greygirlbeast: (Default)
No numbered lists today. I've not the patience for it, and I have too little to say, and, besides, NASA finally decided the odds of the elctro-whatsit generator we need to proceed "probably" won't create a vast artificial black hole.

Secrets make me weary.

Yesterday...well, I did do some stuff. Spooky went out and rented a second storage unit, because there's too many comp copies of books I've written or have stories in, and everything has to be reorganized, and my isn't that exciting? Tonight, we'll be lugging boxes of books to Pawtucket. Still awaiting the go-ahead from the National Aeronautics geeks, I tried to begin a new vignette...or short story. Not sure which yet, or either. Or if either? Something's wrong there. Anyway, [ profile] sovay helped me with the Greek for the title: "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)," and I even wrote 104 words on it before giving up. Not in disgust. In something else. Possibly in misgiving or in trepidation.

Sometime, thereafter, I had my first seizure in months. Spooky wasn't here, and I came to on the kitchen floor. The usual "I have no idea what happened immediately beforehand" amnesia and the back of my head hurt. But no damage done. Just when I think I'm never going to have another one of these things...Anyway, my suspicion is there's just been far too much stress the last couple of weeks, which is, obviously, a primary trigger for PNES seizures,

Yesterday, talking about Silk, someone in the comments mentioned how they enjoyed the interconnectedness of the books. And I replied that, truthfully, I regret the novels being interconnected — Silk through Daughter of Hounds — and that I've seriously considered rewriting "Bainbridge" to remove its connections to Silk and Murder of Angels (and, so, by extension, the other three novels). I have no idea how my readers would feel about my attitude towards having tied all this stuff together, but as the years go by it seems juvenile, and as though I did the wrong thing for all the wrong reasons. Hence, The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir are almost entirely devoid of any connection to my earlier books. The bizarre series that Blood Oranges may be the beginning of, this is not the way I will continue to write most novels in the future (and I do not think of Blood Oranges as one of my serious novels; it's just a peculiar lark, fun, something to wake me up after the long fever dream of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir).

The weather's turning to shit just in time for this weekend's shoot. I suppose we will muddle through. Perhaps literally.

Oh, I know what I was going to say. One reason I stopped writing "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)" yesterday was this sudden fear that I'm writing far too many stories about the sea. Yes, I know I do it very well. But I'm beginning to feel like I'm...repeating myself. Well, I know what I mean.

In the end, yesterday was an all but wasted day...which makes four in a row...during a month when I couldn't afford even one. But this shit happens. At least, today, I can go back to work in earnest. After all the email. Spooky has to drive down to her parents' place to gather up some spare blankets and pillows and stuff for people who will be crashing here over the weekend. We're still waiting on final conformation about shooting scenes in the Athenaeum. There's an awful lot of chaos (not with the Atehnaeum, that wasn't what I meant to imply). But this whole thing begins day after tomorrow, and a lot of things are still up in the air. And the funny part? There's zero evidence that book trailers help sell books. But we have a three thousand dollar budget.

I should go now, before I hurt myself.

Oh, but first — and speaking of book trailers — there's this. The first volume of Odd?, a new biannual anthology from Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (presently only an ebook, but a hardcopy edition is on its way), reprints my story "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills." But I think the promotional video is far more entertaining than is my story:

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [ profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.


On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me., today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
I'm trying very, very hard to make sure that Sirenia Digest #53 goes out to subscribers by midnight tomorrow night. But I have at least a day's work left to get done on the second piece for the issue, "Workprint." Yesterday, I wrote 1,004 words on the story. On Wednesday, I wrote 1,196 words on it. Today, I mean to find THE END. is now offering audio versions of five of my novels: Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. Right now, I'm listening to The Red Tree. I've made it to the end of Chapter Two, and I'm quite pleased with what I'm hearing. I very much hope people will pick up copies of the audiobooks. By the way, you may listen to samples of the audiobooks at

We've begun a new round of eBay auctions to help defray the cost of my newest (and insanely expensive) anti-seizure medication. At the moment, there are copies of The Dry Salvages, Tales from the Woeful Platypus, and Alabaster. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. The good news is that the new meds appear to be working. Oh, and Spooky has new pendants up at her Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop, which is another way to help out.

Let's see. What else, quickly? Night before last, we saw Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare at Goats, which I liked a lot. Late in the evening, we've been reading Patti Smith's autobiography, Just Kids. Also, though I've seen most of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and found it barely watchable, on Wednesday and Thursday nights we watched "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two," respectively. And they were very good, especially "Epitaph One." They were a glimpse of the series that might have been, instead of the sad mess that was. Had the series begun with "Epitaph One," it might have been brilliant television. Those two episodes made me care about characters the rest of the series could not. Hell, in one scene Eliza Dushku came dangerously close to acting. So, it was delightful seeing them, but disheartening, too.

And Onwards, platypus!
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
A grey, chilly day here in Providence.

Nothing has been written in...well, days. And that brings me to a sort of announcement. Since August, I've been trying to make a beginning of the next novel, The Wolf Who Cried Girl. That's more than eight months. And since January I've been doing little else. And what I have to show for it is several false starts, three major plot revisions, two thousand words that might be usable, and something verging on nervous exhaustion. So, on Saturday, after writing about 200 words, and erasing about two hundred words, and after a long conversation with Kathryn, I decided that, for now, I'm shelving the novel to concentrate on things that I can write. The novel is due in September, so...well, we shall see.

This isn't the first time this has happened, that a novel has simply refused to come when I call. It happened in 1999 with Trilobite (which eventually became Threshold), and then it happened again with Murder of Angels in 2001, which I gave up on after two and a half chapters, but went back to in 2003 and finished. I hope that after I step back, concern myself with other projects, and give the thing some space, that, sooner or later (let's hope sooner), the words I need to write The Wolf Who Cried Girl will come to me.

For now, I will focus primarily on Sirenia Digest and various short-story commissions.


Yesterday, Kathryn and I got out of the House and spent some time at the Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street. I prowled shelves of very old books, looking for stories. Spooky proofread the galley pages for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree. She's finding very few typos/mistakes, which is a relief. I took some photos as we walked along Benefit Street. The spring colors have come early this year:

12 April 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 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: (Kraken)
Cold in Providence this morning, but also sunny, and it's much colder elsewhere.

Yesterday, I realized that a week of December had passed and I'd accomplished "nothing" but the editing, design, and layout of the "Sanderlings" chapbook. I still have to get the Next Novel started, produce Sirenia Digest #49, and write a story for a Subterranean Press anthology, all of this ideally before December 31st. These are the sorts of realizations that lead to panic.

Anyway, I began a new piece yesterday, a sort of zombie love story (played straight, not for comedy), which was inspired in equal parts by Robert Browning's "Love Among the Ruins" (1855) and Edward Burne-Jones' painting of the same name (1893-1894; also inspired by the Browning poem). I am presently calling it "(Dead) Love Among the Ruins," unless I decide that's too obvious or corny or whatever. This is only the second time I've tried to do "zombies," sensu Romero et al., for the digest, and we'll see how it goes. I managed only 470 words yesterday.

I'm beginning to think that the Next Novel will be titled The Wolf Who Cried Girl (though I've written a short story of the same name; the novel and short story would have nothing much in common).

My great thanks to Karen Mahoney for very kindly sending me a copy of Greer Gilman's ([ profile] nineweaving) Cloud and Ashes (Small Beer Press; 2009). I started reading it late last night. I heard Greer read from it at ReaderCon this past July, and it is brilliant, truly. The sort of brilliant I may aspire to, but know that I will never achieve.

I do have some good news for everyone who's ever asked about the availability of my books in an audio format. is buying audio rights to Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. I do not yet have release dates, but I assume it will be sometime in 2010.

That was the best of yesterday, really.

Last night, I had a minor seizure while in the tub, the first that's ever happened while bathing. And then there was insomnia, which kept me awake until sometime after 4 a.m. I'm going to go play with dead things, and maybe hang some pictures.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I had every intention of spending all day yesterday in this chair, at this desk, writing. But, that's not what happened. Spooky noted that I'd not left the house since last Tuesday, September 29. I'm getting bad like that again, and I don't want to get bad like that again. So...I forced myself to get dressed (and it really was an act of some considerable will) and leave the house.

Oh, I neglected to mention that two of the stories that will be appearing in The Ammonite Violin & Others, stories that originally appeared in Sirenia Digest, will be appearing in the collection under new titles. "Untitled 23" has become "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills," and "Untitled 26" has become “The Hole With a Girl In Its Heart." Now...back to our entry, already in progress.

So, having managed to herd me out the back door, into the hallway, and down the winding stairs to the Outside world, there was some brief discussion of where we would be going. Beavertail was suggested, and Moonstone Beach, and Narragansett, and Shannock (don't ask me why), and Westerly. It was a bright day, the clouds having broken up, bright but not too bright. And warm enough that I was not constantly reminded that it is now autumn. Finally, I proposed we drive to Stonington, in extreme southeastern Connecticut, just across the state line. Stonington happens to be one of my favorite places in the area, but we'd not really visited since moving to Providence last summer. Spooky said Stonington sounded good, so that's where we headed. I think we left the city about 2:30 p.m. On the drive down, I read another story from Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound, Joyce Carol Oates' "Commencement." A so-so story, not bad, but it felt a little too much like a reworking of Shirley Jackson's far more eloquent story, "The Lottery." I read, Spooky drove, and it was about 4 p.m. by the time we reached Stonington.

Mostly, we wanted to spend some time in Stonington Cemetery, as it's one of the most beautiful around. Though not incorporated until 1849, it was a burying ground long before then. I've found markers dating back to 1760, and I'm fairly certain there are older ones to be discovered. You may recall, Murder of Angels opens in this cemetery, which I first visited in 2000. We spent about an hour walking the grounds, peering into crypts, just soaking up the fading day. Spooky took photos (below), while I wrote down names. As I have said before, cemeteries are the best places to find names. No one can fairly accuse you of having "made up" a name like Mary Bloodgood when you can show them a photograph of the tombstone bearing the name. There were dragonflies and butterflies flitting about in the haze.

After the cemetery, we drove down through the village itself, to Stonington Point, which looks out across Fisher Island Sound. From the point, looking back to the southeast, you can see Rhode Island across the sound: Napatree Point, Watch Hill, Westerly. Just east, there's Sandy Point, a small, barren island. There's a granite breakwater to the south, and to the west, Long Island. You may recall, this is another locale I used at the start of Murder of Angels. The tide was coming in, and there were several species of birds fishing among the rocks at the water's edge, including cormorants (Phalacorax auritus), a couple of examples of something that most resembled a Great Egret (Ardea alba), and the usual assortment of gulls, though we did spot a few Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla), which we don't often see. We found half a small pumpkin floating in the surf. There were anvil-shaped thunderheads building to the north.

I think we headed home sometime after 6 p.m., and I read another story from Lovecraft Unbound, Gemma Files' "Marya Nox," which was actually very, very impressive. Back in Providence, we stopped for Chinese takeout. The Harvest Moon rose huge and red just as we were heading back home.

A few photos from yesterday, though Spooky took so many photos I expect I'll be posting them for days to come:

4 October 2009 )


And that was yesterday, pretty much. I did get a very nice email from someone who's reading The Red Tree for the fifth time. Julie Skaggs asks:

I had a question - which you may choose instead to address in the blog for the benefit of all your readers— as I was struck with a similarity in regards to not only the metafictional elements of Sarah and Amanda's relationship in The Red Tree as compared to any of your own, but also of Francis Bacon and George Dyer. And I wondered if Bacon was not only an artistic touchstone for the novel in terms of his actual work as a reference for that of Constance/Bettina, but also elements of his life. If you have the time and (more importantly) the inclination to answer this inquiry I'd be most appreciative, but I know the wheel ever turns and I do not mean to be intrusive, only so very curious in regards to this particular world you've created in the narrative.

I do love astute readers. Guilty as charged, as regards both Bacon and Dyer. Bacon has been a very important influence, and I read a lot of biography, and find odd parallels (or maybe they're not odd at all), and these things inevitably bleed together.

Oh, and, on Etsy, I've found the perfect mask to wear for the dramatic reading of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (I'm to play Oberon) at next year's ReaderCon 21.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
I only took one day off, after twelve consecutive days of work. But it feels like I've been away for a week, which is just bizarre.

Today, I have an interview. I'm actually beginning to loathe talking about myself. Maybe I always did.

Here in Providence, after finally getting summer in August, we seem to have nose-dived suddenly into early autumn. There's even a hint of color to some of the trees, and the mornings and nights are so chilly I'm wearing sweaters.

I do hope people were happy with Sirenia Digest. Feel free to comment here. I'm trying to think of something special for #50.

Lots of thought has been going into the next novel, as I'm going to need to get something like a proposal to my editor at Penguin this month. I'm still thinking of it as Blood Oranges, though that likely will not be the title. "Werewolf Smile" (in the latest Sirenia) was me playing around with themes that may form much of this one. The real question right now is whether or not I'm ready to bring Albert Perrault out of the closet, as it were, and place him in this novel, as a sort of catalytic agent. I've been writing him, here and there, since 2001 or so. I still don't know if I'm ready to commit.

And there's The Red Tree. I'm finally, a month after the release, beginning to come to terms with the likelihood that this will not be the novel that "breaks out" and finds for me a much wider readership. It will not be "celebrated," in that sense that a lucky few books are celebrated. Most of the fanfare has already come and gone. There will be a few more reviews and interviews, a couple more readings, but I'm moving along to the next novel. I'll keep adding "evidence" to the website, because I'm enjoying doing that.

The good news, I was never kidding myself. I stopped doing that with Murder of Angels.


Yesterday afternoon, we made a late matinée of Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, and I loved it so much I am willing to say this is his best film yet, and perhaps even his first truly great film. It just shines. And it more than made up for having suffered through what Frank Miller did to The Spirit, which we had the misfortune to watch a few nights back. Awful, awful thing, that sad, silly mess of a film. Also, we finished Season Three of Dexter, and I'm already missing Michael C. Hall. And I've been doing lots of reading, but more on that later, maybe.

Now, I have to finish waking up.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
I didn't write an entry yesterday because Sunday was the sort of writing day that hardly bears mentioning. I wrote twenty eight words. No, really. And having done that, I realized that I needed to read back over Chapter Six of The Red Tree before going deeper into Chapter I read it aloud to Spooky, who was patient and listened. And there was some invaluable discussion afterwards regarding how the book will be wrapping up, because we've reached the point where I need to understand how that's going to happen. Anyway, despite that progress, at the end of the day I was annoyed and disgusted with myself. Fortunately, I made up for it yesterday, by writing 2,144 words on what will be the next to last chapter of the book. From where I am now, I can see THE END, and it terrifies me. And, too, I find myself more disturbed at the impending fate of my protagonist than is usual for me to feel. This is not a book with a happy ending. Maybe my grimmest ending ever, even more so than in Silk and Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels. At least each of those books leaves the reader (and, importantly, she who wrote it) with a sliver of hope. I hesitate to say so, but in many ways, The Red Tree is a more adult book than anything I've written previously. But, yes, a very fine writing day yesterday.

After I was done for the day, we hastily dressed and went out into the world. It was sunny, so we didn't have to worry about the damned windshield wipers (we're still waiting on the replacement part), sunny but quite chilly. I think we left about 4 p.m., and by then the temp was in the mid 50sF and dropping. We drove south, all the way to Harbor of Refuge at Point Judith. The tide was out, and the moon had risen, one night before the first quarter. The late afternoon sky was so blue, but with a few clouds. The air was so clear we could clearly see south all the way to the northern shore of Block Island, a good ten miles out. We went down to the spot where we usually sit, below the Rabbits' Restroom, in the ruins of Fort Greene. But I was fidgety, and we ended up walking along the granite jetty, farther than we'd ever gone before. We finally stopped at the point where the jetty begins to curve sharply back to the west (about 41°21'35.63"N, 71°29'22.67"W), some 368 yards from the place the jetty begins. I wanted to go farther, but the wind was very cold (the sea was calm), and our ears were starting to ache. So we headed back. There were deep tide pools on the harbor side of the jetty, and where the beach begins, great mats of seaweeds tangled with bits of innumerable mollusk shells and crabs. I found my first Anomia simplex (jingle shell). After leaving the harbor, we drove over to the parking lot beside Point Judith Lighthouse (to 41°21'43.46"N, 71°28'50.51"W), and watched a lone fisherman casting in the shallows. The water was filled with the floaters of lobster pots. Tall sailboats passed the Point as the sun began to set, and their sails were orange in the fading day. We spotted a one-legged Ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis). Neither of us had identified a Ring-billed gull before, and here this one had only the one leg, though it seemed to be getting along just fine. Quite a bit smaller than most of our local gulls.

We left the shore reluctantly, and drove up to see Spooky's parents in Saunderstown. It was almost dark by the time we arrived at their house. I traded her father an older stack of Science for a newer stack. We headed back towards Providence about 6:30, I guess, and stopped in at Newbury Comics in Warwick on the way. I got a used copy of the director's cut of Neil Marshall's superb The Descent (2005), and Spooky picked up volume two of Angel: After the Fall in hardback.

Back home, there were a few hours of WoW. Mithwen has reached Level 26, and Shaharrazad is at 16. We did have some interesting and experimental attempts at immersive rp the night before, Sunday, with [ profile] maetrics, an rp acquaintance from my time in Second Life. I can say now that it can be done, rp in WoW, even if just barely, though only if one is willing to worry a lot less about leveling up and such. Also, I'd no idea that night elves were so much larger than humans. Oh, and I bought a guild charter (10 silver), and it will be named the Wrath of Elune, if I ever get eight more signatures.

Oh, while we were driving down to Point Judith, we listened to My Big Hero by 12 Rounds. Spooky had gotten the album from Byron months back, but I'd not heard it. Very nice. Sort of Portishead with a touch of Shirley Manson, perhaps. The vocalist is pleasantly reminiscent of Billie Holiday.

Late last night, we watched The Descent, which was just as terrible and awesome as I recalled. And that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
So, yeah, I think my unwillingness to become too deeply mired in human politics has reached the point that I have become functionally apolitical. For example, my first thought upon hearing that McCain had chosen Palin as his running mate was, "What the fuck is Michael Palin doing hanging out with war-mongering Republican assholes like McCain?" So, learning the Palin in question was actually a homophobic, anti-choice former beauty queen from Alaska, and not a former member of Monty Python, came as a huge relief.

Er...anyway. Yesterday. Yesterday was not a writing day. It was, instead, a reading day. Looking at the beginning of Chapter Five, and being rather uncertain What Happens Next, I needed to think. And I tend to think best when reading or when watching movies. So, I reread (Is that actually a word? LJ seems to think so.) chapters 20 and 22 of Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000), section 6 of Chapter 4 of Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959), and Angela Carter's "The Tiger's Bride" (1979). Old favourites that I know so well reading them does not require too much of my attention, but which still manage to hit all the right buttons. And I found the idea I needed to begin Chapter 5 of The Red Tree today.

By the way, looking back over The Haunting of Hill House yesterday, I became angry all over again at the insistence of so many publishers, and the expectation by many readers, that novels must be great long things. The Haunting of Hill House is about 240 pages long, quite a bit shorter than, say, Daughter of Hounds (which is 431 pages long, in the tpb edition). Now, I do agree that a novel should be as long as a novel needs to be, but included within that maxim is the corollary that a novel should never be longer than it needs to be. Many novels today, especially bestsellers, are absurdly long (or at least the font size is increased to give that impression), and this follows largely from books being thought of as only another product marketed to consumers looking for their "best value." Longer books are better than shorter books, since a long hardback and a short hardback (or paperback) tend to cost about the same. Novels have been "supersized," as it were. Regardless, I suspect The Red Tree will be no more than 80,000 words at the most (Daughter of Hounds was, by comparison, 133,000+ words in length, but then, it needed to be). Books are not to be judged by page count any more than they are to be judged by their covers. And, as long as I'm titling at windmills and speaking of excessively thick books, if Laurell K. Hamilton is the idiot stepdaughter of Anne Rice, then Stephenie Meyer is, at best, Hamilton's parthenogenic hysterical pregnancy (and I think we've taken this metaphor as far as it can possibly go). Truly, it amazes me, some of the shit people send zipping to the top of the bestseller lists. Truly, crap floats.*

Oh, and I also read "A ceratosaurid [Dinosauria; Theropoda] from the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous of Uruguay" in JVP, but it really had no bearing on the novel.

As for last night, for dinner Spooky got pizza from Pizza Pie'er on Wickenden, because we had a Howards End build-team meeting at 7 pm. And afterwards, I had my first real rp in days, but, sadly, it was at Toxian City, where I'd sworn I'd never, ever go again. I really will be glad when the HE rp is up and running, and I can discover, once and for all, if I am capable of fixing all the things that are wrong with SL roleplay. Maybe I can't, but at least I can try. And if I can't, I can step away from the whole sorry mess knowing that I gave it my best.

A comment and question from a reader:

I liked The Five of Cups. You don't have any intention of re-releasing any other books (Murder of Angels, Threshold or The Dry Salvages) in hardback by any chance? or know where it might be possible to procure a copy of said magnificent books?

You have to forgive my disdain for The Five of Cups. I was 28 when I wrote it back in '92, and that was a long time and a lot of words ago, and neither the novel nor I have, in my estimation, aged well. All novelists are allowed to feel discomfort at their early efforts. It comes with the job. As for the other books, there has never been a hardback of Murder of Angels and probably never will be. There's not yet been a hb of Threshold, but there has been some talk of subpress doing a tenth-anniversary edition in 2011. And while The Dry Salvages is probably out of print for good, there will be a revised version released next year as a free ebook (to coincide with the release of A is for Alien).

* It occurs to me that i have to write a response to myself tomorrow, since the scatalogical generalization "crap floats" is obviously flawed.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
It would seem that the local pyromaniacs shot their wad (so to speak) Friday night and Saturday morning, as last night was quiet. Thank gods. My nerves were not up to Night #2 of the rockets' red glare.

As for yesterday, no library, because they were all closed. So I made do with the internet, which was barely making do at all. However, there was a significant plot breakthrough, the sort of thing that never occurs to me when I'm actually writing. Also, Spooky had unearthed a rather dubious nugget regarding Lovecraft's paternal grandfather (and the man who was, essentially, the closest thing HPL ever had to an actual father), Whipple Van Buren Phillips (1833-1904). There was a bit of something posted to a UFO-related website, describing WVBP as "a notorious New England occultist." While intriguing and grist for the novel, this seemed, to me, just a bit unlikely, and I emailed Joshi about it. He agrees there's nothing to it, that it may all stem from a tongue-in-cheek introduction that Colin Wilson wrote for George Hay's Necronomicon (1977) hoax. Yes, Phillips was a Freemason, but then so were half the men in my family (okay, that's an exaggeration). Yes, Phillips fostered HPL's childhood fascination with the Weird, but my mother did the same with me, and she's a fairly conservative Xtian. In other words, dead end. However, HPL does have ties to the Moosup Valley region of Rhode Island which I may play off of in The Red Tree. Spooky and I went through a great deal of Rhode Island history yesterday, the Colonial Era through the 18th Century, and then she read me everything that has so far been written on Chapter Two, which, maybe, I'll be able to finish today. The more I learn of Rhode Island's early history, the more I think the state motto should be "Biggest Little Troublemaker."

Not much else to yesterday that's fit for public consumption. I did get some pretty good SL roleplay late last night (thanks to Joah, Cerdwin, and Bellatrix), and yes, that call that went out to the nascent "Sirenia Players" group is still good. Come to Toxia and play a rabid lunatic devotee to Labyrinth. IM me for details, or just show up, because confusion is appropriate when answering the call of Eris Discordia. [ profile] blu_muse got some nice screencaps from last night, which you may see here. Labyrinth's new exoskeleton is coming along nicely....

Something I've not done in a while, which I'll do now, is post links to all those books of mine currently in print, the particular editions that need to sell for my publishers to continue to publish books by me. Please grab one or two (or three). And, no, sadly buying "used" copies doesn't help. Thanks:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

And, of course, there's always Sirenia Digest.

One more thing for now, apparently some very kind and generous individual purchased the complete Angel DVD collection for Spooky, from her Amazon wish list (it vanished from the list), but it has yet to appear, and she's worried that this kindly, generous someone might have spent their money for naught, if the package has been lost in the mail. So, if you're reading this, and you were the giver, you might want to look into it. She says thanks.

Postscript (5:23 p.m.): I have just learned from [ profile] ellen_datlow of Thomas M. Disch's suicide on the 4th. She writes, "I'm shocked, saddened, but not very surprised. Tom had been depressed for several years and was especially hit by the death of his longtime partner Charles Naylor. He also was very worried about being evicted from the rent controlled apartment he lived in for decades."
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
One of the weirdest things (sensu Lovecraft et al.) about the move from Atlanta to Providence is trying to get used to the much earlier sunrise, brought about not so much by being nearer the eastern border of the Eastern Time Zone (presently EDT), but being at such a higher latitude. For example, tomorrow morning, in Atlanta the sun will "rise" (a misnomer and an optical illusion, of course) at 6:26 a.m. and set at 8:49 p.m. Yet here in Rhode Island, in Providence, the sun will rise at 5:10 a.m. and set at 8:22 p.m. The sunset differential is not so severe —— only twenty-seven minutes —— but the sunrise differential is far greater, a full hour and sixteen minutes. I first noted this in 2006, but it caught me off guard early this morning, when, at 3:45 a.m. Spooky said I should get to bed soon or the sun would be up. Weird. I think I went to bed about 4 a.m., and was asleep almost at once.

Yesterday, finally, I had something resembling a "normal" writing day. I thank the cooler weather, more than anything. I don't believe the thermostat went much higher than about 83F (and I had Dr. Muñoz in the office for a brief spell, so it was quite a bit cooler in here). I wrote 1,165 words on "The Melusine" for Sirenia Digest #31. That's a very decent, if not spectacular, writing day. Word count-wise. Of course, word count is only one way of measuring how successful any given writing day is, and it may be, truthfully, the least important. What matters is that I like what I wrote yesterday, that it was written well, and that I shall not have to do any significant revision on it.

And this brings us back around to the story I linked to yesterday about writers, even us mid-list types, being pushed to churn out a novel a year and the possible effect of this industry demand on quality. By the way, if you're trying to break into this market, if you think you want to be a working author (i.e., an author whose sole income is herhisits income derived from fiction sales, which means largely novel sales), you really, really ought to read this article. Anyway, yesterday [ profile] jtglover commented:

I read that article and enjoyed it. I found it via a link that indicated that there had been some grousing in some writerly corners of the blogosphere about the article. I'm sure that there are people, even now, complaining about the audacity of any writer to demand the time to try to create art instead of just cranking out the closest-to-good story possible in the super-tight timeframes that All Real, Professional Writers deal with constantly. I get that there are regular timeframes involved when dealing with publishers and contracts and such, but it seems to me that little is more corrosive to a writer than to be told always to hurry, because nobody gets it right anyway, and who's foolish enough to try to "write well" anyway?

To which I replied, Nice. I may address this tomorrow. To which Mr. Glover replied:

I don't want to come across as a sycophant, but that would mean a lot to me. Right now I'm struggling through the first draft of what I hope will be my first completed novel, and I'm regularly torn about how quickly to write. Slowly (4-800 words/day) means I can get inside the characters' heads more easily, but I'm afraid of losing momentum. Quickly (800-1600 words/day) means I finish sooner and can "fix it" in the second draft, but the characters rarely come to life when I'm moving at that pace.

All I can do, of course, is write about this problem from the perspective afforded by my personal experience. I think of myself as a slow writer, though, often, I seem wildly productive. When I was writing for DC/Vertigo, for example, expected to produce a script a month, I sometimes would write three a month. Back then, my daily word count, on novels and short fiction was about 500 words/day. These days, it's up to about twice that, about 1,100 words on average, and my all-time record is something like 2,800 words in a single day. Anyway, yes, all in all, though I write a lot (because I do little else), I write rather slowly, and it is very, very hard, if not impossible, to do this book-a-year nonsense. Partly, this is because I do not write in drafts. I write a single draft, to which I make line edits. That's almost always been the case. What I write the first time around is usually what shows up on the printed page —— usually. First and second and third drafts are fine for people who need to write that way, but it's not the way I taught myself to write. I work on a sentence until it's as close to perfect as I can get it. Same for any given paragraph, and then I move along to the next. Does this slow me down? I don't know, because, after all, it seems to me loads of time is wasted in rewrites by authors who have learned to write in multiple drafts. Below is a list of my novels, to date, and how long I took to write each one:

The Five of Cups (nine months, '92-'93)
Silk (twenty-eight months, '93-'96)
Threshold (twenty-two months, '98-'00)
Low Red Moon (eight months, '01-02)
Murder of Angels (A complicated one, as I started it in '01, then shelved it, and went back to work on the ms. in '03, finishing it that year; offhand, I do not know how long it actually took me to write, but it required about three years to complete the finished ms.)
Daughter of Hounds (about fifteen months, '04-'06)
Beowulf (all told, about three months, '06-07, though the forced rewrites — the "Mordorian Death March" — went on for another three or four months afterwards; and yes, it was a better book before those rewrites)

Now, here you see a great degree of variation, from Silk, at twenty-eight months, to the Beowulf novelization, at maybe three months (I would disqualify the latter, as I was working from a shooting script for the movie and also had numerous earlier drafts of the script and the source material to guide me). Also, my novels usually start out slow, the writing of them, and then I end up doing the bulk of a ms. in the last four or five months, as the pieces fall into place. Point being, for me, the time varies wildly. And I would say, it's all about the time I need to write the book the way it needs to be written. Trying to force a writer to write faster is, in my opinion, idiotic, and it will almost always result in a compromise in quality. I write novels, and whether you think they are good novels or bad novels or mediocre novels, they are novels, not product. This is not manufacturing. There is no assembly line. There is what my mind can do, given the strictures of my health (both mental and physical) and other non-writing concerns and interferences. That's all I can do. If that's not good enough, I'm screwed. So far, it's worked out, though I know my editor would be happier if I could produce more regularly. I know my agent worries about this. I know, in a sense, it has held me back from gaining a wider audience. But it's the best I can do, which is all that can ever be fairly asked of any artist. So, when all is said and done, my advice is take the time you need. Artistically, getting it right is more important than getting it published, even if it means you'll never be published.

However, those of us who have —— I would say unwisely —— chosen fiction writing as a career must to some degree cater to the needs (or perceived needs) of our publishers and readers, and the deadlines they set for us. It is, I would say, a necessary evil, that schedule that comes along with contracts and an audience and money and promotion and actual, printed books. In an ideal world, readers (who i will never, ever call "consumers"), would understand that any given book requires X amount of time to be written, X being an indeterminable variable. So would publishers. And they would be patient and give us the time that is required. This, you do not need me to tell you, is hardly an ideal world. And a working writer must accept these deadlines, on some level, or get out of the game. Unless you're Thomas Pynchon. It's not an issue of whether the publishers are right or wrong. If you are lucky enough to have a publisher (and it is, mostly, luck, luck and perseverance), and if that's where some large percentage of the money that pays your bills comes from, then you accept this and live with it as best you can. I cannot produce a book a year, but I do try. After all, if I could write simply 500 words a day (my old standard), I could write a 100,000-word novel in only 200 days, easy as pie. Much less than a year. Of course, it's not really about the time it takes to put the words down on paper, but the time it takes to find the words in your mind, and there's the wicked, wicked catch.

Not much to say for yesterday, beyond the writing. The cool air was greatly appreciated. I went with Spooky to the market. Pasta salad for dinner. A great deal of unpacking, finally. Just after midnight, I allowed myself to go on Second Life, and I spent most of that time in the library in Toxia, in my usual place on the sofa. That was yesterday. And I need to wrap this up, but I wanted to mention that late today or sometime tonight or maybe tomorrow, I'll be starting our Queerest Auction Ever (QAE; but not, sadly, in the homosexual sense of the word "queer"), which will be two flaps (auctioned seperately) from cardboard boxes used in the move. Bored, I drew on each before we left Atlanta. Monster doodles. Seems a shame to throw them out, especially given how much more the move cost than we'd expected. I'll keep you posted, natch. Also, I want to repost the link to Spooky's Amazon wish list. Her birthday is June 24th this year. And every other year, I suppose...

My Wish List
greygirlbeast: (new chi)
How bad can a day possibly be, when it begins by finding a note you left to yourself five years ago, so that you would once again discover the mind-shredding joy that is the Spongmonkeys? And I love that the dorks over at the Modern Humorist deemed the Spongmonkeys "what you see before you die." Indeed. Yippie ki yay, motherfuckers.

Which is to say, yesterday — despite my great empty office — I did an exceptional 1,751 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree and found THE END of the chapter. I think I stopped writing about six pm, but then I went back a little after nine and worked on the chapter's seven footnotes until almost eleven. I think the footnotes work. Of course, what sucks walruses through drinking straws is that now that I am in that space the story occupies, now that I have found the character, I have to set it all aside until after I reach Providence a couple of weeks from now. I should be horsewhipped. But there you go. The packing must be done, and I'll just have to get back into The Red Tree ASAP once we've moved.

Not much to last night. A fairly bad seizure yesterday. More packing. More Millennium ("The Pest House," "Owls," and "Roosters."). Half the day, my stomach was a roiling cramp fest, thank you doxycycline, thank you Miss Tick. Really, I just don't handle antibiotics very well. My digestive system's enough of a mess to start with. And my frelling face still hurts, even though the dentist couldn't find anything (admittedly, she didn't actually open the Bad Tooth). But these are, of course, small, small pains. Did I mention the Spongmonkeys? Oh. Okay. Well, anyway, no Second Life last night. Nary a single moment spent in the metaverse. Late, after Millennium, Spooky read to me from House of Leaves — much of Chapter XVII, which not only deals with the three psychological models seeking to explain why Navidson returned to the house on Ash Tree Lane (the Kellog-Antwerk Claim, the Bister-Frieden Criteria, and the Haven-Slocum Theory), but also includes the letter he wrote to Karen prior to Exploration #5, so much of which goes into Poe's song, "Haunted."

Don't cry,
There's always a way,
Here in November in this house of leaves
We'll pray.
Please, I know it's hard to believe,
To see a perfect forest
Through so many splintered trees.
You and me,
And these shadows keep on changing

I think I'm trying very hard not to think about the impending move. I do not fear it, and I know we'll be ready, but the anticipation is getting to me. Counting today (midnight on the 19th to midnight on the 28th, which is in no way actually accurate), we have only ten days remaining, 240 hours, 14,400 minutes, or 864,000 (or so) seconds. Time approximate, at best. I do dread the long drive (well, I don't drive, so the long ride), with Hubero, who is most emphatically not fond of cars or trucks. I think Spooky is much more nervous than am I, and for her, this is simply going home.

I've not listed the books in print in a while, the ones I need to sell well (new copies, not the "used" copies Amazon gets kick-backs on), in order to remain a publishing author. So, here goes. Please, if you haven't, pick them up. Thank you.

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Now, platypus. Where the frak's my coffee?
greygirlbeast: (Late PreCambrian Earth)
So, even though there is absolutely no time for being sick, I'm sick. Hard to tell yet just how sick, but sick enough. It started off yesterday morning as a scratchy throat. Thing is, Spooky's been sick for almost a week, and every time I'd ask her about it, she'd tell me it was just allergies caused by the dust we're stirring up packing. To me, she looked sick, not allergic, but hey, she ought to know. So I didn't worry about catching it. But now I'm sick. Last night, fevers and chills. We have to hope this fucker is short lived, because here it is May 6th, and we leave Atlanta on Thursday, May 29th for Providence. And there is all the packing, and a mountain of work, and deadlines and scheduling that simply can not be Put Off Until Later. I used up all my sick time, back in February. And, possibly the worst problem here is that colds and flu often (since the mid '80s) leave me with a severe cough that can last, literally, for months. After I had the flu in February, I coughed an additional six weeks. And the bad tooth cannot be pulled if I'm coughing, because then it won't heal properly. So. Yeah. It's sort of a disaster.

Yesterday. We spent eight hours (1-9 pm) working on the corrections to A is for Alien, and we're still not done. So, that will be today. We also need to take books back to the Emory University library, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. Today, I get more misplaced or missing commas, fact checking, clumsy word repetitions, and other assorted tedium. Oh, and a good example of why sf writers should worry only just so much about the science in their sf stories. When I wrote "Zero Summer" in the summer of 2005, Saturn was believed to have 43 moons, but now, revising the story in 2007, I know that Saturn has more than 60 confirmed natural satellites. But the story is set in the nearish future. By then, we may know that Saturn has 80 moons. Do I stick with 60, knowing that astronomers consider that number provisional? Do I "guesstimate" ahead? Do I revise the story again in a few years? Frankly, the facts are hardly relevant to the truths of the story, so screw it.

My thanks to [ profile] robyn_ma for pointing out that I can now actually see Isabella Rossellini's "bug porn" (Green Porno) at the Sundance Channel website. Yesterday, the site wasn't letting me in; today it is. Oh, and yes, I have downloaded the new, free NIN, and I'm listening to it now.

At some point yesterday, I left Spooky alone to work on the corrections to A is for Alien. I lay down on the sofa, thinking I could at least read the next chapter of Chris Beard's book on primate origins, but, instead, the best I could manage was an hour of being half asleep, dreaming though I was partly still awake. Later, late last night, Spooky read me more from House of Leaves, the terrible scene on the staircase, Navidson trapped alone at the bottom when it suddenly grows to impossible proportions, Tex's story of the sinking of the Atrocity. Not the perfect thing before bed, so then she read me Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder (1957), which won a Caldecott Medal and is one of my all time favourite children's books. "Where do hummingbirds go in a hurricane?" Beautiful.

I got the following from Alan S. Montroso, via email, "...As was your story "Concerning Attrition and Severance"; its imagery and majesty have haunted me through the weekend. I understand why you felt it belonged in the obscurity of a closed drawer, but I am also grateful such a cruel creature has been unleashed." Thank you, Alan. It's good to see these reactions, because the story's out there now, and there's no pulling it back in. Comments on Sirenia Digest #29 are still welcome, by the way.

I haven't given the list of books in print in a while, so here it is again. And, though it might be cheaper and the "green" thing to do, buying used copies of my novels from Amazon, sadly, in no way helps my sales figures. Sadder still, I have to actually think about shit like sales figures:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

And here's the Amazon wish list, because, after all, this has been declared my Royal Birthday Month and -04 is a mere 20 days away.

There's a lot more of substance I wanted to write about this morning, but I feel like unto butt, and somehow I have to make it through the remainder of the corrections to A is for Alien.
greygirlbeast: (grey)
A good writing day yesterday. I did 1,345 words on the new piece for Sirenia Digest #30. I should be able to finish it today. It still has no title. By the way, this piece is not for the next issue of the digest, but the issue after next. #29 will include my vignette "Flotsam," and as well another vignette by Sonya Taaffe ([ profile] sovay).

As soon as I'm done with the piece for #30, I need to take care of the line edits on A is for Alien (thank you, Sonya) and write a foreword so that the ms. can go to Subterranean Press.

Also, it would appear that is finally offering the new mmp of Murder of Angels. Just follow the link, unless you'd rather get it from Barnes & Noble, in which case you should follow this link.

Also, the good news is I should be able to get back to The Red Tree much sooner than expected, as Spooky's mother has kindly agreed to investigate the length of Barbs Hill Road between Coventry (to the south) and Moosup Valley (to the north), where the novel will be set, in far western Rhode Island and send me a CD of photos that should allow me to write the editor's note bit that should allow me to return to work on Chapter One. Oh, and Spooky's dad is in Bangkok again, doing his anthropologist thing.

As to the non-writing, non-work part of yesterday, not much to say. I packed six boxes (books and videotapes, mostly). I've not left the house since Monday. There is this hope that once we are in New England, I will wander out more frequently, as there will be new things to see, friends to visit, etc., but, for my part, I am skeptical that my reclusive ways will change a great deal. Last night, we watched two more episodes from Season One of Millennium, and then I did a few hours of Second Life rp. Nareth was severely chastised by her Sire for being such a boastful, unfeeling beast, and, so, once again, Nareth is hiding in the sea. And that was yesterday, near as I recall. There was a bad seizure towards dusk, and it left me feeling brittle and unanchored the rest of the night.

I wish I could spend the day beneath a tree, getting bugs in my hair and smelling the sky...and, yet, I know that I will likely not even step Outside.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Yes, I am disappointed by the results of the Pennsylvania primary. I don't think that either Clinton or Obama have much of a chance of winning the presidency, and I'm not one of those who sees Obama as some sort of panacea for the ills of this country, but, still. I've been trying to hope.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest #30. It has no title, and I'm really not sure, yet, how to describe it.

While I'm thinking of it, here's that list again, those of my books in print, the ones that need to sell, the editions that need to sell (new, not used copies), etc.:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Not much else to say for yesterday. I read a bit of Justine by the Marquis DeSade before I started writing. Last night, I watched two episodes of Deadliest Catch (despite the Bon Jovi theme song), a series I have a peculiar fondness for. My thing about the sea, I suppose. Hauling things up from the sea. The bleak beauty of the Bering Strait.

I think I need intravenous Red Bull this morning... (and it's not even really morning now, as of seventeen minutes ago).
greygirlbeast: (dr10-1)
I'm predicting a short journal entry. Let's see if I know of what I speak...

Yesterday, I began and finished the second section of Chapter One of The Red Tree. A total of 1,346 words, so a very good writing day. At least, as regards the number of words written. Already, I am struggling with doubts. Somehow, the text does not seem as solid, as dense, as detailed, as authentic as it needs to feel. This may all be in my mind, I do not know. I see now that this chapter will likely have four sections. I'll begin the third this afternoon.

And yesterday I had two readers tell me that they find endnotes more distracting than footnotes. So, there you go. I've had readers, in the past, extoll* the horrors of footnotes, that they are distracting, destroy the flow of text, and (gasp) feel pretentious (it's all pretentious, kiddos, as it's all pretend, it's all pretense). So, now I'm not sure what I'll do. I guess I'll figure it out when I reach the end of Chapter One. Also, I have considered inserting the Caitlín R. Kiernan construct as "the editor" of Sarah Crowe's journal, which means that I would be writing the prologue, afterword, and foot/endnotes as "me."

I sat out in the sun a bit yesterday, when all the writing was done, just loving the warmth, dozing, soaking up a little Vitamin D. The sun so rarely touches my skin.

Some reader questions now. First [ profile] eldritch00 writes, "Question about the new Penguin paperback reissues: were all of those novels revised? I remember that Threshold was." Here's how it works: Silk was extensively revised for the mass-market paperback Threshold was revised, but not as much as was Silk. Both Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels received minor edits (more in the former than the latter). Daughter of Hounds will receive almost no revision at all (in part, this is because it doesn't need it, and, in part, because I don't have time).

[ profile] eldritch00 also asked about the Table of Contents for A is for Alien, and I reply it will probably look something like this (the order of the stories is likely to change):

“Riding the White Bull”
“Zero Summer”
“A Season of Broken Dolls”
“Faces in Revolving Souls”
“The Pearl Diver”
“In View of Nothing”
“Ode to Katan Amano”
“Bradbury Weather”

And, remember, a FREE e-edition of The Dry Salvages will be released by Subterranean Press to coincide with the release of A is for Alien. Also, this from MySpace reader Kate La Trobe:

I always read your blog with interest - have done for years, from London, Holland, the States...wherever I am... and your books of course. You're an incredible inspiration. My favourite is Low Red Moon which I read over many coffees in now reading and very much enjoying my recently-acquired Murder of Angels. In Montana! Isn't it great that your work is everywhere?! I always find your books, wherever I am. Usually in shops, and if not, I ask them about your titles and get them to order it in. And there's always Amazon if the worst comes to the worst. Thanks for being fabulously talented. You're enjoyed worldwide.

See? This is what does not make the "Baby Jesus" cry. Yes! I can find your books.

More Millennium last night. Episodes Three and Four. Many more pages of House of Leaves And that was yesterday. Tonight, we get Byron and new Doctor Who and another new Battlestar Galactica. And no, this wasn't a short entry...

* extoll may, indeed, be spelled with two L's, and, to me, extol looks like the name of a neotenic tiger salamander or Aztec god.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
First, an apology, of sorts, to the people who read this journal via MySpace. A few days back, MySpace mysteriously jettisoned the login cookie that prevents me having to remember my password and which email account I use for MySpace, and because I do actually rather hate MySpace, it was this morning before I could be bothered to try and remember what was what.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,267 words on Chapter One of The Red Tree. And I think that I have decided that there will not be footnotes, because too many people complain that footnotes break up the flow of the text. Instead, there will be endnotes for each chapter, which are really the same thing as footnotes, only they come at the end of the chapter instead at the foot of each page. Yesterday, I completed the first section of the chapter, and today I will begin the second.

It's that time again, time to point you to the places where you can easily acquire copies of all of my novels, and one of the short-story collections, so that no one has to utter those dreaded words, "I can't find your books." (shudder)

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Not a bad day yesterday. I was done with the writing by 4:30 p.m. or so, and it was one of those perfect spring days outside. All those shades of fresh green bursting forth against the blue sky, and the sun so white and dazzling. I left the house for the second day in a row. We walked to Videodrome to return Enchanted (which I still name grotesquely charming). Then we got Thai for dinner, and then we watched the first two episodes of Millennium (now that we're done with Angel). Though I truly loved the second season, I missed most of the first. I think Millennium might have been Chris Carter at his creepiest, and I'm just glad it didn't show up on television until more than two years after I'd written my first Deacon Silvey story.

I passed much of the remainder of the evening in Second Life, rping with the Omegas in Toxian City. Really, it was all too complex and wacky and peculiar to try and recount, though Nareth's victorious battle against the sentient interstellar fungi that had infected her thrall's brain was quite invigorating. Later, Spooky read me more of House of Leaves. "Which is exactly when Karen screams." Such a sublime line. Oh, there was a very brief "absence" seizure following dinner, but I think I'm actually getting used to those little ones. So yes, a fine yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Today marks the fourth anniversary of my having begun keeping this LiveJournal on 15 April 2004. You can see that entry here, if you're interested. Since that day, I have made 1,706 entries in the journal, received 19,503 comments, and made 5,484 comments of my own. When it began, I was waiting for Murder of Angels to be released and had not yet begun writing Daughter of Hounds. We were living in a loft over in the old Kirkwood school. Of course, this journal, sensu lato, actually goes back to 24 November 2001, when I was just beginning to write Low Red Moon, and Neil talked me into keeping a blog. You can read the very first entry, on Blogger, here.

This line from Danielewski's House of Leaves:

We all create stories to protect ourselves.

I think it's going to end up being an epigraph for The Red Tree. Speaking of which, I spent an hour or so talking over the narrative structure with Spooky yesterday, first person and the problems thereof, the ins and outs of an epistolary narration, and a bit about my protagonist, Sarah Crowe. I already knew that the novel would be set in rural west-central Rhode Island, and after talking with Spooky, I spent an hour or so with Google Earth, tracking down just the right spot. I found it off Barb's Hill Road, north of Coventry, southwest of Foster and Moosup Valley. Unlike all my previous novels, this one shall come close to observing Aristotle's rule regarding "unity of place" in drama. Almost all the story's action will occur on the old farm where Sarah is living. The house standing there now was built around 1850, I think, though it was built on the foundation of a house that was erected on the spot in the late 1700s. After all the talk and Google Earth, I wrote what I hope will prove to be the first 705 words of Chapter One. So, work yesterday.

Having done the Beowulf novelization last year, I'm getting some curious sorts of offers. I've just passed on doing a Guild Wars novel. I will not go tumbling down the slippery slope of media tie-ins.

The postman brought me cover flaps for the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds, which will be released on September 2nd, 2008. It looks good. Also, the signed contracts and IRS forms for the German translations of Threshold and Low Red Moon went into the mail.

Once again, I did not leave the house yesterday. I have to make myself go outside today, as it has now been...almost five days. Spooky spent much of yesterday packing. Yes, the packing has begun. It makes me antsy.

Last night, I watched two episodes of How It's Made on TLC, which I find very oddly soothing. I watched part of an episode of Spongebob Squarepants (which I just find odd). And the rest of the evening went to some rather intense rp with the Omegas in Toxian City (Second Life). Nareth took out her straight razor and gave control, and in anatomy, and also in self denial. Her thrall, Nicholette, having committed a rather grave insult against her, was the canvas. It might actually make a nice piece for Sirenia Digest, with just the right sort of tweaking. But, still, I was in bed by 2:30 ayem.

I think I need to read Le Fanu's "Carmilla" again...
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Slowly retrieving some of that lost sleep from last week. A full eight hours last night. I'm feeling much, much better, thank you. Sleep deprivation is one of the worst things for me just now, and I've made a new resolution to be in bed by two ayem every night. I may not be asleep, but at least I'll be in bed.

Today, with luck, I will begin writing The Red Tree. I now have four and a half months to write the novel, and I'll easily lose two weeks of that to the move. Yesterday, I finished Michael E. Bell's Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires (2001), a really excellent book treating the folklore of the tuberculosis-related cases of "vampirism" from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc. I first encountered the book at the Peace Dale Public Library (one of the most beautiful libraries in South County) in August 2006, while doing research there, and I scarfed a used copy of the book somewhere or another, but it's taken me this long to get around to reading it.

Yesterday, I also read "Ichnotaxonomy* of bird-like footprints: an example from the Late Triassic-Early Jurassic of Northwest Argentina" in the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. After dinner (Spanish rice with chicken, pintos with jalapeños, fresh avocados and tomato), I did a nice bit of rp with Lorne, Brit, Nicholette, and Artemisia (er...Spooky) in the library in Toxian City. Then Spooky and I watched Danny Boyle's Sunshine for the fourth time. Later still, I organized the hard-drive on my old iBook (Victoria Regina) while she read me a couple more chapters of House of Leaves (this will be our third time through). That was yesterday, pretty much.

Most of the stress during the last couple of weeks has derived from our trying to find a place to live in Providence, a living space suited to our particular needs and my particular aesthetic. We thought we'd found something good in Elmwood, but it turned out not to be so good after all. Don't even get me started on the three front doors. But yesterday, Spooky's mother looked at an apartment near the Armory District, which we think is going to be the place. It's perfect. So, the stress level has lessened considerably. Now, I just have to contemplate the nightmare of packing and making the actual move. We'll likely leave Atlanta sometime between mid and late May, so, not much time left at all.

I've not left the house since we got back from the Colin Meloy show on Thursday night, mostly because the weather turned cold after the thunderstorms on Friday. The warm-up is coming slower than predicted. It's been a chilly spring. I don't think we've had a single day in the '80s (Fahrenheit) yet. Right now, it's 48F, but feels like 42F with the wind chill.

My thanks to David Kirkpatrick ([ profile] corucia) for the following photo (behind the cut), taken in a local (for him) Barnes and Noble in Minneapolis. I've always been annoyed at authors who measure their success by how many inches their books take up on the shelves of a bookshop, but, after most of these novels went out of print two years ago, seeing them back, seeing that I presently have five novels and a novelization on the shelves (and that they appear to be in the "science fiction and fantasy" section, not "horror"), is somewhat reassuring, I must admit.

Shelfage )

Oh, and I have this comment from [ profile] reverendcrofoot, regarding the age of the narrator in The Red Tree: "See, the thing with age is unless the author says it directly it's really hard to tell. I would have never guessed Dancy's age if you hadn't told me...Make her whatever age you want, but just don't tell us how old she is...avoid it. It would be interesting to see the ages people guess."

It would be interesting, perhaps, but I am far too visual and specific in my writing to allow the age of a central character (or most minor ones) to go unstated. How Sarah Crowe will face the trials of the novel, who she is, and so forth, all that stems from the sum of her life experiences, which can be measured, in part, by her age. A twenty-year-old woman would very likely not cope with these experiences the same way that a forty-four-year-old woman would, and much of what concerns me as an author is how a character acts or reacts (truthfully, I would argue action and reaction are synonyms) in any given situation. That was one of the joys of writing "Salammbô Redux (2007)" for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, having the opportunity to go back and look at a character I first wrote as a preteen, now in her forties. So, interesting idea, but it would never work for me.

Oh, and I think today is the last day to vote in the 2008 Locus Poll & Survey. Many of my short stories are eligible, and Daughter of Hounds made the drop-down menu in the "Best Fantasy Novel" category.

Okay. Time for the juice of the bean.

* An ichnotaxon is a taxon — a family, genus, or species — based solely on evidence derived from fossil footprints (or other traces, such as the burrows left by marine animals). When I lived in Birmingham, back when I was still doing paleontology, I was often aided by Andy Rindsberg, a friend and inchologist, Curator of the paleontological collections of the Alabama State Geological Survey.


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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