Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Lots of Stuff

Yeah, I know I've been MIA again. So, THINGS:

First of all, I've spent the last few weeks going over the galleys for WHERE THE DEAD LIE, coming in April 2017. This is always exciting because it means the book is that much closer to going into production. I've also been correcting the galleys for the paperback version of WHEN FALCONS FALL. Penguin has decided to shift the paperback releases from mass market size to trade. Some people love trade paperbacks, some people hate them. (And others with my OCD tendencies will no doubt object to their collection of the series now being in different sizes--grrr.) The rationale for the change is that outlets such as Target prefer trades and others such as Barnes and Noble keep trades in the store longer than mm. My mm sales have always been sluggish since my readers tend to buy my books when they first come out in either hardcover or ebook.  So basically they are looking for new readers who typically buy trade paperbacks. Anyway, here's the cover for the new trade reprint. I asked them to put more of the original blue and green coloration back in the painting, and they sorta did.

Bouchercon was fun but a bit hectic, and marred by the fact that the hotel had a bad case of mold in their ventilation system. Katrina left me with mold-agrevated adult-onset asthma, so that's part of why I've been missing the last few weeks. Anyway, my panel was great, and Andrew Grant proved to be a fantastic moderator. But what I want to know is, Why do I look like a little kid in this picture? Am I really this short?! Or was everyone else on that panel tall?

And now for the big reveal: I am taking part in a new historical mystery anthology with Susanna Kearsley, Anna Lee Huber, and Christine Trent. Currently titled THE JACOBITE'S WATCH and pitched as in the tradition of The Red Violin, this collection of four novellas will range from the mid-1700s until World War II and tell the story of an infamous pocket watch that wrecks havoc in the lives of those who seek to contain its mysterious force. My novella will be the final one, set in World War II in Kent. The anthology is scheduled to be published sometime in 2018, and should be a lot of fun. So more on this to come.

And, finally, thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts on our recent troubles. My son-in-law is improving daily (although a diagnosis as to what caused his near-death experiences is frighteningly still elusive . . .) Steve has his cast off and is slowly regaining strength in his leg; I've now hurt MY leg and can barely walk. (I'm beginning to think it's a curse . . . ) Fortunately, I no longer have the dog to exercise, although Steve and I both miss Maddie and Zydeco desperately. We're looking forward to them coming to visit at Christmas. (Oh, yeah, my daughter and s-i-l will be coming, too!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Bouchercon, the premier mystery convention, is happening this week in New Orleans, and yes I will be there, if not exactly with bells on. 

I'll be on a panel at 9:30 am Friday in Mardi Gras Room D. Also on Friday I'll be doing a Sebastian St. Cyr book signing at 2:40 in the Bookworm. AND I'll be signing Good Time Coming at 12:40 on Thursday in the Bookworm. This standalone historical isn't officially released in the States until December, but they will have copies there for sale. 

In other news, I took Zydeco and Maddie back to San Antonio this past weekend, which was an extraordinarily hard thing to do. One can grow enormously attached to furry little guys in six weeks. But my son-in-law is slowly improving, and he really wanted his friends back to cuddle while he convalesces. Plus, with the convention coming up, I would have needed to board Zydeco for five days and that would not have been good for his psyche. We were hoping Steve would be walking well enough by this week to take over while I was gone, but a few weeks ago he tried to do too much, fell, and broke his right leg (yes; really). So now he's in a cast. Thankfully it isn't a bad break.

But I really missed my tail-wagging companion on my walk this morning. And sitting down to write without little missy's help is just wrenching. On the other hand, Angel is very glad to have his house and people back to himself.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Here is the cover copy!

I killed a man the summer I turned thirteen . . .

Thus begins C. S. Harris’s haunting, lyrically beautiful tale of coming of age in Civil War-torn Louisiana. Eleven-year-old Amrie St. Pierre is catching tadpoles with her friend Finn O’Reilly when the Federal fleet first steams up the Mississippi River in the spring of 1862. With the surrender of New Orleans, Amrie’s sleepy little village of St. Francisville – strategically located between the last river outposts of Vicksburg and Port Hudson – is now frighteningly vulnerable. As the roar of canons inches ever closer and food, shoes, and life-giving medicines become increasingly scarce, Amrie is forced to grow up fast. But it is her own fateful encounter with a tall, golden-haired Union captain named Gabriel that threatens to destroy everything and everyone she holds most dear.

Told with rare compassion and insight, this is a gripping, heart-wrenching story of loss and survival; of the bonds that form amongst women and children left alone to face the hardships, depravations, and dangers of war; and of one unforgettable girl’s slow and painful recognition of the good and evil that exists within us all.

On a related note, there's been some confusion about pub dates here and overseas, as well as ebook sales and preorder dates, but I think I now have them figured out. Sort of.

The hardcover version of the book is currently available for preorder both here and overseas. It will go on sale in Britain and related countries at the end of August and in the US and Canada at the beginning of December. The ebook will not be available in Britain until it is available here in December (weird, I know, and I don't have a clue why). The ebook will not be available any where for preorder until six weeks before it goes on sale in the States, so  that means preorders should be available in mid-October. Again, I don't quite understand the delay, but that's the way it's set up. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Book Giveaway


The winners are:

The books are going to:
Winter's Child by Margaret Coel - Diane Johnson
Blood Defense by Marcia Clark - Becky Denham
Who Buried the Dead by C. S. Harris - Penny Tuttle
Death in the Off-Season by Francine Mathews - April Schilling
Books of a Feather by me - Laurie Metz
Knit to be Tied by Maggie Sefton - Tom Williams
The Last Good Place by Robin Burcell - Author - Robin Gandy Harsh
What You See by Hank Phillippi Ryan - Judi Robins
Dead Man's Switch by Tammy Kaehler (author) - Kasey Dunham
And special congratulations to our GRAND PRIZE WINNER (all 9 books!) - Liz Caldwell
Winners, please send your mailing addresses to the contest coordinator at jenel (at) jenellooney (dot) com by August 30 to claim your prize. 

Thank you so much to everyone who entered. I hope you had as much fun with this giveaway as we did!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Good Time Coming

Almost every writer I know has what we call a "book of the heart." It's a story idea that grabs our imagination and won't let go even though we know there's something about the story that will make it really, really hard to sell to New York. Sometimes that "hard sell" aspect is setting (Outer Mongolia, anyone?); sometimes it's subject matter (say, American atrocities in WWII).

The book of my heart is called GOOD TIME COMING. It's a story idea that possessed me way back in 2001, when I was writing my Civil War mystery, Midnight Confessions. As I did the research for that novel, I found I wanted to write a different book: the story of the war in Louisiana as seen through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old girl. I wanted to write about the war the women and children lived; how they survived increasing hardship and danger, and how it changed them.

I started reading diaries and letters and memoirs by the hundreds: I visited Civil War battle sites like Port Hudson, Bayou Sara, and Camp Moore. And then, in the autumn of 2012 when I finished Why Kings Confess comfortably ahead of deadline, I seized the moment. In a white heat of 18+ hour days, seven days a week, I wrote GOOD TIME COMING.

I'd never written anything like it before and I was more than a bit worried about my ability to pull it off. But I can honestly say the manuscript exceeded my wildest expectations. I sent it to my agent, and she was over the moon. It quickly found several editors who waxed poetical about it. One called it "a women's Red Badge of Courage"; another said it was like To Kill a Mockingbird meets Cold Mountain. But in the end, no New York publishing house would buy it.

Why? Because of the subject matter. The Civil War in Louisiana was not pretty. U.S. soldiers did terrible things here, things that most Americans would rather not know about. At the same time, Southerners did things their descendants would rather forget. Look at those days through the unblinkingly honest eyes of a thirteen-year-old, and you have a story that terrifies New York.

For three years that manuscript languished in my cupboard. To say I was heartbroken would be a massive understatement--I mean, this was the book of my heart, right? But I can now tell you that the book no American house had the courage to print has finally found a publisher--a British publisher. It will be released in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa in September, and in the U.S. in December.

I've been sitting on this news for a while now and I've been about to burst. The last time I felt this giddy was back in 1997, when I sold my very first novel.  I am really, really proud of this book, so you'll be hearing more about it soon.