“‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND UP IN THE HOLLOWS” – BY KIM HARRISON

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows . . .

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.

The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.

So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.

When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.

Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”

I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold.  We were in it thigh deep.

‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.

His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed.

The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.

“Morgan, you witch.  You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church.  There’s no place to hide!”

Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.

But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.

“You loser,” I shouted.  “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.

Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”

With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.

I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’

“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.

My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.

The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.

So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.

But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”

Kim Harrison
December 14th, 2005

Kim and Guy wish you and yours all the best of the holiday season and a glowing new year. Happy Holidays!

 

PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION – A NEW NOVEL By KIM HARRISON – Marilyn Armstrong

The title as written on the cover is “PERfunctory AfFECTION” because it’s all about “perfection.” The reality of perfection. The truth and falsity of perfection. How nothing “normal” is perfect. If it seems perfect, it isn’t. Perfection can’t be in our world so that which seems perfect contains a lie.

Humanity, people are imperfect. Maybe somewhere in a parallel universe, perfection may exist, but we aren’t living there. We may strive for it, live and die for it. We will never attain it.

In the Hindu dynasty of gods and godlike figures, if you achieve perfection, you became a god whose job it is to help others attain perfection. Religion can urge you to seek perfection, but everyone knows it isn’t possible. Thus any who achieve it become gods.

Okay, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s a piece of the concept.

If you read “The Hollows” series, this isn’t it. This is a different Kim Harrison. Still a brilliant author, she is treading in places where waters run deep.

Meg had a terrible accident during which her boyfriend was severely injured. He is still in her life and his presence haunts her, drags her down. He is not helping her move forward in her life. She remains afraid of “the world” and the people she meets, yet she is in love with her art.

Thus despite her sense of isolation and fear of many things both real and imaginary, she is an inspiring painter who packs her classroom at the university where she works. She has developed a style where her paintings are incomplete but suggest completeness. She can find the exact amount to paint which allow viewers to sense and feel what else should be in the picture.

In many ways, the book is like those pictures leaving you mentally filling in spaces, taking your best guess based on suggestions and ideas or partial conversations. The book has a quiet start that continues to build, fill out, become more complete — and suggests that Meg is seeing reality and no one else is — or everyone else is seeing reality and Meg is not.

Is she meant to be perfect, part of a magic universe? Is it a dream or a nightmare? Possibly both? The interweaving of reality, truth, lies, uncertainty, imagination and something otherworldly is complex and fascinating.

Rather than spoil anyone’s read, I want to say this is a book you should read to the end. You cannot omit a chapter or even a few pages. Secrets, hints, images are waiting for you. What you were sure you knew you may soon discover you didn’t know.

It is a beautifully written book. Intense, sensitive, and passionate. At the conclusion, you will be asking yourself many questions. A second reading perhaps?

Hardcover from Amazon

It’s difficult to describe the story without using spoilers, so I’ll quit before I ruin it for you. This is a unique, stirring tale that leaves you wanting more.

Perfunctory Affection” will be released on March 31st and I’ve pre-ordered the hardcover. It is available for pre-order on Amazon in hardcover and as an audio CD. I believe other stores are also offering it. I’m sure a paperback will be released at some future point and hopefully, it will also come out on Kindle.

ANGEL’S SONG by Kim Harrison – A CHRISTMAS STORY

Get Your Tissues Handy!
I’ve got a gift from me to you today, written long before I found publication and was raw with the need to reach and connect and short on literary grace. You may have seen this last year, but it still makes me cry, and like the best gifts, please feel free to share it.
However you celebrate the season, we hope you find joy, warmth, and a feeling of completeness.
Holiday wreath
-Kim, Tim, and the boys
Angel’s Song
angel clipart
by
Kim Harrison

Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright. . . .

Humming, Kaylin held her coat closed against the cold, more from habit than anything else as she dodged through the unseeing, evening shoppers. She was anxious to get home. Her work had seemed to stretch forever today, but finally, The Boss had let her go. She couldn’t wait to see her daughter-it had been too long since the entire family had been together.

Slipping at the bus stop, she grasped the door to the bus, just making it on behind two tired women as the doors closed. The sound of their money jingling into the box chimed like bells, and the bus jerked into motion. Kaylin stood where she was, gripping the ceiling support as the gears shifted. Her gaze rove over the heads, looking for acknowledgment she existed. There, at the back where the heat didn’t reach, was a smiling face and a beckoning hand.

Though she didn’t recognize him, Kaylin went to sit with the old man. She smiled shyly, the anticipation of her coming evening prompting her to be more bold than usual. “I’m going home for Christmas,” she said by way of greeting as she jammed her gloves into a pocket.

“First time?” the old man murmured, his brown eyes going sad in memory.

She nodded. “Since my accident. I can hardly wait to see everyone together.” Kaylin put her hands in her lap, glad she couldn’t feel the cold anymore.

The man met her eyes. “See that boy up there?” he said, pointing with his chin. “I’m spending Christmas with him. He’s a college student on his way home. He needs all the help he can get, and my family doesn’t miss me anymore.”

Kaylin bit her lip and fussed with the hem of her coat’s sleeve, uncomfortable with the idea she would eventually be forgotten. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Make the most of the time they remember you. As it’s said, it came to pass.”

She didn’t know what to say. “This is my stop,” she said, glancing out the window to the colored lights.

“Best hurry. The door won’t wait for you.”

Giving him a hesitant smile, she hastened to the front, edging to the sidewalk past the three girls giggling about the presents they had gotten for their boyfriends.

Kaylin’s mood went soft as she took in the familiar street gray with twilight. The curb was jammed with cars. A noisy, joyful reunion on her front steps had the dogs barking. Excitement tingling to her toes, Kaylin waited on the walk, following the last of the children inside.

Her shoulders eased as she stood in the entryway, basking in the cheerful clutter and the too-noisy greetings. She waved as she spotted her grandmother in a corner, deep in the thick of it. The old woman’s eyes sparkled as they met hers. Her fingertips again had a rosy glow, and the blue tint Kaylin remembered was gone.

“Jasmine is in the kitchen!” her grandmother called over the noise. “Go on. We’ll talk later.”

Relieved her grandmother understood, Kaylin followed the smell of heated punch into the kitchen. She stopped in the open doorway as her heart clenched.

Jasmine stood on a chair before the counter, stirring a cup of green frosting. “I can’t do it, Daddy,” she complained, her high voice clear over the excited babble of relatives. “It’s too hard.”

Kaylin’s hands reached out, but she stood unmoving, forcing back the unexpected tears as her husband set aside his dishcloth and went to their daughter.

“Mommy always helped me, Daddy,” the child said around a sniff as his hand covered hers atop the spoon and they stirred together. “I want Mommy. I miss her.”

“Hush,” he said, the pain in his voice causing Kaylin’s throat to tighten.
“I miss her too, sweetheart, but look. She’s everywhere, especially tonight.”

Eyes bright, the man pointed to the dusty Christmas candles Kaylin had refused to burn, sitting on the kitchen windowsill. “There are her candles, right where she always put them. And the mistletoe above the doorway? She made that just last year. And the bow? Remember her spending an hour on that to get it to look just like the one in the store window? And you can smell her touch in the gingerbread men and taste it in the fruit punch. She’s everywhere.”

“No, Daddy,” the small girl protested. “It’s not the same. I can’t see her at all.”

“But I can,” he said, giving her a hug. “I can see her in you when you cut out your star cookies, I watched her hand move yours when you hung the ornaments on the tree, and I can see her eyes when I look at you. So, Jasmine, she is here.”

“I can’t see her,” Jasmine said, sniffing as she licked the frosting from a finger.

Kaylin ached. The Boss had warned her it would be hard, and she thought she could handle it. But this? This tore at her. Kaylin came close to stand behind her daughter and nudged a cookie, as if she could make the star any less lopsided. Perhaps . . . .

Perhaps she could pretend.

And so she was a silent participant, each moment harder than the previous, a bittersweet mix of memories. She hovered in the kitchen while dinner was prepared, blowing on the gravy to keep it from boiling over until someone remembered it. She watched the rolls brown through the oven window with Jasmine, admonishing the child they weren’t done yet when Jasmine pronounced them finished. She stood in the archway to the living room and worried about the carpet as paper plates over-flowing with food were balanced on knees. She sat at the kitchen table while the dishes were washed, catching up on the women’s gossip with her fingers curved around a forgotten cup until it was whisked away.

And then it was done. Kaylin knew the signs: the last swallows of coffee, the slowing conversation, the children collapsing in their mother’s arms. Kaylin sighed. She didn’t want it to be over.

Jasmine was slumped in her frills and white stockings in her father’s arms, too sleepy to be anything but content. Kaylin sat on the arm of the couch beside them, running her fingers unfelt over her daughter’s hair. There was one final tradition as yet undone, her most cherished part of the evening, and Kaylin’s heart fell when the first of the coats appeared. They had forgotten.

“Wait, Daddy.” Jasmine stirred as her father rose to say his goodbyes.
“We didn’t sing yet. Mommy always sings. Please?”

Kaylin waited, hoping.

“Of course, Jasmine,” her father said, giving her a hug. “You’re such a clever girl for remembering.”

Coats were dropped to the couch in the sliding sound of nylon. Her grandmother beckoned, and Kaylin joyfully edged closer to the piano. Jasmine wiggled down to sit on the long bench before the battered keys, her father standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders. Kaylin could see a glimmer of tears in her mother’s eyes as she took Kaylin’s usual spot before the piano and began to play.

“Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.

Tears pricked at Kaylin’s eyes. Her favorite. Voice quavering, she joined her voice to her family’s.

“Round yon virgin, mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild.”

“Daddy,” Jasmine whispered, her face upturned as she pulled on his sleeve. “I can hear Mommy singing.”

Kaylin’s throat nearly closed, and tears slipped down her cheeks. Angels could sing. And on Christmas Eve, they could be heard by those who listened.

Her husband knelt and gave Jasmine a tight, fierce hug. “So can I, sweetheart,” he whispered, rocking her. “So can I.”

“Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.”

***************************************************
For You Last Minute Gift Givers,
Kim has your “Perfection” gift card for under the tree and an exclusive one-of-a-kind Rachel Morgan doll designed and created by Kim herself.
Click on either of the links for additional information for each item:
You will need to scroll down the page to view each of these items on Kim’s blog.
   Rachel Doll                                                                            Gift Card
Holiday Hollows
Take time this holiday to read a good book.
Even Santa enjoys a Kim Harrison novel.
Happy Holidays!
Freebies for The Drafter and The Turn are still available in limited quantities. Send a SASE to address below. If you need assistance, Tim can be reached via the email address below.
Tim’s Email Address- coldtoastwritingsllc@comcast.net
Kim Harrison   www.kimharrison.com   P.O. Box 498, Dexter, MI   USA   48130

‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND UP IN THE HOLLOWS – Kim Harrison

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows . . .

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.

The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.

So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.

When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.

Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”

I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold.  We were in it thigh deep.

‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.

His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed.

The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.

“Morgan, you witch.  You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church.  There’s no place to hide!”

Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.

But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.

“You loser,” I shouted.  “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.

Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”

With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.

I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’

“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.

My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.

The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.

So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.

But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”

Kim Harrison
December 14th, 2005

Kim and Guy wish you and yours all the best of the holiday season and a glowing new year.

Pssssst! If you are looking for something exclusive for your Hollows fan, or something special for yourself, my next release, PERFECTION is available for pre-order. Unlike my usual publications, there will be only 1,500 of these hardcovers, and all of them are signed. They won’t be readily available through the usual stores, so this is the best way to get them, and pre-ordering makes me look good. (Wink)

But please pop over to Subterranean Press and pre-order one before you go and put this under your tree as, unlike my usual publications, there will be a limited number of these signed and numbered, and they will not be readily available in the stores come March.

I’ve even got a gift card for you to print out to put under the tree.  Happy Holidays!

HAPPY SOLSTICE TO ALL – KIM HARRISON

Sunrise - Winter Solstice - New England

Sunrise – Winter Solstice – New England

From Kim Harrison, a happy Hollows Solstice!


 ‘Twas the Night of the Solstice

by Kim Harrison


‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.

The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.

 So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.

When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.

Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”

I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold.  We were in it thigh deep.

‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.

His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed

The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.

“Morgan, you witch.  You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church.  There’s no place to hide!”

Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.

But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.

“You loser,” I shouted.  “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.

Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”

With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.

I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’

“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.

My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.

The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.

So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.

But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”

– – – – –

Kim Harrison, December 14th, 2005

(Last-minute gift givers, I’ve got your The Turn is coming card for under the tree right here: http://www.kimharrison.net/BookPages/TT/TurnSignedCopy.html )

PERI REED IS BACK IN “THE OPERATOR” – KIM HARRISON

THE OPERATOR, by Kim Harrison is now in bookstores everywhere.

There are some authors who deserve to be in bookstores. Kim Harrison is definitely one. Her books should be proudly displayed in glass windows along with stacks of hardcover volumes — with life-size images of the smiling author. And the air rich with the heady scent of “new book” and fresh ink.

So, while you read this review, pretend you are in the bookstore of your dreams or maybe your childhood. In one of those old leather chairs, tucked in the corner. With a little table and a standing light by which to read. I’m going to hand you the book. It’s new and the binding crackles when you open it.

72-glow-the-operator-17112016_01

Kim Harrison, whose series “The Hollows” produced a long run of best-sellers, has a new series. The first book in the Peri Reed Chronicles was released in 2015. That was “The Drafter.” It introduced a dystopian near-future world without magic, but with technology indistinguishable from magic. A science fiction thriller that feels real and now.

Science it may be, but there are people who are born with a genetic ability to use it. Such people are called drafters.

Drafters can manipulate time. Not like traveling through a wormhole or time machine. More like making a precision adjustment of as much as 45 seconds, or as little as a blink. Just enough time to undo a fatal bullet or catastrophic error.

kim-harrison-author

Kim Harrison

Drafters are special, innately (genetically) able to manipulate time. To correct it. But there’s a price to be paid for having power over time. A drafter can’t keep two timelines in memory, so all memories from a banished (corrected, altered, changed) timeline will be lost to the drafter a few seconds after the changed timeline replaces the original. Usually a drafter works with a partner. An anchor who can replace a drafter’s missing memories and patch the timeline. The relationship between a drafter and his or her anchor is deeply intimate. Not something most people could understand.

Peri Reed is a drafter. She used to work for the ultra super secret (and thoroughly corrupt) government agency known as OPTI. Now, she’s free and alive — and trying to stay that way. Peri has lost many memories. Years worth of memories. Some memories have been replaced by false ones. Some are just gone, leaving holes in the continuity and fabric of her life. She wants her memory back, but not if the cost to get them is going back to work for OPTI — or any other agency. How to win freedom and control of her life? Regain her memories without selling herself to whoever makes the best deal?

72-the-operator-17112016_09

Reed isn’t just any drafter. Peri is the drafter. The best ever. Which is why everyone wants her — and she wants none of them. Yet, she needs help. There’s no way she can reconstruct her past without assistance from at least a couple of the people hunting her. Dare she trust anyone?

Everyone is making her an offer. Everyone is lying.

The Operator is not merely good. It’s a great read set in a dystopian future world. Fast-paced. Elegantly written with an underlying ironic wit and refreshingly natural dialogue. The plot and characters are layered. Complex. Everyone has a secret agenda. Behind that are more secrets and even darker agendas.

In The Drafter, Peri and the gang had promise.

In The Operator, they fulfill that promise. Peri is brave and brilliant, dangerous and vulnerable. Passionate, with scary, lethal fighting skills. She’s had bad relationships. Lost everything that mattered to her. Made terrible life choices. Lives in a brutal world of danger and duplicity through which she must navigate alone, or depend on treacherous people with dubious motives.

If you love science fiction thrillers and are tired of reading the same tired stories, this will be a treat. This is a fresh story with an intriguing, original plot, full of Kim Harrison’s wonderful writing to sweep you into another world.

THE OPERATOR by Kim Harrison is be available on Kindle, paperback, limited edition hard cover, and on Audible.com. It is a great book, one of the two or three best I’ve read over the past few years. Exciting. Action-packed with a complex twisting plot I dare you to guess.

Every clue Ms. Harrison drops is a real clue. The characters are mad and complicated, embodying his or her own mystery. Not only is “The Operator” worth reading, it’s worth reading twice.

 

AVAILABLE TODAY! THE OPERATOR – KIM HARRISON

THE OPERATOR, by Kim Harrison, is now available online and in bookstores.

It’s been a long wait since the first book in the series. I have missed Kim Harrison. After reading so many bad books, picking up this one was like a breath of fresh air. Good prose, realistic, natural dialogue. A  complex plot without a million dangling loose ends. A professional, dedicated author at the top of her game. A really good book.

72-glow-the-operator-17112016_01

While you read this, pretend you are in the bookstore of your dreams or maybe your childhood. In one of those old leather chairs, tucked in the corner. With a little table and a standing light by which to read. I’m going to hand you the book. It’s new and the binding crackles when you open it.


Kim Harrison, whose series “The Hollows” produced a long run of best-sellers, has a new series. The first book in the Peri Reed Chronicles was released in 2015. That was “The Drafter.” It introduced a dystopian near-future world without magic, but with technology indistinguishable from magic. A science fiction thriller that feels real and now.

72-magic-law-clarke-the-operator-17112016_07

Science it may be, but there are people who are born with a genetic ability to use it. Such people are called drafters.

Drafters can manipulate time. Not like traveling through a wormhole or time machine. More like making a precision adjustment of as much as 45 seconds, or as little as a blink. Just enough time to undo a fatal bullet or catastrophic error.

Peri Reed is a drafter. She used to work for the ultra super secret (and thoroughly corrupt) government agency known as OPTI. Now, she’s free and alive — and trying to stay that way. Peri has lost many memories. Years worth of memories. Some memories have been replaced by false ones. Some are just gone, leaving holes in the continuity and fabric of her life. She wants her memory back, but not if the cost to get them is going back to work for OPTI — or any other agency. How to win freedom and control of her life? Regain her memories without selling herself to whoever makes the best deal?

operator-image-amazonPeri Reed isn’t just any drafter. Peri is the drafter. The best ever. Which is why everyone wants her — and she wants none of them. Yet, she needs help. There’s no way she can reconstruct her past without assistance from at least a couple of the people hunting her. Dare she trust anyone?

Everyone is making her an offer. Everyone is lying.

The Operator is not merely good. It’s a great read set in a dystopian future world. Fast-paced. Elegantly written with an underlying ironic wit and refreshingly natural dialogue. The plot and characters are layered. Complex. Everyone has a secret agenda. Behind that are more secrets and even darker agendas.

In The Drafter, Peri and the gang had promise.

In The Operator, they fulfill that promise. Peri is brave and brilliant, dangerous and vulnerable. Passionate, with scary, lethal fighting skills. She’s had bad relationships. Lost everything that mattered to her. Made terrible life choices. Lives in a brutal world of danger and duplicity through which she must navigate alone, or depend on treacherous people with dubious motives.

If you love science fiction thrillers and are tired of reading the same tired stories, this will be a treat. This is a fresh story with an intriguing, original plot, full of Kim Harrison’s wonderful writing to sweep you into another world.


kim-harrison-author

Kim Harrison

THE OPERATOR by Kim Harrison is now available on Kindle, paperback, limited edition hard cover, and on Audible.com. This is a great book, one of the two or three best I’ve read over the past few years. Exciting. Action-packed with a complex twisting plot I dare you to guess.

Every clue Ms. Harrison drops is a real clue. The characters are mad and complicated, embodying his or her own mystery. Not only is “The Operator” worth reading, it’s worth reading twice.

Here’s a link to its page on Amazon. I’m looking forward to the Audible.com version which should arrive in my library today. I’m will happily read it again. Probably at least once more after that. There is a lot of depth to this story and back stories to the back stories.

I can hardly wait for the next book. It’s not over for Peri Reed. Not by a longshot.

A VIOLENCE OF VOICES – “THE OPERATOR”by KIM HARRISON (COMING NOVEMBER 22)

Is the inside of your head full of noise? Does your narrator (or many narrators) keep you awake through the long, dark winter nights?

Last night, as I was trying to read “just one more chapter” of Kim Harrison’s terrific new book, “The Operator,” I paused for a minute. And heard the quiet. The silence. I realized all that racket I was hearing was happening in my head. The world and my house were quiet.

In my head are many voices, each dealing with or explaining some ribbon of reason … or merely expressing it more elegantly than I could without their help.

Reading, in progress!

Reading, in progress!

The reading narrator was telling Peri Reed’s story from Kim’s book. Which I will review soon, before its release this coming Tuesday, November 22nd. The rest of the noise was all the other narrators. The one who provides background description for my ongoing autobiography. He’s the one who adds “he said” and “she said” with the occasional adverb to liven things up. There are multiple “color” commentators who describe the scene. The lay of the land. The sky, the weather, the flowers. The scorched earth.

There are other narrators to manage data and clarify difficult concepts. These are managing mental editors. They wrangle and analyse pseudo and real science. Crunch numbers. Rationalize science fiction and fantasy and let me believe the unbelievable. I have others who specialize in straight news analysis — the “news guys in my brain” who, for some reason, sound a lot like my husband.

The number cruncher looks at the bank balance. He can tell me exactly when we will run out of money. Whether it will be before or after the last day of the calendar month. I had to train this guy because I until I got him up and running, I never knew what was going on with our finances. Now, I do. I can’t say I like what I see, but at least I know. If the devil is in the details, that devil is hot on our trail.

Most of the time, there are no more than a couple of voices fighting for the microphone … but last night, probably because “The Operator” is an exceptionally complicated (but amazingly good) book, everyone got into the act — and into my head. What a lot of NOISE!

Suddenly, they all shut up. For a few minutes, the world grew quiet. Garry was sleeping. The TV was off and Garry’s headphones were on the charging hook. The dogs were sleeping. Even the pipes stopped grumbling and creaking.

The heat was up. Outside, it was as cold as it would be for that night.

I heard the silence. It was when I accepted the truth of why can’t sleep. No one could sleep with that much going on between their ears. Maybe I could cajole Team Marilyn to agree on a “quiet time.” Like between two and nine in the morning, for example.

The problem is that the voices only get frisky after I retire, when their voices don’t have to compete with the activities and sounds of daytime. They gear up when I’m not engaged. Not writing, processing photographs, thinking about what I’ll cook for dinner, or what bills I haven’t yet scheduled. It is exactly because all of daily business is done that the other voices are so clear and loud.

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There is a bit of good news in the mix. I don’t spend all my nighttime hours worrying. I know where the money is and isn’t. The angst which used to be atop the nighttime noise heap is just a low hum. Nor am I worrying about the election. It’s finished and what is and what will be? I’ll cross those bridges when I get there. I can’t worry about the environment all the time or I’ll drift into madness. Nor can I constantly brood on injustice, bigotry, racism, and how come there are so many incredibly stupid people in the world and why they seem to be thriving.

Sometimes, I need to ponder traveling in time. Finding a wormhole we can jump through to get us to a parallel world not being ruined by greedy morons, nor run by racist demagogues.

I think I’ll go back to reading, now. I’m almost finished. I hope there’s a happy ending.


operator-kim-harrisonTHE OPERATOR by Kim Harrison will be released on November 22, 2016. It will be available on Kindle, paperback, limited edition hard cover, and on Audible.com. It is a great book, one of the two or three best books I’ve read during the past few years. It’s unique on so many levels. No, it’s not “The Hollows,” but it’s as good or better. Exciting. Action-packed with a complex twisting plot I dare you to figure out.

Every clue Ms. Harrison drops is a real clue to solving the book’s many mysteries. I promise it will keep you guessing from first to last page. The characters are mad and complicated, each embodying his or her own mystery. Not only is “The Operator” worth reading, it’s worth reading (at least) twice.

Look for my review, coming as soon as I finish writing it!

GREAT NARRATORS FROM WHOM TO CHOOSE

Voice Work – Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?


Narrating is not acting. It is a separate skill set from acting, though it is certainly related. Many great actors make atrocious narrators. Witness Meryl Streep’s venture into narration where she totally failed to grasp the concept — the narrator is not the voice of any or all the characters. The narrator is the mind of the author.

More than that, the narrator is the mind of the reader, the almost subliminal prompt that gives us the images without forcing us to notice what he or she is doing. It’s the subtlety of narration that makes it such a difficult art form. Enough animation to make the characters identifiable from one another … but not so “acted” that the narrator becomes more important than the story. It’s a thin line.

As a devotee of audiobooks, I think I’d have to go with either (both?) of my two favorite narrators — Will Patton, who narrates all of James Lee Burke’s books as well as many other southern authors and was terrific in the movie I saw last night, playing the good-bad CIA director in November Man

Will Patton

Will Patton

If a woman seems called for, Marguerite Gavin, who has done a remarkable job narrating Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series would be my top choice.

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I’m very much looking forward to listening to her one more time as she narrates the just-released final (13th book) book of the series, The Witch With No Name.

And because he is willing and has such a beautiful voice, Garry — who offered to narrate my book for audible years ago before life so altered my plans — can narrate anything. Because he will do a wonderful job and understands the difference between narrating and acting.

 

FIVE KITTIES FOR YOU TO VOTE ON

Chewie is my entry on behalf of my bestest friend in the world, Cherrie. Please vote for Chewie. Chewie promises to supply catnip to all felines worldwide … FREE!

Cherrie's Chewbacca

Chewbacca reserves the right to not live up to any campaign promises made on his behalf, but he is, after all, a cat.

Kim Harrison

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It was a very tough choice, but I’ve narrowed almost six hundred cat photos down to five for you to vote on to become Peri Reed’s cat and be featured on the phone cling. (This year’s freebie to help promote the new series coming out the first of September.
[Amazon blurb] [B&N blurb]
I have a lot of honorable mentions. You guys have some seriously fun and beautiful cats.

Below are the winners. To vote, pick out your favorite, and then send an email to coldtoastwritingsllc@comcast.net with the name of your pick in the subject line.

1. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE NAME OF YOUR PICK IN THE SUBJECT LINE, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

2. IF YOU SEND MORE THAN ONE EMAIL, ONLY THE FIRST WILL BE COUNTED.

3. If you mess up and forget the name of your pick in the subject…

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CHARMS AND SPELLS AT DUNKIN DONUTS

Pleased to Meet You – Write a post in which the protagonists of two different books or movies meet for the first time. How do they react to each other? Do they get along?


skin game jim butcherDowntown Uxbridge. Late morning. Autumn. We would have met in a bar, but there are no bars in downtown Uxbridge. There are no restaurants either, unless you count Domino’s Pizza, which I don’t. There’s a take-out Chinese place, but not much of a place to sit and chat. The place I used to go a few years ago changed ownership and they no longer serve breakfast, just lunch. So … Dunkin Donuts it is. Everybody likes coffee.

They strolled in together. Even though they hadn’t been formally introduced, I think they knew each other. The funny vibe witches have, that both of them have. And all the leather gear, the spells in their pockets. The big gun on Harry’s hip. The splat gun on Rachel’s.

“Harry Dresden?” I said to the tall guy in the long, black, leather duster. He nodded. “I’d like you to meet Rachel Morgan.” I turned to the gorgeous red-head in the tight leather battle gear.

They looked each other up and down, appraising, obviously liking what they saw. “Hey,” said Rachel, “Like your wand.”

“Love your splat gun,” replied Harry.

UndeadPool kim harrison

Before I got a word in edgewise — something that rarely happens to me — they were talking shop. Spells. Magic circles. Wards. Dogs. Then they were laughing about spells gone wrong, the time Harry wound up dead. The time Rachel was turned into a ferret. How difficult relationships can be in the supernatural world … and how to avoid banshees. They exchanged cards. Harry pointed out that he is the only Wizard in the yellow pages. Rachel mentioned how she had saved the world … and not just once. Harry, feeling competitive, countered with an anecdote of how he had saved the world multiple times which segued into the story of how he had ridden that Tyrannosaurus Rex …

It was the greatest brunch I ever shared, and over too soon. They walked out arm in arm, still talking up a storm.

And I went home to the computer, to write the story.

ABOUT TIME! THE UNDEAD POOL – KIM HARRISON

If, as I have, you’ve been following this series from the beginning, this book has been a long time coming. Rachel Morgan has traveled an enormous distance — professionally and personally — since she first decided to leave the I.S. and become an independent runner. She has transformed from witch to day-walking demon and repeatedly saved the world.

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Not that the world has been particularly grateful. She keeps pulling the world’s bacon out of the fire and the world continues to whack her over the head. A simple thank you would do!

Ivy has moved on to a genuine relationship — fragile but real — with Nina. Jenks has (apparently) finally recovered from the death of his wife, Matalina. Bis, the baby gargoyle, isn’t such a baby any longer. He’s coming into his own and may just live up to the name he bears amongst gargoyles — Worldbreaker.

Then there’s Trent. Rachel and Trent have been dancing around each other through a lot of pages. Approach, back off, sashay left and do-si-do. Finally all the waiting pays off and we get some long hoped-for romance.

This is a deeply satisfying book on many levels. Kim Harrison not only gives us what we’ve waited for, but she does it so deliciously. The characters — even background characters like Trent’s irritating fiancé Ellasbeth — are fully fleshed out. Great characters who have been MIA for a while, such as David and his were-pack, are back and ready to mix it up. Hail, hail! The gang is here!

Will Rachel save the world again? You bet.

A quick summary: Living vampires are rebelling. Their undead masters are asleep, apparently unable to waken. The world is being overwhelmed by wild Elven magic and Rachel is at the center of the maelström. There’s no question she has been chosen by the Goddess. Why? For what exactly? Where does Newt fit in?

Although not every question is answered in this next-to-last book in The Hollows series, it answers a great many of them. Things you’ve been waiting for through eleven books finally happen in this, the twelfth volume. It is about time and was absolutely worth waiting for.

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There’s a lot of exposition in the first half of the book. Action explodes in the second half. The momentum picks up to such an extent I found myself backtracking and rereading to make sure I didn’t miss a critical event or piece of information.

I have loved every book in this series and it was inevitable I would love this, too. Unlike many long running series, there’s nothing tired about this book. It’s as fresh, exciting and rich as it was in the beginning and in many ways, more so. I’m going to read it again. And probably, again after that.

Do not — please — read this if you haven’t read the rest of the series. You need the background of the characters not to mention a lot of development of relationships. And history. If you haven’t read the series, read it. It has been my favorite series for all the years I’ve been following it and has never disappointed me. It won’t disappoint you, either.

Marguerite Gavin is the narrator on the Audible download, as she has been for almost the entire series and does her usual perfect job.

This is, in my opinion, the best urban fantasy series. Period.

It’s available from Amazon (and other outlets) in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, CD and from Audible.com. 

TOP 3 SEARCHES ON MY SITE LAST WEEK

Seriously — who are these people and how did those searches land them on my site?

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pic of sick face

What does this mean? Picture of a sick face? What do you mean by sick? And why did it end up here, on Serendipity? Who are you calling sick?

googleexcerpts from unxead pool

All I can say is huh? What? No idea what this means. Oh, wait. I bet it’s The Undead Pool, the new book by Kim Harrison coming out next month. I’m looking forward to it … but surely this search should have taken them to Kim Harrison’s blog or Amazon? Why me?

Doesn’t the inability to spell the title disqualify the search?

wyatt earp clothing

I swear I have never written anything about Wyatt Earp’s clothing. I mentioned his gun I think. A long time ago. In context of a review of Tombstone. But I never said a word about his pants. Or any other article of clothing.

So was it the gun you think?

THE HOLLOWS RETURNS, FEB 2014 — THE UNDEAD POOL by Kim Harrison (Review by Annie Tegelan)

See much more about this book, this review and all things Hollows-related on KIM HARRISON’S DRAMA


Reviewed by Annie Tegelan
Posted January 1, 2014

Paranormal

Welcome back to the Hollows! In THE UNDEAD POOL, the twelfth book of the series, Kim Harrison gives readers exactly what they have been wishing for.

Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has a new set of problems wreaking havoc on Cincinnati. Spells are misfiring everywhere, but the origin of the glitch seems to be her ley line. Which makes Rachel responsible for cleaning up the mess. The timing is bad, to say the least. The union of humans and Inderlanders is shaky and Rachel wonders if this task is too big even for her. With undead master vampires in the mix, it could become war. There’s no time to waste.

If things aren’t sufficiently complicated, there’s the ongoing, always tentative relationship between Rachel and Trent. They’ve been dancing around it for what seems — forever? As they circle one another, giving hints and kisses, readers are on the tenterhooks while Harrison addresses the burning question: “Will Rachel and Trent finally get together?”

Harrison’s writing and amazing world-building are second to none. It’s no wonder this series has gained such a passionate following. The characters continue to grow, the world is constantly changing — and the plot in each book feel fresh and new. THE UNDEAD POOL is without question the best of the series!

In Pale Demon, Rachel Morgan saved the demon’s Everafter from shrinking and ultimately disappearing. But it came at a high cost. Strange, dark magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows. Spells backfire or go horribly awry. The truce between Inderlander and human is breaking up. Rachel must stop the dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters — those who keep the rest of the undead under control — are destroyed bringing an all-out supernatural war.

Rachel knows of only one weapon with the power to ensure peace: ancient elven wild magic.  Which carries its own perils.

And painful experience has shown Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . .

Marilyn Armstrong‘s insight:

My favorite series is drawing to a close. This isn’t the final book. There will be one more ( I keep hoping for even more). In the meantime, I’m experiencing advance withdrawal pangs!

See on freshfiction.com

HAPPY SOLSTICE TO ALL!

BlueMoon-7

‘Twas the Night of the Solstice

by Kim Harrison

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.

The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.

 So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.

When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.

Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”

I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold.  We were in it thigh deep.

‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.

His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed

The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.

“Morgan, you witch.  You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church.  There’s no place to hide!”

Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.

But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.

“You loser,” I shouted.  “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.

Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”

With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.

I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’

“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.

My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.

The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.

So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.

But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”

– – – – –

Kim Harrison, December 14th, 2005

Ever After, Kim Harrison – Fantasy Comfort Food of the Literary Kind

When I began reading Ever After, by Kim Harrison — on the day of its release — I read it first on Kindle. Next, to get the full flavor, I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Marguerite Gavin. Oh my. I just sank into it, the same way I sink into my bed … with a sigh of sheer delight. How good it felt to be home again.

Home again? In Cincinnati? When I’ve never been to Cincinnati and probably never will be? Where witches consort with vampires and pixies and a powerful elf rules the political world? Where you can hire a werewolf as a body-guard and you must take care to avoid demons and banshees?

Yup, Cincinnati. I feel like it’s the home town of my wistful soul, a world that somehow makes more sense than the reality in which I live my real life.

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks and I realized … I need a fix. I need to go home to Cincinnati and visit the gang at the old church. I started listening to it again last night and of course, I loved it as I have each time before. Maybe I’ll reread some of the earlier books I haven’t read in a while because there’s a new book in the series coming out and I want to be psyched. Like I wouldn’t be 🙂

I have loved every book in the series, though I have loved the last three or four even more than the first group. The characters have matured, come into themselves, their powers. They are grabbing hold of their destinies, moving into their futures.

One of the signs a book may deserve  the label “classic” is when rereading it is — no matter whether it’s the first reread or the 10th — is like reading it for the first time. Maybe better. I was barely past the first few paragraphs when I realized it was as if I’d never left. I was back in the Hollows, home in magical Cincinnati and the church where Rachel, Ivy and Jenks live. My friends were waiting for me.

Ever After was new all over again. I relived the adventure, relishing each twist and turn of the plot, each character’s development. I was happy for Ivy, finding her own life at long last but sorry not to have her with me on this journey. Glad that Jenks was still involved and Biz is coming into his own. Delighted with the direction of Rachel’s relationship with Trent, sad at the loss of beloved characters. Bemused at the changes and growth in the world of demons as they evolve from caricature bad guys to people with memories of better days, their own private griefs and joys.

I keep discovering new layers to the story. This is a great book. I know it’s genre urban fantasy but it is far superior to most of the stuff I read in any genre. The consistent, careful development of characters and plot are outstanding. Kim Harrison never drops a stitch. Knowing  something about Kim Harrison’s process has given me a better understanding of how she achieves this remarkable, near-perfect construction. It has improved my writing. Following her blog is a good thing for writers. She is unusually forthcoming about how she does what she does. I continue to be fascinated by how excruciatingly precise she is, how very careful. No wonder there are not lapses in continuity, no strange leaps in time. She is careful, organized. Compared to my writing style, she’s downright anal compulsive and probably why she is able to keep such a high standard of quality. I don’t have that kind of dedication. Which is why she is a best-selling author and I’m not.

If you’ve never checked out her blog and you write, I highly recommend it. She answers questions about anything other than the details and plot of upcoming books.

She is an extremely focused and precise writer. She plans every detail of the plot, every twist of the story. No “off the cuff” writing. She doesn’t depend on obvious answers nor use genre clichés.

There’s nothing raw or unfinished in any of her books. Ever After would be a fine novel be any standards. If it weren’t urban fantasy, it would be good literature.

In my opinion, most of today’s creative authoring is happening in fantasy and science fiction. General fiction, of which I have read a great deal recently, has become drab and unimaginative. Very little new territory is being explored in “serious literature.” If you want to read something that’ll knock your socks off, visit another genre.

Kim_Harrison_06lrI have heard a lot of complaints about the popularity of science fiction and fantasy, that people don’t want to read anything that doesn’t have supernatural creatures or time travel as part of the plot. But those who complain might consider the paucity of good books coming out of “main stream” fiction. It doesn’t have to be dull, but it so often is. And bleak. And depressing. It’s no wonder that many of us don’t want to go there.

The thrill of reading isn’t gone but it has just moved to a different part of town. Read Jim Butcher‘s Harry Dresden series and check out Kevin Hearne‘s Iron Druid. Discover Carol Berg. Pick one of her books or series; you can’t go wrong. Move right into the book world with Jasper Fforde‘s Thursday Next series. If you haven’t already read it, Stephen King’s 11-23-62 is one of the best books of the decade — maybe any decade — and it’s pure science fiction.

Try some of Connie Willis‘ works. This is an area of fiction where creativity is running rampant. You’ll find books to entertain you and fill your mind with ideas. And you won’t be bored, not for a moment. There are lots more wonderful writers waiting for you to discover them. It’s not a whole world. It’s many worlds and they are all yours to explore.

Ever After is a very satisfying read. Magic, love, passion, battles. Complicated relationships, love in bloom, hope, loss, and danger. I mourned the fallen, exalted for the living and dreamed about the future. It’s not the only good book I’ve read recently, but it sure is among the top few.

If a witch, an elf and a demon can come together to save the world, anything is possible.

All of the Hollows are available as paperbacks, on Kindle and as audiobooks.