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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Epilogue:

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


~ and ~

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

Anger's Little Petri Dish,
Aunt Beast

*** Please comment on things besides ebooks. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Ugh. Yeah, we're awake now, right? I've been chattering away like Robin fucking Williams for an hour, and I think Spooky's ready to murder me. But, then, she usually is. Ready to murder me.

Hey, let's get off on the right foot. Here's some depressing-ass shit: "Police Seek Escaped Exotic Animals in Ohio." And while we're at it, since when is it acceptable to only capitalize the first word of a headline and any proper nouns? Who decided that? It's fucking idiotic. I think I only noticed this about a month ago, but it seems to be a New Internet Rule. I'm sure some bunch of cocksuckers are responsible, like the authors of the The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, who have to keep making up "new rules" so people have to keep buying new copies. Linguistic evolution by way of capitalism, yes! Anyway, the proper way to write a headline...oh, never mind. World, meet hell in a hand basket, and you kids get off my lawn.

Yesterday, I worked. Can't say how or on what. I am told the beans will be spilled in only a few more weeks, you will all be happy, and I can stop keeping this particular SECRET.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] sovay reports having received her copy of Two Worlds and In Between, so folks who wisely pre-ordered (even the trade hb edition is almost sold out now, less than fifty copies remaining) should be getting it this week and next.

---

I was going to talk about Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). Yes, I was. I said that yesterday. First off, the pros. This is a good movie, and remember, I may have seen the Carpenter film more times than any living being (easily a hundred times, start to finish). It's a terrifying, fun, awe-inspiring tribute to the Carpenter film and, for the most part, it gets it right, because the filmmakers had the proper respect for the original and convinced the studio/producers to permit them to make a prequel instead of a remake. Though we do not need to know what happened before Carpenter's film, or what happens afterwards (this is part of the film's genius), the prequel doesn't provide some sort of infodump that ruins the original. Oh, and no SPOILER WARNING; if you don't want to read this, then avert thine eyes. However, rather than fawn over the good points (which are many), I'll point out those things I found annoying or disappointing. You know, like any good internet "reviewer." Overall, Heijningen gets the continuity with the first film right, and his scientific gaffs are minor (no one has ever found a prehistoric carnivore preserved in tundra, though we're shown Mary Elizabeth Winstead's paleontologist, Dr. Kate Lloyd, examining what appears to be a frozen Homotherium near the beginning of the film). I loved the microscope view of the alien cells consuming human cells and converting them, and the understanding that the alien was single-celled virus capable of acting as a multicellular organism. Wait, I'm saying good things. What kind of internet reviewer am I?!

Anyway, the delightful isolation of the first film is broken when we cut to Lloyd's lab at Columbia University, whereas maintaining that sense of claustrophobic isolation was crucial to the film's success. Bad filmmakers. Also, this film isn't nearly as quiet or as slowly paced as the 1982 film, but if it were, 2011 audiences would probably walk out, having been trained for constant, unrelenting action. One thing I love about the Carpenter film is the pacing, which took a cue from Alien (1978). Also, while the special effects and creature design were very good, I still prefer the analog effects in the original. Give me latex and methylcellulose over pixels any damn day of the week. I liked how we were shown the alien's ability to absorb and replicate via ingestion, but also it's ability to infect and slowly convert a human. I loved that we are shown so much of the inside of the alien ship, but was annoyed that the original means of its discovery wasn't preserved. The prequel does a pretty good job of being set in 1982 (thank fuck it wasn't updated), but I missed seeing 1982 computer technology. That would have been charming in the right way. There are too many characters, and except for Lloyd, they have a tendency to bleed together (no pun intended), one into the next. A wonderful thing about the first film was its carefully delineated characters.

The ending is handled well. I very much like the sense that we're given the impression that Lloyd, despite having survived, knows it's best if she sits there in that snowcat and freezes to death. Ultimately, we're left with the ambiguities and fatalism of the original, the sense of impending apocalypse, and you better stay for the credits, because that's where Carpenter's and Heijningen's fuse seamlessly together (no pun intended), with footage from the 1982 version. Again, DO NOT LEAVE WHEN THE CREDIT ROLL BEGINS, or you'll miss where 1982 meets 2011. Tentative final conclusion: I'll give it 8 out of 10; definitely worth seeing in the theaters.

---

We finished Shirley Jackson's The Sundial last night. It's a wonderful novel, with multiple interpretations and a marvelously inconclusive ending. I learned so much from Jackson. Is this a statement on the Catholic Church (the Halloran House) and Protestantism (the inhabitants; remember that Jackson was an atheist)? On human idiocy in general? The hysteria of crowds? Jackson's strong dislike for insular New Englanders (which she repeats again and again in other works)? We have to draw our own conclusions, or draw none at all. And now, I will announce (though I may have already beat myself to it) that the next Aunt Beast Book Club book is Collin Meloy and Carson Ellis' Wildwood. Note that this is a beautiful hardback, and if you purchase it as an ebook, you're shooting yourself in the foot and will miss at least half the pleasure. Also, last night I read Peter Crowther's "Memories." And played some Rift. I miss the house guests. I need more of them.

Speaking of whom, here are some crappy, blurry shots I took on Friday night at Spooky's parents' farm in Saunderstown, before we stepped out into the torrential fucking downpour to get the first round of nude shots of Eva, when Imp finds her at the side of the road. We were ordering pizza (thank you Spooky and Geoffrey) and playing with Spider cat, the feline basketball:

14 October 2011, Part 2 )
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
I believe I have a new motto. Which would be more interesting if I could recall what the old one was. Anyway, "However bad you think things are, they're probably much worse."

Words to live by.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, kittens near and far, it is possible to spend nine days on a novel's CEM, and still not be finished. Which is to say that today will be Day 10. Yesterday was Day 9. And it was the very height of tedium. Today, I believe I begin descending the slopes of Mount Taediosus. But yesterday, I worked on the "Back Pages" for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, correcting, adding words, subtracting words. Then I went over the Author's Note again and made a lot of changes and additions. Then I threw out the old authors' biography that Penguin had used, exchanging it for a much better and inclusive (or comprehensive) one. Today will be the last actual day spent on the CEM, but it likely won't go back in the mail to NYC until Monday.

And I promise you this, someday there will be an expnaded hardcover edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, complete with color plates. Even if I have to use Kickstarter to fund it myself.

Also had a good conversation last night with Lee Moyer, who did the marvelous cover for Two Worlds and In Between, and who will be doing the cover for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

Also, yesterday was a good mail day. To start with, I somewhat inexplicably received two contributors' copies of Blood and Other Cravings, edited by [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow, inexplicable because I didn't actually contribute a story to the anthology, though the cover letter from Mr. Frenkel at Tor assures me that I did. But, regardless, it looks like a fantastic anthology, and I am glad to have copies. Maybe they slipped in from an alternate universe. Also, my thanks to Steven Lubold for sending me a copy of Colin Meloy's Wildwood (illustrated by Carson Ellis). I'm thinking this may be next month's book for the book of the month thingy. Also, my great thanks to Jada and Katharine for Loch Ness souvenirs from their recent trip to Scotland!

There is this matter of Arthur Machen which I mentioned yesterday, then promised to explain today. So, I shall. In the summer of 2008, I wrote an introduction for Bloodletting Press' Machen collection, The Great God Pan and Other Weird Stories. It was a lot of work, and I'm still grateful to Peter Straub for his guidance. So, I turned in my introduction, and was thanked by the publisher. A year or so passed. I heard no news of the book. Finally, I googled it, and there it was on the Bloodletting Press website, for sale, complete with my introduction. I emailed the publisher, and was told that yes, the book was in print, but that it didn't actually include my introduction – as I'd gotten it in too late. This last bit was never mentioned when I turned in the intro, but whatever. They sent me a copy of the book (but no check), I asked them to take my name off the page selling to book, and I put the affair behind me. The introduction remained unpublished. Then S. T. Joshi, who'd edited the volume for Bloodletting, asked me to write an introduction for another collection of Machen's work, this one to be released by Centipede Press. So, that essay on Arthur Machen I wrote three years before was dusted off and will appear in the forthcoming Centipede Press volume of Machen. I've just received the signature pages. I think it will also include an afterword by T. E. D. Klein (unless my piece is appearing as the afterword, and Klein's piece is the introduction; either way). I'll let you know when it's available for preorder, but I know the book's supposed to be out in 2012.

---

Last night, spaghetti. Good RP in Insilico. And we finished Season One of Mad Men, which is truly and actually a terrific series.

And now I must away, to try and finish.

Not in Maine,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: Remember when Wikipedia was sort of fun – good geeky, useful fun – and anyone who wasn't a drooling idiot could help out? When that was, in fact, the point of Wikipedia? Those days seem to have passed us by. Which is to say, you're now a stodgy old coot, Wikipedia, so wrapped up in being THE BEST AND MOST ACCURATE that you've forgotten the point of it all.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
I've been sitting here for half an hour trying to wake up enough to write a blog entry. I had my breakfast of goat food and milk, and I'm still working on the morning Red Bull (coffee truly is for pussies). My body visited eight hours of sleep upon me last night, rather unexpectedly. I suppose it was needed. I am becoming hypnophobic, I think. That is, sleep frightens me. It took me a bit to puzzle out the why. Sleep has been intensely unpleasant for a long time – because of the dreams that are too vivid – but now I have pills that dim the dreams from three-color Technicolor to the older, kinder two-color process. But, I digress. Maybe. Anyway, no. It's not the dreams. It's the amount of time that sleep deducts from my conscious life, from what I have remaining of it. This is, of course, a Land of Unknown Variables. Life remaining to CRK might = N, let's say, and time deducted by sleep during N might = n, but...never mind. I'm too sleepy for algebra, I think you'll get the picture; time is always running out.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,829 words in the Mars story that is now known as "The House of Glass Coffins." It began as an idea for a vignette, and grew into a full-fledged short story, though...I think it wanted to be a novella. Today is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #69, which may, if we're all lucky, go out to subscribers before midnight EDT.

Oh, look. Now LJ's preview feature isn't working. Surprise! I've got to find some place to move this blog before the Russians, or whoever-they-ares, destroy LJ completely. I don't want to leave, but once the rats have all gone (and, mostly, they have), you gotta start making contingency plans. I'm considering both WordPress and TypePad. Equally stupid titles, but no worse, I suppose, than LiveJournal (though LJ is at least accurately descriptive). And before you suggest it, Dreamwidth is no longer an option, as I've learned much too much about the fascists who run it.

Where was I before I tried to preview this entry?

Oh, yes. This month's book of the month. After completely making an utter mess of things last month with Carrie Ryan's (so I quickly learned) laughably lousy The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this month I'm staying on firmer, more familiar ground. I kept meaning to create a graphic and post it, the cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth with a red circle and slash around it. Anyway, this month's selection is Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958). It's one of Jackson's less well-known works, and I hope you'll join me in reading it. The novel has become hard to find, and if you can't find a copy to purchase (new or used), try the library (remember those?), or an ebook (I'm going to the Special Hell for that last suggestion, that anyone dare read a Shirley Jackson novel as *shudder* an ebook)*:



And that brings us to the Kickstarter for mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. The Kickstarter has only four days to go, and we're at $2,846 pledged (or 237% funded), which is rather impressive, considering we were only aiming for $1,200. However, wouldn't it be a shame if we came this close to $3,000 and missed that nice round number by a mere $154? And it's not like we won't put the money to good use. So, consider a donation, if you haven't already. I wish I had more signed copies of the book to offer as rewards. Wow. Now I know that, if necessary, I can sound like a televangelist begging for money in the name of Jay-zus.

And now, kittens, it's time for you to comment, and for me to make a virtual digest out of its constituent pixels. Come on, platypus.

Hypnophobically,
Aunt Beast

* I am relieved to see that The Sundial is not available on Kindle.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Rainy and overcast again today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,749 words on Chapter Six of Blood Oranges, and either finished the chapter, or very nearly did.

After five years, almost the entire premise (not plot, just premise) of Dinosaurs of Mars has finally come together in my head, and I've told subpress I hope to be able to write it next autumn (2012). Yes, sometimes it happens this way. I will also likely be writing an SF novelette for subpress, to be released as a hardback – as with The Dry Salvages – later this year, time permitting, details TBA.

A lot of email yesterday and this morning, much of it pertaining to the Drowning Girl Kickstarter project. The last few months, the amount of email I have to make it through has sort of skyrocketed. Which is good, and bad. Good, because it means lots of work. Bad, because it means...lots of work.

By the way, if you're reading this, and you're the sort who likes to interview writers, please note that I do not do telephone interviews, and make no exceptions. Your noting this now saves me having to turn you down later. It is my job to be witty and articulate. I can be neither of these things on the phone.

---

Okay, so. Romance in fiction. "Romance" as genre publishing and low-brow culture defines it. I'm opposed. In my own books, there are relationships, in a very rough and tainted form. In that there are people who do have relationships (or who have had relationships). Sometimes, there are exceptions (Soldier comes to mind). Regardless, the relationships rarely end well.* Much of this stems from my fundamental disdain/lack of interest in romantic entanglements as a fictional theme. Hell, my favorite literary romance is probably Wuthering Heights. Or Lolita. Or maybe Hannibal. You see where I'm going with this. Just look at Sirenia Digest. Love songs for monsters** (Do not steal that fucking title or I will disembowel you).

So, we're reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I even made it this month's selection of the book club thingy. And it started out well enough, at first (even though we really, at this point, need more imaginative end of the world scenarios than The Zombie Apocalypse). But it has, after a few chapters, nose-dived into some fairly excruciating romance. And the language used to describe...well...here's an example:

He nods. He understands. And then he takes my hand and presses his lips against my palm. It feels like fire entering my bloodstream and laying siege to my body. He kisses my wrist, and I am an inferno. He starts to move up my arm, his breath tantalizing, and I almost give in as he pulls me to him.

Okay. Enough. I don't care who blurbs this, or likes it, or buys it, or publishes it. This is overwrought dreck. Or smarm. Or both. It's pedestrian porn for bromidic teenagers. If this is the best Ryan has to offer, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. If it gets you wet, fine. I'd mourn for your libido, but I'm not that altruistic. I expect we'll finish the novel, but only because it's hard for me to leave books unfinished, even lousy ones.

There's some good stuff at the start of The Forest of Hands and Teeth! People who don't remember that the Earth has an ocean. That's good. Go with that. Besides, Ryan is trained as a lawyer. She has this other fucking way of making lots of money. She could keep her bad prose to herself, and no one would starve.

And in the future, I will try to do a better job of picking books. Spooky says we have to read at least fifty pages first. Good advice. What have I learned, kittens? Sometimes, I fuck up. But I knew that already.

Oh! Also good RP in Insilico last night. Thank you Joah, Sayer, and Fifth. Also, slowly wading back into Rift. I had to take a break, to avoid burn out.

Enough for now. The words, which I promise will not be dreck, await.

Dreckless,
Aunt Beast

* Note: I am in a very satisfactory, long-term relationship.
** Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan
greygirlbeast: (white)
Thank you, those who helped [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and me reach – and exceed – the $1,200 goal of our Drowning Girl Kickstarter in less than 24 hours! We're going to add a couple more copies of the book at new price points (by request), and maybe something that's so cool I'm going to hold off mentioning even the possibility of it. You guys truly rock. As will the fruits of this undertaking. We can all point at the results and say, "We did this." This makes us mighty (to paraphrase Mal Reynolds).

Yesterday, I wrote an extremely respectable 1,800 words, getting Chapter Six of Blood Oranges off to a good start. I discovered how to write an action scene without belaboring the affair with blow-by-blow choreography. Which, for me, destroys novels. Also, I think there may only be nine chapters, not the originally projected ten.

Belatedly, I'm announcing this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. Last night, Spooky and I read the first two chapters of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and we're liking it a lot. Someone sent this copy to me, but I've forgotten who. Regardless, thank you (this is the audiobook cover, but you get the idea). Go forth, and be literate!



Spooky made a peach cobbler last night, with peaches from the farmer's market. So, I was a bad kid (again) and had a slice for breakfast.

I'm going to have to make it clear to editors, from here on (probably on a case-by-case basis), that I am simply too busy to write short fiction for anything less than 5-10¢/word, because I'm getting really tired of these 1¢/word offers. Last time I looked, pro rate was a measly 3¢ a word, and if you can't meet that, I'm not sure you should be publishing (a few good small press magazines excepted). By the way, the "pro rate" has stayed pretty constant for about a hundred years. Still want to be a writer?

Some good RP in Insilico the past two nights. Grendel is back from London. But, to my guildies in Rift, I have not forsaken thee, and should be back by Monday evening.

Cheap, But Not That Cheap,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy today. Maybe rain. Rain might be nice, if it doesn't stick around too long.

The last few years, I've dealt fairly well with the third of August. This year it hit me – on the second – like a sack of boulders. I don't really know why. There has been a great deal more stress than usual, and maybe that was all it took.

No writing yesterday. Nothing yesterday worth mentioning.

So far, no new novel for the book club this month. Truthfully, I never finished reading last month's book – Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Not sure why. Perhaps, it was because July was such a shitstorm, and it was easier to do more mindless things than read. But I also have to admit I began losing interest in the book about a third of the way in, and it got set aside, and has lain on my vanity for a week or two, untouched. Maybe I'll give it an extension, and maybe I'll pitch a new book for August. We shall see.

Here's a new piece of art by Molly Crabapple, "Kill the Word Beast," which I hope she won't mind me reposting here. It says about everything regarding writing that I feel these days. I wake up, and the monster's waiting, and we fight, and, if I'm lucky, it ends in a standstill. Oh, to see that fucker bleed out.

Kill the Word Beast )


Today, I need to write the text for the Kickstarter Project I'm beginning with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. To cover the modest expenses for shooting the book trailer for The Drowning Girl. The project's been approved. We just need to get it up. And, by the way, and speaking of Kickstarter, those of you awaiting "The Tale of the Ravens," Spooky's finishing up the last couple of illustrations, and then I'll write the words, and then the printing begins. We'd probably be done by now, if July hadn't been such a nightmare. Anyway, I'll post the link to the CRK/KC Kickstarter page as soon as it's live. By the way, we're not trying to raise anywhere in the neighborhood of the money needed for "The Tale of the Ravens."

I can think of nothing else especially important to type.

Made it through a few more papers in the May JVP: "Cranial anatomy of Thalassiodracon hawkinsii (Reptilia, Plesiosauria) from the Early Jurassic of Somerset, United Kingdom"; "A new species of the snake Madtsoia from the Upper Cretaceous of India and it's paleobiogeographic implications"; "The skull of Hagiangella goujeti Janvier, 2005, a high-crested acanthothoracid (Vertebrata, Placodermi) from the Devonian of North Vietnam"; and "Latest Pacific Basin record of a bony-toothed bird (Aves, Pelagornithidae) from the Pliocene Purisima Formation of California, U.S.A."

Oh, and yesterday, in my statement expressing disdain for what I termed MMORPG culture, I neglected to add that the motherfuckers in question are also homophobic, racist, and sexist. Which is sort of like describing a zebra and neglecting to mention it has four legs, hooves, and stripes.

Maybe it's time to change the title of this journal to Unapologetically, She Pulls Triggers. Except, it should be, more correctly, squeezes, instead of pulls, for gun nuts stuck on that distinction. And that makes me wonder...I've always hated the idea of a "horror" genre so much, and always rejected the term "horror writer" when people speak of me, maybe "trigger fiction" would work. Ooooooh! I know! Triggerpunk! Then it sounds just as dumb as all the other -punks, and no one can accuse me of being an elitist by distancing myself from any other genre (well, at least not over this).

Unmentionable,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Howard Hughes)
And so, this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:



And, while I'm posting images, yesterday the mail brought me my contributor's copies of Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities:



My contribution to the latter is "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key," but I would also note that in a long section of the introduction devoted to Lambshead's life, there is a highly dubious treatment of my own extensive research into the mysterious "death" of his wife, Helen, as well as her involvement in occult societies, and Thackery and Helen's undeniable practice inserting coded messages into documents associated with the loan of objects from his infamous cabinet to various galleries and other institutions. But I shall not take the bait...

---

Spooky's dad, Richard, is currently doing research in Tubigon, which is in the Phillipines. He keeps sending her emails about outrigger canoes and Google Earth and how much he loves eating squid for breakfast.

Yesterday, we managed to proof "Rappaccini's Dragon (Murder Ballad No. 5)" and "Unter den Augen des Mondes," which will both appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Today, I need to try very hard to proof at least four more stories, as I have to get back to work on Blood Oranges in the next two or three days. Also, lots of email yesterday.

Behind the cut, you will find my schedule for Readercon 22 (July 14-17):

Readercon 22 )

Okay. That's enough of a blog entry for any Saturday (though, since I don't actually get weekends...). Also, a copy of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1978) arrived yesterday. My thanks to M. Kaligawa.

Obscenely,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Here in Providence, it's 75F and sunny.

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

Goes-tiddley-pom.

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

---

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

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



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

---

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

---

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

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

My favorite new word: hypercorrection.

And now, alas, more tedium.

Still tedious (and odd),
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny and cool again today.

About half an hour after I made the blog entry yesterday, there was a fairly bad seizure. I spent most of the remainder of the day in bed. Spooky brought me Ranier cherries and slices of chipotle cheddar. I sketched and read. Just before sunset, I began to feel better, and had a bath, and dinner, after which I felt much, much better. Another hour, I was good as new. But, all of yesterday was lost, workwise, and now I have to scramble to try to make up for the lost time. I'd like to be back at work on Blood Oranges by Tuesday. I mean to have another three chapters written by the end of the month, at least.

But today, I have Vince's illustration of "Figurehead," and it's the fifth of May, so today pretty much has to be assembly day for Sirenia Digest #67. Tomorrow, I'll make a furiously determined effort to finish up with the galleys of Two Worlds and In Between. Oh, and I need to proof the galleys of "Fish Bride," which is being reprinted in the second issue of S. T. Joshi's Weird Fiction Review. And there are contracts, and...

I need to be writing. There's too much writing needs doing not to be writing.

---

Hopefully, a fair number of you read last month's "book of the month" selection, Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy (if you didn't, or haven't finished, don't apologize; nothing here is compulsory). I mean to write more about Under the Poppy, but I'm going to do so when I'm just a little more awake than I am now. I had a double-dose of the Good Worker Bee Pill last night, and I feel like it.

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



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

---

An utterly moronic article in the Wall Street Journal, "Darkness too Visible," by someone named MEGHAN COX GURDON. Hey, it was in all caps on the website. Truth in journalism, right? The article carries the provocative subtitle, "Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?" Anyway, obviously Gurdon isn't at all happy about "dark" themes in YA literature. In fact, she's pretty sure that books like Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Game are mangling the minds of impressionable teens everywhere and will, I don't know, lead to mass suicides or something of the sort. The article is...well, read it if you must. But it's most entirely angrifying, fair warning. In response, a Twitter hashtag, #YAsaves, has sprung up, and editors such as [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow and authors such as [livejournal.com profile] blackholly have weighed in (lending their support to YA).

Look at this stinking shithole of a world, people. You really want to sugar-coat literature for the young'uns? You really want to try to insulate them from the difficulties of being a teen, or the hardships they're going to be facing very, very soon (if they aren't already)? Here again, we have the threat of warning labels rearing it's censorious, myopic head.

Whether I'm writing for an adult or a YA audience (and now I do both; also as my agent recently pointed out, Silk, Threshold, and Alabaster would likely now be considered YA), I mean for my fiction to be triggering. That's not a word that ought in speaking of art carry negative connotations. This is the very objective of art, and most especially including fiction: to trigger. To elicit in the mind of the reader a powerful emotional response that will move them, change them, upset or inspire them. We do not "protect" readers from this, else there's no point in writing or reading. We create art that will get their attention and make them think, and will help them survive some nightmare/s past, present, or future. Hey, other kids beside me cut. Other kids have survived rape. Other kids are gay and trans. And, fuck, look at this Catniss chick, what a kick-ass role model. And even if the reader has not experienced or is experiencing some personal trauma, just maybe these books will cause them to behave towards those who have with a little more understanding and sympathy.

Oh. I almost forgot. Gurdon hates dirty words, too. And she segregates the sexes, recommending "books for young men" and "books" for young women." It's still 1945, right?

So, fuck off, MEGHAN COX GURDON. You have the nerve (and are dumb enough) to recommend Fahrenheit 451 - a novel about book burning - in an article calling for censorship. Have you read Bradbury's book, MEGHAN COX GURDON? Do you understand the meaning of the word "irony"?

I'm sure there are many others who responses will be more "civil" and "politic," but I don't feel this nonsense deserves the effort required for either. However, if you'd like to see a really good and thoughtful response, read this post by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, or this post by Laurie Hall Anderson.

---

Last night we watched what must be one of the worst films ever committed to celluloid, Chris Sivertson's I Know Who Killed Me (2007). Two words, Lindsay Lohan. Why did I inflict this upon myself? I don't know. Plain and simple. This film is so bad...never mind, there are no adjectives in the English language capable of expressing of the badness of this film. Lohan can't act. The script...wait, what script? Silverton can't direct. The cinematographer spent the whole film in the crapper. It's like after-school-special torture porn. No, that would be better than this movie. Never mind.

---

Last night, Spooky and I measured Telara as best we could. Choosing as our standard the distance between Lantern Hook to the south and the Chancel of Labors in the north, we arrived at a base measurement of 5,500 meters, which I then used to get a north/south measurement on Telara, at the widest visible point of the (sub)"continent". And that measurement was 7,333 meters (+ or -), or about 4.5 miles. I was stunned. Truly. I'd expected to arrive at a measurement of at least 15 miles. As a point of comparison, the island of Manhattan is 13.4 miles long (or 2.97 Telaras).

Okay. Enough. Work awaits.

Angrified,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.

---

On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me.

So...now, today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I used to write,
I used to write letters. I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night,
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

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

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

---

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

---

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

Over and Out,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So...did I just make a poor choice for the Question @ Hand this time? I've gotten good answers, but far below the usual number. Which strikes me odd. But. I am persistent. If nothing else. So, I ask again:

If I were to be pressed into servitude as a freak in a carnival sideshow, and if you were to have a hand in how I would be made freakish and how I would be presented to the carnival-going public...what would you make of me? Yes, illusion and chicanery may be involved. But nothing's too outlandish.

All answers are screened, and will not be visible to anyone but me. Except, obviously, if you reply to this on Facebook, everyone will see what you say. So say whatever you want, no matter how weird, perverse, or macabre. Don't hold back. The best answers will appear (anonymously) in Sirenia Digest #65.

Answer here.

C'mon, guys. Take the fucking gloves off, already. Thank you kindly.

---

And a reminder, that this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club is Markus Zusack's The Book Thief (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). I'm a little more than halfway through.



Okay...now time for a highly dubious movie...
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Sunny today. Sunny and cold.

No novelizing yesterday, and I didn't get quite as far with the work on Sirenia Digest #63 as I'd hoped I would. I wrote the prolegomenon and edited together the answers from the Question @ Hand challenge (I'd really like to make this a semi-regular feature, maybe once every three issues; I like the idea of readers taking an active part in the digest).

Vince has shown me the sketch for his illustration, which is going to be gorgeous and will be the cover this month; I'm now waiting on the final version, and I still have to do the line edits on the second chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Late in the afternoon, we proofed "Estate" for Two Worlds and In Between

And I find myself, rather unexpectedly, working for Suicidegirls. I'm not at liberty to say more, but I will later, when told that I can.

---

I forget stuff. Well intentioned, I make promises and then forget I made them. They just slip my somewhat addled mind. For example, I owe about twenty-five people a copy of a poem they were promised last summer. And I owe [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme a copy of Silk. Stuff like that. Right now, I'm rounding all these things up and making good on the promises. I've sworn I'll be better about this sort of thing in the future.

---

[livejournal.com profile] timesygn suggested the "Aunt Beast Book Club." The idea was amusing enough to appeal to me. So each month, I'll name one book, and that will be the book of the month. I will not actually review it, and there likely won't be much discussion. Basically, I say, this book is brilliant. Read it. And you can if you wish. And you may like it, or you may not. Might be a new book, or a book that came out several years ago, or a classic. Might be adult or YA. Might be genre, might not be. I'll try always to choose a book with a paperback edition (no Kindle promises, though). That said, the book for the month of March 2011 is Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps (2010).



On February 11th, after finishing the book, I wrote of it: I'm going to be processing this novel for quite a while. It resists any quick and easy assessment. But my first thought would be that I've encountered a shattered mind, that finally becomes incoherent, as madness increasingly refashions the world in the mad woman's image (unless it's the other way round), and I refer you back to the Joseph Campbell quote above. It's a very good novel, though it may not be at all what you'll expect going in, if all you expect is some weird shit about punk rock hobo junkie vampires drinking Robitussin and riding box cars around the Pacific Northwest. It sheds that skin fairly quickly, and moves into infinitely weirder, darker territories.

So, read it, beastlings.

---

Lots of gaming thoughts I didn't put down yesterday, and now it looks as if I'll have to save them for tomorrow.

Because now, my friends, it's time to make the doughnuts.

Yours in Ink & Pixels,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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