greygirlbeast: (Default)
The snow's still out there. Most of it. The sky is cloudy, and that's a relief. I feel sort of shitty for not having gone out in the snow when it was still fresh and powdery and clean.

Have you ordered The Drowning Girl: A Memoir? And Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart? No? Well, Herr Platypus says that if you do it today you can ride the pterosaurs for free when you get to heaven. And he's a monotreme of his word.

---

Yesterday, for Sirenia Digest #74, I began a new science-fiction short story, "The Diamond Friendly." Sort of crime noir circa 2056 (I think). I've been wanting to write this piece for about a month, and yesterday I said fuck it and got started. Oh, and I should say, up front, I wouldn't being doing the story without [livejournal.com profile] corucia as a consultant. This one isn't art crime. This one's biocrime. Gene hacking. I'm still looking for the word that would fit the deed. Regardless, hard story. Slow going. I wrote only 1,007 words. Here's an excerpted paragraph (you're welcome):

They named him, in the grid-slicks, the wordless, spare-no-blows spill across the plex and subplex, they dubbed him Zoo. Of a certain, not the prime serial interspec alteration “artiste,” only the most elusive and, possibly, the most fecund (setting aside the likelihood that many re: at large, unapps skidding neath the radar, by hook and by crook). Zoo, he got hisself infamy and fame and phat martigen straightaway, possied up quick as light. Fuck All My Enemies, F/A/M/E. Ah, but. Mistake to think Zoo cognates along those straights. Or, maybe mistake, as we do not know Zoo’s motives entire. He claimed others, >.>, but maybe the ZOhBee lied it all before going ocultado, thant you. This agent, she don’t think the dick was in it for F/A/M/E, cult, spots, the gory smooth outs transmitted (which, note, did not come from the criminal, but all from the plex-subplex yellows. Each and all, god bless us everyone.) In his subtle not so subtle way, Zoo never advertised. He gave the chota fucks just enough to know he was out there, and catch me if you can. Like Monsieur Leather Apron of old. Tease, you are. Nuff to keep the peep on, Dear Boss, but nowhere near enough to tune up and apprehend. Part of me, she admires you for that. d(^_^d) Oh, and not being all about the mass-celeb chinaal after the fashion of so many others, and predecessors, and copeekats (we have cause to suspect he planted most of those, btw).***

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A note to everyone who contributed to the Tale of the Ravens Kickstarter: Yes, we'd hoped to have finished it many, many months ago. But our schedule sort of exploded when so many thing started happening with Alabaster and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and...other stuff. And suddenly I needed Spooky fucking constantly for all the things that a wealthier writer would have hired a personal assistant (Is secretary no longer PC? If so, that's a bloody shame.) to tend to for me. We're talking LOTS of annoying shit. Shit that just happens, and if I'm going to get any writing done, someone else has to attend to it. Anyway, this is my apology for monopolizing all her time. The project was conceived a year or so ago when I was far, far, far less busy. That said, we hope to have it finished by the end of March. Soon, the rewards to contributors will begin going out, pinkie promise. But they will be going out in stages, likely the postcards and prints first. But I just didn't want anyone to think we were slacking off.

---

My career seems, for the first time in a decade, to be sorting itself out. Now, I just have to keep the rest of my life in check. Or get a grip on it. Whatever. The diet's part of that. I've got to start exercising regularly, and sleeping more. I'm playing much too much SW:toR. MMORPGs will kill you, Bill Murray. More reading. Less time at this desk. More contact with human beings who are actually in the same room as me and aren't wielding lightsabers. This is what I have to do. Resolve, that's all it takes. Not that this winter's helping.

Last night, I did manage to read a chapter of Christopher McGowan's The Dragon Seekers, a very fine book on Victorian paleontology. I also read Rhoda Levine's Three Ladies by the Sea (illustrated by Edward Gorey), which seems like a metaphor for my entire life. Spooky made an excellent dinner of black-eyed peas and collards. But now, to sloppily paraphrase Laurie Anderson, the day stretches out before me like a big bald head. It's Sharkey's Day today. Sharkey wakes up and Sharkey says: There was this man... And there was this road...And if only I could remember these dreams...

Daily,
Aunt Beast

***Copyright © 2012 by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Steal this and I will hunt you down, slice out your innards, and feed them to you before you die that slow painful death you've spent your sad, sick life trying to avoid.)
greygirlbeast: (mandarin)
Okay, well. So far this morning, I've had my iMac pull some crazy-ass "Colonel Panic" crash on me, while half the goddamn internet was telling me that I needed to call Harlan. "Calm" has not, thus far, been le mot du jour. But I foresee smoother sailing ahead. And, by the way, I have discovered that during computer crises I have learned to channel Hoban Washburne. Just stay in my seat, flip switches, and tell Spooky, my voice treading that fine line between amused, terrified, and extraordinarily polite, that if we don't get some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through this landing is gonna get pretty interesting. Though, I've learned it's best off not to define "interesting."

I am a leaf on the motherfucking wind. The wind just happens to be a hurricane.

Yesterday I wrote a fairly impressive 2,104 words on "Ex Libris." The story's word count presently stands at 9,118 (~10k words were requested), so I'll finish today. One way or the other, with or without that primary buffer panel, and those entry couplings that should have been replaced six months ago be damned. All is bright and shiny. Anyway, yes, I wrote, and Spooky continued the mind-numbing task of rereading The Drowning Girl. Well, mind-numbing is my adjective. She says that she's seen things about the book she never saw before – good things, mind you, mostly structural aspects, that apparent chaos is only apparent, and so forth – because she's having to read the ms. in this tedious fashion. Which is cool. But I couldn't have done it. My solution involved taking a train to Manhattan and...never mind. Anyway, Spooky is finishing that up even as I write, and will likely be finished by the time I complete this entry. 'Cause she rocks.

I have in mind to post a list of all the things I want to do before I die, even though I expect I won't be able to do one third of them (money and time are the most common obstacles). Problem is, I have to write out the list, then whittle it down to, say, ten.

I sincerely hope no one was offended at what I wrote yesterday regarding why the "Tale of the Ravens" project is coming along so slowly, that it's because Kathryn's been having to do so much work for me. In truth, only a single person (out of our seventy-two Kickstarter backers) has said peep. It's just that we're both very frustrated about the project. And...

WHOA

...Spooky just finished the horrid proofreading. Well, her part. I still have to go over it the way one usually goes over galley pages. But, most of the work is done, and she is free to return to the ravens. Tiddley fucking pom.

I should begin wrapping this up.

After all the writing, there was more leftover chili (living large at La casa de Kiernan), and I dozed, and watched an episode of Nova on Kīlauea, and we played a LOT of Rift (the guild is moving back towards RP mode, by the way, so, if you're interested...), then watched the premiere of Season Seven of Deadliest Catch, then played a little more Rift, and I fell asleep watching James Stewart in Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), a comfort film. And that was yesterday.

Oh, except, I also I had a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic, at game-play video and cut scenes and whatnot. I even signed up for the Beta, because it does sound interesting, that universe set three thousand years before the "first" gawdsawful movie. BUT! Jesus, the graphics are awful. I mean, Bioware seems to be trying to make the crappy graphics in Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim look good. This valley ain't just uncanny; it's downright butt ugly. Now, if we are to believe that $135 million was spent making this game, more than has ever been spent creating any video game, I'm left asking, "Where the hell did all that money go?" Was it spent on cheese doodles and Mountain Dew? Maybe it went up someone's nose, because it sure didn't go into the game's graphic design. I expect I'll play a bit, regardless. because, like I said, I love the idea.

The platypus says visiting hours are up, and we do not argue with the monotremes.

Shiny. Let's be badguys,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
I'm running a little late because I've been looking at rough cuts of the book trailer, sent to me this morning by Brian. This thing is going to be beautiful. Right now, it has this marvelously sublime and unnerving atmosphere, like Terrence Malick and David Lynch met in a bar...

Also, having watched a lot of "behind the scenes" stuff, I've concluded that a) the older I get, the more I look and sound like a muppet and b) almost all writers should be read, not seen and heard.

How is it I'd never heard (or head of) Florence + the Machine until this past weekend? Is my isolation that complete?

Yesterday, I wrote 1,840 words on "Ex Libris." This is one of those stories where I started with truly no idea where I was going. Something something something about books and bad stuff and bad books and bad people and stuff. Now, I'm nearing the end of the story, and I know exactly what it is, but trying to figure out how I got from there to here is almost impossible. Regardless, I'll likely finish the story by tomorrow afternoon. Then it's on to "Sexing the Weird." Whee.

Spooky read each and every line by line, twice over, of chapters Five, Six, and Seven of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir (thank you, mystery idiot at Penguin), correcting the random changes. I'm trying to stop being livid about this. You know, I spend about 35% of all my waking moments trying to stop being livid about whatever has me livid at any given moment. "Oh, she was a very angry beast. Did you know that?"

Last night, coffee, leftover chili, a hot bath, Rift, and Spooky read to me from House of Leaves. We watched last week's Fringe. These are my exciting evenings.

A note to the contributors to the "Tale of the Ravens" kickstarter: probably 98% of the work on this has to be done by Kathryn, and the last two or three months she's had to devote almost all of her spare time to assisting me with all sorts of crazy writerish bullshit. Since I began working with Dark Horse, and the way things have gone with The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, I've needed her help constantly. If she's not proofreading or making phone calls, she's deflecting bullshit so that I can write. Because I can't afford to hire someone to do these things. This means she's not been able to keep to the schedule she'd hoped to keep to for "Tale of the Ravens." At this point, she might have one painting left to do, and I still have to write the text, and there's all the printing to be done. If you donated to the project, we're very, very grateful, but please understand the metric shit-ton of unforeseen chaos going on at this end. Be patient. It's coming. Frankly, Kathryn's pretty much sick of me and my writing (in that order, I suspect), and just wants to be painting. Anyway, almost everyone has been amazingly cool, and we thank you. If you donated, keep checking the projects blog for updates.

Whatever else I was going to say can wait. You know, those are grand "famous last words."

From the Books of,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Late yesterday, we drove down to Kathryn's parents' place, where we filmed last weekend. I'd hoped being away from the city might help the darkness that's been creeping back over me the past week or so. I know the meds are still working, even if it feels like they're not. Anyway, yeah, so we went to the farm. And at first I did have hope. I napped yesterday evening in the room I find safe and peaceful. But that was it. There was nothing else about the visit that helped, and that brief lifting of the veil dissolved very quickly.

But I did see a sky with far less light pollution. The stars I half forget are there to provide perspective. Which I suspect is one of the main reasons human beings are spewing so much energy to drive away the night. They know what the stars mean (even if only unconsciously, in that hindmost reptilian-part of their brains), and it terrifies them. At four-thirty ayem, I was watching the moon rise through the trees.

We played with the great beast that is Spider Cat. We fed the chickens. We saw deer. The frog that lives in the koi pond. The apple trees dying for another winter.

None of it did much of anything for the anger and blackness. Every year, there are fewer and fewer things that help. There is a darkness the meds can never touch, and even my psychiatrist knows that. Kathryn certainly knows. I'd burn it out if I could. I'd fill my eyes with the sheep-blank stares I see on most human faces, or I'd fill it with the ancient sanity of starlight.

Okay, enough of that for now. I'd "friends lock" this, except it would still go up on Facebook and Twitter, and LJ seems to have made it impossible to shut off the cross-posting feature I switched on a long time ago.

I still find myself hating the iPad. I think some people have misunderstood. I do not hate the iPad because it is a device somehow substandard to similar mobile devices. I hate that I needed to waste money on it, and that, no matter how hard I struggle to the contrary, it will be the vehicle of additional time displacement. This has nothing to do with Apple. The iPad is all shiny shiny and shit. It works like a dream. It's just something no one* on earth needs (or anything similar manufactured by another company), no matter how much they may "need" it.

I still find myself loving the work we did last weekend, and missing everyone who was here and helped to make the magic.

I'm considering – well, actually in the earliest stages of planning – two more Kickstarter projects, both for 2012. Now that Spooky is entering the final stages of the process of completing our "Tale of the Ravens" project, and now that I see The Drowning Girl Kickstarter yielding such fruits as it is yielding. We have had such amazing success with Kickstarter (thank you). One would be a boxed, two volume limited-edition set of hardbacks of both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl, with lots of tipped in color illustrations, facsimile documents, expanded text, appendices, and so forth (because, you know, there's time for these projects hemorrhaging from my asshole). It would be a very expensive undertaking, but it would be worth the expense and time, if I could make it happen. It would probably be limited to 500 signed and numbered copies. Maybe 26 lettered copies.

Anyway, the other project is one I actually began working on, conceptually, a year ago. A short film, a vignette of the sort you'd make of a Sirenia Digest vignette. A siren washed up and dying at the end of the world, and it might overlap territory explored in "The Bone's Prayer." That series of personal apocalypse stories. This would actually be a far simpler and far cheaper project than producing the books.

These are maybes.

Oh, we saw Kevin Smith's Red State last night, which I say is an unreservedly brilliant film, and which must be seen. Right now, Netflix is streaming it. It's a terrifying and sobering exploration of belief and the consequences of belief taken to extremes, the consequences of blindly following...anyone or anything. Only following orders. Only following a man. Only following a "god." There is a moment when the film almost veers into the supernatural that is the most genuinely chilling bit of film I've seen since Sauna.

Now...

*Amended to "not everyone."
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I could not possibly exaggerate the chaos of the last twenty-four hours. I'll say more in a day or two, but my nerves have been on edge until they no longer have edges.

On the bright side, I finished the story for Dark Horse yesterday, two days ahead of schedule. Which means I can take today off before diving into the next story and the race to the next deadline.

Sitting here, I'm having a little bit of trouble actually reconstructing the events of yesterday in any stepwise or linear manner. It was a day like that. My goal for today is to have an afternoon and evening that isn't like that.

I posted the next "Question @ Hand," which you may read and respond to here. Responses are screened; no one can see them but me.

I read "A new Triassic marine reptile from southwestern China," in the new JVP. It's a really fascinating beast, Sinosaurosphargis, a bizarre turtle-like creature that seems to lie somewhere deep in the ancestry of placodonts and plesiosaurs. Also, Spooky and I watched Christophe Gans' Le pacte des loups for the first time since I saw it in theaters when it was released in the states. A brilliant, strange, beautiful, terrifying, sexy film. And, between The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and "Random Notes Before a Fatal Crash," I've been so hung up lately on la bête du Gévaudan. Actually, I've been hung up on the tales of the beast since I was a small child, but it gets worse sometimes. One of the things that makes Le pacte des loups work so well for me is Grégoire de Fronsac's mercy for the beast at the end.

After the movie, a little Rift, but I was really much too tired. I got my main, Selwyn (Kelari mage, necromancer), to Level 22. Selwyn's mute, and she holds some secret and devious congress with the Faceless Man. Oh, I almost forgot. Spooky spent the day downloading Lord of the Rings Online for me. Free, sure. But it took something like twelve hours. Anyway, this is the game I wanted to play, when I began WoW, instead. And maybe if I'd been able to play the game in 2007 or 2008, I'd have been impressed. But...last night? No. Considerable disappointment, after the wonders of Rift. No matter how big a Tolkien fiend I may be. Alas.

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] kiaduran on the discovery of her "hobbit tea house" by the sea.

A reminder to those who helped out with the Tale of Two Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter project, that Spooky's keeping a blog on her progress with the illustrations. Be sure to have a look.

Okay. Now I go forth to slay this fucking day and drink its chilly black blood.

Bound and Determined,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Diana Wynne Jones has died. She was born on August 16th, 1934.

"Pretending was like that. Things seemed to make themselves up, once you got going."
Fire and Hemlock (1985)

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Just read an article online about the increase in the US Hispanic population, now the second largest ethnic group in the nation (50+ million, accounting for 16.3 percent of the U.S. population of 308,745,538). And then I made the mistake of glancing at the readers' comments, which, in the main, consisted of racial slurs and cries of alarm about impending white extinction. My favorite, some idiot blaming abortion and gay rights for the "fall of the white man." What do you say to shit like that?

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Spooky and I thank everyone who helped to make our first Kickstarter project an enormous success. When the donation period ended last night, we had 212% of our funding. So, The Tale of the Ravens will happen, and Goat Girl Press is born. Thank you all.

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Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash." It's a strange start to a strange story. It may not even be a story, precisely. But then, the title says that.

There was also a lot of non-writing writing busyness. And I signed contracts. And stuff.

I'm loving Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.

And I'm tired and dreamsick, and just want warm weather and the sea.
greygirlbeast: (white)
Cold out there. Cold and sunny. I think spring's decided to skip this year.

Here I sit, with my sour stomach and shakey hands and ringing ears, and the day ahead of me. And there's really not a lot to say about yesterday.

I spent the entire day looking for a story for Sirenia Digest #64, and I think I found something called "Random Thoughts Before a Fatal Crash." Today I have to begin making a story from the idea, stone and mortar and what have you.

It could be an awfully prophetic title. I didn't see that yesterday.

I think I might have drawn the cover for the Crimson Alphabet chapbook yesterday.

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Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In 1998, I wrote about the fire in The Dreaming #28, "Dreams the Burning Dream." This afternoon, Spooky and I will be ringing a bell at 4:45 p.m. EST, the exact time the first alarm bells were sounded a century ago. I'm a little disheartened that there's no official observance being held in Rhode Island, despite its history of textile mills, etc.

But it's not as if the dead hear bells the living ring. It's not as if the dead hear anything at all.

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Huge thanks to Geoffrey who seems to have secured permission for me to quote Radiohead's "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)" in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm still waiting to hear from R.E.M.'s management.*

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Some unexpectedly good rp in SL last night. I really don't do SL anymore. And, for that matter, I think SL all but destroyed any desire I ever had to rp anywhere. You can only be fucked over so many times before you simply cease to care. Anyway, thank you Blair, because last night was awesome.

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Thanks to all the people who donated to the the Kickstarter project yesterday. We have 12 hours to go, and the project is 207% funded. I'm amazed. I was worried we wouldn't meet our goal, much less meet it more than twice over.

Gonna go write now.

* Actually, I just did.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Well, we did get a dab of snow, but it all quickly melted. So, no harm done.

1. Yesterday was another day of editing. I thought I was done with the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, but then I realized there was, inexplicably, no story for 1998. So...I asked Bill if I could add one, and he kindly consented (all this was in yesterday's entry, I know). So I chose "Salmagundi (New York City, 1981)." Which needed a lot of revision (it was last revised in 2007). And that's what I spent the day doing. Truthfully, it's more complicated than that, but I'll let that stand as my synoptic history, my necessary fiction. Regardless, yesterday was another editing day. But, after dinner, the "final final" ms. went away to subpress, and now it's out of my hands. Cue huge sound of relief.

2. Thanks to the people who donated to the Kickstarter project yesterday! You guys are amazing. One last request regarding "The Tale of Two Ravens" and the birth of Goat Girl Press. We're a mere $35 dollars away from being 200% funded. Anyone want to pony up that last $35? You'd put a big ol' smile on Spooky's face.

3. The Green Man review of "The Steam Dancer (1898)" has been bouncing around in my head. And while it was a very positive review, and I'm grateful for that, something about it began gnawing at me. The reviewer wrote "...I must stress that this tale is depressing..." Only, it's not. Yes, it's set in a world that, I contend, is far more honest and believable than most of those conjured for steampunk. It's a world where the consequences of a reliance on steam power is plainly evident. It's also set in a rough frontier town in the American West. But the story itself, the story of the life of Missouri Banks, is one of triumph and joy. She is raised from squalor and sickness by a man who loves her, who literally puts her back together, and she celebrates her reconstruction in dance. It's not a depressing story. I suspect the more realistic setting - which lacks the deluded shine of so much steampunk - obstructed the reviewers view of the story, though it shouldn't have. Anyway, no...it's emphatically not a depressing story. It's a story (I don't believe I'm about to write this) of the triumph of the human spirit over terrible adversity.

4. Today, I have to find a story for Sirenia Digest #64. I've not had time to think about the digest, between finishing and editing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and editing Two Worlds and In Between. By the way, everyone who keeps congratulating me on finishing the aforementioned books and saying that now I have breathing room...no. There is no breathing room. There's only writing, if the bills are to be paid and the deadlines are not to be missed. I wish there was breathing room. The air is getting awfully close in here.

5. My great thanks for all the YA suggestions. But I should be clear that, from here on, I've only got time, just now, to read books set in the 20th Century, and, preferably, the first half of the 20th Century. Maybe I can get to the others later.

6. Yesterday morning we read more of Margo Lanagan's superb and brutal Tender Morsels, and last night we read more of Markus Zusak's very wonderful The Book Thief.

And now, kittens, I go forth to whip the word troll into submission...

In Perplexity,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (4:20 p.m.): I don't usually do this. But. If anyone has an idea, or anything remotely approaching an idea, for a vignette for Sirenia Digest #64, feel free to post it. Think of this as me taking requests. Well, at least considering requests.
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
We have snow coming. Between 3 and 6 inches. I'm really tired of this.

Anyway, yesterday Spooky and I worked all day and night, until 12:04 a.m. EST (and then I worked some more) to get the "final" manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between finished and off to subpress. And then, when I went to bed about 3 a.m., I realized there wasn't a story for 1998. I have no idea how that happened, but it did. So, today I'm adding either "Salmagundi (New York City, 1981)" or "Paedomorphosis" to the manuscript. Bill will be updating the book's page soon, with the final (there's that word again) Table of Contents.

It seems like everyone is very, very happy with both the collection and its cover. [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy and I will be shooting the author's photo in Boston on April 2nd.

I think this will not be a linear entry. Too much exhaustion from last night has followed me through my dreams into this day. I'm struggling for coherency. Today is absolutely the last day I can afford to spend on the collection this month. And it can't be a day like yesterday.

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Friday will mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In 1998, I wrote about the fire in The Dreaming #28, "Dreams the Burning Dream." On Friday, Spooky and I will be ringing a bell at 4:45 p.m. EST, the exact time the first alarm bells were sounded a century ago.

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Only 59 hours remain in our Kickstarter "The Tale of the Ravens" project! Yesterday, one of the two remaining $500 slots was claimed, which leaves only one, and we hope it will be claimed today. We're very, very excited. Neither of us expected Kickstarter to go this well. I thought we might just barely make our goal. Which just goes the show you. Anyway, thanks to everyone who's donated so far, and again, please eyeball that last $500 slot, with which come many goodies.

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Saw an awful — and I mean fucking awful – movie last night, after all the editing. Ray Gower's first (and I hope last) film, Dark Corners (2006). It stars Thora Birch. This is not the high point of her career.

---

Anyway, kittens, there's probably more I was going to say, but I'll say it tomorrow. When I'm more awake and less tired. Right now, I'm going to figure out how to plug a hole in time. But that's okay, I have my sonic screwdriver and a bow tie (bow ties are cool), a cup of coffee and a Siamese cat.

Blearily Trudging Onward,
Aunt Beast

Postscript (1:48 p.m.): The last $500 slot was just taken! But we have exactly one of the $150 slots remaining. Doubt it'll last for long.

Also, I desperately need a top hat for the April 2nd shoot in Boston, as mine was destroyed in a horrid freak accident. A lot top hat, like in the cover painting, like Johnny Depp wears in Dead Man. And there's probably no time to order one, so a hat shop or a loan would be ideal. My cranium's about 23 1/4" around (yeah, big head).
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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The snow is piling up again. But it's only cold, not bitterly cold.

Spooky and I have are both amazed and very, very pleased to see that pledges to The Tale of the Ravens Project have, in less than 24 hours, amounted to 51% of our goal. We are extremely grateful. Whatever doubts I may have harbored about using Kickstarter to fund those projects that can find funding nowhere else are being set aside. You guys rock. There are, though, a couple of questions that have come up, which I'll quickly address:

1. When you make a pledge to the project, it's just that— a pledge. Your card will not actually be charged the amount that you've pledged until (or soon after) March 26th, when the Kickstarter drive ends.

2. Someone asked how much we'll be charging for the finished folio/book. Quick answer: We're guessing that no more than 50 copies of the folio/book will be printed, about half of which may end up going to backers at the $150 and $500 support levels (29 copies, maximum/10 are currently spoken for). The remaining copies would likely run about $150 dollars each, considering production costs and time required to make them. Prints will also be sold, and an as yet undetermined number of copies the text-only chapbook will be available.

3. We cannot reserve copies. The only way to be sure you'll receive a copy of the finished folio is to pledge at the $150 or $500 dollar level.

4. You must create an account with Kickstarter to pledge, but that's very, very quick and easy.

Just click here to pledge. Also, here's a link to the Kickstarter FAQ. Again, thanks to everyone who has pledged so far! And yes, we are now calling ourselves Goat Girl Press.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,460 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm likely within four days of finishing the chapter. However, today I may set it aside to work on Sirenia Digest #62, then come back to the novel on Thursday.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark braved the nasty weather and slick roads last night, and so visited with us after all. We got take out from the Palestinian place. I had a really good, very spicy beef shawarma. And we talked, and talked, and talked. I read him the most-recent seventeen pages of the novel, and was relieved that he liked them. He headed back to Framingham about 4 a.m. CaST.

Oh, also, I got on Spooky's laptop long enough to create an elf in LoTRO. Don't know if I'll ever actually get to play her, but it was still cool. Mithrien of Lorien. Now, time to brush my teeth, watch the snow fall, have some hot cocoa with Kraken spiced rum, and get to work.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
1. More snow. And still more on the way. We should have gone to the market last night and we didn't, so somehow we have to manage that trick today, though the driveway hasn't been shoveled. By the way, in the comments to yesterday's entry— after my quip about it being colder in Antarctica than Providence— [livejournal.com profile] amandakcampbell noted "According to the Weather Channel's website, McMurdo [Station,] Antarctica is 12˚F today, with a windchill of -5˚F." Admittedly, it's presently summer in Antarctica, but still.

2. Yesterday, I wrote 1,139 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, and reached the far side of the very difficult and pivotal scene. This morning, I feel sort of ambivalent about the scene, and I have no idea whether or not I did it right. But today I will proceed to the next scene. Also, yesterday, my editor and I spoke about the novel, via email. The tentative release date is March 2012. The title is now set in stone.

3. And now, without further adieu: Spooky and I have embarked upon our very first experiment with crowd-sourcing. For a long time, we've been talking about doing a picture book sort of thing based on her raven dolls and paintings. Hopefully, with the help of Kickstarter and your participation, we can make it happen. To learn all the details about The Tale of the Ravens Project, follow this link. It's all pretty self-explanatory, but I'll gladly answer any questions you may have. I've been very impressed, seeing what can be done with Kickstarter, and if this works, there's a second and more ambitious project, a non-publishing project, I hope to be able to fund for 2012, but only if this first effort succeeds. So, please do have a look. Give us all your money, and we'll make something marvelous for you in return.

Note that your card will not be charged until and unless the project is completely funded. Regardless, you won't be charged until on or after March 26th. You also have to register at Kickstarter to donate.

4. The plan had been for [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark to drive down from Framingham tonight for a visit, but I think this weather is going to prevent that.

5. After dinner last night, I proofread the text for the Kickstarter page, so Spooky could hit the launch button. Also, I watched the first ten minutes or so of Jaws, as it's relevant to the next bit of The Drowning Girl, to what I'll be writing this afternoon. I'd forgotten that the first attack takes place at sunset. I remembered it happening at night. Which is why we research.

6. Last night started with WoW, and, after about two hours, Shaharrazad, my blood-elf warlock, reached Level 85*. Suraa reached 85 night before last. Anyway, booya and all, but it was a bittersweet sort of achievement, as it occurred during the idiot "Harrison Jones"/Goblin Hitler fiasco. There were a couple of comments yesterday that I thought did a pretty good job of touching on why I've lost patience with Wow. [livejournal.com profile] laudre wrote:

I mostly enjoyed the Raiders pastiche, but the things that I didn't like, I really didn't like; by the time I went through it with a second character, I was sick of the nigh-constant deprotagonization and the endless cut-scenes. My characters -- one, a green-skinned dervish of elemental fury, and the other, a shapeshifting master of natural power who stands and holds the line against endless waves of enemies, who have faced down giants, dragons, demons, and eldritch horrors that would shatter lesser minds -- would not cower in fear of a self-important, pissant goblin with a fucking rocket launcher. Let alone need to be "saved" by Harrison fucking Jones.

And [livejournal.com profile] lee_in_limbo wrote:

I haven't progressed very far in it, but I find I rather like LoTRO. It's not quite as addictive as WoW, but at the same time, it seems to move at more my speed (something my wife isn't as keen on), and I haven't run into the kind of uber-jock mentality that was putting me off high-end WoW content. I'm sure it's there, but there's less drive to reach end game content in LoTRO for me, because I don't know anybody there, and don't particularly care at this time. I just want to be immersed in an interesting environment with interesting storytelling. WoW keeps almost getting there, but then smirks and ruins the whole thing. I love humour, but this cheeky NatLamp attitude loses its appeal.

The comparison with National Lampoon is apt, as is the "uber-jock mentality" bit. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm isn't a heroic fantasy MMORPG, but an MMORPG that has become, at best, a crude low-brow spoof of heroic fantasy. There's a whole essay in this, about, among other things, the inability and unwillingness of gamers to suspend disbelief and about those who cater to the lowest common denominator. But it'll have to wait for another time.

Anyway, after WoW, I had a few good hours of rp in Insilico, with yet another incarnation of the Xiang AI, who's run afoul of a bounty hunter (thank you, Tracy). Molly and Grendel have, for now, returned to London.

And now...doughnuts (no, not literal doughnuts).

Today's a good day for comments.

Yours If You Can Stand Me,
Aunt Beast

* Total actual time played to reach Level 85: 52 days, 19 hours, 36 minutes, and 18 seconds.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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