greygirlbeast: (Default)
Not as much sunny Outside today as cloudy. And 46˚F.

Yesterday, two more interviews. Oh, and this. Which wasn't precisely an interview. But there was no work. No writing that wasn't answering questions. Four interviews (and this) in two days, and we're on the seventh day of a short month – longer by one day, thanks to leap year – and today I have to get back to work, and work means writing, not answering interview questions. Actually, my answering interview questions is probably now a legitimate part of my "job," but it's not writing. Today, I'm going to write. Or something like it. Tonight, after dinner, I'll deal with the next interview.

News from Subterranean Press is that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be out sometime in May.

I have arrived at a curious, but, I believe, useful, new monetary standard to be employed by freelance authors. Forget the dollar. The basic unit of currency is the pizza. For example, someone pays me three-hundred dollars for a reprint, that's ~15P (based on an average large pizza price, with three toppings, of $20). Say your book deal drops twenty-thousand dollars into your lap (minus your agent's 15%); that's ~850P. This new standard will serve us far better. Sell nothing, ever, for less than at least 1P.

Since last summer I've been struggling to explain the relationship between Blood Oranges and its impending sequels (they do impend) and genuine ParaRom. No, do not use the label "Urban Fantasy." Once upon a time, Urban Fantasy had dignity. ParaRom stole the term (I don't know if it was the writers, editors, publishers, or an elaborate conspiracy of the lot). ParaRom, or PR. Anyway, the correct word I belatedly found yesterday is subvert. That is, Blood Oranges et al. is meant to subvert ParaRom. That's asking a lot of any poor book/s, but someone has to throw herself on the grenade.

Last night, Spooky and I played Rift for the first time since, near as I can tell from my notes, December 19th. That's, what, forty-nine days ago? The game remains beautiful, and it was good to be back. A good break from SW:toR. See, I didn't leave Rift because I was bored. I left because trying to run an RP guild – which meant writing more after I was done writing for the day, plus trying to get people to show up for RP – had sort of soured me on the whole thing. And then SW:toR arrived, all fresh and shiny and unsullied. Last night, I realized how much I'd missed Rift. BUT, because of the "free-to-play" Rift-Lite, our server has been overrun by idiots who cannot comprehend that it's an RP server, and there was a serious (and reasonable) fucking case of Gnerd Rage going down in general chat last night. I ignored it (I ignored everyone), and Indus (my Level 43 Eth warrior) and Dancy (Spooky's Level 43 Kelari cleric) quested and closed rifts in the Droughtlands and Shimmersand. What I didn't see was any evidence that there's been an exodus of players. There were high-level players everywhere. Many more than when I left, so the news of the game's recent troubles may have been...exaggerated. Anyway, for now, I think Spooky and I will be jumping back and forth between the two games – since we have no actual social life.

The no-sleep demons found me last night. Monsier Insomnia kept me awake until after five ayem (though I was in bed by 2:15 ayem). I didn't wake until after noon (or afternoon, if you prefer).

And one last thing. I'm missing the South fiercely. Part of it's this shitty Providence winter. Part of it is...well...complicated. I do not miss the people or the culture. I miss the land. And I'm sick of missing the South, because there is no dividing the people from the land. In the main (though not universally), the people are not worthy of even the smallest fraction of my longing. They showed me hatred, with rare bits of tolerance. By comparison, in New England I have found a mix of acceptance and people who simply know how to mind their own business. In the South, very few people know how to mind their own business. Indeed, throughout most of America, this is the case. Anyway, last night I got to thinking on the silly phrase "Southern hospitality" (which always baffled Spooky). It's not that "Southern hospitality" doesn't exist; it's that it's a highly conditional phenomenon. Conform, and we'll be relatively hospitable. Fail to conform, and we'll bedevil you. At last I left, and I am better off for it. But I cannot shake this longing for the land.

I've written far too much, says the platypus. I've written nothing at all. Gotta try to work.

Here, There, and the Other Place,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold this morning. Cold, but sunny, 37˚F. Very, very windy.

Yesterday, I began a second pseudo-vignette for Sirenia Digest, and right now I'm calling this one "Apostate," though I'd like to come up with a better title. "Apostate" is appropriate, I just don't like it. One-word titles can get irksome, and I just finished "Camuffare." Anyway, I did 1,302 words yesterday afternoon, and I'll likely finish the piece today.

By the way, after the writing yesterday, I did some math. "Apostate" will be the 105th piece of short fiction I've written for the digest since December 2005 (vignettes, short stories, novelettes, novellas, what-the-fuck-have-you). That includes the three parts of The Alphabetos Triptych, each considered as a single work. To date, about a dozen of the pieces have been reprinted elsewhere. Twenty were collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others (2010), and another twenty-five will appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Oh, and four appeared in Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007). That's only forty-nine. Which means a mere 46.6% of the stories from the digest have been collected to date. Even assuming that Subterranean Press continues to publish collections of them, given that I keep adding more each month, it's going to be quite some time before everything from the digest is in print. It would require the digest be discontinued, and I don't see that happening any time soon. I found the numbers sobering. One-hundred and five stories. If you like my short fiction, and you're not a subscriber, this certainly ought to be an incentive.

Also yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, [livejournal.com profile] briansiano, and the intrepid Sara Murphy convened in the wilds of Pennsylvania to shoot more video and stills. More scenes from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I should have been there, but the continuing headaches (yes) and my deadlines made the long trip impractical (to say the least). But, here's the thing. Excepting the top-tier donors (3 people), the shots from this session is not available to those who donated to the Kickstarter project. And given we went a bit over budget, we're hoping to cover more of the overage by offering some of Kyle's prints for sale. I'll post the information here as soon as he's set up for the sale. Which should be very soon. The photos are gorgeous. [livejournal.com profile] kambriel* made the gorgeous "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" dress that Sara wears. And, while I'm at it, the novel's release date is now only thirty six (!) days away.

Last night, on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] andrian6, Spooky and I watched Joel Anderson's Lake Mungo (2008). Except for Cloverfield, I'm fairly certain Lake Mungo is the best "mockumentary" (I fucking loathe that "word") since Myrick and Sánchez' superb The Blair Witch Project in (1999). Lake Mungo is quiet, eerie in all the right ways, and deeply disconcerting. In the end, it's what all "ghost" stories should be – it's sad. Set in Australia, it's sort of like Peter Weir did a ghost story back in the 1970s. You should see it.

And, with that...time to make the doughnuts.

Wishing She Were On the Way Home from Pennsylvania,
Aunt Beast

* If you want to see many of her beautiful designs on her retail website, just go here. Kambriel has made several custom pieces for me over the years.

Addendum (2:29 p.m.): Just heard from my agent that my Publishers Weekly interview is now out, in the January 30, 2012 issue of the magazine. Apparently, no one in Rhode Island sells the magazine, so if you can get me a copy, I'll show my gratitude in some very nice way. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
This is one of those rare mornings when I wake freezing, shivering, headachey, just shy of full-blown hypothermia, somehow having divested myself of all the blankets in the throes of this or that bad dream. And then I need two hours to get warm. Only, according to Spooky, I was actually being a bed hog, and if I'm cold it's my own damn fault.

Yesterday, I did an interview. An important interview. But I cannot yet say for whom or where it will appear. I will tell you as soon as I can. But it ate up more of the day than it should have. Also, I've gotten bloody sick of talking about myself. It's a little easier to talk about Imp or Sarah or Dancy, and almost as accurate since they're all overlapping aspects of me, anyway. To all prospective interviewers and would-be biographers of Me, I say to you, the only biography that's worth a good goddamn, the only truth-be-told, must first be filtered and fictionalized. You reduce the lives of women and men down to mere fact and history, and mostly you'll be left with the banal; if you're lucky, you'll get monotonous tragedy. Mythologize, though, and at least tragedy will seem noble, and even mundanity may be transformed and redeemed.

I am a writer, and my lot in life is to lie constantly, all the while never failing to tell the truth.

Today, I go back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," and hopefully finish it. It will come in Sirenia Digest #73, with a great illustration by Vince Locke, plus Chapter Two of the original (scrapped) attempt to write Silk, plus (!, I hope) a new science-fiction story. I hope. Maybe.

Yesterday, I saw the colored pages for one of the Alabaster stories, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, and wow.

An announcement. Every morning, or early afternoon, or mid afternoon, I spend anywhere from one to three hours on this journal. An hour and a half is about average, but let's say an hour, because round numbers are easier. That means I journalize seven hours a week, twenty-eight hours a month, three hundred and sixty-five hours a year (or about 15.2 days; and, in truth, a considerably larger sum). Think of all the stories or vignettes or work on novels I could get done in that time. And I've been doing this for more than eleven years, almost every single day! So, I'm thinking that after March, after the release of The Drowning Girl, I'm going to cease this every-goddamn-day blogging thing, this wearisome cataloging of the humdrum events of my humdrum life, and reserve the LJ for news of forthcoming books and of occasional interesting trips, saving untold hours that can be devoted to work, waking up, staring out the window, reading the day's news, et aliae. It's unlikely I'll change my mind.

It's looking now like the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl will go live until January 3rd, due to web-design issues. We have everything in place, it just has to be assembled. The new front page of my website, that is. The thirty-second trailer is edited and ready to post (thank you, Brian!).

Yesterday, well, not much else to tell. I read a pretty good story by David Barr Kirtley (whom, I admit, I'd never heard of before), and before bed I read Stuart Moore's graphic-novel story loosely based on Thomas Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin (2007), as illustrated by Colleen Doran (I worked with her on an issue of The Dreaming, but, offhand, I can't recall which one). I napped. I watched a PBS documentary on the AZORIAN Project and the 1974 attempt to raise the sunken Soviet submarine K-129. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic. And there was other stuff.

And now, I go forth to think on bivalves and cephalopods.

Warm Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Happy birthday to Neil, Holly, and Spooky's sister, Stephanie! Also, happy forty-second birthday to Sesame Street, which first aired on this date in 1969! And I was there*. No, really. I watched the first episode the day it was broadcast. Yes, I am getting old. But Kermit's even older. And now he's even older. And now he's older still. Me, too. Neil, Holly, and Stephanie, too. Funny how that works.

---

Now that I've returned to the wider, stranger arena of mass media, I'm having to remind myself how careful one has to be during interviews. I already have "a for example". This morning, Digital Spy is reporting:

Kiernan previously wrote for The Dreaming and other Sandman spinoff titles, which she described as "a very unpleasant experience" and "creative nightmare".

What I actually said, as accurately reported yesterday by Comic Book Resources, was:

Most of the time I was working for DC/Vertigo, it was a very unpleasant experience. Sometimes, pretty much a creative nightmare.

Context and subtly, people. There were some grand and wonderful moments working on The Dreaming, some gleaming moments, even. Just not enough of them to redeem the whole. But the first three story arcs, then getting to work with Dave McKean and John Totleben, all the stuff I learned from Neil, Goldie the Gargoyle, "The First Adventure of Miss Catterina Poe"...it was not all bad, as the Digital Spy article would have you think I said. Neil recently said to me, "The Dreaming taught you to be a professional," which is the truth. Anyway....if, somehow, you missed the announcement yesterday, here's last night's blog entry. Yes, there is going to be a Dancy comic.

---

I think one of the most frustrating things about being unable to talk about working with Dark Horse has been being unable to explain just how much work I'm juggling at the moment. Here's this month, November 2011 (the next twenty days), as "a for instance" (which is pretty much the same as "a for example"):

1) Write "Ex Libris" (~10k words) for chapbook to accompany Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance.
2) Finish with the galley pages of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, have them back in Manhattan by November 15th.
3) Write Alabaster: Wolves #3.
4) Write introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: 25 Tales of Weird Romance, "Sexing the Weird."
5) Plan Sirenia Digest #72 (though it will likely be written in very early December).
6) Finish up the last of the edits on Alabaster: Wolves #2 (and comment on and approve and etc. and etc. the incoming pages from #1, endless brainstorming!!!!).

And actually, there's other stuff. But this is the work that's easy to categorize. "Bullet point. " Whatever. We're also working on selling Blood Oranges, for example, and there are new ebook pirates just off the coast, and more Dark Horse-related interviews on the way, and working with [livejournal.com profile] briansiano and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy on the trailer for The Drowning Girl, and...you get the picture. Oh, and if anyone with very good web-design fu is willing to revamp my main website for...um...free books, please contact me immediately. There's enough chaos in my life at the moment that my agent has actually started recommending meditation; I think my panicked phone calls are freaking her out.

Gagh. I should go. The platypus is gnawing on my goddamn toes. Platypus slobber is disgustipating. But, here's a rather random assortment of very lousy photos I took last night (after Kyle, every photo I take looks lousy):

9 November 2011 )


*Spooky was only a zygote.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence it's a balmy 53˚Fahrenheit, bright and sunny.

And today, as the world "falls back," I remain upright, and Caitlín Standard Time begins for the eighth year. All this actually means is that I prefer Daylight Savings Time and so remain on it all year round. I'm not a morning person, and this way I keep more sunlight in the evening during the loathsome winters. CST has become even more important since the move north. By the way, if you hate DST, and find CaST bizarre, I truly do not care, so there's no need to say so here.

Yesterday was an eight-hour workday, almost all of it spent answering email and getting Sirenia Digest #71 ready to be PDFed, and then I sent it off to Gordon ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) for the actual PDFing. And I also did an interview regarding the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. The interview will appear online Wednesday, same day as Dark Horse spills more specifics. I'll keep you posted. There are many interviews in my immediate future. Anyway, yes, very busy Saturday (weekends, what are those?). Alas, oftentimes, the first PDF of a Sirenia Digest has errors, and a second is necessary. But, still, I should think the digest will likely go out this evening. Not too late to subscribe and get in on #71! It's cheap!

Today, I need to begin the long short story, or the novelette, or short novella, or what-the-hell-ever that I'm doing for the chapbook that will accompany the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. By the way, that chapbook will include not only this new, long story, but "The Yellow Alphabet." No release date yet. I'm guessing Summer 2012.

Speaking of subpress, I'm getting a lot of reports from people who ordered Two Worlds and In Between from Amazon.com, who are now receiving emails stating "Due to a lack of availability from our suppliers, we will not be able to obtain the following item(s) from your order..." That sort of shit. I have no idea why this is happening, but I do know it's happened before with Amazon and subpress editions, which is why I never link to the Amazon pages for those books, but directly to the subpress pages. I've said before, to be sure you get the book, always order these volumes directly from Subterranean Press. All I can do is notify subpress that it's happened...again. Which, of course, solves no one's problem, now that the book is completely sold out. I can apologize (not that it's my fault), and I do, but I know that doesn't get anyone the book they pre-ordered, expecting that pre-order to be filled. Honestly, the situation pisses me off, but there's nothing I can do. When subpress begins taking orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, ignore Amazon. Order directly from the publisher.

Now, if you did order directly from subpress, and your order hasn't arrived yet, be patient. It will. All the copies are not sent out at once. Subpress handles too many titles to do that. Pre-ordering doesn't mean you get your book early; it means you get your book. I am the author, and all but two of my comp copies only arrived day before yesterday.
---

Last night, we streamed last week's episode of American Horror Story from Hulu (Zachary "Husband #1" Quinto!), then finished Season Four of Californication. For my part, as much as I adore this series, I'd have been happy with it ending at the ending with Hank driving, literally, off into the sunset in that last episode of Season Four. The story may not have been finished (no story ever is), but it was a good place to stop telling it. However...seems like there will be fifth and sixth seasons, though, at least, the story will skip ahead two years. Then we read the prologue and first chapter of House of Leaves (because it's November), then I read some more, and was unable to sleep until almost 4 ayem (perhaps your 3 ayem), only to wake at ten ayem (possibly your 9 ayem). So, I'm not at my best today. Of course, I probably will never be at my best again. My best probably ended in 1995. Those people who tell you that "40 is the new 30" are either a) seriously deluded, b) have amazingly good health care, or both.

We just realized we missed the Rasputina in Boston on October 28th, because we were at the Iron Pour. At least we did something. However, I will make the VNV Nation in Boston on December 4th. Stalk me there and die.

And now...the words.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Undefeated,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold and windy here in Providence.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, Spooky has some very cool Halloween goodies up in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries, and they're only available until November 1st. C'mon, guys. How can you resist the pumpkinhead hangy ghosts? A hand-made Jack O' Lantern figurine? You can't, that's how! Finally and also, recall I've donated two items to the KGB Reading raffle, a very good cause, and raffle tickets are only $1 each.

Yesterday, I wrote a measly 614 words on "At the Reef." But they were good words. Gods, I miss the time, pre-2002, when my daily writing word limit was a mere 500 words. At some point, it got jacked up to 1,000 per day, though, truthfully, I feel guilty if I do less than 1,200. Anyway, I'll be able to finish the vignette on Saturday. Think Innsmouth, with sex. Okay, Innsmouth with overt sex. I established sometime back that "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is pretty much a story about interspecific sexual shenanigans.

Today, Ursula K. LeGuin is 81 years old.

Last night was gallery night at the RISD Museum, and we went to hear Brown University planetary geologist Carle Pieters and artist Tristin Lowe discuss the moon in front of Lowe's Lunacy, a huge white felt version of the satellite, currently on view. And we stayed for student films, which were mostly wretched. Or whatever is worse than wretched. There were two or three good animated pieces ("The All-Mighty Bearfish!"), but mostly, if you're making a student film...please...think about cinematography and sound, imagery, the basics...don't try to make the Next Great Supernatural Thriller or a Gut-Wrenching Melodrama About Pressing Social Issues Starring All Your Friends Who Can't Act. Because you'll fail horribly, and fail to impress. But, yeah, the Bearfish ruled.

---

Last night, we played WoW, and did the Magister's Terrace mission, defeating Kael'thas Sunstrider at Quel'danas. It was a right bitch, even with two level 80s, and I have resolved to make our guild, Eyes of Sylvanas, a genuine guild. It's always just been me and Spooky. We started the guild to have extra storage space, and because we wanted a cool name and tabard. Last night, I got so pissed that I resolved to add a number of players to the guild. So...if you have a Horde toon on the Cenarion Circle server (or want to move an existing toon to Cenarion Circle) we'd love to have you. You even get a cool tabard. We're especially interested in players Level 65-80, but we'll accept lower levels, and will probably even help you level from time to time. If you are interested, please send Spooky an email at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, letting us know your toon's name. And please comment here, so I'll know you're interested.

And, yeah, I'm still rping on CoX. But mostly, only rping.

---

By the way, people are dumb. No, seriously. This is not an Onion story. This is for real:

Plane Crashes After Crocodile Escapes, Causes Panic

The panicking fight attendant. The passengers who went ape-shit and freaked out over a small and mostly harmless croc. The moron who smuggled a crocodile onto an airplane in a carry-on bag. The asshole who killed the croc (the reptile was one of two survivors) with a machete after the crash. It's a proper fucking parade of idiots.

Speaking of which, Gustavo Bondoni is also a fucking idiot and an asshole. That's two for one.

On that note, I should probably go. I've got an interview to finish...
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
The weather seems to have turned cool again. It was warm enough yesterday in the House that we had to crank up Dr. Muñoz for the first time in weeks.

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

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

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

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

---

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

---

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

Jupiter and the Moon )


---

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

Anyway. Those doughnuts won't make themselves, and the mothmen are casting a baleful eye my way. Yeah, just one eye. They're sort of stingy. Or maybe they're mocking me.
greygirlbeast: (Walter1)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] anaisembraced reminded me of a quote from one of Anaïs Nin's published diaries (1931-1934). It manages to say much more eloquently what I was trying to say yesterday about my need for a public persona:

"There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest."

---

Yesterday was spent, work-wise, beginning the layout of Sirenia Digest #58. I have to set that aside today for the aforementioned Weird Tales interview, which I'm doing after all. Part of me is so done with giving interviews. Another part of me recognizes it's always going to be something I have to do.

If you want truly secure online passwords, create your own language. It works wonders.

The weather has turned warm again.

People have started asking me questions about the H. P. Lovcecraft Film Festival. What I will and won't be doing, my schedule, how many books will I sign, when's my reading, what will I be reading from, how long will I be in Oregon, am I going to Powell's, and so forth. I'm going to post my schedule for the festival and CthulhuCon here in the next day or so.

As for signing, I'm not going to have an actual signing session scheduled, I don't think, so you might want to plan on bringing stuff you want signed to my reading, or catching me before or after a panel, something like that. But not if I'm eating, or something like that. I'll sign as many books as you want signed. No limit. I'll personalize them. I won't write stupid shit like, "To my best friend" or "For a kindred spirit" or poetry or anything like that. I won't inscribe my books with passages from my books. I bring these things up because from time to time they've been an issue in my eBay sales. I'll sign books, and I'll sign books to you or to whomever you want them signed to, but that's about it. Sometimes, if the mood strikes me, I throw in a monster doodle, but the mood rarely strikes me.

Also, I am declaring this con "Be Nice to Spooky Weekend." Which means, well, be nice to Spooky, because if she weren't coming along, I wouldn't be able to be there. Please feel free to bring her doughnuts from Voodoo Donuts (I think she's especially interested in the bacon-maple bars, voodoo dolls, and apple fritters). Or a vial of Escential's "oak moss." These things will make her smile.

---

So far, I've completely avoided seeing clips and trailers from Matt Reeves Let Me In, which is a remake of Tomas Alfredson's superb and perfect Låt den rätte komma in (both based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, Låt den rätte komma in). I hate the things that Reeves has said, with a straight face, about making the story more accessible for Americans. I hate that he's gutting the novel and original film's gender issues by simply making Eli a genetic female. How can that not come across as pandering to homophobic and transphobic filmgoers? And this is all confusing, because I very much loved Reeves' Cloverfield, and want to see more from him. I'm not especially fond of American remakes of foreign language films, but I also don't hate them on principle, as some seem to do. Usually, I'll give them a chance. But this time, I don't see how I can.

Oh, and I'm very pleased to see that [livejournal.com profile] docbrite is finally reading House of Leaves.

---

Some smart, moving, exquisite rp in Insilico last night. Lately, my rp has involved very few people, which I have found, through trail and error, to be the best approach. Two people is ideal. Four is usually my limit for a scene. More than that, there's too much chaos. This story began back in January and February, with a long hiatus from April into July. At this point, it's mostly the story of two people, one of whom happens to be an android. It's like the middle of a good sf novel, one for which I know I'll never get to read the beginning or ending (which makes it rather like a dream). It demonstrates the marvel that Second Life can be, but almost never manages to be. Anyway, my thanks to Fifth and Molly.

Earlier, Spooky and I watched the latest Project Runway (good riddance, Ivy) and the first episode of Season Three of Fringe, which I though was an especially strong episode.

And now, there's the interview (though internet porn sounds like more fun)....
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
We seem to be dodging the bullet of Hurricane Earl. A weather front has nudged it a wee bit eastward, and its been downgraded to a Category One. Mostly, we're looking at heavy rain and some wind, and breathing a sigh of relief. The surfers are happy, even though the Governor of Rhode Island ordered all the state beaches closed yesterday. I'd love to go down to Point Judith or Beavertail and see the waves, but it's unlikely we could get anywhere near the shore.

Meanwhile, Sirenia Digest #57 is still stuck in a holding pattern. Which has me very, very antsy and unable to move on to whatever needs doing next. Today, I may seek an alternate path to the PDF, as someone has volunteered. My thanks to everyone for being so patient.

Not much work yesterday, and what there was consisted, in the main, of email. I had a short interview for Lightspeed, about "Faces in Revolving Souls," which is being reprinted there in November. They'll also be running an author's spotlight on me that month, so I had questions regarding germline bioengineering and retroviruses to answer. Also, "The Belated Burial" is being adapted for podcast by PodCastle. I'll let you know when it's scheduled.

The rest of the day we mostly spent wandering about Providence making preparations against the storm— nonperishable food, jugs of water, candles, and so forth. Stuff we likely won't need now, not this weekend, but which we'll eventually put to good use. I called my mother, back in Alabama. Yesterday was the first anniversary of my stepfather's death, and so it was a hard day for her. We talked for twenty or thirty minutes, about everything from hurricanes to possums.

If anyone out there is feeling charitable, I'd really like to be able to update my OS from OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). If I'd ever updated to Leopard, it wouldn't be a big deal, just $29.00. But because I didn't, I appear to need this software bundle for the update. Just saying, if anyone's feeling generous with some disposable cash that isn't doing anything, I wouldn't say no. *

Last night, we watched the third and final film in the Red Riding trilogy, In the Year of Our Lord 1983. The third film, directed by Anand Tucker, is much more like the first, stylistically and structurally. It was beautiful, deeply unsettling, and sublime. I'd say it's a film about redemption, even at the cost of one's life and sanity (which is true, to a lesser degree, of the first film). Tucker's use of flashbacks, nonlinear narrative, and fairy-tale hints is marvelous. Mark Addy's performance as John Piggott is one of the best in all three films. So yes, I recommend these films very strongly. Right now, all three can be streamed from Netflix.

There was rp in Insilco after the movie. I think we got to bed about three, maybe later. Spooky and I are both a week or so behind on our sleep.

Update: Turns out, Apple lies (as do we all). The bundle isn't needed, and I can update directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard, so all I need is the 29.00 thingy. Baaaaad Apple marketing!

Update 2 (4:51 p.m.): One trip to the Apple Store and a 45-minute install later, and Arwen is now running OS X 10.6.3. And yes, I named my iMac Arwen.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Warm here in Providence, but not the unbearable heat of last week. I'm not yet certain whether or not I shall need the services of Dr. Muñoz today. Spooky's going to South County to see her sister and mother and her nephew Miles. I'm staying here, at this accursed desk.

And here's one of the sorts of things that make me want to go back to bed. This idiotic "review" of The Red Tree from Amazon:

[1 star] "Ignore the good reviews!," July 18, 2010 (By R. Esposito [Northern Virginia]):

This is one of those books that you keep reading in the hopes that it will get better but just ends up being a complete waste of time. It's not scary on any level. It's just extremely boring. The characters are not very likable, their actions make no sense, the writing is tedious and the dialog is stilted. The "did she go crazy" or "did the tree get her" plot left me only wishing she had come to her demise much sooner. And no that's not a spoiler since she's dead from the start of the book. I not only want my money back, I want the time wasted reading this book back.

Sure, it's obvious the reader is an ignoramus ("the characters...actions make no sense"). And sure, I'm not a "horror writer" and The Red Tree isn't a "horror" novel, and I didn't try to write a "scary" book. Or "likable" characters, for that matter. Is "the writing tedious and the dialog...stilted"? I'm not sure I can tell anymore. So, there you go.

I did have a very small (and likely useless) epiphany on Sunday, one I'm sure I've had before. A writer may study what potential readers like, and she or he may then pander, and struggle to be accessible, and have the common touch, and take workshops, and listen to the advice of those who say they know how to make it work. And still, the odds of success in the literary marketplace are very, very poor. Or, a writer may choose to write what she or he pleases, with no regard for that potential marketplace or accessibility or anything of the sort. And their odds of success in the literary marketplace are very, very poor. From a financial perspective, almost all writers fail. From a financial perspective, almost all books fail. That's a given. There are exact numbers, I just don't have them on hand. Two things may be deduced. One is that the odds of success are not improved (but neither are they hindered) by pandering. And another is that you might as well write what you feel moved to write, because you'll probably fail anyway.

---

The last few days are not quite a blur. I expect I'd be in a better mood if they were. There was no writing yesterday, because there was an afternoon doctor's appointment, and that throws everything into chaos. On Sunday, still ill from insomnia, I did manage to make less of a mess of what I'd written on Thursday and Friday, what I'd dithered over and picked at on Saturday. That is, the beginning of the Next New Novel. We read it over and over again. And I still don't like it. It's just more coherent now. I have no idea what's going to happen with it today.

And I have to look at the transcript of an interview I did while at Readercon.

---

Yesterday, before the doctor, in order to keep my mind occupied so I wouldn't back out of going, I had to do something that was not writing. So, there was no work yesterday. We went to a very early matinée of Christopher Nolan's Inception. This is, simply put, a brilliant film. I honestly have nothing but praise for it. I could heap adjectives and hyperbole, but I won't. It's just brilliant, and needs to be seen, probably multiple times. Yes, it owes a great debt to numerous predecessors, most notably Alex Proyas' Dark City (1998), but it succeeds in being something new, invested with its own power and vision. A great score from Hans Zimmer. This is one of those films I cannot recommend highly enough. And it must be seen on a big screen. And thank holy fuck it wasn't in 3-D.

Then, last night, we watched the Hughes Brothers' The Book of Eli (2009), which was a quite a bit better than I'd expected (all the Xtian nonsense aside). Of course, I went in with no expectations. The cast helped enormously, with people like Gary Oldman, Tom Waits, and a Malcom McDowell cameo picking up any slack there might have been. I'm not sorry I missed it in the theatres, but it's fun, and even a slight bit better than "just fun."

---

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

Now I try to make some sense from this day.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Kazuo Ohno has died at age 103.

One of the many positive benefits of the new meds has been the almost complete vanquishing of my insomnia. The last few weeks, I've slept better than I have, probably, at any time in the last decade. But every now and then I still have a bad night. Like last night. I finally took an Ambien sometime around four and got to sleep, but Sméagol insisted we get up sometime around ten or ten-thirty, so there you go. Maybe six hours, and the damned Ambien is still in my system.

Yesterday, I did 1,001 words on "The Maltese Unicorn." I begin to obsess about whether or not I've begun this story in the wrong place. As it is, I know it's changed a great deal since I got serious about writing it back on May 8th. It's less about demon brothels, and more about two characters who are not whores, but do the bidding of one of the two Manhattan demon brothels. Oh, the mystical dildo of the title is still there. It's just the story's focus isn't what I'd thought it would be.

I sent my very long bio to Readercon 21 (they want them very long).

You can now read the interview I recently gave Clarkesworld Magazine, my first since the barrage of interviews I did last fall, after the release of The Red Tree.

I've agreed to allow my Tiptree-honored story "Galápagos" (from Eclipse 3) to be podcast by the Hugo-nominated StarShipSofa. Don't yet know when it will go up. I'll keep you posted.

Yesterday, while I was writing, a package arrived from S.T. Joshi, and it turned out to be my contributor's copy of Dark Wings: Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (PS Publishing, 2010), which reprints my story, "Pickman's Other Model." It's a truly beautiful book. Looks like the signed limited has already sold out, but there are still copies of the trade hardcover available. When I was done writing, I sat down and read "Pickman's Other Model." I virtually never read my own stuff once it's published (unless I'm reading it for the purposes of editing before a reprint). Two years after I wrote it, "Pickman's Other Model" still holds up very well.

Speaking of books being sold out, it's too late to get the limited edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others, but you can still order the trade hardback.

Please check out the latest round of eBay auctions, which includes one of the ultra-rare Dreaming mobiles.

---

Last night we went on a Angela Bettis/Lucky McKee binge. Spooky and I both adore May (2002), so it seemed like a good idea. We began with Tim Rutili's All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (2009), which turned out to be a sweetly creepy film, the trials and tribulations of a spiritual medium (Bettis) who lives in a house full of trapped souls. Highly recommended. We followed it with McKee's episode of the Masters of Horror series. I went in with great trepidation, as I've loathed everything from the series I've seen (which is most of it). However, McKee's contribution, "Sick Girl" (2005), proves to be the one good apple in the barrel. Two lesbians and a parasitic insect. McKee describes it as "...sort of a 30’s/40’s romantic comedy (that you NEVER could have made at that time, I might add!) that degrades into a 50’s bug movie." A very apt description. After "Sick Girl," we watched McKee's The Woods (2005), a wonderful sort of homage to the scary pagan movies of the sixties and seventies. McKee gets pretty much everything right, and Bettis lends a spooky voice-over, plus you get Bruce Campbell, and I fucking swear I'd not seen this film before I began work on The Red Tree. So, yes, a good movie night.

Hang on, platypus. I'm on my way.
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
Today is International Biodiversity Day. This year, the theme is "Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation." Good luck, I say. Good luck. Here we stand, in the latter days of the Holocene Extinction Event, at the dawn of the Anthropocene. It's hard to hold out much hope for the preservation of biodiversity. We're losing too many species too quickly, and, what's worse, the continuing growth of the human population and human industry is wiping out habitat at an unprecedented rate. We are witnessing one of the six greatest extinction events* in the history of Earth's biosphere, and the only one triggered by another species. So, yeah, it's hard to trumpet World Biodiversity Day, when I cannot help but believe the battle was already lost a hundred or two hundred years ago. That the battle cannot be won, humans being what they are.

---

Work cut a grand swath of tedium across yesterday. First, I finally got around to the first batch of questions for the Clarkesworld interview. I recall a time, not so very long ago, when I really didn't mind doing interviews. Hell, in August 2002 I did an interview for Cemetery Dance wherein I answered a staggering sixty-five questions! I think only about a third of the questions actually made it into the printed interview, and that one taught me never to agree to such a fool thing again. Anyway, I don't know what happened, but, at some point, I began to feel like an asshole every time I do an interview. All my replies seem ridiculous. This is, by the way, the first one I've given since the moratorium on interviews I imposed after the great barrage of interviews following the release of The Red Tree last summer. And it will likely be my last for a while.

The rest of yesterday was spent reading through "A Redress for Andromeda" and rewriting it, though I'd promised myself I wouldn't do that. But it's about to be reprinted in an anthology of weird fiction, and the story's now more than ten years old, and I just could not bear to see it reprinted as is. My voice has changed too much. I'm a much better writer than I was in 1999. This is, of course, not the first time this sort of thing has happened. I did a pretty thorough revision of Silk before the release of the most recent edition, and, to a lesser degree, I revised Threshold before the release of the 2007 paperback. The old prose grated too much for me to allow it to be reprinted. There were too many things I knew I'd done wrong. Same with the 2008 Subterranean Press edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Almost all those stories were rewritten to one degree or another. It was such a chore that when Bill Schafer agreed to do A is for Alien, he made me swear I'd not rewrite anything (my health was shit at the time, and he knew I didn't need that stress).

Anyway, when S. T. Joshi asked to include "In the Waterworks (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)" in American Supernatural Tales, I rewrote it. When Peter Straub asked to reprint "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" in American Fantastic Tales, I rewrote it (never mind I'd already revised it in 2007 for the aforementioned subpress edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder). And now...now, I've heavily revised "A Redress for Andromeda." Yesterday, I read it aloud to Kathryn, pausing every few words to bitch about what a lousy writer I was a decade ago, pausing to rewrite sentences and paragraphs. Today, we still have to make the changes I marked yesterday, so I can send the ms. to the anthology's editors.

---

After I could endure work no more, Spooky and I went to College Hill and wound up back on Canal Street. This time, I was smart enough to bring the camera. We parked on Benefit Street, in front of 187 Benefit Street, which was once Knowles Funeral Home, where Lovecraft's funeral was held in 1937. We strolled down Thomas Street towards downtown and the Providence River, past the Fleur de Lys Studio (which appears in Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu"). RISD students had left charcoal sketches (mostly studies of nudes) taped to telephone poles and fences and walls, and they fluttered in the evening breeze. We walked along the waterfront as far south and east as the towering stone monument at Water Place Park. We watched the sun set over the city, then headed back to the car.

Oh, before the walk, we stopped by Utrecht on Wickenden Street, because Spooky needed art supplies. I wound up getting two canvases for myself, and a modest set of acrylics. I haven't painted in long ages, but I suddenly found myself in the mood. I'll keep you posted. Anyway, here are eight photos from the various stages of yesterday:

21 May 2010 )


* In order from oldest to youngest, the extinction events considered by biologists and paleontologists to be the most severe in the earth's history are the Ordovician–Silurian extinction event, the Late Devonian extinction, the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the Triassic–Jurassic extinction event, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, and the Quaternary-Holocene extinction event (currently underway).
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Warm here in Providence today, warm and sunny. Even warmer in the house than out there.

There was some talk yesterday of heading down to Connecticut, either to Stonington for the old cemetery, or maybe to Mystic for...well, I'm not sure. Instead, I mostly passed the day reading Polly Adler's A House is Not a Home (1953), and doing other bits of research so I can begin writing "The Maltese Unicorn" as soon as possible. Oh, and a thank-you to Steven Lubold for sending me a copy of the Adler book.

Early in the evening, we drove over to College Hill, to the RISD Museum of Art, to see James Crump's Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007). After the film, we exited the museum onto Canal Street (we'd entered from Benefit Street). We bumped into an old friend of Spooky's, Dave James, and then spent a little while at the edge of the Providence River. The tide was out, and the river was low. There was no chill to the evening. A beautiful sunset was reflected in the city skyline, and I was sorry I'd not brought the camera. Back home, we had souvlaki and, later on, halvah. Late, we watched Matthew Robbins' Dragonslayer (1981). I'd not seen it since the original theatrical run, back when I was a junior in high school. But it's held up very well, and Vermithrax Pejorative remains my favorite cinematic dragon right up to the dragons of 2002's Reign of Fire. I got to sleep before three. It was a good, quiet evening.

Today, I need to get to an interview for Clarkesworld that I'm guilty of having put off almost forever. I also need to read through "A Redress for Andromeda" and make whatever changes I want made to it before an upcoming reprint. So, time to pet the platypus.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Sunny today, though not precisely warm. I opened my office window for about five minutes, then shut it again. But it'll be warmer tomorrow, and the tree outside my office window has tiny green shoots.

Nothing was written yesterday. Most of the day was spent trying to find a vignette. Still not sure whether or not I did. Also, I tried to work on the interview for Clarkesworld. You'll recall (or you won't) that back in the autumn I declared a moratorium on interviews, after having done a dozen or so relating to the release of The Red Tree. I thought that perhaps I was ready to begin giving interviews again. I may have been wrong. I answered the first question yesterday, and began the second...and suddenly it all sounded like bullshit, everything I'd said. The more I write, the older I get, the less interest I have in writing about how and why I write. The stories should speak for themselves. I do intend to finish this interview, but it will likely be my last for some time to come.

I slept almost eight hours again last night. I assume it's one of the new meds.

And I have this question, via email from Ron St. Pierre: "I know you do not write horror, but your stories give me a chill at times. I was re-reading my draft, and it gave me a chill. Is that how you know a story is working, when it really scares yourself?"

No. I can only think of a two or three times that I've written stories that frightened me. "Rats Live on No Evil Star," that one did. Perhaps also "La Peau Verte." But it's a very, very rare thing, when that happens. Which is hardly surprising, as I'm not trying to write stories that "scare" people (which is one of several reasons I say I'm not a "horror" writer). And even if a story were to frighten me, given the inherent subjectivity of fear, scaring myself would be no guarantee than anyone else would have the same reaction. Sometimes, when I am writing, there is a sort of frission, a certain intensity. When I feel that, I usually suspect that "a story is working." Well, for me, at least. There is never, ever any way to know that a story that works just fine for me will work for anyone else. No matter how desperately a writer may strive for mass appeal, or even appeal beyond him- or herself, the enterprise is too personal, too introverted, too subjective to ever know such a thing a priori. If others like it, you have on your hands a fortunate accident and nothing more. And there I was more articulate than my attempts to answer interview questions yesterday.

---

Last night, we watched the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man. Wow. An amazing, unnerving film. At least, we found it so. I expect many people watched the film and were simply baffled. I loved the prologue, it's encounter with a dybbuk on a snowy night. The remainder of the film builds towards a peculiar crescendo that interweaves the utterly inexplicable nature of the universe (or, if you prefer, "God"), Jewish American culture in the late 1960s/early 1970s, the story of Job, a sort of anti-nostalgia, the inscrutability of mankind, and an almost Fortean spite for anything like comprehension. The final shot...which I won't reveal...gave me chills. And the film is also quite funny, though, in the end, the laughs seem to add up to a very, very cruel joke. Very highly recommended.

And now, the day.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Four very cool things:

1) My latest "yellow house" story, "The Belated Burial," is now online at Subterranean Magazine.

2) My interview with WoW.com is also now online. I'm very pleased with the screencaps. It's official. I am an uber-nerd.

3) On Monday, Amazon.com published their Top Ten List of F&SF Books from 2009. Cat Valente's Palimpsest took the number one slot, but I was very, very happy with landing the second place slot with The Red Tree. Also, two anthologies that made the list include my fiction, Peter Straub's American Fantastic Tales ("The Long Hall on the Top Floor"), at fourth place, and Jonathan Stathan's Eclipse Three ("Galápagos"), at eighth place. An excellent list.

4. I have accepted an invitation to appear as Guest of Honor at Arcana 39 in St. Paul, Minnesota, October 15-17th, 2010. I will be doing a signing at DreamHaven Books on October 14th.

A long time since I had that many announcements to make in one entry.

---

Yesterday was sunny and almost warm here in Providence, and I was lured Outside. We left the house with no particular destination in mind, but as Spooky was pulling out of the drive, I spotted our jack-o'-lantern, still on the stoop. My plan had been to carry it to the park and leave to rot beneath a tree. But suddenly I had a better plan, one that would save it from the possibility of being smashed by a passing somebody. "I want to drop it in the river," I said, though at first I was unsure which river. We decided on the Saugatucket, where it winds through Wakefield, just west of the abandoned railroad/bike path. So...we drove south to Wakefield. I carried my first New England jack-o'-lantern out onto the bridge, held it over the abyss, and dropped it into the tea-colored, tannin-stained water ten or so feet below. It hit with a terrific splash and very briefly submerged. I'd expected it to simply sink. Instead, it was buoyed back to the surface by the air trapped inside. It rolled over once, so it was upside down, and proceeded to float. Though the river flows west, the dam keeps the current to a minimum here, and the wind began moving it eastward, against the current. We watched for twenty minutes or so, until it snagged in some low branches near the shore. All in all, it seemed a very fitting way to dispose of a pumpkin. There are photos behind the cut:

3 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
A chilly, cloudy day here in Providence. I suppose one would simply say, an autumn day. But the sort that is chilly and cloudy, instead of sunny and crisp and plagued by carnivorous blue skies. Again, as almost all of yesterday was spent in bed, there's not too much to write about. I am feeling quite a bit better today. Maybe by Monday I'll be as near to one hundred percent as I ever get these days.

And I wish I had grand insights into writing to put down here this afternoon. I'd feel less like a bum if I did. It would be something I could pretend was work. But I don't. I can say that I'm bored, and that's about it.

The South County Independent article/interview in now online, and it's also in the hard copy that came out yesterday. Mostly, I talk about The Red Tree and Rhode Island.

The tree outside my window is still green. Most on this street aren't. Many have already lost their leaves.

Vince has delivered the final version of his illustration for Sirenia Digest #47, and I like it very, very much. I'm hoping I can get the digest out tomorrow, but it might be as late as Monday, so I ask for your patience.

The eBay auctions continue. Please have a look.

Yesterday, the postman brought my comp copy of the new Italian translation of The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance (UK/American editions, 2008), which is titled L'ora Dei Vampiri. I still find the inclusion of two of my stories in the volume rather amusing. "Ode to Edvard Munch" and "Untitled 12" in a book of vamp-flavored paranormal romance. Or, two of these things are not like the others. I remain impressed that the editor asked to include them.

Late yesterday, Spooky convinced me to get up and go with her to the last day of this autumn's farmer's market at the Dexter Training Grounds by the Armory. I was glad that I did. The air did me good. I picked up chestnuts and admired baskets of peppers. There are photos behind the cut (below).

Last night, on beyond bored, I convinced Spooky that we should spend the evening binging on Hallowe'en-appropriate movies and whatnot. First, we watched David Moreau and Xavier Palud's Ils (2006; US title, Them). It was very, very good, and made especially effective use of sound. A wonderfully disturbing thriller which I recommend. I cannot say the same for Dario Argento's Jenifer, yet another installment in the lamentable "Masters of Horror" series. I'm not even convinced that Argento directed it. The film didn't look like Argento, or feel like Argento. It was utterly, stupidly awful, and dull, and vapid— the sort of thing that panders to the maladjusted fourteen-year-old boy in far too many adult horror fans. By the third obligatory sex scene (or the second obligatory and unconvincing disemboweling, I can't recall), I was nodding off. Anyway, we followed that with the Hallowe'en episode of Castle. It's the first I'd seen of the series. It wasn't bad, so long as it was only trying to be funny. But when it tried to play "detective series with a straight face," the whole thing fell apart. Still, any excuse to watch Nathan Fillion. And after that, we watched the last two episodes of Angel, "Power Play" and "Not Fade Away," which I love more with each new viewing.

Anyway, here are the photos from yesterday:

29 October 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Still feeling pretty under the weather this morning. My hopes for a good Halloween/Samhain weekend are looking increasingly unrealistic.

Again, very little to say about yesterday. Too much of it was spent in bed. My mind is racing, ready to get started on this next novel, but the flesh is not so willing. I may not be in love with the act of writing, but this is even worse, being ready to get started and not being able to start. I dislike lingering on the threshold.

I've been told that the interview I gave WoW.com will likely go up on Tuesday. Truthfully, I think it's one of the most interesting interviews I've done lately, if only because I spend so little of it talking about writing.

I got a little reading done yesterday, Michael Cisco's exquisite "Machines of Concrete Light and Dark," from Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound. I've almost finished the anthology. I very much liked Brian Evanson's "The Din of Celestial Birds," and also Laird Barron's "Catch Hell." This really is a fine anthology, and I strongly urge you to pick up a copy.

I'm drinking blueberry juice, which isn't as good as you would expect. I think it falls under the category of "too much of a good thing."

The eBay auctions continue. Please have a look.

And here's the last set of photos from Sunday's day out. They pick up at Spooky's parents' place, and conclude with a marvelous sunset:

25 October 2009 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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