For one, I wrote 1,513 words on "Fake Plastic Trees," the new short story (details TBA). It's sf. But that's all I can say for now. Oh, and I'll be writing at least one more sf story later this year, which I'm currently calling "The Last Martian There Ever Was." Anyway, yes, the new story's off to a good start, though I think I only realized this morning why the protagonist has been encouraged to tell her story. Which is to say, I've only just this morning realized why the story's being written.
Also, some encouraging news from my editor at Penguin regarding the cover of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm being told they've decided to take a different direction, away from the ParaRom thing, and I have hopes and my fingers are crossed. So, there's that.
I'm also making some headway getting permission to quote songs in the novel. Radiohead has given me permisison to quote "There, There (The Bony King of Nowhere)." I think I reported that earlier. Yesterday, I talked with Philip Ridley, and was very generously granted permission to quote a verse of a song he wrote for The Passion of Darkly Noon, "Who Will Love Me Now?" which PJ Harvey sings in the film. Yes, Philip Ridley rocks.
Meanwhile, Alfred Music Publishing has granted me permission to quote two lines from R.E.M.'s "Find the River":
The river to the ocean goes,
A fortune for the undertow.
...but they want a $380 licensing fee, that would only cover the first printing of the tpb of the book. That means, new fees would have to be paid for a second print of the tpb, and then again for the mmpb (and each printing of the mmpb), and again for the audiobook, and so on and so forth forever.
Now, if US Copyright Law were not printed on wet toilet paper, quoting two lines from a song would qualify as "fair use." But there have been successful lawsuits rendering "fair use" meaningless in many cases, making publishers gun shy. It all comes down to the lawyers and corporate greed, and has nothing to do with the musicians (who wouldn't see a penny of this licensing fee). In 1996, when I was working on my second story arc for The Dreaming, I wanted to quote one line from another R.E.M. song: It's a Man Ray kind of sky. (from "Feeling Gravity's Pull"). Gods, this is a dull story. Short version: Michael Stipe told me I could use the line, and then Warner Bros. stepped in and said no. At the time, Warner Bros. owned the lyrics, but, in 2005, Warner Bros. Publications was purchased by the aforementioned Alfred Music Publishing.
I can either try to pony up the licensing fee, and keep ponying it up every time some new printing or incarnation appears, or I can remove the quote and figure something else out. I'm loathe to get into the eternal loop of licensing fees (I never have before). If I were a bestselling author with six-figure advances and fat royalty statements, maybe. But not on what I make. I've considered trying to find something in public domain with which to replace the quote. Right now, though, I'm undecided. I have two months to make up my mind. I suppose one option would be to pay it once, let one edition of the book appear as I want it to, then remove the quote from all subsequent editions.
Maybe I'll give a nickel to someone who spots all the fucked up contradictions as regards copyright and licensing in this post. Only, that would require I know each and every one, and likely I don't.
What else about yesterday? Besides work, I mean. I'm tired of talking shop. Played Rift. Selwyn made Level 23. Did a good and peculiarly sweet rp scene with omika_pearl. Drank Pepsi Throwback. Oh, Spooky didn't have to walk in the cold rain to get the car, because it wasn't ready. It's supposed to be ready today; it's been in the garage since Sunday. I read another paper in the new JVP, "A new skeleton of the cryptoclidid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis reveals a novel body shape in plesiosaurs." We read more of The Book Thief. That was yesterday.
A reminder: I'm auctioning the keyboard that came with the iMac I bought in April 2007 and used continuously until getting a new keyboard in October 2010. So, that's three and a half years I used that keyboard. And it's perfectly functional, if a little schmutzy. It's signed and dated (on the back). The Red Tree and issues #17 through #58 of Sirenia Digest were written on this keyboard.
Here's the link to the auction.
Okay. That's it for now. Just got an ominous call from the mechanic. Later, kittens.