Saturday, 31 October 2015


Chapelwood is Cherie Priest's sequel to Maplewood: The Borden Dispatches which was a re-imagining of the Liz Borden axe murder case as a Cthulhu Gothic Cosmic horror story.  I reviewed it here.

I will say that this sequel is real ballsy.  By that I mean Cherie Priest takes the hero of her first novel and runs the story forward thirty years.  That takes real authorial courage.  It would've been so much easier for her to say one year later or five years later and have Lizzie start another adventure involving swinging an axe at the minions of the Great Old Ones.

I enjoyed the way the novel unfolds in a languid fashion, slowly building the suspense by showing us the transformation of the South in the 1890s through to the 1920s.  I felt that I actually learnt something about the craft of writing from reading this book.  The way the sentences were broken down to counter balance the pace of the story which evolves through the different character viewpoints; some new and some old.  The story blurs protagonist and antagonist and there's a real feel of Lovecraftian horror where knowledge is not power but damnation.

I love it.  The story ends in a manner that felt true to the mythos, reminding me of when I used to play Call of Cthulhu RPG and the heroes ended up changed, scarred by their experiences.  It will be interesting to see where Cherie Priest goes next with this series because I truly hope she comes back to this setting.

As for my work it's been a bit of a week.

Injection in my wrist for my tenosynovitis which was not exactly unpleasant, but needle stuck into wrist is not something one has done to one on an everyday basis.  My doctor informs me there's a 68% chance of the treatment working and I'll know in a couple of weeks.  He said the wrist would hurt more, and he wasn't wrong about that, but it was a strange pins & needles type of pain that was a bit disconcerting.

It should come as no surprise that I didn't sleep well that night.

Next morning I had to take my truck to Aldershot.  Unlike last year where I used the wrong postcode for directions, this year I got there without getting lost.  The biggest hassle was pumping up the tyres because the air at the petrol station was anaemic.  It took me fifteen minutes to inflate four tyres which was incredibly hard work as I had to keep the hose pushed on the valve.  My sore wrist didn't help.

So this week I finished the third draft of Strike Dog editing a total of 21,027 words.  Yay!

The running total for my second novel now stands at 92,854 down from the second draft total of 102, 343 words.  My plan now is to go back to Ghost Dog, but before I do I have a short story to critique, all part of the quid pro quo of having a friend Beta read my work in return.

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