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.

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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.

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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.

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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: (Default)
Last night, Spooky and I canceled our WoW accounts and uninstalled the game from our computers (my iMac, her laptop). So, as I said last night on Twitter, the end of an error, September 2008 to May 2011. Shaharrazad and Suraa, disgusted with Garrosh Hellscream and despairing that Azeroth and the Horde will ever get its shit together and stomp the fuck out of the Alliance, retired to the relative peace of Vengeance Landing in Northrend. Suraa plans to fish. Shahrrazad plans to torture small animals, then raise them from the dead to do her bidding. Oh, and I got back almost twenty gigs of memory on the iMac. I still have my beloved WoW actions figures, and my Shaharrazad mousepad. I'll always have the memories of those times before Blizzard dumbed down the game and pretty much ruined the player classes. And here's The Last Screencap (Suraa left, Shaharrazad right):



That said, yesterday was spent polishing "The Carnival is Dead and Gone," writing the prologomenon for Sirenia Digest #65, and doing the line edits for the "Crimson Alphabet" chapbook. The latter was emailed to subpress late yesterday. And remember, the chapbook comes free with the limited edition of Two World and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Volume One, which is also the edition with a bonus section of 16 pages of illustrations.

Gods, kittens. Polly Jean Harvey is hot. Her voice could bring me to orgasm. It probably has, in fact. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.

Back to yesterday, the postperson brought my contributor's copies of Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four, which includes my story "Tidal Forces." One thing I love about the Eclipse series is that it harks back to the days of muti-genre anthologies: fantasy, sf, and dark fantasy, all in one book. This is a good thing.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions! Because the world insists money is necessary. Thanks!

Oh, this month looks terrifying. Which probably means I ought not look farther ahead than a day or two. I have to outline a book for Roc (resurrecting the title Blood Oranges for the "werepire" novel/s), and do mountains of research for Blue Canary, deal with the page proofs for Two Worlds and In Between, be in NYC on the 17th, and pray to fuck the editorial letter for The Drowning Girl doesn't show up until June. Oh, and get Sirenia Digest #66 written. Gonna be fun, and then some. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

Filled with the Glory of Polly Jean,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
1) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We're in one of those dry spells between checks.

2) Now, before I forget again, the latest StarShipSofa includes a reading of "Galápagos." It's a pretty good reading. Merrick comes off a little too perky for a woman whose been through the hell she's been through, but the reader gets many words in many languages right, and that wins very big points with me.

3) The wind is a wild thing today. The wind is always a wild thing, but today it's throwing a wild rumpus out there. Speeds at 25mph, but gusting to 55mph. The house keeps moving, swaying. These old walls are reinforced with steel bands for protection against hurricanes, and days like this I'm grateful. Much of the snow has melted, though it's cold again, currently 35˚F (but feels like 21˚F). I shall be staying in today, thank you very much.

4) Yesterday, we actually did manage to make it all the way through the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Go, Spooky! She read all 24,765 words of that aloud, and had to contend with my constantly asking her to stop for this or that line edit. It all holds together much better than I thought, and now I have the confidence, I hope, to proceed with the eighth chapter and then the ninth.

5) I'm reasonably certain that I'll be writing my YA books as Kathleen Tierney. That has mostly been my decision. I'll continue to write short fiction, novellas, etc. as Caitlín R. Kiernan.

6) People do not mean to set me off. Well, at least sometimes it's clear they don't. Case in point: Last night, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh posted a link to a review of the Decemberists' The King is Dead (in the comments to my blog), a review written by someone named Ezra Ace Caraeff and published in The Portland Mercury (February 17, 2011). It was not, I know, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh's wish to set me off, but the very first paragraph got me so angry I spent much of the night bitching about it (much to Spooky's chagrin). The review begins by slamming The Hazards of Love as a "turgid rock opera." But then it gets really stupid. I quote:

Their determined song cycle put the story before the music, and its confusing plotline (with its forest creatures, fauns, and fairies, Hazards might as well have come pre-packaged with 12-sided dice and a wizard's cloak) distracted from both the band's melodic craft and frontman Colin Meloy's penchant for creating lyrics that have left many a weak-kneed listener and dog-eared thesaurus in their wake.

As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Or something like that. The Hazards of Love is one of the most amazing musical accomplishments of the last decade, and it pains me to see how little vision there is in the world. Also, when will we learn to stop letting doofus hipsters write indie music reviews? Of course, then no one would write them. Of course...that would be a good thing, right? Yes, The King is Dead is excellent, but it's nowhere near the marvel the band achieved with The Hazards of Love (though, I admit, I love my dodecahedral dice). Regardless, I do not blame you, [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh.

7) My editor at Penguin wrote me yesterday about the recycled cover fiasco. In the end, it was pretty anticlimactic, as I'd expected it would be. I was told "It’s actually not that uncommon, as we only buy the rights to use the art on our books in the territories we have. The artist owns the work itself. So sometimes artists will sell the same painting or a similar painting to a foreign publisher for a different book, or sell the image for a greeting card or a calendar or something. I know it’s disconcerting to come across, though. I’m double-checking with our art director that the artist sold this legitimately, but I haven’t heard back yet." Of course, Penguin buys just about every territory on earth. But not Romania. By the way, the artist in question is Gene Mollica, and I'm told he has a website out there somewhere, though I have no wish to see it. It's all business as usual, and business as usual is pretty much always a slipshod, disheartening affair. Regardless, I don't blame my editor for this. She didn't make those rules.

8) Last night, after I plowed through all 55 quests in Azshara and started in on Desolace (still determined to get the title Loremaster before leaving WoW), I signed up for the Rift beta, and Spooky gave me a few minutes on her laptop. I rolled a Kelari mage named Selwyn and a Bahmi cleric named Shaharrazad (the name lives on! Arrakis, Azeroth, and now Telara). And I played a couple of levels. And...damn. The game is astounding. Everything I saw about this game is astounding. And beautiful. The best character generator I have ever seen, bar none. It was hard to go back to the candy-colored, cartoon silliness of WoW, with all its poo jokes and puns. But...I'll just soldier on and keep my sights on the spring. Of course, Rift isn't idiot proof. No MMORPG ever will be. For example, there was some Kelari woman named Mayonnaise in the starting area with me last night. I'm sure her typist though she or he was being terribly clever.

9) Yesterday, while we were reading, the door to the front stairwell mysteriously opened. We're pretty sure Hubero used his brain to make it open. And, of course, he was out in a flash, and Spooky had to chase him up and down the stairs. I came out and pulled the door shut behind me. And it locked. Fortunately, the guy downstairs is good at picking locks, so we were back inside in only about five minutes. Screw you, Houdini cat!

And now....doughnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (Humanoid)
If gaming shit bores you, skip this. I won't be offended. I'm mostly writing it for me.

Setting aside the recycled cover fiasco with The Red Tree for a moment, I want to talk about World of Warcraft, and how my time with the game is growing short. I'll be playing for about another six weeks, then leaving WoW.

I've worked out an exit strategy. I'll finish getting my Loremaster title, and then that's it. And, by the way, as most of this entry will be devoted to how WoW has worked so hard the last couple of years screwing the pooch, I'll point out that Spooky and I were both within a hair's breadth of having Loremaster, when the Catacylsm expansion essentially undid all our progress, forcing us to start over. That's hundreds of hours each spent working towards the title (which is a pathetic example of time displacement, I am well aware).

I'll be going to Rift and LoTRO, as soon as I (hopefully) have a laptop later this spring. Spooky's on the Rift beta, and has been playing LoTRO, and they both look far superior to WoW. Rift is blowing my mind.

I did want to post a list of the particular things that have driven me, after three years of intensive WoW play, to jump ship. So, here goes:

1) Blizzard has chipped away at class abilities. Warlocks have lost a lot. Paladins even more. And it's still happening. Just last week, warlocks lost mana drain, a very important defensive spell for a class stuck in cloth armor. And, perhaps even worse than the chipping away, has been the inexplicable reorganization of abilities. Old spells have new names. It's beyond confusing.

2) Changing the talent specialization system. Now, you're forced to place all our talent points in one specialization, until you've spent 30 points, and only then can you place points in other specializations. The old ability to create hybrids has been severely hampered.

3) WoW, which was never a very bright bulb, is increasingly, pandering to the lowest common denominator. This has gotten so bad with the release of Cataclysm that I've come to think of it as the Beavis and Butthead of MMORPGs (and really, that should just be MMOG). It's an endless barrage of lame National Lampoon-style pop-culture satire, faux wit, and endless poop and fart jokes. WoW is now a game for fourteen year olds and forty year olds who never matured beyond fourteen. WoW is sunk almost as low as Second Life. And the game just gets easier, and easier, and easier...and easier. Mounts at Level 20, maps that hold your hand all the way to quests objectives, etc. I'm not even going to get into examples of racism and homophobia.

4) The homophobic hate speech in chat is only getting worse, and if anyone's trying to stop it, there's no evidence of that effort.

5) The game's penchant for forced socilaization and it's disinterest in solo players (or even groups of two or three) is worse than ever. It's aggressive. Sure, we have the random dungeon finder now, which is fine, if you want to take your chances on winding up with a bunch of teenage dounchebags.

6) Dungeons are essentially closed to solo players and small parties. You must be many levels (and sometimes entire expansions) beyond the dungeon's level to run them. And endgame is essentially closed to us.

7) The game has abandoned any pretense at being immerssive (see 3), if, indeed, it ever tried.

8) With Cataclysm, the last vestiges of a coherent ingame timeline has been lost. And the game's lore is, and has long been, utterly incoherent. It's Tolkien, Moorcock, Howard, etc. perverted to utter fucking nonsense. Contradictions are rife.

9) The obsession with mindless "achievements" is truly clogging up the gaming experience, and is one of very many transparent attempts to keep players online long after there's any truly engaging reason to play. I'd say it preys on the human propensity for obsession...but...no, I will say that.

10) WoW's barrage of holiday nonsense, which has never made any sense inworld, and which just keeps getting worse.

11) Watching Spooky play LoTRO, I see a much greater level of maturity among players, but this goes back to item 3.

12) One word: mini-games.

In short, I need a game that takes itself seriously. A joke here and there, fine. But WoW has become a really badly written spoof of sword & sorcery. I adore my main, Shaharrazad. I've been with her, as of this moment, 55 days, 15 minutes, and 35 seconds, since September 27th, 2008. I've invested a lot, in money and time. It's hard to let go of her, but I just can't take the idiots anymore, or the idiotic mess Blizzard has made of the game. Likely, I'll come back for expansions, for two or three week intervals, but that's it. Blizzard could have made it all right with Cataclysm; they did the exact opposite.

Shaharrazad, self-exiled Sin'dorei, servant of Sylvanas and Thrall, veteran of the war against the Burning Legion, the struggle against and defeat of Arthas and his Scourge, and the rise of Deathwing, is exhausted, and sees the world she fought for fall into the ruin and chaos. She will retreat soon to the peace and splendid cold of the Howling Fjord, and make a solitary life for herself in Northrend.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Hard rain last night, rainy today.

Yesterday is the day I've feared. After three fantastic writing days, yesterday The Drowning Girl sputtered and hit a speed bump. I did only 595 words. Even emptying the Word Bank, I was still 234 words short for yesterday. Today, I have to do much better and get back on track. I'm giving myself until the 7th (instead of until the 6th) to finish Chapter One (which, in the book, is just 1).

Spooky had to go out to get her new glasses (which look great), and when she got back home I was pretty panicked and flustered. But there was much good mail, which rather helped my spirits. Best of the lot was a Lovecraft pin, sent to me by my editor, Anne Sowards. The administrators of the World Fantasy Awards present each nominee with one of these pins, which are miniatures of the actual award (designed by Gahan Wilson). It made me very happy, and helps me feel better about The Red Tree, and now I shall always wear it on my lapel, whenever I have a lapel on which to wear it. There's is a photo behind the cut (yeah, my nail polish is looking rough):

Because I Done Good )


My thanks to everyone who bid on Study #2 for Yelllow, and to the winner of the auction. Likely, as mentioned already, it'll be at least a couple of months before I offer another painting. There's a large canvas I want to do next, and I don't intend to sell it.

Other good mail yesterday included my Shaharrazad mousepad. I've used the same mousepad since...forever. It's an Emily Strange mousepad I got when I was still living in Athens, round about 1996 or '97. And finally it had worn smooth and needed replacing. But getting thirteen or fourteen years out of a mousepad is surely to be counted as a good deal. Also, thanks to Steven Lubold, who sent us a copy of Current 93's Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, which I'm listening to at this very minute. The mail also included my contributor's copy of Steampunk Reloaded (edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer), which reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)."

Last night, after dinner, we began the annual November reading of House of Leaves. This will be reading #5 or #6, I suppose. We also read Kelly Link's hilarious and charming "The Fairy Handbag" and her absolutely brilliant "Pretty Monsters." I cannot stress how much I adore "Pretty Monsters." The structure of the narrative is a trick I wish I'd thought of first, and the characters are so perfectly executed (make of that verb, executed, what you will). And these lines, from near the end, are wonderful:

Except you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not this story has a happy ending depends, of course, on who is reading it. Whether you are a wolf or a girl. A girl or a monster or both. Not everyone in a story gets a happy ending. Not everyone who reads a story feels the same way about how it ends. And if you go back to the beginning and read it again, you may discover it isn't the same story you thought you'd read. Stories shift their shape.

I also got some very, very good rp in CoX (thank you Sekhmet and Enth'lye). I've just about decided to cut all the Lovecraftian out of Erzébetta's backstory, and just avoid bastardized HPL whenever it crops up in the game. This is not the sort of thing about which I can compromise. I'm not even willing to try. Do it right, or do not bother, because doing it wrong is an insult to the source material. Oh, also, [livejournal.com profile] darkarmadillo managed, in yesterday's comments, in only three words, to perfectly summarize the essence of Lovecraft's cosmicism:

Nobody saves nothing.

Damn straight.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence, autumn seems to have come to stay. Trees are going red and yellow. Spooky and I are talking about driving up the Blackstone River valley in a couple of weeks, into Massachusetts, and maybe as far as Vermont, just to see the trees. And, by the way, I'm guessing there aren't many people who dream about finding the axis (2nd) vertebra of a Triceratops, but I did last night.

No writing yesterday. On Monday, I went back to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," abandoned in December 2008, and began from scratch. I did only 646 words. The prose is dense. And I spent a great deal of time with research. Like becoming obsessed with Romanian words for "whore" and "lover" and "wife." And whether Castle Poenari is on the north or south bank of the River Arges. And Rome's role in shaping the culture of Moldovan and Wallachian culture in the 15th Century. So, that was Monday. Today, I need to screw up my courage (an odd turn of phrase) and go back to work on the piece. But it's as intimidating as it was two years ago.

Only two days remain on the "napoval" auction. One of a kind, people. One of a kind. A piece of my personal history. Also, there are the other eBay auctions.

---

The winner of the signed copy of Silk, commemorating seventeen years since I began writing it on October 11th, 1993, is [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme. The winner was determined by rolling polyhedral dice. If you are the winner, please send you snail-mail address to Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com, and we'll get it in the mail to you. My thanks to everyone who left comments on Monday. They were great, all those stories about first encounters with the novel. Oh, and also, we're a little behind shipping eBay packages, what with the HPLFF and the taxes and everything else, but they'll be going out very soon, promise.

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Yesterday, for the first time since coming home from the airport on October 5th, I left the House. We drove down to Warwick for a matinée of David Fincher's The Social Network. It's a brilliant film, and Fincher deserves an Oscar nomination this year. Wonderful performances all the way 'round. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score (which I downloaded weeks ago) is superb. Parallels are being drawn between this film and Citizen Kane. They're not inappropriate. Highly recommended.

---

Ahem.

Spooky and I have been eagerly awaiting World of Warcraft's next expansion, "Cataclysm," due out December 7th. Yesterday, Blizzard rolled out patch 4.0, and we were excited about that, too. But my excitement came crashing down when I discovered that, among many other inexplicable and fundamental changes to gameplay (some of which I knew were being implemented), most warlocks have lost most of their minions, and had them replaced with...well...impostors. That is, Shaharrazad's succubus, Drusneth is now some hooven slut named Angxia. And her imp, Volyal, has been replaced with a much less agreeable imp named Voltuk. And her beloved felhound Greezun (who was the Reason) has been replaced by some mutt named Bheethun. Only her voidwalker, Zhar'los, was spared the purge. I'd had those minions for two years. Some players had the same minions for five years. And...gods...by the sword of my Dark Lady...I'm pissed about this. There was no sense in it. None at all. It's almost enough to make me give up on WoW. Yes, I know this sounds bloody ridiculous to all you non-warlock, non-WoW addicts. But there you go. The WoW bulletin boards are awash in 'lock sorrow, as we all join in grieving for our stolen minions, and as we futilely beg Blizzard to give us back our rightful minions, to whom we were soulbound. There's this poem, posted last night by a fellow Sin'dorei warlock, Myri (Sisters of Elune):

Ode to a Lost Voidwalker

Twas the night before Cata
and all through the land
Not a player was stirring,
their realms all unmanned.
The warlocks were nestled in Stormwind and Org,
Dreaming of chaos bolts, corruption and more!
Their minions all banish'd, soul shards fully stocked
waiting for Deathwing and his dragon flock.
Then suddenly, out of the gloom came a cry!
Our demons are missing! We have to know why!
In their places are strangers, our friends can't be found
From Icecrown to Stratholme we've scoured the ground.
They left us no messages, no clues to follow
and here we are lost, feeling lonely and hollow.
Oh where have they gone, our faithful fel pets...
A better companion, we haven't found yet.
So begone, all you mages and your elementals
Death knights and ghouls? Hardly sentimental.
The warlocks all sigh, downcast, brokenhearted
For a lock and her demon should never be parted.


---

Fortunately, I have a new MMORPG obsession, City of Heroes and Villains. In fact, I have become so obsessed with the game that, after last night, I'm forcing myself to step back from it for a couple of days. But...my magic corrupter, a vampire named Erzsébetta Bathory (yes, you read that correctly), has reached Level 23 and earned her first cape...and I just adore the game. Yeah, the controls suck, badly. But the game is still sort of wonderful, and almost everyone actually fucking roleplays. That's a fact I can't seem to get over. What I did not find in Second Life and WoW I have found in CoX. But I've played about twenty-one hours over the last three nights alone, and that's far too much, so I'm giving myself a short time out. Just until Friday.

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And now...another set of photographs from the trip. While wandering the empty Minneapolis airport on the night of the 4th and the wee hours of the 5th, we happened across a number of stone-inlay murals set into the airport floor. I have yet to determine when or by whom they were created, but they are beautiful. Photos below. Oh, and we also discovered that portions of the airport floor are paved with Solnhofen Limestone (from whence comes Archaeopteryx), from the Jurassic of Bavaria, including the floor around the murals. Spooky and I spotted fossil sponges and ammonites in polished cross-section. I imagine few of the tens of millions of people who pass through the airport ever how often tens of millions of people pass through the airport ever realize they tread on the remains of ancient reefs and lagoons. Anyway, photos:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 6, Floor Murals )
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
The weather seems to have turned cool again. It was warm enough yesterday in the House that we had to crank up Dr. Muñoz for the first time in weeks.

Almost all of yesterday was spent working on the interview for Weird Tales. How is that possible? Because I have an almost ironclad rule about live interviews, which is simply that I almost never agree to them. Almost. So maybe it's only tinclad. My ability to be articulate has an annoying tendency to wink out when I'm having to answer questions "live." The live interviews I've given over the course of my writing career can likely be counted on one hand. Or two. One, if it has a lot of fingers. There was one I did on the telephone with Publisher's Weekly in, I think, 1996. I was still living in Athens. I did a couple of live radio interviews after Silk came out in 1998, and one to the Birmingham Post-Herald. After that, there's a big gap. In 2007, after much reluctance, I finally agreed to be interviewed for Frank Woodward's documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. But I'm not sure that even counts as live. There were about a bazillion takes, and it took all day to get through it, as I was allowed to get answers just right. In 2008, I gave a live interview to Locus during ReaderCon 19. A month or so later, I gave one to a reporter from the South County Independent about The Red Tree; we met at the Peace Dale Public Library for that one. So, yeah. Not many at all, especially considering I've probably done more than a hundred interviews since 1996 or so.

Today, I go back to work on Sirenia Digest #58. Last night, I saw Vince's first sketch for the illustration he's doing to accompany "John Four," and I loved it.

"Faces in Revolving Souls" will be reprinted in the November 9th issue of Lightspeed. Also, "The Pearl Diver" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of dystopian science fiction, details TBA. "The Melusine (1898)" is being reprinted in a forthcoming anthology of steampunk fiction. Lots of good reprints.

And speaking of my science fiction, I really will be writing The Dinosaurs of Mars, finally, and it's scheduled to be released by Subterranean Press late in 2011. Bob Eggleton is still onboard for the project.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. Also, [livejournal.com profile] catconley, please, please, please contact Spooky about your recent eBay purchases. It's very important.

---

Here's a picture I took of Jupiter and the Moon back on Wednesday night. I've been meaning to post it, and kept forgetting. But here it is. It's all a blur, because our camera sucks for this sort of thing. With my naked eye, the moon was the moon, and Jupiter was clearly a planet. But at least the smudgy lights are pretty. That's the closet Jupiter's been to Earth since 1951, a mere 368 million miles (592 million kilometers) away. It won't be this close again until 2022.

Jupiter and the Moon )


---

No Insilico roleplay last night. Instead, Spooky and I did two Outland dungeons, both in Terokkar: the Mana-Tombs and Auchenai Crypts. It was good to switch off the brain and be Shaharrazad. I know the armory page says she's Shaharrazad the Diplomat, but that's really just a way of catching people off their guard. Last night, she rained fire upon the heads of ornery Dranei necromancers. After WoW, we read more of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Recording the first 4AD album, vicious dobermans, Liverpudlian sound engineers, preganancy, and Betty Hutton. We're coming to the end of the book, and I'm not wanting it to be THE END.

Anyway. Those doughnuts won't make themselves, and the mothmen are casting a baleful eye my way. Yeah, just one eye. They're sort of stingy. Or maybe they're mocking me.
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
And here is the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox. Spooky and I will be observing Ostara on March 22nd, partly because at least one Wiccan website places it on the 22nd this year, and partly out of convenience. Regardless, today is the beginning of Spring. Fuck you, winter. The sun's out, it's warm, and the office window's open.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,068 words on a new story, "Houndwife," for Sirenia Digest #52. It's sort of shaping up to be a very peculiar "sequel" to Lovecraft's "The Hound" (1922). I like it.

Late last night, I learned that The Red Tree has made the "longlist" for the British Fantasy Award, which pleases me. My great thanks to everyone who voted for it. And I do hope to see it make the shortlist. There's an online voting form here. All members of FantasyCon '09 and '10 are eligible to vote.

Also, I've been meaning to mention that Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have asked to reprint "A Redress for Andromeda" (written in June 2000) in a forthcoming weird fiction anthology (title TBA), which pleases me a great deal. "A Redress for Andromeda," you may recall, is the first story in the "Dandridge Cycle."

Yesterday, Spooky had to go to her dentist in Wakefield. On the way home, she stopped by Pow! Science! (at Wakefield Mall) and found the new Carnegie Museum Tylosaurus. Finally, someone has made an accurate mosasaur figure! I should make a post about all the not-so-good mosasaur figurines that have come and gone over the years. Anyway, as it happens, the new Carnegie Tylosaurus was sculpted by a Rhode Island artist, Forest Rogers, who does truly beautiful things. You should have a look. If I were a wealthy beast, I would be buying original pieces of her artwork. Hell, if I were a truly wealthy bear, I'd be hiring her to do a Dancy Flammarion sculpture.

Oh, and Spooky has lowered the price of her latest doll, Cassandra, which you may see here, at Dreaming Squid Dollworks. You know you want to give her a good home.

My head is full of random things today. For example, on Tuesday, just after I'd "fired my therapist" (long story, do not ask), I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Annoy a Liberal: Work Hard and Be Happy." Shit like that just fucking baffles me. I am baffled at the sheer temerity of stupid, sometimes. Also, we filled out the Census Form and sent it back. Is it just me, or has the census been simplified nigh unto utter nonsense? I mean, they're collecting so little data this time. It seems like it was once far more complex. I think it took me about four minutes to answer the questions.

This is getting long, and I should wrap it up. Last night, Shaharrazad, my blood elf warlock, made Level 80. I created Shah on September 27th, 2008, and I only had to give up 37 days, 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 6 seconds of my life (890+ hours) to get her to Level 80. Which is the cap until the next expansion is released, which is not to say there's not still tons of "Wrath of the Lich King" left to play (though I am dubious of the people who claim the game "really only begins at Level 80," because they're the same ones who used to say, the game doesn't begin until Level 70. And does this mean that when the next WoW expansion is released, later this year, the game will suddenly stop and resume only when you reach Level 85? Anyway...Shah leveled sometime just after midnight, fighting Scourge-struck trolls in Zul'Drak.

And now...work!
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
1. I thought, the last couple of days, I was getting to that "pulling myself back together" place, having had two halfway decent nights of of sleep without fucking Ambien. Not enough sleep, no, but no hypnotics, either. Then, this morning, at four-thirty I was still awake, so I took half a pill. At 5:45, still awake, I took another half. I got the sleep around six, but was only able to sleep until about noon (all times CaST). I really cannot take much more of this. I've written nothing all damn month. Oh, and the weather here in Providence is miserable again: cold and rainy and overcast.

2. I managed to work yesterday (largely because I was just coming out of the Ambien haze). I signed the signature sheets for the special edition of The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror: Two Decades of Dark Fiction. They'd already been signed by Clive Barker and Stephen King and Peter Straub, though still have to be signed by Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman. On days like this, when I can't imagine pressing even one more verb against another noun, when my desire to write has dropped away to something very near zero, I try to take solace in the fact that, thanks to my writing, I count four of those five authors as friends, and three as dear friends (I've never met Stephen King). Also, I read back through "Werewolf Smile," seeing as how the book that The Wolf Who Cried Girl is becoming will be built, in part, upon that short story. And I was enormously annoyed to discover I'd missed a metric shit ton of typos when I proofed it for Sirenia Digest #45 (August 2009). I'm considering including a corrected text of "Werewolf Smile" in the March issue of the digest. Anyway, I also answered email and tidied up my file cabinet, which has needed tidying up for the better part of a year. I made notes for two short stories or vignettes, both for Sirenia Digest #52. One may be an indirect sort of footnote to Lovecraft's "The Hound," and the other involves a sideshow and herpetological tattoos. We shall see. I desperately need to get a chapter of the novel written before starting in on the digest.

3. Last night, my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad, made Level 78. And it "only" took me 35 days, 21 hours, 7 minutes, and 43 seconds of gameplay (I actually rolled Shah in October '08). I will point out that Blizzard has done snazzy things with the Armory, adding character animation and whatnot. You may note that Shah has allowed her usually close-cropped hair to grow since heading out to Northrend.

4. For what it's worth, my beliefs are not beliefs I hold because I need to hold them. And I did not choose to hold them. I rejected that approach to belief decades ago. Indeed, I have often been frustrated that I cannot alter my beliefs based simply on what my mind needs. I've written about this in the past, especially as regards my approach to witchcraft and magick, and the fact that I remain an atheist, cosmicist, and pessimist*. My beliefs arise from personal observation of the world around me, from conclusions based upon those observations. I believe nothing simply because I somehow need to believe it. Desire or need alone cannot ever lead me to belief. Basing belief upon needs or desires is, to me, no more than wishful thinking.

5. Spooky's latest doll is now available via her Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop at Etsy. We call her Cassandra, for reasons that ought to be fairly obvious.

6. On Tuesday, we saw Tim Buron's Alice in Wonderland for the second time. If anything, it was more delightful than the first viewing (and we still will not debate its merits here).

* I would deny, though, that I am a nihilist, for a number of reasons.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I did 1,027 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Precisely the same word count as on Sunday, which is odd, but there you go. It's beginning to seem unlikely that I'll have the story finished by tomorrow evening as I'd originally hoped. It's turning out longer than I'd "planned," which is, of course, its prerogative.

I suspect that thing has happened again, that thing that happens almost every December. So far as publishing is concerned, all NYC is on holiday, and I'm left waiting for three checks I'll likely not see until early January, though I needed them in late November.

Really not much else to say about yesterday. I got the page proofs for Black Wings, the anthology of Lovecraftian fiction edited by S.T. Joshi that's reprinting "Pickman's Other Model" (Sirenia Digest #28, March 2008). The anthology is due out from PS Publishing in March 2010, I think.

Last night, we almost went to the Avon on Thayer Street to see Werner Herzog's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call — New Orleans. We got dressed and were about to leave the house, when I pointed out that it was a film that we'd likely enjoy just as much on DVD, and we've got three films coming up that we have to see in the theatre (Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus). The last few years, we've mostly reserved the theatre for films that need to be seen on a big screen, which is a somewhat shitty thing to have to do, but given the steep price of tickets it's also become necessary. See a film at the Avon for almost $20, or wait a few months and see it just shy of free via Netflix. So...we didn't go to the movie, but we did leave the apartment, which I'd not done since Tuesday of last week, though we only went to the market and to check the p.o. box.

Back home, we watched two fairly awful and all but incoherent episodes of Dollhouse. But at least Summer Glau was hot in sling and black glove. And then there was more WoW, mostly doing errands for the Taunka camp in the Grizzly Hills. We did get to see female Vrykul, and it's good to know they're out there (and just as hot as I thought they'd be). We fought Vrykul shield maidens at Skorn. I think Shaharrazad, weary from all her years away from Silvermoon City, is growing tired of the fight. I can imagine her never going back to the Eastern Kingdoms, deciding instead to remain at Vengeance Landing to continue her occult studies in seclusion and obscurity. Anyway, later still, I read more of Greer Gilman's superb Cloud and Ashes to Spooky, just before bed.

And there are two photos of Hubero on my desk, from yesterday:

14 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yesterday I began a new vignette for Sirenia Digest #48. I wrote 1,012 words. For the moment, I'm calling it "Exuvium," but that might change, as it could be confused with the epilogue of Silk.

Otherwise, yesterday was fairly unremarkable. Last night, though, after dinner, Spooky and I played eight frakkin' straight hours of WoW. I think that's our record. Shaharrazad and Suraa finally completed Dire Maul, and then, for some reason known only to them Elder Gods what waste their time with addictive MMORPGs, I rolled a new character (my tenth) on the Venture Co. server (we have friends over there). An undead named...wait for it...Shaharrazad. Spooky already had an undead on that server (Artemizia), though she was still at Level 1. So...we were up until four a.m. and made it to Level 7. This is my first time to play an undead, and there's actually a perfectly rational explanation for this whole thing. Okay, maybe it's not exactly perfect or rational. Sure, there's not much in the way of RP in this MMO[RP]G, but we still make up backstories for our characters, as we sit here playing. Shah and Suraa's have become rather complex. And...no, I'm not getting into this, maybe some other time. But yeah, eight hours of WoW.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and also at Spooky's most excellent Cephalopodmas ornaments (only five remaining), inspired by New England headstones, and featuring everyone's favorite Old One.
greygirlbeast: (blood)
Yesterday, after sitting in this chair for several hours, I found a new story, and I wrote a few, precious words on a new piece titled "Teratophobia." Hopefully, today will go well.

Subterranean Press has announced the upcoming release, in June 2010, of The Ammonite Violin & Others and is now taking pre-orders.

This will, by the way, be my seventh collection of short fiction since 2000. Well, unless I count Frog Toes and Tentacles and Tales from the Woeful Platypus, and I suppose I ought to, in which case this will be my ninth. Yesterday, I sat down and tried to tally all my short fiction publications to date, and arrived at an approximate total of 159 stories (since 1993). I am tempted to ask how that's even possible, but I already know the answer. At any rate, that's an average of 9.3 a year. Though, in truth, something like half of them have been written since I began Sirenia Digest in December 2004. In fact, I realized yesterday that the next piece I write for the Digest will be the 70th story I've written for it.

It's no wonder I hardly ever leave the house.

Also, speaking of Subterranean Press, the Fall 2009 issue of Subterranean includes my story "The Belated Burial":



Did I mention it's free?

I'm still waiting on my agent's verdict regarding the Blood Oranges proposal.

Last night, after dinner, Spooky and I had Surra and Shaharrazad (respectively) out in the Eastern Plaguelands, slowly wending our way along the hellish avenues of Stratholme, and we were nearing the end of the dungeon, when the instance server had some sort of seizure and went down. Yes, it was annoying. Now, we have to fight our way through all those ghouls, banshees, warlocks, and whatnot all over again. Anyway, later on, we watched Rian Johnson's The Brothers Bloom (2008). Previously, I'd been impressed by Johnson's 2005 film, Brick. In The Brothers Bloom we see the promise of Brick brought to fruition. The Brothers Bloom is an utterly adorable, wonderful, and witty film, one of the best I've seen this year. There's also a sort of Ulysses (more James Joyce than Homer) undercurrent that I've not yet completely worked out. Strongly, strongly recommended, this film.

Here are some photos I took yesterday, during the walk Spooky and I had after the blog entry, but before the writing:

16 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
This morning, I was stunned to learn of the death of Andy Hallett. He was only thirty-three years old. In other Angel/Buffy-related news, Alyson Hannigan had a kid last week, and named her Satyana.

Here in Providence, it's sunny, and the temperature has climbed into the low fifties (F).

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,558 words and finished "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts," which will be appearing in Sirenia Digest #40. Which should go out to subscribers before midnight tonight. I'll write about the story more in this issue's prolegomena, but it came out much darker (literally) than I'd expected, an oddly quiet and anxious story. Also, Spooky and I finished up with the CEM for The Red Tree, which goes back in the mail to Manhattan this afternoon.

There's really not a whole lot more to be said for yesterday. I'm reading the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and have so far made my way through three articles on fossil sharks: "Exceptional preservation of the white shark Carcharodon (Lamniformes, Lamnidae) from the early Pliocene of Peru"; "The spine-brush complex in symmoriiform sharks (Chondrichthyes; Symmoriiformes), with comments on dorsal fin modularity"; and "Pectoral anatomy of Tribodus limae (Elasmobranchii: Hybodontiformes) from the Lower Cretaceous of northeastern Brazil."

I'll note that the long-lost Monster Doodle sculpture now has five bids, and the auction ends tomorrow. Also, Spooky finished a new bat, which is now available at her Etsy shop. Painfully adorable, this bat.

Last night, I did a scene with the Alphas in NoR, then signed onto WoW and continued to accrue reputation with Orgrimmar (and a little with the Darkspear trolls). Shaharrazad spent most of the night in the Swamp of Sorrows, which she has found rather to her liking. There are a couple of screencaps behind the cut:

Swampy Night )
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
A wonderful cool day here in Providence today. Only 77F out there as I type this.

Most of yesterday was spent re-reading Arthur Machen, in preparation for writing the introduction for Joshi that I should begin today, but will likely begin tomorrow, after more reading. I'd forgotten how much I adore Machen's "The Great God Pan." It's certainly not his best, and bears all the marks —— good and bad —— of the first important work of a very young author —— he was only 32 when it was first published in 1894, and in those days before the instant gratification of POD, 32 was young for an author. Truthfully, it still is. Anyway, I'd forgotten what a great influence the novella had on Peter Straub's brilliant Ghost Story (1979), which is essentially a 20th-Century retelling of "The Great God Pan" moved to upstate New York and writ large (and minus Machen's rather absurd proto-sf elements). Exchange Helen Vaughn/Mrs. Herbert/Mrs. Beaumont for Alma Mobley/Eva Galli/Angie Maul/Anna Mostyn, and maybe exchange Pan for the Manitou. For that matter, I'd not realized the degree to which Machen's story had so influenced a couple of my own short stories, including "Houses Under the Sea" (2004) and "Pickman's Other Model" (2008). Influences fascinate me, and as I almost never claim any attempt at originality, I have no qualms about pointing out those places where I have borrowed, intentionally or unconsciously, from another.

In Machen's introduction to the 1916 reprint of the story, he writes:

Stevenson [Robert Louis], I think, knew of the emotions which I am trying to express. To his mind the matter presented itself thus: there are certain scenes, certain hills and valleys and groves of pines which demand that a story shall be written about them. I would refine: I would say that the emotions aroused by these external things reverberating in the heart are indeed the story. But, our craft being that of letters, we must express what we feel through the medium of words. And once words are granted, we fall into the region of the logical understanding, we are forced to devise incidents and circumstances and plots, to "make up a story"; we translate a hill into a tale, conceive lovers to explain a brook, turn the perfect into the imperfect. The musician must be happier in his art, if he be not the sorry slave to those follies which mimic the lowing of cattle by some big brazen horn. The true musician exercises a perfect art; there is no descent into the logic of plots for him.

Which rather nicely sums up my thoughts on the artifice and contrivance of plot, the writer's sadly necessary evil, and I love that phrase, "...descent into the logic of plots...."

And today, it has been thirteen years since Elizabeth's suicide.

My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday, as the comments pretty much rendered moot any need for a poll. The journal will stay as is. Also, my great thanks to the few who have taken a moment to comment on Sirenia Digest #32, particularly on "Derma Sutra (1891)." It was one of those stories I was especially reluctant to show the world, and I have been heartened by the responses I've seen so far. More comments are welcome, of course.

Please have a look at the eBay auctions. And if you can, pre-order a copy of the forthcoming mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds. Also, be advised that subpress is accepting pre-orders for A is for Alien.

As for the rest of yesterday, not much to it. A quick trip through a thunderstorm to Borders. This dratted constant pain in my dratted face. Spooky made a really fine stew, mostly with stuff from our CSA bag —— green bell pepper, elephant kale, zucchini, tomatoes (fresh and canned), white mushrooms, patty-pan squash, white onion, garlic, chicken, and I won't even try to list the spices, because I'd only forget most of it. Later, we had a bit of Second Life rp in the Tower of Serpents in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim. Later still, we watched the last episode of Angel —— "Not Fade Away" —— as I wanted to see it before reading After the Fall.
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
I slept about ten hours, which is really nothing short of amazing. All day yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #32 out, six or seven hours work after four and a half hours sleep the night before. I will say that I think this issue of the Digest is one of the very best I've done, in terms of content and appearance. My grateful thanks to Sonya, Geoffrey, Vince, Rick, Gordon, and Spooky for making it work. Yesterday, somehow, I managed to proof and edit "Derma Sutra (1891)" (which I really am pleased with, by the way; I think I found a new flavour of me with it), proof Geoffrey's very excellent interview with Richard A. Kirk, and deal with the layout, in a state of consciousness that can best be described as zombiefied. There were a couple of lines from the interview with Rick I wanted to post here, because I just found it brilliant:

Our perception of the universe is like a tiny house floating on an endless sea. We sit inside this thing we have constructed, completely unaware of what lies outside, hoping that whatever is out there never gets curious enough to poke its nose under the door.

And if you'd like to get #32, subscribe sometime in the next week, and you'll get it.

And today is Lughnasadh. Spooky and I had planned to do a ritual out at Beavertail, but I think we're both still pretty exhausted from yesterday's Big Push, so we're playing it by ear. We'll at least bake a loaf of something, at the very least. I so desperately want to find a coven, and one reason is so that we do not have to be solely responsible for the details of ceremony on every sabbat and esabat. But, that brings me back around to either facing the not insignificant problem of finding a group that is comfortable with my unorthodox views (and vice versa) or trying to found my own coven built upon those views (Panthalassa, diminished emphasis on gender polarity, inclusion of a Divine Androgyne aspect as part of the "tripartite" Goddess, a move away from anthropomorphic deities, removal of the distinction between left- and right-hand paths, and so forth).

Anyway, when the work was finally done yesterday, I lay down on the chaise with Dr. Muñoz to try to read a few more pages of Fraser's Triassic book while Spooky fixed dinner (a stirfry of green beans, red bell pepper, zucchini, fresh basil, and ground chicken), but I dozed almost immediately. Spooky woke me for dinner. Later, but not too late, there was a really excellent bit of rp in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim (thank you Badra, Lina, Hela, and Sev), that pretty much exemplified what it is I've come to SL looking for and which sort of renewed my faith in the inherent potential of SL as an interactive story-telling tool, just when that faith was at an all-time low. In fact, I may clean up the transcript from the rp, add a few embellishments here and there, and post it behind a cut in this journal. It was really a splendid little series of scenes, first in the throne room of the palace in Ireem, then, later, in the Tower of Serpents (where the Magi practice). Nothing too profound. No fireworks. No sex. Just simple, good, solid rp/story telling. Anyway, about one a.m., I was falling asleep at the keyboard, and I crawled away to the front parlor and put Danny Boyle's Sunshine in the DVD player, as it has become one of my "comfort films." I dozed while it played, awakening for bits here and there. I remember waking to hear Cassie say, "Only dream I ever have...is the surface of the sun. Every time I shut my eyes, it's always the same." And finally I awoke near the end, as Capa is struggling in the bulky EVA suit to reach the payload, and, half awake, I lay there and marveled at the score and what a beautiful thing this vastly underrated film is (my next Mac will be named Icarus). Then I went to bed. And slept and slept and slept.

I should wrap this up. I've been ignoring email for two days, and I should ignore it no longer. Please have a look at the current eBay auctions (two of which end this afternoon), and please, please do pre-order a copy of the mass-market paperback edition of Daughter of Hounds. The platypus will probably thank you. I know that I shall.

Postcript (2:26 p.m.): It just occurred to me that I neglected to note in the new issue of the Digest that "Derma Sutra (1891)" was written entirely to just one song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds —— "Lovely Creature." I did manage to work the title into the story, but wish I'd remembered to acknowledge the song in the issue itself. I kept count (thank you iPod) of how many times I listened to the song while writing the story —— 104 times in 4 days (that's about seven hours worth of the song).
greygirlbeast: (starbuck2)
I've long since lost track of the times that some sf reader, usually someone in SL, has told me how much hesheit loves the work of Orson Scott Card, and then I've had to explain that, regardless of whatever talent Card may (or may not) possess as an author, I cannot see past his religion-based bigotry to even try to enjoy his work. And, usually, the hesheit in question has no idea what I'm talking about, despite the fact that Card won't stop shooting his mouth off about the evils of homosexuality, the sanctity of marriage, the holiness of het procreation, and so forth. For example, his article for the July 24th issue of mormontimes.com, in which, among many other dim-witted and hateful things, Card says:

If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn't require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?

Superstition aside, much of Card's hysteria seems to center on some sort of imagined threat to the human population's ability to continue to crowd out all other lifeforms on the planet, should gay and lesbian marriages be recognized. It would be funny, if it didn't piss me off so much. Let's look at the world population clock. As of right this very fucking second, there are 6,713,684,976 humans on the face of Earth (most living in horrid poverty). That's 6.7 billion, Mr. Card, already far above the planet's carrying capacity for humanity. So, please, shut up and fuck the hell off. May your poor shriveled Mormon wang desire the anus of another man.

Er...but moving along to things that don't make me want to adorn my face with the tines of rusty forks, how about confirmation that there really are vast hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. One has now been named —— Ontario Lacus —— a 7,800 square mile lake of ethane, methane, nitrogen, and other simple hydrocarbons.

Also, my great thanks to Anita Dalton for sending me this link to her analysis of "Caitlín R. Kiernan’s use of child characters in Daughter of Hounds." Reading the article yesterday, I realized that I'd forgotten how much I love that book, how much I love those characters. Truly, it's by far my best novel-length work of fiction, and, you know, as much as no one wants to admit it, authors need to have their egos stroked every now and then if they are to continue authoring (especially us midlist waifs). So, thanks Anita, from the bottom of my wicked heart, because for every reader like you who "gets it," there are a thousand more I leave wondering why they didn't read some tripe by Larell K. Hamilton or Robert Jordan, instead. I think, Anita, that your article has made me resolve to return to Emmie and Soldier as soon as The Red Tree is done (Emmie will be about 12 or 13). Meanwhile, once again, I remind folks to please preorder the new mmp edition of Daughter of Hounds, so I'll have a chance to write such a novel.

Four and a half hours sleep last night, at best. Insomnia keeps me up, then the face pain (from the seizure-cracked molar) wakes me. And today I have a mountain of tedious work ahead of me, whipping Sirenia Digest #32 into shape before it goes out to subscribers this evening. Jesus fuck, I can't even think in curlicues right now. And yet, somehow, I must cross this day productively. Coffee and Red Bull. Anyway, yesterday I wrote 535 words, and found THE END of "Derma Sutra (1891)." Wow, what an angry, sexy, fuck-you sort of story, all wrapped in Lovecraftiana, steampunk, and the sort of coitus that keeps shitwits like Orson Scott Card awake at night. I am rather proud, I must admit. But, the well of anger is deep, and when i was done with the story, it was unexhausted, so Spooky dragged me away from the keyboard about 6 p.m. (there was genuine dragging involved), away to Beavertail and the calming sea.

Usually, we stick to the northeastern side of the point, above the lighthouse, but south of Lionshead. Yesterday, we took a tartan picnic blanket that [livejournal.com profile] blu_muse sent us from a trip to Scotland and spread it out on the boulders on the northwestern side of the point. There are beautiful sheltered coves back there, the water all the shades of beach glass. As the sun set, I lay with my head in her lap, just listening, smelling, tasting, feeling the mist against my skin, letting Panthalassa pull me slowly back from the brink. There were cormorants, gulls, rabbits, ladybugs (ladybug sex, even), ripe red hips on the beach roses, beautiful green-white thickets of Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota). The floats from lobster pots bobbed not far offshore. We stayed almost until dark. I didn't want to come back to Providence. I just wanted to lie there by the roaring, sighing bay until the stars came out. I wanted to swim in the cold water. I wanted to be nothing more substantial that the foghorn calling out across the waves. But, that's not the way it goes.

Back home (about 9 p.m.), Spooky made dinner (corn and Annie's "creamy tuna spirals"; we usually avoid processed foods these days, but Annie's is an occasional weakness), and I read more of Fraser's book on the Triassic. Then we read all the way through "Derma Sutra (1891)" (it comes in at 5,254 words total). Later, I managed a few hours of Second Life. Even though the "Kingdom of Sand" sim is turning out to be less wonderful than I'd hoped, it did give me a good scene last night (thank you, Sev, Artemsisia, and Lina). And I finally said good-bye to Toxia once and for fucking all. I dropped in, thinking I might miss the place, but after only five minutes I was so pummeled by lousy rp and utter, mindscathing stupidity that I left and left for good. I'll take away some good memories of that sim, but only a few. There is simply no overcoming the moron factor, and wishing don't make it so. Basically, I desperately aspire to hide out in the Palace in "Kingdom of Sand" as Shahrazad al-Anwar until we can make my own sim a reality. Because I'm tired of hopping from one world to the next, one character to the next, only to be greeted with idiots and stories that'll never be finished. Spooky and I have even chosen a name for the sim (from a rather long list), which will be the Providence of Daughter of Hounds —— "Howard's End" (thank you, E. M. Forster) —— assuming no one takes the name before we can raise the money.

Gods, it's already 11:53. Almost afternoon. Just a few more things. For one, my thanks to Gordon ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) for this image. I have no idea what's even being advertised or why anyone would pay $19 for it, but now you can see the horror I wake to every day:



Please have a look at the current ebay auctions. And now, yesterday's six Beavertail photos (behind the cut). Not the best we ever took, but ambient light was low:

Beavertail, July 30th, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
On Wednesday, I wrote 875 words on Chapter 3 of The Red Tree, which brought me to the chapter's end. It also gives me 35,491 words total on the manuscript, or 150+ pages. Even if I'm forced to do the full 100,000 words stipulated in the contract (which would call for some serious padding), I'm more than a third of the way to THE END. If I get the 75,000-words length I want and think the story needs, I'm almost halfway there. Which is quite encouraging at this point. And, at this stage, I have to admit, I like where the book is going.

I took yesterday off, because I badly needed a day off. A full day off, with no expectation that I would write anything. Not even a blog entry. And I have been gorging on movies.

Wednesday night, we braved a thunderstorm to see Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World (2007) at the Avon on Thayer Street. The Avon is wonderful. It was built in 1938 and is even cooler than the Plaza in Atlanta. And the film was, of course, very good. Herzog has yet to let me down. Encounters at the End of the World, while a documentary, covers some of the same ground as Herzog's recent sf film, The Wild Blue Yonder (2005). But it was ground I didn't mind retracing.

Yesterday, we caught a matinée of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Night, and I can now say that, finally, someone has made a Batman film I like better than Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992). Indeed, someone has finally made a superhero film that works as a film, period, even if divorced from the context of comic-book adaptations. The film is just superb, top to bottom. Yes, Ledger's Joker is fucking brilliant. As much as I love Christian Bale, this film belongs to the Joker, not Batman. Indeed, I'm hoping we see Ledger receive an Oscar nomination for this, at the very least. I also thought Gary Oldman's performance was excellent. James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer's score was perfect. And I wish I were not so fucking asleep, so I could articulate my thoughts better. I should have written this last night, not this morning, while I'm sitting here waiting for the Ambien to wear off. Anyway, even though I found that The Dark Knight far exceeded my expectations, and I'll go so far as to say it's a damn near perfect film, I did have a couple of qualms with the last twenty or thirty minutes. And I don't feel like fooling with the tags for an LJ cut, so IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS, SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. NOW. Frankly, I think one of the ferry's should have blown, and it should have been the one loaded with civilians. There was just too perfect a build up, and when one didn't blow, it felt like a letdown. Up until that point, the Joker seemed, to me, to be functioning as a sort of bringer of revelations to Bruce Wayne. The Joker always won, one way or another, and he was never wrong, until then. And it felt forced, like maybe the studio execs were too afraid of a test audience in Little Rock or something. If the civilians had pushed the detonator and their own ferry had exploded, after having been spared by the convicts, that would have been true to the film. But that's my only major quibble. Also, big nods to the screenwriters, because, damn, that's a quotable movie, one of the most quotable since Pulp Fiction (1994), I think. I'm making a list of my favourite lines, such as (as the Joker explains himself to Harvey Dent) —— "Do I really look like a man with a plan, Harvey? I don't have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. You know what I am, Harvey? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I caught one. I just do things. I'm a wrench in the gears. I hate plans. Yours, theirs, everyone's." Fucking A. Or another of the Joker's lines —— "You see, nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If I told people that a gangbanger was going to get shot, or a busload of soldiers was going to get blown up, nobody would panic. Because it's all part of the plan. But tell people that one tiny little mayor is going to die and everyone loses their minds!" Or Harvey Dent's line —— "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain." Great stuff.

Then, last night, we watched an odd little zombie film, The Signal (2007), which was divided into three parts, with three directors —— David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry. It also contains a beautiful cover of Joy Division's "Atmosphere," by the way, courtesy Ola Podrida. A visceral, gory film that does a nice job of keeping you off balance, and of mixing a sort of cosmic horror with black humor. Not great, but a nice surprise.

Anyway....if you have not yet ordered a copy of the new mmp edition of Daughter of Hounds, I ask that you please do so. Thank you. Let's keep these books in print. Meanwhile, Herr Platypus says Friday is as good a day as any to subscribe to Sirenia Digest. And, of course, subpress is taking preorders on A is for Alien.

And wouldn't you just know, as soon as I try to back away from Second Life, I go and discover a pretty cool Medieval Persian rp sim that allows me (more or less) to resurrect Shahrazad al-Anwar, this time as a mute, amnesiac necromancer? I have been spending far too much time in the sim —— Kingdom of Sand —— the last two days, and sleeping far too little. You can see my character's profile and a screencap here (if you're into that sort of thing). Last night, I even caught a djinn.

Now...I have to try to wake up, answer email, and get started on a new story for the next issue of the digest. Where's my cocaine!
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Just a little dreamsick this ayem. It's been worse. I think this is actually going to be a shorter post, for a change. A shorter post with no photographs. Huzzah.

Yesterday was a spectacular writing day, certainly the best I've had thus far on The Red Tree. I did 2,201 words, in a mere two and a half hours, and almost reached the end of Chapter Three. I'm sure that I'll find it today.

A few things that I want to remind you of:

1) Don't forget that the KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle has begun, in support of the readings at KGB Bar in Manhattan. Lots of awesome items, including a complete collection of back issues plus one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest (back issues delivered in CD-ROM), and also a copy of the revised 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Tickets are only a dollar each (!!!), and every ticket gives you a chance to win the item of your choice. The auction will end on July 28th at midnight.

2) Talking to Harlan and to Bill at subpress, it seems that I am only the third American author ever to be fortunate enough to have one of Jacek Yerka's paintings grace the cover of herhisits book. I think Theodore Sturgeon was first, then Uncle Harlan, and now me. And here is a link to the painting in question, so you may have a sneak peek at what A is for Alien will look like (painting No. 19, "Deep Water"). There's an update at subpress regarding the book and its accompanying chapbook here. I'm thinking that the chapbook title will be B is for Basal.

3) The mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds will be released on September 2, and you can now order it from Amazon for only $7.99 (or with Threshold for only $14.98). It is, obviously, very important that this edition does well, so I ask, even if you read the book in trade paperback, if you can afford to pick of the mmp, please do so. Thank you.

Not much to yesterday besides the writing. Chinese take-out for dinner. I checked out a Medieval Persian rp sim in Second Life and was fairly impressed. It's a marvelous build, one of the best I've seen, making wonderful use of only one sim. It's also allowed me to dust off and rework Shahrazad al-Anwar, my old Dune character. Now, she's a dark magus (a necromancer who's mute and has amnesia). Anyway, if you'd like to check it out, the sim is called Kingdom of Sand. Candy-colored werewolves not allowed. Oh, and I played a short and delightful scene as Elenore Darwin (the Time Lord "daughter" of Professor Nareth E. Nishi) with the street urchins in New Babage. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Ellen Datlow ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow) has posted a fairly amusing (and Spooky says cute) photo of me from Readercon. You can even see my Sid Haig button.

The weather is still blessedly cool. Cloudy. Rain again last night.
greygirlbeast: (grey)
I didn't find THE END of "The Madam of the Narrow Houses" yesterday, but I did do another 1,058 words on the story. It was a particularly difficult writing day, every word coming only after great resistance. I really must find the story's conclusion today. If only because it is already Thursday. Also, I will note that, for me, ghosts are the most difficult supernatural entities to write about well.

Not much else to yesterday, really. The writing. No walks the last couple of days, because I've been slacking off on exercise again. Bad me, I know. We went out to Videodrome last night about nine and rented Marcus Nispel's somewhat less than awesome Pathfinder (2007). I think Spooky enjoyed it more than I did. The alternating cyan and sepia color palettes seemed to render most of the action scenes incomprehensible to my eyes. And it's not often I'll say a film would simply have been better off had they skipped the dialogue altogether, but most of the dialogue was that bad. There were a few cool moments here and there, a few. Karl Urban was not nearly as interesting as he was playing Eomer in The Lord of the Rings, or even as interesting as he was playing Vakko in The Chronicles of Riddick. Anyway, as usual, your mileage may vary.

Oh, my contributor's copies of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (Volume 18; edited by Stephen Jones) arrived yesterday, which reprints "Houses Under the Sea." It sort of odd, getting a "year's best" reprint before I've received the volume the story was first printed in (Thrillers 2, released last December), but there you go. This is, by the way, my eighth appearance in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (my first was in Volume 9). Also, I got an email from ST Joshi informing me that the Penguin Classics title American Supernatural Tales, which reprints "In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888)," is now available in bookshops.

Someone asked a while ago (and I never answered) whether I would be keeping an online journal for my Second Life Dune rp, as I recently did with Professor Nareth E. Nishi. The short answer is no, I won't. It was a lot of extra writing, keeping Nareth's blog, and I found that while it added considerable depth to the roleplay, it managed to take of lot of the fun out of it for me. Anyway, my Fremen character, Shahrazad, is all but mute and just shy of schizophrenic (there's a long story there), and I cannot imagine how she would keep any sort of a journal. However, there is a short entry for her in our Dune: Apocalypse wiki. It even has a "photo."

And I think that's all for now. The coffee is here...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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