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.

Monday, August 08, 2016


It was a busy weekend. It started off on Friday with this thrilling moment: my younger daughter going through the graduation ceremony for her PhD.

I'll freely admit that I cried all through Pomp and Circumstance. I kept thinking how proud my father would have been if he could have been there, for she is our third generation PhD. (My older daughter says she's the black sheep of the family because she got an MD.)

And then Saturday I drove over to San Antonio to pick up my older daughter's dog and new kitten. Her husband has been dangerously ill for weeks now, and she was spending so much time at the hospital, plus half-killing herself driving back and forth to take care of the animals, that I volunteered to go pick them up and bring them home. If Steve had been well, I'd have just gone and stayed there to help, but I could only leave because Danielle was here over the weekend to stay with him.

One of the last things my son-in-law did before almost dying was to pick up this little cutie in a vast Target parking lot, where someone had abandoned her on a scorching hot Texas afternoon. So she is very dear to us all.

But the upshot is I have now added a dog and a holy terror of a twelve-week kitten to our menagerie. Angel is having a fit (this could never have happened if Huck were still here, because he not only really, really hated dogs, but would attack them--and any tiny kitten that came near him.) We're hoping my son-in-law will be well enough in a few months that their babies can go home. But as of now, we have a full house and a lot of unhappy critters.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016