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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here, There, and the Other Place,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Don't forget, kittens, today is Krampus Day. Behave accordingly.

Bodies, can't you see what everybody wants from you?
If you could want that, too, then you'll be happy.
~ St. Vincent, "Cruel"

Yesterday, I wrote 1,241 words and so began "Another Tale of Two Cities" for Sirenia Digest. I'm hoping very much that it will be finished on the evening of the 7th, at the latest. It might be called science fiction, but I'd rather just call it weird erotica. And speaking of the evening of the 7th, I'm very much hoping to see more replies to the Question @ Hand #5 by then.

Last week, I stopped myself from buying an iPhone, though I seem to need one. In part, I stopped myself out of fear of another wave of "buyer's remorse," such as experienced recently, immediately after purchasing Kermit the iPad. Which I seemed to need for work. Since that purchase, by the way, I have found about fifty wonderful uses for Kermit the iPad...but not a single one of them has been work related*. Sure, endless mobile Japanese porn – no denying that rocks – but not exactly what my editors mean when they speak of "increased connectivity." In the Elder Days, by the way, we just said "easier to contact." Anyway, I didn't buy the iPhone, because (even though my cellphone is a pile of bantha dung), near as I can tell the iPhone and the iPad do exactly the same thing. Only, the iPhone has a vastly smaller screen and keys (and the virtual keys on my iPad are already too small for my admittedly large fingers), and I'll be damned if I can figure out a single useful thing the iPhone does that Kermit the iPad doesn't already do. Well, except make phone calls. And I hate making, and receiving, phone calls. Besides, technically, the iPad does permit video calls, all Jetson-like, using either FaceTime or Skype. Of course, the thought of a video call terrifies me beyond words. It's bad enough that callers can hear me. Let them see me, too? Anyway, point is, other than the fact that the iPhone is much smaller, and therefore even more mobile...why bother? And, by the way, you know, I hope, that all this increased connectivity nonsense, it's nothing but a) a means for the CIA, NSA, BTFA, DHS, and aliens from Planet X to keep track of you, and b) is being sold to us so that we never have a moment free of the grinding machine of capitalism (yes, excessive socialization aids and abets the agenda of the New World Order).

Damn, that's a long paragraph.

Probably, I ought to stop now. Only, I'll first point out that – following this thread – ebooks do the same thing as books, only not as well, and the ones you buy today will PROBABLY be inaccessible in a few years, and you can't donate them to libraries, or leave them to anyone. Meanwhile, my hard copies might well be accessible five hundred years from now, and can be bequeathed to loved ones. However, "we" are increasingly a selfish and short-sighted species (this makes my life easier = this is good), now more than ever before, so none of this is relevant. But I'm beating a dead horse. Whack, whack, whack.

Staring at Kermit,
Aunt Beast

* Spooky says this is not true, as all of Blood Oranges was proofed on the iPad. I will qualify, and say that actually she only used it to read along while I read the hard-copy ms. aloud and made marks on it. Still, I suppose she has a point.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (walkenVNV)
0. Not gonna write about SW:toR today. There's too much else. I'll come back to it tomorrow. But, in short, it's the best MMORPG I've ever played, though I will temper that estimation with some minor caveats.

1. I haven't had to mark any days L for a long time (thank you, meds), but yesterday was a lost day. There was very little in me but anger. I managed only a flury of email before having Spooky drive me to the Athenaeum. It was peaceful downstairs in the reading room. The comforting, soothing smell of old, old books. Ghosts beyond counting. I am only sorry I committed a blasphemy by using my iPad amid those shelves (I'm not being sarcastic). I proofed the pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17 through 25, but they were almost perfect, so it wasn't much work.

2. Today is the third anniversary of the day I first saw wintry precipitation in New England. Today, though, it's 52˚F, sunny and windy.

3.* Gonna talk shop. The business of publishing that is. Frequently, people ask me for writing advice, and, almost without fail, I refuse to offer it. But here's something. If a magazine, especially a fairly prominent online science-fiction zine, isn't willing to pay more than 0.003¢/word for a reprint in return for (and I quote from the contract) "digital media rights," which said contract defines as "...all non-physical forms including but not limited to html, Kindle, iTune apps, Mobi, ePub, and others" (id est, everything imaginable) then you need to stay far, far away from these sorts of publishers. They have nothing to offer you. No, not even "visibility." But, though I ought to know better, I just signed such a contract, because I have mountains of stories available for reprint, and when I agreed to the arrangement – several months ago – I had no idea what comprehensive electronic rights were expected in return for the paltry $25 I'd agreed to as an advance. I only saw the contract on November 21st (this is for their December issue), though the reprint request was made by them two months earlier. In between, I had to stop them from rewriting portions of the story. Anyway, point being, I don't care what the online publication is, you and your "digital media rights" are worth more than 0.003¢/word. Last I checked, pro rates were still hovering between 3-5¢/word. And, by the way, this emphatically was not Subterranean Magazine or Clarkesworld, both of whom have always paid me very well for online rights. I feel like, more and more, we're working – all of us, not just authors – in an environment that aggressively discourages dissent, then punishes dissenters, those who aren't so happy to get any work that they'll work under any conditions and for any price.

4. Today, I will do my very best to finish Alabaster. That's just five pages of script.

5. Please don't forget Question @ Hand #5!

6. I lay awake night before last, in the arms of Monsieur Insomnia, and watched George P. Cosmatos' Leviathan (1989) for the third or fourth time. What sort of film do you get when you splice Ridley Scott's Alien to John Carpenter's The Thing, then set it at the bottom of the sea? Well, you get Leviathan, a film which shamelessly steals from both those other films in almost every way possible. When I first saw it in theatres, I was furious. Later, on video, it just sort of bored me. But Monday night, watching it, I thought, Well, if I give Alien and The Thing each an A+ for Astounding, then I ought to give Leviathan a C for Could Have Been Worse, or Competent, or maybe for Cause I'm Only Half Awake. As the film has aged, it's easier to forgive the blatant plagiarism. Leviathan has taken on a questionable charm all its own. Peter Weller is truly fun to watch as he swaggers and scowls and uses the performance to bemoan the state of his career as it swirls round and round the drain. I actually love Peter Weller, and here he seems to be giving Cosmatos a well-deserved middle finger. And, too, Meg Foster autopilots her way through the role of the Tri-Oceanic Ice Queen rep giving the crew the shaft. It's those blue-white eyes of hers. But the rest of the cast is boring as dusty zwieback, though the monster/s is/are pretty cool. The whole thing with the sunken Russian ship and the blurry photos from its infirmary, that's nice, too. The tech is amusingly quaint (but not a tenth as convincing as the "used futures" seen in Alien and Blade Runner). As for the ending, it's clear neither the director nor the screenwriters were even trying to make sense. Still. Watch it if you can't sleep.

7. Tomorrow, I'll post the final cover for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. (It's not the one up at Amazon).

8. Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday:

28 November 2011 )


Counting Fractions of Fractions of Pennies,
Aunt Beast

* Postscript (4:47 p.m.): The editor of the unnamed magazine has contacted me and withdrawn his offer to reprint the story for 0.003¢/word. This is really the best outcome. I would have withdrawn it myself, but didn't want them left in a lurch (though they'd hardly treated me with similar considerateness), what with the December issue looming. Now, I only wonder who told them about my post, as I'm pretty damn sure he doesn't read my blog. And I wonder how far the news of my evil treachery will flow through the grapevine, and if I'll be blacklisted by others of this caliber. We take responsibility for the outcome of our actions, if we choose to act.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
And here it is the second of Hallowe'en, and on this day one year ago I was in Portland, Oregon, Guest of Honoring for the Lovecraft Film Festival. In fact, on this night a year ago I gave the speech that was recently published in the fifth issue of The Lovecraft Annual. I'm having one of those "How can a year have already come and gone?" days. Then again, since this day two years ago, I've written two novels and...well, a metric-asston of stuff has happened.

Yesterday, I pulled together everything for Sirenia Digest #70. Great cover this month. So, as soon as I have Vince Locke's illustration, it goes out to subscribers (if you are a subscriber). But, yeah, that was work yesterday.

And a there was an email from Gary K. Wolfe that actually managed to make me happy. Kind of scary when that happens. My moments of the happy, I mean. More on this very soon.

It's Sunday, and Sunday is a very good day to order your copy of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) (sorry, the super-snazzy limited sold out long ago, but there's still a few copies of the snazzy trade edition).

And before anyone asks (as if anyone need ask), yes, I support OccupyWallStreet one-hundred percent, and I only hope we see more protests of this magnitude in more cities across the country. "We are unions, students, teachers, veterans, first responders, families, the unemployed and underemployed. We are all races, sexes and creeds. We are the majority. We are the 99 percent. And we will no longer be silent." I wouldn't hasten to add, we are artists.

Last night, we drove up to a four-band show in Pawtucket, at the Met Cafe in the Hope Artiste Village. Well, mostly, we went to see Brown Bird (click for the HEARING OF THE MUSIC), who played second. We are Brown Bird addicts, because they rock. Yes, they do, so don't make that face, you sluggard! But the first band was a group from Chicago, Pillars and Tongues (their Band Camp site), and they, too, were truly amazing. Spooky described them as the lovechild of David Sylvian, Brenden Perry, and Sixteen Horsepower. And Mark Trecka plays the harmonium! Wonderful. Then Brown Bird came on, and I was very confused, until I figured out that strange woman wandering around on stage was, in fact, Morganeve, who's cut all her hair off. Others were also confused. We left after Brown Bird, even though we wanted to see Dark Dark Dark play. But the third band was...bad. And painful. As in, a trumpet (or coronet?) splitting our skulls apart. And the bad clothes. Like, a thousand hipsters dumped into a blender and out popped this bad. Oh, and banana shoes. Let us not forget the hallowed banana shoes. We did discover that by the time we'd left the building, and walked around front and across the street to the parking lot, by then they sounded okay. But, yes, Pillars and Tongues and Brown Bird. If they play near you, SEE THESE BANDS. There are three photos behind the cut:

1 October 2010 )


Back home...we watched Mad Men (in Season Three, now), and I read to Spooky from Halloween. Yeah, I'm having another go at reading through an anthology that's reprinted one of my stories, since it's been going fairly well, this odd new habit. Oh, and I've never before been in an anthology that also includes Sir Walter Scott. Anyway, I read her "Ulalume: A Ballad" (including the last stanza, which is usually missing) and Lovecraft's "Hallowe'en in a Suburb," which led to a rather amusing conversation about lemurs, Lemuria, Goethe, and the lemures of Roman mythology. Then she went to sleep, and I read, to myself, Joe Lansdale's extremely effective "On a Dark October."

And that, Kätzchen, was yesterday, give or take.

Car Lagged,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Phase One seems to have left no one burned, mangled, and/or bleeding. So, tomorrow, I have to finally turn my attention to the blasted CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Always I have found dealing with CEMs a distasteful, and, often, infuriating experience. And I expect I always will. I even recognize that my reaction to CEMs is not always rational. But I hate the things. I especially hate the things when copyeditors try to rewrite my prose; I can only hope that has not happened this time. I'm not in the mood for pyrotechnics.

Truth be told, I only want to be at the sea today. There is nothing else I want. There is nothing else I need, but that one thing I almost certainly will not get.

Summer is almost over.

Day before yesterday, I received contributor's copies of the limited and slip-cased edition of Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3, which reprints my SF story, "Hydraguros," possibly my best SF story to date. The limited is sold out, but the trade edition is still available.

My thanks to Maria Gerspacher for a marvelous package, which reached me day before yesterday. Somehow, yesterday, when writing my blog entry, I apparently forgot any mail arrived the day before.

Last night, I read "A revision of the Lari (Aves, Charadriiformes) from the early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (Allier, France)" and "New materials of Argentoconodon fariasorum (Mammaliaformes, Triconodontidae) from the Jurassic of Argentina" in the July JVP. The first article was of especial significance, as I'm trying to begin to puzzle out the morphology of some of the local seabirds, many of which belong to this group (most notably, gulls).

I should clarify something: The second entry that showed up in this LJ yesterday wasn't written by me. It said, right at the top of the post, "Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com." Now, we can't be much clearer than that, can we? It wasn't my idea, but LJ posts can now be "shared," reposted in one's own LJ, and, in this case, I thought Cat was speaking very articulately on a subject that desperately needs addressing. But a number of people seem to think I wrote the post, and I didn't, and that was always plain as day. Pay attention, please.

And no, I will not write a story for your shitty little self-published anthology, and no, not even at the princely sum of 1¢ a word.

I want to write about how I've seen readership of the LJ falling off dramatically, and how I think a lot of that's to blame on the DDOS attacks against LJ (hence, the hackers win). I want to write about how LJ was already in decline before the DDOS attacks, because of Facebook and Twitter, and I want to write about how I believe this is because most people want instant gratification and so gravitate towards those more immediate and transient "social media," because, you know, blogging requires actual words, thoughtfulness, and the effort of reading. I want to write about how I've watched comments decline, and how I used to look at this journal as a means of communicating to my readers – that's why it exists – but how it's becoming something I write for myself, as fewer and fewer of my readers come to it, and even fewer comment. I wanted to ask that people please not comment just to tell me why they rarely comment because they think I'll think that by doing so I'll think they're being either fannish or behaving like stalkers. But I'm tired, and it's going to be a long day.

There are more important things to write about.

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

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

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



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

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

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

Cheap, But Not That Cheap,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yeah, so. Somehow, we didn't wake up until almost one o'clock today. I swear to dog. This is what happens when I'm not broke and desperate. I get lazy. I relax. I let things slide. I oversleep. It's fucking stupid. There's an unspeakable amount of work to be done, and I'm suddenly going all juvenile delinquent on myself.

We even played hookey yesterday! Bad kids!

I've wolfed down breakfast, and am trying to, as they say, marshal my thoughts. Likely, that won't be possible until about two hours from now. I have this fantasy of being awake by 11 ayem every morning, but this is what's happening, instead.

FIRST! To quote [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, "Sweet barking cheese, it's launched!" That is, the Kickstarter page for The Drowning Girl: Stills from a Film That Never Existed. The page is pretty much self-explanatory. This is going to be so cool. It already is cool. Thank you, Kyle!

On Tuesday I only wrote 608 words on Blood Oranges, but that's all that was required to reach the end of Chapter Five. And I might have gone straight into Chapter Six yesterday, but I didn't really know "what happens next" (in the parlance of the Idiot Gods of Plot) until about 2 ayem this morning. Today, I'll begin Chapter Six. Though there is a great deal of "action" in this novel, I am doing everything possible to sabotage every semblance of action. Yes, on purpose; it distracts.

I also need to send the proofread .rtf of The Yellow Alphabet to Subterranean Press (it will be the chapbook to accompany Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart). And...other stuff.

Yesterday evening, I previewed the new website for Sirenia Digest, which was created over the past several months by [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest. He has done a wonderful job. Anyway, eventually the pages will be relocated at my own website, but, technically, the site is live and functional as it stands. We're hoping for a few new subscribers. Certainly can't say we're not fishing with a pretty lure (and this does give people a clear indication of what the digest is about).

---

So, yeah. Yesterday there was hookey. Spooky's been wanting to see Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Personally, I've never had much interest in the "franchise" (*shudder...sorry, I loathe reducing films, books, whatever to "franchises"), though I was taken to see the original version of Planet of the Apes in April 1968. At a drive-in. I wasn't even four years old! Anyway...Wyatt's film is actually terrific, and cleans up after Tim Burton's 2001 fiasco. Hell, the film's worth ticket price for the scene on the Golden Gate Bridge alone. The one very notable flaw is the human actors. As in, they don't. Act. I'm seeing this a lot in live-action films wherein the most important characters are created via CGI motion capture. It's as though the director just can't be bothered to direct anyone else, he's so freaked at getting his paws on all this tech. Sure, Andy Serkis does marvelous things – as always – but James Franco is about as interesting as a bowl of cold oatmeal. John Lithgow is the only "human" actor who rises to the occasion (Tom Felton included). So, yes. I do recommend the film. Spooky cried a lot. It's that sort of film. It's triggery!

Oh, and after the movie we stopped at Target for a new tea kettle. And at Newbury Comics, where Spooky bought me the remastered special two-disc edition of R.E.M.'s Life's Rich Pageant (1986) as a belated birthday gift. Now, I have to find one for her.

Oh, and Tuesday, I read "New poraspids (Agnatha, Heterostraci) from the Devonian of the western United States" and "Evidence for sexual dimorphism in the stegosaurian dinosaur Kentrosaurus aethiopicus from the Upper Jurassic of Tanzania," both in the May JVP. Time for July.

And time to get to fucking work! Comment, kittens! I'll be here all damn day.

Belatedly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
It's already 1:39 p.m., because I was unable to get to sleep until almost 5 ayem, and because I awoke to fresh sorts of chaos. But what difference does it make, when I'm almost an entire month behind schedule.

Schedule. An idea that is anathema to life.

My head is filled, this morning, with all the colors of anger, and I'm making a conscious effort to let out only as much of it as I wish to release. Otherwise, it will gush forth and drown the...I almost wrote "drown the page." But there is no page, is there? We are moving rapidly towards the Extinction of the Page. Maybe whatever has stolen the page from me – vagaries of history – deserves to be drowned in all the colors of anger. Schedule surely deserves to drown. Sink it all.

In theory, I'm trying again to begin Chapter Five of Blood Oranges this afternoon. But...you, know...the story of how this book's gone sour is far too bizarre to explain here. Maybe someday I'll explain it somewhere. But it's bizarre and long. All that matters now it that I finish the thing, and move on to the next thing.

It's only a string of things.

If I'm very, very, very lucky I'll write today. If there were any other way on earth that I could make as much money as I make now – which is only just barely (and truly not even) just enough to take care of Spooky and myself – I'd stop writing. No, I mean for good.

Hardly any of the anger leaked out at all.

Teeth Bared,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Comment, kittens.

It seems that, in the past twenty-one hours or so, I have suffered a massive reversal of fortune. Suddenly, I am no longer debt poor (though a few publishers still owe smaller advances, some of which are horrendously late), our guild was able to transfer to Faeblight (Riftspeak, ignore), and Spooky is off retrieving the automobile from the team of gorillas who have been holding it hostage! (She just returned, and we had a belated "breakfast").

So, um...better now. My agent made me promise to buy another coolerator. I considered naming it after her – Merrilee – but think, instead, I'll named it Astor, as Writers House is in one of his old banks. Anyway, suddenly life sucks a lot less, and bills can be paid, and cats can go to the vet, and I can get my office in better order, and all manner of things have been made good again.

If you've not yet ordered Two Worlds and In Between, do so!

Yesterday, I sat here in the heat (I did not adjourn to either middle parlour or bedroom – the two coolish rooms – as I am a fool) and wrote 1,117 words on "The Granting Cabinet," which I began back before Readercon 22. They were 1,117 words written mostly in a fever, I think. But then, clouds came, and there was rain, and the temperature Outside plunged ten degrees in about half an hour, and a sweet, cool breeze blew in through my office window.

---

I forgot, yesterday, to mention two movies we watched during the con (while hiding in the room between programming obligations). The first, Jonathan Liebesman's Battle Los Angeles is an oddly forgettable film. We rather enjoyed it while we were watching it. Good SFX, a serviceable script, Michelle Rodriguez, halfway decent cinematography, and so forth. A good summer B-grade flick. But the next day, my memories of it made Battle Los Angeles seem, at best, only half as good as it had seemed as we watched. This same thing happened when I saw Sin City (2005), and it's happened with other films. There's a magic, for me, while I'm watching, that appears to fade upon reflection. Anyway, I'd still say it's worth a rental or free streaming. If you like blow-'em-up marines versus extraterrestrial invaders films (and I generally do), you could do worse.

But the next film we watched was pure celluloid shit. Unless no one uses celluloid anymore, in which case it was shit of some other sort. Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood. Of course, this is the woman who made the screen adaptation of Twilight, so I was hardly surprised. It's sort of hard to explain how perfectly awful this film is. Even Gary Oldman didn't help. He just looked bored and trapped and recited his lines like a sleepwalker. Though set in some vaguely Medieval village, the costumes all looked like they'd come straight from a ren-fair. You could tell sewing machines were involved, and colors that would not possibly have been available were everywhere. Shiloh Fernandez (Peter) is a dead-ringer for Edward Cullen, right down to the hair gel and the terminally blank expression. Massively uneven art direction. The only thing that didn't stink of the fecal matter of aardvarks was the werewolf, which was a case of very creepy, effective CGI. But it couldn't save this turkey. Avoid it like the plague. Had I paid to see this film, I actually would have walked out halfway through and asked for a refund. I could have written a long and insightful review of this film, but it's just not worth the time and effort.

---

In the first paragraph of Sunday's blog entry I typed self when I meant to type shelf, which has to be indicative of some unconscious glitch.

---

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cucumberseed for a truly superb mix CD. Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark for going far above and beyond to help me and Spooky retain our sanity during Readercon.

---

I've played this round, I've played your lover.
I've played it out and to the hilt.
You're coming on with something so fast, so numb
That you can't even feel.

You love it.
You hate it.
But you want to re-create it.
Now this is here. This is me.
This is what I wanted
You to see.
That was then. That was that.
That is gone. That is what
I wanted you to feel.
-- R.E.M.

To the hilt,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Here in my office, which is ever so slightly cooler than the kitchen, which is dramatically hotter than the middle parlor where Dr. Muñoz labors so to keep the air cool and can manage only 83˚F. It must be in the nineties in the office. There are three fans running in the office, spinning the swelter round and round. Outside, it's 86˚F, with violent thunderstorms on the way. If I'm going to get any work done today, I'm going to have to try to break my habits and write on a laptop in one of the two cool rooms. It's either that or heatstroke.

Comments would be good today.

My editor at Penguin just sent me the cover mock-up for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and – I don't believe I'm about to say this – I like it quite a lot. Not only is the image artful and appropriate to the novel, there's even a little (?unintentional) nod back to The Red Tree. So, it has been a morning of sweaty amazement. I've asked for some changes to the cover font and the blurb at the bottom, but I'll post the cover as soon as I can.

Spooky's gone to retrieve the repaired van from the garage.*** The engine had to be replaced, but I probably said that already. Some other post.

Mostly, I'm still trying to collect money owed me by various publishers, trying to be paid here in the Land of the Debt Poor. I am considering a sort of strike. No more words until I see some green. No more corrected page proofs. No more anything. I can't eat promises.

I've been to ill from the heat and from a small "episode" late on Saturday night to think much about Readercon 22. But I think I have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that I'm simply not a con person. They're a necessary evil, and sometimes, I'll admit, there are moments of enjoyment. Mostly, seeing people I hardly get to see otherwise. I confess to a strong dislike for panels, and I virtually never attend a panel unless I'm on it. But my thanks to everyone who listened to my "rehearsal" reading, and who attended my solo panels. Next year, if you're one of those readers who has been wanting to meet for ages, or wanting to hear me read, or...whatever, you'd best find some way to get your ass to Readercon 23 in Burlington, Massachusetts. And if you're a fan of Peter Straub's (and how can you not be), there's all the more reason.

It occurs to me that I'm much to woozy from the heat to have said even as much as I've already said, much less anything more. I'm struggling to stay coherent. So, I leave you with a few photos Spooky took during the con:

16-17 July 2011 )


Melting,
Aunt Beast

*** Spooky just returned from the garage, without the van. The idiot fucking mechanics put the old spark plugs into the new engine and think maybe that's why it's still running like shit. They've had it two weeks.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Just saw a guy in the hallway wearing a pickle-colored T-shirt which read, "Pickles are cucumbers soaked in evil." Perhaps.

I'm no good at con reports, during or after the fact. I'm here. Cool stuff has happened and will happened. But I'm fading fast. I still have a reading for Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir tonight, and then the awards ceremony at 11 ayem (!!!), and then a noon o'clock panel on...something about ambiguity in "horror" novels. I suppose I was deemed appropriate for that. Of course, checkout's also at noon, so...nothing is ever convenient. I'm trying not to think how much the con has cost so far (and we're being frugal as we can), what with my presently being so goddmamn debt poor and all.

I'm typing this from the hotel's business center, where there is actually FREE internet access (and even laser printing).

I've been changing my clothes two or three times a day. It either throws people off, or keeps them on their toes.

We got to bed much too late last night. About 3:30 ayem, I took a hot bath. Geoffrey crashed in our room, as the hour was so late and I didn't imagine himself wakeful enough to make the drive to Framingham. Anyway...enough for now. We should get home by 2:30 or 3:00 tomorrow at the latest. Home to the cats and the sweltering apartment. The AC here has been wonderful. So, yes. Next entry (with photos, most likely), tomorrow evening.

On Unfamiliar Keyboards,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
The heat inside the house has become almost unendurable. This is not a melodramatic affectation. It genuinely is that hot. Spooky just showed me a map of the country, and I see that much of it is gripped by a heatwave. So, we're going to try to find a cooler place to wait for nightfall.

But a few things first.

My grateful thanks for all the comments yesterday. They're much appreciated.

Several of you suggested I write the entries each day, then post them when I get back. This doesn't work. For one, to keep the promise I made to myself, the entries have to be made on the day they were written, otherwise there will be no entries on those dates. This suggestion would sort of work if LJ would let you backdate entries, but it won't. I'll have no blank spots on the archives calendar. But thanks for the suggestion, regardless.

Also, I'm very glad 1990 was good to some of you, but I don't see where pointing that out to me is in any way productive or considerate.

At this moment I find myself "debt poor." When I was a kid, we'd talk about people being "land poor." That is, they owned a lot of land, but had virtually no income, and couldn't afford to live, much less pay land tax. I'm not "land poor," I'm "debt poor." About half a dozen publishers owe me money, collectively totaling thousands of dollars, and the checks are mostly delinquent. Ergo, "debt poor." NOTE: Subterranean Press is not one of these. They pay me on time. Anyway, I suspect this is true of many freelancers. Increasingly, it seems that publishers feel they can pay authors whenever they finally get around to it, after books have been printed and sold. Oh, and anthology editors are often in the same boat as us freelancers. Until they're paid, we can't be paid. And we are all at the bottom of the food chain, so far as many publishers are concerned. Recall, any food chain collapses if it's bottom (say, zooplankton) collapses. Anyway, not gonna name names, but to quote Malcolm Reynolds (ever quotable Mal), "We're close to gone out here."

Oh, hello acid reflux!

Last night, we finished Season Two of Criminal Intent. We were too hot to move, so we also watched Philip Kaufman's Twisted (2004), which was dull and shot like bad television. This is especially sad, given this is the director who brought us the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1979), as well as The Right Stuff (1983), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Henry and June (1990), and the brilliant Quills (2000). Anyway, afterwards, we watched Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance (2008), which I will, unreservedly, call terrific. The most wonderful film of it's sort since Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005). Trust me. See it. Oh, be warned, it's mighty darn "triggery."

I have declared war on the putrescent neologism "triggery" and all those simpering shits who whine about anything being "triggery" and how they go on about it being the responsibility of OTHERS to protect them from that which they subjectively deem "triggery." I say to them, "Fuck you. Take some responsibility for yourselves, or fuck off." And as I've said, I say this as someone currently on meds for PTSD.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally passed out on the chaise in the middle parlor, which was only hot, and slept for an hour and a half, comforted by the desperate whir of the sadly ineffectual Dr. Muñoz. We all remember how "Cool Air" ends, right? (A hint: it's "triggery.")
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Today is mine and Spooky's ninth anniversary as Us. We actually met in New Orleans in 1999, but there was much caution and testing of the waters and so forth before finalizing the arrangement. Time has proven that a wise move. It's going to be a fairly unremarkable day, though. A little work. I need my hair trimmed (Spooky does that these days), and I'll cook dinner. Our financial situation is currently too precarious to allow for "lavish" anniversary celebrations ("The check will always be late.").

Nine years. Kind of hard to wrap my brain around.

Yesterday, we made very good progress reading through the manuscript for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. It really is more of a read-through, and less of editing. I'm making line edits, here and there, but these stories are, for the most part, in very good shape. We read "The Melusine (1898)," "Untitled 33," "I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light," and "Dancing With the Eight of Swords." All fairly long stories. We'll make it through a few more today.

I've been trying to decide whether or not I'll write an introduction. I feel the need to justify these stories – they are profane, obscene, pornographic, and "bizarrely" so. But I also know that attempts at justification and defence would only subvert the stories, when the object of the stories themselves is to subvert normative, non-transformative sexuality. Of course, these stories are no more or less obscene than those in The Ammonite Violin & Others, and I didn't feel this urge to defend them. So, I'm not sure what's up, why I have become more skittish. But I'm reading Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography, and pondering the matter. Carter writes:

Pornographers are the enemies of women only because our contemporary ideology of pornography does not encompass the possibility of change, as if we were slaves to history and not its makers, as if sexual relations were not necessarily an expression of social relations, as if sex itself were an external fact, as immutable as the weather, creating human practice but never a part of it.

She wrote this in 1977, but it seems as relevant now as it did thirty-four years ago. Perhaps we should consider that all fantasy (including sf) is obscene, as it subverts the normative, immutable view of reality and revels wantonly in the infinite alternatives. It certainly violates. You might even go so far as to say fantasy rapes reality in that act of transformation, as there certainly is no consent involved, between the writer and the "real" world as we know it. That most authors avoid including sexuality in the act of reshaping the world (or creating novel ones from bits and pieces of this one) is, more than anything, I believe, a reflection of our society's sexual hangups. There are exceptions, of course. Consider The Left Hand of Darkness, for example.

Then again, this may all be bullshit defence, where, as I said already, defence likely is both unnecessary and possibly detrimental.

Also, I've let the email back up again.

---

Back in the early nineties, I was a great fan of Law and Order. That was just before I stopped watching television for several years. I was especially fond of the seasons with Michael Moriarty as Executive Assistant District Attorney, but confess to being less enthusiastic about the show once Moriarty left and the cast began to shuffle about. Anyway... last week, bored, Spooky and I began streaming Law & Order: Criminal Intent from Netflix, mostly because I love Vincent D'Onofrio, and I loved the Holmes and Watson parallel. The show is pretty awesome. I'm not so crazy about Kathryn Erbe, but she's growing on me. Most of the cast is pretty flat, and many of the actors seem baffled by D'Onofrio's delightful antics. Courtney B. Vance has potential, but rarely opens up. We blew through the twenty-two episodes of Season One in only a handful of days, and are ready to begin Season Two.

Also, we may be moving our Rift guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, to another shard after all. Spooky's been exploring rp on the Faeblight shard***, and it seems rp really is taken much more seriously there (and the move is free and fast). On our present shard, supposedly an rp shard, we mostly get idiots, and see very little rp beyond our own. I was skeptical that things would be better on Faeblight, but seems I might have been wrong. That happens, on rare occasions.

Now...I should go. I need a bath before work.

In All My Sadeian Glory,
Aunt Beast

*** Turns out, Faeblight has closed to transfers in the last few days. But I have an alternate plan. I'll contact all the guild members.
greygirlbeast: (The Hatter)
Every day is like a war between the will to go on,
And a wish the earth would spiral into the sun.
– Brown Bird

Woke at nine ayem this morning, wide awake, and I have no idea why. True, we've been getting to bed early. But we've been sitting up reading afterwards (presently, Junky). I probably went to sleep about 2:45 ayem. But, yeah. Wide awake. Sméagol was staring at me.

Yesterday, I worked on Sirenia Digest #67. I did the cover and wrote the prolegomenon. And responded to a lot of email. There was some cool stuff from [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, who was out at Walden Pond, and in Boston. All this would be a secret, except I suck at secrets. And though I suck at secrets, I'm presently keeping no less than two rather stupendous ones.

I'm waiting for my agent's reaction to the first four chapters of Blood Oranges. I suck at waiting. I'm better at keeping secrets than waiting.

Last night, we watched Molly Parker in Lynne Stopkewich's Kissed (1996) which, by some odd quirk of fate, I'd never before seen. I think it may have been a film that I was afraid to see, fearing it would sensationalize. But it is, in fact, an amazingly, unexpectedly sweet film. It is an innocent film. The film's final lines, spoken as voice-over by Sandra, could stand as an epigraph to all of Sirenia Digest, and certainly to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart:

Love is about craving for transformation. And all transformation, all movement, happens because life turns into death.

It might actually be June out there today. Well, late June in Rhode Island.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. I'm waiting on far too many checks just now, every little bit helps. This is one of the things it means to be a freelancer. The check is always late.

Oh, and Spooky says, "You can't leave the lemurs in charge of the zoo."

Lead the way, platypus.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
If I had a kiddo – which I don't and, for better or worse, never shall – I would teach her or him this: there are two things, only two things that you must learn, and having learned them you'll be able to do anything you wish. Oh. You may not be able to make a living at anything you wish. But you will have the intellectual means. Learn to read and learn mathematics, and all the world can, in theory, be yours. Sorry, stray thought as I roll my mathematician's dice and wish for a different possible and unrealized past.

We are in the final few hours of the last auction in Round 2 of the Big Damn eBay Auction. This is, of course, the auction for the hand-corrected ARC of Two Worlds and In Between. Not only is this a first chance at owning the collection in any form, it goes without saying that the ARC is one of a kind (or ooak in eBay speak). The reason we're pushing eBay so hard just now is that I'm in paycheck limbo, an inevitability for all freelancers. Check might or might not come in the next two or three weeks. But I can't count on it coming, and must have a Plan B if I am to attend Readercon 22. The auctions are Plan B. So, if you can, please bid. Thanks.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,551 words and found the far end of Chapter Four of Blood Oranges. That's the first 35,794 words of the novel, either just a smidgen more or just a little less than half of it. It will be written by the end of July, my peculiar little popcorn novel.

Also, I managed to nail together the first and very rough draft Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Right now, there are twenty-three stories. I expect this will go up to twenty-five. So, presently, 102,566 words. By the way, at the moment I'm working on four books, in various stages. I'm in the middle stages of editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm at the final stages of editing Two Worlds and In Between. I'm halfway through the writing of Blood Oranges. And I'm just beginning the editing of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Never before have I done such a thing. Thank you, dubious pharmaceutical cornucopia.

Last night, Spooky made yummy pasta salad, and I played far, far too much Rift. It's time to back off a little, I think. I get too immersed, and just keep going for hours. Last night, I don't even know. But Selwyn is halfway to Level 49, and there was a lot of great rp (special thanks to all, especially Spooky, Tracy, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus).

Late last night, I saw the first images from my Drowning Girl collaboration with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. I'll post something as soon as he says I may.

Now, I should scoot. Slept too late, and the day is leaking away between the cracks.
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
It's Rhode Island. A week ago, we had highs in the 60sF. Today, the high will be in the 80s. Tomorrow, the 90s. A few days, back down in the 60s. It's Rhode Island.

All the expected tedium of yesterday was delivered, with a free side of frustapation. That's a Popeye word, frustapation, and I love it. We proofed "Fish Bride" (three minor corrections), I dealt with contracts, and an author's note and bio I should have sent away to an editor days ago, and then we got around to working on the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between.

Oh, and the discovery that a check we've been counting on arriving this month might not arrive until next month. Yes, to paraphrase Nick Mamatas ([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid), the one thing we may count on as a professional freelance author, the check will always be late. More on this in a moment.

Anyway, we finally headed off to my doctor's appointment...in Cranston...only to discover that it had been moved to next Monday. And no one had called to tell me. I like my doctor. I truly do. I was very lucky to find her. But there I lost a couple of hours I could have spent editing the collection. So, we headed back to Providence, and we took the DVDs back to Acme Video (free Atomic Fireball, which at least helped with the cigarette craving I was having), and then returned home. And had leftovers. And I did a little more work, just beginning to compile the table of contents for the next short-story collection, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (publication date TBA). And I read an article in the January JVP, "A new helmeted frog (Anura: Calyptocephallidae) from an Eocene subtropical lake in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina." And we played Rift, and both Selwyn and Miisya reached Level 45.

I have a couple of Rift screencaps, which I've left at their original size, because shrinking them does them an injustice. Does the beauty of the game an injustice.




An impromptu gathering of Kelari mages in the halls of Lantern Hook (left to right: Enth'lye [foreground], Selwyn, Celinn, and Artemisia). Kelari women have a very strict protocol as regards sitting, by the way.



Selwyn and Celinn astride their vaiyuu in the snowy wilds of Iron Pine, the gates of Stillmoor looming in the near distance (Selwyn front).




So...yes. Wanna be a freelance writer? Wanna say #fuckplanB and throw caution to the winds? Then prepare for the fact that the check will always be late. Now, almost usually, you will be paid. Eventually. When someone gets around to it. When payroll can be bothered, etc. But there's no relationship between when you'll need the money for, say, clothing, rent, or an upcoming convention, and when it will actually arrive. No, no one cares. This is simply how it is. It's how its always been. Anyway, because the check will always be late, and because I have a commitment to attend Readercon 22 July 14-17th (if only because I'm nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, and have agreed to take part in various bits of programming), we're beginning a BIG Damn eBay Sale (it's still small just now). There's the need for new clothes (I last bought clothing in September) and, of course, moolah to cover all the con expenses (which are not inconsiderable). We'll make the money, or I'll cancel. Honestly, I'm so tired of all this, I only just barely care which.

It's not as if we live an extravagant lifestyle. Our monthly "entertainment" expenses might come to $30-$50 dollars, max. I hardly ever even leave home. We virtually never eat out, or buy books or CDs or DVDs, or, heavens forbid, travel. Mostly, there's rent and medical bills. We're going to see a movie today*, at a matinée, and I am wracked with fucking guilt. Anyway, I'm emphatically not whining. I'm just saying, soberly, 19 years into this "career," saying to you out there who would be writers, steel yourselves for this. And do not think that any measure of critical success protects you from poverty. Not ever. Nor should you be so deluded as to believe celebrity equals financial stability (and fuck wealth). No, this is how it is, almost always, very few exceptions. Anyway, yeah...eBay. Please bid if you are able during the next few weeks. Cool, rare, and one of a kind items will be offered. We have set a goal of making $1,000.

Tomorrow, I go back to work on Blood Oranges. I have three chapters to write this month.

Now, make the doughnuts.

Living the Life,
Aunt Beast

* The expense will be offset by a couple of days of egg salad.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so. Back on January 16, 2010, I posted just how much it cost me and Spooky to travel from Providence for me to take part in a reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, a post that included an itemized list of our expenses that night. $111.46, total. And we were only gone about 12 hours, something like that. The point of making that post was to demonstrate why I so rarely travel significant distances to make public appearances.

Our Tuesday/Wednesday trip to Manhattan stands as another prime example. Below is an itemized list of our expenses:

1. Round-trip bus fare (Providence to Port Authority) x 2*: $160
2. Cab fare (three cab rides): $58**
3. Parking at the bus*** depot in Providence: $16
4. Three soft drinks: $7
Total: $241 (for a day and a half)

Now, keep in mind, we had a place to stay, so no hotel bill, and Peter and Susan picked up the dinner tab on Tuesday, then Peter fixed us breakfast, so no meals were purchased. Lodging and meal expenses could easily have added another $200+. For one night. Obviously, a four-day convention is much more expensive.

Now, I also have to add to the total our museum visit, which added $53. But. We virtually never do anything of that sort. Our normal monthly entertainment expenditure averages less than $60. So, you add the museum (which isn't the business part), the cost goes up to $294.

* If you're wondering why I don't save money by traveling alone, the short answer is because I'm not well enough to do so, not at the present. Maybe at some future date, but not now.

** True, the subway would have been much cheaper. But. Our schedule would have made using the subway extremely inconvenient, neither of us are familiar with the routes, and riding the subway vastly increases the odds of catching this or that bug and sacrificing more money to lost days/productivity once the trip is over. I've used the subway lots (last January, for example). This time, it simply wasn't practical.

*** Had we taken Amtrak from Kingston, RI it would have cost us about twice as much.

So, why don't I do more conventions, readings outside Providence, etc.? This is why. Rarely do such activities even begin to prove cost effective. What they do, primarily, is increase my visibility within the community of writers and editors. Most readings net tiny attendance and insignificant book sales (and often lead to bookstores returning the extra stock they ordered for the event, which drives up my return rate). Far bigger names than me often have lousy turnouts at readings. And even if, say, fifty people show up (and for most of us, that's a huge turnout), what the bookstore makes selling books, and what your publisher makes, is likely less than what it cost you to travel to the event.

So, what work-related traveling I do, I choose the trips with great care. I do only those things I really, really want to do. KGB readings, for example. And ReaderCon. Of course, if an event or publisher is willing to pay for all my expenses, I'll usually make the trip; this has almost never happened for me.

I would also add, it horrifies me to think how much I would increase my carbon footprint...

By the way, have I mentioned this wonderful book my [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid (Nick Mamatas), Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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