greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-02-07 03:13 pm

"Instead, he sent three angels..."

Not as much sunny Outside today as cloudy. And 46˚F.

Yesterday, two more interviews. Oh, and this. Which wasn't precisely an interview. But there was no work. No writing that wasn't answering questions. Four interviews (and this) in two days, and we're on the seventh day of a short month – longer by one day, thanks to leap year – and today I have to get back to work, and work means writing, not answering interview questions. Actually, my answering interview questions is probably now a legitimate part of my "job," but it's not writing. Today, I'm going to write. Or something like it. Tonight, after dinner, I'll deal with the next interview.

News from Subterranean Press is that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be out sometime in May.

I have arrived at a curious, but, I believe, useful, new monetary standard to be employed by freelance authors. Forget the dollar. The basic unit of currency is the pizza. For example, someone pays me three-hundred dollars for a reprint, that's ~15P (based on an average large pizza price, with three toppings, of $20). Say your book deal drops twenty-thousand dollars into your lap (minus your agent's 15%); that's ~850P. This new standard will serve us far better. Sell nothing, ever, for less than at least 1P.

Since last summer I've been struggling to explain the relationship between Blood Oranges and its impending sequels (they do impend) and genuine ParaRom. No, do not use the label "Urban Fantasy." Once upon a time, Urban Fantasy had dignity. ParaRom stole the term (I don't know if it was the writers, editors, publishers, or an elaborate conspiracy of the lot). ParaRom, or PR. Anyway, the correct word I belatedly found yesterday is subvert. That is, Blood Oranges et al. is meant to subvert ParaRom. That's asking a lot of any poor book/s, but someone has to throw herself on the grenade.

Last night, Spooky and I played Rift for the first time since, near as I can tell from my notes, December 19th. That's, what, forty-nine days ago? The game remains beautiful, and it was good to be back. A good break from SW:toR. See, I didn't leave Rift because I was bored. I left because trying to run an RP guild – which meant writing more after I was done writing for the day, plus trying to get people to show up for RP – had sort of soured me on the whole thing. And then SW:toR arrived, all fresh and shiny and unsullied. Last night, I realized how much I'd missed Rift. BUT, because of the "free-to-play" Rift-Lite, our server has been overrun by idiots who cannot comprehend that it's an RP server, and there was a serious (and reasonable) fucking case of Gnerd Rage going down in general chat last night. I ignored it (I ignored everyone), and Indus (my Level 43 Eth warrior) and Dancy (Spooky's Level 43 Kelari cleric) quested and closed rifts in the Droughtlands and Shimmersand. What I didn't see was any evidence that there's been an exodus of players. There were high-level players everywhere. Many more than when I left, so the news of the game's recent troubles may have been...exaggerated. Anyway, for now, I think Spooky and I will be jumping back and forth between the two games – since we have no actual social life.

The no-sleep demons found me last night. Monsier Insomnia kept me awake until after five ayem (though I was in bed by 2:15 ayem). I didn't wake until after noon (or afternoon, if you prefer).

And one last thing. I'm missing the South fiercely. Part of it's this shitty Providence winter. Part of it is...well...complicated. I do not miss the people or the culture. I miss the land. And I'm sick of missing the South, because there is no dividing the people from the land. In the main (though not universally), the people are not worthy of even the smallest fraction of my longing. They showed me hatred, with rare bits of tolerance. By comparison, in New England I have found a mix of acceptance and people who simply know how to mind their own business. In the South, very few people know how to mind their own business. Indeed, throughout most of America, this is the case. Anyway, last night I got to thinking on the silly phrase "Southern hospitality" (which always baffled Spooky). It's not that "Southern hospitality" doesn't exist; it's that it's a highly conditional phenomenon. Conform, and we'll be relatively hospitable. Fail to conform, and we'll bedevil you. At last I left, and I am better off for it. But I cannot shake this longing for the land.

I've written far too much, says the platypus. I've written nothing at all. Gotta try to work.

Here, There, and the Other Place,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-30 01:25 pm

"Sorrow's my body on the waves" (2)

Cold this morning. Cold, but sunny, 37˚F. Very, very windy.

Yesterday, I began a second pseudo-vignette for Sirenia Digest, and right now I'm calling this one "Apostate," though I'd like to come up with a better title. "Apostate" is appropriate, I just don't like it. One-word titles can get irksome, and I just finished "Camuffare." Anyway, I did 1,302 words yesterday afternoon, and I'll likely finish the piece today.

By the way, after the writing yesterday, I did some math. "Apostate" will be the 105th piece of short fiction I've written for the digest since December 2005 (vignettes, short stories, novelettes, novellas, what-the-fuck-have-you). That includes the three parts of The Alphabetos Triptych, each considered as a single work. To date, about a dozen of the pieces have been reprinted elsewhere. Twenty were collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others (2010), and another twenty-five will appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Oh, and four appeared in Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007). That's only forty-nine. Which means a mere 46.6% of the stories from the digest have been collected to date. Even assuming that Subterranean Press continues to publish collections of them, given that I keep adding more each month, it's going to be quite some time before everything from the digest is in print. It would require the digest be discontinued, and I don't see that happening any time soon. I found the numbers sobering. One-hundred and five stories. If you like my short fiction, and you're not a subscriber, this certainly ought to be an incentive.

Also yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, [livejournal.com profile] briansiano, and the intrepid Sara Murphy convened in the wilds of Pennsylvania to shoot more video and stills. More scenes from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I should have been there, but the continuing headaches (yes) and my deadlines made the long trip impractical (to say the least). But, here's the thing. Excepting the top-tier donors (3 people), the shots from this session is not available to those who donated to the Kickstarter project. And given we went a bit over budget, we're hoping to cover more of the overage by offering some of Kyle's prints for sale. I'll post the information here as soon as he's set up for the sale. Which should be very soon. The photos are gorgeous. [livejournal.com profile] kambriel* made the gorgeous "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" dress that Sara wears. And, while I'm at it, the novel's release date is now only thirty six (!) days away.

Last night, on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] andrian6, Spooky and I watched Joel Anderson's Lake Mungo (2008). Except for Cloverfield, I'm fairly certain Lake Mungo is the best "mockumentary" (I fucking loathe that "word") since Myrick and Sánchez' superb The Blair Witch Project in (1999). Lake Mungo is quiet, eerie in all the right ways, and deeply disconcerting. In the end, it's what all "ghost" stories should be – it's sad. Set in Australia, it's sort of like Peter Weir did a ghost story back in the 1970s. You should see it.

And, with that...time to make the doughnuts.

Wishing She Were On the Way Home from Pennsylvania,
Aunt Beast

* If you want to see many of her beautiful designs on her retail website, just go here. Kambriel has made several custom pieces for me over the years.

Addendum (2:29 p.m.): Just heard from my agent that my Publishers Weekly interview is now out, in the January 30, 2012 issue of the magazine. Apparently, no one in Rhode Island sells the magazine, so if you can get me a copy, I'll show my gratitude in some very nice way. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
2012-01-28 01:50 pm

"But I know our filthy hands can wash one another's."

This afternoon, I'm missing Alabama.

Here, it's vaguely, unenthusiastically sunny. That sky could at least have the decency to snow. Then again, for Providence, we've hardly had a winter. Right now, it's 43˚F. Hey, winter! Shit or get off the goddamn pot, already.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,157 words on a new pseudo-vignette, "Camuffare." It's quiet, and easy, and strange. It's not at all what I expected to be writing this month, but maybe it's what I need to be writing – assuming I need to be writing anything at all. Let us make no a priori assumptions. But, so far, I like "Camuffare."

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack asked, Will it benefit you, in terms of your standing with the publisher re sales etc. more if I preorder The Drowning Girl, or if I walk into a shop and buy it within the first week of release? Truthfully? I don't think anyone knows. Publishers are insane about preorders. Publishers are equally insane about the first six weeks of a book's release. It pretty much comes down to that. Unless a book blows the whole world away via preorders or those first six weeks of sales, screw it. It never happened. What's next? Yes, it genuinely is like that. So, to answer your question, I'd say preorder, if only because that's more convenient to you.

Speaking of preorders, it's very important that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart does very, very well. So, please. If you can preorder, do. And thank you. And don't forget what Emerson said. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Anyway, here's the cover (by Lee Moyer), in case you've never followed one of the hundred or so links I've posted (them blue ladies with horns, they gets me every darned time):



It occurs to me that the only drawback to murder is the inevitable post-homicide emotional crash. Oh, and my thanks to everyone who followed the link to Amazon's page for The Drowning Girl and took a second to click like. All 88 of you. If nothing else, I know that 88 people read yesterday's entry. Of course, if you didn't click yesterday, you can always click today.

---

Last night, I swore I wouldn't play SW:toR. The GLBT-friendly RP guild we joined has finally started going to shit. But, you know, two weeks of decent RP before everything begins to come apart in nonsense and drivel is ahead of the curve, right? Anyway...at least it's not my guild. And, anyway, don't grownups do grownup shit? I always imagined it would be that way. I'd grow up, and there'd be 9-5, martinis, bills, vacations, a two-car garage, wild orgies, lawn flamingos, funerals, dinner parties, and 2.5 children. Well, okay, I got the bills, but the rest of it? Nowhere to be seen.

So, instead of playing with all the other grownup children, we streamed movies on the iPad (in 1975, when I was eleven, that sentence would have been science fiction). First, Elliott Lester's very so-so Blitz (2011). Not a great film, but not a bad film, and, what the hell, I'd pay to watch Jason Statham eat a sandwich (I have the same problem with Bruce Willis).

But then...then we came across this film I'd never heard of, even though I should have heard of it. Bless the Child, directed by Chuck Russell (2000). I looked at the cast – Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits (okay, not too interesting so far, but wait for it), Rufus Sewell (see, now we're getting somewhere), Angela fucking Bettis, Christina Ricci, and Ian Holm. And...what a total piece of shit! It might have scraped lows in Xtian horror that few Xtian horror films had previously scraped. The screenplay didn't even manage to be hilariously bad. It was just bad; no ambition. The cinematography had all the artistry of something made for Lifetime. There were some CGI demons that probably would have been interesting to see twelve years ago. There were lots of Evil Goths® and plot holes and pot holes and scary Catholic histrionics and Rufus Sewell trying really, really hard to sound villainous, but you can tell the poor guy's thinking, Yup. This is the end of my career. It's all downhill from here. Oh, wait. Christina Ricci's head falls off. That was pretty cool. And, frankly, the actor who played the Jesus-in-a-dress kid, Holliston Coleman, she carried the whole film on her tiny shoulders, and got all the best lines, and was the cutest little saviour of humanity ever. Gagh. Guys, you have to see this film. It's so bad – in a harmless, stupid, slobbering dog sort of way – you have to see it. Only 3% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! 3%! I still don't know how I missed it in theatres.

Oh, and then we played SW:toR, anyway.

And then I finished Chris McGowan's The Dragon Seekers. And that was yesterday.

Perpetually Adolescent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-23 02:02 pm

"...aimless in wonder."

The snow's still out there. Most of it. The sky is cloudy, and that's a relief. I feel sort of shitty for not having gone out in the snow when it was still fresh and powdery and clean.

Have you ordered The Drowning Girl: A Memoir? And Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart? No? Well, Herr Platypus says that if you do it today you can ride the pterosaurs for free when you get to heaven. And he's a monotreme of his word.

---

Yesterday, for Sirenia Digest #74, I began a new science-fiction short story, "The Diamond Friendly." Sort of crime noir circa 2056 (I think). I've been wanting to write this piece for about a month, and yesterday I said fuck it and got started. Oh, and I should say, up front, I wouldn't being doing the story without [livejournal.com profile] corucia as a consultant. This one isn't art crime. This one's biocrime. Gene hacking. I'm still looking for the word that would fit the deed. Regardless, hard story. Slow going. I wrote only 1,007 words. Here's an excerpted paragraph (you're welcome):

They named him, in the grid-slicks, the wordless, spare-no-blows spill across the plex and subplex, they dubbed him Zoo. Of a certain, not the prime serial interspec alteration “artiste,” only the most elusive and, possibly, the most fecund (setting aside the likelihood that many re: at large, unapps skidding neath the radar, by hook and by crook). Zoo, he got hisself infamy and fame and phat martigen straightaway, possied up quick as light. Fuck All My Enemies, F/A/M/E. Ah, but. Mistake to think Zoo cognates along those straights. Or, maybe mistake, as we do not know Zoo’s motives entire. He claimed others, >.>, but maybe the ZOhBee lied it all before going ocultado, thant you. This agent, she don’t think the dick was in it for F/A/M/E, cult, spots, the gory smooth outs transmitted (which, note, did not come from the criminal, but all from the plex-subplex yellows. Each and all, god bless us everyone.) In his subtle not so subtle way, Zoo never advertised. He gave the chota fucks just enough to know he was out there, and catch me if you can. Like Monsieur Leather Apron of old. Tease, you are. Nuff to keep the peep on, Dear Boss, but nowhere near enough to tune up and apprehend. Part of me, she admires you for that. d(^_^d) Oh, and not being all about the mass-celeb chinaal after the fashion of so many others, and predecessors, and copeekats (we have cause to suspect he planted most of those, btw).***

---

A note to everyone who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter: Yes, we'd hoped to have finished it many, many months ago. But our schedule sort of exploded when so many thing started happening with Alabaster and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and...other stuff. And suddenly I needed Spooky fucking constantly for all the things that a wealthier writer would have hired a personal assistant (Is secretary no longer PC? If so, that's a bloody shame.) to tend to for me. We're talking LOTS of annoying shit. Shit that just happens, and if I'm going to get any writing done, someone else has to attend to it. Anyway, this is my apology for monopolizing all her time. The project was conceived a year or so ago when I was far, far, far less busy. That said, we hope to have it finished by the end of March. Soon, the rewards to contributors will begin going out, pinkie promise. But they will be going out in stages, likely the postcards and prints first. But I just didn't want anyone to think we were slacking off.

---

My career seems, for the first time in a decade, to be sorting itself out. Now, I just have to keep the rest of my life in check. Or get a grip on it. Whatever. The diet's part of that. I've got to start exercising regularly, and sleeping more. I'm playing much too much SW:toR. MMORPGs will kill you, Bill Murray. More reading. Less time at this desk. More contact with human beings who are actually in the same room as me and aren't wielding lightsabers. This is what I have to do. Resolve, that's all it takes. Not that this winter's helping.

Last night, I did manage to read a chapter of Christopher McGowan's The Dragon Seekers, a very fine book on Victorian paleontology. I also read Rhoda Levine's Three Ladies by the Sea (illustrated by Edward Gorey), which seems like a metaphor for my entire life. Spooky made an excellent dinner of black-eyed peas and collards. But now, to sloppily paraphrase Laurie Anderson, the day stretches out before me like a big bald head. It's Sharkey's Day today. Sharkey wakes up and Sharkey says: There was this man... And there was this road...And if only I could remember these dreams...

Daily,
Aunt Beast

***Copyright © 2012 by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Steal this and I will hunt you down, slice out your innards, and feed them to you before you die that slow painful death you've spent your sad, sick life trying to avoid.)
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
2012-01-22 02:53 pm

Back to Where You've Never Been

Well, fuck. It's almost 2 p.m. (CaST), and somehow the day is slipping past on filthy little cat feet – fuck you, Carl Sandburg, you sentimental twatwaffle. Okay. Definitely didn't mean to begin this entry that way. But, as Longbaugh reminds me, "I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen."

Yesterday, I wrote nothing. I sat here and thought about things I should have begun writing two days ago. Finding stories. I also made a flaccid attempt at cleaning my office. I decided that if snow is the dandruff of Ceiling Cat, dust is the dandruff of Basement Cat. I stacked up manuscript boxes that need to go to storage (various incarnations of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, typescripts and galleys). I shelved a couple of books, and then I gave up.

I read Jack McDevitt's "The Cassandra Project" (2010) and Vylar Kaftan's "I'm Alive, I Love You, I'll See You in Reno" (also 2010). Both had kernels of magnificence trapped deep inside. Both were far too short, felt like outlines, and were almost entirely devoid of voice. I'm not sure if it's true that "Science fiction is the literature of ideas" (not sure, either, who first said that, and if you can figure it out for me, you get a banana sticker), but I don't think they meant that all you need is an idea*. At least, I hope that's not what he or she meant. I look back to Philip K. Dick, William Gibson's early work, Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance, Robert Silverburg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison...long, long list...and there is style. Voice. Good writing. Not this no-style style. From recent samplings, I fear that too much of contemporary science fiction has all the flavour of a stale communion wafer, and is just as flat. Sorry. Gratuitous (but true) Catholic reference. Where are our prose poets? Why doesn't the language used to convey the idea matter? It's not entirely true to say it's completely absent from contemporary sf. We have the brilliance of China Miéville, for example. But for fuck's sake, the short fiction I'm reading...communion wafers.**

I only just learned that Etta James has died.

I think my diet is killing me.

The snow is so bright out there, I had to shut the curtain in my office. It's getting better, though, as the wide carnivorous sky is being decently obscured by clouds. I didn't leave the house yesterday, but Spooky did, and she took photos, which you can see behind the cut (below), along with a photo from the day before of a typical Providence grey squirrel, all of which have become absurdly obese of late, in this oddly snow-free winter. Oh. By the way. Yesterday was National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I shit you not. Let’s hear it for Sciuridae.

Last night, we watched last week's episode of Fringe. A marvelously tangled web. And yeah, it's not great science fiction, but it doesn't claim to be, and, even so, it does have a flavour.

Fat Squirrel + 21 January 2012 )


I Taste the World,
Aunt Beast

* Possibly, it was Pamela Sargent. Or, possibly, she appropriated it from Isaac Asimov.
** Near as I can tell, this has always been the case with "hard" and "military" sf.
greygirlbeast: (fry1)
2012-01-14 01:53 pm

"He's less than within us."

Using my Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) icon today because about 4:15 a.m. I finally fell asleep watching Pitch Black for the umpteenth time. I drifted off not long after the crash of the Hunter-Gratzner. Which means the film worked. My comfort films usually do. Work to put me to sleep, I mean. Fortunately, Pitch Black is streaming from Netflix, so I could get it via the iPad. By the way, that's about the only use for Kermit the iPad that I've found, streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix.

---

I just received word from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has earned the coveted starred review in the new Publisher's Weekly. I won't post the full review for a few days, but I will excerpt this line (the rest is mostly synopsis, anyway, the last thing any book review should be concerned with):

Kiernan evokes the gripping and resonant work of Shirley Jackson in a haunting story that’s half a mad artist’s diary and half fairy tale.

I can live with that. Momentarily, I don't feel misunderstood. Though I'm sure that's just illusory and will pass shortly.

And speaking of Subterranean Press, if you've not already preordered your copy of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, you might want to do it before much longer. Remember, the limited comes with the FREE hardbound chapbook, The Yellow Book ("The Yellow Alphabet" + a new short story, "Ex Libris").

---

Yesterday, I only managed to write pages 5-7 (ms. pages 10-15, 1,256 words) of Albaster #4. Maybe I can write five today, and make up the difference.

The auction for The Drowning Girl ARC continues.

---

There was some good RP in SW:toR last night, and I read two stories, Tanith Lee's "Black Fire" (2011) and Julie E. Czerneda's "The Passenger" (1999). Both were quite excellent, but I was especially taken with the Tanith Lee piece*. These are collected, by the way, in John Joseph Adams' Lightspeed: Year One. I have a story in there, too. I just wish Orson Scott Card's name wasn't splashed across the cover of the book. I feel like I should wear gloves when I handle it.

Seven days have passed without my leaving the house (and I won't today, so make that eight), and its beginning to bother me again. I blame the weather. That sky. Getting to bed too late, waking too late. Having only five hours of daylight (or thereabouts), and needing three of them to wake up. This is my first (of four) profoundly shitty New England winters, and the workload isn't helping.

Snowed Under Without Snow,
Aunt Beast

* Though it's the Czerneda story that ends with this exquisite sentence: For like that precious bird, kept until death in a glass cage for all to see, wasn't he the last passenger of Earth?
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
2012-01-03 02:42 pm

"In my dreams, we're still screaming."

Bitter fucking cold here in Providence this afternoon, and tonight's going to be so nasty – 6˚F, with 22 mph winds - that Spooky and I are likely cancelling our plans to drive down to Point Judith and watch the brief Quadrantid meteor shower.

Yesterday was the most tedious sort of work day. At least if you're a writer who happens to be me. Which I am. Yesterday, we went back through about a hundred line edits that Kathryn couldn't make when she was editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book back in December (based on notes/proofreaders marks we made fucking months ago), the ones that required I decide if a word was to be changed, or a comma deleted or inserted, or a sentence restructured, or an adjective added...and so on. We were at it all day, until, I think, about 6:30 p.m. My nerves were raw and bloody by the time we were done, but then I sent the files off to Subterranean Press. By then, I wanted stab myself in the nethers with a fork.

But I didn't. Instead, after dinner, I did some work on the process of revamping the website in preparation of the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on March 6th. I chose one of [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's photos from back in mid-October, during the shoot for the book's trailer, to be used as the background. My intent is that we'll be swapping the background images out on a regular basis, but for now I just want to get the "teaser" up on a page devoted to the novel. It may be up as early as tomorrow morning (so thank you, Brian, Kyle, and Chris). Also, I'll be posting more behind-the-scenes stills from the trailer shoot this week.

I got preliminary pencils – gorgeous – for Vince's illustration for "Part the First" of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #73 (look for it by week's end).

---

Some people say we haven't lost.
But they're afraid to pay the cost,
For what we've lost.
~ Arcade Fire, "Half Light II (No Celebration)"

---

Someone wrote me (via email) a few days ago, inquiring about my blind left eye. Not the usual sort of email I receive, so it stuck with me. And it was actually elicited by something I said on Facebook, and email resulting from FB is even more rare. Anyway, the person wrote wishing to know more about my useless left eye, as he'd recently lost 30% of his vision in one eye. Specifically, he was curious how it affects my ability to read. To which I can only say, it doesn't really. Except that my eyes get tired very quickly when I read (though not when I'm writing or gaming, and I have no explanation for that), and only in the last ten years has that even begun to be an issue. But the difference here is that I was likely born almost 100% blind in my left eye. I never had any depth perception (binocular vision) to start with, and my field of view (my FoV is only about 90˚-100˚, instead of the usual human 180˚-200˚) was always seriously impaired. I taught myself to read when I was four, well before I began school, so clearly it was never a significant impediment to my fundamental reading ability. Except, I read very slowly. Also, it means that I have a lot of trouble if there's text over on my left that I need to read while also attending to anything on my right (this is a huge problem with text in console games and MMOs). And I was finally forced to stop driving about ten years ago (how I drove before then, and how I passed my original driver's test...long story, or not). So, anyway, short answer, my partial blindness has never caused me any significant difficulty as a reader, or as a writer. But that may be because I was born that way; no one even figured out anything was wrong until I was in fourth grade, and the extent and probable cause – in utero toxoplasmosis that scarred my left cornea – until I was in college. Anyway, there you go.

Now, I find a story.

Searching,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-02 01:49 pm

"I cannot pretend that I felt any regret."

Wow. 2012 feels exactly like 2011, so far.

I still have to replace the OLD calendar with the NEW calendar.

Not much to say. Spooky's better. I'm pretty much well. Today I have to get the corrected ms. for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book finished, because all my other obligations have caused me to neglect this far too long (we're talking months).

If you've not yet preordered the collection (and free hardback chapbook that comes with the limited edition), please do so. Same for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, if you possibly can. Thank you.

And now I got forth to attend to little red marks on white pages.

Uncorrectable,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-01 02:27 pm

Pallid Midday

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: (Default)
2011-12-28 02:14 pm

"...making a lake of the East River and Hudson."

Not a good morning, this. Instead, the sort of morning you just have to keep moving through. Not because there might be something better on the other side, but because the only other option is to stop moving. And somewhere along the winding course of my life, the irrational belief was instilled in me that stopping is a Bad Thing.

Anyway...

Yesterday, post-"vacation mistake" epiphany, I wrote and answered emails. I signed the signature sheets I mentioned. We worked on the line edits for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (and we're not too far from being finished with that). Today, more. Of everything. I think Kathryn's going down to her mom and dad's place. Would that I were going with her.

---

Yesterday, I was looking back over my Blogger entries from December 2003, and I found this passage, written on the 25th:

I will not get smarmy this morning, because I will not be a hypocrite, but I will wish you all the finest things that I can for the long year to come. Peace and freedom from tyranny and fear and repression, in all ways. The realization of dreams, or at least the luxury of the dreams themselves. The dignity that comes with pain that may not be avoided, and the strength to bear all the unbearable moments in life. Beauty and the eyes to see it. And perspective. And joy, which is a far finer thing than any passing happiness...Spooky and I have had the finest Xmas of any I've enjoyed since the late '80s.

I know why I wrote that, why I found an Xmas I could endure. What I spent a considerable bit of the day trying to puzzle out was exactly how things backslid so much between 2003 and now, what happened in the intervening seven years. Oh, I know the answer: a lot of bad shit. A fall. The whole affair left me sort of sick and confused.

---

Not much else to yesterday. I did manage a decent bit of reading. Three stories: Charles Stross' "A Colder War," Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Mongoose," and Don Webb's "The Great White Bed." I don't think I'm ever going to "get" Stross. I believe he and I must simply exist on different points along the dial. But, reading him yesterday, that old chestnut about SF being the literature of ideas came to mind. Who said that? Pamela Sargent? I think it was her. Anyway, sure, "A Colder War" is a great bundle of interesting ideas. But there's very little in the way of characterization, and without solid characters, a "literature of ideas" is pretty much a textbook. Characters first, and then science. All the technoporn in the world can't save a story from the vacuum created by an absence of solid, believable characters. Also, the Burgess Shale fauna isn't Precambrian, it's Middle Cambrian. Sorry. I know it's poor form, one author publicly grousing about another, but Stross' stories always leave me feeling like I'm missing something that everyone else plainly understands.

As for "Mongoose," it's a beautiful, brilliant, and delightful story. Each of those adjectives was chosen with care, by the way. I'm not just heaping hyperbole. I can also use it to illustrate a point I was trying to make yesterday. I very much dislike Lovecraftian fiction that is parody and/or attempts at literary irony. Almost without fail, they fail, those sorts of stories. The author/s, having decided they cannot possibly take Lovecraft seriously, and that no one else can, either – not in this day and age, and probably not in any day and age – turn/s to satire (usually dimwitted satire). "Mongoose," on the other hand, manages to have a lot of fun with a futuristic extrapolation of Lovecraft's universe, and never once does it feel as if the authors are mocking the source material. It is, I think, a story HPL himself probably would have loved. The difference, I believe, is that "Mongoose" never stoops to parody or derision, but chooses wit and whimsy, instead. Especially whimsy. And it just works. Brava.

It took me forever to get to sleep, but I can't blame Monsieur Insomnia. Not when I didn't get up until one p.m. the day before. I think I finally found sleep sometime after five ayem, after watching the first half hour or so of Clarence Brown's The Rains Came (1939).

Slivy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2011-12-27 03:08 pm

"Into the light of a bridge that burns."

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: (white)
2011-12-20 01:51 pm

"There's your flyby."

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: (Aeryn and Pilot)
2011-12-12 02:49 pm

"Love is watching someone die."

00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-12-11 01:37 pm

"A big hollow man, with a fistful of sham..."

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: (Neytiri)
2011-12-09 12:52 pm

"I once knew a girl..."

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: (leeloo)
2011-12-08 02:14 pm

"And I did cartwheels in your honour."

An entire journal entry in one sentence (this prefatory declaration notwithstanding), accomplished by the judicious use of punctuation and whatnot:

Cold and sunny today after a wild and windy night (gusts of 50-60 mph), but yesterday, I wrote another 1,232 words on "Another Tale of Two Cities" and found THE END of this very short short story (I can't really call it a vignette, sensu stricto), which Spooky likes and continues to compare to Dr. Seuss, specifically The Lorax (1971), even though...well, if you subscribe to Sirenia Digest and get #72, you'll see, and if not...not; and though I did say what I said yesterday about moving to Dreamwidth, and though much of my LJ was backed-up to Dreamwidth last year, I do not currently look at or use that blog, so following it is very premature; yet, it is not premature to mention, once again, that Subterranean Press is now taking pre-orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart; later, before attempting sleep last night (and other feats of daring do), I read a halfway decent story by Michael Marshall Smith, "Sad, Dark Thing" (the title's the best part); too, I would be remiss not to remind my Rift "guildies" that tonight, 10 p.m. EST, is RP, and yes, that is an icon of Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat; lastly (though far from leastly) let it be noted that today is the 31st anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, and, therefore, the extinguishing of one of the greatest minds and brightest lights of the 20th Century.

In Brevity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (zoe1)
2011-12-06 02:24 pm

"Sorrow found me when I was young."

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: (chi 5)
2011-12-04 02:32 pm

"Forgive the kids, for they don't know how to live. Run the alleys, casually cruel, cruel."

My thoughts are well and truly scattered this morning. No, excuse me. This afternoon, as it is now 12:58 p.m. CaST (though only 11:58 ayem EST, hence still morning). I don't feel like resorting to numbers and bullet points today, either, so bear with me, or don't bear with me.

Bear with me. One of those interesting turns of phrase that I have to wonder if many people ever pause to consider the older, more genuine meanings. Bear. With. Me.

We were planning to be at the VNV Nation show in Boston tonight, and the fabulous Chris Ewen even saw to it that we were on the guest list. Then, yesterday, fearing the possibility of contracting some illness from the crowd, and fearing my deadlines, we pulled out. And our two places on the guest list were raffled last night by Chris, while he DJed at Heroes (DJed as in disc jokey, not as in a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability, id est, djed). So, two happy people will be taking our places tonight, and congratulations to them, but doing good rarely serves as much in the way of consolation if you are me. And I am. Me, I mean.

And I can’t fall asleep without a little help.
It takes a while to settle down,
My shivered bones,
Until the panic‘s out.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

Yesterday, I discovered that (as is so rarely actually ever the case) the third time was the charm with "Sexing the Weird," and I finished a new 1,525-word version of "Sexing the Weird," which will serve as the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And I like it. Also, this morning (it truly was still ayem CaST) I received Sonya's afterword, "But She Also Lies Broken and Transformed." So, aside from Kathryn and I making about a bazillion corrections to the main text, then getting that text back to Bill Schafer, the book is done. Still no firm release date or date when pre-orders will begin. Later. It's safe to say it will be later, in both cases.

And today, I begin the aforementioned short story about the two women who become cities, for Sirenia Digest #72. And that reminds me to, again, remind you that responses to "Question @ Hand #5" are due by midnight (CaST) on the 7th. Also a caveat: best to avoid humor. I suppose I should have been clear about this from the beginning, but I didn't actually see this as a humorous undertaking (though humor and horror are always loping about, unsightly, hand in hand, I know); I am in an earnest state of mind.

Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher dans la compagnie calme.
Et je pouvais ne tomber pas dormir sans un peu aidé;
Il prendre beaucoup à se calmer mon os de frissonnement
Tant que la panique est dehors.
~ The National, "Amour terrible"

Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama. Which is the height of peculiarity, given how neither place was ever a home to me, despite the fact that I lived there almost all my life. My relationship with the South could probably serve as a case study in Das Unheimliche.

Later, we watched the next-to-latest episode of American Horror Story, and, gods – Zachary Quinto in latex. Later still, for want of physical, non-virtual company or any other "real-world" diversion, we played Rift. This morning, Spooky was telling me about the offensive comments coming in over level twenty-something to level thirty-something chat – and I didn't ask for specifics, but I assume it was the usual homophobic, racist, sexist ramblings. I keep everything but guild and RP chat off, so I always miss this shit in Rift. I got enough of it in WoW. But it's not ever encountered in actual gameplay – and last night was a good example – people are consistently polite and often helpful (unlike the situation in WoW). It leads me to suspect that an awful lot of people log in merely to "socialize," and likely they're fairly young, or actual kids, and talking hate shit is the false bravado of their generation, as it has been of all generations. Which, of course, makes it no less disheartening, and reminds me why I stay out of Meridian ("New Orgrimmar") as much as possible and always keep general chat switched off. Gaming is, for me (RP aside), a fundamentally solitary exercise, and forget the "massively multiplayer" part. I rarely game with anyone but Spooky. We duo. Anything to avoid the chimps on crack who cram into so much of gamespace.

Ah, and here's a thing I thought I'd post. Behind the cut. Twenty fantasy books that exerted an especial influence on me as an adolescent, in no particular order (behind the cut):

Twenty+ )

And yeah, I cheated and that is many more than twenty books, but I still feel as if many important things have been left out. Ah, well. For another time, yes. But if you have not read all these books at least once, shame on thee.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
2011-12-03 01:54 pm

"They could take you or leave you, so they took you and they left you."

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: (fry1)
2011-12-02 04:57 pm

Howard Hughes vs. Frank the Goat

Not sure why I'm using my Carolyn Fry icon today, from that marvelous scene as the Hunter Gratzner crashes. It just felt right. Maybe it says something about the health of Frank the Goat this morning and early afternoon, as LJ suffered another DDoS attack.

1) A late start to the day. But I've already signed 600+ signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (coming from Subterranean Press in 2012) and proofed inked pages for the Alabaster comic. I wish I could show you more of the art; the first issue is going to kick ass, and a lot of that credit will go to Steve Lieber (artist and letterer), our colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, and cover artist Greg Ruth.

2) I'm still hoping to be able to begin the new short story, for Sirenia Digest #72, started this afternoon. A tale about two women who become cities. And yeah, sorry, the digest will be woefully late this month. November was a right proper cunt, was she. So, blame her. But, still, I hope to have it out by the 10th of December at the latest.

3) And speaking of Sirenia Digest #72, come on, kittens. Get in those responses to the fifth Question @ Hand. Don't be shy. You get complete anonymity, and you DO NOT have to worry about the feasibility of the science in your replies. Oh, and I'll be especially pleased by entries that make no mention of my being a writer. But don't tarry too long. If these are going to make it into #72, I need all replies in by midnight CaST (EST +1 hour) Wednesday, December 7th.

4) Good RP in Rift last night. Thank you, all who took part. You were splendid. I'm hoping to double our numbers by the end of December, and then worry a lot less about recruiting for a bit. I'm beginning to wonder if a surprisingly (to me) small number of my readers are gamers. My calls for players go mostly unheeded, and, truly, not only is Rift an awesome game (as in, it fills me with awe), it's a great entertainment value. For the price of a large pizza, for less than a single movie for two, you get a month of unlimited play. Can't do much better than that. Dump that crappy cable TV, and come and play with us!

5) We've been working our way through Disc One of the most recent season of Doctor Who, and last night we finally saw the episode written by Neil, "The Doctor's Wife." Frankly, I was completely unimpressed by the four episodes (or was it three?) that preceded it, but then "The Doctor's Wife" blew me away. It is no lie to say that I very almost cried at the end. It shows that Matt Smith can be a good doctor, if given good scripts (though I still miss David Tenant, and I miss Christopher Eccleston – my doctor – even more). However, no author can redeem Rory Williams (BORING), and I want him gone.

6) Whoever is responsible for the portmanteau "advertorials" (derogatory shutter quotes!) needs to die, along with whoever invented the concept. And Jesus fuck, LJ knows how to spell the goddamned "word"!

Anyway, I think that's all for now. Carry on.

Eating A Cupcake,
Aunt Beast