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

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

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

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

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


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

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

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

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

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (Al)
So, there's some asshole next door, guy has a lawn the size of a postage stamp. No, seriously. A postage stamp. And he's out there with a motherfucking leaf blower. Now, longtime readers will know that, as far as I'm concerned, no lawn is big enough to warrant the profound laziness, the unnecessary waste of energy derived from fossil fuels, the damage to the environment done by leaf blowers, or...and this is important, so please pay attention...the noise produced by the goddamn things. There is this marvelous invention, dating back, well, a long damn time. It requires a little sweat, sure. But that's why evolution gave us muscles and sweat glands and the ability to burn calories. This invention of which I speak is called a rake. And, in a sane world, I would go outside with a claw hammer, dismantle that leaf blower, gaily strew the shards across that cockwaffle's lawn, then offer him a rake with which to clean up the mess I've made. We do not live in a sane world, kittens.

Yeah, it's gonna be that sort of a day.

Doesn't help that it seems the DeLorean time machine didn't quite hit its target date (almost, but not quite...so now we have Bill Gates and Ann Coulter, neither of whom existed yesterday), and I'm going to spend the day chasing ripples through the matrix of space and time in order to make this the Present Day that the experiment was intended it make it into. Ripples.

Should a traveler appear earlier in the timeline of his own existence, he would be but as a pebble cast upon still water. But the ripples he creates would, over time, radiate upon far distant shores—geometrically altering events in their path.

Exactly.

I've gotten distracted.

Yesterday was a frustrating sort of day, waiting for that news from the past and all. But I worked on this and that related to the shooting of the book trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, which will be happening next weekend if it's ever going to happen. The three million details. You know, scooping up all the itty-bitty bits of brain and shit. I did some of that, while I watched the chronometers. I watched dozens of movie trailers, thinking, thinking, thinking. I made notes, and sent them to our cinematographer, Brian Siano. Gods, there are some beautiful movie trailers, an art in their own right, and I especially admire the ones that make shitty movies look like gold. Now, mind you, I'm not admiring the intent of whatever studio exec had those trailers made, the marketing people, all those deceitful assholes trying to pass shit off as gold. I'm applauding the poor schmucks who were tasked with the editing jobs, and who will do the job well, unless they wanted to go looking for another line of work. They are among the all-but-unsung heroes in the shitstorm of ballyhoo and jackassery that is Hollywood. Though, I will say, the trailers are frequently my favorite part of going to the theatre. But...I've gotten distracted again.

Oh, also I received sample design pages from Penguin, for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (of course). Overall, it's looking good, except for some hideous curlicue font used in the headers, a font I am assured will be replaced with something appropriate, something that doesn't make me want to gouge out my eyes.

Anyway, Spooky came home from the market with a cardboard shipping tube containing another nigh-unto-unspeakably beautiful piece of Philip George Saltonstall's artwork, created, of course, by the incomparable Michael Zulli, one which will appear in the book trailer. Seeing it was like being punched in the chest. And yeah, I've been punched in the chest, so I know what it feels like.

The evening's entertainment consisted of watching Serenity for the five-hundreth time (it's still a great and inspiring ride), and then playing my part in an Insilico RP that was almost very good...except—at some point it descended into "You're stealin' my man" soap-opera nonsense and utterly failed ooc communication—and, also also RPers online need to learn the difference between godmoding and how actions would realistically unfold in particular circumstances, cause and effect, and fuck the whiners. By the end of the scene, which went on for about three hours, I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. But it had it's moments.

Anyway, now I must go attend to those ripples.

Thinking wormholes,
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: (wookie)
Cloudy and chilly today here in Providence. There's rain coming, and it may not let up until next week sometime.

Yesterday, we made it through chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yes, we are proceeding at a painfully slow pace, a fact that does not make my editor or me or Spooky happy campers. And this is because my method of approaching a CEM is, admittedly, odd, compared to the way most writers work through a CEM. It goes like this: I read the CEM aloud, while Spooky follows along on a hard-copy or on a laptop. There are pauses every few minutes to deal with this or that question from the copy-editor. Sometimes, these are lengthy pauses. Obviously, this is a somewhat grueling and, clearly, time-consuming process. Why do I do it this way? Because, I am blind (since birth) in my left eye, and I cannot easily scan from, say, the CEM page to the page of my computer. And immense and prohibitive frustration arises, and it actually takes longer than the unconventional method I have just described. Oh, and the copy-editor aside, I have my own changes I make, my own edits. The CEM is the last chance an author has to make substantial changes to the ms. (so far, I have made no substantial or lengthy changes to this manuscript).

However, I'm sick of the CEM, and still have a lot of polishing to do on the ms. after we address the copy-editors comments, and it's supposed to be back in NYC on Friday (Monday is more likely). So, today we mean to make a mad push to THE END, which would mean we'd have to make it through "Werewolf Smile" and chapters 8-10 and the "Back Pages" section (yes, that's a Bob Dylan reference). I know we won't pull this off, but the Herculean push will mean that we'll finish with this read through tomorrow.

So, that's yesterday's work and today's.

Then we have a short vacation (three days, two nights, probably to Maine), my first in years, and then I have Sirenia Digest #70 (woot), and then October will be here, and I have to read through Blood Oranges and get it to my agent, and go back to work on my kinemassic field generator (there are issues with field propulsion independent of reaction mass to be worked out), and then I'll have Sirenia Digest #71 to write.

Today, the contracts for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart went back into the mail to Subterranean Press, along with a huge box of my books bound for Michael Zulli.

Coming soon: a new round of eBay auctions! (Spooky goes woooooohhoooooooo)

---

Last night, after work, Spooky warmed up leftover chili. I had RP in Insilico. Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene (Xiang 1.5), my Level V (highly illegal) AI in a non-AGIS clone body (now highly illegal) has been promoted within our futuristic yakuza to the level of wakagashira, First Lieutenant to Inara Nasenyana, the oyabun. Which is really pretty cool. She carries a bad-ass katana with a laser running along the cutting edge.

Later, we watched a couple more episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. But we're almost to the end of Season Two, and, frankly, the series has grown dull as hell. At this point, we're only watching it for Richard Belzer. The "rape of the week" storylines are unbearably unimaginative. I mean, come on, seriously, I could think up dozens of sex-related crimes, but no, all we get is rape, rape, rape, rape. I imagine this is because rape and the rape-variant, the sexual abuse of children, is the best that could make it onto prime-time network television. We'll watch to the end of this season, then switch over to the far-more-deserving of our attention Mad Men.

And, just before sleep, I read Elizabeth Bear's ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) "Shuggoths in Bloom," which I shamefacedly admit I'd never before read. But I think that's it for me and The Book of Cthulhu. Still, sixteen out of twenty-seven stories, that's not so bad (seventeen, if you count the T. E. D. Klein story, which I read in my twenties). The rest looks like parody and/or slog, so I'm moving along to revisit the collected works of either Lord Dunsany or Algernon Blackwood.

I should really go now, brush my teeth, then exercise, and get to work. A long, long day stretches out before me.

Stretched,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Comment, kittens!

I can't remember the day we closed our World of Warcraft accounts. Must have been back in, I'm thinking, early May. So, about four and a half months ago, right after we did the Rift Beta and decided it was such a vastly better game. Anyway, I don't think too much about WoW these days. True, I have my Shaharrazad mousepad I must see...well, all day long. And the erotic dreams involving Sylvanas Windrunner, My Dark Lady. And all my action figures, and...okay, so I probably still think about WoW more than I think I think about WoW.

But, this morning I was thinking about WoW, and some of its really magnificent absurdities, and perhaps the greatest of all those are the Taurens. I was imagining a bunch of Blizzard geeks sitting around a table (cluttered with boxes of doughnuts, bottles of Mountain Dew, and whatnot), and they're sitting there thinking, "Okay, so, what about cow people? Hey, that would be cool, wouldn't it? I mean, think about it, dudes. Cow people. You know, like minotaurs?" And someone points out the problem with females and udders, and someone else says, no, no, don't worry about the udders, these cow people, the females have breasts. Also, it'll keep the furries pacified a while longer. Do you know what percentage of our demographic self-identifies as Otherkin?

"OH, and we need more ethnic diversity among the races of Azeroth," someone says, "because we keep getting these angry letters about the Rasta trolls (pause here as the 'think tank' devolves into a three-hour argument about pussy liberals and the merits of Libertarianism, and how orcs are green, and night elves are blue and purple and grey, and...), and it would be good PR if there were more ETHNICITY." "Wasn't that covered in the last company retreat?" asks someone. Sure, sure, says someone else, and hey, cows are sort of like bison, another interjects (here we pause for yet another to explain how bison are related to cows, and some cow nerd goes off on the domestication of cattle, the evolution of the modern cow from the aurochs, Bos primigenius). "Okay," says the guy who started all this. "So, cows are like bison, and Native Americans hunted bison, so...the culture of the cow people will be Native American culture. You know, all teepees, totem poles, peace pipes, dreamcatchers, and stuff, right? Oh, and, since they're like Indians, they'll say HOW, instead of hello!" There are cheers and self-congratulation all round, except for the cow nerd, who keeps trying to point out how Native Americans hunted members of the genus Bison, not the genus Bos, and that modern cows are not derived from Bison; he is roundly ignored).

Yes, it was probably just that stupid and offensive. And out of an entire planet of possible animals to pattern a new race on (let's set aside the issue of novelty; WoW finally figured that out with the space goats), from all the terran bestiary, Blizzard chose...cows.

---

Today, I am waiting to hear from TPTB how well Phase One was received, and where we go from here. Then, I'll proceed to the as-yet-unopened CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Oh, and I should mention, my publisher's marketing gurus decided that "A Memoir" should not appear on the book's cover (or, it seems, on the Amazon page). Why? Because, then people might think it's nonfiction, and it would be shelved under biography. Yeah, I did that o.0 emoticon thing, but I didn't argue. Friends who've worked in bookstores assure me this really would happen. Um, okay. I truly do give humanity too much credit. I must take solace knowing that the title page will bear the novel's actual full title. Anyway, I'm not opening that "bubble envelope" containing the CEM until I know if Phase One nuked the launch site or not. I have until the 23rd to get the CEM back to NYC.

---

Also, you should read this entry by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna. Because Amazon.com might have thought up the best way to steal from authors since the Great Google Books Rights Snatch of 2010 (or whenever). The rise of ebooks cannot be predicated on the perpetual fucking-over of authors.

---

Yesterday, when I was done with this, that, and the other, we took in a matinée of Soderbergh's Contagion, and we both loved it. It's bleak, artful, terrifying, beautiful, and I highly recommend it to all. I'm not going into details, because it would be too easy to drop spoilers. But don't dismiss it as some Irwin Allen or Roland Emmerich overblown schlock-fest. Because that's what it's not. It also isn't science fiction, but that's a discussion for another time.

---

Please have a look at the goodies in Spooky's Etsy shop (Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries), where there are two new necklaces - reasonably priced - and you must buy them, or you won't be allowed to read my next book. Honest Tauren.

---

Okay, please excuse me now. I'm going to listen to Neil read The Graveyard Book to me until I get that call from the NSA...I mean, um...that call from McDonalds. Oh, and good RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah.

Not Bovine,
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: (Default)
Before anything else is written on this entry, you have to see what happens when The Drowning Girl: A Memoir falls into the hands of the superb and marvelous Michael Zulli, who has, through his own amazing graces, become my Phillip George Saltonstall. Here is the painting of the title, and here, too, is the "lost" painting that Imp does not learn about until much later:

The Drowning Girl, Nos. 1 & 2 )


There really are not words adequate to the task of describing the effect these paintings have had on me, seeing your fiction made real, and I thank you again (and publicly for the first time), Michael. No, these will not be in the Roc trade paperback, but they will appear in any hardback edition, should any hardback edition ever appear. At least one of them will also appear in the photographs and book trailer project that I have undertaken with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. By the way, we are in our final 24 hours on the Kickstarter for The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. These images will also appear on the LJ we're keeping for the project, [livejournal.com profile] evacanning, and, eventually, on the novel's website.

Yesterday, I worked. I'm not even going to hint at what, because I still have after images dancing before my eyes after yesterday's apparent slip of the tongue and that flashy thing. I will merely say this is some of the hardest work I have ever done, and with some of the coolest people I've ever had the chance to work with. Poster-board pope hats and all. My work days are becoming much longer. Oh, also, the dreaded CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir arrived upon my doorstep. Thud. It doesn't have to be back in NYC until the 20th, and thank fuck all for that.

Last night, some exquisite Insilico RP, good enough to make up for the mess that was Wednesday night. Thank you, Mr. James.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
My morning was going rather shitty (resuming a course begun last night), but then I saw someone refer to Orson Scott Card as a "howling bigoted douchemonkey," and I almost laughed, and now I feel a little better. Also, I've been sleeping like crazy, which is a tad bizarre. Vaults of sleep. Too much wandering in the watery Dreamlands. These days, always do I dream of water. Also, I might be getting a headache.

Yesterday, I did a metric shit-ton of work on those acoustic particle destab...wait. What was I saying? I knew a moment ago, then there was this bright flash before my eyes, and now I have no idea whatsoever. That is so fucking weird. It just keeps happening. But...um...yeah, I did a lot of work yesterday. And I sent "John Four" to S. T. Joshi, who wanted to read it. If he decides to reprint it for a forthcoming anthology, I might decide to expand it a bit (because, you know, spare time spills forth from my asshole). And I emailed Michel Zulli. And I received news from Penguin that the delayed (by a hurricane) CEM for The Drowning Girl should arrive here today. I'm praying it got fucking lost somewhere in Connecticut, and will remain so for at least a week*.

And you know, a leech (Hirudinea) is such an honest organism, even among other oligocheates. No frills, no fussing about with frippery.

This society needs less enthusiasm, less opportunity to express its opinion, and more time spent in quiet reflection.

Oh, last night? Thank you for asking. Perfectly wretched, but, truly, I've no one to blame but myself. I would say there was lousy RP in Insilico last night, but that would imply there was RP in Insilico last night, and there wasn't. Yet, for some psychotic reason, I waited around for more than two hours. Oh, yes. Because there was supposed to be RP. But...whining ooc drama trumps all else in SL, and almost all the good RPers have flung themselves into the abyss of the virtual bureaucracy of sim administration...which means they rarely have time to RP...and really, that was only the tip of how everything kept going crappy last night.

But! All was not lost. I had Valium and Vincent D'Onofrio! And Vincent D'Onofrio makes even the most sour night a little less so. An "actor's actor," I have heard him called, even as I have been called a "writer's writer." These, kittens, are what are known as backhanded compliments, or consolation prizes, or what the fuck ever. But! Just give me ponygirls, a glass dildo, and the brain of Vincent D'Onofrio, and you'll hear not one complaint from me. Oh, and a little Oxycodone. That would sweeten the pot, yes.

Oh, I also read another story from The Book of Cthulhu, W. H. Pugmire's "Some Buried Memory," which was delicious, because Pugmire is brilliant. Alas, there are not many more good stories in this (largely) reprint anthology that I've either not read previously or which I won't deign to read. Here's my thing (as Lara Means would say): Except in extraordinarily rare instances, you either approach the work of Lovecraft with a straight face, or you leave it the hell alone. Bring humor and parody to the table, and usually you'll make a fool of yourself and embarrass others. Bring irony, that's worse still. Do it right, or don't do it, but for fuck's sake, stop with the attempts at too-cool-for-school hipster and/or pseudo-intellectual comedy. There have been exceptions, a tiny handful, such as Neil's "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar." As the Mythbusters say, these exceptions are not something you should try at home. Keep your cuddly Cthulhu slippers and plushie Azathoths to yourselves and far away from me. Anyway, too much of The Book of Cthulhu is given over to the funny which is not funny. There are probably half a dozen good stories I've yet to read, at best. Which is a shame.

Did I mention Vincent D'Onofrio?

Dry and Humorless,
Aunt Beast

* It's here. Let this fresh hell begin.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Functioning on five and a half hours sleep right now (and no, I don't fucking want to hear some sob story about how you've subsisted on a mere twenty-five minutes per night for the last eight years. This isn't a goddamn contest. There is no prestige in the Land of Monsieur Insomnia).

Cause in my head there’s a Greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations,
So they may have a chance of finding a place
Where they’re far more suited than here.
– DCFC

Gods, I'm never going to get used to the fucked-up present, which used to be the future, and will, shortly, be the distant past. The weirdness, by turns, baffles, astounds, and makes me furious. Case in point: You may now preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir from Amazon.com, even though it won't be released until March 6, 2012, more than six months from now. I will not even pretend to try to understand this, but okay, whatever. Have at it. The goddamn CEM (copy-edited manuscript) hasn't even arrived yet. It was due on August 31st, but Irene waylaid it, to my relief. Anyway, hell, there are bits of this book that haven't even been written yet. But you can still order it. Oh! Hey. Let's have some fun. Follow the link and click the stupid little "Like" icon.

Anyway....

Yesterday, I wrote 1,250 words on an as yet-untitled Mars story (for Sirenia Digest 69). Most of my energy was spent trying to create a plausible voice. Not only the voice the story's being told in, but the voice of a woman who lives in a hardscrabble Martian society a couple of centuries from now. Maybe only a hundred years ahead, but still. It's a problem virtually no sf writer is willing to tackle, and that drives me nuts. The combination of multicultural and multilingual homogenization, normal drift in languages (cyclic long-term drift, unidirectional short-term, and also the creation of creole, possibly via catastrophic agents), accelerating technological advancement (even assuming the probability that this "ATA" will eventually plateau), and so forth – write good science fiction and take all this shit into account, and...well, you'd get a book or story as hard for an early 21st Century reader to understand as it is for them to understand, say, Beowulf in the original Old English (West Saxon and some Anglian). Sure, it's fun to play with nuts and bolts and gadgets, but if you want to convince me that I'm seeing a possible (but improbable) future, make an effort. It's no different than designing an alien ecosystem, but failing to take into account the innumerable variables that would shape the planet's atmosphere, geology, biosphere, etc. Actually, with both alien language and biology, and also with alien tech, the problem is so complex as to be unsolvable, as, we must extrapolate from a single data point: Earth. Give me a thousand data points, and we can begin to enter the realm of cautious certainty.

In short, sf is really fucking hard to write, unless you settle for hand waving, and pulling shit out of your ass, and not asking the hard questions.

And I admit that, very often, my sf has done all three. Look at "Bradbury Weather." I wanted zeppelins, of some sort, on Mars. This whole agonizing affair is recorded in my blog entries from sometime in 2003 or 2004, but I did the math, the aerodynamics, the physics, the chem, everything. And unless I wanted zeppelins that would crash, explode, or be the size of Manhattan, it just wasn't possible (this was based on a Martian atmo fairly close to the present condition). So, I said fuck it. Zeppelins on Mars will be cool. I want mind candy. And so I set the science aside and wrote a wonder tale.

There's nothing wrong with that. Not in the least. Some of the greatest writers ever to have written stories set on distant planets – Bradbury, for example, or Burroughs (E. R., not W. S.) – paid little heed to the problems of science, even as understood in their respective days. And the stories were none the poorer. And there are later writers who only went partway, like Ursula K. LeGuin and Frank Herbert, but again they have produced wonderful sf. Still more recent sf authors, even with short-term predictions – Gibson is a good example – almost always miss the mark, Gibson by his own admission**. The decision has to be made, a personal decision for each and every sf author – how hard do I want this to be on present-day readers?

But still, it drives me nuts. Especially the anthropological and linguistic angles. Some would say this is because I write so-called "soft sf." First off, this isn't really true, as my sf often employs biology and geology; a lack of focus on technology does not render sf soft (even if you buy into all that soft sciences vs. hard sciences malarkey, and I don't). Secondly, it ignores the effect that elements of so-called "hard sf" would have on elements of so-called "soft sf." Tech and language evolve hand in hand. You only have to look as far as the geegaws and lingo of our IT obsessed era to figure that out.

And, what's more, the future won't magically recall more of the past. No, not even with the internet or Google Books or any of that. In fact, given the transitory nature of much of the stuff you read on computers, people in the 23rd Century may have more trouble deciphering the common tongues and slang of people two centuries before them.

Oh, and hey...a hundred years from now, there will be no Twitter, no Facebook, no pdas or iPods or e-cigs or Kindles. There might not even be an internet that is recognizable as such. I know all this shit's shiny and makes you feel all Jetsons and shit, but the combined forces of capitalism, planned obsolescence, and actual technological "advancement" will insure that the shiny of today is the dull, rusty, and forgotten of just a decade or so. Eight-track cartridges, anyone?

Okay, now I must be a good honey badger, show the platypus my canines and the cobra stuck between my teeth, send the dodo for take out Mandarin/Abyssinian, and confab with the mothmen.

Swing out,
Aunt Beast

** Also, we should distinguish between that sf which seeks to be descriptive and that which seeks to be primarily predictive.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, I did it. As of today, I have blogged six months straight, without missing a single day. Actually, I've not missed making an entry since February 13th, but I didn't make the "I'm not going to miss an entry for six months" declaration until March 1st, so I'm not counting February. Anyway, between March 1st and today (this post included), there's a total of 253 entries. Most days got one entry. Some got two or three. One got four entries. So, having accomplished this task, I ask myself, "Self, want to try for a whole year?" And remember, I have no iPad, no iPhone, Android, Blackberry, what-the-hell-ever mobile geegaw that allows me to post anywhere but home. So, this stands as ample evidence that I really don't have a life. Though, it's true, that three entries (I think it was three), were made from the business center of the Readercon hotel, back in July.

---

Yesterday, well...I worked. But I can't tell you on what I worked. And as the weeks roll by, until THE ANNOUNCEMENT is made, I'm going to have to say...yesterday I worked, and did X words on X, X pages on X, and so forth. It sucks. The other way – you seeing how marvelous the beginning of this undertaking is – would be so much cooler. But this is the way it is.

Anyway, yeah. Work on X. Then an appointment with my shrink. Then a trip to Pawtucket and the storage unit. Then dinner. I read "New Upper Pennsylvanian armored dissorophid records (Temnospondyli, Dissorophoidea) from the U.S. midcontinent and the stratigraphic distributions of dissorophids" and "Tupilakosaur-like vertebrae in Bothriceps australis, an Australian brachyopid stereospondyl" (both in the July JVP Then good RP in Insilico. Then Spooky read more of The Stand to me. And then...Monsieur Insomnia hit with a vengeance, and I sat up reading from The Book of Cthulhu until about 5:15 ayem. I read, um...let's see. Oh, yes. Bruce Sterling's "The Unthinkable" (1991, a peculiar little piece of whimsy, almost a vignette). Then Tim Pratt's "Cinderlands" (2010), which has a wonderfully non-linear narrative. It fumbles once with an achingly silly Lovecraftian pun, but yeah, otherwise, nice. And then Ramsey Campbell's very effective "The Tugging" (1976); Ramsey never ceases to amaze me. Then I managed to fall asleep, listening to This Mortal Coil, as the sun began to rise.

Tomorrow, I finally get to work on Sirenia Digest #69. It should be out by the fifth, on schedule. It's only going to feel late, on my end, because of this insane fucking amount of work lying over me like a heavy coating of bronze going green with verdigris.

And now, before I belatedly get to work on X, more photos from Friday, the day before Hurricane Irene began her sideswipe of Rhode Island (behind the cut).

Oh, and a big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] fornikate (my fans have the best LJ names) for teaching me that my spirit animal is actually a honey badger. It's absolutely true, and I should have figured it out years ago. We now have a jealous platypus.

August 26, Part 2 )


Mellivora,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so even though I got up about an hour early, I'm running about an hour late, and I blame you, Johnathan Strahan, and you, Gary K. Wolfe. And this Coode Street Podcast, which will have me smiling for days to come. And, of course, now I'm dying to see Gary's Locus review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One). I was especially pleased with their suspicion that Volume Two is going to be so much better than Volume One (because it will be).

Comments today, kittens! I need them.

---

Yesterday, after I attended to email (Michael Zulli and I seem to have become regular correspondents, which is just too cool), we left Providence, about 3 p.m.. And drove south to Exeter, in the southwestern quadrant of Rhode Island. Throughout Blood Oranges I've been doing something I never do with novels: I haven't spent much time scouting locales. To keep with the fast-pace of the book, I've relied on my memories. But the climactic scene occurs in Exeter, where I've spent very little time. Now, if you're into the weird of New England, or vampire lore, you know all about the Mercy Brown incident (and the related cases of New England "vampires"). I've read Michael E. Bell's superb book on the subject, Food for the Dead, and used the case in several stories. Yet, I'd never visited the grave. Nor had Spooky, which is even odder. So, yesterday we set out to remedy this.

It could hardly have been a less appropriate day, if you're the sort who wants some appropriately eldritch atmosphere for such an outing. The sun was blazing, and there's virtually no shade in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery. The temperature must have been in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit, with heat indexes close to ninety. But I think Spooky and I were both happy that we weren't making some cliché goth pilgrimage. We followed Ten Rod Road (Route 102) to Exeter and the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church (behind which the cemetery is located). Mercy's grave is a simple marble marker, unassuming, and unlike that of Nellie Vaughn – another tuberculosis victim that superstitious locals feared was an undead, life-draining revenant (oh look, LJ can't spell revenant) – there's no inscription that could be taken the wrong way. Vaughn's grave, in Greenwich (Gren-itch), reads: "I am waiting and watching you." Anyway, there is at least a large cedar that shades Mercy's stone. As with HPL's marker, people had left tokens on the headstone. I left a small black pebble. There are photos behind the cut.

After Exeter, and all the notes carefully recorded in my Moleskine, we headed over to Newbury Comics in Warwick (War-ick) to kill some time until it was cool enough to make the drive down to Moonstone Beach. And we were Bad Kids, and each bought two CDs. Not being utterly destitute after the long monetary drought, these things happen. And they were all used CDs. I got Death Cab For Cutie's Plans and Placebo's Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. Spooky got Einstürzende Neubauten's Strategies Against Architecture, Volume 4 and the Swans' Children of God. We were not utterly awful, though; we only looked at the amazing new Depeche Mode boxed set.

After Warwick, we headed south to Moonstone. And, of this beach's many moods, here was another one. One perched at the edge of a tremendous chaos. Already, the waves were dangerously high, at least 3-5' high, and a big yellow sign had been posted forbidding people from walking on even the lower part of the beach. Walking over the dunes, past Trustom Pond, where a few bird watchers were set up (the birds were all in a lather, as the storm approaches), we spotted a beautiful Green Heron (Butorides virescens), a new species for both of us. It was perfectly still at the edge of the pond, fishing. A tiny Piping Plover kept creeping near it, then dashing away again. But no cormorants anywhere, no gulls in the sky. Flocks of pigeons heading inland. A squawking catbird. A strange and ominous ornithology.

On the beach proper, well...I can't do it justice in words. A painter could have done it justice. I'll post photos over the next few days (assuming we don't lose power). There were a few people. We walked a long way (maybe .40 miles, so .80 altogether) as the sun was setting. The wind was chilly, very wet and misty, quite a change from Exeter. We saw all manner of flotsam and jetsam. We spotted the leathery remains of a skate (Family Rajidae, maybe a Thorny Skate), and another beachcomber told us that a Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was stranded at Moonstone on the 9th of the month. Oh, the wonders I miss by not being nearer the shore! Fuck you, motor boats; the turtle likely died from gash in a front flipper, from a propeller. As the sun was giving way to night, beneath a Maxfield Parish sky, we reluctantly headed back to the van. I wanted to spend the night in the dunes, just feeling the storm coming on.

Back in Providence, we stopped by Eastside Market to grab a last minute pile of supplies, readying to sit out what Irene throws our way (I've heard we're getting 18 hours of continuous tropical storm conditions), and we remain under a Hurricane Warning. Anyway, there was a package from an incredibly kind anonymous individual – a first edition (!!!) of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, sent from The Strand in Manhattan. Whoever did this, a million thanks.

---

Good RP in Insilico, and some of The Stand last night, as Trashcan reached Las Vegas.

---

So, we're watching little but the progress of Irene up the Eastern Seaboard. Terrifying, this storm, and, as I have said, I am honestly more worried about Manhattan than I am about Providence. Regardless, stay safe. Don't laugh this one off. Not since Katrina has America faced such a threat from a hurricane. We've got mandatory evacuations in coastal and low lying areas here in Rhode Island. But regardless of my fear (and I am afraid of this storm), gods, what a splendid expression of sky and sea, this child of Panthalassa. The sea stands up and walks across the land. This has been happening for billions of years, and we're the ones in the way. This doesn't mean I am without concern. It only means I see both sides.

Concerned and Awed,
Aunt Beast

Anyway, here are the Exeter photos:

26 August, Part 1 )


Addendum: This entry took over two and a half hours to compose.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, no Great Trailer & Photo Shoot for The Drowning Girl this weekend. Thank you, Hurricane Irene. Early last night, watching the grave weather forecasts, Kyle and I made the decision to postpone the whole affair. Which means postponing it until early October. Even if we could have reached Moonstone Beach (the area will likely be evacuated), I'd have never asked Sarah (who plays our Eva) to walk towards that surf, much less into it. So, there you go. But I do not argue with forces of Nature. They were here first, and will be here long afterwards. Forces of Nature have seniority.

But yeah, it's looking pretty bad here in Providence, and we'll spend part of the day laying in supplies for the impact. Fortunately, we have storm windows, and the walls of this old house were built with a crisscrossed lattice of steel to protect against this very thing (though it makes hanging pictures a bitch).

I got virtually nothing written yesterday. There was far too much commotion. Confusion. Calamity. All those good "c" words. Mostly, having to figure out, at the last fucking minute, what to do about the Great Trailer & Photo Shoot. Thus, I only managed to write a paltry 698 words on Chapter 8 of Blood Oranges. Nonetheless, I intend to have the book (plus epilogue) finished by the end of the day Tuesday (August 30).

I now have both of Vince Locke's illustrations for The Drowning Girl, and they're marvelous. Sirenia Digest subscribers have seen the first of the two, but no one (outside my publisher's offices) gets to see the second until the book is released next year.

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of The Book of Cthulhu arrived. As did the very beautiful edition of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial I'd ordered. Also, a care package from Madison Colvin in Savannah, Georgia, which included, among many other things, a copy of Angela Carter's Love (one of the few books by her I didn't own). So, thank you, Madison. Very, very sweet of you.

Last night, once the dust of difficult decisions had settled, there was some not exactly very good RP in Insilico, but it had a Season Five Dexter chaser, so everything worked out well. And I think the problem that caused the not exactly very good RP has been identified, so that it won't happen again. Then Spooky read The Stand, and I listened. We reached Chapter 38. And, for fuck's sake, I hate Harold Lauder. Sociopathic, maladjusted, plain ol' disgusting behavior aside, he makes me want to bathe. Oh, back to Dexter, Peter Weller is becoming William Burroughs. Has anyone else noticed that? Meanwhile, Deb Morgan is my latest profanity crush (I know most people don't get those, but I definitely have a profanity fetish; my last profanity crush was Al Swearengen). To wit:



And that was yesterday.

Battening Down the Hatches,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Yes, we did feel the earthquake yesterday. I was sitting in my chair, at my desk, and the entire house began to move, very subtly at first, and then hard enough that all the shit stacked on my bookshelves was threatening to topple over. The legs of my desk creaked, and there was an ominous popping sound from one corner. Spooky was cleaning in the bathroom, and I shouted to her. By the time she got to the office, it was over, but the chandelier was still swaying.* Whole thing, maybe twenty seconds, give or take. First quake I've felt since in lived in Colorado in the eighties. We puzzled over it for a while, trying to figure out what had caused the house to move so. And then I thought, thought I, Earthquake? No. Not a fucking earthquake. But I googled "earthquake," and there it was, 5.9 in Virginia, felt as far north as Toronto. It was somewhat unnerving. I got "out of office" replies when I emailed people in Manhattan. And now I hear there's a crack in the top of the Washington Monument. Me, I just keep thinking about dinosaurs mounted in the Smithsonian and American Museum.

So, yes. This is what fault zones do, kittens. This is how energy is propagated through the earth's crust. The baby steps of plate tectonics.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,910 words on Chapter 8 of Blood Oranges. It baffles me, trying to imagine how this novel will be received. Part of me honestly doesn't give a shit. That's always true, but maybe even more true with Blood Oranges. I'm trying to concoct an antidote to the sticky-sweet ParaRom fungus that's threatened to claim "urban fantasy" for its own. It's bound to piss some people off (I hope); others will have the exact opposite reaction (I hope). There is no "romance," not even one little jot (okay, maybe one little jot, but it's a micro-jot). No sex. But it has a lot of profanity, which I expect some poor traumatized souls find "triggery," but fuck them if they can't take exquisitely filthy words like "cocksucker" and "televangelist."** True Blood and Anita Blake, this is my middle finger, condensed into eight chapters.***

So, as if earthquakes were not enough, we have Hurricane Irene screaming towards us. Which, at the very least, complicates our plans for the weekend. And there's no way we could have arranged a "rain date." So, we're going to start shooting late Friday night and finish up Sunday morning, and make the best of what we have. There may be far more interior shots than previously planned. By Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., the swells off Moonstone Beach (one of our locations) are projected to be 6-9 feet high, coming in at 15-second intervals. Obviously, we'll not be asking Sarah (who plays Eva) to be walking into that. Sunday will be worse.

Could be I was wrong about this being the Citizen Kane of book trailers. It's starting to feel more like the Apocalypse Now of book trailers.

Please note that the NEW Sirenia Digest web pages are now anchored at my site, and are 100% fully functional (I'll leave you to judge whether or not they are also anatomically correct). Thank you, Jacob ([livejournal.com profile] jacobluest)!

Last night, RP in Insilico, and we read more of The Stand (about halfway finished), and then I finished Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History. And that was yesterday.

Mussed,
Aunt Beast

* Also, the water level in toilet bowl dropped dramatically.
** By the way, those people who use aphorisms like, "Good writers don't need to use foul language," that bunch can merrily go fuck themselves. Go ahead. Have a blast. It's on me.
*** This is not to say it's going to be some sort of "splatterpunk" absurdity (such as, and for example, Skipp and Spector's The Light at the End). In fact, it's hardly gory at all.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny and warm here in Providence today. Windy, though. I've earned a day off, and there's talk of swimming. But the breakers are high, as are the swells.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,695 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. And found the chapter's ending. A whole chapter in four days!. Which means I have only one chapter remaining, and the book will be finished...before the end of August, as planned (after I failed to finish at the end of the train wreck that was July). I see the ending now. There's an old school bus filled with...oh, I mentioned that already. Okay, let's just say it has a big 'splody ending. I think it'll be fun to write that last chapter (which, by the way, will also be the set up for a second book).

A really wonderful email this morning from Neil, who's away in Edinburgh, and I'm still smiling. I may smile for a week.

And good things just keep happening for The Drowning Girl. This is, simply and by far, the best novel I've ever written. It's the other side of The Red Tree. It's the whisper I've been after all these years, my continual, habitual reaching into the dark to see what reaches back (thank you, Alan Wilder). And it's being recognized. It's being loved by people whose work means so much to me, the people whom I admire most in the world, and I thank them one and fucking all. And the book won't even be OUT until March 2012. The ARCs won't even go out until early December.

---

Last night, after a fine repast prepared by Spooky, we played a little Rift (we both got the title "vampire hunter"), and I had a wonderful RP scene in Insilico (SL). Grendel was paired against a sensei, to prove her Shenkindo training. To say the least, her style is unconventional. But she won the match, putting the sensei face down on the mat. She flipped the switch of her katana that triggers the laser arc set into the blade, and was ready for the kill (it had been implied that no quarter would be given), when her yakuza boss stayed her hand. Yeah, cool stuff. Anyway, we read more of The Stand. Larry Underwood is about to attempt the passage through the Lincoln Tunnel.

I've been thinking of making a "mix tape," on an actual fucking cassette recorder. Songs for the Stand. Maybe dubbing six or seven copies, and sending five or so to the first few who ask for them. You could never do this properly on CD. It has to be on cassette. Songs King quotes in the novel, songs from the mid and late seventies. This isn't a for sure thing. Just a thing that would be fun to do. Music from the decade in which I grew up.

I read "Gyracanthid gnathostome remains from the Carboniferous of Illinois" in the July JVP. And I read more of the book about the firestorm at Peshtigo.

And that was yesterday.

Now...the sea, perhaps. Or, perhaps, Swan Point. Or...we'll see.

Off,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
So, yeah. I'm an asshole about going to the doctor. But so many – likely most – doctors, most of the medical establishment, is predicated on profit and a conveyer-belt mentality, you can sort of see where I'm coming from. The worst part is being commanded by some lesser med tech to do something and do it NOW (but I've gotten exquisitely good at telling them no in a tone that leaves them blinking). Anyway, point is, my doctor here in Providence – not my shrink, but my GP – is actually pretty cool (my shrink's pretty cool, too). And I shouldn't be giving her grief here. She's on the ball, considerate, reasonable, and I've done a whole lot worse. She seems to comprehend the concept of my right to self-determination, even unto death. But I was angry about losing a day of work yesterday, and going to the doctor always freaks me out. Just saying.

I had, last night, a wonderful master plan in my head for this entry. I didn't write it down. It's gone.

And I've just heard confirmation, via @WM3ORG (Twitter), that the "West Memphis Three" have been released. These are people at the courthouse. After eighteen years, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin have been released from prison. Of course, they had to plead guilty (under a precedent that allows a guilty plea while maintaining innocence) to receive suspended sentences. Lots of confusion, since this is happening as I type. But. Still. This has been one of the most horrific and most tragic miscarriages of justice in American history, but, at least, now it's ended. Sort of (this is complicated, and the government of Arkansas has not been redeemed). Yet, how do you return eighteen stolen years to a man? How do you return his youth? But...now it's done.

And now I'm well and truly lost within this entry. Too much perspective and surprise all the fuck at once.

Yesterday, I wrote...nothing. I can rarely write on Doctor Visit Days (DVDs). But I did manage to make corrections to the pages I wrote on Wednesday. And I spoke with my agent (who's fled to Maine to escape the heat of NYC), and we agreed that I'm going to ask that Blood Oranges be published as "Caitlín R. Kiernan writing as K. R. Tierney." Why? Because. Even though it will be known that I wrote the book, and even though it's a fine and fun book, I want it set apart from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Apples and oranges, let's just say. And we come back to that issue of self-determination. Which is really all that needs to be said on that subject. Though, I will answer questions, if you have them.

And that BIG thing about which I cannot speak, which I first mentioned on July 1st, I worked on that too – that marvelous, unbelievable, dizzying thing – though I still can't talk about it. The news will be sent out into the world when the TPTB deem the time right. But you will be happy....

After the doctor, I needed to center myself. So, I went to Rock Star on Thayer Street and had the plugs in my ears swapped from 6 gauge to 4. Actual eyelets! Thank you, Billy. I'll go up to 2 this spring. And yes, there's a photo (Spooky took it this ayem):



Last night, after dinner, there was good RP in Insilico. Grendel (Class V AI), bodyguard to a yakuza boss, had to quietly, politely, calmly convince some Russian wannabe (predictably named Dmitri) that it wasn't a good night for him to die. Be nice, and maybe I'll tell you about her katana. Wink, wink. We read more of The Stand. We watched the last episode of Season Four of Law and Order: Criminal Intent and the first episode of Season Five. And, yes! More Nicole Wallace. Whenever she says "Bobby," I get that flutter in my belly, that good flutter. Oh, if only there were more of their Holmes and Moriarty dance. Anyway, I signed onto Rift just long enough to do the dailies. I read "Anatomy and affinities of large archosauromorphs from the lower Fremouw Formation (Early Triassic) of Antarctica" and "Boremys (Testudines, Baenidae) from the latest Cretaceous and early Paleocene of North Dakota: an 1.1-million-year range extension and an additional K/T survivor." Just before sleep, I read more of Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History, and, fuck all...

How does anyone do that much shit in one fucking evening? No wonder I woke up exhausted.

Gotta go write. And listen to the news...

Up the road to Glenaveigh,
Aunt Beast
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)
Okay. I am awake. No, really. Just ask the platypus inserting bamboo splinters beneath my toenails.

First, stuff from Friday:

I wrote 1,308 words of Chapter Six of Blood Oranges, in which a new troll – Otis – makes an appearance. I really do not know what to make of this strange, strange book. It is what it is.

Also on Friday, there was a Telephone Conversation of Great Importance, which I am not free to discuss (and let me tell you, these things I can't talk about are driving me fucking nuts).

I received a package from Stephen Lubold containing, among many other wonderful things, two Penguin Classics collections – Algernon Blackwood's Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories (and LJ can't spell the plural of sorcery) and Lord Dunsany's In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales (both edited by S. T. Joshi) – and Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American Hitsory (2002). I immediately began reading the latter, as the Peshtigo Firestorm (and associated fires on the night of October 8, 1871) have long been an obsession of mine, but I haven't read this book. So, thank you again, Stephen!

The package also included a copy of Huan Vu's (German, 2010) film Die Farbe, which I now know is the most faithful adaptation of HPL's "The Colour Out of Space" that anyone has made thus far. I did not even know of this film's existence. It moves the events of the story from New England to pre-WWII Germany – which works far better than it has a right to work – and the climax to WWII itself (which really doesn't work). That is, the narrator's story is cut in two, and framed by an American searching for his lost father. As strange as all this sounds, and despite what must have been an almost nonexistent budget, most of it works very well. The move to film in black and white was smart (I've always said I'd do "Colour" in b&w), with a very judicious use of a color effect, that was smart. The acting is decent, the casting good, the cinematography so-so, the SFX uneven, but sometimes very impressive. The sound was awful. I don't know if it was a bad transfer to the DVD, or trouble with sound editing. But...if you're a fan of HPL or the story, it should be seen. It is at least a one-hundred percent improvement over the two previous attempts at filming the story – the laughable Die, Monster, Die (1965) and the unspeakably laughable The Curse (1987).

Oh, I'm also adding a photograph of the "pregnant plesiosaur" to yesterday's entry, for posterity (because it's an amazing fossil, and sometimes links go poof). And thank you, [livejournal.com profile] corucia for sending me the full paper from Science.

---

And now...yesterday.

Whoa, David Bowie flashback. No, I'm better now.

More hookey. Inexcusable, I know. No, it truly is. But, and still, Spooky and I went to Moonstone, because how many more days of summer are left? Not many, that's how many. And it rained all June, and we didn't have a car in July, and...anyway, we went to Moonstone. The air temperature was around 80˚F and the water somewhere in the 60sF. I swam. A lot. I've regained so much strength so quickly that I'm sort of astounded. I floated and dove in deep green water. The sky above me was blue with the white brush stokes of cirrus clouds and contrails and with gulls. There is utter peace, only fifty yards offshore. There were virtually no swells, the water was so calm (except when some asshole in a motorboat roared past). The only slightly spooky moment was when I found myself in a riptide that moved me twenty or thirty feet south in just a few seconds. But I stayed calm, swam to the east, and was immediately out of the current. Back on shore, we saw another osprey fishing. Likely the same one we saw back on July 30th.

I so need an underwater camera.

As we were leaving, I spotted the blackened and sun-shriveled remains of a very young dolphin or porpoise – possibly a newborn calf. The dorsal fin had an orange plastic tag that had been attached by researchers from the Mystic Aquarium, and, oddly, what remained of the carcass was tied to a tiny raft made of driftwood. The aquarium's tag noted it had been dead when tagged...which could have been weeks ago, based on the degree of decomposition. The skull, flippers, and tail fluke were missing (not surprising, as these tend to be taken quickly by scavengers). I wanted to take the whole thing away with me for what was left of the skeleton (in excellent shape), but I took only a single anterior thoracic rib. Anyway, there are photographs from yesterday behind the cut:

13 August 2011 )


Also, some decent RP in Insilico last night, as Grendel enters the yakuza.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Thank you, those who helped [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and me reach – and exceed – the $1,200 goal of our Drowning Girl Kickstarter in less than 24 hours! We're going to add a couple more copies of the book at new price points (by request), and maybe something that's so cool I'm going to hold off mentioning even the possibility of it. You guys truly rock. As will the fruits of this undertaking. We can all point at the results and say, "We did this." This makes us mighty (to paraphrase Mal Reynolds).

Yesterday, I wrote an extremely respectable 1,800 words, getting Chapter Six of Blood Oranges off to a good start. I discovered how to write an action scene without belaboring the affair with blow-by-blow choreography. Which, for me, destroys novels. Also, I think there may only be nine chapters, not the originally projected ten.

Belatedly, I'm announcing this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. Last night, Spooky and I read the first two chapters of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and we're liking it a lot. Someone sent this copy to me, but I've forgotten who. Regardless, thank you (this is the audiobook cover, but you get the idea). Go forth, and be literate!



Spooky made a peach cobbler last night, with peaches from the farmer's market. So, I was a bad kid (again) and had a slice for breakfast.

I'm going to have to make it clear to editors, from here on (probably on a case-by-case basis), that I am simply too busy to write short fiction for anything less than 5-10¢/word, because I'm getting really tired of these 1¢/word offers. Last time I looked, pro rate was a measly 3¢ a word, and if you can't meet that, I'm not sure you should be publishing (a few good small press magazines excepted). By the way, the "pro rate" has stayed pretty constant for about a hundred years. Still want to be a writer?

Some good RP in Insilico the past two nights. Grendel is back from London. But, to my guildies in Rift, I have not forsaken thee, and should be back by Monday evening.

Cheap, But Not That Cheap,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Sick as a dog. As a sick dog, I mean. I've never understood the whole "sick as a dog" thing, as though the normative canine state is sick. I've also never much understood football, but mostly, these days, I keep my mouth shut about it. Lots of people who get wet over touchdowns can't begin to appreciate the importance of a warlock's staff having +200 to shadow damage or why cool downs are such a bummer. So, live and let live. However, I wake up— not to news that the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 (I actually had to google that) —but to a slew of articles analyzing and rating the goddamn commercials. And what's more baffling still, a whole bunch of Sturm und Drang about Christina Aguilera screwing up "The Star-Spangled Banner." Are you really surprised? She's Christina Aguilera. You let her sing a song with actual words, bad shit will ensue.

Anyway.

Yeah, sick. Bad night. Worse dreams. Feverish. Achy. Mucus in places mucus ought never be (a few sex-with-aliens scenarios aside).

Yesterday, I wrote 2,155 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The book grows ever more peculiar. And today, I've set for myself a challenge. Even though I'm sick as a sick dog. Today I mean to write 3,000 words, which is a thing I've never done. Not in one day. My personal best is 2,800+, but never 3,000. I'll probably fail, but I'm going to try. That way, if I'm too sick tomorrow to sit up straight, I won't have to feel guilty about not sitting up straight. I can lie in bed and moan and make Spooky's life miserable with a minimum of guilt.

Last night, Spooky made quadrupedal chicken stew. I don't know where she finds these four- and five-legged chickens, and I don't ask. We watched Fringe and the satisfying pornographic spectacle that is Spartacus. Then I logged into Insilico and spent three hours as a hopelessly broken droid caught between the godlike AI that created her and a human sadist into who's hands she's been delivered. Way more fun than football.

We went to bed and Spooky read to me from Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. Which was a bad idea, what with being sick and the inevitable nightmares. My bad dreams are bad enough without fucking junkie hobo vampires coming along for the ride.

Time to make the doughnuts. Or dissolve in a puddle of my own phlegm. We'll see. But comment. Cheer me on. Jeer. Whichever.

In Misery and Chagrin,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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