The Homes of The Possession Chronicles: Part 2

Welcome back to my mini blog series featuring the homes in The Possession Chronicles. Unless there are requests for other houses, this will wrap up the homes and next time I’ll share other setting locations. I include the addresses so you can do a virtual tour of the neighborhoods with an online map if you’d like.

Frederick Davenport’s house. Located north of downtown on State Street, Frederick’s house is visited (so far) in Perilous Confessions, Scarred Memories, and Hostile Charms. Less ostentatious than the other homes in the series, I think Freddy’s home was a perfect fit for the sensible accountant. (If you’re current with your reading of The Possession Chronicles, you’ll know where he lives as of the latest release.) I can imagine Phoebe sitting on the steps with Doff and her stuffed bunny.

254 State Street in Mobile, Alabama

This historic neighborhood is referred to as De Toni Square and is featured in local walking tours and visited by tourists stopping by the [haunted] Richards D.A.R. House Museum, which is around the corner. While not as flashy as the other homes, I find this one just as appealing. I went by the house a few weeks ago with a reader/friend while on our own Possession Chronicles walking tour of downtown and it’s being renovated. Hooray for people who restore historic buildings!

As a quick reference, though it isn’t seen on page as often, the house next door is what I used for the Beauchamp house that Darla moves into when she arrives in Mobile from Dauphin Island in Scarred Memories. It’s worth a peek.

256 State Street

Alexander’s Duplex. Just a few blocks west from the north side of Bienville Square, is what I dubbed “the duplex”. First seen on page in Perilous Confessions, we get a shocking return to it in Haunted Remains. Beware the happenings in the third floor front bedroom!

257 St. Francis Street

From my research, I learned that this late 1800s building originally had wooden balconies. The iron wasn’t added until the 1920s, but I use it in the series for two reasons: I prefer ironwork and I like to use things that readers will recognize when looking at the settings whenever possible.

As a bonus, here’s the inspiration for Seacliff Cottage, the Eastern Shore home of the Mellings. Seacliff Cottage is the only home in The Possession Chronicles that isn’t located where the house is in real life, and that I have never seen in person. The setting for the property is the Ecor Rouge area, and there was a historic settlement call Seacliff/Sea Cliff just to the south of it. I borrowed the name from that–and yes, I’ve seen old maps/books with the spelling listed both ways. I went with one word for my house.

Historic marker on Senic Hwy 98 near Montrose, Alabama.

As for the house itself, Seacliff Cottage is inspired by the William H. Mason House in Connecticut, chosen for it’s Gothic details and having the appropriate build era (pre-Civil War). I found this video on Youtube during my research phase, which helped me with the tone of the exterior, including the back porch and Magdalene’s favorite spot–the attached gazebo.

Since the time the video/information was posted, it has been saved from demolition and restored. To my joy, I recently stumbled across an updated photo of it on Instagram. Complete serendipity.

Be sure to check out the Mellings’ Government Street mansion as well as the Easton home on my previous post. Did I miss a house you wanted to see? Just let me know.

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.

Pinterest Boards

As a highly visual person, I enjoy utilizing Pinterest for research and story ideas. I have boards for each of my novels and even some of the main characters, as well as for favorite things like books, movies, and colors.

While I search things on Pinterest, I also do a ton of research for my historical fiction in person–on location and in libraries. I have a lot of research photos that I haven’t added to Pinterest, though I sometimes post about them on social media. Here are a few samplings from the 1910 Mobile Register newspaper I came across while researching for Scarred Memories–great examples of how truly modern the era was.

Would taking the time to upload my research photos be something you’d be interested in seeing? (I’m adding these two to the Scarred Memories board now.)
Give me a follow if you’re on Pinterest.

Staying Home

It’s an interesting time in the world right now. While there is uncertainty, there is also a slowing down (a breather can be good) and hope–though sometimes you have to search for it. Make the effort to find it–it’s there.

White camellia in bloom last week at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Mobile County, AL. Camellias are important in The Possession Chronicles.

What’s going on in my life? As a decade-long homeschool veteran, much of daily life is the same. Biggest change is all the extra things we did multiple times a week (martial arts, drama class, church activities, library visits, and such) are not an option right now because of closures. But we still have family study, individual study, and outside/yard activities to keep us busy.

Of course, I’m working everyday things around home, plus writing, social media/reader outreach, and trying to reduce my own reading pile. I have been more active in my readers group–Dalby’s Darklings. Join us if you haven’t yet. We have fun talking about characters, sharing visuals/inspirations, and I’m hosting weekly giveaways leading up to the release of Scarred Memories in April.

Remember, when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you can claim a free digital copy of “Masked Flaws”, a Possession Chronicles prequel short story. Be sure to open the welcome email and follow directions on how to claim it–it’s super easy. See https://carriedalby.com/newsletter/ for more information.

In closing, I’d like to send out a big thank you to those still in the workforce, caring for others and supplying needs. May all be well for you and your families at this time and always.