greygirlbeast: (white)
Cold and rainy last night, and this morning the snow has mostly been washed away. It's warmer today, about 52˚F at this particular moment.

I'm going to try to keep this short, because I need to get some writing done today. Yesterday was all work and no writing. But, there's news. Some of it's Big and Good, but a lot of that part I can't announce just yet (or maybe even not for a while yet). I can say I have a new editor at Penguin – Danielle Stockley – and we had a really wonderful conversation on the phone yesterday. Turns out, she went to school in Woonsocket, and not only did the whole Woonsocket ghoul/werewolf thing from my fiction not offend her, she seemed to suspect I Know To Much. Also, my favorite story from last year – "The Maltese Unicorn" – has been selected for The Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2012 (edited by Paula Guran, Prime Books). Here you can see the whole Table of Contents. And I wish I could tell you more of the good things, but "to those who wait," right?

Last night, we braved the fog and drizzle to get Mama Kim's (the truck was parked on Broad Street, at Johnson and Wales). There are photos of the night, below the cut. If you're in the area and haven't had Mama Kim's, you truly must remedy that.

Later, we stumbled across one of those unexpected gems on Netflix. A film we've never heard of, and doesn't have an especially good rating, but proves to be brilliant. In this case, it's a grim little thing called Blood River, directed by Adam Mason (and topped off with an appropriately chilling song, that played over the end credits, by Martin Grech). There's almost nothing I can say about this film that wouldn't risk spoilers. I can only say that it's not what you'll start off thinking it is – it's something much, much worse. To quote a review by Johnny Butane (dreadcentral.com), "What's so great about Blood River is that nothing is spelled out for the audience. Your hand is not held, nor your steps guided, through this plot." Deeply unnerving, breathtaking, and highly recommended.

And I read a couple more chapters from Chris McGowan's book. Now, I go to write, but, first, the photos I promised:

23 January 2012 )


On the QT,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Because, you see, Ceiling Cat doesn't actually live in the ceiling. "Ceiling" is merely a metaphor meant to impress upon us his constant nearness and watchfulness. Ceiling Cat actually lives in the upper troposphere, which is a bit lower than one usually finds, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster noodling about (deities must segregate, elsewise – a word LJ can't spell – we get Kaiju Big Battel and shit like that. Airplanes get eaten. Bad cellphone reception. Blood falls from the sky.). Hubero told me to explain all of this to you, so blame his bald pink ass, not mine.

I think the problem here is that I got less than six hours of sleep this morning. Thank you, Monsieur Insomnia.

It's snowing. A lot. The whole world is white, which makes it all vastly easier on my winter-shy eyes and nerves. Smooth away the bleak, ugly, sharp edges.

Not entirely sure where all of yesterday went. There was work, though no writing. Mostly answering email, questions about proofreading and copy-edited manuscripts, and stuff like that. A burning desire to clean my office (which might be constructive, only there's no longer room to move in here). I'm pretty sure there was nothing exciting. Today, among other things, I need to proofread "Tidal Forces," which is about to be reprinted in...you know, that information is probably not fit for public consumption yet. I will say, whatever editors out there might think to the contrary, "The Maltese Unicorn" (from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir) was lightyears (yes, LJ; lightyear is one word) better than anything else I wrote last year, or the year before that...and that it hasn't received more attention baffles me. I think it must be that dildos embarrass people. I don't get that at all.

Also, this diet sucks. Sugar-free, low-fat instant cocoa. Sugar-free Red Bull. Shoot me now. (Also, please, no dieting advice.)

As it happens, Alabaster #1 will be published with two covers. That is, the official cover is by Greg Ruth, and that's the one everybody has seen. But there's also an alternate cover that will be harder to find, painted by Michael Oeming. Here it is:



If you want this cover, you'll probably need to put an order in now with your Local Comic Shop. Or wait for eBay.

---

Okay, so...I had it in my head I was going to write some long and insightful, Pulitzer fucking Prize-winning essay explaining my take on the SOPA/PIPA mess and the problem of internet piracy. And then I decided, fuck that. I don't have time. I'm not so disposed. Whatever. So, instead, I'll put it plainly, and make it brief. It's not like other people haven't already said everything I'm about to say. And said it better.

No, you may not have my books for free. No, I do not believe – based on anecdotal evidence – that if I let you have five books for free, you'll buy the sixth. Bring me some very hard empirical evidence that can be reproduced, and I might think about the ramifications. Me, I want to see BitTorrent and the like die a quick, messy death. I do not appreciate being stolen from. And no, information "doesn't want to be free." That's cock-eyed bullshit. How about, my rent and healthcare and utilities want to be free? I say these things because, people need to know, whether you believe it or not, the mounting theft of ebooks is leading – on my end – to lower and lower advances from publishers. Another couple of years at this rate, it will no longer be feasible for me to continue writing novels. No, really. That's not hyperbole. Want a book for free? Go to the motherfucking library. Or download the ebook free from a library (yeah, you can do that). Stop being so goddamn lazy and unimaginative and divest yourself of that bullsit privileged, entitled I-deserve-to-get-it-free-RIGHT-NOW attitude. Who put that stuff in your heads? Well, learn this: There are options that do not ass-rape the authors. I did the work, and I deserve to be fairly paid, and not to have my copyright violated by douchebags.

But SOPA/PIPA are not the solution. As I said before, you do not burn down a house to kill a termite. You don't risk wrecking the entire internet to stop internet crime. You move slowly and with great care. You address the actual problems. You don't allow the megacorps to crush "fair use" and the like and pervert copyright law (the US was doing this well before the internet). You create the least inclusive legislation possible, not the most. Even having said what I said above, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bear, my books are being pirated on the net every single day, and that's endangering the future of my career, but I'm more comfortable with the devil I know than with SOPA/PIPA. I'm willing to wait for a better solution.

So there. I think that gets the point across.

Oh, hey! Heidi Klum and Seal are getting a divorce! Cool! Who's gonna get custody of the litter?

Cheap, But Not For Free,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Not much in the mood for an entry today. We'll play a nice game of catch up tomorrow.

My thanks to everyone who has donated mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's Drowning Girl Kickstarter project. At this point, it's 141% funded, and we still have twenty-eight days to go. And there are some amazing new rewards, soon to be announced. So, it's not too late. Also, people seem shy about those donations between $1-$14, but they ought not. Every bit helps, plus those donations grant access to the project blog.

Today, I am going to the sea.

Try to go seventy-two hours without using "lol," in any context (unless it's part of an actual word, such as lollipop). Maybe future generations won't thank you, them being doomed and all, but I'll sure be grateful.

Oh! One last thing. From Richard Horton's review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, in the August issue of Locus:

Finally, Caitlín R. Kiernan’s ‘‘The Maltese Unicorn’’, which is as stylishly noir as any story here, is about a used bookstore owner who is friendly with a mysterious brothel owner, and thus ends up trying to track down a strange object – a dildo – for her, and gets involved, to her distress, with a beautiful and untrustworthy woman mixed up in the whole business. I thought this the best story in the book, and the story that most perfectly, to my taste, matched the theme.

Booya!

Lastly, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for news of this wondrous fossil, a plesiosaur found with an unborn plesioaur in its abdomen:

greygirlbeast: (sol)
Just saw a guy in the hallway wearing a pickle-colored T-shirt which read, "Pickles are cucumbers soaked in evil." Perhaps.

I'm no good at con reports, during or after the fact. I'm here. Cool stuff has happened and will happened. But I'm fading fast. I still have a reading for Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir tonight, and then the awards ceremony at 11 ayem (!!!), and then a noon o'clock panel on...something about ambiguity in "horror" novels. I suppose I was deemed appropriate for that. Of course, checkout's also at noon, so...nothing is ever convenient. I'm trying not to think how much the con has cost so far (and we're being frugal as we can), what with my presently being so goddmamn debt poor and all.

I'm typing this from the hotel's business center, where there is actually FREE internet access (and even laser printing).

I've been changing my clothes two or three times a day. It either throws people off, or keeps them on their toes.

We got to bed much too late last night. About 3:30 ayem, I took a hot bath. Geoffrey crashed in our room, as the hour was so late and I didn't imagine himself wakeful enough to make the drive to Framingham. Anyway...enough for now. We should get home by 2:30 or 3:00 tomorrow at the latest. Home to the cats and the sweltering apartment. The AC here has been wonderful. So, yes. Next entry (with photos, most likely), tomorrow evening.

On Unfamiliar Keyboards,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Here in Rhode Island, we're having a marvelous April.

So, I have long been an admirer of the awesomeness of [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse, but, of late, they've been dropping these "(trigger warning!)" PSAs into lots of their posts. What the fuck, guys? To start with, this is fucking Coilhouse, home of the weird, brash, and bold. And secondly, when the hell did sudden, unexpected emotional responses that resonate deeply because of traumatic personal experiences become a Bad Thing that one should be warned against? And – no shit – I say this as someone who's struggled with severe PTSD since before it was a goddamn acronym and who's still medicated for it. And yet, here I am, the personification of TRIGGERING, the very idea of TRIGGERING MADE FLESH. Has the concept of catharsis passed from the world? I can't help but suspect that [livejournal.com profile] coilhouse has bowed to the pressure of the Whiners. Butch up, people. There is no fucking shelter from the storm. Worse still, the storm has only just begun.

I will not be a member of the congregation of the Church of Protect Me From That Which Might Make Me Cry.

Yeah, another grumpy day.

But I have to get over it, because tomorrow is Spooky's birthday, and I think I'm going to be in Boston on Saturday evening...so...maybe the Good Fairies of Sunshine and Pink-Pony Cupcake Sprinkles will show up and pull some cheer forth from my ass in time to save the day.

---

Yesterday was spent editing Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, answering email, sending email, waiting on email, and not much else. Today, I begin a vignette for Sirenia Digest #67. It's all in my head.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for making sure I got a copy of Publisher's Weekly 258/24, in which Two Worlds and In Between not only received a starred review, but appeared on the Table of Contents page as their "pick of the week." It really is amazing, holding that in my hands, seeing the final version of Lee Moyer's cover in color. So, thank you, [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59.

So few people would ever guess that "Houses Under the Sea" was inspired by R.E.M.'s song "Belong." And that just goes to show you how useful expectations can be. "Oh, that story was inspired by Lovecraft!" Well, actually...

---

Okay, here's another one to help me purge the angrification gremlins. If you're running a writer's conference at a well-respected liberal-arts college some 70 miles from my home (and that's as the crow flies, so it probably more like 125 miles), because you want me on ONE panel, then you're going to have to offer me a hell of a lot more than lunch and breakfast. Like an honorarium, and travel expenses, and a hotel room. Offer me those, and I might think about it. Maybe. It's nice to be asked, yes, but it's rude to put someone (a freelancer, at that) in the position of having to say no to what only seems like an honor, in a world where gas is edging towards four dollars a gallon. And ys, I appreciate the conference doesn't have a lot of money, but that's not my problem.

Hold on...be back in a second. Spooky is channeling her inner australopithicine. No, really. Monkey noises.

---

Round 3 of the Big Damn eBay Auction has begun. Right here. Please bid if you are able and interested! Thankses, Precious.

---

Last night, we made up for the lousy Hal Hartley film by watching Terrence Malick's impressive debut feature, Badlands (1973). Somehow, I'd never seen it before. Then there was Rift, and the blowback from the Big Patch, 1.3, which has loads of cool shit, but they messed up guild vaults, so we still don't have one, and all the talent trees were reset. Still, we managed a very good rp scene in the Spire of Orphiel. Later, Spooky read aloud from Junky, and then I read back over "The Maltese Unicorn," in Supernatural Noir. I really am exceptionally happy with this story, and thankful I was given a chance to write it. Now, I proceed to the other tales in the book!

Oh....here's something interesting at NPR: The End Of Gender?.

Ambiguously,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Spooky just read me a review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn." Actually, no. She didn't read me a review, or even a "review." It was just some dipshit's blog entry. He took issue with the fact that Gregory Frost's "The Dingus" and my story both use the word dingus in different ways, and this confused the blogger. Because, you know, he doesn't own a dictionary or know how to use Google (never mind an obvious unfamiliarity with the works of Daishell Hammett). Honestly, how much longer do I have to endure unabashed human stupidity? It's as if people are PROUD to be morons. Anyway, I just timed myself. I needed only five seconds, using Google, to learn that dingus is:

Used to refer to something whose name the speaker cannot remember, is unsure of, or is humorously or euphemistically omitting - here's a doohickey—and there's the dingus. – and – Dingus –noun, plural -us·es. Informal: a gadget, device, or object whose name is unknown or forgotten.

Five measly seconds! The internet! Use it, motherfuckers! Maybe Google has become like libraries; cool people don't use it.

Meanwhile, in the Great State of Alabama, where so much of my life was squandered, I have the story of Republican state Senator Scott "Top of His Class" Beason, who is unsure why he called blacks "aborigines." Yes, you read that correctly. A brief quote from the article:

In one transcript, Beason and two other Republican legislators were talking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county's largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

"That's y'all's Indians," one Republican said.

"They're aborigines, but they're not Indians," Beason replied.


As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Actually, the comment "That's y'all's Indians" might be the worst of it.

---

Kittens, there's no such thing as salvation. But if there were, it would be anger.

---

Anyway, yesterday I wrote something, but I can't yet tell you what I wrote, because it's related directly to that NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, but that I can't yet announce. I emailed the first half of Blood Oranges to my agent. And then I spent a couple more hours editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And that was work yesterday.

Oh, and, as it happens, my contributor's copies of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir arrived, and this is an awesome book, which you must own. The beady eyes of the platypus, they compel you! Also, all modesty aside, "The Maltese Unicorn" is one of the best short stories I've written in years. Dingus!!!!!

---


Late last night, we watched a movie. Now, here's the problem with Hal Hartley. On the one hand, he can make a brilliant film like No Such Thing (2001), and on the other hand he makes turds like The Girl from Monday (2005) and (the film we saw last night) The Book of Life (1998). Imagine a film devoid of acting, a script, art direction, cinematography, direction, sets, all production values...well, most that stuff you find in movies. Instead, it's just a garbled story about Jesus deciding the end of the world is a really bad idea, and you have The Book of Life. Now, the good news is threefold: 1) Polly Jean Harvey plays Mary Magdalene, and she at last tries to act in one scene, and is cool to look at the rest of the time; 2) William S. Burroughs adds a voice-over as a hellfire-and-brimstone radio preacher; and 3) the film is, mercifully, only 63 minutes long. Honestly, kittens. Not worth your time or the cost of a rental. Watch Henry Fool or No Such Thing again if you need a Hartley fix.

Fuck. I have to work today. Throw comments at me. Maybe something will stick.

Angrified,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today is mine and Spooky's eighth anniversary. We would go to the shore, were it not also the weekend of the Fourth.

Another six and half hours spent editing "The Maltese Unicorn" yesterday, but now, finally, it is pretty much done. I wrote approximately 1,500 words yesterday. Hard to be sure, since it was done in bits and pieces, here and there. Tomorrow, we'll read over the entire story— start to finish —and I'll tweak a few more things, and then it goes away to the anthology's editor again, and I will futz with it no more. It was an utterly, completely exhausting writing day.

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of Swords and Dark Magic, edited by Johnathan Strahan and Lou Anders, arrived. It contains my story "The Sea Troll's Daughter," and stories by many fine authors. I am very pleased to have been given the chance to be a part of this book.

Also, to all those people who chipped in for Spooky's birthday present, I haven't forgotten that I owe you a poem. It's coming.

Spooky began a new round of eBay auctions yesterday, including one of the mega-ultra scarce Salammbô T-shirts that were printed for the original release of Tales of Pain and Wonder, way back in 2000. We only have three or four of these left (I think a hundred were made), including the one that's being auctioned. The art, of course, is by Richard A. Kirk.

I found two titles yesterday. "The SEA is Lovely, Dark and Deep" and "How the Moon Got Its Whiskers." Now I only have to find their stories.

Spooky and I have, belatedly, become addicted to 24. We've blown through the first ten episodes of Season One in two nights.
greygirlbeast: (white)
One cannot genuinely hate a season, but autumn instills in me a deep uneasiness. Yesterday and today, it feels like autumn here in Providence. That carnivorous blue sky, low humidity, temperatures in the seventies Fahrenheit. I'm glad for the break from the heat, but not glad that means a splash of autumn in July.

Dreamsickness this morning for the first time in a couple of months. I have a pill to stop that now, but something nasty wriggled in under the pharmacological wire.

Every bit of yesterday was spent editing "The Maltese Unicorn." No, that's not quite true. Only the hours spent working. And I didn't finish the editing. It sprawls over into today, and maybe also into tomorrow. Did I write anything new yesterday? Yes, but I don't think there was any net gain. I would write a paragraph, which would take half an hour or an hour, and then I would erase it.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks very much.

When the editing was done for the day yesterday, I watched an episode of American Experience about the Dust Bowl (Spooky had gone to the market). I found a curious parallel. During the 1930s, during a time of great economic hardship, the nation is suffering a man-made ecological disaster, an agrocalamity. Short-sighted farming techniques in the Southern Plains led to conditions in which a layer of topsoil that had taken a thousand years to form was blown away in a few minutes. Anyway, now, in a time of economic hardship, the nation has suffered a man-made ecological disaster, an petrocalamity. Short-sighted use of fossil fuels, combined with greed and carelessness, is threatening a gulf ecosystem that has taken many tens of millions of years to evolve. In the episode of American Experience, a number of people who had been children during the Dust Bowl were interviewed. There are two I would like to quote:

Melt White, Dalhart, Texas: "It looked like the greatest thing would never end. So they abused the land. They abused it somethin’ terrible. They raped it. They got everything out they could. And we don’t think. We don’t think. Except for ourselves and it comes down to greed. We’re selfish and we want what we want and we don’t even think of what the end results might be."

J.R. Davison, Texhoma, Oklahoma: "I think that most of those people thought this is just what we might say 'hog heaven’. It’ll always be this way. So they kept breaking this country out and they plowed up a lot of country that should never have been plowed up. They got the whole country plowed up nearly and, ah, that’s about the time it turned off terribly dry."

Change a few words here and there, and this could be an interview in, say, 2075, of people who were children during this year, recalling the spring and summer the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico bled crude oil and methane.

And now I have to edit.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The cool weather is still with us. A mere 71F Outside at the moment. It's cool enough inside that I can actually wear pants. But the heat's supposed to make a comeback in the next day or two, I think.

All of yesterday was spent on the editorial pages for "The Maltese Unicorn." But I saved all the really hard stuff for today. And today is the very last day I have to work on the story, so it's going to be a long, long afternoon. Speaking of long, did I mention this is probably my longest short story since "Bainbridge" back in December 2005?

I've been alerted (thanks, John Glover et al.) to the fact that Amazon.com is now saying that The Ammonite Violin & Others won't be shipping for 1-2 months. No, I don't know why. But I have just emailed Bill Schafer to see if he knows, and I'll pass the news along as soon as I have it.

---

There's an announcement I need to make, and I see no point in putting it off any longer. This will likely be the last year I do conventions. I have Readercon 21, and then another con this autumn, and I don't expect to do any more after that. They're just too expensive, require too much time and energy and time away from work, and my health isn't what it once was. And, truthfully, I've only rarely enjoyed doing conventions. Dragon*Con was fun those years I costumed, and Readercon is nice, because it's laid back and feels a little more like an academic conference than a sf/f con. But yeah, consider this my last year for cons.

---

What else about yesterday? I watched an episode of American Experience about the Donner Party, via PBS online. And later, Spooky and I marked the 150th anniversary of Thomas Huxley's 1860 debate with Samuel Wilberforce by watching Jon Amiel's Creation (2009; based on Randal Keynes' 2000 novel Annie's Box).

It's a beautiful, marvelous film. Yeah, it has its share of fictionalized and synoptic history, but it very effectively communicates Darwin's struggles with his own loss of faith, his health problems, the death of a daughter, and the tensions between him and his wife, all leading up to the composition of On the Origin of Species. Both Paul Bettany (Charles Darwin) and Jennifer Connelly (Emma Darwin) are superb in their roles. And Toby Jones was an inspired choice for Thomas Huxley. The film captures all the wonder, confusion, and terror that must have attended Darwin's protracted epiphany. Excellent cinematography, which often makes great use of bright splashes of color against drab canvases. I very strongly recommend this film.

You may recall the kerfuffle that preceded Creation's US release (it was eventually picked up by Newmarket Films; the US was one of the last countries where it found a distributor). To quote producer Jeremy Thomas, "It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that he [God] made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules." It is, indeed, unbelievable, and a tragedy that anyone would try to prevent this powerful and powerfully humane film from being shown anywhere. It is unthinkable to me that 151 years after the publication of Darwin's great book, Americans have yet to come to terms with the fact of evolution, and that so many of them cling to the absurdities of Biblical literalism, and, in doing so, contribute significantly to scientific illiteracy in this country. Darwin wasn't wrong in fearing the storm he would ignite, but I don't think even he imagined that we'd still be weathering it this far along.

Now, the mothmen, the platypus, and the dodo are telling me there's a unicorn with my name on it.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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