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: (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: (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: (Default)
Argh. Up much too late last night. Not even insomnia, just too dumb to go to bed. Just too unwilling to sleep. I resent that we sleep half our lives away. Or a third. Or what the hell ever. I resent it. Add in the time we spend sitting on toilets...it's depressing as fuck. But, on the other hand, only one seizure in the past couple of months.

I also hate how having a psychiatrist appointment at 4:30 p.m. makes it impossible for me to get any work done beforehand. I did try to work on the interview, but only made it through one question (on magick). I may soon refuse to give interviews for a while. My answers are becoming too angry, too combative.

I fell asleep with a new painting in my head. Black Ships Ate the Sky. Yeah, inspired by the Current 93 album. And other things. I can see the painting clearly. And I know this one will be too personal to sell.

Just before sunset yesterday the light over Providence was amazing. I wish I'd had the camera with me. It was just...brilliant. The soft orange autumn light, the deep blue-gray clouds , the darkening sky showing in between, the brick buildings on College Hill glowing like hot embers. At Whole Foods, Spooky picked up a second pumpkin, because we're having two jack-o'-lanterns this year. Sea gulls were black silhouettes above the river.

I found a new favorite band yesterday, and they're right here in Rhode Island. Have a listen to Brown Bird. Actually, it was Spooky who found them, then pointed me towards them.

But I know that who I was is who I'm not and I will never be again.

Ebay auctions continue, because taxes were paid. There's also Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. Cool Halloween stuff that goes away on November 1st.

Angry this morning over parents who try to force their gay or transgendered children to be straight or cisgendered. Or, hell. Parents who force children who wear blue socks when they want to wear green socks. What the hell ever. Parents who hold their love hostage, who dangle it like a carrot on a stick. So, this is my message for the day, in case anything is listening: Love is not conditional. No, not ever. And what is conditional is not love.

Same rules apply to so-called "loving" gods.

Oh, a good thing from yesterday. A package arrived from Robin in Massachusetts. A fourth printing of the edition of Lovecraft's Dagon, and Other Macabre Tales (Arkham House, 1965), with the Lee Brown Coye cover I spoke of in my keynote speech at the Lovecraft Film Festival. Before this, I only had a much later Arkham House edition (1986, corrected text), but this is the edition that brought me to HPL, way back in 1981, so thank you.

Hello, Natasha.

Everyone who expressed an interest in joining Eyes of Sylvanas, Spooky and I will be doing the Alterac Valley battlefield tonight (and maybe tomorrow night, too), because it's Call to Arms this weekend, and Shaharrazad and Suraa need more epic gear. If you're level 80, feel free to join the team. And to all those who are not yet Level 80, we'll arrange some sort of meet up...somewhere. Just send one of us a pm inworld.

The platypus says shut the hell up. So, see you tomorrow. Today, I've got to finish "At the Reef."
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Yesterday. Fuck me sideways, but yesterday was a lousy, stinking excuse for a day. And I have the US Postal Service to thank for that. On Tuesday, May 5th, Spooky mailed the corrected galley pages for The Red Tree back to my editor in Manhattan. My deadline was the 7th, so we figured we'd done pretty good. Didn't even have to ask Penguin for an extension. Then, yesterday morning (six days after we mailed the pages), my editor (Anne), emailed to say that she'd not received the pages and production was having kittens. As the package had been sent with delivery confirmation, we were able to see that, as of Friday (May 8th), the package had reached Bethpage, NY. I got another e-mail from my editor's assistant, Cameron, who hoped the missing pages might show up in the afternoon's mail run at 1 p.m., and we began discussing options, in case it didn't. Never mind all the many serious errors (most were formatting) that needed fixing before the ARCs are printed, I'd spent days proofreading the thing. So, it was decided that, if the pages didn't show, I'd have them faxed (of course I made photocopies of the corrected pages before handing them over to the USPS). However, Spooky called the Kinko's on Thayer Street, and discovered that faxing them would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of $160. I'd already spent about $20 to mail the package. Oh, my fax machine died a few years ago, and I never bothered replacing it.

So, other options were discussed as the day slipped away. Perhaps, for instance, the pages could be made into a PDF, only that was also costly, and there might not be time. 1 p.m. came and went. I was losing the day, and nothing had been written on "Fish Wife." And I was starting to get angry and to panic. I pulled Angela Carter's Burning Your Boats down off the shelf and read "Master" and "Lizzie's Tiger," which helped keep me calm and distracted. I got word from Cam that it would be sometime after 2 p.m., not 1 p.m., before we knew if the pages had come in the afternoon mail. I gnashed my teeth. Spooky called New York. There were more emails. Right now, it's really all a sort of blur. Finally, Cam said we were getting no love from the mail room, so I faced up to the worst-case scenario, and began typing out the corrections, with Spooky dictating them to me. By 4 p.m., it was clear I wouldn't be done before the end of the work day, and I emailed Cam and told her so. She said that if I could get the corrections to her by 9 a.m. this morning, we'd probably be okay. So, Spooky and I spent two and a half hours compiling a detailed list of the 170 corrections that needed correcting, and sometime before 6 p.m., I emailed it to Cam (who was an utter saint yesterday, by the way).

And that's how I lost all of yesterday, when I should have been writing a vignette for Sirenia Digest #42, to the incompetency of the postal service. And this isn't the only instance of them giving me grief lately. A much-needed check was sent from my agent in NYC on April 29th (!!!), and has yet to reach me. Yesterday, Jennifer at Writers House declared it missing, and said she'd get with accounting about cutting a replacement. So, yes, thank you USPS. From here on, if I actually need something to get somewhere on time, I go to FedEx (and hope). Better yet, I may take the train to Manhattan next time, and hand deliver the pages.

So, lots of stress and work, but no writing yesterday.

As for last night, after pizza from Pizza Pie-er on Wickenden Steet (Spooky got takeout while I sorted through ancient photographs on my iMac and did some Wikipedia editing), we watched more of Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I drank pomegranate martini's and got mildly inebriated. Later, we played a little WoW, and Shaharrazad got a shiny new wand. There's a screencap (BIG) of Shah on her felsteed, behind the cut, taken when we were wandering along the border between Zangarmarsh and the Blade's Edge Mountains. It's a very Vernian sort of landscape.

Beneath the 'Shrooms )
greygirlbeast: (blood)
First off, I have only a vague idea what a plog is, and I have not intentionally plogged anyone. I know this has something to do with my Amazon Connect page, the blog bit of which I believe is being called a "plog" (as though the web has not already generated enough silly new words). So, I say again, if you think I plogged you, I haven't, and if you're wondering why I haven't plogged you when I apparently plogged someone else, I tell you, I have plogged no one. And I am not responsible for the actions of Amazon.com bots. If someone can explain all this to me, I'd be grateful.

Yesterday, I wrote almost seven hundred words that led me absolutely nowhere. The piece was determined not to serve as a vignette for Sirenia Digest, which means I currently have no use for it. Which means there was not a fifth consecutive productive day. After the writing, things went, as they often do, from bad to worse to worser still. I tried getting away from the iBook and going for a walk, but it didn't help. I tried other things. In the end, I shut myself up inside the bedroom and slept for an hour or so. We didn't get any of Daughter of Hounds read yesterday. It was, in every way, a waste.

I cannot yet say how today will go.

The postman brought me a copy of Sonya Taffe's ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) Singing Innconce and Experience, and I read Michael Marshall Smith's story, "Fair Exchange," in Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth, which I liked quite a lot.

Hoping to lift my mood, I watched Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, which I thought was very good and thoroughly delightful, and Lena Headey's a babe, but I can't say I felt any better afterwards. Same for Project Runway. And a somewhat pointless midnight trek to Kroger that netted me the World's Driest Cinnamon Roll, when I'd only wanted a decent coffee cake. Same for a couple of chapters of Harry Potter.

I suppose I might be grateful that the day was so emotionally consistent, but I'm not. There's too damn much work to be done for these black days. I cannot, in any sense, afford them. And now I'm going to wrap this up. I've realised it's only diminishing my chances that today will be any better than was yesterday.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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