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August 12th, 2008

Not a bad writing day yesterday, not bad at all. I did 1,153 words and got Chapter Four of The Red Tree started. So, back in the saddle. I also got an email from Peter, informing me that not only does the Arthur Machen introduction not stink —— as I'd feared —— it's quite good. And that was a great relief, as I genuinely don't have time to start over.

I sent the first 135 pages (or so) of The Red Tree away to my editor in NYC, mainly because they need to go ahead and get the cover in production and need to get a feel for the story. It freaks me out through, knowing I'll likely see the novel's cover long before I'm done writing it.

If you have not yet ordered a copy of the mass-market paperback of Daughter of Hounds or a copy of my forthcoming sf collection, A is for Alien, fret not. Today is a fine day to do both. There's also Sirenia Digest, of course.

I'm a little bummed because the sky was overcast last night, and will be so again this evening, so we're missing out on the peak of this year's Perseid meteor shower. Also, I didn't get to see the carcass of the fifteen-foot, one-ton juvenile Northern Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) that washed ashore last week at Matunuck, and now it's been towed away and buried in the dunes. Le sigh. I can has no big science fun. Speaking of which, has Beakman's World been released on DVD?

After the writing yesterday...well, not much. Spooky made spaghetti for dinner, to make me happy (she hates spaghetti, which is just weird). She also made a batch of blueberry muffins with the blueberries we picked last week. I began "A Catastrophic Finale?", the twelfth and final chapter of Fraser's Triassic book. I feel I should have talked more about Chapter Eleven, what with the Deerfield and Hartford basins (Newark Supergroup) so nearby in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and having myself prospected in the Pekin Formation (Deep River Basin) of North Carolina back in 1996. These deposits document a fascinating period, when deep rift valleys were opening in what is now North America and Africa, as the supercontinent of Pangea at last began to break apart. I am hoping this autumn to have a day or two to devote to a grand tour of exposures of the Newark Supergroup in western New England. Oh, and yesterday, the mail brought my "Platypus of Death" shirt.

We also watched Robert Luketic's 21, which we both enjoyed quite a lot. Good film, but it doesn't hurt that Kate Bosworth is such a babe. Later, I was on Second Life, back in Corvinus with my Ravnos atritribu character...strange meetings in the cathedral and then the graveyard. Oh, and I actually finished my V:tM character sheet (yeah, we use those in Corvinus), and was pleased to see my "humanity" score a lowly 3/10. Truly, this Nareth is a monster, unburdened by conscience or delusions of morality (I think I'm paraphrasing Ash without meaning to do so).

Things are coming together fast with our plans for the Howard's End sim. Spooky spent much of last night talking to some of the very talented folks who will be on our build team. We've told them the point is to get it right, make it pretty as we can, make it look and feel like the Providence of Daughter of Hounds, and we can open when we open. I'm thinking it will likely be two or three months from now. There's terraforming to be done, tunnels and a necropolis to be dug, trees to be planted, zillions of textures to create, many buildings/landmarks to recreate, including the Athenaeum, Ladd Observatory, Swan Point Cemetery, and the old train tunnel beneath College Hill.

More thoughts on how this thing's gonna work (and my thanks to everyone who has expressed interest so far). For one thing, NO FACE LIGHTS WILL BE PERMITTED, under normal circumstances. Jesus fuck, but I'm sick of being in the middle of some dark, tense scene when suddenly some bozo with a facelight comes walking past, shattering the suspense and spoiling everything. Because, you know, heads need to glow like halogen high-beams. Because, you know, you really are special and everyone needs to be looking at you. Anyway, yeah, no facelights. And no goddamn bling. None. Zilch. Nada. Nein. Note that it will be a "mature" sim, in that we are adults acting out these stories, but that doesn't mean there will be a strong BDSM/sexual element to the sim. Oh, there may be occasional scenes, as the story warrants. But I am also going to be allowing child avatars, so that we can have the changeling kiddos in the tunnels, so these things will have to be kept strictly apart (there will be no violation of the Linden Labs ToS permitted, and doing so will be grounds for immediate and permanent ejection from Howard's End). No lolspeak or emoticons in roleplay. That's another zero-tolerance matter. People will speak in English, or French, or Italian, or Portuguese, or whatever —— with punctuation and everything. And something important to explain upfront is that not everyone can always be involved in the main storyline (which is why we will have little stories off to the side, and why I will strongly encourage players to autogenerate their own rp). Fiction is not a democracy and is not egalitarian. I've watched so many great stories go down the tubes because they could not accommodate "all factions" in a given sim. Fuck that shit, as the great Frank Booth would say. If a given "chapter" is primarily about the as-yet-unnamed occult research team, then the Hounds and the Changelings will have to amuse themselves, and vice versa. The story is our goddess. The players serve the story. This is another of those non-negotiable issues. Anyway, yes, very excited, and we expect to place our order for the sim later this week. Oh, and Spooky also began work on the Bailiff avatar last night, which will be based on Sid Haig (and the Soldier av will be based on Katee Sackoff — casting rocks).