greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
As writing days go, yesterday was another washout. I did 191 words, became mired in the mechanics of steam engines, and, by then, it was after 3 p.m. and Spooky had just realized we needed to drive down to her parents' farm in Saunderstown. So...I called it a day. A very unproductive day. But I did take care of a lot of email, and figured out which author's photo to use for the dust jacket of A is for Alien (it'll be the same one that appeared on To Charles Fort, With Love in 2005).

Cold out yesterday, but the sky was beautiful as we drove south from Providence. Low, patchy clouds, dusky purples, but burning yellow and white at the edges. It was twilight by the time we reached Saunderstown. The woods are so bare now, but it's not depressing. It surprises me that I don't find it so. When I was a child, I loved winter, because it meant the woods were so much safer to walk in. Being up here, I think I'm reminded of all the time I spent in the woods of Alabama, 35+ years ago. So, nostalgic, but not sad. We visited with Spooky's mom and with Spider the cat (the hugest cat I've ever met). We're probably solving our car problem by taking the van that Spooky's mom's been driving, a 1999 Plymouth mini-van. It's in excellent condition, and very roomy. The gas mileage isn't so hot, but we don't drive an awful lot anymore. Anyway, we had to go down to take a key to our old car and clean her mom's stuff out of the van. It was nice, cold but nice, being outside as the sun set. Winter is pretty much here. My first New England winter. On the way home, we swung by Newbury Comics in Warwick, because they had a warm hat there I wanted, and Spooky got new mittens. Odd place to shop for hats and mittens, I suppose, but there you go.

It was after eight by the time we got back home. I had a hot bath and washed my hair. Spooky made spaghetti. Later, there was housecleaning and preparation for the trip to NYC tomorrow. we played a couple of hours of WoW (Mithwen and Syllahr, mostly; Mithwen made Lvl 33, but still trails behind Shaharrazad, who's at 34). When we went to bed, Spooky read to me from the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring while I sorted through a bag of shells and beach glass, stones and mermaid purses we collected at Moonstone Beach way back in the summer. July 28th, the be precise. I dozed off about the time Gandalf arrived for Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party.

I have to renew my membership to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology today. I've been a member since 1984, and yet, somehow, I almost always forget to pay my dues until I get the late notice. At least this time I'm not so late I have to pay the $15 late fee. And speaking of money, we saw gas for less than $2 a gallon last night! Did someone start the Apocalypse and not bother to tell me?

Anyway, I should go. A long, long day ahead of us. Sonya arrives about 7:25 p.m., I think, and there's much to be done before then. I'm not sure I'll have a chance to make another entry until after New York, but I do hope to see some of you at KGB Bar tomorrow night.
greygirlbeast: (white)
One reason that I tend not to talk overly much about politics in this journal (and there are many reasons) is that, at this stage in my life, I just don't have the...energy...to deal with Those Who Are Offended. For example, when speaking of the presidential election, I said that I am ashamed of the South for not having taken this opportunity to step away from its history of bigotry and hatred. A number of people were offended, not because they are bigots, but because I made a generalization that they felt did not allow for the people in the South who are not hateful bigots. Yes, obviously those people do exist. Clearly. I never said that they do not. Until June, I was one of them. But I think the generalization holds water —— the Deep South is still one of the more prejudicial, hate-riddled parts of the country —— and I say this not as someone on the outside, but as someone who has spent most of her life there. Hate and racism, homophobia and sexism and Far-Right Xtianity are not confined to the South, by any means. But they do find especially fertile ground in places like Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi, and in the Deep South as a whole. And trying to claim otherwise is like trying to deny that Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey have more Mafioso than do, say, Arkansas and South Carolina.

You know, I call myself a pagan. But I most emphatically do not get offended when I meet someone who has the impression that pagans are, on the whole, superstitious "fluffy bunny" New Agers obsessed with crystals, magical thinking, astrology, fairies, unicorns, and dumbed-down, misappropriated shamanism. I don't get offended because I see perfectly well how non-pagans get this impression. Walk into almost any American "witchcraft" shop. It smacks you in the face. The generalization is, generally, true, even if it's not true of me. I do not take offense and get defensive at being mistakenly lumped in with the idiots. It's a risk I accept. Do you get the gist of this song now? Because I'm moving on....

Not much to say about the last couple of days. I spent most of it lying down. My body finally reached the exhaustion threshold and switches started flipping into the off position. Exhaustion and, apparently, severe dehydration. Yesterday, I actually slept until noon. And I'm feeling much better today. Which is good, because I have a lot of writing and editing to get done this month.

I ate Chinese food, read Clara Pinto-Correia's Return of the Crazy Bird: The Sad, Strange Tale of the Dodo (2003), and washed my hair. Last night, Spooky and I watched Ratatouille again, and I still think it is, by far, the best Pixar film. I napped, a lot. I missed my date with the Plateosaurus at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, because it was raining so hard yesterday, and I was really just too tired for Boston, anyway. In fact, I didn't leave the house Wednesday or Thursday (and fear I may not have left it since, crap, Hallowe'en night). But, I listened to the rain, which has really been marvelous. I played too much WoW, as usual (thank you, "Kalizsera," for the kitty), and even waded back into Second Life for an hour on Wednesday night —— sadly, just long enough to be pretty sure I was right to jump ship.

Anyway, the platypus is reminding me that I need to email my agent and my editor, and that I have a short story to write, and that the day is slipping away.

Oh, I think I'll be posting the cover art for The Red Tree tomorrow....

And I almost forgot. Yesterday, I stumbled across this review of the cover of To Charles Fort, With Love at Bookslut. Pretty cool.
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
The current eBay auctions are ending today. Please have a look, if you are so inclined. That seems to be our last copy of the sold-out trade hardback edition of To Charles Fort, With Love.

---

Woke to a rainy morning here in Providence. It is impossible, of course, not the check into the NOAA website to keep an eye on the progress of Gustav, and for that matter, Hanna. I know too many people in the paths of each storm not to worry.

A week or so ago I mentioned being somewhat pleasantly baffled that Trisha Telep chose "Untitled 12" and "Ode to Edvard Munch" for her anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. From Amazon, the following quotes illustrate my point. A reader reviewed the book story-by-story, giving each story a star rating (X out of 5). Of my two, she wrote, "My least favorite were both of Kiernan's entries...the vague poetic style of these stories left me unconnected to their characters." I am amused:

"Ode to Evdard [sic] Munch" - Caitlin Kiernan - A man shares his blood with a mysterious vamp for a piece of her dreams. (3 stars - no romance and the connection between the leads was odd)"

—— and especially ——

"Untitled 12" - Cailtlin R. Kiernan - A sick woman searches until a vampire finds her. (1 star - I detested this one. More on the horror side, the vampire and the turning were truly icky, though I debated giving an extra star to the author for inspiring such strong negative feelings with so few words.)"

There's no place here where I can say that the reader seems to have misunderstood anything, unless, perhaps, it was the fundamental principles of fiction and that low-brow bit about "vague poetic style." I am rather pleased that "Untitled 12" inspired such loathing, as it was written, in part, as a response to the glut of "romantic" vampire prOn, and "Ode to Edvard Munch," being, in part, a dream cycle, it is undeniably "odd" (though I am left to wonder how a mortal and a vampire would have a non-odd connection). I think this gets back to what I have said before about the expectation of genre readers defeating texts, and writers who cater to such readers. And the "supernatural romance" crowd is at least as bad as the hard sf crowd. For my part, I'm pleased that Telep wanted these two stories in her book, and that pleasure arises specifically from the knowledge that they were so completely opposite of what the readers would be expecting. You know, blood, instead of red cotton candy. In the end, I blame Anne Rice (who once knew better), and her idiot step-daughter, Laurell K. Hamilton, for the the sad state of affairs with vampires in genre fiction, as well as this whole absurd "paranormal romance" subgenre thing.

---

Yesterday. It throws me off making entries late in the day. But, yesterday there was...stuff. Last night, Spooky and I watched Martin McDonagh's genuinely brilliant and thoroughly delightful In Bruges (2008), which I recommend most highly. Great cast. Great script. And Bruges. I read another paper from the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology —— "Mahajangasuchus insignis [Crocodyliformes; Mesoeucrocodylia] cranial anatomy and new data on the origin of the eusuchian-style palate." Mahajangasuchus is one of those grand bull-dog crocs, and the observations on the evolution of the "hard" palate in crocodyliforms was especially interesting, that the structure might have arisen both as a response to the need to decouple the oral cavity from respiration (an advantage only to aquatic forms, and pretty much the leading idea since Huxley proposed it in 1875) and also as a response to torsional feeding stresses. I even have a picture:


Cast of the skull of Mahajangasuchus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar


---

Last night, more EVE, which I do enjoy, despite the breakneck learning curve and despite the emphasis on PvP action. The latter is especially problematic, and I'm disappointed the game places so much stress on conformity and cooperation and makes no real provision for loner malcontents like me (and most of the characters I create). Then, too, there is the game's manic devotion to corporate commerce as a driving force for its story, when there could have been so much more of substance to motivate its players (religion, race, politics, etc.). Economics has always bored me to tears, and much of EVE revolves around buying and selling and stock and shares and blah, blah, blah. I just want to zip around the universe fighting space pirates (or, better yet, being a space pirate), shagging hot aliens, and gawking at new star systems. So, EVE gets two thumbs up for realizing such an amazingly complex gaming universe, and for making it beautiful, and two thumbs down for turning it into a dreadful capitalist bore that expects me to constantly interact with PvP-obsessed teenagers who name their starships after their penises and wouldn't know "suspension of disbelief" if it cut off their allowances. Regardless, tonight I have to get back to work on Howards End. It's time to attend to a lot of the details of the necropolis/warren/train tunnel complex, and soon we'll be laying the streets. My thanks to everyone who's sent me information on potential characters. If I have not already been in touch, I will soon. I just badly needed a break from SL.

Postscript (4:32 p.m.): from NOAA: 000
WTNT62 KNHC 301718
TCUAT2
HURRICANE GUSTAV TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
120 PM EDT SAT AUG 30 2008

DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT GUSTAV HAS CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN AND NOW HAS MAXIMUM WIND NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR WITH HIGHER GUSTS. THIS MAKES GUSTAV AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE. A SPECIAL ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED AT ABOUT 200 PM EDT TO MODIFY THE INITIAL AND FORECAST INTENSITIES. THE SPECIAL PUBLIC ADVISORY WILL TAKE THE PLACE OF THE INTERMEDIATE PUBLIC ADVISORY PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED FOR THAT TIME.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Yeah...so...there was a pretty good day off yesterday. As days off go. I slept late as I could, which wasn't that much later than usual. I read from the stack of Science we brought back from Saunderstown: spreading "dead zones" and the consequences for marine organisms; a review of a book on the biohistory of the Mascarenes; a new and more accurate model for mapping global warming "hot spots" across the US; a study examining the possibility that ferruginous conditions dominated Neoproterozoic deep-water chemistry; the invasion of arctic marine environments by more southerly molluscan lineages, following from global warming; etc. I had a long bath. I napped. I had udon noodles for lunch. I talked with Vince about his illustration for "The Z Word" (Sirenia Digest #33, and I suppose that was sort of cheating on the fundamental concept of a day off, but whatever).

In the June issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, which I'm only just now getting around to, I read the type description of the new species of "rauisuchid" archosaur Postosuchus alisonae from the Triassic of North Carolina. A marvelous beast (pictured below). I visited the type locality —— the Triangle Brick Co. Quarry near Genlee, which exposes the beds deposited in the Deep River Basin section of the Newark Supergroup —— way back in April 1996, when I was touring Triassic localities in North Carolina. All I found were a few bones fragments and a phytosaur tooth.


Postosuchus alisonae, based in large part on the better-knwn P. kirkpatricki. Bones recovered shown in black. Scale bar equals 50 cm.


Later, we drove over to College Hill and walked along Benefit Street, just taking in the sunset and the architecture and the time. Spooky warmed up Chinese leftovers for dinner, and then I downloaded the 14-day trial version of EVE, having discovered its actually Mac-compatible. The game has a monstrously steep learning curve, but its gorgeous and the interface is fairly intuitive. I've managed to complete my first two missions. I'm going to stick with it a bit, as it's so hard to find good "space" sf games. The download took about an hour, and, while I waited, I beat Spooky at a round of Unspeakable Words. And that was yesterday, pretty much.

---

This morning we somehow managed to make an 11:45 ayem showing of Mathieu Kassovitz' Babylon A.D., and I'm placing my thoughts behind a cut, because there are spoilers.

First thoughts )

---

After the movie and lunch, we read over Chapter Four of The Red Tree, because in another two or three days, I'll be starting Chapter Five. Spooky says it works. Okay. Right. Do please have a look at the current eBay auctions, and remember, that seems to be our last copy of the sold-out trade-hardback edition of To Charles Fort, With Love. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
Dreamsick today. And I'll try hard to make this a short entry. My thanks to everyone who left comments yesterday. They were needed and appreciated. They'll be needed again, today, though I doubt I have anything even half so interesting to say. But please, do not try to engage me in anything even remotely resembling an argument. Trust me. Not today. Anyway, yesterday, I wrote 1,197 words on "Derma Sutra (1891)", which I'd thought, days ago, would be a 2,000-word vignette, but which has blossomed into something like actual short story. You can read it, of course, in the forthcoming issue of Sirenia Digest, which will be #32. It will also include a wonderful piece by Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), as well as Geoffrey Goodwin's ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) interview with artist Richard Kirk (who, among many other things, provided illustrations for several of my short story collections (including Tales of Pain and Wonder, Wrong Things, From Weird and Distant Shores, and To Charles Fort, With Love). Not too late for new subscribers to get this issue. Just click here.

Now, I have this list, because if I don't do it as a list, I'll forget something:

1) The KGB Fantastic Fiction Auction was an enormous success. I have the press release from Ellen Datlow ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow), cohost of the monthly Manhattan event, and she writes: "New York, NY (July 29, 2008) – The KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle was a huge success. Sixty nine highly-coveted prizes were awarded to individuals from all over the world, including winners in Germany and Australia. The raffle has generated enough money to keep the series viable for two years. In addition, the hosts will now be able to pay the readers a small stipend for their participation." My congratulations (and thanks) to Mr. Michael Curry, who won the signed copy of the 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, and also to Mr. Chris Dill, winner of the one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest, plus all 32 back issues. And if you have no idea what the KGB Bar readings are, and happen to live in the NYC area, you should check it out. I read there in May 2001, and will be reading again on November 16th.

2) Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Surprisingly, there's still no bid on Alabaster.

3) Don't forget that subpress is now taking preorders for A is for Alien. Yes, this book will very likely sell out before it is published.

4) I'm going to begin a really hard push on the forthcoming mass-market paperback edition of Daughter of Hounds. It'll be out September 2nd, and you can now preorder it from Amazon.com for a mere $7.99 + s&h.

Last night I read more of Fraser's Triassic book, which I've been neglecting and need to finish. Spooky and I unsuccessfully tried very hard to hang a picture, but ran afoul of punky plaster and the weird steel hurricane braces built into the old walls of this place. Maybe we'll have better luck tonight. I had a nap at the feet of Dr. Muñoz. Later, there was Second Life, but really, the less said about that, the better.

Okay. Coffee, Platypus. All set. If I could just stow this dizzying futuredread that's locked onto me like a rabid lamprey. Right now, I choose to blame Generation Why (Or Gen Y, or the Echo Boomers, or what the hell ever you want to call people born in the '80s and '90s), and would like nothing more than to give the whole instant-gratification seeking, peer-oriented lot of them a good attention-span enema. Yeah, sure, I'm getting old. That's a fact. And I'm not happy about it. Another fact. But at least I remember what came before, and I know I'm not entitled, and the world is not here to serve me, or keep me entertained, or hypnotized. For that matter, while I'm at it, I place equal blame on the parents of the Why crowd —— Boomers and Xers —— because, ultimately, they're the ones to blame for this.
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: (sol)
Today was (and tonight is) as they say in Boston, wicked hot. I think it reached 96F or so, and, smart beast that I am, I contrived to spend most of the day strolling about with the sun blasting down upon my head. Which is to say, we drove down to Wickford in hopes of finding me a new walking stick before we leave for Readercon in the ayem.

My old stick —— which greatly helped, my lousy rotten feet being what they are —— was broken during the drive up from Atlanta to Providence. I should have picked one up when we were in Salem last month, where they were plentiful and cheap, because while I found a beautiful one in Wickford today —— carved like the figurehead of a ship —— it had a $200 price tag. Not that it wasn't worth $200; it certainly was. I just can afford to pay that right now. So, we wandered up and down Boston Neck Road, Brown Street, Phillips Street, all the shops, but no luck. The sun was a white demon in a pale blue sky (sort of a werewolf-coloured sky). We met a rather shy Irish wolfhound. I paused on the Wickford Bridge as the tide was flowing into the Cove and watched white geese and mallards and scores of tiny fish. Finally, heat addled, we headed back to the car about 4 p.m.

We swung by Warwick Mall on the way home, and people at the MAC counter at Macy's were very helpful, and I bought decent make-up for the first time in years. Among other things, I found a great limited-edition lipstick bearing the rather absurd (but appropriate to the afternoon) name "Dangerously Hot."

We stopped by the Dexter Training Ground to get our weekly CSA bag of produce. Good stuff this week: corn, peaches, tomatoes, summer squash, a salad mix, string beans, and a half dozen eggs. There was a vendor with fresh oysters and clams on ice, and I was sorely tempted.

So, yeah. We're almost ready to leave for Burlington. I'd forgotten how very annoying and expensive and time-consuming it is to be social. I still haven't decided what I'll be reading tomorrow afternoon. Probably something from To Charles Fort, with Love or A is for Alien. I really need to be pimping the latter. We shall see.

And I should mention the eBay auctions again. I should also pointed out that the copy of Alabaster comes with the "Highway 97" chapbook (a prequel to "Bainbridge"), and the copy of "To Charles Fort, With Love" comes with the Little Damned Book of Days chapbook.

Okay. Now a couple of photos from Wickford. A wonder the camera did not burst into flames:

Wickford July 17, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
Yeah, after the lull, we're starting up the auctions again...it'll be a slow start, but there you go. Please have a look. Bid if you are so inclined. Right now, there are copies of Frog Toes and Tentacles (2005), Alabaster (2006), and To Charles Fort, With Love (2005). All books will be signed and personalized, if the winner so desires. All three of these anthologies sold out long ago and are presently out of print. All are starting off at their original cover price. Just click here to reach the auctions.

That is all.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
I'm going to start this off with a very nice email I received yesterday, because, right now, I need something very nice. Matt Stagg writes:

I rarely do this, but I wanted to email you and express how much I admire your work. Discovering your short stories was a revelation for me: I love the way that they flitter back and forth between the sublime, the horrific and mundane. Your novels equally thrill me. How you so easily and successfully weave the disparate elements of genres as diverse as crime fiction and Lovecraftian weird tales will forever escape me; I must satisfy myself instead with the knowledge that some things are both beautiful and unknowable. Such is your fiction.

Thank you, Mr. Stagg. That sounds rather grimly sexy doesn't it? Thank you, Mr. Stagg.

Now. On to yesterday. As you know, we fled this sweat-box, and ended up at the Peace Dale Library in South County (which is actually in Washington County, for them what do not know). I sat in the wonderful air conditioning, not baking for the first time since Friday night, and oil portraits and marble busts of Mr. Rowland Hazard (1855-1890) beamed approvingly down upon me. But...after ten or fifteen minutes, I grew antsy, restless, worried about Hubero, whom we'd left back in the heat (with a bowl of ice water), worried about my writing deadlines, and so forth. But. The library had a copy of To Charles Fort, With Love, which pleased me inordinately. But it depressed me that they had all of the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson Dune books, but none of Frank Herbert's originals. I tried to do some actual work, reading from books on the history of Rhode Island architecture, the great New England hurricane of 1938, and local sea life. Spooky found Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone (2007), which is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. Honestly, I lost interest in Clive's work somewhere around Galilee (1998), so I'd not seen it. I've not read the Abarat books, either. But I might give Mister B. Gone a try, as it sounds quite good. Anyway, my restlessness increased, and we ventured back out into the heat for lunch. Lunch and tourists. We drove from Peace Dale through Wakefield to Narragansett, and then, after we ate, back to the library. Oh, Spooky took me to a pet store she used to frequent as a child, and they had a gorgeous California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getulus californiae) and also a cornsnake (Pantherophis guttata guttata) that I never got a good look at. I reread the first few chapters of Moby Dick. I always forget how much I adore Melville when it's been a while. Spooky read the first half of Kathe Koja's Stray Dog (2002).

About six pm, we headed over to Spooky's parents' place, because her mother had unexpectedly and kindly acquired for us a portable air-conditioning unit. A Sony CB-10NH, actually, which looks a bit like a shiny black Star Wars droid. We visited briefly, and I hugged Spider the Giant Cat (photo below), then headed back to Providence. Turns out, yesterday set a record high for that date in this city, 98F. It was 8:30 pm when we got home, and the thermostat was reading 93F in the house! Hubero looked utterly pathetic. We hastily set up the portable air conditioner (it needs a name), in the central room. At first, the temp dropped rather rapidly, down to 90F in about fifteen minutes, but then it refused to budge any farther. We sat in front of the AC and ate a late dinner of cold pastrami and Swiss, and sulked and sweated and grumped. Afterwards, I retreated to the swelter of my office, and tried to get into a bit of Second Life rp. Thank you, Gloriana, Pontifex, and Merma/Ardere.

Honestly, I am rethinking Second Life a lot these days. I think all the time away from it moving gave me some perspective, and I see that I abused it the last year, because I was so miserable in Atlanta and just wanted to be anywhere else but there (well, no, not anywhere, but New Babbage, Arrakis, and Toxia were all a step up). No, I'm not about to give it up or anything. But. I can't sink so much time into it. I'd already cut way, way back before the move. It's a tool, a wonderful tool that has helped me write several very good stories, but there's so much else to be done, in this First Life. One reason I make a shitty transhumanist. I fall for the real sand and sky and sex almost every goddamn time. I will say that I am deeply frustrated at the inability to construct stable rp in SL with more than three or four people, and at the plethora of illiterate, immature, ill-mannered, attention-deficit morons clogging up the works. Yeah, well, anyway. Just thinkin' aloud again.

When I went to bed at about 2:25 am, the thermostat was still hovering stubbornly in the high 80s. This sort of heat can drive you to murder your beloved. Or cut off another toe. Or alphabetize all your CDs in reverse order, Z-A. I lay in bed, mine and Spooky's sweat commingling, and watched the first part of Alien while I waited for the Ambien to take effect. Space looked so wonderfully, wonderfully cold. The corridors of the Nostromo never looked so inviting. They say this is the last day of the heatwave. But they were wrong yesterday, and I say meteorologists are going to have to bleed and suffer and die, in vast numbers, to appease Helios. We'll take the meteorologists who don't plan to vote Obama first.

Oh, I think I've found the new "art correspondent" for Sirenia Digest. Thank you all.

Oh, yeah. Photos. A bunch of photos, some of yesterday, and some that are just shots of the new place, because I'm not the only crown-molding whore out there (behind the cut):

Home and Last Yesterday )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
(All times CaST = UTC/GMT -4 hours)

I woke this morning at a few minutes past five. After having gone to sleep about two a.m.. And I did not get back to sleep. I awoke wide awake, my mind working at some problem in some story. Ambien didn't even put me back to sleep. I sat at my desk and watched the sun rise. I edited some paleontology articles on Wikipedia. I talked to Hubero. So, three hours sleep. And with this schedule, there can be no missed days, no sick days, no days off, no lost days. This keeps up, and there will be another trip to the doctor, which I can neither afford nor tolerate. Whatever shade of insomnia this is, I don't know. Sometimes I think on the dreams and consider clinophobia, but that doesn't explain these awakenings. Anyway, I've been up for six and a half hours now (as of 11:31 a.m.) and the day has not even begun.

Ugh.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,658 words.

There was good news from my editor at Penguin, that Daughter of Hounds debuted at #21 on the Barnes & Noble science fiction/fantasy trade list. So, someone's buying it, somewhere.

So what else was there to yesterday. I would say there was nothing else at all, only, lately, I've had more than one reader of this journal tell me they like the minutiae, that it's the little things, elevate the mundane, and so on and so forth, as they say. So, from that perspective: the weather finally turned cold, and I left the house near sunset, but the wind was bitter, and my walk lasted less than a block. After dinner, I watched an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, then there was another ep, and I tried not to doze. I read "Onion" aloud to Kathryn (this will be explained at some future date). There was hot cocoa.

After the aborted walk, we went to the B&N on Moreland to see how many copies of Daughter of Hounds and the Threshold mmp they had on the shelves. I looked at the 2006 Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (Vol. 19) for the first time. I'd not known that Kelly, Ellen, and Gavin had said such nice things about To Charles Fort, With Love. I also did know that "Bradbury Weather," "La Peau Verte," and "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6" had all received honourable mentions. We browsed about the bookstore a bit, which I hardly ever do these days — browse through bookstores.

We finished reading Gregory Maguire's Lost last night, and I am pleased to say that it won me over in the last 75 pp. or so, and I wound up finding it quite effective. I think perhaps I came to the novel asking it to be something it was not, possibly the least fair treatment any novel may receive. A book may only be judged for what it is, not what you'd like it to be. Next we read The Prestige by Christopher Priest.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] setsuled. I snurched the wonderful new icon from him.

A couple of things before I go forth and try to salvage this day:

'Irreversible' global warming claims its first victims of the New Year. Not so bad, if you aren't bothered by the loss of Lake Qinghai and the death of hundreds of baby hedgehogs.

And at dawn and dusk, you might want to keep an eye out for Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1), which is proving to be one of the brightest of the last one hundred years.

I will not go back to bed...
greygirlbeast: (chi4)
About 2:30 a.m. this morning, I got the news that "La Peau Verte" had won the International Horror Guild (IHG or "Iggy") Award for "best mid-length fiction." In the old days, I think they called those novelettes, those stories longer than short stories, but shorter than novellas. I always hated the word, novelette, and would much prefer to think of "La Peau Verte" as "mid-length fiction." Anyway, yes, I am very, very pleased. This is my fourth IHG since 1999 (I've had eight nominations). I was honestly actually kind of suprised to get this one. I thought it would go to Joe Hill for sure (he won in the "Best Collection" category for 20th Century Ghosts). Jeff VanderMeer kindly accepted the award in my stead. What's cool, I think, is that now "To Charles Fort, With Love" includes two IHG-winning stories: "Onion" and "La Peau Verte." Still, no one in NYC will touch it. Yay me!

I did not mean to imply yesterday that there was any imminent threat of my jumping ship and abandoning LJ for the hellish din and flash of MySpace. It would take something pretty cataclysmic to drive me to such an awful end. Not gonna happen, but I do sense that a lot of other people have fled LJ for the glitz and sleeze and invasive adverts of MySpace; I just can't figure out why.

Note that Leh'agvoi ([livejournal.com profile] setsuled) has posted the 58th and final chapter of The Adventures of Boschen and Nesuko. And I just want to say thank you for that final panel on the fourth page.

Argh. I have an e-mail here from LJ telling me that my expanded icon feature expires in eight days and I need to renew. Argh.

I'm liking Final Fantasy XII, by the way. So far, the tone has been somewhat more adult, or mature, or something of that sort, than the previous FF games I've played. Okay, except for having to hunt down and kill the rogue killer tomato thingy. All in all, it's a beautiful game, though I've only had time to play a couple of hours in.
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
I thought for sure, yesterday, that I'd find the end of "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 3)," which will be appearing late this month in Sirenia Digest 11 (please subscribe!). But no. It didn't happen. I did a very respectable 1,684 words on the story, but did not reach THE END. I was still going sometime after seven p.m., when I finally realized my mind was getting blurry and I should wait until today to finish it. The story has just kept unfolding. I think it wants to be 10,000 words long; it's gonna have to settle for about 6,500. But, yeah, the writing went well yesterday. However, this is Day No. 9 since my last day off, and I feel pretty frazzled. Hopefully, I can have the weekend for just me and Spooky and no keyboard in between us.

As I have mentioned here earlier, To Charles Fort, With Love has been nominated for two International Horror Guild awards (the "Iggys") and two World Fantasy awards. Well, actually, the collection as a whole has one Iggy nom and one WFA nom, and "La Peau Verte" also has one of each, for a total of four. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the WFC in Austin next month, where the award ceremonies will be held. Too much work, and I just can't afford the expense of a con right now, even one so near to hand as Texas. Still, I am very grateful, as that book means a lot to me, and I don't want anyone attending the con to think I'm not there because I don't care, because I do.

Amazon.com has finally added the cover of Daughter of Hounds to the ordering page. I still have mixed feelings about this cover, but hopefully it will lure a lot of eyeballs to the shelves. You can pre-order the novel from Amazon for a mere $11.20 (plus s&h).

Spooky has at last (almost) finished her latest doll, the boy with green hair who brings the amber bottle to Dancy in Savannah (see "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées" in Alabaster). Yes, it will be auctioned on eBay. She has declared this her "second slowest doll ever," as only the Barker took her longer to complete. More details tomorrow.

I think I may be very, very near to unlocking the narrative structure of The Dinosaurs of Mars, which has eluded me for months. I think I've figured out that I'm spending too much time trying to second guess sf reviewers and critics who want cutting edge, socially-relevant sf with no unsightly hints of space opera. But the truth is, I just want to write a novella about the discovery of dinosaur bones on Mars, and about the implications of that discovery back on Earth, with a few gratuitous jabs at UFO nuts, ancient-astronaut cults, and creationists, and have some fun doing it. I need to forget about the reviewers who have me chasing my own tail, the ones who believe that only sf stories concerning the "technological singularity" are the proper concern of contemporary sf. Actually, the singularity is so last week. By now, they've probably moved on to something else. Still, I am writing this story for me. It will not be blistering social commentary or feature startling and accurate predictions about the glorious (or not so glorious) future of humanity or the course of science or The Next Big Thing. It's just gonna be a story I want to write. Bill Schafer called yesterday to ask if I'd started it yet, and I had to say no, that between Tales from the Woeful Platypus and "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 3)" and all the frelling goddamn second-guessing I've been doing, I'd not yet started the piece. Hopefully, I'll begin it early next week, now that I finally have that last bit, the second-guessing, out of the way.

It occurred to me last night, just before bed, that this Halloween will mark the tenth anniversary of the first Death's Little Sister show, at the long-defunct Galaxy 500 in Athens, Georgia. Ten years. Wow. That seem's absolutely impossible.

The last couple of nights, we've had some beautiful fog. You don't get that much fog around here. It reminds me of Dublin and Rhode Island. I wanted to grab a flashlight, run outside, and play lightsabers (but I didn't — sigh). Anyway, after the writing yesterday, I was so fried (and annoyed I'd not been able to finish the piece) that we dropped by Videodrome and rented Season One of Futurama. We grabbed slices at Fellini's, then I spent most of the evening in front of the TV. I was very pleased with the way things turned out on Project Runway. I was disappointed that Michael didn't have a stronger showing, but Uli and Jeffrey were spectacular. Bring on Season 4! Oh, I did get some reading done, as well; just not enough.

Watch Hill

Aug. 6th, 2006 11:17 am
greygirlbeast: (decemberists)
I learned last night (thank you [livejournal.com profile] sovay) that I'm a World Fantasy Award finalist, twice over. To Charles Fort, With Love has been nominated for Best Collection, and "La Peau Verte" has been nominated for Best Short Story. In both categories, I am in august company (Kelly Link, Joe Hill, Peter S. Beagle, Holly Phillips, Bruce Holland Rogers, George Saunders, and — ahem — Peter S. Beagle), and I am extremely pleased with these nominations, as I was with the earlier IHG nominations. On the heels of the recent Troubles, it's most heartening, and this is the first time during my eleven years in publishing that I've received WFA nods. I hope it's an indication that my work is beginning to be perceived more as fantasy, in a broader sense, and less as "horror," sensu genre. Oh, I almost forgot. I was also very, very happy to see that Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth (ed. by Steve Jones), which included my story "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," was nominated in the Best Anthology category.

Today's another day indoors, and I aim to get two entries done, the one for August 2nd I'd meant to do on Friday and another one for yesterday.

Early on Wednesday, I finally learned what had happened with the two remaindered trade paperbacks, Low Red Moon and Murder of Angels. I did not yet know that the books would still be released next year as mass-market paperbacks, but just knowing something, removing even that small bit of uncertainty, allowed my black mood to lift an inch or so. The cottage was hot as hell, and we left, dimly hoping to find cooler air somewhere else. At first, there was an odd bit of circling about (I think we were both a little addled from the heat) and we ended up heading north on Highway 2 towards Warwick. Not being especially fond of Warwick, I asked Spooky if we could please avoid it. She was grumpy, and the whole thing was sort of like Susan Sarandon trying to reach Mexico without going through Texas in Thelma and Lousie. We exited Hwy. 2 and took Middle Road west into East Greenwich, passing Ike Shippee Corner and Tarbox Corners, then turning north on Carr's Pond Road, then west again into West Greenwich and onto I-95, turning south through Exeter. A whole lot of aimless wandering about in the sun, seeing nothing much of interest.

Finally, it was determined that we should head southwest to Watch Hill, all the way down at the Connecticut border (as we're both fond of Watch Hill, and we hoped there might be cooler air thereabouts). Amazingly, there was cooler air in Watch Hill! We parked on Bay Street, near Book and Tackle, a shop with such an intriguing name we were drawn at once inside. I saw no tackle, but there were aisles and aisles of old books and postcards. The floor was wooden, and there were minute dunes at the base of a lot of the shelves, sand tracked in on shoes and bare feet and not swept away. But the bookshop was sweltering, and we soon found ourselves back outside in cool ocean breeze. There were great clouds building in the western sky, above Stonington and Little Narragansett Bay, mercifully shutting out the sun. We walked up Bay Street to the Flying Horse Merry-Go-Round. To quote a somewhat illiterate tourism website:

Oldest in America, made in 1867. The 20 horses are not attached to the floor but instead are suspended from a center frame, swinging out or flying when in motion. About each horse is hand carved from of wood and is embellished with real tails and manes, leather saddles and agate eyes. The only flying horse carousel surviving in the country. It was brought to Watch Hill in 1883 permenently in 1883 or 1884. Children only. Lovingly maintained and preserved by The Watch Hill Memorial Library and Improvement Society.

We sat with an old man on a stone bench and watched the horses swinging round and round beneath the exposed support beams of the roof. A little later, we walked down to Fort Road and Watch Hill Cove, where we sat on the sea wall and watched the sun begin to set. It must have been about seven p.m. by then. The heat was much lessened by the clouds and a steady breeze off the water. The cove was dotted with bobbing boats of all sorts. I was especially taken with a sleek yacht appropriately named Aphrodite. The tide was going out, and I climbed over the wall onto the wet brown sand. There was a tiny jellyfish stranded there. Spooky found a desiccated minnow lying on the wall and we speculated on the circumstances of its demise. There were gulls and cormorants and sparrows and one haughty swan. The sun was beautiful on the water. And the tourists were far and away less vile than the sort we'd encountered earlier down in Galilee, Narragansett, and Jerusalem. I cannot abide most of the beach-goers, sweaty sunburned drunks of both sexes, barely clothed, loud and garish and ugly, flip-flops and thongs and great hairy bellies...but I'm getting off track.

Five years back, I began a story, "The House at Watch Hill Point," but only got 350 words in before it stalled out on me. Walking about Watch Hill on Wednesday, I thought perhaps I should finish it. Well, in truth, it's hardly been properly begun.

We drove up to Wakefield for dinner at Italian Village, a marvelous little restaurant Spooky introduced me to in July 2004. Then, back in Greenhill, where things had cooled off quite a bit, we watched Project Runway (still pretty dull compared to the first two seasons, though I've taken an inexplicable liking to Bradley). I made my first LJ/Blog entry in seven days. I didn't get to sleep until about four a.m.

Here are some photos (behind the cut):

2 August 2006 )


Okay. More later. There's e-mail I should be dealing with.
greygirlbeast: (river2)
How can a day go crappy when it begins with Spooky making me waffles for breakfast? Waffles with honey and butter (well, something that sort of looks like butter). It can't, say's I! This will be a good day. I shall see to it. Oh, and Jada sent me a beach rock from her and Katharine's recent trip to Jost Van Dyke (British Virgin Islands), and I love beach rocks as much as waffles, so there you go.

I'm sorry. I do hope all this cheer isn't frightening anyone unduly. It'll pass, I'm sure.

Yesterday was surely a better day than the day before and perhaps a better day than it had any right to be. I was peculiarly outgoing. There was phone-tag with Neil, which finally ended in an actual conversation. I spoke with my agent early in the day. We're going to try to sell a mass-market edition of To Charles Fort, With Love. Chances are slim, of course, because NYC publishers fear short fiction, even collections with starred reviews in PW, but chances are slimmer if we don't try. I exchanged e-mail with Vince, working on his new illustration for Sirenia Digest #7. There was also e-mailing with [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] extatika (the latter re: lemurs and Wicca and Starhawk's role in the unsightly proliferation of fluffy-bunny paganism). Late last night, I wrote a Very Long E-Mail to Poppy. So, yeah, I get a little silver star beside my name for actually talking to people yesterday.

Also, I did the third illustration for "Night." Today will likely be consumed with getting Sirenia Digest #7 ready to be mailed out (hopefully by tonight or tomorrow morning). And anyone who subscribes today gets a free copy of the trade paperback of Silk, because that's just the sort of nixar I am. Just click here.

Last night, there was a passable red wine with dinner, then a longer walk than is usual, then I finished reading the first part of Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen, "Dradin, in Love."

Tomorrow is Midsummer. I'm not sure precisely how Spooky and I will observe it. Something appropriate. Something fitting.

Talking to Merrillee yesterday, she urged me to begin Joey LaFaye, the actual writing of it. I'm just not sure it's ready to be started. Oh, and she also chided me for not telling my editor at Penguin that I had mixed feelings about the cover of Daughter of Hounds. But I explained it's not that I actually dislike the cover, just that it's not what I'd expected. Merrillee and I agree it's the sort of cover that will sell lots of books, and, for the moment, that's what matters.

Okay. Gotta go poke the platypus. Please have a look at the eBay auctions. A few end tomorrow. So far, we've probably raised enough to cover the repairs to Spooky's iBook and perhaps Sophie's cremation, but there are still the train tickets to Rhode Island. So, yes, please bid. I will write nice things in the books you buy, but first you have to buy them.
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
First off, I learned yesterday that I made the final ballot for the 2006 International Horror Guild Awards — twice. "La Peau Verte" has been nominated in the Mid-Length Fiction category. And To Charles Fort, With Love (now sold out at subpress) has been nominated for Best Collection. I am especially pleased with the nomination of "La Peau Verte", as it is possibly my favourite of my stories at the moment.

Secondly, my editor at Penguin sent me the not-quite-finished cover art/layout for Daughter of Hounds. I'll post it here when I'm told I can. I think that I like it. It isn't at all what I expected, not the direction I'd have gone in, but not an invalid direction, either. DoH a complicated book, and for at least its first half, it's telling two very different kinds of stories: 1) Emmie Silvey's, which is a weird, quiet sort of story about a haunted childhood, and 2) Soldier's, which is loud and filled with guns and murder and monsters and violence. The art director went with Soldier. I might have looked for the neutral ground between the two (the yellow house on Benefit Street, perhaps), but I also doubt that would have been as eye-catching.

At any rate, I didn't write yesterday. I worked, I just didn't write. I did a rough version of the cover for the "Highway 97" chapbook and sent it to Bill Schafer for his input. I wrote a new author's biography (for the mass-market paberback of Threshold) and sent it to my editor. I took care of some subpress business related to Tales from the Woeful Platypus. I contacted a bookshop in Boston where I hope I'll be doing a signing/reading in August. That sort of work. And all the while, I was thinking — In another ten or fifteen minutes, I shall set all this stuff aside, because I'll know what the next vignette is going to be and how it will start. Only that never happened. And I'm beginning to think the reason it hasn't yet happened is simply that, in having just written "Ode to Edvard Munch" and the two halves of "The Black Alphabet," I have, essentially, just written 27 vignettes over the last three weeks. That's 27 different ideas I've recently conjured and then made use of, 27 ideas which are not now available to me. So, I should not be so surprised that I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with a 28th. Hopefully, though, it will come to me today (suggestions/requests would be welcomed, by the way).

Just before twilight, we had a rather long walk (for me), maybe two miles. There's a photo behind the cut. I love that time a day this time of year. It was a uneventful walk, though we did meet a beautiful grey tomcat sitting on a wall. His name was Napoleon, which, I admit, seemed to suit him. Back home, more reading, more words, then we watched all four eps of Dr. Who: City of Death (1979; with Douglas Adams as script editor and a cameo by John Cleese). I had samosas later in the evening than is probably advisable. There were some stunningly bizarre and elaborate and lengthy dreams last night, of which I can now recall only shreds. That's always for the best. When those worlds and this world are too consciously in contact with one another, I can't get anything done.

Looking east. )


Today is the birthday of Jim Shimkus, who knows his Eudora Welty and hates "reader response theory" at least as much as I do. Happy frelling birthday, Jim!

In the next day or two, we'll be getting the eBay auctions up and going again, as I hope to finance the repair of Spooky's iBook and our train fare to New England with eBay income. There will be copies of The Dry Salvages, Silk, The Five of Cups, the subpress hardback of Low Red Moon, lettered copies of Frog Toes and Tentacles (with silk and velvet cozies), and all sorts of other stuff. Stay tuned...

La Soglia

Jan. 28th, 2006 11:08 am
greygirlbeast: (chidown)
I know it's Saturday, but another part of my mind keeps insisting it's Sunday, and another part refuses to believe I have any idea what day of the week it is. The part that knows it's Saturday keeps pointing to the calendar and my day planner, but the part that thinks it's Sunday and the entirely uncertain part retaliates with accusations. We always knew you were a goddamn whore for authoritarianism, they say, speaking in perfect unison. And I would argue, but I'm not presently in the mood to argue. The three of us will simply have to table this matter until tomorrow, when we can debate whether or not it's Sunday or Saturday or whether we should admit we have no idea what day of the week it is. We are at least unanimous in our tripartite conviction that any particular conclusion as to days of the week is of only very little consequence.

Yesterday's post brought my comp copies of Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth (ed. Steve Jones, Fedogan and Bremer). The anthology includes a story I wrote in November 2001, "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6." It's probably the first bit of my writing that was chronicled in this journal (though you'll have to go to Blogger to go that far back), and it was mentioned prominently in the preface of To Charles Fort, With Love. It's the story that set me to looking for the location of Innsmouth and led to my day at Crane Beach (Mass.) in the summer of 2004. It's a story wherein I allowed myself to play with many of my favourite things: paleontology, Lovecraft, old monster movies, books and letters which were never written, geology, ichthyology. And it's a handsome anthology and also includes stories by Kim Newman, Ramsey Campbell, Michael Marshall Smith, and others, with art by Bob Eggleton (cover) and Randy Broecker, Les Edwards, and Allan Servoss (interiors). There are also excerpts from a discarded draft of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." Very drad. But it's strange, reading this previously unpublished story I wrote more than four years ago. I'd just finished "The Well of Stars and Shadow" and was about to begin Low Red Moon.

Also, I heard from my Italian publisher yesterday. Gargoyle Books will be releasing the Italian translation of Threshold in two weeks as La Soglia: Una Storia Dalla Notte Dei Tempi. I am very pleased with the cover (and need to try and identify the trilobite they've used):



Also also, To Charles Fort, With Love was selected for Locus magazine's recommended reading list for 2005. And a quick congratulations to the winner of the letter Z auction, which ended yesterday. We're not yet sure which letter will be offered next.

Thursday evening, Spooky and I saw Underworld: Evolution (we had free passes). Looking back at older entries, I see that I described Underworld as "fun, but somewhat disappointing, even though all I'd wanted from this film was eye candy and action" (9/20/03). And on 5/29/04, after seeing the extended cut of the film on DVD, I wrote: "... it's a much better film with all this missing footage restored (forty-five minutes). It's not so much that missing scenes are put back, as scenes in the original are made longer, and, in the end, the effect is that the whole film has a bit more depth and clarity." Unfortunately, I don't think there are enough deleted scenes in the whole wide world to account for the dull mess that's Underworld: Evolution. The last thing I expected it to be was dull, but dull it was. I think the filmmakers tried to hide all the dull with very, very low lighting, but to no avail. I almost dozed. Last night, though, we rented Robert Schwentke's Flightplan, which was actually quite good. The director takes a lot of cues from Hitchcock, in all the right ways. Jodie Foster was well cast. We were pleased. My only complaint is that the title might have been more interesting and sounded less generic. Say, The 33rd Child. That would have been a better title, though I know sensible marketing never would have permitted it.

There's a new Boschen and Nesuko up. It makes me wish I had the time to write a new Nar'eth story. I keep wondering what happens after "Prophecy." Okay. That's everything on my checklist for Saturday (or Sunday or whatever). Time to pimp the platypus...
greygirlbeast: (chidown)
Gahan Wilson has written a very nice review of To Charles Fort, With Love for the February issue of Realms of Fantasy. Definitely the highpoint of my 2006, thus far. I was especially pleased with this paragraph: Both Kiernan and an observer no less astute than Ramsey Campbell in his afterword flatly state that the best work in To Charles Fort, With Love is "La Peau Verte," and I absolutely go along with that. It's not only one of the best and loveliest written scary stories I've ever read, it's also a cautionary tale which I would earnestly recommend to any brave young soul presently toying with the notion of becoming seriously involved with the artistic life read and ponder on—just in case they might have second thoughts. It's always best to have at least a dim glimmer of what you're getting into.

Otherwise, yesterday was a total washout. I'm not sure what went wrong. But it did. I lost control of myself and the day. And there are too few days and too much work to allow myself to get away with crap like that. I need to have Sirenia Digest #2 written and laid out by this coming Sunday, the 15th. I have to proof Daughter of Hounds, and I have precious little time remaining in which to get it done. I have to make a few more tweaks to "Bainbridge" and read through the rest of the Dancy stories. It looks like I'm going to let Anita write the afterword for Alabaster after all, because gods know I don't have time to do it. And yeah, had I not squandered two months this fall on Bullet Girl, I wouldn't be in this fix, but opportunity at the door and all that. Regardless, I cannot now allow myself to frell off on days when I absolutely do not feel like being stuck at this keyboard all damn day long. Like today. It's actually warmish out, and Spooky and I could go for a walk somewhere interesting. The day is a lure, dangling bright before my eyes, and I'm a fish that has to remember there's a nasty big hook behind all that sparkle. Work, you damn fool. No excuses. No, not even that. Nor that either. No means no. So...today, I have to sign eBay books, tweak "Bainbridge," and read through "The Well of Stars and Shadow" and "Alabaster" (the post-chapbook, 2.0 version of the short story). And other things I'll not want to do that will crop up along the way.

After we dropped by B&N yesterday afternoon to get the review, Spooky and I had coffee out (something we virtually never do these days, as one cannot waste a small fortune on overpriced coffee delicacies when one is scrimping and saving to move to New England). As we sat in the coffeehouse, I tried to talk through all the crap that had led to my blowing another day I can't spare. We got some Thai food on the way home. We watched The Transporter again, because Spooky hadn't seen it and I wanted to see it again because the sequel comes out on DVD this week. And I needed a good BDAF (Big Dumb Action Film) after The Cave. Actually, I've thought of a couple of other things about The Cave that didn't suck. Cole Hauser's contact lenses. Those were awesome (and we see them on Piper Perabo at the end of the film — or maybe that was Lena Headey; it's hard to be sure, so interchangeable were the characters). And there was the scene where either Charlie or Kathryn (again, interchangeable) attempts to scale a steep cave wall and is attacked by one of the creatures, which appears to try to rape her. That was about as close as the film came to a visually stunning, suspenseful scene. Yes, I am grasping at straws. Anyway, last night, after the movie, we read more Harry Potter. I think we've reached Chapter Nine.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts. I have to try and atone for yesterday...
greygirlbeast: (chi4)
Franklin Harris has written a very good review of To Charles Fort, With Love for the December issue of Rue Morgue. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tagplazen for bringing it to my attention:

Caitlin R. Kiernan's greatest power lies in her gift for chilling understatement, and on the strength of novels like Silk and Threshold, she has become one of America's most accomplished writers of dark contemporary fantasy. The qualities that make Kiernan's work so effective are most clearly on display in her short stories, particularly those in her latest collection, To Charles Fort, WIth Love.

In Kiernan's tales something as ordinary as a mud puddle can lead to other realities where madness reigns. As one of the book's characters puts it, "portals are built on purpose, to be used. These things are accidents, at best, casualites of happenstance, tears in space when one world passes much too near another."

The settings in
To Charles Fort, With Love range from Northern California and New Orleans to Rhode Island and Kiernan's native Ireland. Just as varied are the characters, who include academics, disaffected teens and young ghouls-in-training. Only their brushes with things that ought not to be and the fevered elegance with which Kiernan tells their stories connect them.

Of the thirteen tales in
To Charles Fort, With Love, the standout is "Onion," a dark reflection of The Chronicles of Narnia revolving around a young couple and their glimpses into a strange and sinister world that they feel compelled to visit. On a more epic scale, the collection's final three stories evoke H. P. Lovecraft - primarily "Dagon" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth" - referencing undersea leviathans that threaten to topple the works of man.

Still, despite the Lovecraftian trappings, Kiernan's voice remains her own. It blends a Victorian grace with a modern brutality and an immediacy of sight and smell that drags the reader into whatever dark corners the author dares to brave - and she dares quite a bit. Best described as "haunting," in every sense of the term, her fiction will not only stay with you but will leave you with an oddly satisfying unease.


Nothing there to grumble about. I hadn't ever thought about the parallels between Narnia and "Onion" before. Oz yes, but not Narnia, so that was kind of neat to see. There's quite a bit of Narnia in Daughter of Hounds, by the by, especially The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

There seems to be a bit of debate over whether or not Objective: Ministries and Project Pterosaur are for real. Personally, I can't quite seem to decide one way or another. On the one hand, I've seen a lot of stupendously tinked dren from fundamentalist Xtians, so simply pointing out how very absurd all this is won't solve the question. One person has noted that Fellowship University (FU), with which OM claims affiliation, does not appear to exist. Hmmm. And then there's Hopsiah the Kanga-Jew, Mr. Gruff (The Atheist Goat Who Loves Coffee Instead of God), and my personal favourite — the "Laughing Jesus" thong. I was entirely prepared to accept the authenticity of this whole thing until I came across the "Laughing Jesus" thong. The product information reads as follows: Panty-minimalists love our casual thong that covers sweet spots without covering your assets – putting an end to panty-lines. This under-goodie is “outta sight” in low-rise pants. Toss these message panties onstage at your favorite rock star or share a surprise message with someone special ... later. Ouch. Okay, so maybe Objective: Ministries is a hoax, another Landover Baptist Church (Landover, it should be noted, was offering Jesus panties first). But then what are we to make of something like RaptureReady.com? The problem, I think, is that some things are so laughable to start with that one commits parody at the risk of being mistaken for the real McCoy. Oh, and the interactive Baby Jesus head is totally frelling creepy.

Thanks to Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo for sending me a partial translation of the Tähtivaeltaja article.

Argh. I really need to get to work. I was going to write something about 2005 being the tenth anniversary of my being a gen-u-wine published author, a fact which had completely escaped me until just a couple of days ago. But I think that will have to wait until tomorrow. I began the second vignette for Sirenia Digest #1 yesterday and wrote 759 words of a charming but perfectly peculiar little scene in an alien whorehouse. I'm very curious to see where it's going. One never knows. Please have a look at the latest eBay auctions. Thanks! Oh, and there's a wonderful new specimen of Archaeopteryx lithographica!

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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