greygirlbeast: (walkenVNV)
0. Not gonna write about SW:toR today. There's too much else. I'll come back to it tomorrow. But, in short, it's the best MMORPG I've ever played, though I will temper that estimation with some minor caveats.

1. I haven't had to mark any days L for a long time (thank you, meds), but yesterday was a lost day. There was very little in me but anger. I managed only a flury of email before having Spooky drive me to the Athenaeum. It was peaceful downstairs in the reading room. The comforting, soothing smell of old, old books. Ghosts beyond counting. I am only sorry I committed a blasphemy by using my iPad amid those shelves (I'm not being sarcastic). I proofed the pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17 through 25, but they were almost perfect, so it wasn't much work.

2. Today is the third anniversary of the day I first saw wintry precipitation in New England. Today, though, it's 52˚F, sunny and windy.

3.* Gonna talk shop. The business of publishing that is. Frequently, people ask me for writing advice, and, almost without fail, I refuse to offer it. But here's something. If a magazine, especially a fairly prominent online science-fiction zine, isn't willing to pay more than 0.003¢/word for a reprint in return for (and I quote from the contract) "digital media rights," which said contract defines as "...all non-physical forms including but not limited to html, Kindle, iTune apps, Mobi, ePub, and others" (id est, everything imaginable) then you need to stay far, far away from these sorts of publishers. They have nothing to offer you. No, not even "visibility." But, though I ought to know better, I just signed such a contract, because I have mountains of stories available for reprint, and when I agreed to the arrangement – several months ago – I had no idea what comprehensive electronic rights were expected in return for the paltry $25 I'd agreed to as an advance. I only saw the contract on November 21st (this is for their December issue), though the reprint request was made by them two months earlier. In between, I had to stop them from rewriting portions of the story. Anyway, point being, I don't care what the online publication is, you and your "digital media rights" are worth more than 0.003¢/word. Last I checked, pro rates were still hovering between 3-5¢/word. And, by the way, this emphatically was not Subterranean Magazine or Clarkesworld, both of whom have always paid me very well for online rights. I feel like, more and more, we're working – all of us, not just authors – in an environment that aggressively discourages dissent, then punishes dissenters, those who aren't so happy to get any work that they'll work under any conditions and for any price.

4. Today, I will do my very best to finish Alabaster. That's just five pages of script.

5. Please don't forget Question @ Hand #5!

6. I lay awake night before last, in the arms of Monsieur Insomnia, and watched George P. Cosmatos' Leviathan (1989) for the third or fourth time. What sort of film do you get when you splice Ridley Scott's Alien to John Carpenter's The Thing, then set it at the bottom of the sea? Well, you get Leviathan, a film which shamelessly steals from both those other films in almost every way possible. When I first saw it in theatres, I was furious. Later, on video, it just sort of bored me. But Monday night, watching it, I thought, Well, if I give Alien and The Thing each an A+ for Astounding, then I ought to give Leviathan a C for Could Have Been Worse, or Competent, or maybe for Cause I'm Only Half Awake. As the film has aged, it's easier to forgive the blatant plagiarism. Leviathan has taken on a questionable charm all its own. Peter Weller is truly fun to watch as he swaggers and scowls and uses the performance to bemoan the state of his career as it swirls round and round the drain. I actually love Peter Weller, and here he seems to be giving Cosmatos a well-deserved middle finger. And, too, Meg Foster autopilots her way through the role of the Tri-Oceanic Ice Queen rep giving the crew the shaft. It's those blue-white eyes of hers. But the rest of the cast is boring as dusty zwieback, though the monster/s is/are pretty cool. The whole thing with the sunken Russian ship and the blurry photos from its infirmary, that's nice, too. The tech is amusingly quaint (but not a tenth as convincing as the "used futures" seen in Alien and Blade Runner). As for the ending, it's clear neither the director nor the screenwriters were even trying to make sense. Still. Watch it if you can't sleep.

7. Tomorrow, I'll post the final cover for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. (It's not the one up at Amazon).

8. Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday:

28 November 2011 )


Counting Fractions of Fractions of Pennies,
Aunt Beast

* Postscript (4:47 p.m.): The editor of the unnamed magazine has contacted me and withdrawn his offer to reprint the story for 0.003¢/word. This is really the best outcome. I would have withdrawn it myself, but didn't want them left in a lurch (though they'd hardly treated me with similar considerateness), what with the December issue looming. Now, I only wonder who told them about my post, as I'm pretty damn sure he doesn't read my blog. And I wonder how far the news of my evil treachery will flow through the grapevine, and if I'll be blacklisted by others of this caliber. We take responsibility for the outcome of our actions, if we choose to act.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
Yesterday, Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press passed along the news that the limited edition of The Ammonite Violin & Others has sold out. There are still copies of the trade hardcover, for now. But I expect the book to sell out prior to publication, so you might want to preorder. My thanks to all who have preordered so far. I'm very excited about this book, as it contains some of my best work to date.

Here in Providence, we're having a wonderful day of thunderstorms and dark skies. The thunder woke me at 10:30 this morning, but I dozed off for another hour, only to be awakened by the thunder a second time.

Yesterday, I dithered and searched for story. And a very strange thing happened. As the day progressed, "The Maltese Unicorn" began to metamorphose from joke to viable story concept. Some of it was a number of interesting comments to yesterday's blog entry. Some of it was just my brain working a problem. By six p.m. or so, it had blossomed into a full-fledged, slightly tongue-in-cheek story involving the aphrodisiac qualities that might be derived from a unicorn's horn, two rival demon brothel's in 1940s Manhattan, an unscrupulous dealer in occult antiquities named Nathaniel Adler (wink, wink), and...well, lots of other stuff. I was sort of excited and appalled, all at once. I emailed the book's editor and ran the story idea past her, fully expecting to be told that I was right to have wanted to punch myself in the face for having thought it up. Instead, I was encouraged to have a go at it...so...I suppose I shall. The next couple of weeks will be weird, indeed.

Spooky has begun a new round of eBay auctions.

Last night, we watched Disney's The Little Mermaid, which I'd not seen in just about forever. It holds up well. It got me to thinking about the first time I saw it, late in 1989, at a midnight showing in Birmingham. Elizabeth was there, and Jada, and another friend, Annie, who was outraged at the happy ending. Annie went on and on..and on...and on...about how Disney had butchered Hans Christian Andersen's story. That night, her annoyance at the retelling amused me (we were stoned), but years later I was thinking of Annie when I wrote "Tears Seven Times Salt" (in 1995), and then, again, when I wrote issue #33 of The Dreaming, "Dream Below" (sometime late in 1998). But I expect I'd not thought about that night at the movies, that night when I was only twenty-five years old, in more than a decade.

Last night, after the movie, we read more of Patti Smith's Just Kids. I had a moment of gleeful, triumphant grammar nerdiness when I came to a passage where Smith speaks of a microphone as a mike. This is, of course, the correct spelling, though many people today insist upon the atrocious misspelling mic. Which is exactly like misspelling bike as bic, or trike as tric.

Thanks for the many comments yesterday. It's always good to be reminded I'm not just talking to myself.

Anyway, here's hoping today will be productive...

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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