Why were you digging? What did you bury?

Busy Monday over here, with lots to cover - but I'll try to make it quick. Business first, then puppies. Scroll if you just can't stand the business bits...but stick around if you want a really good deal and/or to help a great charity.

    Subterranean Press is running an ebook sale - It's a MAJOR sale, and it expires TOMORROW. Ebooks from $0.99 - $2.99. Including mine. Some of which are out of print. Just sayin'. (Dreadful Skin, Those Who Went Remain There Still, Clementine, and "Tanglefoot.")

    Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive - Click the link for details, and to see that this is the PERFECT opportunity for you to get a signed copy of Maplecroft AND support a great cause. Pat only has a handful of these; so if you're interested, you'd best click sooner rather than later.

    Direct link to signed Maplecrofts for Pat - Right here, if you're content to order without the explanation.

    Paul Goat Allen on Maplecroft - Paul is an amazing fellow and well known reviewer who has said such kind things about Maplecroft that it's almost embarrassing to repeat them. Not that this will stop me. "Without giving too much away, I will say this—Maplecroft is a towering literary achievement. It’s a macabre masterwork. In terms of narrative intensity and abominable atmospherics, it’s comparable to anything Edgar Allan Poe or H.P. Lovecraft ever released." [:: dies and is dead ::]

Once more, I must provide the handy-dandy links - for those of you who may feel inclined to leave reviews or place orders. Thanks a million to everyone who has done so thus far; and my apologies to those who are tired of seeing this particular set of links. I promise I will stop at the end of the month. [:: pinkyswears ::]

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Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 904 (see explanation)
    Present total word count: 16,091

    Things accomplished in fiction: Excavated a little bit of the graveyard, got back to the job at hand, and took off for lunch.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunts with dog; housework; yardwork; dog-sitting (see below); visit to Mary's place before the Writing Excuses workshop gets underway.

    Yardwork Other: Weeded and pruned the foundation plants at the rear of the house; got started on the back bed against the garage, but ran out of steam.

    Other: I realize the word count kind of sucks, but in my defense, it was actually almost twice that. Over the weekend, I went back and re-read/tweaked the existing material, cutting out a few hundred words and adjusting some of the tone. But oh well. I'll just report the net count.

    Progress on Chapelwood Draft One: DONE. Sent off to the editor on Friday. BAM.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 167,168

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This morning, I posted a rather ridiculous picture of myself - in order to celebrate the awesome new tee that arrived in the mail. Behold:

And so many people asked me where I got it, that I figured I'd post the pic and link here, too. I'm here for all your #BUTTS needs. Or rather, Rich Stevens is. Click here for some #BUTTS of your very own.

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Over the weekend, we pooch-sat the marvelous (and wildly misnamed) Cujo - who shall henceforth be known as simply, The Cooj. The poor fellow has three legs and a heart condition, but you'll never meet a happier dude. He and Greyson had a grand old time farting up the place - kicking around the yard, barking at the yard sale next door, and occasionally luring people over to the gate to pet them.

And a very good time was had by all :)

author, editor, wife

I've spent the afternoon trying to figure out how to talk about Eugie. Should I begin with the first time we met? 2002, at a now-defunct convention. We were both new pros. She was wearing a French maid costume and bunny ears, carrying an Easter basket full of chapbooks. Should I settle for the last time we hung out in person? A couple of years ago at FroliCon. We paneled merrily, and made inappropriate jokes. After that...health issues kept her from the usual events where we saw each other. (I swung by the Daily Dragon office a few weeks ago, like always, even though I knew she wasn't there. It wasn't the same.) We'd been loosely in touch in the meantime, but only loosely, I admit. I knew she'd been diagnosed with cancer (a tumor in her sinuses) but she was fighting it and I mean, come on. It was Eugie. She was going to be fine. I knew that last month, she entered the hospital with respiratory problems (related to the cancer treatment). It was a shame she missed DragonCon, but there was always next year. (I could always swing by the Daily Dragon office in 2015. It's only on the second floor. Don't even need the Hyatt elevator to go say hello.) Only no, I can't. Because she died today. I am stunned. I am sad for her lovely husband and family, and angry at losing yet another writer friend to cancer this year. I am confused, and frustrated. I am disappointed with the entire universe.
Yesterday was gorgeous and I was burned out, so I grabbed my cousin and we hit the town in search of Halloween goodies. I picked up a few things to decorate the house, and a couple of things for me, personally - though I was bereft of the holiday-themed footie-pajamas someone assured me were available at Target. I found no such jammies, dammit.

I did find an awesome glow-in-the-dark tee shirt that has Snoopy dressed like a mummy, and I'm wearing it right now. Because Snoopies gonna snoop. Or something.

Anyway, while I got some revision work done on Chapelwood (pg. 264/326) I didn't get around to any yardwork or housework - and I need to get off my ass and fix that this afternoon. So pardon me if I keep this brief.

Maplecroft links roundup!

    Amy Ratcliffe at The Nerdist goes to town on Maplecroft - "Are you ready for a world where Cthulhu meets Lizzie Borden? Yes, as in “gave her mother forty whacks” Lizzie Borden. If you can wrap your head around that concept, then you’re ready for the spook-fest that is Maplecroft by Cherie Priest. It’s a tale of the supernatural, the weird, and the dark things that come from the depths of the sea. For someone like me who was already convinced that going into the ocean equals death, this book was extra scary but also reassuring. Weird, right? But I feel better than ever about my decision to not put a toe in the ocean."

    Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe - Over at Tor.com I talk disgustingly delicious sandwiches, book soundtracks, and at least one anecdote I don't think I've ever offered anywhere else on the internet ... re: my catastrophic efforts to learn to surf in the early 90s.

And once again, as per usual - at least for this debut month of September - here's a list of all the typical places from whence one might order Maplecroft and/or leave reviews for it, if you are so inclined:

Coming Soon: JACARANDA

I wanted to put this announcement in a separate post, so it didn't get lost in the metrics and progress shuffle: BEHOLD - the official Jacaranda announcement from Subterranean Press!

Think of this one as a postscript to the Clockwork Century, a little grace note to end upon - and click that link to learn more about who's in it, what it's about, and why I hope it will absolutely creep you the hell out.

I mean, in a good way...

It looks ugly, but it's clean

Another day of Getting All The Things Done. Or at least Making Progress On All The Things. Hey, I'll take it. First up - I must mention the ubiquitous Maplecroft order/review links, in case anyone is tempted toward either of those things.

Look into the eyes of this-here dog ... do you even KNOW how much kibble he consumes? All of it, basically. In the whole world. And kibble ain't cheap. So support your friendly neighborhood puppy - and help his mom sell some books.

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Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 1248
    Present total word count: 15,187

    Things accomplished in fiction: Spotted a glimpse of ghost; discovered the eponymous cemetery...or what remains of it. Wigged out a little, because this wasn't in the plan.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; ran across and scooped up dog-friend "Mike" who'd gone walkabout unsupervised and took him home to his family; did laundry; did yardwork.

    Yardwork Other: Weeded and pruned back All The Roses and their beds. It took a couple of hours and now I'm stuck with thorn pin-pricks all over, but hey, that's the price of having roses. Still, I'm pooped from hauling all the clippings/weeds/etc. up the hill to the brush pile. Wheelbarrow notwithstanding, it's a workout.

    Other Project's Sample Chapters: Done! Draft Zero, anyway. I'm going to put them aside until the weekend, and then clean them up/ship them off to the editor who asked for them. So that's ONE thing off my plate. (For the moment, if not eternally.)

    Progress on Chapelwood Draft One: 121/325. Not bad! Will do more this evening.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 166,264

Every now and then the stars align

It's Maplecroft Monday! Because of course it is, and there are reviews to report, that's why. Many thanks, as always, to all the kind people who take the time to rate and review everywhere:

    Literal Addiction: Go here to enter a drawing for a copy of Maplecroft, if you like. Even international readers are welcome! There's also an interview with yours truly, which includes a few things you won't find elsewhere on the internet, heh.

    Lithium Creations: "If you’re looking for a beautifully written story of horror, genuine stuff of nightmare, Maplecroft is the story for you. Cherie Priest did her homework on Lizzie Borden and the time in which she lived. Combine such research with her vivid imagination, and she delivers a truly unique macabre masterpiece of fully realized characters given weight through historical accuracy."

    CK(2)'s Kwips and Kritiques: "MAPLECROFT is a stunningly good horror tale, driven by the characters’ own impending sense of doom. Reminiscent of Stephen King’s THE SHINING, MAPLECROFT delves into the madness that lurks just underneath the surface. As evil encroaches on the town of Fall River, readers will keep the lights on, hoping against hope that the sound they hear isn’t coming for them. Highly recommended!"

    Bob the Wonder Llama got bored at work: And apparently, he's been reading Maplecroft. Tentacles and coffee cups FTW!

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And, of course, because it's still that time of year - if you'd like to order or review Maplecroft, then here...allow me to make that easier for you:

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Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 1531
    Present total word count: 13,939

    Things accomplished in fiction: Busted into an old carriage house, and found some very strange artifacts. Also a lot of dust and some lead paint, but, well. You know how it goes.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to the liquor store, yay!; went to the grocery store; went to Walgreens to see about a prescription.

    Yardwork Other: None today, as my attention is now divided by three different projects - and I had too much running around to do this morning. Tomorrow, I hope.

    Other Project's Sample Chapters: Another 800 words, and I'm almost done with sample chapter #2! Maybe I'll be able to wrap that up tomorrow.

    Progress on Chapelwood Draft One: Got through page 55 of 326 (in this format). Goal: met.

    Other in General: I'm tired, man. But tonight - Sleepy Hollow comes back! [:: happydance ::] I'll probably also give Gotham a day in court, though my hopes aren't high. I'm game to be surprised.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 165,016
Don't mind me - just closing out the weekend with a brief roundup and update. First, because it's practically the law when you have a new book out (and I apologize for the shilling, I really do) ... here's the usual suspects - when it comes to where you can get Maplecroft and/or where you're welcome to leave reviews. Because I have a mortgage to pay, and kibble to buy - that's why.

And here's recent progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 1294
    Present total word count: 12,408

    Things accomplished in fiction: Showed the guys around the house; got the trucks unloaded; started exploring the grounds. May have hypothetically spotted ghost footprints, and learned that something unseen doesn't want them to leave. Maybe.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunts with dog; took Greyson to a neighborhood block party - where a little boy gave him the unwanted half of his hot dog, and a little girl donated half a plate of chicken tacos to the Feed Poor Starving Pooch fund; did some yardwork; took yesterday off to knock around town with the husband a little bit, because I deserved a day off, that's why.

    Yardwork Other: Cleared out a bunch of underbrush/low growth on HollyHenge; cleared out a bunch of briars beneath same; weeded the roses a bit; husband dug out some unwanted bricks; would've done more but it looks like it might rain, and also, I'm exhausted.

    Other Project's Sample Chapters: Progress continues apace! Another 1000+ words added this afternoon (so today's total is closer to 2500, actually), and I think if I can sit down and just...power through...I might get a draft of these two chapters ready to go in one more sitting. Not sure if I'll get the chance, though. See below.

    Other in General: Tomorrow, in addition to The Family Plot and the Other Project Sample Chapters, I have to start cleaning up Chapelwood - for a solid Draft One is due back in NYC on the first of next month. I'm actually feeling pretty good about it; the draft is fairly strong, in my opinion, and there aren't any great gaping chunks that need rewrites. I hope. I ought to be able to get it done in a few days, no worries. Here's hoping!

    Bonus! Other: I've got another project brewing in the back of my head. It hasn't gelled yet, but it's about halfway there. This is both good and bad. Good, because it's another arrow in my quiver, so to speak; bad, because I'm already quite busy over here. That's okay. It can be back-burner for now, and within another couple of weeks, I'll have two of these things (the sample chapters and Draft One of Chapelwood) off my plate. I'll tackle it then.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 163,485

All you have is your fire

No word metrics tonight, folks - it just hasn't been that kind of day. Instead, the husband and I tackled the weekly housework...and then we moved on to the yard. We moved on to it hard.

Our front yard is always a little bit of a mess, really. It's quite small, and although the husband and I often have a drink on the front porch (especially when it's raining), there's just not much in the way of "outdoor living space." So quite frankly, we tend to sort of forget about it and let it go to hell - concentrating most of our energy on the back yard, where we spend a lot more time.

Once in awhile I'll make a wee herculean effort and spend a couple of full days on it, which is bullshit, I know. I really ought to give it an hour a week, and then not have to perform these marathon shenanigans - but oh well.

Today I had the husband's help, so it wasn't quite the epic undertaking it would've been, were this a solo mission.

Recently, we've been clearing out underbrush and vines around the two main front beds and/or the old roses. But today we made a final massive push - adding both (a). 10 bags of mulch, and (b). an actual border to both the beds, in the form of the excess pavers I've had sitting in the garage for almost two years.

The time had come. I was never going to do my half-assed plan for a walkway in the backyard anyhow. They were just taking up space...and now they make it look like civilized adults live in this-here house. Really, I'm very pleased with how it came out. Two thumbs up, to me and the hubs.

Now I just have to finish cleaning out under HollyHenge (tomorrow? maybe Sunday?) and start work on the back yard, where things have gone from forest to jungle. With any luck, this will be the last big project-type work I'll have to perform this year.

We shall see.

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Look what I found, while watering plants yesterday!

Don't worry, I didn't lick or otherwise molest him - though I did use a Tupperware container to gently relocate him, when Greyson showed excessive interest in the surprise green interloper. My pooch probably wouldn't have hurt him on purpose, but he's big and clumsy, and prone to snorfling things (whether they want snorfling or not).

It was best for everyone if the little dude returned to the nearby hedges.

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Maplecroft Madness! Can't stop the signal, baby. Here are a couple of new reviews that landed overnight, presented for your consideration:

    Fantasy Faction - (Where it's rated 9/10 stars) "The story likes to highlight the dysfunctions of its players and makes one wonder how any of these people can stand to be in a room together. Their pasts hover over them like drippy coastal fog..."

    Happy birthday to the Errant Weasel! - "I ordered it for myself months ago as I knew it would drop on my birthday. As it happened, I was home in bed with a fever the day it arrived so I got to devote my undivided attention to it. And finished it within 48 hours, wholly unwilling to put it down for more than a few hours of sleep."

And just because, for your convenience - the usual links roundup:

Heaven and hell were words to me

Just a quickie tonight, folks - for I probably won't get any writing done tomorrow. And because it's still very much Maplecroft Madness, I'm just gonna leave these links right here...in case oh, say, anyone wanted to order a copy...or perhaps leave a review someplace. [:: cough cough ::]

So here's recent progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 1652
    Present total word count: 11,114

    Things accomplished in fiction: Had a "moment" with the house, all to ourselves. Did some more exploring. May have heard voices.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; finished up laundry; exchanged some business-type emails; took a phone call; whole buncha yardwork.

    Yardwork Other: Dug weeds, vines, and small trees(!!!) out of the front-facing hedges, in preparation for their newer, cleaner beds come this weekend (give or take); the husband and I are going to line the (presently unmarked) beds with old brick, and fill everything in with some good mulch. Also: de-vined the climbing hydrangea; weeded around the side bed with the rhododendron/Japanese anemones/regular oversized hydrangea; cleaned out the lead-in walkway for the cellar, which had accumulated almost 3-4 inches of dirt/plant detritus/weeds actively growing; cleaned out part of the garage; threw a bunch of shit away. Literally. Found a stash of rat shit, so...yeah.

    Other Project: More progress! Only about 600 words, but I found the beginning of the other character's arc - which was the tricky bit. Onward! Upward!

    Other in General:

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 162,195

BONUS: Here's an adorable, mostly grown puppy-friend of Greyson's. She's alleged to be of bulldog ancestry ... but I suspect an indiscretion between a rolled up sock-ball and an orc.*

* I say that with love, of course. She's as sweet as they make 'em. [:: smooches her smooshy little face ::]

Arms. Like. Noodles. But that's what the edger/trimmer does to me, man. If I took it for a spin more often, I'd have the upper body strength of a superhero. OOF.

So yes, there's been a little more yardwork - not as much as I would've liked, but I got a late start today. On the upshot, the husband joined in for some of the dirty work, so we got quite a bit done. Not everything, mind you. We'll never truly finish; we'll only surrender.

Quoth a lovely friend via twitter: Sisyphus was a gardener.

But I finished edging/trimming the front yard, pulled some weeds, and got the old roses pruned and de-vined - which was frankly an epic undertaking, resulting in many ridiculous scratches. The vines around here are INSANE, I tell you. We've got a whole cocktail of them, always doing their best to take over the yard: English, Persian, Virginia creeper, birdsfoot, morning glories...never mind the ubiquitous Kudzu World Order.

Jesus H., man. It's a mess out there.

It's been a hell of a nice day, though. Breezy and cooler, with a hint of fall. I suppose that's one reason to look forward to winter: the end of yardwork season. The place will look like hell for awhile, but at least there won't be anything I can or should do about it.

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Here, have a picture of Greyson and Watson. It's always a delight when this marvelous cat joins us on our walks in the morning. He runs up to Greyson to greet him, then demands petting from me, and then we stroll for a block or so until the kitty loses interest and goes back home.

But his company is super cute while it lasts.
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So here's recent progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 2045
    Present total word count: 9462

    Things accomplished in fiction: Started checking out the digs and taking inventory.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; inbox: zero; de-vined the roses; de-vined some other shrubby-type thing, the name of which I do not know; finished edging/trimming the yard; pulled weeds, etc.

    Other Project: Progress! I pushed through (another 1000+ words) and actually finished a draft of the first chapter. (I need two, one from each POV character, to serve as the requested sample). Tomorrow I'll start the other one.

    Other in General: I am proud of this-here productive day.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 160,546
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And now it's time for Maplecroft Mayhem, you guys. I am grateful and thrilled by all the kind folks who've taken the time to talk about the book - believe me! - especially in these early weeks of its release. Publishers determine all kinds of things from preorders and initial sales, so your support is MASSIVELY important, and I can't thank you enough.