We’re all winners today, however…

Dreaming Spies!

Dreaming Spies low Res JPEGimage









—is out in the world today—huzzah!

But before you all hunker down with your shiny new hardbacks (sooo pretty….) or your crisp new downloads, let’s celebrate today’s book launch that makes winners out of all of Mary Russell’s admirers by noting the winners of our two contests, Russellscape and haiku.

First of all, contests are hard, and certainly for the person tasked with judging the winners. Which was me.  But it was such fun, and filled me with such admiration for the creativity of all you Friends of Russell out there, that it was worth the pain, because every one of them made me smile.

Haiku contest

Let’s start with the haiku. Congratulations to Elizabeth Randall, Lisa Alexander, Sandy Kozinn, Barbara Khan, Geri Hutchins, and Cornelia Rémi, who wrote (in order)—

Steam drifts slowly up

Fragrance of jasmine and mint

Cup shatters on stone.


Old man art crazy,

Paints the road between islands,

Beautiful dreamer.


Two minds, in thought one,

Float on the sea together

Thoughts fly to answers.


Land of Rising Sun

Kimono-clad lady bows

Secrets will be told.


The journey unfolds

Leaf by leaf ’til all is known

Cherry blossoms weep.


Detective twin souls

crossing the oceans of thought:

brush strokes of the mind.

As I said, just because I had to pick winners doesn’t mean the others weren’t great. As with the haiku I wrote for the Dreaming Haiku poster, some minds played with the book’s title:

Haruki Sato

dreaming, spies Holmes and Russell.

Help comes when in need.


Ink on my fingers.

Rest among dreaming spires:

I write and I am.

More than one poet was moved by the possibilities in cups of tea:

Brown turns into green.

Metamorphosing tea leaves

in our twin minds’ bowl.


Try black, green or white.

This brew gets the day started.

Drink, relax, refresh.

For other poetic imaginations, it was the stone of the opening chapter:

 Our journey ended.

Thoughts asleep in the garden:

stone chrysanthemum.


Enjoy the peace of stone,

Soon we flee in rushing steel

To find key dead tree.


Perfect innocence

Hidden in stone, cracked inside

Deceptive flower.


A flower and stone

Sitting together in peace

Discovered by chance.


Rock set in winter

displaces spring peonies

with Chrysanthemum.

 Others called on the evocative possibilities of a shipboard voyage:

Memory’s potsherds:

Passage, o soul, to Japan!

Juggle your fragments.


Mystery voyage

An ancient empire may fall

The game is afoot!


Three proud peacocks stroll

Gently swaying ship welcomes

Small mouse hurries by.

 Some of our poems reflect, as haiku are apt to, on the current state of the poet—

Three babies, late nights

Dog-eared Kindle read re-read

Russell memorized.

—and of those, a number seem to be in the parts of the country under snow:

 Long night of winter

No Holmes, no Russell, no hope

Wait for Dreaming Spies.


Iced coat, hat, gloves thaw

near the hearth.  Ah: hot stew, beer,

a book: poetry.


Missouri winter

Snow glistens on frozen pond

Blossoms in King’s book.


Infinite winter

Embed in bed with good book

Need Mary Russell.

Russellscape contest

This year’s Russellscapes were really, completely great, fun, and played the game just as I hoped. We had ten entries (plus two great new additions to The Beekeeper’s Gallery) and choosing was hard, really hard.

Seven of them chose Dreaming Spies as their inspiration, working off specific excerpts or general ideas. I loved these entries, some of which were brilliant at capturing the essence of Japan while cleverly linking up the side panels to the rest of Russell’s world. But in the end, I chose a piece that was based, not on Dreaming Spies, but on the first adventure, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Here is Melissa Coutiño’s digital painting of the Sussex Downs meeting:


And since I also promised to choose five runners-up, the winners of the Dreaming Haiku poster are Linda Hay, Sabrina Flynn, Sara McCleland, Jane S. and Cheryl Wolder.






Beautiful, aren’t they?  And there were others too:













Sandy Brewster









See how they all fit together by watching the Russellscape march across your screen, here.

And now, back to your latest Russell memoir.

* *

Other posts about writing and researching Dreaming Spies can be seen here, or you can read a long excerpt here

You can order a signed copy from Poisoned Pen Books or Bookshop Santa Cruz, where I’m launching the book tonight, or you can get unsigned or e-books from IndiebooksAmazon/Kindle, or Barnes & Noble/Nook.  My other events are here.


  1. Merrily Taylor on February 17, 2015 at 6:44 am

    What talented fans you have, Laurie! Loved seeing these entries, winners and runners-up, on a frigid morning in Virginia. Ah, thoughts of cherry blossoms…

  2. Rock Neelly on February 17, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Snowy day in Ohio. Schools cancelled. Roads to bookstores being plowed so I can go get my new Laurie R. King. Hello Mary Russell, I have missed you! Congratulations, L!

  3. Melissa on February 17, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Congratulations to all the winners!
    I’m REALLY blushing right now so I wil only say that I’m glad you liked the artwork created by all of us.

  4. Sabrina Flynn on February 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

    So many great entries! Love the winning art and haiku. Really wonderful!

  5. Kelly W on February 17, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Congrats to the winners and thank you to all those who contributed it is so much fun enjoying everyone’s creativity!

    I have not gotten my Dreaming Spies … Yet! but I will, soon, because I am so busy right now and do not have the will power to buy it and have it tempt me on my nightstand. On top of that I read this on “The Buzz from Laurie R. King”:

    ” I’ll tell you that the next book, scheduled for April 2016, will also inhabit the world of Russell & Holmes. … And ask however much you like, at Q&A time during my events this month, but all I’m going to tell you is that it has a really big twist in it. Enormous, even. You won’t expect it.

    Yes, I am wicked.”

    Laurie! I haven’t even started your latest – not even wanting to read the teasers until I get my hands on it and now you have me already looking ahead for that ginormous twister you are going to make us wait until next year for… you are wicked!

    All I can say is keep writing and have lots of fun with it so we can enjoy the fruits of your labor later!

  6. Margaret Wood on February 17, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you, all. Delightful! The new hard cover is supposed to be delivered today. The audio version (yes I get both) is ready to be downloaded but I have promises to keep. Maybe this evening.

  7. Vicki Saunders on February 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Lovely art. I do like that meeting of Holmes and Russell on the downs. Now how about taking another art form and create a televised version of this. I admit to qualms that a director might mess with my images of the book characters, I recommend careful casting. But I would be waiting on the edge of my seat for such a series……

  8. Libby Dodd on February 17, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Lovely works.
    A minor quibble–Russell is left handed, but the picture of her “mapping the world” shows her holding the pencil in her right hand.

  9. Pamela Gibson on February 18, 2015 at 9:33 am

    My hardback copy didn’t arrive in my local bookstore’s order; they have promised it by Friday at the latest. Of course I bought the ebook as well, but won’t be able to start it until this afternoon. Grrh. Reading ‘The Buzz’, my mind immediately leaped to an unknown half- sibling for Mary. (Genealogists always suspect dark secrets, and we’re so often right.) That would knock everything nicely awry in the Russell/Holmes universe. Oh, hurry up, 2016!

  10. Sara on February 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Many thanks, and congratulations to all! HAPPY READING!!!!

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