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: (twilek2)
This afternoon, I'm missing Alabama.

Here, it's vaguely, unenthusiastically sunny. That sky could at least have the decency to snow. Then again, for Providence, we've hardly had a winter. Right now, it's 43˚F. Hey, winter! Shit or get off the goddamn pot, already.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,157 words on a new pseudo-vignette, "Camuffare." It's quiet, and easy, and strange. It's not at all what I expected to be writing this month, but maybe it's what I need to be writing – assuming I need to be writing anything at all. Let us make no a priori assumptions. But, so far, I like "Camuffare."

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack asked, Will it benefit you, in terms of your standing with the publisher re sales etc. more if I preorder The Drowning Girl, or if I walk into a shop and buy it within the first week of release? Truthfully? I don't think anyone knows. Publishers are insane about preorders. Publishers are equally insane about the first six weeks of a book's release. It pretty much comes down to that. Unless a book blows the whole world away via preorders or those first six weeks of sales, screw it. It never happened. What's next? Yes, it genuinely is like that. So, to answer your question, I'd say preorder, if only because that's more convenient to you.

Speaking of preorders, it's very important that Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart does very, very well. So, please. If you can preorder, do. And thank you. And don't forget what Emerson said. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Anyway, here's the cover (by Lee Moyer), in case you've never followed one of the hundred or so links I've posted (them blue ladies with horns, they gets me every darned time):



It occurs to me that the only drawback to murder is the inevitable post-homicide emotional crash. Oh, and my thanks to everyone who followed the link to Amazon's page for The Drowning Girl and took a second to click like. All 88 of you. If nothing else, I know that 88 people read yesterday's entry. Of course, if you didn't click yesterday, you can always click today.

---

Last night, I swore I wouldn't play SW:toR. The GLBT-friendly RP guild we joined has finally started going to shit. But, you know, two weeks of decent RP before everything begins to come apart in nonsense and drivel is ahead of the curve, right? Anyway...at least it's not my guild. And, anyway, don't grownups do grownup shit? I always imagined it would be that way. I'd grow up, and there'd be 9-5, martinis, bills, vacations, a two-car garage, wild orgies, lawn flamingos, funerals, dinner parties, and 2.5 children. Well, okay, I got the bills, but the rest of it? Nowhere to be seen.

So, instead of playing with all the other grownup children, we streamed movies on the iPad (in 1975, when I was eleven, that sentence would have been science fiction). First, Elliott Lester's very so-so Blitz (2011). Not a great film, but not a bad film, and, what the hell, I'd pay to watch Jason Statham eat a sandwich (I have the same problem with Bruce Willis).

But then...then we came across this film I'd never heard of, even though I should have heard of it. Bless the Child, directed by Chuck Russell (2000). I looked at the cast – Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits (okay, not too interesting so far, but wait for it), Rufus Sewell (see, now we're getting somewhere), Angela fucking Bettis, Christina Ricci, and Ian Holm. And...what a total piece of shit! It might have scraped lows in Xtian horror that few Xtian horror films had previously scraped. The screenplay didn't even manage to be hilariously bad. It was just bad; no ambition. The cinematography had all the artistry of something made for Lifetime. There were some CGI demons that probably would have been interesting to see twelve years ago. There were lots of Evil Goths® and plot holes and pot holes and scary Catholic histrionics and Rufus Sewell trying really, really hard to sound villainous, but you can tell the poor guy's thinking, Yup. This is the end of my career. It's all downhill from here. Oh, wait. Christina Ricci's head falls off. That was pretty cool. And, frankly, the actor who played the Jesus-in-a-dress kid, Holliston Coleman, she carried the whole film on her tiny shoulders, and got all the best lines, and was the cutest little saviour of humanity ever. Gagh. Guys, you have to see this film. It's so bad – in a harmless, stupid, slobbering dog sort of way – you have to see it. Only 3% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! 3%! I still don't know how I missed it in theatres.

Oh, and then we played SW:toR, anyway.

And then I finished Chris McGowan's The Dragon Seekers. And that was yesterday.

Perpetually Adolescent,
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: (cullom)
0. Comments would be very welcome today.

1. Chilly and sunny today. Our little Indian Summer has come and gone. All three days of it. I left the house only once, briefly, the entire time. I expect no more days in the eighties until June.

2. On this day, eighteen years ago, I began writing Silk. Weather-wise, it was a day much like today, though much farther south. Eighteen years, so that means babies born that day are, as of this day, old enough to vote. One of them picking up Silk today, would be like me, on the occasion of my eighteenth birthday, picking up a copy of a novel whose author began writing it in 1964. These are very strange thoughts. Silk is, lest anyone delude themselves into thinking otherwise, a snapshot of a time, culture, and place long vanished. I am not that person anymore. No, not really. There's a faint echo of her around here somewhere.

3. My mood is lower today than it's been in, I don't know. Months. These things happen, and we stay on our meds, and we speak of ourselves in the third person, and we ride them out.

4. Yesterday, you might have seen a news story with a sensational headline something like: "Giant 'Kraken' Lair Discovered: Cunning Sea Monster That Preyed On Ichthyosaurs.". People kept sending me links to it yesterday. And the best I can say about this affair is that if I were still teaching, I'd point to this as a sterling example of Really Bad Science. One does not find a peculiar pattern (in this case, the arrangement of ichthyosaur vertebrae) and invent an outlandish explanation with no evidence whatsoever. And call it something lurid and ridiculous like a "Giant Kraken." There's zero evidence for the existence of a giant Triassic teuthid (squid). Zero. No fossil evidence. So, to posit that one was moving ichthyosaur bones around is very akin to the Weekly World News having once blamed "Alien Big-Game Hunters" for the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. In short, it's silly. I could write a long essay on this, but I won't. Even if Mark McMenamin could find fossil evidence for a giant squid of roughly the same age as Shonisaurus popularis, it would still be almost impossible to say it was responsible for moving those bones into that pattern.

5. Yesterday...I worked. Not as much as I should have, because...sometimes it's hurry up and wait. But I did work. Mostly, more planning for the book-trailer shoot this weekend. Only three days to go. And it looks like there will be rain on Friday, which is going to play merry havoc with our schedule.

6. Want to see the American Consumer at its least rational? Just look back over the recent fiasco with Netflix, and the damage its done to the company (a two-thirds stock drop since July, and still going down). Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has apologized for the proposed Netflix/Quickster division for rental/streaming services, which is absurd. That he apologized, I mean. People need to cut the entitlement bullshit. Better streaming services will cost more, and the industry is moving towards streaming. Period. I am far from being a financially stable person, but the original Netflix business model won't work forever, and it's wasteful, and is costing the USPS a fortune.

7. Frequently, people have asked me to blog my Second Life roleplay. Usually, I don't do this, because doing so leads to spending time writing that could be spent RPing. But I have begun keeping a journal of Ellen "Grendel" Ishmene's trials and tribulations in Insilico, the life of an illegal Level A clone/Class V AI. It's an excuse to keep myself limber with cyberpunk narratives. If you're interested, you can follow the journal here. Oh, and there are pictures. These days, about the only reason I can find to bother with SL is Insilico, and it's far from perfect. But the build is exquisite, and the RP is probably about the best ever in SL.

8. As for the non-work part of yesterday, I read two articles in the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: "Variation in the skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta" and "A sauropod dinosaur pes from the latest Cretaceous of North America, and the validity of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda, Titanosauria)."* And we read two more chapters of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (we're nearing the end of the book), and played some Rift, and I read a rather awful short story by F. Paul Wilson, "The November Game," an extremely unfortunate "sequel" to Ray Bradbury's classic "The October Game." If you're going to attempt a sequel to one of the best spooky stories of the 20th Century, at least have the respect and good sense to mind the mood and tone of the original. And that was yesterday.

Twiddling Her Thumbs,
Aunt Beast

* Looks as though there's only a single species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus, and that Alamosaurus is a valid taxon.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Okay, so even though I got up about an hour early, I'm running about an hour late, and I blame you, Johnathan Strahan, and you, Gary K. Wolfe. And this Coode Street Podcast, which will have me smiling for days to come. And, of course, now I'm dying to see Gary's Locus review of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me (Volume One). I was especially pleased with their suspicion that Volume Two is going to be so much better than Volume One (because it will be).

Comments today, kittens! I need them.

---

Yesterday, after I attended to email (Michael Zulli and I seem to have become regular correspondents, which is just too cool), we left Providence, about 3 p.m.. And drove south to Exeter, in the southwestern quadrant of Rhode Island. Throughout Blood Oranges I've been doing something I never do with novels: I haven't spent much time scouting locales. To keep with the fast-pace of the book, I've relied on my memories. But the climactic scene occurs in Exeter, where I've spent very little time. Now, if you're into the weird of New England, or vampire lore, you know all about the Mercy Brown incident (and the related cases of New England "vampires"). I've read Michael E. Bell's superb book on the subject, Food for the Dead, and used the case in several stories. Yet, I'd never visited the grave. Nor had Spooky, which is even odder. So, yesterday we set out to remedy this.

It could hardly have been a less appropriate day, if you're the sort who wants some appropriately eldritch atmosphere for such an outing. The sun was blazing, and there's virtually no shade in the Chestnut Hill Cemetery. The temperature must have been in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit, with heat indexes close to ninety. But I think Spooky and I were both happy that we weren't making some cliché goth pilgrimage. We followed Ten Rod Road (Route 102) to Exeter and the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church (behind which the cemetery is located). Mercy's grave is a simple marble marker, unassuming, and unlike that of Nellie Vaughn – another tuberculosis victim that superstitious locals feared was an undead, life-draining revenant (oh look, LJ can't spell revenant) – there's no inscription that could be taken the wrong way. Vaughn's grave, in Greenwich (Gren-itch), reads: "I am waiting and watching you." Anyway, there is at least a large cedar that shades Mercy's stone. As with HPL's marker, people had left tokens on the headstone. I left a small black pebble. There are photos behind the cut.

After Exeter, and all the notes carefully recorded in my Moleskine, we headed over to Newbury Comics in Warwick (War-ick) to kill some time until it was cool enough to make the drive down to Moonstone Beach. And we were Bad Kids, and each bought two CDs. Not being utterly destitute after the long monetary drought, these things happen. And they were all used CDs. I got Death Cab For Cutie's Plans and Placebo's Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. Spooky got Einstürzende Neubauten's Strategies Against Architecture, Volume 4 and the Swans' Children of God. We were not utterly awful, though; we only looked at the amazing new Depeche Mode boxed set.

After Warwick, we headed south to Moonstone. And, of this beach's many moods, here was another one. One perched at the edge of a tremendous chaos. Already, the waves were dangerously high, at least 3-5' high, and a big yellow sign had been posted forbidding people from walking on even the lower part of the beach. Walking over the dunes, past Trustom Pond, where a few bird watchers were set up (the birds were all in a lather, as the storm approaches), we spotted a beautiful Green Heron (Butorides virescens), a new species for both of us. It was perfectly still at the edge of the pond, fishing. A tiny Piping Plover kept creeping near it, then dashing away again. But no cormorants anywhere, no gulls in the sky. Flocks of pigeons heading inland. A squawking catbird. A strange and ominous ornithology.

On the beach proper, well...I can't do it justice in words. A painter could have done it justice. I'll post photos over the next few days (assuming we don't lose power). There were a few people. We walked a long way (maybe .40 miles, so .80 altogether) as the sun was setting. The wind was chilly, very wet and misty, quite a change from Exeter. We saw all manner of flotsam and jetsam. We spotted the leathery remains of a skate (Family Rajidae, maybe a Thorny Skate), and another beachcomber told us that a Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was stranded at Moonstone on the 9th of the month. Oh, the wonders I miss by not being nearer the shore! Fuck you, motor boats; the turtle likely died from gash in a front flipper, from a propeller. As the sun was giving way to night, beneath a Maxfield Parish sky, we reluctantly headed back to the van. I wanted to spend the night in the dunes, just feeling the storm coming on.

Back in Providence, we stopped by Eastside Market to grab a last minute pile of supplies, readying to sit out what Irene throws our way (I've heard we're getting 18 hours of continuous tropical storm conditions), and we remain under a Hurricane Warning. Anyway, there was a package from an incredibly kind anonymous individual – a first edition (!!!) of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial, sent from The Strand in Manhattan. Whoever did this, a million thanks.

---

Good RP in Insilico, and some of The Stand last night, as Trashcan reached Las Vegas.

---

So, we're watching little but the progress of Irene up the Eastern Seaboard. Terrifying, this storm, and, as I have said, I am honestly more worried about Manhattan than I am about Providence. Regardless, stay safe. Don't laugh this one off. Not since Katrina has America faced such a threat from a hurricane. We've got mandatory evacuations in coastal and low lying areas here in Rhode Island. But regardless of my fear (and I am afraid of this storm), gods, what a splendid expression of sky and sea, this child of Panthalassa. The sea stands up and walks across the land. This has been happening for billions of years, and we're the ones in the way. This doesn't mean I am without concern. It only means I see both sides.

Concerned and Awed,
Aunt Beast

Anyway, here are the Exeter photos:

26 August, Part 1 )


Addendum: This entry took over two and a half hours to compose.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So, no Great Trailer & Photo Shoot for The Drowning Girl this weekend. Thank you, Hurricane Irene. Early last night, watching the grave weather forecasts, Kyle and I made the decision to postpone the whole affair. Which means postponing it until early October. Even if we could have reached Moonstone Beach (the area will likely be evacuated), I'd have never asked Sarah (who plays our Eva) to walk towards that surf, much less into it. So, there you go. But I do not argue with forces of Nature. They were here first, and will be here long afterwards. Forces of Nature have seniority.

But yeah, it's looking pretty bad here in Providence, and we'll spend part of the day laying in supplies for the impact. Fortunately, we have storm windows, and the walls of this old house were built with a crisscrossed lattice of steel to protect against this very thing (though it makes hanging pictures a bitch).

I got virtually nothing written yesterday. There was far too much commotion. Confusion. Calamity. All those good "c" words. Mostly, having to figure out, at the last fucking minute, what to do about the Great Trailer & Photo Shoot. Thus, I only managed to write a paltry 698 words on Chapter 8 of Blood Oranges. Nonetheless, I intend to have the book (plus epilogue) finished by the end of the day Tuesday (August 30).

I now have both of Vince Locke's illustrations for The Drowning Girl, and they're marvelous. Sirenia Digest subscribers have seen the first of the two, but no one (outside my publisher's offices) gets to see the second until the book is released next year.

Yesterday, my contributor's copy of The Book of Cthulhu arrived. As did the very beautiful edition of Shirley Jackson's The Sundial I'd ordered. Also, a care package from Madison Colvin in Savannah, Georgia, which included, among many other things, a copy of Angela Carter's Love (one of the few books by her I didn't own). So, thank you, Madison. Very, very sweet of you.

Last night, once the dust of difficult decisions had settled, there was some not exactly very good RP in Insilico, but it had a Season Five Dexter chaser, so everything worked out well. And I think the problem that caused the not exactly very good RP has been identified, so that it won't happen again. Then Spooky read The Stand, and I listened. We reached Chapter 38. And, for fuck's sake, I hate Harold Lauder. Sociopathic, maladjusted, plain ol' disgusting behavior aside, he makes me want to bathe. Oh, back to Dexter, Peter Weller is becoming William Burroughs. Has anyone else noticed that? Meanwhile, Deb Morgan is my latest profanity crush (I know most people don't get those, but I definitely have a profanity fetish; my last profanity crush was Al Swearengen). To wit:



And that was yesterday.

Battening Down the Hatches,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Thank you, those who helped [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and me reach – and exceed – the $1,200 goal of our Drowning Girl Kickstarter in less than 24 hours! We're going to add a couple more copies of the book at new price points (by request), and maybe something that's so cool I'm going to hold off mentioning even the possibility of it. You guys truly rock. As will the fruits of this undertaking. We can all point at the results and say, "We did this." This makes us mighty (to paraphrase Mal Reynolds).

Yesterday, I wrote an extremely respectable 1,800 words, getting Chapter Six of Blood Oranges off to a good start. I discovered how to write an action scene without belaboring the affair with blow-by-blow choreography. Which, for me, destroys novels. Also, I think there may only be nine chapters, not the originally projected ten.

Belatedly, I'm announcing this month's selection for Aunt Beast's Book of the Month Club. Last night, Spooky and I read the first two chapters of Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and we're liking it a lot. Someone sent this copy to me, but I've forgotten who. Regardless, thank you (this is the audiobook cover, but you get the idea). Go forth, and be literate!



Spooky made a peach cobbler last night, with peaches from the farmer's market. So, I was a bad kid (again) and had a slice for breakfast.

I'm going to have to make it clear to editors, from here on (probably on a case-by-case basis), that I am simply too busy to write short fiction for anything less than 5-10¢/word, because I'm getting really tired of these 1¢/word offers. Last time I looked, pro rate was a measly 3¢ a word, and if you can't meet that, I'm not sure you should be publishing (a few good small press magazines excepted). By the way, the "pro rate" has stayed pretty constant for about a hundred years. Still want to be a writer?

Some good RP in Insilico the past two nights. Grendel is back from London. But, to my guildies in Rift, I have not forsaken thee, and should be back by Monday evening.

Cheap, But Not That Cheap,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
So, first off, yes, The Ammonite Violin & Others has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the category of Best Collection. And yes, I am surprised and very pleased. Richard A. Kirk (who did the cover and endpapers for The Ammonite Violin & Others) is also nominated for a WFA this year, in the category of Best Artist. And! He's the Artist Guest of Honor at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention in Toronto. So, don't we fucking rock? My thanks to everyone who sent congratulations yesterday, including the 200+ who did so via Facebook. Soon, we will be listing copies of the sold-out collection on eBay to commemorate the nomination.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,749 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and the wolfulous aspects of Siobahn Quinn's nature made their first appearance. May I write as well today.

We had dinner from the farmer's market. Spooky brought back a huge tomato, four ears of corn, peaches, and a length of kielbasa (from pigs born, raised, and slaughtered out on Connanicut Island). A locavore's feast, it was.

And now, from the Ministry of the Truly Fucking Embarrassing, the van finally came back from the shop on Tuesday, as you know, and yesterday afternoon Spooky discovered a cache of unmailed eBay packages in back, mostly hidden by a beach towel. And our eBay customers must be bloody saints, because no one has said, "Hey, my book's a month late!" Thank you for that. Anyway, amongst said packages were the signed signature sheets for Two Worlds & In Between. Now, I signed all 600 of the damned things way back on May 19th (and if you look at this entry, you'll see a photo of me doing it). And then...well...shit happens. I lost track. I'd feel worse about this if anyone at Subterranean Press had noticed the pages hadn't arrived. They'll go into the mail today, along with the tardy eBay packages, and all the more recent eBay packages.

Here's a new and very brief interview with me, on the occasion of the reprinting of "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint" in the forthcoming A Book of Horrors (even though I am not a horror writer), edited by Stephen Jones. Yeah, I go for the danishes every time. Especially if they're cherry and cream cheese.

I should also mention another anthology, Halloween (Prime Books, edited by Paula Guran), which will be reprinting "On the Reef."

Okay...that's a lot of announcements. Enough for one day. The platypus is looking askance, the lowly fucker. But I will say Rift RP is going very well. We had a great scene last night, and my thanks to everyone in our guild, Watchers of the Unseen, who took part. Despite a sort of rocky beginning, the scene quickly became what was probably the best large-scale group RP (as opposed to one-on-one) I've done since my days in the late, lamented Dune sim on Second Life (ca. February 2008). Sure, last night was all mages and warriors, but what the hell. Oh, and one very troublesome rogue.

Yeah, platypus. Keep your panties on. Comment, kittens!

Undefeated,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Eli1)
Today is mine and Spooky's ninth anniversary as Us. We actually met in New Orleans in 1999, but there was much caution and testing of the waters and so forth before finalizing the arrangement. Time has proven that a wise move. It's going to be a fairly unremarkable day, though. A little work. I need my hair trimmed (Spooky does that these days), and I'll cook dinner. Our financial situation is currently too precarious to allow for "lavish" anniversary celebrations ("The check will always be late.").

Nine years. Kind of hard to wrap my brain around.

Yesterday, we made very good progress reading through the manuscript for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. It really is more of a read-through, and less of editing. I'm making line edits, here and there, but these stories are, for the most part, in very good shape. We read "The Melusine (1898)," "Untitled 33," "I Am the Abyss and I Am the Light," and "Dancing With the Eight of Swords." All fairly long stories. We'll make it through a few more today.

I've been trying to decide whether or not I'll write an introduction. I feel the need to justify these stories – they are profane, obscene, pornographic, and "bizarrely" so. But I also know that attempts at justification and defence would only subvert the stories, when the object of the stories themselves is to subvert normative, non-transformative sexuality. Of course, these stories are no more or less obscene than those in The Ammonite Violin & Others, and I didn't feel this urge to defend them. So, I'm not sure what's up, why I have become more skittish. But I'm reading Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography, and pondering the matter. Carter writes:

Pornographers are the enemies of women only because our contemporary ideology of pornography does not encompass the possibility of change, as if we were slaves to history and not its makers, as if sexual relations were not necessarily an expression of social relations, as if sex itself were an external fact, as immutable as the weather, creating human practice but never a part of it.

She wrote this in 1977, but it seems as relevant now as it did thirty-four years ago. Perhaps we should consider that all fantasy (including sf) is obscene, as it subverts the normative, immutable view of reality and revels wantonly in the infinite alternatives. It certainly violates. You might even go so far as to say fantasy rapes reality in that act of transformation, as there certainly is no consent involved, between the writer and the "real" world as we know it. That most authors avoid including sexuality in the act of reshaping the world (or creating novel ones from bits and pieces of this one) is, more than anything, I believe, a reflection of our society's sexual hangups. There are exceptions, of course. Consider The Left Hand of Darkness, for example.

Then again, this may all be bullshit defence, where, as I said already, defence likely is both unnecessary and possibly detrimental.

Also, I've let the email back up again.

---

Back in the early nineties, I was a great fan of Law and Order. That was just before I stopped watching television for several years. I was especially fond of the seasons with Michael Moriarty as Executive Assistant District Attorney, but confess to being less enthusiastic about the show once Moriarty left and the cast began to shuffle about. Anyway... last week, bored, Spooky and I began streaming Law & Order: Criminal Intent from Netflix, mostly because I love Vincent D'Onofrio, and I loved the Holmes and Watson parallel. The show is pretty awesome. I'm not so crazy about Kathryn Erbe, but she's growing on me. Most of the cast is pretty flat, and many of the actors seem baffled by D'Onofrio's delightful antics. Courtney B. Vance has potential, but rarely opens up. We blew through the twenty-two episodes of Season One in only a handful of days, and are ready to begin Season Two.

Also, we may be moving our Rift guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, to another shard after all. Spooky's been exploring rp on the Faeblight shard***, and it seems rp really is taken much more seriously there (and the move is free and fast). On our present shard, supposedly an rp shard, we mostly get idiots, and see very little rp beyond our own. I was skeptical that things would be better on Faeblight, but seems I might have been wrong. That happens, on rare occasions.

Now...I should go. I need a bath before work.

In All My Sadeian Glory,
Aunt Beast

*** Turns out, Faeblight has closed to transfers in the last few days. But I have an alternate plan. I'll contact all the guild members.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yes, it is that. This entry is the 3,000th I've written since coming to LiveJournal way back on April 15th, 2004. And yeah, that's a lot of time and a lot of words. Though, truly, I first began keeping an online journal on Blogger, years before I met LJ, on November 24th, 2001. But, here I am at 3,000, as LiveJournal reckons time.

Yesterday was a roiling mass of chaos. There was a very long phone conversation with my agent, Merrilee, that essentially made it impossible to get much else done during the afternoon. But now I can get back to work on Blood Oranges, which she loves. Today, however, I am awaiting news regarding the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL I can't talk about it yet. Which means I'll be good for nothing, except maybe proofreading the manuscript for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yesterday, we managed to proofread "The Collector of Bones." I'd forgotten all the math I'd had to do for that story.

So, "civil unions" between gay couples will likely soon be legal Rhode Island. On the one hand, it's more than I ever expected. On the other hand, it's so blatantly discriminatory, that it's hard to see it as any sort of improvement at all. It's not even really "separate but equal." It's more like saying, "Look, we made you this, which looks sort of like marriage, and you'll get some of the benefits. But marriage is SACRED, and if we let you have actual...well, never mind what would happen, because we're not going to do that. Here. Take this, instead. Now, go play and leave us alone." That's what it's like. I do see it as a foot in the door, and I see the benefits. But unless this is a stepping stone towards the same rights afforded heterosexuals, it's worthless. Just second-class citizenry. Note that the bill has been heavily opposed by local gay activists. Anyway....let's not make the Baby Jesus cry...

Spooky was just telling me that WoW is now offering the same deal offered by LotRO, and soon to be offered by CoX. There's a downloadable "free to play" version that doesn't come with a 7-day expiration date, but has a Level 20 cap. So, you know, you can play WoW free forever, so long as none of your toons want to rise above 20. Which would at least be fine for rp, only, to echo an analogy yesterday, trying to rp in WoW is about the same as trying to use a Hula Hoop as a particle accelerator. Anyway, I think MMORPGs are finally learning from watching pushers.

Last night, I read Book 2 of The Stuff of Legend. This is, by far, the best new comic I've read in many years. Also, I read "The Dingus" by Gregory Frost, from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir.

Today, I will proofread and wait...

3000 and Counting,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (chi3)
A crazy, crazy morning. Too many emails and phone calls. But now I'm going to try to calm down and write a blog entry.

Yesterday, I didn't get a lot of work done. I only managed to copy edit two stories in The Five-Chambered Heart, "The Bed of Appetite" and "Untitled 31." The latter will have an actual title in the collection, though I don't yet know what it'll be. It's great to proofread the newer stuff I've written, because, mostly, I'm still in love with it, and I make virtually no changes to the text.

My thanks to "Moto" in San Francisco, whose sending me a first-edition hardcover of Angela Carter's The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Remember when email was fast? When you wrote emails, and pretty much everyone responded to them quickly? And this was revolutionary? Lately, it's all iPhones and iPads. I know because it always says at the bottom from what sort of device the message was sent. Now, it seems people would rather speak by "texting." I'm sorry. I'm made the transition from "snail mail" to email in 1994. I'll not be doing it again (she says, knowing full well she will adapt, when it becomes an imperative).

A note to prospective and young writers: Be wary of editors a) offering 1¢/word who b) do not yet have a publisher for their anthology, c) want all sorts of electronic rights straight off, and d) despite the fact they have no publisher, already have a cover design and a marketing strategy involving selling the book as a PDF. Here, we have entered shady, sketchy territory.

Yesterday, as the heat inside mounted, we fled the house and (despite the questionable state of the car and the cost of gasoline) drove down to Moonstone Beach. Our first trip to the sea all summer! That's just...insane. As usual, Moonstone was pretty much free of tourons (you may know them as "tourists"), and we mostly had it to ourselves. I waded into the cold water up to my thighs, and it was wonderful. The sky was full of birds: cormorants (Phalacocorax spp.), both American and fish crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos and C. ossifragus, respectively), red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), grey catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), and all manner of gulls. We made tiny cairns from granite and slate cobbles, and found those others had made earlier in the day. We stayed until about 6:30 p.m., and headed over to Narragansett for dinner at Iggy's (as a marvelous fog rolled in). I think we were back home by 8:45. It was an evening out I much needed. On the way down, and the way back up, I read Book 1 of The Stuff of Legend (written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III). Brilliant comic.

I tried to play Rift for a bit, but got into some combination of a snit and a funk about the state of the guild and the game and players. My apologies to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus for yammering my dissatisfaction at him for an hour. But really. On the one hand, I love the potential of MMORPGs. But on the other hand, I often loathe what they actually are. In the hands of most players, an MMORPG is like watching someone shoot marbles* with a particle accelerator. That is the degree of potential being squandered. Anyway, I gave up about 11:30 and wandered away. I'm not saying this is something wrong with Rift (though, in fact, I have a short list of things that are wrong with Rift), but with the whole gamer mentality. Note: I am not a gamer. I am a roleplayer. The game aspect to me is, at very best, secondary. And, please note, I am on what is supposedly an rp shard. Ergo....

Yeah. Blah, blah, blah. Later, kittens.

Kicking Against the Pricks,
Aunt Beast

Wait. There are photos from yesterday:

28 June 2011 )


*I have no idea if kids still shoot marbles. Me, it was one of my favorite things as a child. It was a very important playground sport when I was in elementary school (1970-1975). Much of one's reputation was at stake.
greygirlbeast: (sol)
And (whatever the calendar says) today is the first day of summer in Providence. Plus! For a limited time and at no added bonus, a massive solar flare is barreling towards Earth at some 1,400 kilometres per second! Whee! In the house, it's 85F and climbing! Outside, 88F and also climbing. Whee!

In Rhode Island, we don't have seasons. The climate has moods.

Lately, I'm realizing (and I should have realized this sooner) that, as an author, I am being expected to be a lot more computer savvy than I am. Not only that, I'm seemingly expected to be able to afford the software and gadgets. Publishers and editors assume I have iPhones and iPads, that I can use Adobe and edit in MS Word. Surprise! Nope. And I really don't see this changing anytime soon. I'm too poor and too stubborn and too disinterested. If anything, I'm perversely tempted to respond to the techno-pressure by composing my next novel on the 1941 Royal typewriter sitting on my mantle. Works just fine. I can get ribbons. It breaks, I fix it myself. Might have to use a screwdriver, worst-case scenario, I'll type it all out, the manuscript, saving electricity and making carbon copies as I go (remember those?), then send four hundred and fifty actual pages by parcel post to my editor. Oh, by the way. Books would, for the most part, get shorter again, and far fewer books would be written, if every one had to work in the Realm of Analog. This would be a good thing.

Writers need to be writing, not learning to use software and the latest bullshit app.

That's not the end of a rant. I'll come back to it, by and by. All my life, I expect I'll be coming back to it. Oh! On a related note, yesterday while shutting off Facebook's scary facial-recognition software (they don't ask if you wanna opt in; you have to opt out), I discovered how to shut off comments on FB. I don't care if it's a social network; I'm repurposing the bitch to my own ends.

A package from S. T. Joshi just arrived. Inside was a copy of Wilum Pugmire's The Tangled Muse (Centipede Press, 2010). Gods, this might be the most beautiful book I've ever held. Certainly, in the top ten. More astounding still, this is from the first printing of only six copies, after which, due to a dispute with an artist involved, the book had to be reset. Wow. Thank you S. T., and thank you, Wilum.

Yesterday, we caught a matinée of Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, and I rather loved it. Some might pick nits, but I won't. It was too fun to ruin by nit picking. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were very good, and Jennifer Lawrence made a great Mystique. I loved Nicholas Hoult's Beast. Hell, even Kevin Bacon didn't annoy me. Anyway, yes. Wonderful.

Ashes and diamonds,
Foe and friend.
We were all equal in the end.
(Pink Floyd)

One day, I'll tell the story of how, in 2005, I almost wrote an X-Men mini-series. It's a sordid tale.

Fuck all, it's hot in here.

Before I forget, the Big Damn eBay Sale is off to a good start. Please have look, please. Also, just as helpful and worthwhile, see Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop. All her paintings are on sale (limited time) for 20% off! Coupon code: ART20

Today, I go back to work on Blood Oranges, and later I'll be talking with [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy (Talking, yes! On the phone!) about the trailer and other promotional goodies we're working on to aid in the promotion of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. That's likely the whole of my coming day.

Rift last night. Selwyn and Missya made Level 46, and were sent from Iron Pine Peak to dread Stillmoor, where once was the great Mathosian Empire, and now the eye of Regulos holds sway over the cratered land. Late, there was some truly grand and very grim rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. Thank you, Sirrah.

Okay. I go forth to broil...I leave you with wonderful new images of my favorite world.

Warmly (haha),
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (alabaster2)
The storms have passed, and it looks like we made the right call, not attempting the drive to Boston yesterday. The video I've seen of a sizable tornado dragging itself along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts yesterday, slinging it's debris field round and round, is beautiful and terrifying and filled me with awe. But, having watched tornadoes in the wild (let's say), face-to-face with those beasts (in Alabama), I'm glad to have been nowhere nearby. Here in Providence, we got a lot of weird skies, some wind, and about fifteen minutes of heavy rain and pebble-sized hail. That's all.

Yesterday was spent on the final-most editing of The Drowning Girl. I added a little text, and I took nothing away. And going back to the text, I realize now what an enormous emotional drain the writing of it was for me, and I know why I was so wrecked when it was finished. Both Spooky and my psychiatrist were of the opinion that my dark mood in April was caused by the book, and now I believe them. I think I scraped down all the way to the bottom of my being for this one, and never have I loved a character as much as I love Imp. I may never again. Once again, the novel will be released in March 2012, and will include three illustrations by Vince Locke.

Today, I send the manuscript back to my editor, and it'll be out of my hands until the arrival of the CEM (copy-edited manuscript).

It looks like Sirenia Digest #67 will most likely go out on the 5th, as soon as I have Vince's illustration. I think this is going to be a very good issue.

Spooky and I picked that fifteen minutes of rain and hail to leave the house to run errands. I took photos as we crossed the Point Street Bridge and drove up Wickenden Street (behind the cut, below). The hail pounded our umbrellas and bounced all around us.

---

There were a couple of comments to yesterday's entry that I'd like to repost. On the subject of the #FuckPlanB hashtag on Twitter, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy writes:

I should probably write something about F#$k Plan B – I fear it's at best hyperbole and at worst dangerous. If your plan A is good enough, and broad enough like "be smart, work hard, learn to write" it will give you many options. But one need only look as far as 35 year old former pro-football players to see where a dogged grappling of a narrow plan A can leave you. I should add that I fear many people being encouraged to "F#@k plan B" don't have what's necessary to succeed at plan A. I admit as Exhibit A all the self-published 99-cent ebooks littering Amazon.

To which I wish to add, a lot of people truly do not want to believe in the necessity of talent required for many Plan As. You cannot learn talent. All the workshops and best efforts and schooling in the world cannot bestow talent. Too many learn that much too late.

- and [livejournal.com profile] opalblack wrote something which evoked such wonderful imagery, I just wanted to make sure everyone sees it:

I went to Venice during Carnival this year. It was like someone had taken a slice of my brain and turned it into a city that was having a party in drag. We went to Isola di San Michele, the cemetery island. We picked up little pieces of broken glass and pottery. Space on the island is at such a premium that the graves are regularly turned and re-let to new occupants. As we strolled through one such recently turned area, I spotted bones. Tiny human bones, a finger here, a fragment of skull there. I picked them up, as is my wont when I find bones – which like yourself is often. We returned to our room, drank absinthe, and smoked. Eventually we went back to Belfast, swearing to return to Venice soon and often. I carried our treasures in my cleavage.

---

Utterly fucking splendid rp last night in Rift – Selwyn, Enth'lye, and Ghaun – and my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and Tracy T. for that. It buoys my spirit, good rp. And we have a grand story beginning to unfold, working within the framework of Rift's lore. Join us!

And now, off to work.

Shiny,
Aunt Beast

Rainy Day )
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
Today, kittens, would be a fine day for comments.

Spooky and I are on the guest list for the Brenden Perry and Robin Guthrie show at the Paradise in Boston tonight. BUT. There are thunderous hellstorms barreling down on New England. And my feet are swollen (and I might have to stand at the show). And the car's acting goofy. And parking's always dodgy in Boston, which means walking on the swollen feet I might have to stand on for two hours. And I'm waiting on checks that haven't come, so money's tight (and gas is exorbitant). And there's work needs doing. And I already took yesterday off. And...you see? When I was thirty-seven, I'd have said "Fuck it all. We're going." Now, I can't stop chewing over the cons, and the pros shrink away. But Brenden Perry and Robin Guthrie.

Brenden Perry makes this fluttery feeling in my belly.

Anyway, decision made. Staying home and working. Or something of the like.

---

I awoke yesterday - after that paltry and feverish five hours of sleep - to a barrage of Very Important Email, which halfway thwarted my day off. But only halfway. Spooky and I escaped the sweltering house about three-thirty p.m. There had been plans to head down to Moonstone Beach, but I think we were both just not up to the drive (and back to the cost of gas). Instead, we crossed over to College Hill, and spent about an hour at India Point Park, where the Seekonk River drains into Narragansett Bay. The sun was hot, but there was a cool wind off the bay. I lay in the grass, and thought about Blood Oranges, and found a squirrel femur lying beneath a tree. There are photos below, behind the cut (oh, and one of me from back on May 19th, signing the signature sheets for the limited of Two Worlds and In Between).

Then we had an early dinner at Tortilla Flats on Hope Street (at the same intersection where we threw the hubcap on Monday night). I ordered a margarita, though my meds and drinking are a no-no. I did it, anyway. And delivered unto me was the Mother of All Margaritas. No, seriously. Must have been five shots of tequila in the thing. So, Spooky helped me drink it. Gods, I miss the taste of tequila. And after that, we headed back to the house. So, that was my semi-day off.

Last night was mostly just Rift, which was mostly me and Spooky level grinding in Iron Pine, then very good rp (thank you, T!) at Lantern Hook. Spooky's cleric, Miisya, made 44. By the way, here's an offer to people who might want to try Rift and join our guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man. Do the free trial, and if after those seven days, you decide to stick around, the guild will pay for your first mount (horse or vaiyuu). That 2.5 platinum, which, by the way, is hard as hell to make in the lower levels. The guild is beginning to come together, but the more the better. If you want to take us up on this offer, email Spooky at crkbooks(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll add you to the list and answer questions and whatever. And remember that we're on the Shadefallen shard, Defiant side.

---

The idiotic #FuckPlanB thread on Twitter was brought to my attention this morning, and I sort of wish it hadn't been. It goes something like this: "If you have a fallback plan, a Plan B, in case Plan A doesn't pan out, then you're not really trying." And this is utter bullshit, and advising any would-be artist to adopt this philosophy as valid is the height of irresponsibility. The road to oblivion and homelessness is paved with those who could not (or would not) adapt. Hell, I wouldn't even be a writer if I hadn't had a Plan B, as Plan A was vertebrate paleontology! Yeah, life isn't fair, and settling for less than "your bliss" can suck, but it's better than the alternative. Unless you're so privileged (trust fund, whatever) that you can actually afford the sort of failure that derives from not having a Plan B (and C, and D), this attitude is, simply, self-destructive. Consider Sirenia Digest. That was a Plan C. Anyway, this whole thing has made me rather ill. If you want to read a very cogent take on this, read what [livejournal.com profile] bethofalltrades has to say on the matter in this post.

---

Also, I'm very pleased to see the return of [livejournal.com profile] acephalemagic to LJ. He's one of my favorite bloggers and one of My Favorite People I've Not Yet Met.

Now, kittens, I face the storm.

Plan Ahead,
Aunt Beast

31 May 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I think I was actually a little disappointed to awake and discover it looks like we're still stuck with the 2.9% of the earth's human population (200 million/3.9 billion) that Harold Camping promised we'd be rid of come 6 p.m. local time (which it is now long past in much of the world, ergo...). I am left with a question for Camping, though. Given that his heavenly abduction would have begun in the Pacific and rolled westward as the planet revolved, doesn't that mean that people in, say, California would have had an awfully unfair advantage over people in, say, New Zealand? I mean, in terms of last minute repenting and whatnot, which surely would have followed from the news reports. Then again, the number of Rapture tickets was awfully small, and I'm guessing they were all printed in advance. So, never mind.

---

I did sleep last night, more than eight hours, thanks to the Good Worker Bee pill.

I was going to post museum photos today, but I found I wasn't in the mood to bother with resizing them. Photoshop pisses me off.

Not much to say for yesterday. Work, whatever that was. And we went out to Acme Video to get movies for Kid Night. The day was green and mostly sunny...and cold. We have a month until Solstice, and sure it's green out there, but it's still chilly. I'm beginning to despair of seeing any warmth this year.

Last light, we watched the two sequels to Robert Rodriguez' Dusk Till Dawn (1996). I have to admit to having been underwhelmed by the original film. It's sort of grown on me over the years, but I've always felt Rodriquez missed the chance to make a really good movie, and we were left with a so-so "it could have been worse" sort of movie. Well, Dusk Till Dawn: Texas Blood Money (dir. Scott Spiegel; 1999) is that movie that could have been, and was, worse. A bad, bad, needs to be put over someone's knee and beaten sort of a movie. Not just bad, but dull. I nodded off three times. Fortunately, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (dir. P.J. Pesce; also 1999, so I assume the films were shot back to back) is much, much better. As in, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Michael Parks was great as Ambrose Bierce. So, after a crappy first feature, Kid Night rallied with a fun second feature and all was not lost.

Very good rp in Rift last night.

--

Oh, I just remembered. Yesterday, I got the editorial letter for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir from my editor at Penguin. Only, it wasn't actually an editorial letter, not in the usual sense. My editor suggested only a single very minor change to ms. page 431 (out of 488 pages). I was kind of blown away. The good kind of blown away. My editor said incredibly nice things about the book (which I may quote, if she gives me permission). And that was that. Which saves me a week or so of revision work. I have a tiny number of additions I'd like to make to the book, and then it will be well and truly done.

And now...
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
I used to write,
I used to write letters. I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night,
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.

But by the time we met,
By the time we met the times had already changed...
(Arcade Fire)

No, nothing special. Just sort of where I am right now. But, have you noticed? I mean, how it's much easier to find people with insomnia than without? See, it didn't used to be that way. I remember.

---

Yesterday was an assembly day, as I predicted. And Sirenia Digest #65 has gone out to subscribers. I very much hope you enjoy the issue. Thanks again to everyone who answered the most recent Question @ Hand.

Today, I need to do a small bit of editing/reworking on "Fake Plastic Trees," following questions from the editors. And I need to finish the updated FAQ for the new Sirenia Digest page. And answer email. And just maybe have energy left to start thinking hard about the two projects that need to be consuming May.

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

---

For months now I've been pondering something I usually call "virtual transgenderism." I started thinking about it a lot right after I started playing City of Heroes back in October (I stopped playing in January or so, for various reasons). I was part of a very good rp group, and most of the characters were ostensibly female. But after about two weeks, I put two and two and four and six together and, with a little help from people who'd been playing for years, realized that almost every one of our "female" players were guys, including lots of guys in the military. Like, you know, GUYS. At first, I was sort of baffled, the way you're baffled when someone plays an especially clever joke on you. But then, then I thought, "Hey, this is really fucking cool." And I thought that because, you see, all these guys were very good a playing women. All sorts of women (most of whom just happened to have super powers), from insecure, nerdy twenty-somethings to smugly confident queens of Faerie. They weren't playing caricatures of women. They were playing women. I was amazed.

See, I can be naive and slow on the uptake. I'm old. When I was in my twenties, we had video arcades with shit like Galaga and Joust and Pac-Man, coin slots and joysticks. We didn't have gaming technology that allowed people to, virtually, become other people. People of other sexes, genders, sexual orientation, races, species, etc. So, it takes some getting used to. But, of course, a large number of the female characters in WoW and Rift are male, and, I'm willing to bet this is true of all MMORPGS. On Second Life, I'm pretty sure 95% of women are actually men. And I'm sure a lot of this is simply guys who think their chick toons are hot and a lot more interesting – but, even then, we still have teenage boys and grown men playing with virtual paper dolls. Many of these guys, though, they're acting out female characters. I just think it's very cool. I think it's a step in the right direction. Maybe a very small step, but a step, all the same. It says something if guys can get together online and openly pretend to be girls. Last night on Rift I was thinking, It's like Fight Club for the trans-curious. This is why it's called roleplaying. You play a role that is not you. You step into someone else's shoes and look through their eyes.

I'm not even going to get started on how this leads to guys' female toons hitting up other guys' female toons (or male toons hitting up "female" toons) for erotic rp. Someone needs to write a Masters Dissertation. Actually, I'm sure several people have already done so.

Anyway, yes. I wholeheartedly approve. I also approve of the women playing virtual males, though I suspect that's a rarer phenomenon.

---

I think I might have given the wrong impression when I started this Aunt Beast's Book Club thing. I don't expect people to read these books on pain of public humiliation or something of that sort. These are just books I want to promote. And, too, it's a way to push myself to finish novels I start. That's all. No one needs to explain to me why he or she isn't reading one of the selections. It's entirely and utterly casual, optional, and so forth.

Over and Out,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold Spring continues. Colder tonight, but at least there's sun today. For now. The pollen's flying, but that's okay. Seagulls over Providence. The tree outside my office window has buds, but not yet any sign of green.

Yesterday, I didn't get back to work on "Fake Plastic Trees." My agent called and we talked and talked and talked, and plans were made. I virtually never plan. I just let shit happen. Which is one reason I've had such a peculiar career so far. Planning always felt so...common. But yesterday we planned. I'm going to write a chapter and synopsis of the "werepire" novel and pitch it to my editor at Penguin, then start Blue Canary. I'll probably write all of Blue Canary before I get back to the "werepires," which would likely be in the autumn. Unless I realize this is all too entirely fucking insane, I may have two new novels written by the end of the 2011. I might call the "werepire" thingy Adapted Dark. I sort of want to see if I can write a decent book in, say, two months. Or if my head will go boom, instead.

Have I mentioned there will be at least one, and probably three, Vince Locke illustrations in The Drowning Girl?

---

My life is a constellation of prescriptions. That's a lousy fucking bit of phraseology, but there you go. A sky dotted with pills. And yesterday a new one was added to the sky maps, and it sort of unexpectedly knocked me for a loop. I went out to the market with Spooky, but by the time we got home, I could hardly sit up. So, I lay down on the chaise in the middle parlor, in front of the fire, and dozed for half an hour or so. Then she woke me, and it was a long groggy evening. We watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 again, mostly so I could moon over Uma's feet and Gogo...and because the climactic fight scene never gets old. I read a paper on the braincase anatomy of the theropod Carnotaurus. But I never really shook off the grogginess. I did some rp with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl, but I just wasn't there, and finally apologized and hit the pause button. However, when I went to bed at three, I was asleep as soon as the light went out, and didn't wake until eleven. I wasn't prescribed this drug as a sleep aid, only warned it might make me drowsy. So...damn. Tonight, I don't take it until bedtime.

Oh, and boot money fell, like a Fortean event, from the heavens. Thank you, Jada. You're the bestest.

People have asked for photos of the new piercings, so there are some ears behind the cut (just the ears, but I'll do the labret later):

Holes )
greygirlbeast: (dax1)
Some stuff I forgot to say this morning, and some more Dax. Because, like bow ties, she's still cool.

My two favorite photos of Danielle Dax, behind the cut:

Blast the Human Flower and Onwards (With Screenplay Excerpt!) )


Meanwhile...

I meant to say there was very good rp with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl last night. And, Riftwise, Spooky and I did the Iron Tomb with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus and friends. Later, while I was rping, he and she continued to quest together, and rob cairns, and dance with squirrels.

And thanks for all the comments, guys. It truly has been helping. Sometimes, it's good to know the last Martian has all this human company.

* Can't seem to make the superfluous go away.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday was, all in all, a strange day, possibly an almost good day. Certainly a productive day that was not without merit, and, also, which was shot through with threads of something better than the stressful mess of the last five or six days.

For one, I wrote 1,513 words on "Fake Plastic Trees," the new short story (details TBA). It's sf. But that's all I can say for now. Oh, and I'll be writing at least one more sf story later this year, which I'm currently calling "The Last Martian There Ever Was." Anyway, yes, the new story's off to a good start, though I think I only realized this morning why the protagonist has been encouraged to tell her story. Which is to say, I've only just this morning realized why the story's being written.

Also, some encouraging news from my editor at Penguin regarding the cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm being told they've decided to take a different direction, away from the ParaRom thing, and I have hopes and my fingers are crossed. So, there's that.

I'm also making some headway getting permission to quote songs in the novel. Radiohead has given me permisison to quote "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)." I think I reported that earlier. Yesterday, I talked with Philip Ridley, and was very generously granted permission to quote a verse of a song he wrote for The Passion of Darkly Noon, "Who Will Love Me Now?" which PJ Harvey sings in the film. Yes, Philip Ridley rocks.

---

Meanwhile, Alfred Music Publishing has granted me permission to quote two lines from R.E.M.'s "Find the River":

The river to the ocean goes,
A fortune for the undertow.


...but they want a $380 licensing fee, that would only cover the first printing of the tpb of the book. That means, new fees would have to be paid for a second print of the tpb, and then again for the mmpb (and each printing of the mmpb), and again for the audiobook, and so on and so forth forever.

Now, if US Copyright Law were not printed on wet toilet paper, quoting two lines from a song would qualify as "fair use." But there have been successful lawsuits rendering "fair use" meaningless in many cases, making publishers gun shy. It all comes down to the lawyers and corporate greed, and has nothing to do with the musicians (who wouldn't see a penny of this licensing fee). In 1996, when I was working on my second story arc for The Dreaming, I wanted to quote one line from another R.E.M. song: It's a Man Ray kind of sky. (from "Feeling Gravity's Pull"). Gods, this is a dull story. Short version: Michael Stipe told me I could use the line, and then Warner Bros. stepped in and said no. At the time, Warner Bros. owned the lyrics, but, in 2005, Warner Bros. Publications was purchased by the aforementioned Alfred Music Publishing.

I can either try to pony up the licensing fee, and keep ponying it up every time some new printing or incarnation appears, or I can remove the quote and figure something else out. I'm loathe to get into the eternal loop of licensing fees (I never have before). If I were a bestselling author with six-figure advances and fat royalty statements, maybe. But not on what I make. I've considered trying to find something in public domain with which to replace the quote. Right now, though, I'm undecided. I have two months to make up my mind. I suppose one option would be to pay it once, let one edition of the book appear as I want it to, then remove the quote from all subsequent editions.

Maybe I'll give a nickel to someone who spots all the fucked up contradictions as regards copyright and licensing in this post. Only, that would require I know each and every one, and likely I don't.

---

What else about yesterday? Besides work, I mean. I'm tired of talking shop. Played Rift. Selwyn made Level 23. Did a good and peculiarly sweet rp scene with [livejournal.com profile] omika_pearl. Drank Pepsi Throwback. Oh, Spooky didn't have to walk in the cold rain to get the car, because it wasn't ready. It's supposed to be ready today; it's been in the garage since Sunday. I read another paper in the new JVP, "A new skeleton of the cryptoclidid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis reveals a novel body shape in plesiosaurs." We read more of The Book Thief. That was yesterday.

---

A reminder: I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

---

Okay. That's it for now. Just got an ominous call from the mechanic. Later, kittens.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Somewhat hungover this ayem, and suffering the effects of insomnia (which don't mix well with the hangover, by the way). It's sort of like being twenty-five on the morning after a binge, except every time I move some portion of my skeleton creaks or pops.

I probably ought not even be making a blog entry. Surely, I have nothing good to say. Not really.

Um...yesterday. Well, yesterday was spent on email, and copyediting, and line edits, and lots of tedious stuff that writers have to do that isn't writing.

Well, there were at least two pieces of good news. The one I can't tell you until Friday, and then learning that my editor at Dark Horse very much likes the story I wrote for her (which I can't say more about until later). These are my bright spots.

---

Last night, we watched the restored director's cut of Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (1981), which is undoubtedly on my list of the 100 Best Movies Ever Made in Any Language. Rarely has anyone conveyed the ultimate futility of struggle more beautifully than Petersen does in this film.

---

We had about an hour of rp in Rift last night, after which I decided that, for now, our guild's going to concern itself much less with rp, at least for the time being. After creating fiction all day, or suffering the consequences of having created fiction, the last thing I want to do at night is...create fiction. Also, rping in Rift, like rping in any MMORPG or any world created by someone besides the rpers, presents a unique set of problems. Most importantly, it's almost impossible for everyone to be on the same page, especially given that the lore (which weighs us down; though, unlike WoW, it isn't absurd) is often very vague on very important points. With Rift, the worst of this concerns the nature of the Defiant Ascendents' fundamental psychology and metaphysics. Anyway, yes. The guild is there. We'll do stuff that guilds do. But, for now, no rp. Later, probably. Maybe, eventually, we can come up with some sort of canonical interpretation, even if we can't confirm it's what Trion has in mind (which is probably irrelevant).

---

So, a thing I have never before done. But in the interest of reducing clutter (and covering a bill for unexpected auto repairs), I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.

Here's the link to the auction.

The platypus, he says this is a chance of a lifetime. Oh, and there's a photograph!



---

Cold and cloudy and rainy here in Providence. I have decided that in Rhode Island we have five seasons, not four. We have summer (late June-late August), Autumn (early September through late November), WINTER (late November-March), Cold Spring (late March though early May), and Spring (May and most of June). Someday, I'm going to acclimate. Understanding is the first step, and it's taken me three years to figure out the existence of Cold Spring.

---

I gave some of my dinosaurs a bath yesterday, trying to start to clear my office of a dreadful layer of dust. Maybe a third of my dinosaurs, if you don't count the ones in storage. And I took photos. Hey, it's whimsical, and lots more fun than email and waking up in the morning! Plus, no one likes a dirty dinosaur. Or plesiosaur. Or wooly mammoth.

Washing the Extinct! )


Lastly, for those who will never understand why I'm a socialist. "The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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