Category Archives: Events

News: Sherlock Holmes short stories and CrimesceneWA

“I hear of Sherlock everywhere since you became his chronicler.” Mycroft Holmes, ‘The Greek Interpreter’.

You may have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot of Holmesian fiction of late – sometimes in short stories where they are the traditional epic best friends, and sometimes as a romantic couple. (I maintain that all interpretations are valid interpretations.)

Whichever approach I take, the world’s most famous crime fighting duo solve crimes and bicker amiably, and are enormous fun to write.

I’m delighted to announce two upcoming anthologies in which I have Holmes and Watson stories (the epic best friends approach).

Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook is due out in hardcover in November 2017, but the cover was recent revealed along with the list of contributors and the editor, Christopher Sequeira.

Bonnier Publishing’s blurb on the fully illustrated anthology says:

It’s 1890. Holmes’s fame has spread even to the colonies, and he and his stalwart chronicler Watson are swept up in an array of mysteries Down Under. They find themselves summoned from place to place, dealing with exciting and unique mysteries in every corner of this strange island continent.

All the stories are original and are set in Australia. My contribution, ‘The Mystery of the Miner’s Wife’, is set in Ballarat. I’m so excited to be in the company of Lucy Sussex, LJM Owen, Kaaron Warren, Steve Cameron, Jason Franks, Kerry Greenwood and others.

Keep an eye out here or at Bonnier’s imprint, Echo Publishing, for more news closer to the release date.

But wait, there’s more!

I also have a story in MX Publishing’s latest anthology of canon-era Holmes stories. ‘The Case of the Temperamental Terrier’ appears in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part VI: 2017 Annual, which is due for release on 22 May 2017.

Proceeds of the book support the Stepping Stones school for children with learning difficulties that operates out of Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home, Undershaw.

Here’s an excerpt from my story:

“I swear Mrs Hudson, some days after the park, it’s like he’s a different animal!”

These words, overheard as Mrs Hudson spoke to her friend on the front step of 221b Baker Street, were the herald of one of Sherlock Holmes’s oddest cases. In fact, Holmes and I, on our way to a programme of violin concertos in the city, would have passed both women by had Mrs Rees not added, “Though the next day he’s always back to being Charlie the snap-hound again, more’s the pity. Miss Darrow likes him better with some snap, she says. Of course, he doesn’t snap at her. ”

Holmes abruptly ceased his stroll and regarded the white Aberdeen terrier at Mrs Rees’s feet with curiosity. Charlie was a common sight each morning as Mrs Rees, the housekeeper from 189 Baker Street, took her mistress’s pet to the park. The dog was notorious for his dour disapproval of the street boys who frequented Baker Street and his stern persecution of the park squirrels.

Charlie cocked his head and regarded Holmes with as much impudent curiosity as that with which Holmes regarded the dog.

“And which animal does he seem to be today?” Holmes asked.

You can pre-order the paperback or hardcover at:

My final bit of news is that I’ll be a guest at CrimesceneWA in September 2017. You can follow the convention and announcements as they happen at CrimesceneWA’s Facebook page.

 

Book Launched! Now what?

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to come to the launch of The Adventure of the Colonial Boy on Wednesday, and to those who sent good wishes, and to everyone who has so far bought the book or plans to do so!

Here are some pictures of the night!

What next?

For me: I’ve just finished updating both this blog site and my Narrelle M Harris site so that there’s less duplication and (I hope) all the links work correctly again.

New writing projects include some new short stories for anthologies coming up, and I’ve started co-writing a new book for Improbable Press!

I’m also working on various publicity ideas to get word out about The Adventure of the Colonial Boy, including encouraging reviews.

Which brings me to what’s next for you.

Can you help with reviews?

Once you’ve read The Adventure of the Colonial Boy, it would be incredibly helpful to me as a writer, and to Improbable Press, if you could review the book on:

Star ratings and reviews of even only a sentence or two (and it doesn’t have to be a good review, even) help so much with getting the book and the press in front of people who don’t know me/us but would be interested in the subject matter. It’s hard to be heard out there, so if you want to support the book it’s a great way to do that!

Or request The Adventure of the Colonial Boy for your library

Another way to get involved is to put in a request at your local library to get a copy. Check out your own library’s website or desk for how to do this, but usually you need:

  • Title: The Adventure of the Colonial Boy
  • Author: Narrelle M Harris
  • Publisher: Improbable Press
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993513626

Thank you again to everyone who has helped me get this far – not only for this book, but in all the writing that has brought me here. Your support has kept me going through tough times!

 

Book Launch 30 March 2016: The Adventure of the Colonial Boy

ACB launchImprobable Press and I are very pleased to announce that The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is having an official launch!

The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is a Holmes/Watson romance set in Australia in 1893. Murder! Dangerous sea voyages! Deductions! Snakes! Honour, angst, and chases! Unrequited love, requited!

DETAILS

When: Wednesday 30 March 2016.  6.30 for a 7pm start.

Where: Penny Blue Bar, Drivers Lane (off Little Bourke Street, near Elizabeth St) Melbourne VIC 3000

The Adventure of the Colonial Boy is already available as an ebook, and it comes out as a paperback on 31 March. I have a limited number of copies ahead of time, so come to the book launch and get an early copy, at the special price of AU$15.

There’ll be a wee speech, a reading, a little food, lots of good company and the fabulous service at Penny Blue (which is accessible – let us know in advance if you need a ramp for your chair!)

Because Improbable Press is a small press based in the UK and this event is being run on the scent of an oily rag that Sherlock Holmes has deduced was recently in John Watson’s vicinity, we’d like to thank Penny Blue for providing the space for the launch free of charge.

Please support Penny Blue by buying a drink or two, and support Improbable Press by buying a book!

REVIEWS

Here are some of the reviewer comments on The Adventure of the Colonial Boy so far!

I admit to being wary about whether [Harris] could really, truly pull off a romance for Holmes and Watson. I am convinced. She more than pulled it off. She nailed it. And now I’m swept headlong into a vision of Holmes and Watson, forever changed. I’ll eagerly be re-reading ACD canon with a brand new understanding. I’ve no doubt that ACD’s stories will be utterly consistent with a Holmes and Watson in love – whether pre-consummation or post.  – CoachJanette, Amazon.com

I bought the ebook because I couldn’t wait – and ended up reading it in one day.– Denise, Goodreads.

The biggest problem with this story is my inability to put the darn thing down. Needless to say it was read in one sitting. – cemm, Amazon.com

This was a romping good read, and absolute page turner that I couldn’t put down. – Sally Koetsveld, Goodreads.

Spot on capture of the time-tested Holmes and Watson chemistry: razor-sharp wit, breath-taking revelations, shared victory in defeating clever criminals, and the deepest friendship and love. – ckm, Amazon.com

I particularly loved the author’s take on the original stories and characters, the adventerous plot, and the exploration of the relationship between Holmes and Watson. – HJS, Amazon.com

 

Clunes Booktown 2015

Clunes (1)After missing Booktown last year, it was lovely to get to Clunes today for my third Booktown festival. I caught the special service train that VLine put on for the festival and spent the day helping out at Clan Destine Press’s table, talking about books and wandering among the bookstalls.

Fellow Clan Destine author Jane Routley, dressed strikingly for the day and cut an elegant figure on the main street of Clunes, handing out postcards for her book and directing people towards our table.

Clunes likes to put on a bit of a show for the punters, and there were roaming performers reciting Shakespearean speeches in the morning, and a juggler/magician (who is a regular here) and the delightful Creswick Brass Band, who provide a musical soundtrack for the day which I always enjoy.

Clunes (4)I also poked around a few of the bookshops – which is what you do when you come to Clunes Booktown. To tell the truth, I love just loitering around the main street, watching all these people who’ve come to this little rural Victoria town for the joy of books, even without going bookhunting myself.

Still – you can’t come to Booktown without scoring an excellent book or four, and I was delighted to find some great books relating to 19th century forensics and toxicology (which I need for a new book idea). I also picked up a little book from a small press that looked intriguing.

Clunes (2)Booktown is still on tomorrow, so you can drive up or catch a VLine train to Ballarat to meet one of the special Clunes trains.

Go, fly, be free, and find beautiful books!

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, smartphone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

Clunes Booktown 2013

2013arrowlogoAfter my first Clunes Booktown Festival in 2012, reliving the experience in 2013 seemed a terrific idea, particularly as this time I’d be in the company of horror writers Jason Nahrung and Kirstyn McDermott, who had recently moved to Ballarat.

So off on adventures I went, meeting Jason at Wendouree train station and joining him, Kirstyn and Kirstyn’s mum Cornelia on the pleasant drive to the little booktown that could.

We had not been in Clunes more than fifteen minutes when Kirstyn displayed her secret superpower for the first time. She finds the best, most wonderful, most excellent books in the store – no matter how overcrowded or disorganised the bookshop. No matter if there are three thousand dull books and the prize is buried at the back of the shop, under fourteen boxes and a sleeping elderly cat that bites all who come near. Kirstyn. Will. Find. The. Perfect. Book. She ended the day with four or five gems, but this was her first – a book of fairytales illustrated with photographed book art.

clunes book

I am filled with envy. It’s a beautiful book.

But the day had its pleasures, even if Kirstyn pounced on all the gorgeous art books.

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There was the lovely entry to the children’s areas, where readings took place on and off during the day.

IMG_2902And old fashioned story telling in the form of a Punch and Judy show.

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And the unintentionally hilarious buckets of ‘Women’s Books’. I’ve never really understood the use of that term. Is there a hit squad that comes after men who read any of these books? And why haven’t they been hunting me down for reading… not these books. They do present a lovely vision in pastel colours I suppose.

clunes dogsSome attendees were not there for the books. Actually, a lot of people brought their dogs for the day. They must have all been bookish dogs, because they were very well behaved. So were most of the people, especially considering how very crowded the tents, shops and streets were.

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One of my favourite little shops had shelves of books by Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce, both staples of my childhood.

photo(5)That shop also had a whole section on beekeeping, which naturally made me think of Sherlock Holmes as well.

The festival this year covers even more ground than last year’s, with the basketball court behind the courthouse also filled with tents and literature. It’s fabulous but exhausting. After wandering around Clunes for several hours (and yes, I did find a book about music slang terms which I can use in my new rock-and-roll-saves-the-world-from-monsters project), we withdrew with aching feet and returned to Ballarat.

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There I refreshed myself at the new Mitchell Harris Wine Bar. Besides stocking excellent local wines (including their own) and share plates, the rather cool venue has this beautiful art by street artist Vexta painted straight onto the distressed-industrial brickwork.

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And from there, Tim and I dined perhaps a little too heartily at The Lane, which specialises in local produce. Above you see a lamb that died so that I might have deliciousness, and creamy, perfect cauliflower cheese that could have been a meal in itself. The Ballarat Wightwick Pinot Noir that accompanied my feasting went down rather well too.

Tomorrow I brave not the madding crowds of Day 2 of the Booktown Festival, but the knights errant (and possibly erroneous) of Ballarat’s newly reopened Kryal Castle. I hope to report soon on both jousting and a torture museum!

Disclosure: Narrelle travelled to Ballarat and Clunes and dined out courtesy of Ballarat Regional Tourism.

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, smartphone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

Genrecon: Help! My brain is full!

Well, it’s Saturday afternoon at Genrecon, and my brain is way too full. I need to jump up and down a bit, like packing flour into a container, to let the contents settle and make room for more.  Instead, I’m taking some time out to sit quietly, drink a hot beverage and update my blog. Outside I can see cloudy skies and a gusty wind having its salacious way with the fronds of a palm tree. Ah, Parramatta, you sexy beast, you.

Genrecon is a conference for writers of genre fiction, and Rydges Hotel in Parramatta is full of writers of romance, crime, fantasy, SF and horror (and a lot of other genres besides). It’s also full of editors, publishers (both large and small press) and agents.

So far I’ve attended panels on Writing Effective Fight Scenes conducted by writer and martial artist Simon Higgins, how to make a living as a writer in an era of the dwindling advance, and ways of approaching Villains, Monsters and Cads in your writing. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to panels on The Future of Agenting and The Three Stages of The Writers’s Career.I’ll also be participating in a debate about how approaching plot outlines – I’ll be speaking for the Plotters against the Pantsers (‘flying by the seat of your pants’).

Things I’ve learned so far?

  • Historically, the deadliest ninjas were girls.
  • Adrenalin gives short bursts of power, but there’s a cost for it.
  • Even big, tough men can cry if they are unexpectedly punched in the face.
  • Anyone who is in writing to get rich is both hilarious and deluded. (Or JK Rowling.)
  • Almost all writers get income from something other than their writing. If they’re lucky, they get it through public speaking and workshops.
  • When creating villains, it’s a great idea to take something traditional and then approach it from a different perspective.
  • While the villain is the hero of his/her own story, the gothic anti-hero knows that they are the villain of their own story, and must overcome his/her own flaws.
  • (I think BBC Sherlock is may be a gothic antihero in this sense.)
  • Traditionally, female villains are either thwarted in love or trying to make their son Emporer. Surely there are other motivations out there.
  • Kim Wilkins feels there are not enough Vikings in literature. I find myself suddenly agreeing with her.

Other things I’ve gained, outside the panels, is that it’s wonderful to spend time swapping war stories and successes with fellow writers; that it’s encouraging and even necessary for your own motivation to hear people say they like what you do and to tell others how much you like their work too.

Writers generally work in such isolation that it’s a huge relief to talk to others about their writing habits, approaches that work (or not) for them, to see that others struggle, and others succeed, so you know you’re not alone and that success is possible.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from an industry conference for writers, but so far I’m finding it intensely stimulating, challenging, inspirational and reassuring. The Queensland Writers Centre has done a great job of organising guests, panels, workshops and an opportunity for writers to talk to agents. Bless them all!

(As an aside, I had the best street conversation ever on my walk to the venue today: some kids asked me if I’d seen a goat. Yes. A goat. Yes, I did ask twice, to check they meant ‘goat’ and not ‘coat’. Having ascertained that indeed, a goat was what they meant, I confessed that I had not seen one, but if I should, where should I direct the beast? “To the school” they said, pointing. As both a writer and as a human being, I was very disappointed not to see the goat between the school and the conference venue. I sincerely hope the horror, crime or thriller writers in attendance were not responsible for its disappearance. If the romance writers were involved, I definitely don’t want to know.)

Book Launch 8 June: Walking Shadows

I’m very excited and pleased to announce the imminent launch of Walking Shadows,  and you are all cordially invited to attend!

Walking Shadows is the follow-up to my vampire novel set in Melbourne, The Opposite of Life (available in paperback at Dymocks on Collins Street and other bookshops, and as an ebook on Amazon.com and Booki.sh)

The launch will be held on Friday 8 June at 5.45pm at the Rydges Hotel in Carlton.

The launch is a free event, taking place at the Continuum 8 convention, but you don’t have to be a member of the convention to attend.

Get all the details by downloading the Walking Shadows invite.

Walking Shadows will be available at a special launch-only price on the night!

Feel free to share the invitation or to RSVP on the Facebook event page. I’d love to see you there!!

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

April news: Supanova, GoodReads competition, May talks

I’m a busy little chickadee over the next few months. Well, I’ve been a busy little chickadee all year, but I frequently forget to let anyone know what I’m doing. So, for the novelty of it, I thought I might post about what I’m up to!

Supanova Melbourne

I will be appearing with my Clan Destine peeps at Supanova on Saturday 14th April. We will be holding a panel, Fangs, Felines and Fantasy at 11:20am, but I’ll be hanging about the Clan Destine booth a lot of the day too. (For the Outland fans, John Richards and Adam Richard will be there, talking about their show at 1:40pm, and signing copies of the DVD, now on sale.)

Get the Supanova event guide.

Showtime competition on GoodReads

Australians: You have until 16 April (Monday) to enter the GoodReads competition to win a copy of Showtime!

Canadians, Americans and Brits: You have until May 16 to win a copy of Showtime from GoodReads!

May talks

Well, it doesn’t really, but I will be speaking at various events during the month of May.

Tuesday 22 May 2012: Coburg Library – Growing Up Reading, 7pm

Cnr Victoria and Louisa Streets, Coburg 3058

“Author Narrelle Harris, a passionate and voracious reader, is an enthusiastic Friend of the National Year of Reading. Narrelle will share what reading meant to her as a child growing up in a house full of books and how it shaped her love of reading as an adult. Come and share your experience of reading, your favourite books and what they have meant to you. Be prepared for an inspirational celebration of the joy of reading.

Bookings: (03) 9353 4000

31 May 2012, 9pm: Emerging Writers Festival

I’ll be doing a Ghost Story reading at the Emerging Writers Festival this May. Stay tuned for confirmation of date, time and venue. And I’d better write something…

Other things are happening in June, July and August, so check out my Events page for details.

 

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

A story in steam

Of all the modes of transport in the world, my favourite is the train. Trains are more spacious and comfortable than either a plane or a bus (or a donkey cart). They lack the equilibrium-disturbing sway and roll of a boat, or the lurch and petrol-stink of a coach.  I love the fact that trains are almost exactly the same technology now as when they began operation in the 19th Century. I love catching trains through Europe and feeling the miles role away underneath me, and seeing the landscape slide by. And of all trains, the steam train is my very favourite.

On 1 October, I made my way by suburban rail to Belgrave station to catch the Puffing Billy to Emerald to give a talk at Emerald Library.

Doesn’t that sound magical? Belgrave. Puffing Billy. Emerald. Library talk. For me it evokes those wonderful whistle-stop tours undertaken by the likes of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Clements across America. Trains have other literary associations for me, too. Holmes and Watson rattling across the English countryside to investigate some macabre murder; feckless young men in PG Wodehouse comedies fleeing on the milk train from ferocious aunts; the Pevensie children at the station before their last great adventure in Narnia; the Hogwarts Express; the Little Engine that Could.

Puffing Billy reminds me of all those things, and has its own special place in the heart of Victorian. I grew up in several states, so I don’t think I ever went on the inevitable school trip as a kid, but the same sense of adventure and excitement is still there for adults. Travelling by steam train in the modern day to a local library had a wonderful steampunk sensibility about it.

The Saturday that I travelled was a bit cold and wet, but people still braved the weather to sit with their legs handing out the windows as they hung onto the metal railings. We chugged through bushland, over bridges, through hills, periodically wreathed in smoke and steam.  As we rose in altitude, the air got crisper (and chillier). I could see flashes of colour from native parrots darting between trees, and see distant, mist-shrouded hills and lakes. The notes of the whistle as it blows is like a call to adventure on our way to Emerald.

There’s another literary association for you. Emerald City. Emerald is actually a lovely little country town, one of the stops on Puffing Billy’s route. After recent rain, the town is as green as its name implies. Tim even found a great new café serving excellent coffee just over the road from the library where I delivered my talk on Building Believable Fantasy Worlds. I love those talks. I’m no Clements or Wilde, but I thoroughly enjoy talking to readers and writers and sharing my love of the written word with them. This Oz did not have a man behind the curtain, but it was full of people asking wonderful questions about how to start their own great adventures in writing.

After the talk, we walked back to Emerald Station to catch the Puffing Billy back to Belgrave, this time from the warmth and comfort of the dining car. While pumpkin juice was noticeably lacking, there was lashings of tea, biscuits and fruit cake, the cheerful attentions of the lovely staff and more of those luscious green views before our return to the Big Smoke.

And so ends a day steeped in literary memories, bookish discussion, an appreciation of the Australian countryside and the delights of Victorian-era technology in a hyper-connected cyber world. In other words, a pretty perfect day.

Tim and I travelled as guests of the Puffing Billy Railways.

A story in steam

Of all the modes of transport in the world, my favourite is the train. Trains are more spacious and comfortable than either a plane or a bus (or a donkey cart). They lack the equilibrium-disturbing sway and roll of a boat, or the lurch and petrol-stink of a coach. I love the fact that trains are almost exactly the same technology now as when they began operation in the 19th Century. I love catching trains through Europe and feeling the miles role away underneath me, and seeing the landscape slide by. And of all trains, the steam train is my very favourite.

On 1 October, I made my way by suburban rail to Belgrave station to catch the Puffing Billy to Emerald to give a talk at Emerald Library.

Doesn’t that sound magical? Belgrave. Puffing Billy. Emerald. Library talk. For me it evokes those wonderful whistle-stop tours undertaken by the likes of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Clements across America. Trains have other literary associations for me, too. Holmes and Watson rattling across the English countryside to investigate some macabre murder; feckless young men in PG Wodehouse comedies fleeing on the milk train from ferocious aunts; the Pevensie children at the station before their last great adventure in Narnia; the Hogwarts Express; the Little Engine that Could.

Puffing Billy reminds me of all those things, and has its own special place in the heart of Victorian. I grew up in several states, so I don’t think I ever went on the inevitable school trip as a kid, but the same sense of adventure and excitement is still there for adults. Travelling by steam train in the modern day to a local library had a wonderful steampunk sensibility about it.

The Saturday that I travelled was a bit cold and wet, but people still braved the weather to sit with their legs handing out the windows as they hung onto the metal railings. We chugged through bushland, over bridges, through hills, periodically wreathed in smoke and steam. As we rose in altitude, the air got crisper (and chillier). I could see flashes of colour from native parrots darting between trees, and see distant, mist-shrouded hills and lakes. The notes of the whistle as it blows is like a call to adventure on our way to Emerald.

There’s another literary association for you. Emerald City. Emerald is actually a lovely little country town, one of the stops on Puffing Billy’s route. After recent rain, the town is as green as its name implies. Tim even found a great new café serving excellent coffee just over the road from the library where I delivered my talk on Building Believable Fantasy Worlds. I love those talks. I’m no Clements or Wilde, but I thoroughly enjoy talking to readers and writers and sharing my love of the written word with them. This Oz did not have a man behind the curtain, but it was full of people asking wonderful questions about how to start their own great adventures in writing.

After the talk, we walked back to Emerald Station to catch the Puffing Billy back to Belgrave, this time from the warmth and comfort of the dining car. While pumpkin juice was noticeably lacking, there was lashings of tea, biscuits and fruit cake, the cheerful attentions of the lovely staff and more of those luscious green views before our return to the Big Smoke.

And so ends a day steeped in literary memories, bookish discussion, an appreciation of the Australian countryside and the delights of Victorian-era technology in a hyper-connected cyber world. In other words, a pretty perfect day.

Tim and I travelled as guests of the Puffing Billy Railways.