greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, I've survived that. Mostly, I'm just stiff and sore from lying down for the better part of two days, and bored silly, and in need of a shower. Spooky's still a bit ill, but her symptoms manifested about ten hours or so after mine did. Anyway, lousy fucking way to "ring in" the New Year.

Then again, why we do this, celebrate the exchange of one calendar for another, I admit it escapes me. We celebrated the arrival of 2011, which we apparently used up, so we celebrated the arrival of 2012. Benchmarks, I suppose. Congratulations that the world is still here. Something like that. Something must be celebrated to break up the days, most of which are unremarkable. For most.

For my part, 2011 was a vast improvement over 2010, though we struggled with a marked shortage of money the first half of the year. Still, 2011 was a year of recovery, I think, and of new beginnings. Not on the first of the year, but new beginnings strewn here and there throughout. The greatest of these is, of course, Alabaster, and my return to comics on my own terms – which I'd said for years was the only way I would return. But, too, I finished what is far and away the best novel I've written, The Drowning Girl, which will soon be out in the world. I did that, and still had the energy, somehow, to sit down and write another novel, Blood Oranges, which isn't even in the same league as The Drowning Girl, but which is quite a lot of fun, probably the last thing anyone could say about The Drowning Girl. Then there was the enormous success of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume 1), which still has me a little dizzy. And now Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book are on the way! Yeah, I'm tooting my own horn, as they are wont to say, but it was a good year, and the year to come ought be marvelous. And here is my recap of the short fiction I wrote this year:

01. "-30-"
02. "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash"
03. "The Carnival is Dead and Gone"
04. "Untitled 35"
05. "Figurehead"
06. "Fake Plastic Trees"
07. "Down to Gehenna"
08. "The Granting Cabinet"
09. "Slouching Towards the House of Glass Coffins"
10. "Evensong"
11. "Dear Daughter Desmodus"
12. "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W"
13. "Ex Libris"
14. "Another Tale of Two Cities"

That's three less than 2011, but when you consider that I wrote most of The Drowning Girl, all of Blood Oranges, the first three issues of Alabaster, and edited Two Worlds and In Between, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and The Yellow Book (the editing with a fucking enormous amount of help from Spooky and [livejournal.com profile] sovay) – I think that sort of explains why there was less short fiction this year. Also, I'll note that all but two of these were written for the digest.

And. Plus. The release of the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is only days away (slightly delayed, due to the illness).

There truly is little that can be said for yesterday. Most of it was spent horizontal, watching crap on the iPad, recovering. Though, I will add that you cannot banish Yog-Sothoth from any dimension with the microdrive of an iPod, Mr. Shirley. Though, I do wish that trick would work on the majority of Xtians and Republicans and on the Tea Party loons, the lot of them worse than any of the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods dreamt up by HPL. Because I'd gladly sacrifice Inara to that end.

Now, I'm going to go take a shower and hope I've enough energy left afterwards to work on Sirenia Digest. I absolutely could not afford two days of downtime, as these deadlines pile up on top of me, and now I have to scramble three times as fast to catch up. But, if Spooky's up to the trip to Whole Foods, we'll manage our annual New Years' dinner of black-eyed peas, collards, mac and cheese, and corn bread.

Vertical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
This is one of those rare mornings when I wake freezing, shivering, headachey, just shy of full-blown hypothermia, somehow having divested myself of all the blankets in the throes of this or that bad dream. And then I need two hours to get warm. Only, according to Spooky, I was actually being a bed hog, and if I'm cold it's my own damn fault.

Yesterday, I did an interview. An important interview. But I cannot yet say for whom or where it will appear. I will tell you as soon as I can. But it ate up more of the day than it should have. Also, I've gotten bloody sick of talking about myself. It's a little easier to talk about Imp or Sarah or Dancy, and almost as accurate since they're all overlapping aspects of me, anyway. To all prospective interviewers and would-be biographers of Me, I say to you, the only biography that's worth a good goddamn, the only truth-be-told, must first be filtered and fictionalized. You reduce the lives of women and men down to mere fact and history, and mostly you'll be left with the banal; if you're lucky, you'll get monotonous tragedy. Mythologize, though, and at least tragedy will seem noble, and even mundanity may be transformed and redeemed.

I am a writer, and my lot in life is to lie constantly, all the while never failing to tell the truth.

Today, I go back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," and hopefully finish it. It will come in Sirenia Digest #73, with a great illustration by Vince Locke, plus Chapter Two of the original (scrapped) attempt to write Silk, plus (!, I hope) a new science-fiction story. I hope. Maybe.

Yesterday, I saw the colored pages for one of the Alabaster stories, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, and wow.

An announcement. Every morning, or early afternoon, or mid afternoon, I spend anywhere from one to three hours on this journal. An hour and a half is about average, but let's say an hour, because round numbers are easier. That means I journalize seven hours a week, twenty-eight hours a month, three hundred and sixty-five hours a year (or about 15.2 days; and, in truth, a considerably larger sum). Think of all the stories or vignettes or work on novels I could get done in that time. And I've been doing this for more than eleven years, almost every single day! So, I'm thinking that after March, after the release of The Drowning Girl, I'm going to cease this every-goddamn-day blogging thing, this wearisome cataloging of the humdrum events of my humdrum life, and reserve the LJ for news of forthcoming books and of occasional interesting trips, saving untold hours that can be devoted to work, waking up, staring out the window, reading the day's news, et aliae. It's unlikely I'll change my mind.

It's looking now like the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl will go live until January 3rd, due to web-design issues. We have everything in place, it just has to be assembled. The new front page of my website, that is. The thirty-second trailer is edited and ready to post (thank you, Brian!).

Yesterday, well, not much else to tell. I read a pretty good story by David Barr Kirtley (whom, I admit, I'd never heard of before), and before bed I read Stuart Moore's graphic-novel story loosely based on Thomas Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin (2007), as illustrated by Colleen Doran (I worked with her on an issue of The Dreaming, but, offhand, I can't recall which one). I napped. I watched a PBS documentary on the AZORIAN Project and the 1974 attempt to raise the sunken Soviet submarine K-129. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic. And there was other stuff.

And now, I go forth to think on bivalves and cephalopods.

Warm Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
A day when you wake up two hours later than planned, well, there's not a lot you can do to salvage a day like that. Funny fucking thing is, yesterday I had a sort of panic & epiphany combo meal, realizing it was idiotic for me to think I could take a vacation from December 15th to January 3rd. That I thought the work would wait, or that I wouldn't be overwhelmed as soon as my playing hookey ended. So, I resolved to scrap the plans we had for this week (which included a trip to Yale and a trip to Marblehead, Mass.) and get back to work today.

And then...I didn't wake up until 1 p.m. (CaST).

Which sort of shredded my plans for today good and proper, and which is why it's 2:29 p.m. (CaST), and I'm only just starting my blog entry. I was going to get back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," but now I'm thinking, instead, I'll be lucky to deal with a bunch of email (one of the things I did yesterday, post-epiphany), then sign the signature sheets for the limited edition of A Book of Horrors (to be released by P.S. Publishing). But, in case you're curious (casually or otherwise), below is a list of what I have to have done between now and the end of January, and it ought to be enough to convince you of the folly of the "much-deserved vacation":

1. Produce Sirenia Digest #73, which means finishing "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" and writing another and as-yet-untitled science-fiction tale.
2. Editing Alabaster #3, as soon as I have my editor's notes.
3. Writing Alabaster #4
4. Keep track of the pages for Alabaster #2 as they're drawn and inked and colored.
5. Finishing making corrections to the mss. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (about three weeks overdue, at this point).
6. Travel to Philadelphia sometime in the second half of January to finish up filming the trailer for The Drowning Girl.
7. Get the front page of my website revamped for the release of The Drowning Girl, and get it done ASAP.
8. Compile a list of suggested panels and other assorted programming for Readercon 23 for Rose Fox.

I mean...what the fuck was I thinking! That I was tired? Sure I'm fucking tired, but that's no excuse. Last week, my psychiatrist was trying to convince me to "drop something" to reduce my workload, and I think I did a pretty unconvincing job of explaining why I can't drop anything, not without...

It's like this. Lots of people have a lot of trouble understanding what it's like to be a "famous writer" who is only just managing to squeak by financially. In this economic climate, you'd think it would be an easy enough matter to understand. But yes, the vacation is over, and I just have to hope there wasn't too much time frittered away.

As for yesterday, there was prune hamantashan, a trip to our storage unit in Pawtucket, a clove cigarette (actually, these days they're clove cigars, technically), short fiction by Norman Partridge, William Browning Spencer, and Michael Marshall Smith. Partridge's "Lesser Demons" is an interesting new take on the tiresome zombie trope, and Smith's story, "Fair Exchange" is just about the funniest Innsmouth story I've ever read. Normally, I don't like funny in my Lovecraft. Normally, I'm violently opposed to it, in fact. But if you read this story, and hear the narrator's voice as Jason Statham, from the days of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, it's a fucking hilarious story. Yesterday, the cold sky over Providence was so blue it was murderous – that wide carnivorous sky of which I've been speaking of for years.

Carnivorous,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a lot like today, if you only kept your eyes on the sky. Grey.

There's something grim hanging over me this early afternoon. It's familiar, but nothing that's been keeping me company lately. Maybe it's only because tomorrow is Cephalopodmas and Solstice. I need to go to the sea and make an appropriate offering. The weather is so cold and shitty, but I never used to let that stop me before. We're making octopus- and jellyfish-shaped sugar cookies, and I'll make a simple beef stew, beginning with a roux that includes a good stout. Probably not Guinness, though that's what I usually use. Maybe I'll make a huge breakfast on Friday morning. None of this is helping me lose weight.

Yesterday, I painted again. It would be soothing, I suppose. A soothing diversion, were my painting not, by necessity, such a violent act. Then again, maybe I find the violence soothing. Oh, and I have a postcard from Scotland in an antique Salmgundi Whitman's chocolates tin; that is, I just put the postcard in there so I wouldn't lose it. My office is an utter cacophony of paper and manuscript boxes, and it's easy to lose things.

Between now and mid-February, I desperately need a web monkey who'll work for all but free. I can offer inscribed, autographed books as remuneration. Mostly, I need the front page of my website converted from something that features The Red Tree to something that features The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, including the "teaser" trailer, which will later be replaced by the full two-minute version. The pages for The Red Tree would be placed elsewhere on the site. Easy stuff, yeah? But beyond my 1995 html skills. Hell, I'll even throw in a FREE one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest. If you want the job, say so here, in a comment, or email me a greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm sort of desperate. My publisher is useless on this front.

There was an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday evening after dark. The appointments are much less unnerving after dark, and she's a very pleasant woman whom I can talk to about almost anything. I'm always surprised at her forbearance.

I'm trying to listen to William Gibson's Neuromancer on audiobook, because it's been years since I read it. But the reader (remaining here nameless) has this annoying Southern accent, and he ends almost every sentence with an odd...how do I describe it? His voice dips and fades at the end of sentences, and, while he's good with Japanese and Russian accents, his attempts at reading female dialogue sounds like Monty Python drag. For dog's sake, just read the goddamn book, and stop trying to dramatize, even minimally. I'm very pleased I have so much control and say-so in the recording of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I've already made it plain I want not one whit of dramatization. Just a good reader, who will sound like Imp and simply read.

I cannot help but sing Death Cab for Cutie's "Someday You Will Be Loved" as a serial-killer song, always singing "Someday you will be loved" as "Someday you will be mine." Either way, it's a pretty harsh song. A killer or a cad.

Far too much SW:otR last night*. Spooky got the game yesterday, so now we're playing together. I rolled my second Sith inquisitor, and gods, she's adorable. Adorable evil. Like a half Nebari girl-child in Japanese schoolgirl mode, though she's actually human. Yes, I'm playing a bloody human, and liking it. Her name is Varla. Spooky's playing a Zabrak Sith warrior named Aisimetra. I didn't get to bed until 4:30 ayem (you tell yourself it's a bloody vacation, so it's okay to be bad kids), and only slept 6.5 hours.

And now I ought go and do vacating sorts of things. Except, today is a day of errands, preparing for tomorrow and ol' St. Cthulhu.

I want to see The Adventures of Tintin, but it's in blasted, fucking 3D motherfucking EVERYWHERE here, unless you can make an 11 ayem show (noon CaST). Yeah, right. That's gonna happen. Pretty much the same situation with Hugo, and Scorcese ought know better. When the hell is Hollywood going to accept that ticket sales on 3D movies have plummeted to about 20% of box-office revenue, mostly because of the more expensive tickets, and they're only throwing bad money after good (and destroying cinematography in the process)?

In the anti-holiday spirit,
Aunt Beast

* Oh, and no Xmas shit in SW:otR! Clearly, the Baby Jesus never reached either the Republic or the Empire. Woot!
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, there was more than a bit of drama on Facebook. Because I reposted an article unconditionally supporting a second term for President Obama, and pointing out what a bunch of loons the GOP has become. I'm honestly not sure when I started my FB page, but it was years ago. I must still have been in Atlanta. In all that time, I've found the need to ban only seven people. Yesterday, I banned two of those: a Mr. Tim Lieder and a Mr. Alexander Loeb. Weasels, the both of them, and one went so far as to imply that my wishing people not to comment on certain items I'd posted to my FB page was comparable to an accused child molester defending himself. No, I'm not making that up. Anyway, as of last night, my FB page is "friends only," which means it cannot be seen by the public. You can find my name and stuff, and request that I "friend you" (I fucking shudder at that phrase). Likely, I will. But Spooky has become adamant that I start screening people on FB.

---

It was a quiet day yesterday. I went back to work on the painting that was once called Black Ships Ate the Sky, back in 2010, but is now called Idumea (Charles Wesley, 1793). There will be a second canvas titled Black Ships Ate the Sky. If I ever finish this one. I paint like I write poetry, which is to say very, very, very slowly, as I dither. I fret. I may post an "in progress" photo of Idumea tomorrow.

In general, the vacation is agreeing with me. Not as much sleep last night, but I feel okay.

Oh! And this is so cool. I realized, a few days back, that if one takes bow tie and runs it together as bowtie, then capitalizes the "B," creating Bowtie, and then removes the "t," what remains is Bowie. How bow tie is that?! Also bow tie, just before we went to sleep, Spooky and I discovered how cool Artimesia looks when spelled backwards: aisemitrA. How much it recalls asymmetry.

---

Have you not yet ordered a copy (or copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and/or Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart? You should. Pre-orders make publishers very happy. And, in the case of the latter book, it may well sell out before publication, especially the limited edition.

---

Last night, Kathryn and I went to the Cable Car for a 9:45 p.m. (8:45 EST) showing of Lars von Trier's Melancholia. Gods, this film is as close to perfection as films ever come. Yes, it's ostensibly a film about a rogue planet's collision with Earth, but it's truly (as von Trier has confirmed) a film about depression. There could be no better example of the difference between truth and fact than Melancholia. This film is beautiful, and magnificent, sublime, triumphant, and terrifying. von Trier's decision to reveal the ending of the film at the beginning (same reason I included the editor's prologue at the beginning of The Red Tree), and to metaphorically recount the narrative (again at the beginning) via a dream sequence, both were strokes of genius. Melancholia is, somehow, quite different from Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, even though they share very much in common. Such as being my picks for the two best films of 2010*. Nothing even comes close to either. I greatly admire von Trier's decision to avoid a realistic depiction of astrophysics. As I have said again and again, characters are the backbone of powerful science fiction (and of all powerful fiction), not science. This is a film of wonder and beauty, as much as it is a film of sorrow and fear, and...I'm going on and on. Just see it.

Vacating,
Aunt Beast

* I suspect Scorsese's Hugo probably deserves to be in my best three of 2011, but a) it was released in 3D, an idiotic move, and b) I've not been able to see it in 2D.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Very cold in Providence today; my feet are spun glass.

Most of yesterday was a good day. I only managed about 500 words on "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea," because I realized it was a lot longer and a lot more complicated than I expected. Not the sort of thing you can do in a day, but maybe over the course of a week. Maybe. But it was still a good day. Spooky came back from the p. o. box with a letter from Harlan, the Coolest T-Shirt Ever® (see the photos behind the cut), and Solstice gifts from my mother. I saw Brian's final cut for the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It's truly gorgeous, light-fucking-years beyond what I expect from book trailers, and I wish I could show it to you now. There was a spaghetti for supper, a favorite, because, when it comes to food, I'm pretty easy to please.

And then, early last night, it all went to hell, and it did so violently, a shitstorm to lay any good day low. I'm I'm still not on an even keel. I think it was very after six ayem before I got to sleep. Like maybe six-thirty, but I honestly have no fucking idea, and it probably doesn't matter. I read stuff, like a Peter Crowther short story, "Ghosts With Teeth." Mostly, I sat in the smoking crater that was the night, and tried not to think, and the harder I tried not to, the more I did. So, five and a half hours sleep? Possibly six? I can't even call it insomnia.

So, Two Worlds and In Between keeps making these "best of" lists. Seriously, it seems like it makes a new one each day. Yesterday, it was an article at io9, "Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Books that Make Perfect Gifts" (at least io9 knows how to capitalize a headline). The ironic thing, though, is that the book is, essentially, out of print, and will likely remain so for a while to come. Subterranean Press is sold out. Amazon.com claims to have a few copies (and I stress a few), but I wouldn't trust them as a source for this book, not after they fucked so many people over on the preorder. Better you try AbeBooks or Powell's, both of whom have it in stock, I believe. Point is, it's not like you can't get the book, just that it's quickly getting very hard and expensive to get the book. Which seems ironic. Or maybe I ought take that as a compliment. And yeah, my agent's working in selling another edition (and foreign language rights), but that's something far down the road, if it ever happens at all.

Also, while I very much appreciate receiving gifts, please don't send me ebooks. I didn't even know you could do that, give someone an ebook, until someone did try to give me one, and I got this download coupon thingy from Amazon. For a Kindle. Of course, anyone who reads this journal knows I loathe ebooks on principle, and I do not now (nor ever shall I) own a Kindle. So, while I also know that ebooks are almost as cheap as the air they're printed on, it's probably best not to waste your money on something I'll never see. Or even want to ever see.

As we approach the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and the first issue of Alabaster, which is to say March and April, respectively, I'm planning public appearances. Yeah, I haven't made a habit of that, but now I have to. There are a lot of plans, but here are the only two "for sure" dates (times TBA, and more to come, mostly nestled between March 6th and sometime in June):

April 4: North Kingstown Free Public Library, Rhode Island Voices series (reading/talk)
April 18: KGB Bar (Manhattan), Fantastic Fiction series (reading)

And here are the T-shirt photos, which I'm going to trying to believe are all that there was to yesterday (I love my expression of innocence, displaying my ignorance of what was soon to come). Well, it and the finished book trailer:

Versus )


By the way, if there are typos in the entry, all I can say is you're lucky there's any entry at all.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Quite cold in Providence today, and colder tonight. Presently 36˚ Fahrenheit, crawling towards a high of 39˚.

Assembly Day #72 went pretty much as expected: not as tedious as many, but still tedious enough to annoy a person who, like me, can't seem to abide even the smallest jot of tedium. Regardless, Sirenia Digest #72 went out last night, well before midnight, and all subscribers should have it by now. I'm especially interested in thoughts on "Another Tale of Two Cities."

Beyond pulling the digest together, which took several hours, there isn't much else to say about yesterday. Work, work, and work. And, in lieu of anything even remotely interesting to say about that work, here are some Reminding Links:

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart

Alabaster

Oh, and if you're into this sort of thing, here's my Amazon wishlist and here's Spooky's. What with Solstice and Cephalopodmas looming dark and gibbous on the horizon. You know, for kids. Distraction is always welcome.

---

Mon monsieur, mon amour, le Comte de Insomnie, made an unexpected return last night. Perhaps something went amiss with the laudanum, a bad batch from the apothicaire. A misplaced dash from a tincture of cocaïne, possibly. At any rate, last night, trying to get sleepy, and so I read Lisa Tuttle's recent short story, "The Man in the Ditch," because Tuttle has written some good stuff, and I liked the title. Sadly, the story is bland, only competent, and infected with an especial sort of bland, formulaic mundanity I'm seeing in a lot of "horror" these days, both written and in film. Couple moves into house, apartment, condo, old farm only to discover that the domicile is haunted by malevolent spirit of X (insert generic EVIL entity of your choice). Family X (which can be nuclear or otherwise, pure or tainted, possessed of children or not, but they are pretty much always heterosexual) soon meets terrible fate at the hands of X, or, more rarely, escapes after the fashion of The Amityville Horror (1977) or Spielberg's Poltergeist (1982); Ryan Murphy is turning this tired trope on its ear with his American Horror Story, by the way, by mocking the various incarnations of X and by making the ghosts sympathetic and the X Family the true monsters/invaders. Point is, these are the sorts of films that when Spooky and I are looking for something to stream from Netflix we automatically skip over, the sorts of books I avoid. Anyway, despite its intriguing title, "The Man in the Ditch" is exactly such a story.

Which leads me to wonder exactly what all these straight couples are afraid of. The intrusion of the Outside, the Unknown, via a supernatural agency? No, I think that's only a metaphor – the ghosts and demons and whatnot. They are merely tiresome phantoms trotted out for more mundane (there's that word again) threats: infidelity, an inability to conceive, sudden infant death syndrome, bankruptcy and foreclosure, children who indulge in drugs or engage in sex or who turn out to be queer or who run away from home, termites in the walls, AIDS and other STDs, bedbugs, and so forth. But instead of writing about those things, it's all dressed up in the metaphor of "horror." And it's dull as small-curd cottage cheese, and it makes me weary. I may miss a beat now and then, kittens, but I promise never to bore you with such painful domesticity. Lisa Tuttle, you can do better than this.

At any rate, the vacation does not begin until the 15th, so I must get to work.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Martha Jones)
Er...yeah. I just wasted half an hour searching for a Martha Jones icon. It's what I do. Well, it's the sort of thing I do. Sometimes. Like this morning.

Yesterday, was a bit like the day before yesterday, only less so. Still mostly the busyness of writing, and too much email, but not as much too much email, and with the added burden of waiting. Few things in the world are as evil as waiting. I'm pretty sure that there's a whole level of Dante's Unabridged Inferno (to be published in 2019) where the damned suffer an eternity of...waiting. Nothing else. Just waiting. Yesterday, the waiting mostly involved Alabaster, and deadlines, and the impending vacation. Oh, and I went through the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, literally frame by frame, then sent a few notes to Brian Siano. He's doing the final editing this weekend. It's almost perfect.

Then, just after dark, Harlan called to thank me for sending him a copy Two Worlds and In Between (he'd called and asked for one), and he went on and on about how much he loved Lee's cover. Which is cool, because I was inspired to go in that direction by several of Harlan's covers which incorporate him as an element of a fantastic scene (see The Essential Ellison, for example). And then he read me the first part of "Rats Live On No Evil Star," and...well, these are the moments writers live for, aren't they? When our literary progenitors, those without whom we would not be, speak our own words back to us, words they helped, without intention, to fashion? Yes, I think these are those moments. Anyway, Harlan was generous and sweet and funny, as always.

---

Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun,
When a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies,
Night will fall and the dark will rise,
When a good man goes to war.

Demons run, but count the cost:
The battle's won, but the child is lost.
~ River Song

Which is to say we watched two more episodes of Doctor Who last night, two more from Series Six: "A Good Man Goes to War" and "Let's Kill Hitler." And I will just say that, wow, "A Good Man Goes to War" redeems Series Six and back again. Damn, that was some good Who. And, as [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme predicted yesterday, I truly am enamored with Madam Vastra and Jenny. But some actual Victorian lesbian lizard-on-human action, please. Unmistakable innuendo is nice and all, but full on...um...I'm losing my train of thought. It is an excellent, excellent episode, as is "Let's Kill Hitler." There might yet be hope for Matt Smith (but not for Rory, who is only Xander recycled).

Also, more Rift last night (as per usual), leveling (Indus to 37) in the Moonshade Highlands. Later, I read a very, very good story, Angela Slatter's The Coffin-Maker's Daughter. I'd never read Slatter, but the story was very good, and was, indeed, about a coffin-maker's daughter, Hepsibah, who was herself a maker of coffins, and also a lesbian. What's not to like? Oh, plus Slatter was inspired by two Florence + the Machine songs, "My Boy Builds Coffins" and "Girl With One Eye." Then I read a new Stephen King story, "The Little Green God of Agony." As I've said, I don't care much for King, but I liked the title. And the story has a certain strength, and wasn't bad, if only the ending hadn't veered off into such clichéd creep-show horrors. If your stories fall apart when the monster appears on stage, stop writing about monsters. I drifted off to sleep sometime after four ayem, watching Frank Borzage's 1932 adaptation of A Farewell to Arms, which really is better than Charles Vidor's 1957 version, and not just because Gary Cooper is cooler than Rock Hudson.

Also, because I was admonished in yesterday's comments by [livejournal.com profile] mizliz13 for using the recently overused and perverted adjective awesome, and admonished rightly so, from here on I shall use "bow tie" in its stead.

---

Today is an assembly day. I must pull Sirenia Digest #72 together, and try to get it out before midnight (CaST). By the way, "Question @ Hand #5" will be the last "Question @ Hand." Indeed, I've half a mind not to run it, but that would be a sleight to the few people who did write pieces (and the one who wrote two!). I think that the decline in replies (#1 had over 30, about a year and a half ago; #5 had 10 responses) is further evidence of the dramatic changes here on LJ.

And now, the platypus.

Don't Get Cocky, Kid,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
A cold, cold morning here in Providence. Okay, maybe not that cold.

Today, I allow myself a few more sentences than in my entry before last.

Yesterday was the writerly equivalent of having to spend a day running errands all over town. There were email conversations (which I'm never, ever going to get used to, though they do allow me to avoid phone calls) with my agent and her assistant; with Brian Siano regarding the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl to be released in January (a two-minute trailer will be released in March); my editor at Dark Horse; Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press; my publicist at Penguin; David Shaw at Readercon; and even Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) and Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay).

And then I remembered I'd not made corrections to "Another Tale of Two Cities," so I did that. I much prefer days when I actually have to write.

Have you ever paused to marvel at the eloquence and beauty of the humble question mark? See, there it is. Humble and beautiful and profoundly useful. But, and also, not always requiring an answer, and, sometimes when an answer is required, not always requiring that answer be spoken aloud. Other times, there is and cannot be an answer. That there are no rules to tell you when a question mark is meant to function in one of those roles only makes it that much more sublime, as it does what a question should do: it inspires introspection and critical thought. Silence or hushed consideration or heated debate. Too many questions meant to remain unanswered, excepting in the mind of the reader, are answered aloud, and, likewise, too many that are asked to elicit external investigation and active response go ignored (or even unrecognized). But, still, there is that eloquence in all question marks, which requires so much care on the part of both the user and the reader.

After work yesterday, after a nap, and after chili, we watched last week's episode of American Horror Story (I love that they got in Elizabeth Short), then two episodes of Doctor Who (and aside from Neil's episode, I reluctantly say I am not loving this season), and then very fine guild RP in Rift (thank you all who participated!), and then I read a very good long short story (novelette?) by the awesome Elizabeth Hand, "Near Zennor." I fell asleep watching Charles Vidor's adaptation of A Farewell to Arms (1957). And that, kittens, was yesterday.

Today will likely be as hectic, with no writing, just the busyness of writing. Blegh. Spooky and I have to do the final read-through on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart in the next few days, before my vacation begins on the 15th. And if you haven't yet ordered your copy, best you do so now. Because you know how it goes. And ORDER DIRECTLY FROM SUBTERRANEAN PRESS, because Amazon might well fuck you over, as many can attest.

Off To See The Lizard,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Er...even though I hardly slept and rose too early (around eleven ayem.), I'm running late. So this will be a short entry. I'm pretty sure few will be annoyed by that, as LJ is dying, and even I, the lowly rat, is readying to leave this sinking ship. How do I know LJ is dying? All I have had to do is watch the decline in my Friends' List (they've deserted LJ en masse this past year), and the decline in comments. LJ is now mostly for slash fic and 'shipper communities. Oh, I have to keep going here until February 13th, so that I'll have blogged here one full year without missing a day. But I've already moved most of my LJ to Dreamwidth (along with comments). I tried TypePad, but found it unfathomably complex and counter-intuitive. If I can't solve a problem on my own, without recourse to "tutorials," I have no interest in it; always have I been this way, since I taught myself to read before kindergarten. Anyway, fuck you in both ears and twice on Sunday Facebook, and fuck you Twitter, you shallow, instant-gratification, no-effort-required motherfucker.

Now I've gotten that out, an exciting bit of news regarding The Drowning Girl, which is Thing #2 that I was waiting for the go-ahead from my agent yesterday before announcing; I only got the go-ahead about ten minutes ago. It was an uncommonly complex process, getting permission to release this news. But! The Drowning Girl audiobook (I don't hate audiobooks the way I hate ebooks, you may recall), will be released as part of the Neil Gaiman Presents (!!!!) series, which is likely to give the book a huge boost in sales and readership (or listenership). It also gives me veto/approval of readers, and they are open to my suggestions for readers, and receptive to the idea that I want a reading not a dramatization. I've known this for at least a month, but finalizing and all takes forever. So, woot, and thank you, all involved.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,178 words on "Another Tale of Two Cities." Spooky says "It's like Dr. Seuss, only very dark and for grownups." Me, I have no idea what she's talking about, except I did do an entire panel at Readercon 21 on Dr. Seuss as weird fiction. And "Another Tale of Two Cities" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #72) is definitely weird fiction.

This is your LAST and FINAL notice about Question @ Hand #5, because I'm weary of nagging. A number of people who promised responses haven't yet delivered, which is a shame. I have four; I need at least seven. So, I'm extending the deadline until Friday (but that's not an excuse to drag your feet), since I'm probably not going to get the digest out until Saturday (the 10th, as announced earlier), anyway. I'd really love to see more replies. This isn't rocket science. It's only mad science.

Last night, after pizza and Rift, I finished the biography of Barnum Brown. Wonderful book, wonderful man. I finally fell asleep about about five ayem to Hud (1963), an old favourite. Spooky just told me Harry Morgan has died at age 96. I admire greatly that he never once appeared on a talk show.

Mourning That Which Is Passing Away, Into The West, Like The Elves
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (zoe1)
And as you cross the circle line,
Well, the ice wall creaks behind.
You´re a rabbit on the run.
~ Jethro Tull

Comment, kittens! Comment!

1) Two "BIG" announcements today, and you might get one now and one later, or both now, depending on when and what I hear from my agent. But. I may proceed with Thing #1: Subterranean Press has begun taking pre-orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yes, now. Right now. The book is scheduled for release in Spring 2012. And I'm just going to say this upfront: Order directly from subpress, because Amazon is very likely to fuck you over. Many people who pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin & Others and Two Worlds and In Between had Amazon cancel their orders. So...don't even go there. Anyway, that's the first announcement. The second is dependent on whether or not I hear back from my agent before she goes to lunch (which now seems unlikely).

2) Yesterday was meant to be the day I wrote the next 1,000-1,500 words of "Another Tale of Two Cities." Instead, it was unexpectedly consumed by the need to unexpectedly leave the house and attend to a legal matter, regarding the second announcement I've not yet made, power-of-attorney stuff related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but I cannot yet say what that is, remember? Anyway, most of the day was spent with legalese and a notary public and UPS and the post office (USPS costs ~$65) and I did at least stop into Myopic Books at Wayland Square and once again drool over used copies of Sankar Chatterjee's The Rise of Birds ($15) and Lowell Dingus and Timothy Rowe's The Mistaken Extinction ($30), but was good and did not buy either (again). That was what happened to yesterday. Oh, and traffic.

3) I hate to keep "hating on" (a phrase for morons, hence shutter quotes) Kermit the iPad, but I fear he is the shape of things to come with Apple. Which is to say, the intuitive nature of Apple products, which is a large part of my loyalty, is missing from the iPad. It's like I'm wrestling with mysterious alien tech. What do all those little (unlabeled) pictographs mean? Which microscopic button in the side did I touch that made the screen go black this time? And so on.

4) I know this might have, so far, seemed like a "happy entry." But I am anywhere but at the moment. Lots of reasons. And this is my blog, so here I may bellyache about these matters. A large part of it is that all those years I had to go without healthcare (mostly neurological and psychiatric) did a great deal of damage to my body. And every time I plug one hole, another pops open. I'm beginning to think I'm going to drown in only a year or two. Sure, money's not so tight now, but "not so tight" is a long way from I can afford to have my rotten teeth and gums attended to, for example. Or from we can afford to get Spooky the checkup she's needed for years. And there are days it would scare the hell out of me, were I not so suicidal. By the way, the suicidal hypochondriac, there's a funny one, no? No, not really. But it does embody the true meaning of irony, and it does bring a smile to my face (a rare thing, that). And maybe the next year or two will change all this. And maybe it won't.

5) There is a game I like to play with myself. What if my life had taken a completely different course? It's no secret I do not love writing, no matter how good I might be at it. It's no secret my first love is vertebrate paleontology, and one of the great tragedies of my life was the derailment of my paleo' career in the late '80s by an elaborate combination of factors, too complex to here explain. That the writing career was a fallback (I was lucky to have) that arose from the ashes. I played the game last night. I would post the results here (seven steps were involved), but it would seem too much like self-pity, and while I may pity another, I may not feel pity for myself. We have all been conditioned to believe that's wrong.

6) Three matters I need to attend to, and I'm posting them here because it'll help me not forget (the Lamictal [Lamotrigine] plays havoc with my memory). Firstly, I need to send ReaderCon an updated biography, because the one they have now is very out of date. Secondly, and on a related note, I need to get new bibliographical and biographical data to the Writer's Directory before December 17th. Thirdly, back to ReaderCon, I need to send Rose Fox a list of any programming I'd like as one of the two Guests of Honor, and I need to do it before the end of the month (suggestions welcome).

7. Question @ Hand #5, kittens! Do not disappoint me. We've gotten a couple of good entries, but I need about five more, or Sirenia Digest will be the poorer for the absence of any at all. I'm not asking for great literature, okay? Oh, and don't email me your answer, please. Write them in LJ; this makes my life easier.

8. Spooky and I had a HUGE Rift binge last night, leveling my Eth warrior, Indus (she has a spectral feline companion named River) from Level 32 to 34, and we got Dancy (yes; a Kelari cleric) leveled the same. Please come and play with us (Faeblight shard, guild Watchers of the Unseen). Here is your chance to take part in an interactive story written by "one of our essential writers of dark fiction" (the NYT says so!), and you're letting it pass you by? Inconceivable!

Oh, gods. That's enough.

Spun About,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
But I won’t follow you into the rabbit hole.
I said I would, but then I saw
Your shivered bones.
They didn’t want me to.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

0) We must have slept a little more than eight hours. This almost never happens. Now I'm achey and stiff and disoriented and dreamsick, but later I suppose I will be glad for the rest. Oh, and the Starbuck icon; I think I'm slowly working my way through my space-opera heroines.

1) Yesterday, work, work, work. I spent two hours signing signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I might have killed a pen. And those things – pens, I mean – don't grow on trees, you know. But now they are all signed and will go back to Subterranean Press on Monday (lots of mail going out on Monday, so watch out, you postal folk). And then the day was slipping away so fast, and Spooky and I had planned a full-on Kid Night, and I didn't want to work after dark (not that I ever do; it squicks me out, working after dark, which makes the winters hard). So, I could choose to work on the short story about the two women who become cities, or I could choose to work on the third (and very, very, very different incarnation of "Sexing the Weird"). Having already gone over the inked Alabaster pages, I chose "Sexing the Weird," though I'm sort of chomping at the bit to get the story (or vignette) written. And I have only thirteen days until The Vacation (!!), and by then I need to have Sirenia Digest #72 finished and out to subscribers and write Alabaster #4 before the vacation. Also, Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) is finishing up her afterword for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I am very much looking forward to reading.

2) A pretty damn cool article, one that Spooky just brought to my attention: "Lobster pot tag washes up across the Atlantic 2 decades after 'Perfect Storm.'" Ignore how badly written that headline is, that it ought to be "Lobster Pot Tag Washes Up Across the Atlantic Two Decades After 'Perfect Storm.'" Point is, a lobster tag lost twenty years ago traveled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from Cohasset in southern Massachusetts to Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. Very cool. Except for the fact that people are forgetting how to write headlines.

3) Writers exist, in part, to remind people of things they might otherwise forgot. For example, Question @ Hand 5. Get those answers in!

4) Look for a new round of eBay auctions before Solstice/Cephalopodmas. These will all be souvenirs from our three-day shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer, and will also include an ARC of the novel. And a moonstone signed by the whole cast and crew. And clothing that Imp (Nicola Astles) wore in the trailer. And...stuff. We hope to shoot a little more footage this winter in Philadelphia, but money will be needed, and that's what this auction will help to fund.

5) A truly grand Kid Night last night. After a Kid Meal of fish sticks, mac and cheese, and tater tots, we ate cupcakes and watched The Goonies (1985), followed by our second viewing of Super 8 (2011). When The Goonies was first released, I was in college, twenty-two, I think. And I was on beyond unimpressed. I remain unimpressed. What a silly, silly movie, but it made Spooky smile. Super 8, on the other hand, is bloody fucking brilliant. By the way, when Steve Lieber asked me who my dream casting for the role of Dancy in a film version of Alabaster would be, I did not hesitate to name Elle Fanning. And he got it so right, that now it sort of creeps me out watching her.

6) After Kid Night wound down, Spooky used the iPad to watch episodes of Art:21 on PBS, while I read Chapter Ten of the Barnum Brown biography I'm reading.

7) And now, I leave you with a photograph Spooky took while I was signing yesterday. I am not at my most glamorous (I rarely am these days), still in my pajamas, wearing my Jayne Cobb hat and Imp sweater and chewing a pen:

2 December 2011 )


Feelin' Scruffy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
An excerpt from a beautiful, beautiful short film/book trailer for one of the best books of 2011, by one of my favorite musicians, and a book that was powerful influence on The Drowning Girl:

Paradoxical Undressing - Trailer (edit) from kristin hersh on Vimeo.



And many of our Providence haunts are glimpsed.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
I like art that at first makes you mad. Good art provokes and inspires, baffles and even shocks us. Sometimes with its beauty, sometimes with its amazing ugliness. ~ John Waters

Why is this not perfectly fucking obvious? Why do people have to be told these things by artists? Why is the self-evident evidently so hard to see?

1) A busy day yesterday, so a subset:
a. I wrote pages Sixteen and Seventeen on the third issue of Alabaster. Dialogue is one thing. Choreographing the movement of three "actors" is another. The latter is a bitch.
b. My editor at Dark Horse (Hi, Rachel!) sent me Steve's pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17-25, and they are, in a word, wonderful. Also, a Paul Benedict troll! Anyway, today I have to get notes together on these pages before the inking, though, truthfully, the notes will be few.
c. More conversation with Brian Siano about the final cut of the "teaser" trailer we'll be releasing in January for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think people are going to be amazed.
d. My contributors' copies of the Lightspeed: Year One collection arrived, which compiles all the stories that appeared in the website's first year online. Edited by John Joseph Adams, it reprints "Faces in Revolving Souls," which, I have to admit, I'm not very fond of anymore. However, the collection as a whole is really quite awesome (the presence of OSC notwithstanding, and never mind the homophobic bastard's name is the first listed on the cover).

You know...this was going to be a much longer entry...

...but I keep writing paragraphs...

...and I keep erasing them. It's just that sort of morning. I'll do better tomorrow. Or later tonight.

But if you're in my Rift guild, do please remember that Thursday night is the next scheduled RP event. And one more thing, please have a look at last night's posted "Question @ Hand." I'm going to be accepting replies for several days, and I want to see some very good stuff. By the way, silly, hand-waving bad science is perfectly acceptable, in this case. I'm hoping for at least seven replies we can use in Sirenia Digest #72.

Oh! Also I've gotten word that people are beginning to receive the first round of rewards from Kickstarter we did for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think these are prints of some of Kyle's photos. Pleased note that the rewards will be going out to donors in several waves, and that the last batch can't be mailed until after the book is published in March 2012.

And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for reminding me that "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key" is now online, my contribution to Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's marvelous anthology, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. This online version includes the color photograph of the artefact, which appears in black and white in the anthology.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Over breakfast (oatmeal with raisins and walnuts), I realized I am presently qualified for three jobs:

1) Writing
2) Writing
3) Time Lord

I forgot, yesterday, to write about the nightmare I'd just had (this morning's dreams were bad, but, mercifully, all but incomprehensible), and maybe that was for the best. But I remembered yesterday afternoon, so I'll write it down now. I (well, another me; the Me of Dream has a thousand forms, and rarely is she this me) discovered, much to my surprise that someone had made a film of Silk. Entirely without my knowledge. Finally, I was able to see it, and, to start with, it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the novel. Secondly, it had clearly been filmed in the seventies, and was this weird quasi-exploitation thing filled with sordid hetero-normative relationships and guys sporting pornstaches. Like I said, this film had nothing at all to do with the book, nothing, but it was all over the place, and the dream seemed like weeks went by while I tried to understand how this abomination had been made. I woke up feeling vaguely raped. By the way, you can fool LJ into knowing how to spell heteronormative if you hyphenate the word to create a compound adjective, as above (and if you don't know what the word means, look it up). And, yeah, it sounds sort of funny, this dream. But it wasn't. It wasn't ironic ha-ha. It was truly infuriating.

Yesterday I wrote pages Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and Eleven of Alabaster #3. I thought I'd only written four pages, but then I was in the tub and Spooky was reading it (she's still not well), and she informed me I'd written Page Eleven. Yes, I have declared Page Eleven to be a proper noun. Anyway, among the things I've forgotten over the years is that it's very, very, very hard to write comics well, and if you think otherwise, you've never written comics. Anyway anyway, I'm now exactly halfway through #3. The deadline I warned my editor I was likely to miss almost certainly will not be missed, because I am incapable of not working. I just hope it's good, this book. And I mean utterly, fucking, blow-your-mind-away good.

And, another bit of yesterday, Brian sent me several rough cuts from the innards of the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl that we'll be releasing in January. Let me just say, I think people will be astounded at what they see. I know I'm astounded. Mostly that we made this. Me and Brian and Kyle and Nicola and Sara and Dani and Spooky and Geoffrey and Ryan and everyone who donated to the Kickstarter crowdsourcing thingy. We made this! Anyway, I owe Brian an email, but the teaser nears completion, I think.

Currently, I'm trying to figure out how to shed about ten pounds (mostly around my waist), build muscle, and...you know...get the fuck into shape again. I'm too old to be this out of shape. Maybe it's no longer acceptable to speak of being in "bad shape." But fuck that. I am. Swimming this summer was helping a lot, but then it got cold. Mostly, I sit in this chair. My dietary habits are circumspect. I get virtually no exercise (even though my "rotten feet" are better, this is not a neighborhood for walking and jogging, and, besides, jogging ruins your knees and I already have bad knees from paleontology work). I don't sleep enough. My stress levels are through the roof. I work like a fiend. Most of my meds (while very necessary) come with a long list of awful side effects, including weight gain. I'm listless, and I'm winded by a single flight of stairs (a problem in this house). And don't think I'm chasing some incarnation of the "Beauty Myth." I'm 47.5, and I'd prefer not to develop diabetes or a heart condition or something worse before I'm fifty (remember: no healthcare here), and that means getting into shape. Spooky and I are talking about a trial gym membership. But what I really need is a swimming pool.

At least Indus got a good workout last night....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
0. Epic entry time. Comment, kittens. Let's have tomorrow all over again, and...

1. ...know you have my grateful thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. That's what I like to see. I do apologize for not responding to all of you. So, now...

2. ...I'm sitting here trying to remember what I was doing yesterday before everything sort of went to hell. Oh, but wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. Night before last, I slept less than four hours, and as the day wore on it became evident that my body had reached the end of its ability to take abuse. The last few days – all the work, the stress, dehydration, and exhaustion – finally took their toll. I managed the journal entry and a lot of email before I realized I was just too fried to do much else. I emailed my editor at Dark Horse to warn her that Alabaster #3 was probably going to be late by a couple of days (the deadline was November 30th). She was very cool about it, so thank you cool comic-book lady. This means that all I have left to do this "month" is:

a) Write Alabaster #3.
b) Go over the pencils for Alabaster #1 as soon as they come in.
c) Write something new for Sirenia Digest #72.

And I have nine days in which to do it. Well, given that the digest comes out on the fifth of each month now, that means I technically have fourteen days (hence the shutter quotes around month). Everything would be going more or less fine had I not wasted three days on an introduction I eventually scrapped. But yeah, fourteen days, two weeks. I can do that blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back, standing on one foot, whistling "Dixie." Of course, then I'll have to immediately write Alabaster #4 and get to Sirenia Digest #73. Oh, and be sure the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is ready to go up (AT A THEATRE NEAR YOU!) at the beginning of January. And, somewhere in all that, the galleys for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will likely rear their ugly head, but...

3. ...come hell or high water, mine and Spooky's genuine vacation begins December 15th and runs until January 3rd. Nineteen days free of work. Well, except for the inevitable, unforseen, this-can't-wait-until-later-because-you're-a-writer emergencies. Anyway...

4. ...as it became clear yesterday that I'd pushed myself just a little too far (about three p.m., I think), I said "Fuck it," and started downloading the software for this coming weekend's Beta of Star Wars: The Old Republic onto the Asus; this despite my comments of November 15th. I always forget how bloody long this shit takes. I think, total, the download took somewhere in the neighborhood of ten hours. And there will still be patches every day, all for a game I have a feeling I'm going to hate. But yeah, that, and...

5. ...I had a hot bath, as the exhaustion was beginning to clamp down hard on my muscles (this is about the time I stopped replying to comments in the blog). I fell asleep in the tub. Spooky woke me. I dressed and crawled away to the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fireplace, but couldn't get back to sleep. For dinner there was leftover chili. Spooky and I decided to watch Cloverfield for the tenth time or so. By then, I was beginning to think maybe it was more than exhaustion, that I might actually have caught something. We were watching the movie, and suddenly, as the monster ripped Manhattan apart, strange booming began outside. I mean, loud booming noises. They sounded remarkably like the booming noises in the film. After some moments of creeped-out confusion, we went downstairs, and, standing in the middle of the street, we could see fireworks going off to the east, near downtown or the the northernmost end of Narragansett Bay. Turns out, yesterday was the 375th anniversary of the City of Providence....and neither of us knew. So, boom, boom, boom. We went back in and finished watching the movie, and I felt worse...and worse...and worse. Now, and a smart...

6. ...person would have packed it in and tried to go to sleep. Instead, I asked Spooky to read to me from House of Leaves. And after that, I dragged myself back into the office to see that the Asus was still downloading the main assest for SWTOR. So, I paused it and we played some Rift. Turns out, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack was on, so there was guild chatter. Where are you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus! And don't tell me CoX. We need more players to get the RP going again. At any rate, Spooky and I were in the middle of our Iron Pine dailies, when suddenly I felt like a mac truck hit me. I managed the quest from Exile's Den, and really did crawl away to bed. Moaning and slightly feverish. I was, by this time, 95% sure I was dying (yeah, drama queen). I lay in the snarl of comforters, reading a biography of Barnum Brown, titled Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex. Finally, I gave up, as the pages weren't making much sense. I set the iPad to stream Andrew Marton's Crack in the World (1965), and finally, mercifully, found sleep, and didn't awaken until 11:30 this ayem, after almost eight hours of sleep. Oh, I almost forgot to...

7. ...mention that Trion has finally succumbed to the holidays. I thought we were safe. Unlike WoW, which senselessly includes pretty much every Western holiday, hardly even thinly disguised, Rift has been blessedly free of such bullshit. But no. Last night we were hit with "Fae Yule." As kids these days are won't to say, >.>, right? Right. Now, I'm pretty sure the baby Jesus never made it to Telara, but here was all this Xmas bullshit, only faintly made to seem like a response to the invasion of the dragon of air, Crucia. Oh, and never mind how angry it makes me that these games keep stealing the names of pagan celebrations to mask Xtian celebrations. After all, that's been going on forever in the "real" world. Anyway, yeah, do the holiday quests, get enough "special snowflakes" to buy a fucking Corgi dog with fucking antlers and a red fucking Rudolph nose. I shit you not, kiddos. Trion, you have let me down. Fuck you.

Epilogue: Don't mean to be picking on anyone, but ereaders do not contain books. They contain nothing more than computer code, just artless zeroes and ones.

PS: My niece rocks.

I've Felt Better,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
0. Comments, please. Prove to me LJ is not dead (again). I'm sick to death of self-fulfilling prophecies. You comment, I'll reply. Cause and effect.

1. Never, ever tell people on Facebook that "A release date has been set for the release on my first studio CD since 1999, which is called LOVEAMOEBA (band of the same name). TBA." Because, while this looks, to me, like a very obvious practical joke, many other people will appear to take it seriously. C'mon, guys. Loveameoba? No. Anyway, apologies. This whole humor thing, this beast has yet to master it in any way as to please anyone but herself.

2. I dozed off sometime after four, and woke at nine. Ayem, that is. If there's a part of me that doesn't hurt, please write my brain a letter to that effect. Er...wait. No, if there's a bit of my anatomy that is not in agony, it needs to send a telegram to my brain. Oh, wait. I mean, it needs to phone home. Oh...shit. I mean, it needs to twat at my brain. Yeah, that's what I mean. Hold on. What year is this?

3. A long phone call with my agent yesterday, at 2 CaST (1 EST), regarding Blood Oranges, ebooks, The Drowning Girl, etc. & etc. The usual. It seemed like we talked for an hour, though I suspect it was more like twenty minutes. Still feels like an hour. Afterwards, I discovered I was still so disgusted with the travesty that is "Sexing the Weird" that I couldn't even think about writing. I went with Spooky while she ran errands, instead. Sometimes, even the bland light of late autumn in Providence is better than the light of this monitor.

4. So, yeah. A Question @ Hand will be posted here tomorrow. All replies will be screened and will be confidential. The ten responses that please me the most will appear in Sirenia Digest #72. Anyone with any last moment ideas should post them here today. You know, like "If a circle of Dante's hell were to be designed especially for me, what would it be like?" Or "If you were to choose me as the test subject for an experiment involving the effects of a genetically designed parasite, what would the organism be, and what effect would it have upon me?" See. That sort of thing.

5. If I cannot put it on my shelf, it's not book. And no, placing a Kindle or a Nook or a whatever on the shelf doesn't count. Call it a data-storage or media delivery device. I have no problem with that. But it's not a book.***

6. Later this week Kathryn will be beginning a new round of eBay auctions (the first in a long time), and we'll be including ONE signed copy of The Drowning Girl ARC. Be the first on your block and all that.

7. Last night we played too much Rift again, but this time with a new guild member, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack. I dusted off my Eth warrior, Indus, and it was pretty fucking cool tanking for a change. Watchers of the Unseen (Defiant side, Faeblight shard) is always looking for new members, especially those interested in RP.

8. I'm ending the Aunt Beast Book of the Month Club. Results were, at best, mixed. And I think I never recovered from that Carrie Ryan fiasco.

9. The postman just brought Nos. 1 and 2 (Fall 2010 and 2011) of Centipede Press' The Weird Fiction Review. No. 2 includes the first print appearance of my story, "Fish Bride." And, honestly, the Review is a gorgeous thing, more in the fashion of an academic literary journal than a pulp magazine. I'm very impressed. Oh, also, I've sold a poem I wrote last year, "Atlantis," to Strange Horizons. This is the first time I have ever actually sold a poem. Sure, I included "Zelda Fitzgerald" in Tales of Pain and Wonder, but that's different.

Epilogue:

Would you leave me if I told you what I've done?
And would you leave me if I told you what I've become?


~ and ~

You can't choose what stays and what fades away. ~ Florence + the Machine

Anger's Little Petri Dish,
Aunt Beast

*** Please comment on things besides ebooks. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
I seem to be developing a new loathing for "weekends" (id est, Friday night-Sunday), and I begin to guess why.

Comments would be good today, if anyone still reads LJ on Saturday.

Today, I have to get back to writing "Sexing the Weird," which I truly need to finish by tomorrow evening. Yes, it's about sex, and the weird, and weird sex. But maybe not how you think. Or maybe exactly as you think.

The only work yesterday were a couple of last minute corrections to the galley pages of The Drowning Girl. Then we had to rush out to the UPS place at Wayland Square to be sure the thing would be back in NYC on Monday morning. Forty-two dollars and some number of cents to get it there by then.

Anyway, after that we wondered...er, wandered (though I wonder a lot) about Providence for a little while, as late afternoon faded to twilight, just watching the last remnants of the day and the last remnants of autumn. I'm beginning to realize that autumn will never cease to make me melancholy. Doesn't matter if it's beautiful, but that should be obvious to anyone who stops and thinks about it. Indeed, the beauty of autumn may lie near the heart of why it inspires a sense of melancholy in me.

We drove up to Blackstone Park, but it was too cold to walk through the woods. We'd not dressed for that much cold. We took the road that leads south (well, we were going south; the other lane leads north), between the Seekonk River and York Pond. I glanced over at the shadows darkening the still waters of the pond, and spotted a lump moving across the surface that I first mistook for a large turtle (despite the chill), but soon realized was a beaver. Oh, before Blackstone Park, we stopped in at Myopic Books, which is next door to the UPS Place. My favorite used bookstore in Rhode Island. I was good. All I got was an 1883 book on the sea, Ocean Wonders: Our Summer at the Seashore and Lakes by William E. Damon (D. Appleton & Co.; New York; the book is inscribed in a beautiful, looping hand, "Lotie H. Palmer 1884") and a much less old children's book on horseshoe crabs, The Crab That Crawled Out of the Past by Lorus and Margery Milne (1966, Atheneum; New York). Looking at these books now, I think, gods, remember when there were innumerable publishers in Manhattan. Now there are about six. To the detriment of almost all authors. Anyway, I was good, as I said, and didn't get a couple of pricey books on the evolution of birds that I also wanted.

We got dinner from Mama Kim's Korean food truck. It was parked in the usual spot, near the corner of Thayer and George. It was almost dark. Spooky went to get the food (I had three gochujang sliders), and I sat on a bench, smoking and thinking about the ancient buildings around me. The silhouette of some Brown University tower was visible to the northwest. Spooky's still sad she didn't get the little fish-shaped, sweet-bean pancakes. They seem too peculiarly reminiscent of something Xtian for my comfort.

Later, too much freaking Rift. But we were finally able to "buy" the cool cold-weather outfits at Chancel of Labors.

Later still, we watched an odd film, Daniel Myrick's The Objective (2007). It was almost pretty good. Well, it probably was pretty good. But there was this horrid voice over, which felt tacked on, whether it was added in post production or was part of the original screenplay. It seemed to exist to a) tell us the plainly obvious and b) make the film seem more like Apocalypse Now. Anyway, voice over aside, great idea and some nicely unnerving imagery, especially the final shot. Then I finished reading John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez, because I only had twenty pages to go, and I was determined to finish (even if it did mean staying up until almost five ayem). Wonderful, wonderful book. Then there were the dreams, some oddly, disturbingly sexy, others oddly, pleasantly disturbing, and still others just odd.

Here are a couple of photos, the The Drowning Girl (+ cat hair!) and the 1883 book:

Covers )


Oddly,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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