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: (talks to wolves)
The Weather Channel says "It's a perfect day to call in sick. Did we say that out loud? But seriously, the Northeast will enjoy a beautiful spring-like day." But when I look at today's forecast I see that the predicted high is a paltry 48˚F (it's presently 43˚F), with a mostly cloudy sky. Which to me, to someone who grew up in the South, is about the same as saying today will be a "beautiful midwinter-like day." Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to rise as high as 56˚F, which is at least approaching "spring-like." But it's going to rain. Fuck you, Mr. Weather Channel.

I'm never going to be who I'm never going to be.

But look who I've become.

Yesterday, I didn't finish the pseudo-vignette that's still titled "Apostate." Instead, I spent the day doing other writerly stuff. Email with my agent, Dark Horse editor, and suchlike. And other stuff. Honestly, I can't even remember much of it, so it truly must have been dull, indeed. My publicist wants to get the book trailer (the "teaser") up on the Penguin website for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (right now, they don't even have the final cover up), and on the book's Amazon.com page. Which means I need to get him a DVD with "a compressed video file (preferably in .mov format and smaller than 100mb)," or use a legal file-sharing service, such as Dropbox.net. See? Exciting shit.

But! Here's something bow tie. You'll recall that on Sunday, there was the final shoot for book's full-length trailer, Kyle and Brian and Sara in the wilds of winter-stricken Pennsylvania, Sara in a beautiful dress made for the occasion by Kambriel. And here are two of the shots (behind the cut):

What India Found in the Forest )


And you may purchase prints of these and many of the other stills from the project right here. All proceeds will be used to offset our overages (yeah, we went over budget), and right now Kyle and I (and mostly Kyle) are covering that debt. This particular shot of Sara is on sale, for a short time,

Nothing interesting about the non-work part of yesterday. I had a hot bath. We had left over turkey chili (I am losing weight). We leveled our Twi'lek Jedi to 13. I read about Lyme Regis and 19th Century ichthyosaur discoveries. No more than that.

Today, more email, and I'm expecting the editorial notes of Alabaster #4, and I'll actually finish "Apostate."

Feeling Her Years,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
January is almost over, and we've had one snow. It only lasted a day before the melting began. I only have four data points from which to work, so my results are suspect, but based on those four, it's been an unusual winter here in Providence. Sunny today, and presently 39˚F.

I haven't seen the sea since sometime in mid December.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,249 words and finished "Camuffare." It's an unexpectedly gentle story. And, despite being very, very strange, it's certainly one of the most straightforwardly sexual (as opposed to more broadly erotic) I've written for the Digest. Quiet. I'm very pleased with it. Today, I begin a second piece for #74, for which I presently have no title.

I fear, these last few days, I may have been backsliding on the diet.

Last night, determined to stay off SW:toR (and we did!), we binged on whatever you call it when you stream video through a laptop. We watched last week's episode of Fringe – superb – then moved along to two films. SPOILERS The first, The Vicious Brothers' Grave Encounters (2011) came recommended by a friend who's taste is often in sync with our own. And...Grave Encounters is almost a very creepy film done very well. Almost. It has moments of brilliance. But, in the end, there are too many examples of the creators' never having learned that, more often than not, when tugging at the strings that control dread and outright fear, less is much more. We do not need hackneyed images cadged from hundreds of Japanese horror films and the like, not when the filmmakers have actually plugged into what makes Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves such a wondrous thing (stretches of this movie are close to straightforward adaptations of the novel). There's imagery and circumstance within Grave Encounters so effective that we don't need actual ghosts and monsters popping out of the walls. Whenever the ghoulies appear, the atmosphere and tension are shattered, and the whole thing threatens to careen into camp. You ought to see the film for those parts that work (none of which I will here spoil), but you also ought to know that, in the end, the film falls apart, and the conclusion, which literally opens a door into a blackness so profound it might have been genius, is squandered on cheesy images of pretend occultism and mad scientists. Okay, that's a spoiler. Sorry. But someone needs to take the "Vicious Brothers" (guys, get actual names...really, please) aside and show them how they almost made a truly impressive film. SPOILER ALERT ENDS

Afterwards, we watched Ole Bornedal's Nightwatch (1997; based on Bornedal's Nattevagten, 1994). Nice cast, including Ewan McGregor, Patricia Arquette, Nick Nolte, and Brad Dourif, plus an utterly inspired bit performance by Lonny Chapman. It's not a great film. It's a nice thriller with a decent amount of tension. If you're the sort who watches a "whodunit," and actually expects to have a hard time figuring out "whodunit," you'll be disappointed. I'm not that sort of person. And Ewan McGregor rocks. Even in bad Star Wars films. And Brad fucking Dourif. So, there you go. I enjoyed it.

Also, I began reading The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling, a biography of Mary Anning.

Now...I should go make words.

Trust Me,
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: (twilek1)
A wild, rainy early afternoon here in Providence. Rainy and warm (50˚F). I hear rumours it may be snowing in Nova Scotia. Regardless, I hardly slept "last night," despite quite a cocktail of psychotropics, as Monsieur Insomnia came to join the dance. I read The Dawn Seekers until six ayem, when I finally drifted off. My dreams are better left unspoken, but I understand Spooky spent part of her slumber being romanced by Walter Bishop.

No writing yesterday. Only the search for a story, one to replace "The Diamond Friendly" (now shelved). I think I may have found just such a story. Or, well, what might grow into a story. This is for Sirenia Digest #74, by the way. Though, there are many others waiting in the wings, even though I began turning down almost all short-story solicitations many months ago. Mostly due to my work with Dark Horse. Still, I have about half a dozen to write this year (not counting the digest), plus my essay for Chicks Dig Time Lords. I will admit, I'm still a little uncomfortable with the fact that lesbians and female transgenders were not covered under Chicks Dig Time Lords. Anyway, as soon as Sirenia Digest #74 is out, I'll begin Alabaster #5.

By the way, and by the by, Dark Horse Presents #9 will be released on February 22nd and will include an eight-page sneak preview of Alabaster. And only thirteen days after that, The Drowning Girl will be released. Do me a favour. Follow that link to the novel's Amazon.com page, and click "like," right there beneath my name. It can't hurt sales, and it might give me some idea how many people are still reading this blog. Thank you kindly. Anyway, I'll be spending a great deal of March and April (and probably May, and...) promoting both books, including an uncommon (for me) number of public appearances (TBA, and only in the Northeast, Manhattan to Boston). This will eat up even more writing time, as I cannot write and travel, though I know many others can. Plus, who knows what crud I'll contract, all that human contact. Howard Hughes is unaccustomed to the microbial life outside her plastic bubble of social sterility.

As for last night...well, too much...um, recreation. A nice bit of C18H21NO3, far too much Star Wars: The Old Republic (my Sith and my Jedi), Curiosity Cola, and other nonsense. I went to bed, finally, and read The Dawn Seekers, and didn't sleep...but we've already covered that part, haven't we? Ah, I also read "Re-description and evolutionary remarks on the Patagonian horned turtle Niolamia argentina Ameghino, 1899 (Testudinata, Meiolaniidae)" is the most recent JVP.

My thanks to whoever sent me the new Penguin Classics The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen, along with Franz Wright's Kindertotenwald.

Somewhere Near Awake,
Aunt Beast

Postscript: I don't have a lot of favourite designers, but...I just got the news that one of them, Eiko Ishioka, has died...and...fuck.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
I know it's gonna be a goddamn weird day when the first thing I read after crawling (moaning) from bed is an article in The Economist. But, really South Carolina people. Newt Gingrich? Newt fucking Gingrich? That crackpot from the radio? A paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze who's clearly proud of being a paragon of Southern white conservative sleaze. Is anyone actually believing this shit about "open" marriages that he's spouting? But, back to the aforementioned article, I have to quote this bit:

As nuts as it may seem to those of us who belong to smaller, more vulnerable segments of the population, conservatives feel backed into a corner by the broader culture, and they detect in Mr Gingrich's pharisaic diatribes the hopeful will to fight, the promise of punching their way back to uncontested supremacy. That Mr Gingrich is a cartoon of a corrupt demagogue doesn't seem much to matter. Not only do conservatives believe Mr Gingrich feels their pain, they believe he seeks their revenge.

I'm imagining redneck Tea-Partygoers googling pharisaic, because that's a damn fine cup of irony (sorry, Mr. Lynch).

---

Yesterday was pretty much a bust. I wrote a measly 491 words on "The Diamond Friendly," and I think I'm about to shelve it a second time. I could try to explain what's gone wrong, but it would probably amount to a treatise. Having lately read so much dull, flavorless sf, I'd really like to write a bit of sf that, at the very least, can be called neither flavorless nor dull. Thing is, so much of that bad sf I've been reading is bad not because, I suspect, the writers in question are necessarily bad writers. I know that some of them aren't. It's because good sf – especially that of the futuristic variety – requires the author to have a firm grasp of sociology, psychology, linguistics, pop culture, economics, history, politics, and never mind the fields of science and technology relevant to the story at hand (besides sociology and psychology, I mean). You have to know, or at least be able to lay your hands on, all these disparate sources of data if you are to imbue your story with the least jot of authenticity, and then you have to start juggling them, and keep it all in the air while you write (I suppose this is done with the toes, since the hands are occupied), snatching the information you need as you need it. Mixing and matching, splicing and melding.

And here I am, in a crush of deadlines, setting out to write what would be an approximately ten thousand word hardcore "biopunk" (can we please, please, please stop punking?) story, spoken by its interauthor in a quasi-fictional argot I'm devising from a hundred sources for use in the mid 2050s...and...yesterday, I realized I had to step back. I started the story last month, then set it aside. I am going to write this dark, dark story about what [livejournal.com profile] corucia has deftly termed "somajakking." But I don't think I can write it now. Maybe I'm wrong, and by the end of the day I'll have figured it out, how to do this and everything else and not break my brain. I just don't know. A writer knows her life has grown peculiar when she begins to feel guilty about taking the time and energy to, you know, write a short story.

---

I don't like to talk about my infirmities in the blog. I just don't. I think, mostly, because I dislike the inevitable commiseration. "I know just how you feel." That sort of thing. I understand how many human beings find comfort in commiseration, but I don't. Anyway, I'm drifting. Point is, I've had this fucking migraine for eight days, as of today, which beats my old record by three days...and I've been trying to persevere. But I'm starting to slip. The formulation of coherent – never mind artistic – thoughts while this railroad spike is being removed and reinserted into random parts of my skull...I think the appropriate word is maddening. There must be a word for people who can remain articulate while in excruciating fucking pain, but, if so, it escapes me. Or I never learned it. Anyway, please do not commiserate. Mostly, I just wanted this down for the record, so I can remember, some day hence, that I once had an eight-day (or longer) headache.

---

I was going to write about playing too much SW:toR. I was going to write about reading The Dragon Seekers, and how it pains me to revisit the life of Gideon Mantell – the man who, among many other amazing achievements, named the second dinosaur* ever described, Iguanodon (1825) – but died poverty ridden in 1852, as do many paleontologists today. Mantell also discovered and described Hylaeosaurus (1833), the third dinosaur to be described. Instead, I wrote about all that other stuff. And now I have to go try to write that which I am paid to write.

When Evening Calls So Hard,
Aunt Beast

* The term dinosaur was coined in 1842 by Sir Richard Owen.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
If I don't leave the house today – and I know that I won't – it will have been ten days since last I left the house. Doesn't help that it's cold as an Xtian's tit out there, currently 27˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote pages 11-15 (manuscript pages 19-26, 1,433 words) of Alabaster #4. Not leaving the house is great for productivity. Just fuck all for everything else. With luck, I can finish the issue today, but by tomorrow evening for certain.

If you haven't already, please preorder The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Thank you.

Meanwhile, the auction for an ARC of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir continues. Two days, eight hours remaining. Also, Amazon.com claims to have 17 copies of Two Worlds And In Between in stock, even though it's supposedly sold out, and, previously, Amazon cancelled peoples' orders because they couldn't get the book, etc. No, I have no idea how this happened, but it makes me angry.

Last night, after dinner, I washed my hair. Yes, well. we take our excitement where we can get it.

I suppose I can mention SW:toR and making level 29 and getting my first Legacy level (though I've not yet unlocked Legacy by reaching #30, so it doesn't really make sense). Or that there was stupendously good RP. But I know that's lame nerd shit. Not like saying, hey, last night David Bowie and Cormac McCarthy came over and we dropped acid and played dominoes in the nude. Yeah, I might be a goddamn nerd, but I have perspective, okay?

I watched half a new documentary about pterosaurs. It was National Geographic, but I was disappointed to see that, these days, National Geographic documentaries are only somewhat better than those on the Discovery Channel. The CGI was, at best, so-so. You know, back in 1999 television did this brilliant, beautiful Walking With Dinosaurs thing, bringing Mesozoic beasties back to life with CGI. And it's all been downhill from there. More CGI, lower production values, lousier visuals. Sloppier science. Facts ever more dumbed down. Thirteen years, and we're still moving backwards.

I read "New information on the protosaurian reptile Macrocnemus fyuanensis Li et. al., from the Middle/Upper Triassic of Yunnan, China." I also read "Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back" by Joe R. Lansdale (1986), sublime nuclear apocalypse.

And that was yesterday. Comment, if you dare.

Inside,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 1)
On this day, sixty-five years ago, the dismembered body of Elizabeth Short was found in Leimert Park, Los Angeles.

Bitterly cold (but no snow) here in Providence. We had single digits last night, and the temperature Outside is currently 15˚F.

Here's a link to the full text of the starred (!) Publishers Weekly review of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Also, my thanks to Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) for the very kind things she said about the novel a couple of days ago.

Yesterday, I realized that I'd done a very peculiar thing Friday while working on Albaster #4. I'd written pages five, six, and seven. But...this is going to sound so stupid...with seven I'd jumped ahead to a spot very near to the end of the book, only a few pages from the end. It was strange, yeah. I always write from "beginning" to "end," in a straight line, so it was a very odd thing for me to have done. Anyway, yesterday, I set that seventh page aside (I'll use it at the appropriate time), and wrote a new page seven, along with eight, nine, and ten (manuscript pages 14-19, 1,403 words). I stopped in the year 1864 – November, to be precise. I'll resume there today. Oh, it'll all make sense, trust me.

After the writing, I used the iPad to stream a rather dubious documentary about the Snowball Earth hypothesis. I don't mean to say that the hypothesis itself, though still somewhat controversial, is dubious. It's just that the Discovery Channel (I can't believe they haven't shortened the station's title to Disco) seems incapable of making coherent, accurate documentaries that don't drag everything down to the level of "Bat Boy" and the Weekly World News (By the way, you know you're old when you remember the days when the Weekly World News took itself seriously.). The documentary almost managed to reduce a respectable (and very likely) scientific model to nothing more than the latest Roland Emmerich blockbuster.

Later, we played SW:toR, forgoing RP in favor of leveling. We both reached Level 28. And then we watched Craig Gillespie's remake of Fright Night (2011). Now, given the fact that I'm an admirer of the original (1988) and the fact that I hate 3D, I will admit I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder going in. But I was quickly won over. Yeah, the 3D is gimmicky as fuck, and annoyingly intrusive at times (Oh! Look! Blood spurting at the film! Scream!). But the film is both a lot of fun and filled with genuine menace. Most of the casting is superb – Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell (I never would have believed it), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and (drum roll) David Fucking Tennant. The show really belonged to Tenant and Farrell. I do wish a little more care had been taken casting female roles. Imogen Poots? That was supposed to be an in joke, right? And Toni Collette....well, we know she can act, but I guess the fact that she's comatose for the second half of this film meant she didn't have much incentive to try during the first half. I was disappointed that we didn't get some of the wonderful creature effects from the original – the werewolf and the amazingly creepy bat thing – but still, very good and highly recommended. Even with the annoying 3D shots trying to jump out into you lap. Oh, it also scored points for mentioning Farscape.

After the movie, I read Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Silence of the Asonu" (1998), a fine bit of SF anthropology (also collected in Lightspeed: Year One). And then I finally slept.
greygirlbeast: (Chiana 6)
So far, here in Providence, it's been a shitty, snowless winter. Lots of rain, and days with wide carnivorous blue skies, but fuck all when it comes to snow. Did we piss off the Snow Miser or something?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking Askance,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Comment today, kittens. It'll help.

Three years ago, on December 24th, I wrote these lines:

"Last night, as I tried to find sleep, Spooky and I talked about having a farm. I would give up writing, I said, except for those things I wanted passionately to write, and we would have goats and chickens and an old horse and sheep and bees and rabbits. Orchards of apples and blueberry bushes behind fieldstone walls. We would have an enormous garden. It would be hard, hard work, but we would be as self sufficient as anyone can hope to be in this odd millennium. We'd only need to buy grain and sugar and coffee and such. We'd have a windmill for electricity, and a well. It was a pretty dream, no matter how impossible, to have before sleep and the inevitable nightmares, a dream of dirty hands and sweat and not sitting in this chair every goddamn day, worrying about sales figures."

Three years later, I still resurrect the daydream, now and again. Or Kathryn will. It's not dead.

---

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] mizliz (in response to my second entry yesterday), expressed her confusion over the meaning (to use the word loosely) of Z'omglol. Not wanting to dig too deeply into the politics and semantics of the more asinine denizens of MMORPGs – which would be, depending on the game, 75%-90% of the players – I'll toss out the quick answer, cribbed from that most tiresome of sources, the "Urban Dictionary." To wit:

zOMG is a varient of the all-too-popular acronym 'OMG,' meaning 'Oh My God'. The 'z' was originally a mistake while attempting to hit the shift key with the left hand, and type 'OMG.' Also used in all-caps, 'ZOMG' is generally used in a sarcastic manner, more often than not a humiliating fasion [sic]. It is also used as a device for stating the obvious.

Which is to say, in gaming, it shows up in the "too cool for school" crowd, the faux rebels who believe themselves so above it all (especially the concept of RP) that they choose these ironic names. Even though, for the most part, they couldn't define irony if their weaselly little existences depended on it. Because, you know. When there's no room in hell the dead will walk the earth. You're welcome, kittens.

---

Yesterday, though. I am neglecting yesterday. We'd planned to watch the original Star Wars trilogy, but got started too late and only made it through Star Wars (that would be – ahem – "Episode IV: A New Hope") before dinner (leftover meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, Precious). I saw Star Wars when it was first released in theatres back in 1977, thirty-four years ago. I was in eighth grade. And I thought Star Wars was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Until The Empire Strikes Back came along in 1980, a film I loved so much I saw it twenty times in theatres that summer. Looking back at Star Wars (1977) yesterday, it seemed astoundingly quaint. I know that there was an intentional innocence that Lucas was trying to capture, but the quaintness goes far beyond that. And, too, the acting is often terribly wooden, a fact I blame on Lucas, who simply is incapable of good direction. One reason that The Empire Strikes Back is so much better than its predecessor is that the directing reins were passed to Irvin Kershner. Anyway...playing the SW:otR MMORPG, I wanted to revisit. And it was...odd.

I can also say that I have settled on a title for the second "best of" volume (which will not be out until 2014, so please don't ask ridiculous questions about pre-orders). I'm liking Weave a Circle Round Her Thrice: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 2).

Also, I read Wilum Pugmire's rather enchanting "The Fungal Stain." And then, having managed to get into bed before two-thirty a.m. (!), I proceeded to watch an amazingly creepy film, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton's Yellowbrickroad (2010). I know that critics pretty much brushed this one aside, but by the time it ended (about four-thirty a.m.) I was so disturbed I had to switch the light on to get to sleep. I find no shame in admitting such a thing. Yellowbrickroad is clearly very heavily influenced by both House of Leaves and The Blair Witch Project (and were I not writing this, I'd say The Red Tree). It is one of those stories about a Wrong Place. Or...well...the less said the better. It's a slow burn, quiet with sudden moments of horror, whispered impossibilities, and a marvelously surreal ending. The ending (and pacing) are likely why so much of the slasher crowd couldn't wrap their brains around this film. Anyway, this is my recommendation. See it (it's streaming free from Netflix).

And I should go. Because, even though this is my vacation, I have work to do. January is beginning to look like the worst train wreck in history.

Quasi-Vacating,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Jayne Dork)
In SW:toR we're on a strictly RP (not even RP/PVE) server, and most names are appropriate, and people RP. But, here and there, you spot the morons. Because they want to be spotted. They fashion themselves rebels and wits. Anyway, from last night, the "name," spotted by Spooky, Z'omglol.

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

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

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

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

Wishing For Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Hallelujah, Noël,
Be it Heaven or Hell...


That's the best part of the Greg Lake song, so that's the only part I'm quoting. And that's being generous. Fuck you, Xmas, and the manger you rode in on.

I ought be working, as that's my usual Xmas Eve tradition, but I'm supposedly vacating. Maybe I'll clean my office. I know I'll spend the evening posting Xmas cheer, like Tom Waits' "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" and the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York." And, of course, Spooky and I have our one and only Xmas Eve tradition: watching Terry Zwigoff's Badder Santa (2003), in which Billy Bob Thornton teaches us the true meaning of Xmas. "Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa." Well, that and wooden pickles. And theft. And booze.

Yesterday...er. After all the intoxicants, do I even remember yesterday? There were emails with publicity at Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, because, you know, I'm on vacation. Only writers don't get vacations. Not true vacations. And there was a huge breakfast of ham and eggs and tomato and sautéed mushrooms. Oh, look. LJ can only spell sautéed if you leave off the acute accent. Fucking illiterate fucking internet. I read John Langan's "Mr. Gaunt." I took Vicodin for recreational purposes. Hey, my psychiatrist said it was okay, as long as I don't develop a dependency (flash back to my notorious Xanax addiction of 1988-1991). I thought about cleaning up my office, but it was too much work. I wanted some "candlelight yoga," but I was too stoned...and too sore from the fall at West Cove. I spent three hours on an LJ entry, which is sort of pathetic. We watched the last two episodes of American Horror Story (bow tie!!!), then played SW:toR (and I murdered a Darth! Also bow tie.), and I dozed while watching a documentary on how Earth's collision with a planetoid (Theia) led to the creation of the moon 4.53 Ga (4,533 million years ago, ten to the sixth, etc.). I guess that was yesterday. Oh, except for the Tiger Balm patch and two Red Bulls.

Maybe, late tonight, I'll go out and give all my money away to street crazies, and vets we can't be bothered to take care of, all the freezing and the homeless and lost and forgotten and forsaken and as good as walking dead. But not crack whores. I do not take pity on crack whores, kittens.

And now? Well, we shall see, won't we. Keep watching the skies.

Filled With Happy Juice,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Please comment, kittens. I just spent almost three hours on this bloody entry.

"Deny your pettiest of foes the satisfaction of defeat, or even of recognition, by consigning them to oblivion." – Old Sith Proverb (even though I just now made it up). Then again, as Brown Bird reminds us: "We file down our fangs on the bones of our foes." It's a damned conundrum, it is.

This is going to be a long entry, I think. Because, firstly, there's yesterday, and then, secondly, there's Ridley Scott's forthcoming Prometheus.

Yesterday, we finally left the house about two p.m. (CaST), and headed south and east to Conanicut Island and West Cove (~41°28'46.27"N, 71°21'40.50"W), nestled in amongst the ruins of Fort Wetherill. Longtime readers will recall this is one of our favorite destinations. It seemed a fitting place to spend Yuletide. Speaking of tides, as the new moon is Saturday, and we had a storm on Wednesday night, the last high tide had been very high, indeed. All the way back to the treeline. Therefore, all manner of interesting things had fetched up on the shore. When we visit West Cove, we're always most interested in mermaids' tears (beach glass) and the bones of gulls, cormorants, and other birds (and mammals, but mammalian bones are rare). I try to ignore the profuse plastic litter, mostly left behind by the summer people. I try to imagine the shoreline pristine, but it's hard when you know:

Around 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year of which about 10 percent ends up in the sea. About 20 percent of this is from ships and platforms, the rest from land.

- or -

Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Anyway, by my admittedly casual estimation, the tide must have stranded hundreds of rock crabs (Cancer irroratus), along with all manner of other Mollusca and Crustacea, many of which I've never before seen at West Cove. There were the remains of numerous genera of crabs and lobsters (including Limulus, Homarus, Libinia, and the aforementioned Cancer), pelecypods (including Mytilus, Ensis, Aequipecten, Mercenaria, Spisula, Crassostrea, and an as yet unidentified cockle), and gastropods, mostly slipper shells and periwinkles. I found a few interesting bird bones, and we collected some nice bits of glass. The sun was brilliant off the water, until banks of low clouds rolled in towards sunset. It was warmish, in the fifties Fahrenheit, except in the shadows. When the sun slipped behind the clouds, the temperature dropped into the low forties within minutes. I sat and listened to bell buoys and the slap of the surf, trying to calm myself for many days to come. As soon as we'd arrived, we climbed a large granite promontory and tossed a single sprig of yew into the dark waters of the cove as an offering to Panthalassa. We saw three ravens and a very large murder of crows, but, oddly, only a few seabirds, a few gulls that swept by overhead. Despiute the fact that I took a pretty hard fall in the rocks (and have the bruises and aches to show for it), it was a good (indeed, a bow tie) day at the sea. We headed home about 4:56 p.m., and I dozed all the way back to Providence. Winding up our celebration of Cephalopodmas, we watched the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society's excellent adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu (2005) and Robert Gordon's It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955).

At least the first day of winter has come and gone, and now the days will grow longer.

Yuletide 2011 )


---

Yesterday, I saw the first official "teaser" trailer for Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien (1979) prequel, Prometheus, to be released in June 2012:



It must be understood that I've been waiting for this film for many years, even before Ridley Scott ever decided it would be made. Perhaps before he even considered it might ever exist. Few mythologies are more important to me than the Alien mythos (excepting those silly AvP tie-ins), so...well, it's gorgeous, this trailer, and the cast sounds brilliant, and I was pleased to hear that Giger was consulted and at least marginally involved with the production, and the news that Marc Streitenfeld has scored the film. That said, Scott's decision to shoot the film in 3D is abominable, and has left me deeply disappointed and a little sick about it all. Yes, he's following some of the processes used in Avatar, a spectacle that manages to be marvelous in 2D, and I can only fucking hope that the same will be true of Prometheus. It's not like I can boycott this film. But, like Scorcese's decision to do Hugo in 3D, I can only shake my head in disbelief and say that Ridley Scott knows better. Even watching the trailer, you can see those "coming at you," pandering-to-3D shots that so compromise good (and great) cinematography.

It is, at best, a wait-and-see situation. But it's one I await with regret and a heavy heart. When our greatest directors resort to gimmicks beneath them, what are lovers of film to do? Turn away from the future of cinema and be grateful for its glorious past? In this instance, and despite what Scott may be saying, the decision to go with 3D was almost certainly one based on heavy pressure from 20th Century Fox. We'll wait and we'll see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the anti-holiday spirit,
Aunt Beast

* Oh, and no Xmas shit in SW:otR! Clearly, the Baby Jesus never reached either the Republic or the Empire. Woot!
greygirlbeast: (Doc10-2)
Cold here in Providence. All day yesterday, the mercury hovered in the twenties Fahrenheit. Today, I am told, we will suffer a balmy 43˚. Only, with wind.

Here I am, still on vacation. Still...vacating?

Not much to be said for yesterday. Oh, I did want to say that the past two nights I've slept 8.5 hours each, for a total of 17 hours. There are entire weeks when I don't sleep 17 hours! To wit, I propose it is writing that gives me insomnia.

But, yesterday. I actually did have to email my agent, regarding the Two Worlds and In Between audiobook that might one day exist, and I sent another email to my editor at Dark Horse (there were replies, and my replies to their replies, this ayem). But yesterday I mostly gamed. Unless I'm forgetting something. I played a LOT of SW:toR, leveling my Sith Inquisitor to 11, and my bounty hunter to 7. I discovered that playing a bounty hunter is a lot of fun. The storyline is very, very good. Actually, I have almost nothing to complain about as regards SW:toR, except a) the silly hop and b) the stagnant technology bullshit. I don't think many people have a proper enough concept of deep time (even on an historical scale) to grasp what 3,500 years means in terms of the evolution of a civilization. All the hand waving and absurd explanations aside, it's lazy design and fear of fan backlash. But yes, otherwise, a grand game.

Ah, hello. My comp copies of New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird (Prime Books) have just arrived. This is the second time an anthology has reprinted my story, "Pickman's Other Model (1929)." In fact, it's the first story in the volume. The story first appeared (outside Sirenia Digest #28, March 2008) in Joshi's Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (2010; PS Publishing). So, grab a copy. And subscribe to Sirenia Digest. And listen to Brown Bird. All those things, though not necessarily in that order.

Last night, we saw an excellent episode of Doctor Who, "The Girl Who Waited," possibly one of the best episodes I've ever seen. When I finally went to bed, I read from Christopher McGowan's The Dragon Seekers: How an Extraordinary Circle of Fossilists Discovered the Dinosaurs and Paved the Way for Darwin (2001).

Tonight, we go to the Cable Car to see Lars von Trier's Melancholia.
---

And the last U.S. troops have left Iraq, and an illegal act of aggression draws to a close. After nine years and the deaths of almost 4,500 Americans, a number of casualties that pales when compared to the number Iraqi fatalities, a number which is very hard to pin down, but which may be as high as 109,032 deaths, including 66,081 civilian deaths, and a cost to US taxpayers of ~1.9 trillion dollars, and the further sundering of an ancient nation and its antiquities. We call this waste, kittens, the American and Iraqi deaths, and waste is the only true evil in the world. All evil can be reduced to wasteful fucking acts. But our troops are out, even if we're not sure exactly what that means. And isn't this another promise the President has kept? It is. And yes, Kim Jong-il is dead, and so now the world faces the uncertainty of Kim Jong-un, possibly an even greater danger than his father.

Regardless, this is no day of victory, as our soldiers come home. This is not a day of peace, because there is not yet peace in the world. This is a day of shame and disgrace, and a day George W. Bush, Jr. and his cronies should be remembered as war criminals (since we cannot try them as such), and a day we should mourn all those lost, on all sides of this abominably wasteful conflict, which was never about terrorism or democracy, but about profit margins and oil. Let's not even talk about the American vets whom we cannot care for, medically or psychologically, even if "we" wanted to do so. This is a war that has existed, in the main, beyond American consciousness.

Now...Afghanistan.*

Counting,
Aunt Beast

* And if you want to argue with someone over any of this, do it somewhere else.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Very cold in Providence today; my feet are spun glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Versus )


By the way, if there are typos in the entry, all I can say is you're lucky there's any entry at all.
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
0. Sometimes I have to quote myself: "Sex is not a pole in a hole. Sex is a banquet."

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

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

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

A Cover That Doesn't Suck! )


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shaking,
Aunt Beast

** By the way, MMO Crunch (www.mmocrunch.com) voted Rift "Best New MMORPG for 2011," as well as "Best Overall." WoW was a runner up.
greygirlbeast: (walkenVNV)
0. Not gonna write about SW:toR today. There's too much else. I'll come back to it tomorrow. But, in short, it's the best MMORPG I've ever played, though I will temper that estimation with some minor caveats.

1. I haven't had to mark any days L for a long time (thank you, meds), but yesterday was a lost day. There was very little in me but anger. I managed only a flury of email before having Spooky drive me to the Athenaeum. It was peaceful downstairs in the reading room. The comforting, soothing smell of old, old books. Ghosts beyond counting. I am only sorry I committed a blasphemy by using my iPad amid those shelves (I'm not being sarcastic). I proofed the pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17 through 25, but they were almost perfect, so it wasn't much work.

2. Today is the third anniversary of the day I first saw wintry precipitation in New England. Today, though, it's 52˚F, sunny and windy.

3.* Gonna talk shop. The business of publishing that is. Frequently, people ask me for writing advice, and, almost without fail, I refuse to offer it. But here's something. If a magazine, especially a fairly prominent online science-fiction zine, isn't willing to pay more than 0.003¢/word for a reprint in return for (and I quote from the contract) "digital media rights," which said contract defines as "...all non-physical forms including but not limited to html, Kindle, iTune apps, Mobi, ePub, and others" (id est, everything imaginable) then you need to stay far, far away from these sorts of publishers. They have nothing to offer you. No, not even "visibility." But, though I ought to know better, I just signed such a contract, because I have mountains of stories available for reprint, and when I agreed to the arrangement – several months ago – I had no idea what comprehensive electronic rights were expected in return for the paltry $25 I'd agreed to as an advance. I only saw the contract on November 21st (this is for their December issue), though the reprint request was made by them two months earlier. In between, I had to stop them from rewriting portions of the story. Anyway, point being, I don't care what the online publication is, you and your "digital media rights" are worth more than 0.003¢/word. Last I checked, pro rates were still hovering between 3-5¢/word. And, by the way, this emphatically was not Subterranean Magazine or Clarkesworld, both of whom have always paid me very well for online rights. I feel like, more and more, we're working – all of us, not just authors – in an environment that aggressively discourages dissent, then punishes dissenters, those who aren't so happy to get any work that they'll work under any conditions and for any price.

4. Today, I will do my very best to finish Alabaster. That's just five pages of script.

5. Please don't forget Question @ Hand #5!

6. I lay awake night before last, in the arms of Monsieur Insomnia, and watched George P. Cosmatos' Leviathan (1989) for the third or fourth time. What sort of film do you get when you splice Ridley Scott's Alien to John Carpenter's The Thing, then set it at the bottom of the sea? Well, you get Leviathan, a film which shamelessly steals from both those other films in almost every way possible. When I first saw it in theatres, I was furious. Later, on video, it just sort of bored me. But Monday night, watching it, I thought, Well, if I give Alien and The Thing each an A+ for Astounding, then I ought to give Leviathan a C for Could Have Been Worse, or Competent, or maybe for Cause I'm Only Half Awake. As the film has aged, it's easier to forgive the blatant plagiarism. Leviathan has taken on a questionable charm all its own. Peter Weller is truly fun to watch as he swaggers and scowls and uses the performance to bemoan the state of his career as it swirls round and round the drain. I actually love Peter Weller, and here he seems to be giving Cosmatos a well-deserved middle finger. And, too, Meg Foster autopilots her way through the role of the Tri-Oceanic Ice Queen rep giving the crew the shaft. It's those blue-white eyes of hers. But the rest of the cast is boring as dusty zwieback, though the monster/s is/are pretty cool. The whole thing with the sunken Russian ship and the blurry photos from its infirmary, that's nice, too. The tech is amusingly quaint (but not a tenth as convincing as the "used futures" seen in Alien and Blade Runner). As for the ending, it's clear neither the director nor the screenwriters were even trying to make sense. Still. Watch it if you can't sleep.

7. Tomorrow, I'll post the final cover for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. (It's not the one up at Amazon).

8. Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday:

28 November 2011 )


Counting Fractions of Fractions of Pennies,
Aunt Beast

* Postscript (4:47 p.m.): The editor of the unnamed magazine has contacted me and withdrawn his offer to reprint the story for 0.003¢/word. This is really the best outcome. I would have withdrawn it myself, but didn't want them left in a lurch (though they'd hardly treated me with similar considerateness), what with the December issue looming. Now, I only wonder who told them about my post, as I'm pretty damn sure he doesn't read my blog. And I wonder how far the news of my evil treachery will flow through the grapevine, and if I'll be blacklisted by others of this caliber. We take responsibility for the outcome of our actions, if we choose to act.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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