Laurie’s busy year: an annual report

2011 has been a busy year.  A ridiculously busy year.  A year so nuts, it has forced me to declare 2012 The Year of No.  Meaning that if you’re about to ask me to write a short story, participate in a seminar, or show up at your festival, I can only say that if you’re not on the docket already, you probably won’t be.

Here’s what I’ve done in 2011:

This represents eight writing projects—only the writing projects, you understand, not the conventions, engagements, book tour, or family stuff.  From the bottom up (I’ll put links, in case you want to read excerpts or order things):

1.  Volume one of The Grand Game, a collection of Sherlock Holmes writing that Les Klinger and I did for the Baker Street Irregulars.  I helped select and edit the essays, and wrote the introduction, which laid the groundwork for the collection’s organization along the lines of Biblical Criticism: “Textual, Higher, Radical, and Midrashic Sherlockian Criticism.”  It’s actually quite a clever piece, although if you don’t have a background in Biblical studies, it may not make a whole lot of sense.

  2.  “Beekeeping for Beginners,” an e-novella published in July that gives the meeting of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes from his point of view—the opening scenes of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice really didn’t tell the whole story.

3. Pirate King published in September, and although the actual writing of the book was done in 2010, the online activities associated with a new novel bulldozed my summer: contests, guest blog posts, and a free short story (“Parrot King”) are but the tip of the iceberg.  We’ve left the “Laurie ARrrgh! King” events up, here.  

4. A short story for a collection that originally bore the title, Fantastic Dicks, it being intended as a cross between fantasy and private investigator fiction—I had already committed to it when the editors decided on the less titillating title, Down These Strange Streets.  “Hellbender” was a ton of fun to write, totally different from anything I’ve for a long time, and has left me tempted to dip my toes into more SciFi.

5. A Study in Sherlock, published in October, makes for a very different kind of anthology from the scholarly Grand Game.  Les Klinger and I asked a bunch of writers who are not knows for their Sherlockian interests to write something “inspired by the Sherlock Holmes ‘Canon’.”  We had a fabulous time with it, and everyone is so happy with how it turned out, we will be (yes, already on the docket) doing a second volume.

6. The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing.  A little over a year ago, my friend Michelle Spring asked if I would co-author a book she’d agreed to do for the Arvon foundation in the UK, on crime writing.  Arvon is not known in the US, but in the UK it is a highly respected writing foundation that holds week-long courses on various kinds of writing, from crime to poetry, taught by two writers with a guest writer coming in mid-week.  Like most writers, I’d played with the idea of doing a how-to book, but decided I never would a) because I wouldn’t make the time for it and b) because I don’t do enough teaching to have a firm grasp on what is needed.  However, Michelle does, and this would give me a chance to say my part on craft.  It was a ton of work and taught me far more than I’d anticipated, but it’s now finished—we’ve just today (!) sent off the final draft.  It will be published on both sides of the Atlantic next summer.

7.  Volume 2 of The Grand Game.  Les Klinger did the majority of the work on this volume, and wrote the introduction, although I do have a learned paper in the collection itself, the key portion of a Distinguished Speaker Lecture given to the Baker Street Irregulars in 2007.  If you wish to read the definitive answer to the question of Dr Watson’s war wound (PTSD? Early onset Alzheimer’s?) here will be your chance.

8. And finally, Garment of Shadows.  The bulk of my writing time during 2011 was taken up with Russell & Holmes 12.5 (if we count Beekeeping for Beginners as the .5) which will be published next September.  As you can see from the photograph, this is still a manuscript, in the copyedit stage.  Which means that over the Christmas “holidays” I will be nose-down in paper, sorting out the copyeditor’s corrections and my editor’s lethal little penciled remarks that turn into entire plot problems.

9. And in January?  I start the next book, a sequel to Touchstone.


  1. Alison Skier on December 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    As I read this list, a growing “poor Laurie” kept going through my mind as I sympathized with your workload…and then, number 9. I took in a quick, excited gasp of breathe and thought “Oh goody, hurry up Laurie!” So appreciative of all your hard work as a devoted reader (just took Beekeeper’s Apprentice to my book club holiday book exchange this past Friday – turning on more readers to your brilliance), yet couldn’t help but be so excited and impatient for a sequel to Touchstone. Thank you, thank you!

  2. The Bold Flying Officer on December 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Tell me about it Laurie! The writing alone is impressive, so say nothing of the “thinking time” involved, or the other, unlisted distractions. Please give yourself some “be kind to Laurie” time in the New Year. The fans will understand … which reminds me, I have a mere 2,500 words to create on thermal sighting systems this week.

  3. Jane Steen on December 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I’m particularly looking forward to the Touchstone sequel. And furiously annoyed that Garment of Shadows would be the perfect title for the next book in my own (unpublished) series. PERFECT.

    Have a wonderful Christmas wrestling with your plot problems!

  4. Chris on December 14, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Please, please, take some ‘down’ time! You deserve it :-))

    Thank you for some great work (as received at this end of the table, so to speak) again this year, and Happy Christmas!


  5. Out And About 12/14/2011 » All Things Expounded on December 14, 2011 at 3:12 am

    […] King (who has written some Sherlock Holmes pastiches) has a blog post outlining what she’s accomplished in a particularly busy 2011. I really enjoyed The Beekeepers Apprentice and though I haven’t read any of them, I imagine […]

  6. A fan of deduction on December 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Could you please tell me a good book series to read I would love to keep busy in book that is simular to your MRH.

    From a wild fan of MRH,
    A fan of deduction

    • Laurie King on January 13, 2012 at 5:48 am

      What about Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd? Similar time frame to the Russell stories. And there’s always the classics of Josephine Tey and Margery Allingham.

  7. Laraine on December 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Hey, Laurie,
    It was lovely to hear you and Les on NPR today.
    I’ve been scarce in comments on the blog this year, but I do read, and wanted to stop in and thank you again for all of the lovely books (etc.!!) that you’ve invested your time and energy and imagination to create. I’ve finally found the time to begin Pirate King, and am greatly enjoying it (of course).
    All the best for a wonderful holiday season and a great Year of ‘No’ in 2012.

    Come back to Santa Monica for another library event in 2012? Oh, wait, if it’s not already on your schedule . . . well, 2013, then.

  8. Jessara on December 27, 2011 at 7:00 am

    You just need a small time machine to give you more days in the week. Santa should have delivered one, but perhaps he got the year wrong and it’s coming next year. Sounds right to me.

  9. The Bold Flying Officer on January 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Just viewed the first episode of the second season of the BBC’s “Sherlock” set in the 21st Century. If you are going to take a little “time out for Laurie”, you should make time to view it – it is good and parallels the orginals quite well. This was a take on The Scandal in Bohemia and featured The Woman, with a great twist at the end. Trust me on this … (dare I say it) I’m a journalist!.

  10. Alannah on January 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Wow!!! I am very impressed Laurie!! Hooray for the fans! We will have soo much great stuff to read 😀

  11. Cori on January 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I am ssooo sooo thrilled for Garment of Shadows! I seriously can’t wait! I love the Russell series! Please don’t stop writing them!!!!

  12. Merrily Taylor on January 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Much as I hate to use this word, I have to say it: You’re AWESOME!

  13. pronker on January 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Your output is tremendous, and I love it! “The Pirate King”, set as it is in the silent movie era, kept me reading and gasping at the twists and turns; loved the character Annie as much as I did the Arab brothers in your other work. Keep updating, please, though not without downtime. Everyone needs that to recharge.

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