Archive for July, 2014



What Stace had to say on Sunday, July 13th, 2014
Groan, sigh

(Yes, a Sunday post! I am ALL OVER this blog thing, baby! Well, sort of. This isn’t really a “fun” post. But I’ll do my best.)

So as I said last month, I’ve got a lot of projects on the go, several of them Downside-related, a couple of them brand-new. I’ve been very, very busy, especially because my goal was to get something out next month–it was going to be a surprise, basically, and then the next Terrible novella was to be out in September. That was my plan, and I was (essentially) on track for it. Including earmarking a particular royalty check for various production costs and such.

Except the check’s been lost. It’s not the publisher’s fault (we know this for a fact); it’s not really anyone’s fault, it’s just happened. This is worrying, as you can imagine, and frustrating. Because while I can hunt down the number for this particular house’s payment office–which isn’t the main office and only accepts phone calls for like three hours when the moon is full or some weird draconian thing, at least that’s how I remember my attempts to call them several years ago when I changed my address–they may not be happy to stop payment on and reissue a check which may simply be delayed in the post and could turn up a month from now (which did happen to us once before–an envelope took seven weeks to arrive). Which is a valid point. And of course even if they do so now (as opposed to telling me to wait thirty days or whatever) that could take more weeks, and then it’ll be a couple of weeks to get to our forwarder, and then who knows when they’ll send it out. So we’re looking at another month or two at least, which misses the deadline I had in mind.

So this is basically my apology for that, and explanation. I’d really wanted this week to be able to give you an estimated release date–well, an estimated release week, anyway–but without knowing when the check will arrive I can’t say, because pre-production takes time, obviously.

I mentioned this to Mr. Husband–well, I whined and moped and bitched about this for the last two weeks, is more like it, really–and a friend of his suggested Kickstarter, but you all know that Kickstarter weirds me out. If nothing else, I really dislike some of their policies. And you know I hate, hate, HATE asking or expecting you guys to pay for things or donate to help me get work out there or anything of that nature. It makes me feel icky. Really, truly icky, not just sort of icky, but ICKY.

But I also truly hate the idea of making you wait even longer for more stories, and while the pay-as-we-go story we did here on the blog was fun (and you are all so generous, a few of you so much so that it brought me to tears), and I think true serial stories are tons of fun, I do also think that when it comes to a self-contained short or novella it kind of… You know the sense of excitement that you get (as in the universal YOU, not you specifically) when you actually get to buy a copy of a book you’ve been looking forward to, and open it up, and read it all right there? There’s something really awesome about that feeling–that you’re about to dive into another world for a few hours–and you just don’t get that when reading a story in 3000-word clips on a blog. And of course posting it on the blog means it needs to be read on the blog, as opposed to it being something you can read offline or whatever. And again, having read it all on the blog means it’s kind of an anticlimax when you actually get a copy of it–and it’s an anticlimax for me, too, really, and I think it leaves out a lot of readers who don’t regularly read the blog or whatever. So that’s not my ideal option and I don’t think it’s yours.

So, okay. I’m trying to think of a way for this to work. It occurs to me that I *am* comfortable with the idea of pre-orders, and I like the idea that if you pre-order now, you get a copy pre-release. So what do we all think of this: Donate something now, and in the Notes section on Paypal write in what ebook format you prefer, and then I will send you a copy of the collection of shorts (with a new short) and an additional short* (see below), in that format before the final release date.

IN ADDITION…some of you have asked me if I’m planning to do shorts for other characters, which is something I hadn’t really thought much about. But…let’s do something fun with this. If you donate, also put in the comments which character you’d like to see in his or her own own-POV story. And I will write the winner. (If you cannot/do not donate, you can of course still vote; just comment or email your choice to DownsideArmy AT gmail.





Let’s have some fun, huh?

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Random Things (mostly about TV)

I realized some time ago–but promptly forgot again, because I’m forgetful that way–that my posts from here were no longer mirroring to my livejournal blog. I know, ha ha ha, livejournal, it’s so 2002 or whatever. But I actually liked livejournal and still do; it’s a pretty simple platform to use. Anyway. I’m considering starting to copy-paste my posts back over there until I can get the plugin fixed or get a new plugin or whatever it is that needs to be done, but I’m also wondering if maybe that would be a good place to post recipes and such. Because right now I have–I am not exaggerating–six notebooks stacked in the corner of my kitchen counter which are full or half-full of random recipes and notes (I tend to just grab whatever notebook is handy for both of those things, and I copy recipes into notebooks and take them into the kitchen rather than take my computer, and I make notes on how I’ve altered those recipes in the notebooks). It would be nice to save some of those elsewhere.

Oh, and it’s fun the way I copy a recipe down without titling it or specifying what it is, and sometimes I end up not making it, and then two months later I’m flipping through said notebook and wondering wth all that stuff was supposed to be. Was it a muffin? Was it cake? Bar cookies? Who knows? One of these days I’m just going to start cooking random recipes and seeing if I can figure out what they were supposed to be.

A week or so ago I found myself looking online at AV Club recaps of The Office (US). They weren’t recaps so much as reviews, and it kind of got me thinking about one of the stupidest and silliest little disappointments in the world: that feeling you get when you read a recap/review of a TV show and find the writer missed your favorite joke, or missed a point, or loves a character you hate or vice versa. Because it kind of ruins the recaps from then on, doesn’t it? Like, I never really watched that show How I Met Your Mother. It just wasn’t my thing, really, although I usually found it at least somewhat amusing when I turned it on–largely because of Allison Hannigan and Jason Segal, and of course Mr. Harris–but it just never grabbed me. I found the conceit irritating, and I could never figure out why the show had to focus so much on that awful annoying Robin character who I hated. Of course, turns out the show was pretty much all about her. Turns out, too, that everybody loves Robin except me. It makes you feel so out of touch with the world when everyone is slathering spitty-sloppy love all over an insufferable jerk of a character, or an annoying one, or a stupid one, or whatever. Or am I alone in that feeling, too? Heh. Here I go again on my own…

And speaking of TV, I’ve been having tons of fun watching old episodes of Beverly Hills 90210. Some of you may recall that I was a huge fan and avid viewer of this rather ridiculous teen soap opera, which makes me seem like a total dork, but I don’t care. I love the show and the characters, and am a die-hard Kelly/Dylan person. I WILL FIGHT TO THE DEATH FOR DYLAN AND KELLY TO DO SEX AND LOVE TOGETHER. One of the reasons I did not watch the “new 90210”–aside from the “god, really?” factor, which was admittedly the main reason–was learning that although Kelly would be back, Dylan would not, and in my mind Kelly and Dylan are together 4ever. I also heard that David and Donna were split up on the new show; I can only assume this is because David’s insipid semi-melodic whining made him a Huge Star in that “Hip-Hop Nation” he was always giving “props/shout-outs/thanks” to. We all know there was no harder hip-hop than “You’re so precious to meeeee…am I precious to yooooo-oooouuu,” right? Sing it, David! Sing it hard.

Do not, however, let this discussion of recipes and TV make you think I’m not working hard. I am. Very hard. In fact, really? I’m working so hard that I have very little else on my mind, which is why I keep blogging about rather inane subjects–there’s not much room for anything more weighty in my head these days. But I have promised to be more on top of the blog and around more in general, and I hate neglecting you all, so I hope frivolous me is better than nothing.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
MEH

I had a really good idea for a title for this post, which is fairly inane in general, but I decided it’s too long to be an effective blog-post title. So I’m using it as a subhead:

Serial Killers Leave Me Cold

(Get it? Cold, because dead.)

Please do not interpret that as me thinking serial killers are funny. They’re not funny, at all. There are very few things less funny, actually, than a serial killer, even if said serial killer wears hilarious costumes and recites lines from Caddyshack while he kills you. Unless the serial killer is the Joker, in which case he might occasionally achieve a sort of amusing insouciance or crack a good one-liner. Freddy Krueger also often elicited a smile or two in the later films, when they decided having him be genuinely terrifying (as he was in the first movie) was getting boring and so turned him into some kind of badly-scarred pedophile Shecky Greene.

(And speaking of pedophiles–boy, this post is just all kinds of light-hearted, isn’t it?–there are new and more horrifying allegations about Jimmy Savile, the BBC celebrity that the British government allowed to molest and abuse hundreds of children for decades while they covered it all up and pretended there was something charming and heartwarming about a man who was literally one of the creepiest and most disgusting creatures who ever walked the planet. Seriously, look at this sicko [I’m only linking to a Google Image search result, because I don’t want pictures of that piece of shit on my blog; also, remember all my links open a new window]–but beware, the mere sight of him could cause you to both vomit and question the sanity of a large number of people. I mean, if a person ever existed who looked more like a twisted pedophile than Jimmy Savile, I don’t know who it was. Jimmy Savile looks like what would happen if Cruella DeVille got triple-teamed by the Child-Killer from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, an evil leprechaun, and Golem, and then the resulting excrescence vomited up all of the evil in its soul, and that vomit took a shit on everything good and happy and fun and loving in the world, and that shit was a cackling, hideous, tackily dressed Jimmy Savile. Seriously, Leatherface would be terrified to look at Jimmy Savile. Buffalo Bill would think Jimmy Savile was just too gross to hang out with. And every day it seems more and more is revealed about Jimmy and his hideous, disgusting cronies and how they loved to wander through children’s wards in hospitals randomly abusing patients and–God, it’s just too hideous to even discuss further.)

And it’s too hideous to discuss further because some crimes just are hideous.

I like true crime shows. I know it’s very fashionable to refer to them as “murder porn,” and there is definitely that aspect to some of them, but at the risk of sounding like some kind of murder porn snob, those aren’t the ones that interest me very much. In fact, I find them kind of offensive (more on that in a second, as it leads into my main point about serial killers). I like watching true crime shows–and reading true crime books, which I’ve done since I was a kid and saw Diane Downs and Ann Rule on Oprah (and by the way SMALL SACRIFICES is still an amazing and chilling book)–because the investigation fascinate me, the clues and the alibis and interviews and tactics and how it all comes together. I do enjoy it when the villain is especially dastardly and overconfident, because it’s fun to see a bad guy’s plots fail, but the crime itself isn’t generally the reason I read true crime. I read it for the plot, I guess you could say, not the gore.

Which may be why, as much as I will happily spend the day watching “48 Hours” (I looove 48 Hours, Dateline, and when they do special episodes of 20/20) or “True Crime with Aphrodite Jones” or “On the Case with Paula Zahn,” and even occasionally a “Nightmare Next Door” or “Snapped” or “Unusual Suspects,” I tend to shy away from the more lurid shows, which kind of seem more like a “Hyuk, look at how a bunch of trashy people got kilt!” or “Daaamn, girl, your murder is sexay!” than an actual serious “Look at how we catch criminals and how hard we work to keep the darkness at bay.” Perhaps that thought says more about me than anyone or anything else, but that doesn’t change the fact that for me the line can be rather thin between fascinatingly twisty and offensively lurid. And for me, the line is almost always crossed when it comes to shows about serial killers.

In a show about a serial killer the serial killer is the star, see; the victims are afterthoughts. Often the investigators are kind of afterthoughts, too. It’s all about the killer: his twisted psyche, his grisly crimes, his facade of normalcy (or not), his travels and burial grounds. And honestly, I don’t care. Most people do not become serial killers because they’re interesting guys to hang around with; they become serial killers because they’re just human shells wrapped around an empty, silent darkness, and honestly even that description makes them seem more interesting than I actually find them. (Especially Gary Ridgeway. For a while last year it seemed like every time I turned on the TV they were showing something about Gary Ridgeway or Gary Ridgeway’s wife or Gary Ridgeway’s truck or Gary Ridgeway’s ski pants or something, as though Gary Ridgeway was somehow the world’s most important person and his actions ought to be studied in as much depth as the Challenger explosion, when really Gary Ridgeway is dull as dirt. Tax forms are more interesting than Gary Ridgeway. Listening to a stranger tell you about their toenails is more interesting than Gary Ridgeway. I’m telling you, Gary Ridgeway = dull.)

But they’re all dull, really. Most serial killers–I’d venture so far as to say pretty much all of them, in fact–are not Hannibal Lecter, Dexter Morgan, or even Patrick Bateman. They’re not smooth and erudite or articulate about their emptiness, killing rude people or other serial killers and serving their bones to other rude people in complicated recipes more like art than food and playing complex, clever games with other killers or FBI behavioral analysts/professors. They tend to just clump around killing people–innocent people–and every time Discovery ID or the Investigation Channel or whatever does a big Serial Killer Week or some new serial killer specials, it makes me wonder if we’re learning how good our investigators are and memorializing the victims, or making further celebrities of some people who deserve no celebrity (that isn’t to say they deserve death or they do not deserve death or anything–I’m making zero statement on our justice system itself, okay?–but what I definitely think is that the reward for slaughtering innocent people should NOT be fame and groupies mailing you panties and cash, and that comes not from the justice system but from the media. Save the panties for Tom Jones and the cash for me, guys, and change the channel). This is true even if they already were celebrities, like Savile, and if the world has learned anything from Savile I hope it is that being a celebrity doesn’t make you a good person–or even one worthy of not being spat upon by leprous monkeys while having their balls shaved with a cheese-grater and then fed to them.

Shows about serial killers make me feel like a voyeur, really, and I don’t like that feeling.

Endnotes:

1. Sorry this is so late. I’ve been behind all week. I hate summer so much; I’m barely sleeping because the sun rises three hours after I go to bed, and while my sleepshades help with that they do nothing to shut up the fucking birds right outside our bedroom window.

2. Also, have I mentioned that it’s really hot here? And there’s no A/C? Yeah, it’s hot here. I can’t sleep when it’s hot. I hate the heat.

3. Work, work, working very hard!

4. I think that’s it, I’ll be back sooner than later, and I am still hoping/planning to show you all my First Book Ever.