Within intelligence communities, spycraft refers to the techniques used by spies to gather intelligence and remain undercover. The need to manipulate, discover, and remain secret has spawned the time-tested techniques used by spies everywhere.
I used these methods throughout the Dark Talents trilogy, set in England in 1936. Here are some examples culled from Kim Tavistock scenes in Book two, Serpent in the Heather.
In eBook and hardcover. In paperback on Apr. 16.
SIGN OF LIFE. To confirm with handlers or HQ (the “office” in British intelligence service parlance) that one is on duty and pursuing the mission.
In a wool skirt and sweater set Kim made her way down to the castle parlor, where she put in her call to Knightsbridge and Nash Photo Finishing. Someone from the Office answered appropriately and said her photo prints would be ready on Wednesday. Her sign-of-life call complete, she turned to find Powell had entered the drawing room.
THE COVER PERSONA. Obviously, spies wish to remain undetected as such. To that end, they adopt ostensible business and deflecting personal attributes.
“Tread carefully with this Coslett woman, Kim. We’re only allowed a limited operation. You must deploy your witless- American mode to perfection.”
She snapped a look at him. “I didn’t know I had one.”
“What? Oh, yes, quite a good one. Charging around all innocent and eager. Top-notch.”
Coming April 16, 2019
The conclusion the Dark Talents trilogy, Nest of the Monarch is now on preorder. I am deeply and honestly thrilled with this book, and I can hardly wait for it to get in readers’ hands! (Ships on April 16.)
I wanted to pull out all the stops for what Kim Tavistock is capable of, and place the events of the book in the scariest environment I could imagine, at least for a spy: 1936 Berlin and a secret SS outpost. The result is my richest story yet, I’m thinking. A few questions come to mind:
Why does Kim’s Berlin station handler say “Everyone has their limits”?
Can a British spy trust the British Intelligence Service? Can she even trust herself?
Is the man she’s living with going to help her or kill her?
What is it like to be both less than human and more than human at the same time?
Who is the last person Kim could ever expect to meet on Christmas eve among monsters?
You can preorder Nest of the Monarch at these fine retailers:
Barnes & Noble
Creating the Novel
Write on the River presents a 7-week writing seminar from Kay Kenyon.
For beginners and mid-career writers wishing to pursue a publishing career. The class is limited to six students and will be held in Wenatchee, WA. Sessions consist of an hour of instruction and an hour’s critique of a student manuscript by the instructor and the other students.
The sessions will be designed to deepen students’ abilities to evaluate their writing with an eye to marketplace considerations as well as compelling fictional elements.
Some of these are useful tools.
DATES AND REQUIREMENTS
DATES: Sessions will be held every other Wednesday, February 13 through May 8.
TIME: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
- Must apply to attend by December 15. Details here.
- Membership in Write on the River.
- 18 years of age or older.
- Sense of humor; openness to all genres of writing.
- Have at least 30 pages of a novel written and ready for critique by February 13.
I’ll be in Baltimore and hope to see friends, readers, and fellow writers.
I’ll be doing a special giveaway of At the Table of Wolves, Bk 1 of the Dark Talents novels, right after my “History Abuse” panel at 2:00 PM Saturday.
Historical fantasy writers often twist time periods to suit their stories. Is this fine, or do writers have a responsibility to represent the past truthfully? What is ‘truth’ when we know that many stories have been written out of history?
With Erin Roberts, Carlos Hernandez, Louise Marley, Carolyn Ives Gilman, David Drake
Comment here if you’re going!
Hope to see some of you at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference this weekend!
Here are some places I’ll be on Friday:
AUTOGRAPHING – Grand Ballroom 8:30- 10:00 PM
WORKSHOP: The Magic of Plotting – Evergreen 1
This workshop has been a popular one at Norwescon and Worldcon.
How do you develop a novel’s plot? Is it luck, or trial and error, or are there classic approaches you can use to bring out your best story? Learn to bring forth the magic within your creativity–and give it form in the world: your story! Kay Kenyon is the author of 14 science fiction and fantasy novels, including a new fantasy trilogy from Simon & Schuster/Saga. She will focus on initial inspiration, and the deep tools of mystery, surprise, originality, conflict, momentum, and transformation.
I’ll have some books to give away, and if there’s nothing to write on in the room, you can watch me hold a mic and a small white board and no less than Three magic markers, all while holding forth on the wonderful world of plotting! (I did it at Worldcon in San Jose, and I have witnesses!)