Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Some Folks Love a Hot Steaming Bowl of Blood Soup…

All I can say is, “Wow!” I received this fantastic review of Blood Soup, posted by S.R. Southard at Amazon:

In “Blood Soup,” Kelly Harmon ladles out a story of a fantasy kingdom beginning at the moment of a fateful decision. That decision, warned about in a prophesy, carries consequences that ripple across decades in an inevitable and destructive chain of cause and effect. The characters are complex, vivid, and compelling, with motives both understandable and entangling. The aroma of “Blood Soup” carries the tang of universal themes such as wise and unwise leadership, the long-term effects of bad decisions, birth, death, and the wisdom that comes with reflection in old age. Kelly Harmon writes with a flowing style that draws you right in to her swirling mix. Read it at a bus stop and you’ll miss three buses before you even look up. It’s hot. It’s tasty. Take one spoonful of “Blood Soup” and you’ll finish the bowl!

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Quick Update: Blood Soup Now Available on Kindle

Cover of Blood Soup by Kelly A. HarmonOnly have time for a quick note, as I’m dog tired and ready to crash. (Ever have one of those weeks?  Mine’s shaping up to be one of those and it’s only Wednesday. Bring on the weekend…and a martini…not necessarily in that order.

So, to get to the point: Blood Soup is now available in Kindle format. See it on Amazon.

That is all.

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Why Yes, Blood Soup is a Real Recipe

Cover of the Book Several people have asked me if Blood Soup is a real recipe.

Yes, it is–an old Polish recipe, in fact.

True: Just before I submitted the story to a publisher, I removed the recipe from the book. I’d included it at the end, just for fun, to give people an idea of what was actually being served in the book. However, I removed it on the advice of a fellow critique group member. Now, I sometimes wish I’d left it in.

For your personal edification, here’s the recipe:

Blood Soup


5-6 lb duck OR 3-5 lb spare ribs or pork loin ribs
Fowl trimmings, if available
1 gallon water
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
4 whole peppercorns
4 T flour (Add more if a thicker soup is desired.)
1 T sugar
2 T salt
2 T pepper
1/2 c vinegar
1 c sweet cream or whipping cream
Fresh Apples, Pears or both. (Peel, core and chop into pieces less than 1/2 inch.)
Dried fruit: 1/2 lb pitted prunes and 1/2 lb raisins
2 c duck or goose blood OR 1/2 c pig blood

(If you’re squeamish, 32 oz prune juice with pulp may be substituted for blood.)

1/2 tsp crushed marjoram


In a soup kettle, cover meat and foul trimmings with water and boil slowly 1-3 hours depending on the size and age of the duck. Skim off foam from top of soup. Place spices in cheese cloth bag and add to soup.

Boil slowly until meat is tender.

Remove meat and spice bag from soup. Reserve meat to be added back later. Take out 1 cup of boiling stock and set aside. Add fruit to soup. Boil until apples or pear are soft.

In a separate bowl, blend the flour, sugar, salt and pepper into 1/2 c of the blood until smooth.

Add cream to the flour mixture. Mixture should be a light paste.

Add the 1 c of hot soup stock and mix until smooth.

Add vinegar and blend.

While soup is still boiling, add flour mixture and remaining blood (or prune juice if no blood was used).

Stir constantly.

If a thicker soup is desired, add 1 c of pureed prunes.

Boil another 5-10 minutes. Meat may be returned to the soup.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Allow to cool and place in refrigerator. Allow soup to stand overnight before serving.

Because of the raisins, prunes and fruit, the soup will be sweeter the next day.

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Good Review for Blood Soup!

Cover of Blood Soup

Blood Soup went out to several reviewers in September and October and I’ve been anxiously awaiting a response.

I’m thrilled to see the first is a good one.

Kari at Kari’s Korner Reviews apparently enjoyed it very much. I’m doubly honored since Kari reviews mostly romance.

To wit:

With the scary title BLOOD SOUP (Eternal Press, ISBN: 978-1-926704-53-1) by Kelly A. Harmon, it even has a cover that immediately catches your eye and makes you shiver. This is a medieval tale about a kingdom destined for certain dire ruin if the King’s heir isn’t a girl.

The characters in the story work together AND against each other as they secretly manipulate, scheme, hope, and react to the surprising birth of the King’s heir.

Filled with murder, mystery, and very dire consequences, this is a fast paced Novella with vivid portrayal of events and characters, pulling you into this harsh world the author has created and no doubt leaving her with new fans eagerly awaiting her next book.


If you’re interested, Blood Soup  can be purchased:

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Capclave 2009

Capclave Dodo I’ll be at Capclave tomorrow, reading from Blood Soup.

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 Guest of Honor is Harry Turtledove.

I’ll be reading with other members of Broad Universe, including Jean Marie Ward, Roxanne Bland, Victoria Janssen and Diane Arrelle. We’ll be doing a “Rapid Fire Reading.” Each of us will read for ten minutes or less from out works.

And, we’ll have chocolate.

If you’re in the Washington Area around 1 p.m., please join us. I’d love to meet you.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Blood Soup Available on Your Smart Phone!

Blood Soup by Kelly A. Harmon - Cover Flat

All has partnered with Aldiko (an eBook reading application) to make their entire 10,000+ book-catalog available to Android Smart Phone users. (Here’s the entire Press Release at PR Web.)

The bottom line is: Smart Phone users can obtain stories via their phones without a computer, cables or subscription!

Which means, if you’re interested, you can purchase Blood Soup from pretty much anywhere you have a cell phone connection. (Blood Soup can be purchased here. )

I also recommend these titles from Eternal Press:

The Sea Wagon of Yan Tai by Steve Southard
Frenzy by Carole Johnstone
10:15 by Trent Kinsey.

If you like to “try before you buy,” Aldiko can hook you up. Download and install Aldiko and choose from thousands of books.

From the Gadgeteer Website: “Aldiko comes with Sun Tzu’s Art of War and H. G. Well’s The Invisible Man pre-loaded. However, you can browse and load any of the books available on Feedbooks right from the application. The site contains thousands of public domain and creative commons works.”

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Do You Like Free Fiction?

Cover of Blood Soup by Kelly A. Harmon

I’m giving it away!

I’m holding two contests as part of the launch of my novella, Blood Soup, on September 8th. Here are the rules:

Contest 1 – Getting Viral on Twitter

1) Optional: Follow me on twitter: @kellyaharmon. You don’t have to follow me to win…but I hope you’ll consider doing so. Of course, following me on twitter means you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the start time of this contest…and the second contest, as soon as they start.

2) Tuesday morning (September 8th) I’ll tweet about the launch with the location of where to buy the book. Re-tweet the information with the hash #BloodSoup. Abbreviate if you have to, but don’t omit the hash or the link.

3) The first person to re-tweet with the required info wins a free e-copy of Blood Soup.  I’ll also give out free copies to the 25th, 50th, 100th…and the last person to re-tweet the information on Tuesday.

Periodically through the day, I’ll do a search on #BloodSoup to tally up the tweets. I’ll announce winners as they happen.

Contest 2 – A Chance to Win Additional Fiction

1) Buy a copy of Blood Soup.

2) Follow me on twitter: @kellyaharmon.

3) Wait for me to announce a page number, line, and location of a specific word in the line…and then email me and tell me what the word is. For example, I may tweet: “What is the 6th word on line 10 of page 27?”

If you’re the first person to let me know via email, I’ll send you a print (or electronic, if you prefer) copy of either Black Dragon, White Dragon or Triangulation: Dark Glass (your choice) …two anthologies which contain short fiction I’ve written. I plan to give away at least five winners…more if I’m able to do so.

Spread the word! I want to give away lots of fiction!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Murder, Betrayal, Comeuppance…

Cover of Blood Soup by Kelly A. Harmon Murder, Betrayal, Comeuppance…

That’s the tagline for my novella, Blood Soup, available from Eternal Press on September 7. The “Coming Soon” announcements page has recently been posted. You can see it here.

Blood Soup will also be available in print via Amazon, about three weeks after the electronic version.

Do you tweet? Do you like FREE fiction?
I’ll be running two twitter contests related to the book, both on September 7th:

First: The 25th and 50th person to re-tweet my announcement on the 7th will win an electronic copy of Blood Soup.

Second: Anyone who buys Blood Soup will also have the opportunity to win print versions of Triangulation: Dark Glass and Black Dragon, White Dragon (two anthologies that some of my other work appears in) just by tweeting specific information from Blood Soup. For instance, I’ll tweet: What’s the last word on line 4 of page 22? Give the correct answer and you may win a book. I’ll give away up to five print versions of these books. More details to come closer to the launch date. In the meantime, you may want to follow me on twitter: @kellyaharmon.

Excerpt from Blood Soup:

Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death. “You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.

She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”

Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.

“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”

“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.

“Kill her now,” said Theodicar.

Salvagia looked stricken.

“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.

“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”

She paled, but nodded, and grabbed the necessary implements from her basket. She did the job quickly, tears streaming down her face. To keep it warm, Salvagia set the flask of blood in the ashes at the edge of the hearth. Then she wrapped the tiny body in linen and shoved it deep into her basket.

“Your life is forfeit if you speak a word of this to anyone,” Theodicar said. “Do you understand?” She nodded, pushing the basket out of view.

He sat down in his chair. “Call the witnesses back. We’ll sever the cord in their presence to prove the succession. Wipe those tears,” he said.