greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Rainy and overcast again today.

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

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dreckless,
Aunt Beast

* Note: I am in a very satisfactory, long-term relationship.
** Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

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

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

Where was I?

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

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

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

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

---

On this day in 2007, I wrote:

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

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

So...now, today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
The weather seems to have turned cool again. It was warm enough yesterday in the House that we had to crank up Dr. Muñoz for the first time in weeks.

Almost all of yesterday was spent working on the interview for Weird Tales. How is that possible? Because I have an almost ironclad rule about live interviews, which is simply that I almost never agree to them. Almost. So maybe it's only tinclad. My ability to be articulate has an annoying tendency to wink out when I'm having to answer questions "live." The live interviews I've given over the course of my writing career can likely be counted on one hand. Or two. One, if it has a lot of fingers. There was one I did on the telephone with Publisher's Weekly in, I think, 1996. I was still living in Athens. I did a couple of live radio interviews after Silk came out in 1998, and one to the Birmingham Post-Herald. After that, there's a big gap. In 2007, after much reluctance, I finally agreed to be interviewed for Frank Woodward's documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. But I'm not sure that even counts as live. There were about a bazillion takes, and it took all day to get through it, as I was allowed to get answers just right. In 2008, I gave a live interview to Locus during ReaderCon 19. A month or so later, I gave one to a reporter from the South County Independent about The Red Tree; we met at the Peace Dale Public Library for that one. So, yeah. Not many at all, especially considering I've probably done more than a hundred interviews since 1996 or so.

Today, I go back to work on Sirenia Digest #58. Last night, I saw Vince's first sketch for the illustration he's doing to accompany "John Four," and I loved it.

"Faces in Revolving Souls" will be reprinted in the November 9th issue of Lightspeed. Also, "The Pearl Diver" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of dystopian science fiction, details TBA. "The Melusine (1898)" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of steampunk fiction. Lots of good reprints.

And speaking of my science fiction, I really will be writing The Dinosaurs of Mars, finally, and it's scheduled to be released by Subterranean Press late in 2011. Bob Eggleton is still onboard for the project.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, [livejournal.com profile] catconley, please, please, please contact Spooky about your recent eBay purchases. It's very important.

---

Here's a picture I took of Jupiter and the Moon back on Wednesday night. I've been meaning to post it, and kept forgetting. But here it is. It's all a blur, because our camera sucks for this sort of thing. With my naked eye, the moon was the moon, and Jupiter was clearly a planet. But at least the smudgy lights are pretty. That's the closet Jupiter's been to Earth since 1951, a mere 368 million miles (592 million kilometers) away. It won't be this close again until 2022.

Jupiter and the Moon )


---

No Insilico roleplay last night. Instead, Spooky and I did two Outland dungeons, both in Terokkar: the Mana-Tombs and Auchenai Crypts. It was good to switch off the brain and be Shaharrazad. I know the armory page says she's Shaharrazad the Diplomat, but that's really just a way of catching people off their guard. Last night, she rained fire upon the heads of ornery Dranei necromancers. After WoW, we read more of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Recording the first 4AD album, vicious dobermans, Liverpudlian sound engineers, preganancy, and Betty Hutton. We're coming to the end of the book, and I'm not wanting it to be THE END.

Anyway. Those doughnuts won't make themselves, and the mothmen are casting a baleful eye my way. Yeah, just one eye. They're sort of stingy. Or maybe they're mocking me.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A thunderstorm is moving in, and the sky has gone marvelously dark above Federal Hill here in Providence.

I have what I think is quite a momentous announcement. This morning William Schafer at Subterranean Press emailed to ask if I'd "be interested in a 200k word The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, that, in addition to 5-6 uncollected stories, drew from all of your published collections..."

And, of course, I said yes. I said yes immediately.

So...over the next month or so I'll be compiling the table of contents, which, frankly, seems like an almost impossible task, even with a two-hundred-thousand word limit. I have to go back over all the short fiction I've written the last seventeen years, almost two hundred stories, and figure out which pieces I consider my best (as well as which pieces have received the most attention, and so might be said to represent my "best" work). The book will be released sometime in the spring of 2011, and the limited edition will be accompanied by The Crimson Alphabet as a free chapbook. I will post more details as they become available. By the way, feel free to post suggestions here, or email them to me, your personal favorites you might like to see included. I'll consider those, too, when making my choices. I hope to deliver the manuscript to subpress by the end of the summer.

So, yeah. Big News. Also, I'll be getting back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars next year, after having set it aside in the summer of 2007. If all goes well, subpress will release it in the fall of 2011. Which means I'm doing two books with them next year.

Meanwhile, my copies of The Ammonite Violin & Others arrived late yesterday, along with the "Sanderlings" chapbook. I am beyond pleased with how the collection turned out. It's definitely one of the best-looking books I've ever done with subpress. And if you preordered and do not yet have your copy, it should be along shortly.

---

Today, I did 1,060 words on Chapter One of the Next New Novel, and it's the first writing I've gotten done since Sunday. The less said about the first half of yesterday the better. Most of it was spent at the Peace Dale Public Library, reading Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Sunday evening, we returned to the Blackstone River Gorge area in southern Massachusetts, the towns of Blackstone and Millville, and almost to Uxbridge. I found more locations important to the Next New Novel, and fell more in love with the region. Many photos were taken, and I'll try to post some soon.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, there's the cool stuff at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries shop at Etsy (she says, "Tell them to please buy this stuff, because I'm tired of looking at it."). Yes, she really said that. So, thanks. Buy or bid if you are able.

Okay. That's all for now. I have a table of contents to ponder....
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
Yesterday, I did 1,024 words on "The Melusine (1898)" for Sirenia Digest #31, but did not find The End. Because this is one those pieces. I meant it to be a vignette I could write in two days. It has, become, instead, a full-fledged short story that has, so far, required twice that number of days. If I'm lucky, I'll finish it today. Truth be told, I did not have time to write a short story just now, as the deadline for The Red Tree looms so frightfully near, and I have written only the prologue and that one chapter. And we know about authors who miss their deadlines, don't we? Or did you skip yesterday's lesson?

Yesterday, two years ago, Sophie died. That damned old cat. How can it have been two years already? We moved her ashes with us from Atlanta. I wasn't about to leave her ghost lurking about that godsforsaken city alone. And who'd have thought this annoying Siamese bastard named Hubero Padfoot Wu ever would have stolen my callous heart? It's a world of damned unlikely twists and turns, I tell you.

And on this day four years ago I wrote the following:

Lately, I can't seem to get past the cold fact of "popularity contests." We tend to use that phrase in a strictly pejorative sense, as in, "I don't want anything to do with that. It's just a popularity contest." And yet, that's what publishing is. If you win, it's because you've cracked the secrets of the popularity contest, and if you fail, it's because you never figured it out, or never tried, or no one ever paid to put you at the top of the list, or whatever. And adding to the frustration is the importance of happenstance in this whole enterprise. How does someone achieve popularity? Well, I have to admit, at least in the short run, money helps. The more money is spent promoting your books, the more chance is weighted in your favour. But it's not at all unusual for books with huge advertising budgets to fail. In fact, that's what usually happens to books with huge advertising budgets, if only because that's what happens with most books (and forget the highly questionable and rarely questioned, even if often parroted, Sturgeon's Law; it's about as useful and relevant here as any adage). What really makes for success is that intangible, elusive ability to appeal to large numbers of people, for whatever reason. Authors tend to achieve success in the marketplace by one of two routes: a) an ability to speak the common tongue and tell stories that resonate with a large number of readers, or b) a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In either case, it's mostly luck. This is not an issue of art, or of quality, or of effort. No matter how hard one tries, or how well one writes, the odds of success are roughly the same. The work ethic fails here, along with all those American fantasies of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps and naive beliefs that quality will out.

Four years on, I still haven't gotten over being appalled at the whole high-schoolish "popularity contest" aspect of publishing. Likely, I never, ever shall.

Now that the heatwave has abated, I am being preyed upon, or falling victim to the seductions of, another of the Nine Seven Deadly Sins of Writing —— Distraction. How am I supposed to sit here, in this tiny office, writing about a fabulous clockwork Western America, an alternate reality with mechanical mastodons and zeppelins and mysterious carnival tents that reek of the ocean, when I could easily be at Beavertail, or the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, or the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, or visiting Lovecraft's grave at Swan Point, or talking with Panthalassa at Moonstone Beach, or meeting Bob Eggleton for coffee to discuss The Dinosaurs of Mars, or taking in a movie at the Avon on Thayer Street, or searching for trilobites at Lionshead on Conanicut Island, or reading old books in the Providence Athenaeum, or taking the train down to Manhattan? I mean, sheesh. There was nothing to do in Atlanta —— nothing worth doing —— but now i am here, and there are a hundred things to do on any given day. What odd gravity holds me in this chair, I'll never know.

Last night, more unpacking, mostly fossils for the big display case, and a few recent skulls. Three starfish from Jacksonville, FL. Then we watched the very first episode of Deadwood for the fourth or fifth time, because I needed a dose of Al Swearengen. Then there was more unpacking, and bed a little after 2 ayem.

The box-flap doodle art auctions have begun! Two of them, which is all there shall be. There's the "Cephaloflap" and the "Monster Doodle." Take your pick, or go for both. All proceeds go to, well, stuff. There's always stuff. Stuff is not free. Except for free stuff, of course. Frell, free stuff is cool, right? So, I'll even throw in a free moonstone from Moonstone Beach, collected by mine own hands, to each auction winner. So there. Go forth and bid, ye bloomin' scallywags.

Also, Spooky's birthday still has not been moved from June 24th, despite appeals to the Homeland Office of Birth Date Relocation, and you can find her Amazon wish list by following the button below. Me, I need more caffeine, obviously.

My Amazon.com Wish List


Shit, it's Friday the fucking 13th. Good thing I'm not triskaidekaphobic or paraskevidekatriaphobic.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
At 2 ayem, when I finally went to bed last night, it was still 87F inside the house. Right now, inside, it's 89F and climbing fast. Outside, it's 96F and feels like 101F with the heat index. We hardly made it through yesterday. Today, we're heading for a library or museum, some place with AC, and the unpacking and work can wait until things cool off tomorrow.

Somehow, yesterday, I managed to write 578 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest, though I honestly do not know how I managed it. It's called "The Melusine (1898)," and it's set in the same city as the "The Steam Dancer (1896)," though, obviously, two years later. Life throws you a heatwave, write some steampunk. I should be working on The Red Tree, but the heat was in no way conducive to that story. We are promised relief tomorrow (a high of only 84F), and if the meteorologists have this wrong, I say they should be flayed alive, then strung up by their entrails to appease Helios.

Yesterday. A sweaty mess of a blur. Before the writing, I made it through lots and lots more email. I sent out a massive bcc announcement of the address change. I chatted (via email) with Peter Straub, Bob Eggleton (because Dinosaurs of Mars is not dead, it's just sleeping), Jeff Vandermeer, Merrilee (my agent), Elizabeth Bear, and I don't know who else. The Others. I got to read the afterword (or introduction, I forget which) to A is for Alien, and it pleased me greatly. I drank iced coffee and Gatorade. I ate nothing all day but a handful of wasabi rice crackers. I sat here, in my underwear, my hair twisted up in a topknot, a wet towel about my neck, a fan blowing towards me across a bowl of ice cubes, writing. The ice cubes melted away about every twenty minutes. At some point, I crawled off to the claw-footed tub and lay in cold water (and lavender-scented fizzy salts) for half an hour or so. I think all the real writing happened after the bath. Late in the day, a great beast of a storm system swept across Connecticut, and though it passed through South County, missed Providence. But we got the clouds and some coolish wind. I lay on the bed, trying not to sleep, watching the sky while Spooky went out to forage for our dinner. I lay there watching someone's laundry, strung on a line, flapping in the tepid breeze, remembering sheets on clothes lines, trying, also, to remember when that ceased to be a common sight and why.

Egg-salad sandwiches for dinner, with the eggs we got at Spooky's parents on Thursday. Egg salad with dill relish and black pepper, mayo and Swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce, and I was starving, but it was still too hot to eat. I tried to unpack more books afterwards — poetry, mostly, and mythology — but the humidity and heat got to me quickly. I went into Second Life for maybe an hour and a half, the longest I've been in over the last couple of weeks, I think. But there was Bad News awaiting Nareth, and she made an ass of herself in the haven in Toxia, trying to pick a fight in the one place you can't fight. Later, after Spooky was asleep, I read more of Joss Whedon's Serenity: Those Left Behind. And that was last yesterday. I think. Unless I'm remembering today ahead of schedule.

I talked with my agent again this morning. She said I should go swimming. I laughed. It was rude, but I laughed. I don't even own a bathing suit, and under this sun? The library seems a more amenable alternative.

If there was anything else I meant to say, it'll just have to wait. The theromstat says it's 89F inside. Time to run for cover...
greygirlbeast: (cleav2)
First off, congratulations to Christa ([livejournal.com profile] faustfatale) on the sale of her novel Money Shot to Hard Case Crime. Money Shot is slated for a February 2008 release (which will be here much sooner than you think). Very good news, indeed.

Despite my swollen, aching tongue, I decided that what really needed doing yesterday was the proofing of the galleys for Tales from the Woeful Platypus and the chapbook version of "The Black Alphabet." It turned out to be a bit more reading than I'd expected, almost five-hours worth, but now it's done and I don't have to worry about it anymore. Also, my agent got me a two-week extension on the corrections of the galleys for the mass-market paperback of Low Red Moon, which were originally due on December 1st. Thank you, Liz. So, the mountain of proofreading is looking quite a bit less mountainous today.

However, I did not begin The Dinosaurs of Mars. I intend for that to happen this afternoon.

My tongue is much better, by the way, and my thanks to everyone who offered to send a copy of the October '06 Locus yesterday.

A couple of days ago, looking for some reasonable explanation for my exhaustion, I sat down and made a list of what I've written since returning from New England on August 22nd. It looks like this (not in chronological order):

01. "Untitled 23" for Sirenia Digest 10
02. "In the Praying Windows" (coauthored with Sonya Taaffe) also for Sirenia Digest 10
03. "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
04. "The Garden of Living Flowers" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
05. "The Forests of the Night" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
06. "Still Life" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
07. "Excerpts from Memoirs of a Martain Demirep" for Tales from the Woeful Platypus
08. afterword for Tales from the Woeful Platypus (discarded)
09. "The Most Beautiful Music I've Ever Read" for the PS Publishing edition of Ray Bradbury's The Day It Rained Forever
10. "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4)" for Sirenia Digest 11.

Not to mention having proofread Daughter of Hounds. Now, if I can just get The Dinosaurs of Mars started.

Last night, just barely into Mark Z. Danielewski's Only Revolutions, I was seized with an urgent desire to stop and re-read House of Leaves before proceeding any farther. The same sort of thing happened the first time I tried to read Finnegan's Wake: I stopped and read Ulysses for the third time. I think when we're done with Danielewski, Spooky and I will be reading all thirteen of the Lemony Snicket novels, though I'm also suffering a fierce need to begin Cormac McCarthy's The Road and read Moby Dick again.

And, just to complicate things, Final Fantasy XII arrives on Tuesday.

I'm pretty sure this entry has turned into a Wicked Tool of Procrastination, as it's now fourteen minutes past time to make the doughnuts. The platypus just frowned at me. Okay. Right. I know. I'm coming...

Mars House

Oct. 25th, 2006 11:14 am
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
I may need to do two entries today. There's just too much stuff. I make little notes on my engagement calendar thingy during the day, things I might mention in the blog. The lists are rarely very long. But today's list, in the space delineated for 25 Wednesday, takes up a column and a half. Such a momentous day yesterday. For example, tempted by a Tootsie Fruit Roll (they used to be called Tootsie Flavor Rolls, I'm pretty sure), I bit the frell out of my tongue. Way back in the back on the left side. There was a meaty crunch as molars met tongue, then there was lots of blood. Which is what I get, I suppose, for being tempted by candy I shouldn't be eating in the first place. Damned trick-or-treaters. I was lisping last night, but this morning the swelling's down. I wish it had taken the pain with it. But, see what I mean? Exciting day.

Not long after I posted yesterday's entry, Bill Schafer called to say that Alabaster was sold out. He said he even had to turn some people away. What this means is that the collection is no longer available directly from the publisher. You may still purchase it from Amazon.com or other bookdealers, but probably only for another week or three. So, if you want a copy and don't have it yet, try a bookdealer, but don't wait too long to do so. Oh, and if anyone out there happens to have the issue of Locus (October '06, I think) with the full-page ad for Alabaster and could bear to part with it, I would love to have a copy for my files. I would send you some little token of my gratitude in exchange.

Yesterday was pretty evenly divided between e-mail (of which there was a veritable hillock) and The Dinosaurs of Mars. I'm trying to actually begin writing the novella, but I keep getting sucked into additional research. I spent a couple of hours yesterday reading the various crack-pot assertions posited by Richard C. Hoagland via his The Enterprise Mission website. I think I spent the most time on the pages devoted to "proving" his claim that Saturn's moon Iapetus is an artificial world. All this stuff is directly relevant to The Dinosaurs of Mars, but I still feel like a fool reading it. I actually find myself feeling sorry for Hoagland. It's obvious that he believes these things, and he believes them with passion, and they are wonderful fictions. If these things were true, if there was the science to back him up, what a wonderful lot of marvels we'd have. I can forgive his desire to believe, just not his sloppy logic, self-delusion, and endless ad hoc reasoning as he tries to dodge falsification. Also, it should be noted that Hoagland has abused the ellipse, both in print and online, as no other person writing in the English language has ever dared.

Perhaps today the first few sentences of The Dinosaurs of Mars will come to me, and then the flood of words will follow. Since I know this novella needs to be about 35,000 words long, I may use one of those goofy Zokutou word meters, mostly to keep me from letting the story sprawl over to 40,000 or 50,000 words. It's the sort of story that could easily do that. Sprawl. And having to go back and edit for length is worse even than having to write in the first place. Oh, I think I may try covering all the windows in the house with a film of orange-coloured acetate. Not only will this get rid of the wan autumn/winter light that tends to depress me, it will also give me nice orange Mars light. All the world is my holodeck.

Late yesterday, there was another trip to Emory, for yet more for research.

Sirenia Digest #11 will be along before too much longer. Vince is working on the illustration for "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4)," which he has declared a "creepy" story. I should hope so!

Anyway, yeah, perhaps I'll do another entry later this afternoon or this evening, because there are a couple of films I'd like to talk about, and it's noon and I should be getting to work. I will leave you with the dazzling cover of Subterranean Magazine #6, which will include my new sf story, "Zero Summer" (formerly known as "Night"), behind the cut:

Mimas or Bust )
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
We had a freeze warning last night. Which is to say, the cold came to Atlanta early this year.

Last night, I finally, finally found the "story" and the narrative structure for The Dinosaurs of Mars. I talked and talked and talked and talked and Spooky wisely scribbled lots of notes so there would be no forgetting. I have to admit, I was beginning to panic. I had a great title and a basic concept I loved, but the whole plot thing wouldn't come together. That can be absolutely frelling terrifying, especially when the book in question has already been sold to a publisher who's very excited about it (in this case, Subterranean Press). But now I have it. And so all I have to do is sit here and write. And, amazingly, I think this vision for The Dinosaurs of Mars has all the disparate elements I wanted it to have. I think it's going to be something very cool, this book.

Speaking of Subterranean Press, I just got word from Bill Schafer that Alabaster will be out of print at the publisher in only a few more days. So, if you want to order directly from subpress, it's pretty much a now-or-never situation.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting here fretting over not being able to begin The Dinosaurs of Mars (I'd yet to have that "eureka" moment; that came much later in the day), and the fretting and frustration was turning to anger, so Spooky made me get away from the iBook and get dressed. And we wound up at Midtown for the 4:45 matinee of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. And it wowed me in just about every way that a movie can wow me. Certainly, Marie Antoinette is a worthy follow-up to Lost in Translation, and while it treats a very different time and subject, it still has very much the same feel as LiT. The cast is terrific, starting with Kirsten Dunst, who's come a long way since Interview with a Vampire. I'm always pleased when a child actor can make the transition to adult actor. Plus we get Judy Davis, Rip Torn, Steve Coogan, the painfully sexy Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull, Molly Shannon, and Shirley Henderson. The soundtrack was perfect, as were all the other little anachronisms placed here and there (the chucks especially delighted Spooky). The cinematography is beautiful. And I very much appreciated the film's attention to the irony of Louis XVI having been advised to aid the American colonists in their revolt against England, only to have the American Revolution inspire the French Revolution and Louis and Antoinette's downfall. As for that nasty business of some members of the French press having booed the film's screening at Cannes, I liked what Roger Ebert had to say on the subject: "Yes, there was booing. But I was present at the screening and would guess not more than five people, maybe ten, booed. Many others applauded. Booing is always shocking to North American critics; I am not sure I have heard booing more than once or twice in all my years at the Toronto, Sundance, Telluride, Chicago, Montreal or New York festivals. In Europe, they boo all the time, sometimes because they think a film is bad, sometimes because it is, according to them, politically incorrect." Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, by the way.

My thanks to the very dear and generous [livejournal.com profile] shadowcircus of the Shadow Circus Creature Theatre in San Francisco. One of his signature puppets, Overlord Hatchet the Velociraptor, was retired after years of stalking the Tenderloin and was sent to spend his remaining days with me and Spooky. I'll post photos when I find the time. Drad.

Right. Time to make the doughnuts and whatnot and suchlike. This writing life, it ain't all tea and crumpets and Velociraptors.

Postscript: Bill Schafer (subpress) just called again to say that, actually, it appears now that the Dancy Flammarion collection, Alabaster, illustrated by Ted Naifeh, may be only a couple of hours from selling out at the publisher. So, yeah, what I said above, only more-so. Also, be warned that Tales from the Woeful Platypus is going fast. If it does as well as Frog Toes and Tentacles, it's gonna sell out well in advance of publication, so those who want a copy are encouraged to pre-order now. By the way, I just realised that, since 2002, I've done something like 14 books with subpress. How weird is that?
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Let it never be said that I am utterly incapable of thwarting those pleasant distractions that would woo me away from the keyboard, that would drive me towards relaxation and entertainment, when there are words to be written and deadlines to be met. Byron just called to see if we wanted to take in a matinee of the new Jet Li movie with him. That's how I would have preferred to spend this day; instead, I will be writing my next bit of the collaboration with Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) for Sirenia Digest. Argh.

Quite a good writing day yesterday. I did 1,129 words on "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" and finished the vignette about five p.m. The final three quarters of the piece came to me in an appropriately fiery torrent. I've decided I'm keeping the title. Now, I have a week to write the remaining 5,921 words of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, if I'm to meet my new deadline of October 1st. I'm thinking that "The Black Alphabet" will be the accompanying chapbook for this volume, which will give me the opportunity to present both halves together.

I slept seven and a half hours last night, which feels like all the sleep in the world, the way things have been this past week. And the worst of the dreams were not so bad. So, my head's clearer today than it's been in some time.

I got the fifth section of our collaboration from Sonya yesterday (we still need a title). Today, I'll write section six. Also, I got the pencils for "Untitled 24" from Vince. A beautiful illustration this will be. Late in the day, I spoke with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press concerning my next subpress project, The Dinosaurs of Mars, to be published after the fashion of The Dry Salvages, as a stand-alone hardback novella. I shall likely be writing it in October. Details TBA. Oh, also I should mention that Sirenia Digest 11 (October) will include an interview with Vince Locke, which should be very drad.

Late, we had a good and unremarkable walk. TCM's showing a bunch of old Dick Cavett Show episodes, and last night was the interview with Robert Mitchum, which I had to see. I think it originally aired in 1971, as there was some mention of Ryan's Daughter having just been filmed. In 1971 I was only six years old, or seven, depending whether we're talking pre- or post-May 26th. Then we got back to Shakespeare with Kenneth Branagh's 1993 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, which I find thoroughly delightful. I've always thought it one of Shakespeare's weaker works, but Branagh gets the most from it. Even Keanu Reeves' inexplicable presence doesn't manage to muck things up, and Michael Keaton's Beetlejuice-esque take on Dogberry is priceless. I'd not seen it since the theatrical release. I'm very frustrated, by the way, that (as far as I can tell) Brannagh's superb adaptations of Hamlet and Henry V are both currently unavailable on DVD. Anyway, after Benedick and Beatrice and Messina, not yet ready for bed, I went back to TCM for more Robert Mitchum, the original 1962 version of John D. MacDonald's Cape Fear, directed by J. Lee Thompson. And then, about 2:15 or so, I crawled away to bed. I drifted off to sleep listening to Zoe Keating and thinking about The Dinosaurs of Mars.

That was yesterday. Except I left out the part about having to go to frelling Target, because we need a lot of candles for Mabon and Samhain and couldn't pay a lot for them. Target's not quite as nasty as Wal-Mart, but it's within spitting distance. If Wal-Mart's ebola, then Target is surely at least bubonic plague. And the nastiness of the Target down on Moreland is compounded by the fact that it has a Pizza Hut and Starbuck's inside. But at least we got a lot of candles.

Okay. I must go write. I'm missing Byron and Jet Li for this, after all. Don't forget: you can still get both Alabaster and Daughter of Hounds from Amazon.com for a mere $27.70. Just do it. Please. Now.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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