"And you put the load right on me."

SteveDancy1
Turkey Day, again.

It didn't snow here, though we seem to have been surrounded by some pretty serious white stuff. I hear Boston got walloped. Some 200,000 people in New England have no power. We got slushy crap yesterday, enough to whiten rooftops, then it was just rain all night. Today, the sky has cleared. Me, I'm pleased I'm not looking out the window at snow. My day is unpleasant enough as is, thank you.

Yesterday, I wrote the first two pages of Part 3 of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. Considering that my original deadline on this was sometime in May, it's safe to say this is taking longer than I'd planned.

I began reading All the Pretty Horses. Spooky went out and got our annual Thanksgiving pizza, an astounding concoction from Fellini's on Wickenden: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing on mozzarella and whole wheat crust, with cranberry sauce on the side.

After not roleplaying at all for almost two months, now I'm binging.

Please have a look at the new eBay auctions. These include a copy of the Spanish edition of The Drowning Girl (La Joven Ahogada), with Santiago Caruso's beautiful cover. Thank you.

And I need to wake up, because post-Seroquel, I'm back to my old inability to sleep. But at least the fog is gone.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast

"It's innocence lost."

white2
Through no one fault, really, I had to go without one of my meds last night. Which meant very little sleep. And this morning I'm already in mild withdrawal, all that flue-like wonderfulness. And yet, even though I only slept for four (restless) hours, I'm more awake, more alert, than I've been in months. It's truly shocking and deeply disturbing how stupid Seroquel makes me. I actually use my brain for work, even if my brain doesn't exactly work so well, so this sort of matters.

Anyway...

Another reason I'm so fond of Sons of Anarchy is that the series has, at one point or another, use five principal actors from my much beloved and much lamented Deadwood (2004-2006). I'm at the beginning of Season Six, and so far we have twelve actors shared between the two (Deadwood characters in parentheses):

Major Cast:
01. Dayton Callie as Wayne Unser (Charlie Udder)
02. Robin Weigert as Alley Lowen ("Calamity Jane" Cannary)
03. Paula Malcomson as Maureen Ashby (Trixie)
04. Ray McKinnon as Lincoln Potter (Reverend H.W. Smith)
05. Kim Dickens as Colette Jane (Joanie Stubbs)
06. Titus Welliver as Jimmy O'Phelan (Silas Adams)
07. Julie Ariola as Mary Winston (Countess)
08. Dan Hildebrand as Sean Casey (Shaughnessy/Tom Driscoll)
---
Minor Roles:
09. Keone Young as Bohai Lin (Wu)
10. Cleo King as Neeta (Aunt Lou Marchbanks)
11. Kevin P. Kearns as Luke (Pasco, as Kevin Kearns)
12. Tim De Zarn as Nate Meineke (Townsman/Townsman who pays crier)

And I have a feeling I've missed some of them. I'm guessing Sutter is a Deadwood fan.

Yesterday, I wrote lengthy character descriptions for Joëlle Jones. And I tried to begin Part 2 of The Good, the Bad, and the Bird. But all I managed was the title page and typing "Page 1 ( panels), Panel 1" on ms. pg. 2. It would be very, very good if I could finish this script by the end of the fucking month. I need to get paid.

Speaking of, please look at the eBay auctions. Thank you.

The clouds and wind are back today.

Last night I finished both Todd Balf's The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darién Expedition and America's Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas and my re-read of The Heart of Darkness. I also started Candice Millard's Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey: The River of Doubt. Connections between the three should be obvious. I also played a lot of The Secret World, leveling as my new Illuminati character, India Onnalee Shore. She made it to Egypt, thanks to Spooky helping me as her adorable, punky Illuminati girl, Agelaius.

This morning, I dreamt I was on a bridge above a lake, Kathryn and I. I looked up at the sky, and the Milky Way was more brilliant than ever I have seen it, stretched from horizon to horizon. And in the sky, between the stars, there where black craters. I told Kathryn to look, that the Milky Way was so bright, and she said, "Yes, but I can't hear the ocean."

I need to lie down, but that's what I won't be doing.

A Bit Strung Out,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
Sunny and the sky too blue.

Yesterday, I needed to be out of the House. That may or may not be the same thing as needing to be Outside. We got out flu shots. The we stopped by Paper Nautilus Books, where, thanks to the Great Purge of 2014, we still have over $500 in credit. I picked up three books – Walking on Eggs: The Astonishing Discovery of Thousands of Dinosaur Eggs in the Badlands of Patagonia by Luis Chiappe and Lowell Dingus (2001), Unraveling Piltdown:: The Science Fraud of the Century and Its Solution by John Evangelist Walsh (1996), and the 1962 Canaveral Press reprint of At the Earth's Core (1914). We went by Eastside Market, then home. Spooky and I played a couple of hours of The Secret World together, and then we got an absolutely superb pizza from Fellini's (roasted red peppers, fresh garlics, mushrooms, ricotta, feta, mozzarella, and meatballs). We watched two movies and the most recent episode of Project Runway.

The first film, Anthony DiBlasi's Dread (2009) had its moments, but, in the end, too few of them to add up to a genuinely worthwhile whole. It could have benefitted greatly from the "less is more" approach. A little subtly. Also, I don't know why, but axe murders bore me. The second film, on the other hand, was very good, David and Àlex Pastor's Los últimos días (2013; English title, The Last Days).

That was yesterday.

---

There are things that writers learn to take for granted. One of them is readers who insist in telling us that our work is hard to procure. It doesn't happen to me nearly as much as it used to, and there's a good reason: My work is absolutely not hard to find. If you can't find my books in actual bookstores (including used bookstores), every one of them can be purchased from Amazon. The small press volumes may be purchased directly from Subterranean Press and Centipede Press. Yes, almost all of those are out of print, and yes, you do need a credit card or a PayPal account to order books off the web. But most people have those. Oh, and if the books are out of print, there's always EBay, where often my books can be found at a discount, and where they are sometimes expensive, but where they can always be found. But, if money is an issue (and it is for me), there are LIBRARIES. Many libraries actually do carry my books, including hardcopy, ebook, and audiobook versions. Yeah, you can actually check out ebooks and audiobooks. It's freaky. And if your local library doesn't have a book of mine, pretty much any book I've ever written can be acquired via interlibrary loan. Library's are very, very happy to do interlibrary loans. And, with a few clicks, anyone can subscribe to Sirenia Digest, as long you have an email and a credit card (and we even work out other payment arrangements, on occasion). Lastly, finally, if you have no money and you're terrified of libraries, and if you're ethics are a little flabby, I doubt there's anything I've ever published that can't be acquired online illegally, whether from BitTorrent or some other place that entitled weasels go to steal shit. Oh, and Google Books has stolen some stuff, too. So, there's that.

Almost all my books are, sadly, available as ebooks. Yes, I fucking loathe ebooks.

So, to summarize, no, it is not hard to find my books. Not anywhere on earth with an internet connection. Period. The end. Let's not ever have this talk again, please and thank you.

---

Today, I actually am going to put together Sirenia Digest #104.

So, later taters.

TTFN,
Aunt Beast
Roy Batty
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 )


Regretful,
Aunt Beast

"Haunted by American dreams"

Shaw
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.

Asleep,
Aunt Beast

Justin Cross, "Drink the Water"

Shaw
Someone told me this put them in mind of one of my Secret World characters, Isaac Snow. That pleased me:

Roy Batty
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."

white2
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."

Shaw
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

May at the Sea in the Year Without a Summer

Narcissa
Here on May 5th, I'm almost always still running the space heater in the morning. Currently, it's only 60˚F here in Providence. In Birmingham, it's 81˚F. I'm quite convinced now that New England will not have a summer this year. We hardly had one last year.

There's not a whole lot to report since my last actual entry, way back on April 23rd. I make sure I leave the House every day, but I rarely go farther than the sidewalk in front of the House. I'm hard at work on Beneath An Oil-Dark Sea, but I'm behind schedule, and I fear I'm about to have to set it aside to write the first fifth of Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird for Dark Horse. Both are due on May 15th. This is called poor planning on my part. Sirenia Digest #99 is finished and will go out to subscribers this evening. I'm waiting on checks that have not arrived, worrying about money and my lousy health. I started a Tumbl[e]r account, out of boredom, but after only forty-eight hours I was utterly bored with it. I'm RPing in The Secret World and sort of playing WoW. I'm keeping a pen and paper journal again. That's a good thing, at least. My own thoughts, and only for me. I watch too much television. I take too many pills. I'm probably smoking to much weed, if this tightness in my chest is to be believed. I'm trying to steel myself for San Diego Comic Con, which I'm a "special guest" at this year, the only con I agreed to do in 2014. And Spooky and I have decided to spend my birthday in Manhattan.

On Friday, when the temperature was in the hight sixties Fahrenheit, we went to Conanicut Island. In the city, a few trees are green. Outside the city, in South County, virtually nothing seems green. It looks like early April, and it's even worse on the island. The wind and the sea were wild, and we watched a tiny lobster boat working much too near the eastern side of Beavertail. I took some photos, below, behind the cut. We didn't stay long, though, because it was just too chilly, and we'd not really dressed for it. Which was stupid, but hope springs eternal. Here are the photos:

2 May 2014Collapse )


Later On, Kittens,
Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes Lost in White

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.

Huddled,
Aunt Beast
Roy Batty
I'm sleeping more than I've slept in ages. This is the wonder of marijuana. Well, and there's the Seroquel, which I keep meaning to stop taking at night, but then forget and take anyway. Probably because I'm smoking so much pot. There's no getting around the fact that pot makes me stupid. Opiates sharpen my wits and give me clarity, and pot makes me stupid.

Sometimes, though, stupid's not so bad.

[insert stale Hell photo here]

We have 3-6 inches of snow forecast for Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. It is being called a "spring blizzard." And the kindly fucks at Accuweather are describing tomorrow's night's forecast low of 15˚F ("RealFeel" 0˚F) as frigid. They also say, "Monday will feel like January." I got news for them. Most of this month has felt like fucking January. This morning, I am very near getting a train ticket and heading south to spend a couple of week's with my mother in Alabama while New England tries to get its act together. I'm not joking. She has a spare room with a bed. Though, I'd be happy with the floor.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,587 words on Chapter Six of Cherry Bomb.

A couple of days ago, the mail brought me a Russian edition of Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors (2012). There was an accompanying note from Jo Fletcher, something about this being a rarity, as the publisher (something in Cyrillic) didn't have permission to use Stephen King's name as the "headline." But there King's name is, in Cyrillic, just below the title: Стивен Кинг. Me, I'm way back on page 35, Кэтлин Р. Кирнан. I'll likely sacrifice this to eBay; fuck knows I have no use for the thing. Oh, it includes my story "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint" (2009).

Last night, I RPed a scene in The Secret World. It was the first time I'd been in world since March 4th, and, truth be told, my heart wasn't in it. But I'd agreed to do this scene quite some time ago. And the scenes that will follow from it. Anyway, it was brief, and afterwards Kathryn and I watched Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind (1960). It's been one of my favorite film's since I was a kid. And after that we watched the last episode of the tiresomely silly Orphan Black (2013). I have no idea why this show has been as well received as it has. It plays like bad YA. There's not much to it, except the novelty of Tatiana Maslany playing seven or eight realizations of the same genotype. And she doesn't even do that well. Her performances as the various clones range from so-so (Sarah, Helena, Cosima) to eye-rolling caricature (Katja, Rachel, Alison). This was sort of like suffering through the three seasons of The Shield that we watched: Afterwards, I have no idea why we kept at it.

And that was yesterday.

And this isn't.

Now,
Aunt Beast
Chiana 6
Today's view of yesterday's stale Hell is vertical, for a change of pace (that's what they call irony):

Sunday afternoon, 1:54 p.m.Collapse )


Today, we have sun and blue sky and cold air. It's 36˚F, but it feels like 32˚F. Our lovely polar vortex, ou tourbillon polaire, der Polarwirbel, and so on, and so forth, is spinning its way back to us. No spring this year, kiddies. Go the fuck home.

Yesterday I found a title – "Chewing on Shadows" – for a new story for Sirenia Digest #97. I even found an epigraph. I even found a head full of provocative images. But the narrative thread, and, most importantly, the point of views eluded me. Better luck today, lady.

Both The Ape's Wife and Other Stories and Alabaster: Wolves have been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. The final ballot was released yesterday. Also, I'll never ceased being amused and baffled (simultaneously) by nincompoops who whine about Dancy Flammarion beings a "ridiculous" name. I've been seeing that since 2001. Good thing they never had to deal with Salmagundi Desvernine.

I sorted books, to be sure that none of the books that are about to go away to the library in North Kingston had uncashed checks or love letters or declarations of war hidden inside them. Today, I have to load them into the van. I dusted my office. I played a little GW2 last night, and then had some good RP in The Secret World. Spooky and I began watching Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, and it's pretty excellent. Which is almost as impossible as being very unique. Or a little unique. Or slightly pregnant.

And that was, give or take, yesterday.

Onward, Email,
Aunt Beast
fight dinosaurs
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 goings 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

"We never did before."

Shaw
Here in Providence, on a sunny fucking frozen Monday, it's 23˚F, with a windchill of 10˚F. But fuck the cold. Largely thanks to this new "stale Hell" feature, I left the House every day for the last six days, which is the first time I've done that since we were in New Orleans this past June. Admittedly, I usually left the House for no more than five minutes. But it still counts. And here's yesterdays' stale Hell:

Sunday afternoon, 1:16 p.m.Collapse )


Rhode Island is running out of salt to salt the roads. Apparently, this winter has caused a nationwide salt shortage. Our drive looks like a glacier. Our street looks like Arctic pack ice. It's warm in Miami. If you're there, think of me.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,103 words on Chapter Five of Cherry Bomb, the first day since the first week of December that I've managed to break the 1,100 mark on the book's daily word count. That's how fucked up things have been. And I need to write an actual entry about how and why things are fucked up, and about the consequences, but I don't have time. Because everything's fucked up.

Last night, Spooky and I played The Secret World. No rp, just gaming. I fucking hate gaming. Seriously. I finished Patricia Bosworth's biography of Diane Arbus, as heartbreaking a book as I've ever read. I began it back in December. But it's the first book I've finished in...okay, I don't want to think about how many months. I began reading Ted Morgan's biography of William S. Burroughs.


Here, have some gratuitous (and crooked) Hubero:Collapse )


You tell 'em, Patsy.

Snow Blind,
Aunt Beast

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

Shaw
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.

And...



Fuck It,
Aunt Beast
Bowie3
I believe I'm going to begin a "fresh Hell" diary. Actually, no. It would have to be a "stale Hell" diary, since this shit's been going on for months now without much of a break. Anyway, each day a photo of the glacial wasteland that is This Place. Yesterday, I went downstairs (in my pajamas and Doc Martens) and left the house just long enough to get this one photograph:

Tuesday afternoon, 1:54 p.m.Collapse )


Currently, here in Hell, it sunny and 20˚F, but supposedly it feels like 34˚F. I'm not at all sure I buy that. In the comments to yesterday's entry, sirena73 wrote: I've lived in California my whole life, save for about a year and a half in Illinois. I vividly remember how I felt that winter; my eyes felt starved for color, my brain numb from lack of it. Desolation is a good word for it.

---

Yesterday, I did a paltry 627 words on Cherry Bomb, though I do hope to do much better today. These low-word count days have to fucking stop. I need to be doing a minimum of 1,100 words a day. I need this novel over and done with, and not only because my publisher is probably going to send a motherfucking hit walrus after my sorry ass (goo goo g'joob). I have to move on. Even aging, high-functionaing autistical*, opiate-addicted shut-ins with ruined teeth need some fleeting sense of accomplishment. Or at least fucking relief. I will reach THE END, type THE END, and put the "SplatterRom" fiasco behind me. I'm trying to make at least as enjoyable novel out of this book as I managed with Blood Oranges and Pink Delicious, but, you know how it goes: no guarantees.

Not much else to tell: A marathon RP in The Secret World that went on until almost 10 p.m., then a late dinner of spaghetti, then more Olympics, then the most recent episode of The Walking Dead, then bed. Oh, the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology arrived yesterday. That was the highpoint, I suppose.

Red Bull. Then work.

Stale Hell.

Judgement Made Can Never Bend,
Aunt Beast

* Well, now...see? That wasn't so hard to say, was it?
Shaw
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
Shaw
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.

Pretending,
Aunt Beast

"And you, you look like heaven."

walter3
Sunny today, and currently 44˚.

My new moron detector: "totes."

I did not, yesterday, mean to start some sort of kerfuffle by reporting Threshold's first royalty check. To quote Scott Connors (who said this on my Facebook page last night), "Another writer friend of mine told me once that getting a royalty check is a lot like winning the lottery: the odds are against you, and the take-home amount is never what you expect it to be." Yes. Pretty much. I used to think — back when — that it was just me, and all the rest of the literary world was getting fat off royalty checks. Then a mentor, one many times more successful than me, told me one night that he's never gotten a royalty check. Sure, if I'd only gotten a two- or three-thousand dollar advance then twelve years would not have passed before a royalty check turned up. But I don't live off royalty checks. I live off advances. That's how it works for most authors. It's why we have to write so goddamn much. I was amused by the arrival of the check. It was certainly not cause for alarm. Or outrage. Penguin has kept the novel in print for twelve years (as of November 1, 2013) and even allowed me to produce a revised text (the one out now), and I am grateful for that. That's what's truly remarkable here, not the check. So, it's cool, guys. Save words like "travesty" for actual travesties.

I'm pretty sure I could have done a better job with that paragraph. But my brain is still crackling post-Lamictal and precision keeps slipping through my fingers. I expect that will be the case for quite some time to come.

Anyway...onwards.

Somehow I managed, yesterday, to dump all the music off my iPod. We're talking thousands of songs. Thousands. Today, I have begun the process of reloading it. I'll be lazy about that. I'll get on just enough for whatever I'm writing at the moment, and for gaming. I'm not about to try and restore the thing all at once. It would take a week of doing little else.

Oh, and we crossed the river to the Avon and saw John Krokidas' Kill Your Darlings (2013). Brilliant, and a delight. I was pleasantly surprised by Daniel Radcliffe's performance as a young Allen Ginsberg, and Ben Foster was eerily good as William Burroughs. Highly recommended.

I spent the evening in The Secret World. Most of my evenings the past two weeks have been spent as Isobel. It's just easier that way.

We're only two weeks into the new year, and already my schedule is a wreck. Here's what I have to do yesterday:

1. Finish Cherry Bomb (which means taking it apart, but hopefully not starting over).
2. Come up with an actual story to go with the title, Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird.
3. Write my story for Neil Clarke's Upgraded anthology.
4. Write something for for and produce Sirenia Digest #96.

Okay. I should not have actually written that out. I'm gonna go lie down. Or write. Or something.

Behind Herself,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
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.

Thrumming,
Aunt Beast

Pale Sun

river3
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
Shaw
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.

Et j'ai alimentera le feu.

Shaw
And finally I did sleep. Sometime after four ayem, four thirty. Not entirely sure. I awoke around five, then slept until ten ayem. Then lay in the bed, my blood and mind still sluggish with Sonata. I was thinking, "I'll just fucking get up," when suddenly it was almost noon. I am left with the assumption that I slept another hour and a half. Which means I might, cumulatively, have slept as much as seven and a half hours. Enough that the sleeping pills let me go, enough that I feel rested.

Autumn out there. But sun.

We'll not talk about yesterday's sorry excuse for work.

Last night, we finished Season One of Hannibal. Brilliant. And Mads Mikkelsen is all kinds of sexy. Then I had RP in The Secret World. Then we watched a forgettable horror film, The Chernobyl Diaries (2012). The name held potential, but it quickly, unfortunately, disintegrates into a run-of-the-mill affair crowded with too much of everything. Then we watched the first episode of Twin Peaks (having watched the pilot Sunday night); it's was Spooky's idea to work our way through the series again. "One day my log will have something to say about this. My log saw something that night." Indeed.

And now, I'm running late. A provocative turn of phrase.

Turning,
Aunt Beast
talks to wolves
At least the sun's out. Even if it's only 65˚F. Even if the trees are turning. Blegh.

Yesterday was a violent and blustery day of clouds.

Yesterday was spent reading back over and editing what currently exists of Cherry Bomb, eliminating continuity errors between it and Pink Delicious. By the way, if you've an interest in such trivia, Pink Delicious takes place six months after the events of Blood Oranges. And Cherry Bomb jumps ahead to ~2017. Quinn is sixteen years old when she dies at the beginning of Blood Oranges, and she's twenty-one at the beginning of Cherry Bomb. She was twelve when she ran away from home. She'll be twenty-two at the end of Cherry Bomb, at THE END of the "Siobhan Quinn novels." Cherry Bomb is actually the transcription of a series of old cassette tapes.

So, there.

Yesterday, the CEM for Pink Delicious went back to Penguin (and they should have it by now), and I signed off on the inks for the final installment of Alabaster: Boxcar Tales. Also, Spooky's parents visited. Also, the hard drive on her six-year old laptop decided to go belly-up. So...we're having to replace the whole machine, as it makes more sense than buying a new HD for an ailing, geriatric machine. Planned obsolescence. It's the American way.

I was marveling this morning how my Mac Color Classic, the first computer I bought (in July 1993), had a maximum memory of 4 MB, expandable to 10 MB. And I expanded it myself. I wrote Silk and Threshold on that machine. Presently, the file that contains all my writing, here on my 8 GB iMac – twenty years after I bought my Color Classic – that one file is 2.45 GB!

Last night, we had the third night of Spooky's infamous "three-legged chicken stoup." The addition of northern beans and a can of tomatoes stretched it quite well. Then I had some RP in The Secret World (I have my laptop back), and then we watched Hannibal, with which I am deeply, deeply in love. It was wonderful that we got Ellen Muth playing a character (who thinks she's dead) name Georgia!

Here are the three more-or-less finished Albert Perrault paintings (behind the cut), as rendered by the incredible Matthew Jaffe. They will be appearing in the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Note that Perrault's style changes significantly between an earlier work, Fecunda ratis, which is more naturalistic symbolism and his final painting, Last Drink Bird Head, which is impressionist symbolism. As his sanity slipped, his style became more raw, more immediate:

Three by PerraultCollapse )


I've Never Been Good With Change,
Aunt Beast

"The engines power down..."

white
Four hours sleep. But at least it comes on the heels of four consecutive nights of very good sleep. I've been up since 8:30 ayem, awake since 8:00 (went to sleep about 4 ayem).

And already the day is goddamned annoying. The CEM for Pink Delicious came in, and, this time out, I got the sort of ambitious copyeditor who simply can't refrain from rewriting my prose and including...questionable...comments. All of this will, of course, be STETed and ignored. This isn't about me being arrogant. This is about a CE who's an idiot. And there's more on this matter, but I'll save it for another entry.

Yesterday was spent pulling together Sirenia Digest #91, which went out to subscribers yesterday. And I attended to the last bit that Dark Horse needed before they could begin laying out Alabaster: Pale Rider.

Today needs to be spent on the Centipede Press edition of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Tomorrow, I fucking need to get back to work on Cherry Bomb. Full plate.

Last night, a great RP scene in The Secret World (I wish this were a story you guys could be reading) and then I watched the unintentionally wretchedly hilarious The Beast With a Thousand Eyes (dir. David Kramarsky, 1955).

Now, time to make the doughnuts.

Annoy'd,
Aunt Beast

"My own secret ceremonials..."

Shaw
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
Shaw
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.

Bittersweet,
Aunt Beast

Howard Hughes Tries To Get Back On Track

hallways
This morning there were going to be photographs from Necronomicon, but I'm running late – thank you two nights of insomnia. So, tomorrow there will be photos. Because I have got to try to have a productive work day. And then another, and so forth from now until the sun goes nova. And spending an hour choosing and resizing and uploading photos is not a step towards accomplishing that end.

I can however make this announcement: I resolved after World Horror in New Orleans that Necronomicon would be my last convention. And, for all intents and purposes, it was. I've been appearing at SF/F/H conventions since October 1994, when I attended my first World Fantasy Convention, also in New Orleans. That's 19 years. I'm not going to list all my reason for making this decision, but they're, I think, good reasons. I may, rarely, make exceptions. For example, if a convention is willing – as was WHC 2013 – to bring me, by train or first class air, to a city that I want to visit, and if the convention can pay all of my expenses, including a per diem for food. Or if, like Necronomicon, the convention is in the city where I'm living. In cases like that, exceptions may occur. But it's all going to be case-by-case. But it will take a lot to overcome my basic disinterest in attending cons.

It feels good to resolve.

As for Necronomicon, I'm going to save any comments/summation until I have some interesting visuals. But it was a good weekend, and I'm very glad I had a chance to be a part of it.

I've pretty much stopped using @auntbeast, my Twitter account. I wasn't doing much more than retweeting news stories I found interesting, and I suspect less than 1% of 1% of people who saw those retweets actual followed the links and read the stories. However, I've begun using a Twitter account for Isaac Snow, my character from The Secret World, and I'm sort of having fun with that. Feel free to follow along. It's just a lark, and we need our larks now and again. It's cryptic, especially if you aren't actually in game interacting with Isaac. Anyway, a lot of people are using Twitter to augment the game, a practice begun by the game developers before TSW was released. Anyway, Isaac is @blueshepherd777.

I"m not going to begin talking about how far behind I am, about deadlines come and gone, because that'll only get me in a pissy, discouraged mood, and it will do nothing to break the cycle. Last night, I sold "Ballad of an Echo Whisperer," one of only two short stories I've managed to write this summer. I can't yet say to whom, but I'm going to take that little victory and run with it. The month I spent on the story was not in vain.

And now...work. That thing I used to do...

Saddle, Come Here,
Aunt Beast
Shaw
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

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