greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-30 01:25 pm

"Sorrow's my body on the waves" (2)

Cold this morning. Cold, but sunny, 37˚F. Very, very windy.

Yesterday, I began a second pseudo-vignette for Sirenia Digest, and right now I'm calling this one "Apostate," though I'd like to come up with a better title. "Apostate" is appropriate, I just don't like it. One-word titles can get irksome, and I just finished "Camuffare." Anyway, I did 1,302 words yesterday afternoon, and I'll likely finish the piece today.

By the way, after the writing yesterday, I did some math. "Apostate" will be the 105th piece of short fiction I've written for the digest since December 2005 (vignettes, short stories, novelettes, novellas, what-the-fuck-have-you). That includes the three parts of The Alphabetos Triptych, each considered as a single work. To date, about a dozen of the pieces have been reprinted elsewhere. Twenty were collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others (2010), and another twenty-five will appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Oh, and four appeared in Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007). That's only forty-nine. Which means a mere 46.6% of the stories from the digest have been collected to date. Even assuming that Subterranean Press continues to publish collections of them, given that I keep adding more each month, it's going to be quite some time before everything from the digest is in print. It would require the digest be discontinued, and I don't see that happening any time soon. I found the numbers sobering. One-hundred and five stories. If you like my short fiction, and you're not a subscriber, this certainly ought to be an incentive.

Also yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, [livejournal.com profile] briansiano, and the intrepid Sara Murphy convened in the wilds of Pennsylvania to shoot more video and stills. More scenes from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I should have been there, but the continuing headaches (yes) and my deadlines made the long trip impractical (to say the least). But, here's the thing. Excepting the top-tier donors (3 people), the shots from this session is not available to those who donated to the Kickstarter project. And given we went a bit over budget, we're hoping to cover more of the overage by offering some of Kyle's prints for sale. I'll post the information here as soon as he's set up for the sale. Which should be very soon. The photos are gorgeous. [livejournal.com profile] kambriel* made the gorgeous "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" dress that Sara wears. And, while I'm at it, the novel's release date is now only thirty six (!) days away.

Last night, on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] andrian6, Spooky and I watched Joel Anderson's Lake Mungo (2008). Except for Cloverfield, I'm fairly certain Lake Mungo is the best "mockumentary" (I fucking loathe that "word") since Myrick and Sánchez' superb The Blair Witch Project in (1999). Lake Mungo is quiet, eerie in all the right ways, and deeply disconcerting. In the end, it's what all "ghost" stories should be – it's sad. Set in Australia, it's sort of like Peter Weir did a ghost story back in the 1970s. You should see it.

And, with that...time to make the doughnuts.

Wishing She Were On the Way Home from Pennsylvania,
Aunt Beast

* If you want to see many of her beautiful designs on her retail website, just go here. Kambriel has made several custom pieces for me over the years.

Addendum (2:29 p.m.): Just heard from my agent that my Publishers Weekly interview is now out, in the January 30, 2012 issue of the magazine. Apparently, no one in Rhode Island sells the magazine, so if you can get me a copy, I'll show my gratitude in some very nice way. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
2012-01-25 01:18 pm

"And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains..."

I know it's gonna be a goddamn weird day when the first thing I read after crawling (moaning) from bed is an article in The Economist. But, really South Carolina people. Newt Gingrich? Newt fucking Gingrich? That crackpot from the radio? A paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze who's clearly proud of being a paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze. Is anyone actually believing this shit about "open" marriages that he's spouting? But, back to the aforementioned article, I have to quote this bit:

As nuts as it may seem to those of us who belong to smaller, more vulnerable segments of the population, conservatives feel backed into a corner by the broader culture, and they detect in Mr Gingrich's pharisaic diatribes the hopeful will to fight, the promise of punching their way back to uncontested supremacy. That Mr Gingrich is a cartoon of a corrupt demagogue doesn't seem much to matter. Not only do conservatives believe Mr Gingrich feels their pain, they believe he seeks their revenge.

I'm imagining redneck Tea-Partygoers googling pharisaic, because that's a damn fine cup of irony (sorry, Mr. Lynch).

---

Yesterday was pretty much a bust. I wrote a measly 491 words on "The Diamond Friendly," and I think I'm about to shelve it a second time. I could try to explain what's gone wrong, but it would probably amount to a treatise. Having lately read so much dull, flavorless sf, I'd really like to write a bit of sf that, at the very least, can be called neither flavorless nor dull. Thing is, so much of that bad sf I've been reading is bad not because, I suspect, the writers in question are necessarily bad writers. I know that some of them aren't. It's because good sf – especially that of the futuristic variety – requires the author to have a firm grasp of sociology, psychology, linguistics, pop culture, economics, history, politics, and never mind the fields of science and technology relevant to the story at hand (besides sociology and psychology, I mean). You have to know, or at least be able to lay your hands on, all these disparate sources of data if you are to imbue your story with the least jot of authenticity, and then you have to start juggling them, and keep it all in the air while you write (I suppose this is done with the toes, since the hands are occupied), snatching the information you need as you need it. Mixing and matching, splicing and melding.

And here I am, in a crush of deadlines, setting out to write what would be an approximately ten thousand word hardcore "biopunk" (can we please, please, please stop punking?) story, spoken by its interauthor in a quasi-fictional argot I'm devising from a hundred sources for use in the mid 2050s...and...yesterday, I realized I had to step back. I started the story last month, then set it aside. I am going to write this dark, dark story about what [livejournal.com profile] corucia has deftly termed "somajakking." But I don't think I can write it now. Maybe I'm wrong, and by the end of the day I'll have figured it out, how to do this and everything else and not break my brain. I just don't know. A writer knows her life has grown peculiar when she begins to feel guilty about taking the time and energy to, you know, write a short story.

---

I don't like to talk about my infirmities in the blog. I just don't. I think, mostly, because I dislike the inevitable commiseration. "I know just how you feel." That sort of thing. I understand how many human beings find comfort in commiseration, but I don't. Anyway, I'm drifting. Point is, I've had this fucking migraine for eight days, as of today, which beats my old record by three days...and I've been trying to persevere. But I'm starting to slip. The formulation of coherent – never mind artistic – thoughts while this railroad spike is being removed and reinserted into random parts of my skull...I think the appropriate word is maddening. There must be a word for people who can remain articulate while in excruciating fucking pain, but, if so, it escapes me. Or I never learned it. Anyway, please do not commiserate. Mostly, I just wanted this down for the record, so I can remember, some day hence, that I once had an eight-day (or longer) headache.

---

I was going to write about playing too much SW:toR. I was going to write about reading The Dragon Seekers, and how it pains me to revisit the life of Gideon Mantell – the man who, among many other amazing achievements, named the second dinosaur* ever described, Iguanodon (1825) – but died poverty ridden in 1852, as do many paleontologists today. Mantell also discovered and described Hylaeosaurus (1833), the third dinosaur to be described. Instead, I wrote about all that other stuff. And now I have to go try to write that which I am paid to write.

When Evening Calls So Hard,
Aunt Beast

* The term dinosaur was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-20 03:22 pm

Hubero said, "It eats cats, with snow sauce."

And I begin this...here.

No. Here.

Happy birthday, David Lynch! And Federico Fellini!

The snow finally came last night, and more will come tomorrow. We're about to go forth and do what errands must be done. But first, I'll write this journal entry. Because I wish to remember yesterday, for one thing.

We left Providence a little after one thirty (CaST) and made it to New Haven (CT) by three-thirty (also CaST). There were snow flurries along the highway, from a sky that was as sunny as it was cloudy. But they were the sorts of cloud that drop snow. I read from Lightspeed: Year One while Spooky drove and kept me informed about the flurries and birds and dead racoons. We parked off Whitney, on Sachem Street (saw a bumper sticker at the labs: "Honk If You Understand Punctuated Equilibrium"), and I got about two hours with the dinosaurs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Mostly, I sat on the wooden benches and stared up at the creatures Marsh named, the legacy of Richard Swan Lull, and George Ostrom, and Rudolph Zallinger's famous The Age of Reptiles mural (1943-1947) bringing it all to life (no matter how inaccurate we may now know it to be; many of our own imaginings will be disproven in due course – and I am not surprised LJ doesn't know how to spell the past participle of disprove; of course, I maybe misusing the past participle, but that doesn't absolve LJ of its ignorance).

And sure, these are the old circa 1930s-40s "tail-dragging" dinosaur mounts. But those are the images of dinosaurs that I grew up with. Back before the Renaissance of the 1970s, before it was understood that most dinosaurs were active, endothermic creatures, not sluggish reptiles. Before it acknowledged that, not only did birds evolve directly from dinosaurs, but that "birds" are surviving theropod dinosaurs, and many Mesozoic theropods had feathers. And so forth. I am comforted by these old visions of blundering, ectothermic monsters.

At some point, I opened my iPad just to see if I could actually get reception in there. It felt a like horrible sacrilege, but I signed into the Yale server as a guest and posted to Facebook: "Writing from inside the dinosaur gallery at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. This is MY church." A testament to the cosmic circle. No beginning. No end. Life, being a transient state of matter, and so here is my church.

Spooky was off looking at taxidermied crows and archaeological doodads, but when she returned, we went upstairs together to see live snakes in the children's "Discovery Room." One thing that makes the Yale Peabody so precious to me is that, while acknowledging science education for children, it hasn't turned itself into a theme park, as have so many American museums. Those that have allowed budgetary panic to morph them into nightmares of "edutainment" (Oh, fuck. LJ doesn't know disproven, but it knows the vile portmanteau edutainment. Fuck.). The Peabody is still a place where I can sit in peace with the past. Where there is still a stately air of respect for science and its endeavors. Truth is, the Great Hall at the Peabody calms me more than any of my meds, or any story I will ever write, or any painting I will ever paint.

Here are some photos:

19 January 2012 )


We left about 5:30 CaST, and made it back to Providence around 8 p.m. The snow came in earnest about nine or ten. The sky was creamsicle. I love creamsicle night skies.

Since my last LJ entry, I have – in stray moments – been reading short fiction, all from the aforementioned Lightspeed: Year One. Tananarive Due's "Patient Zero" (2008), Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Observer" (2008), David Tallerman's Jenny's Sick (2010), Anne McCaffrey's "Velvet Fields" (1973), and Eric Gregory's "The Harrowers" (2011). I liked Gregory and Tallerman the best; most of the stories would have benefited by being a bit longer, especially "Velvet Fields," which felt like a synopsis. The McCaffrey piece is little more than an outline, really. The Gregory piece felt short, but mostly that's just because it left me wanting more, which is a good trick for an author to turn and suggests no obligation to actually provide more.

Also, here's a rather good entry by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna on the fluidity of names, on those of us who cast off our birth names before we become artists. And sexism.

I do mean to write about my feelings on internet piracy and SOPA/PIPA, but there's no time now. Spooky and I have to run errands before ice and more snow arrives, and I have email.

Like dinosaurs, the snow is helping.

Somewhat calmer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
2012-01-07 02:11 pm

"They make no mention of the beauty of decay."

He couldn't make a sentence stand up and be noticed if he put Viagra in the ink.

---

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. Gotta go write.

Hands Tied,
Aunt Beast

5 January 2012 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2012-01-01 02:27 pm

Pallid Midday

Well, I've survived that. Mostly, I'm just stiff and sore from lying down for the better part of two days, and bored silly, and in need of a shower. Spooky's still a bit ill, but her symptoms manifested about ten hours or so after mine did. Anyway, lousy fucking way to "ring in" the New Year.

Then again, why we do this, celebrate the exchange of one calendar for another, I admit it escapes me. We celebrated the arrival of 2011, which we apparently used up, so we celebrated the arrival of 2012. Benchmarks, I suppose. Congratulations that the world is still here. Something like that. Something must be celebrated to break up the days, most of which are unremarkable. For most.

For my part, 2011 was a vast improvement over 2010, though we struggled with a marked shortage of money the first half of the year. Still, 2011 was a year of recovery, I think, and of new beginnings. Not on the first of the year, but new beginnings strewn here and there throughout. The greatest of these is, of course, Alabaster, and my return to comics on my own terms – which I'd said for years was the only way I would return. But, too, I finished what is far and away the best novel I've written, The Drowning Girl, which will soon be out in the world. I did that, and still had the energy, somehow, to sit down and write another novel, Blood Oranges, which isn't even in the same league as The Drowning Girl, but which is quite a lot of fun, probably the last thing anyone could say about The Drowning Girl. Then there was the enormous success of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume 1), which still has me a little dizzy. And now Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book are on the way! Yeah, I'm tooting my own horn, as they are wont to say, but it was a good year, and the year to come ought be marvelous. And here is my recap of the short fiction I wrote this year:

01. "-30-"
02. "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash"
03. "The Carnival is Dead and Gone"
04. "Untitled 35"
05. "Figurehead"
06. "Fake Plastic Trees"
07. "Down to Gehenna"
08. "The Granting Cabinet"
09. "Slouching Towards the House of Glass Coffins"
10. "Evensong"
11. "Dear Daughter Desmodus"
12. "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W"
13. "Ex Libris"
14. "Another Tale of Two Cities"

That's three less than 2011, but when you consider that I wrote most of The Drowning Girl, all of Blood Oranges, the first three issues of Alabaster, and edited Two Worlds and In Between, Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and The Yellow Book (the editing with a fucking enormous amount of help from Spooky and [livejournal.com profile] sovay) – I think that sort of explains why there was less short fiction this year. Also, I'll note that all but two of these were written for the digest.

And. Plus. The release of the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl is only days away (slightly delayed, due to the illness).

There truly is little that can be said for yesterday. Most of it was spent horizontal, watching crap on the iPad, recovering. Though, I will add that you cannot banish Yog-Sothoth from any dimension with the microdrive of an iPod, Mr. Shirley. Though, I do wish that trick would work on the majority of Xtians and Republicans and on the Tea Party loons, the lot of them worse than any of the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods dreamt up by HPL. Because I'd gladly sacrifice Inara to that end.

Now, I'm going to go take a shower and hope I've enough energy left afterwards to work on Sirenia Digest. I absolutely could not afford two days of downtime, as these deadlines pile up on top of me, and now I have to scramble three times as fast to catch up. But, if Spooky's up to the trip to Whole Foods, we'll manage our annual New Years' dinner of black-eyed peas, collards, mac and cheese, and corn bread.

Vertical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-12-28 02:14 pm

"...making a lake of the East River and Hudson."

Not a good morning, this. Instead, the sort of morning you just have to keep moving through. Not because there might be something better on the other side, but because the only other option is to stop moving. And somewhere along the winding course of my life, the irrational belief was instilled in me that stopping is a Bad Thing.

Anyway...

Yesterday, post-"vacation mistake" epiphany, I wrote and answered emails. I signed the signature sheets I mentioned. We worked on the line edits for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (and we're not too far from being finished with that). Today, more. Of everything. I think Kathryn's going down to her mom and dad's place. Would that I were going with her.

---

Yesterday, I was looking back over my Blogger entries from December 2003, and I found this passage, written on the 25th:

I will not get smarmy this morning, because I will not be a hypocrite, but I will wish you all the finest things that I can for the long year to come. Peace and freedom from tyranny and fear and repression, in all ways. The realization of dreams, or at least the luxury of the dreams themselves. The dignity that comes with pain that may not be avoided, and the strength to bear all the unbearable moments in life. Beauty and the eyes to see it. And perspective. And joy, which is a far finer thing than any passing happiness...Spooky and I have had the finest Xmas of any I've enjoyed since the late '80s.

I know why I wrote that, why I found an Xmas I could endure. What I spent a considerable bit of the day trying to puzzle out was exactly how things backslid so much between 2003 and now, what happened in the intervening seven years. Oh, I know the answer: a lot of bad shit. A fall. The whole affair left me sort of sick and confused.

---

Not much else to yesterday. I did manage a decent bit of reading. Three stories: Charles Stross' "A Colder War," Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Mongoose," and Don Webb's "The Great White Bed." I don't think I'm ever going to "get" Stross. I believe he and I must simply exist on different points along the dial. But, reading him yesterday, that old chestnut about SF being the literature of ideas came to mind. Who said that? Pamela Sargent? I think it was her. Anyway, sure, "A Colder War" is a great bundle of interesting ideas. But there's very little in the way of characterization, and without solid characters, a "literature of ideas" is pretty much a textbook. Characters first, and then science. All the technoporn in the world can't save a story from the vacuum created by an absence of solid, believable characters. Also, the Burgess Shale fauna isn't Precambrian, it's Middle Cambrian. Sorry. I know it's poor form, one author publicly grousing about another, but Stross' stories always leave me feeling like I'm missing something that everyone else plainly understands.

As for "Mongoose," it's a beautiful, brilliant, and delightful story. Each of those adjectives was chosen with care, by the way. I'm not just heaping hyperbole. I can also use it to illustrate a point I was trying to make yesterday. I very much dislike Lovecraftian fiction that is parody and/or attempts at literary irony. Almost without fail, they fail, those sorts of stories. The author/s, having decided they cannot possibly take Lovecraft seriously, and that no one else can, either – not in this day and age, and probably not in any day and age – turn/s to satire (usually dimwitted satire). "Mongoose," on the other hand, manages to have a lot of fun with a futuristic extrapolation of Lovecraft's universe, and never once does it feel as if the authors are mocking the source material. It is, I think, a story HPL himself probably would have loved. The difference, I believe, is that "Mongoose" never stoops to parody or derision, but chooses wit and whimsy, instead. Especially whimsy. And it just works. Brava.

It took me forever to get to sleep, but I can't blame Monsieur Insomnia. Not when I didn't get up until one p.m. the day before. I think I finally found sleep sometime after five ayem, after watching the first half hour or so of Clarence Brown's The Rains Came (1939).

Slivy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2011-12-27 03:08 pm

"Into the light of a bridge that burns."

A day when you wake up two hours later than planned, well, there's not a lot you can do to salvage a day like that. Funny fucking thing is, yesterday I had a sort of panic & epiphany combo meal, realizing it was idiotic for me to think I could take a vacation from December 15th to January 3rd. That I thought the work would wait, or that I wouldn't be overwhelmed as soon as my playing hookey ended. So, I resolved to scrap the plans we had for this week (which included a trip to Yale and a trip to Marblehead, Mass.) and get back to work today.

And then...I didn't wake up until 1 p.m. (CaST).

Which sort of shredded my plans for today good and proper, and which is why it's 2:29 p.m. (CaST), and I'm only just starting my blog entry. I was going to get back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," but now I'm thinking, instead, I'll be lucky to deal with a bunch of email (one of the things I did yesterday, post-epiphany), then sign the signature sheets for the limited edition of A Book of Horrors (to be released by P.S. Publishing). But, in case you're curious (casually or otherwise), below is a list of what I have to have done between now and the end of January, and it ought to be enough to convince you of the folly of the "much-deserved vacation":

1. Produce Sirenia Digest #73, which means finishing "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" and writing another and as-yet-untitled science-fiction tale.
2. Editing Alabaster #3, as soon as I have my editor's notes.
3. Writing Alabaster #4
4. Keep track of the pages for Alabaster #2 as they're drawn and inked and colored.
5. Finishing making corrections to the mss. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart and The Yellow Book (about three weeks overdue, at this point).
6. Travel to Philadelphia sometime in the second half of January to finish up filming the trailer for The Drowning Girl.
7. Get the front page of my website revamped for the release of The Drowning Girl, and get it done ASAP.
8. Compile a list of suggested panels and other assorted programming for Readercon 23 for Rose Fox.

I mean...what the fuck was I thinking! That I was tired? Sure I'm fucking tired, but that's no excuse. Last week, my psychiatrist was trying to convince me to "drop something" to reduce my workload, and I think I did a pretty unconvincing job of explaining why I can't drop anything, not without...

It's like this. Lots of people have a lot of trouble understanding what it's like to be a "famous writer" who is only just managing to squeak by financially. In this economic climate, you'd think it would be an easy enough matter to understand. But yes, the vacation is over, and I just have to hope there wasn't too much time frittered away.

As for yesterday, there was prune hamantashan, a trip to our storage unit in Pawtucket, a clove cigarette (actually, these days they're clove cigars, technically), short fiction by Norman Partridge, William Browning Spencer, and Michael Marshall Smith. Partridge's "Lesser Demons" is an interesting new take on the tiresome zombie trope, and Smith's story, "Fair Exchange" is just about the funniest Innsmouth story I've ever read. Normally, I don't like funny in my Lovecraft. Normally, I'm violently opposed to it, in fact. But if you read this story, and hear the narrator's voice as Jason Statham, from the days of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, it's a fucking hilarious story. Yesterday, the cold sky over Providence was so blue it was murderous – that wide carnivorous sky of which I've been speaking of for years.

Carnivorous,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-12-11 01:37 pm

"A big hollow man, with a fistful of sham..."

Quite cold in Providence today, and colder tonight. Presently 36˚ Fahrenheit, crawling towards a high of 39˚.

Assembly Day #72 went pretty much as expected: not as tedious as many, but still tedious enough to annoy a person who, like me, can't seem to abide even the smallest jot of tedium. Regardless, Sirenia Digest #72 went out last night, well before midnight, and all subscribers should have it by now. I'm especially interested in thoughts on "Another Tale of Two Cities."

Beyond pulling the digest together, which took several hours, there isn't much else to say about yesterday. Work, work, and work. And, in lieu of anything even remotely interesting to say about that work, here are some Reminding Links:

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart

Alabaster

Oh, and if you're into this sort of thing, here's my Amazon wishlist and here's Spooky's. What with Solstice and Cephalopodmas looming dark and gibbous on the horizon. You know, for kids. Distraction is always welcome.

---

Mon monsieur, mon amour, le Comte de Insomnie, made an unexpected return last night. Perhaps something went amiss with the laudanum, a bad batch from the apothicaire. A misplaced dash from a tincture of cocaïne, possibly. At any rate, last night, trying to get sleepy, and so I read Lisa Tuttle's recent short story, "The Man in the Ditch," because Tuttle has written some good stuff, and I liked the title. Sadly, the story is bland, only competent, and infected with an especial sort of bland, formulaic mundanity I'm seeing in a lot of "horror" these days, both written and in film. Couple moves into house, apartment, condo, old farm only to discover that the domicile is haunted by malevolent spirit of X (insert generic EVIL entity of your choice). Family X (which can be nuclear or otherwise, pure or tainted, possessed of children or not, but they are pretty much always heterosexual) soon meets terrible fate at the hands of X, or, more rarely, escapes after the fashion of The Amityville Horror (1977) or Spielberg's Poltergeist (1982); Ryan Murphy is turning this tired trope on its ear with his American Horror Story, by the way, by mocking the various incarnations of X and by making the ghosts sympathetic and the X Family the true monsters/invaders. Point is, these are the sorts of films that when Spooky and I are looking for something to stream from Netflix we automatically skip over, the sorts of books I avoid. Anyway, despite its intriguing title, "The Man in the Ditch" is exactly such a story.

Which leads me to wonder exactly what all these straight couples are afraid of. The intrusion of the Outside, the Unknown, via a supernatural agency? No, I think that's only a metaphor – the ghosts and demons and whatnot. They are merely tiresome phantoms trotted out for more mundane (there's that word again) threats: infidelity, an inability to conceive, sudden infant death syndrome, bankruptcy and foreclosure, children who indulge in drugs or engage in sex or who turn out to be queer or who run away from home, termites in the walls, AIDS and other STDs, bedbugs, and so forth. But instead of writing about those things, it's all dressed up in the metaphor of "horror." And it's dull as small-curd cottage cheese, and it makes me weary. I may miss a beat now and then, kittens, but I promise never to bore you with such painful domesticity. Lisa Tuttle, you can do better than this.

At any rate, the vacation does not begin until the 15th, so I must get to work.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
2011-10-05 01:31 pm

"Why don't you kiss with flesh or with fire?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Napkin of Caribou )
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
2011-09-19 01:04 pm

TDG CEM Day 5

Chilly and mostly sunny here in Providence.

Gods, I slept almost eight hours. Not good.

Yesterday, fourth verse same as the first. Pretty much. It had skipped my mind, day before yesterday, that The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – like The Red Tree – contains fictions within fictions. That is, whereas The Red Tree contained "Pony," The Drowning Girl: A Memoir contains "Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean" and "Werewolf Smile." Which, essentially, turns reading through a ten-chapter CEM into reading through a twelve-chapter CEM. Plus, there's the long "Back Pages" section at the end, which is sort of like...I don't know. It's not an epilogue, not in any conventional sense. It's almost like end notes that continue the story. Anyway, we managed to reach the end of Chapter 5, before Geoffrey arrived yesterday evening. Today we start on page 146 – the beginning of Chapter 6 – out of 277 pages. With great luck, we'll make it through chapters 6 and 7 today.

When this CEM is in the mail and on it's way back to Manhattan, I've promised a three-day break from work for me and Spooky. Out of this house, that's the most important part. No house, no fucking internet. I think we may just pick a direction and start driving. I have hardly taken a break since...never mind. Best not to think about that.

We were sitting on the stoop about 5:30 p.m. yesterday, waiting on Geoffrey. I was having a cigarette, and we were watching these four little boys across the street. And they were little boys, say eight to ten. And one of the younger boys was so adept with profanity that even we were taken aback. We heard one of the others say, "That boy sure swears a lot. Damn." And then Geoffrey arrived, bearing some volume of lost Derrida. Something like that. I never really found out, because when it comes to deconstruction and post-structuralism, I still have enough scars from college, and I don't touch the stuff. But, I knew Geoffrey meant well.

And I should go. Pages and pages.

But first, because all things on the internet vanish and I'm trying to make a permanent things, I present our evidence that Nicolas Cage is a time-traveling vampire:



After while, crocodile,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2011-09-12 01:15 pm

"...there are roads left in both of our shoes."

Should probably make this quick. Out there it's sunny, and it almost still feels like summer. Almost. But I won't be heading for the sea.

Yesterday, I finished, well...I think they'll not abduct me again and use the electric nipple clamps on me, not if I only say, yesterday I finished Phase One. Just wait until you see.

Actually, the electric nipple clamps are kind of exquisite.

---

I'm reposting a big chunk of Friday's post, because not as many people seem to bother with reading this LJ on Friday's, and I want this seen. Comments are good, too:

Before anything else is written on this entry, you have to see what happens when The Drowning Girl: A Memoir falls into the hands of the superb and marvelous Michael Zulli, who has, through his own amazing graces, become my Phillip George Saltonstall. Here is the painting of the title, and here, too, is the "lost" painting that Imp does not learn about until much later:

The Drowning Girl, Nos. 1 & 2 )


There really are not words adequate to the task of describing the effect these paintings have had on me, seeing your fiction made real, and I thank you again (and publicly for the first time), Michael. No, these will not be in the Roc trade paperback, but they will appear in any hardback edition, should any hardback edition ever appear. At least one of them will also appear in the photographs and book trailer project that I have undertaken with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. These images will also appear on the LJ we're keeping for the project, [livejournal.com profile] evacanning, and, eventually, on the novel's website.

---

Last night, after Vincent D'nofrio, I read another story from The Book of Cthulhu, Molly's Tanzer's "The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins." And wow, this one's a keeper. I'd never encountered this author before, but...imagine H. P. Lovecraft refracted through the lenses of Lemony Snicket, Edward Gorey, and any number of Victorian authors, and you get this wonderful and delightfully perverse short story. Brava, Ms. Tanzer. That said, I fear I'm running out of good stories in this anthology. I've read twelve out of twenty-seven, and I don't have high hopes for more than three or maybe four further worthwhile pieces. But yes, "The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins" is very, very good, and I'll be keeping my eye open for additional work by that author.

Etsy has proven the Apocalypse is nigh: there is now a category for "hipster."

I'm not heartened at the news of a new Kate Bush album (coming in November), Fifty Words for Snow, not after her last couple of releases.

And, finally, I was genuinely saddened to see that Andy Whitfield has died. Spartacus: Blood and Titties won't be the same without him.

The Word for the World is Plastic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-09-07 02:24 pm

"The sin, and this mess we're in. The city sun sets over me."

Fuck, I feel like doing something depraved. Something truly, truly unregenerate. With pony girls and glass dildos. Instead, I'll spend the day writing.

Fuck.

Um...where was I?

Yesterday, I did a LOT of work, but I can't tell you on what, or the men in black Cadillacs and black suits will come and take me away. But it was a lot of work, and it will continue today...and for quite some time. Someday, I will be able to end this silence.

Any comments on Sirenia Digest #69? All will be entertained. Most will be answered. Pipe up, kittens.

Also, we have only 70 hours remaining the Kickstarter for mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. We're well-funded at this point, but it seems to a shame to miss the $3,000 mark by a mere $107. So...here's the deal. This is off the official rewards books, but anyone who donates $50 over the next 70 hours will receive a signed page, hand-corrected, from the actual "first draft" of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir manuscript. No fooling. Have at it, please. Just email me your names and addresses (greygirlbeast[at]gmail[dot]com) and you will be rewarded. This would be in addition to the 8x12 or 4x6 prints you'd receive anyway, and yes, if you've already donated $50, you'll also get this reward.

Last night, Spooky went to Target and got me wicked cool Día de los Muertos pajama pants, black with brightly colored sugar skulls, and they are pleasing me no end. I think I may not take them off for days. And yet...Target did not have the Hallowe'en candy out, thwarting my sweet tooth and in all defiance of the laws of unreasonably early holiday marketing strategies. BUT! They did have the Hallowe'en pet costumes out. Damn you, Target, you frakking perverts!

We almost finished reading The Stand last night. Also, I read another story from The Book of Cthulhu. It's a very mixed bag, this book. Some classics that deserve to be classics, some wonderful surprises, and a few stories I would gladly be fucked up the ass with a red-hot poker before reading (Brian Lumley, anyone?). Anyway, last night I read a piece called "Jeroboam Henley's Debt" by Charles R. Saunders, which at first seemed to have promise. For one, it's extremely rare to encounter a "mythos"/Lovecraftian story involving primarily African American characters. Moreover, Saunders is a black man, who has written essays on why blacks don't (but should) read science fiction. And the writing was passable, so I had some hope. But, about three quarters of the way through, the tale lapsed into clichéd voodoo histrionics and plot twists that almost broke my neck. So, yeah. It had potential, but fizzled. The story was originally published in 1982.

And now, now I must get back to my work on phased arrays of 7-hertz infrasonic weapons for the Department of...um, I mean, um, get back to work on that. That thing. Yeah. I will say that this work – thought I love it – is stressful enough I started smoking again yesterday (American Spirit, perique blend). Hopefully, that won't last long.

In Hiding,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2011-08-30 02:03 pm

"My head is weak, my heart always speaks, before I know what it will say."

I'll make no apologies for the tone of yesterday's post. There are no regrets. I will only offer an opaque excuse, that I have been made a party to what is, in my estimation, a sickening tragedy. One that could have easily been prevented. One I tried to prevent. And now I will carry the fact of it in my head for years.

And so, yeah, the fury's going nowhere soon. So, do not attempt to console me. It's amazing how many people on the internet are unable to comprehend that trying to calm a rabid animal only gets them bitten. Oh, and then they whine about how unfair it is they've been bitten. Poor fucking idiots.

---

Today there is work, which part of me needs badly. Never mind my having finished a novel day before yesterday. It's not that I love the work; it's that the work keeps me sane by filling a void. So, yes, work, important work, then my psychiatrist before dinner. There's a prescription.

And speaking of work, I have begun to realize there's presently confusion over the two books I've written this year, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Blood Oranges. The first – The Drowning Girl: A Memoir – took me about a year and a half to write, and is, by far, my best novel to date. The second – Blood Oranges - took me forty-five days to write, and if you think of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as, oh, let's say a gourmet meal, then Blood Oranges is the tasty, but fluffy and insubstantial, desert that comes afterwards.

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will be out from Penguin in March 2012.

Blood Oranges hasn't yet sold.

And while I'm at it:

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One) will be out, I think, in September (or maybe October) from Subterranean Press. If you've not ordered, you need to do so.

Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be released by Subterranean Press sometime in 2012.

And there's a lot more, and it's awesome, but if I told you, I really would have to kill you. No joke.

---

Yesterday, I read two stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Used to be, I never read the anthologies my stories appeared in. Don't know why. I just never wanted to do it. But, the last year or so I've been reading some of the books with my stories. Anyway, yesterday I read two of the twenty-seven (I think it's twenty-seven) stories in The Book of Cthulhu. The first, John Langan's "The Shallows" is actually quite brilliant. It's unexpected, and fresh, and comes at you sideways. It's not what you think it is. These are all good things. The other was Thomas Ligotti's "Nethescurial," a very Ligottian take on the Lovecraftian found manuscript and the Lovecraftian malign artifact. And of course it was brilliant. It was Thomas fucking Ligotti.

But I fear there's a lot of this book I'm not going to like, stories I'll skip over. Because the author has chosen to use parody in her or his approach HPL, and that's just not my thing.

---

Yesterday, after a lot of work and email, the "day off" began about three p.m. We drove south and west almost to the Connecticut state line, to Westerly and on down to Watch Hill. To the lighthouse at Watch Hill. We took the narrow, winding road out to the lighthouse, and sat on the sea wall. To the west, the protected waters of Little Narragansett Bay were still and quiet. A flock of cormorants sunned themselves on rotting pilings. On the east side of the point, though, the waves were still wild. Now and then, the sun through the spray off the tops of the waves created the briefest of rainbows behind them. We watched surfers a while, then drove east to Moonstone Beach.

As I've said, Moonstone has many moods. And I saw another new one yesterday. I'd expected piles of pebbles and all manner of unusual strandings and flotsam. My expectation is irrelevant. The beach looked stripped raw. I can think of no other way to describe it. There's been a tremendous amount of erosion during the storm. The tide was coming in, and there were odd sandbars and eddies, and the crashing waves – some easily six to eight feet high – were coming in from the west, the east, the southeast, the southwest, in no discernible (gods, the English language is retarded) pattern. The air reeked overwhelmingly of dead fish, though not a dead fish was in evidence. The usual cobbles were almost entirely absent. The waters in the breaker zone were an ugly greenish black, loaded with sediment and all manner of...well...dead things. Mostly plant matter. Only the Piping Plovers seemed to be happy with the state of things, dashing about madly at the water's edge. I could see that the waves had overtopped the dunes and the sea had reached both Trustom and Card ponds. It was the sight of a place you trust as being the incarnation of calm, seen after terrible violence has occurred. But the error is mine. Panthalassa has no interest in my moods, impressions, or needs, and if I thought otherwise, I'd be a fool. Moonstone will heal, in time.

Between the ponds, there were birdwatchers, and we had our monoculars with us. We spotted a Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) and three Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), both new to us.

We drove on to Narragansett, but there was no power. So we couldn't get dinner at Iggy's or at George's (which is actually in Galilee). We did manage to piss at a Cumberland Farms. Their power was out, but they let us use a Bic lighter. It's amazing how dark a women's room can be. At sunset, we drove past Scarborough Beach, and Narragansett Beach. The surf was heavy at the latter, but not as heavy as I'd expected. There were dozens of surfers in the water, most seeming a bit disappointed. All in all, we saw far less damage than I'd expected. And then we came home.

And that was yesterday. Oh, except for three wasted hours in Second Life. If you tell me you like it dark, and then bale when it gets rough, and without so much as a "good night," you're a simpering weasel, and it's really as simple as that.

Wrathfully,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
2011-07-05 12:00 pm

"Sun is shinin' in the sky. There ain't a cloud in sight."

Wicked hot here in Providence. Summer finally arrived with a vengeance. We spent most of yesterday hiding in the middle parlor and the bedroom, the two cool rooms. Fortunately, you can proofread anywhere. Right now, it's 85˚F Outside and 81˚F in the cool part of the house. Here in my office, it's probably as warm as Outside. And...Spooky's about to leave to take the ailing automotive vehicle to the mechanic, after which she'll have to walk back in the heat. I made sure her stillsuit was in good repair.

Yesterday, more proofreading on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart: "Derma Sutra," "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," and "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts." It is my intention that we'll finish the proofreading today. Then I can post the ToC. I think.

Last night, I got the final PDF for Two Worlds and In Between, the probably-final layout with all my corrections. The book is getting very close to publication. We're just a few weeks shy of the first anniversary of the day Bill Schafer asked if I wanted to do the book. My thanks to everyone who has, or will, preorder.

Spooky has left the house and wandered away into the bled. May Shai-Hulud have mercy upon her.

Today, is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #67, and subscribers should have the issue this very evening. This issue includes the new vignette, "Down to Gehenna," along with Chapter One of Blood Oranges.

And! Today is the official publication date for two new anthologies edited by [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow: Supernatural Noir and Naked City. The former includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn," and the latter another of my stories, "The Colliers' Venus (1893)". It should be noted, by the way, that when you read "The Maltese Unicorn," you have to hear a young Lauren Bacall as the narrator.

Last night...well, I braved the heat and, as a nod to the holiday, made BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and potato salad. We only almost perished of the heat in the kitchen. We ate in the parlor, which our coolerator droid, Dr. Muñoz, is doing it's best to keep tolerable (see graph 1, above). Then more Law and Order: Criminal Intent, then more Rift on the Faeblight shard while local hooligans celebrated Independence day by trying to blow up the neighborhood. The cops finally showed up, and things got quiet sometime after two. I got to sleep far too late. 5 ayem, and awoke at 10:30 ayem. Too hot to sleep much.

And now...off to hug a sweaty platypus. Comment, kittens!

Warmly,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
2011-06-14 12:46 pm

"And I have seen the sunrise over the river, the freeway..."

I need to try to make this short.

Here in Providence, summer is still February again.

Blood Oranges progresses at an impressive clip. On Sunday, I wrote 2,443 words, and yesterday, I did 2,188 words and finished Chapter 3. I've cleared with my agent that this novel will be, at most, 75,000 words (my novels are usually more that 100k). And, by the way, this isn't YA. At least, not necessarily. I think some people are confusing Blood Oranges with Blue Canary, which will be YA. It is very difficult to explain to people what it is, this book, Blood Oranges. It's sort of to dark fantasy/urban fantasy what The Fifth Element is to science-fiction films. Which means, among other things, you'll either get it or you won't. You love it or you'll hate it. It's also a loud "fuck you" to the "romantic urban fantasy" or ParaRom or what the fuck ever you might call it or have heard that crap called. Blood Oranges is me, taking back the night. Or to paraphrase Ursula K. LeGuin, this is me taking back the language of the night.

We saw a rather excellent thriller last night, a French film, Antoine Blossier's Proie (Prey, 2010). I suppose it could be classed as a "creature feature," an eco-thriller, or something like that. But I'd say, take the parable of Cain and Abel, add a herd of boars driven wild by toxic discharge from a factory, and put four angry men in a forest at night. With guns. That's what the film is, and it goes surprising and unexpected places. I was especially pleased with the ending.

---

I'm going to repost this, because people may not have seen my post last night, and the whole Publisher's Weekly thing is still making me smile (By the way, I NEED A COPY OF THIS ISSUE OF THE MAGAZINE, as nowhere in Rhode Island carries it. IF YOU CAN LAY YOUR HANDS ON A COPY AND SEND IT MY WAY, I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER):

The Publisher's Weekly review of Two Worlds and in Between has come in. Not only is it starred, it was chosen as the "Pick of the Week," out of all books reviewed this week. PW has never before been so kind to me (and no, this is not the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL I received last week. Anyway, here's the review:

Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Vol. 1
Caitlin R. Kiernan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $38 (576p) ISBN 978-1-59606-391-4

"I wasn't always a storyteller," Kiernan (The Red Tree) claims in her introduction, but you wouldn't know it by the tremendous talent displayed in these 26 stories of life, death, undeath, horror, sorrow, and a peculiar sort of beauty. This retrospective volume, the first of two, contains works published between 1993 and 2004 that show Kiernan's rapid ascent from a journeyman writer bringing a fresh perspective to classic horror themes ("Emptiness Spoke Eloquent," a Dracula "sequel," and the title tale, an exercise in punk nihilism with zombies) to one of the most innovative and imaginative stylists in contemporary dark fantasy. Particularly noteworthy are two award-winning stories: "La Peau Verte," an otherworldly absinthe fantasy, and the horror tour de force "Onion," about a couple haunted by encounters with the supernatural that represent both the most horrifying and the most transcendent moments of their depressingly common lives. All of the selections are distinguished by Kiernan's poetic prose, which conjures a rich, enveloping atmosphere of dread and imparts a surreality to the narratives that supports their weird events. Every story in the book deserves its "best" designation. (Oct.)

So. Yeah. Wow.

Also, the 600-copy limited edition of of the collection is now completely sold out at the publisher. However, the trade edition can still be ordered directly from Subterranean Press.

---

Links to three more Rift screencaps, Selwyn in Iron Pine:

Selwyn and Jude at the frozen Tarn, southwest of the Chancel of Labors.

By moonlight, the high pass at Mage's Mark.

Before the gates of Stillmoor
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2011-04-25 08:21 pm
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
2011-02-02 01:41 pm

"No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white..."

So, today is Imbolc. And here we are, halfway to the vernal equinox. Which really can't come soon enough. The threat of more snow has dissolved into drizzle and a skim of slush atop the mountains of snow. We'll have a fresh glaciation when the sun goes down. I haven't seen the sea since, I think, October. Today, there's a parking ban in effect in Providence (no street parking).

Our thanks to everyone who dropped by Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries yesterday. And since someone bought the mermaid necklace, I have to point you towards my other most favorite, her Someday antique key necklace. FREE shipping until Valentine's Day. Please do have a look. The platypus says so, that's why.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,760 words and finished the sixth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Given I only just finished the fifth chapter on Sunday, that might sound sort of strange. So, I should explain that Chapter 5 was very, very, very long, and I decided to split it. So, the second half of 5 is now 6 (plus what was written yesterday).

Anyway, yesterday I passed the 300th manuscript page, and the total word count stands at 67,537. Last night, I sent the entire manuscript to [livejournal.com profile] sovay, because I'm losing all perspective. She says I'm still on track. I expressed concerned about some of the structural similarities between The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. To which she replied, "I think any questions of repetition should be mitigated by the fact that the narrative also includes a five-act play; it's by its own acknowledgment, like any memory or storytelling, a collage." Which helped allay my worries, though nothing's gonna make them actually go away.

There's a nice write-up at io9 on Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's forthcoming The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, being a most sublime and unusual collection to which I contributed "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key." The book will be out June 21st.

Also, Dark Horse is talking up Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, the collection that includes "The Maltese Unicorn," the only short story I've ever written about a Depression-Era lesbian private eye in the employ of the madam of a demon brothel trying to recover an ancient and magical dildo carved from unicorn horn. I'm very pleased to see that Supernatural Noir got a really beautiful cover. I pretty much don't expect those anymore. The collection will be released June 22nd.

The good word count and kind words from Sonya aside, yesterday was sort of crappy. And included disquieting computer shenanigans and a fall in the bathtub that could have been a lot worse than it was (I got off with a bruised arm). Still, last night wasn't so bad. We watched two episodes of American MastersThe Greely Expedition and Into the Deep: America, Whaling, and the World. Later still, I briefly left the house and wandered Outside, into the snowbound street.

And here's a photo of an icy window, dendrites and ice and filigree, taken early yesterday from one of my office windows:

Looking Out Through Frost )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
2010-08-10 01:24 pm

"Grab a path from all the things they sell."

It would seem I shut Sméagol in my office at about four-thirty a.m.. The insomnia's come back, and I was up alone, playing WoW, and apparently he crept quietly into the office without me noticing. But he's fine, and the office is fine, so no harm done. No apparent kitty trauma.

Very hot here in Providence again, and I think I'm going to get just a little work done, and then we'll head south to the shore. I've not left the House since last Monday (a full week inside), and my ankle's much better, so...yeah. Time to go Outside.

Most of yesterday was spent working on the table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I read over several stories. "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" didn't make the cut, but "Stoker's Mistress" did (though I'm removing all evidence it was originally written for a "Vampire: The Masquerade" anthology). I decided I'm only including one story from the Dandridge Cycle, so I cut "Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea (1957)" and "A Redress for Andromeda." I'll be using "Andromeda Among the Stones," the best (and longest) of the three tales. But I got hung up on whether to use "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun (Murder Ballad No. 1)" or "Lafayette (Murder Ballad No. 2)." And "The Road of Pins" or "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)." Hence, last evening's poll. The results are interesting, and will definitely be factored into my final decision. If you have an opinion and have not yet voted, please do. I am having some weird trouble determining precisely when some of the earlier stories were written, those from the nineties, before I began dating the hell out of everything, but we'll sort that out. With any luck, I'll be able to post a preliminary ToC sometime in the next couple of days.

It's strange. This feels like I'm editing an anthology, not compiling a collection of my own work.

Last night, after egg salad for dinner, we watched three or four more episodes from Season Three of Nip/Tuck. It's kind of fascinating how pretty much everyone in the show but Christian has turned into a total douchebag. I spent a sizable chunk of the evening on rp in Insilico. It was good rp, not like that mealy stuff you get at Wal-Mart for $4.99 (plus tax). It's weird to be so immersed in that world again, but, for now, it's a good weird. And that was yesterday.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2010-08-09 07:19 pm

Choices!

Please only vote ONCE in each of the two polls below:

[Poll #1603821]
greygirlbeast: (Default)
2010-08-02 12:59 pm

The Pull of the Recent Considered

Yesterday was a day off, as predicted. It was not the best sort of day off. I was too tired to leave the House. I helped Spooky clean the place a little. I started a painting I've been meaning to start since May. I read a little. There was a nap before dinner. After dinner, I went back to WoW and played my night-elf warrior, Mithwen, who has sat neglected since November 2008, when I abandoned her for my blood-elf warlock, Shaharrazad. Anyway...it was a day.

It would only have been a day, had Spooky's laptop not decided to go belly up. Again. Once again, it's probably the motherboard. She's taking it in for repairs today. Fortunately, it's still under warranty. But she'll be without it for a couple of weeks, which is going to make it harder to deal with eBay and various other necessary things. So it goes. She's stuck on my ancient, but dependable, iBook until her laptop comes back.

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I wanted to put down some notes addressing John Glover's concerns, posted yesterday, that the "Best of CRK" volume would neglect older tales in favor of new ones. It is a concern that gets to the heart of why putting together the table of contents is proving so difficult for me (though there are other factors, as you'll soon see, that also make it very hard).

Yes, it's true. It's very hard for me to read the older stories (certainly those pre-2000). This is normal. Authors grow. Change. Our voices change, as do our likes and dislikes, etc. But, so far, a good portion of the ToC is comprised of stories written between 1995 and 1999, stories from Tales of Pain and Wonder, From Weird and Distant Shores, and Wrong Things. So, they certainly won't be left out. It helps, too, that very few stories written after 2005 will be included, as those are being reserved for future collections. So, this is mostly Tales of Pain and Wonder through To Charles Fort, With Love and Alabaster. Mostly. There will be very little material from Sirenia Digest, for example. Which helps me to avoid giving the older stories the cold shoulder.

Of course, nothing from the novels written during that time will be included. And none of my comics work (the latter for legal reasons, as all my work for DC/Vertigo was "work for hire," and I don't own it, so have no reprint rights. And getting those rights would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.). This is a "best of short fiction" volume.

But the question of what goes in and what doesn't is more complex than making sure the book represents the full range of my work during this initial eleven-year chunk of my career ('94-'05). The biggest problem I have is in defining the term best. Are we talking about my personal favorites? Reader favorites? Those stories that have been chosen by editors for annual "best of" anthologies? The stories that have won awards? The stories that were only nominated for awards? The stories that have been singled out by reviewers and received the most praise? Stories that mark a sudden stylistic or thematic shift? The stories that have most often been reprinted?

What does best mean in this context? Truthfully, there's no correct answer to that question. All answers must be subjective, relative to one perspective or another. I'm weighing all of these factors (and probably a few more) in choosing the stories.

So, that should offer some insight into how I'm going about this process. When I was offered the chance to do the book, I think my reaction was, "Wow. This will be so easy!" But it's not even remotely simple.

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It's 12:49 p.m., and I'm still not awake. Mothmen, get the oxygen tank!

Postscript: I just heard from Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press that The Ammonite Violin & Others is down to the last 82 copies. That's only 82 remaining out of 1,800 copies. So, if you want to snag one, you'd better do it very soon.