greygirlbeast: (Default)
Cold this morning. Cold, but sunny, 37˚F. Very, very windy.

Yesterday, I began a second pseudo-vignette for Sirenia Digest, and right now I'm calling this one "Apostate," though I'd like to come up with a better title. "Apostate" is appropriate, I just don't like it. One-word titles can get irksome, and I just finished "Camuffare." Anyway, I did 1,302 words yesterday afternoon, and I'll likely finish the piece today.

By the way, after the writing yesterday, I did some math. "Apostate" will be the 105th piece of short fiction I've written for the digest since December 2005 (vignettes, short stories, novelettes, novellas, what-the-fuck-have-you). That includes the three parts of The Alphabetos Triptych, each considered as a single work. To date, about a dozen of the pieces have been reprinted elsewhere. Twenty were collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others (2010), and another twenty-five will appear in Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Oh, and four appeared in Tales from the Woeful Platypus (2007). That's only forty-nine. Which means a mere 46.6% of the stories from the digest have been collected to date. Even assuming that Subterranean Press continues to publish collections of them, given that I keep adding more each month, it's going to be quite some time before everything from the digest is in print. It would require the digest be discontinued, and I don't see that happening any time soon. I found the numbers sobering. One-hundred and five stories. If you like my short fiction, and you're not a subscriber, this certainly ought to be an incentive.

Also yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy, [livejournal.com profile] briansiano, and the intrepid Sara Murphy convened in the wilds of Pennsylvania to shoot more video and stills. More scenes from The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I should have been there, but the continuing headaches (yes) and my deadlines made the long trip impractical (to say the least). But, here's the thing. Excepting the top-tier donors (3 people), the shots from this session is not available to those who donated to the Kickstarter project. And given we went a bit over budget, we're hoping to cover more of the overage by offering some of Kyle's prints for sale. I'll post the information here as soon as he's set up for the sale. Which should be very soon. The photos are gorgeous. [livejournal.com profile] kambriel* made the gorgeous "Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" dress that Sara wears. And, while I'm at it, the novel's release date is now only thirty six (!) days away.

Last night, on the recommendation of [livejournal.com profile] andrian6, Spooky and I watched Joel Anderson's Lake Mungo (2008). Except for Cloverfield, I'm fairly certain Lake Mungo is the best "mockumentary" (I fucking loathe that "word") since Myrick and Sánchez' superb The Blair Witch Project in (1999). Lake Mungo is quiet, eerie in all the right ways, and deeply disconcerting. In the end, it's what all "ghost" stories should be – it's sad. Set in Australia, it's sort of like Peter Weir did a ghost story back in the 1970s. You should see it.

And, with that...time to make the doughnuts.

Wishing She Were On the Way Home from Pennsylvania,
Aunt Beast

* If you want to see many of her beautiful designs on her retail website, just go here. Kambriel has made several custom pieces for me over the years.

Addendum (2:29 p.m.): Just heard from my agent that my Publishers Weekly interview is now out, in the January 30, 2012 issue of the magazine. Apparently, no one in Rhode Island sells the magazine, so if you can get me a copy, I'll show my gratitude in some very nice way. Thank you.
greygirlbeast: (zoe1)
And as you cross the circle line,
Well, the ice wall creaks behind.
You´re a rabbit on the run.
~ Jethro Tull

Comment, kittens! Comment!

1) Two "BIG" announcements today, and you might get one now and one later, or both now, depending on when and what I hear from my agent. But. I may proceed with Thing #1: Subterranean Press has begun taking pre-orders for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. Yes, now. Right now. The book is scheduled for release in Spring 2012. And I'm just going to say this upfront: Order directly from subpress, because Amazon is very likely to fuck you over. Many people who pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin & Others and Two Worlds and In Between had Amazon cancel their orders. So...don't even go there. Anyway, that's the first announcement. The second is dependent on whether or not I hear back from my agent before she goes to lunch (which now seems unlikely).

2) Yesterday was meant to be the day I wrote the next 1,000-1,500 words of "Another Tale of Two Cities." Instead, it was unexpectedly consumed by the need to unexpectedly leave the house and attend to a legal matter, regarding the second announcement I've not yet made, power-of-attorney stuff related to The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but I cannot yet say what that is, remember? Anyway, most of the day was spent with legalese and a notary public and UPS and the post office (USPS costs ~$65) and I did at least stop into Myopic Books at Wayland Square and once again drool over used copies of Sankar Chatterjee's The Rise of Birds ($15) and Lowell Dingus and Timothy Rowe's The Mistaken Extinction ($30), but was good and did not buy either (again). That was what happened to yesterday. Oh, and traffic.

3) I hate to keep "hating on" (a phrase for morons, hence shutter quotes) Kermit the iPad, but I fear he is the shape of things to come with Apple. Which is to say, the intuitive nature of Apple products, which is a large part of my loyalty, is missing from the iPad. It's like I'm wrestling with mysterious alien tech. What do all those little (unlabeled) pictographs mean? Which microscopic button in the side did I touch that made the screen go black this time? And so on.

4) I know this might have, so far, seemed like a "happy entry." But I am anywhere but at the moment. Lots of reasons. And this is my blog, so here I may bellyache about these matters. A large part of it is that all those years I had to go without healthcare (mostly neurological and psychiatric) did a great deal of damage to my body. And every time I plug one hole, another pops open. I'm beginning to think I'm going to drown in only a year or two. Sure, money's not so tight now, but "not so tight" is a long way from I can afford to have my rotten teeth and gums attended to, for example. Or from we can afford to get Spooky the checkup she's needed for years. And there are days it would scare the hell out of me, were I not so suicidal. By the way, the suicidal hypochondriac, there's a funny one, no? No, not really. But it does embody the true meaning of irony, and it does bring a smile to my face (a rare thing, that). And maybe the next year or two will change all this. And maybe it won't.

5) There is a game I like to play with myself. What if my life had taken a completely different course? It's no secret I do not love writing, no matter how good I might be at it. It's no secret my first love is vertebrate paleontology, and one of the great tragedies of my life was the derailment of my paleo' career in the late '80s by an elaborate combination of factors, too complex to here explain. That the writing career was a fallback (I was lucky to have) that arose from the ashes. I played the game last night. I would post the results here (seven steps were involved), but it would seem too much like self-pity, and while I may pity another, I may not feel pity for myself. We have all been conditioned to believe that's wrong.

6) Three matters I need to attend to, and I'm posting them here because it'll help me not forget (the Lamictal [Lamotrigine] plays havoc with my memory). Firstly, I need to send ReaderCon an updated biography, because the one they have now is very out of date. Secondly, and on a related note, I need to get new bibliographical and biographical data to the Writer's Directory before December 17th. Thirdly, back to ReaderCon, I need to send Rose Fox a list of any programming I'd like as one of the two Guests of Honor, and I need to do it before the end of the month (suggestions welcome).

7. Question @ Hand #5, kittens! Do not disappoint me. We've gotten a couple of good entries, but I need about five more, or Sirenia Digest will be the poorer for the absence of any at all. I'm not asking for great literature, okay? Oh, and don't email me your answer, please. Write them in LJ; this makes my life easier.

8. Spooky and I had a HUGE Rift binge last night, leveling my Eth warrior, Indus (she has a spectral feline companion named River) from Level 32 to 34, and we got Dancy (yes; a Kelari cleric) leveled the same. Please come and play with us (Faeblight shard, guild Watchers of the Unseen). Here is your chance to take part in an interactive story written by "one of our essential writers of dark fiction" (the NYT says so!), and you're letting it pass you by? Inconceivable!

Oh, gods. That's enough.

Spun About,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
1) Bright outside, a clear blue sky, but the temperature is only 44˚Fahrenheit, which drops to 37˚Fahrenheit when you factor in windchill. At the shore, I expect the windchill has it feeling a good ten degrees cooler than that. Last night, the sky spat rain and slushy snow.

2) Last night, Kathryn's grandmother died. I can't recall the precise time. It was after midnight (CaST). I feel I should say very little on this. Whatever is to be said, you can read at [livejournal.com profile] humglum. But a lot of those posts will be friends locked, for obvious reasons.

3) For reasons that should be fairly obvious, editors should go to lengths to avoid taking liberties with an author's text, if an agreement has not been reached beforehand regarding edits, especially when reprints are involved.

4) There was no actual writing yesterday. The day was a tumult of phone calls, email, and mostly wrestling with the final stage of proofing the (mysteriously altered) galleys for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. These were the pages Spooky had questions about that I had to answer, and there were about fifty of these pages. It could have been worse, but it could have been much, much better. Today, they go to FedEx and back to Manhattan. Other than promotion, the book will be well and truly out of my hands, finally. One the one hand, this feels sad and strange. On the other hand, it's a huge relief. Vince's two illustrations look great in the novel.

There was also a somewhat complex call with my agent. Complex because we had to cover so many subjects (Dark Horse, Blood Oranges, audiobooks, film rights, checks, the mind-bending legal-speak of contracts, the problems raised by ebooks, and...I've lost track). There was the usual barrage of email. I had to get colorist notes for Alabaster #1 out to my editor at Dark Horse. So, yeah. I did not get back to "Sexing the Weird." I doubt that I will today.

5) I forgot to mention that when we went out on Wednesday, we checked the mail and the World Fantasy Award folks had sent me the little HPL pin that all nominees get. You can see the one I got last year here. I am very proud of it. Now I've earned HPL pins for both The Red Tree and The Ammonite Violin and Others.

6) Spooky just came up with the day's mail, which includes three copies of the ARCs (advance reading copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And they look pretty damn good. A few blemishes here and there, and of course the weird changes are in there, and there wasn't time to get the NYT quote on the cover. But still, nice ARCs, including Vince's illustrations. So, bona fide reviewers should be receiving these soonish (or sooner). I have to get a list together for my publicist. Maybe I'll include a photo of one of the ARCs tomorrow.

7) There was a LOT of Rift last night, including some rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. A good and very open-ended scene. We've been talking about beginning rp with the guild again (Defiant side, "Watchers of the Unseen"), and if anyone's interested, just let me know, new members or old or prospective. Anyway, since the 1.6 update to the game, day before yesterday, which adds a new region – the Ember Isle, from which the Kelari originated – the idiots have returned to the game. The idiots only seem to show up when there's something new, and they play the new stuff as quickly as possible, then vanish again. The idiots are easy to spot, as most of them sport idiot "names." Last night, for example, the dozens of idiot "not-names" I spotted last night included Kowboy and Killswytch. I think what disturbs me the most is if there's a Kowboy, that means Cowboy was already taken.

Okay. So that's it for today. Play nice, kittens.

Hating My Way,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
This is the unusual, infrequent sort of day when I'd actually prefer to be writing, instead of all the busyness of writing that will consume the day. More and more, it's actually hard to find time to simply write, because there are so many different projects, at so many different stages of production. I imagine this time next year I will look back fondly on November 2011, and I'll think, Wow. I had so much time to just write back then.

---

Day before yesterday, we got the news that Spooky's maternal grandmother, Ann Hanon, suffered a stroke and heart attack. She's ninety-seven and a half, and a recovery is not expected. She's not regained consciousness. She gave instructions she was not to be placed on life support. So, now everyone's waiting. The air is tense with that waiting for news of an inevitability, and with sorrow people cannot help but feel, no matter if a loved one has lived a very, very long and full life. As I said of my own maternal grandmother who, at ninety (almost ninety-one), died in 2005, I can't stop thinking how this amazing person lived through so much time, so much time and so many worlds. So many incarnations of this world. If I live another fifty years...well, I'd prefer not to, but if I did...I cannot even begin to imagine the changes I would see. I think one of the hardest things for Kathryn and her immediate family is that none of them are with her grandmother in Wisconsin, as we have become this nation of latter-day nomads.

---

Yesterday, I began writing "Sexing the Weird," my introduction to Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I have grown to strongly dislike writing nonfiction, and especially nonfiction about my own work. After twenty years as an author, I fear I've sunk far too deeply into the bogs of my own work to speak about them...and no, that's not what I meant to say, but my difficulty articulating my thoughts on this subject should serve as an illustration of what I'm trying to say. Nonetheless, I made a good beginning, I hope, and I hope to have the introduction finished by tomorrow evening.

This month, I also still have to get the galley pages for The Drowning Girl back to Penguin (by Monday), write Alabaster: Wolves #2 for Dark Horse, work on promotional material (my publicist just emailed) for The Drowning Girl, and get Sirenia Digest #72 written and out to subscribers. I think the only thing keeping me moving ahead right now, besides the stubborn momentum of life and the pills my psychiatrist prescribes for me, is the determination that I will take two weeks off in December, a sort of Solstice/Cephalopodmas vacation. I've not had a vacation of any sort since December 2008. But other people seem to do it, so why the fuck not me?

---

A very nice interview at SFF Chronicles with Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala), in which she just happens to make a very kindly mention of The Drowning Girl.

---

And here's a particularly articulate bit of commentary on The Ammonite Violin & Others, which I very much appreciated seeing this morning. Towards the end, there's this paragraph I found especially apt:

A note of caution, though, the stories within this book are mostly excellent and there is no denying Kiernan’s ability and distinctive voice. However, if you read a number of these in quick succession, they do start to cloy and the depth and intricacy of the tales can become treacle thick and hinder the progress of the reader. This is something to enjoy in bite size morsels.

Yes. This is true. Well, I think it's true. I can no longer bear to read a great chunk of my own short fiction any more than I can eat more than a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight at one sitting. Or a few bites of baklava. But it's interesting, because of something someone asked in the comments to yesterday's entry, regarding the caveat lector that opens Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. [livejournal.com profile] faffinz asked: "Did your copy of Deathbird Stories come with the warning note from Harlan that it should not be read all at once? If so, did you read it all at once?" It did, as that notice appeared at the beginning of all copies of the book (including the recent superb Subterranean Press edition). The caveat reads:

It is suggested that the reader not attempt to read this book at one sitting . The emotional content of these stories, taken without a break, may be extremely upsetting. This note is intended most sincerely, and not as hyperbole. ~ H. E.

To finish answering the question asked by [livejournal.com profile] faffinz, no, I didn't read the stories all at once. On the one hand, being possessed of only one functional eye, I have always been a rather slow reader. Also, I like to make good books last. But, also, I first encountered the book in 1981, and I didn't take the warning as a dare. I actually did find the stories too intense to be read without several breaks in between. In fact, I had to stop halfway through "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" and come back to it later (by the way, it remains one of my favorite of Harlan's stories). But this was in an age before Saw and its seven sequels. Which may or may not be relevant. But I am always a little disappointed to hear that someone has read the entirety of one of my short-story collections or novels at one sitting.

Yesterday, I left the house for the first time in a week. Just a trip to the market, and a stop at Mama Kim's, a local Korean food truck, for dinner.

Questioning Relevance and Relativity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,689 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. The chapter is now about halfway finished, but I'm clearly going to have to set it aside and attend to Sirenia Digest until #68 goes out to subscribers.

Yesterday's pages were...different. Grimmer (or at least gorier) than most of this book has been. But as Spooky pointed out, still funny. It's a strange, strange trick – for me – that this book is being used to turn. Anyway, when I say funny I do not necessarily mean guffaw funny. Maybe sometimes I do. Maybe. More often than not, I mean the sort of funny that brings a knowing smile. I'm not a comedian. Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction (1994) when Vince accidentally blows Marvin's head off? The scene is funny as hell. I'd like to think that when this book will make you "laugh out loud," it'll be because a scene or a line of dialogue worked like Marvin's unfortunate head. The way that scene worked. Or, better still, the funnier stuff that followed immediately afterwards. Or Vince and Jules trying to wash Marvin's blood off their hands in Jimmie Dimmick's sparkling suburban bathroom:

The actual scene I'm referring to here is behind the cut:

Pulp Fiction 74 )

Now...it's trickier than this. Much so, actually. Because Quentin Tarantino, he had your eyes on his side. He had Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta and the film's camera crew and editors. Tarantino had delivery, inflection, subtle and not so subtle facial expressions, a whole bag chocked full of visual aids (the bloody towel is, for example, hilarious). But if you are one of the three people on Earth who have never seen the film (well, shame the fuck on you), odds are this scene might read rather flatly. Even though (I shit you not, as Siobahn Quinn would say), "I watched you get 'em wet," is one of the funniest lines ever uttered in any film.

Coming to Blood Oranges, I was well aware of my handicap. No visual aids. No actors bringing their talents to bear on the problem at hand. Just me, and me, and me, and a whole lot of words. If I can't make you see it the way I need you to see it, make you hear it as I intend it to be heard, and so forth...all attempts at humor will fall flat.

There's a reason I've never tried this trick before. Well, hardly ever have I tried it. Anyway, thing is, Pulp Fiction, though very funny throughout, isn't actually a comedy (and if you throw out that "dramedy" shit, I'll punch you in the face; sorry, that's what Quinn would have said...or Jules Winfield...or Vince Vega). And see, Blood Oranges isn't actually a comedy....

Comedy and horror live right next door. Hell, most times, they share a bunk.

***

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented, regarding the WFA nomination for The Ammonite Violin & Others, "Who would have thought that an online poll to start up a few monthly vignettes would have led to all this?" And I realized that, in effect, Sirenia Digest has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Which left me completely stunned and delighted.

Oh, and you sorry-ass Russian hacker scum, I can only hope that every time you close your goddamn eyes, you see this staring back at you:



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

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

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

In All My Sadeian Glory,
Aunt Beast

*** Turns out, Faeblight has closed to transfers in the last few days. But I have an alternate plan. I'll contact all the guild members.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday was a low-yield nuclear device. Yesterday was the best birthday cake imaginable. Yesterday, after much stress and wringing of hands and so forth, I received word that the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL is actually going to happen. But! No, I cannot tell you what it is, and it may yet be some time (as in, maybe, months) before I can talk about this publicly. So, everyone's gonna have to be patient. Most especially me. Secrets cause me physical pain, and this is a big secret. Anyway, I wanted to say that, but please don't ask me to say more.

Now, I'm thinking about brier patches.

Yesterday, there was far too much tension to write anything, but somehow I managed to do proofreading for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart, though there was also too much tension to proofread. We made it through "Beatification," "Flotsam," and "Regarding Attrition and Severance." I'm probably giving far too much thought to how these very dark, very sexual stories will be received (On the whole, this batch is quite a bit darker and more "disturbing" than those found in The Ammonite Violin & Others), but it's sort of hard for me not to do that. Fret over their reception, I mean. I keep waiting to be savaged by RadFems or Xtian extremists (the two groups are, actually, almost identical in many respects) or some other bunch of blood-thirsty loons.

Somewhere, a few of you got the impression that Blood Oranges will be published under a pseudonym. Nope. Not the case. If and when I do Blue Canary, the YA book, then I'll be writing as Kathleen Tierney. But that has nothing to do with Blood Oranges, which isn't YA.

And, really, I think that's all for now.

In Unexpected Brevity,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Starbuck 3)
No sleep until, I think, 4:30 ayem. Simply not sure. I waited forever to take the pills (which means they're still with me), and then Kathryn read to me until I could shut my eyes.

Sunny today, and I ought to be at Pride, but I'll sit here and write, instead.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,794 words on Blood Oranges. And considered changing the title of the book to Diary of a Werepire Dead Girl. Saner portions of my head prevailed. Last night, we watched Abrams' Star Trek for the bazillionth time – I love it more each time – and Selwyn made Level 48 in Rift.

I'm trying to figure out the dedication for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. It was easy with The Ammonite Violin & Others. Diane Arbus was the only choice that made any sense. But this time I have a list, and I'm considering Henry Darger, Angela Carter, Francis Bacon, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Anyway, blah, blah, blah. I should brush my teeth.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Slowly, slowly, spring is coming to Providence. I try not to think how fast it must be coming on in Birmingham, and Atlanta, and Athens. Here, it comes slowly. And I am here, and, in all ways, that's better than my being in Birmingham, or Atlanta, or Athens. But the slow-coming spring, it's still odd and difficult, especially after a winter like the one we just had. The days are averaging 40sF, the nights 30sF or high 20sF, which actually seems warm. We can acclimate to almost anything.

The nice thing about knowing that virtually no one reads this blog is that I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm boring people.

Anyway, yesterday was warm. The official high in Providence was 71˚F, I think. As it was day one of the three-day vacation, we decided to drive to West Cove on Conanicut Island. It was very comfortable when we left the city, but there was a wind advisory, with gusts up to 50 mph. When we got out of the van at West Cove, it felt like the temperature was in the thirties, and I spent the first hour of beach combing shivering and trying to keep my hands from going numb. Then the sun came out, and the afternoon warmed. I was able to remove my gloves and unzip my coat. Yesterday, it will likely go down in the annals of West Cove days as the day I stepped on a dead, rotten, beached skunk. That was surely yesterday's most dramatic moment. I found two specimens of a pelecypod I've never seen in the cove before, Cerastoderma pinnulatum (the Small cockle). I found a few good bird bones, including another cormorant beak. We stayed until late, then headed back to the city.

On the way home, I watched the moon through my Orion 10x42 monocular. Of course, this weekend's moon is Big News, but it really was beautiful. I could identify so many landmarks: mountains, craters, basins, etc., all in reflected silver and shades of grey. We stopped by the market, and were home before dark.

There are photos from yesterday, below the cut (at the end of the entry).

---

I won't write about the post-novel depression, just now, and certainly not the whys of it. It only gets worse when you look directly at it, or speak its name.

There's always an odd sort of embarrassment when I see a review of an anthology, and the reviewer hated most of the book, but really loved my contribution. Case in point, a review of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded at Green Man Reviews. The book reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)," and the reviewer writes:

It’s a beautiful achievement, this story, a very human, rather squalid life offered for our perusal in terms that are neither sentimental nor cruel, managing an effect at once intimate and remote. Now there’s so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing that I must stress that this tale is depressing, in a quiet sort of way… but that’s not what makes it art. What makes it art is the command of voice and personality Kiernan displays, the things she says and the things she leaves unsaid, and the fact that she can deliver this character-driven gem while still conjuring up a whole world of clanking, steam-driven marvels in the background, almost all through hints and allusions. This story lingers. I hope it gets a good deal of attention; it deserves to.

Okay, aside from the snarky, bizarre "so much that’s peddled as artistic today simply because it’s depressing" bit, very nice. I continue to believe "The Steam Dancer (1896)" is, in fact, one of my best stories.

Also, I've seen a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others by ST Joshi that I think will be appearing in Dead Reckonings (I think). Also, very flattering. A short excerpt:

Purely on the level of prose, Kiernan already ranks with the most distinctive stylists of our field—Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Thomas Ligotti. With Ligotti’s regrettable retreat into fictional silence, hers is now the most recognizable voice in weird fiction. No one is ever likely to mistake a sentence by Caitlín R. Kiernan for a sentence by any other writer.

That ought to cheer me up, right? I know that it should. But...

---

Also, yesterday I read David H. Keller's "The Jelly-Fish" and F. Marion Crawford's "For the Blood is the Life." Neither was very good, but the latter was almost unreadable in its dullness. Also read, from the last JVP, "A new partial skeleton of a cryptocleidoid plesiosaur from the Upper Jurassic Sundance Formation of Wyoming" and "A possible azhdarchid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Qingshan Group of Laiyang, Shandong, China."

Right. I'm not supposed to work today. That's the truth. I just don't know what I'm supposed to do, instead, to busy my restless, fretting mind.

Here are yesterday's photographs:

18 March 2011 )
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: (walter3)
The postman just brought me two copies of Weird Tales #357, which includes [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark's (Geoffrey H. Goodwin) interview with me. And...wow, this is just sort of cool. In February 1928, "The Call of Cthulhu" appeared in Weird Tales— and, for me, the magazine will always be Lovecraft's —and now here's me, eighty-three years later. The interview looks great. The coolest thing about it, they used the alternate cover for The Red Tree created by [livejournal.com profile] scarletboi (Christopher Lee Simmons). So, that just ladled a fat dollop of extra cool on top of the already cool. Anyway, it's the Spring 2011 issue, and if it's not out now, it soon will be. Oh, and the cover is one of Lee Moyer's exquisite paintings. Oh oh, and there's a very nice little review of The Ammonite Violin & Others, too. I should always have something this cool before breakfast.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,824 words on the ninth chapter of The Drowning Girl. This morning, I was speaking with my editor, and she doesn't want the book running any longer than 115,000 words at the most, so I find myself very, very near THE END. I have maybe two weeks of writing left until THE END, and maybe less. Which leaves me with mixed feelings. This has been, by far, the most difficult novel I've ever written, and it will be a bittersweet relief to see it done. But, on the other hand, I have fallen so deeply in love with Imp that setting her behind me and moving on to other stories will be very strange.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, if you've not already. Also, I've a favor to ask. Lately, I feel like I'm constantly asking favors of my readers, and the favors are almost always favors involving money. This I find distasteful in the extreme. But. It's been a longtime between checks again, and I have a doctor's appointment on Friday that's sort of hit us out of nowhere. And I've not yet paid my dues to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology for 2011. As of March 1, I'll be facing a steep late fee on top of the $130 annual dues. I was nominated into SVP in 1984 and have been a member for twenty-seven years. So, there's a PayPal button below, and if you can donate a few bucks, I will be extremely grateful.

After the writing, Spooky and I proofed "La Peau Verte" for Two Worlds and In Between. And them, last night, I had a long nap before dinner. Writing at this pace, and coughing, I find naps unavoidable. Then, after dinner, we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Spartacus, and both were excellent. And then I played WoW and finished all the Thousand Needles quests and started in on the Un'Goro Crater ones. I hate Un'Goro Crater. And then we read more of [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's The White Cat. And then, finally, I slept.

Spooky has just inspired me to write a song titled "Heroin Slug," about a huge banana slug who lives in Portland, Oregon with a bunch of junkies. It will be very William S. Burroughs. I wonder if Weird Tales would publish it? Or maybe I know a musician who might set it to music and record it....

Comment!
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)
Here we are again.

Expect no improvement.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,223 words on "—30—", and I should be able to finish the story today. At the start, I thought it might be something humorous, or at least tongue-in-cheek. But the story's gone to this other place, instead. Too much truth about what it's like for me being a writer. An unseemly amount of truth, I imagine, but there you go. Isn't that my job, to be unseemly?

And, speaking of "—30—", it was pointed out to me yesterday (on Facebook) that, in 2010, Laird Baron published a story titled "—30—". I haven't read much Laird Baron (three stories, to date, I think), so I looked on Amazon. And yes, in his 2010 short-story collection, Occultation, there is, indeed, a story titled "—30—" (original to the collection). At first I felt sort of annoyed and crappy about this, but then Spooky pointed out to me that the final episode of Season Five of The Wire (2008) was titled "—30—", along with a film from 1959, directed by Jack Webb and starring Jack Webb, William Conrad, and Whitney Blake. Then I pointed out to her that two works nominated for the 2010 Hugos shared a title, [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's novel Palimpsest and Charles Stross' novella "Palimpsest." So, all this said, I've decided not to change the title of the story, as the current title is too perfect.

I suppose I'll post the same sort of list I posted last year on this day, the "How Much Did I Write This Year" list. I sort of have a feeling I may have actually written fewer short stories this year than last (which would be a good thing). The year I only write one short story— one perfect story —I win. So, let's see:

1. "Hydrarguros"
2. "The Eighth Veil"
3. "Persephone Redux (A Fragment)"
4. "Apsinthion"
5. "Houndwife"
6. "Three Months, Three Scenes, With Snow"
7. "Workprint"
8. "Tempest Witch"
9. "Tidal Forces"
10. "The Maltese Unicorn"
11. "The Yellow Alphabet" (in two parts)
12. "Fairy Tale of the Maritime"
13. "A Key to the Castleblakeney Key"
14. "John Four"
15. "And the Cloud That Took the Form"
16. "At the Reef"
17. "The Prayer of Ninety Cats"

I'm not going to count "—30—," because it will have missed being finished in 2010 by one day. Also, I was very pleased this year to see The Red Tree nominated for both the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy awards, and to have seen The Ammonite Violin & Others on the cover of Publisher's Weekly.

Last night, we did what we always do on New Year's Eve and stayed in. We watched a very peculiar vampire film, Rob Stefaniuk's Suck (2009). There were ups and down. The film features Iggy Pop, Moby (as Beef, the most popular rock star in Buffalo, NY), Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, and Macolm McDowell. If you've not already guessed, it was a comedy, and the funny was so-so. The best bit of the film (besides Moby) was the much-sexier-dead-than-alive Jessica Paré. And how can you possibly follow a film titled Suck? You watch Constantine over again, drool at Tilda Swinton in angel drag, and marvel how Keanu Reeves was ever cast in the film (or any film, for that matter). He mutters his way through the entire film, as if to make up for his inability to act. I always think there's something off with the voice track, until I realize Keanu is the only one mumbling. So, yeah...that was last night.

Today, clinging to some meager vestige of tradition, I'll make black-eyed peas, collards, mac and cheese, and cornbread.

In summation, 2010 was quite a bit better than 2009. Which is to say, it was, all in all, tolerable (though the first few months were spectacularly awful). I'll hope that 2011 may actually be a good year. I don't think I've had one of those since...oh, never mind.
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
I should make this short and quick, but I probably won't make it either one. [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is coming to visit this evening, and I have things to get done beforehand. This will be the first company and the first face-to-face contact with someone, other than Spooky, that I've had since the first week of October, I think. I don't do this on purpose, the reclusive thing. Mostly, it just happens. Usually, I don't notice until after its happened.

Yesterday, work for Dark Horse (details TBA), and more work on Two Worlds and In Between. Tying up lose ends. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'll be going back to work on The Drowning Girl. I'll be going into "novel hiding." Significant progress will be made in December.

The Dancy Box auction continues to amaze me and make me grateful. Thank you, bidders. Not only will the income be greatly appreciate, but Spooky and I both put a lot into the project, and it's good to see it so well received.

---

Yesterday, I stumbled across a review of The Ammonite Violin & Others, at SFRevu, that I'd not seen before. It is, generally, a very, very positive review, and I should note that up front. However, it contains one very odd bit that I've been mulling over ever since I read it. Mario Guslandi (I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time he's baffled me with a review) writes: "Some stories are simply beautiful, others tedious and smug to such an extent to make it irritating and almost unbearable to read them."

I'll ignore "irritating," though it's certainly vague, and Guslandi makes no attempt to explain himself. But "smug"? Really? Smug as in "Exhibiting or feeling great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one's situation; self-righteously complacent"? Does he mean that the author comes across as smug, or that the stories in question do? Or the characters in those stories? I admit I am utterly perplexed at the comment. If anyone out there can point me to a smug story in The Ammonite Violin & Others, I'd be thankful.

Oh, wait. I knew that name was familiar (thank you, Google). Guslandi's the same guy who reviewed To Charles Fort, With Love and declared, "One can seldom find an author capable of either delighting or boring her readers with the same ease as Catlin Kiernan..."

Smug. Smug stories. I admit, it's an interesting concept, whatever it might mean.

---

Last night, we watched Jamin Winans' Ink (2009). The dvd was a gift from Jennifer Szczublewski. At least, I think it was. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, wow. What a superb, beautiful, disarming film. A triumph of indie fantasy film making. Winans wrote the screenplay, directed and edited the film, composed its original score (especially stunning), and co-produced Ink with his wife, Kiowa K. Winans, and an assistant producer, Laura Wright –all on a shoestring budget. The acting is a little wobbly here and there, but I really have no other complaint, and that one pales in comparison to the whole. This is a fairy tale. A children's story told for adults, a thing that has always fascinated me. It's filled with moments of pure magic, and some genuinely terrifying imagery. You need to see this film. I note that you can currently stream it from Netflix for free. Do so. Ink is no end of marvelous.

Later, we played WoW, leveling our orcs, Gárona and Margdah, to 29.5 or so. And after that, Spooky read to me from [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. We made it through three of the tales— "The Coldest Girl in Cold Town," "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," and the title story. "The Coldest Girl in Cold Town" is one of those very rare things, a vampire story that actually has emotional depth and something to say. Loved it, and almost wish it had been Chapter One of a novel. And "The Poison Eaters" manages an exquisite marriage of beauty, revenge, murder, and the grotesque.

---

I took a lot of random photos yesterday. I carried one of the cameras around with me, and just took a photo whenever the mood struck me. I got the idea from "A Day in the Life". Anyway, here are the results (there's a whole lot of grainy, because I didn't want to use the flash):

2 December 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Pagan1)
A blessed Samhain, and a Happy Halloween.

As it happens, I only got half of what I should have gotten done yesterday done. I made the line edits to "And the Cloud That Took the Form" and "At the Reef." I nailed down the cover image. But then it was late and I had to start getting ready for the Brown reading. So, expect Sirenia Digest #59 tomorrow. It can be the Día de los Muertos issue.

The reading went well last night (photos below). We scored rock-star parking directly across the street from the bookstore. I read "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)" and "In the Dreamtime of Lady Resurrection." My thanks to Bob Geake and Barry DeJesu for setting up the reading, and to everyone who came out. It was good to see [livejournal.com profile] catconley again, and to meet Brian Hauser, winner of the Deep One Award for Best Screenplay, for his Cult Flick, at the HPLFF (he also attended my reading in Portland).

On the way home, we got burgers and Quebec fries from Stanley's. I spent the evening playing City of Heroes and Villains, while Spooky played Lord of the Rings Online. I was in bed a little after two, and Spooky read Kelly Link's superb "Monster" to me. I slept, finally, a good seven and a half hours, the best I've managed for some time. Maybe Quebec fries are a good sleep aid. Or maybe it's Kelly Link.

We did not try to attend the annual Iron Pour at the Steel Yard, not after the mess that last year was. I'm just glad we got to attend in '08, before it became The Hip Hipster Thing To Do. Tonight, we'll stay in and have a misplaced Kid Night, with zombie movies, candy, and a fort built of chairs and blankets.

My thanks to the people who commented (and bid) on the painting yesterday. I'll likely start Black Ships Ate the Sky tomorrow, but it won't be auctioned. It will be for me.

We've been enjoying reading banners and signs from yesterday's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in D.C." I am deeply envious of [livejournal.com profile] sovay, who actually got to attend. I'm hoping the numbers in attendance, far oustripping Glenn Beck's turnout, will be reflected at the polls.

Okay. Gotta work, to earn this Kid Night. Here are the photos from last night:

Pumpkins and Tentacles )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Yesterday, I finished Study #2 for Yellow. I'll post photographs of it tomorrow. While I was working on this painting, I didn't let myself look at images of Study #1 for Yellow. So, I was sort of astounded when I finally did yesterday, and saw how much better the second painting is than the first. This one will go up on eBay, but I have a feeling I won't be offering another painting for a while. The next couple, I'm going to want to hang onto. It's not like selling a short story or a novel. You're not really giving anything away. These days, I don't even send an editor a hard copy of a manuscript. The paintings are solid, tangible, and they go away, and they're gone.

I emailed Vince notes about his illustration for "At the Reef" (to appear in Sirenia Digest #59).

Then we took advantage of what will likely be the last warm day this year. It was 74F Outside, so, we left the House and drove south and east to Conanicut Island and Beavertail. On the way down, we listened to Throwing Muses and I read two Thomas Ligotti stories, "Drink to Me Only With Labyrinthine Eyes" and "The Glamour." By the time we reached the shore, the sun was low. And it felt about twenty degrees cooler by the sea. The surf was unexpectedly rough, and there was an enormous fog bank rolling in from the east. We watched it swallow Newport and Aquidneck Island. It was neither grey nor blue, and moved swiftly over the water. We sat on the rocks and listened to the foghorn. There was a flock of cormorants drifting out beyond the breakers, and a few gulls perched on the boulders, eyeing the bay as though it had betrayed their expectations. A flock of eider ducks flew past. The air was salty and cold and I didn't want to come home.

There a photos below, behind the cut.

---

I'm wondering if I can "crowdsource" two relatively simple tattoos. Am I even using the portmanteau correctly? Anyway, I've been thinking, as I cannot currently afford the back and sleeve work I want done, I could settle for one word on each wrist. On my left would be the word House (in blue) and on my right wrist would be the word Tree (in red). Both would be inked in Courier. I'd probably have it done at Artfreek on Wickenden Street. Two words that have had such significance for me.

---

Tomorrow night, I will be reading (and signing) at the Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street. Costumes optional. Reading starts at 6 p.m. You should come, if you can. I hate reading to empty rooms. I will probably be reading something from The Ammonite Violin & Others.

---

The platypus compels you to have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, the platypus compels me to remind you that all the cool Halloween-related creations in Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks and Sundries Etsy shop will go away on November 1st, so act now. The platypus is a compelling beast.

I think that's all for now. Except for the photographs. I have to write.

Last Warm Day, 28 October 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
There will be no photos today, because Spooky has been editing and uploading them for me, because, as I mentioned, Gimp sucks gangrenous donkey balls. And, by the way, while I know that Gimp is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program, it's still a very poor choice for a software programme, especially one that only limps, at best.

No photos today. Photos from Portland will resume tomorrow. Today, I write, and Spooky goes to her parents to see her brother, whom she's not seen in eight years (he's a biologist living in Bozeman, Montana).

---

What did I do yesterday, you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I spent almost all of it trying to write the introduction for Two Worlds and In Between. Which, it turns out, is a crazy-hard thing to do. Although I really want to do this myself, right about now I'm sort of wishing I'd asked someone else. But I did calculate yesterday, in the course of struggling with the introduction, that since 1992, I've written, sold, and published about one hundred and eighty-two short stories, novellas, novelettes, and vignettes, along with nine novels (including one movie novelization and a ghost-written novel), fifty comic-book scripts (all for DC/Vertigo), and various and sundry chapbooks and non-fiction odds and ends. Somehow, that's terrifying. So, just don't ever dare say I ought to write more.

I also continued trying to restore my office to some semblance of organized. I'm boxing up books that are going to be donated to a local library. We cannot keep all the books we have forever, not in such close living spaces.

Spooky is reading to me about Condylura cristata, the star-nosed mole. Amazing beasts. Spooky saw one at her parents in 2006, wresting in dead leaves with a huge millipede. It made a deep impression upon her.

Where was I? Oh, the office. So far, most of the books I'm jettisoning are by Stephen King (I'm keeping the ones I really like). I'm also boxing up some toys and doodads, because I have too many, and they are threatening to tumble down upon my skull and squish me.

Oh, and it occurred to me that there are a couple of people I should thank, people who did kind things at the HPLFF but whom I neglected to thank in the madness of last week. For example, Edward Martin III, who writes flash fiction, and who, during the HPLFF, wrote a story about me called "Maturation." It involves medical experiments and nanites. I may include it in a future issue of Sirenia Digest. Also, thanks also to Taylor Haywood and his girlfriend (I've forgotten her name, dammit), who gave me all sorts of cool stuff and a very sweet card.

---

I think today will be Talk Like Hugo Weaving Day, Mister Anderson.

----

If you were very sad about missing out on The Ammonite Violin & Others, you may cease to despair. Subterranean Press still has copies, after all. It was a false alarm, the sell out. And there are also still copies of A is for Alien, which you need, no matter what your opinion of science fiction. Yes, you do, too. Do not argue with the crazy writer lady.

Yesterday, Spooky began an eBay auction for my one and only "napovel" (napkin + novel; it is an odious portmanteau, and I apologize). To my knowledge, it is the first and only napovel in existence. An entire novel written upon a napkin, with the aid of Caribou Coffee. It's one of the many things I did to occupy my mind while we were trapped and sleepless at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport for those twelve long hours last week. Truly, this is a part of history. Actually, I'm amazed it already has bids. My napovel is either deeply Kafkaesque or just "emo." Or maybe Kafka was emo. All proceeds go to help me pay my income taxes this year. Oh, and there are other ongoing auctions, as well. For normal books.

---

We saw the new episode of Fringe last night, which I thought was especially excellent. Part of me wishes this series could go on forever, the selfish, greedy part of me that keeps eating long after she is full. But the other part of me, the reasonable and prudent part, recognizes that it has, at most, another good season in it, and the creators should wrap it up while the show is still this marvelous, terrible, funny, beautiful thing. Please, finish before cancellation makes necessary a godsawful movie to wrap up all the loose ends (Farscape: The Peacekeeper War comes to mind).

Later, I played far too much City of Heroes and Villains. Erzsebétta has either fallen in love or been seduced by a hot demon chick named Begin, and Sekhmet is not happy. Also, sort of brushed shoulders ingame with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus, which was cool. I was up until 4:30 a.m., like I was a geek of only twenty-five or so. Stupid me. I'm paying for it this morning/afternoon.

Ah! The new issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology just arrived. Okay. Time to make the doughnuts (or donuts, if you prefer).
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On the eleventh, only three days from now, it will have been seventeen years since the day I sat down and began writing Silk. I want to commemorate the day by giving away a signed (and probably scribbled in) copy of the novel (fourth edition mmp), but I can't think of a contest-type thing. Suggestions are welcome. And that reminds me, I owe everyone who chipped in on Spooky's birthday present a poem. Well, it's been written, and now we have the paper and envelopes, so those will go out very soon. You have not been forgotten; I'm just slow as slug juice.

Yesterday was spent on email, and cleaning the sad wreck I'd let my office become, and shelving books, and stacking books along the walls, and, finally, beginning to assemble the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between for Subterranean Press. This is how today will be spent, on the manuscript, as I need to get it away to Bill Schafer ASAP. And that means I also need to write the introduction. It will be a short introduction, but it's still intimidating as all get out (I think that's an idiomatic phrase confined to the Deep South, but I might be wrong). A summing up. A taking of stock. Anyway, that's what I'll be doing today, and maybe taking a phone call or two related to the SECRET.

Last night, we watched the first episode of Season One of Caprica. I love this show, and was relieved that it wasn't canceled. However, I did not appreciate having to sit through some gods awful commercial for a pair of paranormal romance novels, Covet and Crave (shudder), by someone named J.R. Ward. Have you noticed how so many of the women cranking out this PR shit a) have oddly masculine sounding names, usually involving initials, and b) present themselves as Beverley Hills glam, but only manage to look like tarted-up nerds whose clothes are wearing them? Anyway, good episode. Later, I played City of Heroes and Villains, which is my new vice. I did the free trial awhile back, and some kind soul recently gifted me with a copy of the game (and a month of free play). So, yeah. Imagine Countess Elizabeth Báthory as a super villain (cough, cough), and you'll get the picture. It's big goofy fun. J.R. Ward could probably squeeze a series of novels out of it, except that Erzsebétta is a lesbian, in love with her ancient Egyptian blood mother, Sekhmet, and PR is generally a'feared of the lesbyterians (except for the pretend ones who really just do it because men like to watch). So, yes. Super villains. And later I read the first bit of Tom Griffiths' book on Antarctica.

I'm also reading Luis Chiappe's Glorifed Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds, and, as I mentioned, China Miéville's The Kraken, because one book at a time is apparently never enough.

Oh, and I joined Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) on Twitter yesterday, for an impromptu dialogue on how Only Men Are Allowed To Write Hard SF. Because, you know, men say so. But that's okay, because us girls, we are allowed to write fantasy. We get all the sparkly unicorns and double rainbows. Because the men say so.

---

The last couple of nights, I'll think of a bunch of neat stuff from the HPLFF that I want to write down, but then, in the morning, when I sit down to make an entry, I've forgotten it all again. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow. There are some photos at the end of this entry, though, from the reception on Friday for Lovecraft Unbound that Dark Horse hosted at Hollywood Wine and Espresso, which is located catty-corner from the Hollywood theatre (and this sentence is far too long and I should really make it stop now). They're all in sepia, because Spooky was on some sort of mad sepia kick that afternoon.

---

I'm not sure, but I think maybe the trade hardback of The Ammonite Violin & Others is pretty close to being sold out again. If you mean to order a copy, best do it now (unless it's already too late).

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 3 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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