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

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

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

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

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



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

---

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

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

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

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

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

Perpetually Adolescent,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Well, the day is still moderately young – three hours and forty-six minutes of daylight remaining – and already someone has managed to piss me off. And I'm behind on work, and angry, and therefore this will be a short entry.

Sirenia Digest #73 went out to subscribers early last night, and I'd love to hear feedback. I do apologize that the second chapter of the original 1993 Silk text was omitted. As I was doing the layout, MS Word decided there was something corrupt about the old file (last updated 1994) on my machine – though it was never an issue before – and freaked out. It took me about an hour to get Word working again. Since then, I've figured out a somewhat circuitous solution to the problem, and Chapter Two will appear next month, in Sirenia Digest #74.

Fuck, but I wish the ceiling in my office would support a punching bag.

Today will be spent making edits to Alabaster #3 and on a conversation with my agent.

Oh, also, if you'd like to purchase a print of one of [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's beautiful still shots inspired by The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, just follow this link. Later, there will be a page on the website devoted to ordering the prints.

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

---

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. Gotta go write.

Hands Tied,
Aunt Beast

5 January 2012 )
greygirlbeast: (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: (Eli2)
I seem to be developing a new loathing for "weekends" (id est, Friday night-Sunday), and I begin to guess why.

Comments would be good today, if anyone still reads LJ on Saturday.

Today, I have to get back to writing "Sexing the Weird," which I truly need to finish by tomorrow evening. Yes, it's about sex, and the weird, and weird sex. But maybe not how you think. Or maybe exactly as you think.

The only work yesterday were a couple of last minute corrections to the galley pages of The Drowning Girl. Then we had to rush out to the UPS place at Wayland Square to be sure the thing would be back in NYC on Monday morning. Forty-two dollars and some number of cents to get it there by then.

Anyway, after that we wondered...er, wandered (though I wonder a lot) about Providence for a little while, as late afternoon faded to twilight, just watching the last remnants of the day and the last remnants of autumn. I'm beginning to realize that autumn will never cease to make me melancholy. Doesn't matter if it's beautiful, but that should be obvious to anyone who stops and thinks about it. Indeed, the beauty of autumn may lie near the heart of why it inspires a sense of melancholy in me.

We drove up to Blackstone Park, but it was too cold to walk through the woods. We'd not dressed for that much cold. We took the road that leads south (well, we were going south; the other lane leads north), between the Seekonk River and York Pond. I glanced over at the shadows darkening the still waters of the pond, and spotted a lump moving across the surface that I first mistook for a large turtle (despite the chill), but soon realized was a beaver. Oh, before Blackstone Park, we stopped in at Myopic Books, which is next door to the UPS Place. My favorite used bookstore in Rhode Island. I was good. All I got was an 1883 book on the sea, Ocean Wonders: Our Summer at the Seashore and Lakes by William E. Damon (D. Appleton & Co.; New York; the book is inscribed in a beautiful, looping hand, "Lotie H. Palmer 1884") and a much less old children's book on horseshoe crabs, The Crab That Crawled Out of the Past by Lorus and Margery Milne (1966, Atheneum; New York). Looking at these books now, I think, gods, remember when there were innumerable publishers in Manhattan. Now there are about six. To the detriment of almost all authors. Anyway, I was good, as I said, and didn't get a couple of pricey books on the evolution of birds that I also wanted.

We got dinner from Mama Kim's Korean food truck. It was parked in the usual spot, near the corner of Thayer and George. It was almost dark. Spooky went to get the food (I had three gochujang sliders), and I sat on a bench, smoking and thinking about the ancient buildings around me. The silhouette of some Brown University tower was visible to the northwest. Spooky's still sad she didn't get the little fish-shaped, sweet-bean pancakes. They seem too peculiarly reminiscent of something Xtian for my comfort.

Later, too much freaking Rift. But we were finally able to "buy" the cool cold-weather outfits at Chancel of Labors.

Later still, we watched an odd film, Daniel Myrick's The Objective (2007). It was almost pretty good. Well, it probably was pretty good. But there was this horrid voice over, which felt tacked on, whether it was added in post production or was part of the original screenplay. It seemed to exist to a) tell us the plainly obvious and b) make the film seem more like Apocalypse Now. Anyway, voice over aside, great idea and some nicely unnerving imagery, especially the final shot. Then I finished reading John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez, because I only had twenty pages to go, and I was determined to finish (even if it did mean staying up until almost five ayem). Wonderful, wonderful book. Then there were the dreams, some oddly, disturbingly sexy, others oddly, pleasantly disturbing, and still others just odd.

Here are a couple of photos, the The Drowning Girl (+ cat hair!) and the 1883 book:

Covers )


Oddly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Dreams that do not bear repeating; wield spite, and bury a dream in oblivion. Besides, this is one of those days when I have too many things to write about, not too few:

1. We have just passed that "magic" moment, the eleventh second of the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh year of the Twenty-First Millennium. Of course, I would argue to anyone so feeble minded to read any significance into all those elevens, alas, they actually missed the boat back in the year 1111 A.D.

2. With an emotion gently and precariously balanced between horror and bemusement did I, this morning, read the story of how the Corporation for Travel Promotion, via JWT and The Brand Union, and armed with a budget of 200 million dollars (!!!), plan to solve all of America's PR/image ills with a campaign so stupid it sucks the air from your lungs. Hideous logo aside, the resulting slogan — the "United States of Awesome Possibilities" — almost had me squirting sugar-free Red Bull from my nostrils. Did no one stop and consider that the slogan, an abomination in its own right, can readily be rendered as the acronym U-SAP? No, of course they didn't.

3. Yesterday is a day I would rather not write about. But I will write about it, just to carve another notch into the bedstead of stupid I have experienced. The good part of the day (or at least the "goodish" part) was me writing another 1,334 words on "Ex Libris." But Kathryn is checking the galley pages for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir against our photocopy of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript), to be sure that the copy-editor's changes with which I didn't agree had not been made. And...she discovered that someone had, seemingly at random, made NEW changes to the text. Changes in wording, in punctuation, and so forth. Now, this wasn't my editor, and it couldn't have been the copy-editor, so...have you ever seen a warthog with rabies? Well, then you don't know what I was like for an hour or so yesterday. This means, you see, that every page of text, every word, every punctuation mark, has to be read over again twice (galleys against photocopy of the CEM) before the galleys go back to NYC. Recall, I said yesterday they're due back on November 15th. There was a flurry of email and phone calls. When all was said and done, 1) it had been determined that no one has any idea who made the changes or on whose authority, and 2) that it was a horrible thing that had been done to my book (like I didn't know this from the beginning), and 3) that the production manager, being the saintly sort, would extend to deadline to the 21st of November, so that Kathryn has time to read every single page over again, twice. Anyway...yeah. Bullshit. But my thanks to my agent and my editor for helping me through this mess.

Later, after the new deadline had been established, granting me and Spooky those measly four extra days, Spooky and I read through what I've written so far on "Ex Libris." By the way, Subterranean Press will be publishing "Ex Libris," together with "The Yellow Alphabet," in a hardback cloth-bound "mini-collection," The Yellow Book (yes, a nod to Chambers), which will come FREE with the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart.

4) I may have mentioned that the ebook pirates are nipping at my heels again. Well, technically, they're nipping at the heels of my publisher. For my part, I'm ready to wash my hands of this whole ebook fiasco. Let the devil take the hindmost and all that. I just don't care anymore. NMP, because I choose for it not to be. Hey, this strategy is working just fine for the United States of Awesome Possibilities, in their approach to the country's absence of affordable healthcare, and towards the homeless, and poverty, too. So, it can work for me and ebook pirates. NMP.

5) And here we are on Veteran's Day, which I do not recognize. Instead, I continue to recognize Armistice Day, and on that note, as I do every year, I will yield the floor to the late Mr. Vonnegut:

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, "Romeo and Juliet," for instance.

And all music is.


And So It Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
See, it's not insomnia when you just stay up too late reading. No. It's not. That's called stupid. And so now I'm not awake, and I'm having to augment my sugar-free Red Bull by listening to Hubero going on about Sméagol freaking him out with carrot cards and a squeegee board. Funny cats are no fit substitute for sleep.

Currently, I'm being horrified by a new "texting" acronym: LMBO. Which is apparently what the Jesus has instructed good Xtians, fans of the Jonas Brothers, and devotees of Stephenie Meyer to use instead of LMAO. Because it's more wholesome to say "butt" than to say "ass." Really, people. What the fuck was wrong with "haha"? It's just as easy to "text" as LMAO. Four letters. Actually, it's easier to type than LMAO, because of the QWERTY keyboard layout. Also, it's logical. "Haha" isn't an acronym. It's an example of onomatopoeic language. Do not badly reinvent the wheel, people. That's why we have the Microsoft Corporation.

Yesterday was a symphony of...well, not dull. Actually, anything but dull. Exhausting, though, and vexing. I am now working on so many different projects at once, switching gears throws out my back about once a day. Or throws out my brain. Or whatever. Yesterday, after the blog entry, and after I brushed my teeth, and answered email, after all that, I had to send electronic files of the Authors Note and Author's Biography from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to Penguin, because...let's not go there. I think people are forgetting how to retype. It all began with James Watt in 1779, unless it began with Johannes Gutenberg's printing press in 1436, unless it actually began with Bi Sheng in China in 1040, ol' Bi Sheng and his porcelain movable type. Wow. There's nine hundred and seventy-one years of laziness. And a huge digression.

I was saying, yesterday, after the files were sent to my editor at Penguin, I got back to my work on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (guys, the TRUTH is out there, and it will be revealed in late November or early December, I am told, and we all have to sit tight until then). After that I was greeted by a mammoth email from my editor at Penguin, who needed clarification of several illegible comments I'd written on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, illegible because the Lamictal (which I take for the seizures) makes my hands shake so badly. And that meant comparing my photostat (back to xeros + graphus) with her notes and...it took awhile, and a lot of patience on the part of the vocally reluctant (but ever helpful) Spooky. Then we had spaghetti. Then we proofread "John Four" for the first time since September 24, 2010 (I finished writing it on September 22, 2010), which is being reprinted in S. T. Joshi's A Mountain Walked: Great Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, to be released in limited and trade editions in 2012 by Centipede Press (and maybe I wasn't suppose to announce that yet, but there you go). That was work yesterday, leaving out a few victuals and bits of flayed skin.

"John Four" is one of my best and strangest Lovecraftian stories, and I'm pleased to see it will be reprinted in such a good home.

Oh, and my comp copies of Stephen Jones The Book of Horror arrived, which reprints my story, "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint."

Last night, some very good RP in Insilico, and two episodes of Mad Men, and then, even though I was in bed by two-thirty ayem, I was awake until three forty-five, reading this, that, and the other. Included were two more stories from the Halloween anthology, Sarah Langan's "The Great Pumpkin Arrives at Last" and "The Sticks" by Charlee Jacob. The former is, at best, so-so. It relies too heavily on a somewhat unconvincing "twist ending." The latter, though, was quite effective, a story reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," though only in its most basic premise. I will admit, I'm uncomfortable talking about other authors' stories here, but there's a long tradition of authors commentating on authors, and if I'm going to read the damned things, I can at least be honest.

Spooky's no-longer-premature Hallowe'en Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries—20% off on everything—continues. Only one necklace and a bracelet left (plus paintings and other cool stuff), and who knows when she'll have time to make more. When making a purchase, IF YOU WANT THE SALE PRICE, you need to, at checkout, use the sale code SPOOK.

By the way, this is the one year anniversary of our return to Providence from Portland, Oregon. One year ago last night, we spent the whole night awake in the almost entirely deserted Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Then...well, hell ensued. Anyway, here is a token from that night, which I may auction someday on eBay. It's companion, the shortest novel I ever wrote on a napkin, was auctioned last autumn.

The Napkin of Caribou )
greygirlbeast: (white)
Nobody knew what to do with Buckaroo Banzai. There was no simple way to tell anyone what it was about — I'm not sure anybody knew.

Yesterday was. Sometimes, isn't it enough to say no more or less than that about any given day? After all, this is what most days of any given life are. That day....was. A life is a compilation of days that mostly just are. So, yes. One of the pitfalls of a blog that's being written for other people to read is that there's the feeling you have to make each and every day, in some way, interesting. Though most of them truly aren't. Most days just are.

That said, I spent yesterday tweaking Phase One. The oscillation overthruster was running a little fast, too many RPMs and all that. Someone could have gotten hurt. Oh, and speaking of secret and cool things, I am told that sometime in late November or early December, the cat will likely be allowed to leave the bag. So, we only have to wait that long.

---

The last couple of days, I've been engaged (along with several other authors and agents) in what [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow described to me as an endless game of "whack-a-mole," trying to stop various pirate sites from illegally selling copies of our ebooks. Or, as I would prefer to say, electronic copies of our books. Yes, not giving them away, but selling them. And every time we whack one, another pops up. But, like Mr. Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price.

No, it's not like buying an analog book and then, when you've read it, selling it back to a used bookstore (or anywhere else). Not unless it's a magical book that endlessly produces identical copies of itself, or unless you have some sort of magical book-pooping device that performs the same function. If you are selling copies of my books, which you have made, you are in violation of US Copyright Law (which, I admit, I am often not fond of, but it still applies) and, more importantly, you are stealing from me. You're not taking a quote. Or a few lines. Not even a preview chapter. But a whole goddamn book, which likely took me a year or two to write and edit.

And that's money my publisher loses, and when my publisher loses money on my books, they lose interest in publishing additional books by me. And if I can't make a living off my writing, the novels and short stories will, I assure you, cease to be created. Oh, there might be one or two very short stories a year, maybe. But I'd be too busy trying to get by with some other shitty job to write. And that, kittens, is why, if you actually enjoy what I write, you should never, ever steal one of my books.

Oh, and if you steal my books, I'll cut out your motherfucking heart and feed it to you, still warm and beating, if I ever get my hands on you. I will not even use a knife. But that's just a trifle, compared with all the other possible consequences. So, pretty please. Don't do this shit. People who pirate books waste the time and money of people who write those books.

And don't even get me started on Amazon and Google again.

Actually...to answer a question posed in yesterday's comments (and thank you, thank you, thank you for all those comments, even if I wasn't able to respond to all of them): [livejournal.com profile] lilith_333 asks, "I try to consume ethically when I can and I want to make sure authors get their fair due when I buy their books; what do you suggest?"

There is no easy answer. Like most authors, I live off advances, not royalties. I have seen only a tiny handful of royalty checks (one, to be specific) from the novels Penguin has published, beginning with Silk. This is over a period of time spanning most of two decades. One check. But set that aside a moment, because that's not the question being asked. The question is one of ethics, and there is nothing ethical about Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Penguin or any of those corporations, not when the bottom line is involved, the bottom line being profit margins. They fuck us all over. No, really. These are evil empires, even the ones which, like Penguin, are struggling to stay afloat. Still, the most ethical thing you can do (if I skip a lot of caveats) is buy the books from a legit online bookseller (Amazon, B&N, Powell's, etc.). Here, I mean the novels. As for the subpress books, I'd say buy them directly from Subterranean Press. And, by the way, Subterranean Press does a pretty damn fine job of actually behaving ethically towards authors, and, in this day and age, that's a rare and precious oddity.

I am, occasionally, called "greedy" for worrying about being stolen from. But, consider, is an author, a writer, who feels guilty for buying books, is that a greedy person? If so, fine. I'm greedy. I expect to be paid for work, as do you.

But now! I must away! There are...things to be done.

Hardly Ethical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com

So let me get this straight.


Amazon would like to offer a Netflix-like subscription to unlimited ebooks for its Prime members. Business sites are all over the publishing companies to comply–after all, what’s a little monopoly between friends?


But as an author this stinks to high heaven. You know, that place where Borders is chilling on a cloud and crying into its celestial beer.


See, there’s no mention of author benefit–everyone is talking about the publishers and how they need to get with the times. But how, exactly, would we be compensated for this? Since it’s for their Prime members, who as Netflix has seen, would howl over a price hike, it’s possible this will just be lumped in, wrecking ebook sales and contributing further to the idea that the ideal cost for a book is $0.00. Not to mention the number this does on libraries.


Now, I get that ebooks are happening whether anyone likes it or not. And I get that subscriptions have worked for other media–I use my Netflix like anyone. But there’s a reason Netflix has a quite limited streaming selection, and it’s losing, not gaining, content. This is not because Netflix hates you and wants you to suffer. It’s very hard to get those licenses because it’s not a very good deal for the content creators and distributors. And it costs a lot of money to manufacture the level of quality content people expect. Now, it’s axiomatic that the middleman sucks and should be shot (except The Middleman, who is awesome) but to be quite frank, they serve a purpose, and while I’d like to see their tactics changed, I would not like to see them vanish entirely. They are also human, and in publishing they do the great good work of sifting wheat from chaff, editing and packaging the wheat and making sure the wheat can spell, while getting shit on from every side. (I would also like to see real competition for Netflix, who is a middleman, too, don’t be fooled. They’re just a very hands-off middleman. But until you can write a check to Matt Weiner for Mad Men, you are still using a middleman. However, as I’m going to say a lot, no one company should be the single portal for information of any type.)


So, let’s hear how this is anything but a grab for more rights for less money? Will Amazon be paying lump sums for licenses? Will authors see even one cent of that? Will we be paid per download? If they aren’t charging much more than Prime services already cost, who will be paying us? Anyone? Bueller? What about books already in print? Will we be paid for joining the service or just told our major problem is obscurity and we should be grateful?


But the business rags don’t care about that stuff. They’re too busy bizarrely cheerleading Amazon’s attempt to become an almost total media monopoly. And in a stroke of PR genius, Amazon has indie authors on their side, convinced Amazon is their friend, a champion of the little people, and a stand-up guy, willing to stick it to the mean old publishers. (Who sinned in not publishing literally everyone and deserve to be skewered, I guess?)


Hoggle is Hoggle’s friend. Amazon is no one’s friend. They want to control the ebook market. They’re pissed they don’t control the music and movie market to the extent they’d like to. They are nearly there with books, and having destroyed bookstores, they’re now after libraries and quite possibly just really interested in becoming the only publisher there is. Don’t think no one over there has thought of simply replacing the whole publishing apparatus with Amazon.com. And a lot of people would wave their pom-poms for that.


The fact that a company that tried to punish Macmillan simply for not kowtowing to them immediately is considered worthy of trust is laughable. These guys are thugs. It’s an awfully nice industry you got there. Shame if anything should happen to it.


I don’t actually feel like helping them to my own detriment, and don’t see why I or anyone else should be jumping at what looks like a shitty, shitty deal for content creators, libraries (I do not want libraries to die, you guys. And they let you borrow unlimited books FOR FREE. And pay for their copies. In fact, library sales are a huge part of a book’s life, particularly in the YA and children’s market. Oh and BY THE WAY. Poor people can use libraries. Not just us geekelites who can afford ereaders and subscriptions.) If I see people actually discussing what authors get out of this beyond that age-old gold standard EXPOSURE ZOMG! I’ll listen. For awhile. But here’s the rub.


To some extent this is already a thing. Libraries, yes, but also Baen Webscriptions and other services. Why not let Amazon in on that game?


It’s different because it’s Amazon. This is a company that has shown itself to be unscrupulous in its dealings with publishers time and time again. It’s being friendly to authors now, but it was friendly to publishers and bookstores for awhile too. Amazon is way more than an 800 pound gorilla. They want to be the only way you access books. That is good for no one. No one source should have that much power, or else you end up in a situation where if, say, Amazon doesn’t like queers, they can kill all their books and no one can say anything. They don’t think erotica should get ranked with “normal” books? They don’t. Amazon wants to remotely delete something you paid for? It’s deleted. This has already happened. More power to those people? I don’t think so. No single company should have the influence they want. You think it’s bad that there’s so few publishing companies? At least there are six.


Amazon knows they have the market share and presence to make competition basically a grassroots joke. They do not care. They do not care about you and they do not care about your (or my) indie cred and to be quite frank they could give a shit about books. That’s your dream. They’re happy to sell anything, it doesn’t matter what it is. (Clearly. I just bought a chicken nesting box from them. They just want to be where you shop, and by and large they are succeeding. Awesome?) This is about control of information and money. And I may have to knuckle under when my contracts come due but I do not have to be their cheerleader in the meantime.


I’m not saying they’re evil–well, maybe a little, but no more than any company. They simply want to grow. You know, like any organism. Without heed for the survival of any other organism. They will probably get this because no one, not least our rusty-ass anti-trust laws, stands up to them with any conviction. But to be honest, I am puzzled at people’s desire to be fish flakes for the Sarlaac. I am continually horrified at the rush to love and defend Amazon because of their current stance on self-publishing. Emphasis on the current. Yay! My book is on Amazon and I get 70%! Fuck everyone else! No, literally fuck them. Let us take to our blogs and cheer, just squeal with delight, for every job lost in a library or publishing company, large or small, every janitor at Random House and editor at Harper Collins, every librarian who gets kids to read, because Amazon loves us with its big fuzzy heart and will always, always treat us with dignity and fairness. Just show me where to sign that exclusive contract. And if I need an agent, why, Amazon can be my agent! They’re sure to give themselves a good deal. (Again, already happened.)


And the publishers had better just sign where they’re told to. After all, those dinosaurs had better get with the times. And the times, it seems, are called by Amazon. It’s the Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to you by Amazon.com, as our late great David Foster Wallace would say. Enjoy it.


And as far as self-publishing, which can be and is laudable and valuable, well, give it time. It’s early yet on that beachhead, kids. If the last 15 years of the internet taught you anything, it should be that nothing open and good lasts forever, and corporations trend ugly over time. (I’m looking at you, Google.)  It has not been enough to consume bookstores, libraries, publishing companies, and any author not selling direct to Amazon are next. Amazon was a friend to all of these once. Trust me, you don’t want to live in the world Amazon wants to build.


Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Comment, kittens!

I can't remember the day we closed our World of Warcraft accounts. Must have been back in, I'm thinking, early May. So, about four and a half months ago, right after we did the Rift Beta and decided it was such a vastly better game. Anyway, I don't think too much about WoW these days. True, I have my Shaharrazad mousepad I must see...well, all day long. And the erotic dreams involving Sylvanas Windrunner, My Dark Lady. And all my action figures, and...okay, so I probably still think about WoW more than I think I think about WoW.

But, this morning I was thinking about WoW, and some of its really magnificent absurdities, and perhaps the greatest of all those are the Taurens. I was imagining a bunch of Blizzard geeks sitting around a table (cluttered with boxes of doughnuts, bottles of Mountain Dew, and whatnot), and they're sitting there thinking, "Okay, so, what about cow people? Hey, that would be cool, wouldn't it? I mean, think about it, dudes. Cow people. You know, like minotaurs?" And someone points out the problem with females and udders, and someone else says, no, no, don't worry about the udders, these cow people, the females have breasts. Also, it'll keep the furries pacified a while longer. Do you know what percentage of our demographic self-identifies as Otherkin?

"OH, and we need more ethnic diversity among the races of Azeroth," someone says, "because we keep getting these angry letters about the Rasta trolls (pause here as the 'think tank' devolves into a three-hour argument about pussy liberals and the merits of Libertarianism, and how orcs are green, and night elves are blue and purple and grey, and...), and it would be good PR if there were more ETHNICITY." "Wasn't that covered in the last company retreat?" asks someone. Sure, sure, says someone else, and hey, cows are sort of like bison, another interjects (here we pause for yet another to explain how bison are related to cows, and some cow nerd goes off on the domestication of cattle, the evolution of the modern cow from the aurochs, Bos primigenius). "Okay," says the guy who started all this. "So, cows are like bison, and Native Americans hunted bison, so...the culture of the cow people will be Native American culture. You know, all teepees, totem poles, peace pipes, dreamcatchers, and stuff, right? Oh, and, since they're like Indians, they'll say HOW, instead of hello!" There are cheers and self-congratulation all round, except for the cow nerd, who keeps trying to point out how Native Americans hunted members of the genus Bison, not the genus Bos, and that modern cows are not derived from Bison; he is roundly ignored).

Yes, it was probably just that stupid and offensive. And out of an entire planet of possible animals to pattern a new race on (let's set aside the issue of novelty; WoW finally figured that out with the space goats), from all the terran bestiary, Blizzard chose...cows.

---

Today, I am waiting to hear from TPTB how well Phase One was received, and where we go from here. Then, I'll proceed to the as-yet-unopened CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Oh, and I should mention, my publisher's marketing gurus decided that "A Memoir" should not appear on the book's cover (or, it seems, on the Amazon page). Why? Because, then people might think it's nonfiction, and it would be shelved under biography. Yeah, I did that o.0 emoticon thing, but I didn't argue. Friends who've worked in bookstores assure me this really would happen. Um, okay. I truly do give humanity too much credit. I must take solace knowing that the title page will bear the novel's actual full title. Anyway, I'm not opening that "bubble envelope" containing the CEM until I know if Phase One nuked the launch site or not. I have until the 23rd to get the CEM back to NYC.

---

Also, you should read this entry by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna. Because Amazon.com might have thought up the best way to steal from authors since the Great Google Books Rights Snatch of 2010 (or whenever). The rise of ebooks cannot be predicated on the perpetual fucking-over of authors.

---

Yesterday, when I was done with this, that, and the other, we took in a matinée of Soderbergh's Contagion, and we both loved it. It's bleak, artful, terrifying, beautiful, and I highly recommend it to all. I'm not going into details, because it would be too easy to drop spoilers. But don't dismiss it as some Irwin Allen or Roland Emmerich overblown schlock-fest. Because that's what it's not. It also isn't science fiction, but that's a discussion for another time.

---

Please have a look at the goodies in Spooky's Etsy shop (Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries), where there are two new necklaces - reasonably priced - and you must buy them, or you won't be allowed to read my next book. Honest Tauren.

---

Okay, please excuse me now. I'm going to listen to Neil read The Graveyard Book to me until I get that call from the NSA...I mean, um...that call from McDonalds. Oh, and good RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah.

Not Bovine,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Even though LiveJournal is experiencing the latest round of massive DDOS attacks from Russian hackers, I have at least limited access to my LJ, so I'm going to attempt an entry. Because that's what I do every day before I start working. Even if no one will be able to read it. I'm thinking about to moving to Typepad. I'd move to Dreamwidth, instead, but it's owners are bona-fide scumbags.

I honestly thought this would be the entry wherein I said something like, "Oh, I'm sorry the entries have been so angry and grim the last few days. I'm better now. Let's get back on track."

No.

That's not happening today. The shit-storm continues.

Yesterday, though, I did write 1,465 words, and so began Chapter 5 of Blood Oranges. It was the first time I'd been able to bring myself to work on the book since June 19th.

There is a reason for this, a reason why I wrote the entire first half of a novel in one month (something I'd never even thought possible for me), and then locked up for a month and was unable to go back to it. There is an explanation. But like many explanations, it's divulged at a risk. At the risk of pissing off people who are better left unpissed off.

Which leaves me wondering, why does no one in this great clusterfuck of a publishing industry care if the author gets pissed? It leaves me wondering that, though the answer is obvious. The author, in the eyes of Industry, of Business, is a disposable cog. One makes too much noise, causes too much trouble, there are at least a thousand waiting to take her job. Gods, I'm sounding like a Marxist. But it's the fucking truth. You want to be a professional author? One whose sole source of income is her writing? Fine, just don't think it's ever going to "make you your own boss." I'm as answerable to The Boss as any poor cubicle schmuck. Yes, I can walk away anytime I choose. But so can anyone, no matter their line of work. It only requires the resolve to live in a cardboard box on a street corner.

I'm with Parker, in The Way of the Gun. I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen. Back in May, I had something I'd never had during my publishing career. I had a plan. A good plan. I allowed it to be reshuffled. And now...

No, it's not the end of the world. In fact, it's sort of a paper cut. But you know what happens if you get a few hundred paper cuts. See Forms of Torture in China, Pre-1905.

Maybe you'll be able to read this. Maybe you won't. Frank the Goat only knows.

Cut,
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)
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: (Narcissa)
Oh dear Monsieur Insomnia, fuck you.

I hate waking to important email, which is what happened this morning. The whole weekend has been email and stress and worse. But the good news is that everything seems to be working out for the better. It's not that I worry over nothing. It's that unless I worried so fiercely, everything would go to crap.

It's almost going to be warm today, but I'm trapped here inside the house. There must be work.

But! I have some very good news, even though I can't say what it is until Friday.

Yesterday, I took a day off. Pretty much. Aside from having to deal with email all day and night, and aside from being unable to stop obsessing over The Drowning Girl, I took the day off. It was cloudy and chilly, and all I did was ride along with Spooky while she did errands, but at least I wasn't stuck at this fucking desk. We went to PetCo for cat food, and I found a baby Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) that I don't know how I got out if the store without buying. We took Les pacte des loup back to Acme Video on Brook Street, and rented three more movies: Das Boot (I haven't seen it in ages), Basquiat, and the third Ginger Snaps film. It was surely one of the oddest assortments the clerk had rung up all day. Then, East Side Market to get chili fixings. Then home again. And I packed some boxes for storage. The office is about to undergo a complete overhaul to make it more functional, and there's just not room for everything.

If you own so much shit, you have to rent a storage unit to hold some of your shit, you own too much shit. This is probably one of those distinctly American problems. Fucking absurd.

Oh, I also added a few words of text to The Drowning Girl, to which I can't seem to stop adding little bits. Truthfully, I need six more months with the ms.. I'm just not going to get it.

---

The latest Question @ Hand has been posted. You may see it and answer here. All replies (unless you post them to Facebook) are screened and confidential. The ones I like best will appear anonymously in Sirenia Digest #65. I have some really good responses so far. Let's see more!

---

Last night, we watched Daniel Alfredson's Luftslottet som sprängdes (2009). It's a very different film from the other two in the trilogy, essentially a political thriller and court-room drama. But very good. Still, I think my favorite is the first film. And we played Rift. I played Indus, my Eth warrior (reaver and beastmaster), and she reached Level 19. I'm not sure why I'm running three characters simultaneously, but I am learning how different races and classes work. We read more of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, and I read another article from the new JVP: "A new pachypleurosaur (Reptilia; Sauropterygia) from the lower Middle Triassic of southwestern China and the phylogenetic relationships of Chinese pachypleurosaurs." Then...I didn't sleep. Well, not until sometime after five ayem.

And now, more photos by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy from the shoot Saturday before last, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (including very, very rare shots of me and Kathryn together; my favorite is the last):

In the Museum )
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: (new chi)
My sincere thanks to everyone who has taken a moment to express herhisits support, outrage, and sympathy since my last entry. It's means a lot to me. A lot a lot. I frell you not. Here's an update, In Which Things Are Looking Up for Rabbit and Eeyore, behind the cut fer them what don't cares fer the gory details of such t'ings.

Read more... )

I'd have really rather written a nice long entry of what Spooky and I did today, as it was somewhat more interesting and pleasant than broken contracts and remaindered novels. But I think it'll have to wait for the morning. I'm tired. No, I'm whatever comes after tired, but well before sleep. A friend has loaned us the use of a very fine, but somewhat austere, cottage near Greenhill, not far from the beach. What it makes up for in charm and roominess and being free, it entirely lacks in air conditioning. And if you've been keeping up with the weather, you'll know that Rhode Island is (hopefully) at the tail-end of a three-day heatwave. Yesterday, the temp reached 100F up in Providence (105F heat index), and the humidity and dew point have been hellish. So, yes, tired and sweaty and wishing for cooler weather. I have a story to write, and it's been way too hot (and stressful) to think, much less write.

Oh, I haven't felt like sticking in links for everything, last night or tonight, but here are the links to order the mmp of Threshold and the tpb of Daughter of Hounds from Amazon.com, which I hope you will be so kind and interested as to do. Okay, now I'm going away to sweat on Spooky for a while...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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