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

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

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

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

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

Weary of Nonsense,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Choice comments to recent entries. First, regarding the accelerating acceleration of life at the dawn of the Twenty First Century [livejournal.com profile] lady_tigerfish writes:

You just can't Tweet Big Thoughts; they take more than 140 characters. I resent any format that demands my thoughts be small.

– and also –

Making the time--for anything--seems to be a thing of the past. Nearly everyone I know describes themselves as lazy, but as far as I can tell, "laziness" seems to translate to nothing more than "not spending every waking hour doing something." There's an almost Puritanical bent to the way we seem to need to be busy every hour of ever day, to the way stillness is demonized as sloth. Like if we stop moving for two seconds, the devil himself will descend to make use of our idleness. We certainly treat each other that way whenever one of our own dares to step outside the regimen and, say, turns off the cell phone for awhile. Funny, since (as other commenters have pointed out) this pace actually makes us less productive in the long run.

And [livejournal.com profile] mrs_ralph writes, of writing and this blog:

I don't think that's what people are looking for when they follow a writer. I can't speak too much for other people but I think I was looking for the deep, dark secret of how to. Turns out there is no deep, dark secret or if there is one it is 'nose to the grindstone, shoulder to wheel and get on with it already!' or as so many writers say 'just write.' The magic isn't something you can beg, borrow, bottle or steal, it is what happens when a person with a unique mindset and a way with words sits down, writes a story and then lets the rest of the world read it.

Thank you both.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,608 words on the piece that is still called "Blast the Human Flower," but which really needs a different title. I wrote 1,608 words, and found THE END sometime after sunset. It's the sort of story I think of as the biological equivalent of "nuts and bolts" SF, that manly technopron that puts me to sleep. A couple of years back, I was on a panel at Readercon that asked why Darwin has been less of an inspiration to science fiction than, say, Einstein. Or, put another way, why sf authors are usually more concerned with, say, astrophysics, engineering, and robotics than they are with zoology, botany, and geology. It was a good panel. Dune was offered up as an especially good example of science fiction in which biology is the cornerstone of the tale. The sort there needs to be many more of, stories at least as concerned with life and earth sciences as with technology. Oh, and there's the matter of anthropology/sociology/psychology, too – which also seem frequently ignored or frowned upon by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the genre. I could get into the whole Apollonian sf vs. Dionysian sf thing, so-called "hard science" vs. so-called "soft science," writers and readers who don't have the stomach for flesh and sex (sex being, after all, the driving force of evolution)...but I won't.

In the end, of course, it's all matter, viewed at different levels and in different states and configurations, perpetually recycled. So, there. Science fiction, like all literature, is the literature of matter. Distinctions dissolve, as well they ought.

---

Since late Friday afternoon, a migraine has been eating at me. I can't tell if the anger's still here, or if my awareness of it has been eclipsed by the headache. Sometimes, my mood swings and chains of angry days would portend a seizure. Now that the meds have those in check, for the most part, I begin to suspect the same anger and mood swings portend the headaches (there's a lot of interesting data drawing parallels between migraines and certain sorts of seizure disorders, and vice versa). Anyway, I think I like the anger better.

Today is an assembly day. I hope to have Sirenia Digest #73 out to subscribers before midnight. This month you get the new vignette I was just discussing, plus part one of "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea" (with a great Vince Locke illustration), and the second chapter of the original and eventually very reworked text of Silk.

Throbbing,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
This is one of those rare mornings when I wake freezing, shivering, headachey, just shy of full-blown hypothermia, somehow having divested myself of all the blankets in the throes of this or that bad dream. And then I need two hours to get warm. Only, according to Spooky, I was actually being a bed hog, and if I'm cold it's my own damn fault.

Yesterday, I did an interview. An important interview. But I cannot yet say for whom or where it will appear. I will tell you as soon as I can. But it ate up more of the day than it should have. Also, I've gotten bloody sick of talking about myself. It's a little easier to talk about Imp or Sarah or Dancy, and almost as accurate since they're all overlapping aspects of me, anyway. To all prospective interviewers and would-be biographers of Me, I say to you, the only biography that's worth a good goddamn, the only truth-be-told, must first be filtered and fictionalized. You reduce the lives of women and men down to mere fact and history, and mostly you'll be left with the banal; if you're lucky, you'll get monotonous tragedy. Mythologize, though, and at least tragedy will seem noble, and even mundanity may be transformed and redeemed.

I am a writer, and my lot in life is to lie constantly, all the while never failing to tell the truth.

Today, I go back to work on "The Lost Language of Mollusca and Crustacea," and hopefully finish it. It will come in Sirenia Digest #73, with a great illustration by Vince Locke, plus Chapter Two of the original (scrapped) attempt to write Silk, plus (!, I hope) a new science-fiction story. I hope. Maybe.

Yesterday, I saw the colored pages for one of the Alabaster stories, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, and wow.

An announcement. Every morning, or early afternoon, or mid afternoon, I spend anywhere from one to three hours on this journal. An hour and a half is about average, but let's say an hour, because round numbers are easier. That means I journalize seven hours a week, twenty-eight hours a month, three hundred and sixty-five hours a year (or about 15.2 days; and, in truth, a considerably larger sum). Think of all the stories or vignettes or work on novels I could get done in that time. And I've been doing this for more than eleven years, almost every single day! So, I'm thinking that after March, after the release of The Drowning Girl, I'm going to cease this every-goddamn-day blogging thing, this wearisome cataloging of the humdrum events of my humdrum life, and reserve the LJ for news of forthcoming books and of occasional interesting trips, saving untold hours that can be devoted to work, waking up, staring out the window, reading the day's news, et aliae. It's unlikely I'll change my mind.

It's looking now like the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl will go live until January 3rd, due to web-design issues. We have everything in place, it just has to be assembled. The new front page of my website, that is. The thirty-second trailer is edited and ready to post (thank you, Brian!).

Yesterday, well, not much else to tell. I read a pretty good story by David Barr Kirtley (whom, I admit, I'd never heard of before), and before bed I read Stuart Moore's graphic-novel story loosely based on Thomas Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin (2007), as illustrated by Colleen Doran (I worked with her on an issue of The Dreaming, but, offhand, I can't recall which one). I napped. I watched a PBS documentary on the AZORIAN Project and the 1974 attempt to raise the sunken Soviet submarine K-129. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic. And there was other stuff.

And now, I go forth to think on bivalves and cephalopods.

Warm Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
1. Sometimes, I'm wrong. And then there are these times when I'm wrong on a cataclysmic scale. The trick is admitting one's mistakes, and I'm pretty good at that. So, without further ado, I have to admit that Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the best games I've ever played. No one's more amazed than me. As you'll recall from earlier posts, I was impressed with neither the cut scenes or gameplay videos I was seeing online. Then, yesterday, my time in the beta finally came around. I did my work (I'll come to that later), and then started playing around four p.m. And...except for a half hour dinner break, I played SWtoR until four a.m. (!!!). And it was an utter delight. I solo leveled a blue Twi'lek slave girl until she was a Level 10 Sith Apprentice to Lord Vash. For a beta, the gameplay was amazingly smooth. The voice acting and writing are very well done, and I wasn't the least bit annoyed by the things that seem to be annoying other players (frequent cut scenes, lots of time spent running, etc.). So, because life is stranger than fiction, I unreservedly suggest others may also love this game. I'll certainly be buying a copy when it's released on December 20th.

Here's what baffles me. We know what lousy movies are made from video games. I mean, it's almost impossible to make a halfway decent movie from a video game. So...how is it that Star Wars episodes 1-3 were so unrelentingly awful, and this game is so good? It's the inversion of a truism. In another entry I'll come back to why I think this inversion was possible. But, for now, I'll just say the game I played last night...and this morning...that's the fix I've been waiting for since the summer I saw The Empire Strikes Back twenty times in theatres (1980).

2. Yesterday I wrote pages Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen on Alabaster. Only eight pages left to go, and, like I said, I'm thinking I won't be missing that deadline after all, which is sort of amazing, considering the chaos of late (and the damn fool gaming binge).

3. TONIGHT, kittens, I will be posting the Question @ Hand for Sirenia Digest #72. I want gritty, disturbing replies. The ten I like best will be "printed" anonymously in the digest. If you've been a part of this before, you already know that the answers will be screened, and that no one but me will be able to read your answers (unless it's printed, and then, as I said, anonymity). I have all my polyps crossed that there will be some amazingly unnerving answers.

Oh, and to repeat what I said a couple of days back, we're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

4. If anyone ever says, "You can be a Time Lord or you can be a writer," for Dog's sake, tell them you want to be a Time Lord.

I'm coming platypus....

There Is Only Passion,
Aunty Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Over breakfast (oatmeal with raisins and walnuts), I realized I am presently qualified for three jobs:

1) Writing
2) Writing
3) Time Lord

I forgot, yesterday, to write about the nightmare I'd just had (this morning's dreams were bad, but, mercifully, all but incomprehensible), and maybe that was for the best. But I remembered yesterday afternoon, so I'll write it down now. I (well, another me; the Me of Dream has a thousand forms, and rarely is she this me) discovered, much to my surprise that someone had made a film of Silk. Entirely without my knowledge. Finally, I was able to see it, and, to start with, it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the novel. Secondly, it had clearly been filmed in the seventies, and was this weird quasi-exploitation thing filled with sordid hetero-normative relationships and guys sporting pornstaches. Like I said, this film had nothing at all to do with the book, nothing, but it was all over the place, and the dream seemed like weeks went by while I tried to understand how this abomination had been made. I woke up feeling vaguely raped. By the way, you can fool LJ into knowing how to spell heteronormative if you hyphenate the word to create a compound adjective, as above (and if you don't know what the word means, look it up). And, yeah, it sounds sort of funny, this dream. But it wasn't. It wasn't ironic ha-ha. It was truly infuriating.

Yesterday I wrote pages Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and Eleven of Alabaster #3. I thought I'd only written four pages, but then I was in the tub and Spooky was reading it (she's still not well), and she informed me I'd written Page Eleven. Yes, I have declared Page Eleven to be a proper noun. Anyway, among the things I've forgotten over the years is that it's very, very, very hard to write comics well, and if you think otherwise, you've never written comics. Anyway anyway, I'm now exactly halfway through #3. The deadline I warned my editor I was likely to miss almost certainly will not be missed, because I am incapable of not working. I just hope it's good, this book. And I mean utterly, fucking, blow-your-mind-away good.

And, another bit of yesterday, Brian sent me several rough cuts from the innards of the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl that we'll be releasing in January. Let me just say, I think people will be astounded at what they see. I know I'm astounded. Mostly that we made this. Me and Brian and Kyle and Nicola and Sara and Dani and Spooky and Geoffrey and Ryan and everyone who donated to the Kickstarter crowdsourcing thingy. We made this! Anyway, I owe Brian an email, but the teaser nears completion, I think.

Currently, I'm trying to figure out how to shed about ten pounds (mostly around my waist), build muscle, and...you know...get the fuck into shape again. I'm too old to be this out of shape. Maybe it's no longer acceptable to speak of being in "bad shape." But fuck that. I am. Swimming this summer was helping a lot, but then it got cold. Mostly, I sit in this chair. My dietary habits are circumspect. I get virtually no exercise (even though my "rotten feet" are better, this is not a neighborhood for walking and jogging, and, besides, jogging ruins your knees and I already have bad knees from paleontology work). I don't sleep enough. My stress levels are through the roof. I work like a fiend. Most of my meds (while very necessary) come with a long list of awful side effects, including weight gain. I'm listless, and I'm winded by a single flight of stairs (a problem in this house). And don't think I'm chasing some incarnation of the "Beauty Myth." I'm 47.5, and I'd prefer not to develop diabetes or a heart condition or something worse before I'm fifty (remember: no healthcare here), and that means getting into shape. Spooky and I are talking about a trial gym membership. But what I really need is a swimming pool.

At least Indus got a good workout last night....
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, you will write a short blog entry! Yes, you will. Probably, no one's reading this thing today, anyway. Much less will they comment, so make it short. [I didn't.]

1) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Read it twice. Steam is offering Rift for a mere $14.99!!! That's 50% off! Plus, you play FREE for a month. Now, the offer will never get better than this, and we had a great RP session last night (thanks, guys). You can join us almost, if not quite, for free.

And really, say that you're here reading this and you don't want to take part in an interactive fantasy story written in part by me? You know you do. So, scoot over to Steam and toss them some pennies, download, sign in, create a Defiant character on the Faeblight shard, start grinding those first few marvelous levels, and join us on Telara. No, NOW. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

2) Yesterday, I wrote three more pages of Alabaster #3 (though I still felt blegh). I should explain, that when I say I wrote three pages, that's three pages of the comic, which usually comes to about three manuscript pages, sometimes four.

3) I'm feeling much better, but it appears a lot of my exhaustion was a bug of the contagious sort, and now Spooky's caught it (as of yesterday). So, I got to say, "I told you I felt awful." But that's the only upside. She's miserable.

4) I'm not a hypocrite. I just like turkey. We eat it a lot (usually legs). But, yeah, yesterday Spooky made an awesome turkey breast (with cranberries, walnuts, apples, garlic, and onions), and we had mashed potatoes (POH_TAE_TOES?), English peas, homemade cranberry sauce (forget that jellied crap in the can), and apple pie. Days of leftovers. And unholy words were spoken to unspeakable gods while Ozzy Osbourne played in the background, so...none of this counts. Move along. Nothing to see here. Thank you. Drive around.

5) I mentioned this, right? Okay. Just checking.

6) This entry was going to be short, wasn't it?

7) I saw this yesterday, and I (no shit) almost cried: "Alabama’s Wealth of Fossil Dinosaur Feathers." Just read the article (after you've downloaded Rift). Suffice to say, I worked with the paleontologist who first noted feathers in the Eutaw Formation, after I'd spent many years urging collectors to focus on the Eutaw Formation (Late Santonian-Early Campanian) if they wanted to find a Cretaceous terrestrial fauna in Alabama. This is more than I ever dared hoped for.

8) The signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012) will reach me soon, and the signing will commence.

9) As I mentioned, great RP last night, the second scene in our rebooted storyline. The cleric Nilleshna called two more Ascendants to the Watchers of the Unseen and the Faceless Man's cause, a Kelari cleric named Emris and a Kelari rogue named Harlakai. And an old member was reunited with the guild, the Eth warrior Anaxakharis. They were all gathered together in a high alpine meadow on the border between Stonefield and Freemarch. Near the end of the scene, one of the guild's more infamous characters, Celinn (Kelari rogue) appeared from the trees and great and terrible weirdness ensued. The game's afoot...again!

10) We're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. So, take advantage of one of my rare acts of kindness. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

And now...the mothmen summon me.

Astounded at Her Pre[science],
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
Compared with the day before, yesterday was quiet and uneventful. This is a very good thing.

We completed the edits on Blood Oranges, and I sent the book to my agent. It took me longer to get around to sending her the book after I'd finished it (~65 days) than was needed the write the damned thing (45 days). The manuscript still isn't perfect. Mostly, there are probably a few unresolved continuity errors, but we can catch that in post.

Two more mammoth (no, really; tusks and all) boxes of Two Worlds and In Between arrived yesterday. It's odd to have such a HUGE and, obviously, personally important book out. Finally, after more than a year of very, very hard work beating this volume into shape. The books has received amazing accolades. But, already, it's completely sold out, with no current plans for another edition. This is the beautiful weirdness that is small-press publishing. Meanwhile, my homely books from the titanic NYC publishers just keep chugging along (Silk, for example, has now been in print for thirteen years and five months). Anyway, other than one copy of the limited edition that's been placed on my shelf, the rest of my copies are headed to storage.

Also, the final galleys (page proofs, whatever) for The Drowning Girl arrived yesterday evening, and they have to be back in NYC by November 15th. This is my last chance to make any changes to the text for the trade-paperback edition (due out in March 2012). But I won't even be opening the package until tomorrow.

Last night, I received the final (and delightful) version of Vince Locke's illustration for "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W.", and that means that today will likely be Assembly Day for Sirenia Digest #71. Which means subscribers will have the issue this evening or sometime tomorrow.

Last night, Spooky went out into the cold, bear-haunted Rhode Island night to fetch us some dinner from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ (!!!), a local food truck. If you're in the area, you absolutely have to try Mama Kim's. Follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook to find where the truck's at on any given evening or afternoon. Last night, Spooky had fried beef dumplings and sweet-potato fries, and I had three beef bulgogi wraps. Yum. And THEN, kittens, then we embarked upon a Hank Moody binge of fucking epic proportions...of fucking. Oh, but how I love Hank Moody. I will one day write an appropriately debauched and lovelorn ode to Hank Moody. Both discs of Season Four of Californication arrived on Friday, and we watched the first (eight episodes, 30 minutes each). And then did our dailies in RIFT (mostly Iron Pine Peak). I read a tiny bit of The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and passed out well before three ayem.

Exhaustion has its limits. And, from here on, I mean to be in bed by two-thirty ayem, asleep by three, and awake by eleven ayem (excepting special occasions). No more of this almost killing myself with sleep deprivation. At some point, it ceased to be insomnia and became a simple reluctance to sleep. Blame the dreams, of course, and the clock I hear in my head, counting off the days, hours, minutes of my life. Anyway, yes. More sleep.

Turning Around,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
After much ado, follow this link. There will be much more news next Wednesday (the 9th of October), but I think the discerning reader of my work can gather quite a lot from this Dark Horse teaser. And, though I dislike speaking of the tips of icebergs, well...such things are. I hope you're as excited by this as I've spent the last year being (as yes, I've been sitting on this secret, in one form or another since Oregon and my GoH stint at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, when the mega-cool editor Rachel Edidin of DH asked for a meeting with me. So, make of all this what you will.

Props of [livejournal.com profile] corucia for guessing halfway right, and to [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh for making the most utterly fucking absurd guess: "I'm hoping the news is that science (Science!) has figured out how to download Harlan Ellison's mind into yours for safe keeping."

And now...other things, but comment, kittens, as I wish to revel in your excitement (and further speculations).

Today, between a zillion other distractions, Spooky and I are making the final edits to Blood Oranges before it goes to my agent and editor. Just piddly stuff, really. Mostly continuity.

Here in November, in this House of Leaves we pray.

Yesterday, I finished writing the new story for Sirenia Digest #71, "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W," which required of me 1,187 words. Written yesterday, I mean to say. And don't forget, really cool NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Silk archival material, available only to subscribers! Means, kittens, this is a good damn time to subscribe!

And I suppose, since I allowed Anne Rice to speak yesterday, Miss Stephenie Fucking Meyer deserves equal time, so I'll quote the article from The Atlantic Wire, for all the precious and celibate teen members of Team Edward out there (by the way, note that Miss Meyer fired the first shot in this little skirmish). Thus, I quote:

"But I can't read other people's vampires. If it's too close [to my writing], I get upset; if it's too far away, I get upset. It just makes me very neurotic." And Interview with the Vampire presumably gets her on the upset--the "too far away" kind of upset. "I've seen little pieces of Interview with a Vampire when it was on TV, but I kind of always go YUCK! I don't watch R-rated movies, so that really cuts down on a lot of the horror."

Yes, she really did say "yuck."

Last night, we played RIFT, and I got enough magma opals my fucking Ash Strider mount! Booya! And we finished Season Four of Mad Men, which would make me really sad, having to wait for Season Five, except we have the two-discs that collect Season Four of Californication incoming from Netflix tonight; I love me some Hank Moody. I think I got to sleep about 4:45 ayem. There was a dream this morning of apocalypse, but it's been forgotten (thank you, poisonous meds).

Did I mention this link?

I leave you with another beautiful photograph from The Drowning Girl shoot, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy:



The genuinely intrepid Sara Murphy as Eva Canning, in the Providence Athenaeum.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
No numbered lists today. I've not the patience for it, and I have too little to say, and, besides, NASA finally decided the odds of the elctro-whatsit generator we need to proceed "probably" won't create a vast artificial black hole.

Secrets make me weary.

Yesterday...well, I did do some stuff. Spooky went out and rented a second storage unit, because there's too many comp copies of books I've written or have stories in, and everything has to be reorganized, and my isn't that exciting? Tonight, we'll be lugging boxes of books to Pawtucket. Still awaiting the go-ahead from the National Aeronautics geeks, I tried to begin a new vignette...or short story. Not sure which yet, or either. Or if either? Something's wrong there. Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] sovay helped me with the Greek for the title: "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)," and I even wrote 104 words on it before giving up. Not in disgust. In something else. Possibly in misgiving or in trepidation.

Sometime, thereafter, I had my first seizure in months. Spooky wasn't here, and I came to on the kitchen floor. The usual "I have no idea what happened immediately beforehand" amnesia and the back of my head hurt. But no damage done. Just when I think I'm never going to have another one of these things...Anyway, my suspicion is there's just been far too much stress the last couple of weeks, which is, obviously, a primary trigger for PNES seizures,

Yesterday, talking about Silk, someone in the comments mentioned how they enjoyed the interconnectedness of the books. And I replied that, truthfully, I regret the novels being interconnected — Silk through Daughter of Hounds — and that I've seriously considered rewriting "Bainbridge" to remove its connections to Silk and Murder of Angels (and, so, by extension, the other three novels). I have no idea how my readers would feel about my attitude towards having tied all this stuff together, but as the years go by it seems juvenile, and as though I did the wrong thing for all the wrong reasons. Hence, The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir are almost entirely devoid of any connection to my earlier books. The bizarre series that Blood Oranges may be the beginning of, this is not the way I will continue to write most novels in the future (and I do not think of Blood Oranges as one of my serious novels; it's just a peculiar lark, fun, something to wake me up after the long fever dream of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir).

The weather's turning to shit just in time for this weekend's shoot. I suppose we will muddle through. Perhaps literally.

Oh, I know what I was going to say. One reason I stopped writing "Hē tēs thalássēs mártys (ἡ τῆς θαλάσσης μάρτυς)" yesterday was this sudden fear that I'm writing far too many stories about the sea. Yes, I know I do it very well. But I'm beginning to feel like I'm...repeating myself. Well, I know what I mean.

In the end, yesterday was an all but wasted day...which makes four in a row...during a month when I couldn't afford even one. But this shit happens. At least, today, I can go back to work in earnest. After all the email. Spooky has to drive down to her parents' place to gather up some spare blankets and pillows and stuff for people who will be crashing here over the weekend. We're still waiting on final conformation about shooting scenes in the Athenaeum. There's an awful lot of chaos (not with the Atehnaeum, that wasn't what I meant to imply). But this whole thing begins day after tomorrow, and a lot of things are still up in the air. And the funny part? There's zero evidence that book trailers help sell books. But we have a three thousand dollar budget.

I should go now, before I hurt myself.

Oh, but first — and speaking of book trailers — there's this. The first volume of Odd?, a new biannual anthology from Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (presently only an ebook, but a hardcopy edition is on its way), reprints my story "A Child's Guide to the Hollow Hills." But I think the promotional video is far more entertaining than is my story:



Masochistic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I listen to R.E.M. a lot, and it will always be the music of Athens, GA, though I actually first discovered their music in Boulder, CO many, many years before I moved to Athens.

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

---

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

---

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

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

---

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

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

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

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

No Sea, So Less Calm Than Yesterday,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.

---

On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me.

So...now, today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Ah, the weather. I should be taking photographs. I seem to post many fewer photos than I used to. I think it's because loading OS 10.6.3 meant losing Photoshop 7, and now Spooky has to edit all my photos, because Gimp is a piece of shit. Anyway, the high today will only be 23˚F, with a low tonight of 8˚F. Of course, if you look at tomorrow night's forecast low of -5˚F (with a -20˚F windchill), that doesn't look so bad. Everywhere out there is white, and the sun is so bright I keep the curtains pulled shut.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,896 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but still didn't find the end of a long conversation. Hopefully, I will today.

I had a very, very encouraging conversation with my agent yesterday. Which was sorely needed, the way things have been the last few weeks, or months, or whatever. Perhaps things are looking up. I think I was most pleased to hear her say "Silk was way ahead of its time." At some point, I'll get this time travel thing right, and my books will appear in the optimum years.

I'm thinking that Sirenia Digest #62 will consist of an advance (very advance) look at The Drowning Girl: A Memoir— all of Chapter 1 —along with a couple of extras. There will be an illustration by Vince for the chapter. Does that work for everyone? I was going to hold off and include the excerpt in #63, but my schedule will suffer less disruption if I move it forward to the January issue. The novel's eating time like mad. In the last month, I've had to bow out of three anthologies, and turn down a number of others. Turning down paychecks, even small ones, drives me nuts. Oh, and if you're not a subscriber you can get an idea (for free) of what subscribers get each month by reading "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31 and is now reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years. Speaking of eBay, during the last round, a bidder in Tasmania won a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder. This will be one of the farthest south book shipments we've ever made (rivaled only by a shipment to the south island of New Zealand).

Also, tomorrow I'll be announcing a collaborative project between Spooky and I that's been so very secret this is the first you're hearing of it, even though its been in the works for about two or three months. You'll see.

Last night, lots and lots of WoW. Shah and Suraa finished Deepholm and moved along to Uldum. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite Azeroth regions ever. And we read. And, eventually, we slept.

Now. Doughnuts.

Yours in Providence, Bitterly Cold,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
Bye bye long day,
I need to sleep so much.
You shine on me.
Too much is not enough.

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

Always.
Always.

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

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

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

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

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

I am exhausted. My eyes are on fire. And I can't sleep. And one of the worst things about insomnia is that everyone has advice. They're well meaning, I know. Well intentioned. But I do so tire of the advice. It's hard to convince people you've heard it all, tried it all. Even when you say, "It's one reason I'm seeing a psychiatrist, and I have meds, and whatnot." They still talk about warm milk and hot baths. I do not want advice. I want sleep.
greygirlbeast: (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.

---

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.

---

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: (cullom)
And here it is, seventeen years to the day that I began writing Silk. I was living alone in an apartment on Sixteenth Avenue South in Birmingham, Alabama. I only recall that it was a sunny, cold autumn day. I think what amazes me even more than all the time that has passed since that day is the fact that the book has now been in print for more than twelve years (it took five years to write Silk and then find a publisher). Anyway, since no one suggested a contest, I'll be giving away a signed and doodled in copy of the 4th edition mass-market paperback of the novel to someone who comments to the LJ today. I'll draw one of the names at random (and there's your incentive to comment).

Seventeen years ago, I'd hardly even been born.

---

Yesterday was an annoying sort of day. All thinking about writing, but no actual writing. I need to finish four or five stories by December 1st. One for an anthology and the rest for Sirenia Digest #s 59 and 60. So, I'm casting about for ideas. I think the first one, the one I mean to get to work on today, is called "There Are Kisses For Us All," which I actually began trying to write in December 2008, but set aside. I think maybe now I can actually write it.

I've not left the House since last Tuesday (October 5th), the day we returned from Portland. What is that, seven days? Six? I spoke with my psychiatrist about my reclusiveness, expecting her to be horrified. Instead, she only asked if it bothered me. I said no, that it didn't, and then she asked me that, in that case, why was I letting it worry me, that I shouldn't. That was an odd sort of relief, hearing her say that.

---

I will be doing a reading/signing at the Brown University Bookstore here in Providence on the evening of October 30th. I believe it's even going to be a costumed event. I'll probably read from The Ammonite Violin & Others. So, I hope some local people can make it out.

If you've not yet had a look at the "napovel," you may want to, along with the other eBay auctions. Also, Spooky's got Halloween stuff up in her Dreaming Squid Etsy shop, stuff she'll be taking down after Halloween. So please have a look. Thanks.

---

Last Monday night and Tuesday morning, after our flight was canceled and we were waiting sleeplessly for a 6:40 a.m. flight, we wandered the concourses and corridors of the sprawling Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, which was surprisingly interesting. One of the wonderful things we found was a display of bronze sculptures by an artist named Gareth Andrews. Most of them involved whaling: sperm whales, humpbacks, blue whales, bowheads, along with seals and sea lions. There was one fantastically surreal piece, Nine Muses in Boreas' Wood. It is almost impossible to describe, and was harder still for us to photograph. An amalgamation of totem poles and whale and raven and skeleton and men and beavers and deadfall...somehow the whole put me in mind of a Giger design for a wrecked starship, à la Alien. Gorgeous stuff. To quote the artist, "Great whales have always caused us to check our shadows." Spooky and I took photos, but they fail to do the work justice:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 5, Gareth Andrews )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On the eleventh, only three days from now, it will have been seventeen years since the day I sat down and began writing Silk. I want to commemorate the day by giving away a signed (and probably scribbled in) copy of the novel (fourth edition mmp), but I can't think of a contest-type thing. Suggestions are welcome. And that reminds me, I owe everyone who chipped in on Spooky's birthday present a poem. Well, it's been written, and now we have the paper and envelopes, so those will go out very soon. You have not been forgotten; I'm just slow as slug juice.

Yesterday was spent on email, and cleaning the sad wreck I'd let my office become, and shelving books, and stacking books along the walls, and, finally, beginning to assemble the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between for Subterranean Press. This is how today will be spent, on the manuscript, as I need to get it away to Bill Schafer ASAP. And that means I also need to write the introduction. It will be a short introduction, but it's still intimidating as all get out (I think that's an idiomatic phrase confined to the Deep South, but I might be wrong). A summing up. A taking of stock. Anyway, that's what I'll be doing today, and maybe taking a phone call or two related to the SECRET.

Last night, we watched the first episode of Season One of Caprica. I love this show, and was relieved that it wasn't canceled. However, I did not appreciate having to sit through some gods awful commercial for a pair of paranormal romance novels, Covet and Crave (shudder), by someone named J.R. Ward. Have you noticed how so many of the women cranking out this PR shit a) have oddly masculine sounding names, usually involving initials, and b) present themselves as Beverley Hills glam, but only manage to look like tarted-up nerds whose clothes are wearing them? Anyway, good episode. Later, I played City of Heroes and Villains, which is my new vice. I did the free trial awhile back, and some kind soul recently gifted me with a copy of the game (and a month of free play). So, yeah. Imagine Countess Elizabeth Báthory as a super villain (cough, cough), and you'll get the picture. It's big goofy fun. J.R. Ward could probably squeeze a series of novels out of it, except that Erzsebétta is a lesbian, in love with her ancient Egyptian blood mother, Sekhmet, and PR is generally a'feared of the lesbyterians (except for the pretend ones who really just do it because men like to watch). So, yes. Super villains. And later I read the first bit of Tom Griffiths' book on Antarctica.

I'm also reading Luis Chiappe's Glorifed Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds, and, as I mentioned, China Miéville's The Kraken, because one book at a time is apparently never enough.

Oh, and I joined Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) on Twitter yesterday, for an impromptu dialogue on how Only Men Are Allowed To Write Hard SF. Because, you know, men say so. But that's okay, because us girls, we are allowed to write fantasy. We get all the sparkly unicorns and double rainbows. Because the men say so.

---

The last couple of nights, I'll think of a bunch of neat stuff from the HPLFF that I want to write down, but then, in the morning, when I sit down to make an entry, I've forgotten it all again. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow. There are some photos at the end of this entry, though, from the reception on Friday for Lovecraft Unbound that Dark Horse hosted at Hollywood Wine and Espresso, which is located catty-corner from the Hollywood theatre (and this sentence is far too long and I should really make it stop now). They're all in sepia, because Spooky was on some sort of mad sepia kick that afternoon.

---

I'm not sure, but I think maybe the trade hardback of The Ammonite Violin & Others is pretty close to being sold out again. If you mean to order a copy, best do it now (unless it's already too late).

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 3 )
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: (Default)
It's going to be a hot day here in Providence. I was unable to get to sleep, and finally had to take an Ambien, which I am trying very, very hard not to do. But it was almost five a.m., and the sky was growing light.

Yesterday, Spooky and I spent another five hours or so on "The Maltese Unicorn." We read all the way through the story again, and then I made a number of last minute line edits and added a few passages. Then emailed it to the anthology's editor (both TBA), and now, mercifully, it is out of my hands.

This week will be devoured by everything I need to do to be ready for Readercon. I'm going up Thursday night. But I haven't bought anything like clothing since I did that reading at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn back on January 15th. I'm considering "dressing down," as what I wore last year seemed to inspire some degree of fear and loathing. And my hair...my hair has been left untended since January, as well. I'm having it cut and colored on Tuesday. I don't want to do any of these things. I hate shopping, and don't want to be futzed over by a hairdresser.

Anyway, as for Readercon 21, for those of you who are attending, here's my schedule:

Friday 12:00 Noon, RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I & II. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Caitlin R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity, John Langan,
Shira Lipkin, Faye Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

Friday 1:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

New England: At Home to the Unheimlich?. F. Brett Cox, Elizabeth Hand (M), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Faye Ringel, Paul Tremblay, Catherynne M. Valente.

Friday 2:00 PM, 4 PM RI: Event (60 min.)

A Dramatic Reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Acts I, II, IV & V. Inanna Arthen, Ron
Drummond, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Greer Gilman, Adam Golaski, Walter H. Hunt, Alaya
Dawn Johnson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary Robinette Kowal, K. A. Laity, John Langan,Faye
Ringel, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Eric M. Van.

(I'll be reading the part of Oberon.)

Friday 4:00 PM: Autographing

Friday 5:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

David Foster Wallace Wanted Us to Do This Panel: Authoritativeness in Fiction.
Michael Dirda, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sarah Langan, Eugene Mirabelli, James Morrow (L),
Catherynne M. Valente.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Tree Networks and Transspecies Sex: Biology in Avatar Joan Slonczewski

Saturday 1:00 PM, NH / MA: Group Reading

Haunted Legends Group Reading (60 min.). Ellen Datlow (host), Caitlin R. Kiernan,
Kit Reed, Catherynne M. Valente.

Readings from Haunted Legends, an anthology of all new retellings of urban legends
and regional ghost stories, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. The book will be
out in September from Tor Books.

Sunday 11:00 AM, Salon G: Event

The Shirley Jackson Awards: Nalo Hopkinson (MC), Nick Antosca, Ellen Datlow, Gemma
Files, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Robert Shearman, and Paul Witcover (nominees), F. Brett Cox
and John Langan (judges), Elizabeth Hand, Jack M. Haringa, Peter Straub, PaulTremblay
(advisors).

Sunday 1:00 PM, VT: Reading (60 min.)

from The Ammonite Violin & Others* (collection; Subterranean Press, June 2010).

Sunday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel

It Is, It Is, It Really Is Fiction: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary F&SF. Caitlin
R. Kiernan, K. A. Laity (L), Shariann Lewitt, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Catherynne M. Valente.

*Actually, because of the delay at the printer, I'll will, instead, be reading "The Sea Troll's Daughter."

---

Day before yesterday, or the day before that, I came across a somewhat interesting (and generally very flattering) blog post about Silk and The Red Tree and my writing in general. I'll quote a short bit:

Caitlin Kiernan’s novels give abundant evidence of the author’s impressive research and learning. Within a single chapter, the reader may find references to sources as varied as Seneca, Nina Simone, Thoreau, Tom Waits, Joseph Campbell and H. P. Lovecraft. Kiernan often wields her impressive learning like a bludgeon and seems to take considerable satisfaction in doing so. The reader may feel both taunted and intimidated by this amazing author who frequently makes extravagant displays of learning. However, discerning readers will probably forgive this author for her occasional outbursts of unabashed arrogance and vulgarity (which reminds me of Harlan Ellison's tendency to chastise his readers for their ignorance). I'm sorry Caitlin. I'll try to do better.

This made me smile, even as it sort of grated on my nerves. But then, how often do I try to grate on the nerves even as I try to evoke a smile? I do think the post paints me more as the person I was in the mid nineties than the person I am now, fifteen years later, but whatever. Anyway, what's important is that bit at the end. That last line. Because that's all I've ever really asked from anyone (including myself): Try to do better, because hardly any of us ever do try to do better. Also, I'll remind you of a quote attributed to Bertolt Brecht. "Art is a hammer." Which is to say, sometimes I use the hammer to drive nails, and sometimes I use it to pull them out again. Sometimes I use it to prop open a door. And then sometimes, yeah, it's time to fucking bludgeon.
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
1. A few flurries Outside as I type. This is the north edge of the monster storm that walloped D.C. and Philadelphia yesterday. But we're not even expecting the tiniest bit of accumulation. Go figure.

2. The platypus says this is the best possible day on which to order The Ammonite Violin & Others, and being merely a lowly minion of the platypus, I am forced to relay hisherits every message. Remember, the limited edition comes with a FREE chapbook, "Sanderlings," the short-story set in Green Hill, RI, which I wrote back in November. Oh, and I did the cover for "Sanderlings." So, yeah. Do like the platypus says.

3. A question from James Maier, via email: Basically, my question is this: Which books are “grouped” together and in what order? i.e. the same characters, sequels, etc. Though I’m sure the novels all stand alone just fine, I kind of want to read along with the characters’ chronology and I’d like to avoid any more spoilers from reading Amazon’s descriptions.

Okay, it works something like this. Silk and Murder of Angels pretty much form a duology, the latter being a fairly straightforward sequel to the former. Same with Threshold and Low Red Moon, though you also get Daughter of Hounds, which sort of makes a trilogy of the whole affair. But it's a very loose sort of trilogy. And, of course, all five of these novels are interconnected here and there. There's also Alabaster, which very much ties into that "trilogy." Finally, yes, there's The Red Tree, which has echoes of many of the novels before it, but is definitely set apart. That said, if anyone wants my opinion, read The Red Tree first, then Daughter of Hounds, and after that...read them in what ever order pleases you.

4. Yesterday I butched up and risked that carnivorous sky all over again. That is I went Outside, second day in a row. I wanted to get photographs of the continuing demolition of the Bridge Street Bridge that crosses Wickenden Street (you will recall the photos from the early stages of the demolition that were included in my January 13th and January 14th entries). The bridge is mostly down, and you can now stand and look up at the sky where, for the better part of a century, the sky was hidden. There are photos below, behind the cut. The day was cold, numbing my fingers as I tried to get the shots. Afterwards, we headed to Eastside Marketplace and Whole Foods, then spent a little time picking over the bones of a Blockbuster Video that's going out of business any day now. I assume they all are, but I don't know that for sure. Oddly, we came away without buying any of the super-cheap DVDs (everything we wanted was scratched to hell and back), but I did get two books, very cheap, and I didn't even know Blockbuster had started selling books. The Smithsonian Book of Mars by Joseph M. Boyce (2002) and Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet by Jim Bell (2006), because I can never have too many reference books on Mars. Oh, and we dropped by the post office in Olneyville, so I could send in the contracts on "The Steam Dancer (1896)" (to be reprinted in Steampunk Reloaded) and a copy of Peter's A Dark Matter to my mother.

5. We watched the new episode of Fringe last night, possibly one of the best so far, and refreshing after the disappointing "monster of the week" episodes of the previous three weeks.

6. I have a plan. I will spend the remainder of February writing the vignettes that will comprise Sirenia Digest 51 and 52, so that I can set aside all of March and April for the writing of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I'd hoped to get the novel written this winter, but what I want and what happens are too often not the same.

7. I stayed up far too late last night, roleplaying in Insilico, because I just don't know how to walk away from story when it's coming at me. Xiang was hired as bartender at the Blue Ant (now that she's registered and legal), and has proven that androids can make perfectly fine White Russians. Later, after "work," there was intrigue and adventure and dizzying heights. I fucking adore this place.

5 February 2010 )


By the way...I just spent about an hour and a half on this LJ entry....

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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