greygirlbeast: (Default)
This is Thursday, and the weather's ass, and so comments would be appreciated.

Today begins a quasi-vacation of indeterminate length (but shortish). I'm very, very tired. The brainmeats need a few days to veg out and recover. So, I'll only be handling the things that will kill me if I don't see to them immediately. Anyway, yeah, rest. Mild absence seizure last night. That's a sign.

Yesterday, after Kathryn and I had read it through, I sent Chapter One of Blood Oranges away to my agent. I actually, at some point, as Kathryn was reading aloud, said something like, "Wow. This is good." I never say shit like that about my own writing. Well, only rarely. Anyway, I haven't yet heard back from my agent, and I hope it's not because page 3 of the manuscript bears this note:

If your ears, eyes, and sensibilities are easily offended, this book is not for you. If you want a romance novel, this book is not for you. And if it strikes you odd that vampires, werewolves, demons, ghouls, and the people who spend time in their company, would be a foul-mouthed, unpleasant lot, this book is not for you. In fact, if you’re the sort who believes books should come with warning labels, this book is not for you. Fair notice.

The Author


Otherwise, yesterday's work was all odds and ends, loose threads, stuff I was trying to tie up yesterday so it would leave me alone for a few days thereafter. Didn't really work. Never really does. Loose threads like to run wild. And it's all kind of a blur, yesterday, but I am quite certain that a lot of email was involved.

Ah, and I want to make sure you know that there's awesome new goodies up in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop! New necklaces and a new bracelet (named after one of my favorite Bel Canto songs). Which reminds me, the new scanner came, and the new printer arrived a few days ago, and Spooky's been painting like a fiend, which means Goat Girl Press is just about operational. My thanks again to everyone who helped out with the Kickstarter project, and one day, before too long, you will have wonderful stuff coming your way.

Brendon Perry's voice is, to me, almost as good as...well...many very good things.

I live by the river,
Where the old gods still dream
Of inner communion with the open sea.


Last night, we watched Debra Granik's Winter's Bone (2010), a truly fine film that I recommend without reservation. Also, if I ever had any doubt (and I didn't), that Jennifer Lawrence could – and should – play Katniss Everdeen, I have none now.

We also played far too much Rift. And by the way, the FREE TRIAL everyone's been wanting is here. So, give it a try. And also, there's the "Ascend-a-Friend" thingy, whereby I can earn fat loots dragging others into Telara, if they decide to stick around (those who get dragged, they also get fat loots). If you're interested in the latter, just say so. And the link takes you to the FREE TRIAL. You'll want to sign up on the Defiant-side Shadefallen rp shard, of course, and once you're in, send Selwyn a tell to join up with Eyes of the Faceless Man. Tell her Aunt Beast sent you. Anyway, last night I leveled my High Elf, Mithrien, to twenty, and almost to twenty-one. Really, it was all Spooky's fault. She made twenty, also, and now we have two characters in place for an upcoming guild storyline that requires cross-faction rp. And the godbothering Guardians still creep me out, even if they're pagan godbotherers.

Godbothering is godbothering*.

So say we all.

* This definition, while brilliant, is obviously aimed at the Xtian godbotherers. Godbotherers come in all flavors, including pagan.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cloudy, windy, chilly today.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,551 words on Chapter One of Blood Oranges. I'm starting to think that I'm having fun writing this book. I created a perfectly, marvelously, beautifully vile vampire "child" yesterday, and I've figured out that, were this a film, the protagonist would be played by Jennifer Lawrence. I should be able to finish the first chapter today, at which point it gets sent off to my agent, and I get to work on the research I need to do for Blue Canary.

Which reminds me. Jennifer Lawrence. I've seen all the casting for The Hunger Games announced thus far, and they all seem pretty much dead on. The kid they've cast as Rue is perfect.

Lots of other stuff yesterday, like a look at the almost final cover of Two Worlds and In Between, which is just incredible, because Lee Moyer is awesome. Oh, and the signature sheets for Two Worlds and In Between arrived, and I have to attend to those ASAP.

I read more of Stager's book, and finished the March Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology by reading "New records of the fur seal Callorhinus Carnivora: Otariidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene Rio Dell Formation of Northern California and comments on ottariid dental evolution." Fortunately for me, I can immediately begin reading the January issue, as the latter arrived late and out of sequence.

Last night we watched David Fincher's very excellent The Game (1997), because Spooky had never seen it.

And played Rift. We signed on as our Guardian toons, meaning only to spend a few minutes with Mithrien (me) and Serrafina (Spooky) before switching to our Defiant mains. But. Then the mother of all Rift events struck Silverwood, and we spent the next two hours defending the school in the Argent Glade from incursions from the life rifts. Two hours. I think we both leveled twice. Anyway, later, after the movie, I set up a website for our Defiant guild, Eyes of the Faceless Man, over at Guild Portal (and there's still a TON of work to be done on the site). If you're already a member of the guild, feel free to create a profile, whatever. And if you're not already a member of the guild (we're on the Shadefallen shard), and would like to be, just send me a tell inworld (to Selwyn).

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. The only auction that hasn't ended is the one for the PC of the lettered, boxed edition of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers (2002), signed by me and Dame Darcy. A note to collectors: We've never offered the boxed edition, ever, before, and this auction also includes the chapbook, "On the Road to Jefferson." So, you might want to have a look. Auction ends in about seven hours.

And I think this is the last day I'll be taking responses to the "Question @ Hand" poll, for them subscribers of Sirenia Digest what might be interested.

Okay. The word mines await.

Verbosely,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
As days off go, yesterday was a day I truly would have been better spent working.

Comments would be very helpful today.

There was snow this morning, but nothing stuck, and it's changed over to rain. That was my gift from the Ides of March, I suppose. I've never before told Mars to go fuck "himself," but I'm getting there.

---

Last night, we finished Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay. And I'll keep this brief, because there's no need to do otherwise. As a trilogy, these books are a failure. However, The Hunger Games is quite good, and I recommend it. It has something to say, and it says it. It's grim and true. Sure, it's not very original, but original isn't actually very important (it's one of the lies of fiction, originality). That said, Mockingjay has it's moments, and the ending...the last seventy-five pages or so...are close to truly brilliant. Though, the epilogue stunk of one of those things that publishers coerce writers into tacking on so that books won't end on such "down notes." Oh, yes, kittens, this happens all the time. It has happened to me. No, I won't tell you which book.* So, if you want to read the "trilogy," read The Hunger Games, skip Catching Fire, read Mockingjay...BUT....stop at the end of Chapter 27, which is really THE END, and tear out the silly ass, venomous epilogue before you accidentally read it, as it risks making a lie of the truths told in the preceding chapters. The epilogue subverts the truths, exactly the way the propaganda machines of the novel subvert the truth.

The truth is simple and Orwellian. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. I applaud the author for having the nerve to be true to Katniss, but I lament whatever caused her to think a trilogy with a saggy middle was necessary.

I will add that Collins could have done better with her world-building. Specifically, okay...we know America has become Panem following war, climate change, disease, and social upheaval. We know that the population of Panem is small enough that the leaders worry about the size of the human gene pool and try not to inflict too many fatalities for fear of extinction. But. What about the rest of the world? Did all other nations perish absolutely? All of them? It seems very unlikely. And the people of Panem have sophisticated radio (never mind television). Even if Panem isn't actively looking for other nations, those nations would be able to detect Panem's presence.

If nothing else, Panem has boats. The Phoenicians and Vikings did quite a lot of exploration, even without steam, electric, and nuclear-powered ships (Panem at least has the potential to possess all three). I suspect we're not given this information because then questions have to be answered that would threaten the integrity of the story. Example: Why doesn't tyrannical Panem seek much needed resources (including breeding stock) by waging war on other nations? This isn't really a quibble. These questions could have been addressed in such a way that didn't harm the story. They just weren't. That is, not answered by better world-building, which is odd, because most of Collins' world is very, very authentic.

---

Other books are entering and exiting my life. Yesterday, we began reading Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels, which I suspect will be brilliant. Also began Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, which promises to be more brilliant still.

However, I also began what is surely the lousiest attempt at sf I've tried to read in many, many years. I only made it three chapters. Now, I will not tell you the name of the author, the book's title, or the publisher. I will tell you that this is a first-time YA author who got a whopping seven-figure deal for this piece of trash. I will tell you that, because you need to know these things happen. Every damn day. Not to put too fine a point on it, this book is absolutely, irredeemably fucking awful. On every level. Had I discovered it among the scrawlings of a fourth grader, I might have been impressed and thought that someday this person might be able to write. But this was written by an adult. And you need to know, this is how publishing works. Last night, reading it, I'm not sure if all my laughing was because the book's so bloody awful, or if I was laughing the way someone laughs when she peers into the abyss and it peers back into her.

You merely open this book, and all across the universe, brilliant fantasy and sf authors who labor in crushing obscurity and poverty, writing gems for pittances, bow their heads and shuffle on, knowing the score. Business as usual. Seven-figure advances....

If you can avoid it, do not open this book. I can't help you more than I have. My copy (fortunately it was free), goes to the paper shredder. It'll make good packing material.

---

I teeter on a needle tip, wondering if I can write YA without abandoning one of the few things that makes me a decent writer: my voice. I believe that I can, but I see so many examples to the contrary. It's hard to find good YA that also has a distinctive voice. Stories that give away their authors with every sentence. Contemporary YA is almost devoid of stylists, and I am, for better or worse, a stylist.

---

Yesterday was a success, if only because I didn't commit suicide. May the world still be here tomorrow.

In Utter Fucking Bafflement,
Aunt Beast

They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small
Can we ever get away from the sprawl?
Living in the sprawl, the dead shopping malls rise
Like mountains beyond mountains
And there's no end in sight

I need the darkness. Someone, please cut the ligths...


(Arcade Fire)

It's snowing again. And sticking. Fuck me. Which reminds me, I neglected to mention last night's sex dream involving quantum entanglement.

Postscript (6:19 p.m.): Okay, I will. It was Threshold. And also the novel I ghost wrote.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very bad day, yesterday. Which I saw coming when I made yesterday's entry, though, at that point, I was still trying to make with the stiff upper lip and all. By late afternoon, all pretense was shed. And the day was simply shitty. So far, shitty again today. It doesn't help that here we are at the Vernal Equinox, Ostara...and it doesn't mean anything to me at all. And it doesn't help that spring's at least a month off here in Providence. Genuine, true, warm green spring.

---

No, sorry. This isn't the happy blog entry.

---

The feeling that I need to protect the new novel from the world and everyone in it persists. To the point that I spent part of yesterday – seriously – trying to figure out how to make it financially without allowing the book to be published. At least this should stand as evidence that I mean what I say when I say I only write for myself.

---

Didn't leave the house yesterday, and likely won't today.

I finally finished the mammoth tome that is Suzanna Clarke's Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Still forming first impressions. It is, indeed, a very good book, and quite an achievement. I think I may admire it most for insisting so fervently that it is a book. This novel will never be a movie. It's a book. I've read online that in 2005 Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) finished a screenplay, and that the film was supposed to begin production in 2006. But it has no IMDb page, so I'm assuming someone realized the folly of their ways. Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has some marvelous moments, is often very funny, occasionally moving, but doubtless too long. I have nothing at all against very long books. Moby Dick, Ulysses, and The Lord of the Rings all number among my favorites. I think Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell suffered tremendously from hype. Indeed, that's why it took me three years to buy a copy, and five more years to get around to reading it. But, I very much liked the last few pages.

And on the subject of books, we're almost done with Mockingjay, and, at this point, I think if anyone were to ask me about this trilogy, I think I'd say, read The Hunger Games and skip the rest. Which is to say I'm underwhelmed. I suspect the films may actually improve upon the second and third books (this was the case with some of Rowling's books). I suspect there should only have been two books, at most, and that Mockingjay should have been the second. But even this solution doesn't address all the problems. More when I'm completely finished.

See? It's assholes like me that books need protecting from.

--

The moon, the trumpeted perigee-syzygy, was beautiful last night, even through the light pollution of Providence.
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
Just back from a day at the shore, but I'll write about that tomorrow, and there will be photos.

The post-novel depression hit full force while I was sitting there watching the sea. It's a couple of days overdue, but I was still writing even as the editing began, hence the delay. And here I am, back at that place where I want no one to read the novel. I sure as fuck don't want it read and reviewed and "reviewed" and have to watch the sales figures and all that shit.

And that sort of brings me to thing number next:

As we finish up Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, the part of Katniss Everdeen has been cast for the forthcoming film/s. She will be played by Jennifer Lawrence. And yesterday Spooky alerted me to the great mewling outcry from the books' community of "fans." YA boards and communities were abuzz (and likely still are) with outraged cries of "racebending" and "whitewashing" and all sorts of other nonsense. I wish to state a few thoughts, which I'll put forth as bullet points, as this lamentable format seems so popular these days:

1) Race: Katniss Everdeen has dark hair and olive skin, yes. But she is Caucasian. Indeed, her mother and sister are blondes. Near as we are told, the people of the Seam are mostly, but not all, white. Peeta Mellark has blond hair. People of the Seam often have grey eyes. All this is hardly surprising given that it seems that District 12 is located somewhere in the West Virginia/Pennsylvania region of the Appalachians. So, cries that the casting is racist are...well...it makes me wonder if the people who read the book, you know, read the book. Let us wait to see how Rue is cast before we howl about "whitewashing."

2) Can Jennifer Lawrence play Katniss Eberdeen? How about this. Watch the trailer for Debra Granik's Winter's Bone:



Truthfully? You ask me, this looks like Lawrence having a trial run at playing Katniss. I say she's damn close to perfect.

3) Does the author approve of the casting choice? Yes, very much so. To quote AccessHollywood (there's a first in this blog):

In a statement released by the studio, Author Suzanne Collins and director Gary Ross expressed their excitement at having Jennifer join the cast.

“Jennifer’s just an incredible actress. So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it,” Suzanne said.


Now, for my part, points one and two aside, this ought to shut all the naysayers the fuck up. It won't, of course, but it should. These books do no belong to the fans, not matter how devoted and no matter how much they might believe otherwise. They belong to the author, that person whose name follows the © symbol. Everyone else has the pleasure of reading the books, and may own copies, but the novels belong to the author. And if she's happy with the choice, that's good enough for me.

More and more, I realize there's this great mass of humans who squat in waiting on the internet, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended. The chance to whine and bellyache and point fingers and pull the holier-than-thou routine. And, usually, a chance to be utterly wrong. This is, of course, their right. But they're only embarrassing themselves.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Already St. Patrick's Day again. I hung the flag last night, and tonight I cook corned beef, cabbage, and cál ceannann, and we have Guinness and soda bread. So, we're set, and there will probably be enough food to last us three days. And here's my favorite St. Patrick's Day article: "Why Ireland Has No Snakes" (No Xtian magick is invoked.).

It's bright out there, and the weather is warmer.

Yesterday, Sonya and I finished editing The Dry Salvages, after she typed in all the edits on "Giants in the Earth." I think we were done by 3 p.m. or so, and since her train wasn't until 5:30, we went ahead and edited "The Worm in My Mind's Eye" (a chapbook that accompanied The Dry Salvages, and which will appear in Two Worlds and In Between as a footnote to the short novel). Then she and Kathryn typed in those edits. So, yeah, [livejournal.com profile] sovay came and saved me from editing hell...and yeah, it still sucked, but at least I've survived.

Today, I'll be sending The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to my editor at Penguin, and I hope I'll be sending the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between to Bill Schafer at subpress. And then, tomorrow, I begin a three day vacation. After today, I'll have worked twenty-eight days without a single day off, and I mean to have a rest. I'll be setting my email to the auto-response vacation settings, and mostly unplugging.

Last night, I think I was literally too tired to see straight. After dinner, I lay down in front of the fireplace and dozed off for half an hour. When I woke, it was still far too early for bed, so I had a cup of coffee, which I really didn't feel at all. I played about three hours of Rift, though I wasn't actually, technically, awake. I leveled my Kelari cleric, Nilleshna, to 11. Spooky camped out in front of the TV, watched a Nova episode, "Dogs Decoded," then played Bayonetta on the PS3. Then we went to bed and read Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay until almost 4 ayem. I'm pretty sure Mockingjay is the book I wanted Catching Fire to be. Katniss has come into her own, at last. The book actually had me cheering (blearily) last night. So, yeah, saggy middle, but the third book is great so far. And yep, I've heard that Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss. I have no idea who Jennifer Lawrence is...but that's okay.

And that was yesterday. And there are photos from the past two days:

15-16 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (white2)
I think Spring is beginning to think about considering possibly coming somewhere near Rhode Island. Highs in the high 40s Fahrenheit. We may have 60s by late April.

Yesterday was a bloody nightmare of double-barreled line editing. No, no, no. That almost makes it sound fun, and it was at that other end of the spectrum from fun. Spooky and Sonya worked together like a well-oiled machine, and actually made it all the way through The Drowning Girl, though they didn't finish until after dinner.

In the same amount of time, I only managed to make it through six stories in the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between. I began at the end of the collection and worked my way towards the beginning, as the later stories have far, far fewer edits than do older ones. I figured if I'd done it the other way round, and had to face those 1993, 1994, 1995, etc. stories first, I would have locked up and made no progress whatsoever. Yesterday, I edited "Houses Under the Sea," "Daughter of the Four of Pentacles," "The Dead and the Moonstruck," "Waycross," "Riding the White Bull," and "La Peau Verte." I stopped about 9 p.m., I think. These newer stories are much longer than the older stories, but, as I've said, have far fewer corrections.

So...today, we start all over again. Sort of. I'm handing the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between off to Spooky and Sonya (it was actually their idea, after my agitation yesterday), and I'm going to do all the very last things that need doing on The Drowning Girl (I have a list), which I expect to send to my editor tomorrow afternoon.

Here's a thing: I need someone fluent in French, preferably someone in France or Quebec, to check my French in Two Worlds and In Between. I can't pay you, but your name will appear in the book's acknowledgments.

Last night, there was very good Palestinian takeout for dinner.

This morning I saw Lee Moyer's almost final version of the cover for Two Worlds and In Between , which I'll share here as soon as ere I may.

---

Saturday night, I showed Sonya Pitch Black (directed by David Twohy, 2000), one of my favorite big-bug scifi thrillers of the last twenty years. She'd never seen it, and I was relieved she enjoyed it. Last night, she showed me Derek Jarman's adaptation of The Tempest (1979), which was, by turns (and, sometimes, all at once), sublime, grotesque, and beautiful. Jarman's cinematic composition always amazes me, each shot framed like a Renaissance painting, so arresting to the eye that you almost don't want to progress to the next frame of film. For me, Toyah Willcox's somewhat feral Miranda was the finest bit. Also, we watched Jarman's short Art of Mirrors (1973). Tonight, I'm showing Sonya the director's cut of Alex Proyas' superb Dark City (1998).

---

Later, Spooky and I began Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, and, so far, it's a vast improvement over Catching Fire (which, by the way, I cannot believe the New York Times actually had the temerity to claim was better than The Hunger Games). We made it through the first three chapters or so.

Oh, and when I write Blue Canary**, and if it's a success and there are the two books after it that I'm planning, I promise I will not burden the beginning of the second two books with recap. I'll do the sensible thing, and begin the second and third volumes with concise "Our Story Thus Far" sections, which can be skipped if they're not needed.

So, that was yesterday. Today will likely be equally tedious, and both Sonya and Spooky have my most sincere apologies for this.

Postscript (2:08 p.m.): I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!

** I ought not have to say this, BUT...if you steal this title, I will cause you harm, by hook or crook.
greygirlbeast: (goat girl)
Argh. Careful plans were made yesterday how we'd be up and functional by two p.m. Now, I'm hoping for three. And I blame Suzanne Collins, but I'll come back to that later. I woke from dreams of Japan and bizarre aliens beasts to discover it was the ass crack of noon.

---

Yesterday, we finished the read through on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (while I also worked on my next painting). There are the line edits to make, and two or three short bits I'd like insert, but otherwise, it's finished. And I believe, as best I ever may, that it's the best novel I've ever written. There are other things I might say, but it would all be speculation. I can't know how the book will be received. And it will soon be my job to try very hard not to care. Today, Kathryn and Sonya will attend to it's line edits, moving it a big step nearer sending it off to my editor next week.

Me, I'll be tackling the monstrous task of the Two Worlds and In Between line edits.

With what remains of the day, and, no doubt, well into the night.

---

Sometime last year I came across the icon I'm using for today's entry. I came upon it entirely devoid of context. I snagged it because I found it invoked a certain mood. Plus, it's sexy. I cannot deny my goat girl fetish. Anyway, I had no idea where it came from, who the artist was who painted it or when the painting was done. Then I used it with an entry Thursday night, and [livejournal.com profile] blackholly asked about its provenance, and [livejournal.com profile] eluneth kindly informed us that it was a patinting by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). Looking about on Google, I discovered the title of the piece is La Bacchante:



So, mystery solved.

Also, I made this very cool list, 8 Lesbian and Bisexual Authors You Should Know, which made me smile.

---

A reminder, as we crest the middle of the month, that this month's selection in Aunt Beast's Book Club is Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps (2010):



You don't have to read it, no. But if you don't, it's your loss. See, that's why I'd suck as a grade-school teacher. I would instruct students that they were free to do their assignments or not, so long as they understood the consequences, and wouldn't pressure them one way or another.

---

The main reason Spooky and I were so late getting to sleep last night was that we were determined to finish Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire. Which we did. About 4:30 ayem. (Oh, and welcome back to CaST). And no, it's not half as good a novel as is The Hunger Games. It has some brilliant moments, and some fine characterization. Here and there, it shines. But, all in all, it is shoddily constructed and poorly paced. It slogs along at the beginning and then barrels haphazardly towards a poorly executed last page. Which isn't THE END, but only the cliffhanger connecting it to the next book. I've nothing against series, but each book needs to be a complete novel unto itself, no matter how well connected it is to the others. Catching Fire isn't a bad novel, it's just a huge disappointment after the power of its predecessor. Yes, we'll be beginning Mockingjay immediately, and I do hope Collins recovers from the fumble. I want to love these books, as I certainly love many of the characters, and I care about their world (but pulling off those two difficult tricks still doesn't mean you've written a good book). Also, selling a bazillion copies and getting a Major Motion Picture, that's also irrelevant to the book's merits.

I promise that if my first YA novel is a success, I'll not make a sloppy mess of my second.

---

Okay. Doughnuts!
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Ugh. This seems to be one of those gray mornings when I can't work up the spit for a good blog entry.

Yesterday, I wrote a first go at the "author's note and acknowledgments" for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It still needs some work.

Spooky and I proofed two stories for Two Worlds and in Between— "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6" and "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent." I decided yesterday that the latter, written in 1993, would replace "Stoker's Mistress" in the book. Which was a smart decision, except...okay, so I wrote the story in 1993. It sold to a (now) long-defunct small press magazine called Eldritch Tales. However, the magazine sat on it for three years, during which time they didn't release a new issue (and, as it happens, never would again). Finally, I pulled the story in 1997, doubled its length, and sold it to Stephen Jones for Secret City: Strange Tales of London (the souvenir book for the '97 World Fantasy Con in London). And then Stephen Jones chose it for ninth volume of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (1998). Probably, I made a few minor changes in the text before it was reprinted. But then nothing happened with the story until 2001, when I reworked it slightly before including it in From Weird and Distant Shores in 2002. The story would not be reprinted again (unless I'm forgetting something) until 2010, when Stephen Jones (this has always sort of been his story) asked to reprint it in The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror, to represent the year 1997 (though, technically, the ninth volume came out in 1998). So, last year I did more work on the story.

By this point, we have the original 1993 version; the second, expanded version from 1997; the 2001 text, which certainly differed from the 1997 text, though I'm not sure by how much; and the most recent version, slightly reworked in 2010. And, because even minor changes become major changes over time, well...1993 and 2010 are very, very different. Problem is, yesterday we discovered that, somehow, the only copy of the story on my iMac was the 1997 version. And those files went to storage in Pawtucket a couple of months back. So...we had to reconstruct, using The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New Horror, the most recent incarnation of "Emptiness Spoke Eloquent" (along with a few new changes). Not many things could have been more tedious or more angrifying.

Um...so yeah, all that.

But, there was also very good news from my editor at Dark Horse, which I'll pass along as soon as I am permitted. It will make you happy.

And I sent about fifty bezillion emails.

---

Last night, Rift. Selwyn, my mute Kelari mage, and her zombie servant Jude, fought back waves of Abyssal invaders at Deneger's Stand, and also scaled the walls of the Iron Fortress and, with great stealth, picked off undead soldiers who are not as agreeable as Jude. Nothing pisses off a necromancer worse than unruly, uppity reanimated corpses. She made Level 20, which means I need to slow off leveling. The cap's presently 50, and I don't want to hit it before Spooky and I can play together. Soloing a cloth-wearing character to 20 is no mean feat.

And we read more of Catching Fire, with which I am now in love. I wonder how many readers have picked up on these books being Socialist manifestos?

---

Today, we begin the first full read through of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Hopefully, we'll get through the first four chapters today, three chapters tomorrow, and three on Saturday, so we can get to line edits on this book and on Two Worlds and in Between.

Now, doughnuts and dodos and the platypus.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] fornikate writes, "I have found [Ayn] Rand is a great way to weed out people that suck." Indeed. Rarely can one find a useful, simple and reliable douchebag litmus test. But an appreciation of Ayn Rand does spring immediately to mind.

---

Today is another muteday, if only to atone for yesterday's failure. Yesterday, I became very frustrated over work, and had to start speaking. I might have exploded, otherwise.

---

Wonderfully rainy last night, with violent winds. I think the last scabby snow in our neighborhood is gone, gone, gone. Washed away. Okay, well, most of it.

Yesterday, was a day of panic recovery, a day of figuring out how to build a Tardis. I have nine days, but I need twenty. That sort of thing. Spooky read me all there is so far of the tenth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and then she read me the last section of the ninth chapter. Then I wrote a new closing scene for the ninth chapter, which came to 1,078 words. All that is left to do on the novel is to finish the tenth chapter (hopefully today), write the epilogue (hopefully tomorrow), read through the whole manuscript (much of it I've not read, or heard read, except in the writing of it), make about a zillion line edits, secure permission to quote three songs, and send it away to my agent and editor in NYC. Which is to say, the novel is very nearly done.

Two Worlds and In Between has become the much greater worry. We're still proofreading. Yesterday, while I wrote, Spooky proofed "The Daughter of the Four of Pentacles." Today while I write she'll proof "The Dead and the Moonstruck." That leaves "only" The Dry Salvages (a novella of over 30k words), "Stokers Mistress," "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," and "Houses Under the Sea." Spooky will do the latter for me tomorrow. Once all this proofreading is done, we have another zillion line edits to make before the ms. is ready to send to subpress.

---

A bunch of eBay books and other things I owe people are going out today. [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme, I need your address (if you've already sent it to me, I lost it, sorry).

---

Let me remind you of the Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter project. The good news is, we have 18 days to go, and the project is 164% funded (!!!). However, the farther over our projected budget we go, the better the finished product will be, and the better chance there will be of Goat Girl Press producing wonderful things after The Tale of the Ravens. There are still two of the four $500 pledge slots remaining, and we'd love to see those filled in the next eighteen days. Though, of course, any donation at all is welcome. Thank you.

---

Last night, being not at all in the mood for gaming, we watched two movies. The first, Ulu Grosbard's True Confessions (1981) is a pretty good, though somewhat odd, story built around the Black Dahlia murder. However, the film's set in 1947, and not 1948, and Elizabeth Short is referred to as Lois Fazenda. The movie, staring Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, is based on John Gregory Dunne's 1977 novel of the same name, and I assume the changes were taken from the book. So, yes. Pretty good film. But our second feature was Malcolm Venville's 44 Inch Chest, which is utterly fucking brilliant (especially considering it was Venville's directorial debut). Imagine Twelve Angry Men crossed with Guy Ritchie's Snatch, and you're sort of in the neighborhood of this film. Sort of. The entire cast delivers amazing performances, but John Hurt and Ian McShane pretty much steal the show. Presently streamable from Netflix, and a definite must-see. Though, if the word "cunt" causes you too much discomfort, you might want to sit this one out. But it is, after all, a British gangster film. That, by the way— "cunt" —was the only word I was forbidden to use while writing for DC/Vertigo, which I'll never cease to find utterly fucking befuddling.

Later we read more of Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, which, I am happy to say, has completely recovered from those hurtfully dull first three chapters. Also, in my YA novels I will do all I can to avoid the recap infodumps. They piss me off to hell and back.

---

And now, kittens, it's time to make the doughnuts. Comments! Especially about Sirenia Digest #63, please.

Yours in Joyful Sin,
Aunt Beast (the Haggard and Weary)
greygirlbeast: (Ellen Ripley 2)
(No one's going to read all this...)

Last night, I dreamt of playing the accordion.

---

Really, beyond seeing Lee Moyer's almost finished cover for Two Worlds and In Between, it was a pretty shitty day. That was the only bright spot. Wait, there was one other. Anyway, for some reason, I recorded the whole crappy day in photos, nineteen of them, below and behind the cut.

I've not spoken for thirty-three hours now, and I'm going for forty-eight, and then, then we'll see.

Much (but by no means all) of what went so wrong about yesterday was thinking I might be ready to finish the final chapter of The Drowning Girl, then discovering another scene that needed to be fitted it. I wrote the new scene, then struggled to insert it without disrupting the chapter's established flow. This is one of those things I can't understand about writers who write shit out of order. I write, I establish flow, and it's pretty much unidirectional. Try to go back and stick in new stuff, it all goes to shit (plus, you're swimming upstream the whole time). But, I wrote the new scene, like I said, then proceeded to the last scene (I only wrote 691 words yesterday). Then decided I needed to hear all of the final chapter, and an earlier part of the book, before wrapping it up. So, I asked Spooky to read it to me.

But I dozed off while she was reading to me, so we have to finish today. After I write the journal entry. Then I have to write another extra scene, once I figure out if it belongs in the ninth or tenth chapter. Maybe Monday and Tuesday I can write the last two scenes. Of course, I also have the deadline for Two Worlds and In Between a mere nine days from now, and there's still so much work left to do on that it boggles the noggin. And there's the work for SuicideGirls that I took on last week.

A nice piece of mail (the real sort, on paper with stamps) from Leeanne O'Sullivan in Lancashire, England. Thank you, Leeanne. You were that other bright spot.

---

After dinner, I had a hot bath. And a meltdown. A silent meltdown.

Later, when I'd been scooped into a Caitlín-shaped bowl, we watched Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, a pretty faithful 1998 film adaptation of William Gibson's short story of the same name. If nothing else, the movie nails the mood of Gibson's story. Christopher Walken is wonderful. Willem Dafoe is a little on autopilot. And Asia Argento is...um....hot. But you already knew that. Yoshitaka Amano (yes, that Yoshitaka Amano) plays the mark, a geneticist named Hiroshi, and there are cool cameos, such as Ryuichi Sakamoto. Definitely recommended, and you can stream it from Netflix.

Laterer, played Rift. Selwyn didn't make Level 19, because I tried to rp instead. And it wasn't bad, but after two attempts at rp in Rift I see that one has to know the canon, and that all the players have to be on the same page in interpreting the canon. Most rpers won't even realize this, of course, but then most rpers suck. Which is why you must rp in tiny groups (4-5 at most).

Latererer, Spooky read me chapters Four and Five of Catching Fire, and I'm relieved to say it gets much better. I think the first three chapters might have been condensed into a paragraph. But I also think, when we're done, I'll be of the opinion it should all have been written as a single book, not a trilogy. We are chained to trilogies. Fuck you, Trilogy Tyrant. Fuck you, Despot of Series. Fuck you.

---

My thanks to people who commented on the problem of gay protagonists in YA novels. I'm not going to get into all the details, because they are many and some of this is private stuff between me and others. And because there's the ugly issue of money. But, I will say, my first YA protagonist will be a lesbian. The worst that can happen is that I can fail, and I've sort of done that already (if we're talking about financial success and mass appeal, and I am).

Comments on #63? Bueller? Bueller?

Now...the photos:

5 February 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Today I'm not speaking. I may not be speaking tomorrow either. I last did this several years ago (2006?), and found it unexpectedly comforting*. And just now I need comfort. Also, it helps my cough. I've not said anything for the last eight hours. Oh, and no, I'm not observing Nyepi, Balinese "Day of Silence." But it is an interesting coincidence. I didn't know today was Nyepi until someone asked if that's why I wasn't speaking (even though I'm neither Balinese nor Hindu).

Yesterday, after the blog entry, I got everything together for Sirenia Digest #63, proofed it all again, and sent the text and images away to [livejournal.com profile] thingunderthest to be made into a PDF. It went out last night. Subscribers should have their copies by now.

And, by the way, I'd really love to hear some feedback on #63.

After everything for the digest was done, I got back to the final chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and I wrote 1,404 words. And began to think I was being overly optimistic in yesterday's entry. I may not finish until Tuesday or Wednesday. I think I might have found a missing scene. After the writing, Spooky and I proofed all of "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées" (51 pages, 11,904 words). When I wrote the story in 2001, that was the original title. When subpress published it as a small hardback, the title was changed to In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers. When it was reprinted in Alabaster (the Dancy collection) in 2006, I reverted back to the French title. I've been pondering a new French title for its appearance in Two Worlds and In Between, a more literal translation of In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers, which I think would be Dans le Jardin des Fleurs Toxiques. Anyway, Spooky read aloud, I coughed and made red marks on the manuscript pages. I was pleased that I still enjoy the story quite a lot.

A busy day yesterday.

By the way, just saw Lee Moyer's almost finished cover for Two Worlds and In Between, and gods it's gorgeous.

---

I think I've given up on the whole Loremaster thing. Too many quests in Nagrand and Shadowmoon are broken, and Blizzard seems to have no interest in fixing them. It's a shame to give up with only two regions left, but I haven't the time or patience to waste any more energy and "free time" on this. So, likely this spells the end of me and WoW. I'd considered keeping my account open, but I'm so disgusted over the Nagrand thing (spent a lot of time reading various message boards yesterday; I'm not alone), after three years and five months, I believe I've had enough.

On Rift, Selwyn made Level 18. I trained for a second role, which means I got a second soul set. Selwyn's primary is warlock/necromancy/pyromancy; her secondary is necromancy/dominator/chloromancy. But I'll likely play the first skill set most of the time. I was in a sour mood last night, and the very few stupid names were really getting on my nerves. I can't fathom the need for some people to be jackasses, just because, you know, they can be jackasses. Or maybe they're not jackasses at all. Maybe they think Notdeadyet and Dingleberry really are a names. Maybe they don't understand Chinagirl can't be a name in a world without a fucking nation named China. Yeah, maybe it's only stupidity.

We may be forming a guild on the Shadefallen shard.

---

We're about three chapters into Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, and, so far, I'm both disappointed and bored. None of the first novel's energy is here. I'm hoping it picks up quickly. Also, as I read more YA, I fear I begin to see certain patterns, most of them relating to the unfortunate necessity for romance, and that almost always means heterosexual romance. These days, I can't do het romance (or, rather, I can't do it well), and I won't hamstring myself by trying. And it would be cynical and hypocritical of me to try. I find myself struggling to devise ways to "sneak" queer relationships into stories (and I don't mean the Willow/Tara background stuff; that's plenty acceptable to the mainstream). My protagonists will be queer teens. Period. Editors, trends, squeamish readers, religion, and homophobes go hang. There are other things, too, but I don't feel like getting into that just now.

Anyway...I'm off now to write and not speak.

* Indeed, I find my voice so disagreeable, I often consider giving up speaking for good.
greygirlbeast: (white)
The cold hangs onto Providence with a death grip. At least the snow is gone, and there's sun.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,223 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And realized that I'm much nearer THE END than I'd guessed. It could be finished today and tomorrow. Maybe three days at the most. And the realization is disorienting, to say the least. Also, it occurred to me this morning that one important thing that sets this book apart from my previous novels is that place has never been so unimportant. There is a sense of place, of Providence (and mostly the Armory district), of the RISD Museum on Benefit Street, and the Athenaeum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and, most especially, of the Blackstone Gorge and Rolling Dam at Millville, Massachusetts. The book also weaves in Boston, Manhattan, and LA, and other places. But almost all of it takes place in Imp's apartment in the Armory. The Drowning Girl: A Memoir could almost be adapted as a stage play with two, maybe three, sets: Imp's apartment, the RISD Gallery, a seashore. Curiously, I didn't include the Blackstone River, the novel's most important locale, outside Imp's home, on that list of potential sets.

I'll write on it today, and tomorrow, and maybe on Monday...and then I'll probably have found THE END.

Also, yesterday we proofed "Hydraguros," which is being reprinted in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2. I wrote this story a year ago, and I'm still in love with it. It's my best sf since I wrote "In View of Nothing" and "A Season of Broken Dolls" in early 2007. And after the proofreading, I printed out exactly 25 copies of "Atlantis," the poem I wrote in August for everyone who donated to Spooky's birthday fund. Each copy is printed in Garamond on Crane's Crest Executive paper, 100% cotton, premium weight (28 lb.). Each is signed and numbered. There will be no more. These will go in the mail on Monday.

I printed and signed a new set of contracts for Two Worlds and In Between. Because one of Bill's cats barfed on the originals. Sorry, Bill, but I had to tell that story. It's just too funny (and I, too, live in constant fear of the wages of cat barf).

I got Vince's illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and, honstly, it's one of the best he's ever done. It'll appear as the cover. Today, I'll assemble the issue, and subscribers should have it tonight or tomorrow.

So, that was yesterday.

---

After dinner last night, we began reading Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, the next book after The Hunger Games. Though it was no small feat, Shaharrazad found the last few quests needed to complete the "Into the Nether" achievement. Seriously, I needed almost an hour to find the last four quests I needed. They were hiding in "Area 52," with this Consortium ethereal fuck who looked like he only had dailies (big blue question mark floating above his head), even with low-level quests turned on. In truth, he has a whole string of quests! Thank you, Spooky and WoWhead. I never would have found those on my own. So, now I go back to Shadowmoon Valley and Nagrand, try to finish up Outland, and get the Loremaster title.

I played a couple of hours of Rift. I'm sure everyone's getting tired of me gushing over the game. I'll just say I got Selwyn to Level 17. Oh, and I'll say this, too. It's hard to ignore that in advertising for the game Trion is relying almost exclusively on the "human" Ethian and Mathosian races. In ads, in the quick-start guide, on the cover of the box, almost everywhere...we see Ethians and/or Mathosian (physically, they're pretty much interchangeable). And I call this a pernicious sort of speciesism/racism. There are six player races in Telara, and many of us are not Ethian and Mathosian. Never mind that I see more people playing Bahmi and Kelari than anything else (I have no idea how things look on the Guardian side). And I just heard that the two RP/PVP shards must be filling up fast, as Trion opened a third today, Estrael.

Oh, while I gamed, Spooky streamed The Secret of Kells and the Mythbusters episode about duct tape (I'm sort of sorry I missed the latter).

---

Whatever I'm forgetting can wait until later.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
So far, Spooky has rendered this morning a scene from an unmade David Lynch film. Bobby Vinton and fussing about how I clean out the coffee maker were involved. She checked for fish. After all, there are tins of sardines in the pantry. Oh, and it doesn't help that, last night, someone pointed out to me how much Thom Yorke and Tilda Swinton look alike. It's true.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,428 words on the final chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A pivotal, culminative scene I could not have written (well) had I not gone to the Blackstone River in the snow on Sunday. But I did go, and so I did write the scene to the best of my ability. And I find that, as I expected, this is essentially a novel without climax. There are revelations strewn here and there, but nothing actually ever coalesces into a climax. It's a novel that begins here and stops there, when Imp believes she's done the best job she'll ever do of telling her "ghost story."

As it stands, the manuscript is 96,158 words long. My contract specifies a novel 100,000 words long. Setting aside for the moment that no one should ever tell an author how long or short a novel has to be, I emailed my editor a week back and told her it might go to 120,000. She asked if I could please keep it to 110,000-115,0000. I did some math, juggled scenes, and replied that I might be able to keep it to 110,000, which made her very happy. So, assuming I can do that, I have about 13,842 words left to go until the more or less arbitrary THE END. I've been writing, on average, 1,200-1,500 words a day, which means I'll likely finish sometime between Friday the 11th and Sunday the 13th. Hardly any time left to go, on a novel that I've been working on. in one way or another, since August 2009.

Also, we proofed "Postcards from the King of Tides" for Two Worlds and In Between. It's a story that still works for me, despite having been written in 1997. I don't think that I'd ever seen how much influence "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" had on the story until yesterday.

For dinner, there was spicy beef shawarma and baba ghannoush.

---

Last night, we finished Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. Gods, this is a brilliant book. I mean fucking brilliant. Horrifying and sorrowful and poignant and beautiful and strong. Katniss is one of my new favorite literary figures. I'm not going to gush on and on, or risk spoilers, but I will say I was especially impressed at how Collins deftly managed to put us in the mind of someone living in a totalitarian world. There are so many times Katniss Everdeen might have stopped and given the gamemakers or the Capital the middle finger. But she doesn't, even though that's what they do in Big Hollywood movies, because she understands the dire consequences it would have for her and, more importantly, for her family and District 12. She only knows, at this stage, how corrupt and loathsome the world is, and that it may destroy everything it touches. This is how evil men stay in power. And it's impossible not to read this novel and see the Capitol of Panem as the US, and each of the twelve districts (thirteen was obliterated in the late civil war) as all those countries where people live in squalor so that Americans may enjoy an obscenely high standard of living.

---

Gaming consumed far too much of my night. First, Spooky let me use her laptop long enough the level Selwyn to 16. I love the world of Rift so, so much. I love that it awes me, and takes my breath, and frightens me, and that I walk through Meridian and so many people are in character, roleplaying, and so few have inappropriate names (for now, the name police thing is working).

Meanwhile, in that other game, the candy-colored one, Shaharrazad is still grinding away at Loremaster. I've now done 105 out of the 120 Netherstorm quests.

---

Okay, I slept far too late, and now it's time to make the doughnuts. Go to bed at 5 ayem, get up at noon thirty, you must make concessions.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Just as the last of the snow was melting, it snowed again last night. Not much here in Providence, but more up north.

Yesterday, I wrote another 1,068 words on the last chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I think I'm terrified. The book is a house of cards, and I'm stacking more on top, and pulling cards out from the bottom, and somehow I have to keep the whole from toppling over. And there's to be a lot of sexual energy at the end, and it has to absolutely not become pornographic (not because I have anything against porn, but because that's not what this is meant to be).

Thanks to the awesome Richard A. Kirk, who sent me a copy of his illustrated novella, The Lost Machine. It's beautiful. You should order a copy. I say so. Also, there's a forward by Mike Mignola! In case you're unaware, I've worked with Rick on...let me see...five books, five books since 2000. Most recently, he did the amazing cover for The Ammonite Violin and Others.

Today, I think there's going to be a very small adventure, and then work, and a little work after that. I think.

---

Selwyn made Level 13 last night, and Shaharrazad is only five quests (out of 86) away from having the Blade's Edge Mountains achievement (and so one achievement nearer Loremaster). Too much gaming. And, mostly, I'm having some weird worldshock, jumping back and forth between Telara and Azeroth. The latter being bright and cartoonish and silly, the former being so rich and urgent and possessed of depth. Oh, and there was about an hour of rp with a friend in Telara last night. She's another mage, named Enthlye. We sat on the docks at Kelari Refuge and had a conversation. It was very good, and I can see Rift lending itself to good rp, once you learn the lore. Well, actually, Enthlye talked and Selwyn scribbled on the planks with a stub of charcoal. When she made the jump from the future to the past, something went wrong, and she has no tongue. I've also discovered that Selwyn prefers to work magic with a sword, instead of a staff.

And, also, I really wish that people on SL and in MMORPGs would understand that roleplaying isn't writing. It's acting. And no, it's not collaborative writing. That's what actual writers who write together do. RP is theater, improvisational theater, and if you understand this one simple fact, you can make it good and rewarding. But to call it acting is like calling the act of writing a novel acting, which it isn't, no matter how deeply I immerse myself in a character. Now, you can write stories based on or inspired by rp (I've done that), but that happens after the actual rp, and it's writing, not rping.

Honestly, it feels like there are these people who want to be writers, but either they have no talent or they won't sign off a damned game or social dohicky or whatever long enough to endure the intense solitude of writing, so they're trying to change the definition of writing to include what they're doing.*

---

I'm loving The Hunger Games more and more and more.

Okay, must take meds and finish coffee.

*Postscript (4:45 p.m.): To quote my post of January 28th, "1) Do not assume that because I express my views that I'm obligated to defend those views to you or engage in a dialogue, or even listen to your views. And I will exchange the favour."
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Bleah. Doctor's appointment. I'm being good. No, I'm trying to be good, and not wear latex gloves and a breath mask. I did that last winter, and it freaked people out. This is a new doctor, and I probably shouldn't freak her out until later.

Yesterday, I wrote precisely 1,500 words on the beginning of the ninth chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. There are few things as terrifying as beginning the ending of a novel. Here is where it stops. Here, I have to get it all exactly right, and I have to do it the first time, because I know I won't rewrite. And it's going to be harrowing, sorrowful, merciful, vicious, joyful, and hallucinatory. And then there will be an epilogue, and the novel really will be over.

After the writing, Spooky and I proofed "Waycross" for Two Worlds and In Between.

That was work yesterday.

Today, I doubt I'll get a single word read, or anything edited.

Last night, we finished reading [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's White Cat, and began Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. My agent has been trying to get me to read it, and Neil also said I ought to, and now I see why. It's bloody fucking brilliant. Beautiful worldbuilding. Plus, it had Spooky in tears by the second chapter, and that's always a good sign that the writer is doing her job.

Spooky let me on her laptop long enough to level my Kelari mage to 8. I'm intending to take the leveling really slow. I want to see this world. I want leveling to be a journey. Rift has yet to disappoint. Also, I've mostly seen only appropriate names. I was heartened to see, in chat, that players are reporting inappropriate names. And that players are putting thought into how the names of each race should sound. We're really not in Azeroth anymore.

Okay. I have to go get dressed so I can be humiliated, poked, prodded, and charged too much for the experience. If we were talking about a dominatrix, instead of a medical doctor, I'd have no problem with this.

No, I have no health insurance. I'm a writer. An American writer. I'm pretty sure healthcare is unpatriotic.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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