greygirlbeast: (white)
No, I'm awake. I promise. I can even see. Almost. I have even managed to survive the severe upbraiding I have received from Spooky for having awakened her at dawn-thirty because I was awakened by Hubero at dawn-thirty. I don't know why I did it! He does crazy shit, okay?! Crazy-ass cat shit, and usually she knows how to scare him in to calming the hell down. Instead, no, I'm in trouble for waking her up – me, the victim.

But that's cool. No more saving her from sasquatches.

And here it is the First of Hallowe'en, which would be fine, if I hadn't lost the first third of summer to rain, and the second third to...a bunch of dumb shit.

Yesterday I wrote a mere 454 words on "Daughter Dear Desmodus." Then I realized, This isn't a vignette. Or even a "sudden" fiction, or a short short, or whatever the beatniks are saying these days. It's not a short story, and I think it's more than a novelette. Or even a novella. Gods fuck me sideways, I think it's the first few pages of a novel about a "bat girl" in a carnival sideshow and how she grows up to unwittingly become the center of a doomsday cult, and fall in love. You know, like Water for Elephants on LSD.* And that's when I typed, THE END, because if I stopped at the conclusion of the paragraph I was writing, the story would have a happy ending. Okay, not happy. But what Spooky pronounced "sweet." Look, I don't know if it's the pills they give me so I don't flop around on the floor and choke on my own spittle to die the ignominious death of Tchaikovsky, or if I'm just getting old...but I find myself, now and again, wanting to let a character with whom I have fallen in love off the hook just a little. IS THAT SO BAD? Anyway, this is the story Vince will be illustrating, instead of the other story.

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

Yesterday, the mail (which only works about half the time) brought me my comp copies of Paula Guran's Halloween (Prime Books), a volume with many fine authors (Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti, Lovecraft, Peter Straub, me, and etcetera) that reprints my piece, "On the Reef" (I found two minor typos; my fault). Oddly, I appear only ever to have written two "Hallowe'en stories": "At the Reef" and "A Redress for Andromeda." More proof I'm not a "horror" writer. You know, people still get hung up on that shit, me refusing to be called a "horror" writer. They take it personally. Seriously. For my part, I look at writers I admire, who had a great influence on me growing up. Ray Bradbury (again), for example. Sure, he writes science fiction, and fantasy (sensu stricto and sensu lato), and scary stories, and non-fantastic lit. Italo Calvino? Ambrose Bierce? Or Harlan Ellison, for example. You could not find an author more impossible to categorize (okay, well maybe you could, but that's not the point). He writes...what he wants to write. Same with Shirley Jackson: ghost stories, insightful stories about insanity and the labyrinth of the American family, and she also wrote some very funny shit. And Lovecraft? You really think "The Colour Out of Space" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are "horror" stories? But...William Gibson's "Hinterlands," that's sceince fiction? Pffffft.

You know, there are an awful lot of quotation marks in the last paragraph.

Today I work on pulling Sirenia Digest #70 together, so that I can send it to be PDF'd as soon as I have Vince's illustration, then Spooky can send it out to all the subscribers (and if you are not one of those, it's NEVER too late...unless you die first).

Some really fine RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah. You've helped to complete the building of the perfect beast. And I read Algernon Blackwood's sublime "The Wendigo" for the umpteenth time, but every time it amazes me all the more.

Anyway...you know what? I consider myself a connoisseur of fetishes. There are few of them with which I am not acquainted. And there are still fewer that don't get me off. Wait...never mind. This isn't about non-Euclidian geometry and larger and smaller infinities, Georg Cantor and his cardinalities, integers vs. whole numbers. Not that math can't be a fetish. It can. But...what was I saying? Oh! Yes! Every now and then I watch the creation of a new fetish right before my very eyes and I know - with perfect clarity - it was created just for me. To whit, Christina Hendricks and her red accordion. I would show you the clip, but YouTube has disabled embedding by request. You'll have to settle for a link to Christina Hendricks playing her red accordion. And really, it's all I need. I could just...sit...and watch...her and...that red accordion...for hours. Without breathing.

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
Chilly and bright Outside the House. 52F at the moment.

Not much luck with the story yesterday. The story I'm writing about Mars instead of "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." I was still in that finding the way in part of writing the story. I may or may not still be there today. I did find the title: "On a Lee Shore." Also, I read Bradbury's "Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed," originally published in 1949. It's always been one of my favorite Mars stories, and yesterday it helped me understand the story I'm not trying to write.

"On a Lee Shore" takes place on the western edges of the Nereidum Montes, at the northwestern rim of the great Argyre Planitia. In fact, it occurs in the 1,000-meter wide bit of desert in this image (Lat. -40.5 ° [centered], Long. 309.9 ° [east]), in these dunes:



What wonder, that I can say that I'm writing a story set on a planet where a human has never walked, a place hundreds of millions of kilometers away from Earth. And here's so clear an image, taken at a height of 274.5 km (171.5 miles) above the planet's surface (on May 9, 2009, at 3:22 p.m., Local Mars time).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and also at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks Etsy shop (she's making some really exquisite necklaces lately). Thanks.

We're talking about doing a very short little story together, about a girl who's a goat, or a goat who's a girl. Spooky will draw several pictures, and I'll write the story, and it will appear first in Sirenia Digest. We've never really done anything together before.

Not much else to say about yesterday. I did my exercises, brushed my teeth, answered email, tried Left Hand's milk stout for the first time, got some work done on the Dancy Box, played a little WoW and a lot of CoX (some great rp last night with my new changeling character, Lizbeth Gevaudan, whose actually a 24-Century incarnation of my vampire character, Erzsébetta Bathory), managed not to take a nap, and made it to bed about 3 a.m.

Now, back to Mars.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
The sun is still with us. The day is bright, and Rhode Island is slowly coming to terms with the flooding— which, technically, is not yet over, as rivers continue to crest. Amtrak is still not running through the state, but I-95 reopened late yesterday.

All subscribers to Sirenia Digest should have #52 in their inboxes. If you haven't gotten it, speak up. I'm very happy with #52. Among other things, we've finally transitioned to having something like a genuine cover, instead of merely a title page. I'd love to hear reactions to the issue here today.

Yesterday was not exactly a work day, but nor was it a day off. The galley pages for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree arrived from NYC. They have to be proofed and back to Roc by the 15th. There are mistakes that made their way into the first edition that have to be corrected. But yesterday, I only opened the envelope and glanced at the pages. This edition will be out in September.

Other bits of yesterday: Hubero lay on my desk, basking in the sun and fresh air coming in through the open office window; Spooky and I shared a corned beef and coleslaw sandwich from the Hudson Street deli; we had a walk, that took us to Dexter Training Ground and the Armory, where there were dogs and children and budding trees, clover and green grass (photos tomorrow); I had a long hot bath; I read an article from the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology; I talked with Bill Schafer about the new Ray Bradbury volume they're about to release, A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories, which comes complete with a beautiful cover by the incomparable Joseph Mugnaini (1912-1992); Spooky made Spanish rice with chicken and pintos for dinner; and so forth. It was a day. A not bad day. There are far too few of those.

I announced last night on Facebook that I'm planning to have my back, shoulders, and both arms tattooed, and I think, the date being April 1st, no one believed me. But the announcement wasn't a prank. I'm talking with Vince about designing the three pieces. The first, which I hope would be done this summer, will be an octopus that will cover my entire back, shoulders to upper buttocks. But the whole series of tattoos would be sea themed (extinct and extant creatures), and very colorful. My skin has been blank far too long. I'm racing towards forty-six-years-old, and I want this done. There will be trilobites and bladderack, eels and eurypterids. I have to find a local tattoo artist I'm comfortable with. I expect the whole tattoo will take a couple of years to complete, beginning, hopefully, this summer.

In the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, I've made my way through several articles over the last week: "Bistahieversor sealeyi, gen. et sp. nov., a new tyrannosauroid from New Mexico and the origin of deep snouts in Tyrannosauroidea"; "A reappraisal of the origin and basal radiation of the Osteichthyes"; and "Demythologizing Arctodus simus, the 'short-faced' long-legged predaceous bear that never was." The third article was especially interesting, as it turns out that A. simus (fossils date from about 800,000-12,500 years ago), while truly gigantic, may not have been the "super-predator" it has often been characterized as being (it has even been invoked as an agent for delaying the radiation of Homo sapiens in North America); indeed, it appears also not to have been particularly short faced or long legged, when compared to various extant bear species.

Late last night— well, early this morning — as I was drifting off to sleep, there was a bump somewhere in the house. I came awake with a start, which startled Spooky awake. And my head was suddenly filled with new ideas— an entirely new approach —for The Wolf Who Cried Girl Spooky switched on the light and I jotted everything down (this was about 3:16 a.m.), so I wouldn't forget any of it. I am newly excited about the long-delayed novel.

As promised, here are a few screencaps from the ongoing Insilico rp, the latest incarnation of the Xiang AI (played by me), inside her Faraday cage:

Rebuilding the Perfect Beast, or Fifth's Secret )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
One year ago today, Sméagol came to live with us. He was called Linus then, but we soon corrected that.

If anyone's interested in gifting Spooky and me with the distractions that help to make this existence bearable, in the form of Solstice gifts, we have both updated our Amazon wish lists. You can find mine here, and you may find hers here. Thank you. This past month has taken a toll on finances, from car troubles to doctor bills, and there's less money than usual for these niceties. CDs, DVDs, books. And we are both perfectly happy with used copies. Thank you kindly.

---

Yesterday, I followed a link Neil Clarke (of Clarkesworld Magazine) posted to Twitter, and found a fine little essay/blog entry on writing, in the blog of Damien G. Walter: "Show Me the Writers Taking Risks." It speaks very much to my "writing process" (though I do loathe that phrase), and opens with this quote from Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles (borrowed from Frederico Fellini): "Don’t tell me what I’m doing, I don’t want to know." It moves along to another Bradbury quote: "First you jump off the cliff, then you build the wings." Which is about the best advice I could ever give any would-be writer. Stop plotting. Stop outlining. Stop writing character profiles and fretting over arcs. Kill the spreadsheets. Forget the workshops. This isn't science, and tedium won't save you. Writing is art, which means it's pretty much magic. Peer over the edge, size up the drop, then just fucking jump off the cliff and get to work, because the ground is rushing towards you, or you're rushing towards the ground (it hardly matters which). Just write the damned story. In this short essay, Walter writes:

So many writers seem set on not just building wings, but complete impact survival systems before they even venture to the cliff edge (while others are hurling themselves into the void without even a sense that the ground exists).

Anyway, yes...I suggest you have a look.

---

Yesterday, we drove down to Saundertown, to Spooky's parents' place. It was good to get out of the House. It helped to alleviate that feeling that I might, at any moment, shatter. We saw fields blanketed with a thin crust of snow, and we saw stark trees, and a deer at the side of the road. We got a dozen fresh eggs from the farm. We saw a leafless tree burdened with frozen apples. There are photos below, behind the cut.

Last night sort of turned into Revisit TV Shows We Hated the First Time Night. It also became an evening of These Shows Have Improved Somewhat Revelation. First we watched a couple of the most recent episodes of Fringe. Yes, it's improved. We tried to watch the series back when it first began and found it painful and impossible. But things seemed a little tighter last night (absurd science aside). If nothing else, John Noble is entertaining as Dr. Walter Bishop, and I'm seeing depth to the character that was missing early on. And Phillip Broyles isn't bad, but the rest of the cast feels extruded, mass produced, interchangeable. The series has a long way to go to stop being an inferior X-Files knockoff.

We also watched the latest episode of Dollhouse. And, you know, the only thing really keeping the episode from being quite decent was Eliza Dushku, who still can't act her way out of a paper bag. Summer Glau was creepy, and that's a good thing. I know the series has been canceled. And I hate like hell to see Joss Whedon keep hitting the wall like this, but he should have known better than to pin his star to Fox (again) and the talentless Miss Dushku. She can't even convincingly act like a blank doll. Rather, she acts like someone trying and failing to act like a blank doll. But I will watch the next episode, regardless.

So, yes...photos (there's even one of me, and those are growing increasingly rare):

6 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Tomorrow is Mabon, and here I am, not even close to ready for autumn.

Yesterday was better, from a writing standpoint. I did 817 words on a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #46, which I'm calling "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint." Hopefully, when I read over the pages later today, I'll still like them.

Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi has written a genuinely beautiful review of The Red Tree, which will appear in the Fall 2009 issue of Dead Reckonings. He's given me permission to include excerpts from it in this entry. Now, however, I'm re-reading his review, and finding it almost as hard to excerpt as the novel itself. I do adore this line (how could I not?):

...but Kiernan’s witchery of words creates a mesmerising effect that we haven’t seen since the days of Lovecraft and Bradbury..

...and this bit near the end....

Those seeking a neat resolution to the overall scenario—either to the supernatural manifestation that is the red tree or to the lives and fates of the protagonists—are likely to be disappointed. As Sarah herself states at the end, “Just when you think it’s one thing, this story, it’ll go and become something else entirely.” The Red Tree is supremely rewarding not merely for its moments of terror, but for its ineffably sensitive display of the complexity of human emotions. It is a kind of “Heart of Darkness” for our time——an exploration of both the sinister darkness of the foreboding rural landscape and of the inscrutable darkness of the human heart. The reader comes away feeling privileged to have read it.

Anyway...yeah. This review, by a critic and scholar I so admire, has sort of helped pull me through the angry darkness of the past few days. But the excerpts do not do the review justice.

---

Yesterday, a reader asked: "You make me wonder, though, is it more important to be good or be recognized? I know both are best, but the question is for either or."

Which makes it a very hard question, indeed, if I am to choose only the one or the other. But you do have to begin all this by understanding that being a good writer does not even come near to a guarantee that one will also be recognized. Most good writers——most writers period——go unrecognized. Of course, here we would need to define our terms, good and recognized. The first possesses fewer problems than the latter, though the definition would be necessarily subjective, and would change, to a degree, from one reader to the next. But defining recognized, that's a tougher call. Are we talking about the critics and reviewers? Do we mean recognition to be synonymous with fame, and do we expect fame to bring financial stability or fortune? We all ask complex questions, often thinking them to be simple. And, you know what? I am not awake enough for this question. Maybe I'll come back to it...

---

Spooky's been getting lots of new stuff up at her Dreaming Squid Etsy shop, and you really ought to take a look. I stole one of the figurines for my own. If I had my way, I'd never let her sell any of them. These pieces are one of a kind and very time intensive.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I was extremely pleased to learn that Cormac McCarthy has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for The Road, despite Oprah Winfrey having inexplicably associated herself with the novel. I guess that just goes to prove the adage about there being no such thing as bad publicity.

I was also very, very glad to find out that an honorary Pulitzer was awarded to Ray Bradbury, who, as far as I know, has been fortunate enough to escape the ravages of Winfrey.
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
Does it seem to anyone else that LJ has been kind of quiet lately? I've noticed it mainly in fewer comments to my entries. I hope this isn't a sign of some great exodus to MySpace. Right now, I'm mirroring the blog over there, but I'd truly hate to think it's actually The Shape of Things to Come. Between the seizure-inducing adverts and the general meat-market atmosphere, I can't imagine it ever becoming the main site for this journal. I just don't think I could make that switch. Anyway...for those reading this from Blogger or MySpace, here's a link to the elf pr0n photos I posted last night. I was entirely too tired to mirror the entry. Comments welcome. I mean, I do read them. Often, I reply. Some days, they even help me keep my head above the rising water.

Though this latest issue of Sirenia Digest was especially difficult to get out, it also seems to have had the fewest difficulties on the distribution end of things compared to past issues. By the way, next month — well, actually, this month — Sirenia Digest 12 (which may also be counted as issue #11 or #13, depending how one chooses to count these things) will include one solo piece by me and a new collaboration with Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay). I very much hope that it will be out by the 21st. By the way, Herr Platypus says that anytime November 2nd should happen to fall on a Thursday, it's very good luck to subscribe to Sirenia Digest.

I had no idea that Ray Bradbury's short story "The Homecoming," long a favorite of mine (and the basis for his 2001 novel, From the Dust Returned), had been released as a hardback illustrated by Dave McKean. I spotted it last night at Borders, and it's frelling gorgeous.

Still working at the second reading of House of Leaves. Chapter IX, in which Danielewski manages to construct a labyrinth from text and footnotes (and the footnotes that some footnotes require).

The weather, which had warmed up a bit, is turning cold again.

Not much to be said for yesterday. I grow tired of posting daily word counts, as I'm sure you've grown weary of reading them. There was a documentary on the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Dinner from the deli at Whole Foods. Too much candy I shouldn't have eaten. Fun with Hubero. A perfectly humdrum sort of day.

If you've not yet pre-ordered Daughter of Hounds, Amazon.com is still offering it bundled with Alabaster for a mere $27.70.

That's it for now. I need more candy...
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
I need a bottle of Bailey's in the worst way, but this is frelling Georgia, and we are all forced to respect the sabbath of the Xtians, so no booze to-day. Someday, the Dark Ages will end, but not this day. Maybe I'll just resort to absinthe this afternoon. I have absinthe. But I waaaant Bailey's.

Anyway...

No new words yesterday, though I spent the whole day in this chair at this desk, my fingers wandering over the keyboard. I tweaked the Bradbury introduction. I sent it to Peter and Ramsey and talked to them about it. They both liked it a great deal and told me to stop tweaking. Also, Ramsey sent me a photograph of a gorgeous spider. I guess I'll e-mail it to Pete Crowther at PS Publishing this afternoon (the introduction, not the spider photo) and call the job done. But it still doesn't feel finished. It doesn't feel good enough by half. But I sort of suspect it never would, no matter how long I worked on it. Never in all my life did I imagine anyone would ask me to introduce a book by Ray Bradbury. Of all the honours bestowed upon me in the last eleven years (the length of time I've been a published author), this is surely one of the highest.

Oh, and I learned from Peter that he has a new book coming out from Cemetery Dance Publications, a collection of his occasional essays and nonfiction and introductions and the like, which will be called Sides (as in "Asides"). I am very pleased to learn it will include the afterword which he wrote for Tales of Pain and Wonder way back in 2000. No word yet on the release date.

Also, my contributor copies of Stephen Jones' The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Vol. 17) arrived yesterday. It reprints "La Peau Verte," from To Charles Fort, With Love, and also includes short fiction by Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Joe Hill, China Miéville, Gahan Wilson, Elizabeth Massie, Holly Phillips, Liz Williams, and a whole bunch of other folks (most of whom probably live in civilised places where you can buy booze on Sundays).

I did try to begin a new vignette yesterday, for Tales from the Woeful Platypus, but discovered that it is nigh well impossible for me to think impure thoughts and contemplate weird sex while simultaneously thinking about the works of Ray Bradbury. Make of that what e'er you will.

We had a longer-than-usual walk late in the afternoon. After dinner, we watched Richard Loncraine's adaptation of Richard III (1995), with Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr., and Jim Broadbent, which I'd only seen once before, during its theatrical release. McKellen is wickedly superb. I think this is the beginning of a Shakespeare binge. Before bed, I played two hours of Drakengard 2, which I picked up just to hold me over until the release of Final Fantasy XII, but it's actually turned out to be pretty drad, and I shall likely not have finished it when FFXII arrives next month.

Okay. That's it for now. Words must be made today. By the way, I've been told by the platypus, that Sundays in September are the very best for subscribing to Sirenia Digest. And sheheit should know.
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
I think I may have finished the Bradbury intro yesterday. I've got to read over it again this afternoon to see if my opinion has changed. I have always found writing these sorts of things to be about the most difficult, nerve-wracking sort of writing that I'm ever asked to do. And, in this case, when I've been asked to write about an author of such stature and one who has had such an enormous impact on my own writing...what the frell do you say? I've tried to relax and say what first comes to mind, what seems most honest and direct. But there's this nagging voice, telling me I will only ever have one chance to do this, and this is me saying thank-you, and Bradbury's gonna read it, and in some ways it's one of the most important pieces that I'll ever write, and so it has to be right. So, the second-guessing and self-doubt takes over, and, well, there you go. Yesterday, I asked Neil to please read it for me when I think I'm done, and he said he would. That will, hopefully, put some of my worries to rest. Or confirm them. Either way, it's better than having no opinion but my own.

In the summer, Spooky and I usually walk in the evening. But this morning I needed to move, so we went out about ten o'clock. It was overcast, and there was still dew on the grass, not too hot, but definitely muggy. In the park, we talked with a homeless man about trees. There was a mini-bulldozer sort of thing parked on Moreland, and I threatened to hotwire it and take out some of the condos and townhouses that have sprung up hereabouts like great pastel fungi, housing for all these gentrification assholes who think they want to live in the city, but expect it to made over in the image of the suburbs, just for their convenience. I told Spooky that if I called it a publicity stunt, I could take the ensuing bail and legal expenses as tax deductions. She said not no way, not no how, and herded me back to the house. A damned unreasonable woman is Spooky.

But at least she can cook. After the writing was done yesterday, we headed to Whole Foods to get the week's groceries, and she made pasta with fresh basil and red peppers for dinner, accompanied by a very delicious organic Syrah, of which I drank too much. Too tipsy for anything but a nap and then a couple of Big Dumb Action Films, we ended up watching Die Harder With A Vengeance (1995) and Predator 2 (1990), back to back on FMC. The former holds up far better than the latter, perhaps because it was a better movie to start with. It's just fun, watching Willis and Jackson do what they do. And besides, you get a double-dose of sexy with Jeremy Irons and Sam Phillips. I was disappointed that Predator 2 is so horridly dated, weighed down by a wardrobe that looks fresh from a 1988 music video, even though the film is set in 1997. The creature effects are still pretty cool, but Bill Paxton will always annoy the hell out of me, and one should never follow Samuel Jackson with Danny Glover. It's like drinking Bass and then switching over to Sterling after an hour or so. Anyway, that was yesterday. Oh, and this (behind the cut), because some people have no better manners than to take somewhat out-of-focus photos of a slightly liquored-up nixar and her cat who are both trying to take a post-supper nap:

Click for pussy! )


I think Spooky's gonna work on the Barker's clothing today. If I have to write, she has to make dolls. It's only fair. And let's not forget that over at Amazon.com you can get Daughter of Hounds with Alabaster for a paltry $27.70. The platypus says it's a steal, and who am I to argue with a monotreme?
greygirlbeast: (chi4)
So, about six o'clock yesterday evening, we met Byron at our favourite Thai restaurant, as Thai seemed the appropriate choice for the dinner before one adopts a Siamese cat. Afterwards, the three of us ventured well outside the protective confines of the Perimeter, down I-20 west to Route 6 north through Powder Springs to Hiram (about a thirty-minute drive). Atlanta Persian and Siamese Rescue was holding its daily adoption thingy at the PetSmart in Hiram, otherwise I never would have considered going so far OTP. The sun was setting. I rode in the backseat, which I hardly ever do, and we reached the pet store about seven-thirty. Within moments, we met the cat we'd looked at online, and it was love at first sight. Really. Spooky held him and immediately he put his arms about her neck. So, we loaded up on cat supplies, filled out adoption paperwork, and returned home with our new Siamese boy (the first I've ever had, and my first male cat since 1990 — though in truth, Elvis was Elizabeth's cat, not mine).

He spent the evening roaming about the house, getting to know the place, and, eventually, he finally came to bed and curled up between me and Spooky, where he spent the rest of the night. He's a beautiful seal point, possibly part Tonkinese, with vivid blue eyes, and at some point someone took a small nip out of his left ear. I have only rarely met such a personable Siamese. He was a refugee from somewhere in Illinois, and is about four years old. We named him Hubero, a good solid Nebari name, though his full name is Hubero Padfoot Fuckin' Wu (managing to draw off three different fandoms simultaneously). Here are some photos (behind the cut):

Hubero Arrives )


This morning, the cat-shaped hole does not gape quite so frelling wide. And, after three months, that's a very good thing.

Not much else to say for yesterday. I took a long bath and washed my hair. I spent some time trying to customize my MySpace blog, but the improvements were minimal. It's still f'ugly. I thought about cleaning my messy office, because Spooky was cleaning the rest of the place, but something distracted me and it remains messy. Last night, while Hubero wandered about, we watched more Firefly ("Trash" and "The Message"). Only two left. I think I got to bed about two.

By breakfast, my dreams had been mercifully forgotten.

I've just noticed that on Amazon.com you can pick up Daughter of Hounds with Alabaster for a mere $27.70. Also, this morning FedEx delivered the galleys for the mass-market paperback of Threshold, and I see that Penguin has slipped in a preview of Daughter of Hounds at the back of the book, after the glossary. It's just a few pages from the prologue, and it ends rather abruptly, but I think it was a smart idea. I expect they'll do the same with the mmps of Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels.

Also, here's a heads-up that the amazingly versatile Peter Straub will be reprising his role as Detective Pete Braust on One Life to Live on September 21st (2 p.m. EST).

Today or tomorrow, we'll be beginning another round of eBay auctions, including a couple of special items. For one, I'm auctioning an unbound, hand-corrected copy of the Daughter of Hounds galleys, and we'll also be offering a lettered copy of Frog Toes and Tentacles, complete with handmade silk and velvet "cozy," the first we've offered since early in the summer. But now I must go write. Today I'm going to begin work on the introduction I've been asked to write for the forthcoming PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever, as I need to get that off to Pete Crowther ASAP. Hopefully, I can finish it this afternoon.
greygirlbeast: (chi (in all her fears))
from The Endless, "Initiation":

You can put up a good fight - You can do everything right. But sometimes...you can hack through the thicket - you can lift the curses - But sometimes - the Dragon wins.

Yesterday we made it through the line edits for the second half of Daughter of Hounds, pages 348-621, even though I had not an iota of enthusiasm for the work. Then again, who in her right mind would ever have enthusiasm for line edits? Anyway, now that the first pass is done, the easy pass, today I should begin on the bits that require more thought and actual writing. But I've also got to begin getting my head into the Sirenia Digest space. The two vignettes need to be written in the next week or so.

And, by the way, if you've not yet subscribed to Sirenia Digest, please consider doing so today. Or tomorrow. Soon. I began this thing on a lark, but it's become very important to me, on several levels. Not the least of these is that it's giving me a chance to explore new literary avenues without worrying about an editor's likes or dislikes, an editor's preconceptions regarding fantasy or science fiction or what I write and don't write or whatever. And it's cheap. $10 a month gets you lots of new words, which, I'd say, is better than spending the same $10 on fast food or Starbuck's coffee or cigarettes or bottled water or whatever. Give it a try. Just click here, read the FAQ, and subscribe. It's the future, kiddos. New fiction doesn't have to arrive via books. Mind the message, not the medium.

By the way, the short story that was worked over with a tire iron and then pissed upon by A Sound of Thunder is also titled "A Sound of Thunder" and can be found in Bradbury's collection Dinosaur Tales (it was originally published in Collier's in 1952). And William Stout's illustrations are far superior to the crappy art direction and SFX of the film. You'll be doing yourself a favour by ignoring the film and reading the story. The same collection, I might add, includes the superb stories, "The Fog Horn" and "Tyrannosaurus rex."

And what does it say about America that the number one movie is currently RV? I think, perhaps, I'd rather not know the answer.

Last night, we were supposed to meet up with Byron and Jim and J for dinner, but the day's work and thoughts had left me in an utterly crappy mood. I was nothing anyone would have enjoyed being around, so we begged off (sorry, guys) and ate big salads instead. We also rented two old sf films, Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955) and Edward L. Cahn's The She-Creature (1956). Corman's film plays out like an extended episode of The Outer Limits and is the better of the two. Neither film is very good, of course, and yet both are great fun and silliness and zippers up the back of the monster suits and still light years better than...um...A Sound of Thunder.

It's bright and sunny and warm today, but a storm front is coming, and the high tomorrow will be a rather miserable 69F. The warm comes back on Monday.

Okay. I should try to point myself towards work and see if I can't scrape up a few ounces of momentum. I have only nine days until the DoH ms. has to be back in NYC, counting today, and there are miles to go before I sleep and all. I'm still taking suggestions for the next Sirenia Digest, by the way.
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
I have always, since I was a small child, imagined the year as a wheel or a sort of clock. The wheel is divided into four portions: Winter (December—February), Spring (March—May), Summer (June—August), and Autumn (September—November). The new year falls roughly at midnight on the wheel/clock. So, for my part, forget about March 20th or 21st being the first day of Spring. Sure, it's the vernal equinox and a low sabbat, Alban Eiler, Ostara, whatever word one prefers to know it by. That's fine. But, for me, March 1st is always the beginning of spring. Winter ended yesterday. Here in Atlanta, we'll have appropriate springy weather, highs around 71F and sunny and everything is budding and blooming. Yesterday, Spooky and I gathered oak (duir) branches, and I spent part of this morning working them into wreaths and hanging them to dry. Those of you who wish to continue with winter for another three weeks are welcome to do so.

Some niggling git over at Amazon.com, calling itself simply "Gay Liberal Agenda 'I'm coming for you next!'", has posted the following one-star "review" for To Charles Fort, With Love:

Treading water., February 27, 2006: Wake up Caitlin. It's not 1996 anymore! Poppy Z. Brite and Christa Faust have both moved on to other things, maybe you should take a hint!

Yep. That's the whole "review." Its inappropriateness should be obvious, as it completely neglects to discuss the book that it's supposedly commenting upon. Personally, I'd also say that it's inappropriate in that it addresses me in the familiar and fails to insert a comma after "wake up," but let's not get picky. I'd very much appreciate it if those of you who also find offensive the use of Amazon.com's reader's comment feature to annoy authors would click this link to the the book's page and report this to Amazon as inappropriate. In the past, I will admit that Amazon has been very good and prompt about removing this sort of nonsense. Meanwhile, I should ponder where exactly it is this entity thinks I should take a hint and move on to. Perhaps it's time for me to write het chick lit. Maybe I should throw caution to the winds and start writing Westerns. Perhaps I could be the next Larry McMurtry (which is meant as no slight to Mr. McMurtry, whom I rather admire). Maybe, instead of remaining mired in this bog of weird fiction and sf and dark fantasy, which is oh so 1996, I should move along to a series of wildly popular novels about an elderly spinster librarian who, with the help of her taxidermied cat, Mr. Treacle, foils the dastardly plots of a world-wide terrorist syndicate. Yes, Mr. (or Ms.) Gay Liberal Agenda "I'm coming for you next!" definitely has me thinking. Because, clearly, whatever [livejournal.com profile] docbrite and [livejournal.com profile] faustfatale do, I should do next. After all, that's why they call it art and not follow-the-leader.

Speaking of To Charles Fort, With Love, I am very pleased to announce that "La Peau Verte" has been selected for both John Betancourt's Horror: The Best of 2006 and Stephen Jones' Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Vol. 17. "La Peau Verte" was always my personal favourite from the collection, followed by "The Dead and the Moonstruck" and "Spindleshanks," and it's drad indeed to see that others agree with me. The moral: drink more absinthe, Caitlín.

Yesterday, Bill Schafer sent me Gail Cross' layout of Ted's cover for Alabaster, and I'm very happy with it. Gail used the same font she used for the "Waycross" chapbook, which seemed right to me. I'm especially pleased there will be no lettering on the spine, which Bill and I agreed would defeat the composition of Ted's painting. Anyway, it's behind the cut, if you wanna have a peek:

click me )


As for yesterday, there isn't much to say. The black mood began to break apart in the early afternoon, but I was still too...whatever...to begin the new vignette, so, after sending Daughter of Hounds away to my editor in NYC (about twelve hours ahead of the DL), I spent the entire day and much of the night working on paleontology entries for Wikipedia, which has become a new obsession of mine. I completely rewrote the entry for Tylosaurus and added an entry for the hadrosaurine Lophorhothon atopus. That's what a dork I am. Later, we noted Fat Tuesday with red beans and rice and collards and lots of Nutella. No, there's no connection between Mardi Gras and Nutella, at least not one I am aware of, but we were both craving the stuff, so there you go. By the way, Poppy's Mardi Gras photo had me snickering all damn day. Later, we watched Miami Ink, because we both have the hots for Cat Von D, and then I read two stories from Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever aloud to Spooky, "The Beginning of the End" and "The Time of Going Away." Later still, she studied Jessica Macbeth and Brian Froud's Faerie Oracle while I did a little work with the Ogham cards and my Irish dictionary. Sleep came sometime after 3:30 a.m. And that, kiddos, was my final day of Winter 2006.

More later...

Postscript: That was fast. The niggling git's "review" has already been swept away...
greygirlbeast: (chi2)
It's a beautiful, sunny, warm early spring day here in Atlanta, and Spooky urged me to get up and out and all that. Which she was quite right to do, of course. Thankfully, I'm feeling a bit less vile than yesterday. And, may I just say, if I never see another cranberry again it will likely be too soon.

I was just looking at the nominations for the 2006 Oscars. I've always been sort of an Oscar geek, all my adult life, and yet this year I feel an unexpected ambivalence towards the whole affair. It may be the personal turmoil of the past year, and that my head's so many difficult places right now. I'm trying to recall if there's ever once been a year when I've somehow managed to see not a single one of the films nominated for best picture. Partly, I know this is because theatres are so much less economical than are DVD rentals and, when you factor in how horrific any given audience is likely to be, there's a whole lot less incentive, in my opinion, to see films at the theatre than at home. I've very much wanted to see Capote, and Munich and Good Night, and Good Luck, as all three look very good. I must admit, though, that I feel like I'm the only queer person in all America with absolutely no interest in seeing Brokeback Mountain. And do not dare tell me I'm evil or traitorous or lacking in good taste for feeling this way. I cannot help my indifference. It happens. Anyway...

I've been asked to write an introduction for the PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever (published in the US as A Medicine for Melancholy). I was very flattered and surprised. Now, I just hope that I'm equal to the task. Especially given they've got such wonderful people doing the intros for their other Bradbury editions (Neil and Ramsey, as well as Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Harryhausen, etc.). Yes, I am intimidated, all round.
greygirlbeast: (mars)
I forgot to mention in this morning's entry that Spooky and I finished Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned last night. It's truly a marvelous book, and the ending took me almost entirely by surprise. I'd been wondering how Charles Addams could have done the (gorgeous) cover, when Addams died in 1988 and the book wasn't written until 2000. Bradbury explains in a brief afterword that the novel grew out of his stories about the outré Elliott family (I knew this part, of course), and that, originally he and Charles Addams had planned a picture book which would consist of these interconnected stories, illustrated by Addams. The plans grew out of a Halloween issue of Mademoiselle (October, 1946), you know, back when magazines published fiction, which had centered around his first Elliott family story, "Homecoming." The cover of the novel was originally used for the magazine, which answers my question. Anyway, Bradbury and Addams eventually lost touch and the collaboration never materialized. I was also very amused at Bradbury's account of the difficulties he had publishing in Weird Tales, how they grudgingly accepted a number of stories from him (at a half cent a word), but finally refused to publish "Homecoming" because it "was not about traditional ghosts."

I find this particularly amusing as Weird Tales is the only magazine in the last ten years to reject one of my short stories. I submitted "Paedomorphosis" to them on July 28th, 1998, and it was rejected in short order, the editors citing their discomfort with the sexuality of the characters (they were all lesbians) and the drug use in the story. I haven't bothered with Weird Tales since. "Paedomorphosis" was published in Tales of Pain and Wonder and then reprinted in Song of Cthulhu.

Harlan Ellison introduced me to Ray Bradbury at Dragon*Con in (I think) July of 2000, which is surely one of the draddest things anyone's ever done for me.

Anyway, after we finished From the Dust Returned, which I urge you to read, we began Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I'm loving it so far.

Postscript — If anyone ever sends me that October 1946 issue of Mademoiselle, they will be rewarded with a kiss or MDS or a story written just for them, whichever he or she or it prefers.
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
Yesterday, I made myself take a short break from Daughter of Hounds. On Monday, I'd done 1,224 words on Chapter Ten and hope to do as much today, as well. I'm so near THE END, and, as I've said already, the ending of a book has never intimidated me this much.

Most of yesterday was spent working on the erotic vignette subscription service website. We'll come back back to this in a moment. Sophie had a 4 p.m. vet appointment. I usually don't go along when Spooky takes her to the vet, but I did yesterday, though I sat in the car and read the new issue of GameInformer, since vets' offices make me only slightly less nervous than doctors' offices. Six of one, half dozen of another, as Deacon would say. Afterwards, I did more HTML stuff and then we took Sophie to the park again. We sat beneath a tree filled with noisy squirrels and two woodpeckers. The park was awash with unleashed dogs (despite the fact that Atlanta has a leash law), and at one point four of them rushed over to us. Sophie didn't freak out though. I thought for sure she'd lay one of them open, part their noses like Moses showing the Red Sea what for, but she just looked inconvenienced while we chased them all away. I was drooled upon by a young German shepard. After dinner, we tweaked the website a little more, then we watched Cosmos and went to bed a little early. I read Spooky "Dark They Were, and Golden-eyed," which I will never, ever cease to be amazed at, and last night, certain similarities between it and Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" struck me for the first time. Then Spooky read me Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings. I have to admit that I've become oddly obsessed with McCloskey. So, yeah, that was yesterday.

Oh, there was a slightly peculiar dream this morning, wherein my marching band director from High School was putting on a stage version of Silk and insisted that I play Spyder Baxter. We had a rather heated argument, because, no matter how much I protested, he wouldn't understand that I was wrong for the part. I finally gave in and remember grabbing a copy of the script and storming offstage, annoyed that the man was still as dense as he'd been twenty-five years ago.

So...as of right now, we are taking subscriptions for the Sirenia Digest (MErViSS). Please read the FAQ before you subscribe, and if you should have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask them — here or in the phorum or by e-mail (to zquid_zoup@yahoo.com). Subscribers will receive the first PDF sometime within the next week. This first one's going to be something special and, as it turns out, not really erotic at all. I decided, instead, to begin by whetting your appetites for Daughter of Hounds by letting you see the original draft of Chapter Three, which had to be almost entirely rewritten when I was told the book couldn't exceed 150K-words (and this text may never appear anywhere else). That meant drastically scaling back Sadie Jasper's role in the novel. This original version of Chapter Three is very much concerned with Sadie and reads more like part of a sequel to Low Red Moon than what Daughter of Hounds went on to become. Anyway, I'm somewhat nervous this morning, as Stage One (gauging interest) moves into Stage Two (accepting subscriptions), my fingers crossed that all those folks who took time to vote in the poll or e-mail me or speak up in the phorum will now subscribe. I'm hoping that most everyone will have subscribed by the time the PDF is ready to go out. Next month, in Issue #2, we'll begin with the regular weird erotica content. Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest, who's kindly volunteered to lay out the PDFs.

Here's the link. Sorry the page isn't more pleasing to the eye. My HTML skills are still stuck firmly in 1995.

Okay. There are doughnuts to make, and this day isn't getting any younger. Oh, yeah. Still can't post to frelling Blogger.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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