greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
Rainy and overcast again today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,749 words on Chapter Six of Blood Oranges, and either finished the chapter, or very nearly did.

After five years, almost the entire premise (not plot, just premise) of Dinosaurs of Mars has finally come together in my head, and I've told subpress I hope to be able to write it next autumn (2012). Yes, sometimes it happens this way. I will also likely be writing an SF novelette for subpress, to be released as a hardback – as with The Dry Salvages – later this year, time permitting, details TBA.

A lot of email yesterday and this morning, much of it pertaining to the Drowning Girl Kickstarter project. The last few months, the amount of email I have to make it through has sort of skyrocketed. Which is good, and bad. Good, because it means lots of work. Bad, because it means...lots of work.

By the way, if you're reading this, and you're the sort who likes to interview writers, please note that I do not do telephone interviews, and make no exceptions. Your noting this now saves me having to turn you down later. It is my job to be witty and articulate. I can be neither of these things on the phone.

---

Okay, so. Romance in fiction. "Romance" as genre publishing and low-brow culture defines it. I'm opposed. In my own books, there are relationships, in a very rough and tainted form. In that there are people who do have relationships (or who have had relationships). Sometimes, there are exceptions (Soldier comes to mind). Regardless, the relationships rarely end well.* Much of this stems from my fundamental disdain/lack of interest in romantic entanglements as a fictional theme. Hell, my favorite literary romance is probably Wuthering Heights. Or Lolita. Or maybe Hannibal. You see where I'm going with this. Just look at Sirenia Digest. Love songs for monsters** (Do not steal that fucking title or I will disembowel you).

So, we're reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I even made it this month's selection of the book club thingy. And it started out well enough, at first (even though we really, at this point, need more imaginative end of the world scenarios than The Zombie Apocalypse). But it has, after a few chapters, nose-dived into some fairly excruciating romance. And the language used to describe...well...here's an example:

He nods. He understands. And then he takes my hand and presses his lips against my palm. It feels like fire entering my bloodstream and laying siege to my body. He kisses my wrist, and I am an inferno. He starts to move up my arm, his breath tantalizing, and I almost give in as he pulls me to him.

Okay. Enough. I don't care who blurbs this, or likes it, or buys it, or publishes it. This is overwrought dreck. Or smarm. Or both. It's pedestrian porn for bromidic teenagers. If this is the best Ryan has to offer, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. If it gets you wet, fine. I'd mourn for your libido, but I'm not that altruistic. I expect we'll finish the novel, but only because it's hard for me to leave books unfinished, even lousy ones.

There's some good stuff at the start of The Forest of Hands and Teeth! People who don't remember that the Earth has an ocean. That's good. Go with that. Besides, Ryan is trained as a lawyer. She has this other fucking way of making lots of money. She could keep her bad prose to herself, and no one would starve.

And in the future, I will try to do a better job of picking books. Spooky says we have to read at least fifty pages first. Good advice. What have I learned, kittens? Sometimes, I fuck up. But I knew that already.

Oh! Also good RP in Insilico last night. Thank you Joah, Sayer, and Fifth. Also, slowly wading back into Rift. I had to take a break, to avoid burn out.

Enough for now. The words, which I promise will not be dreck, await.

Dreckless,
Aunt Beast

* Note: I am in a very satisfactory, long-term relationship.
** Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, last night Mister Insomnia, he makes a house call. Which really didn't surprise me, as he'd made a house call the night before. But, last night, I resolve to kill the sorry motherfucker. I triple the usual dosage of the Good-Worker-Bee Pill. Ol' Mister Insomnia, he just laughed. I didn't even feel the pills. Sometime after dawn, Mister Insomnia grew bored, tossed me aside the way King Kong tosses aside all those blondes who aren't Naomi Watts, and he went off to torture someone else. Some day-sleeper, I suppose. And finally the pills kicked in, and I slept the sleep of the wicked and dead until Spooky woke me about noon. I needed help to walk to the kitchen table, pretty much. Now, I'm sitting up straight, but the pills are still going strong. I might be conscious and cognizant by three p.m. This is sort of like waking with a really bad hangover, and you lie still – hurting and ill – aware that you're about to puke, but unable to remember why. Then you do remember why, and you realize that at least you feel this shitty because there was fun beforehand. This is like that. Only I finally realized there was no fun beforehand.

Okay. Stop talking about that. It's not going to help.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,109 words on a new vignette, "Figurehead," for Sirenia Digest #67. The plan was to finish it today and tomorrow. Only, today I'm...this. So, instead, I might hope I can at least get through the line edits for "Fake Plastic Trees" (which sold to Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's After, in case I forgot to mention that).

Last night, we watched the saddest car wreck of a werewolf film. Scottish werewolves. I used to think Dog Soldiers would always be the worst Scottish werewolf film of all time. Au contraire, mon frère...au contraire. Because last night we watched Craig Strachan's Wild Country (2005), in which five Scottish teenagers – who, I swear to gods, had accents so heavy we needed fucking subtitles – are pursued through the Highlands by people in bear suits. Badly sewn bear suits. So, don't watch this movie, okay? Don't cause my suffering to have been in vain.

Oh, look. An eye booger.

Clearly, I should not be blogging at this particular moment.

P.S. – The moral of our story: Do not try to poison Insomnia, because he will fuck you up.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
The tree outside my office window is finally greening.

It's Saturday, and I'm locked inside. Please comment.

And this is one of the days when I chafe at the tyranny of my pill bottles and boxes. I'd like to open the window and drop them out. Fuck you, defective brain chemistry. Let the pieces fall where they may, but at least they'd be my pieces. Not a pharmaceutical hybrid always telling me that's my face in the mirror, when I know better.

Fuck you, 47.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,599 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. My plan is to have the first chapter finished by Wednesday, and then set the book aside until September. Which is, I know, a weird way to write a book, but another book needs to be written in between. And maybe when I come back to Blood Oranges at the end of the summer, I'll have figured out everything that happens after Chapter One.

---

I've made it almost all the way through the latest JVP, articles on Cenomanian squamates in France, the skull of the Early Triassic parareptile Sauropareion, saber-toothed cats from the Pleistocene of Venezuela, the therapsid Promoschorynchus, and a new Lower Carboniferous xenacanthiform shark from Australia.

---

Night before last, we watched Tony Scott's Unstoppable (2010), which is the other movie about trouble with trains he made, immediately after having done the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009). Both, of course, star Denzel Washington. Anyway, Unstoppable is good, and Washington is always a joy to watch. But, Chris Pine is dull as engine sludge, and it's a different sort of film than The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. As much as I enjoyed Unstoppable, I found myself wishing for the electricity that had sparked back and forth between that film's antagonist and protagonist. But the presence of Rosario Dawson (who played Abernathy in Death Proof) helped.

Last night, we watched two "horror" movies. The first was an entirely enjoyable and stupendously ridiculous Joel Schumacher film, Blood Creek (2009). Rednecks in Virginia fight a zombie demon Nazi occultist in a big scary house where time has stood still since 1940. And there's a zombie horse that, honest to fuck, is one of the scariest things I've seen in ages. I expected nothing from this film, and liked it a lot. It's much more artful than it has any right to be. See it.

We also watched Kevin Costner in Luis Berdejo's The New Daughter, which is very remotely based on a short story by John Connolly. All that said, it really isn't very good, which should surprise no one, as Kevin Costner hasn't, to my knowledge, been in a good movie since 1993 (A Perfect World, directed by Clint Eastwood). However, the sad thing is, The New Daughter has a lot of isolated effective moments, and it could have been brilliant. But the pacing's off, the film's about half an hour too long, is filled with actors who can't act, and feels like it wants to be a television mini-series. In fact, the uninspired cinematography absolutely screams old-school network TV mini-series. Essentially, it's a fairytale. More specifically, a changeling story and an animal groom story. But it fails to mine the riches of that fictional territory (if, indeed, the film is even that aware of it's fundamental nature). The archetypes and opportunities are left to die on the vine while Kevin Costner flails about and pouts and fails at being a single helicopter parent. A bright spot, however, is Ivana Baquero (Pan's Labyrinth), who makes the best of a bad situation and rocks the fuck out of what little she's given to work with. The film's final shot might have been brilliant, but it gets mucked up by ham-fisted "horror" clichés. See this one if you're bored, or enjoy picking apart bad films that ought to have been better.

---

You know, I really do love Rift. In terms of a fantasy MMORPG, it's the best there's ever been. It's beautiful to look at, usually fun to play, and all that. It's even queer friendly. But the more I play, and the more the shiny wears off, the more I see how much better and smarter it ought to be. Look, here's the thing. I've said it before. Trion, are you listening?

Writer's work cheap.

Especially fantasy writers. We very often do our best work for a few pennies a word. It's obscene, but true. And it's entirely relevant here, Trion, because you didn't have to do this wrong. The plot holes, almost complete lack of internal logical integrity, faulty world-building, and so on and so forth, all that stuff could have been avoided. And you wouldn't have to be posting what is essentially poorly written fan fic to your website, mucking things up even more. You could have done this right, Trion, and either you were ignorant of that fact, or you just didn't give a shit. But it's not about money. Because, like I said (REPEAT AFTER ME), writers work cheap. And even moderately incompetent hacks who never aspired to write anything more ambitious than a twelve-volume epic – following the adventures of a Drow anti-hero with a name that makes me laugh – can do better.

This is my message to the whole goddamn world right now: You can do better. Yes, you can. And if you know this, and you continue on about your sloppy, lazy, half-assed ways, well...people will love you and shower you with riches and you'll win awards. Because this is the way the world works.

But some days it makes me more nauseous than others.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Venting Spleen,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Ugh. This seems to be one of those gray mornings when I can't work up the spit for a good blog entry.

Yesterday, I wrote a first go at the "author's note and acknowledgments" for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It still needs some work.

Spooky and I proofed two stories for Two Worlds and in Between— "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6" and "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent." I decided yesterday that the latter, written in 1993, would replace "Stoker's Mistress" in the book. Which was a smart decision, except...okay, so I wrote the story in 1993. It sold to a (now) long-defunct small press magazine called Eldritch Tales. However, the magazine sat on it for three years, during which time they didn't release a new issue (and, as it happens, never would again). Finally, I pulled the story in 1997, doubled its length, and sold it to Stephen Jones for Secret City: Strange Tales of London (the souvenir book for the '97 World Fantasy Con in London). And then Stephen Jones chose it for ninth volume of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (1998). Probably, I made a few minor changes in the text before it was reprinted. But then nothing happened with the story until 2001, when I reworked it slightly before including it in From Weird and Distant Shores in 2002. The story would not be reprinted again (unless I'm forgetting something) until 2010, when Stephen Jones (this has always sort of been his story) asked to reprint it in The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror, to represent the year 1997 (though, technically, the ninth volume came out in 1998). So, last year I did more work on the story.

By this point, we have the original 1993 version; the second, expanded version from 1997; the 2001 text, which certainly differed from the 1997 text, though I'm not sure by how much; and the most recent version, slightly reworked in 2010. And, because even minor changes become major changes over time, well...1993 and 2010 are very, very different. Problem is, yesterday we discovered that, somehow, the only copy of the story on my iMac was the 1997 version. And those files went to storage in Pawtucket a couple of months back. So...we had to reconstruct, using The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror, the most recent incarnation of "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" (along with a few new changes). Not many things could have been more tedious or more angrifying.

Um...so yeah, all that.

But, there was also very good news from my editor at Dark Horse, which I'll pass along as soon as I am permitted. It will make you happy.

And I sent about fifty bezillion emails.

---

Last night, Rift. Selwyn, my mute Kelari mage, and her zombie servant Jude, fought back waves of Abyssal invaders at Deneger's Stand, and also scaled the walls of the Iron Fortress and, with great stealth, picked off undead soldiers who are not as agreeable as Jude. Nothing pisses off a necromancer worse than unruly, uppity reanimated corpses. She made Level 20, which means I need to slow off leveling. The cap's presently 50, and I don't want to hit it before Spooky and I can play together. Soloing a cloth-wearing character to 20 is no mean feat.

And we read more of Catching Fire, with which I am now in love. I wonder how many readers have picked up on these books being Socialist manifestos?

---

Today, we begin the first full read through of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Hopefully, we'll get through the first four chapters today, three chapters tomorrow, and three on Saturday, so we can get to line edits on this book and on Two Worlds and in Between.

Now, doughnuts and dodos and the platypus.
greygirlbeast: (Barker)
That subject line, I was having breakfast and thinking about cyberpunk, about sf and trends and how cyberpunk has been deemed passé, irrelevant, out of fashion by the gatekeepers of science fiction. And that phrase popped into my mind. Maybe there's an sf short story that belongs to it. Maybe. Or it might be the title of my second collection of sf, which will happen someday.* Cyberpunk remains the sort of sf I most enjoy writing, fashion be fucked and damned.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Spooky's put up a PC copy of the lettered, boxed edition of From Weird and Distant Shores (2002). It goes without saying this book is very, very rare. The lettered includes "Rat's Star: A Fragment," a piece not published in the trade edition of the collection (or ever reprinted anywhere else). If we ever offer another of these, it'll be a long while to come.

Yesterday, I began the eighth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and wrote 1,802 words. The chapter begins with a series of excerpts from a telephone answering machine, which says something telling about the structure of the novel, I think. After writing, we proofed "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)" for Two Worlds and In Between, because I'm behind of the proofreading for that project and racing to catch up.

Unless I leave the house today, it will have been nine days since I was last Outside,

Apparently, when I say, "Blizzard, you've lost me," it means I have to go forthwith and roll a new character and then spend five hours playing her. Last night, we did a little with Shah and Suraa, completeing the Twilight Highlands. And then...I created a Forsaken mage named Erszébetta and Spooky created a Forsaken priest named Tzilla, and the next five hours were a blur of silliness. One of my few favorite things about WoW are those first ten levels. Not sure why, but they're always the most fun. And it's just sad how much easier the starter levels are now compared to when I beagn playing in October 2008. I almost reached Level 11; we went to bed about 4:30 ayem, because there was no one here to tell us we were bad kids and shoo us away to bed. I deleted my dwarf paladin, Dís, to make room on Cenarion Circle for Erszébetta. Sorry, Dís. My heart belongs to Sylvanas.

This evening, after the writing is done, I'll be posting the new "what if I..." question. As before, answers will be screened, which means I'm the only person who will be able to see them. The ones that get reprinted in the digested will be printed anonymously. Which is meant to lower those nasty inhibitions you might be harboring.

*You steal this title, I publicly embarrass you, then kill you. The End.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather has finally turned genuinely cold here in Providence.

I suppose I can write the entry I meant to write yesterday, given I have not yet today been jabbed in the eye with the pointy stick of a homophobic "review." Maybe that happens later, late this afternoon, or tonight.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, which include Study #2 for Yellow. [This entry was just interrupted by the discovery of a mouse in Spooky's workroom...time for humane traps, as the mice are bold and apparently the cats can't be bothered].

Two good nights sleep in a row, so I suppose only getting four hours last night was to be expected.

Yesterday, I wrote an impressive 1,664 words on Chapter One of The Drowning Girl. This is the first time I've had the nerve to go back to work on the novel since August 4th. I scrapped everything I wrote this summer and started over again. But, I think I have finally found the voice of this novel. It's a new voice, another first-person narrative, but quite distinct from Sarah Crowe (though India Phelps is another goddamn lesbian, so buyer beware). Anyway, here's hoping the third or fourth time's the charm, because I've gotten the third extension of this novel's deadline, and I need to have something coherent for my publisher come March. I have set a goal of writing at least 1,500 words a day, every day, at least for the next month, a thing I've not attempted since early 2007, and which I swore I'd never inflict upon myself again.

Sirenia Digest #59 went out to subscribers last night. Two new stories, which I hope readers will enjoy.



---

A fine Halloween this year. I worked on the digest, but afterwards I read the first volume of Kirkman and Moore's The Walking Dead ("Days Gone Bye"). I followed that with Thomas Ligotti's "The Medusa." As we'd declared Sunday night a Kid Night, we had hot dogs and candy (too much candy) and watched "scary" movies (I use the quotations because I rarely find "scary" movies scary, which is okay, because I enjoy them on many other levels). In fact, we made is a quadruple feature! We began with Jon Harris' The Descent: Part 2 (2009), which wasn't as good as the first film (not as atmospheric, and we see the monsters far too clearly this time), but was still a decent sequel. There are some interesting parallels between The Descent/The Descent: Part 2 and Alien/Aliens. Next up, we watched Jim Mickle's Mulberry Street (2006), a surprisingly effective low-budget affair which did a much better job of portraying NYC than most big budget films set in NYC manage. We followed that with Mark A. Lewis' The Thaw (2009), which was better than it should have been, given how much it borrows from Carpenter's The Thing and a particular episode of The X-Files ("Ice," Season 1, Episode 8). Finally, we finished up with the astoundingly ridiculous Vampires: Los Muertos, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (2002). John Bon Jovi is a freelance vampire hunter with a surf board; the only thing this film really had going for it was Arly Jover's performance as a blue-eyed, sexy vampire (Jover also played a vampire in 1998's Blade). So, yeah. A pretty damn good Halloween.

---

Last night, we saw the first episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, adapted from the aforementioned graphic novel of the same name. I was impressed. Not only was the first episode extremely faithful to the source material, it brought a new depth to the story. And it's pretty cool seeing a post-apocalyptic Atlanta. However, I will say that I'm dangerously near total burnout on zombie films, good or bad or otherwise. I think we've reach that point with zombies that we reached with vampires in the early '90s. I fear it's time to step away from the zombies for a while (though, of course, the cultural fascination at work here is rife with potential insight).

---

After The Walking Dead, I played CoX, and got Erzsébetta from Level 29 to Level 38. Plus, there was some good rp.

Okay. Time to write.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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