greygirlbeast: (Default)
Of all my nightmares, there is one that is the worst. Even my nightmares of nuclear apocalypse pale by comparison. It came to me this morning, that worst of all my dreams. And now I'm trying to put it away.

Yesterday, I wrote 973 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats." It was a day of very, very slow and meticulous writing. This is probably a more ambitious short story than I needed to take on just now. Maybe it's my way of coping with not having gotten the Mars story written.

I got the news yesterday that A is for Alien has sold out at the publisher. Which pleases me, and means, among other things, that we will now be offering it on eBay soon.

The weather has turned cold, and I'm supposing the first real snow's not too far off.

Last night, I tried Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout, and was truly, truly impressed. And I'm a stout snob.

Oh, and before anyone mentions it, I am very skeptical about Catherine Hardwicke's forthcoming Red Riding Hood, despite the involvement of Leonardo Dicaprio and Gary Oldman. For one, Hardwicke directed the first Twilight film, and for another, there's a lot of crap in the trailer that looks tailored to the paranormal romance/shifter crowd. Oh, and there's Billy Burke's absurdly anachronistic haircut. That haircut causes me pain. It hurts. I'm also annoyed at the articles calling this a "bold new take on 'Little Red Riding Hood,'" because it certainly isn't a new take. So, yeah, we shall see.

And do, please, not forget that today is the Twelfth Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There will be no photos today, because Spooky has been editing and uploading them for me, because, as I mentioned, Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey balls. And, by the way, while I know that Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, it's still a very poor choice for a software programme, especially one that only limps, at best.

No photos today. Photos from Portland will resume tomorrow. Today, I write, and Spooky goes to her parents to see her brother, whom she's not seen in eight years (he's a biologist living in Bozeman, Montana).


What did I do yesterday, you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I spent almost all of it trying to write the introduction for Two Worlds and In Between. Which, it turns out, is a crazy-hard thing to do. Although I really want to do this myself, right about now I'm sort of wishing I'd asked someone else. But I did calculate yesterday, in the course of struggling with the introduction, that since 1992, I've written, sold, and published about one hundred and eighty-two short stories, novellas, novelettes, and vignettes, along with nine novels (including one movie novelization and a ghost-written novel), fifty comic-book scripts (all for DC/Vertigo), and various and sundry chapbooks and non-fiction odds and ends. Somehow, that's terrifying. So, just don't ever dare say I ought to write more.

I also continued trying to restore my office to some semblance of organized. I'm boxing up books that are going to be donated to a local library. We cannot keep all the books we have forever, not in such close living spaces.

Spooky is reading to me about Condylura cristata, the star-nosed mole. Amazing beasts. Spooky saw one at her parents in 2006, wresting in dead leaves with a huge millipede. It made a deep impression upon her.

Where was I? Oh, the office. So far, most of the books I'm jettisoning are by Stephen King (I'm keeping the ones I really like). I'm also boxing up some toys and doodads, because I have too many, and they are threatening to tumble down upon my skull and squish me.

Oh, and it occurred to me that there are a couple of people I should thank, people who did kind things at the HPLFF but whom I neglected to thank in the madness of last week. For example, Edward Martin III, who writes flash fiction, and who, during the HPLFF, wrote a story about me called "Maturation." It involves medical experiments and nanites. I may include it in a future issue of Sirenia Digest. Also, thanks also to Taylor Haywood and his girlfriend (I've forgotten her name, dammit), who gave me all sorts of cool stuff and a very sweet card.


I think today will be Talk Like Hugo Weaving Day, Mister Anderson.


If you were very sad about missing out on The Ammonite Violin & Others, you may cease to despair. Subterranean Press still has copies, after all. It was a false alarm, the sell out. And there are also still copies of A is for Alien, which you need, no matter what your opinion of science fiction. Yes, you do, too. Do not argue with the crazy writer lady.

Yesterday, Spooky began an eBay auction for my one and only "napovel" (napkin + novel; it is an odious portmanteau, and I apologize). To my knowledge, it is the first and only napovel in existence. An entire novel written upon a napkin, with the aid of Caribou Coffee. It's one of the many things I did to occupy my mind while we were trapped and sleepless at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport for those twelve long hours last week. Truly, this is a part of history. Actually, I'm amazed it already has bids. My napovel is either deeply Kafkaesque or just "emo." Or maybe Kafka was emo. All proceeds go to help me pay my income taxes this year. Oh, and there are other ongoing auctions, as well. For normal books.


We saw the new episode of Fringe last night, which I thought was especially excellent. Part of me wishes this series could go on forever, the selfish, greedy part of me that keeps eating long after she is full. But the other part of me, the reasonable and prudent part, recognizes that it has, at most, another good season in it, and the creators should wrap it up while the show is still this marvelous, terrible, funny, beautiful thing. Please, finish before cancellation makes necessary a godsawful movie to wrap up all the loose ends (Farscape: The Peacekeeper War comes to mind).

Later, I played far too much City of Heroes and Villains. Erzsebétta has either fallen in love or been seduced by a hot demon chick named Begin, and Sekhmet is not happy. Also, sort of brushed shoulders ingame with [ profile] stsisyphus, which was cool. I was up until 4:30 a.m., like I was a geek of only twenty-five or so. Stupid me. I'm paying for it this morning/afternoon.

Ah! The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology just arrived. Okay. Time to make the doughnuts (or donuts, if you prefer).
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Here we go with the higgledy-piggledy again. It's a coolish day here in Providence, but sunny. After the anticlimax of Hurricane Earl, summer collapsed like a leaky balloon. Now it's sweater weather again.

I love that William Gibson tweeted "Johnette Napolitano is my Anne Rice. Seriously. Wonderful writer."

Yesterday, I finished writing my story for The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, though it still doesn't have a title. Which, I suppose, means that, technically, it's still not finished. I wrote 1,171 words yesterday. This story has been tedious to write, but I like the end result. It has required the constant consulting of texts, on subjects as diverse as pop culture, bog mummies, Arabian mythology, Irish and French geography, owls, early 20th-Century occultism, X-ray microtomography, the chemical composition of claw sheaths, weird fiction in the 1980s, rogue taxidermy, social constructionism, and Parisian ossuaries.

My new passport came yesterday, so no more worries about photo ID. This new passport is oddly high tech. I know it's being used to track me by satellite. It won't have to be renewed again until I'm fifty-six, and I imagine by then the world will hardly be recognizable.


Still reading Kristin Hersh's memoir, Rat Girl. There's a bit I want to quote. She's writing about writing music, but it applies (for me) equally to writing prose:

Music's making me do things, live stories so I can write them into songs. It pushes my brain and my days around. A parasite that kills its host, it doesn't give a shit about what happens to a little rat girl as long as it gets some song bodies out of it. It's a hungry ghost, desperate for physicality.

I'm not writing songs anymore; they're writing

♋ close your eyes

i'm sliding really fast
my hands are full of snow

i don't understand
i don't understand puzzles

And every time a song is done, you can go aren't needed anymore.
-- Kristin Hersh

I like to lie about writing being like this for me. I've often declared that writing fiction is, for me, nothing like this.


Still reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. And I'm also still thinking about the problem posed by A is for Alien, how it didn't do as well as all my other subpress books (i.e., it hasn't sold out). And between the reading and the pondering, something has occurred to me, and maybe it should have occurred to me before. Stephenson's book is, undoubtedly, marvelous. The worldbuilding is first rate, from the tech to the sociology (even though I think he's slightly too optimistic). And he truly has written a post-cyberpunk pastiche of a Charles Dickens novel. But, I find the book oddly lacking in emotional content and depth. The characters aren't precisely flat. But there's very little insight into how they feel about the world about them or about each other or about themselves. At times, they seem to exist in order to show us the book's technology and history and so forth. They're almost no more than plot and setting delivery devices. I feel like they're all living out a tragedy they're never allowed to recognize as such.

I have often heard it said that science fiction is the literature of ideas. Fair enough. But I don't think it ought to be the literature of ideas to the exclusion of exploring pathos, delight, fear, and so forth. And it certainly didn't used to be. But I haven't read much sf after the cyberpunks of the '80s. So maybe things have changed. Or maybe I'm placing too much weight on a single data point (though that matter of "mundane sf" rears its head). Anyway, my sf is primarily concerned with human emotion, with the characters, and only secondarily concerned with science and technology. Often, the science it is most concerned with is psychology, and I'm just wondering if that's part of what I'm trying to make sense of here. I recognize I may be barking up the wrong tree; but I need to check all of them, all these trees.


Good rp in Insilico last night. And an interesting ooc conversation right before I logged of SL, a conversation with Blair (the person I'm mostly rping with these days) about living vicariously through our roleplay characters. We both acknowledge that's what we're doing. Me, I'm exploring various issues of identity by having an android pass through various incarnations, becoming progressively human. Anyway, it's mostly interesting because I've known a lot of people who are very resistant to the idea that rp involves this sort of therapeutic vicariousness. But I think it's where the true value of rp lies, in allowing us to explore secret parts of ourselves. Now, admittedly, it can also allow us to view the world through alien eyes, through minds not our own, and try to become people we aren't. But the best we can ever manage in those situations it to try, because all our characters will always only be splinters of us.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The world is made of suck. Isn't that what kids these days would say, if their world was, indeed, made of suck, as opposed to being covered in teh awesome sauce? Is "awesome sauce" one word or two?

No sleep until four this morning, and then the dreams were a carnival ride. What, in the UK, was once called a ghost train. Maybe it still is. I don't know. I may have slept seven hours, but probably less. But at least I did it without drugs. Sonata, it turns out, is no less fraught with unpleasant side effects than is Ambien. These are drugs with sharp edges, wrapped in thin velvet.

It's a sharp fucking world.

I didn't leave the House yesterday, so its been six days now. I spent the entire damn day trying to find the end of "Fairy Tale of the Maritime," trying to find it without breaking the story. Spooky read the whole thing aloud to me, and I simply could not hear it. The rhythm was escaping me. I heard the words, but not the cadence. The ending seemed inscrutable and beyond my reach. I had Spooky call Sonya ([ profile] sovay), and ask if she'd read it. She said yes, so I emailed it to her. She didn't hate it, which was a relief (Spooky had already not hated it, but artists can never trust their lovers on such matters, never, ever).

I wrote and erased nine hundred words. I wrote and kept another five hundred and fifty-eight words, and that's what became the ending of "Fairy Tale of the Maritime." It's sort of like whimsy on a bad dose of Lovecraft. Or Lewis Carroll on a good dose of Ketamine. Or it's nothing like either of those things. Anyway, now all I have to do is assemble Sirenia Digest #57, which I will be doing tomorrow, because Spooky refuses to allow me to go another day without leaving the House. My apologies ahead of time to subscribers, but the issue won't be out until September 1st or 2nd.

I presently exist in a state of abject terror, so far as the month of September '10 is concerned.

Last night we watched the first film in the BBC4 Red Riding trilogy (based on David Peace's quartet of novels of the same name). The first film, shot in 16mm and directed by Julian Jarrold, is In the Year of Our Lord 1974. And it was fucking brilliant. It achieved a level of sheer weird creepiness that I tend to think only David Lynch is capable of achieving. I can see myself becoming as obsessed with these films as I am with House of Leaves or Lost Highway or 1. Outside. And, of course we still have two films to go: In the Year of Our Lord 1980 (directed by James Marsh) and In the Year of Our Lord 1983 (directed by Anand Tucker).

I think I'm about to begin reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer.

I should go. The mothmen say so, that's why.

Oh, wait. There's a comment following from my post on A is for Alien and my SF work that I found especially insightful, and that I want to post. [ profile] corucia wrote:

I think that you have similar issues with the reception of your SF as Peter Watts, of 'Blindsight' and 'Starfish' fame ( His work is even more dystopic and hard SF, and he's had trouble with recognition and sales, even though he often gets very favorable reviews (he's currently up for a Hugo for his novelette 'The Island'). I suspect that both of you are butting up against one of the fundamental differences between SF and fantasy - at some deep level, readers can dismiss fantasy as true fiction, no matter how disturbing it may be, but at that same level the reader can't as easily dismiss SF, because it is supposed to be grounded in reality. Thus, the bleaker SF can have a fundamental impact that fantasy cannot, leading to an unconscious rejection of the SF. I'll further argue that the better the science grounding of the SF, the more likely it is to be avoided if the conclusions resulting from it are too disturbing. As most readers don't have a strong science background, it's harder for them to identify flaws that might allow them to dismiss something that appears to be rationally-based, whereas fantasy always has the underlying unreality that permits dismissal.

Okay, mothmen. I'm finished now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Despite the pills, I somehow managed not to sleep enough last night, and this morning I feel like ass. On top of that, it's hot again, and there's plastering being done in the House, so there is noise, which is like the cherry on the hot-fudge sundae of this morning's fresh hell.

That said...

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,785 words on the new story, the one based on Vince's illustration, and also found a title for it, "Fairy Tale of the Maritime." I did not, however, find THE END. I hope that will happen today (if the noise relents).

There's a very insightful review of The Red Tree by Audrey Homan at Strange Horizons. I found one very minor error, conflating Dr. Charles L. Harvey and Sarah's chagrined agent, Dorry. Other than that, this is what I mean when I talk about genuine reviews vs. "reviews."


So, back to the subject of my science fiction, which I raised a few days ago. Specifically, why my science fiction doesn't seem to be as popular as my dark fantasy, even among my more dedicated readers. The subject came up when Sonya was visiting a while back, when I pointed out that only one of my Subterranean Press books has ever failed to sell out quickly, and that the one book is A is for Alien. True, the limited sold out fairly quickly, but the trade edition is still available from the publisher, more than a year and a half after publication, a situation unprecedented with my subpress editions. By comparison, The Ammonite Violin & Others was released less than two months ago and has already sold out. So, I began asking myself, what gives? And I really don't have an answer.

Assuming that my sf is as well written as my fantasy (which I do assume), the only tentative explanation I have been able to arrive at is that my sf is, admittedly, out of step with contemporary sf. And, both thematically and stylistically, it's something of a peculiar fusion. I don't write "mundane science fiction." Even though I don't really have a problem with that school's basic precepts, I find most of the stories produced by its adherents to be dull as dishwater. I don't write about the Singularity, both because I find the idea highly untenable and because I have no particular interest in the subject. Also, I'm not even remotely interested in the idea of sf as a "progressive" or predictive medium. My sf is somewhat retro. It's not "in step" with the current vogue (which will change in a few weeks).

What I do write is, I think, essentially a latter-day "New Wave" sf, heavily influenced by my love of cyberpunk and, to a lesser degree, the immediate precursors of New Wave sf (Bradbury and Fritz Leiber, for instance). The stories are usually about the characters, more than they are about the science and technology. They are dystopian. They are grim, because I cannot imagine a future that isn't grim, given the data at hand. The science in my sf isn't rock solid, but it's pretty hard, better than average, I think. There is a distinctly cosmicist flavor to my sf, due to the influence of Lovecraft and Ligotti (and a host of philosphers). And I find the human mind pretty much as alien as anything we're likely to ever find. In the end, if it has anything so direct and simple as a message, my sf is saying that man is not special, and the universe is uncaring, and technology will not save us. We are our own worst enemy. And the future will look a lot like the present, only with more clutter, more people, and a world grown more inhospitable to humanity because of humanity's unrelenting and shortsighted exploitation of it. My sf looks inward, even when it's looking outward. In short, it's a bummer.

And this might account for some of the lack of attention that A is for Alien received (very few reviews, relative to most of my books, for example), but I find it hard to believe it accounts for the fact that the collection still hasn't sold out at the publisher. So, really, I don't know what's going on here. But it troubles me, and frustrates me, because I intend to continue writing sf, and expect to do another sf collection someday, and I'd like to think it will be better recieved than A is for Alien. Publishers continue to encourage me to write sf. My sf story "Galápagos" was recently honored by the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. I have three sf stories commission for the next year. So it will keep coming. But it baffles me, this thing with A is for Alien. And I just thought I'd talk about it here. Hopefully, I have not been incoherent.


Not much else to say about yesterday. Spooky made a peach cobbler. We watched the new episode of Project Runway. I did some nice rp in Insilico (thanks, Blair). I got to bed at a decent hour, and still didn't get enough sleep.

And now I have a story to finish.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The weather is cooler. The temperature plummeted in the night. It's only 72F Outside. Unfortunately, the heat did not take this sour mood with it.

This morning there was a dream that seemed to require days to unfold. But there's not much of it I can recall. I was in a city, a European city. I'm pretty sure it was a German city during WWII. I was in a ghetto, and everything was bombed out or rotting. There were trains belching steam and overcast grey skies and furtive, angry people. I was trying to find someone who did not want to be found, and every time I got anywhere near her, she ran again. I climbed a tall flight of wooden stairs, trying to reach a door, but the planks were rotten and kept breaking away beneath my feet.

All of yesterday was spent getting Sirenia Digest #55 assembled and PDFed and out to subscribers. I think it's an especially good issue. I was particularly pleased with Vince's illustration for "Tidal Forces." Please comment if you have any thoughts on the issue. A good chunk of yesterday was spent writing the issue's prolegomenon. They are angry words I couldn't find the means to hold in any longer.

Today, I absolutely have to get to work on the edits to "The Maltese Unicorn."


I'm not getting much reading done. I did make it through a couple of articles in the new JVP: "Articulated skeletons of the aetosaur Typothorax coccinarum Cope (Archosauria, Stagonolepididae) from the Upper Triassic Bull Canyon Formation (Revueltian: early-mid Nornian), eastern New Mexico, USA" and "The first record of the large Cretaceous lamniform shark, Cardabiodon ricki, from North America and a new empirical test for its presumed antitropical distribution."


Over breakfast this morning, I was bemoaning, silently and to myself, the present 3-D craze and the damage it's doing to film. Yesterday, I saw the trailer to the final two Harry Potter films, and, on the one hand, it looks gorgeous, but on the other, the movie is constantly hurling things at the audience, in a contrived attempt to take advantage of the cheap "wow factor" of 3-D, thereby blowing what could be fine cinematography. I started thinking how great films of the seventies might have been ruined by 3-D. Imagine the original Star Wars saddled with the gimmick, or Ridley Scott's Alien. I stopped at Apocalypse Now: 3-D, because my brain would not let me go any farther. I kept seeing the scene where the PBR and it's crew are being fired upon by Montagnard villagers, and the audience is treated to arrows flying STRAIGHT AT THE SCREEN. Gimmicks do not make good movies. Good movie making does, and 3-D is anathema to good movie making.

Okay...whatever. Time to work.
greygirlbeast: (Early Permian)
Running late today. The dreams are getting bad again, and that may be one or another of the new meds, and it may not be. But at least there's no dreamsickness. They fade almost as soon as I'm awake, and there's only the sense of an interrupted reality, replaced by this reality, which is no more or less convincing than those lost realities. A sunny, warm day here in Providence. I almost wrote "morning," then realized that it's already after noon.

There's a really marvelous review of The Ammonite Violin & Others in the new Booklist (review by Regina Schroeder):

Kiernan’s stories clearly descend from archetypal tales, though she adds a depth and a clarity of vision all her own. From “The Ammonite Violin,” in which a collector achieves the pinnacle of his obsession, and a musician discovers the true power of her craft, to the story of a girl who loves the rat king and holds in her care the whistle the rats used to create the world, her stories give us a side of timeless scenarios that have usually been left unspoken. There are always costs to being a part of these stories, and they aren’t always gladly paid by those peripheral to the heroes, as the narrators often are. In “For One Who Has Lost Herself,” the price is the awful truth that comes after the end of a story we already pretty much knew; that is, what happens to the selkie after the young man who stole her sealskin has vanished. Brilliantly crafted, tightly woven, and memorable, the worlds of Kiernan’s imagination are odd places, quite fascinating to poke around in.

I feel like, with The Red Tree, Sirenia Digest, A is for Alien, and now The Ammonite Violin & Others, I'm finally getting close to what I've been trying to do since the start. After so much frustration and so many wrong turns, I'm finally telling the stories I need to tell, the way that I need to tell them. The language is finally working for me. I don't know if I'll still feel this way in five or ten years, looking back. But that's how it feels right now.


Yesterday, we left Providence and spent the day on Conanicut Island, at Beavertail. The day was dazzling, brilliant, the blue sky hung with just enough clouds so as not to be disconcerting. We parked on the western side of the point, which we've not explored as well as the eastern side. Largely, this is because the eastern side is sheltered from the wind, and even on warm days, the wind off Narragansett Bay can be uncomfortably cold. Yesterday, we didn't let that dissuade us. We climbed over the craggy outcrops of Cambro-Ordovician age Fort Burnside Formation and Jamestown Formation, crazily tilted beds of phyllite and slate and siltstone and stark white veins of calcite. We started about a quarter mile northwest of the lighthouse, and worked our way southeast. The tide was out, and so we could reach some of the pebbly beaches. We spent a couple of hours searching for sea glass while the cormorants and gulls wheeled overhead and the bell buoy clanged. I've been feeling bad about never using the Canon PowerShot A75, so I'd brought it along. I've decided that this summer I'll use it, while Spooky uses the newer Powershot A1100IS. So I took photos yesterday with the older camera. We sat and watched the sea. The wind had a bite, especially when the sun would slip behind the clouds. Still, we sat and listened to the sea. There were rabbits and red-winged blackbirds and the dog roses have begun to bloom, pink and white. We saw the ospreys nesting just north of Great Creek.

Here are my photos from yesterday. I'll post some of Spooky's tomorrow:

16 May 2010 )

Last night, we finished reading Patti Smith's Just Kids, which, if you don't know, focuses on her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. I read the entire book aloud to Kathryn. And I've been dreading the ending, and had promised my self I'd get through it without crying. It was a stupid promise. It seemed like it took me an hour to read the last few pages, and we were both crying. But it's a beautiful, beautiful book. And later this week, we'll be seeing Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe at the RISD museum.


I'm going to try to get Sirenia Digest #54 out sometime in the next couple of days, early, so that I can focus all my attention on starting "The Maltese Unicorn."
greygirlbeast: (Bjork)
1. No idea why I'm using the cute Bjork icon the morning. I just couldn't seem to help myself.

2. Still happy about The Red Tree, A is for Alien, and "Galápagos" having all three landed on Locus Magazine's 2009 Recommended Reading List. It's always nice to know someone has noticed.

3. This morning, I awoke to a dusting of snow here in Providence. Maybe half an inch. We've had much less snow this winter than last.

4. Last night, Spooky and I celebrated her release from jury prison by binging on movies. First we watched Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, which I found completely delightful. It's the sort of film that leaves me with nothing at all to complain about. And then we watched Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys again. It's a favorite, but both of us had only seen it twice ("Fuck the bozos!"). And speaking of movies, Geoffrey read me the Oscar nominations yesterday and I was...baffled. It's a baffling, and, at times, ridiculous list. But I am glad see Tarantino and Inglorious Basterds getting the attention it deserves, and I'm also rooting for Avatar, Up in the Air, A Simple Man, and a few others. And yeah, I did like District 9. I liked it a lot. But it's presence on the Oscar list still leaves me a bit perplexed.

5. Today, I finish pulling Sirenia Digest #50 together, and tonight, barring any unforeseen cataclysms, it will go out to subscribers.

6. There are few surer signs that's I'm not firing on all cylinders than discovering I've failed to get a set of revisions to an editor on time. Last night, I got an email from S.T. Joshi, wondering about my line edits to "Pickman's Other Model" (which will be appearing in Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror from PS Publishing). And I thought, "I sent those." But no, I'd not. I made the edits, back on December 16th, but I never actually typed them up and emailed them to Joshi. It is likely now too late. Fortunately, it was all very minor stuff. But it is a warning from me to me, to get back on the ball.

7. Back on Sunday, Spooky bought a new coffee maker (I've not had a coffee maker since 2005). It has a single glowing blue eye, and I call it Hal (yes, even though the eye is blue). She also got a pillow, two pairs of pajama pants for me, and a new bath mat. Combine this with the gifts from her mom, and it's been an odd (but needed) shower of domesticity around here.

8. Remember how much I loathe the cover of The Red Tree? I first saw this video devoted to the evolution of the "tramp stamp" urban-fantasy cover a year or so ago, but Spooky came across it again last night, and I thought I'd share. It would be funny, if not for the damage this sort of drek has done my own books (or at least done my nerves and aesthetic sensibilities):

greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
As of today, I have not left the House in 11 days. If I don't leave tomorrow, I shall have broken my old record.

I am very pleased to see that The Red Tree, A is for Alien, and "Galápagos" all three made Locus Magazine's 2009 Recommended Reading List.

My great thanks to Geoffrey ([ profile] readingthedark) for making the drive to Providence the last two days to keep the shut-in invalid lady company while Spooky was stuck in jury duty (which is now over, thank fuck).

Work on Sirenia Digest #50 continues, and it should go out tomorrow night. My thanks to all the subscribers for their patience this month.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
Here in Providence, it's snowing rather furiously, and we have several inches of snow on the ground. Hubero's sitting on my desk, staring out at the snow-covered world.

A dream from this morning. I have not been writing about my dreams, not here, not lately. It used to be a staple of this journal. I'm not sure when or why I shifted away from that. Perhaps I felt I was showing the world things that were best kept private. I don't recall making a conscious decision to stop recording my dreams here. Anyway...I was alone in an abandoned house. At least, I think I was the only person there. The house itself, I came to realize, was conscious, and also I realized that it and I were somehow fused. I flowed through the house, and the house flowed through me. The house was ancient and crumbling, sitting alone at the top of a street in a city that seemed deserted. I could see the streets whenever I passed windows. It was intensely cold, though I was naked, or nearly so. I can't recall saying a single word. But the thoughts of the house flowed through my mind, and my thoughts flowed through it. I saw all the decades of the house's existence, times when it had been inhabited, when the city around it had been alive and bustling. The house was lonely. I recall that sense of loneliness most distinctly. I would crouch in a corner and stare at the moldering wallpaper coming off in strips, and my skin would take on the same colors and patterns as the wallpaper. I would pause on the stairs and my hand resting on the banister would have the same wood grain. Likewise, I would glance at a wall and see it covered in skin. I would find a place the plaster wall had rotted to show my bones. Somehow, the house and I were becoming indistinguishable. And I understood that the longer I remained in it, the more inseparable we would become. But I wasn't afraid. I felt the house's loneliness, and I felt a terrible sadness, but there was no fear, and I had no desire to leave the house alone.

I think, probably, it's fairly obvious where this is coming from.


I suppose I should say something about what I accomplished, writing-wise, in 2009. There was no novel this year. I mean, I did not write a novel. I'm not the sort of author who is always working on at least one novel (though I sort of wish I were). In January, Subterranean Press released A is for Alien, which was not as well received as we'd expected; indeed, it hardly seemed to be noticed (though it sold decently). The Red Tree was released on August 4th, and is doing better than anticipated. I did begin planning The Wolf Who Cried Girl, which I should have begun writing in June or July, but will, instead, begin this coming week. They come when they come. Mostly, I wrote short fiction. Here is a more or less complete list for the year:

For Sirenia Digest:

1. "The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade"
2. "The Belated Burial"
3. "The Bone's Prayer"
4. "A Canvas for Incoherent Arts"
5. "The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction"
6. "At the Gate of Deeper Slumber"
7. "Fish Bride"
8. "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean"
9. "The Alchemist's Daughter (a fragment)"
10. "Vicaria Draconis"
11. "January 28, 1926"
12. "Werewolf Smile"
13. "Paleozoic Annunciation"
14. "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint"
15. "Shipwrecks Above"
16. "The Dissevered Heart"
17. "Exuvium"
18. "Untitled 34"

For a Subterranean Press chapbook:

1. "Sanderlings"

For various anthologies:

1. "As Red As Red"
2. "The Sea Troll's Daughter"
3. "Galápagos"
4. "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics"

So, that's twenty-three new stories for 2009. There were also some reprints of which I am especially proud (and a few reprint sales I cannot yet announce), including "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" to Peter Straub's American Fantastic Tales and "Houses Under the Sea" to Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft Unbound.


Yesterday was sort of a washout. No work. Mostly boredom bordering on self-loathing fury, and me wandering about the house wishing I was anywhere else. I made black-eyed peas for dinner, and Spooky made collards and corn bread. We watched J.J. Abrams Star Trek again, because I wanted to watch something off my "best of 2009" list, and we saw another episode of Fringe.

Today, I have to pull Sirenia Digest #49 together (though I'm still waiting on Vince's illustration for "Untitled 34").


Still taking submissions for what is shaping up to be a very interesting article for #50. Just answer this question: If you had me alone, locked up in your house, for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me/you/us do? Leave your answer here (all are screened, so no one but me sees them).
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Another grey day here in Providence, no sign of the sun, but it's not presently raining, either.

I lost almost all of yesterday to a headache. Fortunately, before it sent me back to bed, I was able to finish getting the manuscript for The Ammonite Violin & Others in order, and send it off Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press. As soon as I have a release date, I'll post it here. I'm just relieved the book is out of my hands, so that I can try to get started on the story for the Martian "young adult" anthology.

Not wishing yesterday to be a complete waste, I tried to get some reading done (Because, you know, headaches and reading go so well together). I started Kim Newman's "Coppola's Dracula," which I'd tried to read once before, way back in 1997 when in was new. I've never much cared for Newman's alternate history with vampire stuff, and I gave up on the story again after the first page. Instead, I re-read Angela Carter's "John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore," and, from Lovecraft Unbound, William Browning Spencer's "Come Lurk With Me and Be My Love," which was intriguing. And after that, I just lay there a very long time, drifting in and out of sleep. Later, I had a hot bath and a Red Bull, and felt a little better.


Oh, I've also slowly been making my way through the new (September) issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and have read, over the past few days, "A new ornithischian dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Kuwajima Formation of Japan," "The anatomy and systematics of Colepiocephale lambei [Dinosauria: Pachychephalosauridae]," and "Rapid somatic expansion causes the brain to lag behind: the case of the brain and behavior of New Zealand's Haast's Eagle [Harpagornis moorei]." It would have been a wonder to have seen New Zealand in the Pleistocene, in those last days before the Maori laid waste to the megafauna. The last Mesozoic-style predator/prey pyramid, no large land mammals, the largest herbivores being 10 species of flightless moa, ranging in size from 20 to 250 kg, and the dominant predator being a giant eagle, Harpagornis, with a wingspan of 3 meters.


I learned yesterday that the 2008 volume of Sirenia Digest garnered six honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 1. Specifically, "Beatification," "Derma Sutra (1891)," "Pickman's Other Model (1929)," "The Steam Dancer (1896)" (reprinted in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy), "The Z Word," and “Unter den Augens des Monde."

Also, I have been informed that Subterranean Press still has a few copies of the trade-edition hardback of A is for Alien, but they won't last forever, so I encourage you to pick one up. No, there are no plans to reprint the book is paperback.
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Just to be clear, a few days back, I did not say I'd be writing new Dancy Flammarion stories. What I said was: "Now, I did swear when I finished 'Highway 97' and the Alabaster collection that I'd be writing no more Dancy stories. But sometimes I change my mind. And sometimes I don't. Which is to say, we shall see, just no time soon." Right now, I have no interest in ever writing Dancy again, unless, maybe, she appears in a sequel to Daughter of Hounds as a much older character, and that's a book I wouldn't be able to write for many years to come.


Yesterday, I wrote 1,072 words on "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint," for Sirenia Digest #46, to accompany "Shipwrecks Above." Which makes yesterday a fairly decent writing day. I expect to finish the story today.

And if you should find yourself with a few extra bucks in your paws, I will be so bold as to suggest that you invest them in copies of The Red Tree and/or A is for Alien. Thank you.

We seem to have been stricken with a short bout of Indian Summer, here in Providence.

And the feeling that LiveJournal is an increasingly derelict ship continues. On the one hand, I have more readers here than at anytime in the past, at least in theory, but fewer and fewer people bother to comment. Yes, I miss the "good old days," way back in 2004....
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
There are many reasons that I love Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," but perhaps the thing I most love about it is that it feels like a prologue, and then ends with the beginning of a story.

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view,
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance, a wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching. The wind began to howl.

I am tempted, someday, to write that story...


Yesterday, I didn't write anything. I have been, for over a week now, beset with an especially black, foul mood, with depression and despair. With more anger than usual. There are more reasons to account for this emotional state than I can (or should) go into here. This strange autumn isn't helping, but the seasons are not to be chided for hindering. This is just what is, at this point in my life.

There were some tiny bright spots in the day, though I can't discuss most of them yet. I did have a nice conversation with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press early in the day. I was brushing my teeth and he called. We talked about very many things, including The Ammonite Violin & Others and if I'll ever actually be able to write The Dinosaurs of Mars.

I should remind you that there are still copies of the trade hardback of A is for Alien available. This is, without a doubt, in my opinion, my best short-fiction collection to date. And if I do say so myself, and I do —— for never have I cared very much for modesty, false or otherwise —— if this were a fair world, A is for Alien would be garnering all sorts of sf awards this year. All those shiny Nebulas and Hugos and what the fuck ever. But it shall not even be nominated, mostly because I am not (and never shall be) one of the Popular Kids of SF. I inhabit this liminal wilderness that lies at the threshold of all genres, and so may never belong to any one of them. But I like the knotty old trees here, and the wreck of abandoned industry, and the sound of the sea in the near-distance. Me and my books, we know that the price of our beloved wilderness is that the Popular Kids won't come near these woods.

The Red Tree continues to garner praise, and I am doing everything I can not to let myself be fooled into thinking it might still have a shot. It doesn't, but I still appreciate the kindly words.

Spooky showed me a first cut of the book trailer yesterday, which I liked parts of, but sent the whole back to editing. Pull it apart, and try again. Yes, this really has become the Heaven's Gate of all book trailers. The book's been out now since early August, and the trailer is still in post.


Night before last, Spooky and I saw a genuinely brilliant film, Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel's Deadgirl (2008), which I urge you to see. Jenny Spain was particularly amazing in the title role. The film's brilliance lies in understanding that the very best weird fiction, and the best "horror," arises from simplicity. And that the real story lies not in some goofy exposition, or tiresome plotting, but in the reaction of human beings to an encounter with something that cannot possibly be, and yet there it is. Really, "brilliant" is not too strong a word. But, I do caution the faint of heart. And if I have any very minor complaints, they are merely that there was a little too much gore. Not because gore is bad; it certainly isn't. But it must be handled as one handles high explosives, or horror becomes comedy, and there was a scene or two that showed just enough too much that the mood was spoiled. But this is a very small criticism. The film is a must-see.


And now it's time to try, again, to make the words come when I call.
greygirlbeast: (white2)
Yes...I write about how I've been neglecting the blog, and how I will now cease neglecting the blog, and proceed to neglect the blog all over again.

But, truthfully, there has been very little to say, which makes me reluctant to say anything.

I've been trying to get a new vignette started, for Sirenia Digest #46, something to accompany "Shipwrecks Above." But so far nothing. I did make a halfhearted effort to clean the office on Thursday to clean my office, and it is cleaner. The rest of the week is a blur.

So, yes...Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press has confirmed that the Alabaster trade paperback is now sold out. There are no plans for a second printing. There are, however, a few copies of A is for Alien remaining.

And, of course, The Red Tree.


Yesterday, after I discovered that nothing would get written, we drove down to Saunderstown, to Spooky's parents' place. The day was chilly, but too bright, too blue. The trees are just beginning to turn.

I hardly saw summer. I can't imagine that I'm prepared for autumn.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
So, I suppose this will be my quick and dirty "con report" on ReaderCon 20. There are three photographs afterwards, but only three. I avoided cameras like the plague this year. Last year, I only avoided them like a bad cold. But Spooky took two, anyway. The third, I took on the way home yesterday.

Like last year, I generally enjoyed ReaderCon a great deal. It's that rarest of beasts (in my opinion): a convention that's actually good for writers. I was very heavily booked, but didn't really mind. I prefer not to have a lot of "downtime" at something like this. Anyway, I suppose I should mention what were, for me, the highlights, and do the overview, recap sort of thing. I should say, my great thanks to Geoffrey Goodwin ([ profile] readingthedark), who very kindly helped Spooky keep track of me, and was generally good company.

Friday: We got to the con hotel, a Marriott in Burlington (Mass.), sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. And despite what their website promised, there were no PS3s in the rooms, rather like how last year they promised free internet that turned out not to be free. Sooner or later, someone has to call them on this shit. They speak lies that sucker in geeks, and create unrealistic expectations. Anyway, my first panel, at 4 p.m., was the reading for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Lovecraft Unbound (Oct. '09). I read from "Houses Under the Sea," as was very pleased to meet, and hear, Michael Cisco. It's going to be a fine book, but then Ellen's always are. Next up, I had the solo presentation for A is for Alien, which was very well attended, and that's about the best you can ever ask for. Then I had a panel, "Reality and Dream in Fiction," which wasn't so bad, though I suspect the subject was rather too broad for an hour-long discussion. I spoke about my "dreamsickness" and my pathological inability to know that I'm dreaming while I'm dreaming. After the panel, I had another solo presentation, "You Never Can Tell What Goes on Down Below: Reading Dr. Seuss as Weird Fiction." It came off better than I'd expected, at least the first half hour. Thereafter, though I'd been asked to read the entirety of The Lorax, and had agreed to do so, the whole thing was hijacked by a number of annoying people in the audience who wanted to argue the political correctness and sociological implications of children's books that were neither "weird" nor authored by Dr. Seuss. Before that, though, it went rather well, and I also read from Lewis Carroll and James Reeves. No dinner on Friday night, because there wasn't time. I did have a short break, and then managed to see Greer Gilman's ([ profile] nineweaving) wonderful reading from Cloud and Ashes (Small Beer Press), which opened with a genuinely amazing performance by Sonya ([ profile] sovay), who exquisitely set the mood for Greer's prose with a ballad. And after the reading, there was the ReaderCon 20 Grand Ceremony, and the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award, and then the annual "Meet the Pros(e)" thingy. I hid in a corner with Peter Straub, whom I'd not seen in ages. Getting to spend time with Peter (and his wife, Susie) was definitely one of the very best aspects of the con. And later still, because I lacked the good sense to go to bed, several of us retired to a vacant meeting room and talked until 2 a.m. or so (me, Spooky, Geoffrey, Michael Cisco, Sonya, Eric Van, and a few others whose names have been lost to me). I got to bed about 2:30 a.m., I think.

Saturday: The day started off with my signing, at noon in the dealers' room. Many books were scarred by my hand, some of which I'd not looked at in years. Then I had an hour free before the first of two rather unfortunate panels, starting with "Is Fiction Inherently Evil." The whole affair was predicated on a highly dubious pronouncement made by French ne'er-do-well Simone Weil, that (deep breath) fiction is inherently evil because it portrays good as dull, glamorizes the wicked, and fails to point out the supposed banality of evil. I sort of disqualified myself from the whole discussion right off, by noting that I don't actually recognize the division between good and evil in any traditional sense, and by asking if we were really supposed to see Grima Wormtongue as being more glamorous than Aragorn or Galadriel. I think Peter had the most cogent comments on the panel, though Michael Bishop and James Morrow added good bits, as well. And after that, I didn't even have to leave my chair, because the equally questionable "Is Darwinism Too Good for SF?" took place in the same salon. The premise was, simply, that it has been suggested that Darwinism has proven such a successful theory that it has left sf writers with very little room to wax fantastic. I started off by pointing out that all of biology is based on a single data point (Earth), and, therefore, no matter how well we might presently understand life on Earth, we may understand very little about life as a cosmic phenomenon. The panelists all had scientific credentials, and we quickly concluded that there was plenty of "wiggle room" in SF for nonDarwinian (not antiDarwinian) stories of evolution. My favorite moment was when Anil Menon was asked (by Stephen Popkes) if India has seen the sort of resistance to Darwinism we see in America, and he said no, there'd been no friction to speak of, no creationism in the school systems, and so forth. After the panel, we were corralled for a truly grand and delicious dinner at a nearby Szechuan restaurant. Too many dishes and tastes and flavours to even try to recount here. But we made it back in time for the "Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose Competition Tournament of Champions," which has forever etched the phrase "she cupped him where he was soft" into my brainmeats. Later, those of us who'd gathered late the night before reconvened and talked until sometime after two. Oh, we were interrupted by some very rude harpy of a woman wearing two cameras, who noted that we were, collectively, wearing a lot of black, and so felt compelled to ask, "Isn't goth getting old?" I almost smacked her with my cane. Geoffrey almost asked, "Like you?" But we were all somewhat too stunned and polite to do much of anything. That was Saturday.

Sunday: I had only a single bit of programming, so it was an easy day. After we checked out of the room, Spooky and I prowled about the dealers' room, where I was very good and bought only a single book. At 2 p.m., after saying my goodbyes to Peter and Susie, I had my reading. All of Chapter Four of The Red Tree was read, and my thanks to everyone who stuck around and missed part (or all?) of the closing ceremonies while I went so far over the one-hour time slot to get it all read. We left the hotel sometime about 4 p.m., and made it back to Providence just before five, I think. Before dinner.

Also, it was good to meet Chris and Meg, as I'd only met them previously in Second Life.

And yes, I will likely be back next year, and no, I will not be at Necon (I never said I would). And yes, I did wear masks almost the entire convention, and will likely do so next year. In fact, I may do so at all future public appearances. Friday's Cthulhu mask (and the Kambriel dress) was the most popular. Alas, there are no photos from Friday of that outfit (to my knowledge); some might turn up online somewhere. Oh, by the way, my masks were crafted by E. L. Downey; they were gifts to Spooky and me in May 2005. Also, my grateful thanks to everyone who took part in the recent eBay auctions that made it possible for me to attend the con.

And now, the photographs (behind the cut):

ReaderCon 20 )

Okay. Yeah. That wasn't quick. Or even particularly dirty.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Raining here in Providence. I think we might have had three consecutive days without rain. But this is a steady, gentle sort of rain, and I don't much mind. It would hardly matter if I did, of course.

The anthology's editors loved "The Sea Troll's Daughter," which was a huge relief. I'll give the book's title and release date as soon as I can. One of them emailed to say, "I felt I'd read 'Beowulf: The Truth Behind the Myth,'" which was sort of the cherry on top of the sale. So, yes, two long weeks after I began writing the story, I can say that went well.

I have my final schedule for ReaderCon 20. Here it is (with panel descriptions):

Friday 4:00 PM, VT: Group Reading

Lovecraft Unbound Group Reading (60 min.) Ellen Datlow (host) with
Laird Barron, Michael Cisco, Caitlín R. Kiernan

Readings from the anthology of Lovecraft-related or inspired fiction
edited by Datlow and forthcoming in October from Dark Horse.

Friday 5:00 PM, RI: Talk (30 min.)

How I Wrote A is for Alien. Caitlín R. Kiernan

Breaking with Readercon tradition, Kiernan talks about writing the stories
that make up her first sf collection.

Friday 6:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Reality and Dream in Fiction. Jedediah Berry, Michael Cisco (L), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Yves Meynard, Patrick O'Leary, Gene Wolfe

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 9.] "It seems almost like a dream that has
slowly faded." "Not to me," said Frodo. "To me it seems more like
falling asleep again." Some books create a world so engaging and
convincing it seems more real than reality. Others (e.g., Gene Wolfe's
There are Doors) seem like dreams from which we awaken. What elements in
fiction create these disparate effects? Are they mutually exclusive?

Friday 7:00 PM, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

You Never Can Tell What Goes on Down Below: Reading Dr. Seuss as Weird
Fiction. Caitlín R. Kiernan

Few would consider Dr. Seuss a master of weird fiction, but most of us
knew about the strange denizens of McElligot's Pool long before we were
introduced to those of Innsmouth. We met the Lorax before Great Cthulhu,
and shuddered at the Joggoons long before we ever met up with our first
shoggoth. Join us for a review of the strange worlds of Seuss (and other
"children's authors") and a discussion of how the surprisingly
sophisticated oddities we meet as kids shape us as aficionados of fantasy
and science fiction.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, Salon F: Autographing

Saturday 2:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Is Fiction Inherently Evil (and If So, What's My Job)? Michael Bishop,
Caitlín R. Kiernan, James Morrow (L), Peter Straub, Gene Wolfe

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 8.] Simone Weil (in "Morality and
Literature") argued that fiction is inherently immoral because it reverses
the truth about good and evil: in reality, good is "beautiful and
wonderful" and evil is "dreary, monotonous," but in fiction, it is evil
that is "varied and intriguing, attractive, profound ..." while good is
"boring and flat." Certainly we can all think of counter-examples (To
Kill a Mockingbird
gets it right), but this is a problem as old as Milton.
Does a writer have an obligation to try to make goodness interesting, and
to show the banality of evil? How does doing so affect the fiction?

Saturday 3:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Is Darwinism Too Good For SF? Jeff Hecht (L), Caitlin R. Kiernan, Anil
Menon, James Morrow, Steven Popkes, Robert J. Sawyer

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the publication of The Origin of
Species and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth. Considering the
importance of the scientific idea, there has been surprisingly little
great sf inspired by it. We wonder whether, in fact, if the theory has
been too good, too unassailable and too full of explanatory power, to
leave the wiggle room where speculative minds can play in. After all,
physics not only has FTL and time travel, but mechanisms like wormholes
that might conceivably make them possible. What are their equivalents in
evolutionary theory, if any?

Sunday 2:00 PM, NH / MA: Reading (60 min.)

Reading from The Red Tree.

Also, note that I was originally scheduled to be a participant in the "How Acting Techniques Can Enhance your Writing" workshop, Friday at 1 p.m., but I asked to be dropped from it, as I'm not feeling physically up to anything that asks you to wear "comfortable clothing." Also, I won't be arriving at the con until Day 2, Friday, contra my original plans.


Yesterday evening, we had to drive down to Saunderstown, because Spooky's mum and dad are in Montana, and we're looking after the farm in their absence. It was, as usual, nice to get out of the city. Spooky collected eggs from the hen house. I tested to electric fence that keeps the deer at bay, to be sure it hadn't shorted out or anything. We fed the koi. We let Spider Cat out for a while and played with him. The blueberries aren't quite ripe yet, but soon will be, which means we'll be picking them before her parents get back. On the way back to the car, we spotted a Fowler's Toad (Bufo woodhousii fowleri). There are photos behind the cut:

June 6, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I swear to whichever goddess is presently in the mood to listen, if these weird dreams keep up, I'm going to have our water tested for LSD. This time, I was a high-school student somewhere in the Ozarks, only it was an Asian vampire film involving nanites, a very gory Asian vampire film that just happened to also be a musical (and I blame "Once More, With Feeling"). Most of the twists and turns are now forgotten, lost to me, but it was one of those dreams where you're simultaneously a character and someone watching what's happening, as though it's a movie. The whole thing played itself out twice, except the second time through I realized there were scenes I'd somehow missed the first time. It ended, finally, with the realization that the "vampires" (for want of a better word) could only be killed by running a long silver needle through their left temple and leaving it there. It sounds funny now, but it was truly, genuinely terrifying (and not just because of all the singing schoolgirls and choreography). One detail I recall very vividly, a sort of ad or pamphlet urging graduates to remain in the town after graduation. Drawn in a very 1950s style, it showed three deliriously happy people: a jock in his letterman sweater, a cheerleader, and a very bookish girl.

Meanwhile, because we are apparently in competition at the moment in the surreal dreams department, Spooky was having a dream about stealing absinthe from Harlan Ellison's locker. I asked her if the dream was set in a high school, and she said no, there was just this locker. Anthony Stewart Head was with her (she says he was not Giles), and he could open the combination lock on the safe by listening to the tumblers. There was someone else with them, a third, but she couldn't recall who he or she was. They took the pilfered bottle of absinthe to a cornfield, but the corn had only just begun to sprout, and so didn't make much of a hiding place. I am awake. I think. No one but Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld are singing, and I take that as a good sign.

Yesterday, I did 1,214 words on "The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean," which I expect to finish today. Also, Tuesday, and again yesterday, I forgot to mention that on Monday I'd done all the requested line edits and a couple of minor rewrites on "As Red as Red," which will be appearing in Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas' forthcoming anthology, Haunted Legends.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks. I should stress that my personal stock of both The Five of Cups and Tales from the Woeful Platypus (hardback trade editions) is getting very low, and I'll not be offering many more copies of these two books. Your bids will be much appreciated.

By the way, if you're going to make it to my "How I Wrote A is for Alien" solo presentation at ReaderCon 20, I think I'll be handing out sets of the four images by Vince Locke that did not actually appear in the published book. How's that for incentive? Frankly, I have no idea how I'm going to spend an hour talking about writing the anthology, especially given that it was written over a period of four years, as individual short stories, and not as a single volume. But, these things always seem to attend to themselves, so I expect I'll do fine, and great fun will be had by all. And, of course, Henry the Horse dances the waltz.

I'm going to go finish my coffee now. The platypus is giving me the hairy eyeball.

But wait..."Evidence Found for Ancient Mars Lake". A body of liquid water the size of Lake Champlain, which existed 3 billion years ago. Exquisite.
greygirlbeast: (white)
In a rush this morning, because I stayed up an hour too late, and slept likewise. So, I'm making this short. No, I really am. No kidding. Shortish, at any rate.

Yesterday, I finally found the beginning of "The Apprentice's Daughter" (new title to arrive ASAP), and wrote 1,101 words. And gods I hope it's not a false start. I can't afford one of those just now. The story has refused to be a vignette, insisting, instead, that it will be a short story. I remain skeptical about the whole endeavor, but Spooky likes it, and I hate it when that happens, when we have that sort of divided opinion over what I'm writing (though it's happening a lot lately). As it turns out, "The Appretice's Daughter" is set in Ulthar in Lovecraft's dreamlands, and yes, there will be a dragon. And yes, it will be erotica. Eventually. I hope this to be the story that Vince will be illustrating for Sirenia Digest #43.

And there was this question from [ profile] corucia:

If you're hunting around for the next novel, might I suggest something? I'd love to see a novel connecting 'Derma Sutra', 'The Steam Dancer' and 'The Melusine' together, perhaps as a series of seemingly-unrelated stories wherein the underlying history of the world gets laid out in the background and interstitials between stories. I'm thinking of a 'Cannery Row' kind of book, where each story builds the world and moves things forward, without ever really directly addressing what would be major plot elements in other authors' hands. I think your writing style would lend itself wonderfully to such an oblique approach...

Plus, I really like that world and want to see more of it!

To which I reply, you will likely someday get your wish. Just not for the next novel. To date, I've written (I think) four stories set in Cherry Creek, Colorado (an alternate-history, steampunk version of Denver). The plan is to eventually write eleven of these stories, one for each year from 1890 through 1900 (to date, I've done 1891, 1893, 1896, and 1898). But it could easily be another two or three years before this project is finished, so you'll have to be patient. I still have seven stories to write before it can be a book. Maybe it can appear by 2012 or so.

Spooky is beginning a round of eBay auctions to offset our ReaderCon 20 expenses in July. I'll be doing a solo presentation on Dr. Seuss as weird fiction, and another on the writing of A is for Alien, as well as numerous panels, and a reading, I suppose.

The platypus says it's time to go, and we do not argue with the platypus (well, we do, but not today).
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Yesterday isn't the sort of day that's easy to blog about. It was the humdrum sort of day that most professional writers have most days.

We are only two chapters and the "editor's epilogue" from being finished with the galley pages for The Red Tree. I expect I'll be able to get them back into the mail tomorrow. I might have finished with the page proofs yesterday, had I not had such an awful bout of insomnia the night before.

It's cloudy here in Providence. It was mostly cloudy yesterday. The temperature is only 56F. Spooky's mother says their house is surrounded by wild violets, and male orioles are pecking at the blossoms on the apple trees.

Here's a question: Is there some relatively simple way that I can archive all my LJ and Blogger entries, somewhere less likely to go poof than either Blogger or LJ? I've started worrying about this a lot. All these thousands of entries, all these millions of words. I suppose I could cut and paste it all into MS Word files, then spent a year of so creating a hard copy, and that's probably the only genuinely secure way to archive the entries. But I worry about this a lot lately, and I thought someone might have a suggestion.

I have gone back to keeping my pen-and-paper journal, which I think will be good for me.

And I should remind you that the trade paperback of Alabaster is now available from Subterranean Press. And I think there are still a few copies of the regular hardback of A is for Alien available (though the limited sold out long ago).

Okay...time to do the bidding of the platypus.

Oh...and the Decemberists, from The Colbert Report:

The Colbert Report - The Decemberists - The Wanting Comes in Waves
greygirlbeast: (white)
Which is to say, have a blessed feast of St. Patrick. As I've said before, this is about as close as I come to celebrating anything like an Xtian holiday, and for me (like most, I think), it's really more an Irish Pride thing. I hung the flag out last night. I'll fix a huge meal this evening, corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, soda bread, and so forth, that we'll likely be eating for days. And here, one of my favorite St. Patrick's Day links: "Why Ireland Has No Snakes" (courtesy the Smithsonian Institution). Suffice to say, the explanation has nothing whatsoever to do with Christian interlopers converting Celtic Pagans.

Yesterday, we left Providence about 12:45 p.m. (we did try to get away earlier), and drove south and east. We crossed the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island, past Jamestown and Beavertail, and continued on, crossing the East Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport. Before going to the library, we stopped at the Common Burying Ground, a cemetery we'd not visited since the summer of 2004. Though founded about 1640, the oldest grave we located yesterday was from 1678. I am accustomed to Deep Time. I can think on a scale of hundreds of millions, or even billions of years, and not bat an eye. But, standing in the presence of monuments marking the coming and going of so much historical time, it makes me a bit dizzy. The sun was still out, and there was a little warmth in the air, despite the wind. I copied inscriptions and names. Cemeteries are the best places to find character names, and I have, over the years, rather shamelessly mined them to that end. Spooky took lots of photos (some are behind the cut). Newport's Common Burying Ground may well be my favourite cemetery in Rhode Island. Spooky's favourite grave here is one which holds the bodies of two children and their mother's amputated arm, though we were unable to find it yesterday.

Afterwards, we continued into town (steering clear of the waterfront and the tourists), to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum near Washington Square. An astoundingly beautiful library. And it still uses an extensive card catalog. The books still have those cards in the back where the due-back date gets stamped. In fact, I located only one computer in the library (though, I'm sure there are others, but not within easy sight). I sat in the Rovensky Reading Room until about 4 p.m., making notes. Both the library and the cemetery will figure prominently in "As Red as Red." And then we headed back to Providence. There was a trip to the market, and it was sometime after six before we were home again.

A quick reminder. If you haven't already, please pick up a copy of Daughter of Hounds, or A is for Alien (copies of the trade hardback are still available), or the forthcoming trade paperback of Alabaster. Thanks! Oh, and Spooky had started a new round of eBay auctions.

We're working our way through Season Three of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer again. Season Three is hard for me. On the one hand, I feel like the series is just starting to find itself. On the other, there's the silly evil-mayor story arc that I can hardly abide.

The new "Land of Nor"/Alpha Institute rp in Second Life is starting to pick up steam, and is looking very promising. We're settling into the old library and laboratory by the sea, at the northwest corner of Ethereal. Story is happening. The plot already has subplots. I thought I'd repost the information I posted a few days ago, for any Howard's End or "Sirenia Players" folks who might want to join us. To wit:

I am now running a roleplay faction in the SL NoR sims. No, it's not as ambitious as what I'd planned for Howard's End, but, in terms of theme, it's still in the ballpark. Contemporary urban dark fantasy rp. Vampires, angels, demons, werewolves, ghosts, and just about anything else you can imagine. Unlike HE, there's combat (though, technically, we're a non-combat faction), and a gaming meter/HUD (WARPS). I've founded a group called the Alpha Institute, an occult research organization that very roughly parallels my plans for the Roanoke Society in the stillborn HE sim. Throw in a bit of the Talamasca, a bit of Angel Investigations/Wolfram and Hart, etc. We're off to a very good start. And there's not a mountain of background reading, as there was with HE, and I don't need complex character profiles. Plus, since we're already playing, there's no annoying waiting period. So, if you're interested, just say so, or email me (greygirlbeast (at) gmail (dot) com), or IM me in SL (Nareth Nishi), and I'll send you an invitation. Be sure to provide me with your SL user name.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts. But first, photos (we took so many, I think I have enough for the next two days, as well):

16 March 2009 )


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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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