Cherie Priest

Tiny Godzilla since 1975

Knuckle crack the bone, 21 to win

15 hours, 59 minutes ago, mid-afternoon

This morning, the first of two landscaping/hardscaping dudes came out to check the premises. He took some measurements, we went through some catalogs, and he’ll get back to me with some estimates once he’s run the numbers. I liked him just fine, and I think he’s good at what he does; he was my first pick, after all…though my second pick was such a close second that it was almost a coin flip, anyway. (And we’ll see what the other dude thinks about matters on Tuesday.)

Not gonna lie, I’m getting pretty excited about it – despite what’s bound to be an exorbitant price tag. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of materials, but the results are going to be amazing. I’ve had visions of patios and paver walkways dancing in my head all day.

Which reminds me, Monday I’ll take some photos and shoot an email to the historic zoning people, just to cover all my bases.

* * *

I checked the flower baskets today when I went out to do my watering – whereupon I spotted one wee little nest, a tad bigger than my palm. No eggs yet, and the birds wigged out when they saw me messing with the basket. (No, I didn’t water it.) They were apparently watching from the dogwood tree nearby.

I can hear them right now, chirping back and forth to one another on the porch. I trust that means they’ve forgiven me the small intrusion.

* * *

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: 1236 (meh)
    Present total word count: 64,874



    Things accomplished in fiction: Read a sinister newspaper article over breakfast, and received an alarming phone call.

    Next up: Courtroom results and fallout. (I know I said that yesterday, but I really mean it for tomorrow.)

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; replied to an email interview; met with the landscaping dude; cleaned the whole house even mopping the relevant floors; refilled all the bird feeders and watered all the new stuff except for the bird-occupied flower basket; started a load of laundry.

    Other: Cleaning the whole house eats up a fair amount of brain CPU, thus the lower word count today. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 98,267

With one flat foot on the devil’s wing

1 day, 18 hours 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

3 days, 17 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