Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I’m Attending Capclave This Weekend. How About You?

Capclave Dodo I’ll be at Capclave this weekend, reading from…something. I haven’t decided yet.

I read from Blood Soup last year…but it’s tempting to read from it again since Halloween is right around the corner. It’s a nice dark story for Halloween.

I’m also teaching a seminar on submitting short fiction for publication.

Capclave is hosted by the Washington, DC Science Fiction Association and promotes short fiction. Their motto is: Where reading is not extinct!

The convention tends to be small and literary, but enjoys participation from big names in the field. This year’s Guests of Honor are Connie Willis, Ann VanderMeer, and Jeff VanderMeer.

I’ll be reading with other members of Broad Universe, including Jean Marie Ward, Roxanne Bland, and Dina A. Leacock. We’ll be doing a “Rapid Fire Reading.” Each of us will read for about ten minutes from out work.

And, we’ll have chocolate.

If you’re in the Washington Area, please join us. I’d love to meet you.

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Moratorium on Book Acquisitions (Again)

No BooksWith one exception, I’m declaring a moratorium on book acquisitions until the new year.

(I say “acquisitions” rather than purchase, because I’m just as likely to borrow a half-dozen books from the library or receive an ARC for review as I am to walk into a book store and buy a few. Alas. And these things tend to pile up.)

I vaguely remember mentioning this last year, but for the life of me, I can’t find the post. Maybe I only thought about declaring a moratorium last year…but this time I’m taking action.

The reason: I have more than thirty (30!) books in my to-be-read (TBR) pile, several of which I need to review for folks. (This number does not include books that I’ve purchased on the off-chance I might get around to reading some day.) If I keep obtaining books like this, I’ll never get to finish those promised reviews before December 31. That’s a self-imposed deadline, btw. I just don’t like having accepted books and keeping people waiting on reviews.

My bookshelves are shelved double-deep and I count nine separate stacks of books in this room alone – two of which are in danger of toppling. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the books were breeding on their own.


So, here’s the exception (and the danger)…

I have an hour-plus one-way commute to my day job and I listen to audio books to pass the time. Depending on the length of the book, I plow through one, sometimes two, during the work week. This requires a lot of trips to the bookstore and/or library.

And therein lies the danger: setting foot in either always results in a purchase or loan.

My plan: to stay out of either until my TBR pile is “substantially” reduced.

But temptation looms already!

I received a call from the library yesterday that one of the audio books I reserved is in. (I’ll be stopping by after work today to pick it up.)

And I’ll be reading at Constellation Books on October 30. [Details Here] I already know this is a deal breaker as far as my moratorium is concerned: it’s just not polite to be invited to a book store and not buy something. So, I’m not counting this purchase in my moratorium.

If I’m diligent, I should be able to knock out quite a few of the to-be-reads before January 1. And if I’m lucky, I can replace a few of them with audio books and kill two birds with one stone.

At least, that’s the plan.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Small Cookie, Big Fortune…

Yesterday, after the reading at the Library of Congress, Colleen treated us to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. (I got “Happy Family,” btw, one of my favorites.) And, of course, at the end, we were treated to fortune cookies.

I’ve talked before on my blog about fortune cookies. I’m certain it won’t be the last time. [Because Chinese, like cheese and chocolate, is one of the four major food groups. (The fourth is salt.)]

Here’s a photo of my cookie…and for the record, there were seven  fortunes inside, although some were duplicated.

Kelly A. Harmon's Awesome Fortune Cookie with SEVEN fortunes inside!

(Yes, dear Broads, I smuggled that cookie into my purse and managed not to crush it during the LC tour, the crushing metro ride, or eventual drive home. And I was hungry on the drive home…very hungry.)

And, poor thing, after surviving the humiliating and cramped confines of my purse, I made it pose on a red background like some harlot, for your viewing pleasure.

Then I ate it.

(And it wasn’t stale it all…which is kind of scary, really, if you think about it, considering it had been nearly nine hours from lunch until photo shoot. Fortune cookies must have the same half-life as Twinkies™.)

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

“Never Make Excuses for Your Writing…”

“…never explain. Let the work speak for itself.”

These words are etched in my brain. Spoken by Ellen Kushner today when I asked her if I should warn the audience at today’s reading at the Library of Congress that what I’d planned to read was a bit graphic.

What fantastic wisdom.

The funny thing is, I’ve read the exact same thing (the bloody birth scene from my book, Blood Soup) at other venues and never thought twice about it. So…what is it about the Library of Congress (or LC, as it is fondly known in library circles) that made me want to tone it down?

Hallowed Halls? Who knows…? I’m too tired to think about it tonight…but it’s something I’m going to ponder for a while….and probably revisit here later.

Here’s a photo of the Broads involved.

Me!, Sue Lange, Ellen Kushner, our Awesome LC Hostess Extraordinaire Colleen R. Cahill, and Catherine Asaro

In a nutshell: we met at LC and proceeded to a very nice venue within the Jefferson Building where we each read for 10-15 minutes, did some autographing, chatted with very interesting people, went to lunch and then returned to the library for a private tour.

  • I read from Blood Soup, of course.
  • Ellen read from Swordspoint (one of my favorites!) and the “not quite a sequel,” The Privilege of the Sword –Fabulous!
  • Catherine read from The Ruby Dice (scroll down after the jump) – I was riveted.
  • And Sue read a piece that she wrote specifically for reading aloud, collected in the book, Uncategorized. She had folks rolling in the aisles.

Fellow Broad Jean Marie Ward showed up to support us. It was great fun.

I snapped a lot of photos during the tour. I’m certain I’ll be sharing them here over the next couple of weeks. (Unfortunately, some of the best parts of the library I wasn’t allowed to take photos of.) I’ve linked below to the LC exhibits on line, but to get the full affect, you’ve really got to see them in person.

We got to see:

  • a Gutenberg Bible
  • Some fascinating Mesoamerican Art from 600-900 AD with paintings depicting Cortes’ meeting with Moctezuma, a large clay statue of a jaguar, a vase depicting the Teoihuacan-Maya War with nifty human sacrifice themes and more. (Missing from the online exhibition is my favorite: a choker necklace of 19 skulls carved from conch shells. I’d wear that.)
  • The only surviving copy of the 1507 world map by Martin Waldseemüller. This map is widely referred to as America’s birth certificate, since it’s the first map bearing the name America.

I should point out that all of this is open to the public…we were just treated to Colleen Cahill’s expertise for an extended afternoon tour. Having a personal tour guide who can answer just about any question you pose is an awesome way to explore a library.

I think my favorite part of the tour was seeing Thomas Jefferson’s Library. I could have sat on the mosaic floor of the room and absorbed the enormity of his collection: (IIRC) over 60,000 volumes, which he sold to the Library of Congress for $23,000 when he was without means to support himself. Apparently, he bought too many books. But when he got his settlement from the LC, he started a second library. My kind of man.

Engraved on the wall of the exhibit are the words of Thomas Jefferson:

I cannot live without books.

Thomas Jefferson's Library at the Library of Congress
Not my Photo.

I swear, I know exactly how he feels.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Library of Congress Reading – Flyer

Catherine Asaro created this awesome flyer for the Library of Congress reading on March 3. Isn’t it beautiful?

(The pic of me is about three haircuts ago…but it’s still a “fairly good” representation. I hate  to have my photo taken!)

Hope to see you there!

Reading at the Library of Congress, March 3, 2010
Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Library of Congress Reading – Won’t You Come?

I’ll be reading at the Library of Congress in March with a bunch of writing giants!  (Or, should I say Amazons, since they’re all women?) I’m very excited!

There’s going to be a book signing afterward. My first “official” signing. It couldn’t happen at a cooler place.

Of course I’ll be reading from Blood Soup.  If there’s time, I may read some from The Dragon’s Clause.

Here’s the published notice:


What IF… Science Fiction & Fantasy Forum


Science Fiction and Fantasy from Broad Universe

Featuring Authors:

Catherine AsaroEllen KushnerSue LangeKelly A. Harmon

Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 12:10 – 1:00 pm
LM139, 1st Floor, Madison Building
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

A book signing will follow.

Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 TTY or ADA@locdotgov.

Contact Nate Evans at for more information.

Broad Universe is an international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I spent a few hours at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights, Arts and Craft Fair today with fellow members of the Maryland Writers Association. We sold some books, chatted with lots of people and (I think) had a good time.

I know I did.

If you’re in the area, and have some time, you might want to stop in…I could have spent some serious cash on pottery, jewelry and books – in the “Humanities” room – which is where we were, along with the Greenbelt Writers Association.

(I did buy a necklace from Jellybug Artworks. VERY KEWL. Lots of black and white bead-shaped stones whose names escape me along with a hematite pendant. You’ll probably see me wearing it at my next reading….)

The big thrill of the day was snow. We watched it turn from flakes to sleet and back to snow again in the large classroom windows of the Greenbelt Community Center.

In my neck of the woods, the weatherman was calling for “1.8” inches of snow. I laughed about this all morning. Most days, the weather-folk can’t accurately predict whether it will be rainy or clear – but today they knew were were going to get 1.8 inches. Ha.

They were partially right. I have about 8 inches of snow on my deck….(which means we probably got at least six – it tends to collect a bit more deeply on the rails…)

First snow of the season always takes my breath away…especially when it’s such a good one. I played kid again this afternoon: had a snowball fight, built a snowman (snowwoman, actually) and went sledding.

Between that, and the hour-plus drive in the snowfall on the way home…I’m done in. Nighty-night.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Appearance! Greenbelt Festival of Lights, December 5

I just got the word that I’ll be at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights, Arts and Craft Fair Saturday, December 5. A bunch of folks from the Maryland Writers Association will be there, talking about MWA, peddling our books, and answering all kinds of questions about writing and publishing. With luck, we’ll have time to do a short reading. We’re all planning on it.

If you’ll be in the Greenbelt, MD area on Saturday, why don’t you drop by? I’ll be there from 9 until noon (probably longer) but lots of folks will be out and about until 5 p.m. or so.

Here are the details:

Greenbelt Festival of Lights, Arts and Craft Fair
Greenbelt Community Center
15 Crescent Road
Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6
9:30 – 5:00 p.m.