Mystery & Thriller Throwdown!

Fabulous event coming on Saturday, an afternoon of crime, at Kepler’s in Menlo Park, CA: Mysteries & Thrillers, at each others’ throats.  Ten great writers (or anyway, nine and me) getting down and dirty about crime–the list of writers is here, and this is the program:Barry_Eisler_author_photo-2011-SMALL

1:00 The “Rules” of the Publishing Game: The Times They Are A-Changin’.  Barry Eisler in conversation with Keith Raffel.Catriona_MacPherson-SMALL

2:30 Face-off: Thriller vs Mysteries–What’s the Difference? Which Is Better? Mystery writers Catriona MacPherson and Cara Black face off against thriller writers Alan Jacobson and Sheldon Siegel in crime fiction’s version of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, refereed by Laurie R. KingSheldon_Siegel-SMALL

4:00 Down and Dirty Reviews. Writing your first mystery or thriller? Bring the first page, we’ll throw them in a hat and pluck out as many as we can,for expert commentary from Judy Greber (aka Gillian Roberts), John Billheimer, and Terry Shames.Cara_Black-SMALL

5:00 Socializing. All the authors will be around talking about writing and their books. Sound fun?  It’s free, you just need to let them know you’re coming–see the sidebar instructions, here.

Laurie and Anne Perry, in conversation?

After a slow beginning, this next twelvemonth is heating up when it comes to events.

June 29030, ALA conference, Las Vegas. I’m sitting the Sisters in Crime booth Sunday, then talking to Sherlockians and at the Author Tea on Monday.  If you’re a librarian, I’ll see you there!

July 24-27, in Corte Madera, the Book Passage Mystery Writing Conference. Isabel Allende, Cara Black, Otto Penzler, Anne Perry, Valerie Plame, Jackie Winspear, Tom Rob Smith, me–I mean: wow!  The list of faculty is here, the schedule here.  And I’m SO thrilled because I get to have an onstage conversation with Anne Perry! I mean, really, why wouldn’t you come?

August 2-3, Bay Area Sherlock.  All Holmes, all the time.  Except when we talk about Mary Russell, of course…

September 5-6, library events in Seattle and Tacoma–details to come.

November 13-16: The all-inclusive, ever-thrilling madhouse that is Bouchercon! And, this year it’s in Long Beach, which will be so utterly and completely fine.

January 9-10 (dates to be confirmed): the Baker Street Irregulars meeting in New York, signing copies of the new anthology In the Company of Sherlock Holmes.

February 12-15, the San Francisco Writers Conference: four days and 90+ sessions of pure genius, plus me!

March 12-15, Left Coast Crime, Portlandia edition.

The English Russells

Would you like a complete set of Mary Russell novels?  You know, Mary Russell, whose first Memoir, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, was published twenty years ago this spring?  What if they were the gorgeous UK Russells?  And maybe, hardbacks?UK Russells

(I’ll even toss in the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, as well!)

If you’d like this pile o’ Russells, here’s your assignment:  Tell me—

“How The Beekeeper’s Apprentice Changed my Life.”

Or if that’s a bit too melodramatic for you, feel free to tone it down to:

“When I First Met Mary Russell, She…”

This can be an essay, a short story, a poem, a video, a painting—anything, really (although if it’s enormous and/or perishable, maybe you can send a photo of it, instead…)  This contest is to go along with the National Library Association’s theme for the year: Lives change @ your library.   So, you get extra points in your submission if it has something to do with a library.

Send your essay/poem/video etc. to:  (Subject: Beekeeper) by May 27 (pub day for the shiny new Beekeeper hardcover).   The winner will be announced later that week.

UK Russell spines

(Quick quiz: what’s missing from the above?  And why do you think I left that title out?)

So get cracking, I want to see that creativity flow!

*  *

Also, in case you forgot, we’re doing library drawings too, for five more editions of the Book Club in a Box.  If you know a library that might like fifteen copies of a Russell title for their book clubs, email me that library’s name, at: (Subject: Library).

Bring on the trumpets: it’s 2014!

Having given a review of 2013 yesterday, you may ask me, what plans does LRK have for 2014?  Not that I do Resolutions, but there’s a lot on my agenda, and yet more things crowding into the back of my mind.

Although before we do that, may I be the first to issue many happy returns of the day to Mary Russell, on her 114th birthday? Hip hip, hoorah, for Ms Russell!


(From here.)

First off: sorry, but as I said, there won’t be a new Laurie King novel in 2014.  I’m in the process of moving my pub date out of the very crowded month of September and back into the spring, when the poor Indie bookstores aren’t run ragged and readers aren’t completely distracted by the start of a new school year.  Also: weather, for those of us who like to tour.  I won’t reach the April pub date until the 2016 book, but they’ve given me a halfway point, for the long-awaited story of Russell in Japan, of February 17, 2015.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to disappear from your life in 2014: oh no.  Here’s what I know is going on so far:

Next week, Picador will issue their gorgeous editions of the first three Martinelli novels.  Aren’t Kate’s new jackets handsome indeed?

A Grave Talent

 To Play the FoolWith Child Chosen

And February marks Mary Russell’s 20th anniversary!  That’s right, it’s twenty years ago since The Beekeeper’s Apprentice edged shyly into the world, with a first edition of some 3000 copies (now worth a lot more than it did in 1994!)  Do you remember the cover?Beekeeper original

But, do you also remember the cover they originally intended to condemn it to wear?


Can you imagine what Miss Russell would have to say about that? The mere shadow of a  schoolgirl, with a bow in her hair, gazing up at the Big Manly Detective?  Shudder.  (You can review some of the book’s other covers at the bottom of this page.)

This summer, Picador will bring forth a brand new hardback 20th anniversary edition of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, with a new introduction by yours truly and a design based on their award-winning Adam Auerbach/Henry Yee trade paperback (here) except in what is called “paper over board” (that is, without a removable dust jacket.)  I’m so excited about this, not only because it’s going to be beautiful, but because Beekeeper hasn’t been available in hardback for a long time.  Libraries all over will be able to restore their LRK collection (and, I’ll be at the ALA conference to introduce it!) , and readers able to replace their tattered paperback with a book they can re-read dozens of times.cover-beekeeper

And, because it’s her 20th, you can expect to see a fair amount of Mary Russell—including a new, revised, expanded, all bells-and-whistles

Mary Russell e-Companion

(with Fun Things Aplenty!)

The Fun Things include annotated chapters of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, revisions of a number of things we’ve done over the years, and a number of new and original essays and stories.  Watch for it later in the spring (and if you’re not signed up for the newsletter, you might want to do that now, so as not to miss anything.)  I do know that it will be an ebook, to go with our other TeamLRK efforts, here.

Meanwhile, over in England, new editions of the missing Russells are finally on their way. A Letter of Mary and A Monstrous Regiment of Women will be out shortly, with The Moor and Justice Hall soon after.  Their book page is here.

Later in the year—we’re hoping before its end—Les Klinger and I will be co-editing a new collection of Holmes-inspired stories: In the Company of Sherlock Holmes.  The list of contributors is extraordinary, gob-smacking, just plain died-and-gone-to-book-heaven amazing.  Sara Paretsky, on Holmes?  Gahan Wilson?   Larry Niven and Harlan Ellison and Michael Connelly and Lev Grossman and…?  Yep.  You’ll want a copy for absolutely everyone on your Christmas list.

And around that time, we’ll also start our annual torture-the-readers ritual of throwing out hints and tastes of the new book, with a Pinterest page, excerpts from the story, cover art, contests, giveaways, all that stuff that leave you panting for more.  But hey, why should we wait until then?

The title of the next Russell will be—

(announced in the newsletter, next week…)








Let the speculation begin!

That was the year that was 2013

Looking at the family letter I always write during the Christmas season, I found myself trying to remember: what did I do this year, anyway? I know I had a book out, but… So I looked back at my calendar, and found that yes, I was a bit busy:
In January, I was still wielding my machete amongst the tangled undergrowth in The Bones of Paris, the rewrite that wouldn’t die. Because I was both late and determined, my work-weeks edged up into the high seventy-hours, as I lived on the dining room table (the only place I could spread out a manuscript.)
February saw my twentieth birthday as a published writer—a still-published writer! Our Grave Talent celebrations included my thank-you to libraries, the places that gave me such a boost in the early days. Ten libraries received a book-club-in-a-box from me, along with my sincere thanks.
March continued the Library Extravaganza with my Puget Sound trip: a talk at a library with a river running under it, another on a Sound-crossing ferry, and a pair of talks to a great collection of island dwellers.
April, home of National Library Week, saw our annual library contest. Great entries, and the winner, with a fabulous Kate Martinelli story, was Sabrina Flynn. Her story lurks here.
May was Malice, that grand conference celebrating the classic mystery, which asked me to be guest of honor. I was, truly, honored. May was also one of the best events I’ve ever been involved in, Higher Mysteries with Zoe Ferraris, Sharan Newman, Julia Spencer-Fleming and me, talking about how we use religion in our crime fiction. Podcasts of the event, along with individual interviews of all four of us, are here, or you can watch the video, here:

June began the countdown to The Bones of Paris with images that give background to the book—its Pinterest board is here.
July saw giveaways—and a new and original video, from Team LRK!
August was busy. Every day we posted a snippet from Bones, an image, and a reflection on that image (they’re collected here.) At the same time, I was enjoying an English summer with my family. (Research, all of it. Especially the pubs, and feeding the swans, and the day at Blenheim…)DSC00130
September, after ten more days of teasing snippets-and-photos, The Bones of Paris came outIMGP4388

—and thank you very much, it did nicely with sales and reviews. I also had the usual fantastic time at BoucherCon (next year—Long Beach: sign up now!)
October: Seattle Sherlock was a blast, including festivities, wild costumes, and interviews.
Thurber House, Columbus was just as much fun. And at last, the short story Hellbender was e-ified.
In November, I buckled down to writing, since the new novel is due in late January. In the meantime, Team LRK got a new e-project up: the two thesis projects from my dark, distant past, academic work that contributed so much to my writing over the years. It’s here.
December was mostly quiet and work, the first draft taking form and the pages accumulating. It was capped by a nice Christmas present, when my friend Les Klinger won the court case he started because of the second Sherlockian anthology we were putting together (details are here).
And I think that tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about what I expect in 2014.

A relaxing event

Relaxation isn’t exactly the defining characteristic of this time of year.  But to the rescue comes The Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. My local library Friends asked me to participate in a fundraiser that everyone can get behind.  Here’s their flyer for the event:


The First Annual

Stay Home & Read a Book

Santa Cruz Public Library


And here’s what I wrote for them inside:

Dear Reader,

Like books?  Love your library?

Come and join us for a wild night of literary revelry!  Or rather, don’t join us, because we’re all going to be cozy at home with a book, a warm wrap, and a glass or cup of a beverage of choice.

That’s right, this is your invitation to a fabulous party.  All the guests will be fascinating, and the refreshments the very best your kitchen can provide.  It’ll take you no time at all to get there, you won’t have to dress up or have your hair done, won’t need a sitter or designated driver.  You don’t have to pay for new clothes, a manicure, or even a bouquet of flowers to take along.

However, every host and hostess appreciates a little gift, even when the invitation is for a fabulous non-event like this one.  So bring your hosts a gift—or rather, send it.  (We’re all staying at home, remember?)  Doing so supports one of the best places out there for a party.

The library is where things begin, where all the fascinating people hang out, where you’re welcomed and entertained and supported at every step inside the door.  The library is where kids learn to read, and to dream.  Where adults go to hunt down information and make contacts.   Where the past lies, waiting for us to learn from it, and the future lurks, waiting for us to find it.  Where DVDs and audio books amuse us and genealogical research and small business courses happen; where people read to your small children or help your older ones with their homework, then teach you how to run your computer or your small business.  And after that, they pick up the knitting needles or glue gun and teach you to create—en Español or English, day in and day out, free of charge.

Oh, and books.  All kinds of books, waiting for you to borrow and carry back home, in time to join the Stay Home & Read a Book Library Ball.

All for free.

So let’s show our thanks to our library, who are hosting the Stay at Home Ball without demanding that we spend a cent on new clothes.  Donations are both tax deductible and heart-warning, ensuring that our library will stay open, and free, and filled with all the riches of the world.

I hope you enjoy the non-Ball as much as I intend to!


Laurie R. King

I suggest that you urge your own library Friends to put together their own (non-) Event, thus doing good both by raising a few dollars, and by providing a small window of relaxation in a hectic season.

Or you could do it in the summer.

If you love libraries and would like to give my particular branch a Christmas present, their page on the (non-) event is here.

Now, back to my book.

Think big, shop small!

Small Business Saturday is coming!  For those of us who love local, who shudder at the thought of Target at 5:00 am the day after Thanksgiving, who believe in our bones that Thanksgiving shopping is a sign of the End Times, there’s Small Business Saturday.  Shop local on the day after the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ll come away with unbruised ribs and the warm knowledge that you’ve helped the people who keep your town running.

You’ll also probably come away with more personal gifts for holiday giving than if you fought the crowds.

This year, a lot of bookstores are joining the Shop Small day, including my local, Bookshop Santa Cruz.  They’ve even brought some of us locals in to talk about our favorite books:

10:00am-12:00pm:Newbery Award-winning children’s book author Paul Fleischman


Young Adult author and writing instructor Jill Wolfson


Internationally acclaimed mystery writer Laurie R. King


Poet and writing instructor Patrice Vecchione


No Black Friday, no Cyber Monday, just shopping with friends and a gentle drive home. Check out your local shops here.

Here’s the Bookshop Santa Cruz page.  And on November 30th, remember to:


Litquake joie de livre!

San Francisco and books: can’t have one without the other, I’d say.  And the annual SF book festival is about to explode all over the streets of The City.  Including yours truly:


Come and join us at the ever-fabulous Books Inc on Saturday afternoon. And it’s free!  Details are here.


bones-of-paris-coverI’ll be in Portland on Thursday night–or rather, Beaverton, at the great Powell’s branch there. I’ve done a number of fabulous events at this store, including a really memorable Pirate bash two years ago. This time, I can’t promise a squadron of pirates, but one never knows. Flappers?  Skeletons?  People wearing Eiffel Tower costumes?

It’s time for The Bones of Paris in Beaverton, come and join us.  Event info is here.

Letters of Mary

Among the many unexpected joys I have discovered in being a writer has been the extraordinary community that has formed around the Mary Russell stories.  People with little in common geographically or even socially come together online in mutual affection for Russell & Holmes—and, even more amazing, forge lasting friendships when they come together physically at one conference or another.BEEK UK copy

One of the early manifestations of this Russell-based community was Letters of Mary, a Yahoo group currently celebrating its seventh year of e-friendship and mutual admiration.  Over the years, a number of them have become fast friends—of each other, and of mine.  To mark the anniversary, the moderators would like to issue the following invitation:

Have you ever longed to be part of a friendly community of people who love Russell and Holmes as much as you do?   Then The Letters of Mary Yahoo Group is perfect for you.

LOM is a place where you can ask questions, join in discussions, and have access to an amazing archive of fan fiction to satisfy your Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes craving between books. Come join like-minded people and celebrate all things Russellian!

Alice and Merrily


The Letters of Mary Yahoo Group, here.