greygirlbeast: (river3)
Very cold in Providence today; my feet are spun glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Versus )


By the way, if there are typos in the entry, all I can say is you're lucky there's any entry at all.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I'm keeping this short, because yesterday was a bad, bad, bad day for Spooky and me both, but more for Spooky. And no, I'm not talking about that endearing gent "Colonel Panic."

A few points though:

1) Yesterday I finished "Ex Libris," an endeavor that required of me the writing of an additional 1,424 words, bringing the story's total word count to 10,555. "Ex Libris" and "The Yellow Alphabet" will comprise The Yellow Book hardcover chapbook offered free with the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (pre-orders coming soon, I think). As for "Ex Libris," I think it was one of those stories where the composition consisted of me trying to pound some offending part of myself to pulp against a granite boulder. Or between two bricks. Whatever. Maybe this story is my way of punishing myself for the ending of "Tidal Forces," or the "happy" ending I gave The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Would I call "Ex Libris" horror? Well, writing it certainly required that I draw a great deal of horror from myself and place it on the page, an amount of horror disproportionate to, say, terror, awe, and wonder. Call it what you want. I'm just glad to have it out of me. Sometimes, I dislike getting such an undimmed view of my psyche. Also, people can either deal with the fact that a large part of one paragraph is in binary code, or they can have a hissy fit. Either way works for me.

2) If you have received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, please turn to page 300, and if there is some bizarre mutilation to that page please say so here. I have a copy with this defect, as does another person who purchased the book. I mean, a person who purchased the book. Since I didn't. Purchase it, I mean. Anyway, page 300. "The page was flayed. A thin narrow layer of paper was peeled down from the top removing the words, gradually gets wider and ends about 1.5 inches from the bottom of the page. The strip was rolled like a little pillbug." So, now. Look at page 300.

3) I wrote in my November 13th entry:

For Sirenia Digest #72, I want to do another "Question @ Hand" feature, as we haven't done one in quite a while, and I actually have fun with them. Yeah, fun. Imagine that. Anyway, I'm taking requests. That is, it would be great if people had suggestions, as I'm drawing a blank. So, you know, something along the lines of "What if you had me alone for twenty-four hours with nothing but a spork and a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and I was hogtied, and no one would ever know what you did, what would you do to me?" Only more imaginative. That sort of thing, in keeping with the flavor of the digest, which means none of that "I just want to read to you (or let you write) and make you a cup of tea" nonsense. Get your hands dirty. I do it every day.

I'm still taking suggestions. When I have the perfect one, I'll post it here, and all replies will be private and viewable to me and only me. The ones I like best will appear, anonymously, in the digest. This anonymity encourages, I hope, genuine depravity.

4) I spoke with Harlan yesterday afternoon. We played a labyrinthine game of tag until he finally got me on the phone. He isn't well, and last night he was appearing at a gathering honoring his work in television. And if, by the way, you've not read the work of Harlan Ellison, you are to remedy this at once. Deathbird Stories (1975) would be an ideal place to begin, or The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (1969), I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (1967), Shatterday (1980), or if you can get your hands on The Essential Ellison (1987)...look, just anywhere is a good place to start. But if you think yourself versed in science fiction and fantasy and are not intimately familiar with Harlan's work, you're wrong, and you need to fix that oversight. He is one of a tiny handful of writers without whom you'd not be reading me today. He's never been afraid to raise his voice, a voice filled with furious anger and terrible beauty, and for this I love him. I am determined to find myself in Los Angeles soon, to visit.

Furiously Terrible, By Proxy,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (2:23 p.m. CaST): Also, I want to move to Amherst, to be surrounded again by fossiliferous Mesozoic rocks; but I don't want to leave the sea.
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Here's the ruckus. There are three things in my life that bring me joy, without fail. What's more, each of these things is, essentially, free. No, I'll not tell you what those three things are. But, because I am not an utter cocksucker, I will say that one of them isn't writing, and if anyone should happen to guess what the other three are, I'll confirm. And send you a banana sticker. Oh, there would be four things that bring me joy, without fail, but it doesn't seem fair to include heroin on the list. Also, I lied about the banana stickers.

No, not having a good day. I'm afraid to go to sleep at night, because all I hear is a clock ticking very loudly.

Also, to harp and beat dead horses, the whole thing with emoticons and l33t, maybe you don't notice anyone thinking you're an idiot when you use XD or <.< or lol***, but maybe that's because you've begun keeping the company of idiots...or maybe you always did. Just a thought. Take it or fucking leave it be. Oh, Caitlín! Will you not ever learn you catch more flies with honey, and a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Problem is, it's a lot more satisfying hitting the Bad Things with baseball bats.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,261 words on the still untitled Mars story for Sirenia Digest 69. I mean to finish it today, which makes me eager to think of a title.

Last night, we watched André Øvredal's Trolljegeren (2010; aka Trollhunter). And, fuck me, but never in a million years would I have expected this to be a brilliant little movie. All I can say is see it, and if you read the description first, don't let that affect how you approach the film. You've got to go in with an open mind. I was only just barely able to, but I'm very grateful I was. Want to know what awesome really means, or, for that matter, awful? See this movie. The climactic creature encounter is, truly, genuinely, both awesome and awful. Four thumbs way, way up. Oh, it doesn't hurt if you love the art of people like Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and John Baur (1882-1918) and have at least a passing familiarity with Nordic mythology.

Now...photographs from August 29th (the day we drove to Watch Hill, then east again to Narragansett), after Irene passed over us, and left the sea angry and ill:

29 August, Part 2 )


*** Or, for example, ;-), :-), o.0, >.>, :-P, ad infinitum. And, for the record, yes, I've caught myself doing this, especially on SL, but I do my best to remind myself it makes me look like an idiot.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I awoke about nine p.m., hot and sweaty and sick from having taken a Valium and two Sonata, but then only slept five hours. I awoke to relive, it seems, an especially grotesque day from October 1990.

It's just me, or it's everyone, or it's only some people, but even after forty-seven years, I've no idea whatsoever.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,236 words on a new vignette, "The Granting Cabinet."

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to keep up these journal entries during Readercon. Back in March, I promised myself I'd make an entry every day for six months. But I'm not about to pay the hotel's exorbitant charge for internet access, so I really have no idea how I'm going to make it happen. Not that anyone much still reads LJ – they're all too busy with the easy, instant gratification and minimal compositional prerequisites of Twitter and Facebook – but it's important to me, if only because it's a promise I made to me.

Maybe I'll spend the day lying on the kitchen floor. The view from there isn't so bad.

Here are the photos from Saturday that I'd wanted to post yesterday.

9 July 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Comment, kittens!

It's not just the innate creepiness of the "praying hands" and swirly lights aspect of the present LJ banner, it's the nigh unto vomitous pale orange/melon-colored scheme. And I have to see it while I compose a journal entry. Someone ought to have to hurt.

Gagh.

Meanwhile, another bout of "not enough sleep" last night, despite my being a good little drone to the Queen Bee of 21st Century Pharmaceutical & Invalidism Culture and having refilled my "sleep aid" script. I think I almost, maybe, slept six hours. And it all just fucking figures. I'm working my ass off, and I'm mostly sleeping well. Often eight hours a night. Then, I force myself to take time off which is, essentially, necessary, and – KERBLAM – no sleep. Write or die. Dance until your feet bleed, or die. Don't stop dancing.

Yesterday was a Very Bad Day, and I don't have those very often anymore. Because I'm a good drone and take my meds and spend the day making honey and all. But yesterday, slip, and there's a Very Bad Day of the sort we've not seen in...quite some time. More than a year. We did leave the house and drive aimlessly about Providence for a while. The weather was too unpredictable to make an attempt at reaching the shore. Sunny, but a chilly wind. It's so green out there, but still it doesn't feel like May. I make the honey, like a good bee, and still the warmth doesn't come, and if I ever dare to stop and catch my breath, then there's no sleep, and the rage returns, and the noise, and the wish for self-annihilation, and no, no, no, you don't know what I mean.

Also, I just accidentally took my morning and afternoon pills at the same time. Booya.

The good news? Spooky just found my riding crop. It vanished when we moved here from Atlanta three years ago, and I despaired of having another so fine, without ponying up (hahahahahahahaha) a tidy sum at a tack shop. But no. Spooky found it.

While we were out, we stopped by Acme Video, and in a desperate effort to quell ye olde inner dæmons, I went hog wild renting comfort movies. Five of them. Movies where the wold is soothingly black and white and grey. Last night we watched two of them, George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story (1940, one of the most perfect films ever made) and John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). It helped, as long as the movies were playing. They ended, and the curtain came down again.

All I need is a reliable supply of opiates, enough for a couple of good doses a week. Paregoric would be perfect. Or laudanum. Or Vicodin. Anything.

In a couple of weeks, I turn 47. There are no words for how utterly fucking fucked up this is. Not just the "Woe is me, I'm getting old" part. That's obvious. No, it's the time dilation. The surreality of having lived from Then until Now, and through the shitstorm in between. It's a wicked sick excuse for a joke, and there's not even a god to blame it on. Only Chance and Probability and all those other rational, empirical anti-gods of Science.

I do have a wishlist at Amazon. You can look at it if you wish. I'm not adverse to gifts this time of year, even if they're of the non-opiate variety.

Oh, and you may now see the complete, final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, just by clicking here. Okay, it's not complete complete, as it still lacks the text of the flap copy. But it's mostly complete. Pay close attention to the book the painting me holds on the front cover. With a larger canvas, infinite regression could have been mimicked. Lee and Kyle are geniuses. They have wrapped my words in folds of zebra flesh and bergamot and vetiver and claret velvet.

Judge the book by its cover. Please.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented how Kathe Koja still has a thing for the "love is doom" motif we saw in Skin (1993) and Strange Angels (1995) and Kink (1996). Okay. He didn't name all those books. I filled in the gap. I don't know how Kathe feels about this (I may ask her), but, for my part, yeah...love is mostly doom. Exceptions are few and far between.

Listing to Starboard, Hardly Yar,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
(No one's going to read all this...)

Last night, I dreamt of playing the accordion.

---

Really, beyond seeing Lee Moyer's almost finished cover for Two Worlds and In Between, it was a pretty shitty day. That was the only bright spot. Wait, there was one other. Anyway, for some reason, I recorded the whole crappy day in photos, nineteen of them, below and behind the cut.

I've not spoken for thirty-three hours now, and I'm going for forty-eight, and then, then we'll see.

Much (but by no means all) of what went so wrong about yesterday was thinking I might be ready to finish the final chapter of The Drowning Girl, then discovering another scene that needed to be fitted it. I wrote the new scene, then struggled to insert it without disrupting the chapter's established flow. This is one of those things I can't understand about writers who write shit out of order. I write, I establish flow, and it's pretty much unidirectional. Try to go back and stick in new stuff, it all goes to shit (plus, you're swimming upstream the whole time). But, I wrote the new scene, like I said, then proceeded to the last scene (I only wrote 691 words yesterday). Then decided I needed to hear all of the final chapter, and an earlier part of the book, before wrapping it up. So, I asked Spooky to read it to me.

But I dozed off while she was reading to me, so we have to finish today. After I write the journal entry. Then I have to write another extra scene, once I figure out if it belongs in the ninth or tenth chapter. Maybe Monday and Tuesday I can write the last two scenes. Of course, I also have the deadline for Two Worlds and In Between a mere nine days from now, and there's still so much work left to do on that it boggles the noggin. And there's the work for SuicideGirls that I took on last week.

A nice piece of mail (the real sort, on paper with stamps) from Leeanne O'Sullivan in Lancashire, England. Thank you, Leeanne. You were that other bright spot.

---

After dinner, I had a hot bath. And a meltdown. A silent meltdown.

Later, when I'd been scooped into a Caitlín-shaped bowl, we watched Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, a pretty faithful 1998 film adaptation of William Gibson's short story of the same name. If nothing else, the movie nails the mood of Gibson's story. Christopher Walken is wonderful. Willem Dafoe is a little on autopilot. And Asia Argento is...um....hot. But you already knew that. Yoshitaka Amano (yes, that Yoshitaka Amano) plays the mark, a geneticist named Hiroshi, and there are cool cameos, such as Ryuichi Sakamoto. Definitely recommended, and you can stream it from Netflix.

Laterer, played Rift. Selwyn didn't make Level 19, because I tried to rp instead. And it wasn't bad, but after two attempts at rp in Rift I see that one has to know the canon, and that all the players have to be on the same page in interpreting the canon. Most rpers won't even realize this, of course, but then most rpers suck. Which is why you must rp in tiny groups (4-5 at most).

Latererer, Spooky read me chapters Four and Five of Catching Fire, and I'm relieved to say it gets much better. I think the first three chapters might have been condensed into a paragraph. But I also think, when we're done, I'll be of the opinion it should all have been written as a single book, not a trilogy. We are chained to trilogies. Fuck you, Trilogy Tyrant. Fuck you, Despot of Series. Fuck you.

---

My thanks to people who commented on the problem of gay protagonists in YA novels. I'm not going to get into all the details, because they are many and some of this is private stuff between me and others. And because there's the ugly issue of money. But, I will say, my first YA protagonist will be a lesbian. The worst that can happen is that I can fail, and I've sort of done that already (if we're talking about financial success and mass appeal, and I am).

Comments on #63? Bueller? Bueller?

Now...the photos:

5 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Too much to say in this entry, or not much of anything at all. The net result is the same.

Yesterday, we read all the way through "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key," my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. It's an odd piece, but I am especially fond of it. It was a relief to read the whole thing, and discover that it works.

I did some line editing on it, afterwards, and sent it away to the book's editors.

It was more work than it sounds like.

Stories for Sirenia Digest #58 is next on the list. I have to manage to get this issue of the digest out without Photoshop. The cover will, by necessity, have a new look, which is unfortunate, as I was just getting happy with the look of the covers.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. The late check got lost on its way from Manhattan to Providence, and taxes have to be paid, and Oregon's coming up fast.

Also, I have to say, I'm less than pleased with anyone who buys a book from us on eBay, then turns around a month or so later and tries to sell it on Amazon at twice what they paid us for it. I will not name names, this time. Next time, I will.

Maybe I'll be coherent tomorrow.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Yesterday, I killed a loaf of bread. Such was my anger, and such was the nature of the day. A shitty, shitty day, but the loaf of bread had done nothing. It was a little stale, sure, but aren't we all? Spooky's buried all evidence in the trash.

Turns out, on July 10th, some cisgendered, homophobic snot at Readercon was twatting rude little missives about my person (that's only one thing that led to yesterday being a shitty day). Hashtag #readercon. You can probably find him, if you try. He consistently misspelled my name as "Kaitlin." I'm still debating whether or not to unleash the flying monkeys upon his sorry ass. Whether or not to call him out. A loaf of bread has already died for his sins. Oh, and he also complained about Chip Delany reading "raunchy gay PORN." Ignorance and hatred and fear are the roots of all evil, if there actually is evil in the world. Blessed are the narrow-minded shit weasels.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,086 words on a new vignette. An erotic vignette that begins with a discourse on 4th-dimensional geometry, tesseracts, orthogonality, three-dimensional shadows, and so forth. Truly, I write smut for nerds. Right now, the piece is called "Vicaria Draconis" (thank you, [livejournal.com profile] sovay). And I could finish it today, I suspect, only it's so bloody hot in the house, and I'm still a bit too angry to make the doughnuts.

We hit a fairly serious last-minute snag yesterday, as regards the book trailer, and right now, we're scrambling to sort it all out.

Also, I'm pulling out whatever stops I can pull for promotion. We're going to have Red Tree fliers up on the website soon (they were out at Readercon), that can be printed from your computer and distributed wherever seems appropriate. We're talking posse, street team, etc. I've also begun a contest. Send me tree photos, any tree, anywhere, and my favorite gets a free, signed copy of the novel. Email photos to greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com, naturally. Now, I would much prefer you take these photos yourself, and not snurch them off the interwebs, please. They may be posted on the website, and I'd prefer not to violate someone else's copyright. We're also talking stickers, because any good posse needs to be able to deface public property and restroom stalls and so forth.

And there's the ongoing auctions.

I don't think I can sit here, baking in the heat all day. It's ten degrees (F) cooler outside than inside.

I want to say, "Read the Tree," but Danielewski beat me to that one. This posse needs it own slogan. "Feed the Tree"? Yeah, I know it's from a Belly song, but so was Low Red Moon
greygirlbeast: (do stuff)
So...thank fuck I slept last night. Otherwise, I am quite certain I would now number among the vast legion of future zombies. Truly, yesterday was one of the most inutterably awful days in recent memory, between the sleep deprivation and being so loaded up on hypnotics and rushing to get ready for ReaderCon and running errands and all the rain. Awful, awful day. But last night I slept, goddamn it. About 2:15 a.m., I lay down and shut off the lights, put Pitch Black in the iBook, and slept more than eight hours. Sure, I dreamt of earthquakes and tsunamis, but who cares. I slept.

I'd write about yesterday, but what I can recall mostly doesn't bear repeating, or I'm simply too ashamed to repeat it. Either way, a crappy day. But now it's done, and we move on. Except, I will say that Spooky is a saint for not murdering me yesterday.

Probably the most eventful thing was having to drive down to South County (in a torrential fucking rainstorm,) to check on the farm for Spooky's parents. On the way, we stopped for energy drinks, as we were both only just barely awake. Only, surprise, no Red Bull. So, we made the mistake of trying (it's hard to type this without gagging) Sobe Monster. I didn't think it would be bad. I used to love Sobe Adrenaline, and various other Sobe drinks. But it was unspeakable. Like...I don't know. The juice of rancid bananas and pineapples that had been impregnated with high-fructose corn syrup and then carbonated. Plus, there was 16 ounces of the shit, which seemed completely unnecessary. Really, I've tasted a lot of nasty in my day, but I think that can of Monster set a new standard. I did get it all down, and it did keep me moving. But never, ever, ever again. Red Bull, please. There is photographic evidence of my idiocy behind the cut:

Kids, don't try this at home )


Oh, and I read "An Enigmatic New Lambeosaurine Hadrosaur (Reptilia: Dinosauria) from the Upper Shale Member of the Campanian Aguja Formation of Trans-Pecos Texas," a weird beast named Angulomastacator daviesi, known thus far only from its boomerang-shaped maxilla bone.

Just heard that Los Angeles spent $1.4 million on Michael Jackson's Memorial thingy. This is the sort of crap that sparks revolt. Well, in sane places, this is the sort of crap that sparks revolt. I will say, it makes Providence having spent $14k on barges from which to launch 4th of July fireworks (when the public libraries can't afford to order new books) seem somewhat less abominable. But only by comparison.

My thanks to Chris ([livejournal.com profile] scarletboi), who's getting a new front page for my website up and running, to promote The Red Tree. I think it will be going live within the next day or so. I think. I'll post something here as soon as it does. The new website will gradually become a very dynamic sort of thing, and hopefully it actually will help to promote the new novel (and everything else). By autumn, I hope to be the proud owner of a website that looks like it was created this century.

I will not have any sort of connectivity while at ReaderCon, which is mostly a good thing. So, after tonight, I'll be silent until Sunday night or Monday morning, and that includes my Facebook and my Twitter accounts. My cellphone was new in 2004, and screams at the mention of Facebook and Twitter. Also, I'm going halt the micro-excerpts from The Red Tree until Monday. For those of you attending ReaderCon (many of whom are probably already on their way or have already arrived), I do ask that you please respect my desire not to be photographed. This does not apply to crowd shots, or when I'm doing panels with other guests, obviously. Just the solo presentation stuff, the signing on Saturday, and the reading on Sunday. Thanks.

Okay. Herr Platypus says I'm burning daylight, which seems both obvious and redundant to me...
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Yesterday. Fuck me sideways, but yesterday was a lousy, stinking excuse for a day. And I have the US Postal Service to thank for that. On Tuesday, May 5th, Spooky mailed the corrected galley pages for The Red Tree back to my editor in Manhattan. My deadline was the 7th, so we figured we'd done pretty good. Didn't even have to ask Penguin for an extension. Then, yesterday morning (six days after we mailed the pages), my editor (Anne), emailed to say that she'd not received the pages and production was having kittens. As the package had been sent with delivery confirmation, we were able to see that, as of Friday (May 8th), the package had reached Bethpage, NY. I got another e-mail from my editor's assistant, Cameron, who hoped the missing pages might show up in the afternoon's mail run at 1 p.m., and we began discussing options, in case it didn't. Never mind all the many serious errors (most were formatting) that needed fixing before the ARCs are printed, I'd spent days proofreading the thing. So, it was decided that, if the pages didn't show, I'd have them faxed (of course I made photocopies of the corrected pages before handing them over to the USPS). However, Spooky called the Kinko's on Thayer Street, and discovered that faxing them would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of $160. I'd already spent about $20 to mail the package. Oh, my fax machine died a few years ago, and I never bothered replacing it.

So, other options were discussed as the day slipped away. Perhaps, for instance, the pages could be made into a PDF, only that was also costly, and there might not be time. 1 p.m. came and went. I was losing the day, and nothing had been written on "Fish Wife." And I was starting to get angry and to panic. I pulled Angela Carter's Burning Your Boats down off the shelf and read "Master" and "Lizzie's Tiger," which helped keep me calm and distracted. I got word from Cam that it would be sometime after 2 p.m., not 1 p.m., before we knew if the pages had come in the afternoon mail. I gnashed my teeth. Spooky called New York. There were more emails. Right now, it's really all a sort of blur. Finally, Cam said we were getting no love from the mail room, so I faced up to the worst-case scenario, and began typing out the corrections, with Spooky dictating them to me. By 4 p.m., it was clear I wouldn't be done before the end of the work day, and I emailed Cam and told her so. She said that if I could get the corrections to her by 9 a.m. this morning, we'd probably be okay. So, Spooky and I spent two and a half hours compiling a detailed list of the 170 corrections that needed correcting, and sometime before 6 p.m., I emailed it to Cam (who was an utter saint yesterday, by the way).

And that's how I lost all of yesterday, when I should have been writing a vignette for Sirenia Digest #42, to the incompetency of the postal service. And this isn't the only instance of them giving me grief lately. A much-needed check was sent from my agent in NYC on April 29th (!!!), and has yet to reach me. Yesterday, Jennifer at Writers House declared it missing, and said she'd get with accounting about cutting a replacement. So, yes, thank you USPS. From here on, if I actually need something to get somewhere on time, I go to FedEx (and hope). Better yet, I may take the train to Manhattan next time, and hand deliver the pages.

So, lots of stress and work, but no writing yesterday.

As for last night, after pizza from Pizza Pie-er on Wickenden Steet (Spooky got takeout while I sorted through ancient photographs on my iMac and did some Wikipedia editing), we watched more of Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I drank pomegranate martini's and got mildly inebriated. Later, we played a little WoW, and Shaharrazad got a shiny new wand. There's a screencap (BIG) of Shah on her felsteed, behind the cut, taken when we were wandering along the border between Zangarmarsh and the Blade's Edge Mountains. It's a very Vernian sort of landscape.

Beneath the 'Shrooms )
greygirlbeast: (europa)
Yesterday was a day of mail. Well, yesterday was a day of pleasant mail. A package from [livejournal.com profile] txtriffidranch, including many things, but the most marvelous bit is a recording from 1966 of Harlan reading "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman" and "A Boy and His Dog." I used to have these recordings, long, long ago, and lost them in one or another move, and I am very pleased to own them again. Thanks very, very much. Almost as cool as the British Museum Dimetrodon. Also, a package from [livejournal.com profile] mellawyrden, which, among other things, included a copy of Mac Wellman's A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds. And, also, a complimentary copy of the Fall 2008 Dead Reckonings arrived (Hippocampus Press), which includes S.T. Joshi's review of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, "A Slow-Moving Tsunami" (though it says "Caitlín Kiernan, Remastered" on the cover). I will now shamelessly post a short quote:

Kiernan has inexorably ascended the echelon of supernatural horror with an array of distinguished novels and story collections that have already led some critics to rank her with such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti. The comparison with Campbell seems to me particularly apt, for there are few writers in the entire history of supernatural fiction who have simultaneously mastered both the short story and the novel and who have combined such copious productivity with such a high level of meticulous craftsmanship.

And if posting that quotation is self-aggrandizing, so fucking be it. There are precious few rewards, writing what I write, and being ranked, by Joshi, with Campbell and Ligotti is among them. So, yes, a splendid day for mail.

Unfortunately, it was a pretty lousy day, otherwise. Sometime after one, I had one of the worst seizures I've had in a while. I came to on the floor in the middle parlour, surrounded by Spooky and the cats. So I spent most of the afternoon in bed, dazed, feeling like I'd been run down by a truck. Spooky read me Chapter Four of The Red Tree, and I tried hard to pay attention. Mostly, I drifted and stared at the patterns the sun made on the bedroom wall. It was after dinner before I began to feel halfway decent again.

Last night, we watched George Clooney's Leatherheads, in which George Clooney plays Clarke Gable and Renée Zellweger plays Claudette Colbert. Well, no, not really, but pretty close. It was a thoroughly charming, film, despite the fact that football bores me to tears, and felt more like something from the late sixties or early seventies, during the nostalgia boom that spawned movies like The Sting and Paper Moon.

And today I will try, again, to begin the Long Sought Epilogue, because Herr Platypus is not a happy camper. Please take a moment to order A is for Alien, due out next month from Subterranean Press, if you've not already done so. I promise it doesn't suck.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
A glum morning. The sky is overcast and we have more snow (or sleet or freezing rain) inbound. Outside looks like the space inside my head. We match, the weather and I.

It's never good when I take days off without having very solid plans. I can't simply rest. As long as I'm writing, I can hang onto an illusion that by writing I'm managing to stave off some sort of inevitable catastrophe. The nature of this catastrophe is always vague, but usually begins with homelessness, then explores the nether regions of destitution. This is one reason that I write so much. I imagine writing keeps the wolves at bay. I stop writing, and there's nothing but my thoughts, unless I remain mentally active. So, there's never really any rest, not really. I've just been trying to catch up on all the sleep I lost in December, but I didn't leave the house yesterday, and may not today, and the thoughts of catastrophe are pressing in at me. I don't know how people rest, how they take time off, how they stop. My rare "vacations" are rarely restful, as rest of the "not doing anything" sort only stresses me out more.

And it's all sort of beside the point, what I may have hoped to do this week and how the weather is making a shambles of those plans, as the coughing has stopped, finally, and the Bad Tooth has become excruciating again. Spooky's calling the dentist today, and I expect it will be pulled in the next few days. Good riddance.

I have no solid plans for today. But I will fret. I begin to think I should spend today and tomorrow starting something for Sirenia Digest #38.

Something nice yesterday in the mail, something from Neil. I think that was yesterday's one bright spot.

The low point was discovering that there's a very minor error in the header of Sirenia Digest #37. I asked Gordon to correct it, and Spooky's has just done a second mailing to subscribers. The only difference is the correction to the header.

I wonder if I could find something erotic about tooth pain?

Oh, I almost forgot to include something cheerful. (Sarcasm, people.)
greygirlbeast: (vlad and mina)
The snow is gone, for the most part. The rains yesterday kindly carried it away. Today is cold, with only a few clouds and a great deal of sunlight.

Yesterday is a sort of minefield, and to write about it means watching one's steps very, very carefully. So, I will write about it hardly at all. I will do my best to forget it.

There's no way around admitting the likelihood that Sirenia Digest #37 may be a day or two late. I'm not entirely sure why. I mean, besides the rotten, unpulled tooth and the insomnia. I spent four days on "There Are Kisses For Us All." But it has become very clear that if I rush the story to have it done in time for the December issue, I'll only ruin it. So, I'm shelving that piece and starting over. Also, one of the vignettes I'm doing this month will be based on a image by Vince Locke, the same way that I did for "Untitled 33" back in September. That is, we're reversing the usual order; I'm writing his image, instead of him illustrating my story. But Vince can't get the illustration to me until the 29th, because he's working on the Wands for a Tarot deck. I might be able to get #37 out on the 31st. Certainly, I will try. I despise being late. Regardless, I thank subscribers ahead of time for their patience.

I'm enjoying Kostova's The Historian. It's becoming one of those books I wish I'd written.

Yesterday, and into last night, the sound of snow sluffing and sliding free of rooftops punctuated the sound of rain. It was an odd, disquieting noise. A new one for me.

Harold Pinter is dead.

An acquaintance in England told me that, in a local bookshop, my books have been moved from "horror" to f/sf. That always pleases me.

After dinner (warmed-over Chinese), we watched Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) again. The film continues to amaze and please me, and I think it really is the best adaptation of Dracula to film that's been done. But this is in spite of Keanu Reeves. Every time I see the film, his attempt at Johnathan Harker becomes that much more absurd. Other than affecting a perfectly awful British accent, he does not even seem to try to act. Fortunately, Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Waits shine so brightly they make it fairly easy to ignore Reeves, as do the splendid visuals and Eiko Ishioka's costume design. I noticed for the first time last night that Mike Mignola worked as an illustrator on the film. It was, I see, his first film work.

Later, there was WoW. Suraa and Shaharrazad finished up some nasty business in Strangelthorn Vale, and traveled (by zeppelin, hearthstone, and bat) back to Tarren Mills, and then, on horseback, to the Hinterlands, where we slew giant white wolves and savage owlbeasts and retrieved an ogre's lost lunch. We've both made Lvl 45. I realized last night, for the first time, that much of the battleground stuff is, essentially a game of "capture the flag," which is very disappointing. Warfare becomes mere sport. Could Blizzard not have thought of something even a little more interesting? "Capture the flag" bored me in grammar school, and I doubt anything will have changed. Here's another missed opportunity to create gameplay that furthers a story (well, assuming there's a story to further; I see lots of "lore," and very little story). So, likely, I will avoid all the battleground stuff. Got a nice wand last night, though. Spooky and I try to devise little stories to explain why our characters are doing what they're doing, in an effort to force some narrative sense out of WoW.

Anyway...back to the word mines.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
Yesterday, despite the fact that I spent all day at the keyboard, I managed only a paltry 675 words on "The Collier's Venus (1893)." The story continues to confound me. A locked box to which I seem to have never received the key. Or, I have the key, but can't quite figure out how it works. I sent the first three sections to Sonya last night, and she likes it. Spooky likes it. But I am entirely uncertain. It will be finished, because there is not now time to begin a new story. I see this story so clearly in my mind's eye, and yet the words escape me. I think the last time I had this sort of frustration was with "The Ape's Wife." And, I should admit, that turned out quite well, in the end. Or, in THE END. There are precious few mornings when I sit down in this chair and actually look forward to writing. But, usually, at least I do not sit down with an utter dread of the story I'm trying to write. That's the present situation. But I am the sole creatrix of that world, that fictive reality, and, in time, I'll unlock the box. There's just so little time.

Yesterday, I came to a sort of resolution. In large part, it stems from the trouble I'm having with "The Collier's Venus (1893)." In large part, it's just common sense. I'm going to set December and January aside for a "semi-vacation." That is, I'm scaling back work for those two months, limiting myself to Sirenia Digest and the editing of The Red Tree. This means I'll be pulling out of a couple of anthologies I've agreed to write stories for. But it simply cannot be helped. I am too tired. No, I am bloody exhausted. There's been no break since...the move, and that was hardly a break. I didn't even take any sort of decent breather after finishing The Red Tree*, and I simply cannot keep this up. I will be sick again, if I do.

So...I just have to survive writing "The Collier's Venus (1893)," all of Sirenia Digest #36, and the trip to Manhattan next week, and then maybe I'll be fine.

Ah, but there is a little good news. Stephen Jones has selected "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" for a special Twentieth Anniversary "very best of" The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. This story and I have a long, long history. It was originally written in November 1993, my third story ever intended for publication. It's probably one of the more interesting pieces of my "naïve period" (let's say '93-'95). Originally, the story placed with a small press zine called Eldritch Tales (long deceased). However, four years later, it still had not been published. Then, at the May 1997 World Horror Convention in Niagara Falls, Steve Jones asked me to write a Dracula-themed story for the '97 World Fantasy Convention souvenir book, Secret City: Strange Tales of London. So, I sent a letter (we still wrote actual letters back then, on paper, with ink) to the editor of the obviously moribund Eldritch Tales, withdrawing the story. I wrote a second draft, adding 1,100 words, and sent it to Steve, who loved it. Later, it was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Vol. 9, 1998), and then was reprinted in my second collection, From Weird and Distant Shores (2002). And now, it will be reprinted again, sixteen years after I began it. The book will be released by Earthling Publications as a signed, limited edition, and will include one story from each volume of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. More details TBA.

Last night, after Chinese leftovers, we ventured out into the wuthering evening, because I couldn't stand to be shut up in the house with all that wind pressing in at the walls. And I needed more Yacht Club ginger ale. Yacht Club is my new beverage addiction (they also make excellent root beer). Anyway, last night our cashier at Eastside Market just happened to be the girlfriend of the son of the owner of Yacht Club Bottling Works (located in Centredale, RI), which was sort of weird and cool. Back home, there was WoW. Shaharrazad and Suraa slew kobolds, dromaeosaurid theropods, giant spiders, ogres, (at Boulderfist Hall) and laid waist to countless humans at a Syndicate encampment (at Northfold Manor), all in the Arathi Highlands. I posted another entry to [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault. Later, we watched the first episode of Deadwood for the zillionth time. And it's still brilliant, and still makes me sad that the idiots at HBO saw fit to cancel what is possibly the best written series in television history. I think we got to bed just before 3:30 a.m.

* I was just looking back over old journal entries, and it appears the last time I took an actual vacation was the first week of June 2007.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
I overslept an hour somehow, so....I'd say I'm going to make this short, but I know better.

And, too, I'll say again, that it's a crying shame that Second Life is so burdened with being an online dating/social network and a haven for shitwits (of many, many species) that it will never realize even half its potential as an innovative medium for storytelling. I keep hoping that some new sim service emerges, one which provides the degree of potential creative freedom that now exists on SL, but which also exists solely to permit creators to create, and which doesn't tout itself as a fancy chat room, a solution for those without a RL social life, or sex life...or a life, period. One that has some way of sorting out the chaff, as it were. I keep hoping, and it keeps not happening. This comes up because, over the last week, on a couple of occasions, I've slipped back into SL, into New Babbage briefly, and a couple of people have been trying to get me back into the rp there. But every time I enter SL, without fail, within half an hour or less, I'm confronted by the inanities that drove me to leave two months ago.

Blah, blah, blah.

Nothing much in the way of a writing day yesterday. I read back over what I'd written on Monday, and discovered that the story had, in fact, derailed. But I couldn't really see how to set it right again, and began to suspect that it's simply the wrong story for me to be writing at the moment. Truthfully, I'm bloody exhausted and any story's the wrong story for me to be writing at the moment. But I have a deadline at the end of the month, for this piece and for Sirenia Digest #36. I spent maybe an hour talking it over with Spooky, the problems I'm having with the new story, and, finally, she told me to get up and get dressed, that she'd drive me down to Beavertail. I was too tired and too frustrated to say no.

Winter is coming on fast, and Conanicut Island has changed a lot since the last time we were there, a month or so ago. The trees are mostly bare, revealing marshy places and fieldstone walls. The wind was freezing. We climbed down on the rocks below the lighthouse, but my feet have gotten bad again, what with all the exercise I've not been getting, what with all the writing and the not leaving the house. I was clumsy on the rocks. The tide was in, so we couldn't really get to the pebbly beaches that give up beach glass. I only found a few pieces, and picked through shells and crab and lobster claws. But the sea was good, as She always is. The sun was setting by the time we arrived, and I don't think we stayed more than half an hour. There were a few unhappy looking gulls, but I saw no cormorants. On the way out of Beavertail, we spotted a small hawk perched in a tree, staring out to sea. I slept the entire way back to Providence.

For dinner, Spooky warmed up last night's chili. We read Chapter Three of The Red Tree, so I'd not feel like a total slacker. We watched three more eps of Firefly. I made another post to [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault. Later, we played maybe an hour of WoW. The service was offline most of yesterday and last night, scheduled maintenance that turned into some sort of clusterfuck. But, that was probably for the best, anyway. It is too easy a distraction. We went to bed about 2:30 a.m., and Spooky read me Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (more comfort food). The dreams were bad, but not bad enough to leave me dreamsick.

And I really do apologize for making such an utterly cranky post.

Here are some photos from Conancut Island. Let me see if I can save today....

Wednesday, November 11, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Well, the whole verse would be:

When the world is a monster,
Bad to swallow you whole,
Kick the clay that holds the teeth in,
Throw your troubles out the door.


But, somehow, having put that quote down, it looks far more positive than I feel, and, more importantly, it implies that I myself am anything but monstrous. And look, I haven't even started the entry, and already I'm digressing. It's a quality that Sarah Crowe —— the protagonist of The Red Tree —— and I share in common. We both digress, endlessly. And speaking of The Red Tree, yesterday I wrote 1,718 words —— a very respectable writing day —— and finished Chapter Seven. That means I have only one chapter to go to reach THE END. At this point, the ms. stands at 78,732 words. And I can see that the book was begun April 15th, but almost all of it has been written since July. And I can see THE END from here, and I only hope that I am doing this the way that I need to do it. There is no "right way" to write a book. There is only the way that the author needs it to be written, because the novel serves the author, even as the author serves the story, and failure is the act of failing to pull off that trick. I will begin Chapter Eight today, because, you know, no rest for the wicked.

---

Please have a look at the current round of eBay auctions, which began just yesterday. Thanks.

---

I'm still not in a position to say exactly what happened on Thursday that sent me into such a funk that I seriously, seriously considered shelving The Red Tree indefinitely. It might be, in the days that come, that I decide I overreacted, and it might be that I don't. Regardless, on Thursday I was too angry to even consider work, and it seemed like a good idea to get out of the house. We headed south and west, for Stonington in Connecticut. We did actually make it to Stonington Cemetery, but, I'd underestimated the effect of the blue-white sky bearing down on me, and how raw all that sun would leave my eyes. We did not linger, but boomeranged right around and headed home. It was a day wasted on an ugly road, beneath a merciless autumn sky. A few clouds might have saved the day.

On Friday, again there was no work on The Red Tree, as I was still laboring under the resolve that I would leave it uncompleted. Instead, we went to the movies. But I'll get back to the movies. There have been a lot of movies the past four days. We didn't make the mistake of another road trip. The grip of autumn is too absolute, and my agoraphobia-like dread of all that blue emptiness above me had done enough damage the day before. I learn my lesson, if only for a little while. On Saturday, after speaking with my agent, Merrilee, I went back to work on The Red Tree. Nothing had changed, except that indignation began to take on the characteristics of resignation. So, on Saturday, as I've already said, I wrote 1,412 words.

---

In all this mess, I neglected to wish [livejournal.com profile] sovay a happy birthday, though her birthday was on Thursday. So, here it is, belatedly. Also, my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for the T-shirts. Spooky adores her steampunk DJ, and my cephalopods are very fitting.

---

Yes, there have been a lot of movies, helping to keep me from breaking things. Thursday night there was Matt Damon in The Bourne Monotony or whatever it is they called the third film. A murksome mess that proceeds with all the inspired pacing of a television commercial. Though, I will admit, the last half hour or so are almost engaging. And then, on Friday, we made a matinée of John Erick Dowdle's Quarantine, which we both liked quite a lot. Of course, this film's going to be judged as a zombie film, even though it isn't. It did get me to thinking how the "zombie film" has edged away from the collective human loathing of their own dead to a fear of contagion and the damage that unrestrained nature can do. Like Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), Quarantine is a film about a genetically engineered rabies-like plague, not the living dead. But, somehow, the two things have been run together in the minds of moviegoers. Maybe it's the shared element of cannibalism. Maybe what humans fear most of all is not death or the dead or even plague, but being eaten alive by their own. Or things that used to be their own. Anyway, Friday night we watched Tarsem Singh's The Cell (2000) again, because I wanted another look at it after seeing The Fall. It's truly a gorgeous film (and, if you're me, a damned sexy one), but the script is slipshod and Jennifer Lopez is a walking disaster, whispering her way from line to line as though that will disguise the fact that she simply cannot act. Then on Saturday night, we got stoned and watched Julie Taymor's Across the Universe again, and it's still amazing. Finally, last night, we watched Fred M. Wilcox's Forbidden Planet (1956), because it's one of those films that soothes the monsters of my id.

---

I didn't really get much reading done. Mainly, from the September 2008 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "New information on Stokesosaurus, a tyrannosauroid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from North America and the United Kingdom." It's clear now that this lineage of theropods reaches back at least to the Late Jurassic, and that the smaller, more gracile predecessors of Tyrannosaurus lived alongside such classically Jurassic theropods as Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus.

---

Finally, there has been a good deal of World of Warcraft, which has proven itself a great "pressure valve," as the consequences of slaughtering virtual beings are far less worrisome that doing the same thing in the here and now. Mithwen, the night-elf warrior, is now at Lvl 28, and running missions out of Menethil in the Wetlands. She was rather shocked to learn that humans are so tiny, and the Sin'dorei even smaller. Honestly, I cannot fathom why anyone plays a human. But I digress (again). Shaharrazad, the blood-elf warlock, has made Lvl 21, and has been enjoying the company of her minions. She's mostly keeping to the Ghostlands and Undercity for the time being. There'a third character now, and you can blame Spooky for that —— a Draenei, a Lvl 10 huntress named Voimakas. That's Finnish for "strong" or "powerful," "fierce" or "intense," in keeping with our impression that Draenei words look Finnish, and Finnish has always seemed a very alien language to me. Frankly, I think the Draenei are possibly the best designed and executed part of the game I've seen. And the interjection of such an explicitly sf element into the faux-Tolkien stew is much appreciated. So far, Voimakas has made it only as far as the Bloodmyst Isle.

Okay. That's more than enough for now. Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (blood)
The way I feel this afternoon, I should not even attempt a journal entry. Yet, here I am, attempting it.

Another trip to Saunderstown yesterday. I had to read through all of Chapter Three of The Red Tree, and it was more pleasant doing it there than here.

I did manage to finish Chapter Eleven of Fraser's Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Life in the Triassic., "Time to Go Our Separate Ways: The Newark Supergroup." It touched on some neat beasts, such as Icarosaurus, Tanytrachelos, and Hypuronector. I may actually manage to finish this book before the end of the summer.

No...I was right. I am definitely not up to this entry. Please do remember that Amazon is now taking preorders for the new mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds and that subpress is taking preorders on A is for Alien.

Oh, and here are the photos from Friday. If dead things bother you, you might not want to look:

The Great Swamp, 8 August 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
So, I didn't set out yesterday not to write. I had every intention of writing at least a thousand words. At least. But. The distractions —— the heat, some minor pain, insecurity about the book, and then the asshole from Cox Cable. On the latter, the least excusable (least excusable that I let it ruin my day, I mean) of the lot. After a month without cable, the Cox installation guy shows to hook up the cable.

I'd already determined that neither of the two jacks were suitable, one being in Spooky's sewing room and the other in the second parlour (which we are using mostly for ritual space). So, I figured, no problem. It's a short distance from the sewing-room jack to the television, maybe ten or fifteen feet, at most. But he refused to do it, because (get this), we might trip over the cable and sue Cox. He was summarily dismissed from the house. We shall live without television. I'm sure we will be better people for it. There's not even that much I'll miss, and what I do miss will mostly be made available via the internet and DVD, anyway. Also, we'll save $70 a month. But I am sick to puking death of the idiots who run Cox. They have something of a monopoly up here, and they act like it. At least they're aptly named.

By the time the Drama of the Cable was done, the day was fading. I was fading. It was very hot inside and outside, despite Dr. Muñoz' best efforts, and obviously nothing was getting written. So. Though it was the wrong thing to do, the most wrong thing I could have done, I wrote the day off as an L. Must have been about 4:30 p.m. We left for Beavertail about an hour later, fleeing to cooler weather and a calmer environment. I climbed down onto the tilted beds of Cambrian phyllite and just sat and stared into the wild, rough sea. We'd had a steady wind all day (hot wind in Providence), and the surf was whipped into a frenzy. It seemed a frenzy to match the noise in my head. I sat in the sun, the salt spray on my face, the sea tumbling over the rocks and rushing through a rift worn in the rocks below me. Too often, I go to the sea and become fascinated by the constituent parts — the rocks, the birds, the sea life. Yesterday, I sat and tried to think on nothing but the whole, all at once. And slowly, I grew less agitated, and then, as the sun was replaced by clouds from the west, I grew calm, and then ecstatic at the sea. Only the cormorants distracted me from the incoming tide. I think cormorants have become my favourite coastal bird...er, glorified dinosaur. By the time we left, it was getting dark, maybe 7:30 or 8 p.m., and we were both shivering and very damp, a little sunburned. We'd stopped, on the way down, at McQuade's, a market in Jamestown, and, because someone had remarked that on sixth anniversaries it was traditional to give candy, I got Spooky a pack of NECCO wafers and she got me a pack of plain M&M's. We're cheap dates, what can I say. There are photos behind the cut:

Beavertail, July 3rd 2008 )


Back home, we had tuna sandwiches for dinner, then escaped into Second Life for a while. Some good rp in Toxia (thanks Cerdwin and Bellatrix) as Labyrinth. [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse has some really wonderful screencaps from last night up. Just click here. To see them full size, click twice to reach the largest version. That first one — Labyrinth showing Cerdwin the light of a dying star, a star slain by Nareth — wow. Oh, and I should mention, I'll likely be putting out the first official call to the Sirenia Players this evening, so if you are on the list, you might want to be on the look-out for a communique. Sadly, there was also some very, very annoying out-of-character crap in SL last night, because some people simply cannot grasp that SL is not RL ("Real Life"), nor should it ever be used as a substitute for RL, and that the Story is god. When rping with me, everything serves the story. Everything. So, yeah, annoying. But, you have to let that crap roll off you and just keep going.

It's chilly and wet here today. So maybe I can avoid the distractions. All I have to do is write. The rest is irrelevant.

And yes, I am ignoring Independence Day, which should have been replaced this year, again, by a day of national shame, not pride.

Postscript (1:10 p.m.) — My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] robyn_ma for pointing out that Jesse Helms, the bastard from North Carolina, has died. Now that's something I can celebrate.
greygirlbeast: (river1)
Behind the storms of Saturday night and Sunday morning came an enormous wind. The breath of the sky, blowing across Atlanta. Cooler weather, too. A low in the forties (F) last night, and only the low seventies today. Warmer tomorrow. But this wind is impressive, and there were gusts last night to 35 mph. (or 56.32 kph). Today, it's still blowing strong.

And speaking of that which blows...or sucks...or both...

Tomorrow, I have to be in Birmingham for a noon dental appointment (that's my one pm), which means leaving the house by ten ayem, at the latest. And maybe this molar, the one that was cracked in the Great Seizure of October '07, will be pulled, and maybe it won't be. Hopefully, we'll be back in Atlanta before sunset. However, if I return one more tooth shy, I'll be out of commission for at least a couple of days, which means no writing and no packing. We only have 15 days until we go back to Birmingham to get everything that's in storage there (and has been since November 2002) and only 18 days until the move to Providence. There is not time for mouth trauma, but that means nothing to how things will be.

Yesterday...a very bad day. But, and still, we read through all that has been written on Chapter One of The Red Tree. It's better than I recall. Maybe I can get back to work on the chapter late this week, after the dentist. That's all the writing-work there was to yesterday. I had a very hot bath. We packed and packed and packed, mostly books. I had to order a new battery for my iBook ($139.02, so ouch), and Spooky had to reserve the U-Haul truck for the 27th. About six pm, I left the house and walked to (ugh) Starbuck's, because our landlord needed to show the place to a prospective tenant. I sat and drank, overpriced mediocre coffee and finished Chris Beard's book on the origin of anthropoids. A rather good last chapter, largely devoted to the problem of Henry Fairfield Osborn's racism and also to the ongoing issue of "pithecophobia"* An hour later, I walked home again, to learn that the prospective tenant never fucking showed, so I'd exiled myself to an hour at Starbuck's for naught. After dinner, more packing, until, finally, I begged Spooky for a comfort movie, so we watched Serenity again. I was in bed by three, a little late, but there you go. Seven hours sleep.

As for today, I expect I'll wash my hair, then spend the rest of it working on the Palaeozoic Museum in New Babbage and, well, packing. Only about half the books in my office are boxed. There's no chance I'll get any writing done today, between the distractions and the impending dentistry, and I'm not up to that sort of futility — sitting here, struggling to write through the chaos. And I need to drop Vince an email about Sirenia Digest #30. That's a tiny smidge of work, I suppose.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] jtglover asked me, "What do you think is your best story? Top three?" And I said I'd think about it and post a reply today. It's damned difficult, and the list changes so frequently. But right now, I'd say they are:

1. "Houses Under the Sea" (from Thrillers II, Cemetery Dance Publications, 2007; to be reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol. 19).

2. "La Peau Verte" (from To Charles Fort, With Love, Subterranean Press, 2005).

3. "In View of Nothing" (Sirenia Digest #16, March 2007; to be reprinted in A is for Alien)

I would also list, among my "best" short stories, "The Ape's Wife,", "The Steam Dancer," "Andromeda Among the Stones," "The Road of Pins," "Riding the White Bull," "A Season of Broken Dolls,", and "So Runs the World Away." Your mileage will vary, as this is a terribly subjective question. And there are several stories I feel guilty for not including. Anyway, Herr Ornithorhynchus just showed up with my coffee, steamy hot and not mediocre, so I shall wrap this up.

* A psychological disorder that paleontologist William King Gregory sardonically "discovered" to account for those suffering from an irrational fear of apes and monkeys, stemming from the truth of humanity's own common ancestry with them ("Two views of the origin of man," 1927; Science 65: 601-5). The term derives from the Greek (pithekos ape + phobos fear). Sadly, it's probably as common now as it was is Gregory's day. Hence, creationism and its gussied-up stepchild, "intelligent" design.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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