Log in

Escape was just a nod and a casual wave

Here's recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that's guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who's just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:

    Project: Drawing Fire
    Deadline: November 16, 2015
    New words written: 3209 (cumulative)
    Present total word count: 40,076

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Another injury, but maybe we can hide this one; a bargain is struck; suspicions are formed; lies are prepared.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; went out for lunch; went to the grocery store; went to Walgreens a couple of times; got several bits of wonderful news from my agent, who rocks.

    Other: Honestly, I spent a couple of days just as sick as a dog, and that word count is almost entirely from today - when I finally shook off whatever was ailing me. It's definitely my strongest word count in quite some time, but I'm pretty proud of it; I feel like I'm finding my groove and hitting my stride, yay!

    Other Encore: By the way, the official deadline for this project's first draft is November 16. Word metrics template has been updated to reflect this. I have just a little less than a month to finish this up, and I think that'll be just fine.

    Bonus crittergram: Momma's little helper shut down momma's little laptop. Thanks, little helper. [:: sigh ::]

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 96,064
Another week chock full of stuff that may or may not interest the reading public, but hey, I have critter pictures - so there's that.

* * *

The weather's been great for the last few days, so I took the weekend to begin shutting down the yard for winter. Oh, sure - there's still another good day or two of manual labor ahead, but I got 2/3 of it sorted out, and I am proud of myself. I am also achy and tired and I think I might be getting sick, but I got a LOT of work done.

Here, have a paragraph recounting my accomplishments: I edged/trimmed the yard, all the way around, including the side strip (we're on a corner lot); added 10 bags of good soil to the new tress/shrubs we added this year; added 11 bags of nice cypress mulch to top everything off; weeded/trimmed/pruned All The Things except for the roses - including two trees, a pair of butterfly bushes the size of trees, an evergreen clematis that secretly aspires to take over the world, and most of the stuff out front; weeded All The Things; cleaned out the crazy old planters out in the front of the house, and added tidy (but colorful) seasonal mums to replace the shit-show of late-summer/early fall overgrowth; cleaned off the patio, including an hour or so pulling little weeds that grow between the paver cracks while you're not looking; cleaned out the dying annuals from the pots in the back yard, and emptied those which (a). still have perfectly healthy stuff and (b). can withstand a freeze while occupied by same; hauled away three piles of brush, each one the size of a Volkswagon (give or take).

Greyson helped. By which I mean, he dug a hole and took a nap.

* * *

Friday night, the husband and I went out to catch Crimson Peak. It was a gorgeous gothic romance, beautifully executed - in short, an admirable piece of work, a case study in the form, and an icon of the genre. My only real quibble is that I would've liked to see ten more minutes of denouement...but that is a meager quibble indeed. (That I should someday produce a work so finely done.)

* * *

My cousin Chelsea got the bright idea (no, seriously - a very bright idea) to invite me and my husband along to The Haunted Cavern at Ruby Falls the other night. She and her boyfriend have made an annual tradition of it, and she's my Halloween buddy, so...yeah. Of course we went!

Haunted houses, or haunted caverns, or whatever ... these things are ridiculous by nature. (In general.) This one is no exception, but it was nicely done - and there are some geography-specific perks that the organizers work to their advantage.

The haunted experience takes place in three parts - the cave (and the elevator trip thereunto), then a bus ride, then a third location on the mountain. When we got into the bus, our guide waved us off by saying, "Enjoy the actual scary part..." and we were like, "Huh?" but then it got underway.

It was nearly midnight, and we were in this school bus on the side of a mountain, surrounded at first by cop cars with their lights and sometimes sirens blaring. Then we hit the road...a very twisty road on the side of a mountain in blustery weather - a road that's not really wide enough for the bus. We could look out the window and see the city in the distance, which was pretty; but we could also see the fact that the tires were about eight inches from a sheer drop-off that would send us careening down Lookout with the slightest miscalculation.

It got really, really quiet.

Anyway. The wait to reach the attraction was kind of crazypants - about an hour and forty-five minutes to get inside, but hey, we went on a Saturday night and didn't arrive at the parking lot until 9:00 p.m.

Next year, I think we'll hit it up on a Sunday or something, so we can be home and in bed by midnight, like the very, very old people we clearly are.

* * *

This is why it takes me a half hour (or more) to make the bed in the morning.

It's Quinn's favorite time of day. She loves being made up into the sheets, then playing tag through the covers and burrowing into the pillows. It is dastardly cute.

In other news, she and Spainy are still generally getting along - so long as Quinn doesn't pull any of The Rock's wrestling moves on her elder sibling. Behold.

Sometimes they even play together.

Then again, sometimes they don't.

* * *

So here's recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that's guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who's just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:

    Project: Drawing Fire
    Deadline: November, 2015
    New words written: 3456 (cumulative)
    Present total word count: 36,837

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: More reading on the bizarre comic upstairs; an alarming and apparently non-accidental injury; a trip to the doc-in-the-box; an awkward breakfast that no one really enjoyed.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; see above; many kitten pictures; general exhaustion.

    Other: Oh, the kittengrams.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 92,855

Some kind of hunting lodge for rich weirdos

My apologies for the radio silence, but it's been a busy week or two over here - for good, bad, and otherwise.

When I last left you, I was on my way to a hair appointment, and then off to Illinois for a few days ... where I participated in the Anderson's Bookshop Young Adult Literature Conference. The event was marvelous - chock full of outstanding librarians, book-buyers, teachers, and other assorted reading enthusiasts; and it was made all the smoother and grander for the help of a couple of truly outstanding Scholastic publicists. All hail that team over there, for those people are doing God's work.

* * *

I finally arrived home Sunday night - or rather, around 1:30 a.m. on Monday. I've been playing catch-up ever since, trying to get all the laundry and unpacking done, and answer all the skipped emails, and go to the grocery store, and to pick up a prescription or two. Among other things.

I'm still trying to find my place in the Drawing Fire manuscript - working up some of the comic/illustrated sections, and getting back into the swing of things; so I have no further word metrics to report at this time. I mean, I've added a few hundred words to the net total, but it's mostly been editing/logistical stuff for the last couple of days.

And it's not like I got any work done at the convention. Oh, I'd planned to, but such is life. And such is a schedule that came with a six-page (single-space typed) itinerary of travel and panels. So...yeah.

* * *

Monday afternoon, we were freaked out when our friend Vanessa showed up at our back gate - holding our frequent canine guest, The Cooj. She'd had him out for a walk, when he collapsed. After a few minutes of cuddles and treats he rallied a bit, and by the time Vanessa's husband arrived to collect them, we thought maybe he was okay. He was up and around, and peeing on things, so, you know. Normal dog stuff. But it turned out, he had a cancerous tumor inside his heart. This morning, he went to sleep and stayed that way.

He wasn't our dog, but we loved him dearly, and always enjoyed having him as a guest when his people were out of town. He'd been dealt a bad hand, bless his heart, but I won't bore you with the sob story. After all, it ended quite well. Despite a tough start, and the bone cancer that took his leg ... Cooj was a happy, well-adjusted, much-beloved fellow, who made it past his tenth birthday. He was very lucky to have Vanessa and Jimmy, who always went the extra mile to give him the most love and the best care possible.

He was a very good dog. We will miss him.

* * *

In other critter news, the ElderCat and TinyCat have started to play. This is worth noting, because it's literally the first time I've ever seen the ElderCat "frolic" with another feline. She's never really liked them, and thus far, she's been strictly tolerant of the baby ... but lately we'll find them playing a friendly game of chase or tag, and sometimes it stays friendly. Sometimes it doesn't, but it never gets any worse than a hissy-fit and a hasty retreat.

Of course, I've been calling Quinn the "tinycat" but she's getting bigger by the day. She's nearly as tall as Spain, though she only weighs a little over four pounds. (She's shaping up to be a long, lanky beast.)

Later this month - on the 26th - she goes back to the vet to get spayed. It's good and important and the right thing to do, but I'm still not looking forward to leaving her overnight. She's really become my little buddy.

* * *

Greyson continues to do well. He's a little fat and completely lazy, and prone to digging holes in the yard - but we love him to pieces. Even though he totally denies that bit about hole-digging. How dare we. There's no proof whatsoever that he's been snorfling around in the mud. Good day, sir. I SAID GOOD DAY.

* * *

Well, that's just about all I've got for now. I need to get back to work - on either Drawing Fire or some of the housework that piled up in my absence. There's more pet-hair on the floor than on the pets. My bathroom is a horror show. The kitchen is unseemly, and you could write your name in the bookshelf dust. I've got my work cut out for me.

But in closing, here's a shot of my office, where someone apparently set off a sleep bomb.

Have a good rest-of-your-week, everyone.
Thanks for reading.
So here's recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that's guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who's just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:

    Project: Drawing Fire
    Deadline: November, 2015
    New words written: 2004 (cumulative)
    Present total word count: 33,381

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Waiting for breakfast; reading some comics; testing the theory that all knowledge is contained within the internet.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; supper with a friend; more housework; more laundry - as I need to pack for Chicago; went to grocery store; went to post office.

    Other: Kittengrams.

    Travel Other: Oh yeah, Chicago. Or rather, Naperville - if you want to get particular about it. I'm leaving Thursday for the Anderson Bookshop's Young Adult Literature Conference. Huzzah!

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 89,399
So here's recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that's guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who's just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:

    Project: Drawing Fire
    Deadline: November, 2015
    New words written: 2204 (cumulative)
    Present total word count: 31,377

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Back at the Agony House, with a pocket recorder and some scary news.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: [In general, since last post] Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; got a check; went to the bank; went grocery shopping; cleaned the house; did a crap-ton of laundry; did supper - and then lunch/sightseeing (a little) with some awesome out-of-town guests; attended a funeral.

    Other: Yes, the word count is low. But see above. It's been a busy handful of days over here.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 87,39

* * *

As mentioned above, a couple of lovely out-of-towners came passing through this weekend. We got supper at the superlative 210 Jack (in Warehouse Row), then scored fancy chocolates across from the Choo-Choo; then the next day we grabbed lunch.

I say this, like they were here to visit me and my husband. Mais non. They came to snorgle the crap out of our pets. (Which was awesome - just ask Greyson :) )

* * *

After lunch on Saturday, I attended the memorial service for this man. If his name looks vaguely familiar, I thanked him profusely and/or dedicated my first novel to him (and a few other people). He was one of the single greatest teachers I ever had. Nay, one of the greatest I've ever even heard of. If it tells you anything, I took several classes in subjects I cared nothing about - purely because he was the man presenting them. And I never regretted a single one.

I didn't want to go alone, for complicated reasons - so one of my old roommates (and fellow students) went with me. I'm glad she suggested it.

Dr. Haluska never told me that the stories I wrote were dumb, or low-brow, or immature. He even took me shooting once, because he felt that my handling of firearms could be stronger in my early works - making special note of which ammo/firearm combinations would've had the most gruesome impacts on things like oh, say, zombie skulls. We used paint cans as a stand in.

In every single book I've ever published, there has almost certainly been an Easter egg inspired by one of his lectures or conversations. (Once in awhile, old students will drop me a note - having found one.) He wasn't just quotable, he was thoughtful, and keenly observant.

Back in 2013 - very shortly before he retired - I went back to campus with my college roommate (and also fellow student). I was freshly back in the city, and my roommie was visiting from England. Sure, we'd graduated 15 years previously, but we couldn't just not stop by. In the end, we hung out in his office for a couple of hours, gabbing and catching up. He didn't have to make time for us. Hell, maybe he shouldn't have. But I'm intensely grateful that he did.

Some of his students used to jokingly call him "Ol' Ramrod" for his posture and his presence ... but less jokingly for his adamantium personal integrity. He always both commanded and offered respect. In no uncertain terms, he was a great man.

Dr. Haluska wasn't a comics guy, but I think he'd "get it" if I'd ever told him (and I should've told him, but I never got around to it) that the following panel has always made me think of him.

Thanks for reading.

All of her lovers all talk of her notes

So here's recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that's guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who's just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:

    Project: Drawing Fire
    Deadline: November, 2015
    New words written: 4124 (cumulative)
    Present total word count: 29,173

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Introduced the agent who's not an agent, and doesn't want to be an agent...but she might be able to help. Somebody's made her an offer she can't refuse.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: [In general, since last post] Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; got a couple of paychecks, yay!; paid taxes, boo!; went to the bank; went to the grocery store a couple of times; filled out a couple of interviews; a number of phone calls; got my house decorated for Halloween (SHADDUP it is not too early); made another vet appointment for Quinn's final round of kitten shots and/or consult about getting her spayed/chipped; tweaked my new website; kept The Cooj for another round of dog-sitting; ordered birthday presents for my husband (a little early, actually, but there was a good sale); cleaned house; did a crap-ton of laundry.

    Other: I was hoping for a word count more like double the one I'm posting, but so it goes. I've had a lot going on, not all of which is recorded above. I'm doing my best to double down and get this draft sorted out, but every damn day there's some new interruption that eats my afternoon. Example: Tomorrow, Quinn's vet appointment is at 2:00. Right in the middle of prime prose time. [:: sigh ::] If it ain't one thing, it's another.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 85,175

In closing - and speaking of our newbie...
...she's fitting in better, and wreaking more havoc around here every day.

Goodnight, everyone!
Thanks for reading :)

All the vampires walkin' through the valley

Okay! I'm coming up for air, at long last. It took 110% of my post-DragonCon attention span, but I finally finished the rewrite of The Family Plot and sent it off over the weekend. Now it's headfirst back into Drawing Fire ... a first draft of which is due on the first of November. So that gives me what, five weeks to write 2/3 of a novel + accompanying comic masterpiece?

Yeah. So. Here goes nothing, right?

I spent yesterday re-reading the 80 pages or so I've got finished so far, refamiliarizing myself with the content and making a few tweaks and notes, here and there. I also laid out the material for the next chapter, and will get started on that either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. I meant to get a jump on it today, but the truth is I've been playing catch-up for all the stuff I put off while I was eyeballs deep in The Family Plot.

I mean, no lie - for 2+ weeks I didn't clean the house, go grocery shopping, do laundry, answer email, or do much of anything except stare at my laptop and try to bang the story into submission.

Well, I might have hypothetically taken a bunch of pictures of the household's four-footed members.

Speaking of, everyone is doing quite well. Quinn is 3-4 months old now, and growing like a weed. She and Greyson are absolute besties; she and Spain are...roommates. But Quinn is working on it. She is DETERMINED to achieve Full Snuggle with Spainy one of these days - and for now, she's allowed (a). intermittent close proximity, and sometimes (b). a single paw of contact. I have about a dozen pics similar to this one, with a sleeping ElderCat and an opportunistic TinyCat pushing her luck with one wee foot.

This is about as close to Proper Cuddling as she's been able to muster so far. You can see the WIKTORY in her eyes. And in her tiny fist-pump.

The cats also play a little bit. Mostly it's idle games of chase, though occasionally they share a ping-pong ball or some other toy. They even play tag around the new kitty condo, and every morning, they peaceably share it. Alas, this detente typically comes to an end when Quinn gets over-stimulated and goes all chompy with Spainy's tail, at which point hissyfits ensue.

But like I said, Quinn and the dog are tight. They play and cuddle all the time, and if there's anything on earth any cuter than a big fluffy dog being super-gentle with a small cat, then I just don't know what.

[See http://www.cheriepriest.com for Vine, because LJ won't host it.]

When Quinn is upset, or lonesome, or something's frightened her...do you think she comes running to Mom? No. No she does not. She goes running for her big brother.

[See http://www.cheriepriest.com for Vine, because LJ won't host it.]

AND ON THAT NOTE. Let's get the word metrics booted up again, shall we?

So here's recent progress on my young adult haunted house story about a long-lost adventure pulp comic manuscript that's guarded by a good ghost and a bad ghost; now with Bonus! gentrifying drama, golden-age mystery, Hollywood intrigue, fallout from The Storm, and an agent who's just trying to do the right thing, goddammit:

    Project: Drawing Fire
    Deadline: November, 2015
    New words written: 762 (added in recent review pass)
    Present total word count: 25,049

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Got reacquainted with the material so far, which was entirely necessary - because I hadn't so much as looked at the draft in weeks.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: [In general, since last post] Neighborhood jaunts with the dog; one checkup vet visit for Quinn; almost nothing but work for 2+ weeks, but then in the last couple of days - went to bank, grocery store, post office; did laundry; cleaned house, for it needed it desperately.

    Other: I am trying to keep from dwelling on the fact that as soon as Drawing Fire goes off to the editor, I have three months to hand in a draft of Brimstone - then another three months to do a draft of The Toll. So...if you don't see much but word metrics for awhile, my apologies. But there won't be that much else going on in my life for the foreseeable future.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 81,052

And in closing:
This one's for their album cover.

Baby we're not fooling anyone these days

Hello, everyone - I'm back from DragonCon, and more or less recovered. Every year (for the last few years) I've said to myself, "Self, this is all a little much. Maybe I'll skip it next time." But I never do. The pull is too strong. The fun is too big, even with all the work and chaos and clutter. I really was scheduled out the ass, though. SO many panels. Plus interviews. Plus meet-and-greets. Plus signings. But also - SO many friends I don't see very often. SO much goofing off in the evenings. SO much good discussion of interesting and pertinent stuff with smart people. SUCH great roommates.

I'd take a crack at a formal recap, but I'd be here all afternoon. And then probably all night. So...yeah. I'll leave the wrap-up by the wayside, and say only a big fat thank you to all the marvelous folks who made it possible - and to those who made it great. You know who you are.

[Edit: Then again, on second thought I should probably link this article - What is Dreadpunk? A quick guide to a new subgenre. Not just because I'm quoted in the article, but because my buddy Derek is the mastermind behind the spooky curtain - and I got to be on the panel for Dreadpunk's debut.]

Anyway, I'm back now - and I'm unpacked, and the laundry is all done, and the pets have all been snuggled stupid. Regarding the four-footed family members, in a few moments I'll share with you a most excellent bounty of pet pictures and videos ... but first, I must subject you to crass self-promotion!

After all, Chapelwood just came out - and I need for EVERYONE to know about it.


FOR STARTERS. Did you know that you - yes YOU - might be able to get an advance reader's copy for free? IT IS TRUE. Quoth my awesome publisher: "Like the idea of Lizzie Borden fighting off Lovecraftian horrors? Good news! We're giving away 10 copies of CHAPWELWOOD by Cherie Priest. This book is perfect fall reading. Just make sure to enter by midnight on Monday! (Sorry, US only)" Now click ye here to throw your name into the hat and then cross your fingers.

FOR NEXTERS. Is that a word? No? Oh well, I'm letting it stand. FOR NEXTERS - if you'd like to skip the crapshoot and pick up a very shiny copy of Chapelwood for your very own reading pleasure, then here's a list of helpful links to assist you in that quest.

And if you're feeling so moved, when you're finished reading the book (or throwing it across the room, but obviously I hope not) ... then I'd be terribly grateful if you could take a moment to post a review at the site of your choice. These things matter to authors, they really do


Speaking of the pets (I did, up above - before all the shilling) ... all is going well with new addition Her Royal Highness Princess Harley Quinn GreaseMonkey StinkyFoot The First. She had her follow-up vet visit this afternoon, whereupon we learned that she's merely one ounce shy of three full pounds (up from a straggly 1.1-lb three weeks ago) - and she's making great progress. However, she's still a little undersized/underpowered for her age (12-14 weeks) and she needed a second round of deworming goo. No big deal. With any luck, in another few weeks she'll gain another couple of pounds - so we can talk about getting her chipped and spayed.

As far as the other household members go, Greyson remains absolutely besotted with Quinn - and Spainy remains idly tolerant of her.

Quinn and Greyson frolic carefully; she wrestles with his face and tail, and he nudges her around with his nose. No claws or teeth deployed by either party - and when the baby is anxious or sleepy, she runs to him, cuddles against him, and purrs all over him. He eats it up.

[Here there be Vine videos, but LiveJournal won't display them. Go to CheriePriest.com if you want to see them.]

As for the ElderCat, relations are a little less snuggly and cordial - but they aren't bad, either. The two almost play together, once in awhile (*almost*), and they're content to share the bed, share sunbeams, and even share a chair cushion from time to time. So long as Quinn doesn't get too exuberant in her playtime - nobody gets hissed at, and nobody runs away.

Today the routine is a little shaken up - not just because of the lunchtime vet visit, but because Cooj the Three-Legged Wonder Pooch is joining us again for a few days. His dad dropped him off this morning, so that meant relocating all the cat food into my bathroom [:: gives the Cooj the stinkeye ::] ... and that's about it, really. He's a very easy guest.

Upon Cooj's arrival, Greyson was like, "Oh, cool. This guy comes with treats and wet food!" Spainy woke up from her nap, shrugged, and went back to sleep. And Quinn detonated into a poof of hisses.

She is absolutely horrified by him - or rather, by the noise he makes. Cooj is older and he has a heart condition, so when he's worked up (due to oh, say, a walk from his house to ours) ... his breathing becomes very loud and heavy. By which I mean, it sounds like he's gasping for air and probably dying; you can hear him all over the house, and outside too. He can't help it and once he settles down, he's fine - but Quinn is Super Dubious About This Matter.

As for Cooj - he's entirely oblivious to the existence of either Quinn or Spainy. It's almost like he's literally unable to see cats. He completely ignores them. (He spent half his life with five of them. His willful ignorance might be a defense mechanism.)

He'll be here until Saturday, and that will be fine. He's a lovebug and an excellent watchdog who prefers to spend most of his time outside. Quinn will get used to him.


Right! Well.
I believe this has run on long enough.

So now it's time for me to get back to work. I have ten days to turn around a new draft of The Family Plot, and I'm not nearly as far along as I'd like, so you can anticipate some radio silence over here. I just have too much to do, so I'll be imposing a partial internet embargo for a couple of weeks.

Please forgive me! And please accept one final pet-picture. This one answers the perennial question, "How do you work with all those adorable animals around?" With an audience, that's how.

DragonCon Ahoy!

DragonCon! It looms on the horizon! And I am going to be All. Over. It. You can find most of my schedule via the DragonCon app - which is surprisingly useful, as I learned the other day. But there are a few things that aren't listed, so here's the full scoop:


    8:00 p.m. - YA Meet-and-Greet in the Marriott I am putting this here because I plan to be there, but I do not know if it's open to the public. I'm led to understand that after the general meet-up, some folks have plans to hit up the Chuck Wendig reading later in the evening. I am down for that.


    Title: Urban Fantasy or Horror: Lines of Distinction
    Time: Fri 01:00 pm Location: Chastain ED - Westin
    Description: Our panel of authors discusses the distinguishing features between these two closely-related genres.

    Title: Faces of the Tarot: Penny Dreadful's Monsters & Magic
    Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Peachtree 1-2 - Westin
    Description: Fans discuss the Showtime series that updates classic horror's most enduring archetypes

    Title: The Weird West Rides Again!
    Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Augusta 3 - Westin
    Description: The changing genre of the Old West: alternate history, sci-fi, and fantasy.

    Title: Blending History & the Fantastic
    Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: Chastain ED - Westin
    Description: Challenges & advantages of using historical settings & events in speculative fiction.


    Title: Sword and Laser Podcast—Live!
    Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Crystal Ballroom - Hilton
    Description: Belmont & Merritt's podcast on all things sci-fi and fantasy with author Cherie Priest.

    Title: Magepunk: Sorcery as Technology
    Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 3 - Westin
    Description: Alchemical rules or arcane industrial revolution? We focus on media depictions of magic as technology.

    Title: ACE/ROC Presents
    Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Embassy A-B - Hyatt
    Description: Editors from ACE/Roc Publishing show us what they have in the pipeline for the future.

    Title: Squeamish Folks Need Not Apply
    Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Embassy D-F - Hyatt
    Description: Panelists on writing horror, dark fantasy, & scary, horrible, gory, putrid stuff. BYO airsick bag!


    Title: Autograph Session
    Time: Sun 2:00 p.m. Location: The Missing Volume booth, in the America's Mart building

    Title: Autograph Session
    Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: International Hall South - Marriott

    Title: Superpowered YA
    Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: A707 - Marriott
    Description: There's a superhero explosion at the box office, but what about in graphic novels and YA books?

    Title: Dreadpunk: The Gothic Horror Revival
    Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: Peachtree 1-2 - Westin
    Description: A discussion of the Gothic Horror Revival in contemporary pop culture


    Title: Tomorrow's Forecast for SF/F Fiction
    Time: Mon 11:30 am Location: Embassy D-F - Hyatt
    Description: Spotting trends in fiction before they become trends.

As you can see, I'll be running around like the proverbial decapitated poultry. That said, because people keep asking - YES, copies of Chapelwood (among other things) will definitely be available for sale in the dealers hall; and DO NOTE that I'm scheduled for two signings on Sunday - one in the America's Mart (at the Missing Volume booth), and one in the Marriott.

Likewise, if you happen to catch me between panels, I'll be happy to sign whatever/say hello/etc.

So! With the Official Posting of the Schedule out of the way...let me just say that I am PSYCHED about this coming week/end, and I can't wait to meet all of you fabulous readers - and hang with some of my writer peeps. Thanks so much for reading, and thanks so much for coming out to see me and all my friends. We appreciate it more than you know.

And in closing...Greyson is SO HAPPY that we've finally gotten him a kitten of his very own. And Princess HarleyQuinn GreaseMonkey StinkFoot is delighted to have a very, very big brother to play with - especially atop a pile of fresh laundry.

Remember those faces. Those faces need kibble and veterinary care.
Those faces need for momma to sell some books.

National CHAPELWOOD Day!


Okay, look - yes, I know, I've been a Disney Princess over here for the last couple of weeks: all birds and all kittens all the damn time. But in between the wildlife and the household critters, I've been busily trying to ramp up to THIS VERY DAY: CHAPELWOOD Day!

Yes FINALLY you can check out the follow-up to last year's Phillip K. Dick Award nominee, Maplecroft. Did you like that one? I hope you liked that one. I loved it very much; it's one of my personal favorites. (Am I supposed to admit that kind of thing? That I have favorites? Oh well, it's true. Maplecroft was one of my favorite things ever. I am terribly proud of how it came out.)

RIGHT. YES. So. If you did get your hands on Maplecroft, then you know that it was a watery Lovecraftian creep-fest - inspired by ol' H.P.'s ocean lore and informed by the gothic epistolaries of yesteryear. You may rest assured that its pseudo-sequel, Chapelwood, is from that same planet (shall we say) - except that it came prompted by Howard's more cosmic tales.

Or as Publishers Weekly so kindly put it:
    Setting this slow but effective second Lizzie Borden/H.P. Lovecraft mashup in the 1920s, three decades after the events of Maplecroft, Priest emphasizes Lovecraft’s storytelling elements of mathematics, spiritualism, the dubious cultural values of the early-20th-century American Deep South, and mind-shatteringly monstrous beings.

BETTER YET, as the inimitable Jonathan Maberry said (yes THAT Jonathan Maberry and he ASKED for an ARC ... you have no IDEA how chuffed I was) ... "Chapelwood is devious, twisted and beautifully written. Cherie Priest is one of our very best authors of the fantastic. Brava!"

And you know, it's funny, but people tend not to believe me when I say that Chapelwood is loosely based on true events. Well, I'll have you to know that it was, and I was pointed at these true events by Mary Robinette Kowall, whose family has a passing connection to them. But you can get her to tell you that story sometime.

What story? THIS crazy-ass story. Kind of.

There was more to it, of course, and you spend forever and a day spiraling down a rabbit hole, chasing weird peripheral details and characters - which is what happened to me. In the end I had to pare down some of the real-life facts in order to make it more believable. And yes, I say that having added an aging Lizzie Borden, a powerful cultist, and some intergalactic intrigue to the mix.

Anyway, you may as well be advised - real history was just the starting point.
The result is real horror. Or that's the idea.

So today is Chapelwood Day and I could sit here and shill for another few paragraphs but I must restrain myself - for I have a dog to walk, a hair appointment to catch, a DragonCon to prepare for, and also three other deadlines. No pressure or anything, right? No pressure at all.

Ergo, rather than continuing to bore you with horn-tooting and sign-waving, I will instead wrap this up with some useful links.

Oh, and maybe this one last thing, too - lest you all forget: I have kibble to buy. More of it than ever, at present - and selling books helps put kibble in bowls. It helps pay vet bills for wee foundlings who tried to bathe engine grease off of themselves, and projectile-pooped for a week. It helps support little old lady cats with kidney problems, and big fluffy dogs who eat - let's be frank - a great deal of kibble.

So come on, now. Buy a copy of Chapelwood for you, or a friend.
Do it for the kittens.

(And I'll be back later today or possibly tomorrow with all that DragonCon signing info - with BONUS news [I hope] re: how to get yourself some signed/personalized books EVEN IF YOU NEVER SET EYES ON ME. It's in the works. I promise.)