greygirlbeast: (white)
He couldn't make a sentence stand up and be noticed if he put Viagra in the ink.

---

This the the sort of entry people do not like to comment on.

As this journal enters what I expect to be it's final three months as an entity that will be updated daily, my chief regret is that I have always held so much back. And that I have to continue to do so, probably, even now. From the beginning, I wanted this to be a blog where I talked about what it's like for me to be a writer, and, as much as I have been able, I've done that. But there have been many, many times when my hands have been tied by the politics of the industry. That is, I could say something true, true and useful to anyone with thoughts of trying to become a published author. But, as with all other arenas of human endeavor, publishing is ruled by politics, and telling the truth can be detrimental and even suicidal.

All writers lie about writing, and they do it for various reasons. But one reason that writers lie about what it's like to be a writer is their fear of repercussions that could end their career. Same with speaking openly and honestly about the work of other authors. To be able to do this would be immensely useful to anyone with aspirations in entering this shadowy realm. All those naïve wouldbes. But I've never been in a position to do this, to take those risks, and for that I apologize. Looking back, it's among those most valuable insights I could have imparted. I'll have to settle for old, familiar warnings such as Hic sunt dracones or, perhaps more appropriately, Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.

---

As for my daily activities, writing and not writing and whatnot, the last couple of days that sort of thing has taken a backseat to getting the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl out there. Let me see what I can now recall.

On Wednesday, I wrote 1,018 words on a piece for Sirenia Digest #73 called "Blast the Human Flower." Yeah, a lazy bit of titling, but not an inappropriate bit of titling. It may or may not stay on the finished vignette. I can recall nothing else of significance, or that's especially interesting, about Wednesday. Oh, we finished Season Six of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. How's that?

On Thursday, I awoke to the news that Penguin (Roc/NAL) had made on offer on Blood Oranges, and I spent part of the day discussing that with my agent. Nothing more was written on "Blast the Human Flower." I fucked off and left the house, and Spooky and I ended up at the Trinity Brew Pub, where I indulged in hot wings and beer. I don't often drink alcohol anymore (my meds), but I had a pint of their very excellent Belgian saison, made with a new variety of New Zealand hops. When I do drink beer, I want good beer. Later, Varla – my Sith Assassin – made Level 20.

Yesterday, we went to an early (1 p.m. CaST) matinée of David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and it's very, very good. Truly. And Trent Reznor deserves another Oscar for the soundtrack. The cover of Bryan Ferry's Is Your Love Strong Enough by How to Destroy Angels in exquisite, and, for that matter, the opening title sequence alone is almost worth the price of admission. No writing again yesterday. I don't think I've been slacking off; just too much anger and depression. Okay. Bullshit, no matter how I feel, I've been slacking off, and it ends today. Last night, I didn't get to sleep until after five a.m., sitting up late reading stories by Michael Shea and a very good piece by Kim Newman, "Another Fish Story." I don't usually care for Newman, but I did like this one.

And that, in a nutshell, is the past three days. Oh, except I've been watching documentaries on the Mars Polar Lander, cosmic collisions, and "ancient astronauts" (I'm ashamed to admit that last one, but sometimes we learn a great deal about good science by watching the crackpots who have no clue when it comes to methodology, reproducible results, outlandish claims, anecdotal evidence, and critical thought). There are some photos from Thursday, below, behind the cut. Oh, I did want to mention that in the next day or two, we'll begin a series of auctions on eBay which will include souvenirs from the shoot back in October and also a copy of The Drowning Girl. I'll announce those as soon as they go up.

Okay. Gotta go write.

Hands Tied,
Aunt Beast

5 January 2012 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

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

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

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

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

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
I've been sitting here for half an hour trying to wake up enough to write a blog entry. I had my breakfast of goat food and milk, and I'm still working on the morning Red Bull (coffee truly is for pussies). My body visited eight hours of sleep upon me last night, rather unexpectedly. I suppose it was needed. I am becoming hypnophobic, I think. That is, sleep frightens me. It took me a bit to puzzle out the why. Sleep has been intensely unpleasant for a long time – because of the dreams that are too vivid – but now I have pills that dim the dreams from three-color Technicolor to the older, kinder two-color process. But, I digress. Maybe. Anyway, no. It's not the dreams. It's the amount of time that sleep deducts from my conscious life, from what I have remaining of it. This is, of course, a Land of Unknown Variables. Life remaining to CRK might = N, let's say, and time deducted by sleep during N might = n, but...never mind. I'm too sleepy for algebra, I think you'll get the picture; time is always running out.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,829 words in the Mars story that is now known as "The House of Glass Coffins." It began as an idea for a vignette, and grew into a full-fledged short story, though...I think it wanted to be a novella. Today is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #69, which may, if we're all lucky, go out to subscribers before midnight EDT.

Oh, look. Now LJ's preview feature isn't working. Surprise! I've got to find some place to move this blog before the Russians, or whoever-they-ares, destroy LJ completely. I don't want to leave, but once the rats have all gone (and, mostly, they have), you gotta start making contingency plans. I'm considering both WordPress and TypePad. Equally stupid titles, but no worse, I suppose, than LiveJournal (though LJ is at least accurately descriptive). And before you suggest it, Dreamwidth is no longer an option, as I've learned much too much about the fascists who run it.

Where was I before I tried to preview this entry?

Oh, yes. This month's book of the month. After completely making an utter mess of things last month with Carrie Ryan's (so I quickly learned) laughably lousy The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this month I'm staying on firmer, more familiar ground. I kept meaning to create a graphic and post it, the cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth with a red circle and slash around it. Anyway, this month's selection is Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958). It's one of Jackson's less well-known works, and I hope you'll join me in reading it. The novel has become hard to find, and if you can't find a copy to purchase (new or used), try the library (remember those?), or an ebook (I'm going to the Special Hell for that last suggestion, that anyone dare read a Shirley Jackson novel as *shudder* an ebook)*:



And that brings us to the Kickstarter for mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. The Kickstarter has only four days to go, and we're at $2,846 pledged (or 237% funded), which is rather impressive, considering we were only aiming for $1,200. However, wouldn't it be a shame if we came this close to $3,000 and missed that nice round number by a mere $154? And it's not like we won't put the money to good use. So, consider a donation, if you haven't already. I wish I had more signed copies of the book to offer as rewards. Wow. Now I know that, if necessary, I can sound like a televangelist begging for money in the name of Jay-zus.

And now, kittens, it's time for you to comment, and for me to make a virtual digest out of its constituent pixels. Come on, platypus.

Hypnophobically,
Aunt Beast

* I am relieved to see that The Sundial is not available on Kindle.
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Here's the ruckus. There are three things in my life that bring me joy, without fail. What's more, each of these things is, essentially, free. No, I'll not tell you what those three things are. But, because I am not an utter cocksucker, I will say that one of them isn't writing, and if anyone should happen to guess what the other three are, I'll confirm. And send you a banana sticker. Oh, there would be four things that bring me joy, without fail, but it doesn't seem fair to include heroin on the list. Also, I lied about the banana stickers.

No, not having a good day. I'm afraid to go to sleep at night, because all I hear is a clock ticking very loudly.

Also, to harp and beat dead horses, the whole thing with emoticons and l33t, maybe you don't notice anyone thinking you're an idiot when you use XD or <.< or lol***, but maybe that's because you've begun keeping the company of idiots...or maybe you always did. Just a thought. Take it or fucking leave it be. Oh, Caitlín! Will you not ever learn you catch more flies with honey, and a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Problem is, it's a lot more satisfying hitting the Bad Things with baseball bats.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,261 words on the still untitled Mars story for Sirenia Digest 69. I mean to finish it today, which makes me eager to think of a title.

Last night, we watched André Øvredal's Trolljegeren (2010; aka Trollhunter). And, fuck me, but never in a million years would I have expected this to be a brilliant little movie. All I can say is see it, and if you read the description first, don't let that affect how you approach the film. You've got to go in with an open mind. I was only just barely able to, but I'm very grateful I was. Want to know what awesome really means, or, for that matter, awful? See this movie. The climactic creature encounter is, truly, genuinely, both awesome and awful. Four thumbs way, way up. Oh, it doesn't hurt if you love the art of people like Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and John Baur (1882-1918) and have at least a passing familiarity with Nordic mythology.

Now...photographs from August 29th (the day we drove to Watch Hill, then east again to Narragansett), after Irene passed over us, and left the sea angry and ill:

29 August, Part 2 )


*** Or, for example, ;-), :-), o.0, >.>, :-P, ad infinitum. And, for the record, yes, I've caught myself doing this, especially on SL, but I do my best to remind myself it makes me look like an idiot.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
7.5 hours of sleep last night, but, somehow, I feel less awake than I did yesterday after only five hours. Go figure.

Want to see humanity at its most illiterate and hateful, it's most degraded? Just read the comments to trailers at IMDb, or the comments on any news website. And that leads me to not forget a quote, something that Spooky overheard in general chat on Rift: "I want to know where you get one of those keyboards that doesn't toggle caps." How far away can we be from the "lol" key? I think what makes me the special kind of nauseous is when I see someone whom I know to be educated, bright, articulate, and well socialized write something like "lol i didnt mean 2 say that XD" – it's enough to make me think about using the tines of a nice sharp fork on my tender parts. And, just in case you're not among the legions of the tainted, that combination of X and D – XD – near as I can tell, it's meant to be someone laughing and scrunching up his/her face in the process. But sideways.

Er...um...actual stuff that matters.

Well, yesterday. I wrote 1,261 words yesterday on the as yet unnamed Mars story. I like where it's going. It's going where I want it to, though it promises to take longer to get there than I'd like. I shall offer up a quote:

Why, we’re better off than them leftbacks, them shite-rat also-rans, ain’t we just? Shì and she dy jarroo, lay your glimmers down if we’re wrong on that.

Also, there was a phone call – and hour, hour and a half, I don't know, regarding that cool thing I can't tell you about. It was a Very Good Phone Call. I love working with people who not only "get it," but help me "get it" better, and who worry about what I want to do at least as much as they're worrying about the bottom line.

Work was long and wearying, but oddly satisfying yesterday.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark arrived about eight p.m. Spooky and I were sitting on the stoop, watching the waxing sliver of moon rise as the sun set, when he pulled up. There was Italian take out for dinner (actually, I had a salad), and then many hours of conversation. Last night I declared I would recall the topics. This afternoon, I think that might have been a brash statement, but they included: books (the good, the bad, and the ugly), writing, painting, Placebo, Death Cab for Cutie, massive drug use and the hilarity that sometimes ensues, Mark Z. Danielewski, William Gibson, Wicca and Crowley and William S. Burroughs, open-source sims, coding, Insilico and Second Life, MESH vs. prims, trustafarians, psychiatry, John Carpenter, Goat Girl Press, Harlan Ellison, hurricanes, hipster douchebags, the economics of publishing, and...honestly, fuck, I don't know. More stuff than this. You can talk about a lot in eight hours, when all you do is talk. Oh, and he deserves a "thank you" for helping me get Spooky's new (it's actual her old) desk up the winding, perilous stairs and into her office.

Oh, and Spooky came home from the thrift store yesterday with a really fine summer sweater for me. I loves it, I do.

My eye is upon you, Katia.

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

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

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

Anyway....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swing out,
Aunt Beast

** Also, we should distinguish between that sf which seeks to be descriptive and that which seeks to be primarily predictive.
greygirlbeast: (white)
I think I have decided. Yes, I think I have. I shall not miss making an entry – at least one (1) LJ entry per day – between February 13, 2011 and February 13, 2012. Hell, that's only five and a half months.

---

A couple of quick links. First, in case you've not heard, the Lambda Literary Awards have gone fascist bullshit on us. Me, I've always been suspect of Lambda. I mean, come on. I've only been nominated once in almost twenty years! Anyway, no, seriously. Here's Rose Fox's response ([livejournal.com profile] rosefox) , which is very good, and I'll try to add my own comments on this situation later. I will say that until/unless this is rectified, if by some freak chance I were to be to be nominated, I would decline the nomination, and would urge all other authors to do likewise.

Greer Gilman ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) has insightful and interesting things to say on ebooks and ebook readers. I've yet to progress beyond audiobooks, though many of my books are available in various ebook formats (including illegal p2p files, but hey, we writers roll in the dough, don't we?). Still, I found Greer's comments enlightening and amusing. Maybe, when I get an iPad (it's become inevitable), I'll give iBooks a try.

---

Oh, I should note that [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus is a frakking genius, and has cracked the problem of the identity of X project. Alas, I should have known the secret could not stay secret forever. Last night he asked "Is the X-project related to the SGSC news...[?]" Wow. Dude. You figured it out. Yes, I am now working for the SGSC, better known as the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium.

---

Yesterday, I spent many hours on X, which isn't a very satisfying report I know. I will say, it required that I write 1,690 words. That doesn't really make it any more interesting does it?

I also spoke with Subterranean Press some about Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. The story that was originally "Untitled 31" will appear in the collection as "Subterraneus," and the story originally titled "Untitled 33" will appear as “Fecunditatum.” Yeah, I was in a Latin sort of mood. However, "Untitled Grostesquerie" will appeared as "Untitled Grostesquerie." Also, I'm told that Two Worlds and In Between is at the printer, and should be out sometime next month.

Today, I begin work on a new Mars story for Sirenia Digest #69.

Oh, and I have discovered I am the oldest emo teenager on earth. Go me! Meanwhile, there was some very good Insilico RP last night, but, turns out, Grendel's more fucked over than she ever had been before. Also, though I love Joseph Campbell, do NOT follow your bliss, not if it leads you to attempt something you suck at; follow your actual abilities, and fuck your bliss, if it leads you to create dreck. And, with that, I must away. And remember, don't make me have to get all honey badger on your ass.

Wistful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um...what? Already? Oh, fuck. Okay.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,163 words on the final chapter of Blood Oranges. More bridge troll stuff – but Otis, not Aloysius. It's very, very weird writing a book of any sort this quickly.

One video, and then another, and now Spooky has me listening to Tom Waits this morning. Which is better than having "At the Hop" stuck in my head. Yeah, I just woke up, and there it was, in my head.

My thanks to Scott Pohlenz for sending me a copy of Subterranean Press' exquisite The Martian Chronicles: The Complete Edition. The slipcased and numbered edition! #49! And on Bradbury's birthday, even! Okay, that's enough goddamn exclamation points, but thanks all the same, Scott. You made my day. Originally, I wrote, "You made my day awesome." But then Spooky politely reminded me how we don't use that word around here, because all those AWESOME shit-wit hipsters and interweb dweebs have ruined it.

Here in la Case de Kiernan y Pollnac we're bracing for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and crew on Friday, and the possibility of Hurricane Irene on Monday. Boom.

Yesterday, I read "A fossil sperm whale (Cetacea, Physeteroidea) from the Pleistocene of Nauru, equatorial southwest Pacific." See, it's them little "hyperlinks" that make sense of the whole bloody world. Unless, like me, you've read too much obscure zoological, geological, and geographical literature.

Random comment: I hate having to be the sane, considerate, grown-up person. I'm ill-suited to the task. But not as much as I once was. Thank you, Mr. Lamictal and smart psychiatrist lady. You both rock.

Spent time last night thinking about the life and death of Robert E. Howard, and the sad mess that has been made of his literary estate over the decades since June 11, 1936. Somehow, it all culminates with a lawsuit filed by Stan Lee Media Inc. against the makers of Conan the Barbarian 3D (i.e., Another Sad Sack of Cinematic Shit Wherein Everything Jumps Out At You®). Trying to fathom the ins and outs of this legal circle jerk makes me want to do bad things to myself with a titanium spork. Also, it encourages me to be sure that my own "literary estate," whatever it may amount to, is in good hands when that time comes. I want it to be safe and out of the paws of weasels at least as long as the people I want to benefit from it are around. Then, whatever. Fuck it. The lawyers and con men always win. It's only a matter of time. Oh, the stories I could already tell. Except, I can't. Because that's the way it works. And, you know what? It works that way because of lawyers.

Hey! Mr. Stephen fucking King! You listening to me? Spooky and I were up until four ayem reading the original 1978 edition of your novel The Stand, and it's a damn swell book and all (oh, my godforsaken crush on Nadine), BUT WE WANT OUR SLEEP BACK.

Oh, and Patti Smith is writing a second memoir. Which makes me happy.

Probably, I should go now. Yeah, that's what I should do. Tomorrow, we'll talk again.
greygirlbeast: (tilda)
Sometimes, there is no need for words, but and still...

"I would rather be handsome, as he is, for an hour than pretty for a week.”
greygirlbeast: (sol)
And (whatever the calendar says) today is the first day of summer in Providence. Plus! For a limited time and at no added bonus, a massive solar flare is barreling towards Earth at some 1,400 kilometres per second! Whee! In the house, it's 85F and climbing! Outside, 88F and also climbing. Whee!

In Rhode Island, we don't have seasons. The climate has moods.

Lately, I'm realizing (and I should have realized this sooner) that, as an author, I am being expected to be a lot more computer savvy than I am. Not only that, I'm seemingly expected to be able to afford the software and gadgets. Publishers and editors assume I have iPhones and iPads, that I can use Adobe and edit in MS Word. Surprise! Nope. And I really don't see this changing anytime soon. I'm too poor and too stubborn and too disinterested. If anything, I'm perversely tempted to respond to the techno-pressure by composing my next novel on the 1941 Royal typewriter sitting on my mantle. Works just fine. I can get ribbons. It breaks, I fix it myself. Might have to use a screwdriver, worst-case scenario, I'll type it all out, the manuscript, saving electricity and making carbon copies as I go (remember those?), then send four hundred and fifty actual pages by parcel post to my editor. Oh, by the way. Books would, for the most part, get shorter again, and far fewer books would be written, if every one had to work in the Realm of Analog. This would be a good thing.

Writers need to be writing, not learning to use software and the latest bullshit app.

That's not the end of a rant. I'll come back to it, by and by. All my life, I expect I'll be coming back to it. Oh! On a related note, yesterday while shutting off Facebook's scary facial-recognition software (they don't ask if you wanna opt in; you have to opt out), I discovered how to shut off comments on FB. I don't care if it's a social network; I'm repurposing the bitch to my own ends.

A package from S. T. Joshi just arrived. Inside was a copy of Wilum Pugmire's The Tangled Muse (Centipede Press, 2010). Gods, this might be the most beautiful book I've ever held. Certainly, in the top ten. More astounding still, this is from the first printing of only six copies, after which, due to a dispute with an artist involved, the book had to be reset. Wow. Thank you S. T., and thank you, Wilum.

Yesterday, we caught a matinée of Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, and I rather loved it. Some might pick nits, but I won't. It was too fun to ruin by nit picking. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were very good, and Jennifer Lawrence made a great Mystique. I loved Nicholas Hoult's Beast. Hell, even Kevin Bacon didn't annoy me. Anyway, yes. Wonderful.

Ashes and diamonds,
Foe and friend.
We were all equal in the end.
(Pink Floyd)

One day, I'll tell the story of how, in 2005, I almost wrote an X-Men mini-series. It's a sordid tale.

Fuck all, it's hot in here.

Before I forget, the Big Damn eBay Sale is off to a good start. Please have look, please. Also, just as helpful and worthwhile, see Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

Today, I go back to work on Blood Oranges, and later I'll be talking with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy (Talking, yes! On the phone!) about the trailer and other promotional goodies we're working on to aid in the promotion of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. That's likely the whole of my coming day.

Rift last night. Selwyn and Missya made Level 46, and were sent from Iron Pine Peak to dread Stillmoor, where once was the great Mathosian Empire, and now the eye of Regulos holds sway over the cratered land. Late, there was some truly grand and very grim rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. Thank you, Sirrah.

Okay. I go forth to broil...I leave you with wonderful new images of my favorite world.

Warmly (haha),
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (redeye)
Sunny out, and we're hoping for a windy 53˚F for a high. Yesterday, walking about Boston, clumps of snow hiding here and there, it was hard to imagine spring's anywhere nearby. I look at the weather forecast for Atlanta, and see the highs are up around 80˚F, and I think shit, I want to be there, but then I remember...

Yesterday was really very, very wonderful. Spooky and I took forever to get out of the house. It was pretty much noon by the time we were on the road, so it was a little before two when we reached the Harvard Museum of Natural History (née Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology). Spooky waited downstairs for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and company. I sat upstairs in the Romer gallery, with all the fossil dinosaurs, fish, and reptiles, trying to stay calm. As soon as the photographers arrived, which wasn't long, we went to the Great Mammal Hall and got to work. It went very well. Kyle was great, and I very quickly loosened up. I think he took about five hundred photos. No, really. Anyway, I'll post a few once Kyle sends them my way. I'm dreading the task of choosing the photograph from all those. [livejournal.com profile] sovay arrived at the Museum while we were shooting, and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark would have, but there was apparently catastrophic car trouble. But yes, the day was a great success, and I'm very grateful to Kyle, Anna, and David for all their hard work yesterday. All I had to do was wear a top hat and make funny faces. In between clicky photo barrages, I tried to entertain the photographers with impromptu mini-lectures on this or that aspect of Natural History.

I think the most amusing part was watching and listening to all the people in the Museum (it was unusually crowded) trying to figure out who I was. The general consensus seemed to be that I was some manner of rock star. Which just keeps being funny.

I'll post a few shots here tomorrow.

Oh, and Spooky photographed a raven and other beasties as reference for Tale of the Ravens.

We made it back home by seven p.m., and I was utterly, utterly, exhausted. Oh! I forgot to mention that I hardly slept night before last, so I headed off to Boston on nothing like enough sleep. Okay, well, yeah. That happened, which is why I was so tired by the time we got back to Providence again. I wasn't up to anything more strenuous than lying in bed and watching television. There wasn't a new episode of Fringe, so we watched random episodes of The X-Files, then switched over to re-watching Season One of Californication (which is sort of like switching from Coca-Cola to tequila).

---

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the last living Martian.

---

Sirenia Digest #64 should be out by the fifth of the month, which is Tuesday. I'm waiting on Vince's illustration for "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash," and I still need to write the prolegomenon. I like this new story a lot, if it is a story, in the strictest sense (it's so much easier to write sensu stricto...). It came to almost 10,000 words in length, so subscribers are getting a big issue this month (and why aren't you a subscriber?). #64 will also reprint – for the first time, anywhere – "Rat's Star," a novella fragment which has previously appeared only in the limited edition of From Weird and Distant Shores.

In some ways, "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash" is a story that I set out to write a couple of years ago, which I stopped and started several times. No, that's not entirely true. "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash" is actually what happened instead of that story, after the theft of that story's title by another author (sounds snarky, but, still, it's true).

Okay. Days not getting any younger, and neither am I. Platypus says jump.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, a new name for the blog. Names come and names go. They can have no more permanence than may faces. Yesterday, I was seized by the need for a change, so thank you, Elvis Costello. Also, I think I won't much longer feel like "greygirlbeast." I think, in my older years, I may simply become "Aunt Beast" (thank you, Madeleine L'Engle and also Joah). If the shoe fits...but sadly, I don't think I can ever change the name of this account.*

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast

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

14 November 2010 )


* I see that "auntbeast" is taken, but "aunt_beast" is not.
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
Chilly and bright Outside the House. 52F at the moment.

Not much luck with the story yesterday. The story I'm writing about Mars instead of "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." I was still in that finding the way in part of writing the story. I may or may not still be there today. I did find the title: "On a Lee Shore." Also, I read Bradbury's "Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed," originally published in 1949. It's always been one of my favorite Mars stories, and yesterday it helped me understand the story I'm not trying to write.

"On a Lee Shore" takes place on the western edges of the Nereidum Montes, at the northwestern rim of the great Argyre Planitia. In fact, it occurs in the 1,000-meter wide bit of desert in this image (Lat. -40.5 ° [centered], Long. 309.9 ° [east]), in these dunes:



What wonder, that I can say that I'm writing a story set on a planet where a human has never walked, a place hundreds of millions of kilometers away from Earth. And here's so clear an image, taken at a height of 274.5 km (171.5 miles) above the planet's surface (on May 9, 2009, at 3:22 p.m., Local Mars time).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and also at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks Etsy shop (she's making some really exquisite necklaces lately). Thanks.

We're talking about doing a very short little story together, about a girl who's a goat, or a goat who's a girl. Spooky will draw several pictures, and I'll write the story, and it will appear first in Sirenia Digest. We've never really done anything together before.

Not much else to say about yesterday. I did my exercises, brushed my teeth, answered email, tried Left Hand's milk stout for the first time, got some work done on the Dancy Box, played a little WoW and a lot of CoX (some great rp last night with my new changeling character, Lizbeth Gevaudan, whose actually a 24-Century incarnation of my vampire character, Erzsébetta Bathory), managed not to take a nap, and made it to bed about 3 a.m.

Now, back to Mars.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
As I have said in the past, I do not recognize Veteran's Day. Rather, I recognize Armistice Day. This is not just a streak of contrariness. See Kurt Vonnegut for my rationale.

A sunny day here in Providence. Sunny, but cold.

Nothing was written, though there was a lot of talking about the story I was trying to write. In the end, I've decided to put "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" back on the shelf, and write a somewhat different Martian story. Truthfully, I think I'm not a good enough writer (yet, and maybe I never will be) to pull off what I wanted to accomplish in "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." If the best I can do is a half-assed job, better I do no job at all. Some will disagree, but in the realm in which my stories are written, I am the sole goddess. So, I have this other story, that I need to make serious progress on. I haven't written anything since finishing Chapter One of The Drowning Girl on Sunday.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

I feel as though I have forgotten how to sleep. Last night, Spooky was reading me Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners," and Hubero came into the bedroom and proceeded to lay on my face and purr. It was all I could do to stay awake. As soon as Spooky finished reading the story, I was instantly and completely awake. Story ideas racing through my mind. (Do not try to solve this problem; this problem is seemingly insoluble, and certainly resistant to any simple remedies). I took Ambien for the first time in months. I slept something like six and a half hours, which is good, the way things have been going. As for "Magic for Beginners," I loved it. The whole thing with The Library made me think of the best sort of bizarre and whimsical television fantasy: Doctor Who, Farscape, etc. The characterization in this story's especially poignant. It has all the awkward innocence and too-often unsuspected depth of youth.

There was an amazing sunset last night. The sky in conflagration. There are photos below, behind the cut. And Spooky went to the Knight Memorial Library on Elmwood Avenue to see Kristin Hersh read from Rat Girl and sing. I wanted to go, but knew I shouldn't. When we first saw a flier for the reading taped to the door of What Cheer, I said, "No, I can't go." Crowds just freak me out too much these days. Crowds and fluorescent lights. Spooky got home about 9:30 p.m., and she said "It's a good thing you didn't come. There were too many people, and fluorescent lights. But she sang 'Fish' and 'Your Ghost,' and read about Fish Jesus, and talked about Betty Hutton." Which made me sorry I'd not gone, despite the fluorescent lights. Again, photos below, behind the cut.

You know, I wouldn't be so annoyed at how WoW and CoX and pretty much all MMORPGs force socialization on their players if there were only a good, Mac-friendly MMORPG that took into account those players who just want to solo. Sure, I enjoy being part of a VG in CoX, put sometimes it would be nice to have the option of going it alone.

I have, in fact, begun to wonder if loners are being systematically weeded out of the population, culled from the world. At least in America. Can loners survive in a world of texting, twatting, and virtual social networking, where you can be alone with a thousand other loners? Where words like "shy" and "introvert" are being replaced by psychological disorders (highly suspect psychological disorders, mostly manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that can then manufacture cures to treat them) like SAD (social anxiety disorder) and AvPD (avoidant personality disorder)? You would think we loners posed a threat. I'd say it's a fear we slow production, but America's no longer about production. We outsourced all that, and now we're a nation of consumers. Maybe there's a belief that people in groups consume more than loners. I see far too little emphasis on individual effort and accomplishment, and far too much focus on teamwork. But I ask, why be a cog, when you can be a whole machine, entire and realized?

Six acronyms in only two paragraphs. But, I prattle on.

Gotta write. Here are the photos:

10 November 2010 )

4:03 ayem

Nov. 11th, 2010 04:11 am
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, Spooky was reading me Kelly Link, and I could hardly stay awake while she was reading, because Hubero was purring on my head. But as soon as she stopped I woke up, and started straight away thinking about Mars, far, far, far in the future, and towering sand dunes with the skeletons of enormous genetically engineered (but now extinct) animals weathering from them, and pilgrimages to temples...and I'm awake and making notes.

Oh, and Spooky says buy our stuff on eBay so maybe we won't starve, but I will admit, she was being ever so slightly melodramatic, as we still have eggs, grape jam, and Ramen (and fuck you, Mr. Monster).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I have this quote from yesterday, from Aleister Crowley's autobiography (1929):

As long as sexual relations are complicated by religious, social, and financial considerations, so long will they cause all kinds of cowardly, dishonourable, and disgusting behaviour.

---

Happy 50th birthday to Neil, and I'm really sorry I couldn't make it down to New Orleans for the party to end all parties, but I'm there in spirit, as they say. My spirit will get shitfaced and roam Bourbon Street looking for trouble. At least my body won't have to feel the hangover. Today is also Holly Black's birthday, so have a good one, Holly.

---

Cold and cloudy here in Providence, just like yesterday, and the day before.

But, I did finally leave the House yesterday. So, that's only nine days indoors (my record, set this past winter, is fourteen). Yesterday, I went to the Athenaeum to read and think about the story I need to begin today. But first we went to the Bell Gallery at Brown University, to see the Pictures from the Hay exhibit, a display of books celebrating the 100th anniversary of the John Hay Library at Brown University. The exhibit is a veritable orgy for book sluts. I read Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" written in Whitman's own hand (from 1887). I saw needlepoint from 1802, and a Brown diploma from 1769. There was an amazing accordion book by Angela Lorenz (1999)— etching, watercolor, letterpress, and mica —titled The Theater of Nature, or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet. I saw an original Arthur Rackham illustration, "Where is Peaseblossom," from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare (1889) and thought of [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving. There was a schematic from a book on fireworks dating to 1635, detailing "How to represent St. George fighting the dragon." I saw Crimean War photos from 1855, a clay Iraqi cuneiform tablet from Uruk (now Warka) dating back to 1850-1800 BCE, and French editions of Poe from the 1920s. Paper dolls from 1811, titled The Protean Figure and Metamorphic Costumes. Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), plates from Mark Catesby's The Bahama Islands: containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants (1729-1747). So much amazement in a single room. Does anyone seriously believe that three hundred years from now people will marvel at Kindles and the layout and typography of eBooks? Books have almost (but not quite) ceased to be objects of art in and of themselves, and merely become shoddy information and entertainment delivery devices. Their artistic and archival importance is all but lost.

It was a blustery late autumn day on Benefit Street, not too cold if you were dressed for it. Bradbury weather. We left the Athenaeum about five p.m. (CaST, = EDT + 1 hour), stopped by Eastside Market, then headed back across the river and home again.

---

We have almost everything we need to assemble the Dancy Box. This is a box that Dancy carried with her from the cabin in Shrove Wood to the sanitarium in Tallahassee, where it was confiscated. She never got it back. At least, that's how it seems right now. It'll be going up on eBay as soon as we're done, along with one of the lettered editions of the book, an edition that was not offered to the public (they were split between Bill Shafer and myself). This has gone from a lark to a pretty obsessive piece of...what? It's an artifact from a fiction, a prop from a movie that will never be made, a multi-media sculpture.

---

There's not much to say about Monday. After seven consecutive days of writing like a fiend, and the insomnia on top of that, I ended up spending much of Monday in bed. We watched the second episode of The Walking Dead (still promising) and also Daniel Alfredson's Flickan som lekte med elden (2009). Last night, we saw Paul Scheuring's The Experiment (2010), with Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. I've been reading Richard Kaczynski's biography of Aleister Crowley. The rp in CoX has taken a turn for the very weird, with Erzsébetta's future self (become more faerie than vampire) traveling back from 258 years in the future to try to stop Something Awful, something that's her fault. Sekhmet has deemed her "...the worst thing that ever happened to the world." The rp has been especially cathartic, and it's sort of wonderful acting it out in an absurdist milieu of supervillains, because nothing's too ridiculous to ring true.

Today...I have to try again to write "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," a story I tried to write last fall and shelved. But I want to do it. It's a story I need to do. So, we'll see.

Here are the photos from yesterday:

9 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
1. A few flurries Outside as I type. This is the north edge of the monster storm that walloped D.C. and Philadelphia yesterday. But we're not even expecting the tiniest bit of accumulation. Go figure.

2. The platypus says this is the best possible day on which to order The Ammonite Violin & Others, and being merely a lowly minion of the platypus, I am forced to relay hisherits every message. Remember, the limited edition comes with a FREE chapbook, "Sanderlings," the short-story set in Green Hill, RI, which I wrote back in November. Oh, and I did the cover for "Sanderlings." So, yeah. Do like the platypus says.

3. A question from James Maier, via email: Basically, my question is this: Which books are “grouped” together and in what order? i.e. the same characters, sequels, etc. Though I’m sure the novels all stand alone just fine, I kind of want to read along with the characters’ chronology and I’d like to avoid any more spoilers from reading Amazon’s descriptions.

Okay, it works something like this. Silk and Murder of Angels pretty much form a duology, the latter being a fairly straightforward sequel to the former. Same with Threshold and Low Red Moon, though you also get Daughter of Hounds, which sort of makes a trilogy of the whole affair. But it's a very loose sort of trilogy. And, of course, all five of these novels are interconnected here and there. There's also Alabaster, which very much ties into that "trilogy." Finally, yes, there's The Red Tree, which has echoes of many of the novels before it, but is definitely set apart. That said, if anyone wants my opinion, read The Red Tree first, then Daughter of Hounds, and after that...read them in what ever order pleases you.

4. Yesterday I butched up and risked that carnivorous sky all over again. That is I went Outside, second day in a row. I wanted to get photographs of the continuing demolition of the Bridge Street Bridge that crosses Wickenden Street (you will recall the photos from the early stages of the demolition that were included in my January 13th and January 14th entries). The bridge is mostly down, and you can now stand and look up at the sky where, for the better part of a century, the sky was hidden. There are photos below, behind the cut. The day was cold, numbing my fingers as I tried to get the shots. Afterwards, we headed to Eastside Marketplace and Whole Foods, then spent a little time picking over the bones of a Blockbuster Video that's going out of business any day now. I assume they all are, but I don't know that for sure. Oddly, we came away without buying any of the super-cheap DVDs (everything we wanted was scratched to hell and back), but I did get two books, very cheap, and I didn't even know Blockbuster had started selling books. The Smithsonian Book of Mars by Joseph M. Boyce (2002) and Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet by Jim Bell (2006), because I can never have too many reference books on Mars. Oh, and we dropped by the post office in Olneyville, so I could send in the contracts on "The Steam Dancer (1896)" (to be reprinted in Steampunk Reloaded) and a copy of Peter's A Dark Matter to my mother.

5. We watched the new episode of Fringe last night, possibly one of the best so far, and refreshing after the disappointing "monster of the week" episodes of the previous three weeks.

6. I have a plan. I will spend the remainder of February writing the vignettes that will comprise Sirenia Digest 51 and 52, so that I can set aside all of March and April for the writing of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I'd hoped to get the novel written this winter, but what I want and what happens are too often not the same.

7. I stayed up far too late last night, roleplaying in Insilico, because I just don't know how to walk away from story when it's coming at me. Xiang was hired as bartender at the Blue Ant (now that she's registered and legal), and has proven that androids can make perfectly fine White Russians. Later, after "work," there was intrigue and adventure and dizzying heights. I fucking adore this place.

5 February 2010 )


By the way...I just spent about an hour and a half on this LJ entry....
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Several things I want to touch on in this entry (like why there was no entry yesterday), but before I start in on those things, let me mention that we'll be starting a new round of eBay auctions in the next couple of days to help cover the fucking taxes, which Spooky paid yesterday. Your patronage will be much appreciated. Another way you can help out is by picking up something cool from Spooky's Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks. Be advised, by the way, that all the Hallowe'en figurines she has up are only available through Hallowe'en. They'll be coming down on November 1st, until next October. Thanks.

---

I have this problem. I can't say no to work. Pretty much never do I say no to work. I blame the poverty of my childhood, coupled with the absurd cost of not being willing to live on the street in a cardboard box. A direct result of this is that I frequently become over-extended. And usually, that only results in exhaustion. And exhaustion and writing go hand in hand, at least as far as I'm concerned. I'm always exhausted. That's just the way it is. But...occasionally I push things a bit far, even for me. Which gets back to our subject line, and there being no entry yesterday.

Over the last year and a half, several wonderful editors asked me to contribute to several wonderful books, and I said yes to every single one of them. Never mind Sirenia Digest (usually two stories a month) or the novels, or anything like realistic considerations of the allocation of my time. I said yes. So, I've been working harder than usual, getting these stories written, on top of everything else, including promoting The Red Tree.

The Mars YA short story, "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," has become a casualty of my desire to say "yes" to every project I'm offered. But...somehow, I'm not telling this right.

This month started off hectic, but I thought I had everything under control (I usually think that, whether it's true of not). But I'd seriously miscalculated the number of days I'd need to spend copyediting The Ammonite Violin & Others. And I felt things began to slip. And I began to have far more serious headaches than usual, the sort that land me in bed. And, finally, Sunday night I had a very bad seizure. Almost always, the bad ones come when I'm pushing myself too hard. Still, I got up on Monday, near panic, and tried to continue work on the Mars story. But by late afternoon, early evening, we'd finally gone to Code Orange. I was locking up and freaking out. And Spooky told me I needed to set the Mars story aside, that it was just too much, especially given that I still have two public appearances and Sirenia Digest #47 to get through in October, and I still haven't put together the long-overdue proposal for the next novel for Penguin (though I've been paid part of the advance for it). Plus there are interviews. So...with extreme reluctance I emailed the editor for the Mars story on Monday afternoon and bowed out of the book as gracefully as I could (first time I'd pulled out of an anthology in years). And then I went to bed, where I spent most of yesterday.

I may resurrect "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" sometime next year, but for now, it's going to have to lay fallow. And I may be bowing out of another anthology before the end of the year.

So, no Mars for me, not right now, and should you happen to see me at the Manhattan reading on the 27th, or at the Brown University reading on the 24th, and wonder why I look a bit more haggard than usual, there you go.

---

Monday night and all of yesterday are a blur of resting and reading and streaming stuff on Spooky's laptop and watching DVDs. I've been working my way through Lovecraft Unbound. Yesterday, I read "The Crevasse" by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud, Anna Tambour's "Sincerely, Petrified," "Sight Unseen" by Joel Lane, and "In the Black Mill" by Micheal Chabon. My favorite of the lot was "The Crevasse," which is really superb. I would have liked it to have been longer, but I'm not sure that's a valid criticism. And we watched the rest of Season Three of Weeds, and a documentary about David Lynch.

Yesterday, Spooky made me go Outside for a little while. We walked around Dexter Training Grounds for bit. The air was chilly, almost cold. The trees are rapidly getting their autumn colours. There are some photos below. As for today, I am under orders to get get more rest before I have to begin work on the digest, and mostly, I just have this fucking knot of regret over the Mars story. I think the knot is lodged somewhere in my belly. Regret truly is one of the most loathsome of emotions.

13 October 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Vulcans)
I didn't think so, but it never hurts to ask. Wait, yes it does. It often hurts to ask.

Um...

So, we're still at Code Yellow. Yesterday, I wrote a rather surprising 1,357 words on "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars," and there was some brief debate about standing down to Code Green. But I have no idea if what I wrote yesterday will lead to another thousand or so words today, or if it was any good, or whatever...so we're holding at Yellow.

More good comments yesterday. I thought this one from [livejournal.com profile] sovay hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head:

For me, it all keeps coming down to entitlement—to be allowed glimpses of someone's life is to be invited to participate in it is to be authorized to change it, and heaven forfend if you do not wish your life to be changed. You asked me in, didn't you? We're all the same sort of people.

I don't think it's anything new; expectations of privacy have been eroding for years. But the internet promotes the illusion of intimacy where nothing more than the exchange of pixels exists, and it seems to be felt by many of its—practitioners?—as a compulsion rather than a choice. I mean, we are not all the same sort of people, but we're all supposed to be...


Yes. Nail. Head of Nail. All of that. But something else. The arrogance required of someone to believe that hesheit has the ability to change my life, or even my mood, via the goddamn internet. Oh, it could happen. An email from my agent informing me that The Red Tree was just optioned for a fat six figures by [insert dream director here], and I can stop writing and spend the next ten years on the next novel...that would definitely change my mood. But when I post " I would love to write a story or novel and not think, every single day I work on it, 'If I kill myself, I won't have to finish this.' Just once..." to Facebook, and twenty people reply with assorted "Oh, buck up, little buckaroo" nonsense...no. That only makes it worse. Though, I suppose, by making it worse, those people have changed my life.

That's fucking brilliant!

---

Last night, we watched Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009). And at least it was better than the second Underworld film. I mean, I didn't nod off, as I did during Underworld: Evolution (2006). It didn't put me to sleep. That's a compliment, right? Also, I watched it in the comfort of my own home, and didn't have to pay to see it, and those things probably also prejudiced me in its favor.

By the way, if you're interested in Spooky's Halloween figurines, be warned that they are only available through Halloween. Come November 1st, everything Halloween will be removed from her Etsy shop until next October. So, consider yourselves notified.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
The sun's come back to Providence today, and I, for one, am pleased with that. Hopefully, it'll pull up a chair and stay a while.

We're not yet going to Code Orange, which is not to say that I wrote yesterday, because I didn't. But I did talk to the editor of the book for which the Mars YA story is being written. One of the (numerous) things that's been hanging me up is a fear that my subject matter might be too "mature" for the intended audience. So, I laid it all out for my editor: my Mars, bereft of men a century after a biowar that destroyed the male population and left the planet quarantined. The female colonists have adapted. We have a society where lesbianism is the normative state, and where heterosexuality dooms one to a life of loneliness and stigma. Women breed via frozen-sperm deliveries from Earth, and also by a complicated parthenogenic process. And this story is about a young girl who is heterosexual. It's just the way she is, despite all the careful social conditioning to insure there will be no straight women, despite genetic engineering, whatever. She's into men, even though she's only ever seen photos and read of them. And, so, what's it like for her? Much to my relief, my editor approved the story concept, so long as I steer clear of any explicit sexual content (which I'd assured him I would).

So...yesterday, I began tearing "XX" apart and rebuilding it another way. It won't be precisely the story I set out to write, because I discovered the narrative structure simply wasn't working. And I've retitled the new incarnation "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars." Today, I have to make Substantial Progress towards THE END. If I can do that today and for a week thereafter, we can probably avert a Code Orange.

---

My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. They were good comments. And I spent much of yesterday mulling over my decision to withdraw from Facebook and Twitter, and I know it was the right decision for me. And very late last night, I was able to put my finger on exactly why neither was working for me (this most applies to Facebook). Thanks to technology that didn't exist only a decade or so ago, you get to watch how it is that I do this thing that I do. You get to watch, and discover what it is like for me. Day after day. You even get to watch for free. And questions are nice, and comments are okay. But I am not blogging to trigger some "meaningful dialogue" with my readers, and I sure as hell don't want (or have time for) arguments. I've been blogging since November 2001, and it's never been about that. And you don't get to try and cheer me up when I'm down, and you don't get to wax ironic or glib if I come across like a mopey old sock. You do not get to try and change the thing you've been allowed to watch. I am glad to have you here, but you're not a part of the process. Those who read this blog are readers, or, if you prefer, observers. And the best observers do not interfere. Think of it as a Prime Directive. This seemed especially difficult for people at Facebook, where I was barraged with constant attempts to "make me feel better," or, worse, people criticizing me for feeling down, for having a hard time with the words, for the fact that I'm not the sort of writer who loves to write, and so forth. Most of those comments were deleted.

I'd post, "No words today. No words at all." And someone would shoot back, "IDK I count seven LOL." Or something even less helpful (though more articulate), like "...if writing's such a painful burden, walk away and find something else to do." Um, yeah. Anyway, this is the sort of shit makes me want to torture soccer moms and cheerleaders with rusty 19th-Century surgical instruments (oh, okay; I always want to do that, regardless). So, yeah...watch, but don't try to redirect the flow to match the way you think things ought to be going, and don't try to make a happy camper of me. I have invited you here to watch, not to change me. Very, very simple equation.

---

Last night, we watched Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), and I discovered it's a much, much better film than I gave it credit for being when I saw it in the theater. I think, the first time I saw it, I simply didn't know how to watch it. Falling in love with Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! seems to have changed that. Anyway, it was sort of research for my Mars story. I may also mark yesterday as the day that I started smoking again. This happens every now and then, and it rarely lasts for very long. I have the apparently freakish ability to quit with no difficulty whatsoever. But the stress of the last few months made it pretty inevitable. Very late, we watched an episode of No Reservations, in which Anthony Bourdain made me want to eat all of New York City.

And here's something I thought I'd try. Deskscapes. Photos I took this morning of my workspace. This is pretty much what it looks like at the beginning of every day (a little dustier than usual):

11 October 2009 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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