greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
A wild, wild wind* in Providence, the sky trying to blow down the world. The sun-buffeted clouds rushing by as if played fast forward. It makes me anxious, that much wind. That much wind battering the roofs.

In high school, I used to drive a particular English teacher to distraction by asking questions like, "If the plural of hoof is hooves, then why isn't rooves the plural of roof?" For a few months, she tried to pacify me with diachronic linguistics and etymology, but there came a point she'd had enough, and after that the only answer I ever got was "Because that's the way it is. If you're going to learn the English language, you must accept that a lot of it simply doesn't make sense. It's inconsistent. It's contradictory." Which felt like a victory.

These days, the meds do a pretty good job of keeping Monsieur Insomnia and the nightmares and dreamsickness at bay. But not this morning. It was five a.m. before I managed to get to sleep, and then...well...when I finally woke at a quarter past noon, to the roar of this wind, I wished I'd never fallen asleep.

Yesterday, I wrote the first four pages of Alabaster #4, the first eight manuscript pages, 1,480 words. Today I need to do at least another four pages. And there was a lot of other stuff. I should be posting additional upcoming appearances soon. It's beginning to look as if I'm going to spend more time in March and April out in the world schlepping my books than I am accustomed to doing. Pry me free of the house, and send me out into the snowless winter and the wind. See if I care.

Last night, after writing, I was so tired I had a half hour nap while Spooky made meatloaf, and then drifted about in a daze all night long. More asleep than awake. Though, in truth, I never felt awake yesterday, it just grew worse in the evening. I wasn't up to anything but lying in bed, so we watched seven episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Jeff Goldblum has shown up, and he's truly quite excellent. I'm not yet awake enough to be sure if the weariness is still with me, but the weather would have me think so.

Aunt Beast

* Presently (1:49 p.m.) 26mph gusting to 48mph.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Over breakfast (oatmeal with raisins and walnuts), I realized I am presently qualified for three jobs:

1) Writing
2) Writing
3) Time Lord

I forgot, yesterday, to write about the nightmare I'd just had (this morning's dreams were bad, but, mercifully, all but incomprehensible), and maybe that was for the best. But I remembered yesterday afternoon, so I'll write it down now. I (well, another me; the Me of Dream has a thousand forms, and rarely is she this me) discovered, much to my surprise that someone had made a film of Silk. Entirely without my knowledge. Finally, I was able to see it, and, to start with, it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the novel. Secondly, it had clearly been filmed in the seventies, and was this weird quasi-exploitation thing filled with sordid hetero-normative relationships and guys sporting pornstaches. Like I said, this film had nothing at all to do with the book, nothing, but it was all over the place, and the dream seemed like weeks went by while I tried to understand how this abomination had been made. I woke up feeling vaguely raped. By the way, you can fool LJ into knowing how to spell heteronormative if you hyphenate the word to create a compound adjective, as above (and if you don't know what the word means, look it up). And, yeah, it sounds sort of funny, this dream. But it wasn't. It wasn't ironic ha-ha. It was truly infuriating.

Yesterday I wrote pages Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and Eleven of Alabaster #3. I thought I'd only written four pages, but then I was in the tub and Spooky was reading it (she's still not well), and she informed me I'd written Page Eleven. Yes, I have declared Page Eleven to be a proper noun. Anyway, among the things I've forgotten over the years is that it's very, very, very hard to write comics well, and if you think otherwise, you've never written comics. Anyway anyway, I'm now exactly halfway through #3. The deadline I warned my editor I was likely to miss almost certainly will not be missed, because I am incapable of not working. I just hope it's good, this book. And I mean utterly, fucking, blow-your-mind-away good.

And, another bit of yesterday, Brian sent me several rough cuts from the innards of the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl that we'll be releasing in January. Let me just say, I think people will be astounded at what they see. I know I'm astounded. Mostly that we made this. Me and Brian and Kyle and Nicola and Sara and Dani and Spooky and Geoffrey and Ryan and everyone who donated to the Kickstarter crowdsourcing thingy. We made this! Anyway, I owe Brian an email, but the teaser nears completion, I think.

Currently, I'm trying to figure out how to shed about ten pounds (mostly around my waist), build muscle, know...get the fuck into shape again. I'm too old to be this out of shape. Maybe it's no longer acceptable to speak of being in "bad shape." But fuck that. I am. Swimming this summer was helping a lot, but then it got cold. Mostly, I sit in this chair. My dietary habits are circumspect. I get virtually no exercise (even though my "rotten feet" are better, this is not a neighborhood for walking and jogging, and, besides, jogging ruins your knees and I already have bad knees from paleontology work). I don't sleep enough. My stress levels are through the roof. I work like a fiend. Most of my meds (while very necessary) come with a long list of awful side effects, including weight gain. I'm listless, and I'm winded by a single flight of stairs (a problem in this house). And don't think I'm chasing some incarnation of the "Beauty Myth." I'm 47.5, and I'd prefer not to develop diabetes or a heart condition or something worse before I'm fifty (remember: no healthcare here), and that means getting into shape. Spooky and I are talking about a trial gym membership. But what I really need is a swimming pool.

At least Indus got a good workout last night....
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
I'm sitting here composing, in my head, a Tom Waits song that Tom Waits will never compose, much less record. But it's about not sending "wish you were here" postcards to nightmares.

Someone said something. I won't say who or where the comment was made. The "You're a horror writer" thing. No, I'm not. But. If you insist, maybe it's simply that my definition of "horror" and yours are so vastly different that we possess incommensurable worldviews and can't actually communicate on the subject in any mutually intelligible way (by the way, if you grew up without phonetics/phonics, you're screwed; then again, I guess that's why we have "l33t," "texting," and online dictionaries).

Why no, I'm not in a good mood. Not at all. Not after those dream worlds. And given the fact that there's no way for me to conclusively demonstrate to myself that they're any less objectively "real" than this waking world wherein I'm typing this LJ entry (never mind the world wherein you're reading it; I'll not open that can of worms). Still, this mood has to be bent far enough in that direction that I can get "Sexing the Weird" finished today. I have to be productive. No option, even if there's a hypothetical option.

Problem is, I have this thing I thought would take me two days to write, and today will be day four...I think. I spent yesterday navigating my way through the original and expurgated texts of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and then it was Machen's "The Great God Pan," and finally that got me to the central focus of Part One of the introduction, which is simply that Lovecraft wrote a LOT about fucking. I began with "The Dunwich Horror," a lamentably silly, sprawling tale that I sincerely wish were not thought of as one of HPL's best. But, nonetheless, it is a tale of interspecies and interdimensional sex, and therefore serves my purposes. Today, onward. The thesis statement is remarkably simple: sex (and especially "deviant" sex) has often been at the heart of weird fiction, all the way back to the Gothics. Though...I only go as far back Le Fanu, and if anyone wants to go farther back, well...the path is marked. And yeah, I see the repetitive nature of two of those sentences. Let's pretend I did it on purpose.


Today is the 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The whole thing is explained here, for those who need an explanation. I'd like to think that no one does need an explanation. Transgender people live with the constant threat of physical and psychological violence, and even death, every single hour of our lives. No matter who you become, that threat, and the fear it engenders, never goes away. Even when you might actually be genuinely safe. Because too many times you haven't been, and you know what might happen if you're not careful and can't figure out how to cheat all the immutable pink and blue rules of a cisgendered world (and you can't). Me, I have about a hundred tales. Someday, maybe I'll tell one of the closest calls I ever had, which concerns three drunken Athens, GA frat boys bearing down on me as I gripped a can of pepper spray. Playing chicken with hate, as it were. No one can count the dead, but we can remember a few who must serve, in these grim mathematics, as the symbols for an unknown (and unknowable) number.


Last night a new episode of Fringe, "And Those We Leave Behind," and it was so good I cannot imagine how this series is still on the air. It just keeps going to stranger places. We all do this at our own risk, going weird places, if we expect anyone to follow. And storytellers tend to have to wish for followers. Elsewise, we're only talking to ourselves. Not that there's anything wrong with talking to ourselves. Me to myself. You to yourself. Unless you need to make a living telling stories (an awful, awful situation). Anyway, a fine episode, and I think they finally made me care about Peter Bishop, who has almost always felt like a great slab of nothing interesting. I just hope that the series either a) wraps things up this season or b) doesn't lose it's following and is permitted another season. Were it me, I'd have taken this season to end the story, especially considering how this season almost didn't happen.

The platypus shakes the word basket, and I reach inside, hoping this isn't one of those days the platypus is being cute and has slipped in a few razorblades just for shits and giggles.

Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
These days, thanks to better sleep and meds, dreamsickness is rare. But I'm wrestling with a nasty bout this ayem. I woke three times from the same fucking nightmare, only to fall right back into it when I went to sleep again, continuity intact.


Another day of proofreading yesterday, but it seemed much, much shorter than did Thursday. Spooky read the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters aloud (109 pages, 24,727 words) over the course of about three and a half hours. Yeah, not nearly as bad as Thursday. Though, 7 is sort of a long demonic yowl that pretty much has to be read in a single breath. Still, not as bad the day before, and today should be about the same as yesterday. And today, we'll finish this first pass. Only minor line edits and the very few continuity errors have been corrected, along with two or three sentences I yanked out altogether

The Red Tree is likely a more straightforwardly autobiographical novel, but The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is somehow much more personal. Yesterday, I kept thinking, I wrote this thing. I shouldn't have to hear it read.

And I keep finding things I want to go back and work into the book, like Billie Holiday (and Diamanda Galas) singing "Gloomy Sunday," and wordplay with Styx and sticks.

Spooky and [ profile] sovay will spend the weekend making corrections to The Drowning Girl, while I work on the corrections on Two Worlds and In Between (because, yes, I am editing two huge books at once).

I believe that, yesterday (or the night before), I found the name of my first YA novel, Blue Canary. Regardless, that's what the project will be called, and not one word of the plot will be leaked until the ms. has been sold. Yes, lately, Howard Hughes is extra paranoid.


Last night, we were both so exhausted. Spooky warmed up leftovers. I had a hot bath that, of course, made me more tired. I played an hour or two of Rift while she watched trashy television. Literally! She's become addicted to something called American Pickers. But anyway, I leveled an alt, Nilleshna, my Kelari cleric (inquisitor/cabalist/purifier) to Level 7, and read a lot more of the game's lore. The deeper I get into Rift, the goofier WoW seems. And it's weird, because I went into WoW knowing it was goofy. I remember my first time in the b'elf starting area, and excitedly describing it to Spooky as "Disneyland on acid," and also comparing it to Final Fantasy X-2. But at some point I forgot it was all so dumb and goofy, and when I eventually remembered, it really pissed me off. The whole affair is inexplicable.

I continue to see most, by far, Rift players on our RP-PVE server using world-appropriate names, though last night I spotted Slyce, Inkognito, and Jhaded. I figure some of these players learned everything they know about naming fictional characters from reading superhero comics...which would be fine, if this were CoX. As for Jhaded (Jaded was taken, of course), that's just some jackass who's too cool for school. I see a lot of that in MMORPGs. gamers who feel they're simply too worldly to "pretend." And all I can do is wonder, then, why chose an rp server, when they had plenty of non-rp servers from which to choose? I am forced to draw the conclusions that they mean to be disruptive, and I loathe them on principle.

Later, we read Catching Fire, which we've almost finished.


And this is today. Fuck you, day.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Sick as a dog. As a sick dog, I mean. I've never understood the whole "sick as a dog" thing, as though the normative canine state is sick. I've also never much understood football, but mostly, these days, I keep my mouth shut about it. Lots of people who get wet over touchdowns can't begin to appreciate the importance of a warlock's staff having +200 to shadow damage or why cool downs are such a bummer. So, live and let live. However, I wake up— not to news that the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 (I actually had to google that) —but to a slew of articles analyzing and rating the goddamn commercials. And what's more baffling still, a whole bunch of Sturm und Drang about Christina Aguilera screwing up "The Star-Spangled Banner." Are you really surprised? She's Christina Aguilera. You let her sing a song with actual words, bad shit will ensue.


Yeah, sick. Bad night. Worse dreams. Feverish. Achy. Mucus in places mucus ought never be (a few sex-with-aliens scenarios aside).

Yesterday, I wrote 2,155 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The book grows ever more peculiar. And today, I've set for myself a challenge. Even though I'm sick as a sick dog. Today I mean to write 3,000 words, which is a thing I've never done. Not in one day. My personal best is 2,800+, but never 3,000. I'll probably fail, but I'm going to try. That way, if I'm too sick tomorrow to sit up straight, I won't have to feel guilty about not sitting up straight. I can lie in bed and moan and make Spooky's life miserable with a minimum of guilt.

Last night, Spooky made quadrupedal chicken stew. I don't know where she finds these four- and five-legged chickens, and I don't ask. We watched Fringe and the satisfying pornographic spectacle that is Spartacus. Then I logged into Insilico and spent three hours as a hopelessly broken droid caught between the godlike AI that created her and a human sadist into who's hands she's been delivered. Way more fun than football.

We went to bed and Spooky read to me from Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps. Which was a bad idea, what with being sick and the inevitable nightmares. My bad dreams are bad enough without fucking junkie hobo vampires coming along for the ride.

Time to make the doughnuts. Or dissolve in a puddle of my own phlegm. We'll see. But comment. Cheer me on. Jeer. Whichever.

In Misery and Chagrin,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Bjorkdroid)
Yesterday, I wrote another 2,292 words of Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I begin to suspect this is the bottomless chapter. This book, its become a fever, and the pages are a fevered blur. Part of me says, slow down, slow down, I'm going to break it, but this other part of me is insisting, no, no, the speed of the telling is integral, its a confession and there's no way she'd write it slowly, so neither can I. Maybe I'll try to explain, someday, how I'm a "method writer."

Today I have to try to write the "hardest scene," or only the second hardest. Hard on Imp, and hard on me.

The nightmares are worse than they've been in a long time. A tumult of calamity and past events that never actually occurred.

The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology came yesterday, December 2010. It was late, in part because it was shipped with a huge memoir describing a pugnacious little terrestrial croc named Simosuchus. There's also the description of a new genus and species of bothremydid turtle, Chupacabrachelys complexus. The name's etymology deserves a moment of explanation. To quote the paper's authors, "The chupacabra (Spanish for 'goat sucker') is a mythical creature in contemporary Mexican-American legend said to feed on livestock in the border region of Texas and Mexico. The skull of Chupacabrachelys resembles that of a mangy coyote believed to be responsible for chupacabra sightings in South Texas during 2008." Also, for the species, "In recognition of 'the Complex Tour' performance of the Blue Man Group, which provided the authors with many hours of entertainment during collection and preparation of the type and referred specimens."

I left the house late yesterday and went to the market and an art supply store with Spooky. I was amazed at how much the snow hasn't melted. Everything is still blanketed. There are banks of snow five and six feet high where snowplows and shovels have heaped it. The Providence River below the Point Street Bridge is frozen over.

Good roleplay in Insilico last night (thank you, Tracy). It's been just a little more than a year since I discovered Insilico. And while it didn't live up to the embarrassingly optimistic hype I ladled over it, I've found that the sim does, nonetheless, provide a fine backdrop for private cyberpunk rp. Spooky and I played WoW, and I'm still liking the Twilight Highlands. Last night, for the first time since I started playing in October 2008, I found myself holding more than 20,000 gold. No, I haven't ever done raids, and most of the money I make in WoW comes from auctions and quests.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And do, please, not forget that today is the Twelfth Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
greygirlbeast: (white)
One cannot genuinely hate a season, but autumn instills in me a deep uneasiness. Yesterday and today, it feels like autumn here in Providence. That carnivorous blue sky, low humidity, temperatures in the seventies Fahrenheit. I'm glad for the break from the heat, but not glad that means a splash of autumn in July.

Dreamsickness this morning for the first time in a couple of months. I have a pill to stop that now, but something nasty wriggled in under the pharmacological wire.

Every bit of yesterday was spent editing "The Maltese Unicorn." No, that's not quite true. Only the hours spent working. And I didn't finish the editing. It sprawls over into today, and maybe also into tomorrow. Did I write anything new yesterday? Yes, but I don't think there was any net gain. I would write a paragraph, which would take half an hour or an hour, and then I would erase it.

Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks very much.

When the editing was done for the day yesterday, I watched an episode of American Experience about the Dust Bowl (Spooky had gone to the market). I found a curious parallel. During the 1930s, during a time of great economic hardship, the nation is suffering a man-made ecological disaster, an agrocalamity. Short-sighted farming techniques in the Southern Plains led to conditions in which a layer of topsoil that had taken a thousand years to form was blown away in a few minutes. Anyway, now, in a time of economic hardship, the nation has suffered a man-made ecological disaster, an petrocalamity. Short-sighted use of fossil fuels, combined with greed and carelessness, is threatening a gulf ecosystem that has taken many tens of millions of years to evolve. In the episode of American Experience, a number of people who had been children during the Dust Bowl were interviewed. There are two I would like to quote:

Melt White, Dalhart, Texas: "It looked like the greatest thing would never end. So they abused the land. They abused it somethin’ terrible. They raped it. They got everything out they could. And we don’t think. We don’t think. Except for ourselves and it comes down to greed. We’re selfish and we want what we want and we don’t even think of what the end results might be."

J.R. Davison, Texhoma, Oklahoma: "I think that most of those people thought this is just what we might say 'hog heaven’. It’ll always be this way. So they kept breaking this country out and they plowed up a lot of country that should never have been plowed up. They got the whole country plowed up nearly and, ah, that’s about the time it turned off terribly dry."

Change a few words here and there, and this could be an interview in, say, 2075, of people who were children during this year, recalling the spring and summer the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico bled crude oil and methane.

And now I have to edit.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
It's a dream-kill-dream world in here... (David Bowie)*

It's been a long time since I awoke this dreamsick. And a long time since I've had this much trouble shaking it. Those subconscious echoes, those distracting, disarming, intrusive thoughts...these days, they rarely survive longer than half an hour beyond waking. But this morning, they have longevity. As for the dream itself, it's shattered like a rose dipped in liquid nitrogen and then dropped on the floor. I have scenes intact, but the narrative that would make sense of them has been lost.

There's very little to be said for yesterday. I spent the day trying to find vignettes. I might have found one. Well, Spooky might have found one and given it to me. That's how "Untitled 34" came about, you know, back in December. It happens every now and again. Spooky gives me a word or two, or reads to me a passage from a book. And there it is, what I have to write next.

There are a couple of screencaps from last night's truly amazing rp (I'm not just heaping hyperbole here, it really was fucking amazing) in Insilico. Xiang mixing White Russians at the Blue Ant. The arrival of a woman who knows Xiang, but whom Xiang doesn't remember. Her headlong dash from the bar, only to be whisked away by someone she still can't quite believe isn't an enemy. The hover car that carried her to a fountain atop a skyscraper (well, actually part of a fission reactor's cooling exchange system). A hesitant and unexpected kiss, up there in the night sky. And later, the corporate agent hunting rogue droids who entered the home of Xiang's beleaguered owner and demanded access to all of Xiang's BTL chips. The voices in her head. The end of a robot's hyper-accelerated adolescence. What else can you ask for from a cybernoir thriller? There are a couple of screencaps behind the cut:

Xiang and Fifth February 6th 2479 )

*(3/7/11) Long story, but actually this quote should be attributed to one of my readers, Jacob Garbe, not to Mr. Bowie.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
I'm running late today, after inexplicably sleeping too much. And the dreamsickness has been much worse than usual. Only now is it starting to fade. Imagine, a worldwide high communicable, plague of inevitably fatal dysentery, the whole world shitting itself to death, only it isn't funny. Yeah, I don't know where I get this stuff.

A couple or three things I want to mention before I forget. First, Frank Woodward's Lovecraft documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, will be released on DVD October 13th. It features interviews with me, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Stuart Gordon, S.T. Joshi, and others. Also, my first ever interview with a gaming slant is now online. Finally, there's a short "writing of The Red Tree" essay up at (usa), "The Genesis of The Red Tree."

Yesterday, I did 1,312 words and finished "January 28, 1926." I have Dr. Muñoz to thank for keeping the office cool enough that I could actually work. I also signed a bunch of bookplates for Barnes and Noble Towson Circle, in Towson, Maryland. So, if you live in or near Towson, be aware that there will soon be signed copies of The Red Tree at Barnes and Noble Towson Circle. Oh, and I signed a whole bunch of books for eBay. Today, if I can shake off the nastiness, I have to get Sirenia Digest #44 together. Or mostly together.

The Very Special eBay auction continues.

I'm getting reports, from as far away as the Netherlands and as near to home as Brooklyn, that The Red Tree is already showing up on bookstore shelves and arriving from pre-orders. So much for street dates, I suppose. Which is cool, only I sort of like having benchmarks, being able to say, here, this is release day. It's official. The book is out. But, hey, that's just me.

Cloudy today, but hot. I assume storms are inbound.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Still trying to shake off the dreamsickness. There was a lot. Of the dream, I mean. Too much to put down here. Towards the end, I was trying to mount a Triceratops skeleton (minds out of gutters NOW), and a lot of the bones were aready on the welded armature. But then I realized that all the vertebrae were missing (even though the ribs were mounted), and I couldn't remember where in the Dream Museum they'd been stored. All I had was one badly weathered vertebra. Normal people dream about showing up for class naked, or going on stage and forgetting the lines. Me, I get Triceratops anxiety.

Anyway, there's a nice (short) review of The Red Tree up at And I quote: "With its intelligent blend of folklore, horror, and dark fantasy, Kiernan's latest appeals well beyond urban fantasy fans; readers who enjoy Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, and Keith Donohue may want to check it out. Lost fans mourning the lack of new episodes will appreciate the similar themes and intricate puzzles here." Booya! Thank you, I'll even forgive the comparison with Donohue. Mostly, I love the "well beyond urban fantasy" and "intricate puzzles" parts.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,357 words and finished "Vicaria Draconis." Go me. I rather like how it turned out, though it's yet another "not very me" story. I want to write a "very me" vignette next. Anyway, it's been sent away to Vince to be illustrated, and will appear in Sirenia Digest #44 later this month.

Let's see. Other news. My whole life seems to have been swallowed by promotional stuff for The Red Tree. For various reasons, I've made the executive decision not to release the "book trailer" until August 14th, ten days after the book's street date. This email (behind a cut, but you should read it), part of an exchange between [ profile] readingthedark and me, will help to explain the decision (it's rather long, but enlightening):

Read more... )

So, better to do it right, than to do it fast. Which has always been my motto. Well, one of my mottoes. I have a lot. Like "Never drive a car when you're dead," which I stole from Tom Waits.

Last night, we finished Max Brooks' World War Z, and Spooky and I thought it was really brilliant. I don't read much of what could be called "genre horror," despite how I may be perceived as an author. When I do read a "horror" novel, I'm looking for a visceral, but very intelligent reading experience. And that's what WWZ delivers. Intelligent, horrific, awful (original meaning), poignant, gut-wrenching (literally), deeply moving, truly apocalyptic. One I wish to fuck I'd written. I have been told the audio book is very good, and Spooky and I are now tracking down a copy of it. Most of the rest of the world likely read this book two years ago, but if you haven't, I strongly recommend it. I tend to find zombie films dull and predictable and dumb. There are notable exceptions: Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake, and Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. And that's the sort of punch Brooks delivers.

Okay. There's a bunch of stuff to do. I don't even have a list....but, there are the ongoing eBay auctions, and please, please visit the website today, and spread the URL. Feed the Tree!
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I last left the house, was last Outside, on Monday, which was the last day we saw the sun. There are thunderstorms moving towards us now. The temperature is currently 70F, so that's something of a minor improvement. The insomnia was bad last night, and then the nightmares this morning, and you may think none of this is relevant. But everything plays a factor in the shape of the stories. Everything.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,207 words on "The Alchemist's Daughter," which now stands at 6,279 words. It will likely go to at least 9,000, though I sincerely hope to have it finished by Sunday evening, at the very latest, as there is another short story I have to write this month.

Do please have a look at the current eBay auctions. All proceeds go towards the expense of attending ReaderCon 20, which is likely the only convention I'll be doing this year. The cost of cons has simply become too exorbitant to justify (or maybe it's the cost of everything else). I will also probably be doing a very small number of signings/readings for The Red Tree, in Providence, Boston, and possibly Manhattan. But I don't presently foresee doing any other public appearances this year. I have enough trouble just making it out the door, most days.

How about something not so glum? We haven't been able to get any work done on the trailer for The Red Tree because of this vile weather (it's almost all exterior shots), but Spooky has been filming the cats. To wit, "The Waking of Sméagol."

Waking the Smeagol from Kathryn Pollnac on Vimeo.

Okay. Coffee now.
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
Eight hours sleep last night, but, as has been usual of late, an assortment of nightmares that will require most of the day to clear from my mind. And we're on our fourth consecutive day of grey, rainy, March-like weather, with more coming tomorrow. I need summer. Real summer. Too hot to walk barefoot on the sidewalk without blistering your feet summer. Sweltering after dark summer. There's no sign of it in the extended weather forecast. Right now, it's 58F Outside, here in Providence.

You should all know this: Charles Harvey, in The Red Tree, is not a parapsychologist. He's an anthropologist and folklorist. Recently, it was pointed out to me that synopses of the book appearing online speak of him as a parapsychologist, which, as I've said, he is not. I wrote my editor at Penguin, who very apologetically told me that somehow the copy was rewritten after I approved the supposedly final version, and, so, on the cover (the covers are already being printed) Harvey will be described as a parapsychologist, even though he's nothing of the sort. But, what the hell. Maybe it'll sell more books, if people think they're getting a parapsychologist (even though they're not). It should have upset me, hearing about this, but it didn't. I am vaguely concerned that it hasn't upset me. I fear I am losing the ability to care about what happens to the books once I have finished writing them.

Also, I never meant to give the impression that my publisher is paying for the book trailer. I'm paying all the production costs myself. I'm pretty sure I never said otherwise, but there were comments yesterday that indicated some readers had drawn that conclusion.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,281 words on "The Alchemist's Daughter." I hope I can find THE END of the story by Saturday evening.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, as we're hoping to defray the cost of my attending ReaderCon in July with this round of auctions. Thanks. I honestly do not know how writers afford to attend more than a single convention a year, and even that's a stretch. Well, there are those very few authors who make a lot of money, and have their expenses covered by cons, because it's all a vicious circle.

I have got to escape this house soon. I've got to see the sun. And the moon. Just now, I'd trade any number of valuable possessions for one muggy night.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Almost eight hours sleep last night. Which is grand, except it permits more time for the nightmares to unfold.

I did 1,063 words on "Galápagos" yesterday, and it seems to be starting off fairly well. I'm forcing myself to write at a much slower pace than I've become accustomed to lately. In part, I have no choice (and that's a good thing), as it's offworld sf, and I'm constantly having to check this fact or that calculation. Also, I spoke with the anthology's editor yesterday, because I wanted to know how much leeway I have regarding erotic content in the story. That is, how erotic can the story be? Only a little, it turns out, which isn't so bad, as it will force me to rely on subtler, more indirect techniques to communicate a number of inherently sexual elements in "Galápagos."

The panic I wrote about a couple of days ago has backed off enough that I can work, thank fuck.

Not much else to say about yesterday. Leftover chili for dinner. We watched a few episodes from Season Five of Angel, to wind down from our three- or four-month long Buffython. We're going to begin The X-Files again next week. Later there was a little WoW. Shaharrazad and Suraa were finally able to journey to the Isle of Quel'Danas, off the northernmost shores of the Eastern Kingdoms. Of course, the Scryers and the Aldor from Shattrath are trying to take the island back from Kael'thas Sunstrider, and it's weird to see blood elves and Draenei working together (Shah and Suraa are allied with the Scryers). After WoW, I goofed about with my Facebook page, because no one else had bothered to create a "Favorite Basal Thyreophoran" list thingy or upload the requisite images. Got to bed sometime after two a.m.
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
This morning, stuck in a dream I genuinely do not want to remember, I'm listening to ABBA. The hope was that ABBA was absurd enough to dispel the dreamsickness. But, so far, it's only adding a surreal fucking soundtrack to my recollections of the nightmare. Having written "The Z Word," you'd think I'd know better.

Yesterday, we made it to page 249 of The Red Tree. I'm not good with tedium, not good at all. We very much need to finish with this round of line edits today, so I can begin to address the more substantive issues raised in the editorial letter, but my mind reels at the thought of forcing my way through five more chapters of the most minute mistakes possible. We still have 148 pages to go. Argh.

So, the book that will include my comments on Second Life as a tool for fiction writers is Jeff VanderMeer's forthcoming Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for 21st Century Writers (Tachyon Publications, September-October 2009). As to exactly what I said, you'll have to wait for the book's release. Though, I will admit here, I didn't pull any punches, and that I continue to view SL as an untapped resource for writers, and, perhaps, as an inherently untappable resource, given the reluctance and/or inability of most of the "inhabitants" of SL to engage in fully immersive, simulationist roleplay, the sort that has the potential to create the interactive stories I've tried to foster there. As it stands, SL is, sadly, very little more than just another social-networking/dating service.

I'm getting reports that some people who've pre-ordered A is for Alien from Amazon are encountering problems with their orders. I've been told that some in the U.S. are being informed their orders will not ship until the middle of March, though subpress is shipping the book now. I've gotten word from a reader in England who pre-ordered the book months ago, but says that Amazon is now refusing to ship it to the UK. I exchanged email with Bill Schafer about all this an hour or so ago, and I am told more copies of the book have been sent to Amazon. But it takes time for Amazon to process and ship them out to buyers. Hence the delay. As for the UK problem, I honestly have no idea what's up. But I will reiterate that supplies are running very low, and there are presently no plans for a reprinting, so you should order now, directly from Subterranean Press. I'm disheartened that people are having trouble with Amazon, and I do apologize for that (though, obviously, I have no control over what Amazon does).

Also, I thought I should repost the link for the "A is for Alien in 60 Seconds" article at

As I said yesterday, A is for Alien is very near to selling out. The limited edition is down to less than 25 copies, and 75% of the regular trade edition's printing has now sold. And my very grateful thanks to everyone who has ordered the book.

Last night, we watched Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998), certainly one of the most brilliant psychonerd movies in the history of film. And Shaharrazad reached Level 60.

It's getting late, and the platypus is giving me the hairy eyeball. But I thought I'd leave you with one last image from Monday's trip to Moonstone Beach. Here we have proof positive that the seas do indeed harbour a heretofore undescribed family of iron squid:

Ferropetrateuthidae )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think this entry gets subdivided. Otherwise, I'll never find my way from one end of it to the other.

I did a very satisfactory 2,110 words today on "The Voyeur in the House of Glass." 10 pp. in four or five hours. Much better than my average. But it's a hard piece, harder than usual. Still, I hope to finish it tomorrow afternoon.


Somehow, I managed all those words today despite an especially acute case of dreamsickness. I can't recall most of it now. I've spent much of the day willfully forgetting. But since I brought it up, and that always leads to questions if I don't follow through, since I do not wish to frustrate, this is what I do remember. This must have been near the end of it all, just before I woke. Being on the street of an Asian city, maybe Tokyo. I've never been to Asia, so likely it was only a conglomeration of images from photos and films. Night. Neon and cosplay girls and noodle shops. The commingled smells of cars and cooking and garbage. And I'm late for an appointment in this enormous silver skyscraper. I can't read any of the street signs, because they're Japanese or Mandarin or whatever. I'm lost. Men mutter as they pass me. Cosplay girls laugh and point. There's an immense animatronic Ganesh-like thing directing traffic (and I suppose this is foreshadowing), and I find someone who speaks English, and she shows me where to cross the street to reach the skyscraper.

There might have been a lobby and an elevator ride, or I may only be filling in a jump cut. But then I was in the examination room of what seemed to be something very like a dentist's office. Only there were a couple of laptops (not even Macs), and there wasn't that dentist-office smell. There was some other smell that only added to my unease and disorientation. I was asked to have a seat in this thing that wasn't quite a dentist chair. There was a woman with a Brit accent asking me questions, checking off items on a form of some sort.

She kept asking questions about my memory, and if I was comfortable, and suddenly I understood what was happening. That I was an android, but that most of the time I did not know I was an android. I only knew during these check-ups or whatever. And then the woman with the British accent pressed her thumb beneath my jaw, and I began to feel cold and fevery. She said something like, We'll be as gentle as we can. And then I saw that she was holding my jaw in her hands. And I could see my tongue and teeth and gums and lower lip and everything else. The sensation of cold got much worse, and she told me to please be calm. Then she pressed something like a dental drill to my forehead and there was this horrible whine and burring sort of pain. She set the drill aside and plugged a sort of jack into the roof of my mouth, something attached to an assortment of coaxial cables, and there was a suffocating blackness that seemed to rush up all around me. The most terrible sense of falling, and I jerked awake in bed. Shivering, freezing because I'd kicked all the blankets off, and Spooky had already gotten up, so I was alone. I suppose I earned that one, what with "The Winter Market" and "The Path of Silence" and all the godsdamn H+ bashing I've been doing lately. Maybe it's only a very elaborate version of my recurring breaking-teeth nightmare. But, either way, no more, please.


The new ish of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology came today, and it's full of wonderful things: a redescription of the theropod dinosaur Compsognathus; juvenile specimens of the pterosaur Germanodactylus cristatus; the earliest known lizard, from the Late Triassic of India (!!); the oldest evidence for a dental lamina in sharks; Sauropod ichnology; Spanish hadrosaurs; an investigation of the ancestry of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) using a morphometric dental analysis. Yum.


I'm very happy with the way the current eBay auctions are going, only there's been no bid so far on the green-haired boy doll/lettered copy of Alabaster (plus Highway 97 chapbook). I do hope that will change soon, as that auction ends tomorrow evening. The winning bidder gets two unique items. If this one goes for the minimum, it's a steal. Please have a look and bid if you are interested and able. I just found out today that my lending privileges at Emory expire December 30th, so that's yet another expense I have to cover ($100) well before there's any hope of the Very Late Check arriving. Thank you.

Nothing else much interesting to say about yesterday or today. We heard an owl hooting just after dark tonight. The temps today were very pleasant again, mid or high seventies (F), but cold weather is on its way back. Last night, Spooky read me "A Short Rest" from The Hobbit (which you wouldn't think would inspire cybernetic nightmares). Tonight, I have Ambien again, just seven pills to last me two weeks. My doctor, she keeps me on a short frelling leash.

Okay. I gotta go lay on my face and watch TV or something equally mindless. I've been at this keyboard since about ten ayem (CaST). If this entry is chockful'a typos, I apologise. I think there was a tense shift up there somewhere. Whatever.

Postscript (11:58 PM CaST): Is it just me, or is it awfully frelling quiet out there tonight? I know you're not all Xmas shopping. are two cute photos of Mr. H. P. Wu. And here are two more (Action Meezer!). Blame Spooky.
greygirlbeast: (decemberists)
I had what must have been one of the worst nightmares of my life this morning, which woke me about 8:00 a.m. My dreams have been unusually calm this trip, but that one more than made up for lost time.

Poppy and Christa commented recently on how blogging wasn't taking time from them that they might otherwise use for writing fiction. I wish I could say the same. For example, I spent more than four hours on yesterday's entry, having begun it about noon and finishing at (I wrote down the time) 4:17 p.m. That is an extreme case. On average, an entry takes me an hour and a half to two hours, between composition and editing and crossposting and such. I started this journal in November 2001 (over at Blogger, where it is now mirrored), just after the publication of Threshold and just before I started writing Low Red Moon. Since then, I've written about 2,000 entries. Originally, I'd only intended to chronicle the writing of LRM, but it just kept going and going and going. Anyway, yes, four hours yesterday, so I didn't begin the story I'd wanted to begin.

We stayed in yesterday, and will likely do the same today. Thursday's drive and the rushed tour of Cape Ann left us both feeling a bit pooped. The weather here is very nice, almost autumnal, and it's actually cool enough to remain indoors sans air conditioning. We did get ambitious late yesterday and drove to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's. Afterwards, we drove down to Point Judith to watch the sunset, but there were far too many people. Spooky took me up to Bonnet Point, just because, and then we head back here. An astoundingly uneventful day. Very late we watched Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, and a very young Natalie Wood in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).

For all the entries I've written detailing the more interesting bits of this Very Long Trip, I've managed to miss a couple of things:

7 August 2006: We returned to Watch Hill and walked down the narrow, winding road that leads out to the lighthouse at Watch Hill Point. No tourists. Only a few fishermen on the rocks. The sun was a great orange fireball sinking in purple clouds, and we sat down in the grass near the lighthouse and watched it setting behind Napatree Point and Fisher's Island (NY). Watch Hill Point has to be one of the most beautiful things we've seen this whole trip. The solitude was wonderful. The sea crashing against the breakers. A flock of swallows circling the lighthouse tower and a lone robin hopping about. There were dead horseshoe crabs here and there among the schist boulders, broken by the waves and picked apart by gulls. I just wanted to lie down and sleep in the cool, sea-damp air. Here are a few photos (behind the cut, of course):

photos )

31 July 2006: I set up my temporary office here in the cottage. Very late in the day, we drove to Moonstone Beach, just east of Green Hill, the site of a catastrophic heating-oil spill in 1997. The state has poured millions of dollars into enviromental restoration in the area, and most of the beach is still roped off, nesting area for birds from the Trustom Pond sanctuary. The sand is scattered with moonstones (orthoclase), from which the beach takes its name. They must be weathering out of a submarine exposure of igneous rock just offshore. There was also an extraordinary number of mermaid's purses, and we spotted three young Fowler's toads (Bufo fowleri) climbing back up towards the grass at the tops of the dunes seperating the beach from the marshes. The dirt road leading to the sea was lined with wonderful thickets of beach roses, the rosehips huge and ripe. The whole place seemed alive with a sort of wild magick. It made me giddy (and that's saying something). Photos behind the cut:

photos )

Okay. Now I really must do something that isn't related to this journal...


greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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