Setting locations of The Possession Chronicles: Part 1

To follow up my two previous posts focusing on the homes of the characters in The Possession Chronicles, I’m going to take a few weeks to showcase other setting locations. First off, here is a 2018 aerial view of downtown Mobile, Alabama. It’s taken from the north, looking south–so the opposite of a map if you pull one up to see more. Mobile River is on the left/east (see the cruise ship–there’s a terminal for it on the riverfront).

I’ve marked some key streets and locations–some of which no longer exist, but I’ll note them below.


A: The historic Courthouse (no longer there–it’s now Mardi Gras Park. The current “Government Plaza” is the large building two properties to the right.)

B: Battle House Hotel (still at the corner of Royal and St. Francis, rebuilt from the 1905 fire–it really happened as it did in Perilous Confessions).

C: Bienville Square (with the fountain, still there!)

D: Marking the spot between Melling and Associates (obviously a fake business, but a real location with an updated building currently there) and the Aethelwulf Club, the exclusive men’s club inspired by a real one–mentioned most often in the short stories.

E: Alexander’s “duplex” (on St. Francis Street, private home, still standing)

F: The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (It was made Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception about sixty years ago–and as such, now has crypts for the bishops in the basement.)

G: Temperance Hall, sight of Mardi Gras masquerades and more (torn down in 1923, new building in its place)

BONUS: The three main roads that run eat/west are marked:

Government Street–the courthouse was on it and the Mellings’ mansion would be about a mile to the right/west off the photograph.

Dauphin Street–a major shopping area and trolley line in the day (still shopping and entertainment/arts district–similar to the French Quarter in that other Southern city that also celebrates Mardi Gras though Mobile started it).

St. Francis Street–often mentioned (Melling and Associates, the duplex, etc. are on it)

(Conti Street runs between Government and Dauphin Street, but it isn’t notable to the plot lines in the series.)

BONUS FYI:

Frederick’s house would be three blocks down/north and three blocks right/west from “G”, but State Street is off the map.


The Eastons’ house is about 3 miles to the right/west from the cathedral–between Dauphin and Government streets off Catherine St.

The original location of Trinity Episcopal (Frederick Davenport’s congregation)–it’s now several miles to the west down Dauphin Street after being moved brick by brick–was at the corner of St. Anthony and Jackson Streets, right about at the bottom right corner of the photograph.

Monroe Park, no longer in existence, would be a mile or more south, on Mobile Bay, after Mobile River meets the bay. Location of several dates/outings for characters. It had the roller coaster, Yacht Club pier, and more.

Now, which places would you like to learn more about? I’ve already had a request for the cathedral, so I’ll share about that next time for sure.

P.S. Here’s a teaser for the next novel in The Possession Chronicles. The expected release date is December 14, 2021, so plan to add it to your winter reading list. There are several holiday scenes in it and nothing says “Merry Christmas” more than dysfunctional family drama, right? And yes, that’s Mobile’s cathedral in the image. Cover reveal for Barren Devotion coming soon!

The Homes of The Possession Chronicles: Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts featuring the homes of The Possession Chronicles characters. All the city houses in the family saga are actual homes in Mobile, Alabama. Part of my research is choosing locations that are historically accurate–houses, churches, parks, hotels, and more. For the most part, I keep to the facts, though I have been known to fictionalize a few things. (I typically note those liberties in the Author’s Note/Acknowledgement section.) To start things off, here are the two main family homes in The Possession Chronicles, the Melling and the Easton houses.

The Mellings’ Government Street mansion. This one I fudged on the build year by a couple to have it complete for their 1904 Christmas party in Perilous Confessions. (It is on record as being built “circa 1906”, so it’s not too far off.)

1209 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama

Designed by my favorite local architect, George B. Rogers, this beauty is one of dozens of homes he designed along Government Street and adjoining (now historic) neighborhoods. During the the first few decades of the twentieth century, everyone who was anyone in Mobile high society had a Rogers designed home. He built a wide variety of private and public buildings, including a skyscraper, a Scottish Rite Temple, the library, a public high school, and Bellingrath Gardens and Home (one of “America’s Castles”). I refer to George Bigelow Rogers as Mobile’s Frank Lloyd Wright. Want a peak inside the “Melling” home? Check out the Zillow listing from when it was last on the market.

The Easton Home. This majestic Queen Anne Victorian is a reader favorite. Built from a kit in 1897, the home has all the details you expect from a life-sized dollhouse.

1552 Monterey Place (at the corner of Catherine St.) in Mobile, Alabama

Today, the “Easton” home is a functioning Bed and Breakfast with a stellar reputation–and it’s for sale! Check out the gorgeous photos and all the stats here. Have you ever wanted to own a B&B? This is the perfect one to step into. The current owners are welcoming and full of all the Southern hospitality you’d expect. I give a nod to the Kate Shepard House name by having the oldest Easton sister, Susan, married to a David Shepard of Grand Bay.

What other homes or locations do you wish to read about and see? I’ll be sure to feature them in the weeks ahead.

Springing Along

After finishing the first draft of my latest project at the end of March, I took a few days off to reset my mind. Powering through 118,000 words in just over two months merits a mini-break. Then, I dove into what I think was my final round–or next to final round–of self edits (draft twenty-four) of Barren Devotion, the seventh novel in The Possession Chronicles.

One of the period pieces of photography that helped me set the mood for Barren Devotion.

Yesterday, I completed the first draft of a short story to submit to the next Mobile Writers Guild anthology. The deadline is May first, so I’ll be powering through edits the next few weeks. I even gave it the first round of edits last night after only a couple hours away from it–not the best thing to do, but I’m on a time crunch. Generally, the longer you’re away from a project, the easier it is to see the flaws. Fortunately, I have just enough time to submit the story to my critique group so it can have more eyes on it before submitting. That’s always a good thing–especially for writers like me with dyslexic tendencies.

It looks like the rest of April will be spent editing the short story, while waiting to hear from the editor of Haunted Remains, the 6th novel in The Possession Chronicles. The next book releases this July and several editing rounds with a professional will be happening before then. And the cover art–I always look forward to that.

I already have an idea for another project, but it’s on hold until I see to these deadline projects. I tend to get obsessive about projects and find it difficult to balance more than one at a time, so I hold back the new ideas until I get a clear creative calendar. That doesn’t work for everyone. A lot of people I know, if they don’t act on an idea, they lose it. For me, it builds up like pressure behind a dam and when I get to it, it spews out. Not a pretty visual, but first drafts are messy.

At least, that’s how it’s worked for me the past few years. Creativity has an ebb and flow, just like the rest of life. I used to not be able to fast draft. Now I can–except for last year. It took me thirteen months to draft one novel when the previous six novels took an average of two months each. But this last one put me back on my fast draft schedule. I don’t force it–I go with it. Life is too short to be overly hard on yourself, especially with creativity. Take breaks, reset, allow your output to change with life’s demands. We’re human.

Mardi Gras and Southern Gothic

It’s that time of year, again. Mardi Gras. The day (season) of indulgence. Last January, I blogged about it on a personal level–check it out here. Today, I’d like to take a minute to tie Mardi Gras with my Southern Gothic series.

I found this explanation of Southern Gothic Literature online last year on a visual image, so I don’t know who to credit for it:

The South’s reputation for sultry decadence lives on in a literature that meshes the moody romanticism of Gothic novels with the American South’s sensibility of tragedy and doom.

Brilliant, right? When I read it I said “Yes! That’s what The Possession Chronicles is all about.” Tragic events and doomed choices, all layered within romantic ideals that don’t always hold up in the humidity.

Mardi Gras is prominent in Perilous Confessions, the first book in the series, and there isn’t much in life more decadent than those masquerades. My tagline for the book is “Their love brought scandal and demons.” You can’t get much more doomed than demons. Add in the backdrop of carnival season with the juxtapose of life and death symbolized in much of Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras history looming in the background–not to mention Catholic guilt–it creates a greater sense of urgency to the characters’ choices. A “play with Folly all you like, but come Lent it needs to stop” attitude that might be easier said than done when you dive into addiction and other psychological issues.

 

How do the characters hold up? Read to find out.
And I’m always happy to discuss.

 

New Year, New Stories

Unless you live along the Gulf Coast, the holidays are over. If you’re in the Mardi Gras zone, you know the festivities have just begun. Besides being a year old this week, Perilous Confessions is fun to talk about during carnival season. A lot of my historical research centered around Mardi Gras in the Port City.

The Possession Chronicles passed its one year mark, but growth is still happening. Three full-length novels are out–four if you count Fortitude as an unofficial prequel–as well as three short stories (if you include “Courtship and Courage”, the Fortitude short in Hometown Heroes.) Here’s a photo I took of the Possession Chronicles related books, including the anthologies featuring short stories, in chronological order of how to read them.

You can find a list of the publications in this order–including what’s to come and projected release dates where possible–on my website’s page dedicated to the series. Next to be added to is Valentine’s Day Pieces, a Mobile Writers Guild anthology, which releases later this month. Look for ordering links in the following blog post (in about two weeks.)

February will hopefully see the unveiling of book four’s cover as Scarred Memories releases in April. Also forthcoming is a yet-to-be-announced short story project that I’m co-writing with a USA Today best-selling author which ties our story worlds together.  2020 will be a year to read and remember.  Don’t miss out–catch up with The Possession Chronicles now!