Happy birthday to my Grandpa Ramey. He'd have been 104 today. He died of emphysema in 1977, at the age of 65. Grandpa was like a living Tom Waits song. So, for me, July Fourth is always Grandpa Ramey Day.

Yesterday I managed to get back to work of "Dead Letter Office," but I only eeked out a measly 759 words. I did not find THE END. I ought to have been done with the piece days ago. People who do not depend on their writing as the sole means of support for two people are fond of saying things like, "You can't rush art. Take your time." And here we have the vast gulf between the romance of the would-be working author and the harsh facts of the actual working author. It would be wonderful if I had a month to work on this piece. I don't.

Yesterday, I read "Jaw mechanics and evolutionary paleoecology of the megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada."

Cloudy today, and currently it's 73˚F here in Providence. Kathryn put a pork roast in the crock pot this morning, with an onion and an apple, and we're going to have corn on the cob, baked beans, and apple pie. I'm extra homesick today. It inevitably happens on the Fourth.

A lot of GW2 last night, me and Spooky out in Silverwastes. And one RP scene in The Secret World. I took a break from RP just before my birthday, and I went back on July 1. I was missing India Shore. Really, The Secret World is a sad mess of a game, but no other MMO can offer an RP world even half as interesting. So, that's where I go. GW2 is for gaming; The Secret World is for role play.

Later, I watched Interstellar for the fourth time.

Aunt Beast
Cloudy and 33˚F, with snow flurries and a windchill of 18˚F. On March 28th.

If all goes according to plan, we leave sometime on Monday. I'll likely begin packing today. And there's a rather difficult jigsaw puzzle we should complete before we go. Tomorrow, we may go out for a drive to see some local sights we haven't seen yet: Max Yasgur's farm, Byrdcliffe, and the Big Pink.

There's not much to report in way of work, as far as tomorrow goes. I checked over Daniel's blocking/roughs for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #2 and sent him my notes.

People ask what the hell this Secret World roleplay thing is, and so I took a screencap last night. India Onnalee Shore, my Illuminati character, is on the left. She's just awakened from a nightmare, which she isn't aware were memories from the night she died, twenty-eight years before. The nice Hispanic lady on the right is India's lover, Julia Santero, a soldier for the Eye. Temple Hall has instructed all hunters that India is a "person of interest," due to her private war against the Red Hand in the mountains north of Bucharest and her aid to the Drăculești resistance fighters. But she's currently being stalked by a slayer who's either gone rogue (India may have murdered the woman's family when she was a child) or an operative from a Templar splinter cell.

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT - initiate Transylvania signal - RECEIVE - initiate the Chiropteran Migratory frequency - FOR THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST - initiate the haematophagy protocol - WITNESS - The Vampire Crusades. The moral of a story changes depending on where you end it, sweetling. Did you know? Fairy tales become tragedies on the other side of happily ever.

Oh, and you can see Spooky beyond my Asus, playing Guild Wars 2. She's an awesome mesbian.

Be Cool, Kiddos,
Aunt Beast
I haven't been sleeping well, so last night I broke down and took a Seroquel. And I slept. And today I feel like I'm moving through Jell-O. Yes, I know Seroquel isn't a sleep aid, but it's about the only thing that puts me to sleep and keeps me asleep more than three or four hours. I slept somewhere between eight and nine hours, possibly the most I've slept since we came to Woodstock.

I took my last antibiotic dose yesterday afternoon. And thank fuck, because it was making me sick as a dog. The next stage, they finish the root canal.

There's more snow on the way today and tonight. Then we get a freak warm spell tomorrow – 42˚F – and then the temperature plunges to 19˚F for the night's low. Gods, I'm weary of cold. Of snow. Of ice. Currently, it's 23˚f.

Yesterday, I signed the signature pages for the signed edition of S.T. Joshi's Black Wings IV, which includes my story "Black Ships Seen South of Heaven" and which can now be preordered (as can the trade edition). And there was a lot of email yesterday. An awful lot of email. And there still isn't a replacement artist for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. I finished the layout on Sirenia Digest #109, and as soon as the PDF is ready, it'll go out to subscribers. That was pretty much yesterday.

Last night, I began reading Chet and Maureen E. Raymo's Written in Stone: A Geological History of the Northeastern United States. I did some RP in The Secret World. We watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead and began Season Five of The West Wing.

Ah, the life of the Wannabe Intellectual.

Aunt Beast

LAST DAY: "Humble Subterranean Press Bundle." Now, you guys know how I feel about ebooks. You may or may not also know that I am a fervent defender of DRM. However, freelancers often cannot afford to have the courage of their convictions; I need the money. So, if you want $96 worth of ebooks from SubPress for a minimum of $12.37 ("pay what you want"), including my World Fantasy Award-winning The Ape's Wife and Other Stories, there you go. Do not ask me questions about platforms and shit, because I don't know the answers. All that stuff is at the website at the other end of that link.
I didn't think coming back would be this hard. I genuinely didn't. I thought the visit would give me strength that would help me endure. Help me abide in the coming cold. The cold that is here now. As with very many things, I was mistaken about that. If anything, the trip to Alabama only served to drive home how profoundly alien this place is to me and the sense that in no way do I belong here. It may be that it was a very bad idea, going.

I've been back three days, and, beyond a little email and a conversation with my agent, I've gotten nothing done.

And the anger is coming back at me. I've been living in role-play scenes, sleeping in between, trying not to think about it. But the role-play inevitably leads me to anger all its own, because people piss me off. Sooner or later, almost everyone pisses me off.

I need to find a way to push back the anger and work. Just work. Shut out everything else, but, really, there isn't anything else for me. I need to write a new story for the next issue of Sirenia Digest, which is #104. I need to find enough of the story for Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird that I can get started on it as soon as the digest is out, because, as it stands, the script for part one is due on the twenty-third. The page proofs for Cherry Bomb will be arriving any day now.

More and more, the journal seems utterly fucking irrelevant.

Here's a series of photographs I took our last night in Leeds:

4 September 2014Collapse )

Aunt Beast

"Haunted by American dreams"

Yeah, okay, so...this idiot here stayed up until 4:30 RPing in The Secret World, and then she wasn't awakened until noon. So...yeah.

Sunny today. I haven't checked the temperature, but it has to be warmer than yesterday. This morning at breakfast, I realized I hadn't left the House since Wednesday.

Yesterday, I wrote precisely 1,000 words and finished "The Cats of River Street (1925)," which I think is actually a pretty decent story. At almost 9,000 words, it's quite a bit longer than I'd expected it to be. I began the story on July 19th.

So far this summer I've written "Interstate Love Song," "Far From Any Shore," and "The Cats of River Street (1925)." I expect to write one more short story this summer, and then it will be tike to begin work on Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird.

Dinner was rabbit left overs, with a box of Zatarain's red beans and rice and a bottle of Dogfish Head's delicious Midas' Touch.

Now, I gotta try to wake the fuck up.

Aunt Beast
Upping my Lamictal yesterday left me feeling exhausted, and I can only hope I do better today. I need energy to face this cold snap in July. Here in Providence, it's currently 72˚F and cloudy. It feels a bit autumnal, that October dreariness that makes me want to stay in bed.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,051 words on "The Cats of River Street (1925)," and came up with what I hope is a good opening scene. It reads well. I read it aloud the Spooky. The problem, of course, is finding the story it leads to, and then finding my way to THE END.

How can it be the 20th of July? How can the summer be slipping away this quickly? I feel as if I've had one good summer day so far, and that was the Neko Case show in Lowell, Mass., back on June 28th.

Here I am at fifty. And I look back at how I've spent the past seven years, the better part of my forties, and I feel ill. I can live with how much of my life has been spent at this desk (and the desk before it) writing novels, short stories, vignettes, and comics. When push comes to shove, I can even justify – if only just barely – the thousands (not an exaggeration) of hours I've spent on blogging since November 2001. But since I discovered Second Life in late May 2007, I've spent many hundreds of hours "living" fictional lives in virtual worlds, first in SL and then in a series of MMORPGs (World of Warcraft, Rift, City of Heroes and Villains, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, Guild Wars 2, et cetera). I despise myself for having done this, for having hidden from the world because the world is so much harder for me to face than all those silly pixel lies while my life passed me by.

Yeah, it's that sort of day.

Self Loathing,
Aunt Beast

"Under blue moon I saw you."

Arthur arrived and wept away the heat. It's dark and cloudy outside, though whatever rain that came was before I awoke. I don't know if there will be more. I suspect we didn't get anything like Boston's pyrotechnics. The seven golden pyramids the Illuminati buried under Providence after the hurricane of 1938 drives away all the Truly Evil Weather.

It was too hot in here yesterday for me to think, but I tried. All I managed, though, were corrections to Tuesday's pages of "Far From Any Shore." I've got to get this story written; I'm drawing it out much too long. I've hardly managed two thousand words.

We left the House late in the day, and it was much cooler out than in. Had I not been so heat addled, I'd have left sooner. There was a trip to the market and a salad for dinner. Today, I'm fixing a chicken for the Fourth, with corn on the cob, baked beans, and deviled eggs. The break in the heat has made cooking not traumatic. I made barbecue sauce this morning (2 cups cider vinegar; 1 teaspoon cayenne; 2 tablespoons salt; 2 tablespoons light brown sugar; 1 teaspoon black pepper), and the eggs are cooling.

Whoa. That was actual lightning.

Today is my 103 anniversary of my Grandfather Gordy M. Ramey's birth. He died of emphysema in 1977, at the age of 65. He was like a living Tom Waits song. So, for me, July Fourth is always Grandpa Ramey Day.

The rain's back.

Good RP last night in The Secret World. It had been a week or so since I'd been into the game, as it's been too hot in my office to sit at the computer. Probably it was still too hot last night, but I need not to be me for a while.

As I first mentioned on Tuesday, we've awakened the eBay monster to help offset the cost of Hubero's recent vet bills ($600). Please bid if you can, and thank you. Note that we're offering, together, signed copies of the Silk tpb (original 1998 text) and the Silk mmp (revised 2007 text), which we've never done before. You can also have a look at Kathryn's Etsy shop, which has beasties and jewelry.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"All alone, thank god."

I believe that it's become necessary to wake this journal up and press it once more, day to day, into service. Simply put, I cannot recall the flow of days without the aid of some written record, and my attempt at returning to a handwritten journal is proving futile. I miss a day, then three, then five, then...here I am back. I can't stand forgetting.

I couldn't recollect this morning, without Spooky's help, how many days of clouds, rain, and chilly weather we've had here. Turns out, this will be the fifth. We had a brief spate of summer-like temperatures at the end of last week, and then this began. There was, last Saturday, a trip out to Conanicut Island and Beavertail, and we drove the length and breadth of the island, through Jamestown. But even in the relative heat (low eighties), the wind of the island had a chill to it, and the sea no longer comforts me. This is something of a mystery. The first few years we were here, I could leave the city and go to the sea and sit and listen to the waves, and I could feel peace. But that hasn't been true in quite a while. There were red-winged blackbirds, and the constant wind made me anxious, as wind always does. It wasn't a good day out, and there hasn't been a day out since. I begin to think that green autumn has come early this year.

Since that day, the temperatures have slipped down into the mid and high sixties. March weather. I've been writing, looking for THE END of a short story – "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)" – that I began June 5th, two days before our trip to the sea. With some luck, I'll finish the story today, and it will appear, with a new illustration by Vince Locke, in Sirenia Digest #100, which is already a couple of weeks late because I wanted to write something for it that I like, it being the 100th issue and all. And I do like "Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)." It's the best things I've written, I think, in maybe a year.

In the brief warmth, my mood rallied, but it's been sinking lower with every day since the clouds and chill arrived. I'm scraping bottom again.

The days are all a'blur.

I made it through the edits to Cherry Bomb, and I delivered the ms. to my editor on Monday, June 9th. I am forever done with Kathleen Tierney and Quinn and all that nonsense. In the end, everything that set me on that road was gone. Parody became the thing that was being parodied, I fear, and I want no part of that ever again. I've learned my lesson, and it was a costly one.

I've been trying to make do with Facebook, but, fuck, I hate it.

I've been spending far too much time RPing in The Secret World, because what else would I do?

Some notes from Facebook (which I have an amusing habit of mistyping as "Fecesbook"):

One year ago today I got off a train in Birmingham, and I was able to spend ~5 minutes on the platform before leaving again. What a miserable, shitty, cold, unwell, and unproductive year its been. (yesterday)

Favorite idiotic quote of the week, so far: "It's okay to use 'adorbs,' 'totes,' and 'all the feels' because Shakespeare!" But the week is young, and idiots abound. The use of "because" as a preposition is almost as bad as the statement's sentiment. (June 11)

Quiet rain tonight, and it's helping my mood just a little. If only there would be sun tomorrow. (June 10)

Please, guys. Unless a book is on my Amazon wish list, don't send it to me. This goes double if it's a book you or a friend wrote. I got rid of something like 700 books this spring, and uninvited books go directly to the used bookshop for trade or to the library for donation (and it's a hassle, either way). Thank you. (June 9)

Of all the internet slang and bad grammar/syntax/baby speak that most annoys me "all the feels" is currently by far the most idiotic. (June 7)

Having my first Pimm's cup of the summer. Sadly, it's not in a pimp cup. (June 7)

Few things are more wonderful than a song that simply will not stop giving me chill bumps, not matter how many times I've heard it. At the moment, I'm speaking of Neko Case's "Deep Red Bells." (June 7)

I have no patience with people who don't get that the replicants in Blade Runner aren't androids (id est, were not mechanical, but, in fact, organic). Also, that's not a spoiler. (June 6)

And that's quite enough of that...

Looks Like I'm Back,
Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes Lost in White

Two questions from yesterday's comments. cliffs_end asked, "Will the Tales of Pain and Wonder be the "Mercury"/"Salammbô Redux" version or the "Angels You Can See Through" version? Any plans for From Weird and Distant Shores to be reissued?"

The DIP edition will be essentially the same text as the 2008 Subterranean Press edition, which means it will be the version that includes "Mercury" and "Salammbô Redux," not the original version with "Angels You Can See Through." As for From Weird and Distant Shores, as I said yesterday on Facebook, I have retired that collection, and I doubt I will ever allow anyone to reprint it.


The snow is still in the forecast. Part of me is actually very angry that I had to end the "stale Hell" photo series. It had something to say. Anyway, yes, we have a forecast for 3"-6" of snow tonight and tomorrow. We're only catching the western outskirts of the blizzard, which will mostly stay decently out at sea, as if aware how very out of place it is in the month of March. Currently, it's 32˚F in Providence, though the windchill is 30˚F.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,590 words on Chapter Six of Cherry Bomb.

I wish it were a warm day and that Kathryn and I were on our way to a matinée of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

A bit of rp in The Secret World last night. After so many years – seven – of online rp, it's beginning to feel odd. I don't know that I can explain the sensation any better than that. Just...odd. It's as if some part of me is outgrowing it. Frankly, if that is the case, I'll be glad, and I'll only wish I'd outgrown it years ago.

I will never be able to comprehend how so many people can so casually delete their online journals. To me, this is unthinkable. It's a sort of suicide. And I distrust purges.

Night before last we watched Sydney Pollack's This Property is Condemned (1966), a movie I've long adored, despite Natalie Wood's atrocious attempt at a Mississippi accent. Last night, we watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead, which I was rather grateful wasn't even a third as grim as last week's. I read a paper from 2006, "Review of plesiosaurians (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta, Canada."

Enough for now.

Aunt Beast
Melting all day yesterday, but there's still so much snow. So much slush, ankle deep in the street. And the street is coming apart, thank you freeze-thaw cycle. Driving around here is becoming more perilous than usual, as the potholes are opening up, and you can't see them for the black water filling them up. I kept my window open for most of yesterday, so great was my need for fresh air. I expect I'll do the same again today, trying the make the atmosphere of this House a tiny bit less foul. Currently, 37˚F in Providence, feels like 40˚. Feels like shit, truth be fucking told. Thunderstorms are on their way.

Outside, the Hell just keeps on getting staler. To wit:

Thursday afternoon, 4:45 p.m.Collapse )


Yesterday, somehow I managed to write 1,672 words, my best writing day in a long, long, long time. I finished Chapter 5 of Cherry Bomb. Which leaves me with two chapters and ~18,544 words until THE END. And now I have to set it aside and get Sirenia Digest written and out to subscribers. And write a science-fiction story for Neil Clarke, who kindly extended my deadline by a month. But this is just as well, as I'm buried under plot that I only halfway understand.

The icon with this entry, it says a lot about my feelings towards plotting. "And then they fight dinosaurs!" Exactly. Because something has to happen. When a novel is going well, I never have to worry about plot. I don't give a shit about plot, and, when a novel is going well, it tends to take care of itself. I follow the thoughts and actions of my characters, which, if I've done my job, are natural. Plot is a byproduct of characterization, when things are going well. When things are going well, I don't concoct bullshit stories and then push my characters around inside them, rolling them to and fro like toy cars. This is what hacks do. And when I am being a hack, this is what I do. Things are not currently going well, and all that matters at the moment – for the sake of my mind and my career – is that I finish this book. So, I have a mountain of bullshit story that makes no sense to me whatsoever, because it's not even remotely organic. It didn't grow. It was built. It's inside out, backwards, wrong side in, cart before the horse. This isn't what happened because the characters are who they are. This is what happened because I needed to push the characters around like little toy cars. This is what I swear I will endeavor to never do again. I vow.

Of course, all junkies are liars.

When the writing was done, I was almost too tired to move. Spooky brought me a take-out salad. I ate it. Then I took a hot shower. Then I made a half-assed attempt at RP in The Secret World. We watched more of The Americans, which really is wonderful.

Oh, before I forget. New eBay auctions! Please go forth and bid. I sign and personalize.

Here. have some Selwyn, behind the cut:

HimselfCollapse )

Oh gods. It's 82˚F in Miami, Florida. Why am I here?

Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah,
Aunt Beast

"Now eyes burn circles in the dark..."

Well, here we are in the snow again, but so is most of the Eastern Seaboard, so at last I don't feel all alone. We have some huge flakes coming down, and new inches atop the old ice/snow/ice lasagna.

Today's stale Hell photo, below, which is actually yesterday's stale Hell. Today's is very different, but you can't see it until tomorrow.

Wednesday afternoon, 1:20 p.m.Collapse )

Yeah, see....now that almost looks like a Rhode Island summer day. And, frankly, it's sort of hard not to take this bullshit weather personally. Every time I begin to feel I have my bearings, and that maybe my feet are under me, there's another snow.

Yesterday, I wrote a paltry 204 words – two paragraphs – on Chapter Five. At this rate, I'll finish the novel sometime late in 2015. Seriously. We have reached Stage I Am So Fucking Fucked. I never even want to look at this manuscript again. I've lost the entire goddamn winter.

Good RP in The Secret World last night.


Fuck It,
Aunt Beast
First, please have a look at Spooky's splendid new Alabaster: Pale Horse pendants. Each is one of a kind, made from the actual page proofs for the forthcoming collection. They're going fast! All proceeds go to replace my broke-ass iPod. Thank you. Oh, and here's a link for the book (Dark Horse, February 25th), if you'd like to preorder.

Here in Providence, it's 27˚F (feels like 29˚F), but sunny. The sky is that wide carnivorous blue. But the good news is that it looks as if the additional snow we were expecting this weekend had been taken out of the forecast. So, maybe all this shit on the ground can have a chance to melt and evaporate and just go the fuck away.

Yesterday was my best writing day on Cherry Bomb since December 5th, when I finished Chapter Four – the first time. I wrote 1,006 words.

And here's what Kirkus has to say about Pink Delicious:

Another wisecracking supernatural horror yarn (Blood Oranges, 2013) expressed in what used to be known as splatterpunk mode.

Tierney brings new or forgetful readers up to date with a memorably pithy page-and-a-half recap. The ballsy, profane, in-your-face narrator is Siobhan Quinn—don’t, whatever you do, call her Siobhan—ex-heroin addict, now both vampire and werewolf. Her employer, the devious human she calls Mean Mr. B, has been hired to locate the missing daughter of a prominent local necromancer. Unfortunately, Mr. B’s investigator, Shaker Lashly, has also gone missing and soon turns up with bullet holes. Quinn’s job, then, is to find out what happened to Lashly and locate the missing girl. Naturally, the case turns out to involve something else altogether, namely, a MacGuffin that’s actually a transcendentally powerful and valuable dildo. No, that’s not a misprint. Three demonic entities desire to possess the item: the infernal brothel-keeper Drusneth, the succubus Yeksabet Harpootlian, and Magdalena Szabó, a demoness from an alternate world who may or may not even exist—all of whom will stop at nothing to acquire it. Not only must Quinn survive the attentions of these three formidable females, but also the determined assaults of defrocked priest Father Burt Rizzo, whose self-appointed mission is to rid New Providence of its supernatural badasses.

Another defiantly over-the-top yarn that breaks every rule in the book, mostly with advance warning, and succeeds by being even more flagrantly disgraceful than its predecessor.

If I had a band, I would change its name to Transcendental Dildo. Also, "even more flagrantly disgraceful" made me smile.

Also also, I'm pleased by this: Rainbow Google doodle links to Olympic charter as Sochi kicks off.

Last night was RP in The Secret World. I'm RPing quite a bit less, because...well, many reasons. But there was a short scene last night I enjoyed. Tonight, Kid Night. And the Olympics opening ceremony.

Time for Red Bull,
Aunt Beast
Fuckin' A.

Colder. It's going to be very much colder soon. But we are nearing the end of January, are we not? This new year is already racing past, so even this Rhode Island winter much eventually give way to wretched Cold Spring.

I'm sleeping so much, it's sort of frightening. I'm actually averaging about eight hours a night.

The past two days have been spent wrestling with the manuscript of Cherry Bomb. I set it aside on December 5th, and there was talk of splitting it into two. But that's not going to happen. Which, I have to admit, comes as a relief. Only now I have to make it work as a single ~70k-word long novel. Which it doesn't. I read Chapter One aloud to Kathryn, and then, yesterday, I tried to do the same with Chapter Two, but I couldn't get past how silly the whole thing is. How did I ever convince myself that writing these silly fucking books was a good idea? It doesn't matter. It only matters that I finish this one and put it all behind me. My agent, trying to console me, or encourage me, or whichever, said, "Kill everyone. You're good at that." Which, actually, was sort of the plan all along. Yesterday I literally hurled Chapter Two from my office out across the kitchen. I came close, as I said on Facebook, to tossing it and the rest of the ms. into the fireplace and then erasing it all from my hard drive.

So, that's where I am this grey morning.

I've wasted two months. Well, not entirely. At least I wrote "The Peddler's Tale." At least I did that much.

I've been spending entirely too much time in rp. I'm not surprised. It's a hell of a lot easier being Isobel just now than it is being me. Still, probably time to step back for a week or so. The Secret World will turn just fine without her.

Aunt Beast
Something like an hour and a half sleep last night. I fell asleep about 5:30 a.m., and I awoke at about 7:00 a.m. (times CaST). But I didn't take Seoquel. Yesterday was, I'm quite certain, the most awake I've been in at least a year. It was the first time I hadn't taken Seroquel since I started coming off the Lamictal. Jesus, I've been in a fucking fog. It's no wonder I hardly wrote jack shit this past year. It's good to be getting my mind back, even if it's the same broken mind I had when I entered that fog.

That said, lying awake in bed this morning, staring at the ceiling, the profundity of my displeasure with my life became apparent. A more perfect understanding of something I knew well enough already.

Yesterday, I spent about three hours reading over "The Prayer of Ninety Cats," which will be appearing in a another forthcoming "year's best" anthology. It's a story I can look at and be proud of what I've done. It's one of, say, ten things that I've written that I know are well and truly very, very good. Decades of work went into creating that story.

Since June, a folder of photos from the New Orleans trip has been sitting on my iMac's desktop, because I knew I'd reach a point this winter when I needed the summer and Birmingham and Birmingham in the summer. I left it there so that when that day came I could pull out a few photos and post them here to remind myself of something better. So...these were taken at the train depot downtown, between Powell Avenue South and Morris Avenue:

12 June 2013Collapse )

Other than the tiny amount of work I've been able to get done, as my newly awakened brain fizzes and hums and thrums, I've been trying to hide in RP, in The Secret World. Only I'm fairly convinced that all the other players loathe me. No, seriously.

Wanna trade? Well, only if you live somewhere warm.

Aunt Beast

Pale Sun

Cold. Cold and sunny. Yesterday, I posted to Facebook: Here in Providence it's 14˚F, with a windchill of -6˚F. Fuck. And yeah, I know it's worse in other places. Always is. Because there's always the dickhead who feels the need to say, "Well, compared to where I am, that's WARM!" I refuse to check the current temperature.

Most of yesterday was spent 1) discovering that a recently published short story — which an editor has asked to include in a "best of 2013" anthology — made it into print with all sorts of typos and errors, and 2) correcting said story before I send it to said editor of said "best of 2013" anthology. So, at least the reprint will be in good shape. The story was written back in January 2013, and I have no idea where my head was at the time. Up my ass. It's a good story, but for fuck's sake, Caitlín. No, I'm not telling you the title.

So, that was fun.

Also, I gave up on trying to expand "Daughter Dear Desmodus" (from Sirenia Digest #70, September 2011) which I'd been asked to do by another editor. I read the story aloud in New York in October, and at the time I thought expanding it would be a breeze. But the story, it turns out, is what the story is. It refuses to be anything else.

Vince has sent me sketches for his two illustrations for Sirenia Digest #95, for "The Alchemist's Daughter (A Fragment)" (top) and "The Peddler's Tale, or Isobel Revenge," (bottom) which you can see behind the cut. I am in love with the latter, and can't wait to see the finished artwork:

Two TalesCollapse )

And speaking of Isobel Snow, I'm in one of those headspaces were I only want to be an alter ego. Even though it's also cold in London. And Boston. And Manhattan. At least Isobel can kill people with her brain. Well, not exactly. There's a key to Hell that helps. I've been bombarding Facebook with Isobel porn, whether people care or not.

Isobel Siany Snow Redux, LondonCollapse )

I don't have much else to say just now. My nights are being spent in The Secret World, hiding from me and from Providence. I believe getting off Lamictal is helping. As I said in response to a comment couple of days back, There was a time I craved calm, but after years of quiet waters, waves are heaven. My nightmares have returned; I never thought I'd be glad to see those fuckers again.

Say My Name,
Aunt Beast
The last day of the year 2013.

I'm in no mood for lists — movies seen, books read, stories written, music from the past twelve months, or what have you. It was a not a terribly good year, but it was vastly better than 2012. Indeed, by comparison, 2012 makes 2013 look like a goddamn angel.

And 2014 will be what it will be, another trip around the sun.

There's very little to be said for yesterday. It was all errands. But at least it got me out of the house. We had to go to the bank, and I fucking hate going to the bank. It's a vile chore, genuinely a necessary evil. No euphemism there. Then we retrieved Michael Zulli's paintings from iolabs in Pawtucket. And there was the market. And there was a trip to Lowe's.

The sky was low and dark and hard. Sometimes there was a brighter spot to suggest the sun.

The word that kept coming back to me yesterday was despair. Mostly, the word attached itself to the squalor that rings Providence. The streets are despair, all despair. And I avoid those dirty, tattered streets as much as I can. Keep to College Hill and Downtown and tiny bits of Federal Hill and the Armory. Slivers of the latter two. Rhode Island is awfully fucking small without having to avoid large portions of it. But I carry my own despair.

The only bright spot (beside that sun smudge) was a quick stop by Paper Nautilus to spend $85 of our store credit on Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings (Michael Bonesteel, Rizolli, 2000). A beautiful, beautiful book, not the sort of thing I could ever afford out right.

Last night I waded back into Rp in The Secret World. I do try to stay away. I try like fuck all. RP devours my life*, because I don't do that sort of thing by half measures. All or nothing, right? Yeah, when you have as shitty a relationship with reality as I do, when you are Pretend's whore, then RP is almost as good as smack. Plus, no track marks. I stayed away two months this time. And it's good to be back. I wish it weren't.

Okay. That's enough honesty for one day. See you next year.

Swing Away,
Aunt Beast

* Not that I'm doing much with it.
I can't say if there's a general ignorance at work when it comes to sentence-level verb tense consistency or if it's something peculiar to MMO role-players. I don't see it anywhere else online. I first encountered it in Second Life, where it's rampant, then in every single MMO I've played. Curiously, the problem always involves a shift from present tense to past tense. Example:

Joe draws his cap gun and shot the skunktaur in the butt.

- or -

"I wonder if this cuirass makes me look fat?" asks Sally, and then she sighed and ate another slice of last week's mammoth.

If I'd only seen this happen a few times, I wouldn't have thought much of it. But it's commonplace, and it's also annoying as hell. I have somehow managed never to correct anyone. I have to wonder if the logic at work here – I'm giving the perpetrators the benefit of the doubt and assuming they actually think before they type – goes something like this: The first half of a sentence should be in present tense, because it's happening first. The second half of the sentence should be in past tense, because it happens later." Also, if the tense shifters read books, then they would know better, right? Wouldn't they? They'd have inevitably learned by example or osmosis. Honestly, I don't get it. Okay, whatever. Enough remedial English for role-players.


I wish I had something good to say about yesterday. But I don't. The only work I got done was typing up a list of corrections that need to be made to "The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics" for Subterranean Press.

Because I had the aforementioned appointment.

(An increasingly lazy habit we see online would have rendered that last sentence "Because the aforementioned appointment.")

Today must be productive.

Karma Police,
Aunt Beast
Well, yesterday was a shit day.

Work? I came up with a title, a title that's doing double duty for the third chapter of Cherry Bomb and for a new vignette. And I sent two emails. That was work yesterday.

I had my first my first seizure since June 1 (ah, the seizure diary), so the first in almost six months.

But Spooky made me Big Meaty Meat for dinner. With macaroni and cheese and also Brussels sprouts. And then I had six and a half hours of fairly excellent RP in The Secret World. And got a ghost cat from Ulthar. I figure Elspeth sends Isaac the cat, and it acts as a messenger between the Dream Lands and the World Above. Isobel, she wouldn't have sent it. But Elspeth might have, if she's old enough by now. And you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, but that's okay.

Also, I got a gigantic and wonderful care package from Sara H., for which I am tremendously grateful. It could not have come at a better time. Thank you, Sara.

If you've never read the last mini-series I did for DC/Vertigo – Sandman Presents: Bast, Eternity Game (2002) – you may now read it, in digital format, for only 99¢ an issue (there are three). But, be warned. There is a reason this was the last time I worked (successfully) with DC. The series was written as a four-part story. And then, with no explanation, they forced me to cut it down to three issues. AFTER it was written and the first two issues had been drawn. So...the ending is a wreck. The last issue is simply awful. So, proceed with caution. You've been warned, kittens.*

Happy day before Hallowe'en/Samhain.

And that about wraps things up for now.

Madonna of the Wasps,
Aunt Beast

* I'm a lot less politic about DC/Vertigo than I once was.

LiveJournal Entry #3,916

So, I'm beginning to see people use the acronym LARP (live-action role-play) to refer to their online RP...which, by definition, is not and cannot be live action. LARP involves actual people, face to face, in the actual, not virtual, world. However, I do think I know why this is happening. An annoying number of role-players are beginning to proclaim that what they're doing is collaborative writing. They have a few other phrases for it, most involving some permutation of the word "collaboration." I have begun to get a sense that this is an effort to elevate what they're doing above "mere" RP. And, you know, everybody wants to be a writer. But, all the same, calling...you know, I just realized I've wasted breath on this problem before. Not the misuse of the LARP acronym. That one's new. Never mind. People do stupid shit. I do think this appropriation of LARP does LARPers a disservice, though, as LARP is, generally and quite obviously, a more time consuming and difficult undertaking than online RP.

Perhaps what I should say is that this broadening of the definition of RP objectionable.

A rainy, ugly autumn day. The temperature dropped, as predicted.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,546 words on Cherry Bomb.

My tiresome tallying.

This afternoon we're heading down to South County to spend a couple of nights at the farm. Spooky's parents are in Germany. Her dad's doing something anthropological over there. And I just need to be elsewhere than here. Have some trees around me. But I'll have the iPad with me, because apparently the world will end if I go a few days without checking my email. Somehow, I went thirty years without ever checking my email....

Actually, Kathryn and I just decided that the weather is so cold, wet, and shitty that we're waiting until Sunday to go down. So, ignore the above paragraph.

Later Taters,
Aunt Beast

"My own secret ceremonials..."

Yeah, okay, well today's working hard at being a pain in my ass. The climate's violent mood swings aren't helping. The micro-heatwave has come and gone. On Wednesday the high was 91˚F (with a heat index over 100˚F); today the high will be about 75˚F. Yeah. Okay.


It's still a work in progress, but here's an early look at Albert Perrault's Fecunda ratis, as painted by Matthew Jaffee for the forthcoming Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir:

Copyright © 2013 by Matthew Jaffe

I created the painting in my mind way, way back in long ago 2000. For thirteen years I've carried it about in my skull, and I've used it in three or four short stories and, finally, in The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. But I never thought I'd see it leak out into the real world. Now...it's leaking. And I'm stunned. I speak of terror, and of horror, and of the weird, and here there are all three. It's going to be an amazing book. Matthew will be creating at least one more Perrault for the edition.

Yeah, I'm supposing Mr. Perrault will never be a darling of feminist art critics.


Yesterday, I tried to begin a new story, "Pushing Back the Sky,"* but it might be a false start. I hope that today will tell.

The day's have been, crazy weather aside, monotonous. Geoffrey is coming to visit on Sunday, which will be a welcomed break in the sameness.

I've been reading Pogo, Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegāna, and portions of Werdelin and Sanders' titanic Cenozoic Mammals of Africa (last night, "Embrithopoda"). We've been watching Season Three of Boardwalk Empire, which has to be, by far, the most beautiful thing on television.

By the way, readers send me gifts. Really amazing gifts. I generally assume they wish to be anonymous, and so I only rarely thank them by name. One particular reader was especially generous lately, which is how I'm able to be reading Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. Thank you.

Speaking of The Secret World, I've been gaming too much (yes, you can) and getting a lot of very good RP with a number of people. I've just reached the Valley of the Sun God region of Egypt, and it's beautiful realized. It's the first region of the game I've really loved since Kingsmouth, the first questing area after (depending on your faction) New York City, Seoul, and London. Sort of Lovecraft meets Tolkien. Ghouls, instead of orcs. Gorgeous.

Last night I discovered that I like Tương Ớt Sriracha on beef lo mein. Might sound gross, but it's good. Also, this morning I hit 3,000 followers on Facebook.

To be in such a shitty mood, I'm awfully filled with praise and superlatives.

As Our Ms. Geary Would Say, "Super,"
Aunt Beast

*Note added 4/19/15: This story became "Pushing the Sky Away (Death of a Blasphemer)," title adapted from Nick Cave's Push the Sky Away.
Sunny today, wide carnivorous blue, and the humidity finally released us from it's moldy clutches. Only 49% at the moment, and 77˚F. I would say it's autumnal out there, but I don't know from New England seasons, clearly. It's pleasantly warm in my office. The window is open, and my little desktop fan is whirring.

Yesterday, I was a slacker. Instead of writing, we went Outside. To the Providence Art Club (Dodge House Gallery) and the Athenaeum. We went to the former to see Ars Necronomica, the exhibit of HPL-inspired artwork, organized in conjunction with Necronomicon. Some beautiful pieces. Storms were bearing down on the city, and it almost felt like a Southern summer day, just before a big thunderstorm breaks. When we were finished at the Dodge House, we stopped by the Athenaeum, where aliceoddcabinet kindly gave us a tour through their HPL exhibit, which includes some wondrous examples of his own manuscripts, letters, postcards, and other documents culled from the forty boxes of his papers in the collection of the John Hay Library. You see these things, and you begin to get a feel for the actual human being behind all that time and writing. On the way home, a terrific downpour began. There are photos, behind the cut:

3 September 2013Collapse )

The storms did some damage in Cranston (a flooded apartment building that displaced 75 people, 29 families). In Warren, there was either a microburst or a tornado may have occurred, uprooting and shearing apart huge trees and bringing down power lines. There was hail.

I am determined that I will, this True Autumn, make up for a lost summer. Well, one can never genuinely buy back lost time, but....

I've been reading Volume One of Fantagraphics collected Pogo strips (I'm up to 1950), and Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero's Abominable Science, and rereading "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." And spending far, far too much time playing/RPIng in The Secret World (seven hours last night!!!!).

Now, I have to go do that last bit of work I might ever do for Dark Horse Comics, as I've just been informed they've allotted me one desperately needed extra page for Alabaster: Boxcar Tales, which is all Maisie, here at the end of the tale. I need to be done with this.

Aunt Beast
Yesterday, I wrote 1,247 words on Chapter One of Cherry Bomb.

Today, we're back to Green Autumn.

I'm becoming obsessed with the cost of seeing films. As recently as the 1990s, I saw pretty much everything that came out. This summer, Spooky and I have seen only four films (Oblivion, World War Z, Pacific Rim, and Elysium). It's cost us approximately eighty dollars, going to matinées, to see four films. When I was in high school, ticket prices were about a quarter of what they are now. It is simply no longer financially feasible for me to see a wide range of films until they appear on DVD, so I reserve the theaters for "spectacles" (I think this actually leads a lot of people to the erroneous conclusion that big SFX extravaganzas are the only sorts of films I see).

Recently, I said something – politely – on Facebook about how editors who cannot pay at least the SFWA's designated pro rate of .05¢/word need not ask me to write for them. Quite a few people "unfriended me" almost immediately. I assume some of them must have been involved in the baffling array of micro- and nano-presses. Until 2004, SFWA's designated pro rate was .03¢/word.

I never did write about World War Z. I kept meaning to, but it slipped through the cracks somewhere. I liked it. A lot. I wasn't bothered by the absence of gore, as some were. It's a damned weird criticism, you ask me. Anyway, I thought it did the book justice, which was an almost impossible trick to turn. I do think that the time has come to put away the zombies. It's over. It's tiresome. It's time to move on. Let AMC's The Walking Dead continue while it's good, and then let's stop with the zombies. Please. Zombies and bacon and grumpy cat. These things need to go. If you're reading this and you're an aspiring writer, or any other sort of artist, interested in the weird, the macabre, the terrifying, whatever – step away from zombies. Think of something else. Think of something no one's done anything with in a while. I won't say "think of something new," because you can't. But you can at least avoid zombies.

I'm going to write something more about World War Z, but I'll wait until another entry.

We watched Danny Boyle's Sunshine again last night. It's such an amazing film, it still stuns me. I think (hope) it always will. At this point, I've surely seen it at least twenty-five times, start to finish.

I'm gaming too much. Well, gaming and RP. But, thanks to The Secret World (still one of the most broke-ass MMOs in the history of MMOs), I've found a large and stable and consistently talented, low-drama group of RPers. It's hard, or impossible, not to overdo it. Three or four hours pass without me even noticing, because I've become so immersed in story and character. It's a very strange sort of art. It's one I've been looking for all my life.

Rambling. Gonna to now.

No More Zombies,
Aunt Beast
So, the Defense of Marriage Act may not be dead, but it's sure as hell looked a lot healthier. And Proposition 8 is down. And the SB 5 anti-abortion bill in Texas (thanks, in large part, to the old-fashioned filibustering of Democratic Senator Wendy Davis). These are victories. Though, sadly, I've already seen people on Twitter whining that it isn't a good thing because it isn't enough because it isn't everything for everyone all at once. Of course it isn't fucking enough. But they are a victories. I can only conclude that such individuals fail to understand that the struggle for civil rights is a war, and that wars are generally fought one battle at a time. So, I ignore the "all or nothing RIGHT NOW" crowd and take a dram of comfort that a step forward has been made.

If we're lucky, we take two steps forward for every step we take backwards.

To wit, the Court's decision yesterday regarding the VRA is fucking baffling, and vile, and should stand as a reminder that the aforementioned war is never over. Remember, "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance." (John Philpot Curran).

For fuck's sake, it's too early in the day – and I'm too sober – to be thinking about politics. But what the hell. I was already angry.


If you haven't guessed, I'm not in a good place today. I shouldn't even be making this entry. Go to sleep worried, wake up angry and worried. Frankly, I do miss that time when this blog was less candid, when I was a bit better at censoring myself, maintaining a proper filter between my feelings and my readers. This sort of came up during the interview I did at HWA in New Orleans. Talking about suicide and talking about how I don't love writing. Saying things that I should keep to myself. But, isn't that what this age has become? The end of privacy? Are we not better people when we puke our secrets and confidences up in public? Isn't that the way it works? Isn't that why Twitter and Facebook are worth a fucking fortune?

It's insidious.

But, it's not as if, in theory, I can't just shut the fuck up, close down this journal, and leave the world of tweets and blog posts and status updates. But, then, the carefully manufactured fear of exclusion creeps in...


Yesterday, to get out of the heat, we went to Conanicut Island – to West Cove and Beavertail. The air was cool, almost cold, off the bay. We saw red-winged blackbirds, gulls, cormorants, crows, grackles, sparrows, and great flocks of robins. At Beavertail, we saw rabbits. I wanted to swim, but the sea was choppy and cold. Of course, that didn't stop a lot of swimming tourons. But they must have a layer of insulation that my Southern hide lacks. Water temperatures in the bay are in the mid to high sixties. Maybe they'll reach the low seventies in a week or two, and I'll venture in. Short, short summers. There was haze over the bay yesterday, and we watched fog moving in from the south. I found a number of bones at West Cove, but nothing especially remarkable. Mostly, the garbage that washes ashore during the summer – almost all of it toxic, non-biodegrable plastic – made the beach almost impossible to bear.

The island doesn't soothe me like it did the first two or three years we were here. I begin to suspect I'm better off sticking to the coasts in South County. If nothing else, generally and for whatever reasons, they're cleaner.


I waded back into RP in The Secret World late last night. First time since ~May 27th. Part of me knows better, but the rest of me is too sick of reality to resist. There's been far too much of "Me" the last month.

We've All Been Changed From What We Were,
Aunt Beast

"I am nothing without pretend." (Rez Day 7)

So, this is sort of weird. But bear with me.

In October 2011, I left Second Life determined that I would never, ever return. I'd made that promise to myself many times previously, but I'd never managed to keep it for more than a few months. I was always, without exception, driven to that point by idiotic drama created by other inhabitants. Make no mistake, the majority (which means "not all," but "most") of inhabitants in my not inconsiderable experience, are morons and ass clowns. And psychos. And assholes. And losers. No, that's not a nice thing to say, but it is a factual thing to say. After participating in twenty or so sims – and even briefly owning one of my own (Howard's End) – I was finally treated to such abuse by the administrators of a cyberpunk sim known as Insilico that I packed my virtual bags "for good." Thank you, Melissa Mendell. But that was only the drama lama that broke the...non-drama lama's back.

And no. The fact that my real-life identity was generally known did not lead to my being treated any less shitty. In fact, it usually, openly, led to my being treated worse (and I never expected "special" treatment). On that subject, you should some day investigate how shitty William fucking Gibson and Warren fucking Ellis were treated in SL.

Anyway, so, following the Insilico fiasco, I left. And this time I stayed gone for almost twenty months. One full year and eight months.

Then, Tuesday of last week, the twenty-first of May 2013, Spooky and I were sitting around bored sometime late in the evening. And we began talking about SL. And we peeped our heads back in. We found a virtual friend, one of the three or four people who'd never proved to be a shitheel. This was in the steampunk sim New Babbage, a city state that was pretty much the first place I ever put down roots in SL after I first ventured in world, which, by the way, was the thirty-first of May, 2013, seven years ago to this day (I'm not getting into all that leap-year falderal again). And on the twenty-second, stricken by nostalgia, Spooky and I rented a parcel and began setting up McElligot & Dow's Marine Research Institute on the docks of Clockhaven (a district at the eastern edge of New Babbage, in the shadow of the great sea wall). There are photos below, behind the cut, so you'll have some idea what the fuck I'm talking about. We're not there for RP – which is how everything always, always, always got cocked up before – just to return to that place where I once built the Palaeozoic Museum and the Abney Park Laboratory, where Spooky built Ogdred Weary House and a pie shop. We're there to have a quiet place to occasionally slip in and tinker about with pixels and prims and reminisce about the bygone days when New Babbage was only two sims large, not TEN sims.

The owner of New Babbage was very happy to see us return.

And today is my Seventh Rez Day – that is, the seventh anniversary of the day I first "rezzed" into SL. Some people throw rez day parties. Me, I'm just reflecting on the incredible strangeness of it all, and the peaceful bits, and the short spaces of amazing RP, and the ~99.5% that has been – no exaggeration – nightmarish. I broke my promise to myself, yeah. But I did hold out a long time. I feel I've proved to myself that I can walk away any time the shit starts piling up. No more SL addiction. No more drama lamas. Now, screen caps behind the cut:

Back in BabbageCollapse )
If you should doubt
My heart,
Remember this:
That I would lie to you
If I believed it was
Right to do.
~ Wye Oak

I see my last entry was made on the 17th. And this would be a longish one, but I'm pressed for time. I'm several days behind, and I very much need to finish Alabaster: Boxcar Tales #12 today. A bad headache all day yesterday. Two nights in a row I've gotten to sleep early and easy, but then a sudden roller coaster of nightmares that's left even me impressed, before awaking six hours later, cold and disoriented and unable to get back to sleep. None of this, obviously, is conducive to the tedious, painstaking task of making a movie at a measly five-seven frames-per-page. But there's actually a lot I want to put down. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe Wednesday. These are the maybes that just get me farther and farther behind.

Only six – or seven – days remaining until birthday -09. I say six or seven because I was born on a leap year. Technically, most years, my birthday isn't the 26th, but the 27th*. And I didn't figure that out until last year. Which is pretty weird. Anyway, if you are the sort who wants to send an aging curmudgeon a distraction on her birthday, I do have an Amazon wish list with nice distracting stuff. I was going to post this earlier, but I forgot. I forget a lot these days.

I haven't gamed/roleplayed in five days. Go me. I think the last time was Wednesday. It was time to unplug for a bit. Time to remind myself there's a real world out there, and that I'm neglecting it for a pixel simulacrum. To the people I have been rping with, apologies for the sudden absence (though I did leave stsisyphus with an ic notice). I'll likely be back, probably very soon.

My hair is now a rather wonderful steely grey. Three days ago, I'd had enough of the pale yellow mess the salon made of it a month ago, and I'd see a girl last Thursday on Thayer Street with wonderful steely grey hair. So, Spooky did research. And, behind the cut, is the result. Note that this is a temporary wash, because we wanted to see if I'd like it before committing. I do. So, next step, semi-permamnet. Note, in the photos, I was not really in a "look at my face" mood. I've lost too much weight this winter and cold spring, and I need sun...

Grey on PurposeCollapse )

Here are Spooky's instructions for how we got this color: We used Roux Fanci-full in True Steel. I got a couple of tubes of Ion Color Brilliance in Titanium, which is a similar shade of grey, if the sample is to be believed. It's a semi-permanent dye, like Manic Panic. That will be the next step. I would note that my hair had been bleached platinum blonde beforehand. This will not work over dark hair.

Aunt Beast

* My late Grandmother Ramey's birthday. She was not born on a leap year.
For those who have not seen this post, I finished Red Delicious yesterday afternoon. It's done. I've not yet calculated how many days were actually spent writing it. I'll do that later. All that matters is that it is finished The last sentence typed. The first and the last and the always draft. I'm emailing it to my editor as soon as I finish this entry.

Do I get today off as a reward? Um...no. Today I have to begin Alabaster: Boxcar Tales (Chapter 10) for Dark Horse Presents. No one celebrates here when a book is finished. It's happened too many times. Oh, wait. I did allow myself one extra Vicodin.

I'm hoping that I can take Tuesday off. There's meteorological innuendo that the weather may vaguely approximate warm on Tuesday. Right now, it's 58˚F here in Providence. Which is great, you know, for MID FUCKING FEBRUARY. Not May 5th. But I see that it's even worse in Birmingham, only 53˚F. Which is all manner of disheartening. I have begun looking at Alabama...that Hell I spent so much of my life trying to escape...as an Edenic paradise I'd cut off a foot to reach.

I "celebrated" last night by spending seven and a half hours in The Secret World. The first hour and a half, those were RP, but the rest was just grinding, repeating quests I'd already repeated fuck knows how many times. Because (this is pathetic, but...) this weekend you get double AP (ability points), and since I already have a boost that increases my AP, I get triple AP. Plus, I have another boost – for XP – that's only good for one hour a night, I use that, and it briefly ups the rate at which I gain AP still more. Can we all say whoopee? Isaac Snow, my Illuminati sociopath, finished the "bounty hunter" skill deck. At two a.m., I said "Fuck this" and went to bed, but then I could get to sleep until sometime after four-thirty.

Funny thing is, I don't even enjoy gaming. I enjoy RP. Gaming is dull, repetitive, tedious, et al. PvE is the least annoying, because in PvE I can zone out and let my mind crawl wherever it wants to go. I can play on autopilot. PvP, on the other hand, is unbearable. But only RP actually engages me. The game, it's just...there...to create a world in which I can RP. And TSW has created a very good RP world. Of the MMOs I've played, it ranks – and possibly surpasses – Rift as, by far, one of the two best. But, when I can't get RP, gaming, well, it kills time, and either you kill time or it kills you.

Cut myself on angel's hair and baby's breath. ~ Nirvana

If you have not yet ordered a copy of The Ape's Wife and Other Stories, you might want to do so...especially if you want to get the limited edition that comes with Black Helicopters. The limited will almost certainly sell out prior to publication. Just a reminder.

Oh, and the current eBay auctions.

Now...yeah. Back to work.

Aunt Beast

"Flood mark. High tide."

Sunny today. Birds. Air sweet through my open office window. Outside, so I am told, it is 66˚F, which I get the impression I ought feel guilty for not appreciating. I'm told, just look out west. Though, yesterday in Wisconsin, from Fond du Lac to Madison, temperatures rose as high as 82˚F. This in advance of a May winter storm. I keep looking for the secret volcanic eruption behind all this. No one wants to hear about climate change. Anyway, here I am, and today it will be 66˚F or so, and tomorrow perhaps over 70˚F, and then...57˚F. Jump from March back to February. I don't want to be here.

I might mean, by here, everywhere.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,222 words, beginning and finishing "Turning the Little Key," a new piece for Sirenia Digest #88. It felt about as good as the writing ever feels. Writing completely free of the tyranny of plot or reader expectation or editorial opinion.

Today, I need not to be here. Instead, I'll try to get back to work on the final 6,000 words of Red Delicious. I'll attend to several tedious emails.

Email seems to have two plural forms. "Email" and "emails." I far prefer "email," as I prefer "squid" over "squids" and "fish" over "fishes." But "I'll attend to several tedious email" looks somehow odd. Oddish, at the least.

Yesterday, one comment seemed to see in Siobhan Quinn some sort of parallel with my own life, as though with her I were continuing my habit of fictionalized autobiography. I don't believe this is the case. Her story isn't mine. Sarah Crowe's, yes. Imp's, yes. But not Quinn's. She gets her own. Of course, I can draw her from no source but my own self, knowing as I do almost nothing of people who are not me. This isn't necessarily a negative criticism of the commentator's observation. It was an interesting observation. It just happens to be wrong, as are most interesting observations.

For example, another recent comment here suggested that the name Dancy Flammarion was meant to signify one who "dances in the flames." Which is interesting as Hell. And someone might make recourse to subconscious intent when I named her, way back in 1998. But knowing as I do the two sources from whence I took her name, I have to say this very interesting attempt at decoding the name is mistaken, only a coincidence (and, yes, Virginia, there are coincidences). A file that just happens to be 777k long, for example.

I went outside yesterday, though the trip was brief and dull. I smelled the sea from a distance. Last night, panini for dinner, which was nice. Then far too much RP in The Secret World. Isaac Snow, who is where, these days, I tend to hide from myself and the world all around me. How do people ever bear to be themselves?




Wanting To Go Back To the Dreams,
Aunt Beast

But wait! There's more!

A quick note to please have a look at our current eBay auctions. Not only do they include a copy of Two Worlds and In Between, but the very first copy of the Alabaster: Wolves hardback we've offered. So, please, have a look, and thank you.

Also, if you have any interest in going me and Spooky in The Secret World, please have a look at last night's entry. I'll be writing a little more on this tomorrow.

Later Gators,
Aunt Beast

The Secret World 1

Okay...so...a couple of days back I mentioned how there would be BIG GAMING NEWS. Well, no, it's not a Dancy video game.

I'm organizing a role-play cabal in The Secret World (where guilds are, with good reason, called cabals). Which means I need to find a few players. Actually, I'm putting together a triad of cabals, since there are three factions in the game, and I don't want to limit people's choices. But, the three factions – though ideologically opposed – will have a sort of uncomfortable alliance (at least outwardly) in the RP. Now...this is an invitation to all of my readers to join in. Here are some good reasons to accept:

1) The Secret World isn't the sort of thing you expect from an MMO. It's SMART. The setting is contemporary, where three secret occult societies, that have long existed as rivals, are faced with the emergence of an alien presence that threatens the world. It's dark. It's adult. In fact, well, if you choose the Dragon faction, there's a very adult cut-scene at the start (won't spoil it; you'll see). And it's VERY Lovecraftian. There are so many pop culture references your head will spin. Imagine, hmmm. "The Call of Cuthulhu" meets The Invisibles meets Night of the Living Dead meets Nightbreed meets The Matrix meets The X-Files. It's sort of like that. You get horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Spy vs. Spy. Conspiracy! There's even one tiny, sly reference to my work. You play in Manhattan, Seoul, London, New England, Cairo, and Romania.

2) The Secret World is free-to-play. Which means, you buy the game, and then you don't have to pay anything afterwards. There are items, boosts, events, etc. that you can purchase, if you so desire, but they're in no way necessary to play the basic game, and, besides, there's not even much need to play a lot of the game if you're primarily there for RP. Right now, you can get the game from Amazon truly cheap. Downloading directly to your PC costs 29.99, and a hard copy, shipped to you, that costs $26.99 (the retail price for the game is $49.99). So...cheap. You can spend that much on a movie and a burger, whereas this is endless hours of entertainment.

3) The game isn't burdened down with all the confused and contradictory lore you find in, say, World of Warcraft. In part, the contemporary setting helps with that. You get the basics of what each of the three factions – Templar, Illuminati, and Dragon – are all about in the orientation. Then there's more online and in game, so you can immerse yourself as deeply as you wish. And, also, I play fairly fast and loose in my interpretation of the "canon."

4) Unlike many MMO's, this game is very RP oriented. That is, it actually is an MMORPG. No PVE or PVP servers. There all the same. Generally, players are polite and helpful. There are, of course, exceptions.

5) You get to tell a story with me! And it will be a story that goes on so long as the cabals exist.

So, that's my spiel. Go the the website. Look it over. It'll tell you much more about the game than I have. But I do hope you'll take me up on this. There's no application for the cabals, and the only requirement is that you spend at least part of your time in game RPing and be courteous to other players (in our cabals and other players in general).

The Dragon cabal is called the Squamous Hell Muppets. Our Illuminati cabal is Eldritch Hellcats. And...our Templar cabal doesn't yet have a name. Maybe we'll have a contest. Anyway, if you're interested, please say so here, or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com. If you're not interested, no need explain why. The cabals will eventually have a website with forums, but don't yet. We are on the Arcadia server.

Hope you take the red pill.

I'm Serious,
Aunt Beast

PS: No, you can't play an elf.

"All the world is all I am ."

I feel scattered, confetti, cut up, mosaic this ayem. I'd blame the dreams, but I might as well blame the drugs, or my defective brain (the conceit of linear thought is for sissies).

The sun is actually warm today, warm on my fish-belly skin, even if March is locked deep in a winter that needs to get the fuck out of here, and the low tonight will be 17˚F. I hung my Irish flag in a window of the front parlour this morning, and the warmth of the sun shocked me.

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
~ Tori Amos

And, lest we forget...


Thank you, Walt Kelly. Absolutely nothing has changed since 1971, unless becoming more the enemy than ever before counts.

Meanwhile! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh. Éire go Brách. And my favorite St. Patrick's Day link, which I post almost every year: Why Ireland has no snakes. Gagh. I so should not have used the green on that text. Looks like a frat boy (who very isn't Irish) puked up green beer on the screen. Ah, well. It is what is is. Oh, and to quote Warren Ellis: "Celebrate St Patrick's Day the English way: steal something from an Irish person and offer them a small, infected potato in return."

Yesterday, I wrote 1,430 words on Red Delicious and came to the first "sex scene" in all the Siobhan Quinn stuff. But then a tasteful fade-to-black saved me. I was not about to wreck the flow while characters took ten for a preternatural orgy. Also, there was some hilarious rp last night in The Secret World, with stsisyphus and another acquaintance (Hi, Inchy!). I'm not used to funny rp, but funny it was. In a dreadfully creepy tragic sort of way, but definitely fucking funny.

This evening, Spooky and I are having corned beef on rye (with sauerkraut and horseradish) and fries, and pretending it counts. I mean, there is corned beef, and cabbage, and potatoes in there. But I miss the years, back in the nineties, when I'd cook HUGE St. Patrick's Day dinners for friends: a brisket with cabbage, oxtail and barley soup, cál ceannann, soda bread, and Guinness, and jam cake. But now I am old, and all the birds have flown the nest, and I detest wasting food.

Later, Kittens,
Aunt Beast

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