greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, imagine that the entire human population has been decimated by a pandemic. The world's cities have been reduced to rubble and ash. Virtually no survivors remain. But someone makes a "reality TV series" about it. And our survivors all just happen to be amazingly gifted, mostly college-educated professionals, with skills uniquely suited to making it in this post-apopcalyptic wasteland. Well, as long as they have all those other skilled folks on hand. Because, face it. What use is it knowing how to build a solar array to power your blow drier if you don't know how to turn toxic sludge from the LA River into drinking water? Anyway, this is the formula for what Spooky and I found ourselves streaming last night, The Colony. Oh, yeah, it's bad. It's whatever's worse than bad.

Here we are. At the end of the world. In Los Angeles. And there are those roving gangs of bikers from The Road Warrior, only the producers forbid them to hurt any of the "participants," which is a good thing, since California seems to have banned all firearms immediately before the plague hit. Now, want reality? Give me a carpenter, a hooker, a few day laborers, maybe one professional (let's say a CPA), a junky, an orphan, and someone with Alzheimer's, and that would begin to simulate the situation that might arise after The End. Oh, and give them guns and knives and pointy sticks. And screw the bikers. Try roving bands of starving feral (and probably frequently rabid) dogs and coyotes.

I present this oddly watchable train wreck with an F+.

---

Yesterday was a very good day. I wrote 1,403 words and finished "Apostate." I also retitled it "The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings," a vast improvement. Look for Sirenia Digest #74 on Friday.

Meanwhile, I received very good news about closing the deal on Blood Oranges and its two sequels, and I can probably make the official announcement next week (or sooner).

And I'm going to have very cool news regarding both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, but I can't yet say what it is...except no, we're not talking film. But very, very cool news. It's gonna make a lot of my readers happy.

Oh! And Spooky ordered us a Cookiethulu T-shirt! (It was on sale yesterday). "Coooooookie! Iä! Iä!"

As for today, I'm going to celebrate yesterday going so well by taking a day off. I'll answer some email, but then I'm outta here, kittens. Which is not to say you shouldn't comment. You should. Because, you know, I will be back.

Looking Up,
Aunt Beast

News

Jan. 6th, 2012 05:40 pm
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Firstly, Roc has made an offer on Blood Oranges.

Secondly, for those who missed it last night, the beta of the new website, focusing on The Drowning Girl, went live last night (you can still reach The Red Tree pages). The website includes the "teaser" trailer, but I'm also posting it below, along with the "cast and crew." And, to all those who made this possible by making donations to Kickstarter, thank you! I hope to see the full-length trailer up on the first of March. Also, please feel free to repost this entry or, better yet, just the trailer. Spread the word! And comments are very welcome.



Produced by
Kyle Cassidy, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Kickstarter donations

Directed by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kyle Cassidy

Photographed by Kyle Cassidy and Brian Siano
(http://www.kylecassidy.com)

Edited by Brian Siano
(http://www.briansiano.com)

Artwork by Michael Zulli
(http://www.michaelzulli.com)

Music by A Whisper in the Noise/West Thordson
(http://www.myspace.com/awitn)

Cast:
Nicole Astes
Sarah Murphy
Dani Church

Assistance, Transport, and Emotional Support:
Ryan Anas
Geoffrey H. Goodwin
Kathryn Pollnac

The names of all the individual Kickstarter donors can be found here. And, again, thank you all.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a lot like today, if you only kept your eyes on the sky. Grey.

There's something grim hanging over me this early afternoon. It's familiar, but nothing that's been keeping me company lately. Maybe it's only because tomorrow is Cephalopodmas and Solstice. I need to go to the sea and make an appropriate offering. The weather is so cold and shitty, but I never used to let that stop me before. We're making octopus- and jellyfish-shaped sugar cookies, and I'll make a simple beef stew, beginning with a roux that includes a good stout. Probably not Guinness, though that's what I usually use. Maybe I'll make a huge breakfast on Friday morning. None of this is helping me lose weight.

Yesterday, I painted again. It would be soothing, I suppose. A soothing diversion, were my painting not, by necessity, such a violent act. Then again, maybe I find the violence soothing. Oh, and I have a postcard from Scotland in an antique Salmgundi Whitman's chocolates tin; that is, I just put the postcard in there so I wouldn't lose it. My office is an utter cacophony of paper and manuscript boxes, and it's easy to lose things.

Between now and mid-February, I desperately need a web monkey who'll work for all but free. I can offer inscribed, autographed books as remuneration. Mostly, I need the front page of my website converted from something that features The Red Tree to something that features The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, including the "teaser" trailer, which will later be replaced by the full two-minute version. The pages for The Red Tree would be placed elsewhere on the site. Easy stuff, yeah? But beyond my 1995 html skills. Hell, I'll even throw in a FREE one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest. If you want the job, say so here, in a comment, or email me a greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm sort of desperate. My publisher is useless on this front.

There was an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday evening after dark. The appointments are much less unnerving after dark, and she's a very pleasant woman whom I can talk to about almost anything. I'm always surprised at her forbearance.

I'm trying to listen to William Gibson's Neuromancer on audiobook, because it's been years since I read it. But the reader (remaining here nameless) has this annoying Southern accent, and he ends almost every sentence with an odd...how do I describe it? His voice dips and fades at the end of sentences, and, while he's good with Japanese and Russian accents, his attempts at reading female dialogue sounds like Monty Python drag. For dog's sake, just read the goddamn book, and stop trying to dramatize, even minimally. I'm very pleased I have so much control and say-so in the recording of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I've already made it plain I want not one whit of dramatization. Just a good reader, who will sound like Imp and simply read.

I cannot help but sing Death Cab for Cutie's "Someday You Will Be Loved" as a serial-killer song, always singing "Someday you will be loved" as "Someday you will be mine." Either way, it's a pretty harsh song. A killer or a cad.

Far too much SW:otR last night*. Spooky got the game yesterday, so now we're playing together. I rolled my second Sith inquisitor, and gods, she's adorable. Adorable evil. Like a half Nebari girl-child in Japanese schoolgirl mode, though she's actually human. Yes, I'm playing a bloody human, and liking it. Her name is Varla. Spooky's playing a Zabrak Sith warrior named Aisimetra. I didn't get to bed until 4:30 ayem (you tell yourself it's a bloody vacation, so it's okay to be bad kids), and only slept 6.5 hours.

And now I ought go and do vacating sorts of things. Except, today is a day of errands, preparing for tomorrow and ol' St. Cthulhu.

I want to see The Adventures of Tintin, but it's in blasted, fucking 3D motherfucking EVERYWHERE here, unless you can make an 11 ayem show (noon CaST). Yeah, right. That's gonna happen. Pretty much the same situation with Hugo, and Scorcese ought know better. When the hell is Hollywood going to accept that ticket sales on 3D movies have plummeted to about 20% of box-office revenue, mostly because of the more expensive tickets, and they're only throwing bad money after good (and destroying cinematography in the process)?

In the anti-holiday spirit,
Aunt Beast

* Oh, and no Xmas shit in SW:otR! Clearly, the Baby Jesus never reached either the Republic or the Empire. Woot!
greygirlbeast: (Aeryn and Pilot)
00. I'm not feeling very bow tie this afternoon. Comments would be nice.

01. Yesterday there was email, and Subterranean Press needed some stuff from me for The Yellow Book, which, you may recall, is the FREE hardcover chapbook that accompanies the limited edition (but not the trade) of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Little odds and ends, nothing major. And I was still waiting to hear from an editor, so I proposed to Spooky that we proceed with a long, long delayed office renovation. We spent about an hour moving a shelf and books and stuff, then spent two hours realizing that the table we wanted to put in my office would never fit (this involved Spooky calling her Mom in South County to remeasure Spooky's sister Steph's old table out in the barn). Nope. No dice. So, I have resigned myself to being stuck in an office even smaller than my last (Mansfield Avenue, Atlanta, GA), which was, at best, a third as large as my office before that (Kirkwood Lofts, Atlanta, GA). A few years from now, at this rate, they'll have me writing in a restroom stall. Ah, well. At least then I'll never have an excuse to stand up. Anyway, in the end (no pun intended), yesterday was mostly a sadly and exhausting wasted day. Though, I did leave the house for the first time in five or six days.

02. In list of weird books to give the weird people in your lives for the holidays (that would be Solstice and/or Cephalopodmas), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, over at the Weird Fiction Review website (virtual sister of the Centipede Press print digest of the same name), in their listing Two Worlds and In Between, write:

Standing as one member of the Triad of Infernal Weird – the three who clearly have signed pacts with demons to keep the quality of their story forever elevated – that also includes Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco, Kiernan has emerged since the 1990s as a master of the weird tale.

Clearly, we haven't been keeping those meetings secret enough. Regardless, the VanderMeers strongly recommend the book ("This collection from Subterranean only confirms her brilliance."), along with several other very wonderfully weird titles (kittens, the word horror, when used to denote a literary genre, is so very not bow tie; parentheses are, though – trust me).

03. Today will be spent writing a very whimsical piece for Sirenia Digest #73, "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea." Think Victorian flower language (id est, floriography) and you're halfway there. I intend to enjoy writing this.

04. A point of etiquette (unless you happen to wish to seem a douchebag):

a) When a kerfuffle is made over a company publicly insulting transgender persons, and there is outrage, and said company wisely apologizes (though, note, I don't consider an apology an exoneration), and a somewhat prominent transgender author notes that at least this is evidence that change is coming, even if it's coming very, very slowly, do not

b) post in that authors' Facebook that, while you sympathize, you also find the insult funny, and then

c) when said author explains why it's not fucking funny do not

d) dig in your heels and go on about how some people take themselves too seriously, or

e) you will find yourself banned from that author's Facebook, Matthew Baker. Because admitting that you find a joke at the expense of transgender people funny, but also understanding it hurts them, but you still find it funny, makes you a hateful and transphobic (here's that word again) douchebag. I'll not dwell on the coincidences that you are also male, white, and cisgender. Also, definitely do NOT begin emailing the author afterwards to call them names, because then you'll have graduated from douchebag to troll.

05. Last night, after sandwiches from the Eastside Market deli, we watched Scott Crocker's documentary on the mistaken resurrection of the (almost certainly) extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), Ghost Bird, with music by the amazing Zoë Keating. Ghost Bird is an exquisite film, not only because it documents this episode in the history of humanity's thoughtless elimination of other species, but because it serves as a case study of how science works: the theory, the methodology, responsibility, the politics, publishing, personal conflicts, and the perils of wishful thinking. See it; for the moment it can be streamed from Netflix.

After the film, there was Rift (which is to say, my social life), and Indus reached Level 40 (only ten to go). Then I read a rather good story by Ramsay Campbell, "Getting It Wrong," who needs no one to tell him how the Plight of Family X can, and usually does, make for a truly dull story. By the way, one day soon, I'll explain why several books, including Danielewski's House of Leaves, Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door, my own The Red Tree, and a few others, emphatically do not fall into the dreaded subgenre trap of "Family X Move Into the Bad House and Have Their Normative Domestic Bliss Wrecked by an Inconvenient Intrusion from Outside." The answer is surprisingly simple, though extraordinarily complex.

And now, the words.

Simply Complex and Complexly Simple,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:34 p.m.): Word from my editor at Penguin that the final and corrected cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
1) Bright outside, a clear blue sky, but the temperature is only 44˚Fahrenheit, which drops to 37˚Fahrenheit when you factor in windchill. At the shore, I expect the windchill has it feeling a good ten degrees cooler than that. Last night, the sky spat rain and slushy snow.

2) Last night, Kathryn's grandmother died. I can't recall the precise time. It was after midnight (CaST). I feel I should say very little on this. Whatever is to be said, you can read at [livejournal.com profile] humglum. But a lot of those posts will be friends locked, for obvious reasons.

3) For reasons that should be fairly obvious, editors should go to lengths to avoid taking liberties with an author's text, if an agreement has not been reached beforehand regarding edits, especially when reprints are involved.

4) There was no actual writing yesterday. The day was a tumult of phone calls, email, and mostly wrestling with the final stage of proofing the (mysteriously altered) galleys for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. These were the pages Spooky had questions about that I had to answer, and there were about fifty of these pages. It could have been worse, but it could have been much, much better. Today, they go to FedEx and back to Manhattan. Other than promotion, the book will be well and truly out of my hands, finally. One the one hand, this feels sad and strange. On the other hand, it's a huge relief. Vince's two illustrations look great in the novel.

There was also a somewhat complex call with my agent. Complex because we had to cover so many subjects (Dark Horse, Blood Oranges, audiobooks, film rights, checks, the mind-bending legal-speak of contracts, the problems raised by ebooks, and...I've lost track). There was the usual barrage of email. I had to get colorist notes for Alabaster #1 out to my editor at Dark Horse. So, yeah. I did not get back to "Sexing the Weird." I doubt that I will today.

5) I forgot to mention that when we went out on Wednesday, we checked the mail and the World Fantasy Award folks had sent me the little HPL pin that all nominees get. You can see the one I got last year here. I am very proud of it. Now I've earned HPL pins for both The Red Tree and The Ammonite Violin and Others.

6) Spooky just came up with the day's mail, which includes three copies of the ARCs (advance reading copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And they look pretty damn good. A few blemishes here and there, and of course the weird changes are in there, and there wasn't time to get the NYT quote on the cover. But still, nice ARCs, including Vince's illustrations. So, bona fide reviewers should be receiving these soonish (or sooner). I have to get a list together for my publicist. Maybe I'll include a photo of one of the ARCs tomorrow.

7) There was a LOT of Rift last night, including some rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. A good and very open-ended scene. We've been talking about beginning rp with the guild again (Defiant side, "Watchers of the Unseen"), and if anyone's interested, just let me know, new members or old or prospective. Anyway, since the 1.6 update to the game, day before yesterday, which adds a new region – the Ember Isle, from which the Kelari originated – the idiots have returned to the game. The idiots only seem to show up when there's something new, and they play the new stuff as quickly as possible, then vanish again. The idiots are easy to spot, as most of them sport idiot "names." Last night, for example, the dozens of idiot "not-names" I spotted last night included Kowboy and Killswytch. I think what disturbs me the most is if there's a Kowboy, that means Cowboy was already taken.

Okay. So that's it for today. Play nice, kittens.

Hating My Way,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, let's get this over and done with, and then we may proceed to your regularly scheduled blog entry. I expect it will be less painful that way. Well, less painful for me at least, and I know I'll be loads less distracted:

Booya! )


That said...or shown, or both, whatever...you know the lousy thing about incredible shit happening yesterday? The lousy thing about incredible shit having happened yesterday is that it's not happening today. Nonetheless, today I can lift up the blackness enough to peer out (though I do squint something fierce).

But, still, comment, kittens. And thank you for yesterday's comments.

Yesterday, we read chapters One and Two of Blood Oranges, and I can say, with great relief, that I still like this book a lot. It's about as far from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as you can get, but that's not a bad thing. I think I'd reached a point where I had to write something just for fucking fun. And Blood Oranges is fun. And it's even funny. I never fucking knew I had all this fucking funny in me. It's like discovering a strange boil behind your ear, and someone lances it, and out comes humor. I mean "ha ha" humor, not aqueous humour – though lancing a boil behind your ear and getting aqueous humour would be interesting. Anyway, with luck, the manuscript will be proofread and corrected and in Manhattan on Monday morning. I've dragged my feet on getting it to my publisher and editor. Well, no, I haven't. I've been too busy with my work for No Such Agency, and with Sirenia Digest, and with the trailer/still-photo project for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir that Blood Oranges just...sort of got lost in the shuffle. But now it's unlost. Today, we do chapters Three and Four, which will put us halfway through the novel.

I think I've decided to keep Kermit the iPad. He proved himself very useful editing yesterday. And so I'm rethinking this whole thing. But thank you, Cliff Miller. Thank you all the same.

Also, I saw a rough cut of the teaser for the trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir yesterday, and it's all I can do not to link to it here. Imagine the lovechild of Terrance Malick and David Lynch, and you're in the neighborhood. Thank you, Brian and Kyle. This is going to be so fucking wonderful. I also spoke with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and [livejournal.com profile] kambriel yesterday about shooting additional footage this winter in Philadelphia, and it seems like it'll happen. We'll be holding eBay auctions, props and such (a large moonstone signed by the whole cast & crew, etc.) from the first shoot, to fund that, and I'll keep you posted. Thing is, to quote Imp:

“I’m going to write a ghost story now,” she typed.
“A ghost story with a mermaid and a wolf,” she also typed.
I also typed.


Well, we have tons of mermaid/water footage, the Saltonstall stuff, but the wolf part has been sorely neglected, and for that we need winter, and snow, and a big wolf-like dog for the Perrault stuff, and we can make these things happen this winter in Philadelphia. So, yeah. Another shoot lies ahead. Which fills me not in the least with dread. It pleases me.

Last night, we proved that one meatloaf can be stretched out over four dinners and one midnight sandwich. Spooky has some mean Loaf Fu. We played some Rift. I'm obsessed with getting Selwynn glorified with the Icewatch in Iron Pine Peak, so...lots of dailies. Or, in my case, nightlies. Later, I read aloud to Spooky from John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez. Despite my love for Steinbeck and his Cannery Row books, I've never read this book, but found an old copy at Spooky's parents and borrowed it on Sunday (a copy that sold new in trade paperback for $1.45 in 1962). It begins with Steinbeck's "About Ed Ricketts" essay/eulogy, and, so far, I've managed not to cry. In another life, I might have been someone as good and useful to the world as Ed Ricketts. I like to think that.

It occurs to me, apropos of nothing in particular, that there's no point whatsoever in having a cake if you can't eat it, too.

Wanting Cake, Black Forest,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Late yesterday, we drove down to Kathryn's parents' place, where we filmed last weekend. I'd hoped being away from the city might help the darkness that's been creeping back over me the past week or so. I know the meds are still working, even if it feels like they're not. Anyway, yeah, so we went to the farm. And at first I did have hope. I napped yesterday evening in the room I find safe and peaceful. But that was it. There was nothing else about the visit that helped, and that brief lifting of the veil dissolved very quickly.

But I did see a sky with far less light pollution. The stars I half forget are there to provide perspective. Which I suspect is one of the main reasons human beings are spewing so much energy to drive away the night. They know what the stars mean (even if only unconsciously, in that hindmost reptilian-part of their brains), and it terrifies them. At four-thirty ayem, I was watching the moon rise through the trees.

We played with the great beast that is Spider Cat. We fed the chickens. We saw deer. The frog that lives in the koi pond. The apple trees dying for another winter.

None of it did much of anything for the anger and blackness. Every year, there are fewer and fewer things that help. There is a darkness the meds can never touch, and even my psychiatrist knows that. Kathryn certainly knows. I'd burn it out if I could. I'd fill my eyes with the sheep-blank stares I see on most human faces, or I'd fill it with the ancient sanity of starlight.

Okay, enough of that for now. I'd "friends lock" this, except it would still go up on Facebook and Twitter, and LJ seems to have made it impossible to shut off the cross-posting feature I switched on a long time ago.

I still find myself hating the iPad. I think some people have misunderstood. I do not hate the iPad because it is a device somehow substandard to similar mobile devices. I hate that I needed to waste money on it, and that, no matter how hard I struggle to the contrary, it will be the vehicle of additional time displacement. This has nothing to do with Apple. The iPad is all shiny shiny and shit. It works like a dream. It's just something no one* on earth needs (or anything similar manufactured by another company), no matter how much they may "need" it.

I still find myself loving the work we did last weekend, and missing everyone who was here and helped to make the magic.

I'm considering – well, actually in the earliest stages of planning – two more Kickstarter projects, both for 2012. Now that Spooky is entering the final stages of the process of completing our "Tale of the Ravens" project, and now that I see The Drowning Girl Kickstarter yielding such fruits as it is yielding. We have had such amazing success with Kickstarter (thank you). One would be a boxed, two volume limited-edition set of hardbacks of both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, with lots of tipped in color illustrations, facsimile documents, expanded text, appendices, and so forth (because, you know, there's time for these projects hemorrhaging from my asshole). It would be a very expensive undertaking, but it would be worth the expense and time, if I could make it happen. It would probably be limited to 500 signed and numbered copies. Maybe 26 lettered copies.

Anyway, the other project is one I actually began working on, conceptually, a year ago. A short film, a vignette of the sort you'd make of a Sirenia Digest vignette. A siren washed up and dying at the end of the world, and it might overlap territory explored in "The Bone's Prayer." That series of personal apocalypse stories. This would actually be a far simpler and far cheaper project than producing the books.

These are maybes.

Oh, we saw Kevin Smith's Red State last night, which I say is an unreservedly brilliant film, and which must be seen. Right now, Netflix is streaming it. It's a terrifying and sobering exploration of belief and the consequences of belief taken to extremes, the consequences of blindly following...anyone or anything. Only following orders. Only following a man. Only following a "god." There is a moment when the film almost veers into the supernatural that is the most genuinely chilling bit of film I've seen since Sauna.

Now...

*Amended to "not everyone."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
No numbered lists today. I've not the patience for it, and I have too little to say, and, besides, NASA finally decided the odds of the elctro-whatsit generator we need to proceed "probably" won't create a vast artificial black hole.

Secrets make me weary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I should go now, before I hurt myself.

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



Masochistic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Which is to say thta yesterday was the eleventh day spent on this CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and today was the twelfth.

And now, now it is DONE.

The Red Tree CEM took me only eight days, and it was, by far, a much more tedious manuscript (mostly in terms if verifying "fair use," common use, etc. for quotes). And I had a better CE for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Spooky and I are both rather unable to explain why this one took so much longer.

Anyway, I am drooling fucking exhausted. Tomorrow, it all goes back in the mail to NYC. I've not had a day off in at least two weeks.

Meanwhile, please do have a look at the sale going on in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. Wonderful things! Go! Look! Buy goodies! Thank you.

And now...I'm gonna go do something that does not strain my brain meats.

Relieved,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
In my forty-seven years, I have been around for the breakup of innumerable rock groups. Hell, I can clearly remember when the Beatles called it splitsville – a complicated, litigatious affair, that began in 1970, but was dragged out in courts until 1975 (so, from the time I was six until the time I was eleven). But I don't think I've ever been so affected by the breakup of a band as I'm being affected by the breakup of R.E.M. I came to the band fairly late, in 1986. I was in school in Boulder, CO at the time, and my first R.E.M. album (the first I encountered) was Fables of the Reconstruction, after which I immediately sought out Life's Rich Pageant. Eventually, by the sheerest happenstance, I came to live in Athens, GA in 1994, and running into and speaking with members of the band was a fairly frequent event, if only because we hung out in a lot of the same places. "Buck Berry Mills Stipe" managed to speak of the South in a way that few others ever have, with an authenticity, power, and beauty to rival prose authors such as Faulkner, Williams, and O'Connor. I cannot stress too strongly the influence their words and music has had on my own writing. They said it true. And I think they've now done the right thing. After all, thirty-one years is a long time, and their's is an amicable parting of the ways, and for the right reasons. But I cannot help but feel a pang of loss. And, I should note, if you're in the mood to do some R.E.M. bashing, do it elsewhere, please.

Yesterday was spent adding about eleven thousand additional words to the "Back Pages" section of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And then proofreading them. As Peter Straub said upon reading the manuscript, "I don't think I've ever seen a novel where it was so obvious the author didn't want to stop writing." He was, of course, right on the mark. This book is probably a quarter the length it ought to be, just as The Red Tree was about half as long as it should have been. And yes, publishers do give me word limits, both minimum and maximum. Plus, I have to factor in how long I can afford to spend working on any given book, as paychecks matter, as I was not blessed with, say, a trust fund.

Today, I add a little more. Then I try to take my hands off the thing, and I try to leave them off it, and look ahead.

Speaking of which, looking at my schedule again yesterday, I realized that there's no chance of me taking a "vacation" any time soon. Somehow, I thought there were three free days that don't exist. Probably, this is because I've spent so much time on the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. So, no Maine. So, no unplugging.

---

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] docbrite asked to see a transcript of me poking that Facebook idiot with my pointy stick. I didn't think Facebook logged such things, but I was wrong. You may find it behind the cut. I'm omitting the name of the idiot. Not because I'm nice. Because I'd rather not have some jack-off whining at me. Also, note how this guy began trying to get me to speak to him way back on July 14th (the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc. is exactly as I received it):

For Billy )

Meanwhile...well, frankly I don't know. How is one expected to follow an act like that?

Radio Free,
Aunt Beast

* I have no friends named Linda. I don't think I've ever had a friend named Linda.

** It is, of course, common knowledge that the day of my birth is May 26th.
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Chilly and mostly sunny here in Providence.

Gods, I slept almost eight hours. Not good.

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

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

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

And I should go. Pages and pages.

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



After while, crocodile,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (wookie)
Both my feet feel like blocks of wood this morning. Since I began taking Gabapentin, and the neurological problems in my feet began to improve, this doesn't happen so often. Only sometimes. Regardless, it's a very unpleasant sensation (or lack thereof), and can make walking tricky (which is why I used a stick for so long).

A great comment to Wednesday's entry, which was largely concerned with the decline of LJ, care of [livejournal.com profile] opalblack : "It's (LJ's} drawing me back more and more because it isn't so instant, and many of the smaller minds have drifted away for shallower waters." Smaller minds and shallower waters, that's the bit I like.

---

Sort of chilly this morning. Storms passed through Providence yesterday, in advance of the cold front, and now it feels nothing at all like summer.

---

Yesterday, there were some last-minute adjustments to the flux capacitor, which was only managing a paltry 1.02 gigawatts, when 1.21 are required for optimal performance. But, as soon as that was dealt with, I finally opened the envelope containing the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (which actually arrived here on September 8th), and we made it through Chapter One. We'll do Two and Three today. Which seems, at the moment, a lofty fucking goal. But I will say this. With The Red Tree, I got the best copy-editor I'd ever had, one who didn't try to rewrite, and who actually caught genuine errors I'd missed. I seem to have lucked out again, or – though it seems unlikely – NYC's standard for copy-editors has gone up. (And yes, I think "copy-editor" ought to be hyphenated).

Oh, and I answered far too much email yesterday.

---

Please have a look at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. The Halloween stuff is up, as it's that time of year again (well, sort of). And a couple of wonderful new necklaces.

---

Last night we played Rift, wandering about Gloamwood on our najmoks, working on achievements for the region. Then we watched the last couple of epsiodes of Season Five of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, which means we'll now have to "resort" to the mail for Season Six (perhaps the Athenaeum, if they have it), or go back to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. When all is said and done, the latter is actually the better of the two, even without Vincent D'onofrio. But the "rape of the week" plot template gets old fast. Still, there's Richard Belzer. Anyway, then I read a couple more stories from The Book of Cthulhu, Michael Shea's "Fat Face" and Brian McNaughton's "The Doom that Came to Innsmouth."* Shea does a great job of capturing a particular and especially seedy side of LA. McNaughton's story is good, but would have been a lot better if he'd turned the volume down just a little near the end. A little goes a long way, a lesson it has taken me the better part of twenty years to learn.

Platypus, what's wrong with this picture? Where's my sugar-free Red Bull!

In the Gloaming,
Aunt Beast

* An interesting note. The antagonist of McNaughton's story is named Dr. Isaac Mordecai Saltonstall. And in The Drowning Girl, the painter who painted the titular painting is named Phillip George Saltonstall. For the record, before last night, I'd never even heard of "The Doom That Came to Innsmouth" (which originally appeared in Tales Out of Innsmouth, 1999, Chaosium Inc; oddly, I don't even own that anthology). I found the name in a Rhode Island or Massachusetts cemetery, where I often find names. I'm combing through my Moleskines, trying to figure out which cemetery it was. Anyway, only a curious coincidence.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
In the comments yesterday, the matter of Panthalassa came up, the matter of the focus my paganism. And I feel like I ought to explain something – not because anyone offended me – but just to be clear. My relationship with Panthalassa does not involve faith. Indeed, I am entirely lacking (or unburdened by) both religious and "spiritual" faith. Panthalassa, she asks for nothing, and I know I have nothing to give her. What's more – beyond the fact that she is objectively the world ocean – Panthalassa as a godhead exists only as a metaphor, and as a focus for psychologically healthy ritual. Which, if you ask me, pretty much puts her way ahead of Xtianity (or most other patrifocal religions), with its demanding, selfish, judgmental Old Man in the Sky. Or the "son" he supposedly sacrificed for our "sins." What I do, it's not drawing those lines – faith or failure, belief or torment. My meetings with Panthalassa are not about faith. Devotion, yes. And reverence. But not faith. Nor are they about communing with a conscious "higher power," as Panthalassa is not conscious. I am an atheist, and a pagan, and I know that bends some people's brains, but it ought not. I simply stepped outside several paradigms, all at once. Also, I have renounced the mess that Wicca has become.

---

Yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest 69 ready to go out to subscribers, and if you are a subscriber, you should have the issue by now. If you're not a subscriber, you should immediately follow the link above and rectify this lamentable situation. Thank you. I hope people are happy with the issue, and if they have had time to read it, will kindly comment upon 69 today.

Today I go back to work on The Secret. And I wait for the CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I am not waiting with dread, only with mild and time-consuming annoyance. I know there will only be the annoying marks made by the copyeditor that, for the most part, I have to STET. The rest of September will truly be a crunch. I have The Secret, the aforementioned CEM, and we need to read through all of Blood Oranges (though that might have to wait until October).

Someone asked if there were plans for a Subterranean Press hardcover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. No, there are no such plans, but I will be speaking with other publishers, possibly, about this, and about a hardcover of The Red Tree. But neither of these are things that would be settled or come to pass anytime soon. Or even soonish.

---

Kathryn was at the market yesterday and heard a woman actually say "LOL," aloud. That is, "el-oh-el." After I tweeted her traumatic experience, I have discovered from others that this is not an unusual phenomenon, nor one confined to "kids these days." You shame yourselves yet again, Western Civilization. You poop in your own undies.

---

Speaking of poop, last night, for some reason beyond my comprehension, we watched John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (1987), a thing I swore I would never do. And, for fuck's sake, this is a bad movie. Even a weird little role (with no dialogue) by Alice Cooper doesn't help, not one itty-bitty bit.*** At the center of this mess is a pretty neat little idea – evil is a viral being from outer space that arrived upon the earth billions of years ago, and the purpose of the Catholic Church was to fool everyone with religion until science could become sophisticated enough to cope with the swirling green entity in the cylinder. Fine. Very Lovecraftian. But. Carpenter takes that scenario and turns it into a dull, over-lit mess, with no suspense whatsoever. This film is the very antithesis of suspense. It's where suspense goes to die of boredom. There's no acting in sight, except for Donald Pleasence's overacting. The film pauses, now and then, to ramble off a load of nonsensical exposition, which is at least a break from the slog of the story. What the fuck? Had Carpenter spent all his money on blow and whores and had nothing left over to spend on actors, a camera crew, writers, and SFX? In short, stay far, far away from this one. It's actually much worse than In the Mouth of Madness (1994), and that's saying something.

For my part, I say Carpenter had a good run from 1981 through 1986, and then violently bottomed out – with, as it happens, Prince of Darkness. His masterpiece remains, by far, The Thing (released in 1982), and I think that's mostly because he had a number of great things going for him – "Who Goes There," Howard Hawkes' The Thing from Another World (1951), Rob Bottin's brilliant SFX and art direction, Ennio Morricone's wonderfully minimalistic score, the intentional allusion to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," and, lastly, a great location. John Carpenter may not be what made The Thing a great film.

But there's also Starman (1984), which I love, though a big part of that is Jeff Bridges' inspired performance. Escape from New York (1981) is loads of fun, as is Big Trouble in Little China (and Kurt Russell is a significant part of what works with both those films). But yeah. 1981 through 1986, and then Carpenter takes a precipitous nose dive. Hell, I might even be generous, and include The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978) – though I don't really like either, they're gold compared with everything that came after 1986. And the plunge from Big Trouble in Little China to Prince of Darkness is almost inexplicable. So, yes. I say it was coke and whores.

Anyway, afterwards, we watched a couple of episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and read more of The Stand. I read two more stories from The Book of Cthulhu. Both were by authors with whom I'd had no previous experience. First, John Horner Jacobs' "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" and then Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Flash Frame." Both were quite good, but I especially liked Jacobs' piece. All this helped get the taste of the awful movie out of my brain and eyeballs.

Tonight, maybe some Insilico RP.

Rain today. Chilly. Summer's passing away.

Oh! Photos from Sunday, as Irene was finishing up with Rhode Island (behind the cut). So, these photos were taken the day before the last set of photos I posted.

Chilled,
Aunt Beast

28 August 2011 )


***Spooky says, "The episode of The Muppet Show with Alice Cooper was scarier than that movie."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Sunny and warm here in Providence today. Windy, though. I've earned a day off, and there's talk of swimming. But the breakers are high, as are the swells.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,695 words on Chapter Seven of Blood Oranges. And found the chapter's ending. A whole chapter in four days!. Which means I have only one chapter remaining, and the book will be finished...before the end of August, as planned (after I failed to finish at the end of the train wreck that was July). I see the ending now. There's an old school bus filled with...oh, I mentioned that already. Okay, let's just say it has a big 'splody ending. I think it'll be fun to write that last chapter (which, by the way, will also be the set up for a second book).

A really wonderful email this morning from Neil, who's away in Edinburgh, and I'm still smiling. I may smile for a week.

And good things just keep happening for The Drowning Girl. This is, simply and by far, the best novel I've ever written. It's the other side of The Red Tree. It's the whisper I've been after all these years, my continual, habitual reaching into the dark to see what reaches back (thank you, Alan Wilder). And it's being recognized. It's being loved by people whose work means so much to me, the people whom I admire most in the world, and I thank them one and fucking all. And the book won't even be OUT until March 2012. The ARCs won't even go out until early December.

---

Last night, after a fine repast prepared by Spooky, we played a little Rift (we both got the title "vampire hunter"), and I had a wonderful RP scene in Insilico (SL). Grendel was paired against a sensei, to prove her Shenkindo training. To say the least, her style is unconventional. But she won the match, putting the sensei face down on the mat. She flipped the switch of her katana that triggers the laser arc set into the blade, and was ready for the kill (it had been implied that no quarter would be given), when her yakuza boss stayed her hand. Yeah, cool stuff. Anyway, we read more of The Stand. Larry Underwood is about to attempt the passage through the Lincoln Tunnel.

I've been thinking of making a "mix tape," on an actual fucking cassette recorder. Songs for the Stand. Maybe dubbing six or seven copies, and sending five or so to the first few who ask for them. You could never do this properly on CD. It has to be on cassette. Songs King quotes in the novel, songs from the mid and late seventies. This isn't a for sure thing. Just a thing that would be fun to do. Music from the decade in which I grew up.

I read "Gyracanthid gnathostome remains from the Carboniferous of Illinois" in the July JVP. And I read more of the book about the firestorm at Peshtigo.

And that was yesterday.

Now...the sea, perhaps. Or, perhaps, Swan Point. Or...we'll see.

Off,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
So, yeah. I'm an asshole about going to the doctor. But so many – likely most – doctors, most of the medical establishment, is predicated on profit and a conveyer-belt mentality, you can sort of see where I'm coming from. The worst part is being commanded by some lesser med tech to do something and do it NOW (but I've gotten exquisitely good at telling them no in a tone that leaves them blinking). Anyway, point is, my doctor here in Providence – not my shrink, but my GP – is actually pretty cool (my shrink's pretty cool, too). And I shouldn't be giving her grief here. She's on the ball, considerate, reasonable, and I've done a whole lot worse. She seems to comprehend the concept of my right to self-determination, even unto death. But I was angry about losing a day of work yesterday, and going to the doctor always freaks me out. Just saying.

I had, last night, a wonderful master plan in my head for this entry. I didn't write it down. It's gone.

And I've just heard confirmation, via @WM3ORG (Twitter), that the "West Memphis Three" have been released. These are people at the courthouse. After eighteen years, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin have been released from prison. Of course, they had to plead guilty (under a precedent that allows a guilty plea while maintaining innocence) to receive suspended sentences. Lots of confusion, since this is happening as I type. But. Still. This has been one of the most horrific and most tragic miscarriages of justice in American history, but, at least, now it's ended. Sort of (this is complicated, and the government of Arkansas has not been redeemed). Yet, how do you return eighteen stolen years to a man? How do you return his youth? But...now it's done.

And now I'm well and truly lost within this entry. Too much perspective and surprise all the fuck at once.

Yesterday, I wrote...nothing. I can rarely write on Doctor Visit Days (DVDs). But I did manage to make corrections to the pages I wrote on Wednesday. And I spoke with my agent (who's fled to Maine to escape the heat of NYC), and we agreed that I'm going to ask that Blood Oranges be published as "Caitlín R. Kiernan writing as K. R. Tierney." Why? Because. Even though it will be known that I wrote the book, and even though it's a fine and fun book, I want it set apart from The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Apples and oranges, let's just say. And we come back to that issue of self-determination. Which is really all that needs to be said on that subject. Though, I will answer questions, if you have them.

And that BIG thing about which I cannot speak, which I first mentioned on July 1st, I worked on that too – that marvelous, unbelievable, dizzying thing – though I still can't talk about it. The news will be sent out into the world when the TPTB deem the time right. But you will be happy....

After the doctor, I needed to center myself. So, I went to Rock Star on Thayer Street and had the plugs in my ears swapped from 6 gauge to 4. Actual eyelets! Thank you, Billy. I'll go up to 2 this spring. And yes, there's a photo (Spooky took it this ayem):



Last night, after dinner, there was good RP in Insilico. Grendel (Class V AI), bodyguard to a yakuza boss, had to quietly, politely, calmly convince some Russian wannabe (predictably named Dmitri) that it wasn't a good night for him to die. Be nice, and maybe I'll tell you about her katana. Wink, wink. We read more of The Stand. We watched the last episode of Season Four of Law and Order: Criminal Intent and the first episode of Season Five. And, yes! More Nicole Wallace. Whenever she says "Bobby," I get that flutter in my belly, that good flutter. Oh, if only there were more of their Holmes and Moriarty dance. Anyway, I signed onto Rift just long enough to do the dailies. I read "Anatomy and affinities of large archosauromorphs from the lower Fremouw Formation (Early Triassic) of Antarctica" and "Boremys (Testudines, Baenidae) from the latest Cretaceous and early Paleocene of North Dakota: an 1.1-million-year range extension and an additional K/T survivor." Just before sleep, I read more of Firestorm at Peshtigo: A Town, It's People, and the Deadliest Fire in American History, and, fuck all...

How does anyone do that much shit in one fucking evening? No wonder I woke up exhausted.

Gotta go write. And listen to the news...

Up the road to Glenaveigh,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Better late than never. Well, that's always been a dubious adage, but whatever.

I begin to see a trend. When I was writing The Red Tree I became, in some sense, Sarah Crowe. When I was writing The Drowning Girl, I became India Morgan Phelps. And now that I'm writing Blood Oranges, I find myself becoming Siobahn Quinn. No, this didn't used to happen.

Yesterday, as predicted, was spent pulling the Digest together, writing the prolegomenon etc. Finding the cover image, and the ending for the back page. What the fuck is wrong with LiveJournal that is doesn't fucking know how to fucking spell "prolegomenon"? Anyway, I also took care of some last minute details regarding Two Worlds and In Between, which goes to the printer any day now.

Red Bull and benzodiazepines. Two great tastes that go great together. Oh, look! LiveJournal can't spell "benzodiazepines," either. Ah, the brilliant internet.

Hot Outside, here in Providence. Well, hot for Providence.

Good RP in Rift last night. Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. You guys don't know what you're missing. If we're gonna let these computers ruin our lives, and change what it means to be human, we might as well have some fun with it, right?

---

Just back from a matinée of Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens. And I loved it. Almost unconditionally. You know what I said about how we need B-movies? Well, it's true. But this film unexpectedly transcends a category I expected it to fall within. It's simply a good movie. Maybe not great cinema, but a good movie. And, right now, I'll settle for that. The cast is marvelous, top to bottom: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford (who actually does more than play Harrison Ford), Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Keith Carradine, etc. Someone was mouthing off on IMDb about (Oh, it can spell "IMDb"!) this being the "worst idea for a film ever." It is nothing of the sort. Why assume alien invasions would always come in the present (or, perhaps, the future)? Anyway, as to the central premise, to quote Stephen Hawking:

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.

A point which is touched upon in the film. The Native American bit, I mean. Obviously, the subject of the film is an alien race seeking to exploit the Earth, and willing to commit genocide to do it. Wait. There has to be another word, one for wiping out an entire, particular species to get what you need. Sure, the end result is extinction, but there ought to be a word for the process. Ah. Extermination. That will do.

Anyway, yes. A very, very good, fun, and moving film, working both as a Western and an SF film. I recommend it unconditionally. Unless you're too jaded for the fundamental concept and go into the theatre needing to be convinced. Here we are now, entertain us. If that's your attitude, save the price of admission and stay home. But I give it a solid two thumbs up.

---

I think Frank the Goat is feeling better. Now if someone would just teach him how to spell.

Up to Here,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Here in my office, which is ever so slightly cooler than the kitchen, which is dramatically hotter than the middle parlor where Dr. Muñoz labors so to keep the air cool and can manage only 83˚F. It must be in the nineties in the office. There are three fans running in the office, spinning the swelter round and round. Outside, it's 86˚F, with violent thunderstorms on the way. If I'm going to get any work done today, I'm going to have to try to break my habits and write on a laptop in one of the two cool rooms. It's either that or heatstroke.

Comments would be good today.

My editor at Penguin just sent me the cover mock-up for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and – I don't believe I'm about to say this – I like it quite a lot. Not only is the image artful and appropriate to the novel, there's even a little (?unintentional) nod back to The Red Tree. So, it has been a morning of sweaty amazement. I've asked for some changes to the cover font and the blurb at the bottom, but I'll post the cover as soon as I can.

Spooky's gone to retrieve the repaired van from the garage.*** The engine had to be replaced, but I probably said that already. Some other post.

Mostly, I'm still trying to collect money owed me by various publishers, trying to be paid here in the Land of the Debt Poor. I am considering a sort of strike. No more words until I see some green. No more corrected page proofs. No more anything. I can't eat promises.

I've been to ill from the heat and from a small "episode" late on Saturday night to think much about Readercon 22. But I think I have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that I'm simply not a con person. They're a necessary evil, and sometimes, I'll admit, there are moments of enjoyment. Mostly, seeing people I hardly get to see otherwise. I confess to a strong dislike for panels, and I virtually never attend a panel unless I'm on it. But my thanks to everyone who listened to my "rehearsal" reading, and who attended my solo panels. Next year, if you're one of those readers who has been wanting to meet for ages, or wanting to hear me read, or...whatever, you'd best find some way to get your ass to Readercon 23 in Burlington, Massachusetts. And if you're a fan of Peter Straub's (and how can you not be), there's all the more reason.

It occurs to me that I'm much to woozy from the heat to have said even as much as I've already said, much less anything more. I'm struggling to stay coherent. So, I leave you with a few photos Spooky took during the con:

16-17 July 2011 )


Melting,
Aunt Beast

*** Spooky just returned from the garage, without the van. The idiot fucking mechanics put the old spark plugs into the new engine and think maybe that's why it's still running like shit. They've had it two weeks.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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