Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WHAT ANGELS FEAR e-book on Sale for a Limited Time Only!

As part of their promotion for the upcoming release of Why Kings Confess, NAL has temporarily dropped the price on the e-book version of What Angels Fear, the first in the Sebastian St. Cyr series.
So for the next two weeks *you can buy the Kindle version of Angels at  Amazon for only $2.99!

Or the Nook version of Angels at  Barnes and Noble for $2.99.

You can buy the iBooks version for $2.99 at iTunes or iBooks, and I'd link to it, only I can't figure out how :-(

You can also buy it at Kobo for $2.99.

All of these places were supposed to have the new cover as part of the promotion, but someone goofed and they don't, although I'm told that should be corrected soon.

I had to talk long and hard to get this promotion, so fingers crossed that it pays off and attracts lots of new readers. Tell your friends. Share it on Facebook and Twitter. Help spread the word. Because this deal will only last two weeks one week, and then the price will go back up.

* Due to circumstances beyond my control, this has changed and the price is now back up everywhere. I'm told the price of the Kindle version will drop again in a couple of weeks. My apologies, and I'll let you know as soon as I hear.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The London of Sebastian St. Cyr: Maps of Old London

When it comes to the topography of early 19th century London, this tattered tome is my bible. Based on a survey by Richard Horwood from 1792-9, the map was updated by William Faden in 1813, which makes it perfect for the Sebastian St. Cyr series. It is beyond wonderful; not only does it show all the streets, lanes, courts and alleys, but it even shows individual buildings with street numbers! Unfortunately for those of us with aging eyes, Faden's originally larger map segments have been reduced for publication to pages that only are about 8" x 12", so these days I find myself reaching for a magnifying glass a lot.

When I first started What Angels Fear, I had yet to discover the London Topographical Society and had to make do with an 18th century map of London and the Greenwood map of 1827, which is on line here (that's a screenshot from the Greenwood map, above).

Although London in 1827 was amazingly different from London of 1811-13, I still use it sometimes because you can really zoom in on a location and print it out. (Once upon a time I had the entire map printed out and mounted on giant sections of foam board, but then this little thing called Katrina flooded my office, and that was the end of that.)

Also online is John Rocque's 1746 map of London, which is here. It's also available in book form from the same people who print the 1813 Regency map.

To give you an idea of the kind of detail these maps provide, here is Hyde Park corner from 1746, showing the turnpike, the Tiburn gallows, and the nearby spot where, the map tells us, "soldiers are shot."

I love these maps and spend hours pouring over them just for fun. Some of us are easily amused.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Card Games

It's plotting time again, which means that I've taken over the dining room table to play with my scene cards.

I'm a very visual plotter. Each card is a scene, and each suspect has his or her own color. Sometimes I give a suspect their own color of card, but this time I simply used little colored flags. The colored Post-It notes on the top of the scene cards also mean something--pink ones are dead bodies, and orange ones are fight/attack scenes. All of this color enables me to see the story arc and structure at a glance. And the blue cards? Those are clues or twists that are still looking for their proper place in the scheme of things; this is very early stage, with only the first dozen or so cards on the far left actually in place. The rest are still in a holding pattern.

This book is proving to be a bit different as it has a very involved "backstory"--the details of the victim's life before she is killed--that also needs to be worked out. Of course, in any mystery, there are always two stories going on at the same time--the events the reader and the detective see, and all the stuff that's happening off stage.

As for a title, that's still open. I'm thinking about using the word "silence" in there, or maybe "children," perhaps with a WHEN or a WHERE, but I'm still waiting for inspiration. Hopefully it will strike soon.

As for Angel, his tests results are back and his numbers are stable, so it's good news!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I've finally finished the revisions of Who Buries the Dead requested by my editor. Now on to book #11!

To celebrate, I took the afternoon off and went outside to tackle my winter-killed garden. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, so I had a pleasant afternoon of cutting back roses (I'm late; in New Orleans roses get their heavy pruning in late January-early February) and sighing over dead plants. I could spend the rest of the month working on my garden and still have a million things to do, so I'm going to need to pace myself.

The eastern side of my house is a narrow, fifty foot butterfly garden, and it's almost all dead. Lots of replanting to do!

On another note, tomorrow we take Angel back to the vet to have his kidney levels tested. Wish us luck.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Three boxes of books appeared outside my door this past week (one was filled with the paperback edition of What Darkness Brings), so we know they're off the presses and ready to be shipped!

I've been preoccupied this past month by the editorial revisions for Who Buries the Dead (editorial revisions are the result of suggestions by my editor). I don't know why this book has been giving me fits, but it's finally almost finished. I'm hoping I can get it off next week. To be frank, I am heartily sick of it at this stage. Plus I'm really excited to get to work on book #11, which will be a road trip as Sebastian goes to Ludlow, Shropshire, birthplace of Jamie Knox.

And I've had some nice news this past week: Recorded Books has bought the audio rights to the rest of the Sebastian St. Cyr series, up through book #12. So those of you who enjoy audio books will eventually be able to listen to them all. I haven't been told their production schedule, but I assume they'll be starting with #1 and moving forward from there. Number 9, Kings, is in production now and should be released soon.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Here's To Not Lookin' at Ya

It's cover conference time again; this week "they" will be getting together to brainstorm the cover for the ninth tenth Sebastian book, Who Buries the Dead, due to be released in March 2014 2015.

The reactions to the cover of Why Kings Confess have been so positive that my publishers are planning to create a unified look for the series, using this cover artist. To that end they have redone the cover of What Angels Fear. Personally, I liked the Kings cover; I love the way it captures Sebastian's energy and edginess and aura of danger. And while I felt the model's face was not as refined as I've always envisioned Sebastian, I do find him sexy in a sort of Sean-Bean-as-Sharpe way. I'm not as happy with the Angels cover; I think the design is great but the male figure just doesn't say "Sebastian" to me at all.

I told my publishers that a lot of readers like the look of the new covers but think it would be better if Sebastian's face wasn't so visible. And, believe it or not, they listened. So now they want suggestions for ways to achieve that. About the only thing I came up with was having his head tipped downward so that his face is shadowed by his hat. I tried going to Le Google for images of other ideas, but I wasn't successful.

So I'm throwing it open to y'all. Suggestions for dynamic poses that hide the face, anyone? Links to images that show possible poses would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I made this last October, decided to leave it for a few days so that I could come back and look at it with fresh eyes before uploading it, and then totally forgot about it!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Al Fresco Dining

The weather warmed up enough on Saturday that we decided to take the kittens outside for lunch.

Scout is able to eat on her own. But it's so hard for her to keep herself upright and steady that she gives up and flops over before she's had enough to eat. So Steve--who is her special person--basically just sits there, helps keep her in position, and moves the food around to make it easier for her to get.

Banjo is a bit trickier. He can manage to eat certain specific canned foods if I hold them up to his mouth. Otherwise, he's pretty helpless. But he is a real sweetheart. And if you're wondering about the funky tail, it's because when we rescued him, it was broken.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

PW's Starred Review of WHY KINGS CONFESS

Here is Publishers Weekly's entire review of Why Kings Confess. Above is a scan that gives you an idea of what a "boxed" review looks like on the page--lots of nice, attention-grabbing red, and of course a picture of the cover. Readers have told me that libraries almost always order books that receive starred, boxed reviews, and bookstores will frequently increase their orders. So it's a very nice thing, indeed.

"The past casts a long shadow in Harris’s best Regency whodunit yet, the eighth after 2013’s What Darkness Brings. In January 1813, a case comes to aristocratic sleuth Sebastian St. Cyr, estranged son of the Earl of Hendon, Chancellor of the Exchequer, from his closest friend, Dr. Paul Gibson. On an East London street, Gibson stumbled across a grisly scene—a woman seriously wounded near the butchered corpse of a French physician, Damion Pelletan, whose heart was removed. The murder and assault coincide with a possible turning point in Anglo-Franco relations. The English are considering making peace with Napoleon, a prospect that does not sit well with the French royalists in exile. The powers that be, including St. Cyr’s ├╝berpowerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who’s a cousin of the king, attribute the Pelletan murder to a footpad, but the investigator finds that theory unpersuasive, especially after learning the mutilation has resonance for survivors of the Terror who remember that the Dauphin’s heart was removed in an autopsy. Harris melds mystery and history as seamlessly as she integrates developments in her lead’s personal life into the plot. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Mar.) Reviewed on 01/17/2014."