greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
My thoughts are well and truly scattered this morning. No, excuse me. This afternoon, as it is now 12:58 p.m. CaST (though only 11:58 ayem EST, hence still morning). I don't feel like resorting to numbers and bullet points today, either, so bear with me, or don't bear with me.

Bear with me. One of those interesting turns of phrase that I have to wonder if many people ever pause to consider the older, more genuine meanings. Bear. With. Me.

We were planning to be at the VNV Nation show in Boston tonight, and the fabulous Chris Ewen even saw to it that we were on the guest list. Then, yesterday, fearing the possibility of contracting some illness from the crowd, and fearing my deadlines, we pulled out. And our two places on the guest list were raffled last night by Chris, while he DJed at Heroes (DJed as in disc jokey, not as in a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability, id est, djed). So, two happy people will be taking our places tonight, and congratulations to them, but doing good rarely serves as much in the way of consolation if you are me. And I am. Me, I mean.

And I can’t fall asleep without a little help.
It takes a while to settle down,
My shivered bones,
Until the panic‘s out.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

Yesterday, I discovered that (as is so rarely actually ever the case) the third time was the charm with "Sexing the Weird," and I finished a new 1,525-word version of "Sexing the Weird," which will serve as the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And I like it. Also, this morning (it truly was still ayem CaST) I received Sonya's afterword, "But She Also Lies Broken and Transformed." So, aside from Kathryn and I making about a bazillion corrections to the main text, then getting that text back to Bill Schafer, the book is done. Still no firm release date or date when pre-orders will begin. Later. It's safe to say it will be later, in both cases.

And today, I begin the aforementioned short story about the two women who become cities, for Sirenia Digest #72. And that reminds me to, again, remind you that responses to "Question @ Hand #5" are due by midnight (CaST) on the 7th. Also a caveat: best to avoid humor. I suppose I should have been clear about this from the beginning, but I didn't actually see this as a humorous undertaking (though humor and horror are always loping about, unsightly, hand in hand, I know); I am in an earnest state of mind.

Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher dans la compagnie calme.
Et je pouvais ne tomber pas dormir sans un peu aidé;
Il prendre beaucoup à se calmer mon os de frissonnement
Tant que la panique est dehors.
~ The National, "Amour terrible"

Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama. Which is the height of peculiarity, given how neither place was ever a home to me, despite the fact that I lived there almost all my life. My relationship with the South could probably serve as a case study in Das Unheimliche.

Later, we watched the next-to-latest episode of American Horror Story, and, gods – Zachary Quinto in latex. Later still, for want of physical, non-virtual company or any other "real-world" diversion, we played Rift. This morning, Spooky was telling me about the offensive comments coming in over level twenty-something to level thirty-something chat – and I didn't ask for specifics, but I assume it was the usual homophobic, racist, sexist ramblings. I keep everything but guild and RP chat off, so I always miss this shit in Rift. I got enough of it in WoW. But it's not ever encountered in actual gameplay – and last night was a good example – people are consistently polite and often helpful (unlike the situation in WoW). It leads me to suspect that an awful lot of people log in merely to "socialize," and likely they're fairly young, or actual kids, and talking hate shit is the false bravado of their generation, as it has been of all generations. Which, of course, makes it no less disheartening, and reminds me why I stay out of Meridian ("New Orgrimmar") as much as possible and always keep general chat switched off. Gaming is, for me (RP aside), a fundamentally solitary exercise, and forget the "massively multiplayer" part. I rarely game with anyone but Spooky. We duo. Anything to avoid the chimps on crack who cram into so much of gamespace.

Ah, and here's a thing I thought I'd post. Behind the cut. Twenty fantasy books that exerted an especial influence on me as an adolescent, in no particular order (behind the cut):

Twenty+ )

And yeah, I cheated and that is many more than twenty books, but I still feel as if many important things have been left out. Ah, well. For another time, yes. But if you have not read all these books at least once, shame on thee.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
But I won’t follow you into the rabbit hole.
I said I would, but then I saw
Your shivered bones.
They didn’t want me to.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

0) We must have slept a little more than eight hours. This almost never happens. Now I'm achey and stiff and disoriented and dreamsick, but later I suppose I will be glad for the rest. Oh, and the Starbuck icon; I think I'm slowly working my way through my space-opera heroines.

1) Yesterday, work, work, work. I spent two hours signing signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I might have killed a pen. And those things – pens, I mean – don't grow on trees, you know. But now they are all signed and will go back to Subterranean Press on Monday (lots of mail going out on Monday, so watch out, you postal folk). And then the day was slipping away so fast, and Spooky and I had planned a full-on Kid Night, and I didn't want to work after dark (not that I ever do; it squicks me out, working after dark, which makes the winters hard). So, I could choose to work on the short story about the two women who become cities, or I could choose to work on the third (and very, very, very different incarnation of "Sexing the Weird"). Having already gone over the inked Alabaster pages, I chose "Sexing the Weird," though I'm sort of chomping at the bit to get the story (or vignette) written. And I have only thirteen days until The Vacation (!!), and by then I need to have Sirenia Digest #72 finished and out to subscribers and write Alabaster #4 before the vacation. Also, Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) is finishing up her afterword for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I am very much looking forward to reading.

2) A pretty damn cool article, one that Spooky just brought to my attention: "Lobster pot tag washes up across the Atlantic 2 decades after 'Perfect Storm.'" Ignore how badly written that headline is, that it ought to be "Lobster Pot Tag Washes Up Across the Atlantic Two Decades After 'Perfect Storm.'" Point is, a lobster tag lost twenty years ago traveled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from Cohasset in southern Massachusetts to Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland. Very cool. Except for the fact that people are forgetting how to write headlines.

3) Writers exist, in part, to remind people of things they might otherwise forgot. For example, Question @ Hand 5. Get those answers in!

4) Look for a new round of eBay auctions before Solstice/Cephalopodmas. These will all be souvenirs from our three-day shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer, and will also include an ARC of the novel. And a moonstone signed by the whole cast and crew. And clothing that Imp (Nicola Astles) wore in the trailer. And...stuff. We hope to shoot a little more footage this winter in Philadelphia, but money will be needed, and that's what this auction will help to fund.

5) A truly grand Kid Night last night. After a Kid Meal of fish sticks, mac and cheese, and tater tots, we ate cupcakes and watched The Goonies (1985), followed by our second viewing of Super 8 (2011). When The Goonies was first released, I was in college, twenty-two, I think. And I was on beyond unimpressed. I remain unimpressed. What a silly, silly movie, but it made Spooky smile. Super 8, on the other hand, is bloody fucking brilliant. By the way, when Steve Lieber asked me who my dream casting for the role of Dancy in a film version of Alabaster would be, I did not hesitate to name Elle Fanning. And he got it so right, that now it sort of creeps me out watching her.

6) After Kid Night wound down, Spooky used the iPad to watch episodes of Art:21 on PBS, while I read Chapter Ten of the Barnum Brown biography I'm reading.

7) And now, I leave you with a photograph Spooky took while I was signing yesterday. I am not at my most glamorous (I rarely am these days), still in my pajamas, wearing my Jayne Cobb hat and Imp sweater and chewing a pen:

2 December 2011 )


Feelin' Scruffy,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Just something short to let people know we've not washed away. But the same can't be said for much of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There's severe flooding all around us, from Pawtuxet all the way down to Exeter and into eastern Connecticut. Warwick has been especially badly hit, and we're hearing that Olneyville, which is not far from us, has flooding. We've just heard that the basement of Spooky's parent's place has flooded. This is the worst flooding in Rhode Island in the last century. It's still rainy today, but we're promised sunshine tomorrow.

Yesterday was spent putting together Sirenia Digest #52. As soon as I have Vince's illustration (he's having to work around sick children) the issue will go out to subscribers. It includes "Houndwife," as well as one of my favorite stories by Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), the novelette "A Ceiling of Amber, A Pavement of Pearl," which has previously appeared only in her collection Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books, 2005). I'm very pleased with how this issue has come together.

I think that's all for now. I'm just not up to blogging. Maybe tomorrow the sun will come back, and I'll find myself in a more talkative mood. Maybe I'll sleep tonight....
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
A very good writing day yesterday. I did 1,514 words, and found THE END of "As Red as Red." Thank fuck. This story has surely had it's way with me, and I can only hope that it's been worth the effort. It weighs in at a total word count of 7,014 words. Spooky likes it. Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) likes it. No one else has read it yet, but I tend to trust their opinions. Today, we have to read over the whole story, and then I'll do a small bit of tweaking and polishing, make sure there are no continuity errors or typos, then send it away to the anthology's editor.

As predicted, the CEM (copy-edited manuscript) of The Red Tree arrived yesterday. I've not yet opened the envelope, but Anne (my editor at Penguin) says the copyeditor's marks are light, mostly pertaining to layout and typeface (the book's text uses two or three different fonts).

Today, I also need to read through two or three stories from Sirenia Digest, to pick a couple to send to another editor. And tomorrow, I'll begin work on #40, which will include new fiction by me and Sonya Taaffe.

The long-lost Monster Doodle sculpture is now up at eBay, and you may have a look. Near as I can recall, I sculpted this one back in the spring of 2006, right before I stopped doing these little guys. Then it was misplaced, and Spooky found it a couple of weeks back. She painted it this week. I've signed and dated the critter. Now you can bid, and give the bug-eyed, slimy bugger a good home.

---

After all the writing yesterday, Spooky got dinner from an Italian place on Atwells Avenue. Of course, there are probably fifty Italian places on Atwells, but this one's called Sicilia's. And I can now say that they make the best meatball sub (with sausage and mozzarella) I have ever wrapped my lips around. After dinner, there was more WoW. Shaharrazad helped Suraa with a quest down on the Shimmering Flats, south of Thousand Needles, and then we had to make a foray into Tanaris and (ugh) Un'Goro. But after that, I soloed for Ogrimmar and Darkspear rep, up in Ashenvale, mostly in the Blackfathom Deeps. Oh, and I now have a new Shah icon, and there's another screencap behind the cut ('cause, I figure if I'm gonna geek out at you about my WoW alter-ego, I can at least include elf-pr0n eye candy):

Shaharrazad at Sunset )


After WoW, we watched the first three episodes of Season Four of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I think I got to sleep about three ayem. Anyway, no WoW tonight, as it's time to get back to the Alpha Institute in Nor. Tonight, Nareth has to undergo a special procedure of a delicate and private nature. I believe a speculum will be involved.

---

Turns out (and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ruby_star for bringing this to my attention), the DVD release of Let the Right One In has a different and inferior set of English subtitles than appeared in the theatrical release. The whole situation, discussed over at i09, has me angry and baffled. It's not like I can take the DVD back. It's not the fault of the store that sold it to me. I doubt they're even aware the subtitling is different. But I will be writing a nasty letter to the company that released the DVD. Having read the novel and seen the movie in the theatre, the DVD subtitles seem, from the i09 article, to be, well, "dumbed down." And, as for the dubbing, I've heard the voice acting is horrid. Ah, well. At least I have the pretty pictures. But I thought people who've not bought the DVD should know.

And now, it's time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
Quite a good writing day yesterday. I'm sure the sleep helped. I did 1,381 words on "Derma Sutra (1891)." This will be, by the way, a more Lovecraftian/dark fantasy sort of story set in the same steampunk alternate Denver ("Cherry Creek") that I used for "The Steam Dancer (1896)" and "The Melusine (1898)." I'm really falling in love with that world. Maybe, I'll eventually have a story for each year from, say, 1888 to 1900, and it can be a subpress collection or something. That would leave me with only nine stories left to write. Also, yesterday, we read over Sonya Taaffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) contribution to #32 —— "The Woman Who Was Wife to the Husband of the Sea" —— which I think is bloody marvelous, and which is the story that Vince is illustrating this month. Anyway, this issue look for Sirenia Digest on the last day of the month.

A few things:

1) We are now in the final 24 hours of the KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle, and I urge you to please have a look. It's a great cause, with great prizes. Tickets are only $1 apiece. So, yes, please, do have a look.

2) Spooky has begun the midsummer eBay auctions, which include the trade hardcover of Frog Toes and Tentacles and the trade hardcover of To Charles Fort, With Love, and there are more to come. In fact, if there's something you'd like to see added to the auctions, just say so, and we'll see what we can do. All books can be signed and personalized at the winning bidders' request.

3) At long last, thanks to Frank Woodward and Lovecraft, I actually have a page at IMDb. Sure, it's just one little thing, me listed as having played "herself," but still...it makes me smile.

Yesterday was a fairly pleasant day, all round. Wonderful thunderstorms. Spooky made a yummy peach cobbler with the peaches from our CSA produce bag. I had some good rp in the "Kingdom of Sand" sim, in the Medieval Persian city of Ireem. A really beautiful build. It's almost like being on Arrakis again. I have a title now, having been named the "Royal Prophet's Apprentice," though I'm really a sort of feral, mute, amnesiac necromancer. Yesterday, I was rewarded by the Princess for having saved her from an undead the night before, and I had a marvelous rp with a harem girl, Hela, who doesn't seem to mind that Shahrazad's teeth have been filed to sharp points (usually, Shah wears a mask to hide her mouth). Rping mute is amazingly challenging (i.e., hard), but I'm loving it. I want to invite those who signed up for the "Sirenia Players" group to check this out (or anyone else reading this, for that matter). It's going to be a great story, and if you're new to SL and nervous about your rp skills, your avatar's appearance, or whatever, I'll gladly give you a hand getting started. Don't be shy. Just say something here, or IM me inworld (Nareth Nishi). If I'm busy, I can point you in the right direction, or we can set up a time to talk later.

Okay. Time to make the goddamn doughnuts...
greygirlbeast: (white3)
Sorry I missed a day there. Yesterday was all sorts of odd and hectic, and somehow a blog entry just didn't happen.

So...let's see. On Friday, I wrote 1,170 words on "Salammbô Redux," in which a cardboard box of old keepsakes was revealed to unappreciative eyes (reminding me a little of a similar scene in Daughter of Hounds, though it's intended to mirror Jimmy DeSade sitting alone in the theatre with Salmagundi's old tin box in "...Between the Gargoyle Trees"). Also, the mail finally brought me a copy (just one so far) of the Beowulf novelization. It's a handsome little paperback, though I haven't really had time to sit down and go through it yet. Neil is extremely generous in his introduction. When I opened the envelope from my editor at HarperCollins and held the actual book in my hands, the first thing that popped into my head was one of Boromir's lines from Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Fellowship of the Rings: "It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing...such a little thing." Oh, and I dealt with a minor mountain (?foothill) of email on Friday.

Friday night, we had Byron for Doctor Who, and later, while Spooky worked on her Ogdred Weary House for New Babbage, he and I watched Pulp Fiction for the bazillionth time. Another great ep of Doctor Who by the way. I'm afraid I'm falling for the Master the way I so often fall for "villians."

Yesterday, well I've already said it was hectic. But I did get to read through Sonya Taaffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) "The Salt House" aloud for the first time and was enormously impressed. I truly adore this story. I wrote the prolegomena for Sirenia Digest #22 (and I do apologise for having referred to it as #23 the last week or two). Last night there was Torchwood, of course, and the less said about my, er...weakness for female cyborgs, the better. The series continues to make me happy (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). We had a good walk early yesterday, and then read more of Dune last night.

See. You didn't really miss anything.

Today, I'll be getting Sirenia Digest #22 out the door...or whatever. Hopefully, subscribers will have it well before midnight tonight (EDT). And if you are not a subscriber, that's an easy thing to remedy. Just click here. Oh, and before I forget, the Threshold auction is still in progress. Tomorrow, I'll be finishing up "Salammbô Redux," most likely, which will mean that the manuscript for the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder will just about be ready to turn in to Subterranean Press.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie1)
Yesterday, I did 1,230 words on "Salammbô Redux" (despite a grinding headache), and came up with a scene I'm very pleased with. I might be able to finish the story today, but by Saturday or Sunday at the latest. I think it's going to work very well as a sort of postscript to Tales of Pain and Wonder, in a this-is-the-world-almost-decade-later sort of way. Expanding it is not proving as difficult as I had feared. And it only grows more "blatantly autobiographical."

Also, more Beowulf sightings yesterday: Texas, southern New Jersey, Denver, and Portland, Oregon. Add to that New York City, because my agent has copies. Mine are probably, oh, in bloody frelling Belgium by now, but I refuse to go down to Borders and buy a copy just to see the damned thing.

A conversation with my lit agent yesterday regarding ongoing Hollywood business, which is how the day finally ended.

I'm thinking that Sirenia Digest #22 will go out on Sunday. This issue will include my new story "Untitled Grotesque," illustrated by Vince Locke, and a long story/novella by Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), "The Salt House." Sonya is finishing up her piece, and I just gave the green light to Vince's initial sketch, so, yeah, I'm thinking Sunday. Sorry for the delay this month. Delivery shall be more prompt in October. I am very pleased to be able to offer another piece by Sonya, as her story "The Depth Oracle," originally published Sirenia Digest #8, was chosen for Best Paranormal Romance #2 and her fiction is always a joy to my polymorphous heart.

Okay. I have coffee. I have keyboard. Here were go...
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
Today is Bloomsday in Dublin. Since college, I've sworn that I will be present for at least one Bloomsday, but so far it's on that long list of things which I've sworn to do, but haven't yet done (swim with great white sharks, climb an active volcano, visit the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, & etc.). I was last in Dublin in 1996, and at least I did make it to a number of Ulysses-related landmarks (frell, the whole city's a Ulysses-related landmark), including Martello Tower and the Forty Foot Pool at Sandycove. Anyway, because it is Bloomsday and I'm here in Atlanta and not there in Dublin:

frseeeeeeeefronnnng train somewhere whistling the strength those engines have in them like big giants and the water all rolling over and out of them all sides like the end of Loves old sweeeetsonnnng the poor men that have to be out all night from their wives and families in those roasting engines stifling it was today Im glad I burned the half of those old Freemans and Photo Bits leaving things like that lying about hes getting very careless...

Thank you, James Joyce.

Yesterday was, by all accounts, a sad waste of a day. I wanted to write. I wanted to write so badly. But there was only Sorrow and Anger and Frustration, instead. My writing career has been fashioned from this tripartite godhead, but yesterday sheheitthey were out for blood and pain, not words. So that's what they got. And I wrote nothing, other than that exceptionally silly journal entry. Pirates, indeed. What use would a proper pirate ever have of me? A quick fuck, maybe. Something to carve her or his name into. That's about it. I like to think having only one functional eye would put me in good stead, but, in more honest moments, I know better. So, yeah, yesterday was a bloody mess. I can hardly recall the details until late afternoon, when the heat and bright began to fade. I tried to nap, but my head was full of some urgency that made sleep impossible. I tried to clean house, but couldn't get past the simple futility that it will only get dirty again. I thought about a bath. I sat on the front porch a bit, watching big black carpenter ants.

Very late, after five thirty or so, I was able to read aloud to Spooky and so found the day's only productive and redeeming hours.

We finished reading Sonya Taaffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) short-fiction and poetry collection, Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books, 2005). And now I shall do something which the constant reader will note that I hardly ever do. I'm going to praise the work of another living writer. But, please keep in mind, I'm no book reviewer, and I'm certainly not equal to the task of reviewing this book. Hence, this is not a book review. These are only some comments which I feel compelled to make.

This book is brilliant. It shines with the darkness and light of wonder and awe which I have spent the last fourteen years trying to put down on paper. Indeed, I have no trouble saying that these stories are one of the rare bits of fiction to wow me in the last decade. They hit me like Bradbury hits me, or Angela Carter, or Kathe Koja, Thomas Ligotti or Shirley Jackson. They revel in the power of myth, but in no unseemly way. They strain to contain the sheer force of their telling. In these pages, the reader will find a woman made of stars (or stars in the shape of a woman), a cynical unicorn and a reluctant virgin, an ophiomorphic plague, the place where lost ships go, a glimpse of Lot's nameless wife and an encounter with Adam's nameless and untouchable second wife, an accidental golem, a perfectly ordinary teenage boy perplexed at the coming loss of his nereid sister, drowned ghosts and terrible sacrifice, the singing head of Orpheus, and a hundred marvels more. If you still have a heart and have not forsaken wonder for the mythless drought which so many seem to mistake for adulthood, these stories will leave you breathless, as will Sonya Taaffe's astounding way with words. And all this from an author who is surely at least ten years my junior. I'd give my left hand for such language and the mind in back of it all. And I say none of these things lightly. If my writing or my opinion means anything at all to you, please, please buy this collection and devour it and be amazed. See, that's not a review. That's not a review at all. That's a reaction, and the best fiction should draw forth passionate reaction, not cold and unbiased critique. Buy this book. If it contained only "Constellations, Conjunctions" and "Kouros," it would be worth twice the price. Thank you, Sonya.

Ah, there was one other bright spot to yesterday. Well, early this morning, actually. An idea for a story occurred to me. Not a vignette, but a full-fledged short story. A sort of sequel to "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," which I hope I'll find the time to write at some point this summer.

Okay. I'm going to try to cajole the platypus into a little quality time, despite these things which distract me, despite the fact that it's Bloomsday and I should only be going to a pub somewhere to drink as much Guinness as I can afford. If you've the time, please have a look at the new eBay auctions. There are a couple of rarities in there, including a copy of Candles for Elizabeth and a copy of Waycross, as well as The Dry Salvages, Silk, The Five of Cups, and the first copy of the Italian translation of Threshold that I've put up. Bid or buy if you are so disposed. Thanks. The frelling bills just keep coming.

Postscript: One last bit about Singing Innocence and Experience. Few books have so succinctly managed to shatter all that silliness about genre and subgenre, these frettings over whether something is fantasy or slipstream or magical realism or horror or science fiction or what-the-hell-ever. This book deftly and justly renders such shoe-boxing absurd.

Second Postscript: Can anyone out there please tell me how some LJ users are adding those drad custom backgrounds to their journals? [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, perhaps? Or [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi?

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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