greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Because, you see, Ceiling Cat doesn't actually live in the ceiling. "Ceiling" is merely a metaphor meant to impress upon us his constant nearness and watchfulness. Ceiling Cat actually lives in the upper troposphere, which is a bit lower than one usually finds, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster noodling about (deities must segregate, elsewise – a word LJ can't spell – we get Kaiju Big Battel and shit like that. Airplanes get eaten. Bad cellphone reception. Blood falls from the sky.). Hubero told me to explain all of this to you, so blame his bald pink ass, not mine.

I think the problem here is that I got less than six hours of sleep this morning. Thank you, Monsieur Insomnia.

It's snowing. A lot. The whole world is white, which makes it all vastly easier on my winter-shy eyes and nerves. Smooth away the bleak, ugly, sharp edges.

Not entirely sure where all of yesterday went. There was work, though no writing. Mostly answering email, questions about proofreading and copy-edited manuscripts, and stuff like that. A burning desire to clean my office (which might be constructive, only there's no longer room to move in here). I'm pretty sure there was nothing exciting. Today, among other things, I need to proofread "Tidal Forces," which is about to be reprinted in...you know, that information is probably not fit for public consumption yet. I will say, whatever editors out there might think to the contrary, "The Maltese Unicorn" (from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir) was lightyears (yes, LJ; lightyear is one word) better than anything else I wrote last year, or the year before that...and that it hasn't received more attention baffles me. I think it must be that dildos embarrass people. I don't get that at all.

Also, this diet sucks. Sugar-free, low-fat instant cocoa. Sugar-free Red Bull. Shoot me now. (Also, please, no dieting advice.)

As it happens, Alabaster #1 will be published with two covers. That is, the official cover is by Greg Ruth, and that's the one everybody has seen. But there's also an alternate cover that will be harder to find, painted by Michael Oeming. Here it is:



If you want this cover, you'll probably need to put an order in now with your Local Comic Shop. Or wait for eBay.

---

Okay, so...I had it in my head I was going to write some long and insightful, Pulitzer fucking Prize-winning essay explaining my take on the SOPA/PIPA mess and the problem of internet piracy. And then I decided, fuck that. I don't have time. I'm not so disposed. Whatever. So, instead, I'll put it plainly, and make it brief. It's not like other people haven't already said everything I'm about to say. And said it better.

No, you may not have my books for free. No, I do not believe – based on anecdotal evidence – that if I let you have five books for free, you'll buy the sixth. Bring me some very hard empirical evidence that can be reproduced, and I might think about the ramifications. Me, I want to see BitTorrent and the like die a quick, messy death. I do not appreciate being stolen from. And no, information "doesn't want to be free." That's cock-eyed bullshit. How about, my rent and healthcare and utilities want to be free? I say these things because, people need to know, whether you believe it or not, the mounting theft of ebooks is leading – on my end – to lower and lower advances from publishers. Another couple of years at this rate, it will no longer be feasible for me to continue writing novels. No, really. That's not hyperbole. Want a book for free? Go to the motherfucking library. Or download the ebook free from a library (yeah, you can do that). Stop being so goddamn lazy and unimaginative and divest yourself of that bullsit privileged, entitled I-deserve-to-get-it-free-RIGHT-NOW attitude. Who put that stuff in your heads? Well, learn this: There are options that do not ass-rape the authors. I did the work, and I deserve to be fairly paid, and not to have my copyright violated by douchebags.

But SOPA/PIPA are not the solution. As I said before, you do not burn down a house to kill a termite. You don't risk wrecking the entire internet to stop internet crime. You move slowly and with great care. You address the actual problems. You don't allow the megacorps to crush "fair use" and the like and pervert copyright law (the US was doing this well before the internet). You create the least inclusive legislation possible, not the most. Even having said what I said above, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bear, my books are being pirated on the net every single day, and that's endangering the future of my career, but I'm more comfortable with the devil I know than with SOPA/PIPA. I'm willing to wait for a better solution.

So there. I think that gets the point across.

Oh, hey! Heidi Klum and Seal are getting a divorce! Cool! Who's gonna get custody of the litter?

Cheap, But Not For Free,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
First, here's a preview of Dark Horse Presents #9, which will include pages 1-8 of Alabaster #1. DHP #9 will be in stores on February 22nd. So, yes, Alabaster is coming! And Mike Mignola! Imagine that – me, in a comic with Hell Boy's dad!

---

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

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

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

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

---

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

WHY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?

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

---

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

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

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

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

Chugging Red Bull, Because She Needs Wings,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (Martha Jones)
Er...yeah. I just wasted half an hour searching for a Martha Jones icon. It's what I do. Well, it's the sort of thing I do. Sometimes. Like this morning.

Yesterday, was a bit like the day before yesterday, only less so. Still mostly the busyness of writing, and too much email, but not as much too much email, and with the added burden of waiting. Few things in the world are as evil as waiting. I'm pretty sure that there's a whole level of Dante's Unabridged Inferno (to be published in 2019) where the damned suffer an eternity of...waiting. Nothing else. Just waiting. Yesterday, the waiting mostly involved Alabaster, and deadlines, and the impending vacation. Oh, and I went through the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, literally frame by frame, then sent a few notes to Brian Siano. He's doing the final editing this weekend. It's almost perfect.

Then, just after dark, Harlan called to thank me for sending him a copy Two Worlds and In Between (he'd called and asked for one), and he went on and on about how much he loved Lee's cover. Which is cool, because I was inspired to go in that direction by several of Harlan's covers which incorporate him as an element of a fantastic scene (see The Essential Ellison, for example). And then he read me the first part of "Rats Live On No Evil Star," and...well, these are the moments writers live for, aren't they? When our literary progenitors, those without whom we would not be, speak our own words back to us, words they helped, without intention, to fashion? Yes, I think these are those moments. Anyway, Harlan was generous and sweet and funny, as always.

---

Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun,
When a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies,
Night will fall and the dark will rise,
When a good man goes to war.

Demons run, but count the cost:
The battle's won, but the child is lost.
~ River Song

Which is to say we watched two more episodes of Doctor Who last night, two more from Series Six: "A Good Man Goes to War" and "Let's Kill Hitler." And I will just say that, wow, "A Good Man Goes to War" redeems Series Six and back again. Damn, that was some good Who. And, as [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme predicted yesterday, I truly am enamored with Madam Vastra and Jenny. But some actual Victorian lesbian lizard-on-human action, please. Unmistakable innuendo is nice and all, but full on...um...I'm losing my train of thought. It is an excellent, excellent episode, as is "Let's Kill Hitler." There might yet be hope for Matt Smith (but not for Rory, who is only Xander recycled).

Also, more Rift last night (as per usual), leveling (Indus to 37) in the Moonshade Highlands. Later, I read a very, very good story, Angela Slatter's The Coffin-Maker's Daughter. I'd never read Slatter, but the story was very good, and was, indeed, about a coffin-maker's daughter, Hepsibah, who was herself a maker of coffins, and also a lesbian. What's not to like? Oh, plus Slatter was inspired by two Florence + the Machine songs, "My Boy Builds Coffins" and "Girl With One Eye." Then I read a new Stephen King story, "The Little Green God of Agony." As I've said, I don't care much for King, but I liked the title. And the story has a certain strength, and wasn't bad, if only the ending hadn't veered off into such clichéd creep-show horrors. If your stories fall apart when the monster appears on stage, stop writing about monsters. I drifted off to sleep sometime after four ayem, watching Frank Borzage's 1932 adaptation of A Farewell to Arms, which really is better than Charles Vidor's 1957 version, and not just because Gary Cooper is cooler than Rock Hudson.

Also, because I was admonished in yesterday's comments by [livejournal.com profile] mizliz13 for using the recently overused and perverted adjective awesome, and admonished rightly so, from here on I shall use "bow tie" in its stead.

---

Today is an assembly day. I must pull Sirenia Digest #72 together, and try to get it out before midnight (CaST). By the way, "Question @ Hand #5" will be the last "Question @ Hand." Indeed, I've half a mind not to run it, but that would be a sleight to the few people who did write pieces (and the one who wrote two!). I think that the decline in replies (#1 had over 30, about a year and a half ago; #5 had 10 responses) is further evidence of the dramatic changes here on LJ.

And now, the platypus.

Don't Get Cocky, Kid,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Until fifteen minutes ago I'd never even heard of QR Code, but I just read an article about how it's probably on its way out. This is life inside our tiny house, mostly insulated from the baffling and pointless press of current events and so-called innovations. We have always lived in the castle.

Speaking of techie stuff (right, LJ can spell "techie"), I remain entirely unimpressed by the clips I've seen from Skyrim. Looks to me like the game is suffering from the same fundamental problem it had way back with Morrowind, when I complained endlessly about how stiff the characters looked, how few "points of articulation" they seemed to possess. There is very little fluidity to the animation of Skyrim, in part because it's trying to be photorealistic (but LJ can't spell "photorealistic") and, in so doing, has entered that Uncanny Valley where animated films directed by Robert Zemeckis go to die. I saw a clip of mammoths. No, I don't know why fantasy games are so fond of mammoths...or yetis...but that's not the point. These mammoths were so almost-but-not-quite-real it hurt to look at them. And their fur looked like they used far too much product in those shaggy manes. WoW avoids the Uncanny Valley problem by wisely opting to steer far, far away from photorealism, and Rift treads a fine line. Rift looks fantastic, but one step nearer photorealism, and the illusion would collapse. Those poor Skyrim mammoths, I just want to wash their fur, and don't even get me started on how silly the first-person mode looks (I actually "laughed out loud"). And the Skyrim animation is almost as jerky as the old Morrowind animation, ten years back.

---

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,602 words on "Ex Libris." It should surprise no one this is a story about malign books. No. That's wrong. About how women and men shape, wield, and bend books for malign purposes. Meanwhile, Spooky read, line by line (x2) the galleys of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, finding the mysterious changes to the text. It would drive me to stab myself in the face with a fork, what Spooky's doing; she's made it through the first three chapters (out of ten). She may be finished by Monday evening. Late yesterday, I picked the cover layout that will be used on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and talked with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press about the cover design for The Yellow Book hardback. I have to find just the right shade of yellow. I wanted to begin the introduction I'm writing for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I'm calling "Sexing the Weird," and which I've actually outlined (unlike fiction, nonfiction is amenable to outlines). But I was too tired from all that writing. Instead, I had a hot bath, a fifteen minute nap, Chinese takeout, and a cup of coffee.

---

Last night, we watched the last three episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. When I first said that we were watching it, there were people who warned me it started off great, but fell apart somewhere in the middle. But I saw nothing of the sort. Quite the contrary. Every episode grew stronger, and Miracle Day is definitely the best Torchwood we've seen so far, in every way. Gwen truly has come into her own. I recall the first episode of the show, back in 2006, how much I hated her. Now, I adore her. That mousey little policewoman has become a bloody force of nature. I'd love to see her paired with the Ninth Doctor. Could do without the dopey husband, but I figure if she sees something in him, I ought give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, yes. I highly recommend Torchwood: Miracle Day – great storytelling, characterization, visuals (thank you, better production values), and so forth. I cheered. I cringed. I laughed. I almost cried. It was very, very fine.

By the way, I am beginning to believe that the old episodic nature of a lot of "television" series is changing. I tried to imagine having to watch Torchwood: Miracle Day broken up into episodes, one every week or two, broadcast over an hour and subdivided by insufferable commercials. We watched the series over three nights, all ten episodes. It's hard to believe the punch wouldn't have been lost if we'd been forced to watch it over the two-month span of its original broadcast. It makes me think that maybe some "television" producers and directors are getting wise to how many people wait for the DVDs, Hulu, or Netflix, then watch the whole thing at once.

Wake up. Time to write.

Burning with the Fires of Orc,
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: (Default)
So, the rains never came. The rains for which we cancelled the trip to Maine. There might have been a shower one night. Every day, the past few days, has been a case of "tomorrow, it's going to rain." And we have sunny days and warm nights. I've wasted an Indian Summer sitting at this fucking machine. Then again, there's so much work to be done, taking the time off truly would have been disastrous ("ill-starred").

We are surrounded by an ocean of words, and virtually no one knows their meanings.

COMMENT, KITTENS!

Yesterday, I began what I hope is a new piece for Sirenia Digest #70 (subscribe!). Currently, it's called "Evensong," and today I'll go back over the 1,134 words I wrote yesterday and see if I can make them a little more melodic, and then try to conjure whether or not the vignette (which it actually is) is leading me anywhere I want to go.

The workload right now has even me amazed. The money's nice. No denying that. But I doubt I'll be able to take more than two or three days off (maybe) until sometime in December.

It's a good thing that, as a small child, I was inoculated against suicide, what with all that talk of hellfire and damnation.

Ah, but two fine gifts yesterday, and thank you, Steven Lubold!

Lee Moyer and I have talking about the cover art for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. He had a great idea for an image from "Dancing with the Eight of Swords," and Bill Schafer has approved it.

There's a lot of shit I'd be blogging about, if I had half the requisite energy. For example, how mass media (televised and print) is largely ignoring the "occupation of Wall Street" and the instances of police brutality associated with it. Officer Tony Baloney, anyone? You know this tune! Sing along!

My bologna has a first name.
It's T O N and Y.
My Bologna has a second name.
It's P U S S Y.
Oh, I'd love to beat him every day,
For spraying girls inside a cage,
Cause we are now a police state from B O L O G N A !
— Anon.

You're a douchebag, Deputy Inspector Tony Baloney. Then again, maybe you give douchebags a bad rep. You're definitely giving the NYPD a bad rep.

I am currently battling a massive resurgence of time displacement. Taking my life back. I managed to get to sleep by three a.m. last night. I'm learning not to fight sleep. The pills are beating back Monsieur Insomnia; now I just have to let them. But yeah, asleep by three ayem, awake at ten ayem. In part, this improvement has followed from the strict adherence to my recently instituted and unflinchingly enforced NO BULLSHIT policy. If it is in my life, and if it turns to bullshit, I make it go away. It is proving an amazingly useful policy for the alleviation of stress of every sort. Three simple words: NOT MY PROBLEM.

And now! Photographs! The first is from Sunday, and the rest from our trip to West Cove on Monday:

27 September 2011 )


All Beauty and Truth,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
So, first off, yes, The Ammonite Violin & Others has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the category of Best Collection. And yes, I am surprised and very pleased. Richard A. Kirk (who did the cover and endpapers for The Ammonite Violin & Others) is also nominated for a WFA this year, in the category of Best Artist. And! He's the Artist Guest of Honor at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention in Toronto. So, don't we fucking rock? My thanks to everyone who sent congratulations yesterday, including the 200+ who did so via Facebook. Soon, we will be listing copies of the sold-out collection on eBay to commemorate the nomination.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,749 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and the wolfulous aspects of Siobahn Quinn's nature made their first appearance. May I write as well today.

We had dinner from the farmer's market. Spooky brought back a huge tomato, four ears of corn, peaches, and a length of kielbasa (from pigs born, raised, and slaughtered out on Connanicut Island). A locavore's feast, it was.

And now, from the Ministry of the Truly Fucking Embarrassing, the van finally came back from the shop on Tuesday, as you know, and yesterday afternoon Spooky discovered a cache of unmailed eBay packages in back, mostly hidden by a beach towel. And our eBay customers must be bloody saints, because no one has said, "Hey, my book's a month late!" Thank you for that. Anyway, amongst said packages were the signed signature sheets for Two Worlds & In Between. Now, I signed all 600 of the damned things way back on May 19th (and if you look at this entry, you'll see a photo of me doing it). And then...well...shit happens. I lost track. I'd feel worse about this if anyone at Subterranean Press had noticed the pages hadn't arrived. They'll go into the mail today, along with the tardy eBay packages, and all the more recent eBay packages.

Here's a new and very brief interview with me, on the occasion of the reprinting of "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint" in the forthcoming A Book of Horrors (even though I am not a horror writer), edited by Stephen Jones. Yeah, I go for the danishes every time. Especially if they're cherry and cream cheese.

I should also mention another anthology, Halloween (Prime Books, edited by Paula Guran), which will be reprinting "On the Reef."

Okay...that's a lot of announcements. Enough for one day. The platypus is looking askance, the lowly fucker. But I will say Rift RP is going very well. We had a great scene last night, and my thanks to everyone in our guild, Watchers of the Unseen, who took part. Despite a sort of rocky beginning, the scene quickly became what was probably the best large-scale group RP (as opposed to one-on-one) I've done since my days in the late, lamented Dune sim on Second Life (ca. February 2008). Sure, last night was all mages and warriors, but what the hell. Oh, and one very troublesome rogue.

Yeah, platypus. Keep your panties on. Comment, kittens!

Undefeated,
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: (Ellen Ripley 2)
On this day, in 1964, in a deep-sea hydrothermal vent, almost ten thousand feet down along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, I squiggled forth from beds of giant tube worms and albino crustaceans. I drew my first watery breath, sucking in superheated brine, belched forth by black smokers and loaded with nutritious sulfides and acetyl thioesters, and then wailing with the abyssal cries of newborn whales, I rose.

Since then, though, I must admit it's been a bit anticlimactic. No cometary impact (Jupiter doesn't count). Still no return of the Great Old Ones. And my damned gills won't grow back. But, hey...I get cake.

And wonderful people send me wonderful things. Tomorrow, I'll try to make as full an accounting of that as possible.

---

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 2,149 words, and found the conclusion of Chapter Two of Blood Oranges. As it stands, I'm on page 83, and have written the first 18,292 words of what I intend to be a 75,000-word novel (at most). Two chapters in eleven days. Booya.

I must tell you – again – that Spooky is having a CRK's Birthday Sale on the jewelry at her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop, and shipping is FREE, and everything's selling fast, so have a look. You really need to see her new Alice's Adventures in Wonderland glass-vial pendants. There's a coupon code you'll need to use at checkout: CRKBIRTHDAY

Last night, we watched Peter Weir's The Last Wave (1977). It came up during conversation with Joshi on Tuesday night. I count it as one of a tiny handful of films that gets Lovecraftian right. Now, here I mean films that express the cosmicism of HPL, as distinct from his "Cthulhu Mythos" tales. Truly, there are only a few. John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), and two or three more. But nothing by Stuart Gordon. One day I'll provide an actual list.

Also, yesterday I saw the cover for the Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and it's gorgeous (comes FREE with the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One)).

After the movie, we played Rift, and my necromancer, Selwyn, made Level 42. And, because good pushers always provide FREE samples, there are some Selwyn screencaps behind the cut though, reduced to this size, they don't even begin to do the visuals justice. And I shall remind you, WE HAVE A GUILD, and there's a FREE 7-day trial now available! Fun for boys and girls and everything in between!

Um...I better go now. Spooky's making that face.

Selwyn of the Spire )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Comment, kittens!

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

Gagh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge the book by its cover. Please.

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

Listing to Starboard, Hardly Yar,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, windy, chilly today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,551 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. I'm starting to think that I'm having fun writing this book. I created a perfectly, marvelously, beautifully vile vampire "child" yesterday, and I've figured out that, were this a film, the protagonist would be played by Jennifer Lawrence. I should be able to finish the first chapter today, at which point it gets sent off to my agent, and I get to work on the research I need to do for Blue Canary.

Which reminds me. Jennifer Lawrence. I've seen all the casting for The Hunger Games announced thus far, and they all seem pretty much dead on. The kid they've cast as Rue is perfect.

Lots of other stuff yesterday, like a look at the almost final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, which is just incredible, because Lee Moyer is awesome. Oh, and the signature sheets for Two Worlds and In Between arrived, and I have to attend to those ASAP.

I read more of Stager's book, and finished the March Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by reading "New records of the fur seal Callorhinus Carnivora: Otariidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene Rio Dell Formation of Northern California and comments on ottariid dental evolution." Fortunately for me, I can immediately begin reading the January issue, as the latter arrived late and out of sequence.

Last night we watched David Fincher's very excellent The Game (1997), because Spooky had never seen it.

And played Rift. We signed on as our Guardian toons, meaning only to spend a few minutes with Mithrien (me) and Serrafina (Spooky) before switching to our Defiant mains. But. Then the mother of all Rift events struck Silverwood, and we spent the next two hours defending the school in the Argent Glade from incursions from the life rifts. Two hours. I think we both leveled twice. Anyway, later, after the movie, I set up a website for our Defiant guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, over at Guild Portal (and there's still a TON of work to be done on the site). If you're already a member of the guild, feel free to create a profile, whatever. And if you're not already a member of the guild (we're on the Shadefallen shard), and would like to be, just send me a tell inworld (to Selwyn).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The only auction that hasn't ended is the one for the PC of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (2002), signed by me and Dame Darcy. A note to collectors: We've never offered the boxed edition, ever, before, and this auction also includes the chapbook, "On the Road to Jefferson." So, you might want to have a look. Auction ends in about seven hours.

And I think this is the last day I'll be taking responses to the "Question @ Hand" poll, for them subscribers of Sirenia Digest what might be interested.

Okay. The word mines await.

Verbosely,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Please do comment; I'll be here all damn day.

It seems that all my family and friends in Birmingham are safe. I know a few people in Tuscaloosa, mostly at the University, and I've heard nothing from that end. But the devastation from yesterday's tornadoes is horrific, and I've had to make myself stop looking at the photographs of familiar places reduced to unfamiliar places. Tornadoes are a part of living in the South that I do not miss.

---

Dream images from last night are mostly lost, and those that remain are faint and almost indistinguishable from the background clutter of my mind. There was a beautiful mastodon skeleton weathering from a river bank. There was frozen Stalingrad during World War II.

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine.
Smolyensk and Viyasma soon fell.
By autumn, we stood with our backs to the town of Orel.


No, the mastodon skeleton wasn't in Stalingrad.

---

Work was an odd and scatterbrained affair yesterday. Lots of loose ends and such, and today I have to begin a new piece for Sirenia Digest, because I am woefully fucking late getting to it. Oh, by the way, the snazzy new Sirenia Digest website will go live this weekend or early next week.

I mentioned that the ARCs for Two Worlds and In Between arrived on Tuesday. They include Lee Moyer's cover art, but brightness and contrast are way off, rendering the cover muddy and dark. And it's not the actual layout we're going with, so if you happen to see one of the ARCs, this is not what the final book will actually look like. I spent part of yesterday making corrections to the text, because no matter how many times you proofread a thing, or how many people len their eyes to the proofreading, it will still be filled with fucking errors. The manuscript is 210,209 words long, which breaks down to 965,432 individual characters, all of which have to be checked again and again. Also, it seems that the release date on the book has been moved from January 2012 to September 30, 2011. I had no idea.

I spent a goodly portion of yesterday on the cover for "The Crimson Alphabet," the chapbook that will accompany Two Worlds and In Between. I'd already done a cover, but decided I hated it and started over. The end result is very, very simple.

---

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has announced the casting call for two projects related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. You can see his announcement here, but I'll also post his entry here in its entirety later. A book trailer and a still photography project. It's all fairly fucking awesome.

---

Last night, I left the house with Spooky, and we drove to College Hill. Spring is now in full bloom, and the temperatures have been warm enough that I am hereby declaring Cold Spring to have ended and Spring Proper to have begun. We stopped by Acme Video (complimentary Atomic Fireballs!), then Eastside Market, then got cheese burgers from Five Guys in Seekonk, Mass. I'm not used to driving out of state for burgers. That's going to take some time (and it's not something we'll make a habit of doing, either).

Back home, we watched Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (2009). And I honestly wasn't impressed. If nothing else, the film needs at least 45 minutes trimmed away (running time, a whopping 161 minutes). This film manages to belabor pretty much everything it touches upon. In the hands of a skillful editor, it's possible that something worthwhile could be salvaged. If Lars von Trier and David Lynch had never heard of editing, they might make movies like Enter the Void. Also, it doesn't help that Nathaniel Brown, who plays the protagonist, has all the acting ability of a stalk of broccoli. There are plenty of arresting visuals, and some brutal, beautiful scenes, but even I can only watch psychedelic Tokyo sex scenes, shot from an overhead boom and lit with seizure-inducing, flickering shades of red, for just so long before the yawning begins. I hoped I would feel better about the film this morning, but, in fact, I find that I sort of loathe it; I suppose that's something.

---

I have about a hundred other things in my head, wanting to be spoken of in this blog today. Maybe later.

Disoriented,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was, all in all, a strange day, possibly an almost good day. Certainly a productive day that was not without merit, and, also, which was shot through with threads of something better than the stressful mess of the last five or six days.

For one, I wrote 1,513 words on "Fake Plastic Trees," the new short story (details TBA). It's sf. But that's all I can say for now. Oh, and I'll be writing at least one more sf story later this year, which I'm currently calling "The Last Martian There Ever Was." Anyway, yes, the new story's off to a good start, though I think I only realized this morning why the protagonist has been encouraged to tell her story. Which is to say, I've only just this morning realized why the story's being written.

Also, some encouraging news from my editor at Penguin regarding the cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm being told they've decided to take a different direction, away from the ParaRom thing, and I have hopes and my fingers are crossed. So, there's that.

I'm also making some headway getting permission to quote songs in the novel. Radiohead has given me permisison to quote "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)." I think I reported that earlier. Yesterday, I talked with Philip Ridley, and was very generously granted permission to quote a verse of a song he wrote for The Passion of Darkly Noon, "Who Will Love Me Now?" which PJ Harvey sings in the film. Yes, Philip Ridley rocks.

---

Meanwhile, Alfred Music Publishing has granted me permission to quote two lines from R.E.M.'s "Find the River":

The river to the ocean goes,
A fortune for the undertow.


...but they want a $380 licensing fee, that would only cover the first printing of the tpb of the book. That means, new fees would have to be paid for a second print of the tpb, and then again for the mmpb (and each printing of the mmpb), and again for the audiobook, and so on and so forth forever.

Now, if US Copyright Law were not printed on wet toilet paper, quoting two lines from a song would qualify as "fair use." But there have been successful lawsuits rendering "fair use" meaningless in many cases, making publishers gun shy. It all comes down to the lawyers and corporate greed, and has nothing to do with the musicians (who wouldn't see a penny of this licensing fee). In 1996, when I was working on my second story arc for The Dreaming, I wanted to quote one line from another R.E.M. song: It's a Man Ray kind of sky. (from "Feeling Gravity's Pull"). Gods, this is a dull story. Short version: Michael Stipe told me I could use the line, and then Warner Bros. stepped in and said no. At the time, Warner Bros. owned the lyrics, but, in 2005, Warner Bros. Publications was purchased by the aforementioned Alfred Music Publishing.

I can either try to pony up the licensing fee, and keep ponying it up every time some new printing or incarnation appears, or I can remove the quote and figure something else out. I'm loathe to get into the eternal loop of licensing fees (I never have before). If I were a bestselling author with six-figure advances and fat royalty statements, maybe. But not on what I make. I've considered trying to find something in public domain with which to replace the quote. Right now, though, I'm undecided. I have two months to make up my mind. I suppose one option would be to pay it once, let one edition of the book appear as I want it to, then remove the quote from all subsequent editions.

Maybe I'll give a nickel to someone who spots all the fucked up contradictions as regards copyright and licensing in this post. Only, that would require I know each and every one, and likely I don't.

---

What else about yesterday? Besides work, I mean. I'm tired of talking shop. Played Rift. Selwyn made Level 23. Did a good and peculiarly sweet rp scene with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl. Drank Pepsi Throwback. Oh, Spooky didn't have to walk in the cold rain to get the car, because it wasn't ready. It's supposed to be ready today; it's been in the garage since Sunday. I read another paper in the new JVP, "A new skeleton of the cryptoclidid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis reveals a novel body shape in plesiosaurs." We read more of The Book Thief. That was yesterday.

---

A reminder: I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

---

Okay. That's it for now. Just got an ominous call from the mechanic. Later, kittens.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Hubero was entirely unimpressed, just now, when I told him I was away to a hard day at the Office, and to have an extra-dry martini waiting for me when I got home.

Great comments yesterday. Thank you. If you want to keep it up, I won't mind.

Grey and drizzly out there, and, in here, yeah, I'm still exhausted. But I may have turned a corner. I no longer feel quite so much as though something is riding about on my shoulders. I think, last night, it crawled off me and slithered down a drain. We'll be symbiotes again at some later time. For now, I'm not so heavy.

It helps that today is the last day I'm allowing myself to edit the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, that tonight it ALL goes away to Bill at subpress. And since Bill has previewed the cover, here's two versions of the entire wondrous cover (behind the cut). We're still a ways from actual layout, of course. But, gods do I love this painting. Thank you, Lee! Oh, I almost forgot. Lee and I will be selling very limited-edition, signed prints of the cover; more on this later:

Changesonekiernan )


All day yesterday was spent editing the collection, right up to the time that Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) arrived. It was good to have company again, so soon after Sonya. There must be more people in my life. How's that for a fucking heresy? We got Lebanese takeout and sat up much too late, talking about magick, books, writers, movies, childhood, drugs, tattoos, gaming, and...tons of other stuff. We watched Antti-Jussi Annila's brilliant Sauna (2008) again, because Spooky had not yet sent it back to Netflix, and I knew how much Geoffrey would love it. I caught so much on the second viewing I missed the first time. It's a film that would hold up under many viewings.

Geoffrey is one of the few people on earth who already has a complete copy of The Drowning Girl, but he hasn't yet had time to read it. Only thirteen people have copies, at this point.

Meanwhile...

There are only THREE days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. One of the last two $500 spots was claimed this morning, and we're still hoping the last one will be, too. The greater the margin by which we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. Spooky and I are already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." And look at all the cool stuff that comes with the $500 donation. So, yes. Donate!

And now, kittens, I go down to slay this rough, unruly Other Beast, who is also me. Or, perhaps, merely to fuck it into submission.

A Skosh Less Weighted,
Aunt Beast

P.S. – STILL NOT A HORROR WRITER.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today I'm not speaking. I may not be speaking tomorrow either. I last did this several years ago (2006?), and found it unexpectedly comforting*. And just now I need comfort. Also, it helps my cough. I've not said anything for the last eight hours. Oh, and no, I'm not observing Nyepi, Balinese "Day of Silence." But it is an interesting coincidence. I didn't know today was Nyepi until someone asked if that's why I wasn't speaking (even though I'm neither Balinese nor Hindu).

Yesterday, after the blog entry, I got everything together for Sirenia Digest #63, proofed it all again, and sent the text and images away to [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest to be made into a PDF. It went out last night. Subscribers should have their copies by now.

And, by the way, I'd really love to hear some feedback on #63.

After everything for the digest was done, I got back to the final chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and I wrote 1,404 words. And began to think I was being overly optimistic in yesterday's entry. I may not finish until Tuesday or Wednesday. I think I might have found a missing scene. After the writing, Spooky and I proofed all of "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées" (51 pages, 11,904 words). When I wrote the story in 2001, that was the original title. When subpress published it as a small hardback, the title was changed to In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers. When it was reprinted in Alabaster (the Dancy collection) in 2006, I reverted back to the French title. I've been pondering a new French title for its appearance in Two Worlds and In Between, a more literal translation of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, which I think would be Dans le Jardin des Fleurs Toxiques. Anyway, Spooky read aloud, I coughed and made red marks on the manuscript pages. I was pleased that I still enjoy the story quite a lot.

A busy day yesterday.

By the way, just saw Lee Moyer's almost finished cover for Two Worlds and In Between, and gods it's gorgeous.

---

I think I've given up on the whole Loremaster thing. Too many quests in Nagrand and Shadowmoon are broken, and Blizzard seems to have no interest in fixing them. It's a shame to give up with only two regions left, but I haven't the time or patience to waste any more energy and "free time" on this. So, likely this spells the end of me and WoW. I'd considered keeping my account open, but I'm so disgusted over the Nagrand thing (spent a lot of time reading various message boards yesterday; I'm not alone), after three years and five months, I believe I've had enough.

On Rift, Selwyn made Level 18. I trained for a second role, which means I got a second soul set. Selwyn's primary is warlock/necromancy/pyromancy; her secondary is necromancy/dominator/chloromancy. But I'll likely play the first skill set most of the time. I was in a sour mood last night, and the very few stupid names were really getting on my nerves. I can't fathom the need for some people to be jackasses, just because, you know, they can be jackasses. Or maybe they're not jackasses at all. Maybe they think Notdeadyet and Dingleberry really are a names. Maybe they don't understand Chinagirl can't be a name in a world without a fucking nation named China. Yeah, maybe it's only stupidity.

We may be forming a guild on the Shadefallen shard.

---

We're about three chapters into Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, and, so far, I'm both disappointed and bored. None of the first novel's energy is here. I'm hoping it picks up quickly. Also, as I read more YA, I fear I begin to see certain patterns, most of them relating to the unfortunate necessity for romance, and that almost always means heterosexual romance. These days, I can't do het romance (or, rather, I can't do it well), and I won't hamstring myself by trying. And it would be cynical and hypocritical of me to try. I find myself struggling to devise ways to "sneak" queer relationships into stories (and I don't mean the Willow/Tara background stuff; that's plenty acceptable to the mainstream). My protagonists will be queer teens. Period. Editors, trends, squeamish readers, religion, and homophobes go hang. There are other things, too, but I don't feel like getting into that just now.

Anyway...I'm off now to write and not speak.

* Indeed, I find my voice so disagreeable, I often consider giving up speaking for good.
greygirlbeast: (wray)
1) Snow again this morning, but it's relatively light. A couple of inches at most. Likely, it will be gone in a day or two. Yes, I am sick of this particular winter.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,330 words and found the end of the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript now stands at 386 pages, 87,145 words. And from here I can see how the ninth and tenth chapters and the epilogue unfold. I may have the novel "finished" in only two more weeks. Which is sort of strange to realize.

3) The current Ebay auctions continue. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. Thanks.

4) If you're into MMORPGs and want to play a strong female character, especially a strong female character of color, you no longer have to settle for the racist parodies in WoW. The Kalari and Bahmi women in Rift are amazing, especially the latter. And they're, you know, like actual people. Female characters with dignity and grace and ferocious beauty, instead of, say, Rastafarian caricatures and She-Hulk lampoons. Also, back in WoW, I'm still slogging through my bid for "Loremaster," but beginning to doubt whether or not my will is equal to the task. Last night, I finished with Feralas, which wasn't easy, because there almost weren't enough Horde-side quests. Then I moved along to Thousand Needles, flooded post-Cataclysm and...well...it's just sort of stupid. I found the second worst WoW quest ever— "Pirate Accuracy Increasing." The only worse one I've encountered is that idiotic Joust homage in Mount Hyjal. Anyway...enough nerdy game nonsense.

5) Several comments on my cough yesterday, and some were of the "it might be this" variety, so I'm going to be a little more forthcoming on this than I'd planned. In truth, it's most likely chronic simple silicosis, caused by several years of heavy exposure to chalk and marl dust (which is largely silica particles) in the early years of my paleontology work. I was employed by a small museum in Birmingham (Red Mountain Museum, now defunct), and nobody had a clue about proper safety precautions. I didn't learn this until I went to work for the museum at the University of Colorado, where wearing a respirator during dusty prep work was mandatory. I have all the symptoms, and the cause is there, and a doctor has told me this is likely the problem. But I've never gone through tests for an official diagnosis. My grandfather, who was a brick mason, suffered from a far more severe case of the same disease. Anyway, colds and the flu trigger these bouts of coughing, which is one reason I go to such extremes to stay well.

6) I've promised an in-progress preview of the cover that Lee Moyer is painting for Two Worlds and In Between, and here it is (along with some extras):

Changesonekiernan )


Postscript (1:44 p.m.): My agent and editor both have President's Day off. When did that become a holiday that people use as an excuse to stay home from work? A shame I haven't that option.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're in one of those dry spells between checks.

2) Now, before I forget again, the latest StarShipSofa includes a reading of "Galápagos." It's a pretty good reading. Merrick comes off a little too perky for a woman whose been through the hell she's been through, but the reader gets many words in many languages right, and that wins very big points with me.

3) The wind is a wild thing today. The wind is always a wild thing, but today it's throwing a wild rumpus out there. Speeds at 25mph, but gusting to 55mph. The house keeps moving, swaying. These old walls are reinforced with steel bands for protection against hurricanes, and days like this I'm grateful. Much of the snow has melted, though it's cold again, currently 35˚F (but feels like 21˚F). I shall be staying in today, thank you very much.

4) Yesterday, we actually did manage to make it all the way through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Go, Spooky! She read all 24,765 words of that aloud, and had to contend with my constantly asking her to stop for this or that line edit. It all holds together much better than I thought, and now I have the confidence, I hope, to proceed with the eighth chapter and then the ninth.

5) I'm reasonably certain that I'll be writing my YA books as Kathleen Tierney. That has mostly been my decision. I'll continue to write short fiction, novellas, etc. as Caitlín R. Kiernan.

6) People do not mean to set me off. Well, at least sometimes it's clear they don't. Case in point: Last night, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh posted a link to a review of the Decemberists' The King is Dead (in the comments to my blog), a review written by someone named Ezra Ace Caraeff and published in The Portland Mercury (February 17, 2011). It was not, I know, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh's wish to set me off, but the very first paragraph got me so angry I spent much of the night bitching about it (much to Spooky's chagrin). The review begins by slamming The Hazards of Love as a "turgid rock opera." But then it gets really stupid. I quote:

Their determined song cycle put the story before the music, and its confusing plotline (with its forest creatures, fauns, and fairies, Hazards might as well have come pre-packaged with 12-sided dice and a wizard's cloak) distracted from both the band's melodic craft and frontman Colin Meloy's penchant for creating lyrics that have left many a weak-kneed listener and dog-eared thesaurus in their wake.

As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Or something like that. The Hazards of Love is one of the most amazing musical accomplishments of the last decade, and it pains me to see how little vision there is in the world. Also, when will we learn to stop letting doofus hipsters write indie music reviews? Of course, then no one would write them. Of course...that would be a good thing, right? Yes, The King is Dead is excellent, but it's nowhere near the marvel the band achieved with The Hazards of Love (though, I admit, I love my dodecahedral dice). Regardless, I do not blame you, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh.

7) My editor at Penguin wrote me yesterday about the recycled cover fiasco. In the end, it was pretty anticlimactic, as I'd expected it would be. I was told "It’s actually not that uncommon, as we only buy the rights to use the art on our books in the territories we have. The artist owns the work itself. So sometimes artists will sell the same painting or a similar painting to a foreign publisher for a different book, or sell the image for a greeting card or a calendar or something. I know it’s disconcerting to come across, though. I’m double-checking with our art director that the artist sold this legitimately, but I haven’t heard back yet." Of course, Penguin buys just about every territory on earth. But not Romania. By the way, the artist in question is Gene Mollica, and I'm told he has a website out there somewhere, though I have no wish to see it. It's all business as usual, and business as usual is pretty much always a slipshod, disheartening affair. Regardless, I don't blame my editor for this. She didn't make those rules.

8) Last night, after I plowed through all 55 quests in Azshara and started in on Desolace (still determined to get the title Loremaster before leaving WoW), I signed up for the Rift beta, and Spooky gave me a few minutes on her laptop. I rolled a Kelari mage named Selwyn and a Bahmi cleric named Shaharrazad (the name lives on! Arrakis, Azeroth, and now Telara). And I played a couple of levels. And...damn. The game is astounding. Everything I saw about this game is astounding. And beautiful. The best character generator I have ever seen, bar none. It was hard to go back to the candy-colored, cartoon silliness of WoW, with all its poo jokes and puns. But...I'll just soldier on and keep my sights on the spring. Of course, Rift isn't idiot proof. No MMORPG ever will be. For example, there was some Kelari woman named Mayonnaise in the starting area with me last night. I'm sure her typist though she or he was being terribly clever.

9) Yesterday, while we were reading, the door to the front stairwell mysteriously opened. We're pretty sure Hubero used his brain to make it open. And, of course, he was out in a flash, and Spooky had to chase him up and down the stairs. I came out and pulled the door shut behind me. And it locked. Fortunately, the guy downstairs is good at picking locks, so we were back inside in only about five minutes. Screw you, Houdini cat!

And now....doughnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Here in Providence, the temperature's supposed to soar to 52˚F today, the warmest day since...maybe November. The snow is very slowly melting, and it might be gone by the end of March, barring new storms. I ought to work today, but Spooky and I absolutely cannot spend a quasi-warm day cooped up in the house with the wonderful (relative to recent) weather. Instead, we are going to West Cove to birdwatch and gather sea glass.

2) Yesterday, we made it through the third and fourth chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Well, actually, Spooky read it all aloud to me, while I made notes. So, she read pages 88-193 aloud to me yesterday. We're making a lot of continuity fixes, mostly because Imp started out thirty years old, then turned twenty-four. Though, she's telling a story about something that happened to her when she was twenty-two (instead of twenty-eight). So...it gets confusing. And we're fixing misspellings, grammatical errors, adding and taking away a word here and there. About as close as I ever come to rewriting. Tomorrow, we'll make it through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters. Eight is still unfinished, and I'll pick up there on Saturday. Near as I can tell, the book will have ten chapters. Oh, and there was a metric shit-ton of email yesterday.

3) This month, Sirenia Digest #63 will continue the sneak preview of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, with the second chapter. But after that, you're going to have to wait until the book is released a year from now. Also, the issue will include my favorite responses to the latest Question @ Hand (and there have been some wonderful ones so far; the question will remain open for about another week) and "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ghoul," which seems to fit nicely with the aforementioned question. Vince will be doing the cover, another illustration for the novel. I promise that #64 will return to our usual format. The demands of writing the new novel and editing Two Worlds and In Between have made things really fucking crazy around here.

4) Speaking of Two Worlds and In Between, tomorrow you get in-progress images of the wonderful Lee Moyer's cover painting. A good bit of yesterday's email was me and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy working out the photoshoot he's going to do with me at the beginning of April (for the collection's dust jacket). I think we'll either be shooting at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology or the Boston Arboretum. At some point yesterday, our conversation deteriorated into a discourse on the perils of being a werewolf trying to get through airport security...

5) Last night, in WoW, I continued my race towards Loremaster. I made it through all 55 Felwood quests, then did half the ones for Winterspring (about 20). Spooky played the beautiful, beautiful, oh I am so fucking jealous Rift beta. She's been reading me bits of Rift chat. I wrote this one down: "WoW is a pretty good game, if you turn off chat and never talk to the player base."

6) And look! Ebay auctions!

7) I took a somewhat random series of photographs yesterday while Spooky was reading:

16 February 2011 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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