Baby we’re not fooling anyone these days

Hello, everyone – I’m back from DragonCon, and more or less recovered. Every year (for the last few years) I’ve said to myself, “Self, this is all a little much. Maybe I’ll skip it next time.” But I never do. The pull is too strong. The fun is too big, even with all the work and chaos and clutter. I really was scheduled out the ass, though. SO many panels. Plus interviews. Plus meet-and-greets. Plus signings. But also – SO many friends I don’t see very often. SO much goofing off in the evenings. SO much good discussion of interesting and pertinent stuff with smart people. SUCH great roommates.

I’d take a crack at a formal recap, but I’d be here all afternoon. And then probably all night. So…yeah. I’ll leave the wrap-up by the wayside, and say only a big fat thank you to all the marvelous folks who made it possible – and to those who made it great. You know who you are.

[Edit: Then again, on second thought I should probably link this article – What is Dreadpunk? A quick guide to a new subgenre. Not just because I’m quoted in the article, but because my buddy Derek is the mastermind behind the spooky curtain – and I got to be on the panel for Dreadpunk’s debut.]

Anyway, I’m back now – and I’m unpacked, and the laundry is all done, and the pets have all been snuggled stupid. Regarding the four-footed family members, in a few moments I’ll share with you a most excellent bounty of pet pictures and videos … but first, I must subject you to crass self-promotion!

After all, Chapelwood just came out – and I need for EVERYONE to know about it.


FOR STARTERS. Did you know that you – yes YOU – might be able to get an advance reader’s copy for free? IT IS TRUE. Quoth my awesome publisher: “Like the idea of Lizzie Borden fighting off Lovecraftian horrors? Good news! We’re giving away 10 copies of CHAPWELWOOD by Cherie Priest. This book is perfect fall reading. Just make sure to enter by midnight on Monday! (Sorry, US only)” Now click ye here to throw your name into the hat and then cross your fingers.

FOR NEXTERS. Is that a word? No? Oh well, I’m letting it stand. FOR NEXTERS – if you’d like to skip the crapshoot and pick up a very shiny copy of Chapelwood for your very own reading pleasure, then here’s a list of helpful links to assist you in that quest.

And if you’re feeling so moved, when you’re finished reading the book (or throwing it across the room, but obviously I hope not) … then I’d be terribly grateful if you could take a moment to post a review at the site of your choice. These things matter to authors, they really do


Speaking of the pets (I did, up above – before all the shilling) … all is going well with new addition Her Royal Highness Princess Harley Quinn GreaseMonkey StinkyFoot The First. She had her follow-up vet visit this afternoon, whereupon we learned that she’s merely one ounce shy of three full pounds (up from a straggly 1.1-lb three weeks ago) – and she’s making great progress. However, she’s still a little undersized/underpowered for her age (12-14 weeks) and she needed a second round of deworming goo. No big deal. With any luck, in another few weeks she’ll gain another couple of pounds – so we can talk about getting her chipped and spayed.

As far as the other household members go, Greyson remains absolutely besotted with Quinn – and Spainy remains idly tolerant of her.

Quinn and Greyson frolic carefully; she wrestles with his face and tail, and he nudges her around with his nose. No claws or teeth deployed by either party – and when the baby is anxious or sleepy, she runs to him, cuddles against him, and purrs all over him. He eats it up.

As for the ElderCat, relations are a little less snuggly and cordial – but they aren’t bad, either. The two almost play together, once in awhile (*almost*), and they’re content to share the bed, share sunbeams, and even share a chair cushion from time to time. So long as Quinn doesn’t get too exuberant in her playtime – nobody gets hissed at, and nobody runs away.

Today the routine is a little shaken up – not just because of the lunchtime vet visit, but because Cooj the Three-Legged Wonder Pooch is joining us again for a few days. His dad dropped him off this morning, so that meant relocating all the cat food into my bathroom [:: gives the Cooj the stinkeye ::] … and that’s about it, really. He’s a very easy guest.

Upon Cooj’s arrival, Greyson was like, “Oh, cool. This guy comes with treats and wet food!” Spainy woke up from her nap, shrugged, and went back to sleep. And Quinn detonated into a poof of hisses.

She is absolutely horrified by him – or rather, by the noise he makes. Cooj is older and he has a heart condition, so when he’s worked up (due to oh, say, a walk from his house to ours) … his breathing becomes very loud and heavy. By which I mean, it sounds like he’s gasping for air and probably dying; you can hear him all over the house, and outside too. He can’t help it and once he settles down, he’s fine – but Quinn is Super Dubious About This Matter.

As for Cooj – he’s entirely oblivious to the existence of either Quinn or Spainy. It’s almost like he’s literally unable to see cats. He completely ignores them. (He spent half his life with five of them. His willful ignorance might be a defense mechanism.)

He’ll be here until Saturday, and that will be fine. He’s a lovebug and an excellent watchdog who prefers to spend most of his time outside. Quinn will get used to him.


Right! Well.
I believe this has run on long enough.

So now it’s time for me to get back to work. I have ten days to turn around a new draft of The Family Plot, and I’m not nearly as far along as I’d like, so you can anticipate some radio silence over here. I just have too much to do, so I’ll be imposing a partial internet embargo for a couple of weeks.

Please forgive me! And please accept one final pet-picture. This one answers the perennial question, “How do you work with all those adorable animals around?” With an audience, that’s how.

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.)