Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Announcing a New Charm City Darkness Novel!

This is NOT the cover of In the Eye of the Beholder. But I needed to put something here to catch your eye, right?

This is NOT the cover of In the Eye of the Beholder. But I needed to put something here to catch your eye, right?

There’s been a lot of silence on the blog lately, for this reason: I’ve been working on a new Charm City Darkness novel–which was supposed to be a novella.

Ever have a project take over your life?

This one has taken over my writing life. It was meant to be a short writing hiatus between books three and four (A Blue Collar Proposition and, “As Yet Unnamed”) and it turned into a monster of its own. So, instead of a brief story starring Jo, voila! we have a full novel.

(I’m not complaining! Though I’ll admit that I’ve been whining to my “inner circle” of writing friends for a few months now that this wasn’t supposed to happen. Jo was absolutely going to get her own book–after I’d finished Book 4. Alas, the best laid plans…right?)

But, that’s neither here nor there since the writing is over! A short time ago I turned the manuscript into the editor. Yay!

In the meantime, I’d still like to offer you a sneak peek into the book. I hope you enjoy Chapter 1, below. (It’s unedited- so be gentle! I’d love to hear what you think.) Soon, I hope to share the cover. Stay tuned!

In the Eye of the Beholder

A Charm City Darkness Novel

Kelly A. Harmon

Chapter 1

The demon Pournelle materialized into Jo Byrne’s Turning Wheel pagan shop after closing hours, as Jo was restocking the candles. He took a deep breath, savoring the heady mixed odor of loose herbs and scented candles. A cone of strawberry incense burned in a brass dish near the door.

It must be her favorite, he thought, remembering the same scent was burning the last time he’d been here.

The flotilla of fairies, with their tulle wings and feathered skirts—along with a dragon armada—hung still and silent from the ceiling. Since he hadn’t entered through the door, no breeze served to move them. A small radio played an old grunge band softly somewhere near the cash register. He’d met the lead singer in Hell. Shame, that. The band could have made millions.

Pournelle pointed a finger at the bell on the door and waggled it. The bell rang as if a customer had just entered the shop.

“We’re closed,” Jo said, turning to face the latecomer. “I’m sorry, I thought I’d locked— She felt the blood drain from her face, and she dropped the box of slender, white candles she’d been holding. They clattered to the floor, breaking the seal, and candles rolled in all directions. Heart thumping, she stood still, cursed herself for three kinds of fool for her deer-in-the-headlights reaction.

“It’s not what you think,” Pournelle said, holding up a hand. The starched, white cuff of his dress shirt was in direct contrast with the smooth, black skin of his forearm, and stuck out far enough as he bent his arm, for Jo to notice the black and silver cuff links fastening the cuff together.

She cleared her throat, and said, “I think there’s a very powerful—uninvited—demon in my store.”

“Well, if that’s as far as you’ve gotten,” Pournelle said, dryly, “you’d be right. But there’s more to it than that, I’m afraid.”

I’m certain there is,” Jo said, taking a step backward. She turned her head to the left, glimpsing over her shoulder. Was there nothing within reach she could protect herself with?

“You have nothing to fear, I assure you,” Pournelle said.

He remained standing where he was, so that reassured her, but not much. “I’m not so certain of that.”

The demon nodded, and a look that passed for sorrow flitted across his mocha-colored face and was gone.

Sorrow? Why did that make her want to hear more from him. Was this a trick?

“Why are you here?” she asked.

He smiled—was that hope on his face?—and snapped his fingers. The electric tea kettle Jo kept behind the front counter clicked on and started to warm the water inside. “We need to talk,” he said. “Could you spare a cup of tea?”

Pournelle knew he had to take this slowly. There were half a dozen things within reach that Jo could use to send him straight back to Hell. Was she even aware of that fact? One of them would send him back as an amorphous puddle of goo. He couldn’t have that, even if he was trying to mend his ways.

Turning the other cheek only went so far in his book. He wouldn’t turn it so far as to sacrifice himself. If he were willing to die for what he believed in, he could have done that a thousand times over in the last century. This was about living, and escaping Hell.

But first, he needed an ally. Or at least a friend. Someone who might be willing to help him, should he ask.

He’d start with someone who would listen.

Jo moved behind the front counter and switched off the radio. She pulled two tea cups from beneath the glass case.

“Lapsang Souchong?” she asked.

He pulled a face. “Much too smoky. Do you mean to be insulting?” That since I’m a creature of Hell, I must enjoy the taste of smoke? That’s not the way it works. He tsked. “I was hoping for a friendship tea.” He smiled to let he know he wasn’t kidding. Jo laughed anyway.

“You have a lot of nerve asking for friendship tea, Mr. Demon—”

“Pournelle.”

She nodded. “You have a lot of nerve, Mr. Pournelle.”

“Just Pournelle.” He smiled, hoping it looked more genuine than feral. “I would like to be your friend.”

“Coming from any other guy, that statement would come off creepy, and maybe a little insane,” Jo said. She rummaged below the cabinet, found a bright yellow cylindrical cardboard container way in the back, and plunked it onto the counter. She peeled the plastic lid off and peered inside. “You’re just scary, but I think I’m holding it together pretty well. You’ve piqued my curiosity. I can only hope that doesn’t get me killed.”

Instant tea mix, Pournelle noticed. Crystalized into a single rocky lump. There was no way that stuff was coming out of the container.

Frowning, Jo grabbed the letter opener near the cash register and jammed it into the solidified crystals over and over again. Bean-sized pellets of instant tea broke off away from the main lump.

It was Pournelle’s turn to frown. “You’re not actually going to serve me instant tea?” he asked, a note of disdain in his voice. “Especially that instant tea.” He frowned more. “Serving me instant tea might get you killed yet.”

“You’re the one who’s kidding now, right?” she asked, sparing him a brief glance.

As if she hadn’t heard him, she spooned three teaspoons of rock-hard mix into each mug, poured boiling water over them, and stirred. She pushed a cup in his direction. Their fingers brushed.

“Really?” He was highly offended.

Jo looked up at him and smiled, the fake kind of smile you offer to unwanted guests and insulting mothers-in-law. “The polite thing for you to do would be to accept this cup, take a sip, and tell me how good it is. And then you can tell me why you’re really here.”

“But the right thing for me to do is to tell you how much I’ll hate tasting that, let alone drinking it gone. Isn’t that what friends do? Tell the unvarnished truth, even though it hurts? I’ve expressed my displeasure at the idea of drinking instant tea. How can you stand there smiling and still feel obliged to serve it to me?”

She sighed and sat down on her stool, appearing to consider what he said. Finally, she said, “You’re right in many ways, but that doesn’t apply here. After all, I’m giving you what you asked for.”

“Instant does not qualify as anything better than swill.” He snapped his fingers.

In less than a trice, a tall, narrow, tea samovar appeared at the end of the counter on a large silver platter. A hand-painted tea pot—small blue and orange flowers on the creamy china background—sat on top of it. Two porcelain tea cups, filled to their golden rims with steaming black tea, rested on the platter next to a silver dish of lemon slices. The tart, citrus aroma of lemon, freshly sliced, pervaded the strawberry scent of the shop. The fragrant odor of fresh tea wafted in Jo’s direction.

Pournelle smiled and reached for a cup, and placed it directly in front of Jo.“Tea, in friendship,” he intoned.

She frowned, then turned her colorful, yellow tea cannister to face him. The label read, Friendship Tea.

She quirked an eyebrow at him. “You asked for friendship tea. I gave it. That’s what friends are for.”

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

New Story Available: Lies

Lies by Kelly A. HarmonI wrote a story a while back called Lies. It shortlisted for the Aeon Award, but I never did anything with it.

Now, Lies has been published and is currently available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The wheels of distribution grind very slowly in some parts, but it should soon be available via Kobo, XinXii, iTunes and elsewhere very soon. I’ll let you know when that happens.

In the meantime, here are the links to:

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Cover Available for the Paranormal Guide!

Cover for How to Write Paranormal Novels Volume 1The cover is available for the how-to-write paranormal guide that I’ve written a chapter for!

Isn’t it gorgeous?

It looks like there might be a change in title in this volume. It was originally to be called: The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Undead, Cursed and Inhuman. Now, it just looks like it’s going to be called The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Volume 1.

A tentative publication date is slated for September or October (yes, 2011!) by Dragon Moon Press.

Yay!

Until Kim Richards took over the editing for this book, I was seriously doubting that it would ever get published. I’ve had to move it up my bibliography page for the last couple of years, having been first “Forthcoming in 2009,” I believe.

I’ve never had a piece be accepted and then sit so long before publication (though I admit I have another piece out there right now that’s approaching a similar timeline…)

That being said…

Yay!   (Yeah, I know I said that already, but I’m too excited to keep it in.)

My chapter is on finding and joining (or starting your own) critique group…but there is tons of nuts and bolts information about how to write anything paranormal. And there were so many contributions by authors, that there are two volumes planned.

Yay!

I’ll let you know when the book is available for sale.

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Sale! And Received Hellebore and Rue Contributor Copy

Cover of the 2010 Issue of The Gunpowder ReviewI recently sold my flash fiction piece, “To Bead or Not to Bead” to The Gunpowder Review.

The Gunpowder Review is a literary magazine which publishes the creative work of women writers, artists, and photographers with a Harford County or Maryland connection.

Since I grew up in Harford County (Go Hawks!) I qualify.

“To Bead or Not To Bead” is a pun-y little piece about the Greek Fates — those women who spin, weave and cut the threads of life. You can probably guess what kind of direction the story takes, judging by its title.

Cover of Hellebore and Rue AnthologyI’ll let you know when it’s available.

In other writerly goodness, I’ve received my paperback copy of Hellebore and Rue.

::: Exciting! :::

I don’t know what magic was used to print the cover of the anthology, but it’s wonderful!

The cover feels like a very soft suede, smooth and — almost — warm to the touch. (And, yes, it’s made of paper.) I like handling it very much.

Hellebore and Rue has received a wonderful review, in which the reviewer mentioned that she’d like to see a sequel or longer work with my characters (which totally makes my day).

How cool is it that a reader wants to know more after the story is over?

Food for thought…

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Bits of News and Stuff

I had planned for 2011 to be a quiet year as far as being involved was concerned. I want to write more, finish more and submit more than I was able to do last year due to the blog tour, and teaching, and conventions.

And so far, so good. I’ve gotten much more writing done this year (so far) than I had in the same time frame last year.

But, suddenly, there’s a lot going on. Which is good, I realize, so I’ve decided to roll with it.

Here’s the news:

I’ve been interviewed for the Fascinating Authors web site…. link to interview here… and there’s an accompanying radio interview, too. That hasn’t been posted yet, but I’ll mention a link when I have it. (The radio interview was A LOT of fun!)
Hellebore and Rue Anthology Cover
And I’ve gotten an invitation to Syndcon – a gaming convention in Rockville, MD, (in April) and I’ve accepted. I’m tentatively scheduled to teach a writing workshop with some other writers in the area, as well as appear on some panels.

Any gamers lurking out there who want to learn a bit about writing?

We’re brainstorming some gaming/writing ideas right now. If you’re interested in seeing something in particular, send me a note. I’ll suggest it to the programming staff.

(I hope I’ll get some gaming in, too, during the con. It’s been a while since I’ve taken my bag of dice and characters out for a spin.)

I’ve also been invited back to Darkover. I had a total blast last year, so you can bet I’ll be back. (Darkover happens over Thanksgiving weekend.)

And saving the best for last: Hellebore and Rue is officially out! (I’ll post some buy links as soon as I track them down.)

I’m still in love with that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?

If you enjoy stories of women wielding magic, you may want to check it out. I’ve written a tale about a swordsmistress who fights a wyvern — with the help of a sorceress.

(You’ll have to let me know what you think if you read it.)

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Want a Free Bookmark?

Kelly A. Harmon's BookmarkI’m celebrating.

I have a P.O. Box. It’s new, and I’ve never had one before. It makes me feel kind of “official.”

To celebrate, I’m giving away free bookmarks (and you know this is serious, because I’m willing to suffer through all the SPAM email and comments I’m going to get just for using the word FREE in this post! Three times!)

The bookmark shows the covers of some of the anthologies my work has been published in, and of course, my novella, Blood Soup, at the top. The reverse highlights Blood Soup and The Dragon’s Clause.

Here’s the deal:

Email me your snail mail address (or someone else’s, if you want me to send them there.) That’s it. If you’re feeling generous, send me a Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope (SASE) – but it’s not required.

I’ll send you two bookmarks – more if you ask, but you’ve got to promise me that you’ll give the extras away to friends.

I love getting mail. To sweeten the pot, I’ll give away a free paperback copy of Blood Soup to the first letter that makes it into the box.

Here’s the address:

Kelly A. Harmon
P.O. Box 1641
Sykesville, MD 21784

Love letters, tokens of esteem and postcards from foreign climes cheerfully accepted.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Hellebore and Rue: Cover and TOC Announcement!

Cover of Hellbore and Rue Anthology
Drollerie Press just announced the cover of their upcoming anthology, “Hellebore and Rue.” Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the eye-catching color of the woman’s hair on the stark black, white and gray background.

The anthology is due out in mid-October…and I’ve got a story in it!

(And, look! My name’s on the cover!)

My story, Sky Lit Bargains, is about a woman who is forced to leave her home or face the repeated, escalating sexual advances of her new brother-in-law. Trained for warfare, rather than domesticity, Sigrid crosses the channel to her Uncle Gervais’ keep and makes a bargain with him to kill the wyvern plaguing his lands. Her plans go awry when she’s followed by her best friend (and sorceress) and her brother-in-law’s guards…

I’ll post an excerpt once I get a go-ahead from Drollerie.

Here’s the Table of Contents (TOC):

“Counterbalance” by Ruth Sorrell
“Trouble Arrived” by C.B. Calsing
“Personal Demons” by Jean Marie Ward
“The Windskimmer” by Connie Wilkins
“Sky Lit Bargains” by Kelly A. Harmon
“Gloam” by Quinn Smythwood
“Witches Have Cats” by Juliet Kemp
“D is for Delicious” by Steve Berman
“And Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness” by Lisa Nohealani Morton
“Bridges and Lullabies” by Rrain Prior
“Thin Spun” by Sunny Moraine
“A State of Panic” by Rachel Green

Read more about Hellebore and Rue.

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

A 5-Star Review for The Dragon’s Clause!

I’m not joking.

Once again, I’m walking on air!

(This follows very closely on the heels of the 5-star review I received on Amazon for my novella, Blood Soup. I’m very  excited.)

Cover of The Dragon's Clause by Kelly A. Harmon This is the story of a man who violates the terms of a contract, and the “party of the second part” decides to execute the enforcement clause. Only this time, the contract has been in place for hundreds of years, and is between a town and a dragon.

The terms—pay the dragon annual tribute, and he doesn’t destroy the town—are quite simple. Not the sort of agreement you’d want to break, even for a good cause.

A lesser author would have given readers a simple revenge tale, with the moral being, “keep your word.” But Kelly A. Harmon gives her readers much more. Her characters—both human and dragon—are complex and subtle, with nobilities and strengths that might just outweigh their instincts and weaknesses.

Perhaps The Dragon’s Clause should be required reading for all lawyers…and for you!

You can check out the review on Amazon, if you want. While you’re there, check out my Amazon author page.


 

Note: The Dragon’s Clause was originally published in the Ricasso Press anthology, Black Dragon, White Dragon.

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
Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Publication is Nigh…

I just heard from my editor for “The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal” and it looks like the ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) are complete. That means publication isn’t too far off!

The project had been slated for publication last fall, so I’m tickled to see it finally coming together.

Apparently, there was too much information by authors for a single book, so the one volume has been split it into two:

  • The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Spirits, Sprites and Spooks
  • The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Undead, Cursed and Inhuman

I have a chapter in the second volume: Undead, Cursed and Inhuman.  (I have to admit, I like that title much better than Spirits, Sprites and Spooks. I think it sounds “tougher.” I didn’t get a choice, of course, but I’m pleased.) And, judging from the TOC (table of contents), mine’s the last chapter in the book: “Critique Groups: One Spark to Better Writing.”

I’ll post cover art when I receive it.