greygirlbeast: (Default)
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)
So, imagine that the entire human population has been decimated by a pandemic. The world's cities have been reduced to rubble and ash. Virtually no survivors remain. But someone makes a "reality TV series" about it. And our survivors all just happen to be amazingly gifted, mostly college-educated professionals, with skills uniquely suited to making it in this post-apopcalyptic wasteland. Well, as long as they have all those other skilled folks on hand. Because, face it. What use is it knowing how to build a solar array to power your blow drier if you don't know how to turn toxic sludge from the LA River into drinking water? Anyway, this is the formula for what Spooky and I found ourselves streaming last night, The Colony. Oh, yeah, it's bad. It's whatever's worse than bad.

Here we are. At the end of the world. In Los Angeles. And there are those roving gangs of bikers from The Road Warrior, only the producers forbid them to hurt any of the "participants," which is a good thing, since California seems to have banned all firearms immediately before the plague hit. Now, want reality? Give me a carpenter, a hooker, a few day laborers, maybe one professional (let's say a CPA), a junky, an orphan, and someone with Alzheimer's, and that would begin to simulate the situation that might arise after The End. Oh, and give them guns and knives and pointy sticks. And screw the bikers. Try roving bands of starving feral (and probably frequently rabid) dogs and coyotes.

I present this oddly watchable train wreck with an F+.

---

Yesterday was a very good day. I wrote 1,403 words and finished "Apostate." I also retitled it "The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings," a vast improvement. Look for Sirenia Digest #74 on Friday.

Meanwhile, I received very good news about closing the deal on Blood Oranges and its two sequels, and I can probably make the official announcement next week (or sooner).

And I'm going to have very cool news regarding both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, but I can't yet say what it is...except no, we're not talking film. But very, very cool news. It's gonna make a lot of my readers happy.

Oh! And Spooky ordered us a Cookiethulu T-shirt! (It was on sale yesterday). "Coooooookie! Iä! Iä!"

As for today, I'm going to celebrate yesterday going so well by taking a day off. I'll answer some email, but then I'm outta here, kittens. Which is not to say you shouldn't comment. You should. Because, you know, I will be back.

Looking Up,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
First, here's a preview of Dark Horse Presents #9, which will include pages 1-8 of Alabaster #1. DHP #9 will be in stores on February 22nd. So, yes, Alabaster is coming! And Mike Mignola! Imagine that – me, in a comic with Hell Boy's dad!

---

Yesterday, there was no writing, no real writing. And yet there was a great deal of work. I finished the corrections to Alabaster #3 (with great and wondrous and much appreciated help from Spooky), then sent them away to my Dark Horse editor, the vivacious Rachel Edidin. And then I wrote the synopses and proposals for the two sequels to Blood OrangesFay Grimmer (you either get this joke or don't) and Puppy Love. I sent those to my agent, then called her and we talked about publishing options. She was very happy with the synopses. I'm looking at writing Fay Grimmer this summer, and then the third (and final) book in August 2013. Merrilee and I also talked a good bit about ebooks, audiobooks, and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Then I did some design work on the rest of the website revamp.

Afterwards, I had a hot bath, before calling Rachel (at Dark Horse, remember?), and we talked about all things Dancy Flammarion. Only minutes after that conversation, she emailed me Greg Ruth's colored cover for Alabaster #3, which is unbelievably beautiful. And that was, essentially, work yesterday (if I've forgotten anything, screw it). Today I mean to actually fucking write, beginning Alabaster #4.

My horns came! Now I only have to get my goatish (horizontal pupil) contact lenses. By the way, the horns were one of my Cephalopodmas gifts from Spooky. They are amazing, and as soon as I have the headpiece made, I'll post photos here.

Geoffrey arrived about 8:15 p.m. (CaST), and we had Palestinian takeout for diner. We spent the evening talking about books, our favorite and not favorite authors, good writing and bad, the panel proposals I need to send to Readercon (they were actually due at the end of December), Star Wars: The Old Republic, the hideous folly of 3D films, that which I have been reading and that which I feel like I ought to be reading, Aleister Crowley, the Ruination of Boulder, iPads, addiction, and the trap of genre fiction. I think he decamped for Framingham about 2 a.m. (CaST).

---

Speaking of Geoffrey and Readercon, I hope he doesn't mind, but I've got to post this mock-panel description he sent me yesterday for what I think would be the penultimate "horror" fiction panel. It is the truth, plain and simple:

WHY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?

The antihorror panel. If you look around, any full-timer who’s here from over ten years ago has survived by giving up, writing five books a year, or shifting into thrillers, paranormal romance, or other greener pastures. Even the people in the audience who are currently writing “4 the luv” and think they’ll eventually earn their way onto this panel will regret attending this convention within five years. Horror’s dead for good and we’re the ones who killed it. If it weren’t for tenure, movie rights, and food stamps, the only people in this room would be locals and hobbyists. Yet, time and again, you ask people about this stuff and instead of shame you get stories of tormented childhoods rescued by monsters, women’s breasts, and copious amounts of blood. What’s wrong with us and how can we turn our lives around?

---

Okay, regarding my thing about the word awesome. I think there are lots of people misinterpreting what I'm trying to say, which is not, actually, that the word ought to be banned from the English language (though the situation is so frustrating I might have said that a few times), but, rather, that the absurd level of saturation that has been visited upon us by the use of the word needs to end. I'm not a "grammar Nazi," but, for fuck's sake, there are many, many other adjectives (veritable oodles), both proper and slang, wonderful and useful synonyms, that mean what "awesome" is being used (almost to the exclusion of all these words) to mean. And never mind the grotesque permutations ("Awesomesauce"? No. No. No.) the word awesome is presently suffering.

Generally I loathe the Urban Dictionary, but even it understands, defining awesome as "1. Something Americans use to describe everything."

I am not now and have never been anti-slang. Slang is good and helpful. But all good things in moderation, for fuck's sake. How about cool, neat, groovy, nifty, keen, et al. And if you think any of these are too antiquated, does no one realize that this present usage of awesome actually entered our lexicon from Valley Girl speak in the late 1970s and early 1980s (except for Portland, OR, where it never exited and will will). It then exited, and was only resurrected to flood our sentences a few years back. So, toss in some other slang. Pretty please. With a goddamn cherry on top. That would be so bow tie.

And, for now, that's all. Oh, comment, kittens.

Chugging Red Bull, Because She Needs Wings,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, yesterday failed to measure up to the poopiness of its promise, though it was hardly conducive to the sort of work I'm supposed to be doing. You know...writing? Still, the anger subsided, and the day got better as it went on – a little better – and I have learned there's at least one person who thinks "awesome" is as overused (and inappropriately used) as do I, and who's willing to speak up. And that's pretty bow tie.

I managed to edit about one-third of Alabaster #3 before my agent called. It's fairly easy editing, as my editor at Dark Horse was very happy with this script, as was I. Hopefully, readers will also be happy with it.

My agent and I talked about Blood Oranges, mostly, and the fact that I'm planning two sequels (the second would be called Fay Grimmer; I don't yet have a title for book three). I'm morally opposed to any trilogy not written by Tolkien or Herbert or William Gibson or Holly Black. But...it's not really a trilogy-type trilogy. My story is more like one long (funny) story divided into three parts. It just works better that way. Also, the trilogy format allows me to write it over three years, instead of all at once. Many options are being explored. I am finally learning about options (after seventeen years in publishing). I'm fucking stubborn like that. Anyway, we also talked about the revamp of the website, and how not finished it is, and how the market is worse than ever, and how Dark Horse is now my day job, and how I'm turning down pretty much all short-story solicitations, and how to connect readers to booksellers that are not Amazon, and how to promote The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and how my craziness sometimes impedes my communication with Merrilee and leads to my overreacting and misunderstanding (and stuff). Oh, Merrilee Heifetz is my bow-tie agent (has been since 1997) at Writers House. And no, I will not tell her your book is an incredible work of literature, the greatest thing since sliced halva, and how she should represent you. So, don't even think I might.

Yesterday, I renewed my membership to The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (I've been a member since I was nominated to the society in 1984).

---

Fuck all, but this is a fucking perfect sentence (from Gibson's Neuromancer): The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

--

Late in the day, I was treated to pencils for Greg Ruth's cover for Albaster #3, and like the fist two covers, it's goddamn beautiful. Greg Ruth rocks. Which is to say, kittens, he is most bow tie.

Okay, now I go to finish with the editing of #3. I also have to speak to my editor at Dark Horse later today, and write synopses for the two books that will follow Blood Oranges (and, fuck all, but I hate writing synopses). However, my diligence will be rewarded with a visit from [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark this evening. We're gonna talk about stuff.

Slightly Improved & a Tad Manic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
He couldn't make a sentence stand up and be noticed if he put Viagra in the ink.

---

This the the sort of entry people do not like to comment on.

As this journal enters what I expect to be it's final three months as an entity that will be updated daily, my chief regret is that I have always held so much back. And that I have to continue to do so, probably, even now. From the beginning, I wanted this to be a blog where I talked about what it's like for me to be a writer, and, as much as I have been able, I've done that. But there have been many, many times when my hands have been tied by the politics of the industry. That is, I could say something true, true and useful to anyone with thoughts of trying to become a published author. But, as with all other arenas of human endeavor, publishing is ruled by politics, and telling the truth can be detrimental and even suicidal.

All writers lie about writing, and they do it for various reasons. But one reason that writers lie about what it's like to be a writer is their fear of repercussions that could end their career. Same with speaking openly and honestly about the work of other authors. To be able to do this would be immensely useful to anyone with aspirations in entering this shadowy realm. All those naïve wouldbes. But I've never been in a position to do this, to take those risks, and for that I apologize. Looking back, it's among those most valuable insights I could have imparted. I'll have to settle for old, familiar warnings such as Hic sunt dracones or, perhaps more appropriately, Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

---

As for my daily activities, writing and not writing and whatnot, the last couple of days that sort of thing has taken a backseat to getting the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl out there. Let me see what I can now recall.

On Wednesday, I wrote 1,018 words on a piece for Sirenia Digest #73 called "Blast the Human Flower." Yeah, a lazy bit of titling, but not an inappropriate bit of titling. It may or may not stay on the finished vignette. I can recall nothing else of significance, or that's especially interesting, about Wednesday. Oh, we finished Season Six of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. How's that?

On Thursday, I awoke to the news that Penguin (Roc/NAL) had made on offer on Blood Oranges, and I spent part of the day discussing that with my agent. Nothing more was written on "Blast the Human Flower." I fucked off and left the house, and Spooky and I ended up at the Trinity Brew Pub, where I indulged in hot wings and beer. I don't often drink alcohol anymore (my meds), but I had a pint of their very excellent Belgian saison, made with a new variety of New Zealand hops. When I do drink beer, I want good beer. Later, Varla – my Sith Assassin – made Level 20.

Yesterday, we went to an early (1 p.m. CaST) matinée of David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it's very, very good. Truly. And Trent Reznor deserves another Oscar for the soundtrack. The cover of Bryan Ferry's Is Your Love Strong Enough by How to Destroy Angels in exquisite, and, for that matter, the opening title sequence alone is almost worth the price of admission. No writing again yesterday. I don't think I've been slacking off; just too much anger and depression. Okay. Bullshit, no matter how I feel, I've been slacking off, and it ends today. Last night, I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., sitting up late reading stories by Michael Shea and a very good piece by Kim Newman, "Another Fish Story." I don't usually care for Newman, but I did like this one.

And that, in a nutshell, is the past three days. Oh, except I've been watching documentaries on the Mars Polar Lander, cosmic collisions, and "ancient astronauts" (I'm ashamed to admit that last one, but sometimes we learn a great deal about good science by watching the crackpots who have no clue when it comes to methodology, reproducible results, outlandish claims, anecdotal evidence, and critical thought). There are some photos from Thursday, below, behind the cut. Oh, I did want to mention that in the next day or two, we'll begin a series of auctions on eBay which will include souvenirs from the shoot back in October and also a copy of The Drowning Girl. I'll announce those as soon as they go up.

Okay. Gotta go write.

Hands Tied,
Aunt Beast

5 January 2012 )

News

Jan. 6th, 2012 05:40 pm
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Firstly, Roc has made an offer on Blood Oranges.

Secondly, for those who missed it last night, the beta of the new website, focusing on The Drowning Girl, went live last night (you can still reach The Red Tree pages). The website includes the "teaser" trailer, but I'm also posting it below, along with the "cast and crew." And, to all those who made this possible by making donations to Kickstarter, thank you! I hope to see the full-length trailer up on the first of March. Also, please feel free to repost this entry or, better yet, just the trailer. Spread the word! And comments are very welcome.



Produced by
Kyle Cassidy, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Kickstarter donations

Directed by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kyle Cassidy

Photographed by Kyle Cassidy and Brian Siano
(http://www.kylecassidy.com)

Edited by Brian Siano
(http://www.briansiano.com)

Artwork by Michael Zulli
(http://www.michaelzulli.com)

Music by A Whisper in the Noise/West Thordson
(http://www.myspace.com/awitn)

Cast:
Nicole Astes
Sarah Murphy
Dani Church

Assistance, Transport, and Emotional Support:
Ryan Anas
Geoffrey H. Goodwin
Kathryn Pollnac

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vertical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Happy birthday to Neil, Holly, and Spooky's sister, Stephanie! Also, happy forty-second birthday to Sesame Street, which first aired on this date in 1969! And I was there*. No, really. I watched the first episode the day it was broadcast. Yes, I am getting old. But Kermit's even older. And now he's even older. And now he's older still. Me, too. Neil, Holly, and Stephanie, too. Funny how that works.

---

Now that I've returned to the wider, stranger arena of mass media, I'm having to remind myself how careful one has to be during interviews. I already have "a for example". This morning, Digital Spy is reporting:

Kiernan previously wrote for The Dreaming and other Sandman spinoff titles, which she described as "a very unpleasant experience" and "creative nightmare".

What I actually said, as accurately reported yesterday by Comic Book Resources, was:

Most of the time I was working for DC/Vertigo, it was a very unpleasant experience. Sometimes, pretty much a creative nightmare.

Context and subtly, people. There were some grand and wonderful moments working on The Dreaming, some gleaming moments, even. Just not enough of them to redeem the whole. But the first three story arcs, then getting to work with Dave McKean and John Totleben, all the stuff I learned from Neil, Goldie the Gargoyle, "The First Adventure of Miss Catterina Poe"...it was not all bad, as the Digital Spy article would have you think I said. Neil recently said to me, "The Dreaming taught you to be a professional," which is the truth. Anyway....if, somehow, you missed the announcement yesterday, here's last night's blog entry. Yes, there is going to be a Dancy comic.

---

I think one of the most frustrating things about being unable to talk about working with Dark Horse has been being unable to explain just how much work I'm juggling at the moment. Here's this month, November 2011 (the next twenty days), as "a for instance" (which is pretty much the same as "a for example"):

1) Write "Ex Libris" (~10k words) for chapbook to accompany Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance.
2) Finish with the galley pages of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, have them back in Manhattan by November 15th.
3) Write Alabaster: Wolves #3.
4) Write introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance, "Sexing the Weird."
5) Plan Sirenia Digest #72 (though it will likely be written in very early December).
6) Finish up the last of the edits on Alabaster: Wolves #2 (and comment on and approve and etc. and etc. the incoming pages from #1, endless brainstorming!!!!).

And actually, there's other stuff. But this is the work that's easy to categorize. "Bullet point. " Whatever. We're also working on selling Blood Oranges, for example, and there are new ebook pirates just off the coast, and more Dark Horse-related interviews on the way, and working with [livejournal.com profile] briansiano and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy on the trailer for The Drowning Girl, and...you get the picture. Oh, and if anyone with very good web-design fu is willing to revamp my main website for...um...free books, please contact me immediately. There's enough chaos in my life at the moment that my agent has actually started recommending meditation; I think my panicked phone calls are freaking her out.

Gagh. I should go. The platypus is gnawing on my goddamn toes. Platypus slobber is disgustipating. But, here's a rather random assortment of very lousy photos I took last night (after Kyle, every photo I take looks lousy):

9 November 2011 )


*Spooky was only a zygote.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
Compared with the day before, yesterday was quiet and uneventful. This is a very good thing.

We completed the edits on Blood Oranges, and I sent the book to my agent. It took me longer to get around to sending her the book after I'd finished it (~65 days) than was needed the write the damned thing (45 days). The manuscript still isn't perfect. Mostly, there are probably a few unresolved continuity errors, but we can catch that in post.

Two more mammoth (no, really; tusks and all) boxes of Two Worlds and In Between arrived yesterday. It's odd to have such a HUGE and, obviously, personally important book out. Finally, after more than a year of very, very hard work beating this volume into shape. The books has received amazing accolades. But, already, it's completely sold out, with no current plans for another edition. This is the beautiful weirdness that is small-press publishing. Meanwhile, my homely books from the titanic NYC publishers just keep chugging along (Silk, for example, has now been in print for thirteen years and five months). Anyway, other than one copy of the limited edition that's been placed on my shelf, the rest of my copies are headed to storage.

Also, the final galleys (page proofs, whatever) for The Drowning Girl arrived yesterday evening, and they have to be back in NYC by November 15th. This is my last chance to make any changes to the text for the trade-paperback edition (due out in March 2012). But I won't even be opening the package until tomorrow.

Last night, I received the final (and delightful) version of Vince Locke's illustration for "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W.", and that means that today will likely be Assembly Day for Sirenia Digest #71. Which means subscribers will have the issue this evening or sometime tomorrow.

Last night, Spooky went out into the cold, bear-haunted Rhode Island night to fetch us some dinner from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ (!!!), a local food truck. If you're in the area, you absolutely have to try Mama Kim's. Follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook to find where the truck's at on any given evening or afternoon. Last night, Spooky had fried beef dumplings and sweet-potato fries, and I had three beef bulgogi wraps. Yum. And THEN, kittens, then we embarked upon a Hank Moody binge of fucking epic proportions...of fucking. Oh, but how I love Hank Moody. I will one day write an appropriately debauched and lovelorn ode to Hank Moody. Both discs of Season Four of Californication arrived on Friday, and we watched the first (eight episodes, 30 minutes each). And then did our dailies in RIFT (mostly Iron Pine Peak). I read a tiny bit of The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and passed out well before three ayem.

Exhaustion has its limits. And, from here on, I mean to be in bed by two-thirty ayem, asleep by three, and awake by eleven ayem (excepting special occasions). No more of this almost killing myself with sleep deprivation. At some point, it ceased to be insomnia and became a simple reluctance to sleep. Blame the dreams, of course, and the clock I hear in my head, counting off the days, hours, minutes of my life. Anyway, yes. More sleep.

Turning Around,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The way I feel this morning, well, this is what three days of heftier-than-usual-Valium doses and pretty much no sleep does to a body. Or to mine. Maybe you could sail through it without batting an eye. Me, I feel like a bus hit me. Twice.

So, I just have to stay awake until two ayem or so. I think it's time to reset my clock again. Staying up far, far too late. The meds, they can't do overly much about that.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have the new Decemberists EP, Long Live the King (plus accompanying awesome T-shirt), and great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for sending it our way. Right now, "E. Watson" is my hands-down favorite track (in two days, I've listened to it 42 times, according to iTunes).

Hallways, always.

Following the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE, which I linked to in yesterday's entry...well, following that was quite a lot of distraction and chaos (many, many thanks, kittens, for all the comments). No surprise. Wonder what's going to happen next Wednesday? Anyway, there was also a very long call from my agent, with some very, very good news (though I can't share any of that at this time). Many subjects were discussed. But, what with this and that, Spooky and I didn't finish with the line edits to Blood Oranges; that's what we'll do today, then send the manuscript to Merrilee (my agent).

This morning, I received Vince's pencils for the illustration to accompany "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W" in Sirenia Digest. It's gonna be a great illustration; I need to get some notes back to him on it. Also, I owe a long email to The Drowning Girl cinematographer, Brian Siano, and...well, other emails. I've also got to begin talking promotion with the PR guy that Dark Horse has assigned to the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. So, I'm pretty spoken for today. Yep. Oh! And, yesterday, I got my comp copies for The Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and they are gorgeous!

Wow. I'd be in a good mood if this "I feel like I'm dying and back again" thing would stop. Oh, and Spooky's reading the Wikipedia article on Christina Hendricks, because she's a letch. Spooky, I mean. I have no intel as to whether or not Christina Hendricks is a letch. I'd like to think she is.

Last night, a lot of RIFT (I think its growing on me again), and I wound the day down by watching "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (Firefly) and "Not Fade Away" (Angel), as Netflix is late with the new episodes of Californication (wait, just arrived!). But now, work! Get a wiggle on, platypus!

A Tenth Free of Secrets,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, kittens, it's going to snow 1-3 inches here in Providence tonight, and we're the lucky part of New England. Apparently, Autumn took the year off; I don't blame it. I hear it's snowing in Manhattan right now.

Still, I wish I were at the sea today. I want to watch a heavy snow fall on the olive-green waves.

Okay, here's some news, so perk up those ears. I've been sitting on a secret for many, many months, and many of you know this. On November 2nd, there will be some manner of revelation, and on November 9th, all will be revealed. That's Wednesday, and then the next Wednesday. The NSA has agreed to declassify the files, and the MiBs will go public. The gag order will be rescinded. Some of you will not hear the news here first. Machineries are in motion that are far greater than am I. But...I believe there will be a lot of happy campers among you, and I think the wait will have been worth it. It's worn me ragged, keeping this secret.

And that's what I worked on yesterday, this secret thing. Meanwhile, Spooky attended to line edits on Blood Oranges, using the old iBook (Victoria; the old girl's got a lot of life left in her).

---

Yesterday evening, as the sun was setting, we arrived at the Steel Yard, for the 6th Annual Iron Pour. A most appropriate post-industrial celebration of Samhain (though, of course, Samhain proper isn't until Monday). Five-thousand pounds of molten steel poured from a blast furnace, molten metal to fill jack-o'-lanterns, a great skull-shaped mold (the skull, weighing hundreds of pounds lifted, glowing, by block and tackle). Hundreds of voices screaming, "Fire." Enormous effigies to be devoured by fire: demons, witches, the head of a goat. A woman with the head and wings of a bat, dressed all in black and on stilts. A chainsaw that belches flames. The burning effigies are revealed to have wrought-iron skeletons. Deliriously eldritch and aharmonic anti-melodies played on violins, saxophones, and coronets. Volcanic showers and liquid iron of sparks filling the air, and raining down almost atop our heads. That's the Iron Pour in Providence. There are pictures behind the cut, below (though, batteries were low, we forgot to change them, and the camera, therefore, acted up).

Do people know about the not-so-secret pagan rites in Providence? Well, more than know about the Big Chair Rites of Moosup Valley.

---

After my post yesterday, and my mention of seeing The Rapture (1991) again, an analogy occurred to me. It's one thing to call the Judeo-Christian god petty and sadistic. It's another to explain what you mean. So, here's one of a...well, of countless...examples: That whole Garden of Eden thing, Adam and Eve and the serpent. That chestnut. Here's the same story - the very same story – recast in less fantastic language. An unnamed adult (ADULT) places two three year olds, a boy and a girl, in a large room filled with every manner of toy they might ever desire, every sweet confection, a computer with the best games, every imaginable three-year-old delight, and the children are told, "You may play with all these things, and eat whatever you wish, and as much as you wish. But...you see that jar of Watermelon-flavored Jelly-Belly jelly beans over there? You do? Okay, now...that's the one thing you must not eat from. Now, I'm going to leave you to your own devices. Be good, kiddos." (No explanation is offered as to why the beans must be left alone.) And the adult goes away. And the two children have a blast, for days and days and days.

But, eventually, a loudspeaker mounted in one corner begins to whisper sibilantly about those Watermelon-flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans. It whispers, and most persistently, and, kids will be kids, and...when the unnamed adult returns to find the forbidden beans of jelly have been tasted, the two children are shamed with the harshest possible language, then tossed from the paradise of that room. They're thrown out into the cold winter streets, and guards are placed at the doors, that they can never again enter the marvelous room. Because they ate jelly beans that were placed there so that they would be tempted to eat the jelly beans. And there was that voice planted there to help them along, right? Don't think for a moment the adult didn't put that speaker there (whether or not the voice was his or hers, that's another matter). But it gets better, which is to say it gets worse. For having tasted the Watermelon Jelly Bellies, no child may ever again enter the room, and all the descendents of these two children will suffer unspeakable agonies and trials, and die, and face an eternity of torment unless they love the sadistic adult (ADULT) in question, despite this dirty, little trick with the jelly beans and the whispers...and, well, you know the story. And no, this is no more simplistic a parable than the original. Just a tiny bit more honest. And don't give me that "freewill" bullshit. ADULT knew better. He/she knew the nature of the children, she/he made them. The whole thing was rigged. For the Bible tells us so.

---

Spooky's Hallowe'en Sale isn't quite over, so have a look.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, and then a tiny dash of RIFT. Then we watched last week's episode of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, and...it was...surprisingly better. It was actually...haunting. A tremendous number of story threads and themes were skillfully tossed about and interwoven and, hell, it would have made a fine last episode. Still that Dark Shadows camp, but elevated just a bit. Moments of genuine chill. I think it's possibly more interested in the problem of hauntings than in ghosts, and that would be a good thing. Oh, and now Zachary Quinto, also known as Spock #2 and My Second Husband (you get to guess who's my First and Third husbands are), has joined the cast...so I have to keep watching.

Later, I read Steinbeck's The Log of the Sea of Cortez until I could get to sleep, about four-thirty ayem.

And now, I hear those black panel vans...You know, Tom Waits* needs to write a song entitled "Black Panel Vans."

Clandestine,
Aunt Beast

28 October 2011 )


* "Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts."
greygirlbeast: (river2)
Cold and sunny here in Providence. Tonight, we are promised it will be colder, but still mostly clear, for the Steel Yard annual iron pour. Meanwhile, we have a winter storm watch set to begin tomorrow at five p.m. and run until early Sunday morning. The first nor'easter of the year, and early. Looks like most of New England's going to get hit, but it also looks like we're in a narrow band that will escape the worst of the weather. Yay, us. I'd really like to have another six weeks or so until I have to worry about the blizzards. Anyway, as long as weather predictions are being made, I predict this is going to be a long and bad, bad winter.

Yesterday, we made it through the last two chapters of Blood Oranges. What a weird book. But, also, what a funny book. How did I do that? It's pretty much Buffy the Vampire Slayer directed by Quentin Tarantino. I think maybe the more interesting question is why did I do that? Was I trying to purge the deleterious effect that writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir had upon me? That seems to be the popular opinion, but I can't say for sure. But it does hold up, and that's a great relief. I shall think of it as a belated tonic against the waning ParaRom market. I won't even dignify "ParaRom" with the sobriquet "genre." Not even "subgenre." It's just a market. You know, like varieties of porn. No, wait. I like porn. Porn is useful, and has dignity. Especially the creepy stuff from South Korea.

Oh, and I'm thinking of calling the obligatory sequel Fay Grimmer. No one will get the Hal Hartley reference who isn't meant to get it.

Today, it's back to work on Project Arrowhead for the MiBs at No Such Agency. As I said to Spooky, it's going to be the first long day of a long weekend at the beginning of a long winter.

Last night, in the rain, sleet, and snow, we went forth into the darkness to run errands. I got two new (and badly needed) pairs of shoes for the winter. I went all last winter in my Cros, coupled with New Zealand bedsocks. Which is really no fit state of affairs. Anyway, and the cat food/litter place, we had to go there, too, and also get dinner, and it must have been nine p.m. by the time we got home.

After dinner, there was RIFT. Mostly, dailies and world-event stuff, and then we watched Michael Tolkin's The Rapture (1991). I'd not seen it since the video release in 1992 or whenever, but after seeing Red State, and discovering that Spooky had never seen The Rapture, I very much needed to see it again. Well, I could have done without David Duchovny's mullet. But the rest of the film has aged very well. There are few better examples of the "Christian horror film." It's sort of Red State turned inside out, and the horror isn't so much what people are willing to believe (though that's bad enough). The horror lies in the objective existence of a sadistic "god" who demands it be loved, like a spoiled child demanding attention. It will be loved, or you will be damned. It will be loved, and you will destroy yourself for it's love, or you'll spend forever alone. Even if you are a "good" person, it will still damn you, unless you love it. In the final moments of the film, the film's protagonist redeems herself by finding her own salvation simply by telling the Bully in the Sky that no, she won't love it. "Who forgives God?", a question asked moments before the climax, is especially apt. So, yes, this is a keeper. A film which doesn't so much question the cartoonish Biblical eschatology, as it questions the ethics of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who would subject its creations to a living hell, just to get its ya-yas off. You know, just because. Like any shitty parent or schoolyard bully. See it, if you've not already. And if it sounds like the sort of film that would piss you off because you're a good Christian, then you especially need to see it. If you're that sort of person, this film was made for you. It won't change your mind. But, nonetheless.

We read more of Wildwood.

And now, I see the black van has pulled up outside.

Off to the Airbase,
Codename: Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
I didn't forget this morning's dreams. And more's the pity. I dreamed that the Eastern Seaboard had been destroyed in a nuclear war by the Japanese (????), and I was a child in Jacksonville, Fla. and all was soot and ruin, and I watched a television broadcast of a firestorm raging across Texas. A million little details in my head.

This is why I generally hope to forget my dreams. Also, just now, right this very fucking minute, I'm having to refrain from one of those "You kids these days! Get off my lawn!" tirades, this time about how much I hate the way that the abbreviations of the states were dumbed down (i.e., simplified) back in the 1980s or when the hell ever. Florida is not FL; Florida is Fla. Massachusetts is not MA, it's Mass. Michigan is not MI, but Mich. West Virginia isn't WV, it's W. Va. Yeah, okay. I'll stop now. But I haven't lost all the battles. For example, the Girl Scouts of America, at least in the state of Colorado, are now trans friendly. I still marvel at the emerging phenomenon of transgendered children being permitted to express and explore their gender identities as children. Sure, it's still not even close to being included in this society's "normative state," but its become ever more common in the US. Kids these days...

Yesterday, we made it through chapters Five and Six of Blood Oranges. Assuming the MiBs leave me alone today, we'll get through Seven and Eight, and all that will be left to be done to the manuscript is actually making the marked corrections (there are a bazillion, so it'll take at least one long day). And since tomorrow will definitely belong to the spooks, It'll likely be Sunday before those corrections can be made.

And here we come to a note regarding Sirenia Digest. I am very, very sorry, but #71 is going to be late, and by late I mean maybe as late as the 10th of November (whereas it's "due" out on the 5th). October was a monster, and here I am with four days of it left, and I've not had a moment to put towards the digest. But it will come as soon as I can pull it together, and I apologize profusely. I'll do my best to never be this late again.

Last night, Spooky made astoundingly yummy turkey legs (toss in mushrooms, apples, onions, garlic, etc.) with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts (a cultivar of the wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea). I had a hot bath. Oh, wait. The bath was right after I made my blog entry, which means I had to wake up twice, because warmth makes me sleepy. Anyway, after dinner, Rift, and after Rift I finished reading Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky. So much is quotable, but I'll settle for one. On religion and Ricketts, Steinbeck writes:

He has no religion in the sense of creed or dogma. In fact he distrusted all formal religions, suspecting them of having been fouled with economics and power and politics. He did not believe in any God as recognized by any group or cult. Probably his God could have been expressed by the mathematical symbol for an expanding universe. Surely he did not believe in an after life in any sense other than chemical. He was suspicious of promises of an after life, believing them to be sops to our fear or hope artificially supplied.

I love those words. And now, four more stills (by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy) from the October 15th shoot at Rolling Dam (Blackstone, MA) and Thundermist Falls (Woonsocket, RI):

Beast on Location )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, let's get this over and done with, and then we may proceed to your regularly scheduled blog entry. I expect it will be less painful that way. Well, less painful for me at least, and I know I'll be loads less distracted:

Booya! )


That said...or shown, or both, whatever...you know the lousy thing about incredible shit happening yesterday? The lousy thing about incredible shit having happened yesterday is that it's not happening today. Nonetheless, today I can lift up the blackness enough to peer out (though I do squint something fierce).

But, still, comment, kittens. And thank you for yesterday's comments.

Yesterday, we read chapters One and Two of Blood Oranges, and I can say, with great relief, that I still like this book a lot. It's about as far from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as you can get, but that's not a bad thing. I think I'd reached a point where I had to write something just for fucking fun. And Blood Oranges is fun. And it's even funny. I never fucking knew I had all this fucking funny in me. It's like discovering a strange boil behind your ear, and someone lances it, and out comes humor. I mean "ha ha" humor, not aqueous humour – though lancing a boil behind your ear and getting aqueous humour would be interesting. Anyway, with luck, the manuscript will be proofread and corrected and in Manhattan on Monday morning. I've dragged my feet on getting it to my publisher and editor. Well, no, I haven't. I've been too busy with my work for No Such Agency, and with Sirenia Digest, and with the trailer/still-photo project for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that Blood Oranges just...sort of got lost in the shuffle. But now it's unlost. Today, we do chapters Three and Four, which will put us halfway through the novel.

I think I've decided to keep Kermit the iPad. He proved himself very useful editing yesterday. And so I'm rethinking this whole thing. But thank you, Cliff Miller. Thank you all the same.

Also, I saw a rough cut of the teaser for the trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir yesterday, and it's all I can do not to link to it here. Imagine the lovechild of Terrance Malick and David Lynch, and you're in the neighborhood. Thank you, Brian and Kyle. This is going to be so fucking wonderful. I also spoke with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and [livejournal.com profile] kambriel yesterday about shooting additional footage this winter in Philadelphia, and it seems like it'll happen. We'll be holding eBay auctions, props and such (a large moonstone signed by the whole cast & crew, etc.) from the first shoot, to fund that, and I'll keep you posted. Thing is, to quote Imp:

“I’m going to write a ghost story now,” she typed.
“A ghost story with a mermaid and a wolf,” she also typed.
I also typed.


Well, we have tons of mermaid/water footage, the Saltonstall stuff, but the wolf part has been sorely neglected, and for that we need winter, and snow, and a big wolf-like dog for the Perrault stuff, and we can make these things happen this winter in Philadelphia. So, yeah. Another shoot lies ahead. Which fills me not in the least with dread. It pleases me.

Last night, we proved that one meatloaf can be stretched out over four dinners and one midnight sandwich. Spooky has some mean Loaf Fu. We played some Rift. I'm obsessed with getting Selwynn glorified with the Icewatch in Iron Pine Peak, so...lots of dailies. Or, in my case, nightlies. Later, I read aloud to Spooky from John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez. Despite my love for Steinbeck and his Cannery Row books, I've never read this book, but found an old copy at Spooky's parents and borrowed it on Sunday (a copy that sold new in trade paperback for $1.45 in 1962). It begins with Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" essay/eulogy, and, so far, I've managed not to cry. In another life, I might have been someone as good and useful to the world as Ed Ricketts. I like to think that.

It occurs to me, apropos of nothing in particular, that there's no point whatsoever in having a cake if you can't eat it, too.

Wanting Cake, Black Forest,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
No numbered lists today. I've not the patience for it, and I have too little to say, and, besides, NASA finally decided the odds of the elctro-whatsit generator we need to proceed "probably" won't create a vast artificial black hole.

Secrets make me weary.

Yesterday...well, I did do some stuff. Spooky went out and rented a second storage unit, because there's too many comp copies of books I've written or have stories in, and everything has to be reorganized, and my isn't that exciting? Tonight, we'll be lugging boxes of books to Pawtucket. Still awaiting the go-ahead from the National Aeronautics geeks, I tried to begin a new vignette...or short story. Not sure which yet, or either. Or if either? Something's wrong there. Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] sovay helped me with the Greek for the title: "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)," and I even wrote 104 words on it before giving up. Not in disgust. In something else. Possibly in misgiving or in trepidation.

Sometime, thereafter, I had my first seizure in months. Spooky wasn't here, and I came to on the kitchen floor. The usual "I have no idea what happened immediately beforehand" amnesia and the back of my head hurt. But no damage done. Just when I think I'm never going to have another one of these things...Anyway, my suspicion is there's just been far too much stress the last couple of weeks, which is, obviously, a primary trigger for PNES seizures,

Yesterday, talking about Silk, someone in the comments mentioned how they enjoyed the interconnectedness of the books. And I replied that, truthfully, I regret the novels being interconnected — Silk through Daughter of Hounds — and that I've seriously considered rewriting "Bainbridge" to remove its connections to Silk and Murder of Angels (and, so, by extension, the other three novels). I have no idea how my readers would feel about my attitude towards having tied all this stuff together, but as the years go by it seems juvenile, and as though I did the wrong thing for all the wrong reasons. Hence, The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir are almost entirely devoid of any connection to my earlier books. The bizarre series that Blood Oranges may be the beginning of, this is not the way I will continue to write most novels in the future (and I do not think of Blood Oranges as one of my serious novels; it's just a peculiar lark, fun, something to wake me up after the long fever dream of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir).

The weather's turning to shit just in time for this weekend's shoot. I suppose we will muddle through. Perhaps literally.

Oh, I know what I was going to say. One reason I stopped writing "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)" yesterday was this sudden fear that I'm writing far too many stories about the sea. Yes, I know I do it very well. But I'm beginning to feel like I'm...repeating myself. Well, I know what I mean.

In the end, yesterday was an all but wasted day...which makes four in a row...during a month when I couldn't afford even one. But this shit happens. At least, today, I can go back to work in earnest. After all the email. Spooky has to drive down to her parents' place to gather up some spare blankets and pillows and stuff for people who will be crashing here over the weekend. We're still waiting on final conformation about shooting scenes in the Athenaeum. There's an awful lot of chaos (not with the Atehnaeum, that wasn't what I meant to imply). But this whole thing begins day after tomorrow, and a lot of things are still up in the air. And the funny part? There's zero evidence that book trailers help sell books. But we have a three thousand dollar budget.

I should go now, before I hurt myself.

Oh, but first — and speaking of book trailers — there's this. The first volume of Odd?, a new biannual anthology from Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (presently only an ebook, but a hardcopy edition is on its way), reprints my story "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills." But I think the promotional video is far more entertaining than is my story:



Masochistic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Oh my bloody fucking fuck. I am so fucking over this aging thing. I did something stupid to my hip...my FREAKING fucking hip...yesterday. Probably when I was trying to clean and reorganize part of my office, rearranging bookshelves in the vain attempt to turn that House on Ash Tree Lane trick and create larger spaces within smaller spaces. It didn't work, but I feel like, during my sleep, someone took a sledgehammer to my left hip. Wanna wake up really goddamn fast? Forget fucking coffee. Trying motherfucking hip pain. Tiger balm and two Doan's tablets—yes, motherfucking Doan's tablets—have dulled the pain enough that I'll be able to sit up and write. But FUCK THIS SHIT (to quote Frank Black). This winter, I'm joining a gym and getting this meatbag into some semblance of working order. Last night (not suspecting the hip pain was headed my way), Spooky and I were discussing how we both need to lose some weight. Using Hubero as a standard of weight measurement, it was decided I need to lose 1 Hubero. That's one whole FAT cat I'm carrying around, all day and every day. Again (second verse, same as the first), FUCK THAT SHIT.

Oh, and please. No commiseration, or I feel your pain, or whatever. No stories that go something like: "Well, when I was only fifteen years old I was riding my bicycle and a pit bull grabbed my ankle and dragged me and the bike—by the ankle, mind you—twelve blocks, up hill both ways, before it was shot in the head by a kindly spaceman who called an ambulance that hitched my ankle to its back fender and dragged me twelve miles, up hill both ways, over a dirt road that was mostly potholes, all the way to the hospital—which was closed! Now, you wanna talk hip pain? That's hip pain!" None of those stories. In fact, I want a T-shirt that reads, simply, "Do Not Commiserate."

But at least the Hip Agony does help me not feel so bad that I'm spending the Last Warmest Day of 2011 in Rhode Island (going up to about 85˚F) trying to fix the timeline, instead of "chillaxing" (hold on while I choke myself for using that odious "word," even sarcastically) at the beach, swimming, losing a cat.

Anyway...

Yesterday was mostly me discovering that things were worse than I suspected. That failed time-travel experiment? Well, feel free to blame me for the Eighties. That's right. Blame me for the entire decade. But...Frank the Goat's on it, and there may yet be hope. You may wake up tomorrow and have no idea whatsoever that the Eighties ever occurred, because they won't have. Unless we fail, me and Frank (that's me and Frank the Goat, not me and Frank Black—and I mean Frank Black from Blue Velvet, not Frank Black, née Black Francis, from the Pixies, or the ultra-cool-and-spooky Frank Black from Millennium, and certainly not Frank the Interdimensional Demon Bunny), and that's always a possibility. One must never underestimate the likelihood of failure. John DeLorean, he underestimated his ability to fail...and look how that turned out. And of course I'm right. I'm me.

Next week's shoot for the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir races towards us (five days to go), and...frankly (black), I'm terrified. Will we be ready? I'm gonna roll a 1d4 and hold my breath.

Um...and...what?

Last night, Spooky and I saw last week's episode of Fringe, "One October Night," and..wow. Olivia and Fauxlivia. That was pretty much a slash episode (albeit, without the hot Fauxlivia-on-Olivia sex). And we watched another episode from Season Four of Mad Men. Oh, and something that I can't (or, rather, won't) show you until tomorrow.

And then I looked through the marvelous Dark Horse hardback collection of Bernie Wrightson stuff from the pages of Creepy and Eerie (thank you, Steven Lubold!), then read another story from the Halloween anthology, "Three Doors" by Norman Partridge. The story itself is so-so, but it's narrative technique has moments of sheer brilliance. To whit:

"Doesn't matter to me how you explain it.
I'm not here to draw you a diagram.
I'm just here to tell you a story."

The voice of the narrator (ergo, the author), is a grand "fuck you" to all the morons who want their hands held during story time. In fact, those lines echo rather remarkably Quinn's attitude towards her imagined readers in Blood Oranges: "You can believe this or not. Whatever"

But now, now I must go fix the timeline, so you who are old enough can stop remembering "designer stubble", Guns N' Roses, and the return of shoulder pads.

Accidentally Retro,
Aunt Beast (in pain we trust)
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I'll make no apologies for the tone of yesterday's post. There are no regrets. I will only offer an opaque excuse, that I have been made a party to what is, in my estimation, a sickening tragedy. One that could have easily been prevented. One I tried to prevent. And now I will carry the fact of it in my head for years.

And so, yeah, the fury's going nowhere soon. So, do not attempt to console me. It's amazing how many people on the internet are unable to comprehend that trying to calm a rabid animal only gets them bitten. Oh, and then they whine about how unfair it is they've been bitten. Poor fucking idiots.

---

Today there is work, which part of me needs badly. Never mind my having finished a novel day before yesterday. It's not that I love the work; it's that the work keeps me sane by filling a void. So, yes, work, important work, then my psychiatrist before dinner. There's a prescription.

And speaking of work, I have begun to realize there's presently confusion over the two books I've written this year, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Blood Oranges. The first – The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – took me about a year and a half to write, and is, by far, my best novel to date. The second – Blood Oranges - took me forty-five days to write, and if you think of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as, oh, let's say a gourmet meal, then Blood Oranges is the tasty, but fluffy and insubstantial, desert that comes afterwards.

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will be out from Penguin in March 2012.

Blood Oranges hasn't yet sold.

And while I'm at it:

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be out, I think, in September (or maybe October) from Subterranean Press. If you've not ordered, you need to do so.

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be released by Subterranean Press sometime in 2012.

And there's a lot more, and it's awesome, but if I told you, I really would have to kill you. No joke.

---

Yesterday, I read two stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Used to be, I never read the anthologies my stories appeared in. Don't know why. I just never wanted to do it. But, the last year or so I've been reading some of the books with my stories. Anyway, yesterday I read two of the twenty-seven (I think it's twenty-seven) stories in The Book of Cthulhu. The first, John Langan's "The Shallows" is actually quite brilliant. It's unexpected, and fresh, and comes at you sideways. It's not what you think it is. These are all good things. The other was Thomas Ligotti's "Nethescurial," a very Ligottian take on the Lovecraftian found manuscript and the Lovecraftian malign artifact. And of course it was brilliant. It was Thomas fucking Ligotti.

But I fear there's a lot of this book I'm not going to like, stories I'll skip over. Because the author has chosen to use parody in her or his approach HPL, and that's just not my thing.

---

Yesterday, after a lot of work and email, the "day off" began about three p.m. We drove south and west almost to the Connecticut state line, to Westerly and on down to Watch Hill. To the lighthouse at Watch Hill. We took the narrow, winding road out to the lighthouse, and sat on the sea wall. To the west, the protected waters of Little Narragansett Bay were still and quiet. A flock of cormorants sunned themselves on rotting pilings. On the east side of the point, though, the waves were still wild. Now and then, the sun through the spray off the tops of the waves created the briefest of rainbows behind them. We watched surfers a while, then drove east to Moonstone Beach.

As I've said, Moonstone has many moods. And I saw another new one yesterday. I'd expected piles of pebbles and all manner of unusual strandings and flotsam. My expectation is irrelevant. The beach looked stripped raw. I can think of no other way to describe it. There's been a tremendous amount of erosion during the storm. The tide was coming in, and there were odd sandbars and eddies, and the crashing waves – some easily six to eight feet high – were coming in from the west, the east, the southeast, the southwest, in no discernible (gods, the English language is retarded) pattern. The air reeked overwhelmingly of dead fish, though not a dead fish was in evidence. The usual cobbles were almost entirely absent. The waters in the breaker zone were an ugly greenish black, loaded with sediment and all manner of...well...dead things. Mostly plant matter. Only the Piping Plovers seemed to be happy with the state of things, dashing about madly at the water's edge. I could see that the waves had overtopped the dunes and the sea had reached both Trustom and Card ponds. It was the sight of a place you trust as being the incarnation of calm, seen after terrible violence has occurred. But the error is mine. Panthalassa has no interest in my moods, impressions, or needs, and if I thought otherwise, I'd be a fool. Moonstone will heal, in time.

Between the ponds, there were birdwatchers, and we had our monoculars with us. We spotted a Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) and three Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), both new to us.

We drove on to Narragansett, but there was no power. So we couldn't get dinner at Iggy's or at George's (which is actually in Galilee). We did manage to piss at a Cumberland Farms. Their power was out, but they let us use a Bic lighter. It's amazing how dark a women's room can be. At sunset, we drove past Scarborough Beach, and Narragansett Beach. The surf was heavy at the latter, but not as heavy as I'd expected. There were dozens of surfers in the water, most seeming a bit disappointed. All in all, we saw far less damage than I'd expected. And then we came home.

And that was yesterday. Oh, except for three wasted hours in Second Life. If you tell me you like it dark, and then bale when it gets rough, and without so much as a "good night," you're a simpering weasel, and it's really as simple as that.

Wrathfully,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
My head is all fire and fucking molten nails this morning. I am the Good Ship Righteous Fucking Indignation. My threshold for douchebags will stand at zero for the foreseeable future. We're talking hellfire-and-brimstone Old Testament shit. Today, I am the nastiest pirate ship that ever plowed the Seven, and we're out for blood, and there will be rape and pillaging and cities will burn, just because.

Oh, I'm fine. And how are you?

I have the first line of a poem: Murder is underrated. Likely, that's all I'll ever write of it, but it's a good opening line.

I think I might have frightened my agent, finishing Blood Oranges so quickly. For my part, no, there will be no celebration. The speed was the result of desperation and necessity, and it was not an artful speed, and I would advise no one to follow in those footsteps. Most people who write multiple novels in a year...well, they write crap that looks like they write multiple novels in a year. They churn out. They produce. The paranormal romance, spawned by an unholy fusion of the death of "genre horror" and a dip in the romance market. But, I suppose, given that Blood Oranges is me giving ParaRom the "fuck you" finger, I suppose it's sickly appropriate I wrote the book as quickly as I did. "Oh, this is how you do it? With your hands tied behind your back, typing with your toes?"

There is no romance in Blood Oranges – which is funny, because my novels usually have romantic relationships, though they're adult ones. Not the schmaltzy, kiddy shit people like Patrica Briggs sell. Regardless, in Blood Oranges there are glimmers of kindness, but it always ends badly, and it ends badly with a sledgehammer. I think it's sort of like an episode of Angel directed by Quentin Tarantino, after he's been on an all night Jägermeister binge with Lars von Trier and David Lynch. Okay, no. It's not that good, but maybe you get the picture. There's Ian McShane in a very important role, and the soundtrack is a collaboration between Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Einstürzende Neubauten. There's very little gore. It's sort of silly, and sometimes it's funny, if you can laugh at car wrecks.

But, no. No romance. But there is a vicious, merciless sort of concern.

I don't know. I'm just saying shit.

Oh, hey. And if you're a goddamn 'shipper, just fucking butch up and admit it, okay?

Me, I'm going to wander away and revel in the beautiful devastation Madame Irene has wrought upon the race of men.

Not Your Solace,
Aunt Beast

I once knew a girl
In the years of my youth,
With eyes like the summer,
All beauty and truth.
In the morning I fled,
Left a note and it read,
"Someday you will be loved."

I cannot pretend that I felt any regret,
Cause each broken heart will eventually mend,
As the blood runs red down the needle and thread.
"Someday you will be loved."

You'll be loved, you'll be loved,
Like you never have known.
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams.
Just a series of blurs,
Like I never occurred.
"Someday you will be loved."

You may feel alone when you're falling asleep,
And everytime tears roll down your cheeks.
But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet.
"And Someday you will be loved"
–– Death Cab For Cutie

(I love this song.)
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
About twenty minutes ago, I finished Blood Oranges. For those who like numbers, I did 2,831 words today. I aimed for a word count of 70,000 words, and the manuscript came in at 70,024. I conceived of the book in April, and began writing it on May 5th. To put it all down on paper, only 45 actual writing days were required.

Hurricane Irene, I believe, was my midwife.

Never, in my twenty years as a writer, have I finished two novels in one year (never mind having also edited two collections of my short fiction).

I get one day off before I begin again.

Now, I'm going to lie down. Or look at the windblown streets....

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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