greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
This afternoon, I'm missing Alabama.

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

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

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

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



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

---

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

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

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

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

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

Perpetually Adolescent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Martha Jones)
Er...yeah. I just wasted half an hour searching for a Martha Jones icon. It's what I do. Well, it's the sort of thing I do. Sometimes. Like this morning.

Yesterday, was a bit like the day before yesterday, only less so. Still mostly the busyness of writing, and too much email, but not as much too much email, and with the added burden of waiting. Few things in the world are as evil as waiting. I'm pretty sure that there's a whole level of Dante's Unabridged Inferno (to be published in 2019) where the damned suffer an eternity of...waiting. Nothing else. Just waiting. Yesterday, the waiting mostly involved Alabaster, and deadlines, and the impending vacation. Oh, and I went through the thirty-second "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, literally frame by frame, then sent a few notes to Brian Siano. He's doing the final editing this weekend. It's almost perfect.

Then, just after dark, Harlan called to thank me for sending him a copy Two Worlds and In Between (he'd called and asked for one), and he went on and on about how much he loved Lee's cover. Which is cool, because I was inspired to go in that direction by several of Harlan's covers which incorporate him as an element of a fantastic scene (see The Essential Ellison, for example). And then he read me the first part of "Rats Live On No Evil Star," and...well, these are the moments writers live for, aren't they? When our literary progenitors, those without whom we would not be, speak our own words back to us, words they helped, without intention, to fashion? Yes, I think these are those moments. Anyway, Harlan was generous and sweet and funny, as always.

---

Demons run when a good man goes to war.
Night will fall and drown the sun,
When a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies,
Night will fall and the dark will rise,
When a good man goes to war.

Demons run, but count the cost:
The battle's won, but the child is lost.
~ River Song

Which is to say we watched two more episodes of Doctor Who last night, two more from Series Six: "A Good Man Goes to War" and "Let's Kill Hitler." And I will just say that, wow, "A Good Man Goes to War" redeems Series Six and back again. Damn, that was some good Who. And, as [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme predicted yesterday, I truly am enamored with Madam Vastra and Jenny. But some actual Victorian lesbian lizard-on-human action, please. Unmistakable innuendo is nice and all, but full on...um...I'm losing my train of thought. It is an excellent, excellent episode, as is "Let's Kill Hitler." There might yet be hope for Matt Smith (but not for Rory, who is only Xander recycled).

Also, more Rift last night (as per usual), leveling (Indus to 37) in the Moonshade Highlands. Later, I read a very, very good story, Angela Slatter's The Coffin-Maker's Daughter. I'd never read Slatter, but the story was very good, and was, indeed, about a coffin-maker's daughter, Hepsibah, who was herself a maker of coffins, and also a lesbian. What's not to like? Oh, plus Slatter was inspired by two Florence + the Machine songs, "My Boy Builds Coffins" and "Girl With One Eye." Then I read a new Stephen King story, "The Little Green God of Agony." As I've said, I don't care much for King, but I liked the title. And the story has a certain strength, and wasn't bad, if only the ending hadn't veered off into such clichéd creep-show horrors. If your stories fall apart when the monster appears on stage, stop writing about monsters. I drifted off to sleep sometime after four ayem, watching Frank Borzage's 1932 adaptation of A Farewell to Arms, which really is better than Charles Vidor's 1957 version, and not just because Gary Cooper is cooler than Rock Hudson.

Also, because I was admonished in yesterday's comments by [livejournal.com profile] mizliz13 for using the recently overused and perverted adjective awesome, and admonished rightly so, from here on I shall use "bow tie" in its stead.

---

Today is an assembly day. I must pull Sirenia Digest #72 together, and try to get it out before midnight (CaST). By the way, "Question @ Hand #5" will be the last "Question @ Hand." Indeed, I've half a mind not to run it, but that would be a sleight to the few people who did write pieces (and the one who wrote two!). I think that the decline in replies (#1 had over 30, about a year and a half ago; #5 had 10 responses) is further evidence of the dramatic changes here on LJ.

And now, the platypus.

Don't Get Cocky, Kid,
Aunt Beast
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: (Default)
So, the rains never came. The rains for which we cancelled the trip to Maine. There might have been a shower one night. Every day, the past few days, has been a case of "tomorrow, it's going to rain." And we have sunny days and warm nights. I've wasted an Indian Summer sitting at this fucking machine. Then again, there's so much work to be done, taking the time off truly would have been disastrous ("ill-starred").

We are surrounded by an ocean of words, and virtually no one knows their meanings.

COMMENT, KITTENS!

Yesterday, I began what I hope is a new piece for Sirenia Digest #70 (subscribe!). Currently, it's called "Evensong," and today I'll go back over the 1,134 words I wrote yesterday and see if I can make them a little more melodic, and then try to conjure whether or not the vignette (which it actually is) is leading me anywhere I want to go.

The workload right now has even me amazed. The money's nice. No denying that. But I doubt I'll be able to take more than two or three days off (maybe) until sometime in December.

It's a good thing that, as a small child, I was inoculated against suicide, what with all that talk of hellfire and damnation.

Ah, but two fine gifts yesterday, and thank you, Steven Lubold!

Lee Moyer and I have talking about the cover art for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. He had a great idea for an image from "Dancing with the Eight of Swords," and Bill Schafer has approved it.

There's a lot of shit I'd be blogging about, if I had half the requisite energy. For example, how mass media (televised and print) is largely ignoring the "occupation of Wall Street" and the instances of police brutality associated with it. Officer Tony Baloney, anyone? You know this tune! Sing along!

My bologna has a first name.
It's T O N and Y.
My Bologna has a second name.
It's P U S S Y.
Oh, I'd love to beat him every day,
For spraying girls inside a cage,
Cause we are now a police state from B O L O G N A !
— Anon.

You're a douchebag, Deputy Inspector Tony Baloney. Then again, maybe you give douchebags a bad rep. You're definitely giving the NYPD a bad rep.

I am currently battling a massive resurgence of time displacement. Taking my life back. I managed to get to sleep by three a.m. last night. I'm learning not to fight sleep. The pills are beating back Monsieur Insomnia; now I just have to let them. But yeah, asleep by three ayem, awake at ten ayem. In part, this improvement has followed from the strict adherence to my recently instituted and unflinchingly enforced NO BULLSHIT policy. If it is in my life, and if it turns to bullshit, I make it go away. It is proving an amazingly useful policy for the alleviation of stress of every sort. Three simple words: NOT MY PROBLEM.

And now! Photographs! The first is from Sunday, and the rest from our trip to West Cove on Monday:

27 September 2011 )


All Beauty and Truth,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
I believe I have a new motto. Which would be more interesting if I could recall what the old one was. Anyway, "However bad you think things are, they're probably much worse."

Words to live by.

And yes, ladies and gentlemen, kittens near and far, it is possible to spend nine days on a novel's CEM, and still not be finished. Which is to say that today will be Day 10. Yesterday was Day 9. And it was the very height of tedium. Today, I believe I begin descending the slopes of Mount Taediosus. But yesterday, I worked on the "Back Pages" for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, correcting, adding words, subtracting words. Then I went over the Author's Note again and made a lot of changes and additions. Then I threw out the old authors' biography that Penguin had used, exchanging it for a much better and inclusive (or comprehensive) one. Today will be the last actual day spent on the CEM, but it likely won't go back in the mail to NYC until Monday.

And I promise you this, someday there will be an expnaded hardcover edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, complete with color plates. Even if I have to use Kickstarter to fund it myself.

Also had a good conversation last night with Lee Moyer, who did the marvelous cover for Two Worlds and In Between, and who will be doing the cover for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

Also, yesterday was a good mail day. To start with, I somewhat inexplicably received two contributors' copies of Blood and Other Cravings, edited by [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow, inexplicable because I didn't actually contribute a story to the anthology, though the cover letter from Mr. Frenkel at Tor assures me that I did. But, regardless, it looks like a fantastic anthology, and I am glad to have copies. Maybe they slipped in from an alternate universe. Also, my thanks to Steven Lubold for sending me a copy of Colin Meloy's Wildwood (illustrated by Carson Ellis). I'm thinking this may be next month's book for the book of the month thingy. Also, my great thanks to Jada and Katharine for Loch Ness souvenirs from their recent trip to Scotland!

There is this matter of Arthur Machen which I mentioned yesterday, then promised to explain today. So, I shall. In the summer of 2008, I wrote an introduction for Bloodletting Press' Machen collection, The Great God Pan and Other Weird Stories. It was a lot of work, and I'm still grateful to Peter Straub for his guidance. So, I turned in my introduction, and was thanked by the publisher. A year or so passed. I heard no news of the book. Finally, I googled it, and there it was on the Bloodletting Press website, for sale, complete with my introduction. I emailed the publisher, and was told that yes, the book was in print, but that it didn't actually include my introduction – as I'd gotten it in too late. This last bit was never mentioned when I turned in the intro, but whatever. They sent me a copy of the book (but no check), I asked them to take my name off the page selling to book, and I put the affair behind me. The introduction remained unpublished. Then S. T. Joshi, who'd edited the volume for Bloodletting, asked me to write an introduction for another collection of Machen's work, this one to be released by Centipede Press. So, that essay on Arthur Machen I wrote three years before was dusted off and will appear in the forthcoming Centipede Press volume of Machen. I've just received the signature pages. I think it will also include an afterword by T. E. D. Klein (unless my piece is appearing as the afterword, and Klein's piece is the introduction; either way). I'll let you know when it's available for preorder, but I know the book's supposed to be out in 2012.

---

Last night, spaghetti. Good RP in Insilico. And we finished Season One of Mad Men, which is truly and actually a terrific series.

And now I must away, to try and finish.

Not in Maine,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: Remember when Wikipedia was sort of fun – good geeky, useful fun – and anyone who wasn't a drooling idiot could help out? When that was, in fact, the point of Wikipedia? Those days seem to have passed us by. Which is to say, you're now a stodgy old coot, Wikipedia, so wrapped up in being THE BEST AND MOST ACCURATE that you've forgotten the point of it all.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A rainy day here in Providence. It's nice.

Kyle and I have been hammering out specifics on the still photography/book trailer project for The Drowning Girl, and it's a stressful affair. Well, if you're me. I can make stress out of thin air. Anyway, the Kickstarter is going extraordinarily well (166%)...and...Michael Zulli has just come on board to do the actual painting, The Drowning Girl, which, in the novel, was painted in 1898 by an artist named Phillip George Saltonstall. Zulli has become our Saltonstall, which is beyond amazing.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,480 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and talking through with Kathryn what remains of the story, blocking it (a term I use instead of "plotting," as blocking is much looser), I begin to see that it's not a ten-chapter book, or a nine-chapter book. Probably, it's an eight-chapter book. Otherwise, this becomes gratuitous. And I'll not have that. Regardless, the word count will be somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words.

Some news regarding Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). The limited edition will include an extra volume (probably trade paperback), containing The Yellow Alphabet and 10,000 words of new fiction (likely in the form of two new stories). And I'll be working with Lee Moyer again on the cover.

---

A thought last night. Actually, a storm of thoughts whirling into a vortex. But, I'll play nice and call it a thought. Singular and calm. And it was just this: In today's subgenre-obsessed market, Harlan Ellison would be tagged a "horror writer." No, really. Go back and read the bulk of his fiction. Usually, he's writing "horrific sf" (as a disparaging Locus reviewer said of The Dry Salvages, "This is what happens when a horror writer tries to write SF"). Ellison's greatest achievements are almost all, at their roots, horrific. They're not about the sailing off into the stars, or the future, or the possibilities of technology, and finding a better world for mankind. Look at, for example, "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" (1967), or "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (1968), or "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" (1973), or even "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (1967). Though hailed as one of the most important SF writers of the 20th Century (I'd simply say one of the most important writers, period, and dispense with your fucking qualifying adjectives), if time were scrambled and he emerged into today's literary marketplace, a new writer, Harlan would be pegged a "horror writer." Probably, he would never receive all those Nebulas and Hugos. Being labeled "a horror writer" would define him in the eyes of NYC editors, and this would absolutely have a great influence on what he could and could not sell and see published. And this would be a crime of the first fucking order.

Stop thinking inside the genre paradigm, people. By doing so, you destroy art and opportunity. It's fiction, all of it. It's all literature. We need no other words to accurately define it. We need no reductionist baloney.

---

I don't feel right any longer saying, "Last night I watched television," when, in fact, I streamed video files across the internet from Netflix or Hulu. Anyway, last night Spooky and I gave AMC's Mad Men a try, beginning with the first two episodes. And were very impressed. Then we finished Season One of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and began Season Two. At some point I'll maybe be able to summarize my thoughts on all this L&O stuff. After hundreds more episodes. I also read "New unadorned hardrosaurine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the Campanian of North America" (very cool beast, is Acristavus gagslarsoni) in JVP. And we read more of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I read more of Denise Gess and William Lutz' Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History. We're trying to get our bedtimes back to something sane. Maybe 2:30 ayem, instead of 5 ayem. Last night, I was asleep by four, I think. Baby steps.

Giving Genre the Massachusetts State Bird,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous April.

So, I have long been an admirer of the awesomeness of [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse, but, of late, they've been dropping these "(trigger warning!)" PSAs into lots of their posts. What the fuck, guys? To start with, this is fucking Coilhouse, home of the weird, brash, and bold. And secondly, when the hell did sudden, unexpected emotional responses that resonate deeply because of traumatic personal experiences become a Bad Thing that one should be warned against? And – no shit – I say this as someone who's struggled with severe PTSD since before it was a goddamn acronym and who's still medicated for it. And yet, here I am, the personification of TRIGGERING, the very idea of TRIGGERING MADE FLESH. Has the concept of catharsis passed from the world? I can't help but suspect that [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse has bowed to the pressure of the Whiners. Butch up, people. There is no fucking shelter from the storm. Worse still, the storm has only just begun.

I will not be a member of the congregation of the Church of Protect Me From That Which Might Make Me Cry.

Yeah, another grumpy day.

But I have to get over it, because tomorrow is Spooky's birthday, and I think I'm going to be in Boston on Saturday evening...so...maybe the Good Fairies of Sunshine and Pink-Pony Cupcake Sprinkles will show up and pull some cheer forth from my ass in time to save the day.

---

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, answering email, sending email, waiting on email, and not much else. Today, I begin a vignette for Sirenia Digest #67. It's all in my head.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for making sure I got a copy of Publisher's Weekly 258/24, in which Two Worlds and In Between not only received a starred review, but appeared on the Table of Contents page as their "pick of the week." It really is amazing, holding that in my hands, seeing the final version of Lee Moyer's cover in color. So, thank you, [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59.

So few people would ever guess that "Houses Under the Sea" was inspired by R.E.M.'s song "Belong." And that just goes to show you how useful expectations can be. "Oh, that story was inspired by Lovecraft!" Well, actually...

---

Okay, here's another one to help me purge the angrification gremlins. If you're running a writer's conference at a well-respected liberal-arts college some 70 miles from my home (and that's as the crow flies, so it probably more like 125 miles), because you want me on ONE panel, then you're going to have to offer me a hell of a lot more than lunch and breakfast. Like an honorarium, and travel expenses, and a hotel room. Offer me those, and I might think about it. Maybe. It's nice to be asked, yes, but it's rude to put someone (a freelancer, at that) in the position of having to say no to what only seems like an honor, in a world where gas is edging towards four dollars a gallon. And ys, I appreciate the conference doesn't have a lot of money, but that's not my problem.

Hold on...be back in a second. Spooky is channeling her inner australopithicine. No, really. Monkey noises.

---

Round 3 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has begun. Right here. Please bid if you are able and interested! Thankses, Precious.

---

Last night, we made up for the lousy Hal Hartley film by watching Terrence Malick's impressive debut feature, Badlands (1973). Somehow, I'd never seen it before. Then there was Rift, and the blowback from the Big Patch, 1.3, which has loads of cool shit, but they messed up guild vaults, so we still don't have one, and all the talent trees were reset. Still, we managed a very good rp scene in the Spire of Orphiel. Later, Spooky read aloud from Junky, and then I read back over "The Maltese Unicorn," in Supernatural Noir. I really am exceptionally happy with this story, and thankful I was given a chance to write it. Now, I proceed to the other tales in the book!

Oh....here's something interesting at NPR: The End Of Gender?.

Ambiguously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
We are being told the temperatures will rise as high as the mid eighties today, so we may have some semblance of summer. It was decently warm yesterday, May warm. I was able to leave the window in my office open long after midnight.

Today, kittens, whats about some comments? Show me LiveJournal might be on life support, but she ain't quite dead yet.

Good sleep last night, and, by all accounts, a good day yesterday, even if it was non-stop work from the minute I got out of bed (literally) until about 9 p.m. But I'm plagued by some ill disposition. When I woke this morning, it was only anxiety, but now I think it might be anger. And I know the meds are working. Sometimes, our anger is a sane reaction. Oft times, actually. Over breakfast, Spooky and I were discussing the subjective, culturally defined nature of evil. Me, I don't actually believe evil exists. At least, not Evil. Not Big E. Everything we see that might be labeled "evil" is, increasingly, accounted for by psychology, neurology, cultural anthropology, economics, and so forth. Evil is what men and women say it is. Likewise, "good" is no more than that which women and men should happen to deem good from this or that perspective, sane or insane. This isn't nihilism. And I only point this out because there are idiots who might say that it is, not understanding. Humans are best at not understanding. They excel in the realm of not understanding. A million or so years from now, if the last humans get a headstone, it should read "Homo sapiens sapiens, They Couldn't Understand." Yeah, irony intentional. Also, I hope the plaque is placed on Mars, where it'd likely last many hundreds of millions of years, free of the dangers of tectonism, etc.

The first Australian remains (a single vertebra) of a spinosaurid theropod have been discovered near southern Victoria's Cape Otway lighthouse.

Yesterday, the first part of it was spent working on the illustrations section for Two Worlds and In Between, and there were emails from my agent. And then I finally started writing and did the first 2,206 words on Chapter Four of Blood Oranges ("Walking Spanish"). Afterwards, I did a little work on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and decided to subtitle the collection (which I hope will be out next year, but nothing is official yet) 25 Tales of Weird Romance. Still trying to decide whether or not that works. It's cheesy, yes. But I might be aiming for the Cheese of Irony. The cheese of showing ParaRom the Massachusetts State Bird. Anyway, Lee Moyer is interested in doing the cover, and we briefly spoke about it. After dinner, Spooky and I did the very last of the proofreading on the galley pages of Two Worlds and In Between. Then she had to photocopy all the pages we'd corrected, before we send them back (because the mail is even better at losing shit than they are at delivering shit). One must always have a Plan B.

Anyway, a consequence of our having finished with the galleys is that, by special arrangement with Subterranean Press, we are offering a copy of the Two Worlds and In Between ARC as part of Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction. In fact, this is the very copy we used while editing the ARC, and some of the pages have corrections in my hand. You can go directly to the ARC auction by following this link.

I do hope there are people reading this month's selection from Aunt Beast's Book Club, Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants:



Because it's fucking awesome, even without spaceships, aliens, elder gods, or vampires.

And now...that's enough damage for the time being.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Comment, kittens!

It's not just the innate creepiness of the "praying hands" and swirly lights aspect of the present LJ banner, it's the nigh unto vomitous pale orange/melon-colored scheme. And I have to see it while I compose a journal entry. Someone ought to have to hurt.

Gagh.

Meanwhile, another bout of "not enough sleep" last night, despite my being a good little drone to the Queen Bee of 21st Century Pharmaceutical & Invalidism Culture and having refilled my "sleep aid" script. I think I almost, maybe, slept six hours. And it all just fucking figures. I'm working my ass off, and I'm mostly sleeping well. Often eight hours a night. Then, I force myself to take time off which is, essentially, necessary, and – KERBLAM – no sleep. Write or die. Dance until your feet bleed, or die. Don't stop dancing.

Yesterday was a Very Bad Day, and I don't have those very often anymore. Because I'm a good drone and take my meds and spend the day making honey and all. But yesterday, slip, and there's a Very Bad Day of the sort we've not seen in...quite some time. More than a year. We did leave the house and drive aimlessly about Providence for a while. The weather was too unpredictable to make an attempt at reaching the shore. Sunny, but a chilly wind. It's so green out there, but still it doesn't feel like May. I make the honey, like a good bee, and still the warmth doesn't come, and if I ever dare to stop and catch my breath, then there's no sleep, and the rage returns, and the noise, and the wish for self-annihilation, and no, no, no, you don't know what I mean.

Also, I just accidentally took my morning and afternoon pills at the same time. Booya.

The good news? Spooky just found my riding crop. It vanished when we moved here from Atlanta three years ago, and I despaired of having another so fine, without ponying up (hahahahahahahaha) a tidy sum at a tack shop. But no. Spooky found it.

While we were out, we stopped by Acme Video, and in a desperate effort to quell ye olde inner dæmons, I went hog wild renting comfort movies. Five of them. Movies where the wold is soothingly black and white and grey. Last night we watched two of them, George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story (1940, one of the most perfect films ever made) and John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). It helped, as long as the movies were playing. They ended, and the curtain came down again.

All I need is a reliable supply of opiates, enough for a couple of good doses a week. Paregoric would be perfect. Or laudanum. Or Vicodin. Anything.

In a couple of weeks, I turn 47. There are no words for how utterly fucking fucked up this is. Not just the "Woe is me, I'm getting old" part. That's obvious. No, it's the time dilation. The surreality of having lived from Then until Now, and through the shitstorm in between. It's a wicked sick excuse for a joke, and there's not even a god to blame it on. Only Chance and Probability and all those other rational, empirical anti-gods of Science.

I do have a wishlist at Amazon. You can look at it if you wish. I'm not adverse to gifts this time of year, even if they're of the non-opiate variety.

Oh, and you may now see the complete, final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, just by clicking here. Okay, it's not complete complete, as it still lacks the text of the flap copy. But it's mostly complete. Pay close attention to the book the painting me holds on the front cover. With a larger canvas, infinite regression could have been mimicked. Lee and Kyle are geniuses. They have wrapped my words in folds of zebra flesh and bergamot and vetiver and claret velvet.

Judge the book by its cover. Please.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented how Kathe Koja still has a thing for the "love is doom" motif we saw in Skin (1993) and Strange Angels (1995) and Kink (1996). Okay. He didn't name all those books. I filled in the gap. I don't know how Kathe feels about this (I may ask her), but, for my part, yeah...love is mostly doom. Exceptions are few and far between.

Listing to Starboard, Hardly Yar,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, windy, chilly today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,551 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. I'm starting to think that I'm having fun writing this book. I created a perfectly, marvelously, beautifully vile vampire "child" yesterday, and I've figured out that, were this a film, the protagonist would be played by Jennifer Lawrence. I should be able to finish the first chapter today, at which point it gets sent off to my agent, and I get to work on the research I need to do for Blue Canary.

Which reminds me. Jennifer Lawrence. I've seen all the casting for The Hunger Games announced thus far, and they all seem pretty much dead on. The kid they've cast as Rue is perfect.

Lots of other stuff yesterday, like a look at the almost final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, which is just incredible, because Lee Moyer is awesome. Oh, and the signature sheets for Two Worlds and In Between arrived, and I have to attend to those ASAP.

I read more of Stager's book, and finished the March Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by reading "New records of the fur seal Callorhinus Carnivora: Otariidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene Rio Dell Formation of Northern California and comments on ottariid dental evolution." Fortunately for me, I can immediately begin reading the January issue, as the latter arrived late and out of sequence.

Last night we watched David Fincher's very excellent The Game (1997), because Spooky had never seen it.

And played Rift. We signed on as our Guardian toons, meaning only to spend a few minutes with Mithrien (me) and Serrafina (Spooky) before switching to our Defiant mains. But. Then the mother of all Rift events struck Silverwood, and we spent the next two hours defending the school in the Argent Glade from incursions from the life rifts. Two hours. I think we both leveled twice. Anyway, later, after the movie, I set up a website for our Defiant guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, over at Guild Portal (and there's still a TON of work to be done on the site). If you're already a member of the guild, feel free to create a profile, whatever. And if you're not already a member of the guild (we're on the Shadefallen shard), and would like to be, just send me a tell inworld (to Selwyn).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The only auction that hasn't ended is the one for the PC of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (2002), signed by me and Dame Darcy. A note to collectors: We've never offered the boxed edition, ever, before, and this auction also includes the chapbook, "On the Road to Jefferson." So, you might want to have a look. Auction ends in about seven hours.

And I think this is the last day I'll be taking responses to the "Question @ Hand" poll, for them subscribers of Sirenia Digest what might be interested.

Okay. The word mines await.

Verbosely,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Please do comment; I'll be here all damn day.

It seems that all my family and friends in Birmingham are safe. I know a few people in Tuscaloosa, mostly at the University, and I've heard nothing from that end. But the devastation from yesterday's tornadoes is horrific, and I've had to make myself stop looking at the photographs of familiar places reduced to unfamiliar places. Tornadoes are a part of living in the South that I do not miss.

---

Dream images from last night are mostly lost, and those that remain are faint and almost indistinguishable from the background clutter of my mind. There was a beautiful mastodon skeleton weathering from a river bank. There was frozen Stalingrad during World War II.

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine.
Smolyensk and Viyasma soon fell.
By autumn, we stood with our backs to the town of Orel.


No, the mastodon skeleton wasn't in Stalingrad.

---

Work was an odd and scatterbrained affair yesterday. Lots of loose ends and such, and today I have to begin a new piece for Sirenia Digest, because I am woefully fucking late getting to it. Oh, by the way, the snazzy new Sirenia Digest website will go live this weekend or early next week.

I mentioned that the ARCs for Two Worlds and In Between arrived on Tuesday. They include Lee Moyer's cover art, but brightness and contrast are way off, rendering the cover muddy and dark. And it's not the actual layout we're going with, so if you happen to see one of the ARCs, this is not what the final book will actually look like. I spent part of yesterday making corrections to the text, because no matter how many times you proofread a thing, or how many people len their eyes to the proofreading, it will still be filled with fucking errors. The manuscript is 210,209 words long, which breaks down to 965,432 individual characters, all of which have to be checked again and again. Also, it seems that the release date on the book has been moved from January 2012 to September 30, 2011. I had no idea.

I spent a goodly portion of yesterday on the cover for "The Crimson Alphabet," the chapbook that will accompany Two Worlds and In Between. I'd already done a cover, but decided I hated it and started over. The end result is very, very simple.

---

[livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has announced the casting call for two projects related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. You can see his announcement here, but I'll also post his entry here in its entirety later. A book trailer and a still photography project. It's all fairly fucking awesome.

---

Last night, I left the house with Spooky, and we drove to College Hill. Spring is now in full bloom, and the temperatures have been warm enough that I am hereby declaring Cold Spring to have ended and Spring Proper to have begun. We stopped by Acme Video (complimentary Atomic Fireballs!), then Eastside Market, then got cheese burgers from Five Guys in Seekonk, Mass. I'm not used to driving out of state for burgers. That's going to take some time (and it's not something we'll make a habit of doing, either).

Back home, we watched Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void (2009). And I honestly wasn't impressed. If nothing else, the film needs at least 45 minutes trimmed away (running time, a whopping 161 minutes). This film manages to belabor pretty much everything it touches upon. In the hands of a skillful editor, it's possible that something worthwhile could be salvaged. If Lars von Trier and David Lynch had never heard of editing, they might make movies like Enter the Void. Also, it doesn't help that Nathaniel Brown, who plays the protagonist, has all the acting ability of a stalk of broccoli. There are plenty of arresting visuals, and some brutal, beautiful scenes, but even I can only watch psychedelic Tokyo sex scenes, shot from an overhead boom and lit with seizure-inducing, flickering shades of red, for just so long before the yawning begins. I hoped I would feel better about the film this morning, but, in fact, I find that I sort of loathe it; I suppose that's something.

---

I have about a hundred other things in my head, wanting to be spoken of in this blog today. Maybe later.

Disoriented,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Hubero was entirely unimpressed, just now, when I told him I was away to a hard day at the Office, and to have an extra-dry martini waiting for me when I got home.

Great comments yesterday. Thank you. If you want to keep it up, I won't mind.

Grey and drizzly out there, and, in here, yeah, I'm still exhausted. But I may have turned a corner. I no longer feel quite so much as though something is riding about on my shoulders. I think, last night, it crawled off me and slithered down a drain. We'll be symbiotes again at some later time. For now, I'm not so heavy.

It helps that today is the last day I'm allowing myself to edit the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, that tonight it ALL goes away to Bill at subpress. And since Bill has previewed the cover, here's two versions of the entire wondrous cover (behind the cut). We're still a ways from actual layout, of course. But, gods do I love this painting. Thank you, Lee! Oh, I almost forgot. Lee and I will be selling very limited-edition, signed prints of the cover; more on this later:

Changesonekiernan )


All day yesterday was spent editing the collection, right up to the time that Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) arrived. It was good to have company again, so soon after Sonya. There must be more people in my life. How's that for a fucking heresy? We got Lebanese takeout and sat up much too late, talking about magick, books, writers, movies, childhood, drugs, tattoos, gaming, and...tons of other stuff. We watched Antti-Jussi Annila's brilliant Sauna (2008) again, because Spooky had not yet sent it back to Netflix, and I knew how much Geoffrey would love it. I caught so much on the second viewing I missed the first time. It's a film that would hold up under many viewings.

Geoffrey is one of the few people on earth who already has a complete copy of The Drowning Girl, but he hasn't yet had time to read it. Only thirteen people have copies, at this point.

Meanwhile...

There are only THREE days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. One of the last two $500 spots was claimed this morning, and we're still hoping the last one will be, too. The greater the margin by which we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. Spooky and I are already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." And look at all the cool stuff that comes with the $500 donation. So, yes. Donate!

And now, kittens, I go down to slay this rough, unruly Other Beast, who is also me. Or, perhaps, merely to fuck it into submission.

A Skosh Less Weighted,
Aunt Beast

P.S. – STILL NOT A HORROR WRITER.
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
This is the morning after Utter Exhaustion. The sky is grey, and there's rain. It looks like spring out there, whether or not it actually is spring. We can work that part out later.

There are only nine days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. We'd really like to see those last two $500 spots claimed. Look at the truly cool stuff you get! And, of course, the more we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. We're already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." Spooky's studying all sorts of cool handmade bookbinding techniques. So, yes. Donate!

Yesterday, I started off by adding another 550+ words to the end of The Drowning Girl, the "Back Pages" section that's sort of like an afterword. Almost. The manuscript, which is now essentially finished, presently stands at 105,711 words. That's about 5,000 words longer than The Red Tree. Anyway, while I was working on the novel, Spooky and Sonya were already busy with line edits on Two Worlds and In Between.

By late afternoon, early evening, Sonya and Spooky had made it through the edits on "Postcards from the King of Tides," "Rats Live on No Evil Star," "Estate," and "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun," while I'd done only "To This Water (Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1889)" — I discovered long ago that having only one good eye makes me a very slow editor. But...that meant we were almost done. Sonya and I then read through "Giants in the Earth," which is, indeed, far better than the odious "By Turns," and I swapped the latter for the former.

That left only The Dry Salvages to edit. I was going to leave it for Spooky and I to tackle, but stalwart Sonya suggested she and I go ahead and start it, then finish it today (We hates the young people, Precious, so full of energies.) But first we went to East Side Market, lest we starve of having run out of food. At the p.o., there were two CARE packages from Steven Lubold, including new PJ Harvey and Arcade Fire, Peter's American Fantastic Tales (vols. 1 and 2; Vol. 2 includes my story, "The Long Hall on the Top Floor") and two volumes of bookbinding for Spooky.

Back home, after cold roast beef sandwiches and such, Sonya and I read the first 17,292 words on The Dry Salvages. We'll finish it early this afternoon, before she heads back to Boston at 5:30 this evening. And that means the collection will be about 98% ready to go to subpress. It's absolutely true to say that without having Sonya here the past four days (she arrived Saturday evening), I'd have been utterly screwed. She saved my butt. Anyway, after about eight hours of editing yesterday, Spooky played Rift, and Sonya and I watched John Carpenter's The Thing, because she'd never before seen it. There was laundry drama, too, because someone had left an immense load of wet laundry (I'm talking a metric assload) in the washing machine. Spooky and I got to bed about two ayem.

Tomorrow, I'll send The Drowning Girl to my editor at Penguin. And within a day or two, Two Worlds and In Between will be delivered to subpress. Also, Lee and I are talking about offering a very limited edition (50-100 copies) of frameable signed and numbered prints of the collection's cover (which you'll see very soon).

And on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I'm taking a much needed and well earned break, before I start work on Sirenia Digest #64 on the 21st. Oh, also, I'm adding "The Worm in My Mind's Eye" to Two Worlds and In Between, which has never appeared anywhere but as a short chapbook only available to those who ordered the limited of The Dry Salvages. Also also, yesterday I took lots of photos, and will do so again today, so tomorrow I'll post a sort of photo essay of the end of this editing marathon.

But now...I go forth with platypus in hand to finish up. After I extract Mr. Bastard (alias Hubero) from my lap.

Chat at 'cha later, kittens.

Blinded by the Light at the End of the Tunnel,
Aunt Beast

P.S.: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I think Spring is beginning to think about considering possibly coming somewhere near Rhode Island. Highs in the high 40s Fahrenheit. We may have 60s by late April.

Yesterday was a bloody nightmare of double-barreled line editing. No, no, no. That almost makes it sound fun, and it was at that other end of the spectrum from fun. Spooky and Sonya worked together like a well-oiled machine, and actually made it all the way through The Drowning Girl, though they didn't finish until after dinner.

In the same amount of time, I only managed to make it through six stories in the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between. I began at the end of the collection and worked my way towards the beginning, as the later stories have far, far fewer edits than do older ones. I figured if I'd done it the other way round, and had to face those 1993, 1994, 1995, etc. stories first, I would have locked up and made no progress whatsoever. Yesterday, I edited "Houses Under the Sea," "Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," "Waycross," "Riding the White Bull," and "La Peau Verte." I stopped about 9 p.m., I think. These newer stories are much longer than the older stories, but, as I've said, have far fewer corrections.

So...today, we start all over again. Sort of. I'm handing the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between off to Spooky and Sonya (it was actually their idea, after my agitation yesterday), and I'm going to do all the very last things that need doing on The Drowning Girl (I have a list), which I expect to send to my editor tomorrow afternoon.

Here's a thing: I need someone fluent in French, preferably someone in France or Quebec, to check my French in Two Worlds and In Between. I can't pay you, but your name will appear in the book's acknowledgments.

Last night, there was very good Palestinian takeout for dinner.

This morning I saw Lee Moyer's almost final version of the cover for Two Worlds and In Between , which I'll share here as soon as ere I may.

---

Saturday night, I showed Sonya Pitch Black (directed by David Twohy, 2000), one of my favorite big-bug scifi thrillers of the last twenty years. She'd never seen it, and I was relieved she enjoyed it. Last night, she showed me Derek Jarman's adaptation of The Tempest (1979), which was, by turns (and, sometimes, all at once), sublime, grotesque, and beautiful. Jarman's cinematic composition always amazes me, each shot framed like a Renaissance painting, so arresting to the eye that you almost don't want to progress to the next frame of film. For me, Toyah Willcox's somewhat feral Miranda was the finest bit. Also, we watched Jarman's short Art of Mirrors (1973). Tonight, I'm showing Sonya the director's cut of Alex Proyas' superb Dark City (1998).

---

Later, Spooky and I began Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, and, so far, it's a vast improvement over Catching Fire (which, by the way, I cannot believe the New York Times actually had the temerity to claim was better than The Hunger Games). We made it through the first three chapters or so.

Oh, and when I write Blue Canary**, and if it's a success and there are the two books after it that I'm planning, I promise I will not burden the beginning of the second two books with recap. I'll do the sensible thing, and begin the second and third volumes with concise "Our Story Thus Far" sections, which can be skipped if they're not needed.

So, that was yesterday. Today will likely be equally tedious, and both Sonya and Spooky have my most sincere apologies for this.

Postscript (2:08 p.m.): I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!

** I ought not have to say this, BUT...if you steal this title, I will cause you harm, by hook or crook.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today I'm not speaking. I may not be speaking tomorrow either. I last did this several years ago (2006?), and found it unexpectedly comforting*. And just now I need comfort. Also, it helps my cough. I've not said anything for the last eight hours. Oh, and no, I'm not observing Nyepi, Balinese "Day of Silence." But it is an interesting coincidence. I didn't know today was Nyepi until someone asked if that's why I wasn't speaking (even though I'm neither Balinese nor Hindu).

Yesterday, after the blog entry, I got everything together for Sirenia Digest #63, proofed it all again, and sent the text and images away to [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest to be made into a PDF. It went out last night. Subscribers should have their copies by now.

And, by the way, I'd really love to hear some feedback on #63.

After everything for the digest was done, I got back to the final chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and I wrote 1,404 words. And began to think I was being overly optimistic in yesterday's entry. I may not finish until Tuesday or Wednesday. I think I might have found a missing scene. After the writing, Spooky and I proofed all of "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées" (51 pages, 11,904 words). When I wrote the story in 2001, that was the original title. When subpress published it as a small hardback, the title was changed to In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers. When it was reprinted in Alabaster (the Dancy collection) in 2006, I reverted back to the French title. I've been pondering a new French title for its appearance in Two Worlds and In Between, a more literal translation of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, which I think would be Dans le Jardin des Fleurs Toxiques. Anyway, Spooky read aloud, I coughed and made red marks on the manuscript pages. I was pleased that I still enjoy the story quite a lot.

A busy day yesterday.

By the way, just saw Lee Moyer's almost finished cover for Two Worlds and In Between, and gods it's gorgeous.

---

I think I've given up on the whole Loremaster thing. Too many quests in Nagrand and Shadowmoon are broken, and Blizzard seems to have no interest in fixing them. It's a shame to give up with only two regions left, but I haven't the time or patience to waste any more energy and "free time" on this. So, likely this spells the end of me and WoW. I'd considered keeping my account open, but I'm so disgusted over the Nagrand thing (spent a lot of time reading various message boards yesterday; I'm not alone), after three years and five months, I believe I've had enough.

On Rift, Selwyn made Level 18. I trained for a second role, which means I got a second soul set. Selwyn's primary is warlock/necromancy/pyromancy; her secondary is necromancy/dominator/chloromancy. But I'll likely play the first skill set most of the time. I was in a sour mood last night, and the very few stupid names were really getting on my nerves. I can't fathom the need for some people to be jackasses, just because, you know, they can be jackasses. Or maybe they're not jackasses at all. Maybe they think Notdeadyet and Dingleberry really are a names. Maybe they don't understand Chinagirl can't be a name in a world without a fucking nation named China. Yeah, maybe it's only stupidity.

We may be forming a guild on the Shadefallen shard.

---

We're about three chapters into Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, and, so far, I'm both disappointed and bored. None of the first novel's energy is here. I'm hoping it picks up quickly. Also, as I read more YA, I fear I begin to see certain patterns, most of them relating to the unfortunate necessity for romance, and that almost always means heterosexual romance. These days, I can't do het romance (or, rather, I can't do it well), and I won't hamstring myself by trying. And it would be cynical and hypocritical of me to try. I find myself struggling to devise ways to "sneak" queer relationships into stories (and I don't mean the Willow/Tara background stuff; that's plenty acceptable to the mainstream). My protagonists will be queer teens. Period. Editors, trends, squeamish readers, religion, and homophobes go hang. There are other things, too, but I don't feel like getting into that just now.

Anyway...I'm off now to write and not speak.

* Indeed, I find my voice so disagreeable, I often consider giving up speaking for good.
greygirlbeast: (wray)
1) Snow again this morning, but it's relatively light. A couple of inches at most. Likely, it will be gone in a day or two. Yes, I am sick of this particular winter.

2) Yesterday, I wrote 1,330 words and found the end of the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The manuscript now stands at 386 pages, 87,145 words. And from here I can see how the ninth and tenth chapters and the epilogue unfold. I may have the novel "finished" in only two more weeks. Which is sort of strange to realize.

3) The current Ebay auctions continue. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. Thanks.

4) If you're into MMORPGs and want to play a strong female character, especially a strong female character of color, you no longer have to settle for the racist parodies in WoW. The Kalari and Bahmi women in Rift are amazing, especially the latter. And they're, you know, like actual people. Female characters with dignity and grace and ferocious beauty, instead of, say, Rastafarian caricatures and She-Hulk lampoons. Also, back in WoW, I'm still slogging through my bid for "Loremaster," but beginning to doubt whether or not my will is equal to the task. Last night, I finished with Feralas, which wasn't easy, because there almost weren't enough Horde-side quests. Then I moved along to Thousand Needles, flooded post-Cataclysm and...well...it's just sort of stupid. I found the second worst WoW quest ever— "Pirate Accuracy Increasing." The only worse one I've encountered is that idiotic Joust homage in Mount Hyjal. Anyway...enough nerdy game nonsense.

5) Several comments on my cough yesterday, and some were of the "it might be this" variety, so I'm going to be a little more forthcoming on this than I'd planned. In truth, it's most likely chronic simple silicosis, caused by several years of heavy exposure to chalk and marl dust (which is largely silica particles) in the early years of my paleontology work. I was employed by a small museum in Birmingham (Red Mountain Museum, now defunct), and nobody had a clue about proper safety precautions. I didn't learn this until I went to work for the museum at the University of Colorado, where wearing a respirator during dusty prep work was mandatory. I have all the symptoms, and the cause is there, and a doctor has told me this is likely the problem. But I've never gone through tests for an official diagnosis. My grandfather, who was a brick mason, suffered from a far more severe case of the same disease. Anyway, colds and the flu trigger these bouts of coughing, which is one reason I go to such extremes to stay well.

6) I've promised an in-progress preview of the cover that Lee Moyer is painting for Two Worlds and In Between, and here it is (along with some extras):

Changesonekiernan )


Postscript (1:44 p.m.): My agent and editor both have President's Day off. When did that become a holiday that people use as an excuse to stay home from work? A shame I haven't that option.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Warmish again today, fifties Fahrenheit, but the cold is about to come round again. At last a good bit of the snow has melted. The sun is bright today. Die, snow. Die.

2) I've decided to delay the "sneak preview" of Lee Moyer's cover-in-progress for Two Worlds and In Between. More people read the blog on Mondays.

3) A good trip out to Conanicut Island yesterday. There was sun, on and off. It was much warmer than our visit on Sunday, and much of the snow had melted away. Jamestown didn't get nearly as much snow as Providence (it's always worse inland), and much of it's gone now. On the way down, I read David Petersen's Legends of the Guard and listened to the new Decemberists CD on the iPod. By the way, if you do not yet know, David Petersen is one of the coolest dudes working in comics today. He's brilliant. Anyway...this time we went directly to West Cove— which I have officially rechristened Shuggoth Cove —to search for beach glass and bones and what-have-you. The tide was very low, but there wasn't much to be found, which is unusual. Spooky found most of the good stuff, including the largest piece of lavender glass we've ever found, and a pale green shard with the number 7 on it. I mostly go for the bones of birds and other things you commonly find washed up at the Cove, but pickings were slim yesterday. My theory is that the hard winter has reduced the quantity of beached bones as hungry non-hibernating critters— coons, weasels, skunks, foxes, coyotes, etc. —haul away every scrap for whatever nourishment it may offer. Speaking of skunks, one made its presence known yesterday, and we gave it a very wide berth.

Bones or no, it was a beautiful day. It was good just to lay on the sand and gravel and hear the waves and see the blue sky. The sky which still seems too wide, but not so carnivorous beside the sea. We saw a gull or two and heard a few crows. I halfheartedly picked up an assortment of shells, including Crepidula fornicata (Common slipper shell), Mytolus edulis (Blue mussels), Modiolus modiolus (Horse mussels), Anomia simplex (jingle shells), Aquipecten irradius (Bay scallop), three species of periwinkle— Littorina littotrea (Common periwinkle), L. saxalis (Rough periwinkle), and L. obtusata (Smooth periwinkle) — along with Thais lapillus (dogwinkles), and two genera of crabs, Cancer irroratus (Rock crab) and Carcinus maenus (Green crab, an invasive species from Britain and northern Europe). We watched enormous freighters crossing Narragansett Bay, headed out to sea, bound for almost anywhere at all. A scuba diver went into the water, and was still under when we left the Cove just before five p.m. (CaST). As always, I didn't want to leave. We made it back to Providence before sunset. On the way home, we saw that the salt marsh was no longer frozen. On the way back, we listened to Sigur Rós, our official going-home-from-the-sea band.

4) Back home, Spooky helped me assemble a three-foot long scale model of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (thank you, Steven!). It has now taken a teetery place of pride atop a shelf in my office.

5) Last night, Neil called and we talked a long time, about many things, which we used to do a lot, but hardly ever do anymore. We both promised to make more of an effort to stay in touch. Later, well...too much WoW again as I try to wrest Loremaster from the game before my last six weeks (or seven, or so) are up. I finished Winterspring and made it about halfway through Azshara. Spooky played Rift until I thought her eyes would pop out, and it's just beautiful. She's loving it, even with all the inconveniences of a beta (mostly, at this point, server crashes). Still later, we read more of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat (which I'm loving).

6) Ebay! Please have a gander. Money is our crinkly green friend (for better or worse).

7) Today we try to make it through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Tomorrow, with luck, I go back to work on the eighth chapter. I'm trying to obtain permission to quote a Radiohead song ("There, There [The Bony King of Nowhere]") and a PJ Harvey song ("Who Will Love Me Now")* at the beginning of the book, and we've also gotten the ball rolling on that. Amanda Palmer's assistant, Beth Hommel, is putting us in touch with Radiohead's management (thank you, Beth!), but I'm on my own with Harvey. Which ought to be an adventure in red tape.

Now, comment!

There are photos from yesterday:

17 February 2011 )


* Turns out, Harvey didn't write "Who Will Love Me Now." It was co-written by Philip Ridley and Nick Bicat for Ridley's film, The Passion of Darkly Noon, and performed by Harvey. So, now I have to contact Philip Ridley....who also made one of the Best. Vampire. Films. Ever. The Reflecting Skin (still, shamefully, not available on DVD).
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Here in Providence, the temperature's supposed to soar to 52˚F today, the warmest day since...maybe November. The snow is very slowly melting, and it might be gone by the end of March, barring new storms. I ought to work today, but Spooky and I absolutely cannot spend a quasi-warm day cooped up in the house with the wonderful (relative to recent) weather. Instead, we are going to West Cove to birdwatch and gather sea glass.

2) Yesterday, we made it through the third and fourth chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Well, actually, Spooky read it all aloud to me, while I made notes. So, she read pages 88-193 aloud to me yesterday. We're making a lot of continuity fixes, mostly because Imp started out thirty years old, then turned twenty-four. Though, she's telling a story about something that happened to her when she was twenty-two (instead of twenty-eight). So...it gets confusing. And we're fixing misspellings, grammatical errors, adding and taking away a word here and there. About as close as I ever come to rewriting. Tomorrow, we'll make it through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters. Eight is still unfinished, and I'll pick up there on Saturday. Near as I can tell, the book will have ten chapters. Oh, and there was a metric shit-ton of email yesterday.

3) This month, Sirenia Digest #63 will continue the sneak preview of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, with the second chapter. But after that, you're going to have to wait until the book is released a year from now. Also, the issue will include my favorite responses to the latest Question @ Hand (and there have been some wonderful ones so far; the question will remain open for about another week) and "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ghoul," which seems to fit nicely with the aforementioned question. Vince will be doing the cover, another illustration for the novel. I promise that #64 will return to our usual format. The demands of writing the new novel and editing Two Worlds and In Between have made things really fucking crazy around here.

4) Speaking of Two Worlds and In Between, tomorrow you get in-progress images of the wonderful Lee Moyer's cover painting. A good bit of yesterday's email was me and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy working out the photoshoot he's going to do with me at the beginning of April (for the collection's dust jacket). I think we'll either be shooting at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology or the Boston Arboretum. At some point yesterday, our conversation deteriorated into a discourse on the perils of being a werewolf trying to get through airport security...

5) Last night, in WoW, I continued my race towards Loremaster. I made it through all 55 Felwood quests, then did half the ones for Winterspring (about 20). Spooky played the beautiful, beautiful, oh I am so fucking jealous Rift beta. She's been reading me bits of Rift chat. I wrote this one down: "WoW is a pretty good game, if you turn off chat and never talk to the player base."

6) And look! Ebay auctions!

7) I took a somewhat random series of photographs yesterday while Spooky was reading:

16 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Snowy, slushy, cold here in Providence. Presently, 30˚F, with an expected low tonight of 21˚F, so yeah, we're sort of having a heatwave. More snow on the way tonight.

Day before yesterday, we spoke with my doctor. Dosages have been increased. There is hope the storm inside my skull may soon subside, and I can go back to looking the other way.

Tuesday I wrote 1,152 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Yesterday, I wrote not a single word. The whole day was spent, instead, talking about what I wasn't writing. I've been lucky. Yesterday was the first significant wall the book's hit since I began it in earnest back in November.

Lee Moyer's cover for Two Worlds and In Between is coming along very well. He's at the mock-up stage, but I'm loving it. Right now, it's been the bright spot amid all the sticky black clouds.

The current eBay auctions continue (and are going well).

I didn't leave the house yesterday. Or the day before that. But I'm going out this evening, weather permitting.

I feel bad for not having mentioned the 202nd anniversary of Edgar Allan's Poe's birth, but I didn't make an entry yesterday. So, there you go.

---

Books and movies. Night before last, we streamed two of the latter, fashioning an inexplicable sort of double feature. First, I wanted to see Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas (1995) again, and Spooky had never seen it. Nicolas Cage films tend to fall into one of two categories. Those in which he acts, and those in which he can't be bothered to act. Happily, Leaving Las Vegas is one of the good ones. More on one of the not-so-good ones in a second. We followed Leaving Las Vegas with Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat (2007), which would have be a wonderful pairing with, oh, say Fright Night. Plus, Anna Paquin as a hot werewolf. It was actually very enjoyable, which surprised me, as I tend to hate "anthology" films (Creepshow [1982], Twilight Zone: The Movie [1983], Cat's Eye [1985], and so on and so forth). Then, last night, we watched Jon Turteltaub's The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010), a big, steaming mess of stupid. This movie is so bad that even though it's not one of the movie's in which Nicolas Cage can be bothered to act, everyone else— except Alice Krige —is so bad, it seems like he's acting. In fact, Nicolas Cage's not-acting was about the only thing that made the movie bearable. The leather duster he was wearing also gave a nice performance. And Alice Krige is cool no matter what manner of mouse-eared shit she's stuck in. I'm sure she was paid well, which is really more than I can claim for my own forays into prostitution. I think the best thing I can say about The Sorcerer's Apprentice is this: If you're sick in bed, and there's nothing to do except watch this movie, it probably won't make you feel any worse than you already do.

And I read [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and Ted Naifeh's Kin, Kith, and Kind. Very good. I was especially pleased with the ending. And we're still reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters.

---

Anyway, wrapping this up. I need to call Lee, and email my agent, and get back to the novel. Comments especially welcome today. It's going to be a long one.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Fucking cold out there. Right now, the mercury's at 21F, and we're only supposed to reach 27F today, with more snow tonight. But I am in New England, and it is January. Which brings me to this, courtesy JaNell Golden, an image which greatly amuses me:



I actually "laughed out loud."

Anyway...

---

No writing yesterday. Just writing-related work. A long and delightful phone conversatin with Lee Moyer regarding the cover design for Two Worlds and In Bewteen. This cover is going to be very, very cool, but I'm keeping it all under wraps for now. The rest of the day was spent on email and talking through the remainder of Part One of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir with Spooky. I might make a few notes, and that's about as close as I ever come to outlines. Notes on index cards. It looks now like Part One ("The Drowning Girl") will be five chapters long, while Part Two ("The Wolf Who Cried Girl") will be six chapters long. With luck, I'll reach the end of Chapter Five (and so the end of Part One) before it's time to start work on Sirenia Digest #62. There was also some research yesterday on the subject of cumulative songs, which are about to become prominent in the novel.

On this day in 1947, the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, better known as the "Black Dahlia," was found in a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. She was twenty-three years old. The second half of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is, in part, concerned with Short's murder.

---

If you haven't had a look at the current eBay auctions, please take a peek.

The new iPod, which has been named Inara, arrived late yesterday, so a big, big thank you to Steven Lubold for such a generous and useful gift. Having been bereft of an iPod since the trip to Portland, back at the beginning of October, it's nice to be counted among those blessed with portable music once again.

Today was going to be a day off, snowy graveyards, etc., but it's so cold out. I do much better with mid thirties than with mid twenties. So, I don't know. Maybe I'll have an indoors day off. I've done very good this year about getting Outside. Looking back at the first 14 days of the year, I've left the house on 10 of them. Compare that to only having gone out 2 hours in 24 days during a stretch of December and November. My agoraphobia and social anxiety and general laziness can all go fuck themselves; this is a better way to live.

Okay, so I'm going to have a day off. Or work. Or whatever. I do have to go Outside and help Spooky get all the snow and ice off the van, which hasn't been moved since the heavy snow back on Wednesday, so she can go to the market. That seems like a very fucking ambitious plan.

Yours in Inclement Weather,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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