greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
January is almost over, and we've had one snow. It only lasted a day before the melting began. I only have four data points from which to work, so my results are suspect, but based on those four, it's been an unusual winter here in Providence. Sunny today, and presently 39˚F.

I haven't seen the sea since sometime in mid December.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,249 words and finished "Camuffare." It's an unexpectedly gentle story. And, despite being very, very strange, it's certainly one of the most straightforwardly sexual (as opposed to more broadly erotic) I've written for the Digest. Quiet. I'm very pleased with it. Today, I begin a second piece for #74, for which I presently have no title.

I fear, these last few days, I may have been backsliding on the diet.

Last night, determined to stay off SW:toR (and we did!), we binged on whatever you call it when you stream video through a laptop. We watched last week's episode of Fringe – superb – then moved along to two films. SPOILERS The first, The Vicious Brothers' Grave Encounters (2011) came recommended by a friend who's taste is often in sync with our own. And...Grave Encounters is almost a very creepy film done very well. Almost. It has moments of brilliance. But, in the end, there are too many examples of the creators' never having learned that, more often than not, when tugging at the strings that control dread and outright fear, less is much more. We do not need hackneyed images cadged from hundreds of Japanese horror films and the like, not when the filmmakers have actually plugged into what makes Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves such a wondrous thing (stretches of this movie are close to straightforward adaptations of the novel). There's imagery and circumstance within Grave Encounters so effective that we don't need actual ghosts and monsters popping out of the walls. Whenever the ghoulies appear, the atmosphere and tension are shattered, and the whole thing threatens to careen into camp. You ought to see the film for those parts that work (none of which I will here spoil), but you also ought to know that, in the end, the film falls apart, and the conclusion, which literally opens a door into a blackness so profound it might have been genius, is squandered on cheesy images of pretend occultism and mad scientists. Okay, that's a spoiler. Sorry. But someone needs to take the "Vicious Brothers" (guys, get actual names...really, please) aside and show them how they almost made a truly impressive film. SPOILER ALERT ENDS

Afterwards, we watched Ole Bornedal's Nightwatch (1997; based on Bornedal's Nattevagten, 1994). Nice cast, including Ewan McGregor, Patricia Arquette, Nick Nolte, and Brad Dourif, plus an utterly inspired bit performance by Lonny Chapman. It's not a great film. It's a nice thriller with a decent amount of tension. If you're the sort who watches a "whodunit," and actually expects to have a hard time figuring out "whodunit," you'll be disappointed. I'm not that sort of person. And Ewan McGregor rocks. Even in bad Star Wars films. And Brad fucking Dourif. So, there you go. I enjoyed it.

Also, I began reading The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling, a biography of Mary Anning.

Now...I should go make words.

Trust Me,
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: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Quite cold in Providence today, and colder tonight. Presently 36˚ Fahrenheit, crawling towards a high of 39˚.

Assembly Day #72 went pretty much as expected: not as tedious as many, but still tedious enough to annoy a person who, like me, can't seem to abide even the smallest jot of tedium. Regardless, Sirenia Digest #72 went out last night, well before midnight, and all subscribers should have it by now. I'm especially interested in thoughts on "Another Tale of Two Cities."

Beyond pulling the digest together, which took several hours, there isn't much else to say about yesterday. Work, work, and work. And, in lieu of anything even remotely interesting to say about that work, here are some Reminding Links:

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart

Alabaster

Oh, and if you're into this sort of thing, here's my Amazon wishlist and here's Spooky's. What with Solstice and Cephalopodmas looming dark and gibbous on the horizon. You know, for kids. Distraction is always welcome.

---

Mon monsieur, mon amour, le Comte de Insomnie, made an unexpected return last night. Perhaps something went amiss with the laudanum, a bad batch from the apothicaire. A misplaced dash from a tincture of cocaïne, possibly. At any rate, last night, trying to get sleepy, and so I read Lisa Tuttle's recent short story, "The Man in the Ditch," because Tuttle has written some good stuff, and I liked the title. Sadly, the story is bland, only competent, and infected with an especial sort of bland, formulaic mundanity I'm seeing in a lot of "horror" these days, both written and in film. Couple moves into house, apartment, condo, old farm only to discover that the domicile is haunted by malevolent spirit of X (insert generic EVIL entity of your choice). Family X (which can be nuclear or otherwise, pure or tainted, possessed of children or not, but they are pretty much always heterosexual) soon meets terrible fate at the hands of X, or, more rarely, escapes after the fashion of The Amityville Horror (1977) or Spielberg's Poltergeist (1982); Ryan Murphy is turning this tired trope on its ear with his American Horror Story, by the way, by mocking the various incarnations of X and by making the ghosts sympathetic and the X Family the true monsters/invaders. Point is, these are the sorts of films that when Spooky and I are looking for something to stream from Netflix we automatically skip over, the sorts of books I avoid. Anyway, despite its intriguing title, "The Man in the Ditch" is exactly such a story.

Which leads me to wonder exactly what all these straight couples are afraid of. The intrusion of the Outside, the Unknown, via a supernatural agency? No, I think that's only a metaphor – the ghosts and demons and whatnot. They are merely tiresome phantoms trotted out for more mundane (there's that word again) threats: infidelity, an inability to conceive, sudden infant death syndrome, bankruptcy and foreclosure, children who indulge in drugs or engage in sex or who turn out to be queer or who run away from home, termites in the walls, AIDS and other STDs, bedbugs, and so forth. But instead of writing about those things, it's all dressed up in the metaphor of "horror." And it's dull as small-curd cottage cheese, and it makes me weary. I may miss a beat now and then, kittens, but I promise never to bore you with such painful domesticity. Lisa Tuttle, you can do better than this.

At any rate, the vacation does not begin until the 15th, so I must get to work.

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

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

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

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

Spooky's muttering about washing her hair.

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

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

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

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

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

Stopping Before Someone Gets Hurt,
Aunt Beast

*A novel I might be able to write by 2014.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,689 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. The chapter is now about halfway finished, but I'm clearly going to have to set it aside and attend to Sirenia Digest until #68 goes out to subscribers.

Yesterday's pages were...different. Grimmer (or at least gorier) than most of this book has been. But as Spooky pointed out, still funny. It's a strange, strange trick – for me – that this book is being used to turn. Anyway, when I say funny I do not necessarily mean guffaw funny. Maybe sometimes I do. Maybe. More often than not, I mean the sort of funny that brings a knowing smile. I'm not a comedian. Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction (1994) when Vince accidentally blows Marvin's head off? The scene is funny as hell. I'd like to think that when this book will make you "laugh out loud," it'll be because a scene or a line of dialogue worked like Marvin's unfortunate head. The way that scene worked. Or, better still, the funnier stuff that followed immediately afterwards. Or Vince and Jules trying to wash Marvin's blood off their hands in Jimmie Dimmick's sparkling suburban bathroom:

The actual scene I'm referring to here is behind the cut:

Pulp Fiction 74 )

Now...it's trickier than this. Much so, actually. Because Quentin Tarantino, he had your eyes on his side. He had Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta and the film's camera crew and editors. Tarantino had delivery, inflection, subtle and not so subtle facial expressions, a whole bag chocked full of visual aids (the bloody towel is, for example, hilarious). But if you are one of the three people on Earth who have never seen the film (well, shame the fuck on you), odds are this scene might read rather flatly. Even though (I shit you not, as Siobahn Quinn would say), "I watched you get 'em wet," is one of the funniest lines ever uttered in any film.

Coming to Blood Oranges, I was well aware of my handicap. No visual aids. No actors bringing their talents to bear on the problem at hand. Just me, and me, and me, and a whole lot of words. If I can't make you see it the way I need you to see it, make you hear it as I intend it to be heard, and so forth...all attempts at humor will fall flat.

There's a reason I've never tried this trick before. Well, hardly ever have I tried it. Anyway, thing is, Pulp Fiction, though very funny throughout, isn't actually a comedy (and if you throw out that "dramedy" shit, I'll punch you in the face; sorry, that's what Quinn would have said...or Jules Winfield...or Vince Vega). And see, Blood Oranges isn't actually a comedy....

Comedy and horror live right next door. Hell, most times, they share a bunk.

***

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented, regarding the WFA nomination for The Ammonite Violin & Others, "Who would have thought that an online poll to start up a few monthly vignettes would have led to all this?" And I realized that, in effect, Sirenia Digest has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Which left me completely stunned and delighted.

Oh, and you sorry-ass Russian hacker scum, I can only hope that every time you close your goddamn eyes, you see this staring back at you:



Stunned,
Aunt Beast
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: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, a new name for the blog. Names come and names go. They can have no more permanence than may faces. Yesterday, I was seized by the need for a change, so thank you, Elvis Costello. Also, I think I won't much longer feel like "greygirlbeast." I think, in my older years, I may simply become "Aunt Beast" (thank you, Madeleine L'Engle and also Joah). If the shoe fits...but sadly, I don't think I can ever change the name of this account.*

There's a rather marvelous review at Zone-SF.com, one of the best I've read of The Red Tree. I have only one quibble, and it's that the reviewer veers off course near the end by assuming knowledge of authorial intent. I do not see The Red Tree as a book meant to go "raising those hairs on the back of the neck." If it does that for you, fine. But do not expect that effect. I'm not the one who labels me "horror" (or whatever). And yeah, this does matter. If a reader perceives a text as existing within a given genre, then they burden it with the expectations of that genre, shoeboxing it and expecting it to deliver X or Y or Z, when it's very likely the author was going for Q or G. Any book may only fail or succeed on its own merits, not relative to any other book, or based on how well it works when perceived as any given genre.

Still, a really good review. And I hope I don't sound ungrateful, because I don't mean to. But the Constant Reader will recall what a sore spot this is for me.

---

Now, the Mars story. It would seem that I was asking one too many stories of myself this autumn. And the story wasn't coming...again. Even after I reshelved "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" and began "On a Lee Shore." I lost a week staring at the screen, and staring, and not writing. Fortunately, the anthology's editor (both TBA) has accepted "Tidal Forces" in lieu of a Mars story. So, all's well that ends well (even though I did lose that week). Now, I just have to get Sirenia Digest written, and get back to work on The Drowning Girl. Oh, and pull together the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between for subpress. That's not so much...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so inclined. Still recovering from the joys of income taxes. Thanks.

---

So...Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The highlights. Well, on Friday, I tried to write a Mars story, but I've covered that already. I also got a really big box of Mike Mignola books from Rachel Edidin at Dark Horse Comics, who it seems may soon be my editor. I've already devoured the first two "library editions" of Hellboy. "Pancakes" is sheer brilliance. The books were the best bit of Friday. Reading the comics, I'd swear Mignola wrote the character with Ron Perlman in mind.

On Saturday, it became obvious to me the Mars story wasn't happening any time soon, and I contacted the aforementioned editor. Also, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, which was especially good.

Yesterday, we left the House. I'd not been out since the 9th, and the weather was good (today, it's not). We just wandered about town, east of the river. There were antique shops on Wickenden Street, and another trip to What Cheer at Wayland Square. There was an exquisitely embellished old car. There was an Indian grocery on Hope Street. We saw a sad clown driving a car. There were late splashes of autumn. There were two wonderful toy shops. We were good kids, and bought nothing. So, a good day, despite my agoraphobia, despite my ouranophobia. I kept my eyes on the ground, and all was well. Okay, not the entire time. I had to look up the three times Spooky spotted sundogs. But sundogs do not inspire dread or unease. It was a good day.

Back home, there were deli sandwiches, and I spent most of the evening with City of Heroes and Villains (while Spooky played LOTR Online; it's weird, us playing two different MMORPGs). My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for giving me a lot of help last night actually learning how to play the game. Verily, he has the patience of a glacier. And thanks to "Sekhmet" and "Enth'lye" for very good rp later on. Lizbeth, who is Erzébetta from the future, is regaining her glamour, even as she realizes she's not from the same timeline as this Erzébetta. Mistakes were made, which is why you should never try this at home, that whole fiddling with time thing. You never know which of the multiverses you'll land in...or create. Oh, very good rp on Saturday night, which was mostly Erzébetta and Sekhmet reliving the horror (yes, here the word applies) of a long ago night at Castle Csejte (near Trencín, Hungary), what really happened.

I will not thank Monsieur Insomnia, who kept me awake until after 5 ayem (CaST).

Sincerely Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast

...I am a goat girl.
Thinking goatish thoughts, dreaming goatish dreams,
Digging up tin cans, and chewing on your sleeve.
—— Tanya Donelly

14 November 2010 )


* I see that "auntbeast" is taken, but "aunt_beast" is not.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
My thanks to everyone who braved the storm on Saturday night to attend the Brown reading. Special thanks to Barry Dejasu, Bob Geake, and the rest of bookstore's staff, for inviting me and organizing the event (and thanks to Barry for the wonderful Charles Fort omnibus edition!). I read portions of chapters Six and Seven of The Red Tree. There are two or three photos, below, behind the cut.

Also, my thanks to everyone who bid in the most recent round of eBay auctions.

Saturday night, after the reading, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark treated me and Spooky to a very fine Indian dinner on Thayer Street. Outside, the rain was coming down in buckets. Walking to the car, my feet got soaked. Geoffrey accompanied us back to the house, and we stayed up until about 3:30 a.m., talking about anything and everything: Lovecraft, Crowley, music, witchcraft, the impending environmental collapse, misanthropy, writing and writers, chess, our misspent youths, the publishing industry, David Lynch, peculiar cats, and whether pigs have wings. It was a very fine evening, and it made me wish I had people over more often.

Yesterday was sunny and not-quite-cold, and Spooky and I were determined to get out and enjoy the autumn foliage, as it's falling fast. We made it down to her parent's place in Saunderstown, and got eggs, and picked apples for pies. I also picked up three ticks, but found them before the little bastards had a chance to bite. Spooky's mom gleefully incinerated them. Her dad's heading to Venezuela next month. But before stopping by the farm, we stopped in Wakefield, and admired the leaves, and a brilliant sun dog, from the bridge over over the Saugatucket River. The water was stained a dark black from tannin, and was very still and high. Indeed, it was so still, there was not a trace of current, and I suspect the dam's spillways might have been backed up.

Before Wakefield, we stopped at a deserted, decrepit house on Old North Road. The property is for sale, but the house itself, which must be at least a century old, is beyond saving. A man named Robert Mulholland lived there until a year or two ago, and apparently, all of his belongings were left in the house. Since then, the weather and vandals have not been kind to the place. We didn't risk the sagging roof and exposed nails to venture inside. We found a wonderful piece of pottery, and a china tea cup, and carried those away with us. That enormous slumping house, lost in a chest-high sea of brown ragweed, seemed to radiate (or at least focus) a sort of despair and desolation. Being there, and seeing the cast-off remnants of someone's life, abandoned like that and left to rot, the effect was ultimately more sad than creepy. That place, and all those decaying possessions, were once important to someone.

On the way back to Providence through Slocum, we saw the most spectacular sunset. It was almost a perfect day, and I get so few of those.

We took over a hundred photographs, and I'll be posting selections from them during the next few days.

---

I was pleased to get a very flattering mention in "Jonathan Maberry’s Big, Scary Blog," in his article "Still Scary After All These Years," which is a sort of compound interview with Del Howison, Joe Lansdale, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Golden, Deborah LeBlanc, Scott Nicholson, Ellen Datlow, Ray Garton, David Wellington, and Joe Nassise. When asked, "Who is writing good horror today?." Joe replied:

Caitlín Kiernan – A phenomenal writer who doesn’t get the public recognition she deserves for her work, Kiernan is a deft hand at creating worlds in which the supernatural is alive and well and hungry. She’s the type of writer that can make me doubt myself and throw up my hands in despair at ever being so good. Her Darcy Flammarion stories, featuring an albino teenager who speaks to angels and slays monsters lurking in human guise, are crafted extremely well and her novel length works, particularly her latest, The Red Tree, are fabulous. She’s a writer who cares about every word that goes on the page, it seems.

To which I can only reply, how can a writer not care about every single word that goes on the page? Regardless, as I said, I'm flattered, even if I prefer not to be considered a "horror writer."

---

Here are the photos from the reading Saturday night:

24 October 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white)
A cool night last night. We slept with the windows closed. A cool day today. I could even have my coffee hot. Tropical Storm Danny has us in his sights.

By the way...I was under the impression that TS/Hurricane names were only used once. Yet, there was a Hurricane Danny in July 1997. Played merry havoc with the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,035 words and finally finished "Werewolf Smile." The piece started as an idea (conceived in the Peace Dale Public Library on August 20th), intended to be a 2,000-word vignette. But, by the time I reached THE END, it had grown into a 7,435 word short story. So, that's a little something extra for Sirenia Digest subscribers this month. Today, I'll be starting a second piece for #45, based on an illustration by Vince Locke (I'll post the illustration tomorrow), but I think we're talking trilobite sex. Regardless, this second piece has to be short, the vignette I mean it to be. My intentions have to count for something, as I'm very, very short on time.

Regardless, I'm glad to be done with "Werewolf Smile," as it was taking me someplace darker than even I am generally comfortable going. Then again, that might sound like hype, and truthfully, all this shit's subjective. Darkness is like eroticism, in its penchant for subjectivity. What you find painfully dark (or unbearably sexy), might have no effect on me. What takes me to the edge, might well leave you cold.

Please have a look at the latest round of eBay auctions. Bid if you are so able and inclined. Thank you. We tend to offer the hard-to-find books more cheaply than you will find them elsewhere.

No work on the website last night. I was just too tired after finishing the story. Maybe tonight.

Also, if you've not yet picked up a copy of The Red Tree, please do so, whether it's from Amazon or some other source. Every sale counts. Also, I'll repost the link to the recent Subterranean Press interview, which is mostly concerned with The Red Tree.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
This isn't going to be much of a blog entry. I'm on hour 41+ of a headache, and my coherency level is not very high. Also, it's 84F in the house, and poor Dr. Muñoz, parked in my office, can hardly make a dint in the heat. Oh, a favor please. No headache advice. Or AC advice, either. When I finish this, I'll take a cool bath, and try to clear my head. My dreams culminated in fire.

There was no writing yesterday, no work. A lost day. "L" in the day planner.

I have a doctor's appointment in two days, and I dread it more than I can say. It's one of those socially acceptable bodily violations, the casual, careless, expensive ministrations of a physician.

"Is small life so manic?
Are these really the days?
Poor dunce..."

I'm mostly very pleased with how The Red Tree is doing, and with the reviews I've seen thus far. Sure, it could be selling better, but that's almost always the case. I have mixed feelings over its being received as a horror novel. People tell me how much it frightened them, and clearly they mean this as a compliment, and it would be rude of me, I know, to take it any other way. I am grateful for the compliments. But they also leave me confused. I didn't set out to write a horror novel. I'm still not sure that I see the book as a horror novel. Which is not to say that it does not contain elements of the horrific, for it surely does. It may be that "horror" has taken on too many negative connotations for me. It may also be that this is what I have inside me, horror and awe, terror and the uncanny, and that I have little else in me to send out into the world. And it's just a matter of my learning to accept this.

Okay. The headache is intent that I will say no more for now.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Merce Cunningham, the choreographer, has died at age 90.

Somewhat balmy day here in Providence. I should have already put my hair up, but I haven't. After this entry, if I can last that long. The sky is a dappled mix of clouds and blue.

Yesterday, I began a piece I'm calling "January 28, 1926," and wrote a very respectable 1,346 words. So, quite a good writing day. Sirenia Digest #44 is quickly coming together. Late last night, Vince sent me a sketch, his plan for the illustration for "Vicaria Draconis," and it's looking great. So, yes, two new vignettes this month, plus a new guest poet who shares my love of cephalopods.

A new page has appeared on the website, under evidence. It showed up on Saturday night, actually, but I decided to wait and see if anyone else noticed it before I said anything. This seemed more prudent. But, to my knowledge, no one has noticed it. Under evidence, read back over Plate XV, then note the links at the bottom of the page. Not the one on the left, nor the one on the right, but the one in the center. And no, that's not the book trailer. And if all these answers are beginning to vex you, be patient. The questions are coming.

Last night I made the mistake of perusing what's called "paranormal romance" on Amazon.com. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've already heard my reaction. I seem to live in some sort of self-imposed state of literary asylum. I had no idea there was so much of this crap, or that it sold so well, or that it was so awful. I go to some of the bestsellers, which are, by the way, bestsellers, and cannot read a single sentence aloud without laughing, a reaction I'm fairly certain the authors were not trying to elicit. I'm not talking badly written; I'm not sure this stuff is written, at all. And no, I won't name names. That's poor form. But looking at all this junk, I felt so utterly, oddly defeated. Just seeing how people are lapping up this pablum, I never wanted to write another word (and yet, here I am, babbling away). Several things occurred to me, scanning the pages of Book 15 in a series by some woman who brags about writing three novels a year (on average). One of the thoughts is something that I've been saying for many years, that vampires are no longer monsters, no longer an incarnation of the Other. They have, instead, become primarily a socially acceptable expression of humanity's collective, if latent, necrophilia. Much the same way that zombies are in danger of becoming clowns, vampires are the daemon lover no one really wants to admit is a demon.

And a second thought, I'd be willing to bet you green folding money that a high percentage of the women (and men) who get off on "paranormal romance," who find all this werewolf/vamp/angel/mermaid/fairie/dragon/fluffy-bunny "otherkin" soft core so very titillating are also staunchly anti-GLBT. For example, we could start with a certain Mormon...oh, wait. I said I wouldn't name names. But, you know where I'm headed with this. I'll fuck a dead man (or woman) who drinks blood, this undead serial killer, and I really get off on stories about crime-fighting werewolves doing the nasty with dragons who are actually fairies pretending to be twentysomething human women with anorexia. But, ewwwwwww, men with men? Women with women? Transsexuals? The Bible says that's wrong.

Anyway, damned depressing stuff. [livejournal.com profile] grandmofhelsing observed that "paranormal romance" is "erotic horror" that is neither erotic nor horrific, which seems about right. And I suppose this is one reason that Sirenia Digest doesn't have a million subscribers. I know I'm shooting myself in the foot, sure, but I feel it's my sworn duty to write books and stories and vignettes that would never in a million years appeal to the consumers of "paranormal romance" (I shall not again call them "readers"). There is awe and wonder, terrible beauty and mystery, in the dark places, but you'll never see any of it if you're afraid to turn off the lights.

Only nine days (counting today), until the release of The Red Tree. Have you had another look at Plate 15 yet?

Oh, and the Very Special Auction continues.

And now I must go remember unpleasantries that may have occurred early in 1926, and late in 1919, and write it all down.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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