I'm sure in her you'll find the sanctuary

I'm still here, and the house is almost back to normal! All I need now is to fix some damage to the patio, and then get the concrete landing regraded - but these things are relatively simple, and they can wait. Everything inside has been returned to its proper place. And that's the important bit for now.

Anyway, order restoration aside - it's been a busy week...but most of the stuff that's occupying my time is stuff I can't talk about. To be nice and vague about it: 'Tis the pitch and proposal season. Likewise, I'm still working on publicity/marketing stuff for I Am Princess X - which debuts at the end of this month. [:: waves pompoms ::] [:: fires tee-shirt cannon ::]

Word on this one is really getting around - and in addition to the three starred reviews it earned from the trades (PW, Booklist, and School Library Review) ... real-life reader reviews are filtering out onto the net. At first I was worried about the early reader reviews, because the ARC of this book was missing about 90% of the artwork for the webcomic that threads through it; and I'd been a little concerned that the pacing felt weird without the illustrations.

But lucky for me, the early chatter is actually pretty great :)
[:: throws confetti ::]

    Shelf Awareness - "In a clever innovation, Priest effortlessly integrates the comics within the prose narrative. Each new episode of Princess X reveals further clues and a terrifying reality for whomever is behind them."

    Booklist Reader - "Looking for a smart, hip mystery to hand to teens who want something a little different? Cherie Priest’s I Am Princess X (May 2015) is just what the librarian ordered!...Part prose, part comic, this will lure in readers and trust me, once started, this a book that can’t be put down."

    Bustle.com - (Named it one of May's best YA books.) "I Am Princess X makes full use of the hybrid novel-comic form, which is just amazing, and its meditations of Internet culture push it even further over the edge of coolness."

    PopCrush.com - (Also named it one of May's best YAs.) "Speaking of nerdy YA, this one's getting down with its dorky side too, as well as feeding into the Missing BFF mystery theme that's been cropping up in YA lit lately...This YA debut from a seasoned science-fiction author is definitely going to be a home run for the genre this month."

* * *

Don't forget, pre-orders are important for authors! We appreciate them tremendously! Please consider pre-ordering!

I Am Princess X at Amazon.com - and for Kindle
I Am Princess X at Barnes & Noble - and for Nook at
I Am Princess X at an independent bookseller near you

* * *

Right! So. Enough shilling from me, for now. I always feel weird doing it - which doesn't stop me, no, because it's part of my job - but I also figure that this blog is about me and my life and what's going on. Well ... this is what's going on: drainage problems and book promotion.

So for the sake of symmetry, here's a picture of the formerly soaked/ruined den, returned to its former glory. During the freak flash flood, we had water all the way up to those windows behind the couch. It was awful. Half the floor had to come out.

(Note: Our home backs up to a mountain; the front of the house is probably 15-20 feet above street level, but the back is set into the slope. Usually, water just runs off the hill and parts around the house...but we got a deluge, and combined with some bad DIY gutters from ages past, we got soaked.)

* * *

Hmm...what else? The pets are just fine. The pooch is coming up due for his annual summer haircut, which reminds me, when I'm finished here I'm going to call the groomer. The days are heating up, and so is he. My poor fluffy black snow-dog, bless his heart. He's so much happier this time of year when he's virtually naked.

As for the little old cat, she's also doing well. The anti-anxiety meds, the pheromone collar, and the change of kibble have really worked wonders - much to everyone's relief. She's back to her queenly old self. Did I say "queenly"? I might've also used the words "adorably obnoxious."

So that's all for now. I'm not sure when I'll get back to the daily wordcount grind, as this week has me running around doing other writer-business-errands; but I'll do my best to get back to The Toll sooner, rather than later.

Have a good one, folks - and thanks for reading!

Normal is just a setting on the dryer

Things are coming back together over here - at long last. The French drain was finished yesterday, the gutters were installed today, and the floor will be ready for its usual furniture and traffic tomorrow, thank God. There's still a good chance we'll get some concrete regraded for additional drainage protection, but I won't know for certain for another day or two. That said, I'll probably want to schedule it as soon as possible. Let's just get all this crap out of the way, right? The sooner, the better.

Anyway. The house stinks of polyurethane sealant, and we're still building forts with the den furniture, but soon all will be back to normal ... including my blog-posting regularity :)

So please pardon me for being brief.

By way of apology for the general lack of content, here - have a picture of Greyson kicking it under the dining room table earlier this week (chairs were stacked elsewhere, during furniture Tetris). He's guarding yours truly and part of a rawhide bone from the scary power tools. And also hiding from them. Two birds, one stone. Good boy.

Open your eyes but only if you can

It's been a difficult week. There have been setbacks with the floor restoration; all the wood's been ripped out, but it hasn't been restored due to an unresolved moisture problem. Likewise, we've had problems with the drain/gutter arrangements; but I've finally gotten almost everything lined up to have the matters sorted out early next week. If we're lucky, everything will be back to normal by maybe, I don't know. Next Wednesday or Thursday.

For now, it's rather chaotic around here. Most of the den's furniture has been relocated to the rest of the house, so we're climbing over chairs and ottomans and end tables and books and rolled up rugs and displaced dining room stuff because that's where some of the den stuff went, etc. etc. etc. ... and the days are full of appointments, phone calls, and power tools a'buzzing. The evenings feature industrial fans running at full tilt, and full volume. It's unsettling. Everything out of place, and everything noisy as hell, 24/7.

Meanwhile, I'm on a deadline. Or two. Believe it or not, I've cranked out over 5000 words since Monday on [project I'm not supposed to talk about] and I hope to wrap up a draft tomorrow, depending.

Anyway. That's why things are quiet over here. Just thought I'd come up for air and say so.

These changes ain't changing me

I'm back! And I'm still eyeballs deep in work! Thus the silence since I returned from Pasadena on Tuesday night, I'm afraid. You would not BELIEVE how full an inbox can get when you're gone for three whole work days. Or maybe you would, I don't know. At any rate, it's been a mess, and things will continue to be a mess for awhile yet.

To recap in brief: I had a marvelous time at the Children's Institute event, where I got to meet my awesome Scholastic publicist and a number of outstanding book buyers/vendors/reps/etc; I had an uneventful return trip; I had a freakout upon my arrival home.

Apparently I was wrong about some flooding damage. To wit, our house was the victim of a deluge a week ago - I mean, water up to the windows in the den deluged - and no, we don't have flood insurance.* Why the hell would we? We live on the side of a mountain, FFS. It was just a freak phenomenon where we caught the brunt of a flash flood at the rear of the house; and at first, it looked like everything was solved with some towels and some fans.

But the moment I came home, I knew we had a problem.
A wet, musty problem.

Oh yeah. It took the wood and its subflooring a few days to swell, and now we have to rip out maybe a third of that lovely oak we installed a year and a half ago. I'll find out how much this is going to cost us tomorrow, when a dude comes out to give me a number and make me cry.

Then on Monday a different dude is coming out to tell me how much a new gutter system and a French drain behind the den will run us. We've had "new gutters" on the to-do list** since we moved in - not that it would've done us much good last week - but the drain should help protect us from future freak water events.

Besides all that mayhem, my husband dashed out of town for work as soon as I got back, so it's been back-and-forth trips to the airport, packing and unpacking, and general freaking out for everyone! [:: throws confetti ::] He comes home again tonight, though. So there's that.

In other news, since my return to Tennessee - besides clearing the email backlog - I also batted last-minute cleanup on the I Am Princess X audio content, and then I went diving in headfirst on [secret project] with a deadline at the end of this month. I hope I make it.

Anyway, things aren't all hectic doom and gloom around here, for today Greyson had a playdate with Briley! A marvelous dog party ensued! So let's end on that note, eh?

* Even if we could con the insurance company into paying out, it'd come back to bite us in the ass when our premiums shoot skyward.
** It is a very SEXY to-do list.

Where angels sing and spread their wings

Don't worry - no boring word metrics today. To sum up the last few (blog-free) days in brief: I finally finished up Chapelwood's copy edits, and then I had to leap immediately into some additional production work for I Am Princess X - specifically, the audio edition.

If I am very, very lucky, I'll have this stuff wrapped up by the end of the week. If I'm not...I'm in trouble, because I have to make a very fast jaunt to Pasadena (also for Scholastic) on Sunday, and this stuff is due early next week.

Alas, if you read that and thought, "Hey, I'm in Pasadena! Maybe I will come out and see you read/sign/etc...." then let me stop you right there. On this particular trip, I'll be (a). in town for only one full day, and (b). spending that single, glorious day all tied up with this groovy shindig.

My apologies! But at events like this one, my time is not my own.

* * * * *

[:: psst ::]
[:: hey, you guys ::]

Scholastic is running a book give-away over at Goodreads!
Click right here to maybe win your very own copy of I Am Princess X!

* * * * *

Speaking of young adult books, my pal Delilah S. Dawson is having a book birthday! Yes indeed, upon this fine morn her Superlatively Awesome book Hit officially lands on shelves across the land!

Pick it up/check it out if you're down with the idea of a bank-owned post-democracy America exploiting teenagers as debt-collecting assassins. Or I mean, not if you're down with that from an ideological standpoint, but, like, a fictional ... you know what, never mind. Just buy that book. You'll dig it, I promise.

* * * * *

Today I am wearing contacts for what is essentially the first time in a year and a half. Rather than bore you with the details (or, God forbid, risk having the internet come to my aid with Helpful Suggestions), just trust me when I say that I have some long-running and well established eyeball difficulties that have kept me primarily in glasses for awhile now.


Maybe tomorrow, because hell - you never know. Or at least I never know. Not at first. But so far, this variety of daily disposable lenses is looking pretty sweet, and I can once again wear sunglasses - so huzzah for THAT. Even if my spectacle-free glee turns out to be temporary.

I really hope it's not temporary. It is SO much easier putting on makeup when I have these bad-boys in, you know? (Trust me. My prescription is kind of ridiculous.)

* * * * *

Not much else to report right now, I'm afraid. We've had a lot of wet weather these last few days, so there's been minimal progress on the yard - and the pets are both doing just fine. And on that note, I'll go throw on some sneakers and get ready to take the pooch for his afternoon walk. (Usually I take the morning pooch perambulation shift, but this morning I had the eye doc appointment...so the husband and I swapped out.)

Have a good one, everybody. I'll try to squeeze out some more boring word metrics and/or other newsworthy blogging this week, but I make no promises.

I rolled on as the sky grew dark

Here's recent progress on my rural gothic monster story about small-town secrets, old family lies, accidental legend-tripping, and a missing newlywed in the Okefenokee swamp - where you can drive SR 177 from west to east and cross six bridges...or take it from east to west, and you might hit seven. (But you’d better hope not.)

    Project: The Toll
    Deadline: January 15, 2016
    New words written: 2562 (woot!)
    Present total word count: 16,982

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Made it to the bar; flirted with someone out of our approved age range and/or league; watched part of a basketball game, and then things got weird.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; lunch with husband; quit trip to the post office; cleaned the whole house (except the kitchen, which the husband tackled). Also, copyeditmonster.

    Other: I will kill off the copyeditsmonster by tomorrow afternoon if it kills me. Hint: It might kill me.

    Unrelated Other: Oh yeah, I forgot - I also got everything set up so I can work on a side project for Scholastic re: the audiobook of I Am Princess X. Long story. This shall be the monster which replaces the copyeditmonster next week, though next week also comes with a couple of important appointments AND my introduction to [secret project redacted], and then I have to get ready for a work trip to California on the 19th...so I don't know. As my husband puts it - some days, you just have to pick how you're going to fail.

    Failure Other: I am all out of calories to burn on this stuff right now. (In my defense, I've been in fifth gear since 9:00 this morning, FFS.) I think I'll knock off, and maybe work on the yard a bit. Or something. [:: crashes ::]

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 45,274

Let me run with you tonight

Here's recent progress on my rural gothic monster story about small-town secrets, old family lies, accidental legend-tripping, and a missing newlywed in the Okefenokee swamp - where you can drive SR 177 from west to east and cross six bridges...or take it from east to west, and you might hit seven. (But you’d better hope not.)

    Project: The Toll
    Deadline: January 15, 2016
    New words written: 1617
    Present total word count: 14,420

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Left home in the rain, but it wasn't so bad; got a Coke; skipped pizza; made for the bar even though they won't serve us. And things were weird.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; more powering through copyedits for Chapelwood; very little else, as I REALLY want to get these copyedits out of the way, ASAP.

    Other: Copyedits are a necessary evil and copyeditors are wonderful, but by the time I see a manuscript's copyedits...I've probably gone over the material 3-5 times already and I'm just so damn sick of looking at it, you know?

    Unrelated Other: There is no unrelated other. There is only copyeditmonster.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 42,712

If I stay too long in trouble town

Here's recent progress on my rural gothic monster story about small-town secrets, old family lies, accidental legend-tripping, and a missing newlywed in the Okefenokee swamp - where you can drive SR 177 from west to east and cross six bridges...or take it from east to west, and you might hit seven. (But you’d better hope not.)

    Project: The Toll
    Deadline: January 15, 2016
    New words written: 1527
    Present total word count: 12,803

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Another leg in the new beginning; said good-bye to the godmothers (temporarily) and set off down the road, where things got weird.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to post office; went to bank; grabbed some lunch; worked on copyedits for Chapelwood.

    Other: YOU GUYS. Wonder Editor Liz TOTALLY signed off on the name change! So huzzah for that, eh? GOING FORWARD this project shall be called: The Toll. I love that little word. You sure do get a lot of mileage out of it, you know? It's perfect for a book that begins (more or less) with a man crossing a bridge and leaving something behind...

    Redundant Other: So I'm eyeballs deep in the Chapelwood copyedits, even as I'm trying to crawl forward with progress on The Toll. Not an ideal situation, but hey - life ain't ideal. Most of the time. I'll get it all done, don't worry. I always do. Right? Right??!

    Unrelated Other: A friend-of-a-friend could use a hand. Long story short, her barn got totaled by an asshat with a tractor (on accident, but still), and she can't swing the $1k insurance deductible. Meanwhile, momma-and-baby goats, horses, geese, ducks, and chickens are presently homeless...and in danger. If you can throw a few pence in the pot, it'd be muchly appreciated, I know.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 41,095

I am Superman and I know what's happening

Another week, another blog post. I hate that it's been so rare, as of late - but there are only so many hours in the day, you know? Mostly it's just been Writer Business (with very little writing, I confess), but I did get out of the house on Saturday - when the husband and I got all dressed up, and headed down to Atlanta to see the Night Vale live show at the ASO.

It was marvelous! And if you ever get a chance to catch a live show yourself, you should absolutely take the opportunity and GO.

Of course, with us being away from the house all day, Greyson would've had a hard time of it ... except that his Auntie Vanessa and the Cooj came over to keep him company. With Auntie V on scritch duty, everything turned out all right.

You can see how broken up he was, in our absence.

* * * * *

In other news, I did not win the Philip K. Dick Award this past weekend.

But I do offer my deepest thanks to the gruesome twosome at Seattle Geekly [Shannon pictured above, making a sadface on my behalf] and my most hearty congratulations to Meg Elison - who did take home the title.

* * * * *

Here's recent progress on my rural gothic monster story about small-town secrets, old family lies, accidental legend-tripping, and a missing newlywed in the Okefenokee swamp - where you can drive SR 177 from west to east and cross six bridges...or take it from east to west, and you might hit seven. (But you’d better hope not.)

    Project: The Seventh Bridge
    Deadline: January 15, 2016
    New words written: 2470 (multi-day total)
    Present total word count: 11,276

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: A new beginning. No, seriously...I needed to pick a different place to begin the story. I'm pretty happy with it, actually.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with dog; aforementioned trip to Atlanta; cleaned house; went to grocery store; went to liquor store; went to Walgreens; worked on the yard some more.

    Other: I think I want to re-do the title on this again. Its first title was Hell and Half of Georgia, which was kind of a mouthful (and my editor gave me a bit of side-eye about it), so we swapped it to The Seventh Bridge ... but I think it's best-suited to something even shorter: The Toll. Yes? No? I think it's perfect, but we'll see what Liz says...

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 39,568

* * *

Return of the majestic Arboreal Lapdog. He seems to like it up there.
(We've turned it into a neighborhood joke: "Turn left at the shih-tzu in a tree...")

Proof of Life, News, and Whatnot

Well, I did warn you that updates were likely to be few and far between for a couple of weeks. But I've been busy! Very busy! For one thing, I spent several days down in Dahlonega, Georgia, with such fine peeps as Kevin Hearne, Delilah Dawson, and Molly Harper. Shenanigans occurred. So did cake.

For that matter, also there were skillets full of brownies.
Don't ask.

Many thanks to everyone who came out to join and/or support and/or heckle us - with extra-special thanks to the inimitable Carol Malcolm, and the marvelous folks at Fox Tale Books - where you can presently order signed books from goobers like yours truly and/or pretty much anyone you see on this-here list. Just sayin'.

* * *

Other than the lit fest, I've mostly been eyeballs deep in Writer Business (but no actual writing) and yardwork. The weather has been just PERFECT and I wanted to get a jump on all the grunt-work before things heat up in another month or two; and thus far, I've successfully cleaned/swept/cleared brush by the wheelbarrow-full, and pruned/weeded/raked All The Things. I've also made a couple of runs to the local awesome lawn/garden shop, and spent a few bucks on some annuals for the container garden and/or the flower boxes out front (all 30 feet of them, yes), plus my traditional hanging flower baskets and a few perennials to fill in some dead spots left by winter. I may have splurged on some awesome irises that are so deliciously dark purple, they look like black velvet. Hypothetically.

Now that all of these new beauties are installed, I've also re-seeded some of the rougher/more naked/dog-ravaged patches of the lawn and soaked the whole thing down like crazy. There's more left to do, of course. There's always more. But this year, I'm better prepared than ever before. Knock on wood.

* * *

In other news, come Saturday the husband I are headed down to Atlanta to catch the Night Vale show on tour. I, for one, cannot freaking WAIT. I'm a latecomer to the podcast, but I'm a convert now ... and that's the important bit. Greyson and the kitty shall be lovingly critter-sat by our friend Vanessa - who will bring the Cooj over and camp out in our absence - so EVERYbody will have a grand time. Except the kitty, who will probably just sleep through the whole thing.

Did I mention we kept the Cooj for a few days? Well, we did. He and Greyson got some real good woofing done.

* * *

AND FINALLY. Because I save the biggest news for last ... I Am Princess X has scored a starred review from Publishers Weekly! This makes three starred reviews: Booklist, School Library Journal, and now PW. NO PRESSURE, RIGHT?

I also did two interviews on the subject of this book already this week, so things are really ramping up. My YA debut! In two months! I will try to keep from freaking out over here, okay?