Higher Mysteries podcast

My buddy Rick Kleffel has posted his podcasts of the Higher Mysteries panel, in which four top-ranking crime writers talk about using religion and theology in their work, on his web site, The Agony Column:

“You’re all here for Tax Law 101, right?”

—Laurie R. King

For all the seriousness of her premise, Laurie R. King set a light tone for her panel discussion about “Higher Mysteries” with Sharan Newman, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Zoe Ferraris. King is a natural ring-leader, and must have been a rather mischievous student when she was studying theology in college. She makes a great host for three other very smart writers.

I captured the whole one-hour plus conversation, which offers a lot of fun, insight, and most importantly, many reasons to read. It’s hard to listen to such a great talk and not head directly to the library or bookstore to pick up the subjects of conversation.


But wait, there’s more!

He also recorded one-on-one interviews with all four of us who participated in the event, and has those available as well.  Rick, who does a lot of work for NPR, is one of the best interviewers around.  I think you’ll love what he got the four of us to say.

The “Higher Mysteries” event is here.

An abridged version (3:45) is here.

His interview with Zoë Ferraris is here.

The one with Julia Spencer-Fleming is here.

The talk with Sharan Newman is here.

Rick’s interview with me is here.


The Mystery of a Good Event

What makes for a good event?  Well, it helps when a moderator is working with three wicked smart women with lightning-fast tongues and a great sense of humor.SONY DSC

And it also helps when the crowd is equally quick on their feet and genuinely interested in the subject. (This shows about half those who eventually crowded in.)SONY DSC

(A moderator who has read the books and thought about the questions helps, too…)SONY DSC

It helps keep the energy high, in all directions.SONY DSC

And lays the groundwork for another in the King Lecture series, next year.SONY DSC

Cartloads of thanks to (left to right above) Sharan Newman, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Zoë Ferraris for their willingness to come and talk God and crime (writing).  And to The Planners (you know who you are), but especially to the Santa Cruz librarians, for inviting us to take over their building and for helping us spread the word, and to the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Library, for handling the book sales and providing a noble variety of food and drink.  You ladies made the evening perfect.

Those of you who came out, thank you, and I hope you had even half as much fun as we did.  And for those of you who missed it, we’ll have podcasts and a video as soon as the hard-working volunteers manage to process them for you—when they’re up, I’ll post here and let you know.

There are days, and nights, when I love my job.  Last night was one of those.


Higher Mysteries, Santa Cruz style

Tuesday night finds me in rapt conversation with three other Ladies of Mystery, talking about how we use religion and theology in our crime fiction, and why.  The panel will be podcast, and possibly videotaped (yes yes, I know they don’t use tape any more…) but if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, come and join us for a night of library splendor.

The local paper has an article about it, here, and the details (with a printable flyer) are here.


A party!

This Sunday is the annual garden party at the Sussex home of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.  But before you get out the car or book tickets, let me tell you that it’s all online, and all in the communal imagination.  That’s right: a Twitter party.

Russell and Holmes have done this twice before, only this time the theme is Morocco, with Mrs Hudson furiously creating English versions of harira and couscous, and Holmes practicing on his odd Moroccan stringed instruments.  Heaven only knows what Russell is up to.  Anyway, if you’re on Twitter you can join in, and if you’re not a Twitter-er, you can listen in to the wild conversation by letting the Twitter feed scroll energetically past you.  It sounds weird, but it’s a whole lot of fun.  And it’s on Sunday.  The invitation (with details for finding the party) is here.

Malic-ious Laurie!

Malice Domestic is an annual conference held in Bethesda, MD, dedicated to the traditional mystery, gentle on its surface but roiling with deadly currents beneath.  And guess who’s just been named next year’s guest of honor?

jan burke
laura lippman
aaron elkins
Guest of Honor:
Laurie R. King
Laura Lippman
Lifetime Achievement:
Aaron Elkins
dick francis
peter robinson
cindy silberblatt
Malice Remembers:
Dick Francis
International Guest of Honor:
Peter Robinson
Fan Guest of Honor:
Cindy Silberblatt

And just look at the list of former GOHs Malice has had in its 25 years, here.  Wow!

This is a fan conference, which means it’s set up for having a good time, and for being able to schmooze around with your favorite authors. Of course, it’s also about writing, and books, and…mysteries.

May 3 next year.  Be there or miss a really great time.

There was a library in Syracuse…

Rosamond Gifford was the only child of a wealthy lawyer, who inherited a fortune in 1917, invested it with care, and left a greater fortune when she died in 1953.  The first grant of the Rosamond Gifford Trust was a set of incubators for premature babies; her most recent grant brought me to Syracuse to talk to, and about, libraries.

Because of the size of this country, I had to fly in yesterday in order to give a talk tonight. And because I hate to spend a library’s money without getting the most for it, I offered to do something else for their fee than just the evening’s lecture.

Which meant that today I spent my lunch hour schmoozing with librarians, an informal event that didn’t interfere with the evening do, and gave a group of library workers an author to talk to for a while.

An hour of mutual admiration ensued. And for once, I was glad that the country takes an entire day to cross.

NQKing lecture

Last year we began our series of lectures on religious topics  named in memory of my husband, who taught comparative religion in California and before that in Africa. Please join us for the 2012 Noel King Memorial Lecture, next Thursday at UC Santa Cruz.  This year’s discussion is centered on the ethics and religious implications of economic responsibility:


St Louis, Denver, & New York (Times)

Since Thursday, I’ve been in St Louis for BoucherCon, the World Mystery Conference, along with 1600 or so other writers, editors, publicists, future writers, and just plain fans.  BoucherCon is a mixed conference, as much for fans as for people looking to learn something about the craft and the industry, and it’s often the only time of the year I see those friends that I met at…yes, BoucherCon.

This means that any thought I may have had of catching up on the sleep lost during the book tour went down the tubes the first night, when a party kept me awake until nearly midnight and a breakfast got me up before 6.  And so it goes.

But it’s worth it, every minute.  I’ve had a chance to catch up with a bunch of friends, had a very productive conversation with my editor and Les Klinger about A Study in Sherlock—and about a second volume for 2012, Another Study in Sherlock.  I also had a one-on-one breakfast conversation with said editor about everything under the publishing sun, from sick puppies (okay, that was a little peripheral to the publishing world) to ebooks to my unusually strong (considering the market, which is generally down dramatically from 2010) hardback numbers.  Sometime between coffee and the last crumbs, she came up with an entirely new project she thought would be good for me to do, which I promised to think about—after I get home!

And I got to meet new people.  Colin Cotterill, with whom I’ve worked over the past year since he’s in the anthology, and who is a funny and thoughtful panelist.  I met a quartet of authors over dinner: Carla Buckley, Chevy Stevens, Stephanie Pintoff, and Amanda Kyle Williams, a new writer whom I was glad to chat with a second time in the bar last night.  Good people, all.  Another new author, Taylor Stevens (no relation to Chevy, I don’t think) who wrote a thriller called The Informationist that’s getting a whole lot of buzz here, and which I’ve ordered already from my bookstore.  Then, dinner with Les, two good Sherlockian friends, and writers SJ Rozan, Dana Cameron, and Harley Jane Kozak.  I bought champagne for all, to celebrate being

#7 on the NYT list,

and Dana went on to win the short story Anthony award at today’s awards banquet, so a good time was had by all.

I’m up in my room at the moment, but I’ll return to the lobby in a while to participate in the gauntlet of leaving authors.  I don’t leave until the morning, so this afternoon I plan on spending with the manuscript of the next book, half of which I dutifully brought with me, and haven’t so much as glanced at it.

Or maybe I’ll have a long nap…

Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and to celebrate I’ll be at Denver’s Tattered Cover.  If you live in that part of the world, please dust off your three-corner hat and swashbuckle yourself down to the bookstore to join the party—I’ll be drawing a name for the Grand Prize, someone who has donated to the 826 Valencia page and who will be allowed to name a character (human, canine, or feline) in the next book.  If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d like to increase your chances of winning (there are thirty other prizes, too!) the page is here.  Good luck—and tomorrow, change your Facebook language to “pirate”, give a parrot a biscuit, and don’t forget to Arrrgh!

Pirate King sailing the waves of love

Since Tuesday’s launch at Book Passage in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, I’ve been welcomed by some great and enthusiastic stores. (Visit the Events page to see if they have any signed books left.)

Today, the University of Washington Bookstore in Seattle put on a fabulous event for Pirate King, inviting the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society to come and get us in the mood.  And that they did:









Glenda Williams, Derek Sellers, Jon Thumim, Jim Francis, Wendy Woolery, Glenn Nielsen, and Rick Hodgson gave us a rousing rendition of “With Cat-Like Tread” followed by “Pirate King.”  And the enthusiasm of their group proved contagious.  The packed audience was great (there’s nothing like a roomful people who think you’re brilliant to make you, well, a bit more nearly brilliant) and even threw their hearts into the third song, the LRK version of the “Major-General’s Song,” which is here.

I am having such a good time.

And the tour’s not even half over.

If you live near Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, St Louis, Denver, or Santa Cruz, come and join the jokes, the talk, and the fun.  And—be prepared to sing!

Garden Party TwInvitation

You say your Royal Wedding invite got lost in the mail?  The White House staff seems to be ignoring you this summer? Well, fret no longer, your invitation to the social event of the season–nay, the year, is here.  If you’re feeling social, drop in and chat with Mary Russell and friends (Will that husband of hers make it this year?) If you think you’ll be too shy, we’re leaving a virtual gap in the fence for you to watch through.

When and where is this happening?  This Sunday afternoon, on the terrace of Russell & Holmes’ house in Sussex–or, on a computer screen near you.  And now, from the virtual engraved envelope, your invitation to join us for the Twitter Garrrrden Party:

Explanation and links are here.  Come and have a great time, although I’d watch out for the honey wine, if I were you.  Holmes makes it powerful.