greygirlbeast: (wookie)
In my forty-seven years, I have been around for the breakup of innumerable rock groups. Hell, I can clearly remember when the Beatles called it splitsville – a complicated, litigatious affair, that began in 1970, but was dragged out in courts until 1975 (so, from the time I was six until the time I was eleven). But I don't think I've ever been so affected by the breakup of a band as I'm being affected by the breakup of R.E.M. I came to the band fairly late, in 1986. I was in school in Boulder, CO at the time, and my first R.E.M. album (the first I encountered) was Fables of the Reconstruction, after which I immediately sought out Life's Rich Pageant. Eventually, by the sheerest happenstance, I came to live in Athens, GA in 1994, and running into and speaking with members of the band was a fairly frequent event, if only because we hung out in a lot of the same places. "Buck Berry Mills Stipe" managed to speak of the South in a way that few others ever have, with an authenticity, power, and beauty to rival prose authors such as Faulkner, Williams, and O'Connor. I cannot stress too strongly the influence their words and music has had on my own writing. They said it true. And I think they've now done the right thing. After all, thirty-one years is a long time, and their's is an amicable parting of the ways, and for the right reasons. But I cannot help but feel a pang of loss. And, I should note, if you're in the mood to do some R.E.M. bashing, do it elsewhere, please.

Yesterday was spent adding about eleven thousand additional words to the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And then proofreading them. As Peter Straub said upon reading the manuscript, "I don't think I've ever seen a novel where it was so obvious the author didn't want to stop writing." He was, of course, right on the mark. This book is probably a quarter the length it ought to be, just as The Red Tree was about half as long as it should have been. And yes, publishers do give me word limits, both minimum and maximum. Plus, I have to factor in how long I can afford to spend working on any given book, as paychecks matter, as I was not blessed with, say, a trust fund.

Today, I add a little more. Then I try to take my hands off the thing, and I try to leave them off it, and look ahead.

Speaking of which, looking at my schedule again yesterday, I realized that there's no chance of me taking a "vacation" any time soon. Somehow, I thought there were three free days that don't exist. Probably, this is because I've spent so much time on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. So, no Maine. So, no unplugging.

---

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] docbrite asked to see a transcript of me poking that Facebook idiot with my pointy stick. I didn't think Facebook logged such things, but I was wrong. You may find it behind the cut. I'm omitting the name of the idiot. Not because I'm nice. Because I'd rather not have some jack-off whining at me. Also, note how this guy began trying to get me to speak to him way back on July 14th (the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc. is exactly as I received it):

For Billy )

Meanwhile...well, frankly I don't know. How is one expected to follow an act like that?

Radio Free,
Aunt Beast

* I have no friends named Linda. I don't think I've ever had a friend named Linda.

** It is, of course, common knowledge that the day of my birth is May 26th.
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: (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)
I listen to R.E.M. a lot, and it will always be the music of Athens, GA, though I actually first discovered their music in Boulder, CO many, many years before I moved to Athens.

Spooky says I'm homesick. I'm not sure she's correct. But maybe it's something akin to homesickness.

---

I find myself needing to be tactful, though, no matter how hard I may try, I am never the most tactful of beasts. I get a lot of requests from aspiring writers, requests for me to read their work and/or offer advice on how they can become better writers, find an agent, find a publisher, and so forth. I can't answer all of these requests personally. Not one at a time, I mean. So, I'm answering the most recent batch personally here. And it's a short answer. Or a short set of answers. Truthfully, I can't help you. It's been nineteen years since I began my first novel, and eighteen since I sold my first short story, and sixteen since my first fiction publication, fifteen since I finished Silk, and fourteen years since I sold my first novel. It's been sixteen years since I got my my first agent. Now, the point of all those 'teens is that during the intervening years, publishing has changed, and it's changed in ways I only just begin to understand. For example, I used to type query letters, mail them (in an envelope with a stamp and an SASE enclosed, from an actual post office), and wait weeks for a reply. Back then, books were either paper or recorded on cassette (a few books-on-CD recordings were popping up). I could give a lot more "for examples." But, what's even more important than the changes that have been wrought upon the publishing industry is the simple fact that I'm not a writing instructor, and only a critic in the roughest sense. Sure, you could show me a story, and I could tell you whether or not I liked it. But, for the most part, that's useless to you. My opinion on any given piece of fiction is mostly subjective (aside from correcting grammar and so forth). I might love it. I might think it's a load of shit. A lot of what I think is shit sells like hotcakes, and a lot of what I think is brilliant can't sell for shit. And that should tell you everything you need to know, right there. Finally, I simply don't have time to read your work, not if I'm going to get my own writing done and have some semblance of a life in between. So...I hope you'll accept these answers, and understand them.

---

I'm trying very hard to get myself back into the head-space that will allow me to finish Blood Oranges. But it's not going well. I tried to read Chapter Four aloud on Friday night, and I only made it a few pages in. The reasons are complex. My instinct is to shelve the manuscript and move on to the next project. But that would be ridiculous, if only because the novel is half finished. And it was coming so quickly before this wall.

We fall, or are knocked down, and we get up again. Or we stop calling ourselves writers.

---

Yesterday, Spooky and Sonya and I escaped the broiling confines of the house, and endured truly horrendous touron traffic to cross the Western Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island. Beavertail was dazzling. The sea off the west side of the point was such a dazzling blue gem it might have blinded me. Not my eyes, but other portions of my self in need of blinding. There's been far too much stress, lately. Stress I am ill equipped to cope with. There were more people at Beavertail than I'm used to seeing, but it was still easy to find a relatively secluded bit of phyllite jutting out into the bay on which to spread our blanket. About a hundred yards to the north, a flock of cormorants perched on the rocks. Occasionally one would streak away, skimming just over the surface of the sea. Or one would dive in and fish. There were gulls and robins and red-winged black birds. We fed a gull a cheese cracker. Just north of us was a rowdy lot of college kids, swimming and drinking beer and using watermelon rinds as hats. Spooky and I lay on the blanket. Sonya waded in. We weren't able to stay even nearly long enough, especially considering the the traffic there and back, and how hot sitting in the traffic was (the loaner car has no AC), but Sonya had a 6:27 p.m. train back to Boston. Amazingly, neither Kathryn nor I are sunburned (we did use sunscreen, but still).

Back home, Spooky and I had tuna for dinner. We watched more of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and our Faeblight Rift toons reached level 18. It was a quiet evening, and we mostly managed not to sweat.

I think I'm going to spend the next couple of days sweating and writing something for Sirenia Digst #68.

There are photos from yesterday, but Earthlink is all whack-a-doodle, so I'll have to try to post them tomorrow.

No Sea, So Less Calm Than Yesterday,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous April.

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

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

Yeah, another grumpy day.

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

---

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

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

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

---

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

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

---

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

---

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

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

Ambiguously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
New version of Firefox, you suck. Just so you know.

And yesterday was a very weird day. But here I am, on the other side of it.

Yesterday, I wrote the journal entry and answered email. I edited the FAQ for the soon-to-go-live new Sirenia Digest website. And I did a little more work on "Fake Plastic Trees," adding about 200 words to clarify something the editors had requested I clarify. It was a point I admitted was a little vague, and now the editors are happier with the story, and so am I. Afterwards, I wrote 1,540 words on the first chapter of Blood Oranges, which is the thing that was conceived as a spoof of ParaRom, but seems to have grown into an actual novel. Its still a "werepire" novel, and it looks askance at and skewers everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Twilight, from True Blood to Anne Rice. It's a strange beast, about strange beasts. And I'm not going to say anything more about it until I write another 1,500 words, because it's just too strange.

I have set a goal for myself: I will write two more novels (Blood Oranges and Blue Canary), two new short stories, and produce nine more issues of Sirenia Digest by the end of January 2012. And not die in the process. Then, in 2012 I'd write Dark Adapted, the sequel to Blood Oranges, along with the sequel to Blue Canary.

So, yes. A lot of work yesterday. And the same today. And tomorrow. And that's what my summer looks like. Mostly. I get a few days off for good behavior.

There are days I could just sit and listen to R.E.M. all day long.

Yesterday, a very young humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was found beached at Little Compton.

I made a really terribly good salsa fresca (half the juice of one lime, two tomatoes, about a fifth of a red onion, half a large jalapeño, one serrano, a handful of fresh cilantro, a clove of garlic, and a dash of salt) for Cinco de Mayo, which we had with the pork quesadillas Spooky made. I wanted tequila and Sol beer, but the meds say no.

Then I took a short nap.

Then a house down the street erupted into flame. This makes the third serious fire on our street since November 2009. The second was in May 2010. And now this. When I first made it down to the street, and within maybe a hundred feet of the house, I thought they were going to lose the thing, and the wind was so bad I began to fear for surrounding houses. But at least five fire trucks responded (it was listed as a two alarm). Everyone got out. But now another beautiful old Victorian house on the street is scarred. All this would be very suspicious, and it's obviously statistically improbable. But the first fire was started by a faulty lamp cord, and the second by a cat knocking over a candle. Nothing suspicious there. Last night's fire was fucking terrifying. The cause remains undetermined. Spooky took three photos, which are behind the cut:

Fire Three, May 5 2011 )


Note to potential stalkers: I've said enough over the years that anyone who really means to can find my house, but you show up on my doorstep or lurking about, annoying me and mine, getting in my shit, and I will fucking kill you. End of story. So think twice, and then think again.

Later, when things had finally calmed down, we played a small bit of Rift. We watched the last four episodes of Season Six of Weeds. I must admit, the season recovers towards the end, and the last episode is very good. Later, we read more of Under the Poppy. That was yesterday, kittens.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Checks are coming in very slowly, and every little bit helps. Thanks. Also, Spooky's added a new necklace to her Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries shop. She made a beautiful one for me (finally), which I'll post photos of soon, then made one more. It's awesome. Buy it.

And now I go to write about a werewolf attack.

Beastly Yours,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was, all in all, a strange day, possibly an almost good day. Certainly a productive day that was not without merit, and, also, which was shot through with threads of something better than the stressful mess of the last five or six days.

For one, I wrote 1,513 words on "Fake Plastic Trees," the new short story (details TBA). It's sf. But that's all I can say for now. Oh, and I'll be writing at least one more sf story later this year, which I'm currently calling "The Last Martian There Ever Was." Anyway, yes, the new story's off to a good start, though I think I only realized this morning why the protagonist has been encouraged to tell her story. Which is to say, I've only just this morning realized why the story's being written.

Also, some encouraging news from my editor at Penguin regarding the cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm being told they've decided to take a different direction, away from the ParaRom thing, and I have hopes and my fingers are crossed. So, there's that.

I'm also making some headway getting permission to quote songs in the novel. Radiohead has given me permisison to quote "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)." I think I reported that earlier. Yesterday, I talked with Philip Ridley, and was very generously granted permission to quote a verse of a song he wrote for The Passion of Darkly Noon, "Who Will Love Me Now?" which PJ Harvey sings in the film. Yes, Philip Ridley rocks.

---

Meanwhile, Alfred Music Publishing has granted me permission to quote two lines from R.E.M.'s "Find the River":

The river to the ocean goes,
A fortune for the undertow.


...but they want a $380 licensing fee, that would only cover the first printing of the tpb of the book. That means, new fees would have to be paid for a second print of the tpb, and then again for the mmpb (and each printing of the mmpb), and again for the audiobook, and so on and so forth forever.

Now, if US Copyright Law were not printed on wet toilet paper, quoting two lines from a song would qualify as "fair use." But there have been successful lawsuits rendering "fair use" meaningless in many cases, making publishers gun shy. It all comes down to the lawyers and corporate greed, and has nothing to do with the musicians (who wouldn't see a penny of this licensing fee). In 1996, when I was working on my second story arc for The Dreaming, I wanted to quote one line from another R.E.M. song: It's a Man Ray kind of sky. (from "Feeling Gravity's Pull"). Gods, this is a dull story. Short version: Michael Stipe told me I could use the line, and then Warner Bros. stepped in and said no. At the time, Warner Bros. owned the lyrics, but, in 2005, Warner Bros. Publications was purchased by the aforementioned Alfred Music Publishing.

I can either try to pony up the licensing fee, and keep ponying it up every time some new printing or incarnation appears, or I can remove the quote and figure something else out. I'm loathe to get into the eternal loop of licensing fees (I never have before). If I were a bestselling author with six-figure advances and fat royalty statements, maybe. But not on what I make. I've considered trying to find something in public domain with which to replace the quote. Right now, though, I'm undecided. I have two months to make up my mind. I suppose one option would be to pay it once, let one edition of the book appear as I want it to, then remove the quote from all subsequent editions.

Maybe I'll give a nickel to someone who spots all the fucked up contradictions as regards copyright and licensing in this post. Only, that would require I know each and every one, and likely I don't.

---

What else about yesterday? Besides work, I mean. I'm tired of talking shop. Played Rift. Selwyn made Level 23. Did a good and peculiarly sweet rp scene with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl. Drank Pepsi Throwback. Oh, Spooky didn't have to walk in the cold rain to get the car, because it wasn't ready. It's supposed to be ready today; it's been in the garage since Sunday. I read another paper in the new JVP, "A new skeleton of the cryptoclidid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis reveals a novel body shape in plesiosaurs." We read more of The Book Thief. That was yesterday.

---

A reminder: I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

---

Okay. That's it for now. Just got an ominous call from the mechanic. Later, kittens.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
0. Comment. Please comment. I need the distraction.

0.1 I'm not replying to Facebook comments, unless they appear here on LJ. Sorry. I hate Facebook.

1. No, I'm not a "horror writer." I'm not sure who does and doesn't want to wear that label, and I don't care. We each make these decisions for ourselves, and that's how it ought to be. I don't much mind labels (as I've said before), if they are accurate labels. But calling me a "horror writer" ignores an enormous amount of my writing, and, worse, has the unfortunate effect of my being overlooked by fantasy and sf readers and editors who aren't into horror. I write dark and urban fantasy (the real stuff, not that PR crap), science fiction, weird fiction, erotica, and what the hell ever. Lots of times, it's horrifying. This does not make me a "horror writer" sensu stricto.

2. Okay, look. Either we, as a society, stop sexualizing the kids, or we, as a society, stop being paranoid and screaming kiddie porn at every innocent bathtub photo and every faint whiff of underage (and I include here reasonable teenage) sexuality. because, it's one way or the other. Not fucking both. I am speaking, specifically of Abercrombie & Fitch's "padded bikini 'push-up'" bra for very young girls. And, by the way, as I was writing this, Abercrombie & Fitch yanked the page selling the bra in question.

3. Yesterday, I wrote 1,489 words on "Some Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash." I might find the conclusion today. I need to, because I've got to pull Sirenia Digest #64 together. On Saturday, I'll be in Boston with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy figuring out the author's photo for Two Worlds and In Between.

4. Very good news regarding The Drowning Girl. I've officially secured (mostly through the efforts of [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) permission from Radiohead to reprint lines from "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)" in the novel, lines that are crucial to the book. Penguin legal has approved the whole thing, so its a go. I'm still working with R.E.M.'s management, to gain permission to quote "Find the River," and it looks like that's also going to work out.

5. My thanks to Steven Lubold, Cassandra Brewster, and Sonoye Murphy for the recent and highly appreciated care packages. You guys absolutely fucking rock.

Contemplating Hurt,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Cold out there. Cold and sunny. I think spring's decided to skip this year.

Here I sit, with my sour stomach and shakey hands and ringing ears, and the day ahead of me. And there's really not a lot to say about yesterday.

I spent the entire day looking for a story for Sirenia Digest #64, and I think I found something called "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash." Today I have to begin making a story from the idea, stone and mortar and what have you.

It could be an awfully prophetic title. I didn't see that yesterday.

I think I might have drawn the cover for the Crimson Alphabet chapbook yesterday.

---

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In 1998, I wrote about the fire in The Dreaming #28, "Dreams the Burning Dream." This afternoon, Spooky and I will be ringing a bell at 4:45 p.m. EST, the exact time the first alarm bells were sounded a century ago. I'm a little disheartened that there's no official observance being held in Rhode Island, despite its history of textile mills, etc.

But it's not as if the dead hear bells the living ring. It's not as if the dead hear anything at all.

---

Huge thanks to Geoffrey who seems to have secured permission for me to quote Radiohead's "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)" in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm still waiting to hear from R.E.M.'s management.*

---

Some unexpectedly good rp in SL last night. I really don't do SL anymore. And, for that matter, I think SL all but destroyed any desire I ever had to rp anywhere. You can only be fucked over so many times before you simply cease to care. Anyway, thank you Blair, because last night was awesome.

---

Thanks to all the people who donated to the the Kickstarter project yesterday. We have 12 hours to go, and the project is 207% funded. I'm amazed. I was worried we wouldn't meet our goal, much less meet it more than twice over.

Gonna go write now.

* Actually, I just did.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Of course, the bottom of page 451 wasn't truly THE END. I sat down yesterday to contemplate the possibility of an epilogue to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. On the one hand, the last few sentences were pitch perfect. On the other hand, it didn't feel like the place where Imp would stop. So, I stared at the screen and pondered a way to add, without taking away. And I wound up writing an additional 1,991 words, under the heading "Back Pages." These pages are a little more like a series of footnotes or journal entries than they are like any conventional sort of epilogue, but they do shed light on a few of the novel's murkier places. The ms. now stands at 103,493 words. And now, I think, I genuinely have reached THE END.

And here, in this place called the end, I think I'm happy. I think I've walked the tightrope. Last night, [livejournal.com profile] sovay read the book. She's the first person besides Spooky to have done so. She pronounced it "beautiful," "magnificent," and, importantly, nothing like The Red Tree.

Also, I exchanged emails with my editor, to whom I will send the book next week. We're looking into including one or two sketches in the book, which would be very cool.

I also wrote a letter to R.E.M.'s management, to obtain permission to reprint two lines from "Follow the River." An actual letter on actual paper, that will go into an actual envelope, and have an actual stamp placed on it, then an actual postmark, and be delivered to the actual post office in Athens where I used to have my p.o. box. Still waiting to hear back from Radiohead's management regarding permission to reprint two lines from "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)."

Spooky proofed "Houses Under the Sea" for Two Worlds and In Between

I coughed.

After dinner, she helped me with making the final selections of which pieces of art will be included in the bonus section of the limited edition of Two Worlds and In Between. I have artists to email today, though I still have a few decisions left to make.

It was a goddamn busy day. Which is how things are going to be around here for at least another week and a half. Or for the rest of March. I don't fucking know any longer. But I do have fantasies of taking two or three days off, sometime in March. I really haven't had any time off in many months.

Also, if you're reading this and I've promised to send you a copy of the ms. of The Drowning Girl, those will go out the fist half of next week, once I've had time to polish the prose just a bit.

---

Last night, I ventured back into WoW for the first time in days. You know that quest that I deemed one of the worst three in Azeroth, the one in Shadowmoon Valley called "I was a lot of things..."? Well, last night, in a fit of pique, I went back in determined to best it. I did, and it unlocked the rest of the quests I needed for the "Shadow of the Betrayer" achievement. Now, all that stands between me and Loremaster are nine quests in the infamously difficult to conclude Nagrand region of Outland, which is littered with broken quests and suchlike.

Also, played Rift for a couple of hours or three, and made it about halfway through Level 19. And then we read more of Catching Fire. We're halfway to the end.

Time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
So much more snow. The sun is blazing off all that white, and virtually nothing will melt today. We got several more inches last night. Last night, the sky glowed orange, and the snow was coming down so hard you could not clearly see the houses on the other side of the street. And there was insomnia last night. I slept less than six hours.

Spooky and I are a bit overwhelmed at how well things are going with our The Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter project. As of right now, we're 105% funded, which means we exceeded our goal in hardly more than forty-eight hours. We are enormously grateful to everyone who's pledged. We hope that people will continue to do so, because even though we've met our goal, $3,300 was a very conservative estimate of what would be required for production and postage costs. Every bit over the target helps make the end result that much higher quality. Spooky allotted two months for this, thinking we'd need two months just to reach our goal. And here we've exceeded it with fifty-seven days remaining. Booya, I say. Thank you. And remember, no one gets charged until after March 26th, when the fundraising officially ends. Yesterday, the project appeared under both "New and Notable" and "Recommended." Goat Girl Press is born.

No writing yesterday. We needed to read over Chapter 1 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir again (fourth time through, I think) and make line edits before the chapter appears in Sirenia Digest #62. Also, I made the decision earlier this week (or maybe late last week), to make Imp younger, 24 at the time the story's being told, instead of 30 (and so 22 when the events she's relating occurred). So, that's requiring a bit of editing, as well.

I also managed a little work on Two Worlds and In Between. And I loaded R.E.M. albums onto the new iPod. And I finished the Moleskine notebook I've been using since August 22nd, 2009 and began a new one.

Spooky made lasagna for dinner. I'm not sure which of us does it better. I roleplayed in Insilico, where a new generation of the Xiang AI has emerged, calling itself Nemo. And LJ can't spell Nemo, roleplayed, Insilico, or Xiang, which I suppose isn't unreasonable. However, it also can't spell LJ, or LiveJournal, or even Livejournal. You'd think that they'd have fixed that at some point in the last twelve years. But, no.

Later, we watched Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010). You can't really choose to watch a Resident Evil film and then fairly claim to have been disappointed. These sorts of things are what they are, and you know that going in. Milla being sexy and defying physics, mutant zombies, a grand choreography of surreal violence, and so forth. Oh, and guns. Lots and lots and lots of guns. But Resident Evil: Afterlife really isn't as good as Resident Evil: Extinction. The latter was prettier, scarier, sexier, and more stylish. Also, it wasn't so weighed down by the nefarious Albert Wesker, man with the plastic hair. He wants to be Agent Smith and the Terminator, but the best he can do is make me laugh. But hey, it's all cheese. You go in because you're in the mood for Velveeta, and that's what you get. Milla and Velveeta (which brings oddly kinky images to mind). Oh, but the pandering to 3D, that didn't help, either. Fuck you, 3D.

Now, it's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Bye bye long day,
I need to sleep so much.
You shine on me.
Too much is not enough.

On the sheets and pillow case,
In my bed for heaven's sake,
The devil's dancing until late in my head there.
But I could sleep with you there.
I could sleep with you there.

Always.
Always.

Bye bye long day.
I need to sleep so much,
Nineteen hours straight.
Too much is not enough...
— Catherine Wheel

I wrote a great deal of Silk to that album, which always surprises people, because they imagine that me as some goth-punk cliché. Like I wrote the damn thing holed up in a dark room listening to nothing but Bauhaus and Joy Division.

I did. Listen to Bauhaus and Joy Division when I was writing it, I mean. But I also listened to Catherine Wheel. The girl who used to cut my hair was dating the vocalist, though she lived in Georgia and he in London.

I'm awake and babbling. I start to think I will never sleep normally ever again. I'm annoyed because I meant to be reading Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, but discovered I am, instead, reading Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest. Which is a fine novel, just not what I meant to be reading.

I was telling Spooky, earlier, about living in Athens, and getting to know Michael Stipe. Because we bought our comics in the same comics shop, and drank at the same bar. How he gave me permission to quote a line of R.E.M. lyrics in an issue of The Dreaming: "It's a Man Ray kind of sky." But then the record label started making trouble, and we didn't have time to get it sorted out. So, I changed the line to "It's a memory kind of sky."

I am exhausted. My eyes are on fire. And I can't sleep. And one of the worst things about insomnia is that everyone has advice. They're well meaning, I know. Well intentioned. But I do so tire of the advice. It's hard to convince people you've heard it all, tried it all. Even when you say, "It's one reason I'm seeing a psychiatrist, and I have meds, and whatnot." They still talk about warm milk and hot baths. I do not want advice. I want sleep.
greygirlbeast: (Eli4)
Running late this morning (nope, it's afternoon already), because I didn't get to bed until after four ayem. But it's rainy, and I find myself having trouble caring about running late. Better to sit here and drink my coffee, make my journal entry, and listen to R.E.M.'s Reckoning (1984), which has always seemed like a rainy-day album to me.

Yesterday, we made it through chapters 8 and 9 of The Red Tree, and the "Editor's Epilogue" (an execrpt from one of Sarah Crowe's novels), and finished with the galleys. Except for the long letter I have to write today, explaining some of the corrections. All in all, the galleys were pretty clean, mostly formatting problems. It was good to read through the whole novel again. It has left me resolved to be better than my best next time out. I am always chasing my own tail.

Last night, I got an email from my German translator, Alexandra Hinrichsen, asking for assistance with the Jung quote that opens Low Red Moon.

Spooky and I are very impressed with The Hunt for Gollum, the "fan film" directed by Chris Bouchard. It really is quite well done, and I'm amazed that it was made for a mere £3,000 (roughly $4,534.27 USD). Well, I'm sure having 160 volunteers at his disposal helped a great deal. I've seen films with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars that didn't look half this good. My only caveat, really, is with the sound quality. We couldn't hear it at all on Spooky's laptop, so we switched over to my iMac, and it was still difficult to get decent volume. But, it's a small complaint. In my mind, the film works rather nicely as a "missing scene" from Peter Jackson's three films (and I think it was very smart of Bouchard to follow Jackson's visual cues). Marvelously atmospheric. I am impressed that Tolkien Enterprises gave their approval to the project. I hope to see more from these guys.

We've been getting back into WoW, which has suddenly become much more entertaining since Shaharrazad and Suraa moved along to Outland. We both made Level 66 last night. I've leveled more in the last two nights than in the last two months. We're both based in Shrattrath now, working with the Scryers.

A mere 21 days remaining until birthday -05, which is more than a little horrifying. For me, anyway. Horrifying and astounding. I do, as it happens, have an Amazon wish list, if you are given to such things. Thank you. Anything that distracts and helps to take away the sting. And, yeah, used books are just as welcome as new books. Oh, and for anyone not using Amazon, the address is P.O. Box 603096, Providence, RI 02906.

Here are a few photos from yesterday, nothing terribly exciting, which is reasonable, as it wasn't a very exciting day:

May 4, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf)
Oddly enough, the three bands we listen to the most, by far, when playing WoW are the Psychedelic Furs, R.E.M., and Radiohead. To wit:







Also...

If you haven't already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions. And, for those who may not know, I will point out that my author's photo on the back of the dust jacket of The Five of Cups is from a nude photo shoot I did in 2003. That's called "extra incentive."
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
It's raining here and overcast. The rain came in the night (like Trogdor the Burninator, I suppose —— only wet and cold...and lacking the one big, beefy arm). The temps are in the high forties F, and there might be snow showers tonight and tomorrow. Spooky says it's too early for snow in Providence, but she's already lied about the mooses and the polar bears and the mastodons, so I'm expecting a blizzard. Anyway, the rain is nice. It hides the sky, which has been absolutely crippling in the vasty blueness department of late.

Ernest Hemingway said to write about the weather.

If you've not yet pre-ordered A is for Alien, please do so. Cover by the sublime Jacek Yerka, interior art by Vince Locke, and an afterword by Elizabeth Bear. Remember, the limited comes with a very thick chapbook, B is for Beginnings (which has a cover by Richard A. Kirk). Also, Subterranean Press is now taking pre-orders for the forthcoming trade paperback edition of Alabaster (which will reprint all of Ted Naifeh's artwork from the long-since sold-out hardback edition). I'll plug the Penguin books tomorrow.

---

I tend to grow complacent. I tend think that I'm rather well versed in perversity and kink. But then, inevitably, I stumble across something unsuspected, something I should have known about, and I am humbled. Or at least astounded. Or amused. For example, given the subject matter of various bits I've written for Sirenia Digest, Frog Toes and Tentacles, and Tales from the Woeful Platypus, I'd expect people to expect me to know about "vore" (shortened from vorarephilia, and see also phagophilia). But you would have been wrong, before yesterday. Here's this whole fetish I missed somehow. Well, no, I didn't miss it. It's all over the stuff I've been writing. I just missed that it was a fetish. I always think these things are just me. This is why we have the internet. The real reason, I mean. So that perverts don't feel so all alone. And perusing websites devoted to the whole vore thing led me to discover "unbirthing," which I find truly fascinating, and which may have inspired a story for Sirenia Digest #35. And, if I temporarily adopt a Freudian worldview, a paradigm generally alien to me, both vore and the unbirthing fixation make perfect sense. What did not, at first, make perfect sense was why the unbirthing fetish is so closely allied with furries. But there might be an odd sort of logic here. A return to the wild combined with a return to the womb, perhaps? Some psychological aspect of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, or, rather, a sexual manifestation of neotony? But then you run up against the problem that most furries seem fixated not on genuinely becoming less human, in any realistic sense, but with some sort of bent for cartoon animals (anthropomorphic "funny animals," i.e., Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck, Omaha the Cat Dancer, etc.). And that rather short circuits the explanation, unless one posits that cartoon animals are first encountered when we are very young, and then it all starts to make sense again. Anyway...I ramble. I find it very odd that, these days, it's actually "my job" to think seriously on such matters.

---

I've been listening to a lot of old R.E.M. lately, and, frequently, it's almost painfully nostalgic. Each album is a different year. Of course, I didn't actually come to R.E.M. until the summer of 1986, when I moved to Boulder, Colorado and discovered college radio. That was the same summer that Life's Rich Pageant was released. It will always be my favourite R.E.M. album, partly because it was my first. And R.E.M. always sound like they're singing about the South, even when, say, they're singing about Guatemala. I'm finding myself inevitably, and somewhat annoyingly, homesick. I am so much better off in Rhode Island than I ever was in the South. It's simply a far more tolerant environment, and, the security guard at Swan Point aside, I've not had a homophobic encounter since we arrived. Oh, I'm sure that I would, if I were not careful about where I go. But in Georgia and Alabama, one could not be careful enough. It was inevitable and frequent (though far less so in the part of Atlanta where we lived). I find myself missing the South. Not so much the people, but the landscape, the history (which is, I suppose, the people), the architecture, the food, the Dinosaur of Sinclair Avenue, magnolias. When this homesickness begins to manifest as physical pangs —— when I'm listening to Fables of the Reconstruction (1985) or Automatic for the People (1992) —— I try to focus sharply on particular unpleasant things: NASCAR, the Confederate battle flag, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the football religion, and so on and on. But. Yes. I will admit it, as much as I love being in New England, and knowing I will never again live in the South, I also admit that I find myself missing the place. I think this might be a weird permutation of Stockholm Syndrome.

---

I seem to have drifted back towards working on paleontology articles for Wikipedia. For example, day before yesterday, I did this one on the parareptile Colobomycter. And I'm sleeping more than usual, another eight hours last night. I figure it's all part of the post-novelizing thing.

The platypus says it's time to go. And the platypus...well, you know the score.
greygirlbeast: (kermit!)
This must say something about my present psychological state, but I'd rather not ponder exactly what. From the Somehow I Missed This Department:

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just some lyrics that have been going round in my head all day...

lyrics )

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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