, that’s why they made so many of them.
Purser Sebastian Quinn holds an interesting conversation with a very drunk Lt. Barnett.
I love paintings; specifically portraits, as some of you might have already noticed. Looking in the eyes of somebody who has lived hundreds of years ago gets me closer in touch with the past, and consequentially makes writing easier for me, especially if I find a painting of somebody who fits one of my characters.
So I often comb the internet for new treasures, and I just have to share the following gentleman with you. It's a miniature, the portrait of an unknown young man. The artist isn't known either, and it's dated 1816.
I saw it and thought: “Now look at this – Thomas Gillette the younger!”
(Those who don't follow my stories: Tom Gillette is the son of the former Lieutenant, now Captain Gillette in my Cross And Pile story.)
What do you think?
I wouldn't describe myself as a writer of “m/m” romance – if anything, it's more “lots of snark with a healthy dose of moo-eyes and some angst”. And cravats. And pigtails.
Now, there's an author called Laura Baumbach – I freely admit I've never heard of her before, but she seems to be rather popular. I don't think I'll ever read her work, it doesn't appeal to me (this won't surprise you). Anyway, she writes m/m romance, and to sell and promote her work, she recently went to the “Romantic Times” convention at the Houston Hyatt.
To cut a long story short: “Romantic Times” felt all unromantic and removed her filthy m/m promo – which, so I've been told, was very tasteful and far less “in yer face” than most of the “decent” het romance stuff. Personally, I consider every Fabio-typed cover with a half-naked heroine at his feet a crime against humanity, but then what do I know, I write slash.
Needless to say, Mrs. Baumbach – who shed a lot of money to attend this convention, print promos etc. – was not amused. As a matter of fact, she was very unamused and tried to track down the person in charge to find out what had been going on.
Heh. Have a wild guess.
Enter Sharon Murphy, RT staff, stage right. First she cited some obscure “complaining businessmen” (guys – what have you been doing at a “Romantic Times” convention? Just asking…)
When this didn't convince Mrs. Baumbach, it was explained that the problem with the promos were that they had been in boxes.
Nice try, next one, please.
“Too risqué, mon dieu!” was next. Because quite clearly, nekkid women arses are less offensive than nekkid male arses.
Very nice, dear, and what's behind door number three?
Behind door number three lurks Lance Barnes, Hyatt customer service manager and the one who made the decision to remove those items. His explanation was that – well, that it was his decision. So there. Suck it up and swallow, lady. End of discussion.
Off he went – you bet! – and that was it. “I'm not going to discuss this with you.”
Only, it wasn't, because we now come to the truly funny part of the story. If you go to the blog entry of Laura HERE you can find the full story and, luckily, many supportive messages.
Then enters, again from stage right (of course!), Carol Stacey, “Publisher of Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine”, who informs the world that “(…) my decision to not review these books has nothing to do with being homophobic. Some of my best friends are gay and in fact several attend our convention and have been friends for years and I love them dearly.
My decision is based on my “print” readership and the fact that the majority of my “print readers” are not interested in m/m books at this time.” (…)
Yes! Some of my best friends are gay! Yay! Everybody has gay friends! It's one big, happy gay, world!
And ever since then, things went downhill. Read and roll your eyes, folks. Some of those responses are things of beauty.
Much could be said about this incident, but as I was diggin' through my record collection yesterday (yes, I'm one of those oddities who still have 78rps at home), I found just the right soundtrack for that excursion into the land of the twittish:
Mama don't 'low no men kissin' 'round here…
Mama don't 'low no men shaggin' 'round here…
But we don't care what mama don't allow
Our men will kiss'n'shag anyhow!
Sounds best when sung in a chorus.
If you're interested in the Royal Navy of the 18th and early 19th century, you'll sooner or later stumble over the following CD:
“Roast Beef of Old England”
Jerry Bryant and Starboard Mess
According to the site where you can order the CD, it 's
“(…) a collection of traditional British sailor songs from that era, with an emphasis on the music of the lower-deck hands who manned the guns, worked the sails and did their duty at the battle of Trafalgar. (…)”
That it is, and then some! I found it to be great music to write to; it's easier to travel back in time – at least in written form – if you have the fitting soundtrack to go with it. And believe me: nothing beats riding on the bus at 8am with “Pleasant and Deligthful” on your MP3 player while you're surrounded by ten wannabe gangsta-rappers who try hard not to lose their fubus and look cool at the same time.
A bizarre yet “delightful” experience. I feel so rebellious and trendsetting.
Anyway. You can listen to all the tracks on the following website:
Whenever I buy CDs from “lesser known” artists, I try to do so through their own website, directly. Artists earn more money that way, and I don't mind the extra quid or two. Now that website, dear friends – that website's something special! You should order from them for the sole reason of seeing their confirmation emails.
Let me elaborate:
“Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with
sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure
it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Sunday, April 29th.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We're all
exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
An ego boost for little more that 15 quid – splendid! Well, CD Baby also offered the option to leave a message for the artist(s). Good thing, otherwise most artists would never get to hear from their customers. So I left a little note along the line of “great work, very inspiring, keep up the good work” and went my merry way.
“Thank you for your kind words on the recording Roast Beef of Old England. I am happy to know you are enjoying it. I am also glad to know that even in landlocked Switzerland there are fans of maritime literature and song.
Many good wishes for a pleasant springtime.”
This I'll have, dear friends, this I'll have.
So, I can only highly recommend the CD – which is excellent – and the website – which shall be sprinkled with stardust and showered with orders.
Go and buy, my lovelies – this is your chance to show the kids what's really hep. 😉