greygirlbeast: (river3)
Very cold in Providence today; my feet are spun glass.

Most of yesterday was a good day. I only managed about 500 words on "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea," because I realized it was a lot longer and a lot more complicated than I expected. Not the sort of thing you can do in a day, but maybe over the course of a week. Maybe. But it was still a good day. Spooky came back from the p. o. box with a letter from Harlan, the Coolest T-Shirt Ever® (see the photos behind the cut), and Solstice gifts from my mother. I saw Brian's final cut for the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It's truly gorgeous, light-fucking-years beyond what I expect from book trailers, and I wish I could show it to you now. There was a spaghetti for supper, a favorite, because, when it comes to food, I'm pretty easy to please.

And then, early last night, it all went to hell, and it did so violently, a shitstorm to lay any good day low. I'm I'm still not on an even keel. I think it was very after six ayem before I got to sleep. Like maybe six-thirty, but I honestly have no fucking idea, and it probably doesn't matter. I read stuff, like a Peter Crowther short story, "Ghosts With Teeth." Mostly, I sat in the smoking crater that was the night, and tried not to think, and the harder I tried not to, the more I did. So, five and a half hours sleep? Possibly six? I can't even call it insomnia.

So, Two Worlds and In Between keeps making these "best of" lists. Seriously, it seems like it makes a new one each day. Yesterday, it was an article at io9, "Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Books that Make Perfect Gifts" (at least io9 knows how to capitalize a headline). The ironic thing, though, is that the book is, essentially, out of print, and will likely remain so for a while to come. Subterranean Press is sold out. Amazon.com claims to have a few copies (and I stress a few), but I wouldn't trust them as a source for this book, not after they fucked so many people over on the preorder. Better you try AbeBooks or Powell's, both of whom have it in stock, I believe. Point is, it's not like you can't get the book, just that it's quickly getting very hard and expensive to get the book. Which seems ironic. Or maybe I ought take that as a compliment. And yeah, my agent's working in selling another edition (and foreign language rights), but that's something far down the road, if it ever happens at all.

Also, while I very much appreciate receiving gifts, please don't send me ebooks. I didn't even know you could do that, give someone an ebook, until someone did try to give me one, and I got this download coupon thingy from Amazon. For a Kindle. Of course, anyone who reads this journal knows I loathe ebooks on principle, and I do not now (nor ever shall I) own a Kindle. So, while I also know that ebooks are almost as cheap as the air they're printed on, it's probably best not to waste your money on something I'll never see. Or even want to ever see.

As we approach the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and the first issue of Alabaster, which is to say March and April, respectively, I'm planning public appearances. Yeah, I haven't made a habit of that, but now I have to. There are a lot of plans, but here are the only two "for sure" dates (times TBA, and more to come, mostly nestled between March 6th and sometime in June):

April 4: North Kingstown Free Public Library, Rhode Island Voices series (reading/talk)
April 18: KGB Bar (Manhattan), Fantastic Fiction series (reading)

And here are the T-shirt photos, which I'm going to trying to believe are all that there was to yesterday (I love my expression of innocence, displaying my ignorance of what was soon to come). Well, it and the finished book trailer:

Versus )


By the way, if there are typos in the entry, all I can say is you're lucky there's any entry at all.
greygirlbeast: (zoe1)
And as you cross the circle line,
Well, the ice wall creaks behind.
You´re a rabbit on the run.
~ Jethro Tull

Comment, kittens! Comment!

1) Two "BIG" announcements today, and you might get one now and one later, or both now, depending on when and what I hear from my agent. But. I may proceed with Thing #1: Subterranean Press has begun taking pre-orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yes, now. Right now. The book is scheduled for release in Spring 2012. And I'm just going to say this upfront: Order directly from subpress, because Amazon is very likely to fuck you over. Many people who pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin & Others and Two Worlds and In Between had Amazon cancel their orders. So...don't even go there. Anyway, that's the first announcement. The second is dependent on whether or not I hear back from my agent before she goes to lunch (which now seems unlikely).

2) Yesterday was meant to be the day I wrote the next 1,000-1,500 words of "Another Tale of Two Cities." Instead, it was unexpectedly consumed by the need to unexpectedly leave the house and attend to a legal matter, regarding the second announcement I've not yet made, power-of-attorney stuff related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but I cannot yet say what that is, remember? Anyway, most of the day was spent with legalese and a notary public and UPS and the post office (USPS costs ~$65) and I did at least stop into Myopic Books at Wayland Square and once again drool over used copies of Sankar Chatterjee's The Rise of Birds ($15) and Lowell Dingus and Timothy Rowe's The Mistaken Extinction ($30), but was good and did not buy either (again). That was what happened to yesterday. Oh, and traffic.

3) I hate to keep "hating on" (a phrase for morons, hence shutter quotes) Kermit the iPad, but I fear he is the shape of things to come with Apple. Which is to say, the intuitive nature of Apple products, which is a large part of my loyalty, is missing from the iPad. It's like I'm wrestling with mysterious alien tech. What do all those little (unlabeled) pictographs mean? Which microscopic button in the side did I touch that made the screen go black this time? And so on.

4) I know this might have, so far, seemed like a "happy entry." But I am anywhere but at the moment. Lots of reasons. And this is my blog, so here I may bellyache about these matters. A large part of it is that all those years I had to go without healthcare (mostly neurological and psychiatric) did a great deal of damage to my body. And every time I plug one hole, another pops open. I'm beginning to think I'm going to drown in only a year or two. Sure, money's not so tight now, but "not so tight" is a long way from I can afford to have my rotten teeth and gums attended to, for example. Or from we can afford to get Spooky the checkup she's needed for years. And there are days it would scare the hell out of me, were I not so suicidal. By the way, the suicidal hypochondriac, there's a funny one, no? No, not really. But it does embody the true meaning of irony, and it does bring a smile to my face (a rare thing, that). And maybe the next year or two will change all this. And maybe it won't.

5) There is a game I like to play with myself. What if my life had taken a completely different course? It's no secret I do not love writing, no matter how good I might be at it. It's no secret my first love is vertebrate paleontology, and one of the great tragedies of my life was the derailment of my paleo' career in the late '80s by an elaborate combination of factors, too complex to here explain. That the writing career was a fallback (I was lucky to have) that arose from the ashes. I played the game last night. I would post the results here (seven steps were involved), but it would seem too much like self-pity, and while I may pity another, I may not feel pity for myself. We have all been conditioned to believe that's wrong.

6) Three matters I need to attend to, and I'm posting them here because it'll help me not forget (the Lamictal [Lamotrigine] plays havoc with my memory). Firstly, I need to send ReaderCon an updated biography, because the one they have now is very out of date. Secondly, and on a related note, I need to get new bibliographical and biographical data to the Writer's Directory before December 17th. Thirdly, back to ReaderCon, I need to send Rose Fox a list of any programming I'd like as one of the two Guests of Honor, and I need to do it before the end of the month (suggestions welcome).

7. Question @ Hand #5, kittens! Do not disappoint me. We've gotten a couple of good entries, but I need about five more, or Sirenia Digest will be the poorer for the absence of any at all. I'm not asking for great literature, okay? Oh, and don't email me your answer, please. Write them in LJ; this makes my life easier.

8. Spooky and I had a HUGE Rift binge last night, leveling my Eth warrior, Indus (she has a spectral feline companion named River) from Level 32 to 34, and we got Dancy (yes; a Kelari cleric) leveled the same. Please come and play with us (Faeblight shard, guild Watchers of the Unseen). Here is your chance to take part in an interactive story written by "one of our essential writers of dark fiction" (the NYT says so!), and you're letting it pass you by? Inconceivable!

Oh, gods. That's enough.

Spun About,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Here in Providence it's a balmy 53˚Fahrenheit, bright and sunny.

And today, as the world "falls back," I remain upright, and Caitlín Standard Time begins for the eighth year. All this actually means is that I prefer Daylight Savings Time and so remain on it all year round. I'm not a morning person, and this way I keep more sunlight in the evening during the loathsome winters. CST has become even more important since the move north. By the way, if you hate DST, and find CaST bizarre, I truly do not care, so there's no need to say so here.

Yesterday was an eight-hour workday, almost all of it spent answering email and getting Sirenia Digest #71 ready to be PDFed, and then I sent it off to Gordon ([livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest) for the actual PDFing. And I also did an interview regarding the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. The interview will appear online Wednesday, same day as Dark Horse spills more specifics. I'll keep you posted. There are many interviews in my immediate future. Anyway, yes, very busy Saturday (weekends, what are those?). Alas, oftentimes, the first PDF of a Sirenia Digest has errors, and a second is necessary. But, still, I should think the digest will likely go out this evening. Not too late to subscribe and get in on #71! It's cheap!

Today, I need to begin the long short story, or the novelette, or short novella, or what-the-hell-ever that I'm doing for the chapbook that will accompany the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. By the way, that chapbook will include not only this new, long story, but "The Yellow Alphabet." No release date yet. I'm guessing Summer 2012.

Speaking of subpress, I'm getting a lot of reports from people who ordered Two Worlds and In Between from Amazon.com, who are now receiving emails stating "Due to a lack of availability from our suppliers, we will not be able to obtain the following item(s) from your order..." That sort of shit. I have no idea why this is happening, but I do know it's happened before with Amazon and subpress editions, which is why I never link to the Amazon pages for those books, but directly to the subpress pages. I've said before, to be sure you get the book, always order these volumes directly from Subterranean Press. All I can do is notify subpress that it's happened...again. Which, of course, solves no one's problem, now that the book is completely sold out. I can apologize (not that it's my fault), and I do, but I know that doesn't get anyone the book they pre-ordered, expecting that pre-order to be filled. Honestly, the situation pisses me off, but there's nothing I can do. When subpress begins taking orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, ignore Amazon. Order directly from the publisher.

Now, if you did order directly from subpress, and your order hasn't arrived yet, be patient. It will. All the copies are not sent out at once. Subpress handles too many titles to do that. Pre-ordering doesn't mean you get your book early; it means you get your book. I am the author, and all but two of my comp copies only arrived day before yesterday.
---

Last night, we streamed last week's episode of American Horror Story from Hulu (Zachary "Husband #1" Quinto!), then finished Season Four of Californication. For my part, as much as I adore this series, I'd have been happy with it ending at the ending with Hank driving, literally, off into the sunset in that last episode of Season Four. The story may not have been finished (no story ever is), but it was a good place to stop telling it. However...seems like there will be fifth and sixth seasons, though, at least, the story will skip ahead two years. Then we read the prologue and first chapter of House of Leaves (because it's November), then I read some more, and was unable to sleep until almost 4 ayem (perhaps your 3 ayem), only to wake at ten ayem (possibly your 9 ayem). So, I'm not at my best today. Of course, I probably will never be at my best again. My best probably ended in 1995. Those people who tell you that "40 is the new 30" are either a) seriously deluded, b) have amazingly good health care, or both.

We just realized we missed the Rasputina in Boston on October 28th, because we were at the Iron Pour. At least we did something. However, I will make the VNV Nation in Boston on December 4th. Stalk me there and die.

And now...the words.

Next,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Nobody knew what to do with Buckaroo Banzai. There was no simple way to tell anyone what it was about — I'm not sure anybody knew.

Yesterday was. Sometimes, isn't it enough to say no more or less than that about any given day? After all, this is what most days of any given life are. That day....was. A life is a compilation of days that mostly just are. So, yes. One of the pitfalls of a blog that's being written for other people to read is that there's the feeling you have to make each and every day, in some way, interesting. Though most of them truly aren't. Most days just are.

That said, I spent yesterday tweaking Phase One. The oscillation overthruster was running a little fast, too many RPMs and all that. Someone could have gotten hurt. Oh, and speaking of secret and cool things, I am told that sometime in late November or early December, the cat will likely be allowed to leave the bag. So, we only have to wait that long.

---

The last couple of days, I've been engaged (along with several other authors and agents) in what [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow described to me as an endless game of "whack-a-mole," trying to stop various pirate sites from illegally selling copies of our ebooks. Or, as I would prefer to say, electronic copies of our books. Yes, not giving them away, but selling them. And every time we whack one, another pops up. But, like Mr. Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price.

No, it's not like buying an analog book and then, when you've read it, selling it back to a used bookstore (or anywhere else). Not unless it's a magical book that endlessly produces identical copies of itself, or unless you have some sort of magical book-pooping device that performs the same function. If you are selling copies of my books, which you have made, you are in violation of US Copyright Law (which, I admit, I am often not fond of, but it still applies) and, more importantly, you are stealing from me. You're not taking a quote. Or a few lines. Not even a preview chapter. But a whole goddamn book, which likely took me a year or two to write and edit.

And that's money my publisher loses, and when my publisher loses money on my books, they lose interest in publishing additional books by me. And if I can't make a living off my writing, the novels and short stories will, I assure you, cease to be created. Oh, there might be one or two very short stories a year, maybe. But I'd be too busy trying to get by with some other shitty job to write. And that, kittens, is why, if you actually enjoy what I write, you should never, ever steal one of my books.

Oh, and if you steal my books, I'll cut out your motherfucking heart and feed it to you, still warm and beating, if I ever get my hands on you. I will not even use a knife. But that's just a trifle, compared with all the other possible consequences. So, pretty please. Don't do this shit. People who pirate books waste the time and money of people who write those books.

And don't even get me started on Amazon and Google again.

Actually...to answer a question posed in yesterday's comments (and thank you, thank you, thank you for all those comments, even if I wasn't able to respond to all of them): [livejournal.com profile] lilith_333 asks, "I try to consume ethically when I can and I want to make sure authors get their fair due when I buy their books; what do you suggest?"

There is no easy answer. Like most authors, I live off advances, not royalties. I have seen only a tiny handful of royalty checks (one, to be specific) from the novels Penguin has published, beginning with Silk. This is over a period of time spanning most of two decades. One check. But set that aside a moment, because that's not the question being asked. The question is one of ethics, and there is nothing ethical about Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Penguin or any of those corporations, not when the bottom line is involved, the bottom line being profit margins. They fuck us all over. No, really. These are evil empires, even the ones which, like Penguin, are struggling to stay afloat. Still, the most ethical thing you can do (if I skip a lot of caveats) is buy the books from a legit online bookseller (Amazon, B&N, Powell's, etc.). Here, I mean the novels. As for the subpress books, I'd say buy them directly from Subterranean Press. And, by the way, Subterranean Press does a pretty damn fine job of actually behaving ethically towards authors, and, in this day and age, that's a rare and precious oddity.

I am, occasionally, called "greedy" for worrying about being stolen from. But, consider, is an author, a writer, who feels guilty for buying books, is that a greedy person? If so, fine. I'm greedy. I expect to be paid for work, as do you.

But now! I must away! There are...things to be done.

Hardly Ethical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com

So let me get this straight.


Amazon would like to offer a Netflix-like subscription to unlimited ebooks for its Prime members. Business sites are all over the publishing companies to comply–after all, what’s a little monopoly between friends?


But as an author this stinks to high heaven. You know, that place where Borders is chilling on a cloud and crying into its celestial beer.


See, there’s no mention of author benefit–everyone is talking about the publishers and how they need to get with the times. But how, exactly, would we be compensated for this? Since it’s for their Prime members, who as Netflix has seen, would howl over a price hike, it’s possible this will just be lumped in, wrecking ebook sales and contributing further to the idea that the ideal cost for a book is $0.00. Not to mention the number this does on libraries.


Now, I get that ebooks are happening whether anyone likes it or not. And I get that subscriptions have worked for other media–I use my Netflix like anyone. But there’s a reason Netflix has a quite limited streaming selection, and it’s losing, not gaining, content. This is not because Netflix hates you and wants you to suffer. It’s very hard to get those licenses because it’s not a very good deal for the content creators and distributors. And it costs a lot of money to manufacture the level of quality content people expect. Now, it’s axiomatic that the middleman sucks and should be shot (except The Middleman, who is awesome) but to be quite frank, they serve a purpose, and while I’d like to see their tactics changed, I would not like to see them vanish entirely. They are also human, and in publishing they do the great good work of sifting wheat from chaff, editing and packaging the wheat and making sure the wheat can spell, while getting shit on from every side. (I would also like to see real competition for Netflix, who is a middleman, too, don’t be fooled. They’re just a very hands-off middleman. But until you can write a check to Matt Weiner for Mad Men, you are still using a middleman. However, as I’m going to say a lot, no one company should be the single portal for information of any type.)


So, let’s hear how this is anything but a grab for more rights for less money? Will Amazon be paying lump sums for licenses? Will authors see even one cent of that? Will we be paid per download? If they aren’t charging much more than Prime services already cost, who will be paying us? Anyone? Bueller? What about books already in print? Will we be paid for joining the service or just told our major problem is obscurity and we should be grateful?


But the business rags don’t care about that stuff. They’re too busy bizarrely cheerleading Amazon’s attempt to become an almost total media monopoly. And in a stroke of PR genius, Amazon has indie authors on their side, convinced Amazon is their friend, a champion of the little people, and a stand-up guy, willing to stick it to the mean old publishers. (Who sinned in not publishing literally everyone and deserve to be skewered, I guess?)


Hoggle is Hoggle’s friend. Amazon is no one’s friend. They want to control the ebook market. They’re pissed they don’t control the music and movie market to the extent they’d like to. They are nearly there with books, and having destroyed bookstores, they’re now after libraries and quite possibly just really interested in becoming the only publisher there is. Don’t think no one over there has thought of simply replacing the whole publishing apparatus with Amazon.com. And a lot of people would wave their pom-poms for that.


The fact that a company that tried to punish Macmillan simply for not kowtowing to them immediately is considered worthy of trust is laughable. These guys are thugs. It’s an awfully nice industry you got there. Shame if anything should happen to it.


I don’t actually feel like helping them to my own detriment, and don’t see why I or anyone else should be jumping at what looks like a shitty, shitty deal for content creators, libraries (I do not want libraries to die, you guys. And they let you borrow unlimited books FOR FREE. And pay for their copies. In fact, library sales are a huge part of a book’s life, particularly in the YA and children’s market. Oh and BY THE WAY. Poor people can use libraries. Not just us geekelites who can afford ereaders and subscriptions.) If I see people actually discussing what authors get out of this beyond that age-old gold standard EXPOSURE ZOMG! I’ll listen. For awhile. But here’s the rub.


To some extent this is already a thing. Libraries, yes, but also Baen Webscriptions and other services. Why not let Amazon in on that game?


It’s different because it’s Amazon. This is a company that has shown itself to be unscrupulous in its dealings with publishers time and time again. It’s being friendly to authors now, but it was friendly to publishers and bookstores for awhile too. Amazon is way more than an 800 pound gorilla. They want to be the only way you access books. That is good for no one. No one source should have that much power, or else you end up in a situation where if, say, Amazon doesn’t like queers, they can kill all their books and no one can say anything. They don’t think erotica should get ranked with “normal” books? They don’t. Amazon wants to remotely delete something you paid for? It’s deleted. This has already happened. More power to those people? I don’t think so. No single company should have the influence they want. You think it’s bad that there’s so few publishing companies? At least there are six.


Amazon knows they have the market share and presence to make competition basically a grassroots joke. They do not care. They do not care about you and they do not care about your (or my) indie cred and to be quite frank they could give a shit about books. That’s your dream. They’re happy to sell anything, it doesn’t matter what it is. (Clearly. I just bought a chicken nesting box from them. They just want to be where you shop, and by and large they are succeeding. Awesome?) This is about control of information and money. And I may have to knuckle under when my contracts come due but I do not have to be their cheerleader in the meantime.


I’m not saying they’re evil–well, maybe a little, but no more than any company. They simply want to grow. You know, like any organism. Without heed for the survival of any other organism. They will probably get this because no one, not least our rusty-ass anti-trust laws, stands up to them with any conviction. But to be honest, I am puzzled at people’s desire to be fish flakes for the Sarlaac. I am continually horrified at the rush to love and defend Amazon because of their current stance on self-publishing. Emphasis on the current. Yay! My book is on Amazon and I get 70%! Fuck everyone else! No, literally fuck them. Let us take to our blogs and cheer, just squeal with delight, for every job lost in a library or publishing company, large or small, every janitor at Random House and editor at Harper Collins, every librarian who gets kids to read, because Amazon loves us with its big fuzzy heart and will always, always treat us with dignity and fairness. Just show me where to sign that exclusive contract. And if I need an agent, why, Amazon can be my agent! They’re sure to give themselves a good deal. (Again, already happened.)


And the publishers had better just sign where they’re told to. After all, those dinosaurs had better get with the times. And the times, it seems, are called by Amazon. It’s the Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to you by Amazon.com, as our late great David Foster Wallace would say. Enjoy it.


And as far as self-publishing, which can be and is laudable and valuable, well, give it time. It’s early yet on that beachhead, kids. If the last 15 years of the internet taught you anything, it should be that nothing open and good lasts forever, and corporations trend ugly over time. (I’m looking at you, Google.)  It has not been enough to consume bookstores, libraries, publishing companies, and any author not selling direct to Amazon are next. Amazon was a friend to all of these once. Trust me, you don’t want to live in the world Amazon wants to build.


Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

greygirlbeast: (Default)
My last entry before Readercon 21.

The past two days have been hell here in Providence. The temperature hit 101F on Tuesday (a record for the date), and wasn't much better yesterday. We've had to stay out of the House as much as possible, trying to stay cool. It is an old house, this House, and it is made to hold in heat in cold winters. It also holds it in during summers. Which is usually okay, unless we get these heatwaves. Dr. Muñoz could not even begin to keep up. Yesterday, it was 93F in the cool part of the House for much of the day. But last night the fever broke, and we have a reprieve until sometime next week, when the heat is supposed to return. At least we get three nights of AC at the hotel.

Here's an update regarding The Ammonite Violin & Others: The book came back from the printer, but there was a problem with the dust jackets, so subpress had to send the books back to the printer to have the dust jackets redone. This has created a delay in shipment of the books to those who've preordered them. This part is fairly straightforward and has not caused me to gnash my teeth. However, Amazon.com, in it's infinite lack of wisdom, sent out email to those who preordered via Amazon, stating that the book was "out of stock," and asking people if they wished to cancel their orders. Apparently, from what I've been told (and my information may be in error), Amazon will cancel the preorder unless you reply to this email, telling them not to do so. None of it makes much sense to me. The books have not shipped from the publisher, so there's no way they can be "out of stock" at Amazon, given they've not yet been in stock at Amazon. Also, I heard a rumor the book was sold out, and that's not true, either. Only the limited edition is sold out (and it has been for months). As to when you can expect to get your copy, Bill at subpress says, "Ammonite should be done next Monday or Tuesday, when they've been rejacketed."

So. Apologies for the delay, but the books should go out in another couple of weeks, I'd think (regardless of what Amazon might say to the contrary). This is one reason it's always a good thing to order directly from subpress.

---

The heat has been so bad I didn't even make the hair appointment on Tuesday, so everyone who makes Readercon will be blessed with the sight of my shaggy greying mop. Maybe this will spur me to just let it grow out, and accept the grey. Which is something I should have done years ago.

My thanks to Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark), who made the drive down from Framingham on Monday evening. It was good to have company and conversation.

Tuesday, trying to escape the heat, we headed for the theater. We took in two matinées. First, M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender and then Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3. The latter is probably one of the best films of the summer. The former, alas, is not. But it also wasn't even half as awful as most of the critics are making it out to be. The plot was not "incomprehensible," for example. The plot was very simple and straightforward. The Last Airbender is a painfully mediocre movie, that's true, and I do not expect painfully mediocre movies from Shyamalan. I know this cuts against the grain, how it's been cool to hate Shyamalan since...I don't know...since at least Signals, but I have adored all of his films except the also painfully mediocre The Happening (2008). As for The Last Airbender, I thought it was a gorgeous film, and, as a children's film, it worked in a sloppy sort of way. I even enjoyed the last third quite a bit. But yeah, the acting was consistently stiff and heavy-handed (even with people like Cliff Curtis, who I know can act), which likely means the direction was off. The screenplay was flat and unremarkable. As for the charges that the casting is racist, again, I don't see a problem of the magnitude reviewers have indicated. I noticed only three white actors cast in roles that seemed to require non-white actors (admittedly, two of these were main characters): Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), and Katharine Houghton (Katara's grandmother). How you get three Caucasians in a village full of people who seem to be Inuit, I don't know. Yes, the roles were inexplicably miscast, but when almost everyone else in the film isn't white, I hardly see how this qualifies as a massive "racefail" (gods, I hate that silly compounderation). The Last Airbender isn't a particularly good film, and it's a strange move for Shyamalan, who I would think would be trying to get back on track with the sorts of film's he does best. But it's also not nearly as bad as I'd expected it to be. Then again, I never cared for the animated series. Maybe my reaction would have been different if I were a fan.

Also, can we all please stop with the idiotic 3-D soon?

I'd say more, but it's beginning to get hot in the office, so I'm going to wrap this up. Perhaps I'll see you this weekend at Readercon. Perhaps I won't. No, I won't be twatting from the con. I will be unplugged. Next entry, Monday morning.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Cold and sunny here in Providence.

Yesterday, the Amazon.com sales ranking for The Red Tree went at least as high as 2,115, which is the highest I've ever seen a book of mine (they may well have gone higher without my seeing). This beats the previous record— 2,962 —set by The Red Tree on December 20th.

These little benchmarks keep me moving forward. Or, at least they present some rough illusion of forward momentum into which I am willing to buy.

No actual writing yesterday. That is, no word count. I spent the afternoon sitting here looking for a story, which I think I have found. Back at the beginning of the month, I started a sort of zombie story, "(Dead) Love Among the Ruins." Then I set it aside to write "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Then I wrote "Untitled 34." And I'd actually forgotten the zombie story until I stumbled across it yesterday. Anyway, as I sat here pondering its viability, it changed into a completely different story. That happens, and, usually, I allow it to happen. Today, I will try to write the story it has changed into. And a note to Sirenia Digest subscribers: I'm running late this month, and I'm thinking #49 will be out a day or three late, say sometime between January 1st and 3rd. Vince is working on the illustration for "Untitled 34," and I still have the second story to write.

My thanks to those people who sent Solstice/Cephalopodmas gifts: Adam Fish, Edward V. Helmers, Michael J. Boley, Karen Mahoney, David Szydloski, my Aunt Joanne (who is celebrating her 75th birthday!), and my mom. All gifts have been (and will be) greatly appreciated.

In yesterday's entry I wrote "...and there's a popular delusion, that turning a calendar page, or changing calendars, will lead to better times." And someone on Twitter replied, "...turning the calendar page is Hope." Perhaps it is for some. For me, though, it's really just what happens next. More days. The idea of a tomorrow does not, for me, inherently suggest that anything will get better in any way. I listen to the past, and the past suggests exactly the opposite. But, you know how it goes. Your mileage may vary. Right now, I can only take solace in the fact that, at least, the days are growing longer again, bit by bit.

We went to the market just before dusk yesterday, and there was the most beautiful sunset. I usually take the camera along whenever I leave the House, but yesterday I'd forgotten. But it was an amazing, fiery sunset.
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
The snow found us sometime after 11 p.m. last night, and it's still snowing, though only lightly. It was a wild night in Providence last night, something I'd never seen before. So much wind with the snow. So, that's what happens when we get a blizzard warning. But it's beautiful. All the ugly, sharp edges of winter smoothed away for the time being. And what's sort of neat, the first big Providence snows of both '09 and '08 arrived on the same date. We'll have snow for Solstice. It's currently 21F, but with the windchill it feels like 8F. Spooky's reading me official snowfall reports of 18" in North Kingstown and 22" in West Greenwich. So we may actually have a foot or so here in Providence.

---

There were so many distractions yesterday, I got precious little written. I did 563 words on "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics." Today, I have to finish the story. The month has grown perilously short. I still have an issue of Sirenia Digest to produce, and I've not even begun work on it.

This morning The Red Tree had an Amazon sales ranking of 2,962, which is the highest I've ever seen for any of my books, since Silk debuted in May 1998.

---

I'm still in awe of James Cameron's Avatar, and wishing I had time just now for a second viewing. I know there was so much I didn't see. The eye can only take in so much in any given moment, and the brain can only consciously process just so much of what is seen. There's a good deal more I want to write about this wonderful film, but I don't have the time this morning, not to get into any depth. Maybe tomorrow. I am very pleased to have seen it score the third best December opening-day box office ever, and to have watched it's imdb rating go from 8.7 on Friday to 8.9 yesterday. So, yeah, more on Avatar tomorrow...or the next day. But you should see it, if you can. Definitely one of the finest movies of 2009.

---

Not much else to say about yesterday. We watched the Season Two premiere of Fringe last night. We tried, months and months ago, to watch this show, and it was too awful to enjoy on any level. But it's improved a great deal. If it survives another season, it might actually be good. I'm especially taken with the character of Walter (played by John Noble).

We played some WoW, finishing up at the Howling Fjord, then spending some time in Dragonblight before taking a Tuskarr ship west to the Borean Tundra and Warsong Hold. I have these observations:

1) If I ever do get around to writing a Big Epic Fantasy Novel, I sure as hell best do better than to name a walrus-like humanoid race the Tuskarr and a wolverine-like humanoid race the Wolvar. That's just fucking lazy. That said, both these races are beautifully designed, and I'm especially fond of the Tuskarr, I just wish someone had taken more care naming them.

2) I was much, much more impressed with the design and gameplay in Howling Fjord and Dragonblight than I am with what we've seen of the Borean Tundra (and we've seen quite a lot, having come by way of Moa'ki Harbor, rather than a zeppelin from Orgrimmar). To me, the Borean Tundra (another example of lazy-ass naming) feels a lot more like older regions of the game. I'd head back to Dragonblight, but I don't want to pass up however many quests are set there. I think, in the story I cannot help but build as I play, Shaharrazad desires to eventually settle at Vengeance Landing. She's growing weary of war, and now feels more at home among the Forsaken than she does the Sin'dorei. She felt an odd lack of enthusiasm upon entering Warsong yesterday; she's always had great admiration for the orcs, but it just wasn't there.

---

Okay, I have one photo from the storm last night. Time to make the doughnuts.

19 December 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Four very cool things:

1) My latest "yellow house" story, "The Belated Burial," is now online at Subterranean Magazine.

2) My interview with WoW.com is also now online. I'm very pleased with the screencaps. It's official. I am an uber-nerd.

3) On Monday, Amazon.com published their Top Ten List of F&SF Books from 2009. Cat Valente's Palimpsest took the number one slot, but I was very, very happy with landing the second place slot with The Red Tree. Also, two anthologies that made the list include my fiction, Peter Straub's American Fantastic Tales ("The Long Hall on the Top Floor"), at fourth place, and Jonathan Stathan's Eclipse Three ("Galápagos"), at eighth place. An excellent list.

4. I have accepted an invitation to appear as Guest of Honor at Arcana 39 in St. Paul, Minnesota, October 15-17th, 2010. I will be doing a signing at DreamHaven Books on October 14th.

A long time since I had that many announcements to make in one entry.

---

Yesterday was sunny and almost warm here in Providence, and I was lured Outside. We left the house with no particular destination in mind, but as Spooky was pulling out of the drive, I spotted our jack-o'-lantern, still on the stoop. My plan had been to carry it to the park and leave to rot beneath a tree. But suddenly I had a better plan, one that would save it from the possibility of being smashed by a passing somebody. "I want to drop it in the river," I said, though at first I was unsure which river. We decided on the Saugatucket, where it winds through Wakefield, just west of the abandoned railroad/bike path. So...we drove south to Wakefield. I carried my first New England jack-o'-lantern out onto the bridge, held it over the abyss, and dropped it into the tea-colored, tannin-stained water ten or so feet below. It hit with a terrific splash and very briefly submerged. I'd expected it to simply sink. Instead, it was buoyed back to the surface by the air trapped inside. It rolled over once, so it was upside down, and proceeded to float. Though the river flows west, the dam keeps the current to a minimum here, and the wind began moving it eastward, against the current. We watched for twenty minutes or so, until it snagged in some low branches near the shore. All in all, it seemed a very fitting way to dispose of a pumpkin. There are photos behind the cut:

3 November 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
This afternoon, I just need to get this blog entry done, and then send corrections to an editor ("Houses Under the Sea" for Lovecraft Unbound), and answer a few emails, and then the day is mine, all mine. Half a day off before I try to write two issues of Sirenia Digest in what remains of August. This is called attempting to get a little breathing room. September will be consumed by the next new novel, getting it up and off the ground, and October is all Mars. This is my plan, though I am reminded that a plan is just a list of things that never happens. Was that Elmore Leonard? I think it was.

I am trying very, very hard not to obsessively watch the Amazon.com sales rank for The Red Tree. I'm trying to step back, get all Doris Day, and accept that what will be, will be. Last night's signing heralded the end of seven weeks of hardcore promotion, during which I got little else done. I shall continue, of course, to add additional "evidence" to the website, and Spooky's begun editing the book "trailer," but that's about all I have time to do. There's too much else to get done, and I won't get it done if I sit here and obsess and post a new link to Facebook and Twitter every time the book's Amazon numbers dip. I have sent it out into the world. I have done the best by it I was able, with the time and resources allotted. Are you listening, Kiernan?

Sure, sure. I hear me.....

Last night's signing in Boston (well, Cambridge, actually), at Pandemonium Books and Games, went well. Good crowd, and many books were sold. I do have to admit it was not the best reading I ever gave. I was hoarse from reading aloud all day (working on "Houses Under the Sea"), and there was ambient noise I hadn't expected, so I had trouble hearing myself. I find I cannot read well if I cannot hear myself reading. But, my thanks to all who came, and to Tyler Stewart and everyone else at Pandemonium for a great night. I read most of Chapter One, which, in retrospect, was a poor choice. I should have gone with Chapter Four or Chapter Two.

The weirdest moment of the evening was opening an old copy of Silk (first edition, first printing, 1998), to sign it for someone, and discovering that it was already signed. Sadly, it wasn't dated. I was surprised to see it, and far more surprised to find it already signed. No idea how it wound up mixed in with the mountain of new stuff. But there you go. So, yes, good reading. I don't think I got out of the store until about 9 p.m.. Oh, and I scored a set of Elvish 20-sided dice. Also, as it turns out, that was my first in-store signing in seven years, not eleven. I'd forgotten about an in-store signing I did in Chicago in early 2002. Also, be advised that I signed all the Pandemonium stock that didn't sell last night, so there are signed copies of The Red Tree available at Pandemonium Books and Games (4 Pleasant St., Cambridge, Mass.; 617-547-3721). Also, there's a signed copy of A is for Alien, and signed copies of Silk, Threshold, Low Red Moon, Daughter of Hounds, and the trade paperback edition of Alabaster. Don't know how long they'll last.

Spooky just renewed the website for another two years, so I suppose I won't be retiring next week, after all. I think I've had that domain since 1997.

Today, I'll try to get around to picking a winner from all the tree photographs and artwork that were sent to me over the last three weeks or so, and the winner will get a free signed copy of The Red Tree, as promised. But I think I have about 200 images to sift through, so bear with me.

Okay. Time to make the doughnuts, so we can take the afternoon off, the platypus and I, the dodo and Spooky. Downtime will be good, even if it's brief.

Here are photos from yesterday:

August 7, 2009 )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
So, I got to bed at 3 ayem last night, but at 5 ayem, and after two doses of Ambien, I was still wide fucking awake, my mind racing, trying to solve insoluble problems. The sun was coming up when I finally drifted off. I keep dreaming of Mars, of being on Mars. I wake feeling as though every muscle and bone in my body has been pummeled to dust. I've been sitting here since noon, trying to "wake up" enough to write an entry.

Yesterday was sort of a waste of a day off. It stormed. It rained. Going outside was essentially pointless, so we stayed in and worked on getting Spooky's laptop reloaded. The Geek Squad guys retrieved all her data, and gave her a neat little external hd. But yeah, not much to yesterday worth mentioning. Spooky made a pot of chili. We re-read passages from Danielewski, because he calms me. I obsessively watched the Amazon sales rank for The Red Tree, as it went up, and down, and up, and down, and up....

Please do order a copy, if you've not already. Or pick one up in a bookshop. Either way, it helps. Official release is still August 4th, but it seems to be out on shelves everywhere.

Much of yesterday evening was spent fretting over whether or not to proceed with the book trailer. Getting the footage tomorrow, that's no big deal. But an enormous amount of time and energy will have to go into editing it. And we're on a clock. We're already about six weeks late, and hoping to get it out by August 14th (while I also prepare to begin the next novel, work on Sirenia Digest #45, and a short story for a YA sf anthology, and editing The Ammonite Violin & Others, and I have that appearance in Boston on August 6th). Yesterday, I was doing more research into whether or not anyone knows if book trailers actually sell books. The verdict is, of course, no. No one knows, and there's really no way of knowing. In a June 7, 2008 article, a writer for the The Wall Street Journal concluded, ""There is scant evidence . . . that the average book trailer actually has much impact on book sales." And here's a long quote on the subject from the Build Buzz website:

"It is very difficult to find a direct and concrete link between book sales and any form of promotion, whether it's a video on YouTube, a review in a magazine, a blog Q&A with the author, or a radio talk show interview. Collectively? Sure. If you're out there getting the book's name in front of your target audience and the book is selling, it's safe to say that your hard work to promote your book is paying off. But linking sales to one individual tool is a challenge.

"Let's say your book trailer on YouTube motivates someone to buy the book. You can't link from your video's YouTube page to your book's Amazon or Barnes & Noble page, which means there is no direct connection between the video and the purchase page. If the video motivates somebody to purchase, they have to leave YouTube and search for your title on a retail site. How could you possibly track this? You can't really connect sales to videos unless you're retailing your book yourself from your own site and are tracking incoming links to your purchase page.

"The only way we can know if a book trailer is helping to sell books is if it's the only promotion tool out there working on the book's behalf. Even then, you don't know if other factors are influencing sales as well -- factors that might include strong support among independent retailers known for hand-selling books they like or a viral marketing campaign started not by the publisher or author but by a fan."

Now, truthfully, I knew all this going in, when this idea belatedly occurred to me, way back in May. But I never imagined, at the time, that on top of this inherent uncertainty, we'd find ourselves facing the time crunch we're looking at. In many ways, I've stopped looking at this as a "trailer," and more as a short film (I've said that before) expressing some splinter of The Red Tree. That has become my motivating force, to make a film that is artful, which would, de facto, separate it from 99% of all book trailers. But there is so little time, and so much else to do. It seems an unwise allocation of the scant available resources. And yet, I seem to be pressing ahead with the project.

I'm hoping that the website is proving a more useful sales tool. And it's actually been fun, and I'll continue adding to it. But, I will admit, it also brings a share of frustration. I can tell from the stats I see for the pages every night that the traffic's halfway decent, but most people are spending an average of 2.20 minutes on the site. Which isn't even in the neighborhood of the time needed to actually see and read everything that's up. Yes, the site could be more straightforward. It could be a page screaming, "FUCKIN' BUY THE RED FUCKIN' TREE BY CAITLÍN R. FUCKIN' KIERNAN," but where would be the fun or artfulness in that? Yes, the website is oblique. Yes, it's something more than a straightforward advertisement. That's the point, to encourage people, to entice them, by actually augmenting the book before they've read it. But I feel like there's no besting that 140-character attention span, or the people who simply will not even try to explore.

So, yeah, I'm running uphill today. more even than usual. But I'm still running, which is something.
greygirlbeast: (Buffy staked)
Yesterday just sort of went...splot. It was that sort of day. Between trying to fight off a sinus infection, being depressed about this "cold spring," worrying about money, struggling with a bad bout of dreamsickness, and...well, you get the picture. Distraction. So, nothing was written. No work was done, and the day got a big ol' "L" ("L"="Lost"). I am aiming to do much, much better today.

If you've not yet looked at the current eBay auctions, please do so. Bid if you are so able, and inclined to do so. Also, we're really hoping that Emma, the Beltane Bunneh sells before Beltane. We fear her fiery wrath.

Also, the platypus and dodo agree this would be a fine time to subscribe to Sirenia Digest

Not much to say about yesterday that I didn't say in that first paragraph. There was some very good WoW last night. So often, I'm down on the game, for one reason or another. There's a lot to hate about WoW, no matter how addictive it might be. However, last night Suraa and Shaharrazad made their way through the sunken temple in the Pool of Tears (Swamp of Sorrows), to the temple of the troll god Atal'Hakkar. And it was gorgeous, and fun, and made up for a lot of the crap. Marvelous dragons. All very Skull Island. Everything was rendered beautifully, and, yeah, the dragons were magnificent. We're just now going back and doing some of the low-level dungeons. We'd have done them before now, if Blizzard hadn't designed the game to cram being social down the throats of its players. At Level 63, we were just able to make it through, even though most of the monsters were in the 40s and low 50s. There are some screencaps behind the cut, because what's the point of plumbing eldritch depths if you don't send postcards?

The Temple of Atal'Hakkar )


Meanwhile, we can all rest assured that Amazon is not homophobic, just incompetent. Um...yeah.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hermione1fan for the new icon. Spooky found a T-shirt, months ago, "And then Buffy staked Edward. The End." But you can say so much more with pictures.
greygirlbeast: (grey)
A good writing day yesterday. I did 1,345 words on the new piece for Sirenia Digest #30. I should be able to finish it today. It still has no title. By the way, this piece is not for the next issue of the digest, but the issue after next. #29 will include my vignette "Flotsam," and as well another vignette by Sonya Taaffe ([livejournal.com profile] sovay).

As soon as I'm done with the piece for #30, I need to take care of the line edits on A is for Alien (thank you, Sonya) and write a foreword so that the ms. can go to Subterranean Press.

Also, it would appear that Amazon.com is finally offering the new mmp of Murder of Angels. Just follow the link, unless you'd rather get it from Barnes & Noble, in which case you should follow this link.

Also, the good news is I should be able to get back to The Red Tree much sooner than expected, as Spooky's mother has kindly agreed to investigate the length of Barbs Hill Road between Coventry (to the south) and Moosup Valley (to the north), where the novel will be set, in far western Rhode Island and send me a CD of photos that should allow me to write the editor's note bit that should allow me to return to work on Chapter One. Oh, and Spooky's dad is in Bangkok again, doing his anthropologist thing.

As to the non-writing, non-work part of yesterday, not much to say. I packed six boxes (books and videotapes, mostly). I've not left the house since Monday. There is this hope that once we are in New England, I will wander out more frequently, as there will be new things to see, friends to visit, etc., but, for my part, I am skeptical that my reclusive ways will change a great deal. Last night, we watched two more episodes from Season One of Millennium, and then I did a few hours of Second Life rp. Nareth was severely chastised by her Sire for being such a boastful, unfeeling beast, and, so, once again, Nareth is hiding in the sea. And that was yesterday, near as I recall. There was a bad seizure towards dusk, and it left me feeling brittle and unanchored the rest of the night.

I wish I could spend the day beneath a tree, getting bugs in my hair and smelling the sky...and, yet, I know that I will likely not even step Outside.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
I have tried, the last year or so, to ignore "reviews" on Amazon.com, as well as those posted to blogs and suchlike. I am aware that in the eyes of some, it appears unseemly when an author replies to her critics (and I'm being rather generous here with the word "critic"). However, myself, I have always felt that it is only reasonable that the author be permitted an equal opportunity to reply, especially when the criticism in question is demonstrably wrong or wrong-headed and may, in theory, adversely affect book sales. Anyway. Yes. I have been good. But this morning I saw a "review" of Low Red Moon on Amazon.com, posted maybe a month back, and it annoyed me, and then I had a hard day, and so I am allowing myself to fall off the wagon (for one day only). The "review," posted by Kathryn Daugherty ("tropo9"), reads as follows:

In this sequel to Threshold, Deacon and Chance are married and Chance is pregnant. Sadie is Deacon's friend, but neither remember their affair after Chance left Deacon. Even Chance doesn't remember turning back time in the water tunnel to save Elisa, but instead is again freaked out by her psychic premonitions of raining blood.

This story is really about Narcissa Snow, a part goblin child raised by an insane father on the coast of Rhode Island. She is convinced that if she gives the goblins a changeling child, then she will finally be accepted into the goblin community. The child she wishes to give them is Chance's. She travels to Birmingham, committing mutilations and murders along the way. Deacon is caught up in her schemes when Narcissa kills one of Deacon's old friends and the police ask Deacon for his psychic assistance.

The best part of the novel is that the author has cleaned up her language. The narrative is strong and sure. The worst part of the novel is that not for one second can you believe that Deacon loves Chance or that Chance loves Deacon. Why did they get married? Why is Deacon sober? Chance seems to hate Deacon and is always convinced that he is about to fall off the wagon. Deacon feels weak and useless. If you have no sympathy for the main characters and no understanding of their situation, then the author has done a very poor job. It is rather depressing that such a good writer has no understanding of human motivations.


Now...to start with, I must assume that Miss Daugherty means "ghoul" when she says "goblin," as the word "goblin" appears only twice in the novel, and only once, jokingly, as a reference to the ghouls. Secondly, who the hell of "Elisa"? I will assume, from context, that she means Elise. Third, Narcissa was raised in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, north of Cape Ann, not "on the coast of Rhode Island." Okay. So that three factual errors in the first paragraph, when, I assume, Miss Daugherty must have written this review fairly soon after having read the novel. Do I question reading comprehension here or retention of what has been read?

Regardless, what really stuns me is that final paragraph, where we are told that "not for one second can you believe that Deacon loves Chance or that Chance loves Deacon," and her calling into question the possibility that they would have married. This is so idiotic that I'm not even going into all the instances by which I could prove that, while Chance and Deacon are hardly one of those mythic ideal couples you see beaming from Match.com commercials, there is ample evidence in this book that they do love each other quite a lot. And never mind the fact that the "reviewer" seems to be labouring under the assumption that all marriages are successful, or that all married people love each other, or that all married people appear to love each other, and so forth. She's joking, right? Please note, I am not objecting to the fact that she didn't like the book, but to the fact that she cannot be bothered to write an informed review. And as for the line, "The best part of the novel is that the author has cleaned up her language," well, I'm not even going to presume to know what she means by that.

Idiot. Anyway, yeah, you can read (and rate) the "review" here.
greygirlbeast: (bear on ice)
One of those mornings when I just feel vile. It's a little warmer, but I know the cold is partly responsible for this vileness of spirit. This inability to wake up, to focus, to concentrate, to be, as they are wont to say, on my toes.

I did 1,148 words yesterday on Chapter Two of Joey Lafaye. It could have been much worse. I liked most of what I wrote. But it was another shove towards the precipice. To be precise, a shove towards that point of no return where the pyrotechnics crew wrecks so much of the set that I'm committed to a certain course for the rest of this novel. Already, I see this will not be the novel I want it to be, which is really neither here nor there. I was still writing sometime after six, when I finally set it aside for the day.

Spooky just finished re-listing for another round of eBay. Have a look. Your bids are much appreciated.

And because Amazon, with their "bargain books" boondoggle, is still making it rather difficult to find the new editions of my novels, the ones I will be judged by the sales of, here are the links again:

Daughter of Hounds

Silk

Threshold

Low Red Moon

As for the second edition (mass-market paperback) of Murder of Angels, due out in April, Amazon does not yet appear to be taking preorders. And, to answer a question I have been asked many times and usually let go unanswered, yes, it actually does harm my sales figures when you buy used copies of my books off Amazon. I hate saying this, because I know books are too expensive, and I loathe having to worry more about the bottom line than readers, but the question gets asked, and that's the truthful answer.

To answer another old and unanswered question I'm actually cranky enough to answer this morning, why yes, I do hate the cover of the mmp of Low Red Moon, and no, I have no idea why they made Narcissa look like that. I was approached by my former editor and consulted regarding her appearance. I gave a very concise, clear description of the character, which included quotations from the book itself. In the end, I said, "She would be played by Scarlett Johansson," which I thought would remove any doubt. Obviously, I was wrong. And if you think the image they finally used for the cover is bad, you should see the first one they came up with. Perhaps I'll post that initial cover image here, the one my agent and I were able to convince them was so wrong that it was unacceptable. I have liked all the other mmp covers, by the way.

Er...anyway, last night we watched two more eps from the first season of Angel. And I absolutely cannot stand Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter). But, somehow, I am enjoying the series in spite of her. It helps that I saw the last couple of seasons and know she's the vessel of the apocalypse and all that, but...ugh. Ah, and tonight is Kindernacht, and we're having Angel-o-Thon '08. We're going to watch at least six episodes, maybe eight, and eat stuff that isn't good for us.

Sorry I have not yet posted screencaps from Shahrazad's Water of Life ceremony. I'll try to get them up by tomorrow morning. I just don't want to rush it.

But now, to quote the inestimable Mr. Sweeney Todd, "The work waits!" And bloody work it will be...

Postscript (2:25 p.m.): I was just looking through a list of twenty shows that the WGA strike has halted, and forty eight that are proceeding (mostly reality TV crap), and, more than anything, I am reminded why I don't watch much television. I am a little sad to learn that The Dresden Files is not being renewed (this was announced in August, but I missed it), as the first season, while flawed, had considerable promise. I tell you, it's the kiss of death for me to grow fond of a series.
greygirlbeast: (serafina)
This will be a short entry, as there was no writing yesterday, as the whole going-to-the-dentist thing had me much too much off kilter. I am not actually afraid of dentists, but I do resent this traitorous meatsack forcing me out into the world like that. Today, I doubt there will be any writing, either, as I need to do the cover for the Tails of Tales of Pain and Wonder chapbook for Subterranean Press, the 56-page chapbook you get FREE when you preorder a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder.

Since Tuesday was shot to frell anyway, Spooky and I dropped by the Fernbank Museum of Natural History before my appointment, just to see the frogs again and so I could visit the Gigonotosaurus, Argentinosaurus, and Anhanguera mounts for a bit. But the place was absolutely lousy with boisterous children, and so we didn't stay very long. And the dentist really wasn't so bad, though we still can find no cause for the facial pain. He doesn't think it's TMJ, but next I go to a specialist. Actually, as dentists go, Dr. Shapiro was pretty cool — imagine a combination of Groucho Marx and Harlan Ellison with both his hands stuffed in her mouth and you're halfway there. Otherwise, there's not much to be said for yesterday.

I see that, despite multiple complaints by several people, Amazon still has not seen fit to revise the page for their "bargain book" remaindered trade paperbacks of Threshold, so that it doesn't claim the book's author is "Caitlin R. & Dame Darcy (artist) Kiernan." Nor has the bizarre fusion of the page for the Kindle "ebook" of Daughter of Hounds with that for Laurell K. Hamilton's The Harlequin been defused. I don't know what people are actually getting who order from that page.

Good start to the new eBay auctions yesterday. Have a look and gaze upon the adorable splendor of a paisley platypus. By the way, I think we're only going to offer five of the platypi, at least for now, as I have tired of making them. But Spooky will be adding a few more items today, I think.

Last night was mostly Second Life, my time inworld divided between a war council in the Fremen sietch and my cyborg/angel character, Nemo (formerly known as Void). Good rp, all around.

Ugh. There's not enough coffee on the planet...
greygirlbeast: (HelloSquid)
First, the cover for the new mass-market edition of Murder of Angels, due in bookstores on April 1st, 2008 ($7.99 US). My thanks to my editor at Penguin, Anne Sowards, for getting this too me so early. Anyway, it's behind the cut if you're reading this on LJ:

Murder of Angels 2nd edition )


---

I really do not often bitch about the publishing and bookselling end of writing, because, well, usually, I just don't see much point. But as Roc releases my novels in mass-market paperback, a very serious problem has come to my attention, and it's one that effects all novelists, and one that could seriously harm the sales of these editions of my novels. I have been aware of the problem for a couple of months now, but I've been so distracted by one thing or another and so haven't taken the time to talk about it. Then I received this email from Sandi Merrit:

Just a quick question. I preordered Silk from Amazon, and got it today. (Which I was very happy about) I wanted to order another copy for a present. But when I went to Amazon and put it in the search all I could find was the one published in 2002 and the one published in 1998. They don't even have the 2007 reissued edition listed. I checked twice to be sure I had not over looked it. I can order it from Barnes & Noble. But I thought I would just mention it, in cause you were unaware.

Now, here's what's going on. Like many traditional booksellers, Amazon.com is permitted by publishers to buy remaindered copies of books cheap and resell them at a discount over the cover price. You know when you can get a hardback cheap after the paperback is released, if you don't mind a red mark on the side? That's a remaindered book. And generally, I don't grouse about bookstores selling remainders, because it's better than the books getting pulped, and I know how expensive books are. Also, actual bookstores tend to have the newer editions on the shelves where you may find them. Amazon, on the other hand, is doing something rather different, and it is jeopardizing the new editions. Amazon offers their remaindered books as "bargain books" at a substantial discount, and they have begun making it very difficult to locate newer editions (because, it seems, they are more interested in moving their "bargain" copies). Hence Sandi's trouble locating the new edition of Silk. There have been days when I'm making a journal entry and need to link to one of my books, and even though I'm aware what Amazon's up to, I still have trouble finding the new mmps. I should also point out, in the case of the trade paperbacks of Threshold, Low Red Moon, and Murder of Angels, these are copies I should have had the opportunity to buy before Amazon, as guaranteed in my contracts, but was denied (see my entry for August 2nd, 2006 for details on that fiasco).

So...I need to do everything I can to make my readers aware of this problem. I should have taken action months ago, I know. Below are links to the new mmp editions of the novels. I would be very grateful if you would repost these links, or if you have asked someone to give you one of my books, that you take care to see they are directed to these editions. For one thing, they contain my edited, corrected, and preferred texts. They are not merely new and repackaged printings, and this is especially true of Silk and Threshold. These are the editions that need to sell if I am to remain in good standing with my publisher (a matter which, of course, does not concern Amazon), and if I am to continue to be able to sell future novels to Penguin (or anyone else). Amazon's "bargain books" may be significantly increasing my usually low return rates, and that is a Bad Thing (which I will explain in Pt. 2). Anyway, here are the links to the new editions:

Silk

Threshold

Low Red Moon

As yet, Amazon is not taking preorders for the mmp of Murder of Angels, but I do ask that you please wait on the new edition, instead of buying used or remaindered copies from them. And no, I am not generally opposed to used books, when they truly are used books, and when a bookseller is not employing deceitful practices to give the "used" editions an edge over the new ones. Thank you.

---

This morning, Spooky and I dragged ourselves to the theatre at nose-bleed o'clock for a matinee of Chris Weitz' adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. I think it was the 11:50 ayem screening. At any rate, we found it genuinely magnificent, a beautiful, enthralling, and deeply moving sf/fantasy. A story of forces of dogma and repression seeking to end free thought and scientific discovery by any means necessary. Now, I'll admit, I have not yet read Pullman's novels, but I am aware of the changes that were made to the story for the screenplay. And no doubt this aided in my enjoyment of the film. But, I think this is a very good example of how a film can help a book's sales (the trilogy's sales have jumped upon the film's release), and that means that kids will be exposed to the purer and less diluted anti-Church message of the novels. And from my perspective, that's a Very Good Thing. Anyway, back to the film itself, yes, wonderful. I was delighted by so much that it's hard to single out any one element or performance. I will say it gets a big thumb's up for dragging a good new song out of Kate Bush, when I have not liked anything she's done since The Sensual World (1989). The cast is uniformly superb, and I found the SFX and art direction truly breathtaking (and that's a word I know I probably use too often, but I mean it). I greatly enjoyed The Golden Compass and have added the books to my "to be read" list as a result.

And please, don't get snarky about the film until after you've seen it.

Oh, and here's this clip via IGN that features (most of) the Kate Bush song, "Lyra":

greygirlbeast: (chi3)
The last few nights, the dreams have been a slow black storm. I awake more exhausted than when I went to sleep. If only I could find a cure for sleep...

Yesterday, the mail brought me copies of the new issue of Tähtivaeltaja, a Finnish sf/fantasy zine, which has an eight-page article on my books and comics. And this is really drad and all, only I can't make heads nor tails of Finnish, so, for all I know, it could be eight pages extolling the virtues of soy beans, with titles of my stories scattered randomly about to keep me fooled. I see bad online translations in my not-too-distant future. I will note that the article includes the abominable cover of the Meisha Merlin edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder. Otherwise, it looks great.

Also yesterday, I read Spooky the first half of Chapter Nine of Daughter of Hounds. It's nice. Solid. I like it very, very much, and it made me kind of ill, reading it, to think that I've allowed the novel to languish for a month or more. I'm going to try to get to work on the second half of the chapter today; I'm going to try very, very hard.

Also (also), I read David Kerr's "Epiphany for Aliens" (Again, Dangerous Visions). Spooky went to the L5P Halloween Parade, but I was feeling even more anti-social than usual and stayed home. She took lots of pictures, some of which I think she'll post in her LJ later today. The Klingons on Harleys are my favorite. Then, last night, two houses across the street held some sort of wild-ass party that went on until the police shut it down. I'm not going to call it a Halloween party, because no one was in costume so far as I could see, which was even more annoying than all the drunken rowdiness and the people parking on the frelling sidewalk in front of our house and so on and so forth. I refuse to accept that Halloween is merely another opportunity for yuppie scum to attempt to relive the glorious blur of their frat days with bad music and cheap yellow beer in big red plastic cups.

Here's a link (thanks, Kirin!) that made me laugh and roll my eyes and grind my teeth and curse the marginally literate idiots of the world — all at once. Check out Matthew Baldwin's "Lone Star Statements," being excerpts from one-star Amazon.com "reviews" of books from Time’s list of the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present. I was especially taken with the "review" of Catcher in the Rye, which simply states, "“So many other good books...don’t waste your time on this one. J.D. Salinger went into hiding because he was embarrassed.” Also, the "review" of Slaughterhouse-Five (too dumb to quote), which gives me new hope that the human race really is artificially selecting itself backwards towards Homo erectus. I shouldn't say that. I have it on good authority that Homo erectus had a perfectly fine sense of wonder and ability to suspend disbelief. My apologies to all the souls of all good Homo erectus, past and future, for having compared them to the squinting scuttlefish who shat out these "reviews." You deserve better. Of course, so does Kurt Vonnegut.

Okay. Go write, Caitlín. At least, go think about how you're a bum if you don't write. Time to make the doughnuts. But please have a look at our eBay auctions. Remember: every "Buy It Now" purchase gets a monster doodle. Thanks!
greygirlbeast: (Nar'eth)
Okay, well this is something new. I have been accused, in an Amazon.com "review" of The Value of X, of uncorrupting Poppy. To be more precise, one Faye S. Lewis (I'd almost forgotten about her) has claimed that I "upbraided" Poppy for writing erotica and that Poppy took my "advice" on the subject and this led to the changes in her work between Exquisite Corpse and TVoX. The astute Ms. Lewis writes:

Poppy gave up the ghost when she started listening to the voices of her friends and not those in her own head. After Cait Kiernan upbraided her for using sex as a plot point, Poppy has set out to live by rules created for her, rather than by her. There is nothing wrong with a touch of the erotic (watch her chase her tail in a rage if you even say the word in relation to her work now) if it creates the atmosphere and sells the relationship on another level. Sadly, she's taken the advice of a person who once said of sex in literature: "It's like going to the bathroom. You know they do it, but you don't need to write two pages on it."

This is, of course, total gopher twaddle. True, I did once say something like the comment Lewis attributes to me here. I can't recall when or where (this may be a direct quote; I don't know), but my attitude towards extended sex scenes in novels is certainly no secret. I talked about it openly in this journal as recently as this spring, when I was working on Frog Toes and Tentacles. But. To suggest that Poppy hasn't been thinking for herself, that I am somehow responsible for the fact that she's no longer writing "erotic horror" (or whatever) is an insult to Poppy. And it's an absurd insult, at that. I mean, you might as well suggest that Harlan Ellison or William Burroughs or Hunter S. Thompson or Kathy Acker, at some point in their careers, stopped thinking for themselves because some friend or another "upbraided" them for some perceived literary transgression. It has been my experience that Poppy does what Poppy damn well wants, even when it's not in her own best interest. Ms. Lewis is the sort of reader, it seems, who believes authors are writing for them and that, when push comes to shove, the Reader Knows What's Best. Ms. Lewis is, therefore, a fool.

Anyway...

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tagplazen for an unexpected and wonderful package that arrived here from Seattle earlier this week. A veritable cornucopia of dradness that has been much appreciated. It included: a whoopee cushion, four CDs that we haven't yet had time to listen to (but I see there's stuff by Residents and the Lotus Eaters), a sheet of glow in the dark stickers (stars, moons, Saturns, shooting stars), five identical bumpterstickers which read "Let Them Eat Cake," three very cool postcards depicting various Hindu gods and goddesses, a package of 120 "Topical" ten-commandment stickers, Jogging With Jesus by C. S. Lovett (this is the gem of the bunch), a package of "Fantasy Garden Incense" (20 sticks of a scent identified as "Pussy"), a poster from Crimethinc., and a red "Proud to be Drug Free" pencil (with a well-loved eraser). I mean, wow!

And Spooky gave me a Halloween Pez dispenser today. An embarrassment of riches, says I.

Okay. Back to work. And it's not too late to hit those eBay auctions, if you feel so inclined.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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