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.)

We all leave before the morning light

It’s been one week since Quinn the kitten got her first real vet visit, and – if my husband’s food scale can be believed – she’s gained almost exactly one pound. She now weighs in at 2.11 pounds, and she’s obviously feeling much, much better than when she first arrived. The wee stinker has gone from a feeble little sleeper who needed a boost to scale a 6-inch litter box lip…to an intrepid explorer with the usual boundless kitten energy and a passion for climbing.

She’s no longer projectile-pooping, and after some fits-and-starts re: her potty manners, she’s now gone a good 36 hours with zero accidents. It took some trial and error to find out what worked for her; in the end the magic formula seems to include one large box with NO top on it, because who wants to poop in a cave, I guess – and two smaller boxes: one in the den, one in our bedroom. For cat reasons.

I am relieved to note (no pun intended) that she’s losing interest in the smaller boxes as she gains confidence and becomes more comfortable with having the run of the house.

As for my husband, he generally likes her – but hasn’t had a chance to interact with her much. He’s been very busy since his return from Seattle (which turned out to be around midnight on Saturday, contrary to my previous report); in fact, he’s not home right this moment, as he’s out meeting an old friend. But it is my fervent hope that – given time – he’ll fall in love with her as thoroughly as I have. Perhaps while I’m off at DragonCon next week(!!!) they’ll get in some good cuddle-time.

He is a nice man, who is fond of kittens and very kind to them.

* * *

Anyway, speaking of DragonCon – my schedule for that is downright punishing, but I’m sure I will have a marvelous time … doing two signings (only one of which is on that schedule right now) and about a dozen panels over several days. When the event draws closer, I’ll post the whole thing, don’t worry. Or, if you’re so inclined, you can look me up on the DragonCon app – which is very shiny and actually quite useful.

* * *

In other news, as far as we can tell, the misadventuring chimney swifts seem to be doing well. I followed the rehabber’s instructions – observed and reported, and left them alone – then got the go-ahead for a more invasive check-in on them yesterday. The husband and I had heard the adult birds swooping down and feeding the squealing babies on a regular schedule, and nothing had fallen down into the fireplace again … so I went ahead and pulled off the iron summer cap, held my breath, and shined a flashlight up in there.

Thank God, I didn’t see a thing except for the underside of a couple of nests. I don’t think either of the wayward babies were still hanging on to the wall within my reach, and they definitely hadn’t fallen any farther. I am forced to assume that they made it back up into those nests (only a couple of extra feet) or, perhaps, the larger of the two babies has fledged and vacated the premises.

Live long and prosper, little birds. Party hard. Eat many mosquitoes. Feel free to hang around the yard, and maybe come back to nest with your own tiny families next year – after we’ve repaired the chimneys and stuffed the flue with insulation. (We plan to install screens deep in the chimneys so the birds can still install themselves, but the babies can’t fall down into the house.)

But for the love of God, hurry up and grow up – and get the hell out. I would love to get some freaking sleep, and right now it’s like trying to rest with half a dozen dying fan belts squealing six feet from my pillow. I love you guys, but kindly move along.

* * *

But back to the kitten, because I know what you people are really here for – and I’ve had a number of folks ask how the other household residents are adjusting to her presence. Obviously, no one is terribly worried about Greyson; he’s been thrilled to have her here ever since she arrived.

But the Elder StatesCat is a harder sell.

Spain the Cat is kind of okay with Quinn, most of the time. The baby very badly wants to be Spain’s friend, and she persistently, gently, submissively approaches her. So long as the kitten is careful, Spain will tolerate the attention. But when Quinn tries to play, Spain hisses her away. As far as our little old lady is concerned, the best kittens are sleepy and/or quiet kittens who do what they’re told.

But yesterday, she tolerated a kitten-adjacent nap.

Yes, Spain knew Quinn was there. At one point, she rolled over – looked her dead in the eye – sighed, and returned to her original position. They stayed that way for maybe ten minutes, before the kitten felt like she’d pushed her luck far enough, and beat a discreet retreat.

That little Quinn, she’s no dummy. And gradually, she’s making herself at home.

In closing, I swear to God, I did not stage the following picture. I realized that the cats were hanging out together in the kitchen, and then Greyson noticed too. I called his name to get him to look up, that’s all. Otherwise, this is just a meeting of the pets that I interrupted for a photo op.

So that’s all for now, folks. Thanks for reading, and I’ll try to keep up with regular posts, even as I am eyeballs deep in revisions for The Family Plot and trying to brace myself for DragonCon. But we’ll see how it goes, eh?