greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The Weather Channel says "It's a perfect day to call in sick. Did we say that out loud? But seriously, the Northeast will enjoy a beautiful spring-like day." But when I look at today's forecast I see that the predicted high is a paltry 48˚F (it's presently 43˚F), with a mostly cloudy sky. Which to me, to someone who grew up in the South, is about the same as saying today will be a "beautiful midwinter-like day." Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to rise as high as 56˚F, which is at least approaching "spring-like." But it's going to rain. Fuck you, Mr. Weather Channel.

I'm never going to be who I'm never going to be.

But look who I've become.

Yesterday, I didn't finish the pseudo-vignette that's still titled "Apostate." Instead, I spent the day doing other writerly stuff. Email with my agent, Dark Horse editor, and suchlike. And other stuff. Honestly, I can't even remember much of it, so it truly must have been dull, indeed. My publicist wants to get the book trailer (the "teaser") up on the Penguin website for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (right now, they don't even have the final cover up), and on the book's Amazon.com page. Which means I need to get him a DVD with "a compressed video file (preferably in .mov format and smaller than 100mb)," or use a legal file-sharing service, such as Dropbox.net. See? Exciting shit.

But! Here's something bow tie. You'll recall that on Sunday, there was the final shoot for book's full-length trailer, Kyle and Brian and Sara in the wilds of winter-stricken Pennsylvania, Sara in a beautiful dress made for the occasion by Kambriel. And here are two of the shots (behind the cut):

What India Found in the Forest )


And you may purchase prints of these and many of the other stills from the project right here. All proceeds will be used to offset our overages (yeah, we went over budget), and right now Kyle and I (and mostly Kyle) are covering that debt. This particular shot of Sara is on sale, for a short time,

Nothing interesting about the non-work part of yesterday. I had a hot bath. We had left over turkey chili (I am losing weight). We leveled our Twi'lek Jedi to 13. I read about Lyme Regis and 19th Century ichthyosaur discoveries. No more than that.

Today, more email, and I'm expecting the editorial notes of Alabaster #4, and I'll actually finish "Apostate."

Feeling Her Years,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
This afternoon, I'm missing Alabama.

Here, it's vaguely, unenthusiastically sunny. That sky could at least have the decency to snow. Then again, for Providence, we've hardly had a winter. Right now, it's 43˚F. Hey, winter! Shit or get off the goddamn pot, already.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,157 words on a new pseudo-vignette, "Camuffare." It's quiet, and easy, and strange. It's not at all what I expected to be writing this month, but maybe it's what I need to be writing – assuming I need to be writing anything at all. Let us make no a priori assumptions. But, so far, I like "Camuffare."

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack asked, Will it benefit you, in terms of your standing with the publisher re sales etc. more if I preorder The Drowning Girl, or if I walk into a shop and buy it within the first week of release? Truthfully? I don't think anyone knows. Publishers are insane about preorders. Publishers are equally insane about the first six weeks of a book's release. It pretty much comes down to that. Unless a book blows the whole world away via preorders or those first six weeks of sales, screw it. It never happened. What's next? Yes, it genuinely is like that. So, to answer your question, I'd say preorder, if only because that's more convenient to you.

Speaking of preorders, it's very important that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart does very, very well. So, please. If you can preorder, do. And thank you. And don't forget what Emerson said. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Anyway, here's the cover (by Lee Moyer), in case you've never followed one of the hundred or so links I've posted (them blue ladies with horns, they gets me every darned time):



It occurs to me that the only drawback to murder is the inevitable post-homicide emotional crash. Oh, and my thanks to everyone who followed the link to Amazon's page for The Drowning Girl and took a second to click like. All 88 of you. If nothing else, I know that 88 people read yesterday's entry. Of course, if you didn't click yesterday, you can always click today.

---

Last night, I swore I wouldn't play SW:toR. The GLBT-friendly RP guild we joined has finally started going to shit. But, you know, two weeks of decent RP before everything begins to come apart in nonsense and drivel is ahead of the curve, right? Anyway...at least it's not my guild. And, anyway, don't grownups do grownup shit? I always imagined it would be that way. I'd grow up, and there'd be 9-5, martinis, bills, vacations, a two-car garage, wild orgies, lawn flamingos, funerals, dinner parties, and 2.5 children. Well, okay, I got the bills, but the rest of it? Nowhere to be seen.

So, instead of playing with all the other grownup children, we streamed movies on the iPad (in 1975, when I was eleven, that sentence would have been science fiction). First, Elliott Lester's very so-so Blitz (2011). Not a great film, but not a bad film, and, what the hell, I'd pay to watch Jason Statham eat a sandwich (I have the same problem with Bruce Willis).

But then...then we came across this film I'd never heard of, even though I should have heard of it. Bless the Child, directed by Chuck Russell (2000). I looked at the cast – Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits (okay, not too interesting so far, but wait for it), Rufus Sewell (see, now we're getting somewhere), Angela fucking Bettis, Christina Ricci, and Ian Holm. And...what a total piece of shit! It might have scraped lows in Xtian horror that few Xtian horror films had previously scraped. The screenplay didn't even manage to be hilariously bad. It was just bad; no ambition. The cinematography had all the artistry of something made for Lifetime. There were some CGI demons that probably would have been interesting to see twelve years ago. There were lots of Evil Goths® and plot holes and pot holes and scary Catholic histrionics and Rufus Sewell trying really, really hard to sound villainous, but you can tell the poor guy's thinking, Yup. This is the end of my career. It's all downhill from here. Oh, wait. Christina Ricci's head falls off. That was pretty cool. And, frankly, the actor who played the Jesus-in-a-dress kid, Holliston Coleman, she carried the whole film on her tiny shoulders, and got all the best lines, and was the cutest little saviour of humanity ever. Gagh. Guys, you have to see this film. It's so bad – in a harmless, stupid, slobbering dog sort of way – you have to see it. Only 3% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! 3%! I still don't know how I missed it in theatres.

Oh, and then we played SW:toR, anyway.

And then I finished Chris McGowan's The Dragon Seekers. And that was yesterday.

Perpetually Adolescent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
My thoughts are well and truly scattered this morning. No, excuse me. This afternoon, as it is now 12:58 p.m. CaST (though only 11:58 ayem EST, hence still morning). I don't feel like resorting to numbers and bullet points today, either, so bear with me, or don't bear with me.

Bear with me. One of those interesting turns of phrase that I have to wonder if many people ever pause to consider the older, more genuine meanings. Bear. With. Me.

We were planning to be at the VNV Nation show in Boston tonight, and the fabulous Chris Ewen even saw to it that we were on the guest list. Then, yesterday, fearing the possibility of contracting some illness from the crowd, and fearing my deadlines, we pulled out. And our two places on the guest list were raffled last night by Chris, while he DJed at Heroes (DJed as in disc jokey, not as in a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability, id est, djed). So, two happy people will be taking our places tonight, and congratulations to them, but doing good rarely serves as much in the way of consolation if you are me. And I am. Me, I mean.

And I can’t fall asleep without a little help.
It takes a while to settle down,
My shivered bones,
Until the panic‘s out.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

Yesterday, I discovered that (as is so rarely actually ever the case) the third time was the charm with "Sexing the Weird," and I finished a new 1,525-word version of "Sexing the Weird," which will serve as the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And I like it. Also, this morning (it truly was still ayem CaST) I received Sonya's afterword, "But She Also Lies Broken and Transformed." So, aside from Kathryn and I making about a bazillion corrections to the main text, then getting that text back to Bill Schafer, the book is done. Still no firm release date or date when pre-orders will begin. Later. It's safe to say it will be later, in both cases.

And today, I begin the aforementioned short story about the two women who become cities, for Sirenia Digest #72. And that reminds me to, again, remind you that responses to "Question @ Hand #5" are due by midnight (CaST) on the 7th. Also a caveat: best to avoid humor. I suppose I should have been clear about this from the beginning, but I didn't actually see this as a humorous undertaking (though humor and horror are always loping about, unsightly, hand in hand, I know); I am in an earnest state of mind.

Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher dans la compagnie calme.
Et je pouvais ne tomber pas dormir sans un peu aidé;
Il prendre beaucoup à se calmer mon os de frissonnement
Tant que la panique est dehors.
~ The National, "Amour terrible"

Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama. Which is the height of peculiarity, given how neither place was ever a home to me, despite the fact that I lived there almost all my life. My relationship with the South could probably serve as a case study in Das Unheimliche.

Later, we watched the next-to-latest episode of American Horror Story, and, gods – Zachary Quinto in latex. Later still, for want of physical, non-virtual company or any other "real-world" diversion, we played Rift. This morning, Spooky was telling me about the offensive comments coming in over level twenty-something to level thirty-something chat – and I didn't ask for specifics, but I assume it was the usual homophobic, racist, sexist ramblings. I keep everything but guild and RP chat off, so I always miss this shit in Rift. I got enough of it in WoW. But it's not ever encountered in actual gameplay – and last night was a good example – people are consistently polite and often helpful (unlike the situation in WoW). It leads me to suspect that an awful lot of people log in merely to "socialize," and likely they're fairly young, or actual kids, and talking hate shit is the false bravado of their generation, as it has been of all generations. Which, of course, makes it no less disheartening, and reminds me why I stay out of Meridian ("New Orgrimmar") as much as possible and always keep general chat switched off. Gaming is, for me (RP aside), a fundamentally solitary exercise, and forget the "massively multiplayer" part. I rarely game with anyone but Spooky. We duo. Anything to avoid the chimps on crack who cram into so much of gamespace.

Ah, and here's a thing I thought I'd post. Behind the cut. Twenty fantasy books that exerted an especial influence on me as an adolescent, in no particular order (behind the cut):

Twenty+ )

And yeah, I cheated and that is many more than twenty books, but I still feel as if many important things have been left out. Ah, well. For another time, yes. But if you have not read all these books at least once, shame on thee.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

Bright outside, and warm. I'd be on my way to Moonstone for a day of swimming, if the passing of Katia (the hurricane that's taking a Norwegian vacation) hadn't left the whole Eastern Seaboard with dangerous rip currents. So, instead, I will sit and work. Weekends are for...people who aren't writers. Just like vacations (I'm looking at you, Katia), retirement, and health insurance.

And I had dreams that are nagging at me, even though I can't remember them. And I have a headache I've had since last night. But other than that, hey man, as far as I know, the motherfucker's tiptop.

I don't get a lot of headaches, and they make me extra not right. Sorry.

Yesterday, I worked. Let's be safe and leave it at that. Oh, I will add that I needed Spooky to help me, and she displayed magnificent restraint and didn't kill me.

No matter how much time I spend on the internet (and it's a shameful LOT of time), I have a fairly low opinion of it. But every now and then someone has a good idea, and that good idea actually works. This is the case with Kickstarter, which has made crowdsourcing a practical option for many of us who often cannot find a traditional, conventional source for funding this or that project. The success of mine and Spooky's Tales of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter astounded me. I never thought it would work. But we not only met our goal, we received 212% of what we'd hoped for. And now, with mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, as I write this we are in the Kickstarter's final hour, and its funded at 298%. So, not only will Spooky and I be producing this wonderful little book based on her raven paintings, but Kyle and I will be creating a set of photographs and a short film based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A couple of years ago, none of these things would have happened. So, thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you donors. We will not let you down (though we may be slow as fuck).

---

Last night, rather impulsively, we decided to drive over to the Providence Place Mall (we avoid this place like all bad things that are to be avoided), because there's a Borders there. I sort of felt an obligation to see the end of Borders firsthand. And...it was sort of horrifying and sad and, yet, peculiarly gratifying. Looking at what seemed like, in some parallax trick, to be miles upon miles of empty shelving, it became clearer than it has yet been that we stand at the end of an old age of publishing. I don't want to admit it, and I have no idea what the next age will look like, but there's no denying this is a transitional event. The horror and sadness, that came from seeing books that had, essentially, been reduced to worthless chunks of paper, devalued, stripped of their supposed, inherent merit, 70%-90% off. The peculiar gratification (and I know this is petty), that came from seeing the fall of one of the monoliths that took out so many small and extremely valuable bookstores over the last two decades. What goes around...

But there was, of course, this other thing. This other thing, that was fear. I am a writer, and here is my livelihood, in part, here in the store, and it's dying. No, it's dead, and we were just hanging with the last round of vultures (the lions, hyenas, and jackals left days ago), as the maggot-riddled carcass was picked clean. Oh, I know my career will survive, however the presentation of the art I create might eventually be altered, whatever form it might take. But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.

And Borders had it coming, just as Barnes and Nobles has it coming. Just as Amazon has it coming. In time, they all fall, because everything does. Because greed is an absolute with a single inevitable outcome.

Anyway, eulogies and nostalgia aside, there really wasn't much left to buy, which made it easy to be good kids. Oh, there were veritable fucking mountains of celebrity bios, especially books about Sarah and Bristol Palin. It was satisfying seeing how many of those were left. There were sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks that had no business having been published in the first place, and tons of YA vampire dreck. "Literature" was gutted, as was "Science," except for theoretical mathematics. We must have been there about an hour (it was very hot, and the fluorescent lights were making me woozy), and we spent about $45, picking those bones, and came away with:

The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (2009), Christopher Cokinos
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (1996, 2011) by Robert Zubrin
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (2011) by Juliet Eilperin
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland* (2010) by Jenny Woolf*
Katharine Hepburn: A Life in Pictures (2009) Edited by Pierre-Henri Verlhac**

...and one DVD, the only one left worth a cent, the two-disc special edition of Tony Scott's True Romance (1993).

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

Later, I had some decent RP in Insilico. I read Joe R. Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" from The Book of Cthulhu. Now, understand – Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100. I once had dinner with him on the Thames, a Chinese restaurant on a huge boat, restaurant with some fucking absurd name like the Floating Lotus. Anyway, that's a story for another time. But "The Crawling Sky" is one of those rare cases where a funny Lovecraftian story works. First off, understand that this is like Cormac McCarthy writing a Lovecraft story, filmed by the Cohen Bros., starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Now, understand that, no matter how fucking funny the story may be, the "mythos" elements weren't being spoofed, but were taken pretty seriously. Anyway, yes. One of the anthology's gems. This line, I must quote: "He had the kind of features that could make you wince; one thing God could do was he could sure make ugly." Lansdale is, among other things, to be lauded for keeping the "weird western" alive.

Gods, what a fucking long blog entry! Gotta work!

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Because I really didn't want to title this Readercon 22 (III), and I've just awakened from a nap of cataclysmic proportions, despite having slept in the broiling car on the way back from Burlington to Providence. If title must be explained, that's why. I am home, with another Shirley Jackson Award stone to sit upon my shelf. But what matters is I am home.

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

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

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

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

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

Here again,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Turns out, after driving to Birmingham, I had to forgo the dental appointment. We were home by noon yesterday. I'm no closer to knowing what the pain in my face is all about, and we're making an appointment with a local dentist. Screw this driving to Alabama nonsense. As for my doctor, she wants to put me on medication that will interfere with my ability to write, which makes sense, as she suspects I'm writing too much and the writing-related exhaustion is a major factor in my present health problems. I did point out that if I miss deadlines, I cannot pay medical bills. Hell, if I make deadlines, I still can't pay medical bills. Anyway, after we got home, we spent the better part of yesterday extracting shards of Budweiser bottles and knobby sweet potatoes from my buttocks. Which is to say, in an ideal universe, Robert Frost might have come across as a less-naive poet. Which is to say, this bit from "The Death of a Hired Man":

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in."

"I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve."


...well, it's bollocks. I mean, yeah, I wish, and I still love Robert Frost, if only for the sound of his words, but bollocks.

Yesterday, I received the cover flaps for the new mass-market edition of Murder of Angels, which goes on sale April 1st, 2008. Overall, I'm very happy with the cover. Penguin used the same model for Niki that they used for the mmp Silk cover. Anyway, much more to say on both these books (and the mass-market paperbacks, in general) tomorrow. Today, I find myself not in the mood to write about writing.

So, here are some links, instead:

From the Natural Resources Defense Council, a much-needed petition asking the US government to extend protection to polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.

Also, Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno has declared creationism to be a form of paganism. Well, duh. Still, this is a weird one for me, as I cheer all jabs at creationism and "intelligent design," but cannot help but be annoyed at Consolmagno's comment that what's so troublesome about creationism is "it's turning God into a nature god." For my part, the only gods worth a damn are nature gods, but since my concept of gods views them as metaphorical, or as focal points for consciousness, I suppose I can shrug this off and just be glad that even the Catholics still want nothing to do with creationists (the Vatican has a long history of denouncing "scientific" creationism). I also love Consolmagno's description of the concept of Papal infallibility as a "PR disaster," and this statement regarding the Pope: "It's not like he has a magic power, that God whispers the truth in his ear."

And lest I leave you with the thought that I have a soft spot for the Church, here's this bit about the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (cough), denouncing the film adaptation as a platform for atheism aimed at children. Meanwhile, of course, the British Secular Society is pissed that the anti-Church aspects of the novels were watered down for the film. Me, I just want to see the bears...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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