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Convention website here.

Genre Blending (scheduled) participant Fri, 9:00–10:15 pm University B
Moderator: Rebecca Holden. Email fellow participants Rebecca Holden, Alex Jennings, Justine Larbalestier, Loren Rhoads, Kristine Smith, Brooke Wonders 

Whether it’s a steampunk fairytale or an end of the world love story between science and magic or a Hong Kong-style revenge space opera, stories are spilling over the edges of genre. When is it done well? What is left to explore?
David Bowie’s Influence On Science Fiction (scheduled) participant Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm University C
Moderator: Gwynne Garfinkle. Email fellow participants Gwynne Garfinkle, Kristine Smith, Scott Westerfeld 

In her obituary on io9.com for trailblazing musician David Bowie, Charlie Jane Anders writes that Bowie “had an incalculable impact on pop culture throughout his shape-shifting career. But perhaps more than any other musician, he also had a tremendous impact on science fiction. He changed the way we thought about the alien, the uncanny, and the familiar.” This panel will explore the way Bowie’s music, films, and shifting persona shaped and inspired speculative writing and pop culture.
Analog and Digital Writing Tools (scheduled) participant Sun, 8:30–9:45 am Conference 1
Moderator: K. Tempest Bradford. Email fellow participants K. Tempest Bradford, Dylan Moonfire, Kristine Smith 

Writers, bring your favorite writing tools—laptop, tablet, quill, or steam-fueled ideatron—and share the pros and cons of your favored method of writing with others! We’ll talk software, hardware, analogware, old-fashioned methods as well as new. If you’re willing to share your beloved your writing gear, others may be eager to give them a try.
The SignOut (scheduled) participant Mon, 11:30 am–12:45 pm Capitol/Wisconsin
Come and sign your works, come and get things signed, come and hang out and wind down before you leave.

Mirrored from .

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The new Contact Imminent cover, designed by Dave Smeds:

Contact Imminent cover for Nook


Like the old cover, it’s a tad more optimistic in mood. In the old cover, Jani is standing before a ship’s porthole looking out at the stars. In this image, she’s looking out over a world, over arriving ships. Like a guardian.

The ebook goes on sale May 27th. There will be a POD edition, available in early June.

Mirrored from .

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Just a short update to say that since the last WordPress update, the website is not presenting properly in Safari–the newsletter signup box and some of the social media links are missing. All is well in Chrome, Firefox, and iOS 9. whatever, so if you came here to sign up for the newsletter, one of those browsers will work.

Or, you can email me at krisATkristine-smith.com, and I can add you.

We’re trying to fix it. If we can’t, we’ll have to change to a new theme.

Mirrored from Taking notes along the way.

A jam day

Apr. 27th, 2016 03:11 pm
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Blueberry Earl Grey, to be exact.

the finished product
the finished product


Used this recipe. Wondered why I couldn’t use fresh-squeezed lemon juice, so googled. The issue is apparently the need for sufficient acidification. But according to this article, lemons that one finds in a typical US grocery store are sufficiently acidic for use in all canning EXCEPT FOR MEYER LEMONS, WHICH ARE NOT. So, I guess I could have used fresh lemon juice. Since I wasn’t planning on giving any of the jam away, I would be the only person at risk of nastiness. Given that jam doesn’t last long around me, it probably doesn’t matter what I use.

Mistakes were made. I have never used pectin as a setting agent in jam before, so I simply noted Sure-Jell on my grocery list. Went to the store yesterday, and found that there were three different types: regular, less-or-no sugar added recipes, and All Natural. Of course, I picked the All Natural, which proved to be the wrong type; I should’ve bought the less/no sugar added. But I had already put the berries on the stove to cook, so I figured Hell with it and went ahead.

Oh, I also found that I had bought decaf Earl Grey instead of regular.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, I made the jam. I jarred the jam. See above photo. It’s in the fridge now, still slightly warm. However, it does appear to be setting. It may remain a little runnier than desirable–I’ll know more in 12-24 hours–but I shall endeavor to cope. It does taste good–nice berriness with strong hints of Earl Greyness. I think it’s a keeper recipe. I usually eat jam on toast, but I bet this stuff would rock on pancakes.

In other news, still dealing with tailing ends of Cold From Hell + Las Vegas Relapse. Got a tentative schedule for Wiscon, which looks like it will be fun–will post when it’s finalized. Wishing the weather here in far NE Illinois would warm up.

Oh, and the other day, this happened over on the Twitter:



So yesterday, I mailed off a book.

Mirrored from Taking notes along the way.

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I had a chance to consider my dream casting for the Gideon miniseries over at MY BOOK, THE MOVIE:

Lauren Reardon—a 30-something Sandra Bullock. Lauren is an outdoorsy woman who enjoys kayaking, backwoods camping, rock climbing. Girl-next-door attractive, and very down-to-earth. Bullock appeals to me in those respects. She’s always struck me as someone you could run into at the local drugstore or mini-mart and have a friendly, funny no-drama conversation with. But there’s a toughness there, and a sense that something happened to her that she simply does not discuss with anyone.

Follow the link for more.

There’s also a link to the COFFEE WITH A CANINE post from back in November.

This weekend, the BRAIN TO BOOKS CYBER CONVENTION is going on over at Goodreads. I have a booth–stop by and post a comment.


Mirrored from Taking notes along the way.

Busy April

Apr. 1st, 2016 09:58 pm
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RT Convention prep is ongoing. I’ve had Alex Gordon purse mirrors made. Today, I bought little black bags and tags, eye and sugar skull stickers, little bits of eerie to use as badge decorations. Also, business cards. There will also be candy, but I’m going to get it in Las Vegas.

I’m also editing Contact Imminent in preparation for its reissue next month. I needed to reread it so that I could write the cover copy, and oh dear what was I thinking when I tossed in all those exclamation! points! A bunch of those got deleted.Also, em-dashes. They have their place, and I loves them to bits. But there are limits.

As for today, so many links!!!!!**

Incident on a Small Colony, the one and only Jani Kilian novella, appears this month in Lightspeed Magazine’s ebook issue. Yes, I know it’s available on the website, but if you buy the issue, you also get my Spotlight interview in which I discuss how I came up with the tech and why I took the directions I did with Jani’s character and other aspects of the story. Plus, there’s a lot of other great fiction and reviews. Definitely worth $3.99US.

As for Alex Gordon, she’s interviewed in this month’s issue of THE BIG THRILL. I discuss the development of Lauren Reardon, the different worlds of GIDEON and JERICHO, and how I got started on this writing thing in the first place.

Also, Marie Brennan is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of her first novel and the upcoming release of her new one, IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES, by hosting other writers on her site and asking us questions over the next five days. Today’s question is, What is the earliest story you ever recall writing? I am in awe of the memories of my fellow authors.

**I had to do something with those deleted !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mirrored from Taking notes along the way.

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It’s available for preorder over at Amazon. The other ebook purveyors may take a few days.

Cover by Dave Smeds:


Mirrored from Taking notes along the way.

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I’m in the midst of a slam dance here. Articles and an interview due over on the Alex Gordon side of the street. Reformatting Contact Imminent in preparation for ebook conversion and proofreading.

Adjusting to the fact that 2016 is almost 1/6 over.

NE Illinois will get a taste of Spring this weekend. Sunny. Highs in the 50s. Then Winter returns because this is the Midwest in March that we’re talking about.

Just finished breakfast. Time to take Gaby to puppy playcare, then settle in and get some work done.


Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

A Tuesday

Feb. 16th, 2016 09:29 am
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Still in a post-con mindset, catching up on emails and wondering what I missed. Working on Alex Gordon interview questions, LAW OF SURVIVAL prep, counting down to the JERICHO release, and pondering new work. I need to fit taxes in there somewhere. And oh look, it’s already mid-February.

Capricon was fun. Saw a few folks I hadn’t talked to in years, and met some folks I had to that point known only online. The panels went well, too, with much good discussion about the purposes of SF (should it be predictive, or extrapolation, or commentary, or AOTA*), and about new technologies that may help overcome antibiotic resistance.

The con weekend did start out rocky on Friday morning when I rushed out to the car only to find one of my month-old tires had gone flat. Tried to fill it using my little garage compressor, but no go. Luckily, the tire place was on the way–they took the car right in, and fixed the tire. Turns out that I had run over a leveling bolt from a stove or refrigerator. Yup, hit it just right. So yes, the tire was fixed, and I made it to the con with 20 minutes to spare. But it irks me that my BRAND NEW TIRE already has a patch.

Next up–C2E2! Alex Gordon me has a panel; I’ll post all the info when I have it.

Cold and quiet outside today. Gaby is at the vet’s getting her teeth cleaned, so I’ll take advantage of the stillness and get an early start on work….

*All Of The Above

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.


Feb. 4th, 2016 09:04 pm
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Another month, another convention.

Another drive-a-con. Even better, a commuter-con. I don’t have to pack.

My schedule:

What would SF Look Like in a Science Fiction World? – Friday, 02-12-2016 – 10:00 am to 11:30 am – River B
If starships and robots are part of your everyday life, what would your science fiction be about?

Reading: Kristine Smith – Friday, 02-12-2016 – 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm – River C (Cafe)

Autographing: Dale Cozort, Kristine Smith – Friday, 02-12-2016 – 2:30 pm to 3:15 pm – Autograph Table

Post Antibiotic Era – Saturday, 02-13-2016 – 11:30 am to 1:00 pm – Birch B
What do we do if we run out of antibiotics? Between antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the possibility of civilization falling, it is a distinct possibility that in the near future there will be none left. How can we take care of infections and diseases without them?

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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…is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Kobo should follow shortly. iBooks is being a pain, so I will post that link when I get things fixed. If you read NookBooks, you will have to wait until the On Sale date of 26 January to buy.

I revealed the cover over on my Facebook Author Page yesterday. It has a very different look compared to the cover of Code of Conduct. More a mystery image. Darker, almost noirish. As I said over on the Facebook post, Rules is in some ways a darker story. Conspiracy like before, yes. Political mayhem. But also survivor guilt, and the struggle to fit in a world that is no longer yours.

Dave Smeds, who designed the Code cover, designed this cover as well. Jani overlooking over a far future Chicago, in the city, but not really part of it.

Rules of Conflict

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.


Dec. 17th, 2015 01:19 pm
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Not much going on in Kristine Smith land. I did post over at the BookView Café blog about the doggy DNA testing I had performed in order to find out Gaby’s mix. Suffice to say, I was surprised at the results.

It’s Alex Gordon work for the next week as I deal with JERICHO copyedits. Holiday prep will take place as well. So far, the weather has made it feel most unChristmassy. It’s around 30F now and blustery, but it’s possible that it may warm to the 50s and maybe even the 60s next week. No white Christmas.

I took a break from copyedits to bake cookies yesterday. Ina Garten’s Oatmeal-Raisin-Pecan, with added chai spice and toasted coconut. Whole wheat flour and wheat germ instead of white all-purpose. Have one–they’re great with coffee or tea.

Oatmeal raisin pecan toasted coconut whole wheat chai. Good cookies.

Oatmeal raisin pecan toasted coconut whole wheat chai. Good cookies.


Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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…and so little 2015 left in which to do it.

A week has already passed since Code of Conduct launched. There’s an interview over at the Bookview Café website in which I discuss some background and research related to the Jani Kilian series, how I’ve changed over the years as a writer, and how having all day during which to write hasn’t proved the boon to productivity that I thought it would.

In other news, I’ve been working on getting all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed with respect to the Rules of Conflict reissue. The date? January 26, 2016. I will be at Confusion the weekend before, and hope to have copies of the POD edition to show off. In the meantime, I plan to reveal the cover soon–not sure when. It’s very different in tone from the Code of Conduct cover. Dark. Almost noirish. Here’s an early peek at the cover copy:

So many bones, buried so deep. But not deep enough.

After eighteen years, Captain Jani Kilian’s life as a fugitive has ended. Captured by the Service, she now faces court martial. It will surely lead to her execution.

But relations with the idomeni have deteriorated. Jani’s knowledge of that alien race and her friendship with Nema, their ambassador, earn her a reprieve. And if she is able to help stabilize the crisis, she may be in line for a pardon.

Jani knows she should grab this second chance and hang on. But as tensions between human and idomeni mount and her genetically-modified body breaks down, she finds herself locked in a struggle with an adversary who has as much to lose as she, and who will do anything to ensure their secrets remain buried.

Finally, if you check the right sidebar, below the Code cover, you’ll see there’s a place to sign up for my newsletter. The first issue will come out after the holidays. It will be a joint Kristine Smith-Alex Gordon production, and will contain things that won’t be available anywhere else–snippets, background information about my books, first peeks at covers (when possible since Amazon etc often jump the gun), opportunities to enter giveaways for ARCs and other goodies, and whatever other neat things I can think up. Still pondering the frequency, but I believe I can say that they will come out on a bimonthly basis at most, though quarterly is more likely. I reserve the right to send out a special edition in case of amazing news like an award or movie deal–oh that it would come to pass–but the usual disclaimers apply. I won’t flood your inbox with missives, and will never share your email address.

And with that, I shall sign off. I’ll be working on Alex Gordon stuff for the next two weeks as Jericho copyedits are due to drop, so I’m not sure if I will have time to post again before Christmas. As is often the case, I will have to play it by ear.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

A Contest!

Nov. 30th, 2015 01:07 am
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My first.

Follow me on Twitter for a chance to win a copy of the new trade paper edition of CODE OF CONDUCT.

Rules is rules. In order to participate, you have to 1) be a resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, 2) 18+ years of age (or legal age), and 3) follow @KSmithSF on twitter.

Just click on the link to go to the contest page, and follow the instructions.

Ritual disclaimer: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Every eligible entry has 1 in 75 chance to win, up to 2 winners. This giveaway started November 29,2015 10:37 PM PST and ends the earlier of December 6,2015 11:59 PM PST or when all prizes have been awarded.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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I know. It’s been a while. I’ve been saying that a lot lately.

I plead The Busy. Prepping CODE OF CONDUCT files for release. The ebook is available for pre-order over on Amazon (and now Kobo too), and, barring technical difficulties, should pop up in other ebook stores–iBooks, Nook–over the next few days. Working on a trade paper edition, which may not make the 1 December release date but should be available soon after. Also working on interview questions for my BookView Café launch. Plotting a Jani novella, which I thought would prove relatively simple at first. But plot has grown Complex, with much backstory that needs to be carefully interwoven so that folks who’ve read the novels don’t get bored and those new to the world don’t get lost.

I also have Alex Gordon work to do, namely proposals for future books. Copyedits for JERICHO, the next book in the GIDEON series, should turn up in a couple of weeks. And as I’ve mentioned before, maintaining two separate online identities is difficult and at this point no longer necessary. So I will be working with wiser webheads than I to combine my two sites into one.

Also too, newsletter. Working on getting that started, too. It will be a combo of Kristine Smith and Alex Gordon news and updates, with links to interesting articles and research, background about the books, snippets, and, hopefully, contests for ARCs and other neat stuff. IOW, there will be good reasons to sign up. But I want it to be solid as possible from the start, which means I don’t just want to toss a sign-up widget up there. As soon as something is ready to go, I will post.

Not sure if I will be posting again before US Thanksgiving. If not, here’s my version of a Happy Thanksgiving e-card. Gaby, kitted out in a holiday neckerchief. Safe and happy holiday, to all who celebrate.

Gaby, decked out for the day

Gaby, decked out for the day

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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Next week. Where has the year gone, I ask you?

The final schedule is out, and I have one panel and a reading.

Friday 6 Nov: Broadway 2 • 12:00
Reading: I will be reading some selections from JERICHO.

Mass Autographing Session :

8:30pm City Center 2A and City Center 2B
Open to signers at 8:00
Open to all at 8:30

And on Saturday the 7th, my panel:

2:00•City Center 2A : Fantasy and Detective Fiction — A Natural Fit?

After that, on Sunday 8 Nov at 6pm, I’ll be appearing with a host of other writers at Flights of Fantasy Books and Games. Julie Czerneda! Anne Bishop! Garth Nix! Many more! Then that will be it for travel for 2015.

Here at the ol’ homestead, I am watching the leaves fall and trying to work up the nerve to assemble the leaf grinder/mulcher that I bought earlier this month. No more raking the leaves to the curb for the city to pick up, said I. Instead, I shall grind them and use them to mulch the shrubbery in preparation for the winter ahead.

We’ll see how it goes. Last  year, I mulched some of the leaves with the mower, but there were just too many and I wound up disposing of well over half, along with all the damned needles that fell like rain from the Scots pine in the front yard. This year, it all gets ground up. I’ll leave the ground pine needles under the pine and spruce trees, and save the leaves for the shrubs. Oak leaves–of which I have so so many–are acidic according to all I’ve read, so the hydrangeas and hibiscus should like that.



Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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I have heard that folks aren’t all that interested in hearing about other people’s dreams, but last night I had a weird one and I am posting it here as much for myself as for public consumption.

I usually don’t recall my dreams as a whole piece. I will remember bits and pieces–the sensation of flying, the fact that I’m being followed by a vampire and WHY AM I NOT SCARED?? But this was fairly intact from beginning to end, so, here goes.

I’m on a plane. Literally. The jet is at cruising altitude, above the clouds, and I am outside, wrapped in a blanket, tethered in place, and hanging on. I think I’m nestled where the wing and body meet, but I’m not sure. I just see the endless blue overhead, the clouds beneath. I don’t feel the wind in my face, or the cold or vibration. I don’t see any windows, and have no clue whether anyone can see me or not. Someone has to be flying the jet, but I can’t see them. I’m alone.

Except for King. My dog, that passed away over two years ago. He’s lying on a dog bed, either atop the plane or gliding beside it. He seems pretty laid back, considering that he’s 35K feet above the ground with nothing holding him in place. Given that he was never the calmest dog in the world, it’s worth noting.

Time passes. Then for some reason I can’t recall, I untie the rope that’s holding me in place. I’m still wrapped in the blanket, but damn, I’m gripping whatever I can grip and holding on tight. Then I hear barking, and I look to my left and see that King has lost contact with the jet. He’s not falling, but drifting farther and farther away on his bed. He’s barking–I’m not sure if he’s afraid, or trying to get my attention, or what. I don’t know if I can find him, because I don’t know where the jet is going or when we’re going to land. I’m not panicked, though. Something in the back of my head tells me that I will be able to find him.

And that how it ends. I’ve lost my dog and my rope, but I’m still hanging on. I’m sure this somehow relates to things going on in my life right now. I’m contemplating changes and anticipating others, all of which will lead to some degree of upset. Funny, the way the brain deals with things like that.


In other news, I found I had a few overripe bananas in the fruit bowl. That could mean only one thing. BANANA BREAD. I fell back on my basic recipe, which is like the easiest thing ever. But along with being basic, it’s also incredibly forgiving and flexible, which gives me a chance to play.

This time, I was going to add chocolate chips and stop there. But then I remembered Aarón Sánchez’s Mexican Brownie recipe, which I had made before and liked. The main addition there is a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, which adds just a touch of heat to the brownies. I decided what the heck, and gave it a try.

I didn’t stop there. In addition to the cayenne, I added about a 1/3 teaspoon ancho chili powder for smokiness. A teaspoon cinnamon because that works with just about everything. A teaspoon of espresso powder to boost the chocolate. About 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips.

As usual, I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. This time, I used 1 cup whole wheat + 1/2 cup white whole wheat, both King Arthur brand. I added an extra half-teaspoon baking soda to give the heavier dough a boost. And as always, more salt than was called for, about 1/3 teaspoon instead of a pinch. I’ve found that savory recipes often call for too much salt and sweet recipes for too little. You can cut back on sugar sometimes if you lean on the salt to boost flavors. Plus, you wind up with more varied flavors than simple sweetness. Plain ol’ sugar sweetness is boring at best and sickening at worst.

Anyway, I just had a piece, and it worked. A lighter crumb than you’d expect from a whole wheat quick bread. The heat is subtle–it takes a few bites to build, then hangs around until the end. The espresso boosts the chocolate, and overall there’s a nice, deep, full flavor. As usual, the banana flavor is pretty much buried, but I make this recipe so often that I need to mix it up every once in a while. Besides, I eat a banana most every morning with breakfast. I know what they taste like.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.


Sep. 5th, 2015 08:55 pm
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I’ve hinted for a while that I would have news to report and well, here it is. CODE OF CONDUCT will be reissued on December 1 through the good offices of Book View Cafe! It will be released in both ebook and POD formats, via the usual outlets. Further details as the day draws near–the production wheels are still turning.

The cover was designed by Dave Smeds, and I am so, so happy with it.

code of conduct cover


I’m also working on a new Jani novella, but that likely won’t be released until the first part of 2016. I can say that it takes place after the events in ENDGAME, and some of the usual suspects–Niall Pierce, Lucien Pascal, Hiroshi Mako–will make appearances. Check back for the occasional snippet.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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Sometimes they work out.

I was excavating the baking section of the cupboard–checking dates on flour and whatnot–when I came upon a box of corn muffin mix that was a little past its Best By date. By over two years. May 2013, to be exact.

I debated simply dumping it. But I had most of a can of cream corn leftover from dinner, and decided to experiment. I made the mix using the cream corn instead of milk, then added the required egg along with a tsp of dried dill and a tsp of “Southwest Seasoning,” which is a combo of various peppers and herbs. Spooned the mess into muffin cups, and baked for about 35 minutes (instead of the recommended 18-20 if I had followed the recipe).

I knew things weren’t quite working out as hoped when the muffins failed to rise. I had filled the cups about halfway, and halfway was pretty much where the muffins stayed. However, they smelled lovely–think ‘buttery tortilla chips.’ I took them out of the oven after the tops turned a bit more than golden brown, and tried one with butter after it had cooled.

Verdict? Still very moist inside thanks to the corn. Think corn hockey pucks. But they’re tasty–I just had one that I had stuck under the broiler and topped with smoked white cheddar, and it was great. Hint of dill. Hint of heat. They’d be great with chili or bean soup, anything spicy/tomato-based.

If I had it to do over, I would have added about half the specified amount of milk, some shredded cheddar, and some baking powder or baking soda. I know the stuff loses its punch over time, and that might have happened with this mix.

Corn pucks

Corn pucks

In other news, Alex Gordon is still getting the bulk of the attention these days. The release date for JERICHO has been pushed out to April 2016, which allowed me more time for revisions. Ain’t ever gonna turn down more time. That’s not in my DNA.

That said, there may be Kristine Smith news in the coming months, and that’s all I can say now.


Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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Still alive. Currently revising JERICHO, a book by Alex Gordon, aka My Alter Ego. In a little over two weeks, both of us will be at Thrillerfest X in NYC. Looking forward to meeting folks, meeting with my editor, and maybe getting out of the hotel and checking out a few food trucks. Given how much will be going on, getting away may prove difficult, but I will try.

Not much else to report besides the usual–working, cooking, baking, losing the never-ending battle with weeds. For a change of pace, here’s a photo of Gaby exploring the very edge of Lake Michigan.

Gaby meets the Lake

Gaby meets the Lake

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

April 2017

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