Cherie Priest

Tiny Godzilla since 1975

Each gentle sunny spring when they came back again

1 week ago, around lunchtime

Yesterday was kind of a wash, I admit. I didn’t sleep well, due to a combination of a cranky little old lady cat wailing through the night – and my husband’s early rising to go try out for jury duty, as mandated by Official Summons. I’m kind of a hot-house orchid when it comes to sleep. If I don’t get 6-7 hours bare minimum, I’m worthless all damn day.

Which is just a long way of saying that no, I didn’t get any writing done.

That said, I did manage to keep a hair appointment and get myself some lunch; and then, because I lacked the brain power for anything too “thinky,” I took the edge trimmer and went around the yard whacking weeds. It was satisfying and productive, if not exactly something upon which any deadline depended. And now my shoulders hurt.

In other yard news, there is no other yard news. Not right now. But when I finish up with this post, I’m going to make a phone call or two – and see about getting some quotes re: some retaining wall repairs and a patio…which might actually be the most boring and grown-up sentence I’ve ever typed.

But such is life.

And despite yesterday’s failure on a fiction front, I rallied this afternoon – and there’s wordcount to report.

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: 2065 (not terrible)
    Present total word count: 57,210



    Things accomplished in fiction: Nasty little buttons that say nasty little things; chess pieces reveal sinister plays, and the game looks lost before it’s begun; but our heroes aren’t quite alone, not yet.

    Next up: A little more courtroom drama; then perhaps a little murder or two.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to the grocery store; ate a burrito. (Not in that order.)

    Other: I sat down last night with my handy-dandy legal pad, and made myself a loose timeline for the second half of the book. It’s not an outline per se (I hate outlines)…but I need to remind myself of the beats I need to hit, and when I need to hit them. I don’t always stick to these timelines with any great precision, but I find them useful for when I get stuck.

    More other: The husband successfully deferred jury duty until September. In case you were wondering, for some reason.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 90,603

The darkest need the slowest speed

1 week, 2 days ago, mid-afternoon

Today was a day for errands and whatnot, including such thrilling activities as going to the post office and bank, and getting our annual termite inspection. No worries, we aced it. [:: gold star ::]

I still managed to get some writing done, too – as previously vowed.

So here’s recent 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: 2710
    Present total word count: 55,145



    Things accomplished in fiction: Finished giving testimony, and formed a little island of sanity with a few other reasonable people in a sea of crazypants.

    Next up: Ruth learns why Lizzie had such sympathy for her; a stalwart friend strives to be helpful.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to the post office; went to the bank; dealt with termite inspector dude; got lunch; did laundry.

    Other: I actually wrote about a thousand of those words in bits and pieces, over the last couple of weeks. But a good 1700 of them came from today. I add them to my yearly total with pride! But no, I’m not tallying up the added words to Princess X. I’m not sure how many I added, with any real precision; and that total will shift over the next few drafts. Call it an executive decision.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 88,538


* * *

Back in 2006, my grandfather (a minister) performed my wedding. A handful of months later, he died. Today would have been his 86th birthday. With that in mind, here’s a picture of him and Grandma in 1948 – because it’s lovely, that’s why.

* * *

And that’s all for now.

The birds of leaving call to us

1 week, 3 days ago, mid-afternoon

So I took a weekend off, and it was good. On Saturday I slept in a bit, went to lunch with the husband, and did some shopping before coming home to laze around and watch TV. Sunday was likewise pleasant, for we got a visit from an old friend of mine here in town – and her little dog Fiona.

Fiona and Greyson hit it off immediately and frolicking did ensue, despite the size difference between them; Greyson’s about 85 pounds, Fiona is maybe a third of that. It really was adorable, the way they were instant friends – and after several hours (including a 2-mile walk around the neighborhood), both pups were happily pooped.

And, of course, Fiona’s person and I got to catch up – which was half the fun.

* * *

In yard news, I’m still mostly doing cleanup – digging out dead things, pulling weeds, and tidying the old herb garden, or what remains of it. I used to have an herb garden, see. Now I have a truly outstanding dirt hole with a handful of salvageable items miraculously unmolested by a merry dog. I’ll save what I can.

Since a couple of people have asked – no, I won’t be planting a vegetable garden this year. It was worth trying for a couple of spring/summers, but the undertaking ultimately proved to be a lot of work for not a lot of return (in the grand scheme of things).

Frankly, I just don’t have the time or interest for it anymore. Therefore it is with a renewed respect for farmers everywhere that I’m going to put a patio over that bad-boy, just as soon as I get my next paycheck of any substance.

We will get a lot more use out of a patio.
That’s the long and short of it.

Besides, we have a concrete landing at the rear of the house that’s starting to crack and sink. It was poured in 1930 when the house was extended, so it’s had a good run – but it really needs to be repaired/replaced, and the companies I’m investigating should have no trouble taking care of that plus the landscaping tweaks. Might as well do it all in one loud, disruptive go, I say.

* * *

In work news, I spent the day rereading my progress thus far on Chapelwood. On the one hand it felt like a waste of a perfectly good day of productivity; on the other, I hadn’t so much as opened the file in a couple of weeks and I’d really lost track of what I was doing.

In my defense, it features half a dozen POV narratives threaded together, one of which was brand new (written separately) and slotted into place without further inspection … and I’m juggling three major [interlocking] plot lines between the POVs.

I had about 53,000 words to work through, which works out to probably a couple hundred pages of print. And, since I can’t read without editing, the reading was slow. But I got myself all caught up, and tomorrow I’m diving back in.

So stay tuned for continued word metrics.
I hope…