Category Archives: Drama Box

What’s Left Behind is Waiting Before You

If you’re on my FB, you might have seem a quick post on Sunday about my ancient telescope which I got out of storage to take a look at Mars, seeing as it’s the closest it will be for a while. Spoiler: it looks just about the same, a medium-size orange/red dot. Jupiter was a lot more interesting with the four moons I could see all in a perfect row. (I found out why they form in planes like that. It’s not gravity or just things knocking about. It’s the planet’s magnetic field that corrals the dust and chunks into a flat disk. Same thing for solar systems and galaxies. So how cool is that?)

Grandpa'sScope

This thing is heavy. The tracking motor doesn’t work, and I have to keep adjusting it as the earth spins and everything moves out of the field in a matter of seconds. The mirrors are dusty, and one is damaged. I only have one lens. And yet, it has stuck with me for over thirty-five years and four major across-state-line moves, wrapped in cellophane to keep it all together.

I got it from my grandpa when he cleared out his garage one summer. I was 12? Maybe younger. We lived near a lake and the skies were dark, especially in the winter. So on the odd night when I felt my wanderlust the worst and my books could not satisfy, I’d drag that heavy-ass thing down two cement steps and point it at stars. It was taller then me, and awkward. I was usually in my long purple robe and slippers, freezing and blowing steam. I never knew which star would blossom into a planet, too impatient to use the charts more than a rudimentary, “that direction.” I found Jupiter and Saturn that way, and when I see them in the sky even now, I smile, remembering the first time I tightened my focus and they appeared, perfect and sharp against a more perfect black.

Last night, after thirty-plus years, I got my scope out again, ripped off the brittle packing wrap, and put the feet back on. I lugged it out over a step and put it in the drive, pointed it at a bright star to work at getting the spotting scope aligned, and boom, it was Jupiter–four little moons in a beautiful straight line.

And then something really nice happened. I went to move it so Mars would be visible from behind the trees. My arms tucked under the drive in the exact same spot it had thirty years ago. I lifted, already knowing the balance of its weight against me would be perfect as I shuffle-walked to a new spot.

The scraping sound as I set it down was familiar. The feel of the spin as I shifted the barrel was smooth and grinding all at the same time. I had a confident knowledge that the configuration was going to end up where the scope and lens would be at the right height for easy viewing. I bent low to find Mars through the scope, and my left arm curved around the barrel looking for the release toggle without thought. It met my fingers exactly where I knew it would be, and in seconds, I had everything aligned.

I found more than Mars and Jupiter last night. The things that make us up stay with us for far longer than we realize–they are there when we reach for them, meet us like habit and graceful patten, most times to our unawares. I’m not so far from where I was thirty years ago. Gotta bring more of that back into focus. I’m going to need it as things realign.

7 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Why oh why do I keep this stuff?

I’m not one for collecting things. I like a sparse house, and I sometimes kid Tim that my goal is to have so little “stuff” that I can pack up in four hours and be on the road in five. It will never happen, but I’ve gotten good at throwing things out. About the only place I will buy “stuff” anymore is for the yard, and I lavish on it like it’s my last child.

Candle

There are exceptions, and I have a few talismans on my bookshelf with my reference copies to remind me of things I need to not forget. There’s a string of three bells that mean nothing unless you read LOST TRUTH. A recorder I bought in Ann Arbor when I was like twelve because I wanted to be just like The Doctor and I’d already knitted the scarf. The bunny might stay . . . I’m not sure yet how deep it goes in my soul. There’s a pincushion you can’t see that reminds me I’m my mother’s daughter, and a piece of Petoskey stone my grandfather found and polished to remind me love is thicker than blood. There’s a red-bandanda GI Joe with a drink sword and wings. (Enough said about that.)

The nub of the orange pencil I used to copy edit all the Hollows books was added on a whim, but I think it’s going to be with me forever now. I bought a new pencil for The Drafter, but alas, I will never use it as that’s not how we do things in NY anymore. It’s a shame that I’m the last generation who will correct on paper, and I remember being terrified the first time I did it–writing on my manuscript. Soon, the elegant language of proofing will be dead at the hands of the “accept changes” button. Sure it’s faster, but who learns anything that way? It pains me that I will never know the intimacy of my editor’s handwriting again.

The candle, burned once and stuck to a coin, has been with me for over two decades. It was on the thank-you cake I made for Gwen (Faith) Hunter when our writing critique group got back from Atlanta and the Mystery Writer’s convention where, because of her, I met the man who later became my agent. There were five of us wannabes under her wing who went, and I made a vow that no one probably remembers that when we all got published, we’d get together and burn our candles down to nothing in celebration. I have no idea if anyone else even saved their candles.

Most of us did get published. Maybe all. I’ve fallen out of contact with the last and don’t know. Even so, I don’t know if I could bring myself to burn my green candle down to nothing now. It’s become a talisman of the stupid, frustratingly obstinate me who still thinks everything is possible when everyone says otherwise. I still feel that way, and I weep for the day I do not, but now I know how hard it is to balance on that high wire. I’ve been working there all this time not knowing the net was an illusion.

Good thing I have wings.

 

21 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Went to Nicola’s last night

Books, books, books, beautiful books full of memories of Useless, Strell, Lodish, Connen-Neute (Verbalize, Connen-Neute!), and of course, Alissa. The newly printed Truth books had come in, so if you ordered your personalized copies last month, they are on the truck today going to the shipper, and then you.:-)

Kim Harrison and Jessie at Nicola's signing back list titles

Kim Harrison and Jessie at Nicola’s signing back list titles

ForgottenLostTruthBit of a confession here. I got lost for a half hour this morning when I opened Forgotten Truth up to check on the spelling of Connen-Neute’s name. Septhama points, tracings, window wards. Redal-Stan, Talon . . . my beautiful Talon with your secret untold and sacrifice unknown. I forgot how much I loved creating these books. If you want some science in your magic, take a dip in the Hold. (happy sigh) It’s deceptively simple on the surface.

For those of you in the know, that’s a four-bell ankle bracelet, but alas, one bell has gone missing. I think Rex or perhaps Carnac has it.

But the books I’m featuring this month are the Princess books, and you can get both The Decoy Princess and Princes at Sea for the rest of the month personalized to you through Nicola’s. These are traditional fantasy but as before, the language and attitudes are contemporary making Tess very relatable. Like the Truth books, they are good to read with your kids if you’re trying to get them into “mental movies.”

DDPecoy Princess   PPSearincess at Sea

But what I really wanted to give to you today was a wallpaper my tech person at Gallery made for me. The screen size of an iPhone and Galaxie are so similar that I think I  can get away with giving you just one. Feel free to upload and share!

OperatorPhone

Also, those of you who were contacted through the newsletter about getting an early copy of THE OPERATOR, hang in there. They won’t even be printed for a while yet, but you have not been forgotten. (sign up for newsletter)

 

8 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

German Interview

The books do quite well in Germany, and I did an interview with Christian last week. http://diezukunft.de/…/ich-schreibe-gern-ueber-makelbehafte…

DieZukunft

4 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Have you seen the Decoy series?

photoI think the robin in the box I put up two years ago has more than eggs under her today. Sorry for the blurry picture, but I don’t want to go outside and snap a shot, so you get the screen fuzzing it up.  The box is right in my line of sight when I sit at my desk, and she’s been keeping me silent company for a couple of weeks. In return, I’ve been yelling at the bluejays and one really big crow. So far, we’ve had no losses. I’m not sure what’s going on in the neighboring cardinal nest. They are there for a day, then not, then back. It might be too busy for the shyer bird. Pictures coming when/if we have little yellow beaks pointed at the sky for food.

I’m late this month in releasing the next two Harrison/Cook back list titles for personlization. But Nicola’s and I are ready for you, even those of you who live overseas. I really have to thank Nicolas for doing this with me. I know it’s a big pain, which is why we don’t normally do this but for a few weeks around release a release date. I’m going to try to run through all my backlist before we get to the Nov 22 release of THE OPERATOR, but this is likely the last time I will be making my back list available for personalization in this way. (If you missed the Truth titles and really really want them personalized, I don’t think anyone will say anything if you make the effort to order them–even now.)

We just finished the Truth series and next is the Princess series, so for the rest of the month, you have the rare chance to get both DECOY PRINCESS and PRINCESS AT SEA personalized and shipped to you.
DPAgain, the covers say traditional fantasy, and they are, but as with the Truth books, the language and attitudes are comfortable. The pace is a little faster than the Truth books as well, and for anyone wanting to see a writer developing her style, here it is.

These were written right about the time that Dead Witch Walking was finding a publisher, though the short story that DWW came from had been circulated and then dropped in a drawer years before. The Princess books were targeted for the adult audience, but I’ve always thought of them as young adult and I would be very comfortable recommending them to younger readers you’re trying to get into the lost art of voyaging within the written word.

One of the themes I was playing with is that magic has a price, and the very thing that makes Tess powerful can and is killing her. There’s a wise teacher, a cad, and a noble hero. I’ll let you decide who is who. There’s also a disgruntled princess as I flip the story of the milk maid who is actually royalty and tell it from the point of view of the common girl who has been raised at a princess and who is now finding she’s actually nothing. Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another?

But you know I wouldn’t leave it at that, and Tess finds that her strength has always been there and has zero to do with the title “princess.”

I just love the original covers. She is so sassy, and after that blonde bombshell on the Truth covers, very refreshing. Dark haired girls have exciting adventures where they can be powerful, too.
PSeaPrincessAtSeaIS

Click  the book to go right to Nicola’s. To order a personalized copy, please make a note as to who you want it personalized to in the note section when you order. Any questions, just email orders@nicolasbooks.com International is okay. I noticed that their page said the titles might not be available, but I have checked, and they say they can get them. I’ll go in to sign at the end of the month, and ta-da! Personalized Princess books.

For those of you who ordered the last set of Truth books, I’ll be going in soon to sign for you. I’m hopeful I can get something extra in there for you as a thank you.:-) I know this is incredibly slow, but I’m trying to make this as painless as possible for Nicola’s so they don’t kick me out.

4 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

Drafter Interview

One more interview for you this morning at As The Page Turns.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I am creative every day in ways I never imagined. I can arrange my day as I see fit to take advantage of an odd bit of sun in the garden or an invite from my mother to go to lunch, or even take a day off to be with a sick child without worrying if I will have a job when I get back. I can invest my time and energy as heavily as I want without the fear of losing my time-investment due to downsizing. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people who know more than I do about this incredibly complex, markedly small world of publishing. I can touch the lives of people I would never otherwise, bring my thoughts to theirs, which is heady in itself, and a privilege that I have the greatest respect for.  It’s a profession that goes all the way back to the fire at the mouth of the cave, and it centers and connects me. What more could you ask for?

– See more at: http://www.asthepageturns.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-drafter-interview-with-new-york.html

1 Comment

Filed under Drama Box

Last Chance for Lost Truth

 

For those of you who haven’t heard of me talk about Nicolas before, they are my local store who I’ve been working with the last six years or so to have an outlet for people who can’t come to a signing. They are absolutely wonderful, and they will even ship overseas.

Right now, they are handling the I’m Broken, Don’t Fix Me signing campaign that is currently going on. This month’s featured titles are LOST TRUTH and FORGOTTEN TRUTH, and for a few more days, you have the rare chance to get both of them personalized and shipped to you. I’ll be featuring the Princess books next month, and then the Madison, and finally, the Hollows until we get to THE OPERATOR in November. The books have always been available, but Nicholas is letting me personalize them for a short time, and once this is over, I likely won’t be able to do it again. (However, if you ask nicely, and are coming into this late, I’m sure they will honor your request for a personalization for a title we’ve already covered.

Don’t let the pure fantasy covers put you off if you’re a diehard urban fantasy reader. I won’t kid you and try to tell you they aren’t fantasy, they are, but there’s no purple prose here, and the language and attitudes are comfortable. My love for dragons shows, as well as my propensity for small, powerful defenders that sit on your shoulder. Clearly, dragons haunt me still a decade later.
These were not only the first books I got published, but the very first book(s) I had ever written, and if you want to watch an author learn her craft, this is a great place to see it.  But the characters still ring true to me after all these years. The books targeted the adult market, but I am totally comfortable with recommending them to younger readers. They are also a great vehicle to open up a safe discussion about prejudice if you care to read these at the same time as your kids. Curiously enough, one of the protagonists and the villain share a similar flaw. One overcomes, one doesn’t.LostTruthISLostTruth

Click  the book to go right to Nicola’s. To order a personalized copy, please make a note as to who you want it personalized to in the note section when you order. Any questions, just email orders@nicolasbooks.com International is okay. I noticed that their page said the titles might not be available, but I have checked, and they say they can get them. I’ll go in to sign at the end of the month, and ta-da! Personalized Truth books.

I did First and Hidden Truth last month, and I was amazed at how many books there were! If you’re still waiting for your books, they have not been forgotten. They had to print more.

Truth Books

Covers will vary. Most of the time, they will be the new ones.

proof Hidden Truth

3 Comments

Filed under Drama Box