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: (Narcissa)
Caitlín R. Kiernan, you will write a short blog entry! Yes, you will. Probably, no one's reading this thing today, anyway. Much less will they comment, so make it short. [I didn't.]

1) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Read it twice. Steam is offering Rift for a mere $14.99!!! That's 50% off! Plus, you play FREE for a month. Now, the offer will never get better than this, and we had a great RP session last night (thanks, guys). You can join us almost, if not quite, for free.

And really, say that you're here reading this and you don't want to take part in an interactive fantasy story written in part by me? You know you do. So, scoot over to Steam and toss them some pennies, download, sign in, create a Defiant character on the Faeblight shard, start grinding those first few marvelous levels, and join us on Telara. No, NOW. Go. I'll still be here when you get back.

2) Yesterday, I wrote three more pages of Alabaster #3 (though I still felt blegh). I should explain, that when I say I wrote three pages, that's three pages of the comic, which usually comes to about three manuscript pages, sometimes four.

3) I'm feeling much better, but it appears a lot of my exhaustion was a bug of the contagious sort, and now Spooky's caught it (as of yesterday). So, I got to say, "I told you I felt awful." But that's the only upside. She's miserable.

4) I'm not a hypocrite. I just like turkey. We eat it a lot (usually legs). But, yeah, yesterday Spooky made an awesome turkey breast (with cranberries, walnuts, apples, garlic, and onions), and we had mashed potatoes (POH_TAE_TOES?), English peas, homemade cranberry sauce (forget that jellied crap in the can), and apple pie. Days of leftovers. And unholy words were spoken to unspeakable gods while Ozzy Osbourne played in the background, so...none of this counts. Move along. Nothing to see here. Thank you. Drive around.

5) I mentioned this, right? Okay. Just checking.

6) This entry was going to be short, wasn't it?

7) I saw this yesterday, and I (no shit) almost cried: "Alabama’s Wealth of Fossil Dinosaur Feathers." Just read the article (after you've downloaded Rift). Suffice to say, I worked with the paleontologist who first noted feathers in the Eutaw Formation, after I'd spent many years urging collectors to focus on the Eutaw Formation (Late Santonian-Early Campanian) if they wanted to find a Cretaceous terrestrial fauna in Alabama. This is more than I ever dared hoped for.

8) The signature sheets for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012) will reach me soon, and the signing will commence.

9) As I mentioned, great RP last night, the second scene in our rebooted storyline. The cleric Nilleshna called two more Ascendants to the Watchers of the Unseen and the Faceless Man's cause, a Kelari cleric named Emris and a Kelari rogue named Harlakai. And an old member was reunited with the guild, the Eth warrior Anaxakharis. They were all gathered together in a high alpine meadow on the border between Stonefield and Freemarch. Near the end of the scene, one of the guild's more infamous characters, Celinn (Kelari rogue) appeared from the trees and great and terrible weirdness ensued. The game's afoot...again!

10) 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. So, take advantage of one of my rare acts of kindness. But we can't afford to run it beyond #72, so you only have until the 5th of December to get this deal.

And now...the mothmen summon me.

Astounded at Her Pre[science],
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white2)
The way I feel this morning, well, this is what three days of heftier-than-usual-Valium doses and pretty much no sleep does to a body. Or to mine. Maybe you could sail through it without batting an eye. Me, I feel like a bus hit me. Twice.

So, I just have to stay awake until two ayem or so. I think it's time to reset my clock again. Staying up far, far too late. The meds, they can't do overly much about that.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have the new Decemberists EP, Long Live the King (plus accompanying awesome T-shirt), and great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59 for sending it our way. Right now, "E. Watson" is my hands-down favorite track (in two days, I've listened to it 42 times, according to iTunes).

Hallways, always.

Following the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE, which I linked to in yesterday's entry...well, following that was quite a lot of distraction and chaos (many, many thanks, kittens, for all the comments). No surprise. Wonder what's going to happen next Wednesday? Anyway, there was also a very long call from my agent, with some very, very good news (though I can't share any of that at this time). Many subjects were discussed. But, what with this and that, Spooky and I didn't finish with the line edits to Blood Oranges; that's what we'll do today, then send the manuscript to Merrilee (my agent).

This morning, I received Vince's pencils for the illustration to accompany "Latitude 41°21'45.89"N, Longitude 71°29'0.62"W" in Sirenia Digest. It's gonna be a great illustration; I need to get some notes back to him on it. Also, I owe a long email to The Drowning Girl cinematographer, Brian Siano, and...well, other emails. I've also got to begin talking promotion with the PR guy that Dark Horse has assigned to the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE. So, I'm pretty spoken for today. Yep. Oh! And, yesterday, I got my comp copies for The Crimson Alphabet chapbook, and they are gorgeous!

Wow. I'd be in a good mood if this "I feel like I'm dying and back again" thing would stop. Oh, and Spooky's reading the Wikipedia article on Christina Hendricks, because she's a letch. Spooky, I mean. I have no intel as to whether or not Christina Hendricks is a letch. I'd like to think she is.

Last night, a lot of RIFT (I think its growing on me again), and I wound the day down by watching "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (Firefly) and "Not Fade Away" (Angel), as Netflix is late with the new episodes of Californication (wait, just arrived!). But now, work! Get a wiggle on, platypus!

A Tenth Free of Secrets,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I'm not going to talk about the insomnia this morning.

Yesterday, I wrote 2,024 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" and still didn't find The End. But this happens sometimes. I sit down to write a vignette, and it insists on becoming a short story...sometimes a long short story. This one may reach 9,000 words, which means Sirenia Digest subscribers are, quite literally, getting more this month than they bargained for. I do like the story, and I'm glad things went this way, though I suspect it will require a day of vigorous polishing.

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney, who, by her own initiative, compiled all my blog entries between November 21st, 2001 and April 16th, 2004, all the time from the blog's beginning until I began mirroring it at LiveJournal. This actually comes as a great relief, as I worry constantly about all those entries over at Blogger (I stopped posting the journal to Blogger in late 2006). Anyway, the portion compiled by [livejournal.com profile] kaz_mahoney, as a PDF, comes to 920 pages, about 320,000 words. Which leads me to suspect that I've written quite a bit more than a million words of blog since I began in 2001. All my novels combined likely come to half that. Anyway, thanks again, and if anyone wants to do that with the LJ half, I wouldn't complain. Also, I will freely supply copies of the 2001-2004 PDF to anyone who wants one.

Cold and grey Outside. Chilly and cat-bedeviled inside the House.

Three more episodes of Doctor Who last night, so we're now at "The Hungry Earth." I begin to detect a theme (and that was a damned sexy reptile woman).
greygirlbeast: (white)
Yesterday, I wrote only 810 words on "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," but I spent hours and hours picking though words from the Great Nothing. The story is, at this point, 6,145 words long, so I'm guessing it'll go to 7,000+ words. This month, Sirenia Digest subscribers, you get no mere vignette, but a full-fledged short story.

Great talk with my editor at Dark Horse yesterday. Details as soon as I may.

No Thanksgiving here today, and if you want to know why I do not observe Thanksgiving, well I wrote this last year, on November 23rd:

This whole Thanksgiving thing came up yesterday. That is, the fact that I do not observe this whole Thanksgiving thing. And various people (including my mother) were like, oh come on, you have a lot of things to be thankful for. To which I can only reply that, in this instance, thankfulness implies that there is someone or something out there to thank. I would say that yes, sure, I am appreciative of many things in my life— Spooky, my mom, Spooky's mom and dad, Rhode Island, being able to mostly pay my bills, the sea, and so forth. But being appreciative does not entail being thankful, in the sense that is generally meant when people speak of Thanksgiving. I am not thankful, not in the Thanksgiving sense, which implies gratitude towards some "higher power," even when you've completely stripped the holiday of its Christian roots and made it just "Turkey Day." I can appreciate turkey any day. I don't need a special day to eat turkey, or cranberries, or that disgusting stuff made of sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows on top. And there's no one for me to "give thanks," other than myself, and Spooky, and my readers, and maybe half a dozen other people. So, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I just don't do Thanksgiving. I try to make sure the people in my life to whom I am grateful for this or that know that I am grateful for their kindness and concern. I don't need to set aside a special day for it. To some, it may seem like I'm worrying over semantics and only mincing words. But that's what I do. All day, almost every day. I mince words, in an effort to get to what I genuinely mean. Usually, I choose my words with obsessive care.

That said, as I was too busy and tired to properly observe either Mabon or Samhain, we'll be having a huge autumnal meal to retroactively celebrate both. I am told there will be Brussels sprouts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Some portion of yesterday's sour mood (let's say 24.8%) followed from my having thought I'd lost a tiny silver ankh ring that I've worn on the pinkie finger of my left hand since it was given to me by Jada in 1990. That's twenty years or so that this ring has hardly ever been off my hand. And night before last, I realized it was gone, and figured it was gone for good. But Spooky found it at the foot of the bed yesterday, not long after I posted the entry. I rarely find the things I lose, so it was a huge relief.

Today I have to write. My grand plan of doing 1,500 words a day, every day of the month, is a grand failure. The whole thing was thrown off by my inability to write the Mars story, and the glumness that followed. But here it is the 18th, and the writing has to resume. I've got to write "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" for Sirenia Digest #61, then get back to work on The Drowning Girl. I still have 13 days left in the month. That's a lot of words, if only I stop fucking off.

Yesterday, the weather was warmish and blustery, a very beautiful day, and we crossed the river to College Hill. Somehow, we'd both managed never to visit St. John's Churchyard (formerly King's Cemetery, prior to the Revolutionary War). It's a very small graveyard, located between Benefit Street and North Main. Poe visited it on occasion, and Lovecraft mentions it in "The Shunned House":

I have reared a marble urn to his memory in St. John's churchyard— the place that Poe loved —the hidden grove of giant willows on the hill, where tombs and head stones huddle quietly between the hoary bulk of the church and the houses and bank walls of Benefit Street.

HPL also wrote a poem (an acrostic sonnet), "In a Sequester'd Churchyard Where Poe Once Walk'd." There are graves there dating back long before the Revolution, all sheltered by a gigantic poplar tree, which was still filled with yellow leaves yesterday. There were bright red maple leaves blowing down from a yard above the cemetery. We copied inscriptions and picked up bits of pottery. We found a penny from 1969. An old ivory button. It's a solemn, comforting place, largely hidden from view. The wind was chilly, and the sky was filled with great puffs of cloud, grey-purple below and brilliant white on top. Anyway, there are photos behind the cut, below. It was a good day, and getting out of the House, and going where we went, helped to clear my head.

Last night, with dinner, we had a bottle of Dogfish Head's Pangaea, which I bought back in March just because I couldn't pass up an ale named for the continent of Pangaea. Plus, it's brewed with Antarctic water. Anyway, the bottle got tucked into a cabinet in the pantry and mostly forgotten. But last night, it was finally consumed. Quite good, too.

And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. There are hungry bears in South County.

Gravely yours,
Aunt Beast

17 November 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yes, a new name for the blog. Names come and names go. They can have no more permanence than may faces. Yesterday, I was seized by the need for a change, so thank you, Elvis Costello. Also, I think I won't much longer feel like "greygirlbeast." I think, in my older years, I may simply become "Aunt Beast" (thank you, Madeleine L'Engle and also Joah). If the shoe fits...but sadly, I don't think I can ever change the name of this account.*

There's a rather marvelous review at Zone-SF.com, one of the best I've read of The Red Tree. I have only one quibble, and it's that the reviewer veers off course near the end by assuming knowledge of authorial intent. I do not see The Red Tree as a book meant to go "raising those hairs on the back of the neck." If it does that for you, fine. But do not expect that effect. I'm not the one who labels me "horror" (or whatever). And yeah, this does matter. If a reader perceives a text as existing within a given genre, then they burden it with the expectations of that genre, shoeboxing it and expecting it to deliver X or Y or Z, when it's very likely the author was going for Q or G. Any book may only fail or succeed on its own merits, not relative to any other book, or based on how well it works when perceived as any given genre.

Still, a really good review. And I hope I don't sound ungrateful, because I don't mean to. But the Constant Reader will recall what a sore spot this is for me.

---

Now, the Mars story. It would seem that I was asking one too many stories of myself this autumn. And the story wasn't coming...again. Even after I reshelved "Romeo and Juliet Go to Mars" and began "On a Lee Shore." I lost a week staring at the screen, and staring, and not writing. Fortunately, the anthology's editor (both TBA) has accepted "Tidal Forces" in lieu of a Mars story. So, all's well that ends well (even though I did lose that week). Now, I just have to get Sirenia Digest written, and get back to work on The Drowning Girl. Oh, and pull together the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between for subpress. That's not so much...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Bid if you are able and so inclined. Still recovering from the joys of income taxes. Thanks.

---

So...Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The highlights. Well, on Friday, I tried to write a Mars story, but I've covered that already. I also got a really big box of Mike Mignola books from Rachel Edidin at Dark Horse Comics, who it seems may soon be my editor. I've already devoured the first two "library editions" of Hellboy. "Pancakes" is sheer brilliance. The books were the best bit of Friday. Reading the comics, I'd swear Mignola wrote the character with Ron Perlman in mind.

On Saturday, it became obvious to me the Mars story wasn't happening any time soon, and I contacted the aforementioned editor. Also, we watched the latest episode of Fringe, which was especially good.

Yesterday, we left the House. I'd not been out since the 9th, and the weather was good (today, it's not). We just wandered about town, east of the river. There were antique shops on Wickenden Street, and another trip to What Cheer at Wayland Square. There was an exquisitely embellished old car. There was an Indian grocery on Hope Street. We saw a sad clown driving a car. There were late splashes of autumn. There were two wonderful toy shops. We were good kids, and bought nothing. So, a good day, despite my agoraphobia, despite my ouranophobia. I kept my eyes on the ground, and all was well. Okay, not the entire time. I had to look up the three times Spooky spotted sundogs. But sundogs do not inspire dread or unease. It was a good day.

Back home, there were deli sandwiches, and I spent most of the evening with City of Heroes and Villains (while Spooky played LOTR Online; it's weird, us playing two different MMORPGs). My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for giving me a lot of help last night actually learning how to play the game. Verily, he has the patience of a glacier. And thanks to "Sekhmet" and "Enth'lye" for very good rp later on. Lizbeth, who is Erzébetta from the future, is regaining her glamour, even as she realizes she's not from the same timeline as this Erzébetta. Mistakes were made, which is why you should never try this at home, that whole fiddling with time thing. You never know which of the multiverses you'll land in...or create. Oh, very good rp on Saturday night, which was mostly Erzébetta and Sekhmet reliving the horror (yes, here the word applies) of a long ago night at Castle Csejte (near Trencín, Hungary), what really happened.

I will not thank Monsieur Insomnia, who kept me awake until after 5 ayem (CaST).

Sincerely Yours, By Any Other Name,
Aunt Beast

...I am a goat girl.
Thinking goatish thoughts, dreaming goatish dreams,
Digging up tin cans, and chewing on your sleeve.
—— Tanya Donelly

14 November 2010 )


* I see that "auntbeast" is taken, but "aunt_beast" is not.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold and gloomy Outside. I've not left the apartment since October 30th. When I finish Chapter One (1) of The Drowning Girl, then I can leave the House, and bathe, and whatnot.

Yesterday, I rallied, and wrote 1,770 words on The Drowning Girl, the scene in which Imp (India Morgan Phillips) meets her girlfriend, Alexis. I suspect the chapter has only one scene remaining, which I should be able to manage today and tomorrow. Then I might allow myself one day off before I set the novel aside for three weeks. I don't want to do that— set the novel aside —but it's necessary. This is, by the way, not the novel as I originally conceived of it late last summer, when it was titled Blood Oranges. It's not exactly the novel as I reworked it back in the winter, when it was called The Wolf Who Cried Girl, though it's still close to that incarnation. This novel, it seems, has something of a sense of humor, which is something I've never done before. It also has a first-person narrator who's pretty much incapable of linear storytelling, which I'm sure is going to piss off all sorts of people. I don't care. It no longer matters. This is the book I'm writing. Too much time was wasted trying to figure out how to write a book people would want to read, when I don't even actually care what people want to read.

Sometimes, it shocks or annoys me that I'm so utterly out of touch with the world as it currently exists. Then, other times, I'm relieved. For example, I have no goddamn idea who the Kardashian sisters are, nor do I care. Not even enough to Google. It helps knowing that pop culture is only about as deep as a wading pool, and if I ever need to catch up again, all I'd have to do is spend an afternoon reading magazines that are mostly advertising.

Has anyone else noticed how most software updates have nothing to do with making things better, just different?

Last night, we watched Fringe, and I had some extra amazing rp in CoX. My rp there has very little to do with the whole superhero thing, by the way, in part because I'm pretty much forgoing actual gameplay. I just wish that I could have found CoX three years ago, and not wasted so much time and energy trying to wring good rp out of the moronic cesspool that is Second Life. Later, we read more Kelly Link, "The Cinderella Game," "Surfer," and "The Wrong Grave." The last of those three was especially wonderful, one of my favorites so far. And that was yesterday.

There are still a couple of ongoing eBay auctions. Please have a look.

That seems to be everything for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was wretched. Not much point watering down the truth. My head wasn't right, and my guts were worse. I spent a good bit of the day in bed. No writing was done. I didn't go Outside. Nothing was accomplished.

We shall see what today will be.

There were a few "slits of light" to yesterday. Peter sent me a copy of The Juniper Tree And Other Blue Rose Stories (Subterranean Press). The mail brought a very small royalty check from Steve Jones in London, for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

Then last night, after trying to sit up awhile, I went back to bed. Spooky and I watched the newest episode of Project Runway (I really, really love Mondo). We watched two episodes of some exceptionally ridiculous Animal Plant cryptozoology series. The first imagined a plesiosaur in Monterey Bay; the second was about the "Oklahoma Octopus." Gotta say, if I were younger, I'd start a punk band called Oklahoma Octopus. Anyway, then we watched J.T. Petty's The Burrowers (2008), which, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be marvelous. It belongs to that all too neglected genre, the Weird Western. There are a few missed notes: the start is a little slow, and I could have done without the final shot, which was unnecessary. But, all in all, well acted, well filmed, and creepy as hell. It's one of those rare dark films where things start out very bad and just keep getting worse, spiraling down to a place no one and nothing can ever escape. The Burrowers can be streamed free from Netflix. Check it out.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

---

A comment from [livejournal.com profile] dragau, from day before yesterday (or the day before that), back to the subject of the lack of characterization in Neal Stephenson's novels:

Often when I read Stephenson, I feel the omission you describe, that his characters are indifferent toward their mindless drudgery of existence, and they follow their paths as pawns lacking anything better to do, their lives predestined. For the Baroque Cycle, I was hoping for a novel on par with Gary Jennings. Instead, we got an extended soap opera like War and Peace with its cookie-cutter characterization. After my disappointment with Anathema, I will be waiting to buy used paperbacks of his future novels.

As a measure of comparison, I think Stephenson serves better in contrast with your own stories. Many of your own characters also experience the drudgery and recognize the futility of fighting their fates, but you seize that oppression and wring from it every emotion and metaphor. You mop the floor with the tears and self-pity of those who surrender. Meanwhile, your strong characters rally themselves with the adage "I can fuck plenty with the future," and then they act, win or lose.

Conversely, Stephenson's protagonists are often mere witnesses to great events or they are catalysts. When they do perform a climactic act, their achievement really is being in the right place at the right time. This is progressively more so in his later novels, whereas you got the manipulative plot tropes worked out of your system early, and now for example, although the reader may know your main character will commit suicide, the paths leading to that eventuality will have many branches of uncertainty.


The only point with which I would disagree is that I don't make a distinction between strong and weak characters in my stories. Sometimes, surrender requires more resolve and greater courage than does fighting.

---

Come here, pretty please.
Can you tell me where I am?
You, won't you say something?
I need to get my bearings.
I'm lost,
And the shadows keep on changing.

And I'm haunted,
By the lives that I have loved
And actions I have hated.
I'm haunted,
By the lives that wove the web
Inside my haunted head
-- Poe, "Haunted"

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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