greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Er...okay. LiveJournal seems, at the moment, to actually be live. Oh, and by the way, as I expounded on Twitter yesterday (good girls wander when the necessity arises), it's utterly boneheaded to be blaming LJ for this, when the DDOS attacks are the result of hackers almost certainly backed with funds from the Russian government. Of course, things could be worse. Six Apart could have licensed LJ to North Korea...

Anyway, I got some good news this morning, and I'm going to try as best I can to not indulge in the sort of morose rage that has been so in evidence in the last couple of entries. This is a little like putting a Band-Aid on an amputated leg, but I'm trying.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,711 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. I seem to have found the book's rhythm again, and I'm feeling much better about it. Much, much better. I hope to have this chapter finished by Tuesday, August 2nd, at which point I have to immediately jump back into Sirenia Digest mode, in order to get #68, out by the evening of August 5th. Then, I'll be switching right back to Blood Oranges, and have set a new target date for finishing the novel on Saturday, the 27th of August. At this point, 39,202 words (or 179 pages) of manuscript have been written; since the estimated total word count is 70,000 words, I'm well past the hump and headed down the other side. Which I should, indeed, be able to reach by the 27th. And then...well, then there's the next thing, which, sooner or later, I'll be able to announce.

I'm salvaging the plan.

The weather here in Providence remains mild. Highs around 80˚F, which is a great relief after the swelter of last week. We could use more rain, though.

Last night, Spooky and I watched Gore Verbinski's Rango (2011). And wow. Truly, there was no moment of this film I didn't love. Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful CGI animation I've ever seen. Every frame is marvelous. But let's pretend, for a moment, that the animation was lousy (even if it was brilliant). This film would still be so unexpectedly funny and smart I'd still give it very, very high marks. It's sort of hard to even imagine it as a children's film, as most of the humor is clearly pitched at adults. Then again, as a friend suggested, Rango can be viewed as the sort of trick turned by so many of the classic Loony Toons: animated films functioning on at least two entirely different levels, managing, in the same moment, to speak to both children and adults, saying different things with the same words. Think "What's Opera, Doc." Only in a desert, with lizards and rodents. And with Los Lobos, instead of Wagner. Regardless, yes, great. See it.

Oh, the van's out of the shop. Again. It was in the shop almost every day of July (beginning July 5th). Also, things have been chugging along well in Rift, as our guild recovers from the shard transfer and the RP picks up again.

Cracking My Knuckles,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
So...the heat finally abates. Which is the one good thing to be said for this shitty day.

The car is back in the shop. Third time. No idea what's up now. But it's pretty much been in the garage since July 5th. I suppose there are people who can afford to buy new cars.

And Frank the Goat and his mob of Russian hackers crashed LJ for the better part of the day. The next time an editor asks me why I've missed a deadline, I'll just say, "I'm experiencing loading issues."

The results of last night's poll were interesting. As I'd expected, WoW received the most votes of any other game, and, also as expected, a lot of people here don't game, or are still into tabletop/text-based gaming. I do wish I'd disallowed comments on the poll, as a few of the things people felt motivated to say were unnecessarily defensive/combative.

And I was unable to get back to work on the novel today, on Blood Oranges. I'm going to drug myself into a stupor this evening and hope the space rock arrives while I'm semi-conscious.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunday. Sunday means nothing whatsoever around these parts. Here in deepest, darkest Rhode Island. The hinterlands of Federal Hill.

"You'll forgive her," said the platypus. "The heat's been at her. And she's not been sleeping well. She's jumping at shadows." And the dodo, she concurred.

---

I'm trying to get myself ready to go back to work on Blood Oranges tomorrow. Yesterday, we read Chapter Three. And I still like it. It's not in the same ballpark as The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but it was never meant to be. It's in this other ballpark, over here. This book will, I think, be finished, and if it is finished, it certainly will be published. But, back to baseball analogies, it's got a couple of strikes against it. And I can't even explain them all here, because I'd have to bring in People Who Are Not Me. Which is poor form (I am the last good-mannered beast). In June, I had amazing enthusiasm for this odd little side project, this diversion from the course of my writing career. Now, I'm struggling just to be able to write the second half. Nothing whatsoever has changed about the story. This is all about changes in the marketplace that occur so suddenly they can hit you in the middle of a book that you're writing in the absurdly short span of only two months. But I will finish it, because I can't leave a story half told, and it will be published. And the little paycheck will be the small consolation that all paychecks are.

Today, we'll read Chapter Four.

---

The heat continues to batter all in this house, though relief is on the way in the form of cooler weather, and the new window-unit AC has helped a little. Last night, the high humidity made 84˚F feel like 94˚F. I think Spooky and I are both going deaf from the constant whir of fans and the drone of AC units. I've not yet named the new AC unit. Or I did, but forgot the name. Threw away the key. And so it goes. Yesterday, I actually made a little chart in my Moleskinne notebook, the temperature in the middle parlour for each hour. I'm still making entries. I may plot the whole thing on a bar graph once the heat breaks. Cooking doesn't help, by the way, but I was tired of cold food.

---

Last night, we watched the third episode of Falling Skies. It's hard watching something and knowing it would have been so much better had it not catered to – or been forced to cater to – the sensibilities of a low-brow audience. Last night, during the saccharine-sweet scene where the good little Xtian girl who hasn't lost faith – even at the end of human civilization – leads the others in saying grace, I very almost puked. I settled for laughing, instead. But Fallen Skies was playing it safe, playing it dumb, playing to middle America. Middle, in this case, being synonymous with mediocre, and pause to consider the etymology of that word (yeah, I'm on an etymological kick):

"Mediocre: [via French from Latin mediocris moderate, literally: halfway up the mountain, from medius middle + ocris stony mountain]"*

You play to the middle, to mediocrity, odds are somewhat more in your favour that you will, in fact, succeed. And, of course, lots of producers and TV execs are still terrified of playing to any other demographic but the mediocre. Mediocre fiction for mediocre people. No, not people. Consumers. I'd love to see what this series could have been on Showtime.

---

Yesterday, I read two articles in the May JVP: "A new basal ornithopod dinosaur (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia" and "First occurrence of the long-snouted crocodyliform Terminonaris (Pholidosauridae) from the Woodbine Formation (Cenomanian) of Texas."

---

Last night was the first night since...whenever...that it's been cool enough to sit in the office (where we usually game) and play Rift. There was some fine rp at Kelari Refuge, and then at Meridian. We are essentially rewriting Our Story Thus Far, since the guild moved from the Shadefallen shard to Faeblight (where people actually rp!), so things are a little hinky, but it was fine rp, all the same. Oh, and the offer still stands. To quote yesterday's entry:

Spooky and I have ONE FREE copy of Rift, which comes with five free days of play, and we're willing to pass it along to someone who wants to give the game a try. The only catch, you have to sign up on our shard – Faeblight – and join our guild, recently rechristened Watchers of the Unseen. We're looking for players who want to rp, plain and simple. If you're interested, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll send you the access code. And, by the way, a month of Rift costs only $15. About as much as a pizza. Or maybe three cups of Starbuck's swill. Hardly more than a single movie ticket (at least around here). Endless hours of entertainment CHEAP. Please don't email her unless you're serious about giving the game a try.

Come on. I know there are gamers among my readers, among my readers who read this journal via LJ, Facebook, and Twitter. And this is the best MMORPG I've ever played. And it's never going to get any cheaper than this offer. Don't be too cool for school.

Anyway, gotta scoot. Catch you on the flipside, kittens.

Until That Day,
Aunt Beast

* Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Pretty much every single entry I've made to this journal over the past four summers has been made from my office (here in Providence). But today, I've taken the laptop and retreated to the sanctuary of the middle parlor, where Dr. Muñoz is valiantly struggling to hold the temperature at a vaguely comfortable 82 Fahrenheit. I'm sitting on the chaise, working on my laptop, and I know the rest of the world has this whole mobile, toil anytime and everywhere shit down like the heart of a clockwork peacock...but not me. I'm supposed to be doing this at my desk...where it's probably 90 Fahrenheit by now.

Yesterday...

Yesterday, it was hot.

Yesterday, I thought we'd completed proofreading the manuscript copy of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. But I needed to add one more story. I'd intended that to be "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," but then I remembered that Joshi will be reprinting it in Black Wings II next year***, so I really ought not put it in this collection. As in, that would have been inconsiderate and unprofessional. So...now I need another story, which will likely be "Untitled Grotesque, which we'll need to read today. After I print it out, because, unlike that mobile-ebook-loving world Outside my window, I can't proofread text off a computer screen (or read for enjoyment). Anyway, yesterday we proofed "The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction," "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber," and "Fish Bride." In the cool, dark bedroom. And I wrote something I needed to write for a magazine - marginalia, essentially. And I saw to it that Sirenia Digest #67 went out to subscribers (thank you, Gordon!). I hope you have it; I hope you love it. There's some iffy formatting on the last page, and the cover's a bit blurry, so I may actually have that fixed and do a second mailing in the next day or two. But last night it seemed more important that I just get it out. Anyway, comments welcome.

Today, I have to look at "Untitled Grostesque," and if it works for the book, I proofread it, and then Spooky and I check over the PDF of Two Worlds and In Between to be sure that all the corrections have been made, before it goes away to the printer. Last chance to catch errors before it's set in stone (so to speak). So, more tedium! Maybe I will write again, some day soon.

---

After the work, I napped yesterday. It was too hot to do much else. I drifted off on the bed, and Spooky woke me about twenty minutes later for a cold dinner of tuna salad. Oh, before the nap, I read Lucius Shepard's story in Supernatural Noir, "Ditch Witch," which is my favorite from the collection thus far. After dinner, I rolled a new Bahmi warrior on the Faeblight shard, to replace Shaharrazad over on the Shadefallen shard (this is Riftspeak, sorry). Her name is Bataarmaa, which, is a Mongol name. Bataar, masc. "hero" with the fem. suffix maa, so Bataarma. Her big scary cat's name is Sukh, which is Mongol for "axe."

Last night, we watched Byung-chun Min's Natural City (2003). Which is pretty much a South Korean remake of Blade Runner, spiced with dashes of Aliens and The Matrix. Only, it's about forty minutes too long, the action sequences are usually poorly choreographed, and the story is muddy (partly, this is the obviously bad translation for the subtitles). But still, it is a visually stunning film, so when you have no idea what's going on, you can sort of just sit back and admire the cyberpunk eye candy. That said, there are some good moments, and the ending was appropriately poignant.

I got to sleep sometime after four. The sky was growing light.

Okay. Come here, you sweaty platypus.

Unwillingly Mobile,
Aunt Beast

*** Evidence of how heat and med-addled my mind is at the moment. A reader wrote to remind me that "Pickman's Other Model (1929)" was in Black Wings. Actually, "Houndwife" will be in Black Wings II. To quote Mr. Bowie, "It's all deranged."
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Wicked hot here in Providence. Summer finally arrived with a vengeance. We spent most of yesterday hiding in the middle parlor and the bedroom, the two cool rooms. Fortunately, you can proofread anywhere. Right now, it's 85˚F Outside and 81˚F in the cool part of the house. Here in my office, it's probably as warm as Outside. And...Spooky's about to leave to take the ailing automotive vehicle to the mechanic, after which she'll have to walk back in the heat. I made sure her stillsuit was in good repair.

Yesterday, more proofreading on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: "Derma Sutra," "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," and "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts." It is my intention that we'll finish the proofreading today. Then I can post the ToC. I think.

Last night, I got the final PDF for Two Worlds and In Between, the probably-final layout with all my corrections. The book is getting very close to publication. We're just a few weeks shy of the first anniversary of the day Bill Schafer asked if I wanted to do the book. My thanks to everyone who has, or will, preorder.

Spooky has left the house and wandered away into the bled. May Shai-Hulud have mercy upon her.

Today, is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #67, and subscribers should have the issue this very evening. This issue includes the new vignette, "Down to Gehenna," along with Chapter One of Blood Oranges.

And! Today is the official publication date for two new anthologies edited by [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow: Supernatural Noir and Naked City. The former includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn," and the latter another of my stories, "The Colliers' Venus (1893)". It should be noted, by the way, that when you read "The Maltese Unicorn," you have to hear a young Lauren Bacall as the narrator.

Last night...well, I braved the heat and, as a nod to the holiday, made BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and potato salad. We only almost perished of the heat in the kitchen. We ate in the parlor, which our coolerator droid, Dr. Muñoz, is doing it's best to keep tolerable (see graph 1, above). Then more Law and Order: Criminal Intent, then more Rift on the Faeblight shard while local hooligans celebrated Independence day by trying to blow up the neighborhood. The cops finally showed up, and things got quiet sometime after two. I got to sleep far too late. 5 ayem, and awoke at 10:30 ayem. Too hot to sleep much.

And now...off to hug a sweaty platypus. Comment, kittens!

Warmly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yes, it is that. This entry is the 3,000th I've written since coming to LiveJournal way back on April 15th, 2004. And yeah, that's a lot of time and a lot of words. Though, truly, I first began keeping an online journal on Blogger, years before I met LJ, on November 24th, 2001. But, here I am at 3,000, as LiveJournal reckons time.

Yesterday was a roiling mass of chaos. There was a very long phone conversation with my agent, Merrilee, that essentially made it impossible to get much else done during the afternoon. But now I can get back to work on Blood Oranges, which she loves. Today, however, I am awaiting news regarding the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL I can't talk about it yet. Which means I'll be good for nothing, except maybe proofreading the manuscript for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yesterday, we managed to proofread "The Collector of Bones." I'd forgotten all the math I'd had to do for that story.

So, "civil unions" between gay couples will likely soon be legal Rhode Island. On the one hand, it's more than I ever expected. On the other hand, it's so blatantly discriminatory, that it's hard to see it as any sort of improvement at all. It's not even really "separate but equal." It's more like saying, "Look, we made you this, which looks sort of like marriage, and you'll get some of the benefits. But marriage is SACRED, and if we let you have actual...well, never mind what would happen, because we're not going to do that. Here. Take this, instead. Now, go play and leave us alone." That's what it's like. I do see it as a foot in the door, and I see the benefits. But unless this is a stepping stone towards the same rights afforded heterosexuals, it's worthless. Just second-class citizenry. Note that the bill has been heavily opposed by local gay activists. Anyway....let's not make the Baby Jesus cry...

Spooky was just telling me that WoW is now offering the same deal offered by LotRO, and soon to be offered by CoX. There's a downloadable "free to play" version that doesn't come with a 7-day expiration date, but has a Level 20 cap. So, you know, you can play WoW free forever, so long as none of your toons want to rise above 20. Which would at least be fine for rp, only, to echo an analogy yesterday, trying to rp in WoW is about the same as trying to use a Hula Hoop as a particle accelerator. Anyway, I think MMORPGs are finally learning from watching pushers.

Last night, I read Book 2 of The Stuff of Legend. This is, by far, the best new comic I've read in many years. Also, I read "The Dingus" by Gregory Frost, from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir.

Today, I will proofread and wait...

3000 and Counting,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
A crazy, crazy morning. Too many emails and phone calls. But now I'm going to try to calm down and write a blog entry.

Yesterday, I didn't get a lot of work done. I only managed to copy edit two stories in The Five-Chambered Heart, "The Bed of Appetite" and "Untitled 31." The latter will have an actual title in the collection, though I don't yet know what it'll be. It's great to proofread the newer stuff I've written, because, mostly, I'm still in love with it, and I make virtually no changes to the text.

My thanks to "Moto" in San Francisco, whose sending me a first-edition hardcover of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Remember when email was fast? When you wrote emails, and pretty much everyone responded to them quickly? And this was revolutionary? Lately, it's all iPhones and iPads. I know because it always says at the bottom from what sort of device the message was sent. Now, it seems people would rather speak by "texting." I'm sorry. I'm made the transition from "snail mail" to email in 1994. I'll not be doing it again (she says, knowing full well she will adapt, when it becomes an imperative).

A note to prospective and young writers: Be wary of editors a) offering 1¢/word who b) do not yet have a publisher for their anthology, c) want all sorts of electronic rights straight off, and d) despite the fact they have no publisher, already have a cover design and a marketing strategy involving selling the book as a PDF. Here, we have entered shady, sketchy territory.

Yesterday, as the heat inside mounted, we fled the house and (despite the questionable state of the car and the cost of gasoline) drove down to Moonstone Beach. Our first trip to the sea all summer! That's just...insane. As usual, Moonstone was pretty much free of tourons (you may know them as "tourists"), and we mostly had it to ourselves. I waded into the cold water up to my thighs, and it was wonderful. The sky was full of birds: cormorants (Phalacocorax spp.), both American and fish crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos and C. ossifragus, respectively), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), grey catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), and all manner of gulls. We made tiny cairns from granite and slate cobbles, and found those others had made earlier in the day. We stayed until about 6:30 p.m., and headed over to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's (as a marvelous fog rolled in). I think we were back home by 8:45. It was an evening out I much needed. On the way down, and the way back up, I read Book 1 of The Stuff of Legend (written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III). Brilliant comic.

I tried to play Rift for a bit, but got into some combination of a snit and a funk about the state of the guild and the game and players. My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for yammering my dissatisfaction at him for an hour. But really. On the one hand, I love the potential of MMORPGs. But on the other hand, I often loathe what they actually are. In the hands of most players, an MMORPG is like watching someone shoot marbles* with a particle accelerator. That is the degree of potential being squandered. Anyway, I gave up about 11:30 and wandered away. I'm not saying this is something wrong with Rift (though, in fact, I have a short list of things that are wrong with Rift), but with the whole gamer mentality. Note: I am not a gamer. I am a roleplayer. The game aspect to me is, at very best, secondary. And, please note, I am on what is supposedly an rp shard. Ergo....

Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Later, kittens.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Wait. There are photos from yesterday:

28 June 2011 )


*I have no idea if kids still shoot marbles. Me, it was one of my favorite things as a child. It was a very important playground sport when I was in elementary school (1970-1975). Much of one's reputation was at stake.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
If I had a kiddo – which I don't and, for better or worse, never shall – I would teach her or him this: there are two things, only two things that you must learn, and having learned them you'll be able to do anything you wish. Oh. You may not be able to make a living at anything you wish. But you will have the intellectual means. Learn to read and learn mathematics, and all the world can, in theory, be yours. Sorry, stray thought as I roll my mathematician's dice and wish for a different possible and unrealized past.

We are in the final few hours of the last auction in Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction. This is, of course, the auction for the hand-corrected ARC of Two Worlds and In Between. Not only is this a first chance at owning the collection in any form, it goes without saying that the ARC is one of a kind (or ooak in eBay speak). The reason we're pushing eBay so hard just now is that I'm in paycheck limbo, an inevitability for all freelancers. Check might or might not come in the next two or three weeks. But I can't count on it coming, and must have a Plan B if I am to attend Readercon 22. The auctions are Plan B. So, if you can, please bid. Thanks.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,551 words and found the far end of Chapter Four of Blood Oranges. That's the first 35,794 words of the novel, either just a smidgen more or just a little less than half of it. It will be written by the end of July, my peculiar little popcorn novel.

Also, I managed to nail together the first and very rough draft Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Right now, there are twenty-three stories. I expect this will go up to twenty-five. So, presently, 102,566 words. By the way, at the moment I'm working on four books, in various stages. I'm in the middle stages of editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm at the final stages of editing Two Worlds and In Between. I'm halfway through the writing of Blood Oranges. And I'm just beginning the editing of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Never before have I done such a thing. Thank you, dubious pharmaceutical cornucopia.

Last night, Spooky made yummy pasta salad, and I played far, far too much Rift. It's time to back off a little, I think. I get too immersed, and just keep going for hours. Last night, I don't even know. But Selwyn is halfway to Level 49, and there was a lot of great rp (special thanks to all, especially Spooky, Tracy, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus).

Late last night, I saw the first images from my Drowning Girl collaboration with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. I'll post something as soon as he says I may.

Now, I should scoot. Slept too late, and the day is leaking away between the cracks.
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Here in Providence, it's 75F and sunny.

Yesterday was a monument to tedium, as assembly days inevitably are. However, today promises to put it entirely to shame, by doubling the tedium and adding a thick stratum of frustration. Yesterday, I wrote the prolegomenon for #66, and edited "Untitled 35" and "Figurehead," and saw to the issue's layout, and all the things that have to be done on assembly day. And then I went back to work on the galley pages for Two Worlds and In Between. I need desperately to try and finish with that today, which won't be easy, considering I have a doctor's appointment at 6 p.m., and I also need to proof "Fish Bride," because I didn't yesterday, and I need to get some notes to Steve Jones for another short story, one that I forgot about and am now twelve days late on.

Goes-tiddley-pom.

Sirenia Digest #66 went out late yesterday afternoon to subscribers. Ergo, if you're a subscriber (a word which sounds an awful lot like survivor, and maybe there's a reason for that, but it's a thought for another time) you ought to have it by now.

---

In case you didn't see this yesterday (and care):

This month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants:



You may have seen the movie, which I liked a lot and is a fairly faithful adaptation. But it's no substitute for the novel, which you ought to read. Also, Spooky says the Audible.com adaptation is pretty good. It's unabridged, so you might go that route. Either way, book or audiobook. But, with the actual book-type-book, you get cool vintage circus photos.

---

Oddly, I got an odd email yesterday reminding me of an odd little anthology that will be reprinting one of my odder stories. Jeff and Anne VanderMeer's Odd?, is what I'm speaking off, of course. Sorry, I phrased that oddy. Anyway, the anthology now has a theme song, which is, I suppose, a wee bit odd. For an anthology, I mean. For an anthology to have a theme song.

---

Last night, we watched Takashi Miike's absolutely fucking brilliant Sukiyaki Western Django (2007). Bottomless weird framed in the surreal and in genuinely beautiful cinematography, art direction, and costume design. Mix the Genpei War and the Wars of the Roses together and set it in a Nevada that has never existed. Toss in a nameless stranger and Sergio Leone homages played on a didgeridoo. We may have to watch it again before we return it to Acme Video, and live with the one dollar late fee.

Also, I gave Mass Effect 2 a try. Love the character customization feature. I created a Shepherd who looks an awful lot like Claudia Black.

My favorite new word: hypercorrection.

And now, alas, more tedium.

Still tedious (and odd),
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Finally, finally April is here. At the end of May. Temperatures in the high and mid '70s F. The windows are open. The birds are tweeting. The squirrels are fucking. This makes everything better.

Okay, kittens. I haven't actually seen any squirrels fucking. That's an inference, I admit.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,392 words on Blood Oranges. I have never before written anything so funny that Spooky couldn't read it aloud, or that had me laughing so hard I was in tears. So that was strange. Oh, and if you buy into that old adage that it's bad to be the sort of person who laughs at her own jokes, you're a moron. Or at least deluded. If it doesn't make me laugh, how can I expect it to make anyone else laugh? I have about 3,500 words to go to finish Chapter Two, which is maybe two days worth of hard writing, a big push. Then, Sirenia Digest #67! Whoosh!

Just learned that we'll be seeing Brendan Perry and Robyn Guthrie in Boston next week! Woosh!

I must tell you, also, that Spooky is having a CRK's Birthday Sale on her jewelry and one doll (Cassandra) at her Dreaming Squid and Sundries Etsy shop, and shipping is FREE, and everything selling fast, so have a look. You really need to see her new Alice's Adventures in Wonderland glass-vial pendants. There's a coupon code you'll need to use at checkout: CRKBIRTHDAY

Last night's dinner (at India on Hope Street) went very, very well. Joshi and his girlfriend, Mary, along with Johnathan Thomas, and Brian Evenson. Oh, and me and Spooky, of course. Much delicious food was eaten, and there was marvelous conversation while a Bollywood film played in the background. I think I'll have a photo to post eventually. Mary took it, so I have to wait for her and S. T. to get back to Seattle.

And then there's tomorrow. The 47th birthday. The day on which I am to be 47 years and 9 months old (I always force myself to include those 9 months, and no, that doesn't change my pro-choice stance). As Jada said to me recently, "Who'd have ever thought we'd make it this long?" Which is pretty much my sentiment. It wasn't supposed to go this way, but this way it has gone.

I really am beginning to think I might have broken my left big toe while we were in Manhattan. A sane, not impoverished, well-insured person would go to the doctor for X-rays and whatnot and incur a thousand dollar bill to learn nothing can really be done. Not I, said the Little Red Hen*. Me, I just take Tylenol and marvel at how much a toe can hurt.

Last night, after we got home, we Rifted (new verb) and Selwyn and Miisya, with the help of [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus's rogue, Celinn, quested in the beautiful wilds of Ironpine Peak. The most amazingly realized region I've seen in Rift (or any other game). Miisya reached Level 42. I took some screencaps I'll post in a day or two. Also, hey, WE HAVE A GUILD and YOU COULD BE PLAYING WITH US. No fooling. I don't believe for a New-York minute that there are not many gamers among my readers. And if you're not sure Rift is your thing, there is now a FREE trial. Oh, last night at dinner I learned that Brian Evenson is also an MMORPG geek, so I felt not so alone and nerdy.

Okay. Gotta make the doughnuts.

Laconically,
Aunt Beast

* Yeah, yeah. Poetic license.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
This is Thursday, and the weather's ass, and so comments would be appreciated.

Today begins a quasi-vacation of indeterminate length (but shortish). I'm very, very tired. The brainmeats need a few days to veg out and recover. So, I'll only be handling the things that will kill me if I don't see to them immediately. Anyway, yeah, rest. Mild absence seizure last night. That's a sign.

Yesterday, after Kathryn and I had read it through, I sent Chapter One of Blood Oranges away to my agent. I actually, at some point, as Kathryn was reading aloud, said something like, "Wow. This is good." I never say shit like that about my own writing. Well, only rarely. Anyway, I haven't yet heard back from my agent, and I hope it's not because page 3 of the manuscript bears this note:

If your ears, eyes, and sensibilities are easily offended, this book is not for you. If you want a romance novel, this book is not for you. And if it strikes you odd that vampires, werewolves, demons, ghouls, and the people who spend time in their company, would be a foul-mouthed, unpleasant lot, this book is not for you. In fact, if you’re the sort who believes books should come with warning labels, this book is not for you. Fair notice.

The Author


Otherwise, yesterday's work was all odds and ends, loose threads, stuff I was trying to tie up yesterday so it would leave me alone for a few days thereafter. Didn't really work. Never really does. Loose threads like to run wild. And it's all kind of a blur, yesterday, but I am quite certain that a lot of email was involved.

Ah, and I want to make sure you know that there's awesome new goodies up in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop! New necklaces and a new bracelet (named after one of my favorite Bel Canto songs). Which reminds me, the new scanner came, and the new printer arrived a few days ago, and Spooky's been painting like a fiend, which means Goat Girl Press is just about operational. My thanks again to everyone who helped out with the Kickstarter project, and one day, before too long, you will have wonderful stuff coming your way.

Brendon Perry's voice is, to me, almost as good as...well...many very good things.

I live by the river,
Where the old gods still dream
Of inner communion with the open sea.


Last night, we watched Debra Granik's Winter's Bone (2010), a truly fine film that I recommend without reservation. Also, if I ever had any doubt (and I didn't), that Jennifer Lawrence could – and should – play Katniss Everdeen, I have none now.

We also played far too much Rift. And by the way, the FREE TRIAL everyone's been wanting is here. So, give it a try. And also, there's the "Ascend-a-Friend" thingy, whereby I can earn fat loots dragging others into Telara, if they decide to stick around (those who get dragged, they also get fat loots). If you're interested in the latter, just say so. And the link takes you to the FREE TRIAL. You'll want to sign up on the Defiant-side Shadefallen rp shard, of course, and once you're in, send Selwyn a tell to join up with Eyes of the Faceless Man. Tell her Aunt Beast sent you. Anyway, last night I leveled my High Elf, Mithrien, to twenty, and almost to twenty-one. Really, it was all Spooky's fault. She made twenty, also, and now we have two characters in place for an upcoming guild storyline that requires cross-faction rp. And the godbothering Guardians still creep me out, even if they're pagan godbotherers.

Godbothering is godbothering*.

So say we all.

* This definition, while brilliant, is obviously aimed at the Xtian godbotherers. Godbotherers come in all flavors, including pagan.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, windy, chilly today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,551 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. I'm starting to think that I'm having fun writing this book. I created a perfectly, marvelously, beautifully vile vampire "child" yesterday, and I've figured out that, were this a film, the protagonist would be played by Jennifer Lawrence. I should be able to finish the first chapter today, at which point it gets sent off to my agent, and I get to work on the research I need to do for Blue Canary.

Which reminds me. Jennifer Lawrence. I've seen all the casting for The Hunger Games announced thus far, and they all seem pretty much dead on. The kid they've cast as Rue is perfect.

Lots of other stuff yesterday, like a look at the almost final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, which is just incredible, because Lee Moyer is awesome. Oh, and the signature sheets for Two Worlds and In Between arrived, and I have to attend to those ASAP.

I read more of Stager's book, and finished the March Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by reading "New records of the fur seal Callorhinus Carnivora: Otariidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene Rio Dell Formation of Northern California and comments on ottariid dental evolution." Fortunately for me, I can immediately begin reading the January issue, as the latter arrived late and out of sequence.

Last night we watched David Fincher's very excellent The Game (1997), because Spooky had never seen it.

And played Rift. We signed on as our Guardian toons, meaning only to spend a few minutes with Mithrien (me) and Serrafina (Spooky) before switching to our Defiant mains. But. Then the mother of all Rift events struck Silverwood, and we spent the next two hours defending the school in the Argent Glade from incursions from the life rifts. Two hours. I think we both leveled twice. Anyway, later, after the movie, I set up a website for our Defiant guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, over at Guild Portal (and there's still a TON of work to be done on the site). If you're already a member of the guild, feel free to create a profile, whatever. And if you're not already a member of the guild (we're on the Shadefallen shard), and would like to be, just send me a tell inworld (to Selwyn).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The only auction that hasn't ended is the one for the PC of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (2002), signed by me and Dame Darcy. A note to collectors: We've never offered the boxed edition, ever, before, and this auction also includes the chapbook, "On the Road to Jefferson." So, you might want to have a look. Auction ends in about seven hours.

And I think this is the last day I'll be taking responses to the "Question @ Hand" poll, for them subscribers of Sirenia Digest what might be interested.

Okay. The word mines await.

Verbosely,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
Maybe it was premature of me to say that Providence has made the transition from Cold Spring to Spring Proper. Or, it may be that there needs to be a third and intermediate formal subdivision: Green Spring. That is, May, when it's finally fucking green out there, but people think it's warm when the temperature rises into the high sixties. Like today. Tomorrow, back into the fifties.

At least there's sunlight today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,662 words on Blood Oranges. I know how the chapter ends now, and should be able to finish it by tomorrow evening.

If you're a Sirenia Digest subscriber and haven't voted in the "Question @ Hand" Poll, please do, and thanks.

I've been trying to manage more reading and less gaming. There's Under the Poppy, and the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Yesterday, from the latter, I read "Nuralagus rex, gen. et. sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)." Imagine a rabbit ten times the size of modern cottontails, only it doesn't hop and doesn't have long ears. Also, reading Curt Stager's Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth and Jane P. Davidson's A History of Paleontology Illustration. But also gaming. Last night, we neglected Selwyn and Miisya, and played our Guardian high elves. Though the godbothering is fierce, I have in mind a storyline for our guild that involves making contact with a group of Guardians who have grown distrustful of their leaders and who doubt the Vigil, and who suspect they're not being told the truth about a lot of things, including what happened in Scion. So, I need characters of sufficiently high levels to reach areas where interfactional rp can occur.

Yes! Cross-faction rp. Which you can actually do in Rift. It's just a shame the game designers didn't allow for a far more realistic and inevitable scenario involving defections from one side to the other (only on RP servers), and also a loose confederation of the Undeclared, consisting of those who won't take a side. Would have been much more interesting. Anyway, yes, we have a guild, "Eyes of the Faceless Man," Defiant side, on the Shadefallen Shard. We'd love a few more members, and I know some of you game, and you should know Rift as good as it gets in terms of high fantasy/S&S MMORPG. Whatever faults it may have, Rift leaves WoW in the dust.

---

Last night, was apparently devoted to creepy movies from 1987. First, we watched Alan Parker's Angel Heart, which, somehow, I'd never seen. It's a beautifully shot and acted film, but I think the ending gets heavy handed. We didn't need the yellow contact lenses. We also watched Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, which, of course, I've seen about a hundred times, though in about twenty years. There are still some marvelous moments in the film, and Lance Henriksen is wonderful. But it falls apart as a whole, and I'm starting to think I should stop watching eighties horror films, which rarely ever measure up to my memories of them.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, Spooky's made a really marvelous new necklace, which is up in her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop, and which you can see here.

And now, words.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I used to write,
I used to write letters. I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night,
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

But by the time we met,
By the time we met the times had already changed...
(Arcade Fire)

No, nothing special. Just sort of where I am right now. But, have you noticed? I mean, how it's much easier to find people with insomnia than without? See, it didn't used to be that way. I remember.

---

Yesterday was an assembly day, as I predicted. And Sirenia Digest #65 has gone out to subscribers. I very much hope you enjoy the issue. Thanks again to everyone who answered the most recent Question @ Hand.

Today, I need to do a small bit of editing/reworking on "Fake Plastic Trees," following questions from the editors. And I need to finish the updated FAQ for the new Sirenia Digest page. And answer email. And just maybe have energy left to start thinking hard about the two projects that need to be consuming May.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

---

For months now I've been pondering something I usually call "virtual transgenderism." I started thinking about it a lot right after I started playing City of Heroes back in October (I stopped playing in January or so, for various reasons). I was part of a very good rp group, and most of the characters were ostensibly female. But after about two weeks, I put two and two and four and six together and, with a little help from people who'd been playing for years, realized that almost every one of our "female" players were guys, including lots of guys in the military. Like, you know, GUYS. At first, I was sort of baffled, the way you're baffled when someone plays an especially clever joke on you. But then, then I thought, "Hey, this is really fucking cool." And I thought that because, you see, all these guys were very good a playing women. All sorts of women (most of whom just happened to have super powers), from insecure, nerdy twenty-somethings to smugly confident queens of Faerie. They weren't playing caricatures of women. They were playing women. I was amazed.

See, I can be naive and slow on the uptake. I'm old. When I was in my twenties, we had video arcades with shit like Galaga and Joust and Pac-Man, coin slots and joysticks. We didn't have gaming technology that allowed people to, virtually, become other people. People of other sexes, genders, sexual orientation, races, species, etc. So, it takes some getting used to. But, of course, a large number of the female characters in WoW and Rift are male, and, I'm willing to bet this is true of all MMORPGS. On Second Life, I'm pretty sure 95% of women are actually men. And I'm sure a lot of this is simply guys who think their chick toons are hot and a lot more interesting – but, even then, we still have teenage boys and grown men playing with virtual paper dolls. Many of these guys, though, they're acting out female characters. I just think it's very cool. I think it's a step in the right direction. Maybe a very small step, but a step, all the same. It says something if guys can get together online and openly pretend to be girls. Last night on Rift I was thinking, It's like Fight Club for the trans-curious. This is why it's called roleplaying. You play a role that is not you. You step into someone else's shoes and look through their eyes.

I'm not even going to get started on how this leads to guys' female toons hitting up other guys' female toons (or male toons hitting up "female" toons) for erotic rp. Someone needs to write a Masters Dissertation. Actually, I'm sure several people have already done so.

Anyway, yes. I wholeheartedly approve. I also approve of the women playing virtual males, though I suspect that's a rarer phenomenon.

---

I think I might have given the wrong impression when I started this Aunt Beast's Book Club thing. I don't expect people to read these books on pain of public humiliation or something of that sort. These are just books I want to promote. And, too, it's a way to push myself to finish novels I start. That's all. No one needs to explain to me why he or she isn't reading one of the selections. It's entirely and utterly casual, optional, and so forth.

Over and Out,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy and a bit chilly today. All is glum.

Easier to shut the curtain.

So, lift my spirits, kittens. Comment.

Today will be an Assembly Day. That is to say, a day spent assembling the latest issue of Sirenia Digest – in this instance, #65 – so that it can be mailed out to subscribers. Which you ought to be, if you're not.

I'm mentioned very briefly near the end of this article, "Lovecraft's Providence" (in "Fine Books and Collections," which, near as I can tell is a webzine only*). Anyway, the article's by Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), and both me and Brian Evenson are quoted.

Also, a couple of weeks back, I took part in a "One Word Interview," in which the word in question was silence. I meant to post the link, but I often forget these things.

Yesterday I was a bad kid and played hooky. Spooky and I went to Warwick and saw a matinée of Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants (from Sara Gruen's 2006 novel, of which Spooky is a great admirer). I'd never have thought the man who made I Am Legend (2007) and Constantine (2005) would have been the right director for this film, but I would have been wrong. The film is superb. The entire cast is excellent (yes, including Robert Pattinson), especially Christoph Waltz. If you place any weight in my opinion, this is a must-see film. And no more hooky for me until at least June.

Please, please have a look the current eBay auctions! Thanks.

Last night, curiosity got the better of me, and I did a thing I'd sworn I would not do. In Rift, I created a Guardian-side character. Now, if you know the Rift backstory, you know that the Guardians are loyal to the old gods of Telara, while the Defiant have rejected the gods and pursue a technological and scientific means by which to defeat the two factions' common enemy. Each side blames the other for the rifts, and so on, and so forth. Anyway, I created Mithrien, a High Elf, and Spooky created another High Elf, Serrafina. And we played them through the first ten levels. My conclusion? The Guardians should be renamed the Godbotherers. No, really. It gets very obnoxious after a while, and I doubt I'll be playing much of Mithrien, what with all the praying and inspiration and talk of faith and whatnot. But here's the thing that really got me. At several points, polytheistic Guardian NPCs refer to the Defiant as "heathens." Do the people at Trion who wrote the script know what that word means? Because, in point of fact, the Guardians are nearer to being heathens, while the Defiant would be more fairly described (by theistic folk, anyway) as infidels or apostates, but not as heathens.

However, big points to Rift for the lesbian thing with Kira Thanos and Uriel Chuluun (Defiant side).

Okay, yeah. Big queer nerd-out. Sorry.

Um...where was I? Ah, fuck it.

You are reading Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy, right?

Glumly,
Aunt Beast

* Nick tells me it is, in fact, a bimonthly print magazine.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Last night, Spooky and I canceled our WoW accounts and uninstalled the game from our computers (my iMac, her laptop). So, as I said last night on Twitter, the end of an error, September 2008 to May 2011. Shaharrazad and Suraa, disgusted with Garrosh Hellscream and despairing that Azeroth and the Horde will ever get its shit together and stomp the fuck out of the Alliance, retired to the relative peace of Vengeance Landing in Northrend. Suraa plans to fish. Shahrrazad plans to torture small animals, then raise them from the dead to do her bidding. Oh, and I got back almost twenty gigs of memory on the iMac. I still have my beloved WoW actions figures, and my Shaharrazad mousepad. I'll always have the memories of those times before Blizzard dumbed down the game and pretty much ruined the player classes. And here's The Last Screencap (Suraa left, Shaharrazad right):



That said, yesterday was spent polishing "The Carnival is Dead and Gone," writing the prologomenon for Sirenia Digest #65, and doing the line edits for the "Crimson Alphabet" chapbook. The latter was emailed to subpress late yesterday. And remember, the chapbook comes free with the limited edition of Two World and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Volume One, which is also the edition with a bonus section of 16 pages of illustrations.

Gods, kittens. Polly Jean Harvey is hot. Her voice could bring me to orgasm. It probably has, in fact. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.

Back to yesterday, the postperson brought my contributor's copies of Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four, which includes my story "Tidal Forces." One thing I love about the Eclipse series is that it harks back to the days of muti-genre anthologies: fantasy, sf, and dark fantasy, all in one book. This is a good thing.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions! Because the world insists money is necessary. Thanks!

Oh, this month looks terrifying. Which probably means I ought not look farther ahead than a day or two. I have to outline a book for Roc (resurrecting the title Blood Oranges for the "werepire" novel/s), and do mountains of research for Blue Canary, deal with the page proofs for Two Worlds and In Between, be in NYC on the 17th, and pray to fuck the editorial letter for The Drowning Girl doesn't show up until June. Oh, and get Sirenia Digest #66 written. Gonna be fun, and then some. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

Filled with the Glory of Polly Jean,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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