Cherie Priest

Tiny Godzilla since 1975

With one flat foot on the devil’s wing

1 day ago, around lunchtime

On Tuesday, I ran out of my prescription allergy stuff – and was told that I couldn’t get the refill until yesterday, which is typical. I don’t know what weird, bad magic it is, but for some reason my helpful nose-spray-goo (Flonase) is always used up a few days before the insurance company says I’m allowed to have any more. Well, this time it ran out at exactly the wrong time because OH LOOK, SPRING.

In short, my head pretty much exploded. I literally didn’t sleep more than an hour straight all Tuesday night, and I was absolutely useless most of yesterday … so, yeah. That’s yesterday’s excuse for not getting any writing done. Once my ‘scrip was obtained and I could breathe again, all I wanted to do was sleep.

I tried to resist. I did practical, non-thinky things like laundry and yardwork. (Weeding, watering, etc.) But mostly I just lounged on the couch, moaning, blowing my nose, and pretending not to watch HGTV.

* * *

Tomorrow I have to be up a little early, in order to meet one of the fine gentleman who’s coming over to see about our back yard. It’s got some…issues, you see. And now’s the time to start getting estimates regarding its repair in a few weeks.

Why a few weeks? These reasons: (1). my Big Spring Royalty Statement hasn’t landed quite yet, and that will affect the final budget, (2). it’s the busiest time of year for landscaping companies, and I don’t expect anyone to be able to start work any sooner, and (3). I live in a historic district, and although landscaping isn’t regulated by the zoning folks, structural issues like retaining walls/landings are – and sometimes it takes a week or two to get all the paperwork in order.

I’m not particularly worried about the zoning folks. They’ve been very easy to work with in the past, and I’ve doublechecked their historic guidelines (available as a PDF online, conveniently enough); nothing we plan should pose any conflict.

And what do we have planned? Depending on how far the budget stretches (and how that royalty check shapes up), we’d like to (1). repair/restore a concrete landing poured in 1930, for it is cracked/sinking/letting water under the house, (2). repair/restore (rebuild, essentially) a catastrophically failed retaining wall, (3). add a second retaining wall, with (4). a patio/walkway at its base [where the vegetable garden used to be].

Everything except the patio is a necessary fix that needs to happen sooner, rather than later. But dammit, I will have a place to sit outside with the dog and sip mimosas under a big umbrella get some work done in the fresh air.

Anyway. One dude is coming over tomorrow to give us an estimate. Next week, I’m getting a second quote for good measure. Like a civilized grown-up, I am.

* * *

I think last year’s purple finches have returned to the front porch! That’s the good news. The bad news is, I think they’ve picked a flower basket for their nest … rather than the nook in the eaves. Naturally, they picked the flower basket that’s hardest for me to reach. – not that it will prevent me from playing bird paparazzi again, once the eggs hatch and there are FLUFFY BABY BIRDS TO OGLE. Gently. When their parents are away.

And I guess I’ll have to water the basket very, very carefully. And rarely. If at all.
[:: sigh ::]

* * *

Here’s today’s progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents’ deaths – now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:


    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 1979
    Present total word count: 63,638



    Things accomplished in fiction: Poor little axe murderer. He’s having a terrible day.

    Next up: Courtroom results and fallout.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; replied to some emails; did some writer business; cooked lunch and made myself some tea; not much else, to be honest. I’m still dragging a little.

    Other: I got nothin’.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 97,031

I know it’s true that visions are seldom all they seem

2 days, 23 hours ago, in the early afternoon

Signed, sealed, and mailed off the Amended Tax Return of the Damned this morning, so that’s done. I hope. I don’t mind paying taxes, to tell you the truth; I like having roads, fire fighters, cops, and so forth – and I am a grown-ass adult who understands that these things cost money. But I swear to God, there must be a better way to collect it.

Like I’ve said before, if you want an exercise in absolute counter-intuitive insanity, try paying taxes like a self-employed creative professional for a year or two. It’ll give you ulcers.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

* * *

Maplecroft is still 4-1/2 months away and my brain already cannot shut the hell up about it. Today I started cobbling together some guest post content, in hopes that I might score a spot with some of my blogging friends later on this summer. It was either that, or just start doodling “Maplecroft <3 4evah" on my Trapper Keeper.

Anyway, I'm starting to think about promo schwag - since we're going to drop this one a smidge early at DragonCon, and I'll be doing several events between now and the end of the year. It's useful to have such stuff on hand, to remind people of what's coming - or what's available, depending on my timing. So for starters, I'll print up the usual handbills, and I might even do what I did with Boneshaker back in the day: Offer up a pack of 10-20 to anyone willing to leave them in the coffeehouse/student association lounge/bookstore/etc. of your choice.

I mailed out dozens of such packets a few years ago, and it was kind of fun; people kept sending me pictures re: where they’d left their flyers. It felt like I was following my book around the world.

But aside from that? I’m not really sure. Maybe some temporary tattoos? WHO DOESN’T LOVE THOSE THINGS? I know I love those things, and my real tattoos aren’t even jealous. We could work up something with an axe and some blood and the title…maybe. And what about those rubber wrist-band-thingies? They seem pretty popular. Buttons? Magnets?

I’m taking suggestions, folks.

I feel like there must be some awesome promotional gimmick out there for a love letter to Dracula as filtered through Lovecraft in a wholly fictionalized retelling of the Fall River axe murders. But I’ll be honest, I’m drawing a blank.

* * *

Here’s today’s progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents’ deaths – now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:


    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 2397
    Present total word count: 61,659



    Things accomplished in fiction: Returned to our sweet little axe murderer, who really is just trying to do the right thing; visited an old victim who’s now the closest thing to a kindred spirit the poor fellow has in this world.

    Next up: Some bad news. Probably a very bad experience.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; wrapped up tax amendment paperwork; went to the post office and mailed it off; went to Walgreens to put in for a prescription refill; made some phone calls; answered some useful emails; started drafting guest blog posts for deployment later on.

    Other: I feel like I’m forgetting something.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 95,052

Time casts a spell on you, but you won’t forget me

3 days, 23 hours ago, in the early afternoon

I took another weekend off. So sue me. I needed it, I tell you…though I might have hypothetically taken Friday off, as well.

In my defense, I performed a lot more maintenance-style yardwork, and accomplished some boring-type shopping. (Target run for household necessities, etc.) Basically, it was a day of catching-up on regular-life things, rather than writing-life and/or writing-business things. Once in awhile, I need one of those.

That said, Friday was a mixed bag. I was productive, yes – but I also got some paperwork in the mail that I passed along to our accountant…who informs me that (to sum up) I under-reported my income by exactly $666. WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT OMINOUS AT ALL. Because I prefer to view it from another angle: The universe is clearly endorsing my return to horror fiction, after my recent years in steampunk and urban fantasy. It’s not the tax amendment of the damned – no, it’s a blessing!

Here’s hoping, I mean.

* * *

Hey Chattanooga-area folks:
Here’s one hell of a dog, looking for a forever home.

“Kirkland” is a handsome, friendly pit-mix fellow who loves kittens, kids, and other dogs. (Note: Provided they’re mid-size to large dogs…small dogs worry him, for some reason.) A neighbor of mine pulled him off the street late last year, after she found him wandering injured and hungry on Kirkland Avenue. She’s gotten him vetted up, and she’s been fostering him ever since – but Kirk would really love a proper home of his very own.

For more details, click over to this Facebook page – and be sure to run through the photos, because (a). they’re adorable, and (b). there’s some Official Type Info available therein.

Feel free to spread the love around on this one, eh? This pooch is perfect for someone/some family, somewhere.

* * *

So here’s today’s progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents’ deaths – now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:


    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 2052
    Present total word count: 59,262



    Things accomplished in fiction: Recap and summing up of who’s on what team, in a short but somewhat pivotal scene at the tail-end of the courtroom drama.

    Next up: We return to our axe-murderer, who’s about to have a very big problem. Bigger than being an axe-murderer, I mean.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunts with dog; Target run; grocery store run; bank run; saw Captain America and enjoyed it; went to bed early like a boring person but apparently I needed it, so, like, no regrets.

    Other: This week, my goal is at least 1500 words a day. We’ll see how it goes, but I’d love to crack 100k for the year by Friday. On principle, I mean.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 92,655