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It's sunny today. Currently, the temperature is 39˚F, with the windchill at 35˚F. The snow is still melting. Compared to what I am accustomed to, the sun at this latitude is so indirect that it often seems to have to heat at all, even at the height of summer. It takes a while to melt snow.

Yesterday, Kathryn and I read the first chapter of Interstate Love Song*, and it holds together well. So, that's good news, at least. I wish I could go right back to work on it today, but I have to set the book aside and write something for Sirenia Digest #133. Maybe I can get back to work on it in March, but March is going to be a strange and disrupted month, because of my pallid excuse for a book tour.

Speaking of which, if you have not yet ordered a copy of Agents of Dreamland, please do so. If books don't sell, publishers don't buy new books, and I'm really hoping to sell another one to Tor.com.

Also, I signed signature sheets yesterday for The Best of Subterranean Press collection, but I made it through less than half the stack. I did not used to mind signing signature sheets. These days, I can hardly bring myself to do it.

Also, we have a couple of eBay auctions going.

A couple of statements I made yesterday on Facebook.

I never thought the day would come when I'd consider John McCain an ally. But war does that to us, forging strange alliances.

~ and ~

People keep waiting on perfect allies, they're still gonna be waiting in their graves.

Now, I need to think up a story.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

* In the photo below, the header carries the title American Novel, as I briefly entertained using that instead of Interstate Love Song, mostly to thwart people who want to market me as "horror." But I think Interstate Love Song works just as well to the same end.

"Life will flash before my eyes..."

Today, it's sunny. The temperature is presently is 44˚F, with the windchill at 37˚F. We actually did reach 62˚F yesterday.

Yesterday, Spooky and I drove over to College Hill and spent part of the afternoon at the museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, primarily to see the "Inventing Impressionism" exhibit. It was a small but magnificent display, including works by Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Pissarro, Gauguin, Renoir, Morrisot, Manet, and Cassat. After the Pre-Raphaelites, the Impressionists are the school of painters most dear to me. Sitting on a bench, surrounded by the canvases, I took out my notebook and I wrote, "Looking at these, I feel, almost, a sort of relief. These works have survived two world wars and the Cold War and so many other disasters. And here they are. So, maybe I can dare to hope." There were only two Van Goghs, alas, but one was a favorite, View of Auvers-sur-Oise (1890). After the museum, we went to the market, then were back home by 3 p.m. or so. It was good to be out, with the air almost warm, despite how nervous all the people made me.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thank you.

Today, we have to read all of Chapter One of Interstate Love Song. I ought to have read through it two days ago, but I've been so goddamn despondent. In this book, I'm experimenting with the use of polysyndectic syntax, and I may decide against using quotation marks with dialogue.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

You know what? I'm really fucking sick to death of trying to impress people – editors, reviewers, readers, et al. I've been trying since 1992 to impress people, most of whom I do not even know and never will know. And I'm done with it. It's been twenty-five years, and if I haven't managed it yet, it's never going to happen. Whatever this next novel is going to be, it's nothing that's meant to impress anyone, except maybe me. I'm finished playing the game. It's degrading and a considerable source of my anxiety and depression. I have allowed my quest to be a popular, financially successful author to destroy two and a half decades of my life.

So, after the freakishly hot temperatures out west a week ago, after the more recent freakish warmth in NYC, we're supposed to reach 62˚F today. Tomorrow, the high will be twenty degrees of Fahrenheit cooler. But climate change is a lie. Currently, it's 52˚F, with the windchill at 49˚F.

No, I didn't work yesterday. I couldn't get past my own genuine terror. I'm back in news blackout.

Last night, I posted this to Facebook:

The really weird thing is that I transitioned in 1990, when I was living in Alabama. I stayed in the South (Birmingham, Athens, Atlanta) until 2008. I used many public restrooms during that time (theaters, malls, universities, bars, restaurants, libraries, gas stations, what the fuck ever), and really never once had an unpleasant incident. And, fuck, I'm 6'3". It's not like I think I was flawlessly passing all that time. Just no one ever gave me shit. Pun probably not intended.

Buffy Hosey, a first cousin of mine who still lives in Birmingham, replied:

That's because it wasn't an issue for anyone until a bunch of evangelical loud mouths made people THINK that it OUGHT TO be an issue by igniting a bunch of crazy fears and biases that actually don't relate to the bathroom issues at all (YOUR KIDS ARE IN DANGER, etc etc etc). People generally want to coexist and leave each other alone, or at least they used to; these days people- especially middle class white people ("normal" people) are desperately searching for shit to be pissed off about or for ways to say their rights are being infringed upon.

Yes. Exactly.

Today, I'm going to go Outside. I haven't left the house since February 10th, nine days ago. And maybe afterwards Spooky and I will read through Chapter One.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Currently, it's sunny and 39˚F. There's a rumor we'll see 50˚F this afternoon.

I made the mistake yesterday afternoon of trying to catch up on a week's worth of news in half an hour. I think it has all but shut me down. The cherry on top of that shit sundae was, of course, the Horror Clown's declaration that the free press is "the enemy of the American people." None of us should be surprised by this. He's only following the script from the Great Fascist Dictators' Little Golden Book. One of the vital steps in the success of any authoritarian dictatorship is the discrediting and condemnation of the free press, in order that those being subjugated will willingly, eagerly accept the word of a ministry of propaganda. The State, not a press composed of civilian citizen journalists, produces the truth. Some of us, 65,844,610 of us, saw this coming and tried to stop it. On November 8th, we voted for Hillary Clinton. The rest of you, this is on you, and until your dying day – and even afterwards – it will be the black mark that drags you down. If there is any justice.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,034 words, passed the 10,000 word mark on The Secret Project, and finished Chapter One of Interstate Love Song. Yeah, they're one and the same. I didn't want to say that until I was all the way through this chapter.

I have nothing else to say today. I'm sick from the news. I'm sick from the fear and anxiety and anger and sorrow.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Sunny today, the sky too blue, and all that snow still heaped everywhere. Currently, it's 28˚F, with the windchill at 17˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,328 words, which means I fell short of the 10,000-word mark by a mere 820 words. But I'll make it this afternoon. Then, this evening, I'll explain what it is I'm working on over on the Patreon, and then I'll explain it here tomorrow. But it's going well. By Monday, I'm going to have to switch over to a piece for Sirenia Digest #133.

We're getting eBay up and running again, because there's never enough money. Please have a look at the current auctions. Thank you.

Yesterday afternoon, after writing, I spent a couple hours working on the A.J. Casson jigsaw puzzle. Last night, we watched more of The Ranch.

I want a blow drier and a really long extension cord. I'm going to declare war on all that snow.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

"Even your Mother won't know you're sane."

Most of the snow is still with us. Still. Maybe there will be some significant melt today, if we can keep the sun. It keeps appearing and disappearing again. The high today is forecast at 38˚F. Currently, it's 34˚F, with the windchill at 24˚F.

I have left the house only six times this year. One of those times hardly counts, as it was for only about four minutes. People foolishly tell me how they envy me my situation, and I tell them, near as I can tell, it's a lot like prison, the way I live. Except prisoners get much better healthcare and, like it or not, contact with other human beings.

Yesterday, I wrote a whopping 1,592 words of The Secret Project. Today, I'm making the push to reach the 10,000-word mark, so I can just say what the fuck it is. Hint: No one will be surprised. Some might be relieved.

If you've not already preordered Dear Sweet Filthy World, I very much need you to do that. Same for Agents of Dreamland. Thank you.

I posted the following to Facebook yesterday. It's rather poorly worded, but it gets the point across:

Basically, to attempt reduce my stress levels, try to control my blood pressure, keep the anger managed, and keep myself writing every day, I'm trying as hard as I can do avoid all news sources. I haven't really looked at the news – including my Twitter feed and other people's Facebook and LiveJournal posts – for five days now. Spooky says she'll tell me when the Horror Clown's been impeached or hanged or when his head is being displayed on a spike on the National Mall, whichever comes first. I know in a day or two I'll break down and look, but I'm trying. So, don't send me news stories and don't tag me on stuff. Even if you think it's good news. As bad as things are right now, there's not much I can do to pretend I'm safe and my friends and family are safe and the whole world's not staring down the barrel of a nuclear winter. But I have to try.

Last night, we started watching the first season of the Netflix series The Ranch, with Sam Elliot, Debra Winger, Ashton Kutcher, and Danny Masterson. It wasn't something I was expecting to enjoy, but I am enjoying it very much.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Currently, it's 27˚F. Most of the snow is still with us, and there will be flurries today and tonight.

Yesterday, I did 1,089 words on The Secret Project. Which means I'm only 3,748 words from 10,000 words and saying what this is I'm working on. Though, if you're paying attention it should be fairly obvious.

I had something scary happen last night, and I know I should have gone to the ER. But the average cost for an uninsured visit to the ER is $1,233, and never mind all the tests and shit that would follow. So, I didn't go. Today, I'm not sure what to do. Maybe call my doctor. But she'd probably say something unhelpful, like go to the ER. So, instead, I will probably try to write.

On the bright side, I haven't had a cigarette since just before Christmas.

Last night, we saw a really superb film, Rosemary Myers' Girl Asleep (2015). It's sort of like Alice in Wonderland, if Alice in Wonderland took place in 1970s Australia. Recommended.

For Valentine's Day, I made Spooky a construction paper heart, and then she made a considerably more elaborately one for me (photo below). Also, I just figured out that, at the current pace of one entry a day, my 5,000th LJ entry will be made on my 53rd birthday, May 26, 2017. How weird is that?

Time to make the doughnuts. I refuse to die in the winter in Rhode Island.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

"So lie near the wall and cover your head."

It's cold and sunny here. Most of the snow is still on the ground, so I'm trying not to look out the windows. Currently, it's 27˚F, but the windchill is 19˚F. In Birmingham, it's 55˚F.

All my Valentines who ever were, all of you are in my head today. I know the colors of your eyes.

No writing yesterday. I let myself get angry, and then I let myself get scared, which led to more anger. Today, I have to try and do better. I might have had a sort of meltdown on Facebook, born of having taken too much shit off to many assholes.

There was a very fine package that the postman brought me, though, a gift from an old and dear friend in Athens, Georgia, a wooden box of delightful and mysterious treasures. Thank you, Jules. I have a photograph.


Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
A good bit more snow yesterday. Then, because this is Rhode Island, the temperature actually went up after sunset, and there as a smattering of rain. There was some sun this morning, but that's mostly gone now. It's currently 33˚F, with the windchill at 20˚F, and we have a high wind warning. I expect this snow will be with us for at least a week. My mind is still accustomed to mid February being when the first hesitant signs of spring show themselves, offering a little relief from the pall of winter, and I'm always going to be that way.

Why yes, I do think that, thanks in part to identity politics, many people are too goddamn sensitive and that it's a threat to the arts. This for example. The day a publisher asks me to submit a manuscript to a "sensitivity editor" is the day...well...that they cease to be my publisher.

The weirdest thing for me about being where I am right now – well, one of the weirdest things – is that we've now lived in this house since June 2, 2008. That's 8 years, 8 months, 12 days. Before this, then longest I'd ever lived anywhere was about four years, and that only happen twice, once at my beloved Liberty House in Birmingham and once when I was a kid, a crappy old house by the cement plant in Leeds. We've moved around a lot when I was young, not because I was a military brat or anything like that, but because my dad was a drunk and we were frequently evicted for not paying the rent. There were lots of times we were in an apartment or a house for only a few months. After I left home, I continued that habit of frequently moving. To me, it's normal, like spring beginning in February. So, to have lived in one place for almost nine years, that's actually kind of terrifying. I should have been out of here by 2012, at the latest.

Last night I watched an episode of Saturday Night Live for the first time since at least the early 90s, and, I gotta say, Kate McKinnon's Kellyanne Conway was truly, impressively ghoulish. And yet still not half as scary as the real thing. Please note that here I am using "ghoul" in the Lovecraftian sense. Even Pickman couldn't do that woman justice. And I have no idea who that wretched Ed Sheeran person was, but ugh.

Now, time to make the doughnuts.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

On this day in 1809, President Abraham Lincoln was born. And on his birthday, two hundred and eight years later, I read again the words he spoke at Gettysburg in 1863 and see that they are in every way applicable to our current crisis. In our present struggle to resist fascism in America, you will not find more appropriate words:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

It's been snowing all day, adding to what we already had on the ground. It will continue to snow tonight. Currently, it's 32˚F, with the windchill at 25˚F.

I hardly slept last night, for whatever reason, and as a result I hardly wrote today. This afternoon, I managed only 279 words, plus some revision. Yesterday, though, I did 1,107 words. The manuscript of The Secret Project now stands at 5,164 words, which means I'm more than halfway to telling you walk it is. With luck, and sleep, that will happen on Thursday or Friday.

I've spent most of the afternoon sitting in the front parlor, working on a new jigsaw puzzle (A.J. Casson's 1931 painting, Old Store at Salem), half watching episodes of Project Runway Junior and David Attenborough documentaries.

If you're getting tired of this view, imagine what it feels like to be me right now.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

3,177 days...

Another few inches of snow last night. The temperature is supposed to rise to 42˚F today, so there will be a little melting, but it's going to freeze again tonight. And we have a winter storm watch in effect for Sunday and Monday, more snow. Whee. Winter finally arrived. Currently, the sky is overcast and it's 26˚F, with the windchill at 8˚F.

Yesterday, I got my shit together and wrote another 1,280 words on The Secret Project. As I said, when I reach 10,000 words, I'll tell you what this is.

About 4:30 p.m., maybe a little earlier, we braved the cold and had a miserable little expedition down the street, maybe half a miserable block. The sun was out, but it was 27˚F, with a 15˚F windchill. I have a few photographs, plus Hubero in the sun from later in the day and a shot from the front parlor after the snow had started up again last night (more words after all the pretty pictures):

All photographs Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn A. Pollnac and Caitlín R. Kiernan

We had left over crock pot five-legged baked chicken for dinner, with rice and Brussels sprouts, and then we played GW2, then watched the new episode of The Expanse. I really, truly am in love with this show. Miller and Amos are tied as my favorite characters, with Alex Kamal a close second. All three sexy, in different ways. And then I did some RP with stsisyphus, and then we watched two episodes from Season Three of That 70s Show. That was yesterday. Don't spend it all in one place.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion
Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes vs. 2017 (Part 1)

I'm not sure how much snow we got yesterday. We got at least a foot. It was a proper storm. We had thunder snow, which I'd only ever experienced once before (in Birmingham, of all places, back in 1992) and something called freezing fog that seems straight out of a George R. R. Martin novel. Last night's low (at 6:51 a.m.) was 9˚F, and the worst windchill was a 1:51 a.m., and it was -2˚F. Currently, the sun's out bright, no clouds, but there's more snow on the way. Out there, the world is buried. Currently, it's 21˚F, with the windchill at 7˚F.

I answered two emails yesterday. The day was consumed by anger. Anger at what's happened to America, what was allowed to happen. Anger at every new piece of news of the unspeakable acts being perpetrated by the Horror Clown and his Nightmare Court. Anger that I cannot go home, when that's all in the world I want. Anger at my infirmities, at all that age and illness is taking from me. And anger that had no focus whatsoever.

I find it's also damned near impossible to write about a hot summer night in Alabama during an afternoon blizzard in Rhode Island. I fought through "Tupelo (1998)," writing summer in Birmingham and southern Georgia from this cold place, but at least then it wasn't snowing...much.

The Horror Clown's approval rating is at 42%. No American president has ever plummeted into majority disapproval so quickly. Then again, Donald Trump is no president.

“Why don’t you come after me, you fascist, loofa-faced shit-gibbon!?” ~ Senator Daylin Leach to the Horror Clown

Oh, and this is a website that you absolutely need, "What the Fuck Just Happened Today." A quick rundown (with links for details) on the day-to-day destruction of the USA by the Horror Clown.

I put on a whole bunch of clothes and went downstairs and outside for all of four minutes, between 4:48 p.m. and 4:51 p.m. It was 21˚F, with the windchill 7˚F and the wind gusting to 30mph. I took a bunch of photographs, but they fail to communicate the cold, I think. And you can't see the mist, except away in the distance.

All photographs Copyright © 2017 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac

Resistance, Peace, Compassion,
Aunt Beast
The storm has only just begun here in Providence, about four hours late. And yesterday was freakishly, 56˚F. The warmth held on all night, still 36˚F at three a.m. It's still 33˚F, though the temperature is supposed to dip to 20˚F by five p.m. What this means is that the snow will have a slick layer of ice beneath it. We're expecting 10-15 inches. In Alabama and Georgia, spring is beginning. Here, it feels as if winter is only just getting started. We're looking at snow all weekend.


Yesterday, I wrote 1,233 words on The Secret Project. It will be a miracle if I write even one word today.

There's just too much anger.

I want to post something here that I posted to Facebook last night. For LiveJournal I'm tidying it up a bit and expanding it a little, but the sentiment remains unchanged:

Fuck the revolution. I want my country back. I want business as usual. I want a sane president, whether Democrat or Republican. Fuck the fucking revolution. Fuck the Tea Party. Fuck the Green Party/Occupy nitwits. Fuck the "Berniecrats." Fuck Twitter. Fuck Wikileaks. Fuck the Nazi "alt-right" and political correctness run amok. Fuck the NRA and fuck Breitbart and fuck the conspiracy loons. Fuck Reddit and internet trolls. I want America. This is NOT America. Obama was America. G.W. Bush and Bush, Sr. were America. Bill Clinton was America. Jimmy Carter was America. Hillary Clinton was America. Even Ronald Reagan and Nixon were America. This is not America. I want free market capitalism, New Deal welfare, free press and dignity, a division of church and state, a division of judiciary and executive powers. I want a strong two-party system, with bipartisan cooperation. I want the nation we fought the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and two World Wars to build and preserve. I want the South to wake the fuck up and realize it lost in 1865. I want compassion and respect for ALL Americans. I want respect for civil rights legislation and at least an attempt at justice for all. I want those words on the Statue of Liberty. I want Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy, Susan B. Anthony and Harvey Milk. I want Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Odetta, Woody Guthrie, Billie Holiday, and Bruce Springsteen. I want a president who protects the press, instead of maligning it. I want The New York Times, The Washington Post, and an end to fake news. I want news analysis, not infotainment and reality TV. I want Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, and Keith Olbermann. I want freedom of religion and freedom from religion. I want an end to all populist tripe. I want a noose around the Horror Clown's neck. Fuck the revolution. I want America back.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Huzzah and Whatnot, Six Years Later

"The sea monster was cute, but the vampire was best." It's sentences like that that get the day started around here.

Currently, it's 43˚F in Providence. Partly cloudy. And we have an actual blizzard on the way. We have a winter storm, warning. The National Weather Service says 7-11 inches of snow for tomorrow before 6 p.m., likely 9 inches. Yuck.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,103 words on what I'm calling The Secret Project until I've reached 10,0000 words, and then I'll tell you what it is. But it went well.

Last night, we had the third night of chili (it tends to last three nights around here), and then we spent most of the evening on the re-watching Season One of The Newsroom. Oh, and the new Face Off, which is where this entry began.

There really wasn't anything more to yesterday than that.

Resistance, Peace, Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Overcast and rainy here in Providence. Currently, it's 35˚F, but the windchill is at 28˚F.

I have the Publisher's Weekly review of Dear Sweet Filthy World:

The 28 stories (most previously available only in her e-zine, Sirenia Digest) in Kiernan’s newest collection of dark fiction (after Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea) explore the human and inhuman conditions in all their filthy glory, and bravely wallow in the effluvia of mythology, murder, and depravity. The Red Riding Hood–esque, downright scary “Werewolf Smile” is about a woman whose flighty lover becomes a muse for an artist obsessed with the murder of Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia); the tale explores the intersection of violence and art. Kiernan puts her paleontology roots to good use in the atmospheric “Paleozoic Annunciation,” about a paleontologist who travels half a billion years back to a vast ocean as an ambassador to another species, and comes back dramatically changed. The grotesque underground carny attraction in “The Eighth Veil” isn’t for the “squeams,” and “Another Tale of Two Cities” is about a woman who surrenders to the “builders” inside of her. Perfectly bookending the collection is the disturbing “Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad #8),” in which incestuous twins murder and torture their way through the American South until the tables are turned on them. Unflinching, raw sexuality and grim imagery pervade the collection. Kiernan’s dense, meandering style may not appeal to everyone, but her many fans will be overjoyed to have these works collected. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Apr.)

I think it's a very good review, despite the "dense, meandering style may not appeal to everyone" disclaimer. Who's writing appeals to everyone? Anyway, "filthy glory, and bravely wallow in the effluvia of mythology, murder, and depravity" more than makes up for that.

Yesterday, work was mostly email, because it had piled up while I was writing "Tupelo (1998)." I didn't leave the house. It's been four days now since I have. I also reviewed a catalog of the twenty boxes of papers and etc. that I've donated to the John Hay Library.

Last night, Kathryn and I watched Sarah Adina Smith's excellent The Midnight Swim (2014), a soft-spoken supernatural tale of lakes, liminal spaces, sisterhood, and regret. The cast includes Aleksa Palladino, whom I adore, she of Exitmusic and Boardwalk Empire (Angela Darmody) and Halt and Catch Fire (Sara Wheeler). I recommend The Midnight Swim for all the same reason I recommended I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, though I will say Smith misses the mark at the end of the film. Not in a way that ruins all the good stuff that has gone before, but it was unfortunate that she got so very literal at the end. Regardless, The Midnight Swim is a very fine example of knowing that a whisper can be more powerful than a scream.

We have these odd little book depot things in Providence. People leave books. People take books. The books are often, but not always, nothing I can imagine anyone actually wanting to read. But it's a cool idea.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
Sunny today, but cold. Currently, it's 36˚F, with the windchill at 26˚F. I didn't get to sleep until after six a.m., and I am very nearly a zombie at this moment.

You know, when you are telling women what they have to do to be a good feminist, you've failed as a feminist. This goes double if you also happen to be male.


Day before yesterday, I got this comment to the LJ from mrs_ralph: "I suppose you aren't allowed to sell photo ops or autographed head shots either. How the heck do they expect the low paid authors to make a living? (that's a rhetorical question...I'm too aware of the answer.)"

Generally speaking, no we're not. A bookstore hosts an author, it expects no competition whatsoever from the author for what little revenue the event may bring in. But I think this raises a larger question, one I've been asking since about 2003 or 2004, when I tried to sell Low Red Moon merchandise on Cafe Press and failed miserably. Why can't authors approach merch this way, the way that other "celebrities" do? You can be an actor who played a minor character in a TV series that was cancelled thirty-seven years ago and people will happily pay to have their picture taken with you. They'll pay for your autograph at an event. But authors? No way. I mean, there might be five authors on earth who could get away with that, maybe. But mostly we are treated entirely differently from actors, musicians, and so on. And it's weird. And sometimes it's weird and financially inconvenient.

That said, I have decided to keep all the dates that have been announced for the Fungus Among Us mini-tour to support the release of Agents of Dreamland. I spoke with Katherine Duckett, my publicity person at Tor, and they're announcing the schedule this afternoon. The tour will begin here in Providence on February 25th, at Lovecraft Arts and Sciences at the Providence Arcade on Weybosset Street. There's now a Facebook page for the launch party.


Yesterday, I spent a couple more hours on "Tupelo (1998)," and then I put together everything else for Sirenia Digest #132. This morning, as I type this, Spooky is mailing it out to subscribers, who should have it waiting in their inboxes. I hope you enjoy it. I'm very pleased with this story.

Today, I get serious again about work on the Next New Novel.

Spooky goes out into the world and brings back amazing sights for her agoraphobic, sky-fearing beast. I know there's a story waiting in this house:

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
For me, "Dirty Old Town" will always be a song about Birmingham, Alabama, even if Birmingham, Alabama has no docks and no canals. Otherwise, the song is a dead ringer for the Birmingham I fell in love with. Of course, most people think it's a song about Dublin, Ireland, because of the Pogues' version. In truth, though, it's a song Ewan MacColl wrote in 1949 about Salford, England. The song also works quite well, I was pleased to discover, for Providence.

Here, it's cloudy and 34˚F, with the windchill at 27˚F. In Birmingham, it's 45˚F, with light rain. In Dublin, it's 46˚F and partly cloudy. In Salford, it's 43˚F and cloudy. There's a nice symmetry there, don't you think?

Yesterday, I spent the entire day working on "Tupelo (1998), me and Spooky proofreading and correcting. Then, after dinner I went back to work on it and didn't stop until 9:24 p.m. I still have three or four quick fixes. Then I'll spend the rest of the day pulling together the digest, which I hope subscribers will have in their inboxes by tomorrow afternoon. And again, apologies for being a few days late on this issue. I've never before had to wrangle a whole novella for the digest.

Last last, we watched a truly terrifying episode of American Experience on the 1980 Damascus Titan missile explosion.

This morning there was a marvelous dream of discovering tiny archaeocete whale skeletons, no larger than the skeletons of squirrels. The skulls fit in the palm of my hand.

Oh, and last night, I paused in my work on "Tupelo (1998)" to post the following to Facebook:

There are so many turns of phrase that had meaning when I started writing that have become meaningless or nearly so. For example, "the green of Coca-Cola bottles." When I was in my twenties, everyone knew what that meant. That precise shade of green. Now, most folks get their Coke from clear plastic bottles, not that beautiful green glass.

(You can call that phone number if you want, but it hasn't been in service for at least a year.)

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion
Aunt Beast
Cold and sunny today; the temperature is currently 27˚F, with the windchill at 16˚F.

The cough seems to have left me, but I'm going easy on my voice for now.

Yesterday, I did manage to leave the house. I made it as far as Benefit Street and the Athenaeum, but the Athenaeum is an oddly noisy library, which, coupled with a lot of bad shit in my head, made it almost impossible for me to concentrate. I struggled through fifteen pages of "Tupelo (1998)" in an hour. Spooky had run some errands, and when she got back to the library, I called it quits. We stopped by Eastside Market to get stuff for spaghetti, then headed back home. I was outside about three hours. It was bitterly cold and the city landscape was stark. Every line my eye landed on was drawn painfully sharp beneath the low blue sky. I think that it may be a while before I go out there again.

Fuck, I'm tired.

Today, I'm going to make another attempt at proofreading and correcting the story, and then I'll see if I have enough energy left over to get the digest (#132) pulled together and sent away to be PDF'd. Which means I hope that people will have it tomorrow. It's late, and I apologize.

I may be shaving a couple of dates off the tour schedule I posted yesterday, which, I admit, would pretty much eliminate any right I might have to call it a tour. Not that there was much interest shown in it yesterday. The fact that I'm paying for this out of my own pocket makes enthusiasm for the endeavor difficult to maintain. I'm estimating that the New York dates alone will cost me ~$553, and I was only paid $2,500 for the novella. It's not cost effective, neither in money nor time, and I've long since passed the point when I do things "for exposure." I'll keep you posted.

I have to work. All that matters is the work.

Resistance, Peace, Compassion,
Aunt Beast

Oh, and there's a photo from yesterday, on the Athenaeum steps...

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad.'"

First things fucking first, as Nice Guy Eddy was want to say. I have the mini-schedule for the "Fungus Among Us" Agents of Dreamland book mini-tour. Emphasis on mini, as I said at the start of all this. I'm making the announcement today, then Tor will make it on Monday. We may be going to add a date in Connecticut, but I'm starting to think that's unlikely. Without further adieu:

Saturday, February 25, 6-9 p.m.
Agents of Dreamland Launch!
Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council
Providence, RI

Thursday, March 9, 6 p.m.
With C.S.E. Cooney
Savoy Bookshop & Cafe
Westerly, RI

Friday, March 17th to Sunday, March 19th
I-CON 32 at SUNY
Stony Brook, NY

Monday, March 20th, 7 p.m.
With Max Gladstone
Porter Square Books
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, March 23rd, 7 p.m.
Pandemonium Books
Cambridge, MA

Tuesday, April 4th, 7 p.m.
Lovecraft Bar
Manhattan, NY

Wednesday, April 5th, 6 p.m.
Kinokuniya New York
Manhattan, NY

Note that the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences date is three days in advance of the actual release, so that's your chance to get the book early. You got questions? I'll try to answer them. Such as, will I sign books you bring with you to the signing (yes) and is there a limit on the number of books I'll sign (not within reason)?


Yesterday was pretty close to an utter loss. I didn't get out of the house, so that's thirteen days since I've been outside. I just couldn't pull it off. Too much anger and darkness in my head, and the fear of the wide carnivorous sky and people and this fallen nation. I sat here all day.

I said stuff on Facebook. Stuff like:

I honestly thought I'd be a lot older before I had to shop for a wheelchair. Not that there's actually a correlation between one's need for a wheelchair and age. Just one of those things I had in my head.

~ and ~

Free speech is useless if it permits and facilitates the emergence of a society that suppresses free speech. We have no imperative to tolerate intolerance.*

~ and ~

Today I realized that a lot of people assume I have health insurance. I'm a full-time freelance fiction writer, and not an especially commercially successful one. In America. How would I have health insurance? I couldn't even afford the ACA, and for me it would have been a bargain. I haven't had health insurance since 1996.

~ and ~

Yes, we really do have someone sitting in the Oval Office who makes George W. Bush look like motherfucking Santa Claus. And Einstein. Einstein Santa Claus W. Bush.

Jesus, I fucking hate fucking Facebook. But I hate Twitter a whole lot more.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, to which I have belonged since 1984, has released a statement condemning the Horror Clown's immigration ban. For what it's worth.

We saw the first two episodes of Season Two of The Expanse, which I'm still generally delighted with. But there were two details of this vision of the future that made me balk. First, that FedEx is going to be keeping the same logo for the next two hundred years, and two, that all the effects of lethal radiation poisoning could be reversed with an armband and a subdermal implant.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

* This was a reference to Reddit dumping two "alt-right" Neo-Nazi subreddits (whatever those are), not to the protests in Berkeley. I kept having to explain that on Twitter yesterday.
It's overcast. The sky looks like snow. Currently, it's 34˚F.

The day off was not precisely a success. For one thing, there was work, some of it related to the upcoming book tour in support of Agents of Dreamland. And I'm no good at days off. I spent most of it angry and feeling like I was being a bum for not working. It's now been twelve full days since I left the house. In theory, that's going to end today. I'm planning to take the ms. for "Tupelo (1998)" to the Athenaeum and proofread it there.


The latest antics of the Horror Clown and his Nightmare court have been offset only in the smallest sort of way by the news that Reddit has banned two of its prominent "alt-right" gathering places. I doubt this will make much difference. The Hydra will sprout new heads, before you can say Paul Joseph Goebbels. Meanwhile, there's the leaked copy of a draft executive order titled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom," which would essentially circumvent any existing protection of LGBT persons. According to Jenny Pizer, senior counsel and law and policy director for Lambda Legal, it defines "male” and “female" as someone’s "immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth," protecting those who decline to perform treatments, surgeries, and counseling related to sex reassignment or gender and identity transitioning. It could also mean that I'll lose my U.S. passport, when it comes up for renewal in September 2020, unless I'm willing to have a passport that says I'm male. Which I won't do.

So, happy times in Trump's Banana Republic that used to be America.


I made this year's Locus Recommended Reading List three times, first in the category of novelette for "Antediluvian Homesick Blues," Sirenia Digest #129, and twice in the short story category, for "Whisper Road (Murder Ballad No. 9)" from Sirenia Digest #125 and "The Line Between the Devil's Teeth (Murder Ballad No. 10)" from Sirenia Digest #130.

I leave you with this shot of Bucktown that Spooky took for me last night, when she went to get our dinner. Bucktown is our favorite restaurant in Providence, truly a little piece of Deep South cuisine in New England:

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion
Aunt Beast
We got a decent amount of snow yesterday, a few inches. Today, the high's supposed to be 43˚F, so a great deal of it will melt today and make the roads and sidewalks icy tonight. Currently, it's 41˚F, with the windchill at 35˚F.

Yesterday, after Spooky read aloud to me the pages from Sunday and Monday and then "Highway 97," I had the best writing I've had in years, and I wrote 2,395 words on "Tupelo (1993)," and I found THE END. The story comes in at 19,583 words, the longest Dancy Flammarion story and the only time I've ever offered a novella in Sirenia Digest. What does it mean when you go to type "Monday" and you type "Monster," when you try to type "longest," but type "lonely," instead? In the past ten days, I've written 14,225 words. And that's not some sort of first draft. That's essentially finished, polished prose. I don't write in drafts. I will go over the story once for typos and looking for any continuity errors, but that's it for editing. And now I am utterly exhausted, so I'm taking today off. After I handle all the email that backed up while I was writing the story.

I've not left the house since the 20th. I wonder if I could manage to stay inside until the Horror Clown and his Nightmare Court are no longer in office, assuming that day ever comes?

The cough is better, but it's still with me.

Yesterday, we started a new jigsaw puzzle, something by Charley Harper. And we watched four episodes of The Newsroom, in which Aaron Sorkin tried to warn us about the Tea Party know-nothings destroying the Republican Party. In which he predicted the fall of the electorate to fake news. In which he predicted our whole current crisis. And no one listened. They were offended and felt their intelligence was being insulted. I'm finding, more than ever, there's not much joy in being able to say "I told you so."

I have two photos from yesterday, the first of the falling snow, the second Spooky took while I was writing:

"I met my love by the gas works wall."

Partly cloudy at the moment, but there's snow coming, two to six inches by tomorrow. Currently, it's 24˚F, and the windchill is at 9˚F.

Today will mark the eleventh day since I left the house. My record is fourteen.

Yesterday, I did another 1,597 words on "Tupelo (1998)," and it replaced "Bainbridge" as the longest Dancy Flammarion story. Current, the ms. stands at 17,188 words, and today I'm going to find THE END.

Spooky made chicken and rice and Brussels sprouts for dinner. I watched a documentary on the history of rock climbing, then we watched another on the Barkley Marathons. Then we started watching Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom for a second time. We originally watched the series in the winter of 2014-2015, and at the time I expressed my great admiration for it. Nothing has changed, except all the things it warned us about are coming true. It has proven an amazingly prescient thing, The Newsroom, a flashing warning sign that no one heeded.

And then we got the news that the Horror Clown had fired the Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, for failing to defend his lunatic immigration policy.

I posted this to Facebook last night:

See, here's the thing. I honestly believe that there's a very good chance that at some point within the next four years there will be an executive order signed by Herr Horror Clown declaring my existence, and, indeed, the existence of anyone like me, illegal. I'm waiting for the detainment camps for those declared "undesirable" and stripped of their citizenship. I think that illegal and unconstitutional action is being taken against voters to insure that this ghost of the fallen Republican Party will remain in power indefinitely. And that's just the itty-bitty tip of the iceberg of what I honestly believe, based on the events of the past week. And I have to try to work and sleep and eat and go through my days with that knowledge. Just like a lot of other people. That's where I am tonight. But at least we're safe from Hillary Clinton's emails.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
Cold and sunny here. Currently, it's 30˚F, with the windchill at 23˚F. And we have snow on the way tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,235 words on "Tupelo (1998)." It was likely the hardest single day I've had with this story, though I expect today to be more difficult. I often find endings to be the most difficult part, because it is so easy to break a thing with a poorly executed ending.

I've not left the house since January 20th. Today will be my tenth day not leaving the house. My record is either fourteen or sixteen days. I'm coming alarmingly near it, either way. It's no way for anyone to live. But I have precious little reason to leave the house. I loathe the cold, and the sight of Providence only reminds me how homesick I am for Birmingham or Leeds or Athens, or, fuck it, even Atlanta. It'll be spring there soon, a few more weeks. Last night, it all came down on top me of, coalescing into a black rage behind my eyes.

I've put myself in a news blackout again, but I did catch David Harbour's marvelous speech at the SAG awards, accepting on behalf of the cast of Stranger Things. You should find it and watch. But here's the text:

I would just like to say, in light of all that's going on in the world today, it's difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things, but this award from you who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world is a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper. And through our art to battle against fear, self-centeredness and exclusivity of our predominately narcissistic culture and through our craft to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired they are not alone. We are united in that we are all human beings and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting and mysterious ride that is being alive. Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters and when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility. Thank you.

"We will hunt monsters" may be the perfect call to arms for the next four years. I keep waiting to see someone who isn't a loser stand up in defence of the Horror Clown and his Nightmare Court, someone who isn't a washed-up, piece shit joke like Scott Baio or Caitlin Jenner, someone besides ignorant rednecks, far-right evangelical dominionists, and "alt-right" Neo-Nazis, someone who matters. And it keeps not happening. That's a little piece of hope.

But, like I said, I'm on a news blackout.

Now, I gotta go help Dancy hunt some monsters.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
Cold and sunny today, after yesterday became an overcast afternoon. Currently, it's 40˚F, with the windchill at 34˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,030 words on "Tupelo," which will actually appear in print as "Tupelo (1998)." I will very likely finish it on Tuesday. Then I may take Wednesday off, as I have not left the house since January 20th. That would mean that Sirenia Digest #132 would probably be released on Thursday or Friday, February 2nd or 3rd.

Last night, we watched Peter Berg's surprisingly effective Deepwater Horizon (2016). John Malkovich very nearly stole the show from the special effects. And then we watched a few episodes of That 70s Show, which we're working our way through again. We watched the whole series last December and January. We've reached the early episodes of Season Three. I think I was asleep by 2:30 a.m. Oh, and I read "The fishes of the Farson Cutoff Fishbed, Bridger Formation (Eocene), greater Green River Basin, Wyoming, U.S.A." in the December 2016 Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. I don't often read the fish papers (and contend that fish are not really vertebrates), but when I was out west for college in the eighties, I collected at the Farson Cuttoff Fishbed.

Great relief over the federal court of the Eastern District of New York stepping up and issuing an emergency stay to block the Horror Clown's immigration order. The body is infected, but it's fighting back.

I call this grainy photo "The View from Where I Sleep":

Resistance, Peace, Compassion,
Aunt Beast
It's bright and sunny, and we have the wide, carnivorous sky® working overtime today. But at least there's sun. Currently, it's 39˚F, and the windchill is at 31˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,503 words on "Tupelo" and finished section five of the story. I think it has seventh section, but six may be very short. It also may be that today I will write all of six and begin seven. We'll see. I've had a good writing week. I the past five days, I've written 7,968 words.

Last night, after a dinner of meatloaf recycled into meatballs for a very spicy hot spaghetti sauce (Spooky's meatloaf makes be best meatballs), we watched Ron Howard's Inferno. Maybe I'm getting old – well, no, I'm definitely getting old – but it was quite watchable, more so than previous Dan Brown fiascoes. Also, much less loony than previous Dan Brown fiascoes. I see it has a 6.2 at IMDb. I might rate it slightly higher than that. Maybe a 6.5 or a 7. Felicity Jones was somewhat more energetic than she was in Rogue One (really, my only complaint with Rogue One was Jones' lack of what Art Carney called va-va-voom).

I slept much better than the night before. I dreamt of a book filled with mosasaur genera that have not yet been discovered. That's about as good as my dreams ever get.

And John Hurt died at age 77. One of my favorite actors ever. And now there are brilliant things he would have done that will go undone. But he had a good run, and he left us marvelous things. And that's all any of us may ever ask.

I have another photo from Spooky, who is brave and goes Outside. It was taken day before yesterday at the garage on Westminster where she took the car for its inspection. Do quarters still exist? I should hope so, but I rarely see actual money these days.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
We have some sun at the moment, but that's not going to last. There's a small chance of snow showers tonight, but it won't stick. Currently, it's 42˚F, with the windchill at 33˚F.

My insomnia's been held at bay the last month or so. The last month or so, I've slept better than I've slept in maybe a year, thanks to moving out of the bedroom and sleeping on an air mattress in the front parlor. Something in the bedroom was keeping me awake. I blame the wolves beneath the bed. But last night, the insomnia came roaring back, and I didn't get to sleep until sometime around six a.m., and I think I slept about four hours. I'm blaming the Lamictal, as the dosage went up day before yesterday from 100 to 150 mg., and it can cause insomnia.

Yesterday, I did 1,282 words on "Tupelo." I'm on the next to last scene. I can see THE END from here, and there's likely only 3k words or so to go.

I worked on the John Singer Sargent's puzzle. Spooky took the car for its safety inspection, and the muffler had to be replaced, and there was something off about the front axle, and they replaced the windshield wipers and added some oil. We had leftover meatloaf for dinner. I played GW2, outfitting Nellis Rose Snow for the big time, and he did Silverwaste for the first time last night. "Baby's first Silverwaste," as Spooky said. The evening's soundtrack was mostly Concrete Blonde, the Clash, Blondie, and Big Audio Dynamite. Listing the events of my day, I am reminded of an E.B. White quote, “I am not really a literary fellow at all. Except that I write for a living.”

The cough is still with me. The good news is, I haven't had a cigarette since December.

I've not left the house since last Friday.

A note I made in my Moleskinne a few days ago: I like to think that back in 1991 or 1992, a twenty-something me has seen the future, has specifically seen seasons Three through Eight of RuPaul's Drag Race, and she's like, "Fuck yeah. Eat it, pageant queens."

Today's photo comes courtesy Spooky, just like last night's meatloaf.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

The Necessary Limits of Tolerance

There's this passage from Karl Popper's The Open Society and It's Enemies (1945) that I've been wanting to post for weeks, and here it is (and don't pull that "tl;dr" shit just because this is longer than 140 characters):

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

This is has to be our response to the so-called "alt-right" fascists, Neo-Nazis by any other name. You don't get to simultaneously call for the destruction of an open society and beg for it to protect your toxic speech.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast
Cold and overcast today, but nowhere as cold as it should be. And I say that as someone who fiercely hates winter. Currently, it's 40˚F, with the windchill at 36˚F.

Another excellent writing day on "Tupelo" yesterday, and I did 1,541 words, bringing the story past to 10k-word mark. According to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, "Tupelo" is a novelette. Were it to pass 17,500 words, it would be a novella (this is not likely to happen). I believe there are probably three writings days left on the story and that it will likely come in around 14k words, making it the longest Dancy story, but still not, at least by SFFWA standards, a full-on novella.

After the writing, I worked on the John Singer Sargent jigsaw puzzle we've been doing, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892). Spooky made her yummy meatloaf for dinner. I leveled Nellis Rose Snow to Level 80 in GW2, which is as high as it goes. I created him of the 26th of December, so that's eighty levels in less than a month. Spooky got her Norn guardian, Alfhild Hrafen to eighty. Alfhild and Nellis have the same birthday. Later, I had RP with stsisyphus, and that went very, very well.

And that was yesterday. And I have a photo today.

Last night, I posted this to Facebook: NASA, the NPS, and the EPA have now all established "rogue" Twitter accounts. I'm hearing rumors that NOAA may. This is what happens when you try to stop the signal, Mr. Trump.

Resistance, Peace, Compassion,
Aunt Beast
No photo today, sorry.

The rain has stopped. The sun is back this morning. Currently, it's 36˚F, with the windchill at 26˚F.

Yesterday was a good writing day, and I did 1,017 words on "Tupelo." At this point, the story's word count stands at 8,913, and I'm estimating that the finished story will clock in at about 15,000 words. This is the longest story I've written since Agents of Dreamland in July and August of 2015. It may also beat out "Bainbridge" for the honor of being the longest Dancy Flammarion story.

In GW2, Nellis Rose Snow has reached Level 75.

And I think that's all I have for now.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

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