Tags: mithrien

alabaster2

"In that dream, I'm as old as the mountains."

Today is the day. Which feels quite a bit weirder than the day on which my last few prose books were released. Which is to say, Alabaster: Wolves #1 is now on the shelves of fine comics shops everywhere and available via Dark Horse Digital. And wow. Like I said, weird. But I won't belabor it. The weird. Belabor the weird, I mean. I only ask that you please, please show your support by picking up a copy (or two, or three...hey, there are always friends, right?) of the book. This is, possibly, the most important venture I have embarked on in a long, long time. Thank you. Thank you a lot.

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Yesterday was spent editing, proofreading, and laying out Sirenia Digest #76, which was made quite a bit less stressful this month, now that I have MS Word again (thank you again, David!). Then, at the very end of the whole undertaking, I hit a big snag with the cover. And because today is today (see above paragraph), this means #76 won't go out until tomorrow afternoon or evening. My apologies.

Ah, and there was also another Alabaster: Wolves interview thingy yesterday. I think, at this point, I must have done thirty.

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My thanks to Stephen, for new music by the Civil Wars, Fleet Foxes, and the Head and the Heart. And the incredibly bow-tie book on the art and life of artist Charles R. Knight. Say hello to "the box" for me today.

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Last night, after mine and Spooky's high elves reached Level 50 (hers is a mage named Serrafina, mine a warrior named Mithrien), I did a small bit of very good RP with stsisyphus in the Silverwood, just south of Argent Glade and Quicksilver College. I rather love his dwarf, and it was a nice return to RP. The smallest of ripples that will spread...well, who knows where. Others are trickling in. It's going to be quite interesting. And cathartic. And...stuff. (Have you noticed this is an entry of many ellipses?)

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You can now read "The Steam Dancer (1896)" in the latest issue of Lightspeed, up now. I still say it's one of the best short stories I've ever written, and I wrote it way back in 2007). It is among the best for many reasons, I say, but, at the moment, I am most fond of its simplicity.

Simply (and Trying to Be Hopeful),
Aunt Beast
Shaw

"And they were a zephyr, blowing past you."

It's been a while since I've done an ayem blog entry, but here's one. Why the hell not. The world's back on Caitlín Standard Time, meaning I'm no longer early for everything, and I figure an anti-celebration is in order.

1. I'm at sixes and sevens over the fact that Sirenia Digest #75 has been ready to be PDFed and emailed since March 4th (!), yet it still hasn't gone out to subscribers. Because I wouldn't pay $200 for the MS Office bundle, and because the free 30-day MS Word trial for Mac won't download properly, and because thingunderthest and I have yet to find a work around. But, this evening something will go out. It won't be perfect, which I so wanted #75 to be, but it will be entirely readable and as pretty as we can make it. And then, when I do have MS Word again, which will be soon (Fuck you both, Pages and OpenOffice, and why is everything perceived as cooler if you leave out the space between words?), I'll send out a second "printing" of the issue, which will be the official printing. And again I apologize (even though none of it's my fault).

2. iGoogle is, I will admit, useful, but it still freaks me out. Also, much to my surprise, Facebook's timeline crap doesn't really bother me, and the fact that it doesn't (but ought) freaks me out. You have to understand, kittens. I mean the young kittens. Not the Elder Kittens. I saw the birth of the World Wide Web, in long ago 1995. It was nothing at all like this.

3. I have changed Mithrien's name to Lúthien. It just seems more right. Righter. More appropriate. Less wrong. Whatever. And our auctions to pay back Spooky's mother for the Dead iMac Bailout of 2012 continue. Especially, I will draw your attention to the keyboard from my last iMac, Arwen, upon which so much of what you have read by me was composed. It has a nice bid, but it could have a nicer bid, all things considered. Thank you.

4. I'm trying to finish Alabaster #5, and I'm on Page 19 (of 22), but I'm about to have to rewrite the last three pages, the last three that I wrote, because I've had a pounding migraine for two days (no headache advice, please), and I know I screwed up some important stuff yesterday. And...interviews. I'm sick to death of interviews, but you pretty much never say no to interviews. Almost never. But I have to admit that they're wearing me down. Between interviews for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and those for the comic, I've done at least fourteen in the last three weeks. Some are now online, and some are not yet online. And more are in the works. You can only think of so many ways to answer the same question before the desire to cut and paste starts to become overwhelming. Thus far, I have resisted.

5. I've lost 14 lbs. (and done so in a healthy fashion, simply by modifying my diet), over the past two months. Booya.

6. Since my last entry, Spooky and I have been working our way through The Fellowship of the Rings again, and we've just finished up the Council of Elrond. Oh, and out of the blue, I feel like declaring that Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves are the two most brilliant speculative fiction novels of the last twelve years (an oddly arbitrary number). Period. And those who disagree because of they can't overcome fears of "meta" and/or the idiot ouroboros of RadFem politics*, to hell with the lot of them. No, I'm not trying to be an asshole. Apparently, it just comes naturally. But where was I?

7. Since last we spoke, Spooky and I have seen a couple of very good movies, though they were very good in very different ways. Both were from Kindernacht last. The first is Scott Charles Stewart's Priest, with which he entirely redeems himself for having made that celluloid shitwad Legion (2009). Once again, he's back with the horrors of Catholicism, only this time, it works. It works a lot. Priest is what happens when you create a mashup of Blade Runner/1984/I Am Legend/every Sergio Leone western ever made and...okay, it's an endless stew of the great and the lousy and the somewhere in-betweens. A stoup. It's a great, wondrous, FUN stoup of a movie. The art direction is gorgeous, creating a post-apocalyptic world I wanted to believe in, if only for that surreal, absurdist, terrible beauty. The acting and script are far better than they have any right to be, and I'll especially single out the performances of Karl Urban, Maggie Q, and Brad Dourif. The script is even decent. I expected utter crap, but I enjoyed pretty much every minute. Still, this is the sort of film that the "too cool for school" crowd's gonna hate. You know that from scene one, and it's reflected in the movie's ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. But whatever. Fuck 'em. Watch the movie.

The second film deserves much more serious attention and a more careful examination, but I have time here for neither. Lucky McKee's The Woman. Which I expected to loathe, because of Jack Ketchum's involvement. But, truly, it is a thing of brutal brilliance, a lesson in humanity thrust upon us by a nightmarishly inhumane situation. Rarely has the Perfect American Family been better portrayed as the (more often than not) treacherous crucible that it is. Ozzie and Harriett meet Angela Carter (that's your goddamn warning label). If you've seen St. Vincent's video for "Cruel," it's sort of like that...only with feral women...and cannibalism...and anophthalmia. Oh, and Pollyanna McIntosh is astounding. This – like Laugier's Martyrs – is not a film for the faint of...well, the faint of anything. But the intrepid will be rewarded. This is a powerful and an important film, and I sincerely hope it will be recognized as such. McKee continues to amaze me.

8. Tomorrow, an announcement about both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir.

But now I ought to go, as the platypus is looking antsy, and I have more to do today than Woonsocket has vultures.

Caffeinated,
Aunt Beast

* Frankly, when I first saw "feminist" objections to The Road, for about ten minutes I was too fucking stupefied to speak.** To paraphrase Jayne Cobb, where do people even get so wrong? And yeah, I've lived my life as a pretty outspoken feminist. Which at least gives me the right to weigh in.

** There's a comma problem in that sentence somewhere, but I do not presently have time to work it out.
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"Come the reek of bones."

A couple of things I wish to draw your attention to:

1) The next round of eBay auctions to pay Spooky's mom back for the loan to buy the new IMac (Mithrien, though I may change her name to Lúthien). New goodies up now, including the original keyboard from my last iMac (!!!!), on which I wrote everything I wrote for five years. What could be more collectible than that? I put this up for auction last year, signed and dated it and everything, then changed my mind and took it down. But it's up again. I will of course personalize it, draw on it a monster doodle, personalize it, re-date it, whatever the winner of the auction wishes.

2) The situation with Sirenia Digest #75 still hasn't been resolved, and it may be next week before it can be. I apologize again. The digest has never ben this late, I don't think, and it wouldn't be this time, had Arwen not bitten the dust so unexpectedly. Please be patient. Thank you.

3) Having grown bored with SW:toR about a month ago, Spooky and I returned to Rift (and are glad to be back in Telara). And I just wanted to remind people that the game is free to play to Level 20. Also, if you've canceled your account, you can reactivate it for FREE between now and the 14th of March. We have two guilds on the Faeblight shard, one Guardian and one Defiant (Shadefallen has become a "trial" shard), the Hidden Variable and Watchers of the Unseen, respectively. We're looking for a little casual rp, but mostly the guilds are there to help people level, for dungeons, and whatnot.

And now, Kindernacht.

Hungry,
Aunt Beast
white

"I hate it when it all stays the same, caught between the cold and the waves."

First! Talked to West Thordson (thank you kylecassidy just now, because I wanted to give the band a little bit of promotion here, after they let use there beautiful song – which, by the way, is titled "Your Hand" and will appearing on a forthcoming A Whisper in the Noise album. Go here more of there songs! Meanwhile, here is the newly released video for "Your Hand" (and it's gorgeous, the song and the video; yeah, I gush):



Also, I've had several people propose a PayPal button for the "Mithrien Fund," so that smaller donations may be made. Yes, it's true. Most of the eBay auctions quickly go too pricy for most folks (myself included), and here's another way you can help out. Truly, every dollar helps:







Slashing Around, Cutting a Zero in Everything, (Thank you, David Bowie),
Aunt Beast
white2

"In Our Bedroom After The War"

I'm having a spectacularly shitty day, during which nothing much work-wise has been accomplished. Maybe I can at least make a LiveJournal entry. Maybe. We'll see.

1. An ARC for Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart has now been added to our current (to pay back Spooky's Mom for the iMac loan) eBay auctions. These reached me day before yesterday. Now, note that there's a misprint on the spine of the ARC that makes this ARC even more special: my name was misspelled, and Subterranean Press decided to have the ARCs destroyed and reprinted, so they're not going out to reviewers. The reprinting will, instead. But I was very kindly given a few of the defective copies and permission to auction one, and I have no plans to auction the others anytime soon. Oh, also, the release date on the book has been moved forward to July 21, 2012. Which sucks, as I'd hoped they'd be out in time for Readercon 23, but it does mean that this ARC is your chance to read this collection a full five months before any one else, and get a collectible in the process. There are photos behind the cut:

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2. If you cannot read Tolkien, the Tin Tin comic strips, or John Carter of Mars (or, by the same token, see the movies) without placing them in the context of the historical period during which the authors wrote them, it's just sort of sad. In fact, it's pretty much the same idiocy that led some folks to use Kickstarter to print "the Robot edition" of Huckleberry Finn*. And I say this as a lesbian trans woman who has endured and continues to endure harassment and abuse. It's even worse when these sorts of readers are unpredictably, inconsistently selective about what they deem politically acceptable and politically unacceptable, despite all the fiction in question being equally "offensive" to contemporary audiences. Literature has a history, and art does not cease to be artful because we, as a society, become more tolerant than authors and readers of the past. Imagine – hard and honestly – how an audience fifty or a hundred years from now will react to our art. I hold my tongue far too often on these issues, for fear of the consequences of speaking out, and I'm ashamed of that. It is the responsibility of current authors and readers to preserve all books, no matter how and to what degree we may now find their authors and/or the content of their work objectionable. It is even our responsibility to foster an appreciation of these works, if ever they were worthy of appreciation.

Imagine how books dear to you might easily offend others today.

For example: What about Stephen King's The Stand (1978), Now, I reread this book recently, and I don't even particularly like it (or King). Yet I will defend it. Within it's pages we find such reprehensible stereotypes as the "Magical African-American" (Mother Abigail), the "Magical Handicapped" (Nick Andros), and the "Magical Mentally Disabled" (Tom Cullen). There are other examples, but I think that proves my point as regards The Stand. No, we shouldn't follow King's example today, but we should understand the time and culture that produced the book, instead of rejecting it. In short, fuck revisionism, and fuck critics who read outside historical context.

3. If you live in the Providence/Boston area, don't forget that the "release party" for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will occur Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Brown University Bookstore (244 Thayer Street). I will read and sign, and the book will be on sale at the bookstore.

4. Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, and on this day in 1933, King Kong premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

5. I have the final version of Vince's illustration for "Here Is No Why," which will be appearing in Sirenia Digest #75 (along with a couple of vignettes that have only appeared previously in Frog Toes and Tentacles). Behind the cut is the initial sketch for the illustration. The platypus and dodo call this incentive for those who've not subscribed.

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6. Not much to report on this end. Nasty weather. Trying to work. Eating as little as possible (with dramatic results in terms of weight loss). Spooky's sending out the postcard rewards for "The Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter, and learning to use her fancy printer. I'm re-reading Ligotti's Grimscribe: His Lives and Works and (w/Spooky) The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm slowly making my way through the latest Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and just finished "An articulated pectoral girdle and forelimb of the abelisaurid theropod Majungasaurus crenatissimus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar." We had a sort of pissy sort of snow on Wednesday. There are photos of said pissy snow, and Mithrien, my latest debt, behind the cut:

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7. Recording of the Neil Gaiman Presents audiobook version of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has begun, at Outland Studios in Midtown Manhattan. It's being read by Suzy Jackson, my choice, and from what I've heard, she's doing a fine job. I coached her a bit, which was interesting. I may make a one-day trip to NYC, maybe, later this month, to sit in on one of the sessions, and to have lunch with my agent.

Until Next Whenever,
Aunt Beast

* Contrary to what some people think, the "Robot Edition" of Huckleberry Finn was a response to an actual case, a decision by NewSouth Books (2011) to publish a revised edition of Twain's novel minus the "n-word." For example, see this article in the New York Times, and, especially, this one in The Washington Post, "Why a new edition of Huckleberry Finn is wrong to remove the N-word". A choice quote from the latter:

"This substitution creates a hollow at the book's center. It's like taking the sex and drug use out of Brave New World, or removing all 'phonies' from Catcher in the Rye because Heidi Montag might take issue. This is like turning Death of a Salesman into Story of a Salesman, or Crime and Punishment into Involuntary Manslaughter and Punishment. This is like removing the cannibalism from Heart of Darkness -- or all the darkness."

Amen, kittens.
Shaw

"And still in toil, it takes heart to love the rose."

Okay. Stuff. I hope people are still reading this journal:

1. The eBay auctions are slowly picking up pace. Today a copy of The Ammonite Violin & Others limited was added. Please have a look, and bid if you can. All proceeds go to offset the very large and unexpected expense of yesterday's new iMac purchase.

2. Dark Horse has announced that a four-page Alabaster story, "Shelter," will appear as part of Free Comic Book Day! The story will be divided over the day's two FREE issues, alongside stories from Star Wars and Serenity, Buffy and The Guild. For those who do not know, Free Comic Book Day is May 5th. As with Alabaster: Wolves, "Shelter" is drawn by Steve Lieber and colored by Rachelle Rosenberg.

3. Today I wrote 1,768 words and finished "Here Is No Why," the new short story which will appear in Sirenia Digest #75. I hope to have the issue out by Saturday at the latest, as soon as Vince finishes the drawing for the new story.

4. briansiano, Spooky, and I are in the final stages of editing the full-length trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. If you thought the teaser was amazing, just wait. It's looking as if the final cut is going to clock in around two minutes.

5. jenjen4280 asks:

A question about pre-orders vs. buying it the day it's published: does it matter? Is there one you prefer over the other? I'd heard that pre-ordering can screw up how a publisher figures out whether or not a book becomes a "best seller" or some such.

Either way is fine. Publishers love preorders. I've never heard otherwise. In fact, publishers tend to rely on preorders to determine how well a book will sell. jenjen4280 also writes:

One last thing - I just read that the Alabaster story from Dark Horse Presents #9 will be featured as a back-up in a couple comics for Free Comicbook Day.

As I said above, the FCBD story is a different story from the 8-page preview of "Wolves" that appeared in Dark Horse Presents. Entirely different thing.

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Okay. I think that's all for now. Things are going well with Mithrien. I spent today not only writing but also learning to use Pages. I've been using MS Word since 1986, but I was not about to shell out an extra two hundred bucks because Microsoft now bundles Word with lots of shit I'll never, ever need. It's going well. Pages is fairly intuitive, and not so different from Word. Most importantly, it cost only $20.

Tonight we're going to finally watch Julie Taymor's adaptation of The Tempest (2010), and then continue reading Fellowship of the Rings aloud (sometimes, only Tolkien will do). Oh, and thank you to Steven Lubold, for the remaining three Stars CDs!
apple

Arwen is dead. Long live Mithrien. (Or, my hellishly crappy day.)

Cut to the chase. This morning my ailing iMac (vintage 2007) finally, after months of coughing, hacking, and unsightly effluvial discharge, gave up the fucking ghost. Crash. Crash. Crash. Finally, I got in via safe mode, backed up everything to Spooky's Toshiba external hard drive, and, then, managed to simultaneously sigh in relief and spew every scrap of profanity known to sentient earth creatures.

Sure, we're not as broke as we were a few months ago. But we're not in a position to buy a goddamn new Mac. There's flush, and there's flush, and we are not that flush. Spooky reluctantly called her Mom, who loaned us the money. Because she is one of the most bow-tie women on earth.

But we have to pay her back ASAP, because anything else is indecent, and it's going to be a while before my next bunch of cheques come slithering in from various publishers. SO, we are beginning a monstrous eBay extravaganza to reimburse Spooky's Mom. Many one of a kind items will be offered (well, several), along with books. We hope to make $1,550 in no less than three weeks. So. The auctions will begin in earnest tomorrow. Right now, there's only one chapbook up and a copy of the oop tpb of Alabaster).. Every penny helps (and I wish I had a penny for every time I've had to say that.) Please stay tuned. And thanks.

But, one trip to the Apple Store later, here's the shiny new iMac. I've named her Mithrien, the Grey Lady (in Sindarin), which is entirely appropriate for a number of reasons. She is my fourth Mac since July 1993.

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A long and rather wonderful phone conversation tonight with Suzy Jackson, who will be doing the Neil Gaiman Presents audiobook of The Drowning Girl, my doing my lousy best to help her with a long, long list of pronunciations in various languages (Italian, Latin, Greek, Japanese, Gaelic, Narragansett, etc.). Finally, I referred her to Sonya for further assistance. Oh, and how to read "7/7/7"? And how to read the struck-out passages? I was planning to make it down to Manhattan for one day of the taping (and to have lunch with my agent), but the computer shenanigans may have put the kibosh on that plan.

Also, I will soon – very soon – be making an announcement that will make a whole lot of folks who've hoped for hardback editions of The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir very, very, very happy. And no, it's even better than you think.

Okay...fuck it. Drugs and Rift. Tomorrow, I have to finish my story for Sirenia Digest #75.