greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just something quick. I have tomorrow off, and we'll be heading off to Connecticut, to the Yale Peabody Museum.

I was somewhat impressed by toady's web protests against SOPA/PIPA, though Goggle's seemed halfhearted, at best. A shame Google, Twitter, and Facebook didn't shutdown. That would have made an impression.

All this said, I want no one, even for a second to think that I support internet piracy. I don't. However, I also don't believe in burning down a house to kill a termite. But...I'm going to explain in more details my feelings on SOPA/PIPA, internet freedom, copyright, and internet piracy in Friday's entry. And yeah, leaving comments disabled until Friday.

Until then...



Fading,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Nobody knew what to do with Buckaroo Banzai. There was no simple way to tell anyone what it was about — I'm not sure anybody knew.

Yesterday was. Sometimes, isn't it enough to say no more or less than that about any given day? After all, this is what most days of any given life are. That day....was. A life is a compilation of days that mostly just are. So, yes. One of the pitfalls of a blog that's being written for other people to read is that there's the feeling you have to make each and every day, in some way, interesting. Though most of them truly aren't. Most days just are.

That said, I spent yesterday tweaking Phase One. The oscillation overthruster was running a little fast, too many RPMs and all that. Someone could have gotten hurt. Oh, and speaking of secret and cool things, I am told that sometime in late November or early December, the cat will likely be allowed to leave the bag. So, we only have to wait that long.

---

The last couple of days, I've been engaged (along with several other authors and agents) in what [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow described to me as an endless game of "whack-a-mole," trying to stop various pirate sites from illegally selling copies of our ebooks. Or, as I would prefer to say, electronic copies of our books. Yes, not giving them away, but selling them. And every time we whack one, another pops up. But, like Mr. Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price.

No, it's not like buying an analog book and then, when you've read it, selling it back to a used bookstore (or anywhere else). Not unless it's a magical book that endlessly produces identical copies of itself, or unless you have some sort of magical book-pooping device that performs the same function. If you are selling copies of my books, which you have made, you are in violation of US Copyright Law (which, I admit, I am often not fond of, but it still applies) and, more importantly, you are stealing from me. You're not taking a quote. Or a few lines. Not even a preview chapter. But a whole goddamn book, which likely took me a year or two to write and edit.

And that's money my publisher loses, and when my publisher loses money on my books, they lose interest in publishing additional books by me. And if I can't make a living off my writing, the novels and short stories will, I assure you, cease to be created. Oh, there might be one or two very short stories a year, maybe. But I'd be too busy trying to get by with some other shitty job to write. And that, kittens, is why, if you actually enjoy what I write, you should never, ever steal one of my books.

Oh, and if you steal my books, I'll cut out your motherfucking heart and feed it to you, still warm and beating, if I ever get my hands on you. I will not even use a knife. But that's just a trifle, compared with all the other possible consequences. So, pretty please. Don't do this shit. People who pirate books waste the time and money of people who write those books.

And don't even get me started on Amazon and Google again.

Actually...to answer a question posed in yesterday's comments (and thank you, thank you, thank you for all those comments, even if I wasn't able to respond to all of them): [livejournal.com profile] lilith_333 asks, "I try to consume ethically when I can and I want to make sure authors get their fair due when I buy their books; what do you suggest?"

There is no easy answer. Like most authors, I live off advances, not royalties. I have seen only a tiny handful of royalty checks (one, to be specific) from the novels Penguin has published, beginning with Silk. This is over a period of time spanning most of two decades. One check. But set that aside a moment, because that's not the question being asked. The question is one of ethics, and there is nothing ethical about Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Penguin or any of those corporations, not when the bottom line is involved, the bottom line being profit margins. They fuck us all over. No, really. These are evil empires, even the ones which, like Penguin, are struggling to stay afloat. Still, the most ethical thing you can do (if I skip a lot of caveats) is buy the books from a legit online bookseller (Amazon, B&N, Powell's, etc.). Here, I mean the novels. As for the subpress books, I'd say buy them directly from Subterranean Press. And, by the way, Subterranean Press does a pretty damn fine job of actually behaving ethically towards authors, and, in this day and age, that's a rare and precious oddity.

I am, occasionally, called "greedy" for worrying about being stolen from. But, consider, is an author, a writer, who feels guilty for buying books, is that a greedy person? If so, fine. I'm greedy. I expect to be paid for work, as do you.

But now! I must away! There are...things to be done.

Hardly Ethical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
It's already 1:39 p.m., because I was unable to get to sleep until almost 5 ayem, and because I awoke to fresh sorts of chaos. But what difference does it make, when I'm almost an entire month behind schedule.

Schedule. An idea that is anathema to life.

My head is filled, this morning, with all the colors of anger, and I'm making a conscious effort to let out only as much of it as I wish to release. Otherwise, it will gush forth and drown the...I almost wrote "drown the page." But there is no page, is there? We are moving rapidly towards the Extinction of the Page. Maybe whatever has stolen the page from me – vagaries of history – deserves to be drowned in all the colors of anger. Schedule surely deserves to drown. Sink it all.

In theory, I'm trying again to begin Chapter Five of Blood Oranges this afternoon. But...you, know...the story of how this book's gone sour is far too bizarre to explain here. Maybe someday I'll explain it somewhere. But it's bizarre and long. All that matters now it that I finish the thing, and move on to the next thing.

It's only a string of things.

If I'm very, very, very lucky I'll write today. If there were any other way on earth that I could make as much money as I make now – which is only just barely (and truly not even) just enough to take care of Spooky and myself – I'd stop writing. No, I mean for good.

Hardly any of the anger leaked out at all.

Teeth Bared,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Today, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is twenty-five years old. That is, today is the 25th anniversary of its theatrical release. Fuck, I'm old. I told Spooky we should play hooky today, do nutty shit like lip syncing on parade floats, and then destroy an expensive car. Sadly, she only laughed.

"Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?"

Le sigh.

I hereby open the floor to comments.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,430 words on Chapter Three of Blood Oranges (a chapter which, by the way, is titled "Bobby Ng, Alice Cregan, and the Troll Who Lives Under the Bridge"), and reached page 102. It was pretty much all a conversation with the troll yesterday. Today, I have to find the end of that conversation. I let [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark have a look at the pages last night, and, afterwards, he declared "Holy shitfuck. You've written literary crack." I'm assuming that's a good thing. Anyway, he's driving down tonight for a visit.

Please allow me to remind you of the Big Damn eBay auction. Because, you know, I'm still waiting for Everything on Earth is Free Forever Day, but it's a slow train coming. Also, have a look at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

It just occurred to me that the loathsome emoticon o.0 is actually a broken infinity symbol, and that's got to be some sort of profound. I blame the Illuminati. For breaking it, not for my revelation.

Gods, it's only noon thirty, and already I've mentioned the Soggy Bottom Boys.

Yesterday, Spooky stopped by Myopic Books and procured for me a belated birthday present – the 50th-anniversary edition of William S. Burroughs' Junky, because a bitch cunt of a snatch, who otherwise shall not be named, absconded with my copy back in 2005 (along with many other favorite books), and because I've been needing to read it again. In part because Siobahn Kerry Quinn, the protagonist of Blood Oranges, was a heroin addict before getting bitten by a werewolf and then vampirized on the same night. Oh, and last night, we watched Trainspotting, which I hadn't seen since the '90s. Obviously, not exactly a coincidence. I can hardly draw off my own experiences as a heroin addict, having only shot up that once and all. It's not that I dislike needles. And smack really is better by a hundred times than the best sex you've ever had. It's just I was meant for greater things, like growing old and bitter and more properly wicked.

Junkies, by and large, aren't wicked people. Sure, they'll rob you blind, but isn't that the American way? Isn't that the cornerstone of Capitalism? I ask you, isn't highway robbery the very platform upon which this great nation was founded? Isn't that why Richard Nixon rode out against Che Guevara at the Battle of Little Bighorn on that venerable Christmas Day in 1932? Isn't that why Mister Fred McFeely Rogers wore cardigan sweaters?

What the hell am I on about? Oh, and now Spooky's singing the theme song to Captain Kangaroo, but making up her own lyrics.

Maybe we'd best pause here, to reflect and twiddle our collective thumbs.

Twiddlin' and Reflectin',
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I might be awake enough to write this. Maybe. An entry of good things and one very bad thing. At least I have David Bowie and Moby here to buoy my spirits and sing to me and remind me that "Nothing has changed / Everything has changed."

Yesterday evening, right about 7 p.m. (CaST), I was sitting here at my desk. At the back of the house, Spooky was drawing me a much needed hot bath. There was a loud sound of breaking glass, and she shouted. "What was that?!" or something of the sort. I could tell only that it came from the rear of the building. About the time I reached the hallway, she looked into her workroom (adjacent to the bathroom) and announced that her iBook was gone. The window above the table where she does most her doll making had been shattered. She'd left her computer sitting there an hour or so before. I was out the door a few seconds later, half dressed, and I spent, I don't know, maybe half an hour searching the alleys and sidewalks around Moreland Ave. and Euclid and L5P for some sign of the asshole who'd broken the window, but to no avail. When I returned home, she'd called the police and our landlord. I headed out again, walking through Freedom Park (utterly deserted) and over towards North Ave. Nothing but dark and more dark and all the traffic backed up on Moreland because of the frelling Target that opened down towards I-20, so now it seems like every frelling Xmas shopper on Earth has to clog up Moreland.

The cop came and did the little he could do. He took a statement and the iBook's make, model, and serial number. He was heading out to talk to some of the local homeless, to see if anyone was out there trying to sell an iBook. He agreed with us that it was likely a junky, someone looking for something they thought they could snatch and sell quick for a fix, and he told Spooky to call the local pawnshops. And I suppose she will. Cleaning up the broken glass, she found a good-sized rock that had been hurled through the window. It had crossed the length of the room and made a noticeable dent in the far wall. The fucking idiot didn't get the power cord or adapter. The landlord showed up about ten and belatedly installed burglar bars. We had a late, cheerless dinner about 11 p.m.

Spooky was good about backing up her data, so only a little was lost. Some photos, part of a story she was writing, some music. However, she used that iBook to conduct most of our eBay sales and was using it on the website redesign (I haven't enough memory to run Photoshop efficiently). So, the website is pretty much on hold, and we're still trying to figure out what to do about eBay. I think I'm going to make fliers to put up around the neighborhood. They won't get the iBook back, but they might make me feel better. Something goofy like, Hey, crack-addled asshole. You stole an iBook from two grey witches, you dumbfuck, and soon your pecker will fall off and you'll go blind. But that's just for starters. Hope it was worth it, shitstain. Merry fucking Xmas. Of course, I have no actual belief in Karmic retribution or the efficacy of spells as a means of skewing cause and effect in one's favour (right now, I wish I did). But I might get lucky, as the crackhead is probably superstitious. It might give the bastard a good scare.

Honestly, I think I've finally had it with this city. Between greedy landlords (not our current landlord, but the Chengs and the weasels who sold the Kirkwood Lofts off for condos), the thieving crack addicts, the obscene cost of living, and Atlanta's almost complete absence of character, I think it's high time we think about Where Next. Last night, I just wanted to be back in Birmingham. Which is like getting bitten by an alligator and wishing you were back home in the goddamn swamp.

Anyway...

I wrote 1,038 words on "The Voyuer in the House of Glass" yesterday, but did not find the end of the story. That will happen today. It has to, because other things must be written.

Monday night, we watched Jim Sonzero's Pulse (2006). What do you get when you cross a zombie apocalypse film with every visual cliché from the last fifteen years of Japanese scary movies and toss in bits from "The Shunned House" and "The Colour Out of Space"? Whatever you get, at the very least it ought not be dull. Nonetheless, Pulse is, for the most part, a very dull film. The actors are afflicted by that "glamour of dull" phenomenon, all of them too artificially pretty to believe in. The story is rushed. It's hard to imagine that the screenwriters had ever even been near a computer, so bad was the IT science. The soundtrack, which might have saved the day, was entirely lackluster. The cinematography was canned. Yet, there were a few effective moments. The finest bit of the film was a handful minutes of Brad Dourif raving about the end of the world, dropped into the middle of the movie. I'm pretty sure Brad Dourif was the only actual actor in the whole silly film.

Yesterday afternoon, Bill Schafer sent me the Booklist review of Daughter of Hounds. I quote: Kiernan's storytelling is stellar, and the misunderstandings and lies of stories within the main story evoke a satisfying tension in the characters. Maybe that will sell a lot of copies to libraries, if nothing else. If you've not yet pre-ordered, please do (just follow the link above). Thank you.

Also, I made the Syntax of Things 2006 List of Most Underrated Authors. I'm pretty sure this is what is meant by dubious distinction. Which is to say, I'm oddly honoured. And in good company. Iain Banks, Jeff VanderMeer, and Elizabeth Hand, three authors whom I greatly admire, also made the cut. My thanks to Jeff Bryant, and also to Gwenda Bond, who wrote:

"Caitlín R. Kiernan has been writing the most unsettling short stories and novels out there for years now. With each book, I expect her to become known to a larger readership. Her voice is like no one else's and her evolution as a writer over the past several novels has been nothing short of jaw-dropping. These novels are set in a shared world, but in a way more Jonathan Carroll than series; each one stands completely alone, but together they enrich and comment on each other, revisiting themes, and sometimes even stories. Her next novel, Daughter of Hounds, comes out in January — let's all cross our fingers that this is the one that makes people "discover" her unnerving and lovely body of work."

Not much else to say about yesterday. A stolen iBook. That sense of violated personal space that will be with us for weeks, at the least. The writing. A little critical praise. I was in bed by 2:30 a.m. and passed out and slept eight full hours. The dreams are blessedly and entirely forgotten.

Also, today is the Carl Sagan blog thing. I'll get to that this evening. I'm not gonna miss.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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