greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I'm haunted,
By the hallways in this tiny room,
The echos there of me and you,
The voices that are carrying this tune,
Ba da pa pa...


Yesterday is what happens when chaos and the best of intentions square off and have a good ol' Godzilla versus Gamera boxing match. We're having a couple of moderately warm days here....

WAIT

Yes, in a few more hours, Dark Horse will spill the beans, and the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. Soon. We're almost there. On the cusp, as it were.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Warm weather. High sixties. So, I'd planned to play hookey yesterday, and slip away to Beavertail, even though I sure as hell haven't the time for such luxuries. I ought to be doing nothing but working on "Ex Libris." But then there was the long conversation with my editor at Dark Horse early in the day, and, afterwards, I realized I needed to have a long conversation with my lit agent (on entirely unrelated matters). But she was at a lunch meeting, and it would be about 45 minutes before she got back into the office. There was no way there'd be enough time to make it to Conanicut Island. So...not wanting to see the day become a total loss (I was far too higgledy-piggledy to get any writing done). So, bored and without especial focus, yet possessed of some odd motivation, I proposed we begin "remodeling" my office, which we've only been meaning to do for about...two years.

(Why does Microsoft Word discourage the use of contractions?)

One shelf and a shelf's worth of books went to the middle parlour, where, I must admit, they look quite handsome. I'd had my doubts.

Merrilee called and we talked, and talked, and talked. Fine things. Over time, I will tell you of these fine things.

There's enough to look forward to on this day. I'll make another post in a few hours. Patience, kittens. OH! Look! I just got a royalty check for $10.36 for the German edition of Threshold (id est, Fossil). Wow. Party time. Yes, the writing will make you rich, Bill Murray!

Anticipatory,
Aunt Beast

UPDATE (1:44 p.m.): Just got word the announcement from Dark Horse should come about noon PST, three EST, 4 CaST. Fuck it, Dude. I'm going to get nachos.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes. I am on a Kate Bush kick.

It's a beautiful autumn-summer day out there, sunny and blue skies, the temperature at 70F. Nice. Have to get Outside today. Getting out of the house is mandatory on a day like this. I'm doing a good job, actually, of not keeping myself cooped up.

At 4 a.m., not sleeping (despite the meds), I was on Rift talking with a friend in Alaska, and he said it was midnight and the sun hadn't set. In Providence, the sky was just beginning to lighten. It was a marvelously surreal moment, especially considering I was doped and half asleep (but only half). By the way, I want to actually calculate the distance across the part of Telara we can see, the size of the landmass north to south and east to west. I don't think many people have paused to think how small it must be. At first, I estimated it might be the size of Rhode Island (37 miles x 48 miles long, 1,214 sq. mi.), but I'm beginning to think it may only be half that size or less. Spooky's worked out a way to get a firm estimate, which we will do this evening (because we are pathetic nerds). A fantasy MMORPG will be truly fucking amazing when it can offer a continent the size of, oh, say Australia.

Where was I?

Yesterday was as tedious as I'd expected. I didn't actually make any progress with the galleys for Two Worlds and In Between (and I'm not going to explain why, because it's a tedious explanation that's all about editing PDFs and Adobe software and me being a psuedo-Luddite). But things did get done. Vince sent me the initial pencils for his "Figurehead" illustration. I did some more tweaking on the ms. for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and sent the Really and Truly Final Manuscript away to my editor. I spent about an hour on the immensely tedious and long guest questionnaire for Readercon 22. I read "Figurehead" and "Untitled 35" aloud to Kathryn, and we marked the pages red. I talked with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy about what ravens who might be nuns would....

Sorry. Lost my train of thought. Spooky and I were talking about Houdini.

Last night, we did Kindernacht with hot dogs and Tom McGrath's Megamind (2010), which was really a lot of fun, but not as good as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's similar Despicable Me (also 2010). Of course, one is not supposed to talk about whether or not Kid Night movies are any good, so long as they're fun. We picked the DVD up at Acme Video, since it was an excuse to go Outside. Also, Acme Video gives away free atomic fireballs. After the movie, we did, of course, play Rift. Mostly it was rp for me, though there was also a major incursion upon White Fall and the Chancel of Labors by the minions of Crucia, and Selwyn and Miisya helped to repel the bad guys.

Yesterday, I read the title story of Johnathan Thomas' Tempting Providence (Hippocampus Press). To be sure, it's a weird tale, but it's also a poignant travelogue/walking tour devoted to a finer and simpler and far more interesting Providence than has survived to the present day. I also read "A new unintan horned brontothere from Wyoming and evolution of canine size and sexual dimorphism in the Brontotheriidae (Perissodactyla: Mammalia)" in JVP. Speaking of reading, kittens, tomorrow I'll be announcing the June selection for Aunt Beast's Book Club.

---

On this day in 2007, I wrote:

I have been worrying a lot lately about my writing. It started when I reread Silk and looked through Tales of Pain and Wonder for the first time in ages. Sure, I'm a much, much better writer now, but is what I'm writing inherently better than what I was writing then? More importantly, is it about something more than telling stories? Almost ten years after it's original publication, I see lots of flaws with Silk I couldn't see in 1996 or 1998, and parts of it make me groan, but it has something to say, something it says, and for that I will likely always love it. This is even more true of ToPaW. It's true of The Dreaming. But is the same true of Threshold? Low Red Moon? I think so. And I know it's true of Murder of Angels, but I'm not so sure about Daughter of Hounds, even though I also know it's my best-written novel to date. One may write well — one may write exquisitely, even — and have nothing at all to say. Writing "The Ape's Wife" last month, this all seemed suddenly very important to me again. I fear that in the rush to meet deadlines and write enough to keep all the bills paid, somewhere along the way, I may have forgotten that it is not enough to tell a good story, or even to create characters who ring true. These are necessary accomplishments, but they are surely not sufficient. Art requires more than mere craft, more even than talent. It requires meaning. Heading into The Dinosaurs of Mars and Joey Lafaye, these thoughts will be my Beatrice (so to speak). There's something I feel I might have drifted away from, and I want...no, I need to get back to it again.

So, four years later, I can say I found an antidote for this anxiety and these worries, which was writing The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, no matter how much the effort has exhausted me. Also, it should be noted that, in June 2007, I was still suffering from the trauma of having written that unmentionably shitty novelization for Robert Zemeckis' butchering of Beowulf (2007)*. That Mordorean death-march ordeal (fuck you, Roger Avery) left me unable to write long-form for the better part of a year, until I began The Red Tree in April 2008. By the way, I'm still waiting on The Dinosaurs of Mars to reveal itself to me, and have come to accept that Joey Lafaye will likely never happen. You may always think of Beowulf as the novelization that murdered Joey Lafaye. At least the Beowulf gig sort of paid well. And at least you didn't need 3-D glasses to read the book. Seamus Heaney, forgive me.

So...now, today.

* And as bad as my novelization was, the movie was at least a hundred times more awful.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
I'm trying very, very hard to make sure that Sirenia Digest #53 goes out to subscribers by midnight tomorrow night. But I have at least a day's work left to get done on the second piece for the issue, "Workprint." Yesterday, I wrote 1,004 words on the story. On Wednesday, I wrote 1,196 words on it. Today, I mean to find THE END.

Audible.com is now offering audio versions of five of my novels: Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. Right now, I'm listening to The Red Tree. I've made it to the end of Chapter Two, and I'm quite pleased with what I'm hearing. I very much hope people will pick up copies of the audiobooks. By the way, you may listen to samples of the audiobooks at Audible.com.

We've begun a new round of eBay auctions to help defray the cost of my newest (and insanely expensive) anti-seizure medication. At the moment, there are copies of The Dry Salvages, Tales from the Woeful Platypus, and Alabaster. Please have a look. Bid if you are able. The good news is that the new meds appear to be working. Oh, and Spooky has new pendants up at her Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop, which is another way to help out.

Let's see. What else, quickly? Night before last, we saw Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare at Goats, which I liked a lot. Late in the evening, we've been reading Patti Smith's autobiography, Just Kids. Also, though I've seen most of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and found it barely watchable, on Wednesday and Thursday nights we watched "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two," respectively. And they were very good, especially "Epitaph One." They were a glimpse of the series that might have been, instead of the sad mess that was. Had the series begun with "Epitaph One," it might have been brilliant television. Those two episodes made me care about characters the rest of the series could not. Hell, in one scene Eliza Dushku came dangerously close to acting. So, it was delightful seeing them, but disheartening, too.

And now...work. Onwards, platypus!
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
A grey, chilly day here in Providence.

Nothing has been written in...well, days. And that brings me to a sort of announcement. Since August, I've been trying to make a beginning of the next novel, The Wolf Who Cried Girl. That's more than eight months. And since January I've been doing little else. And what I have to show for it is several false starts, three major plot revisions, two thousand words that might be usable, and something verging on nervous exhaustion. So, on Saturday, after writing about 200 words, and erasing about two hundred words, and after a long conversation with Kathryn, I decided that, for now, I'm shelving the novel to concentrate on things that I can write. The novel is due in September, so...well, we shall see.

This isn't the first time this has happened, that a novel has simply refused to come when I call. It happened in 1999 with Trilobite (which eventually became Threshold), and then it happened again with Murder of Angels in 2001, which I gave up on after two and a half chapters, but went back to in 2003 and finished. I hope that after I step back, concern myself with other projects, and give the thing some space, that, sooner or later (let's hope sooner), the words I need to write The Wolf Who Cried Girl will come to me.

For now, I will focus primarily on Sirenia Digest and various short-story commissions.

---

Yesterday, Kathryn and I got out of the House and spent some time at the Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street. I prowled shelves of very old books, looking for stories. Spooky proofread the galley pages for the mass-market paperback edition of The Red Tree. She's finding very few typos/mistakes, which is a relief. I took some photos as we walked along Benefit Street. The spring colors have come early this year:

12 April 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
Which is to say, Monsieur Insomnia came back last night. His return was fully expected. I rarely get more than one good night every two weeks or so. Just enough my heart won't explode and rob Monsieur of his sleepless play pretty. Hard rain lat night, and hard rain this morning. We lay awake last night (my insomnia often means Spooky doesn't sleep, either), listening to a Very Loud Drip somewhere just outside the bedroom window. Today, We hear that New England was stricken with a truly terrible storm last night, and today we have flood warnings, but I can only testify to the ferocity of that one drip. Ah, but there is good news, too. Today the world has returned the Caitlín Standard Time (originally, it was called Caitlín Stabilizing Time). I will no longer be one hour early for everything.

No writing yesterday, just a lot of writing about writing. We left the House, venturing Outside in the truly foul weather, all the way to the Athenaeum on Benefit Street (ca 1838), because, sometimes, being there helps jog something loose when my brain has seized up. I took the iBook and sat downstairs and stared at the three sentences I wrote on Friday. I know they have to go, that they are, in fact, preventing me from moving on. They must be destroyed, erased, cut and pasted into a morgue file— whatever —so that I can start over. But I could not summon the requisite courage yesterday. So, instead, I sat and made notes, and more notes, and still more notes, and pretended that was writing. At least the Athenaeum is a very pleasant place to be unable to write, unlike this office. Oh, and Spooky found a copy of The Red Tree under "new fiction," which pleased me tremendously, to have one of my books there in that grand old library where both Poe and Lovecraft studied. I took pictures, mostly upstairs (behind the cut):

13 March 2010 )


Nothing much to last night. We watched the new Caprica, a series that gets better every week. I bit my tongue, and it still hurts. We played WoW, mostly questing in Coldara and the Nexus. I spent some time editing the roleplay transcript from Friday night (which turns out to be twenty-pages long).

Every now and then, someone writes a review that changes, to one degree or another, the way I look at something I've written. These are the best reviews, the ones that make me sit up and say, "Oh, yes, that's what I was trying to say, only, I had no idea I was trying to say that. But I must have been, at least subconsciously, because there it is, plain as fucking day." I received an email containing one such review last night, of The Red Tree. It also described me as "...Algernon Blackwood’s great-granddaughter describing what happened in the forest behind Hill House...", which, of course, made me smile. I'll release the name of the reviewer, and may post a long excerpt from the review later, after I've spoken with its author. It was the second-best thing about yesterday, right after finding a copy of the novel at the Athenaeum.

Finally, before I sign off and deal with those three sentences, I have a question from the comments to yesterday entry. [livejournal.com profile] jacobluest writes, "Just finished Threshold...I've been working my way 'backwards' through your books...question here if you can answer it: did your concept of the ghouls themselves evolve, or have they remained consistent throughout these stories? I'm trying to figure out if the beings of wire and feather, spindle-legged and scarecrowed, are of the same ilk as Madam Terpsichore. Is Threshold's hitchhiker a Soldier, or a Bailiff? Or has the taxonomy evolved?"

To which I reply, no, the "stick dogs" of Threshold (and "Rats Live on No Evil Star") are not the same sort of beings as the ghouls of the later works. That they both have canine features is coincidence, or convergence, or evidence of some underlying phobia or philia I may have for dog-like things. As for the hitchhiker, again, no, he bears no connections to the Bailiff or the Children of the Cuckoo (such as Soldier, Scarborough Pentecost, or Starling Jane). The hitchhiker was an avatar of the thing below Red Mountain, which was also the thing Dancy fought in Shrove Wood.

And now, I try again....
greygirlbeast: (Blood elf 2)
1. Most of yesterday was spent looking for a new short story. I haven't yet found it. I sat here at the keyboard, allowing my mind to wander wherever it seemed to need to wander. At some point, I ended up reading S.T. Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos (2008, Mythos Books). Around 5 p.m. (CaST) my agent called, and we talked a while, mostly about my health and how I'm not making progress on The Wolf Who Cried Girl. She was both understanding and encouraging. "You'll get it written when you get it written," she said, which is a truism, sure, but one of the comforting sort to hear from one's agent.

I believe, at this point, finding my way into the book may be a matter of taking a rather complex plot— which I worked out back in December and January —and tearing most of it away until only the most central and essential elements remain. I want a novel less like, say, Daughter of Hounds or Threshold, and more like The Red Tree. The fewest characters possible. The most personal and claustrophobic narrative I may manage. A story driven more by characterization, mood, and theme, and less by plot. It's in there somewhere, the story that I need to tell. I need only tease it free of my annoying preconceptions of this novel.

2. The postman brought me a review copy of Thomas Ligotti's forthcoming The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (Hippocampus Press)— his first work of nonfiction —which, at least from a cursory glance, seems like something I meant to write ten years farther along. Ah, well. Now Ligotti can take the heat for speaking the nihilism and for this "unsparing dissection of the sophisms spun by life's apologists," and all I have to do is sit back and nod my head from the shadows.

3. Last night, we played more WoW than I've had at a sitting in...well, a couple of months. It's a game I have to go away from and come back to every now and then, if it is to retain my interest. Shaharrazad and Suraa quested in the Grizzly Hills, and Suraa (Spooky) made Level 77. Shah is almost to 77. I hope that the great reboot of Cataclysm brings the design of the rest of Azeroth more in line with Northrend, as these environments are so much better realized than anything in either Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms.

4. The sleeplessness was back last night. I read from John Steele Gordon's A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable (2002), until I finally got sleepy, sometime after four ayem.

5. And here at four photos I snapped at Harbor of Refuge on Wednesday. They're not terribly good. It was freezing, sleeting, and the wind was so strong it actually kept threatening to push me over. The photos failed to capture the actual color of the sea, but they do capture something of the bleakness of the day:

3 March 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (fisting)
1. We just heard the news that Phil Harris, Captain of the Cornelia Marie, has died at age 53 of a stroke. You may know him as "Captain Phil" from Deadliest Catch, a series of which Spooky and I are oddly fond. And the news is oddly sad. He was our favorite captain on the show. To quote the AP release, "Harris started working on fishing boats at age 7 and started work 10 years later on a crab boat. When Harris turned 21, he ran a fishing vessel out of Seattle, making him one of the youngest to captain a vessel in the Bering Sea."

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,328 words on "Untitled 35" and found THE END. It was a brutal jog to THE END. And it's a truly brutal piece of fiction. I'm learning not to make apologies for that. Still looking for a more traditional title. Given it was written almost entirely while under the influence of Bowie's Outside, and given it's matter, it ought to be titled "The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (as Beauty)." Today, Spooky and I will be proofing it and the galley pages for the "Sanderlings" chapbook (which comes FREE with the limited edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others).

3. The snow is just now reaching Providence, and it looks like it's going to be a heavy one.

4. Yesterday, I received my comp copies of the new German edition of Low Red Moon, retitled Kreatur. The translation was, once again, done by Alexandra Hinrichsen. From what Spooky and I have read thus far of the prologue, the translation looks good. This morning, I snapped a couple of shots of my German editions:

Kreatur und Fossil )


5. You're probably all growing weary of my going on about Insilico. But it's just so damn good.* Last night, everything changed for Xiang, when agents from the Gemini Corporation attempted to kidnap her (trying to take her before agents of the Tokuma Corporation or, possibly, members of the underground Syndicates). She was able to stall long enough to upload to a nearby service droid, before detonating an EMP device, thereby self-destructing. Unfortunately, the Gemini techs have been able to salvage her remains, including most of her mind (Gemini also intercepted the broadcast). Xiang 1.0 may well be dead, but now...I am playing Xiang 2.0a (saddled by Gemini with loyalty software), Xiang 2.0b (created by a Gemini agent named Molly Longshadow, for her own personal ends), and Xiang 2.0c (the copy uploaded to the Abeus droid, and later delivered to Hibiki-O, a cyborg who has done much to keep Xiang alive and hidden from TPTB). 2.0b and 2.0c are currently without bodies. So, yeah, awesome, awesome stuff, though it now leaves me playing three clones of the same robot. But we embrace challenges. There are two screencaps behind the cut:

Xiang is dead. I am Xiang. We have been divided. )


* We have, here, come almost to the end of that brief time during which I was able to delude myself into believing Insilico was, in fact, especially different from the rest of Second Life. (2/10/11)
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
1. A few flurries Outside as I type. This is the north edge of the monster storm that walloped D.C. and Philadelphia yesterday. But we're not even expecting the tiniest bit of accumulation. Go figure.

2. The platypus says this is the best possible day on which to order The Ammonite Violin & Others, and being merely a lowly minion of the platypus, I am forced to relay hisherits every message. Remember, the limited edition comes with a FREE chapbook, "Sanderlings," the short-story set in Green Hill, RI, which I wrote back in November. Oh, and I did the cover for "Sanderlings." So, yeah. Do like the platypus says.

3. A question from James Maier, via email: Basically, my question is this: Which books are “grouped” together and in what order? i.e. the same characters, sequels, etc. Though I’m sure the novels all stand alone just fine, I kind of want to read along with the characters’ chronology and I’d like to avoid any more spoilers from reading Amazon’s descriptions.

Okay, it works something like this. Silk and Murder of Angels pretty much form a duology, the latter being a fairly straightforward sequel to the former. Same with Threshold and Low Red Moon, though you also get Daughter of Hounds, which sort of makes a trilogy of the whole affair. But it's a very loose sort of trilogy. And, of course, all five of these novels are interconnected here and there. There's also Alabaster, which very much ties into that "trilogy." Finally, yes, there's The Red Tree, which has echoes of many of the novels before it, but is definitely set apart. That said, if anyone wants my opinion, read The Red Tree first, then Daughter of Hounds, and after that...read them in what ever order pleases you.

4. Yesterday I butched up and risked that carnivorous sky all over again. That is I went Outside, second day in a row. I wanted to get photographs of the continuing demolition of the Bridge Street Bridge that crosses Wickenden Street (you will recall the photos from the early stages of the demolition that were included in my January 13th and January 14th entries). The bridge is mostly down, and you can now stand and look up at the sky where, for the better part of a century, the sky was hidden. There are photos below, behind the cut. The day was cold, numbing my fingers as I tried to get the shots. Afterwards, we headed to Eastside Marketplace and Whole Foods, then spent a little time picking over the bones of a Blockbuster Video that's going out of business any day now. I assume they all are, but I don't know that for sure. Oddly, we came away without buying any of the super-cheap DVDs (everything we wanted was scratched to hell and back), but I did get two books, very cheap, and I didn't even know Blockbuster had started selling books. The Smithsonian Book of Mars by Joseph M. Boyce (2002) and Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet by Jim Bell (2006), because I can never have too many reference books on Mars. Oh, and we dropped by the post office in Olneyville, so I could send in the contracts on "The Steam Dancer (1896)" (to be reprinted in Steampunk Reloaded) and a copy of Peter's A Dark Matter to my mother.

5. We watched the new episode of Fringe last night, possibly one of the best so far, and refreshing after the disappointing "monster of the week" episodes of the previous three weeks.

6. I have a plan. I will spend the remainder of February writing the vignettes that will comprise Sirenia Digest 51 and 52, so that I can set aside all of March and April for the writing of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I'd hoped to get the novel written this winter, but what I want and what happens are too often not the same.

7. I stayed up far too late last night, roleplaying in Insilico, because I just don't know how to walk away from story when it's coming at me. Xiang was hired as bartender at the Blue Ant (now that she's registered and legal), and has proven that androids can make perfectly fine White Russians. Later, after "work," there was intrigue and adventure and dizzying heights. I fucking adore this place.

5 February 2010 )


By the way...I just spent about an hour and a half on this LJ entry....
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
1. Gods, I'm not awake. And to blame we have the Ambien I took at 4:45 a.m., although what we really have to blame is (drum roll, please) THE. BEST. ROLEPLAY. EVER. Which I got in Insilico last night. My thanks to Omika, Abiki, Fifth, Pinbacker...and others. Really, it's like being lodged in the forebrain/motherboard of an early William Gibson novel, this rp. Smart, immersive, simulationist, literate, and exquisitely hard. And to think I spent almost two and half years trying to find a sim that has its shit together, and players on the same wavelength as me, and that I suffered so much lousy rp and silly-ass ooc drama.* Anyway, wow, but I am so painfully not awake. Oh, I'm playing Xiang, a very confused little toaster.

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,269 words on "Hydrarguros," for Sirenia Digest #50. The story really seemed to find itself yesterday afternoon. And then Jason Statham showed up. On Facebook, I wrote "Gods, I've just realized Jason Statham is narrating my new sf story. That is, the narrator's voice, as I hear it in my head as I write is that of Jason Statham." Sort of Jason Statham as he was in Snatch. Later, also on Facebook, I added, "You have to imagine Jason Statham starring in a film version of David Bowie's Outside, playing Nathan Adler, only it's not a movie about art crimes, but a movie about drugs from Mars." Which isn't precisely right, but somewhere in the neighborhood.

3. Okay, so...I've keep putting off talking about Peter Straub's very wonderful new novel, A Dark Matter (due out February 9th). Mostly, that's because I know enough to know I'm no good at reviewing books (would that more readers knew this of themselves), and I'm not going to do the book justice. I can heap praise upon it, which it deserves, but which is also insufficient. I could, in theory, reduce it to some book-reportish synopsis, but that would be criminal. So, I won't do either. You're just going to have to trust me on this. I've been reading Peter since 1981, and this is one of his very best. There are such moments of surreal, transcendent weird. Worlds bleed together. It is, in a sense, about the price of expanding one's consciousness. In another sense, it's about the charlatans who promise expanded consciousness, and, specifically, about the sorts who peddled those wares in the sixties. More than anything, this is a novel about consequence. In brilliantly inverts many of the readers expectations, turning its plot back upon itself, as we watch its characters struggle to come to terms with an unspeakably bizarre event from their pasts, in order to heal their present lives. You want to read this novel. Spooky read the whole thing aloud to me while I was sick, before she got sick. We expect to read it a second time in a few months. Thank you, Peter. You just shine, man.

4. Last night, we watched Anthony Bourdain in the Philippines (our fondness for this man seems to know no bounds), and then watched Rob Zombies' remake of Halloween 2. I'm still parsing my thoughts on the film. It was, in many ways, a much more ambitious film than his Halloween remake, and it had some fine moments, but, in the end, I don't think it was as good as the first film (and certainly not as good as The Devil's Rejects). Mostly, I think Mr. Zombie needs to a) stop casting the atrocious Sheri Moon Zombie in his films, even if she is his wife, because the woman simply cannot act, and she's holding him back; and 2) I think it's time for him to try something new. We now know he can make very, very good slasher films in the spirit of the '70s and '80s classics. Now, I'd like to see him do something different, because I think he has it in him, and it's time to grow artistically.

5. Email this morning from the woman who'll be reading both Low Red Moon and Threshold for the Audible.com adaptations. They start recording tomorrow, and need correct pronunciations for trilobite names. So, I think all the audiobooks are now in production, which is just amazing.

6. I'm now going to go drink what's left of my coffee and try to wake the fuck up. Excuse me.

*Within a few weeks, Insilico proved itself almost as bad, or worse, than the rest of Second Life, and I had to start eating my words.
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
Cold in Providence this morning, but also sunny, and it's much colder elsewhere.

Yesterday, I realized that a week of December had passed and I'd accomplished "nothing" but the editing, design, and layout of the "Sanderlings" chapbook. I still have to get the Next Novel started, produce Sirenia Digest #49, and write a story for a Subterranean Press anthology, all of this ideally before December 31st. These are the sorts of realizations that lead to panic.

Anyway, I began a new piece yesterday, a sort of zombie love story (played straight, not for comedy), which was inspired in equal parts by Robert Browning's "Love Among the Ruins" (1855) and Edward Burne-Jones' painting of the same name (1893-1894; also inspired by the Browning poem). I am presently calling it "(Dead) Love Among the Ruins," unless I decide that's too obvious or corny or whatever. This is only the second time I've tried to do "zombies," sensu Romero et al., for the digest, and we'll see how it goes. I managed only 470 words yesterday.

I'm beginning to think that the Next Novel will be titled The Wolf Who Cried Girl (though I've written a short story of the same name; the novel and short story would have nothing much in common).

My great thanks to Karen Mahoney for very kindly sending me a copy of Greer Gilman's ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) Cloud and Ashes (Small Beer Press; 2009). I started reading it late last night. I heard Greer read from it at ReaderCon this past July, and it is brilliant, truly. The sort of brilliant I may aspire to, but know that I will never achieve.

I do have some good news for everyone who's ever asked about the availability of my books in an audio format. Audible.com is buying audio rights to Threshold, Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, Daughter of Hounds, and The Red Tree. I do not yet have release dates, but I assume it will be sometime in 2010.

That was the best of yesterday, really.

Last night, I had a minor seizure while in the tub, the first that's ever happened while bathing. And then there was insomnia, which kept me awake until sometime after 4 a.m.

Anyway...now I'm going to go play with dead things, and maybe hang some pictures.
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
Yesterday I did 1,252 words on the new vignette which, as of this writing, is still named "Exuvium."

The weather here in Providence has been grey and chilly and on-and-off rainy for days now. Or so it seems. I can't recall the last time I saw the sun. Then again, I've not left the House since Tuesday. Which really isn't that long, not for me. But the sun would be nice, shining in my office window.

The sea would be nice.

Please consider observing "Black Friday" by bidding on the current eBay auctions, which include a copy of the lettered edition of my long-out-of-print first novel (though it was published after my second and third novels, just before my fourth). Also, check out the Cephalopodmas ornaments in Spooky's Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks.

Last night, we had trouble deciding whether to watch Wes Anderson's The Darjeeleng Limited (2007) again, or, instead, watch Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control (2009). The Darjeeleng Limited won out, as we were both in need of a comfort film. Later in the night, we played WoW, our new undead characters, and met up inworld with [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi and [livejournal.com profile] memkhet.

No sun yet. It's not the sort of thing that comes when you call.
greygirlbeast: (Eli6)
Yesterday was the sort of day I spend looking for the story, but not actually writing the story. I finally sat down and re-read a couple of chapters of Michael E. Bell's Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires (Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2001), specifically chapters 11 ("Relicks of Many Old Customs") and 12 ("A Ghoul in Every Deserted Fireplace"). It helped get my head where my head needs to be. I'd wanted to head back to Newport, back to the old library, but the weather was shit, bitter cold, and besides, this is the weekend of the big-ass Newport St. Patrick's Day fiasco. So. This weekend I try to get the story started. If it hasn't happened by Monday, we go back to Newport. Oh, I did find a title, "As Red as Red." I think one thing that I'm having trouble with here is shaping a story that's equal parts werewolf and vampire tale (and no, not in the quasi-moronic Underworld sense).

So, yeah, yesterday was mostly spent sitting in the big chair in the front parlour, in a marvelous pool of afternoon sunlight, pretending it's not still winter out there, reading.

An unexpected, but very welcome, royalty check arrived from my German publisher. It seems the German translation of Threshold is selling well. So, maybe I still have a shot at Werner Herzog.

I washed my hair. I didn't leave the house.

Last night, after dinner, we watched Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), which we'd not seen since its theatrical release. I still find it a marvelous, impressively paced, and splendidly tense film. I do wish people wouldn't think of it as a zombie film, as it clearly isn't. The "infected" are not "running zombies," as they're not dead. The most interesting thing last night was watching the various "alternative" endings. The first is, I believe, clearly the original theatrical ending (it was labeled "alternative theatrical"), the one that test audiences likely found "too grim" or some such malarky. After escaping Major Henry West's (Christopher Eccleston) compound, Selena (Naomie Harris) and Hannah (Megan Burns) manage to get the gut-shot Jim (Cillian Murphy) to an abandoned hospital, but despite Selena's efforts, fail to save his life. However, he has managed to tell them about the plane he saw before rescuing them, and the film ends with Selena and Hannah setting off into an uncertain, but possibly not hopeless future. It's just a better ending, and it fits better than the theatrical-release ending. It closes a circle. Jim awakes in a hospital to the end of England, and the film closes after he's died in another hospital. There was also another "radical alternative" ending that was never filmed, but which Danny Boyle and Alex Garland present, via storyboards, a completely different possibility for the final third of the film, one where the soldiers are not introduced. It was interesting, but as Boyle and Garland admit, never would have worked. After the movie, we read more of Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci's Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd. I neglected to mention, yesterday, that this book is actually making me miss Dragon*Con, and I thought that was impossible.

There are books I really should be spending more time and energy promoting. I mean, that is the primary reason this journal exists. So, remember that next month Subterranean Press will be releasing the trade paperback edition of Alabaster, which collects all the Dancy Flammarion stories (except for "Highway 97"), complete with all Ted Naifeh's artwork. Also, if you haven't read yet read Daughter of Hounds, well, what are you waiting for? No, it's not necessary to read the earlier books first. Daughter of Hounds is a fine place to begin.

And now, the word mines.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
So, it's official. Bill Schafer let me know yesterday that the limited edition of A is for Alien is completely sold out. My thanks to all who ordered the limited (and the trade, for that matter). Last I heard, there are still copies of the trade hardback available, but it's looking like there won't be for very much longer.

Spooky and I were just talking, and the subject of Stephenie Myer came up (like a bad penny). And I said that while it's true Myer can't write her way out of a wet paper bag, it's also true that she succeeded by merely giving the people what they want. I pointed out that this is a thing that I seem pathologically incapable of doing, even when I try very hard, as I often have. Anyway, stray bits of Sunday morning.

Yesterday, my author's copies of Fossil, the German translation of Threshold, arrived. This is the fourth edition of the novel, and the second foreign language translation (the first was Italian), and, to my eye, it's the most attractive of the lot. The cover has a nice retro feel, like a cover from the 1950s or '60s. I am especially pleased with the tiny Dicranurus trilobites used to divide the chapter sections. So, yeah, that was a nice surprise. The translation was done by Alexandra Hinrichsen.

Early yesterday, we managed to finish with the latest round of line edits to The Red Tree. We would have finished on Friday, but I finally reached the point where I'd corrected so many grammatical errors and word repetitions that I could no longer be sure I whether I was fixing things that were broken or merely changing things (and, thereby, breaking them). This series of line edits has been one of the most excruciatingly tedious in my writing career, I think. And I think I know why, and maybe I'll even go into it in tomorrow's entry. Now, I have to begin work on the issues raised by Anne in her editorial letter, actual revisions (though none are very significant). With luck, I can be done in another week. I'm not feeling very lucky.

We headed back to Moonstone Beach yesterday, to try and relocate and retrieve the iron squid we'd found there on Monday. Usually, I leave these things be, but something about the beached ferropetrateuthid called us back. It was sunny here in Providence, and there was at least a little warmth. But as we crossed into South County, the sun vanished behind clouds. When we reached the beach, the day had turned bitterly cold, much more so than when Spooky and Sonya and I were there on the 2nd. The tide was coming in, and there was a strong, stinging wind. Once again, we walked northeast, to the narrow inlet where Card Pond meets the sea at high tide. After a little searching, we managed to locate the iron squid, though it was now partially submerged in the pond. We bundled it up and walked quickly back to the car. Both Trustom and Card ponds were frozen solid, and the geese and ducks all seemed content with the sky. The only signs of life were signs of expired life: fish bones, gull feathers, clam and snail shells, the remains of a variety of crustaceans (Limulus polypehmus, Homarus americanus, Libinia emarginata, Callinectes sapidus, Cancer irroratus, Carcinus maenas, etc.), mermaids' purses, bits of seaweed, and so forth. A lot of the cobbles that had paved the beach on Monday had been washed back out to sea, and there were patches of ice and snow on the sand. The sky was like a lead weight, laid across the angry sea. No, the sea was not angry, but my mind perceived it as such. It was the first time that I've not wanted to linger on Moonstone Beach. The dead of winter, as they say. But, yes, the only known specimen of an iron squid is now in my keeping. The sun had almost set by the time we made it back to Providence.

Last night, we watched the latest Battlestar Galactica, which I found quite satisfying.

There are a few photos from yesterday behind the cut:

February 7, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The snow arrived yesterday afternoon about 2:30 p.m. (CaST). And it's still snowing, though big clumps now, that drift lazily about before settling on rooftops and power lines and sidewalks. Very different from the tiny crystals that started this storm, and that fell for at least twelve hours non-stop. I've not seen so much snow since the winters of '92 and '93, when freak winter storms pounded Birmingham, Alabama. And I'm not sure we got this much then. It just did more damage, as Birmingham was ill-equipped for such weather. It is so amazingly white outside. The sky is lying on the rooftops, which is oddly comforting. I don't know how much snow has fallen on Federal Hill, but I hear some parts of Rhode Island got as much as twelve inches. It will be a white Solstice this year.

I took photographs from the office window. They're larger than usual, because I was determined to show icicles.

No writing again yesterday. And that has to stop today or tomorrow. But the anticipation of the coming storm, and then the snow itself. How could I write through that? This will all become old hat to me soon enough. I want to keep these sights and sensations novel and delightful as long as I can. Though, there's an unexpected anxiety, too, a sort of smothering that seems to lurk at the edges of everything. I'm not claustrophobic, but I begin to guess that it's what eventually turns to "cabin fever." Everything is so white, and so close.

Yesterday, thanks to Ellen Datlow, I found out about Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter (2006). I'd missed this film, though I'm a great fan of two of Fessenden's earlier films, Habit (1996) and Wendigo (2001). I was less impressed by his earlier No Telling (1991), but we shouldn't be judged by our eary efforts. I have this ever increasing fear of being judged by Silk, and even Threshold, when my writing has matured so much since then that you'd hardly think my recent stories and Daughter of Hounds and The Red Tree were written by the same person who wrote those novels. I'm digressing, just like Sarah Crowe (you'll see, eventually). Anyway, The Last Winter is quite good. Here and there, the acting wobbles a bit (or the direction; you can never know which), and I sort of wish that we'd not seen so much of "the monsters" at the end. But they are damned creepy monsters. A great deal of this story was clearly inspired by Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo," turned towards the subject of global warming. The film is marvelously atmospheric, creating a mood of isolation and closeness and expectation that becomes almost unbearable at times. You can stream it from Netflix for free, so have a look. Though, maybe it's best not watched on a snowy day.

Later, we watched the first two episodes of Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks (1974), and then read more of The Historian. There was insomnia still later, inspired in part, I think, by the snow. It was sometime after 6 ayem and two Ambien before I managed to get to sleep.

At twilight yesterday we walked in the snow. Dexter Training Ground had been transformed into the interior of a snow globe. There was absolutely no distinction between sky and ground. The towers of the Armory were grey silhouettes against a deeper grey. There were ecstatic dogs, bounding about their people. By then, the snow was already quite deep, and already people were out shoveling. There was a hush laid over everything. No sound seemed to travel more than a few feet, excepting those sounds that seem to reach us, muffled, from very far away. It was beautiful. Spooky looked positively Cro-Magnon as her dreads collected snow.

This morning, I had my first cup of coffee in the front parlour, and watched a pair of seagulls soaring above the street. They were almost lost to view, or simply lost, against the alabaster sky.

Please take a peek at the current eBay auctions. It's heartening to see that Letter V of Frog Toes and Tentacles already has a bid. Thank you. New items will be added today or tomorrow.

Okay. Oh, I do apologize for spending part of yesterday butchering the French language via my Facebook account. Today, i think I'll butcher German. The photos are behind the cut:

December 20, 2008 )
greygirlbeast: (Heavy Horses)
Well, truthfully, this year's Jethro Tull Season began at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, but everyone knows I'm a big fat liar. So, there you go. Screw St. Nick and shopping malls and all those damn dead turkeys! Break out the heavy horses and the locomotives and the dirty old homeless men with pneumonia! Yes, this is how Caitlín copes with winter. Jethro Tull.

Thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala, a fellow Tullite), I wasted over an hour this morning destroying most of the earth's population with a viral pandemic. I failed, though I did manage to wipe out the entire populations of Russia (where it began), North America, Europe, India, Greenland, much of South America, China, and most of Africa, before the disease finally burned itself out. I even bested the attempt to create a vaccine. Every day should begin so triumphantly (even though I failed).

Also, 149 years ago today, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was first published. 149 years later, we are still beleaguered by creationist numbnuts.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on "The Collier's Venus (1893)," and I almost found THE END. There will be one last short scene today. It's an odd story, another of my Cherry Creek steampunk tales (this will be the fourth), revisiting much of the territory covered by "In the Waterworks (1889)" and Threshold. After the writing, and a dinner of chili, we read and proofed Chapter Six of The Red Tree. I am pleased to say I like this novel even more now than when I "finished" it last month.

We lit the fireplace last night, for the first time this year. I haven't lived anywhere with a functional fireplace since 1982.

After the reading, we watched Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War, which I found extremely effective and chilling. A study in unforeseen consequences. The more things change, the more things keep getting worse. Meet the new boss, same as the old. You know the score. Tom Hanks was good, but Philip Seymour Hoffman was brilliant. Julia Roberts was just scary. And then, after the movie, there was WoW.

I think that I am finally beginning to become disenchanted with World of Warcraft. That makes what? Almost three months? It's just starting to feel far too much like a game (which, of course, is what it is), and I am too entirely disappointed by its utter failure as rp. I'm going to try and stick with it longer by scaling back the number of characters I'm playing, so there's not so much repetition (part of the undesired "gaminess"). I hate games. I want a simulation. I want roleplay, not gameplay. I want full immersion. I want to lose myself in alternate realities. And, so, I suspect it's time to forsake the visual interface and start reading more again. Reading, at least I am not bombarded by REAL LIVE idiots and by stats and leveling and all those other things that only serve to destroy suspension of disbelief. Last night, Mithwen reached Lvl 35. Scaling back, I'll most likely confine myself to Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, and her little sister, Hanifah (a paladin). Spooky's talking about concentrating on her Tauren shaman, Usiku. Total, I presently have six characters, which looks pretty bad, until you consider that Blizzard permits you to have fifty. Anyway, I will continue to hope that at some point within the next few years a genuine rp "simulation" will emerge from the chaos of SL and mmorpgs and whatnot.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
A truly stunningly hideous dream this morning, even by my standards. So, just a tad dreamsick right now.

Yesterday, I wrote only 839 words on "The Colliers' Venus (1893)," which looks rather pathetic compared to Sunday's word count. I fear the story might have derailed, and I may have to spend today getting it back on track. This is another one set in my alternate-hitsory steampunk Colorado, in the city of Cherry Creek (known in this worldline as Denver), which was also the setting for "The Steam Dancer" (1896)," "The Melusine (1898)," and "Derma Sutra (1891)."

I should give some sort of historical context for the stuff I'm reposting at [livejournal.com profile] crk_blog_vault, for those who are following it. It's very strange for me, reading back over and reposting those old entries. At the time I began the blog, I'd just returned from my first (and bloody disastrous) move to Atlanta. I was once again living in Liberty House in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, in a loft (#304) next door to the loft (#303) I'd moved out of just a few months earlier. I adored Liberty House, though, sadly, it has since been devoured by the condo monster. Once upon a time, it was the Liberty Overall's factory, there on Morris Avenue, and Jada's grandmother worked there when she was young. The building was built in the 1920s. The ceilings in that second loft were, at their highest point, eighteen feet from the hardwood floors (there was a slope from the back of the loft to the front, with the ceiling becoming progressively higher). Threshold had just been released, and I was, obviously, trying to begin Low Red Moon. I was still doing research on mosasaurs and the Upper Cretaceous of Alabama, and would soon begin doing volunteer work at the McWane Science Center. I was thirty-seven years old, which seems very young now. Spooky had gone back to Rhode Island by the time I started the blog. Sophie (the cat) was getting old, but still had five years to live. I was scripting the last book I'd do for DC/Vertigo, Bast: Eternity Game. My office roof leaked when it rained. Anyway, I'm putting the entries up pretty much as written, making only spelling corrections and such.

Back to yesterday...

While I wrote, Spooky took the car to a mechanic down in Wakefield, to have fixed whatever went wrong with the windshield wipers back in September. She visited her mom, and they went to the Toy Vault (wicked cheap) in the Wakefield mall and found the Severus Snape action figure I've been coveting. Now, if I can just find Dumbledore. Anyway, Spooky drove her mother's van back to Providence, and tomorrow we should get our car. There was a big pot of chili for dinner. We made it through Chapter Two of The Red Tree. But I took a hot bath before we started reading and had a great deal of trouble staying awake for the first few pages. Later, when work was finally done, we played a little WoW. Shah and Suraa wandered from the Arathi Highlands all the way south to Booty Bay, where they drank cherry-flavoured grog in the company of goblins. Shaharrazad got a fancy new wand (35-66 arcane damage, 29 damage/second, speed 1.8) off a Dalaran summoner (human) that Suraa killed, which is pretty cool, considering there's only a 1% drop rate for that wand. Later still, we watched more Firefly.

Right. Coffee. Platypus. Deadlines. Here we go again....

And no, I do not celebrate Veteran's Day. I recognize Armistice Day (thank you, Mr. Vonnegut).
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
So, yeah, I think my unwillingness to become too deeply mired in human politics has reached the point that I have become functionally apolitical. For example, my first thought upon hearing that McCain had chosen Palin as his running mate was, "What the fuck is Michael Palin doing hanging out with war-mongering Republican assholes like McCain?" So, learning the Palin in question was actually a homophobic, anti-choice former beauty queen from Alaska, and not a former member of Monty Python, came as a huge relief.

Er...anyway. Yesterday. Yesterday was not a writing day. It was, instead, a reading day. Looking at the beginning of Chapter Five, and being rather uncertain What Happens Next, I needed to think. And I tend to think best when reading or when watching movies. So, I reread (Is that actually a word? LJ seems to think so.) chapters 20 and 22 of Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000), section 6 of Chapter 4 of Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959), and Angela Carter's "The Tiger's Bride" (1979). Old favourites that I know so well reading them does not require too much of my attention, but which still manage to hit all the right buttons. And I found the idea I needed to begin Chapter 5 of The Red Tree today.

By the way, looking back over The Haunting of Hill House yesterday, I became angry all over again at the insistence of so many publishers, and the expectation by many readers, that novels must be great long things. The Haunting of Hill House is about 240 pages long, quite a bit shorter than, say, Daughter of Hounds (which is 431 pages long, in the tpb edition). Now, I do agree that a novel should be as long as a novel needs to be, but included within that maxim is the corollary that a novel should never be longer than it needs to be. Many novels today, especially bestsellers, are absurdly long (or at least the font size is increased to give that impression), and this follows largely from books being thought of as only another product marketed to consumers looking for their "best value." Longer books are better than shorter books, since a long hardback and a short hardback (or paperback) tend to cost about the same. Novels have been "supersized," as it were. Regardless, I suspect The Red Tree will be no more than 80,000 words at the most (Daughter of Hounds was, by comparison, 133,000+ words in length, but then, it needed to be). Books are not to be judged by page count any more than they are to be judged by their covers. And, as long as I'm titling at windmills and speaking of excessively thick books, if Laurell K. Hamilton is the idiot stepdaughter of Anne Rice, then Stephenie Meyer is, at best, Hamilton's parthenogenic hysterical pregnancy (and I think we've taken this metaphor as far as it can possibly go). Truly, it amazes me, some of the shit people send zipping to the top of the bestseller lists. Truly, crap floats.*

Oh, and I also read "A ceratosaurid [Dinosauria; Theropoda] from the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous of Uruguay" in JVP, but it really had no bearing on the novel.

As for last night, for dinner Spooky got pizza from Pizza Pie'er on Wickenden, because we had a Howards End build-team meeting at 7 pm. And afterwards, I had my first real rp in days, but, sadly, it was at Toxian City, where I'd sworn I'd never, ever go again. I really will be glad when the HE rp is up and running, and I can discover, once and for all, if I am capable of fixing all the things that are wrong with SL roleplay. Maybe I can't, but at least I can try. And if I can't, I can step away from the whole sorry mess knowing that I gave it my best.

A comment and question from a reader:

I liked The Five of Cups. You don't have any intention of re-releasing any other books (Murder of Angels, Threshold or The Dry Salvages) in hardback by any chance? or know where it might be possible to procure a copy of said magnificent books?

You have to forgive my disdain for The Five of Cups. I was 28 when I wrote it back in '92, and that was a long time and a lot of words ago, and neither the novel nor I have, in my estimation, aged well. All novelists are allowed to feel discomfort at their early efforts. It comes with the job. As for the other books, there has never been a hardback of Murder of Angels and probably never will be. There's not yet been a hb of Threshold, but there has been some talk of subpress doing a tenth-anniversary edition in 2011. And while The Dry Salvages is probably out of print for good, there will be a revised version released next year as a free ebook (to coincide with the release of A is for Alien).

* It occurs to me that i have to write a response to myself tomorrow, since the scatalogical generalization "crap floats" is obviously flawed.
greygirlbeast: (chi 5)
I'm going to try to make this a short entry, because I woke late (inexplicably, as I actually got to bed at a decent hour last night), and the day has sort of gone off the rails.

A good writing day yesterday. 1,171 words on Chapter Four of The Red Tree. The Shirley Jackson helped, after all. And my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wolven for making me realize I need to read Borges' "The Garden of Forking Paths" again.

Also, yesterday there was more talk with my editor at Penguin about the book's flap copy, and I got my first look at some of the possible cover layouts for A is for Alien, featuring gorgeous artwork by Jacek Yerka. Spooky spent part of the day considering potential artists to be interviewed by Geoffrey Goodwin ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) for the next few issues of Sirenia Digest. All the good stuff seems to be coming out of Russia and Japan these days. Oh, and there was also a conversation with Anne (my editor at Penguin) regarding the cover art for The Red Tree.

I know I have a goodly number of German readers, so here's the link to the Amazon.de page for the forthcoming German-language edition of Threshold, entitled Fossil. I am really quite fond of that cover.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are so able and inclined. Thank you. Also, don't forget to pre-order the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds.

Last night, Chinese takaway for dinner (beef fried rice, steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup), and then we watched Jet Li and Jason Statham in Philip G. Atwell's War (2007). It struck me as a nod to old school Hong Kong action films, right down to the absurdly over-the-top twist ending, and I found it thoroughly entertaining.

This morning, we placed the order for the Howards End sim with Linden Labs. It may be delivered as soon as this afternoon or tonight, though it will be quite some time yet before we open the sim. First, the designated terraformer on our build team (we now have, I think, four builders, not counting me and Spooky) will get to work on the topography and warrens, the train tunnel and sea cliffs. All that has to be done before the landscaping and construction of the city itself begins.

There is something I wanted to mention regarding the sim, that I probably should have mentioned earlier. You might call this "Yes, you do have to read." Way back last November, just after the Dune: Apocalypse sim opened, I attended a meeting led by one of the sim administrators, and he actually stated that it was not important that potential players read Herbert's books (or even those written by Herbert's son and Kevin J. Anderson). Indeed, it was stated that the sim owners did not want to "scare people off" by expecting them to know the books. I found this position unthinkably wrongheaded (and said so), and I suspected then, that early on, that the sim was in trouble. Of course, it died a messy death in February, brought about largely by the ignorance on the part that same administrator of the universe in which the sim was set. Though he had been appointed "Canon Keeper," he, inexplicably, seemed to know very little about Dune. Anyway, I am getting to the point. Simply, I do expect the "players" to have a reasonable familiarity with the source material, which would be, primarily, Low Red Moon, Daughter of Hounds, the works of Lovecraft, and a number of short stories ("So Runs the World Away," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," "Night Games in the Crimson Court," "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," and all the stories collected in Alabaster). The short stories I will likely put on note cards that will be free to players, and all the Lovecraft can be found free online. Frankly, we want literate "players," and if you cannot be bothered to read the stories that have shaped the rp, you aren't right for this. And, fair warning, faking it will be hard. It is not my desire to drive anyone who might be interested away, but the thought that someone would want to be part of the rp, but has no desire to read my work upon which it is based, is insulting, and letting such people in would only gum up the works. Plus, since the sim likely won't open until late October or early November, there's lots of time to play catchup. As we are not looking at this sim as a for-profit venture, it really has only two reasons for being: first, as something for my readers to enjoy, and, secondly, as something for me to enjoy. That's not possible if we end up with members unfamiliar with the books and stories in question. As of last night, we had about half the 25-30 members I'm looking for, which puts us far ahead of where I expected to be at this point.

Time to make the doughnuts....
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
It's an odd way to start the day, reading Shirley Jackson, but that's how today has begun. I sat here and nibbled at my crumpets with blueberry preserves while Spooky read to me from Chapter 6 of The Haunting of Hill House. I'd awakened with that scene in my mind, frustrated at the similarity between that scene and the scene I have to write today for The Red Tree. So, I had to hear it, no matter how many times I've read The Haunting of Hill House, because I needed to know exactly what Jackson did and how she did it. Theodora and Eleanore getting lost where they shouldn't be able to get lost. And I know that Sarah Crowe, my own narrator, has surely read Shirley Jackson, and she will be reminded of the scene herself, and when writing about what's about to happen to her and Constance Hopkins, it would be unrealistic not to have her draw a comparison with that scene. Also, I'm once again baffled that Danielewski, in House of Leaves, never once references The Haunting of Hill House*, when he references almost everything else, and here the comparison is obvious (and, for that matter, so is Bilbo and Company wandering about in Mirkwood, and he never references that, either). But I digress.

Yesterday was a very good writing day. I did 1,244 words on Chapter Four. Also, I received the flap copy of The Red Tree from my editor at Penguin, and I have to write back to her about that before I begin work on the novel today. It's not bad flap copy, largely because I haven't deviated very far from the "proposal" I made back in April (it wasn't really any sort of formal proposal, just a paragraph or two). It makes me even more nervous seeing flap copy for an unfinished book than it does to think about seeing the cover of an unfinished book. The cart seems to get in front of the horse. But, like I said, it's pretty good flap copy, as flap copy goes. It's one of those necessary evils of publishing, because people insist on synopses, even when the matter in question cannot be accurately synopsized.

This morning, before Shirley Jackson, I got an email from Jennifer Escott at Writer's House in NYC, forwarding an email from Maja Nikolic in Munich (at the Thomas Schlück GmbH, the agency that handles my German rights), with the PR information from Rowohlt Taschenbuch's (my German publisher) catalog announcement of the forthcoming German-language edition of Threshold, which is titled Fossil (which is somewhat closer to the original English title, Trilobite). They even used an image of Dicranurus for the cover, and it always makes me happy when someone gets the trilobite right. I now know that my German translator's name is Alexandra Hinrichsen. Anyway, the German edition will be out in January.

Spooky has begun another round of eBay, so please have a look. Danke. Also, I will remind you again, again, again that you may now preorder both A is for Alien and the mass-market edition of Daughter of Hounds.

The rest of yesterday: Spooky spent a great deal of the day talking with our SL builders, beginning to realize the zillions of details that will have to be juggled to get Howards End (Linden Labs won't let us have an apostrophe) up and running. I finished the final chapter of Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Life in the Triassic, which deals mostly with the question of whether or not the mass extinction at the end of the Triassic was an actual mass extinction, and if so, what the agent responsible might have been. There are beautiful paintings by Douglas Henderson of asteroid impacts as seen from space. I'll probably make myself read the appendices before going on to the next book in the stack. Also, I read "A Positive Test of East Antarctica-Laurentia Juxtaposition Within the Rodinia Supercontinent" in Science (Vol. 321, 11 July 2008) and wished I were a paleogeographer. There was leftover spaghetti for dinner. We made a run out to our storage unit in Central Falls, and the Blackstone River (which runs down from Woonsocket) smelled clean, of algae and fish. The clouds were breaking apart, and I watched the night sky for Perseid meteors, but between the light of the moon (four nights from full) and the city light pollution, I saw no meteors. Quick stops at PetCo and Whole Foods, and back home about 9 p.m. After that, it was all Second Life, until...gods...4:30 ayem.

My thanks to Ieva Lutrova for a rather marvelous beginning to a scene, which might turn into a vignette for Sirenia Digest #33. An abandoned sector of some future city. An android who was somehow missed in the evacuation, and for fifteen years she has continued to dance to nonexistent patrons in an empty strip club. The wandering tech who strays across her. It has potential, and is a wonderful example of how I'm using SL to create fiction.

A few more thoughts on the Howards End sim before I wrap this up. [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus (and thanks for the email) posted some comments to my entry yesterday that made me realize that there is something I haven't clarified. Though I use the phrase "roleplay," because it is familiar and convenient, in no real way will we actually be "gaming." No dice. No stats. No experience points. None of the tedious stuff. This is to be something more akin to improv theatre, which is what I've always striven for in SL. Improv theatre, where the only audience is the players on the stage. So, truthfully, I'm even more interested in people with theatre background than hardcore gaming nerds. I will not tolerate arguments about what does and does not constitute fair or good or satisfying rp from people who have been into pen-and-pencil rping since Gary Gygax was in diapers. Nor is this rp in the sense that the videogame industry often uses the term. This is something new. This is something different. We have set up two groups so far, "Denizens of Howards End" and "Architects of Howards End," and if you express interest (here or by email or inworld via an IM) you will eventually receive an invitation to join the former (unless you are a builder). But please do note that entry into "Denizens of Howards End" does not automatically guarantee a slot in the story, as we'll need to talk to everyone to determine if they're really right, and if they'll actually enjoy the experience. What I am offering here is the opportunity to be part of an interactive, spontaneously generated novel, to walk and talk and change the course of events in the Providence of Daughter of Hounds. Only this is set before DoH, but after Low Red Moon, which puts it somewhere around 2005, I think. Also, if you'd like to donate towards the cost of this endeavor, just speak up. This whole thing is strictly non-profit, but we won't turn away additional donors.

Okay. Herr Platypus it pointing at the clock and preparing to kick my ass, so I'll wrap this up. Time to make the...well, you know.

* Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wolven for pointing out that The Haunting of Hill House is, in fact, mentioned by Danielewski in footnote #167.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Just a little dreamsick this ayem. It's been worse. I think this is actually going to be a shorter post, for a change. A shorter post with no photographs. Huzzah.

Yesterday was a spectacular writing day, certainly the best I've had thus far on The Red Tree. I did 2,201 words, in a mere two and a half hours, and almost reached the end of Chapter Three. I'm sure that I'll find it today.

A few things that I want to remind you of:

1) Don't forget that the KGB Fantastic Fiction Raffle has begun, in support of the readings at KGB Bar in Manhattan. Lots of awesome items, including a complete collection of back issues plus one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest (back issues delivered in CD-ROM), and also a copy of the revised 3rd edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Tickets are only a dollar each (!!!), and every ticket gives you a chance to win the item of your choice. The auction will end on July 28th at midnight.

2) Talking to Harlan and to Bill at subpress, it seems that I am only the third American author ever to be fortunate enough to have one of Jacek Yerka's paintings grace the cover of herhisits book. I think Theodore Sturgeon was first, then Uncle Harlan, and now me. And here is a link to the painting in question, so you may have a sneak peek at what A is for Alien will look like (painting No. 19, "Deep Water"). There's an update at subpress regarding the book and its accompanying chapbook here. I'm thinking that the chapbook title will be B is for Basal.

3) The mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds will be released on September 2, and you can now order it from Amazon for only $7.99 (or with Threshold for only $14.98). It is, obviously, very important that this edition does well, so I ask, even if you read the book in trade paperback, if you can afford to pick of the mmp, please do so. Thank you.

Not much to yesterday besides the writing. Chinese take-out for dinner. I checked out a Medieval Persian rp sim in Second Life and was fairly impressed. It's a marvelous build, one of the best I've seen, making wonderful use of only one sim. It's also allowed me to dust off and rework Shahrazad al-Anwar, my old Dune character. Now, she's a dark magus (a necromancer who's mute and has amnesia). Anyway, if you'd like to check it out, the sim is called Kingdom of Sand. Candy-colored werewolves not allowed. Oh, and I played a short and delightful scene as Elenore Darwin (the Time Lord "daughter" of Professor Nareth E. Nishi) with the street urchins in New Babage. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Ellen Datlow ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow) has posted a fairly amusing (and Spooky says cute) photo of me from Readercon. You can even see my Sid Haig button.

The weather is still blessedly cool. Cloudy. Rain again last night.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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