greygirlbeast: (Default)
Not as much sunny Outside today as cloudy. And 46˚F.

Yesterday, two more interviews. Oh, and this. Which wasn't precisely an interview. But there was no work. No writing that wasn't answering questions. Four interviews (and this) in two days, and we're on the seventh day of a short month – longer by one day, thanks to leap year – and today I have to get back to work, and work means writing, not answering interview questions. Actually, my answering interview questions is probably now a legitimate part of my "job," but it's not writing. Today, I'm going to write. Or something like it. Tonight, after dinner, I'll deal with the next interview.

News from Subterranean Press is that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart will be out sometime in May.

I have arrived at a curious, but, I believe, useful, new monetary standard to be employed by freelance authors. Forget the dollar. The basic unit of currency is the pizza. For example, someone pays me three-hundred dollars for a reprint, that's ~15P (based on an average large pizza price, with three toppings, of $20). Say your book deal drops twenty-thousand dollars into your lap (minus your agent's 15%); that's ~850P. This new standard will serve us far better. Sell nothing, ever, for less than at least 1P.

Since last summer I've been struggling to explain the relationship between Blood Oranges and its impending sequels (they do impend) and genuine ParaRom. No, do not use the label "Urban Fantasy." Once upon a time, Urban Fantasy had dignity. ParaRom stole the term (I don't know if it was the writers, editors, publishers, or an elaborate conspiracy of the lot). ParaRom, or PR. Anyway, the correct word I belatedly found yesterday is subvert. That is, Blood Oranges et al. is meant to subvert ParaRom. That's asking a lot of any poor book/s, but someone has to throw herself on the grenade.

Last night, Spooky and I played Rift for the first time since, near as I can tell from my notes, December 19th. That's, what, forty-nine days ago? The game remains beautiful, and it was good to be back. A good break from SW:toR. See, I didn't leave Rift because I was bored. I left because trying to run an RP guild – which meant writing more after I was done writing for the day, plus trying to get people to show up for RP – had sort of soured me on the whole thing. And then SW:toR arrived, all fresh and shiny and unsullied. Last night, I realized how much I'd missed Rift. BUT, because of the "free-to-play" Rift-Lite, our server has been overrun by idiots who cannot comprehend that it's an RP server, and there was a serious (and reasonable) fucking case of Gnerd Rage going down in general chat last night. I ignored it (I ignored everyone), and Indus (my Level 43 Eth warrior) and Dancy (Spooky's Level 43 Kelari cleric) quested and closed rifts in the Droughtlands and Shimmersand. What I didn't see was any evidence that there's been an exodus of players. There were high-level players everywhere. Many more than when I left, so the news of the game's recent troubles may have been...exaggerated. Anyway, for now, I think Spooky and I will be jumping back and forth between the two games – since we have no actual social life.

The no-sleep demons found me last night. Monsier Insomnia kept me awake until after five ayem (though I was in bed by 2:15 ayem). I didn't wake until after noon (or afternoon, if you prefer).

And one last thing. I'm missing the South fiercely. Part of it's this shitty Providence winter. Part of it is...well...complicated. I do not miss the people or the culture. I miss the land. And I'm sick of missing the South, because there is no dividing the people from the land. In the main (though not universally), the people are not worthy of even the smallest fraction of my longing. They showed me hatred, with rare bits of tolerance. By comparison, in New England I have found a mix of acceptance and people who simply know how to mind their own business. In the South, very few people know how to mind their own business. Indeed, throughout most of America, this is the case. Anyway, last night I got to thinking on the silly phrase "Southern hospitality" (which always baffled Spooky). It's not that "Southern hospitality" doesn't exist; it's that it's a highly conditional phenomenon. Conform, and we'll be relatively hospitable. Fail to conform, and we'll bedevil you. At last I left, and I am better off for it. But I cannot shake this longing for the land.

I've written far too much, says the platypus. I've written nothing at all. Gotta try to work.

Here, There, and the Other Place,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
So far, here in Providence, it's been a shitty, snowless winter. Lots of rain, and days with wide carnivorous blue skies, but fuck all when it comes to snow. Did we piss off the Snow Miser or something?

If you've not seen it already, the ONE AND ONLY auction of an ARC of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has begun, and it began last night. The ARC is only being auctioned because we went a little over budget on the trailer shoot (and still have another day or so of filming coming up at the end of this month). So, please bid if you are able. Own a collectible ARC filled with uncorrected sentences. Oh, and both of Vince's illustrations for the novel do appear in the ARC. Thank you.

I'm not sure there's much point in recounting yesterday. I didn't write, because there was a sort of endless barrage of writing-related emails and phone calls. There was a good conversation with my publicist at Penguin (regarding The Drowning Girl), and I was sent more inked pages from Alabaster #3 (which I need to proof as soon as I finish this entry), and there were the pencils for the fourth Alabaster cover (beautiful), and a whole bunch of stuff for Readercon. I'm not kidding, working on all these books at once has my head spinning. Two hours of work feels like eight. This is a new thing to me. At least I'm sleeping more; otherwise, I'd probably be dead by now.

Rainy, cold Thursdays in January are good days for comments.

I'm not even going to try and explain the Buffalo-chicken calzones we had for dinner, except to say they're as hot coming out as they are going in.

Oh, I have this peculiar meme-thing from [livejournal.com profile] matociquala: Pick up the nearest book to you. Turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012. Okay. I'll play along. So..."The templars strode forward, drawing their swords and advancing on the dogmen, who stood to meet them." Make of that what you will.

Otherwise, yesterday...well, not much else. I read "The forelimb carriage in ceratopsid dinosaurs," and my Sith assassin made it to Tatooine and reached Level 26. Oh, and this morning we learned that Rift's next big patch is going to permit in-game "Ascendent weddings," which, I will admit, is just a few thousand miles beyond the pale for me. The lines between pretend and real begin to blur like that, and we're back to the Great Cesspool of Second Life.

Looking Askance,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
This morning, Spooky made a fantastic ham omelette (LJ can only spell the word as omelet, which figures), which I ate with pepperoncini (which LJ can't spell at all) and buttered toast, using the leftovers from Friday morning. As I ate, the thought occurred to me, reflecting on all the asshole shoppers and drivers that seem to have slithered out of the cracks the last week or five, I thought, and asked aloud, "If they're this bad at Xmas, what must they be like the rest of the year?" Or maybe it's just that Xmas makes people extra thoughtless, selfish, and whatnot. Maybe it's Consumer Jesus rebound. Regardless, Spooky makes a damned good omelette.

Yesterday? Very, very little with which to regale you lot, kittens. I didn't drink. How's that? I read stories by Sarah Monette and Paul McAuley. The only thing I really wanted to do was board the train last night and ride as far north as Boston or as far south as Manhattan. Just to see the lights, and the long stretches of mostly darkness, and to feel the wheels beneath me. That's what we didn't do, as it was impractical. I'll never understand all this time spent dodging the impractical. If life is an inflated inner tube, then practicality and caution are twin nails waiting to puncture the rubber and release all the air. Practicality and caution are twin nails, and they conspire to thwart the wild heart.

Instead, we nested. We hid. We watched Badder Santa, ate junk food, had Mexican Coke, and played a lot of SW:toR (and no, we haven't forsaken Rift, but I am mostly steering clear until the "Fae Yule" shit has passed). My Sith has yellow eyes now, which I suppose is meant to signify her descent into the Dark Side. Her eyes were the palest blue, almost white. She's a terribly vain woman, who once was a slave in the mines of Korriban. Unmentionable things were done to her there, and those crimes against her mind and body left her shattered, and seeing her eyes turn yellow only drove Varla that much farther into the shadows. But, on the other hand, Darth Zash gave her a shiny new Fury-Class starship...so, all's well that ends well.

Also, yesterday – here on Earth – I listened to lots of old music, mostly Athens-period stuff. I stewed and hated at Xmas, like the Grinch atop Mount Crumpit. But the rage has subsided to indifference today. An odd indifference. Today, I am not so much bitter as I am baffled at the shallowness of it all. This day doesn't even feel like that wicked holiday. It just feels like any other cold Sunday in Providence, which is a consolation, so maybe that's my Fury-Class starship.

Wishing For Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a lot like today, if you only kept your eyes on the sky. Grey.

There's something grim hanging over me this early afternoon. It's familiar, but nothing that's been keeping me company lately. Maybe it's only because tomorrow is Cephalopodmas and Solstice. I need to go to the sea and make an appropriate offering. The weather is so cold and shitty, but I never used to let that stop me before. We're making octopus- and jellyfish-shaped sugar cookies, and I'll make a simple beef stew, beginning with a roux that includes a good stout. Probably not Guinness, though that's what I usually use. Maybe I'll make a huge breakfast on Friday morning. None of this is helping me lose weight.

Yesterday, I painted again. It would be soothing, I suppose. A soothing diversion, were my painting not, by necessity, such a violent act. Then again, maybe I find the violence soothing. Oh, and I have a postcard from Scotland in an antique Salmgundi Whitman's chocolates tin; that is, I just put the postcard in there so I wouldn't lose it. My office is an utter cacophony of paper and manuscript boxes, and it's easy to lose things.

Between now and mid-February, I desperately need a web monkey who'll work for all but free. I can offer inscribed, autographed books as remuneration. Mostly, I need the front page of my website converted from something that features The Red Tree to something that features The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, including the "teaser" trailer, which will later be replaced by the full two-minute version. The pages for The Red Tree would be placed elsewhere on the site. Easy stuff, yeah? But beyond my 1995 html skills. Hell, I'll even throw in a FREE one-year subscription to Sirenia Digest. If you want the job, say so here, in a comment, or email me a greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm sort of desperate. My publisher is useless on this front.

There was an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday evening after dark. The appointments are much less unnerving after dark, and she's a very pleasant woman whom I can talk to about almost anything. I'm always surprised at her forbearance.

I'm trying to listen to William Gibson's Neuromancer on audiobook, because it's been years since I read it. But the reader (remaining here nameless) has this annoying Southern accent, and he ends almost every sentence with an odd...how do I describe it? His voice dips and fades at the end of sentences, and, while he's good with Japanese and Russian accents, his attempts at reading female dialogue sounds like Monty Python drag. For dog's sake, just read the goddamn book, and stop trying to dramatize, even minimally. I'm very pleased I have so much control and say-so in the recording of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I've already made it plain I want not one whit of dramatization. Just a good reader, who will sound like Imp and simply read.

I cannot help but sing Death Cab for Cutie's "Someday You Will Be Loved" as a serial-killer song, always singing "Someday you will be loved" as "Someday you will be mine." Either way, it's a pretty harsh song. A killer or a cad.

Far too much SW:otR last night*. Spooky got the game yesterday, so now we're playing together. I rolled my second Sith inquisitor, and gods, she's adorable. Adorable evil. Like a half Nebari girl-child in Japanese schoolgirl mode, though she's actually human. Yes, I'm playing a bloody human, and liking it. Her name is Varla. Spooky's playing a Zabrak Sith warrior named Aisimetra. I didn't get to bed until 4:30 ayem (you tell yourself it's a bloody vacation, so it's okay to be bad kids), and only slept 6.5 hours.

And now I ought go and do vacating sorts of things. Except, today is a day of errands, preparing for tomorrow and ol' St. Cthulhu.

I want to see The Adventures of Tintin, but it's in blasted, fucking 3D motherfucking EVERYWHERE here, unless you can make an 11 ayem show (noon CaST). Yeah, right. That's gonna happen. Pretty much the same situation with Hugo, and Scorcese ought know better. When the hell is Hollywood going to accept that ticket sales on 3D movies have plummeted to about 20% of box-office revenue, mostly because of the more expensive tickets, and they're only throwing bad money after good (and destroying cinematography in the process)?

In the anti-holiday spirit,
Aunt Beast

* Oh, and no Xmas shit in SW:otR! Clearly, the Baby Jesus never reached either the Republic or the Empire. Woot!
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: (chi 5)
My thoughts are well and truly scattered this morning. No, excuse me. This afternoon, as it is now 12:58 p.m. CaST (though only 11:58 ayem EST, hence still morning). I don't feel like resorting to numbers and bullet points today, either, so bear with me, or don't bear with me.

Bear with me. One of those interesting turns of phrase that I have to wonder if many people ever pause to consider the older, more genuine meanings. Bear. With. Me.

We were planning to be at the VNV Nation show in Boston tonight, and the fabulous Chris Ewen even saw to it that we were on the guest list. Then, yesterday, fearing the possibility of contracting some illness from the crowd, and fearing my deadlines, we pulled out. And our two places on the guest list were raffled last night by Chris, while he DJed at Heroes (DJed as in disc jokey, not as in a pillar-like ancient Egyptian symbol representing stability, id est, djed). So, two happy people will be taking our places tonight, and congratulations to them, but doing good rarely serves as much in the way of consolation if you are me. And I am. Me, I mean.

And I can’t fall asleep without a little help.
It takes a while to settle down,
My shivered bones,
Until the panic‘s out.
~ The National, "Terrible Love"

Yesterday, I discovered that (as is so rarely actually ever the case) the third time was the charm with "Sexing the Weird," and I finished a new 1,525-word version of "Sexing the Weird," which will serve as the introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And I like it. Also, this morning (it truly was still ayem CaST) I received Sonya's afterword, "But She Also Lies Broken and Transformed." So, aside from Kathryn and I making about a bazillion corrections to the main text, then getting that text back to Bill Schafer, the book is done. Still no firm release date or date when pre-orders will begin. Later. It's safe to say it will be later, in both cases.

And today, I begin the aforementioned short story about the two women who become cities, for Sirenia Digest #72. And that reminds me to, again, remind you that responses to "Question @ Hand #5" are due by midnight (CaST) on the 7th. Also a caveat: best to avoid humor. I suppose I should have been clear about this from the beginning, but I didn't actually see this as a humorous undertaking (though humor and horror are always loping about, unsightly, hand in hand, I know); I am in an earnest state of mind.

Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher avec araignées.
Il est un amour terrible et je suis à marcher dans la compagnie calme.
Et je pouvais ne tomber pas dormir sans un peu aidé;
Il prendre beaucoup à se calmer mon os de frissonnement
Tant que la panique est dehors.
~ The National, "Amour terrible"

Black-eyed peas and collards for dinner last night. I'm undeniably homesick for Georgia and Alabama. Which is the height of peculiarity, given how neither place was ever a home to me, despite the fact that I lived there almost all my life. My relationship with the South could probably serve as a case study in Das Unheimliche.

Later, we watched the next-to-latest episode of American Horror Story, and, gods – Zachary Quinto in latex. Later still, for want of physical, non-virtual company or any other "real-world" diversion, we played Rift. This morning, Spooky was telling me about the offensive comments coming in over level twenty-something to level thirty-something chat – and I didn't ask for specifics, but I assume it was the usual homophobic, racist, sexist ramblings. I keep everything but guild and RP chat off, so I always miss this shit in Rift. I got enough of it in WoW. But it's not ever encountered in actual gameplay – and last night was a good example – people are consistently polite and often helpful (unlike the situation in WoW). It leads me to suspect that an awful lot of people log in merely to "socialize," and likely they're fairly young, or actual kids, and talking hate shit is the false bravado of their generation, as it has been of all generations. Which, of course, makes it no less disheartening, and reminds me why I stay out of Meridian ("New Orgrimmar") as much as possible and always keep general chat switched off. Gaming is, for me (RP aside), a fundamentally solitary exercise, and forget the "massively multiplayer" part. I rarely game with anyone but Spooky. We duo. Anything to avoid the chimps on crack who cram into so much of gamespace.

Ah, and here's a thing I thought I'd post. Behind the cut. Twenty fantasy books that exerted an especial influence on me as an adolescent, in no particular order (behind the cut):

Twenty+ )

And yeah, I cheated and that is many more than twenty books, but I still feel as if many important things have been left out. Ah, well. For another time, yes. But if you have not read all these books at least once, shame on thee.

Nostalgic,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (fry1)
Not sure why I'm using my Carolyn Fry icon today, from that marvelous scene as the Hunter Gratzner crashes. It just felt right. Maybe it says something about the health of Frank the Goat this morning and early afternoon, as LJ suffered another DDoS attack.

1) A late start to the day. But I've already signed 600+ signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (coming from Subterranean Press in 2012) and proofed inked pages for the Alabaster comic. I wish I could show you more of the art; the first issue is going to kick ass, and a lot of that credit will go to Steve Lieber (artist and letterer), our colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, and cover artist Greg Ruth.

2) I'm still hoping to be able to begin the new short story, for Sirenia Digest #72, started this afternoon. A tale about two women who become cities. And yeah, sorry, the digest will be woefully late this month. November was a right proper cunt, was she. So, blame her. But, still, I hope to have it out by the 10th of December at the latest.

3) And speaking of Sirenia Digest #72, come on, kittens. Get in those responses to the fifth Question @ Hand. Don't be shy. You get complete anonymity, and you DO NOT have to worry about the feasibility of the science in your replies. Oh, and I'll be especially pleased by entries that make no mention of my being a writer. But don't tarry too long. If these are going to make it into #72, I need all replies in by midnight CaST (EST +1 hour) Wednesday, December 7th.

4) Good RP in Rift last night. Thank you, all who took part. You were splendid. I'm hoping to double our numbers by the end of December, and then worry a lot less about recruiting for a bit. I'm beginning to wonder if a surprisingly (to me) small number of my readers are gamers. My calls for players go mostly unheeded, and, truly, not only is Rift an awesome game (as in, it fills me with awe), it's a great entertainment value. For the price of a large pizza, for less than a single movie for two, you get a month of unlimited play. Can't do much better than that. Dump that crappy cable TV, and come and play with us!

5) We've been working our way through Disc One of the most recent season of Doctor Who, and last night we finally saw the episode written by Neil, "The Doctor's Wife." Frankly, I was completely unimpressed by the four episodes (or was it three?) that preceded it, but then "The Doctor's Wife" blew me away. It is no lie to say that I very almost cried at the end. It shows that Matt Smith can be a good doctor, if given good scripts (though I still miss David Tenant, and I miss Christopher Eccleston – my doctor – even more). However, no author can redeem Rory Williams (BORING), and I want him gone.

6) Whoever is responsible for the portmanteau "advertorials" (derogatory shutter quotes!) needs to die, along with whoever invented the concept. And Jesus fuck, LJ knows how to spell the goddamned "word"!

Anyway, I think that's all for now. Carry on.

Eating A Cupcake,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

1. Yesterday, I put nose to grindstone and wrote pages 18-22 of Alabaster #3, and finished the issue. Today, I make a few corrections and send it to my editor at Dark Horse. This evening or tomorrow, I'll begin the new short piece for Sirenia Digest #72, and as soon as that's done, I have to get Alabaster #4 written before my vacation begins on the 15th.

2. And, kittens, please don't forget Question @ Hand #5! Thank ye.

3. As promised, here is the final cover layout for the trade paperback edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, to be released by Penguin on March 6, 2012:

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


And if you wonder why "A Memoir" isn't on the cover (I think I discussed this earlier), it's because my publisher worried doing so would cause "consumers" (shutter quotes!) to mistake the novel for an autobiography. And knowing how stupid most "consumers" (shutter quotes again!) are, I agreed. Thing is, this novel is an autobiography. It's India Morgan Phelps fictional autobiography, which, in large part, is drawn from my actual life, making this (like The Red Tree before it) a very autobiographical book. A complex, fictionalized autobiography. Also, I draw a distinction between consumers, readers, and smart readers, hence the derogatory shutter quotes.

4. By the way, for anyone who really didn't understand what the whole 0.003¢ hoopla was about yesterday, think of it this way: Imagine you have a job that you work at for nine hour a day. But you're only paid for three of those hours. And, on top of that, you're only paid one third of one third of minimum wage. Ergo, the hoopla.

5. There was a spectacular dream this ayem, and one that was very disturbing, even if I can't explain precisely why it disturbed me. First, I was deep in the Everglades, walking along a stone wall that lined green waters, clear as crystal. The water was choked with eelgrass, especially where it met the wall. A woman walked with me, and we talked, but I have no idea who she was, if she were anyone at all. There were gigantic cottonmouth moccasins in the water, and huge fish, and alligators, and a bizarre aquatic species of babirusas. All that life in the water, astounding. And then the cypresses and Spanish moss parted and we walked down onto Moonstone Beach. A single enormous wave, the bluest wave I'd ever seen (but shot through with foamy white), rose above us. It must have been at least thirty feet tall. We turned and ran, and when it broke against the sand, only our feet got wet.

6. I shall no longer put off the summation of my feelings regarding SW:toR. That is, my feelings as gleaned from my three days at the end of the beta, the impression I was able to form over three days, twenty-plus hours, and 14.3 levels with my Twi'lek Sith, Herazade (the Merciless). And these I will not belabor. If you don't like running, and running a lot, and running a lot over the same ground, this is not the game for you. The running didn't bother me, but that might be that because my first MMORPG was WoW back when you had to make it to Level 30 before you could get trained for a mount and buy one. The only major drawback for me was that the game – while, on the one hand, being generally very friendly to solo players – absolutely requires grouping for "flashpoints" that cannot be skipped (without screwing up your character's progress through the story). And I will never, ever cease to resent and find angrifying the attempt by anyone or anything to require that I socialize. That said, it's pretty simple, grouping for the flashpoints (I only had to do one): you stand outside the instance until someone asks you to be in their group. Even I was able to endure it. Essentially, these are little "dungeons" or episodes on starships. So, that's my One Big Criticism. Difficulty wise, it's a nice balance between, say, the witless grind of WoW and the unfathomable clutter of CoX. And unlike those two games – and this was a big selling point for me – the Sith truly are Evil. They're not the brutish, misunderstood Horde, and they're not a bunch of whining players afraid to get any darker than antihero. You are constantly rewarded (now, this all applies to playing Sith, of course), for being very, very bad. And penalized for the smallest acts of kindness. Though, the game world's techno stagnation still bugs me.

To me, SW:toR plays like a cross between an MMORPG and a good console game. Lots of people have complained about the frequent (interactive) cut scenes – which are present even during those flashpoints – but I like them a lot. Some of this is that the writing and voice acting are both superb, best I've ever heard by far in any MMORPG. As I said before, during these scenes, the animation can fall into the Uncanny Valley, with rubbery faces and all (not in a movie, but in a game), and I was surprised to find that good voice acting can salvage such stiff animation. Actual gameplay animation is quite good, though not as good as Rift**. I had no problems with the UI. That's something else I saw people whining about. Things do get a little complicated when you have to learn to mod equipment and such, but it's pretty intuitive, unlike, say, CoX, wherein forms of convoluted logic unknown to any sentient species are required, and unlike EVE Online, which pretty much requires of its players a Ph. D. in Engineering and Advanced Astrophysics. All in all, I found it a very intuitive game, and intuition is very important to me. I dislike manuals; I like to be able to teach myself. And while SW:toR does require you study the occasional "codex" to learn about this or that, the act of playing is, itself, intuitive. I've only played five MMORPGs, but SW:toR and Rift are, by far, the best of the five. Right now, my plan is to continue spending most of my gaming time on the latter, but to use the former for those times when I need a break from Rift. And that's about all I have to say. I feel like there are people deeply disappointed I didn't hate the game (as I'd expected to), but these are my honest impressions. I had fun. I was delighted. This is the story I've been waiting for since The Empire Strikes back, and I get to play along with it.

And remember, if you're one of the Watchers of the Unseen, tonight is RP night! Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, check your email!

Okay. This has grown much too long, and I have email, and work, and I have to go to the bank today (gag), so the platypus says to shake a leg.

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (twilek2)
I like art that at first makes you mad. Good art provokes and inspires, baffles and even shocks us. Sometimes with its beauty, sometimes with its amazing ugliness. ~ John Waters

Why is this not perfectly fucking obvious? Why do people have to be told these things by artists? Why is the self-evident evidently so hard to see?

1) A busy day yesterday, so a subset:
a. I wrote pages Sixteen and Seventeen on the third issue of Alabaster. Dialogue is one thing. Choreographing the movement of three "actors" is another. The latter is a bitch.
b. My editor at Dark Horse (Hi, Rachel!) sent me Steve's pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17-25, and they are, in a word, wonderful. Also, a Paul Benedict troll! Anyway, today I have to get notes together on these pages before the inking, though, truthfully, the notes will be few.
c. More conversation with Brian Siano about the final cut of the "teaser" trailer we'll be releasing in January for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think people are going to be amazed.
d. My contributors' copies of the Lightspeed: Year One collection arrived, which compiles all the stories that appeared in the website's first year online. Edited by John Joseph Adams, it reprints "Faces in Revolving Souls," which, I have to admit, I'm not very fond of anymore. However, the collection as a whole is really quite awesome (the presence of OSC notwithstanding, and never mind the homophobic bastard's name is the first listed on the cover).

You know...this was going to be a much longer entry...

...but I keep writing paragraphs...

...and I keep erasing them. It's just that sort of morning. I'll do better tomorrow. Or later tonight.

But if you're in my Rift guild, do please remember that Thursday night is the next scheduled RP event. And one more thing, please have a look at last night's posted "Question @ Hand." I'm going to be accepting replies for several days, and I want to see some very good stuff. By the way, silly, hand-waving bad science is perfectly acceptable, in this case. I'm hoping for at least seven replies we can use in Sirenia Digest #72.

Oh! Also I've gotten word that people are beginning to receive the first round of rewards from Kickstarter we did for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think these are prints of some of Kyle's photos. Pleased note that the rewards will be going out to donors in several waves, and that the last batch can't be mailed until after the book is published in March 2012.

And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sovay for reminding me that "The Key to the Castleblakeney Key" is now online, my contribution to Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's marvelous anthology, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. This online version includes the color photograph of the artefact, which appears in black and white in the anthology.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Dreams give us another reality, realities that are, more often than not, terrible or horrific or surreal. But, always, those dream realities are brilliant. The are radiant, even if they radiate darkness and seethe with violence and fear. Then we awake, and we're back here again. Here, where the world is banal, and all is shit, and there is nothing. (A thought more perfectly realized in the instant of its conception, but, like a dream, it began fading as I tried to write it down.)

2. I have been sitting here contemplating measuring the speed of time as a physical constant. If not in this worldline, then in some other. Light's easy, that c we take for granted, a simple 299,792,458 m/second, but what if time moves? How does one state the speed of time without resorting to circular reasoning?

3. Yesterday, I did only one new page on Alabaster, Page Fifteen, because I realized that I'd set the plot on the wrong pivot (so to speak – pivot, fulcrum, whatever), and the first half #3 was the last chance I'd have to set it straight in the first series, and if I didn't set it right then the wrongness would echo down through many issues to come. Writing comics, plot is one of those things that are first and foremost. When I'm writing prose, I almost always let plot worry about itself. Usually, it accretes naturally out of characterization and mood and theme, those things I prefer to write. Actually writing plot is, I find, agonizing. Like picking buckshot out of your own flesh, then putting it back in another way round, but finding that configuration just as "wrong," and starting over and over and over. Life has characters and moods and maybe even themes run through it, but it has no plot. Which is why a plan is only a list of things that never happen. Like my proposals and synopses for unwritten stories. Anyway, I'll still hit my deadline on #3.

4. Apologies for not posting the "Question @ Hand" last night. Tonight, for sure. I'm dithering.

5. Played more of SW:toR last night (though only about a third as on Saturday), and, as promised, I was going to attempt to explain my thoughts on how it might be that video games make lousy movies, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back (1980). But, [livejournal.com profile] slothman has saved me the trouble:

When you get 3000 years away from the main setting, you can ignore 95% of the issues of continuity with the stories from the films and the vast majority of Expanded Universe fiction. That frees up the creators to tell entirely new stories, using the familiar ingredients of lightsabers and the Force and a hundred sentient species. In my opinion, the best Star Wars work takes place at least 1000 years before the films (the Knights of the Old Republic games and comics), and the second best over 100 years after (the Star Wars: Legacy comics).

Which is essentially what I was going to say.

I'm going to play again tonight, then summarize my thoughts on the beta tommorow. But I am still loving it mightily, but also allowing myself to see the blemishes. The one that bothers me the most (she jumps the gun!) is that SW:toR takes us three-thousand years into the past, roughly three-thousand years before A New Hope, and...all the technology is essentially the same. The starships, the shuttles, the weaponry, the speeder bikes, the droids, and so on. Now, this would be akin to watching technology on earth having failed to evolve significantly since, say, the Third Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (roughly 1060-664 BC), or...well..pick another culture – China, Persia, the Mesoamericans, etc. – they all work in this analogy. Maybe, if I were a bigger Star Wars geek I'd know some bit of lore to explain the reason for this technological stagnation spanning millennia. As it is, I find the phenomenon baffling. Were the creators too lazy to fashion a genuine history for this galaxy long, long ago and far, far away? Do they fear fan backlash? It can't be that. Not after LucasArts unleashed Jar Jar fucking Binks on an unsuspecting world. Sure, later we get death stars and light sabers fall out of favour and whatnot, but nothing really changes in the course of three-thousand years.

6. I just got the news that Ken Russell has died. Truthfully, I hated almost all of his films, with the only notable exception of Whore (1991). But still...damn. As Russell said, "“Reality is a dirty word for me, I know it isn’t for most people, but I am not interested. There’s too much of it about.”

7. Part of last night was spent catching up on "television" (id est, streaming via Hulu). Very good episodes of both Fringe and American Horror Story. And I read chapters Five and Six of Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus rex before sleep, which didn't come until about four ayem. I was in bed at two, but my mind (despite a literal handful of pills) had other plans.

Here For Now,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
1. Sometimes, I'm wrong. And then there are these times when I'm wrong on a cataclysmic scale. The trick is admitting one's mistakes, and I'm pretty good at that. So, without further ado, I have to admit that Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the best games I've ever played. No one's more amazed than me. As you'll recall from earlier posts, I was impressed with neither the cut scenes or gameplay videos I was seeing online. Then, yesterday, my time in the beta finally came around. I did my work (I'll come to that later), and then started playing around four p.m. And...except for a half hour dinner break, I played SWtoR until four a.m. (!!!). And it was an utter delight. I solo leveled a blue Twi'lek slave girl until she was a Level 10 Sith Apprentice to Lord Vash. For a beta, the gameplay was amazingly smooth. The voice acting and writing are very well done, and I wasn't the least bit annoyed by the things that seem to be annoying other players (frequent cut scenes, lots of time spent running, etc.). So, because life is stranger than fiction, I unreservedly suggest others may also love this game. I'll certainly be buying a copy when it's released on December 20th.

Here's what baffles me. We know what lousy movies are made from video games. I mean, it's almost impossible to make a halfway decent movie from a video game. So...how is it that Star Wars episodes 1-3 were so unrelentingly awful, and this game is so good? It's the inversion of a truism. In another entry I'll come back to why I think this inversion was possible. But, for now, I'll just say the game I played last night...and this morning...that's the fix I've been waiting for since the summer I saw The Empire Strikes Back twenty times in theatres (1980).

2. Yesterday I wrote pages Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen on Alabaster. Only eight pages left to go, and, like I said, I'm thinking I won't be missing that deadline after all, which is sort of amazing, considering the chaos of late (and the damn fool gaming binge).

3. TONIGHT, kittens, I will be posting the Question @ Hand for Sirenia Digest #72. I want gritty, disturbing replies. The ten I like best will be "printed" anonymously in the digest. If you've been a part of this before, you already know that the answers will be screened, and that no one but me will be able to read your answers (unless it's printed, and then, as I said, anonymity). I have all my polyps crossed that there will be some amazingly unnerving answers.

Oh, and to repeat what I said a couple of days back, we're running a Sirenia Digest special. Subscribe now, and you'll get #71 free with issue #72. In fact, if you subscribed any time in November you get #71. This is to be sure people reading the alternate first chapters of Silk will have access to the entire manuscript. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

4. If anyone ever says, "You can be a Time Lord or you can be a writer," for Dog's sake, tell them you want to be a Time Lord.

I'm coming platypus....

There Is Only Passion,
Aunty Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
0. Comments, please. Prove to me LJ is not dead (again). I'm sick to death of self-fulfilling prophecies. You comment, I'll reply. Cause and effect.

1. Never, ever tell people on Facebook that "A release date has been set for the release on my first studio CD since 1999, which is called LOVEAMOEBA (band of the same name). TBA." Because, while this looks, to me, like a very obvious practical joke, many other people will appear to take it seriously. C'mon, guys. Loveameoba? No. Anyway, apologies. This whole humor thing, this beast has yet to master it in any way as to please anyone but herself.

2. I dozed off sometime after four, and woke at nine. Ayem, that is. If there's a part of me that doesn't hurt, please write my brain a letter to that effect. Er...wait. No, if there's a bit of my anatomy that is not in agony, it needs to send a telegram to my brain. Oh, wait. I mean, it needs to phone home. Oh...shit. I mean, it needs to twat at my brain. Yeah, that's what I mean. Hold on. What year is this?

3. A long phone call with my agent yesterday, at 2 CaST (1 EST), regarding Blood Oranges, ebooks, The Drowning Girl, etc. & etc. The usual. It seemed like we talked for an hour, though I suspect it was more like twenty minutes. Still feels like an hour. Afterwards, I discovered I was still so disgusted with the travesty that is "Sexing the Weird" that I couldn't even think about writing. I went with Spooky while she ran errands, instead. Sometimes, even the bland light of late autumn in Providence is better than the light of this monitor.

4. So, yeah. A Question @ Hand will be posted here tomorrow. All replies will be screened and will be confidential. The ten responses that please me the most will appear in Sirenia Digest #72. Anyone with any last moment ideas should post them here today. You know, like "If a circle of Dante's hell were to be designed especially for me, what would it be like?" Or "If you were to choose me as the test subject for an experiment involving the effects of a genetically designed parasite, what would the organism be, and what effect would it have upon me?" See. That sort of thing.

5. If I cannot put it on my shelf, it's not book. And no, placing a Kindle or a Nook or a whatever on the shelf doesn't count. Call it a data-storage or media delivery device. I have no problem with that. But it's not a book.***

6. Later this week Kathryn will be beginning a new round of eBay auctions (the first in a long time), and we'll be including ONE signed copy of The Drowning Girl ARC. Be the first on your block and all that.

7. Last night we played too much Rift again, but this time with a new guild member, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack. I dusted off my Eth warrior, Indus, and it was pretty fucking cool tanking for a change. Watchers of the Unseen (Defiant side, Faeblight shard) is always looking for new members, especially those interested in RP.

8. I'm ending the Aunt Beast Book of the Month Club. Results were, at best, mixed. And I think I never recovered from that Carrie Ryan fiasco.

9. The postman just brought Nos. 1 and 2 (Fall 2010 and 2011) of Centipede Press' The Weird Fiction Review. No. 2 includes the first print appearance of my story, "Fish Bride." And, honestly, the Review is a gorgeous thing, more in the fashion of an academic literary journal than a pulp magazine. I'm very impressed. Oh, also, I've sold a poem I wrote last year, "Atlantis," to Strange Horizons. This is the first time I have ever actually sold a poem. Sure, I included "Zelda Fitzgerald" in Tales of Pain and Wonder, but that's different.

Epilogue:

Would you leave me if I told you what I've done?
And would you leave me if I told you what I've become?


~ and ~

You can't choose what stays and what fades away. ~ Florence + the Machine

Anger's Little Petri Dish,
Aunt Beast

*** Please comment on things besides ebooks. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (Bjork)
On this day in 1965, the stars were right, and the Old Ones dropped some especially gnarly acid and, in the throes of their LSD-induced mischief, delivered unto Iceland the sparkly, polymorphous girl-thing duly named Björk Guðmundsdóttir. So don't tell me we don't have proof of alien civilizations. Hamingjusamur Björk Day!

Today is going to be weird. I feel it coming, like a great black tsunami.

As for yesterday, well...let's put it this way: Fuck me dead. After spending three days I could ill afford to lose trying to write "Sexing the Weird" I realized (about 6 p.m. last night) that I was writing shit and, at least, had the good sense to stop. Eighteen pages of shit. And if I'd kept going, I'd have wasted another day or two, and have thirty-two pages of shit. So, I've just emailed Bill Schafer to tell him there will be no introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, or if there will be, it will be very short. Something like, "This is my weird sex book about weird sex." Only I'll have it translated into Icelandic first. Or Finnish. Or maybe Basque. Basque is suitably weird. But yeah, washout. And throwing away words is among the most distasteful things I have to do as a writer, which is one reason I do not write in drafts. But better to know when you've made a horrid mess of things than to be such a moron that you just keep on keeping on.

Last night, I took a hot bath and tried to drown my horror at all those lost words in innumerable hours of Rift. Iron Pine Peaks was hit by the Endless Air Invasion®. No, really. I think one of the programmers spilled his Cheetos and Mountain Dew in a server. The baddies just kept fucking respawning, and there were no air rifts to close to stop the attacks, so an impromptu alliance of Guardians and Defiants were forced to band together to protect the imbued wardstone outside the Chancel of Labors against the merciless forces of Crucia's Storm Legion. This insanity continued about an hour and forty-five minutes before we realized the game had burped, and the "boss" was never comin' round to end the event. But, hey...stuff blew up. Thank you, Mountain Dew.

Just this second got word from Subterranean Press that preorders on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart "will start soon, likely in a few weeks." So, there you go. Ba da pa pa. Oh, and signature pages are on their way to me. Whee!

Er...I guess that's it for now. But you should join us in Rift for RP and party favors, ice cream and yetis. Defiant side, Faeblight shard. Watchers of the Unseen. Our guild especially needs warriors. Bahmi make good warriors. But, yeah. Come. Play. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it. I shit you not, kittens.

Meanwhile, I have an obsidian tsunami to face.

Virðingarfyllst,
Föður–Eða Móðursystir Óþokki
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
1) Bright outside, a clear blue sky, but the temperature is only 44˚Fahrenheit, which drops to 37˚Fahrenheit when you factor in windchill. At the shore, I expect the windchill has it feeling a good ten degrees cooler than that. Last night, the sky spat rain and slushy snow.

2) Last night, Kathryn's grandmother died. I can't recall the precise time. It was after midnight (CaST). I feel I should say very little on this. Whatever is to be said, you can read at [livejournal.com profile] humglum. But a lot of those posts will be friends locked, for obvious reasons.

3) For reasons that should be fairly obvious, editors should go to lengths to avoid taking liberties with an author's text, if an agreement has not been reached beforehand regarding edits, especially when reprints are involved.

4) There was no actual writing yesterday. The day was a tumult of phone calls, email, and mostly wrestling with the final stage of proofing the (mysteriously altered) galleys for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. These were the pages Spooky had questions about that I had to answer, and there were about fifty of these pages. It could have been worse, but it could have been much, much better. Today, they go to FedEx and back to Manhattan. Other than promotion, the book will be well and truly out of my hands, finally. One the one hand, this feels sad and strange. On the other hand, it's a huge relief. Vince's two illustrations look great in the novel.

There was also a somewhat complex call with my agent. Complex because we had to cover so many subjects (Dark Horse, Blood Oranges, audiobooks, film rights, checks, the mind-bending legal-speak of contracts, the problems raised by ebooks, and...I've lost track). There was the usual barrage of email. I had to get colorist notes for Alabaster #1 out to my editor at Dark Horse. So, yeah. I did not get back to "Sexing the Weird." I doubt that I will today.

5) I forgot to mention that when we went out on Wednesday, we checked the mail and the World Fantasy Award folks had sent me the little HPL pin that all nominees get. You can see the one I got last year here. I am very proud of it. Now I've earned HPL pins for both The Red Tree and The Ammonite Violin and Others.

6) Spooky just came up with the day's mail, which includes three copies of the ARCs (advance reading copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And they look pretty damn good. A few blemishes here and there, and of course the weird changes are in there, and there wasn't time to get the NYT quote on the cover. But still, nice ARCs, including Vince's illustrations. So, bona fide reviewers should be receiving these soonish (or sooner). I have to get a list together for my publicist. Maybe I'll include a photo of one of the ARCs tomorrow.

7) There was a LOT of Rift last night, including some rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. A good and very open-ended scene. We've been talking about beginning rp with the guild again (Defiant side, "Watchers of the Unseen"), and if anyone's interested, just let me know, new members or old or prospective. Anyway, since the 1.6 update to the game, day before yesterday, which adds a new region – the Ember Isle, from which the Kelari originated – the idiots have returned to the game. The idiots only seem to show up when there's something new, and they play the new stuff as quickly as possible, then vanish again. The idiots are easy to spot, as most of them sport idiot "names." Last night, for example, the dozens of idiot "not-names" I spotted last night included Kowboy and Killswytch. I think what disturbs me the most is if there's a Kowboy, that means Cowboy was already taken.

Okay. So that's it for today. Play nice, kittens.

Hating My Way,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (mandarin)
Okay, well. So far this morning, I've had my iMac pull some crazy-ass "Colonel Panic" crash on me, while half the goddamn internet was telling me that I needed to call Harlan. "Calm" has not, thus far, been le mot du jour. But I foresee smoother sailing ahead. And, by the way, I have discovered that during computer crises I have learned to channel Hoban Washburne. Just stay in my seat, flip switches, and tell Spooky, my voice treading that fine line between amused, terrified, and extraordinarily polite, that if we don't get some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through this landing is gonna get pretty interesting. Though, I've learned it's best off not to define "interesting."

I am a leaf on the motherfucking wind. The wind just happens to be a hurricane.

Yesterday I wrote a fairly impressive 2,104 words on "Ex Libris." The story's word count presently stands at 9,118 (~10k words were requested), so I'll finish today. One way or the other, with or without that primary buffer panel, and those entry couplings that should have been replaced six months ago be damned. All is bright and shiny. Anyway, yes, I wrote, and Spooky continued the mind-numbing task of rereading The Drowning Girl. Well, mind-numbing is my adjective. She says that she's seen things about the book she never saw before – good things, mind you, mostly structural aspects, that apparent chaos is only apparent, and so forth – because she's having to read the ms. in this tedious fashion. Which is cool. But I couldn't have done it. My solution involved taking a train to Manhattan and...never mind. Anyway, Spooky is finishing that up even as I write, and will likely be finished by the time I complete this entry. 'Cause she rocks.

I have in mind to post a list of all the things I want to do before I die, even though I expect I won't be able to do one third of them (money and time are the most common obstacles). Problem is, I have to write out the list, then whittle it down to, say, ten.

I sincerely hope no one was offended at what I wrote yesterday regarding why the "Tale of the Ravens" project is coming along so slowly, that it's because Kathryn's been having to do so much work for me. In truth, only a single person (out of our seventy-two Kickstarter backers) has said peep. It's just that we're both very frustrated about the project. And...

WHOA

...Spooky just finished the horrid proofreading. Well, her part. I still have to go over it the way one usually goes over galley pages. But, most of the work is done, and she is free to return to the ravens. Tiddley fucking pom.

I should begin wrapping this up.

After all the writing, there was more leftover chili (living large at La casa de Kiernan), and I dozed, and watched an episode of Nova on Kīlauea, and we played a LOT of Rift (the guild is moving back towards RP mode, by the way, so, if you're interested...), then watched the premiere of Season Seven of Deadliest Catch, then played a little more Rift, and I fell asleep watching James Stewart in Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), a comfort film. And that was yesterday.

Oh, except, I also I had a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, at game-play video and cut scenes and whatnot. I even signed up for the Beta, because it does sound interesting, that universe set three thousand years before the "first" gawdsawful movie. BUT! Jesus, the graphics are awful. I mean, Bioware seems to be trying to make the crappy graphics in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim look good. This valley ain't just uncanny; it's downright butt ugly. Now, if we are to believe that $135 million was spent making this game, more than has ever been spent creating any video game, I'm left asking, "Where the hell did all that money go?" Was it spent on cheese doodles and Mountain Dew? Maybe it went up someone's nose, because it sure didn't go into the game's graphic design. I expect I'll play a bit, regardless. because, like I said, I love the idea.

The platypus says visiting hours are up, and we do not argue with the monotremes.

Shiny. Let's be badguys,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Until fifteen minutes ago I'd never even heard of QR Code, but I just read an article about how it's probably on its way out. This is life inside our tiny house, mostly insulated from the baffling and pointless press of current events and so-called innovations. We have always lived in the castle.

Speaking of techie stuff (right, LJ can spell "techie"), I remain entirely unimpressed by the clips I've seen from Skyrim. Looks to me like the game is suffering from the same fundamental problem it had way back with Morrowind, when I complained endlessly about how stiff the characters looked, how few "points of articulation" they seemed to possess. There is very little fluidity to the animation of Skyrim, in part because it's trying to be photorealistic (but LJ can't spell "photorealistic") and, in so doing, has entered that Uncanny Valley where animated films directed by Robert Zemeckis go to die. I saw a clip of mammoths. No, I don't know why fantasy games are so fond of mammoths...or yetis...but that's not the point. These mammoths were so almost-but-not-quite-real it hurt to look at them. And their fur looked like they used far too much product in those shaggy manes. WoW avoids the Uncanny Valley problem by wisely opting to steer far, far away from photorealism, and Rift treads a fine line. Rift looks fantastic, but one step nearer photorealism, and the illusion would collapse. Those poor Skyrim mammoths, I just want to wash their fur, and don't even get me started on how silly the first-person mode looks (I actually "laughed out loud"). And the Skyrim animation is almost as jerky as the old Morrowind animation, ten years back.

---

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,602 words on "Ex Libris." It should surprise no one this is a story about malign books. No. That's wrong. About how women and men shape, wield, and bend books for malign purposes. Meanwhile, Spooky read, line by line (x2) the galleys of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, finding the mysterious changes to the text. It would drive me to stab myself in the face with a fork, what Spooky's doing; she's made it through the first three chapters (out of ten). She may be finished by Monday evening. Late yesterday, I picked the cover layout that will be used on Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, and talked with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press about the cover design for The Yellow Book hardback. I have to find just the right shade of yellow. I wanted to begin the introduction I'm writing for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, which I'm calling "Sexing the Weird," and which I've actually outlined (unlike fiction, nonfiction is amenable to outlines). But I was too tired from all that writing. Instead, I had a hot bath, a fifteen minute nap, Chinese takeout, and a cup of coffee.

---

Last night, we watched the last three episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day. When I first said that we were watching it, there were people who warned me it started off great, but fell apart somewhere in the middle. But I saw nothing of the sort. Quite the contrary. Every episode grew stronger, and Miracle Day is definitely the best Torchwood we've seen so far, in every way. Gwen truly has come into her own. I recall the first episode of the show, back in 2006, how much I hated her. Now, I adore her. That mousey little policewoman has become a bloody force of nature. I'd love to see her paired with the Ninth Doctor. Could do without the dopey husband, but I figure if she sees something in him, I ought give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, yes. I highly recommend Torchwood: Miracle Day – great storytelling, characterization, visuals (thank you, better production values), and so forth. I cheered. I cringed. I laughed. I almost cried. It was very, very fine.

By the way, I am beginning to believe that the old episodic nature of a lot of "television" series is changing. I tried to imagine having to watch Torchwood: Miracle Day broken up into episodes, one every week or two, broadcast over an hour and subdivided by insufferable commercials. We watched the series over three nights, all ten episodes. It's hard to believe the punch wouldn't have been lost if we'd been forced to watch it over the two-month span of its original broadcast. It makes me think that maybe some "television" producers and directors are getting wise to how many people wait for the DVDs, Hulu, or Netflix, then watch the whole thing at once.

Wake up. Time to write.

Burning with the Fires of Orc,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
After much ado, follow this link. There will be much more news next Wednesday (the 9th of October), but I think the discerning reader of my work can gather quite a lot from this Dark Horse teaser. And, though I dislike speaking of the tips of icebergs, well...such things are. I hope you're as excited by this as I've spent the last year being (as yes, I've been sitting on this secret, in one form or another since Oregon and my GoH stint at the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, when the mega-cool editor Rachel Edidin of DH asked for a meeting with me. So, make of all this what you will.

Props of [livejournal.com profile] corucia for guessing halfway right, and to [livejournal.com profile] chris_walsh for making the most utterly fucking absurd guess: "I'm hoping the news is that science (Science!) has figured out how to download Harlan Ellison's mind into yours for safe keeping."

And now...other things, but comment, kittens, as I wish to revel in your excitement (and further speculations).

Today, between a zillion other distractions, Spooky and I are making the final edits to Blood Oranges before it goes to my agent and editor. Just piddly stuff, really. Mostly continuity.

Here in November, in this House of Leaves we pray.

Yesterday, I finished writing the new story for Sirenia Digest #71, "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W," which required of me 1,187 words. Written yesterday, I mean to say. And don't forget, really cool NEVER BEFORE RELEASED Silk archival material, available only to subscribers! Means, kittens, this is a good damn time to subscribe!

And I suppose, since I allowed Anne Rice to speak yesterday, Miss Stephenie Fucking Meyer deserves equal time, so I'll quote the article from The Atlantic Wire, for all the precious and celibate teen members of Team Edward out there (by the way, note that Miss Meyer fired the first shot in this little skirmish). Thus, I quote:

"But I can't read other people's vampires. If it's too close [to my writing], I get upset; if it's too far away, I get upset. It just makes me very neurotic." And Interview with the Vampire presumably gets her on the upset--the "too far away" kind of upset. "I've seen little pieces of Interview with a Vampire when it was on TV, but I kind of always go YUCK! I don't watch R-rated movies, so that really cuts down on a lot of the horror."

Yes, she really did say "yuck."

Last night, we played RIFT, and I got enough magma opals my fucking Ash Strider mount! Booya! And we finished Season Four of Mad Men, which would make me really sad, having to wait for Season Five, except we have the two-discs that collect Season Four of Californication incoming from Netflix tonight; I love me some Hank Moody. I think I got to sleep about 4:45 ayem. There was a dream this morning of apocalypse, but it's been forgotten (thank you, poisonous meds).

Did I mention this link?

I leave you with another beautiful photograph from The Drowning Girl shoot, courtesy [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy:



The genuinely intrepid Sara Murphy as Eva Canning, in the Providence Athenaeum.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I begin to have doubts about my home state when I consider that when, in 1954, either the ruby-throated hummingbird or osprey could have been chosen as the State Bird, voters picked, instead, a chicken.

Um...this is Thursday, right? I thought so. It's actually raining. Started last night, but it's going to be sunny and warm again tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote only 953 words, because that's all that was required to reach THE END of "Evensong." It came out not so much a vignette as a very short short story. I think. Why the fuck do we have to categorize, anyway? It's fiction. Leave it at that. Regardless, subscribe! Today, I begin the second new piece for Sirenia Digest #70.

Spooky's having a Premature Halloween Sale (!!!) in her Etsy shop, Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries. Good and spooky stuff. Also, for those who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter, the paintings are almost finished (you now can see these in the project's blog, if you were a backer). I haven't begun on the text yet, but after the LONG delay, the project is chugging towards completion! The Goat Girls live, booya!

Yesterday was dull as the Rhode Island state bird. And that's sort of a good thing. I needed a genuinely dull day. No alarms and no surprises, please. I think the worst of it was the big Rift 1.5 patch. But, hey...those of us who've been there since the start got cool new stuff. And soon we Defiant can buy yarnosaurs! That is, those of us who've been there since the beginning. The rest of you are out of luck. For dinner, we ate the Rhode Island state bird (roasted), then ate Hallowe'en candy, and watched the end of Season Two of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit. The show seems to finally be wandering farther afield from the rape/child abuse case of the week formula. Someone must have finally realized there are bolder sex crimes afoot. Either that, or the ratings dropped. We read more of The Sundial.

If you ordered Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me: Volume One, it ought to be arriving any day, if it hasn't already. I'm eagerly awaiting my own copies. Also, I have received word that the CEM for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has reached my editor at Penguin. The postal goblins didn't eat it.

Excuse me. I'm going to ask the state bird why it crossed the road.

Curiouser and Curiouser,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Comment, kittens!

I can't remember the day we closed our World of Warcraft accounts. Must have been back in, I'm thinking, early May. So, about four and a half months ago, right after we did the Rift Beta and decided it was such a vastly better game. Anyway, I don't think too much about WoW these days. True, I have my Shaharrazad mousepad I must see...well, all day long. And the erotic dreams involving Sylvanas Windrunner, My Dark Lady. And all my action figures, and...okay, so I probably still think about WoW more than I think I think about WoW.

But, this morning I was thinking about WoW, and some of its really magnificent absurdities, and perhaps the greatest of all those are the Taurens. I was imagining a bunch of Blizzard geeks sitting around a table (cluttered with boxes of doughnuts, bottles of Mountain Dew, and whatnot), and they're sitting there thinking, "Okay, so, what about cow people? Hey, that would be cool, wouldn't it? I mean, think about it, dudes. Cow people. You know, like minotaurs?" And someone points out the problem with females and udders, and someone else says, no, no, don't worry about the udders, these cow people, the females have breasts. Also, it'll keep the furries pacified a while longer. Do you know what percentage of our demographic self-identifies as Otherkin?

"OH, and we need more ethnic diversity among the races of Azeroth," someone says, "because we keep getting these angry letters about the Rasta trolls (pause here as the 'think tank' devolves into a three-hour argument about pussy liberals and the merits of Libertarianism, and how orcs are green, and night elves are blue and purple and grey, and...), and it would be good PR if there were more ETHNICITY." "Wasn't that covered in the last company retreat?" asks someone. Sure, sure, says someone else, and hey, cows are sort of like bison, another interjects (here we pause for yet another to explain how bison are related to cows, and some cow nerd goes off on the domestication of cattle, the evolution of the modern cow from the aurochs, Bos primigenius). "Okay," says the guy who started all this. "So, cows are like bison, and Native Americans hunted bison, so...the culture of the cow people will be Native American culture. You know, all teepees, totem poles, peace pipes, dreamcatchers, and stuff, right? Oh, and, since they're like Indians, they'll say HOW, instead of hello!" There are cheers and self-congratulation all round, except for the cow nerd, who keeps trying to point out how Native Americans hunted members of the genus Bison, not the genus Bos, and that modern cows are not derived from Bison; he is roundly ignored).

Yes, it was probably just that stupid and offensive. And out of an entire planet of possible animals to pattern a new race on (let's set aside the issue of novelty; WoW finally figured that out with the space goats), from all the terran bestiary, Blizzard chose...cows.

---

Today, I am waiting to hear from TPTB how well Phase One was received, and where we go from here. Then, I'll proceed to the as-yet-unopened CEM of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Oh, and I should mention, my publisher's marketing gurus decided that "A Memoir" should not appear on the book's cover (or, it seems, on the Amazon page). Why? Because, then people might think it's nonfiction, and it would be shelved under biography. Yeah, I did that o.0 emoticon thing, but I didn't argue. Friends who've worked in bookstores assure me this really would happen. Um, okay. I truly do give humanity too much credit. I must take solace knowing that the title page will bear the novel's actual full title. Anyway, I'm not opening that "bubble envelope" containing the CEM until I know if Phase One nuked the launch site or not. I have until the 23rd to get the CEM back to NYC.

---

Also, you should read this entry by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna. Because Amazon.com might have thought up the best way to steal from authors since the Great Google Books Rights Snatch of 2010 (or whenever). The rise of ebooks cannot be predicated on the perpetual fucking-over of authors.

---

Yesterday, when I was done with this, that, and the other, we took in a matinée of Soderbergh's Contagion, and we both loved it. It's bleak, artful, terrifying, beautiful, and I highly recommend it to all. I'm not going into details, because it would be too easy to drop spoilers. But don't dismiss it as some Irwin Allen or Roland Emmerich overblown schlock-fest. Because that's what it's not. It also isn't science fiction, but that's a discussion for another time.

---

Please have a look at the goodies in Spooky's Etsy shop (Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries), where there are two new necklaces - reasonably priced - and you must buy them, or you won't be allowed to read my next book. Honest Tauren.

---

Okay, please excuse me now. I'm going to listen to Neil read The Graveyard Book to me until I get that call from the NSA...I mean, um...that call from McDonalds. Oh, and good RP in Insilico last night. Thank you, Joah.

Not Bovine,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy today. Maybe rain. Rain might be nice, if it doesn't stick around too long.

The last few years, I've dealt fairly well with the third of August. This year it hit me – on the second – like a sack of boulders. I don't really know why. There has been a great deal more stress than usual, and maybe that was all it took.

No writing yesterday. Nothing yesterday worth mentioning.

So far, no new novel for the book club this month. Truthfully, I never finished reading last month's book – Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Not sure why. Perhaps, it was because July was such a shitstorm, and it was easier to do more mindless things than read. But I also have to admit I began losing interest in the book about a third of the way in, and it got set aside, and has lain on my vanity for a week or two, untouched. Maybe I'll give it an extension, and maybe I'll pitch a new book for August. We shall see.

Here's a new piece of art by Molly Crabapple, "Kill the Word Beast," which I hope she won't mind me reposting here. It says about everything regarding writing that I feel these days. I wake up, and the monster's waiting, and we fight, and, if I'm lucky, it ends in a standstill. Oh, to see that fucker bleed out.

Kill the Word Beast )


Today, I need to write the text for the Kickstarter Project I'm beginning with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy. To cover the modest expenses for shooting the book trailer for The Drowning Girl. The project's been approved. We just need to get it up. And, by the way, and speaking of Kickstarter, those of you awaiting "The Tale of the Ravens," Spooky's finishing up the last couple of illustrations, and then I'll write the words, and then the printing begins. We'd probably be done by now, if July hadn't been such a nightmare. Anyway, I'll post the link to the CRK/KC Kickstarter page as soon as it's live. By the way, we're not trying to raise anywhere in the neighborhood of the money needed for "The Tale of the Ravens."

I can think of nothing else especially important to type.

Made it through a few more papers in the May JVP: "Cranial anatomy of Thalassiodracon hawkinsii (Reptilia, Plesiosauria) from the Early Jurassic of Somerset, United Kingdom"; "A new species of the snake Madtsoia from the Upper Cretaceous of India and it's paleobiogeographic implications"; "The skull of Hagiangella goujeti Janvier, 2005, a high-crested acanthothoracid (Vertebrata, Placodermi) from the Devonian of North Vietnam"; and "Latest Pacific Basin record of a bony-toothed bird (Aves, Pelagornithidae) from the Pliocene Purisima Formation of California, U.S.A."

Oh, and yesterday, in my statement expressing disdain for what I termed MMORPG culture, I neglected to add that the motherfuckers in question are also homophobic, racist, and sexist. Which is sort of like describing a zebra and neglecting to mention it has four legs, hooves, and stripes.

Maybe it's time to change the title of this journal to Unapologetically, She Pulls Triggers. Except, it should be, more correctly, squeezes, instead of pulls, for gun nuts stuck on that distinction. And that makes me wonder...I've always hated the idea of a "horror" genre so much, and always rejected the term "horror writer" when people speak of me, maybe "trigger fiction" would work. Ooooooh! I know! Triggerpunk! Then it sounds just as dumb as all the other -punks, and no one can accuse me of being an elitist by distancing myself from any other genre (well, at least not over this).

Unmentionable,
Aunt Beast

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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