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Here's recent progress on my subtropical (art)deco mystery about a young medium in a historic spiritualist community teaming up with a shell-shocked haberdasher who's receiving love notes from hell ... as inspired by a real place and a real set of bizarre (otherworldly?) incidents:

    Project: Brimstone
    Deadline: March 1, 2016
    New words written: 2912 (crap for a 2-day total, but better than nothing)
    Present total word count: 27,000

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: The open reading turned sinister; aftermath of sinister happenings; pimento cheese sandwiches.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; went to bank; went to post office (twice, because I forgot it would be closed yesterday, oops); went to Walgreens; assembled a kickass exercise bike; sorted and added up tax receipts; did laundry; did some housework.

    Other: I will probably get a little more writing done tonight, but my afternoon was interrupted by our neighbor - who'd found a dog running loose and nabbed him. She thought she knew where he belonged, but she also thought that the owner had moved, and she wondered if I had any contact info for the owner in question. End result: Between us, we spent about 2 hours (when all was said and done) hosting a marvelous playdate and trying to scare up the owner, who had - in fact - moved away. Long story. Anyway, I wanted to get this posted before I break for supper.

    Dog Other: You guys may remember Greyson's friend Briley. Bless his fluffy little heart, when he got loose and went walkabout, he just came on "home" to see his pal.

    Click here to view on my website, since LJ won't support Vines for crap.

    Resolution to Dog Other: Briley's mom was eventually tracked down, and she collected him a few minutes ago. All's well that ends well!

    Cat Other: Kittenzilla is up to eleven pounds of fluff and fury. God help us. (She's only seven months old. Oof.)

    Dog Other BONUS: Briley is always such a happy bastard. It was good to see him again, and I'm glad he is safe.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 13,787

Your silhouette is so stationary

Yikes. It's been a bit, hasn't it? My apologies, everyone - it's been a busy couple of weeks, and a frustrating couple of weeks, and basically just a couple of weeks where I've struggled to get my writing act together with minimal success.

I don't know why this one's been such a struggle. I love the story, the characters, etc. ... but something just hasn't been gelling. So I took the whole thing apart and put it back together, lost a few thousand words, and gained a few thousand words - and I think I've FINALLY found my footing.

God, I hope so.

So anyway, here's [the net gain when it comes to] recent progress on my subtropical (art)deco mystery about a young medium in a historic spiritualist community teaming up with a shell-shocked haberdasher who's receiving love notes from hell ... as inspired by a real place and a real set of bizarre (otherworldly?) incidents:

    Project: Brimstone
    Deadline: March 1, 2016
    New words written: 6859 (crap for two weeks, but better than nothing)
    Present total word count: 24088

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Talked to the nice priest; learned some things that may or may not be useful, but at least got taken seriously; learned a lot about a new church; a first public channeling that went better than expected.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; a number of dog play-dates; went to lunch and shopping with my cousin; went to lunch and shopping with my friend Vanessa; an unexpected vet visit for the dog, who licked a bald spot on his fanny for what could best be described as Dog Reasons; visited a workshop for young writers at Chattanooga State; Lord, I don't even know what else.

    Other: I have six weeks to wrap this bad-boy up. Here goes nothin'.

    Dog Other: The quick brown Luna jumped over the lazy Greyson, and I got a lucky shot.

    Cat Other: Cat fairness: One gets the comfy seat, one gets the sunbeam. Peace in our time.

    Book Other: Did you know that you can vote for I Am Princess X in the Teen Choice Awards? It's true! And it's muchly appreciated! Just click the image below.

    Hair Other: I've been eyeballs deep in 1920s fashion for months, not least of all because one of my Brimstone protagonists is a tailor ... and I wanted a change. So a couple of days ago, I said, "Screw it. Let's go FULL PHRYNE." And lo, I went Full Phryne. And it was awesome.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 10,875
Here's recent progress on my subtropical (art)deco mystery about a friendly medium in a historic spiritualist community teaming up with a WWI shell-shocked haberdasher who's receiving love notes from hell ... as inspired by a real place and a real set of bizarre (otherworldly?) incidents:

    Project: Brimstone
    Deadline: March 1, 2016
    New words written: 2105
    Present total word count: 17,229

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Went back to Ybor City and to a very nice haberdashery; called an electrician and got nowhere at all; decided that a priest might be more useful, considering how weird the problem has turned out to be.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with the dog; went to post office; grabbed lunch; answered some emails and achieved Inbox Zero; did some research.

    Other: The count should've really been higher, but I went down a research rabbit hole. Tomorrow's might not be too high either - because I have a doctor's appointment in the morning, and a dog party lined up in the afternoon. But I'll see what I can do.

    Dog Other: [Christmas throwback] Greyson survived the car-ride home from Kentucky without puking, but he was pretty pitiful all the same.

    Cat Other: Cats are weird.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 4016

If the morning light don't steal our soul

Here's recent progress on my subtropical (art)deco mystery about a friendly medium in a historic spiritualist community teaming up with a WWI shell-shocked haberdasher who's receiving love notes from hell ... as inspired by a real place and a real set of bizarre (otherworldly?) incidents:

    Project: Brimstone
    Deadline: March 1, 2016
    New words written: 1911
    Present total word count: 15,124

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Did some more rewriting - but I think I'm done with all that, now. Made the first forward progress of the new year. Or to be more precise ... our heroine passed a very tricky test, almost entirely too well. Then her new boss took her out to lunch.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; lots of laundry; lots of housework; went to post office a couple of times; went to Walgreens a couple of times, because husband has been sick; saw SW:TFA for the second time in 3D and loved it all over again; did some yardwork, believe it or not; hosted a dog party or two.

    Other: It's not a lot of progress for the New Year, but it's better than nothing. Tonight I'll draw up some notes for the next couple of chapters, which will hopefully make the next few days of work a tad easier. Maybe.

    Dog Other: Here's an outtake from Christmas - wherein Greyson's face is the small thing sticking out from underneath the two Great Dane heads.

    Cat Other: This thing, who is not yet seven months old - but weighs fully 9 pounds.

    Collective Cat Other: These two ladies - who still create problems while I'm trying to make the bed, every single morning.

    Plural Dog Other: And in closing, Greyson likes to wear his best friend as a hat. For dog reasons.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 1911

Year-End Recap: 2015

Don't worry, I won't go in-depth. 2015 doesn't bear a dry retelling, though I will say this: It was light-years better than 2014 - which felt like it had a score to settle, or something. I don't even know.

To sum up, good things happened. Chapelwood was published, and I sold another book to Roc. My first young adult project (I Am Princess X) debuted - and I sold another one of those, too (to Scholastic). My husband started a (great) new job. Our friends found a greasy little kitten under the hood of their car, and she joined our family. I sold a couple of short stories (details on those to come). Got nominated for a Philip K. Dick award. Wrote 125,136 words of fiction. Should've been more, but hey. Next year, right?

So here's to 2016. My husband has the flu so we aren't going out tonight, and I guess the champagne will make nice mimosas in the morning. The dog and cats are already asleep, and there's a Drunk History marathon on.

Let's do this.
I've spent my week back from Florida going through my progress on Brimstone and tweaking/amending/revising the chapters set in Cassadaga - to better reflect the reality of the place. I was wrong about a number of important things: the hierarchy/organization, the size of the place, some aspects of the spiritualist faith, etc., and I needed to fix it all before moving forward.

There's plenty I can fudge and fake, but some things I'd rather get right.

Anyway, as of this morning, I'm officially back to square one ... or square whichever ... and I can start moving forward on this again. Of course, this clean slate of sorts falls right in front of Christmas, but such is life. I'll be heading to Kentucky to my dad's place, and Dad lives out in the middle of nowhere. There will be downtime. I will make progress. Maybe not much, but some.

(Meanwhile, back at the ranch - my cousin will be house-sitting for us, keeping Quinn and Spain for the week. Both cats hate riding in a car, and will probably be far happier here on their home turf. Greyson is coming with us.)

With all that said ... here's recent progress on my subtropical (art)deco mystery about a friendly medium in a historic spiritualist community teaming up with a WWI shell-shocked haberdasher who's receiving love notes from hell ... as inspired by a real place and a real set of bizarre (otherworldly?) incidents:

    Project: Brimstone
    Deadline: March 1, 2016
    New words written: A net loss with revision, actually. Oh well.
    Present total word count: 13,213

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Got the first few chapters re-jiggered and ready for prime time. I'll give it all one more good read-through before launching back into production, just for the sake of batting cleanup and making sure I didn't miss any little fiddly bits, but the bulk of the heavy lifting has been handled.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; Christmas shopping for everyone; Christmas cards this year, hooray! (sometimes I don't get to it); playdates for Greyson with his bestie, Luna; housework; business emails/phone calls/etc; went to bank; went to Walgreens; went grocery shopping; signed some short story contracts and went to the post office; went to the post office again to mail presents; went to post office to return some stuff that didn't work; boxed up some stuff for UPS to return the product of Amazon.com's screwup; ate out for lunch too many times; went lunching/shopping with my cousin; cut off a bunch of hair; had a routine doctor's appointment; more stuff I'm sure, it's been a week or more.

    Next Other: Power through this one, because it's due in a little more than two months. Oof.

    Cat Other: These two maniacs.

    Dog Other: And this guy.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 125,136 (Still. Give or take.)

Drowning my thoughts out with sounds

I'm back from Florida! Well, I've been back for a couple of days, but you know how it goes when you're trying to unpack, do laundry, file receipts, and all that jazz. It was a great trip, made easier and better by one of my cousins, Jackie - who put me up at her place for the duration of my stay.

So what was the stay about? It was about Brimstone - a novel I need to write (almost in its entirety) before March 1. I pitched Brimstone as, one part Penny Dreadful and one part American Horror Story, with a splash of tragic romance and a fabulous retro setting. This is the tale of a shell-shocked WWI veteran, a young spiritualist, and the ghost of a vengeful Inquisitor who still has a taste for burning witches.

And it is largely set in Cassadaga, Florida. If you click that link and you wonder if my new tattoo was a deliberate nod, then no - it wasn't. It was ... pure coincidence. I guess.

Anyway, I'd gone past the place a hundred times when I was a kid, but I'd never actually been there for the sake of looking around. It was delightful. Nice people, pretty little community, and a lovely hotel that boasts a very nice restaurant. Jackie and I had a blast. (Yes, I asked permission to take pics inside.) (No, I won't bore you with a thousand vacay shots. Just a few.) (Yes, foxiness DOES run in the family... ;-) )

(The "Devil's Chair" - mwooohahaha. Actually, it's just a brick seat created
for a grieving mother who visited her young son's grave every day. But hey, that's
not a scary story, so that's not the one that people like to repeat.)

Many thanks to Jackie and Jason for the hospitality, and the nice folks in Cassadaga for the easy-going welcome. I have returned home with books, notes, and (many more) pictures to remind and inform me over the next couple of months.

* * *

In dog news, Greyson and Luna had another playdate and it was adorable. It's always adorable. We're always happy to have Luna and her mom (Samantha) come over for the afternoon.

* * *

In cat news, the girls got a new kitty condo. Spain the Cat was having trouble scaling the old one, and it was getting pretty ratty anyway. (It's this one. I left a review.) Quinn is a big fan.

* * *

Anyway, now you're all caught up! Tomorrow will be spent on the weekly house-keeping, and possibly some yard work before it gets too damn cold to take a crack at it. I need to do some weeding and maintenance work before the world freezes over in another couple of weeks, and one of my neighbors has offered to dig up some overenthusiastic flowers that I don't want - because he wants to use them. More power to him, I say.

My point is, word metrics and (near)daily blog posts will resume shortly. Maybe even this week. IT COULD HAPPEN. Wish me luck...

Out of Office

Heads up - I'll be out of town for the next few days, kicking around Florida with some family whilst I do a bit of research for Brimstone. Expect pictures over at Twitter. Otherwise, there shall be radio silence. But I'll be back on Monday! (And my husband will be holding down the critter-fort in the meantime.)

Thanks for reading...
Brace yourself, because this is going to be random. I know it's been a week (and then some) since last I posted, but I've had a lot going on - with time to blog exactly none of it. You know how it goes.

But first! And foremost, for the time being: At long last, I can finally offer you and yours (in time for the holidays!) signed and personalized books - with a little help from local indie Star Line Books. I've written up a "How-To" page here on my website, but to save you a click, here's the gist:
    Call that fine store at (423) 777-5629. Tell whoever answers the phone:

    1. Who you are and what book you want
    2. How you’d like it signed (to you, a friend, etc.)
    3. Where you live

    They’ll take your credit card info, and then they’ll call me. I’ll run down to the shop and sign your stuff according to your preference – and then the shop will ship it to you, ASAP. (On the off chance they don't have the title you want in stock, they'll order it for you.)

Speaking of Star Line Books - on Small Business Saturday I wandered down there, and for an hour or two, I worked the register. (And sipped some truly outstanding chai.) There is photographic evidence of this afternoon, courtesy of the folks at Shelf Awareness.

* * *

    Links roundup! I'll try to keep it brief.

    December's Locus Magazine on Chapelwood - I don't have a link to the actual article, but my marvelous agent was kind enough to pass along the verbiage; and if you're curious, it's been posted on my "Reviews" page.

    BookRiot on Maplecroft - Among other Lovecraft-inspired things...

    Cannonball Read on Chapelwood - "...A horror, yes, but one very difficult to look away from thanks to Priest’s characterization and amazing descriptions. I can’t recommend the two books strongly enough — especially if one likes horror, or Lovecraft, or dark, skewed, and fantastic history."

    The Game Called Revolution - Surprised that I Am Princess X is nothing like Boneshaker...but they like it anyway, so I'll take it.

    Lost Inside the Covers - On I Am Princess X. "Lots of danger, intrigue, clue finding, strong female characters and crazy feelings. It is a load of fun and if you like superheroes and comic books, check this story out."

    Kimheniadis.com on Chapelwood - "There are many similarities to the first book in regards to the story, but as I mentioned before this one was even more intense. Cherie Priest does a great job in slowly building up to climactic moments. She is also a master at writing in various points of view. Each character whose voice she writes in feels unique, and I was engaged with each character."

* * *

Before the weather went to crap, Greyson enjoyed a couple of great playdates with his bestie, Luna. A good time was had by all.

A whole lot of wrestling occurred - resulting in my new favorite picture of Greyson.

I swear to God, they don't hurt each other. They play rough, but it's all in good fun...just two big ol' goofballs, frolicking in the yard and sharing cookies.

* * *

In feline news, Quinn and Spain continue to more or less get along. Recently, they've developed a new game of patty-paws - which takes place around one of the oversized pillows on the daybed. The game only occasionally devolves into hissy-fits.

And I don't want to blow anybody's mind or anything, but Quinn and Greyson are still the very best of buddies.

She's really getting huge. The other day, I weighed her ... and this little 5-1/2 month old kitten weighs 6.2 pounds. She's going to be a house-leopard.

* * *

Okay, that's all I've got for now. Happy Holidays, everyone. I hope your Thanksgiving was swell, and whatever you celebrate in December (if anything) goes smashingly. Have a good one, in any case. I'll be over here, trying to keep our Christmas tree upright and in one piece.

Wish me luck!

'Tis the season for free kittens

Well, usually you think of spring as kitten season ... but an old friend of mine wound up with a batch of babies that had been deserted(?) by their stray mother. This friend (Amanda) found homes for a couple of the foundlings, but two remain - and I said that I would put out the call. Or raise the Bat-signal. Cat-signal. Whatever.

You know me and kittens, man. Any excuse to help match up small furry things with good homes.

The kittens are both girls - a gold tabby and a tuxedo princess. They're too small to be spayed yet, but they have both received their full vetting otherwise: they've been de-wormed, de-flea'd, and vaccinated - and they both tested negative for FIV/FIP. The vet estimates that they're about 6-7 weeks old.

These two are on solid foods and good terms with the litter box ... so now they're mounting a heavy charm offensive because baby, it's cold outside - and these little ladies need a home of their own. (Their present situation is a tad precarious; foster mom can't keep them.)

But wouldn't YOU like a small furry munchkin for the holidays? Come on - a pair is TWICE the fun!

So! If you would like to open your heart and household to a kitten or two (wouldn't it be nice, to have two?) this holiday season, you can contact my friend/their foster mom, who would love to hear from you if you're anywhere within the greater Chattanooga area - or if you might be willing to drive:

    Amanda Dashler: amanda@dashler.net
    Amanda on FB (where you will find VIDEOS, folks)

Or you can email me if you like, and I can pass along her cell number for texting purposes. Serious inquiries only, natch.

At any rate, thanks for reading! Feel free to share this post around!
And have a good weekend, everyone!
(But wouldn't it be better with KITTENS?)