DragonCon 2018 Interview

And all too fast, the interviews done at Dragoncon 2018 are coming in! Toni Stauffer and I had the chance to find a quiet corner and talk for a few minutes about what I’ve been up to lately as well as dip into my writing process. I even shared with her a picture of my office, a detached building in the middle of my garden. Check it out!

Target Audience Magazine

 

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DragonCon 2018

Someone asked me what my favorite moment of DragonCon 2018 was yesterday. Lucky me, I got it on video thanks to Tim. I swear, The best stuff goes on behind the black curtain.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FKimHarrisonsHollows%2Fvideos%2F279018362824788%2F&show_text=0&width=560

We got together for a quick picture before the Best Selling Authors Tell All panel, and it sort of degraded into a happy mess.

But here’s the official picture: in order from left to right,¬†Sherrilyn Kenyon, Faith Hunter, Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kevin J. Anderson, Nancy Knight, Gordon Andrews, Ilona Andrews

The next day was my personal panel, and as was my wont, I sat on the table so I could see you better. With me is Carol, who runs the urban fantasy track. (Yay, Carol!) Everyone who came got a copy of THE OPERATOR to take home with them, and the Q&A was great, but my favorite part had to be getting the chance to read the first three pages of rough draft of AMERICAN DEMON, the next Rachel Morgan book I’m working on now–which you all apparently liked. (smile) I also got a fair idea of how an Al POV book set during the elf/demon war in the ever-after would go over.

There was a signing at the AmericasMart building at The Missing Volume, and if you’re in the area, I left signed books with them. While there, I ran into one of my long-time readers who I believe has gotten a book signed from me every year I go out all the way back to about 2005, if I’m thinking right.

My last panel was on Today, and I got the chance to sit on a panel with Richard Kadery. It was really nice to see him again, if only for a few minutes, and I wish I had had more than one panel with him. Happy meet!

And then it was time to head home and back to the final days of summer, because I don’t care what the calendar says, it’s still warm, and my garden is still green, and I need to be in my office, putting words on paper.

Kim

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Day one, Dragon Con 2018

The car is packed, and Tim and I are on the road today, piecing the 10 hr drive into two parts so neither of us are exhausted when we get to Atlanta. Besides, we both like to drive, enjoying the time together. If Cincinnati were farther down the road, we’d probably stop there for the night, but I’ll just have to content myself with waving at the Carew Tower as we go by today. The puppies are safely with my mom, and I know she’ll take good care of them. Still, it’s hard to leave after the scare she gave us last week.

Most of the back end there is full of books to give away at my panel on Sunday, so I hope to see some of you. There’s a signing following, so bring all your books! I don’t mind signing the back list. My solo panel was great last year with a ton of Harrison-event newbies. There won’t be any shirts to give away this year, but I do have a little surprise for those who come. ūüôā

 

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DragonCon schedule

For all you DragonCon goers, here’s my tentative schedule. I don’t know why it would change, but you never know. Baring a mishap, the first 300 or so people to my solo panel on Sunday will get a free hardcover. Hope to see you there! Bring your questions!

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FRIDAY:
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Title: Fantasy Gather
Description: Celebrate the start of the Con and meet the voices of Fantasy literature. Authors will be here to meet you and sign books. Who knows what surprises and treasures you will find?
Time: Friday 8:00 pm  Location: Hanover C-E Hyatt (Length: 4 Hours)

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SATURDAY:
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Title: Bring your own Magical Creature
Description:¬†How do you take a magical creature and make it your own? Let’s find out from the experts.
Time: Sat 1:00 pm  Location: Embassy EF РHyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Marc Alan Edelheit, Janny Wurts, Kim Harrison, Larry Correia, Peter S. Beagle, Kal Spriggs )

Title: NYT Bestselling Authors Tell All
Description: The most helpful information to boost your writing career Рcoming from the top writers in the market today .
Time: Sat 02:30 pm  Location: Regency VI-VII РHyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kevin J. Anderson, Kim Harrison, Faith Hunter, Gordon Andrews, Nancy Knight, Laurell K. Hamilton, Ilona Andrews)

Title: For Good or Ill
Description: Magic in Urban Fantasy serves many purposes, and has multiple uses and effects. Our authors will discuss the role magic plays in their work.
Time: Sat 5:30 pm  Location: Chastain 1-2 РWestin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Gordon Andrews, Kim Harrison, Myke Cole, James A. Hunter, Robert Jackson Bennett, Laura Anne Gilman)

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SUNDAY
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Off-site signing at Americasmart Building 2
Description:¬†The Missing Volume book store has a selection of many authors apearing at DragonCon. I’ll be there to sign whatever you buy!
Time: Sun 01:00 pm  Location: Americasmart Building #2, booths 1201, 2103, 1300, 1302 (Length: 1 Hour)
Tentative Panelists: Kim Harrison, Melissa F. Olson

Title: An Hour with Kim Harrison
Description: Audience Q&A with the best-selling author of The Hollows series, the Peri Reed Chronicles, and the Madison Avery series for young adults.
Time: Sun 04:00 pm  Location: Centennial I РHyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Kim Harrison)

Title: Autograph Session Kim Harrison
Time: Sun 05:30 pm  Location: International Hall, South 4-5 Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Kim Harrison)

Title: Saving her Corner of the World, A Lot: Female Protagonists in UF
Description: Urban Fantasy protagonists as as protectors on both large and smaller scales. Our panel will explain how their characters accomplish that goal, and how doing so defines them.
Time: Sun 10:00 pm  Location: Chastain 1-2 РWestin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Kim Harrison, Laura Anne Gilman, Nancy Holzner, Faith Hunter, Gordon Andrews, Jeanne C. Stein)

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MONDAY
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Title: Deals With The Devil: Consorting with the Dark Side in UF
Description: Urban Fantasy protagonists sometimes find themselves working with those they typically fight against. Our panel will discuss how this situation effects those characters and their worlds.
Time: Monday 11:30 am  Location: Chastain 1-2 РWestin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Gordon Andrews, Ilona Andrews, Faith Hunter, Kim Harrison, Laura Anne Gilman, Richard Kadrey)

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Melody first, my dear

Melody first, my dear, or so they say when you compose lyrics/music. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s been my pattern to spend a day giving structure to a new chapter by writing the dialog out first, let it sit over night, and then turn it into text the next day. It’s a technique I’ve been using for years, and where there used to be a fairly reliable 1:2 ratio of dialog to text, page wise, it’s slowly evolved to more of a 2:3 ratio now.

I’ve noticed my chapters are getting longer, too, but that might be an artifact of having an increasing number of people interacting at one time, stretching myself. I like brevity, but sometimes, there’s a need for everyone to be there. The chapter I’m in now has Rachel, Trent, Quen, Llaze, Bis, and Jenks. Oh, and Buddy, the dog. Remember Buddy? Trent took him in after all. So it’s a full chapter, and they all need to be see/heard at least once a page or you forget about them. Writing dialog first lets me spin through the proposed chapter a couple of times in a short span to make sure I have everyone interacting, or at least, being seen doing their own thing. I shudder at trying to put all the fun stuff, like Llaze using his mouth to catch the Cheerios Jenks is throwing, in at text stage, but in dialog? It’s easier. Low stress.

Today I’m doing text, having spent the first few hours of my day shifting things around after a good think about it last night. For me, it’s a lot easier to change a chapter in this state then after I’ve put in all the physical movement. Not nearly the number of slips where a character is sitting down twice before standing up or needing six hands to hold everything.

I’ve also found that this technique of dialog first, text second has gotten me through more than a few instances of what could have developed into writer’s block. There’s a lot less performance stress if all you task yourself with when you sit down is dialog, and once that is solid, the rest sort of fills in on its own.

So if you’re stuck, give it a try!

Dialog first, my dear.

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I reached for the familiar, and just kept falling

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of the first Great American Eclipse. The next is in 2024, just a few more times around the sun. Did you see it? I did. My thoughts below:

We stood in the shade at the park, having gotten up early to make the thirty mile trek to totality. Two days of driving lay behind us–two days, and a year of anticipation, of solar glasses for Christmas, of plans and contingency plans depending upon where the skies would be the clearest, of clearing schedules, and maintaining a firm hold on flexibility–because I am a lover of the skies, my childhood rooted in the awe of the cosmos.

We lingered in the shade because it was hot, the RV behind us, the dogs safe in their play yard. Twelve families consisting of three generations had rented the park shelter beside us and had gathered from three states. The couple parked behind us drove in from just thirty miles away. Dogs played and fretted at being left out. Kids practiced with their parents on how to use the glasses. People staked their claim on prime viewing with chairs and blankets. The internet vanished, and no one cared.

We waited, all there for a singular reason, our stories as varied as the license plates.¬†People ventured from the shade to peer up at the sun for a few seconds with their glasses, then retreated. Pinhole viewers and special filters on binoculars were tried out and set aside. Kids got bored. The star geeks and casual viewers mingled and chatted. “Where did you come in from?” “We drove two hours.” We drove two days.” “Do you know where the bathrooms are?” “Do you have any connection at all?”

Finally a call went up. “There! The top right!”

We all looked up, every single one of us, and the word was “Wow.” A chunk of the sun was gone. Absolute black. Kids cried, wanting to see and having to wait. Tantrums, fussing, and then they got bored again, and retreated into the shade–because it was hot.

It grew quiet.¬†More conversation. “I’ve never seen a total eclipse.” “Do you think it’s darker yet?” Late comers drove through, desperate for a place to park, making the rest of us smug. A quarter mile down, the ball field sprouted tents where organized viewing and experts kept kids busy. A quarter mile up, free-spirits gathered in an open, wild field to commune on a deeper level. But it was quiet in our little turn-around site in “the middle” where three generations of family, a local couple, and two dreamers with their dogs sat with their feet edging the light because the sun was too intense.

The orange crescent of the sun through the filtered glasses grew smaller, more pointy. The round shadow of the moon atop it grew larger. Kids whined about being hungry, dogs got underfoot and barked. Quick forays were made into the sun for a glimpse at progression. “This is what they’ll get in Detroit.” “This is how much I saw last time.” “How often are you taking a picture?”

But then . . . the ground began to look odd, as if seeing the world through a filter. The air took on a dark, almost transparent hue as the wavelengths reaching us shifted. A call went up. “Look at the hood of that car! You can see the crescent in the shadows of the leaves!” But in all honesty it took some imagination. Slowly, people filtered out of the shade, and with a shock, I realized that quite suddenly, it wasn’t hot anymore. After years of shunning the sun, I could stand under it and not feel its heat.

The crickets began to sing and the dogs lay down, bellies up to the sky to soak in what heat remained. The shadows of the leaves showed thousands of crescents, no imagination needed. Necks craned, we waited poised as the sliver of orange amber narrowed down, and down, and down . . . until it was almost gone . . .

Just before the light left, voice exploded from every throat, an unstoppable sound of exhilaration. It rose from our chests, joining those at the tents at the ball field, then gathered the shouts from the distant field before continuing to spill on across the nation as the sun . . . was suddenly gone.

Every glass and filter dropped. As one, we shouted as we stared up at a color of white we had never seen, wispy and etherial. A black nothing hung where the sun had been. My awareness expanded, and I reached, grasping for something I might know, falling, and falling, and falling, as if taking a breath that never stopped as I looked for common ground with every last past moment of my life . . . and failing.

For two minutes, we stood as one in a new state of existence, most quickly gaining a foothold, and yet I still fell within my mind, trying to absorb the cascading of otherness that suffused and filled me. The sound, the feel of the air, the lack of sensation on my skin.

And then . . . a tiny pinprick of the most pure light that ever existed, of ultimate clarity and definition, was suddenly there.

For an instant it hung at the edge of the black, and still I fell, trying to grasp it.

In another breath the glimpse into infinity was gone, washed out by the yellow wavelengths as the diamond ring took precedence and no longer could we stare as one at the sky.

 

It was done. My long fall ended as the comfortable existence of warm yellow light expanded amid the exuberant shouts and cheers that flowed from west to east, an unstoppable declaration of experience.

But I remember the instant of light of undefined purity and unexplainable clarity. And I wait. For what? I don’t know, but I wait.

Kim Harrison
August 21, 2017

 

 

 

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Rough day/good progress

Had a rough day yesterday with our multiple-issue dog. We’ve been battling a few problems since she was two, and we are at the stage where her meds are beginning to take a toll on her body. Things are threatening to shut down, which means more meds, more trips to the vet, more thought of the end game and when to let her rest and when to keep fighting. She’s a tough little dog, and it’s hard to say ¬†“done” when she gets up the next morning, eager to get to her dog bowl, even if you have to hold her up so she can eat. She’s surprised Tim three times over the last two years, but this was the first time she surprised me. She’s sleeping comfortably at my feet right now, and her lease, if you will, has been extended once more.

All of which might be why my last few manuscripts, the ones you haven’t seen and likely won’t, deal with people overcoming their body saying no when their mind says yes, people being unexpectedly sidelined for things out of their control, their plans jerked out from under them as their bodies betray them–even as they are the ones with the failing skills that can get the job done.

They aren’t fun books, though I think there’s some dark humor in them. There’s no big finish where everything gets accomplished with smiles and tied up with a sparkly bow because the failing is still there. NY publishing is blessedly full of young, aggressive women who are at the top of their game or fighting to get there, and I get that the ugliness of failure is not attractive. At all. So I turned back to the Hollows and its sister series, rEvolution, even as my heart beats to Grace, and Joe, and Peri. There’s a soft strength in these unseen books, the success being in the journey, not the end. Books of strong spirit, I guess I’d call them, because my dog has a strong spirit, and she smiles at me as she rolls in the sun-warmed grass and comes up happy.

“Not done yet,” she says without saying a word, and so I help her continue.

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