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

---

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

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

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

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

---

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

WHY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


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

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

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

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

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Here in my office, which is ever so slightly cooler than the kitchen, which is dramatically hotter than the middle parlor where Dr. Muñoz labors so to keep the air cool and can manage only 83˚F. It must be in the nineties in the office. There are three fans running in the office, spinning the swelter round and round. Outside, it's 86˚F, with violent thunderstorms on the way. If I'm going to get any work done today, I'm going to have to try to break my habits and write on a laptop in one of the two cool rooms. It's either that or heatstroke.

Comments would be good today.

My editor at Penguin just sent me the cover mock-up for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and – I don't believe I'm about to say this – I like it quite a lot. Not only is the image artful and appropriate to the novel, there's even a little (?unintentional) nod back to The Red Tree. So, it has been a morning of sweaty amazement. I've asked for some changes to the cover font and the blurb at the bottom, but I'll post the cover as soon as I can.

Spooky's gone to retrieve the repaired van from the garage.*** The engine had to be replaced, but I probably said that already. Some other post.

Mostly, I'm still trying to collect money owed me by various publishers, trying to be paid here in the Land of the Debt Poor. I am considering a sort of strike. No more words until I see some green. No more corrected page proofs. No more anything. I can't eat promises.

I've been to ill from the heat and from a small "episode" late on Saturday night to think much about Readercon 22. But I think I have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that I'm simply not a con person. They're a necessary evil, and sometimes, I'll admit, there are moments of enjoyment. Mostly, seeing people I hardly get to see otherwise. I confess to a strong dislike for panels, and I virtually never attend a panel unless I'm on it. But my thanks to everyone who listened to my "rehearsal" reading, and who attended my solo panels. Next year, if you're one of those readers who has been wanting to meet for ages, or wanting to hear me read, or...whatever, you'd best find some way to get your ass to Readercon 23 in Burlington, Massachusetts. And if you're a fan of Peter Straub's (and how can you not be), there's all the more reason.

It occurs to me that I'm much to woozy from the heat to have said even as much as I've already said, much less anything more. I'm struggling to stay coherent. So, I leave you with a few photos Spooky took during the con:

16-17 July 2011 )


Melting,
Aunt Beast

*** Spooky just returned from the garage, without the van. The idiot fucking mechanics put the old spark plugs into the new engine and think maybe that's why it's still running like shit. They've had it two weeks.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Because I really didn't want to title this Readercon 22 (III), and I've just awakened from a nap of cataclysmic proportions, despite having slept in the broiling car on the way back from Burlington to Providence. If title must be explained, that's why. I am home, with another Shirley Jackson Award stone to sit upon my shelf. But what matters is I am home.

Shirley Jackson understood the importance of coming home. Eleanor and Merricat, they knew how precious is home.

Still, it was good to see so many people I so rarely get to see, those other authors, those editors and publishers, those others who are dear to me and whom I so very rarely ever get to see. You know who you are. That said, I am no person for crowds. Likely as not, I could go many more months and never find myself in another crowd of human beings and be pleased. I am exhausted, and I need to be alone, just me and Spooky, and, occasionally, the visitation of a friend or two.

I was good this year, and bought only three books: two used hardbacks – Herbert's God Emperor of Dune and LeGuin's The Compass Rose: Short Stories – along with a copy of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners. Even so, and even though we were frugal, the cost of the con (I kept a careful tally), came to $606.49. My thanks to Stephen Lubold and Cliff Miller, without whose generosity we couldn't have attended.

Though I did three panels this year, I'm fairly certain the first and the third (this afternoon) were precisely the same panel. Certainly, we said most of the same things this afternoon that were said on Friday.

Regardless, I am home, where there is no AC, and only two bearable rooms (and I am not writing this from either of them). I am facing a mountain of work that should have been done two weeks ago, and which must be done despite the heat. The weathermen say this coming week will be the hottest of the summer for us. But, even so, I'm glad to be home.

Here again,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Just saw a guy in the hallway wearing a pickle-colored T-shirt which read, "Pickles are cucumbers soaked in evil." Perhaps.

I'm no good at con reports, during or after the fact. I'm here. Cool stuff has happened and will happened. But I'm fading fast. I still have a reading for Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir tonight, and then the awards ceremony at 11 ayem (!!!), and then a noon o'clock panel on...something about ambiguity in "horror" novels. I suppose I was deemed appropriate for that. Of course, checkout's also at noon, so...nothing is ever convenient. I'm trying not to think how much the con has cost so far (and we're being frugal as we can), what with my presently being so goddmamn debt poor and all.

I'm typing this from the hotel's business center, where there is actually FREE internet access (and even laser printing).

I've been changing my clothes two or three times a day. It either throws people off, or keeps them on their toes.

We got to bed much too late last night. About 3:30 ayem, I took a hot bath. Geoffrey crashed in our room, as the hour was so late and I didn't imagine himself wakeful enough to make the drive to Framingham. Anyway...enough for now. We should get home by 2:30 or 3:00 tomorrow at the latest. Home to the cats and the sweltering apartment. The AC here has been wonderful. So, yes. Next entry (with photos, most likely), tomorrow evening.

On Unfamiliar Keyboards,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Sitting here in the business centre, determined to keep my vow to make at least one entry a day for six months. Booya.

Here's one of the secrets I've been having to keep for a while. Not the BIG COOL news, but news that is both big and cool. Along with Peter Straub, I have been chosen to be Guest of Honor at next year's Readercon, which will be Readercon 23. Peter, from the beginning of my career, has been a great friend and an invaluable mentor, and not only am I honoured to have been chosen to be Geuest of Honour next year, I'm honoured all the more to have been chosen to be Guest of Honor with Peter. Because bow ties are cool. Actually, I'm not sure Peter wears bowties, but I would, if I had one. Anyway, it fell to Peter and me to choose next year's Memorial Guest of Honour, and we chose Shirley Jackson. It would have been almost impossible to have chosen anyone else.

There much else to report. There was an impromptu reading of 7 from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir in mine and Spooky's room late last night, and almost everyone who, at last year's Readercon, helped me to work out the novel and save it from my frustration, was present: Sonya Taaffe, Greer Gilman, Geoffrey Goodwin, Michael Cisco, and Gemma Files. It was a practice reading for my actual reading at 11 ayem today.

Usually, of course, I'm still asleep at 11 ayem. So, it was a challenge to get up and dressed and conscious in time. The greater challenge was putting myself in the emotional space to read a very emotional chapter. But it went very, very well. I used my iPod to listen to Death cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" - to which so much of the book was written - and it took me back to Imp. It was, for me, one of the most intense readings I've ever done. It almost felt as if I were acting.

Anyway, I ought to sign off. Please forgive any typos. I'll fix them Sunday night, perhaps.

In Burlington,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so. Back on January 16, 2010, I posted just how much it cost me and Spooky to travel from Providence for me to take part in a reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, a post that included an itemized list of our expenses that night. $111.46, total. And we were only gone about 12 hours, something like that. The point of making that post was to demonstrate why I so rarely travel significant distances to make public appearances.

Our Tuesday/Wednesday trip to Manhattan stands as another prime example. Below is an itemized list of our expenses:

1. Round-trip bus fare (Providence to Port Authority) x 2*: $160
2. Cab fare (three cab rides): $58**
3. Parking at the bus*** depot in Providence: $16
4. Three soft drinks: $7
Total: $241 (for a day and a half)

Now, keep in mind, we had a place to stay, so no hotel bill, and Peter and Susan picked up the dinner tab on Tuesday, then Peter fixed us breakfast, so no meals were purchased. Lodging and meal expenses could easily have added another $200+. For one night. Obviously, a four-day convention is much more expensive.

Now, I also have to add to the total our museum visit, which added $53. But. We virtually never do anything of that sort. Our normal monthly entertainment expenditure averages less than $60. So, you add the museum (which isn't the business part), the cost goes up to $294.

* If you're wondering why I don't save money by traveling alone, the short answer is because I'm not well enough to do so, not at the present. Maybe at some future date, but not now.

** True, the subway would have been much cheaper. But. Our schedule would have made using the subway extremely inconvenient, neither of us are familiar with the routes, and riding the subway vastly increases the odds of catching this or that bug and sacrificing more money to lost days/productivity once the trip is over. I've used the subway lots (last January, for example). This time, it simply wasn't practical.

*** Had we taken Amtrak from Kingston, RI it would have cost us about twice as much.

So, why don't I do more conventions, readings outside Providence, etc.? This is why. Rarely do such activities even begin to prove cost effective. What they do, primarily, is increase my visibility within the community of writers and editors. Most readings net tiny attendance and insignificant book sales (and often lead to bookstores returning the extra stock they ordered for the event, which drives up my return rate). Far bigger names than me often have lousy turnouts at readings. And even if, say, fifty people show up (and for most of us, that's a huge turnout), what the bookstore makes selling books, and what your publisher makes, is likely less than what it cost you to travel to the event.

So, what work-related traveling I do, I choose the trips with great care. I do only those things I really, really want to do. KGB readings, for example. And ReaderCon. Of course, if an event or publisher is willing to pay for all my expenses, I'll usually make the trip; this has almost never happened for me.

I would also add, it horrifies me to think how much I would increase my carbon footprint...

By the way, have I mentioned this wonderful book my [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid (Nick Mamatas), Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky and I just made a deal, that we would never again both smile at the same time. It was just all kinds of wrong. And we weren't even really smiling. We were sort of grimacing. So, we're really agreeing never again to bare our teeth like that at the same time.

Kind of muggy and sticky and too warm here in Providence.

I just got the artwork from Vince for Sirenia Digest #58 (and I love it). But it seems very unlikely that I'll be able to find time to get the issue out before we leave for Portland. Again I apologize. I hate being late with anything, ever. Tardiness just irks me. I am a punctual beast.

As for yesterday's interesting email from my agent, let's just say that not all unexpected opportunites are good, and so we move on.

I'm trying to be higgledy-piggledy without the --- dividers. Seems more honest.

Still much too much to get done before we leave in the morning. I have a very long list. Yesterday, we drove to South County, to Spooky's parents' place. We have a housesitter for the days we'll be away, but Spooky's mom will be coming up to give Sméagol the malt-flavored prednisone he takes for his plasma cell pododermatitis. So, we took her a key. On the farm, wild grapes and ferns were going yellow with autumn, and there were autumnal bursts of red in a few trees. It was raining and windy, and I thought about the much worse weather in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut. I visited the steamsquid, who's getting along quite well, a year and a half after we rescued himherit. Afterwards, we drove to Warwick, and I looked for a couple of pairs of pants at the thrift store. I have developed an almost religious enthusiasm for thrift stores of late (in spite of garish overhead lighting). Anyway, I found two pairs, including an absurdly large pair of brown corduroys. I almost got a pair of seersucker pants, but it's late in the year for seersucker.

I read two more stories in Haunted Legends, Steven Pirie's "The Spring Heel" and Laird Barron's "The Redfield Girls." I liked both, but found the Pirie story especially effective. And we finished Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl last night, which is truly excellent, and which I strongly recommend.

I also finished Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age late last night, when I should have been asleep, but was, instead, awake. My opinion at the end is pretty much the same as it was halfway through the novel. Wonderful worldbuilding, an intriguing (if far-fetched) future, an interesting quasi-Dickens pastiche, but not a single act of characterization in sight. The novel is actually more like a long outline for a novel. It's a great mountain of plot and ideas. This happened, and this happened, and this happened. But...we are never allowed to see into the people to whom all this plot is happening. Sometimes, we're told how someone feels, but we're pretty much never shown. Which makes this only one half of a good novel; I can't even consider it finished. It's sort of amazing, that a book can be so devoid of characterization. Anyway, I think I'll read the new China Miéville next. And probably a bunch of other stuff, because I seem unable to read only one book at a time.

This will be my last entry until after Portland, and I feel like I'm forgetting shit.

I read "Pickman's Other Model" aloud last night. It's the piece I want to use for my reading on Sunday. The reading's an hour long, and reading the story at a leisurely pace, it came in at about fifty-five minutes. So, I don't know. I'll either read it, or something from The Ammonite Violin & Others. Oh, and DO NOT FORGET. This weekend is be kind to Spooky weekend. Oak moss and voodoo donuts. I'm serious. Just don't try to hug her, because she bites.

And while I won't be tweeting, or blogging, or facebooking (???) on this trip, I will be taking tons of photos, and will post a bunch of them afterwards.

Now, I think I need a bath.

Oh, fuck! It's National Coffee Day!
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
The insomnia hit me hard last night. I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., and then only with the help of Ambien, that nasty fucking shit. I had this plan, you see, heading into this long trip and the HPLFF. But...on the subject of plans:

I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen. (Parker, The Way of the Gun)

What you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar. (Jayne Cobb, Serenity)

So, I'm left wondering if the airline's going to consider these bags under the bags under my eyes as carry-on luggage. Because, as Thom Yorke reminds us, "...gravity always wins." And anyway, when the fuck did airlines start charging for any and all checked bags? At twenty-five bucks a pop. Granted, I haven't flown since 2004, but this is ridiculous.

---

All of yesterday was spent on the layout for Sirenia Digest #58, and in writing it's prolegomenon, which ended up being 737 words long. I think it turned into a sort of rough draft for the keynote speech I'm supposed to give the first night of the HPLFF. How I found Lovecraft abandoned on a school bus in 1981.

---

How is it that so many (note, I did not fucking say all) Xtians are so goddamn opposed to charity? I mean, isn't that like a scientist being opposed to observation and experimentation, or a Mormon being opposed to bicycles? Or a Scientologist being opposed to lousy science fiction movies starring John Travolta? Oh, okay. The teabaggers would say, we're not opposed to charity. We're opposed to enforced charity, compulsory charity. Which means, we're opposed to our tax dollars going to help people of color, and poor people, and people who aren't Xtians, and researchers who've proven that high-fructose corn syrup increases the rate of obesity and diabetes, and also no tax dollars to bums and junkies (liberals call them "homeless people"), or evolutionists, or environmentalists, or people without health insurance (because they're irresponsible), or people what don't think like we do. But...hey, it's totally okay if our money goes to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever else America wants to fuck up the rectum with a broken bottle, to getting all those American soldiers killed in the name of Coca-Cola, and getting all those Iraqi and Afghan soldiers killed in the name of Big Oil, and all those Iraqi and Afghan and Pakistani civilians killed in the name of Spongebob Sqaurepants. Yeah, that's okay. Because Jesus, we know he had a hard on for war. And he hated poor people who weren't responsible enough not to be poor. And he also hated brown people, even though he was one.

You fucking people make me sick. No, not you. You.

---

It occurs to me that I should post my itinerary for the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, just in case anyone wants to show up to marvel at the Woman Who Cannot Sleep. But first I have to download it and read it. Hold on.

Well, that took ten minutes, and oh look, it's a spreadsheet. I suppose that's appropriate, spreadsheets being all about forbidden knowledge and wrong geometry and driving people insane. Anyway, it's something like this:

October 1st, Friday 3:30 p.m. Dark Horse reception for Lovecraft Unbound (Hollywood Wine & Espresso; across from where the festival takes place)
Friday night (main screening room): festival opening ceremony, keynote address.

October 2nd: 1:30-2:30 p.m. "Riffing on Lovecraft" (no idea what that means)
2:30-3:30 p.m. "The Cosmic Horror Movement"
4:30-5:30 p.m. "Brief Readings from Lovecraft Unbound"

October 3rd: 1:30-2:30 p.m. My reading.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, please, so I can buy more sleeping pills, please.

---

Four hours or so of astounding roleplay in Insilico last night. Just Grendel and Molly. Four hours of emotionally grueling rp. In which Grendel's pregnant human body finally gave up the ghost, and Molly removed her AI and put it back into the Xiang Prime shell (returned to them by Fifth a couple of nights ago). And then really bad stuff happened.* I don't know whether or not we've gone as far into the middle of this sf story as we'll be able to go. I'm just glad to have had the bumpy ride this far. This is what roleplay was meant to be. Catharsis. Gut-wrenching, mind-bending, self-searching catharsis. I couldn't care less for ideas of SL community and "rp events" and suchlike. I'm there for these beautiful, horrible little stories, that are only little if you're on the Outside looking in.

Gotta go now.

* This develop was almost immediately redacted, and the scene described above was treated as a dream sequence.
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] anaisembraced reminded me of a quote from one of Anaïs Nin's published diaries (1931-1934). It manages to say much more eloquently what I was trying to say yesterday about my need for a public persona:

"There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."

---

Yesterday was spent, work-wise, beginning the layout of Sirenia Digest #58. I have to set that aside today for the aforementioned Weird Tales interview, which I'm doing after all. Part of me is so done with giving interviews. Another part of me recognizes it's always going to be something I have to do.

If you want truly secure online passwords, create your own language. It works wonders.

The weather has turned warm again.

People have started asking me questions about the H. P. Lovcecraft Film Festival. What I will and won't be doing, my schedule, how many books will I sign, when's my reading, what will I be reading from, how long will I be in Oregon, am I going to Powell's, and so forth. I'm going to post my schedule for the festival and CthulhuCon here in the next day or so.

As for signing, I'm not going to have an actual signing session scheduled, I don't think, so you might want to plan on bringing stuff you want signed to my reading, or catching me before or after a panel, something like that. But not if I'm eating, or something like that. I'll sign as many books as you want signed. No limit. I'll personalize them. I won't write stupid shit like, "To my best friend" or "For a kindred spirit" or poetry or anything like that. I won't inscribe my books with passages from my books. I bring these things up because from time to time they've been an issue in my eBay sales. I'll sign books, and I'll sign books to you or to whomever you want them signed to, but that's about it. Sometimes, if the mood strikes me, I throw in a monster doodle, but the mood rarely strikes me.

Also, I am declaring this con "Be Nice to Spooky Weekend." Which means, well, be nice to Spooky, because if she weren't coming along, I wouldn't be able to be there. Please feel free to bring her doughnuts from Voodoo Donuts (I think she's especially interested in the bacon-maple bars, voodoo dolls, and apple fritters). Or a vial of Escential's "oak moss." These things will make her smile.

---

So far, I've completely avoided seeing clips and trailers from Matt Reeves Let Me In, which is a remake of Tomas Alfredson's superb and perfect Låt den rätte komma in (both based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, Låt den rätte komma in). I hate the things that Reeves has said, with a straight face, about making the story more accessible for Americans. I hate that he's gutting the novel and original film's gender issues by simply making Eli a genetic female. How can that not come across as pandering to homophobic and transphobic filmgoers? And this is all confusing, because I very much loved Reeves' Cloverfield, and want to see more from him. I'm not especially fond of American remakes of foreign language films, but I also don't hate them on principle, as some seem to do. Usually, I'll give them a chance. But this time, I don't see how I can.

Oh, and I'm very pleased to see that [livejournal.com profile] docbrite is finally reading House of Leaves.

---

Some smart, moving, exquisite rp in Insilico last night. Lately, my rp has involved very few people, which I have found, through trail and error, to be the best approach. Two people is ideal. Four is usually my limit for a scene. More than that, there's too much chaos. This story began back in January and February, with a long hiatus from April into July. At this point, it's mostly the story of two people, one of whom happens to be an android. It's like the middle of a good sf novel, one for which I know I'll never get to read the beginning or ending (which makes it rather like a dream). It demonstrates the marvel that Second Life can be, but almost never manages to be. Anyway, my thanks to Fifth and Molly.

Earlier, Spooky and I watched the latest Project Runway (good riddance, Ivy) and the first episode of Season Three of Fringe, which I though was an especially strong episode.

And now, there's the interview (though internet porn sounds like more fun)....
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The "best of" collection is coming together. I'm very happy to announce that pretty much all the artists on my wish list are now on board for the volume. The limited hardback edition (as opposed to the trade hardback edition) will have a bonus section, sixteen pages of reprinted illustrations that have accompanied my stories over the years. Artists include Richard A. Kirk, Vince Locke, Ryan Obermeyer, Ted Naifeh, and Dame Darcy. So, that's one more way this book is going to rock.

An utterly atrocious writing day yesterday, thanks to the insomnia of the night before. I barely managed 587 words. In light of all this not sleeping and not writing enough, I'm postponing my trip to NYC until October, after we return from Portland and the HPLFF.

Speaking of which, first off, if you're wanting to buy tickets to the festival, here's the link.

Secondly, gods, I'm exhausted. And I look it. The combined of effects of insomnia, several years of illness, and the meds I take for all that crap, have left me...brittle. And I have this fear that people will be going to the HPLFF expecting to see that person I was three years ago when I was interviewed for Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, or, worse yet, the person I am in the author's photo (taken in 2003) up on the HPLFF website. Yeah, I know it's silly and shallow and petty of me to worry about shit like this. Sure, I know. This is all meant to be about the writing, not about the writer's physical appearance. But it's one thing to know this, and another thing to feel this. Mostly, I feel terrified. I ceased being a "public" person years ago. I sit in my office and I write. Which is what writers do. Writers aren't supposed to be celebrities (as Kristin Hersh says in Rat Girl, "Fame is for dorks."), and we aren't supposed to worry about how we fucking look at public appearances. That mindset is anathema to being a writer. And yet, all I said about this dread is true. We are all victims of the beauty myth and the cult of youth, even when we have declared ourselves its worst enemy. I want to be read, not seen. That's the way it's supposed to work.

Last night, I resorted to the Seroquel, and slept about eight hours. I just couldn't go another night without sleep; I was all but insensible yesterday.

But before the Seroquel, there was very good rp in Insilico. I begin to fear Grendel Ishmene feels more like me than I feel like me. The ego and superego subsumed by the alter-ego. And Spooky and I did what felt like a metric shit-ton of battlefields on WoW, Alterac Valley over and over, because Alterac Valley was "Call to Arms" this weekend...and...you know. Goddamn geeky shit like that.

Anyway...fuck...I need to get to work. But please have a look at the eBay auctions, and Spooky's Etsy shop (with new Halloween ornaments!). Thanks.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was just shy of a total loss. I was hit hard by the chronic stomach ailment I've had most of my life. I tried to write anyway. I wrote 344 words for of my piece for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, before I was too sick to think straight enough to write anymore. Then I went back to bed. Later, I made it through dinner and two bottles of Gatorade and almost felt like I wasn't dead. It was a joyous day. And then, when I was trying to go to sleep, there was a small seizure (the first in three weeks), which left me jittery and awake until five ayem.

I strongly dislike writing about health problems in a public forum. I find the act distasteful. But it all has a direct bearing on the abysmal word counts of late. So, I figure it's part of the story. It's not whining, or a cry for pity. It's just exposition.

At least I have David Bowie. And coffee.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're hoping to have a little bit of spending money when we go to Oregon for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon at the end of the month. Thanks.

We've watched two movies over the last week. Between reading, Second Life, and WoW, I've not been watching many movies lately. Anyway, it gives me something to write about this ayem (which is actually early afternoon).

First, we saw Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's After.Life (2009) on Thursday night. It wasn't a particularly good film, which was frustrating, because it could have been something just shy of great. Instead, it was weighed down by plot, and story, and subplot, and superfluous characters. The film has flashes of brilliance. Liam Neeson is surprisingly creepy as a mortician turned serial killer, and Christina Ricci was a perfect choice for a girl who is slowly being convinced that she is, in fact, a corpse. And that's the story, right there, all the story the movie needed. More than enough to deal with. But no, it kept dragging itself down into horror and slasher flick clichés, and made what might have been a powerful tale of psychological terror a lumpy, uneven mess. I can't even blame the director for fucking up someone else's screenplay, because it was her screenplay. I just wish someone could have told her to turn down the volume, lose the extra baggage, and tighten the focus. The film never should have left the one room in the mortuary.

Last night, we finally watched Louis Leterrier's remake of Clash of the Titans (2010). I saw the original in high school (1981, directed by Desmond Davis), and even at seventeen, I found the film tiresome and hokey. Even though I was a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen. So, what can I say about the remake? Well, it's still dumb as dirt. I'm still annoyed than the sea monster that comes for Andromeda is, inexplicably "the Kraken" (Norse), instead of Cetus. But, all in all, Leterrier's remake is less painful and not so dull. It has its moments (which the original entirely lacked, save moments of unintentional camp and irony). The whole thing was worth sitting through just for Perseus' battle against the gorgon Medusa (played by Natalia Vodianova, and never, ever has Medusa been so hot). The climactic showdown with "the Kraken" was at least a grand spectacle. So what if the monster design was pretty much lifted from Cloverfield. The 1981 Kraken just made me laugh. At least this one was a presence. The cast was unremarkable (more Liam Neeson, because Zeus = Aslan). I always enjoy watching Sam Worthington, though I'm not sure why. Ralph Fiennes made a fine enough Hades, because I could just pretend he was Voldemort. Alexa Davalos made for an entirely yawn-worthy Andromeda. I'm pretty sure Andromeda should inspire something more than a yawn. Who can blame Perseus for choosing Io?

Okay. Now, I see if this body is going to let me work today. Oh, wait. I have five cute photos of Sméagol:

11 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Some bad news, which I'm going to get out of the way up front. For health reasons, I will not be attending Arcana 40 in Minneapolis this October. I saw my doctor yesterday, and she's taken me off Prazosin entirely, as we're still trying to get the hypotension under control. She advised me against making two long-distance trips in October. I will still be attending H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhucon in Portland, OR (October 1-3) as Guest of Honor, and the reason I chose the one over the other probably bears some explanation. Andrew Migliore of the HPLFF first asked in 2007 if I would appear as Guest of Honor, and has asked every year since. This is the first year I've been in a position to accept the offer. Additionally, though I was invited to Aracana 40 in early November '09, I heard nothing else from the con until about a week ago, and I'd begun to assume that something had gone awry and Arcana wasn't happening this year. But it's all been dealt with, and my contact at Arcana has been very understanding, and there are no hard feelings. We're talking about me appearing at Arcana at some future date. So, my apologies to readers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

No writing yesterday. After almost not sleeping the night before, I was doing good to take a bath, get dressed, and make my doctor's appointment on time. Afterwards, I answered a large quantity of email. And Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) showed up about 5:30 p.m. It was a pleasant evening of conversation. The first few hours were spent discussing The Drowning Girl, and then we talked about Second Life and Insilico, and then we talked about why my science fiction isn't nearly as popular as my dark-fantasy work. There were many other subjects touched upon. He headed back to Framingham about 2 a.m., and I actually managed a good night's sleep.

Today, I have to begin the story based on Vince's latest illustration, for Sirenia Digest #57. You can see the illustration in my entry "Daka, Bodo, Herto, us" from August 20th.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. You might also take a look at Spooky's Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries, where you will find art, dolls, and many fabulous hand-crafted items. We're a little more strapped for cash than usual just now, as the bills have piled up and I'm waiting on overdue checks. Thanks.

And now, I must do the mothmen's bidding.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Um...yeah. Yesterday is an absolute and utter blur. And it probably would be even if I hadn't slept like ass last night. I have no idea why I slept like ass. I actually got to sleep about 3:30 a.m., and slept for an hour. Then I woke and was awake until sometime after five, when I finally got back to sleep. But from there on, sleep was a fitful fever dream. The dreams were like fireworks going off behind my eyes (a purple analogy, but apt). And now I feel, well, the opposite of good, the opposite of rested.

As for yesterday, that brings me back to the absolute and utter blur. It began with me writing a short piece on H.P. Lovecraft for a Suvudu article by Matt Staggs, and then there was the blog entry, and then I had to get my bio and photo off to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, which I should have done days and days ago. For them what missed the news earlier, I will be Guest of Honor at this year's HPLFF and CthulhuCon in Portland Oregon (October 1-3). Anyway, then I had to answer email, and after that, about two p.m., I got back to work on "The Yellow Alphabet" for Sirenia Digest 57. I wrote 1,184 words, and did Q-S (S is for Shibari was especially challenging). And after that I had to finish proofing the galley pages of "The Bone's Prayer," which is being reprinted in The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (edited by Paula Guran). And...then I stopped for the day.

After a power nap, and dinner (leftover chili), and a bath, I went back to Insilico, and began what would prove to be about six straight hours of roleplay. In which...crazy cyberpunk shit happened. Lots of crazy cyberpunk shit. I'm at one of those zenith points in rp. They happen every now and then. The world of the sim begins to feel more real than the real world. The face of the avatar becomes more substantial and immediate than my own face. It ought to be disturbing, I suppose, but it isn't. Oh, and after rp, another episode from Season 4 of Dexter.

And that was yesterday. Oh, and the auctions ended, and Study 1 for Yellow went for a truly respectable sum. My thanks to everyone who bid; this round helped greatly with the unexpected vet bills and such. Spooky will be getting another round of auctions started very soon.

There's a long entry about my science fiction, and why it's not as popular as my dark fantasy, but I don't have the time or the energy for it just now. Later. Now, I do T-V.
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
I meant to post this about a week ago, but things have been so hectic and hot around here, I'm only just now getting around to it:

Cool Stuff I Brought Home From Readercon 21 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky's getting ready to take Sméagol back to the vet, because the abscess on his foot has turned into cellulitis. He's spry and eating, no fever and seems to be in no pain, but obviously we're worried (and never mind the damned vet bills). Oh, now Spooky's gone. Well, there you go.

The last couple of days I haven't been in that blogging frame of mind, whatever that blogging frame of mind might be. I think there was a post con crash, which happens sometimes. I'm on for three days, then suddenly I'm off. I'm surrounded by people for three days, then suddenly I'm my old reclusive self again. It didn't help that the last panel I had for Readercon 21, the "Gender and Sexuality in F/SF" late on Sunday, left such a bad taste in my mouth. I keep thinking of things I wish I'd said to the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking the feelings of readers into account when writing taboo subjects (lesbianism, it seems, is a taboo subject). I wish that I'd said, "Look, asshole. I will never make enough money to own a house. My teeth are shot. I can barely pay my bills. I have no health insurance, and I'll never be able to retire, ever. Writing almost every day for eighteen years has left me with a wrecked body and shot nerves. I need new glasses and can't afford them. The stress of this life led to seizures that have led to the need for medications I can't afford, but have to have, regardless. So, shut the hell up, you tight-assed little twerp, and let me write whatever it is I need to write. It's the only solace I have in this shitty job. I spent four hundred dollars I haven't got to attend this convention, and I'm not paying for the privilege of being called selfish by fools like you." Or something like that.

And I'm not going to start in on the two or three people (all female) who thought books need "warning labels," like "the ingredients list on food," so they wouldn't come upon a scene that offended their precious, fragile sensibilities. And why the fuck am I on about this again?

---

A good writing day yesterday. I did 1,644 words on the Next New Novel, beginning it for the third time. I'll say more about this situation in a few days, when I feel a little more self confident.

Later, we stopped by the farmer's market at the Dexter Training Grounds for fresh corn, and I finally got a new office/writing chair. The one I've had since 2003 or 2004 was, literally, falling apart, and doing horrible things to my back. And by the way, I'm going to make an effort not to talk so much about health and money problems here. It's something I personally find gauche, and would prefer not to ever do. There's just been so damn much of it lately.

Spooky has begun a new round of eBay auctions, which are important, as we have to cover the cost of Readercon and Sméagol's vet bills. So, please have a look. Bid if you are able. In particular, there's the Salammbô T-shirt (art by the astounding Richard A. Kirk), one of the last from the batch of 500 that were printed in 2000 to promote the original release of Tales of Pain and Wonder. We only have four left. We began this auction a couple of weeks ago, then ended it, because I didn't really have time to promote the item. If you're interested in rare stuff related to my work, this is one of the rarest you're going to come across, ever.

---

The last few days, besides writing and house cleaning and cat doctoring, we've been watching Season Two of 24 and Season One of Nip/Tuck. I've been reading Angela Carter's exquisite Wise Children (1991; Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy is next). We've played a little WoW, still trying to get Shah and Suraa through Icecrown. I've been making my way through the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and read "Tetrapod fauna of the lowermost Usili Formation (Songea Group, Ruhuhu Basin) of southern Tanzania, with a new burnetiid record" and "A new and unusual procolophonid parareptile from the Lower Permian of Texas." I've mostly been sleeping well.

Yesterday, there was cautious relief at the news that BP's latest cap tests have temporarily staunched the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But I get the impression a lot of people think this means the oil isn't going to start flowing again (though even BP has stressed that it will). And, of course, even if no new oil were to enter the Gulf after today, there's presently almost 200 million gallons of oil befouling the area affected by the petrocalamity.

---

On Tuesday, we took in a matinée of Nimród Antal's Predators, which Spooky and I both enjoyed very much. My complaints are few. I would have liked it to be maybe half an hour longer, as it seemed a little rushed. But the creatures SFX were very good, and I can't get enough of Adrien Brody. John Debney's soundtrack was quite effective. Definitely a film that needs to be seen on a big screen. It's great fun, and I was in need of a Big Monster Movie that's great fun.

We also finally saw the Doctor Who "The End of Time" episodes. I thought the first half was a bit silly, but loved the second half. Has a doctor ever before refused so vehemently to go quietly into that gentle night? I'm going to miss David Tenant something fierce.

Okay...far too long an entry. The platypus says no one's going to read all this. I replied that I will, one year from now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
During any good convention, which Readercon is, you hear people say marvelous, brilliant things. I know this, and still I never take adequate notes. But I wanted to but a few things down. Some are from my Moleskine notebook, and some are from memory (so possibly paraphrased).

"I spent the summer of love doing jigsaw puzzles." — Greer Gilman ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving)

"The girls' journey is walking a labyrinth." — Greer Gilman

"You can track the true and terrible history of science fiction as failure." — Barry N. Malzberg

"I'd built this little house, with me inside. That's what we do." — Peter Straub (on writing novels)

"Remember when we thought we were creating art?" — Peter Straub (on book design, repeating a question asked him by an editor.)

"When I'm writing the book, I'm the top." — Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna)

To that last one, it was immediately suggested by several people that the built-in "safe word" is one's ability to close a book and stop reading.

There was so much more....maybe I can summon them from scattered notes and memory later, and add to this post.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Home again. It's going to be a very hot day here in Providence. Not as hot as the triple digits of last week, but hot. Dr. Muñoz has been wheeled into my office, in hopes I can manage to work through the broil and sizzle.

As for Readercon 21, it went very well. In some ways, it was my favorite Readercon thus far (it was my third), though in some ways it was also the hardest and most trying. I suppose I could attempt to do this in a day-by-day format. But I think that would be tiresome, both for me to write and for you to read. Maybe I could make a list of notable moments. Maybe that's a better idea. And, afterwards, there are a few unremarkable photos. Spooky had the camera, but few photos were taken (however, the ones that were, prove I have begun a transformation into a Muppet).

* It was heavenly, having an air-conditioned room for three straight nights, sleep without sweat, and so forth. We also had television, which we've pretty much been without for more than two years. That part was very strange, and left me missing television not in the least.

* During the convention, I managed to miss almost all of the programming that I wanted to see, including, on Thursday night, Greer's ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) and Michael Cisco's readings. Truthfully, in my defence, I had no idea that there was any programming on Thursday night, which might teach me to start actually reading the schedule. I did make Greer's "How I Wrote Cloud and Ashes" presentation on Saturday, and Peter's "How I Wrote Skylark/A Dark Matter," two very bright spots during the weekend. The only other two panels I attended where I wasn't a panelist were "The New and Improved Future of Magazines, Pt. 1" and "Comparing Translations Redux: E.T.A. Hoffman's "The Golden Pot" (1814)."

* As for panels in which I was a participant, the best of the lot was certainly "New England: At Home to the Unheimlich," thanks, in large part, to Elizabeth Hand's skillful moderation. Mostly, I don't like doing panels. My last bit of programming was my last panel of the con, "It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF," which would have been utterly insufferable, except for the presence of Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) as a co-discussant. I'm not going to go into any great detail about the idiot who accused us of being "selfish" for not taking into account the sensibilities of potential readers before we wrote about "taboo subjects." Or the people who whined about needing to know exactly the sort of sexuality they were in for before buying a book, lest they be faced with something they find distasteful. You know, books as consumer goods, not books as art. All that needs saying is that I did not come charging down from the stage and bitch slap anybody. I only barked loudly. I think the panel was saved when Cat and I detoured into a debate concerning the relationship of Captain Jack and Ianto Jones. Otherwise, it was mostly a washout.

* I did not see nearly enough of Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala).

* Probably the most wonderful bit of the whole con took place very late on Saturday night and very early on Sunday morning. An impromptu group convened, consisting of myself, Greer, Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), Geoffrey Goodwin ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedar), Gemma Files ([livejournal.com profile] handfulof_dust), Spooky ([livejournal.com profile] humglum), Erik Amundsen ([livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed), and Micheal Cisco. It began as two or three unrelated conversations, but eventually turned into something like a full-fledged workshop addressing the problems I've had writing the Next New Novel, the one I have been calling The Wolf Who Cried Girl. Many persuasive arguments were made. I listened, and offered counterarguments. I listened to the counter-counterarguments, which grew increasingly convincing. By two ayem, I'd come to see the novel as an entirely different beast than I'd thought it was, and hopefully one I can write over the next few months. My great, great thanks to everyone. You may have saved my life.

* It was great to finally meet Paul T. Riddell ([livejournal.com profile] txtriffidranch), he of Texas Triffid Ranch. He gifted me and Spooky with a twenty-year-old horse-crippler cactus (Echinocactus texensis), and showed me his magnificent Anomalocaris tattoo. Paleo-related tattoos almost seemed like a theme during the con. I also met Nevenah Smith, who has a lovely Platecarpus skeleton tattooed on her left leg, and a tattoo of Coelurosauravus tattooed on her right forearm.

* I did my best to buy no books. And, in fact, I only paid for a copy of Elizabeth Hand's Generation Loss, which I got for $3, and a copy of Cat's Yume No Uon: The Book of Dreams, which I got for $10. But then Geoffrey and I got our hands on an ARC of Kathe Koja's forthcoming Under the Poppy. And then, Spooky and I ran into the amazing Kelly Link at the Small Beer Press table, just as the dealer's room was getting ready to close, and she gifted us with a small mountain of books, including her own Pretty Monsters, Joan Aiken's The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, and Holly Black's ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly) The Poison Eaters and Other Stories.

* The reading for Ellen Datlow's ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_dalow) Haunted Legends anthology went well. I read the first two sections of "As Red as Red." My own reading on Sunday didn't go so well, I don't think. Great crowd, but I was exhausted and, I discovered, "The Sea Troll's Daughter" is a hard story to read aloud, especially when it must be read quickly, in order to squeeze it into a single hour.

* The Red Tree did not win The Shirley Jackson Award for best novel of 2009, but— and I'm serious —I'm so proud of the nomination and the little stone I got denoting the nomination, that I can't imagine I'd have been a whole lot happier if it had won. To have my novel chosen by such a distinguished group of jurors and advisors, as one of the six novels from last year worthy of the award, that was recognition enough.

* Friday's reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream went very well. Indeed, there's talk of doing The Tempest next year.

And on that note— though I'm surely leaving out lots and lots —I'm going to leave you with a few photos. There is work I have to get done today, the platypus reminds me. But later, my favorite quotes from the weekend...

Readercon 21, July 9-11, 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My last entry before Readercon 21.

The past two days have been hell here in Providence. The temperature hit 101F on Tuesday (a record for the date), and wasn't much better yesterday. We've had to stay out of the House as much as possible, trying to stay cool. It is an old house, this House, and it is made to hold in heat in cold winters. It also holds it in during summers. Which is usually okay, unless we get these heatwaves. Dr. Muñoz could not even begin to keep up. Yesterday, it was 93F in the cool part of the House for much of the day. But last night the fever broke, and we have a reprieve until sometime next week, when the heat is supposed to return. At least we get three nights of AC at the hotel.

Here's an update regarding The Ammonite Violin & Others: The book came back from the printer, but there was a problem with the dust jackets, so subpress had to send the books back to the printer to have the dust jackets redone. This has created a delay in shipment of the books to those who've preordered them. This part is fairly straightforward and has not caused me to gnash my teeth. However, Amazon.com, in it's infinite lack of wisdom, sent out email to those who preordered via Amazon, stating that the book was "out of stock," and asking people if they wished to cancel their orders. Apparently, from what I've been told (and my information may be in error), Amazon will cancel the preorder unless you reply to this email, telling them not to do so. None of it makes much sense to me. The books have not shipped from the publisher, so there's no way they can be "out of stock" at Amazon, given they've not yet been in stock at Amazon. Also, I heard a rumor the book was sold out, and that's not true, either. Only the limited edition is sold out (and it has been for months). As to when you can expect to get your copy, Bill at subpress says, "Ammonite should be done next Monday or Tuesday, when they've been rejacketed."

So. Apologies for the delay, but the books should go out in another couple of weeks, I'd think (regardless of what Amazon might say to the contrary). This is one reason it's always a good thing to order directly from subpress.

---

The heat has been so bad I didn't even make the hair appointment on Tuesday, so everyone who makes Readercon will be blessed with the sight of my shaggy greying mop. Maybe this will spur me to just let it grow out, and accept the grey. Which is something I should have done years ago.

My thanks to Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark), who made the drive down from Framingham on Monday evening. It was good to have company and conversation.

Tuesday, trying to escape the heat, we headed for the theater. We took in two matinées. First, M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender and then Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3. The latter is probably one of the best films of the summer. The former, alas, is not. But it also wasn't even half as awful as most of the critics are making it out to be. The plot was not "incomprehensible," for example. The plot was very simple and straightforward. The Last Airbender is a painfully mediocre movie, that's true, and I do not expect painfully mediocre movies from Shyamalan. I know this cuts against the grain, how it's been cool to hate Shyamalan since...I don't know...since at least Signals, but I have adored all of his films except the also painfully mediocre The Happening (2008). As for The Last Airbender, I thought it was a gorgeous film, and, as a children's film, it worked in a sloppy sort of way. I even enjoyed the last third quite a bit. But yeah, the acting was consistently stiff and heavy-handed (even with people like Cliff Curtis, who I know can act), which likely means the direction was off. The screenplay was flat and unremarkable. As for the charges that the casting is racist, again, I don't see a problem of the magnitude reviewers have indicated. I noticed only three white actors cast in roles that seemed to require non-white actors (admittedly, two of these were main characters): Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), and Katharine Houghton (Katara's grandmother). How you get three Caucasians in a village full of people who seem to be Inuit, I don't know. Yes, the roles were inexplicably miscast, but when almost everyone else in the film isn't white, I hardly see how this qualifies as a massive "racefail" (gods, I hate that silly compounderation). The Last Airbender isn't a particularly good film, and it's a strange move for Shyamalan, who I would think would be trying to get back on track with the sorts of film's he does best. But it's also not nearly as bad as I'd expected it to be. Then again, I never cared for the animated series. Maybe my reaction would have been different if I were a fan.

Also, can we all please stop with the idiotic 3-D soon?

I'd say more, but it's beginning to get hot in the office, so I'm going to wrap this up. Perhaps I'll see you this weekend at Readercon. Perhaps I won't. No, I won't be twatting from the con. I will be unplugged. Next entry, Monday morning.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
It's going to be a hot day here in Providence. I was unable to get to sleep, and finally had to take an Ambien, which I am trying very, very hard not to do. But it was almost five a.m., and the sky was growing light.

Yesterday, Spooky and I spent another five hours or so on "The Maltese Unicorn." We read all the way through the story again, and then I made a number of last minute line edits and added a few passages. Then emailed it to the anthology's editor (both TBA), and now, mercifully, it is out of my hands.

This week will be devoured by everything I need to do to be ready for Readercon. I'm going up Thursday night. But I haven't bought anything like clothing since I did that reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn back on January 15th. I'm considering "dressing down," as what I wore last year seemed to inspire some degree of fear and loathing. And my hair...my hair has been left untended since January, as well. I'm having it cut and colored on Tuesday. I don't want to do any of these things. I hate shopping, and don't want to be futzed over by a hairdresser.

Anyway, as for Readercon 21, for those of you who are attending, here's my schedule:

Friday 12:00 Noon, RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I & II. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Caitlin R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity, John Langan,
Shira Lipkin, Faye Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

Friday 1:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

New England: At Home to the Unheimlich?. F. Brett Cox, Elizabeth Hand (M), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Faye Ringel, Paul Tremblay, Catherynne M. Valente.

Friday 2:00 PM, 4 PM RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I, II, IV & V. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Walter H. Hunt, Alaya
Dawn Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary Robinette Kowal, K. A. Laity, John Langan,Faye
Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

(I'll be reading the part of Oberon.)

Friday 4:00 PM: Autographing

Friday 5:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

David Foster Wallace Wanted Us to Do This Panel: Authoritativeness in Fiction.
Michael Dirda, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sarah Langan, Eugene Mirabelli, James Morrow (L),
Catherynne M. Valente.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Tree Networks and Transspecies Sex: Biology in Avatar Joan Slonczewski

Saturday 1:00 PM, NH / MA: Group Reading

Haunted Legends Group Reading (60 min.). Ellen Datlow (host), Caitlin R. Kiernan,
Kit Reed, Catherynne M. Valente.

Readings from Haunted Legends, an anthology of all new retellings of urban legends
and regional ghost stories, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. The book will be
out in September from Tor Books.

Sunday 11:00 AM, Salon G: Event

The Shirley Jackson Awards: Nalo Hopkinson (MC), Nick Antosca, Ellen Datlow, Gemma
Files, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Robert Shearman, and Paul Witcover (nominees), F. Brett Cox
and John Langan (judges), Elizabeth Hand, Jack M. Haringa, Peter Straub, PaulTremblay
(advisors).

Sunday 1:00 PM, VT: Reading (60 min.)

from The Ammonite Violin & Others* (collection; Subterranean Press, June 2010).

Sunday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF. Caitlin
R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity (L), Shariann Lewitt, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Catherynne M. Valente.

*Actually, because of the delay at the printer, I'll will, instead, be reading "The Sea Troll's Daughter."

---

Day before yesterday, or the day before that, I came across a somewhat interesting (and generally very flattering) blog post about Silk and The Red Tree and my writing in general. I'll quote a short bit:

Caitlin Kiernan’s novels give abundant evidence of the author’s impressive research and learning. Within a single chapter, the reader may find references to sources as varied as Seneca, Nina Simone, Thoreau, Tom Waits, Joseph Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft. Kiernan often wields her impressive learning like a bludgeon and seems to take considerable satisfaction in doing so. The reader may feel both taunted and intimidated by this amazing author who frequently makes extravagant displays of learning. However, discerning readers will probably forgive this author for her occasional outbursts of unabashed arrogance and vulgarity (which reminds me of Harlan Ellison's tendency to chastise his readers for their ignorance). I'm sorry Caitlin. I'll try to do better.

This made me smile, even as it sort of grated on my nerves. But then, how often do I try to grate on the nerves even as I try to evoke a smile? I do think the post paints me more as the person I was in the mid nineties than the person I am now, fifteen years later, but whatever. Anyway, what's important is that bit at the end. That last line. Because that's all I've ever really asked from anyone (including myself): Try to do better, because hardly any of us ever do try to do better. Also, I'll remind you of a quote attributed to Bertolt Brecht. "Art is a hammer." Which is to say, sometimes I use the hammer to drive nails, and sometimes I use it to pull them out again. Sometimes I use it to prop open a door. And then sometimes, yeah, it's time to fucking bludgeon.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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