‘World Enough’ a MA Book Award ‘must read’

World Enough has been named a “must read” in the Massachusetts Book Awards, presented by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, for books published in 2017, joining such others notables as Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic and Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl. Top honors for the year went to The Chalk Artist, by Allegra Goodman, followed by Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng, and The World of Tomorrow, by Brendan Matthews. Thanks and a shout out to friend (and Pulitzer winner) Lloyd Schwartz – also a “must read” for his Little Kisses – for letting me know!

Becca and Clara are back!

Look for wannabe witch detective Becca and her loyal (and magical) calico Clara to return this winter in An Incantation of Cats (Polis). No cover yet, but you can pre-order here.

When two new clients seek Becca’s professional services, the fledgling witch detective is overjoyed. Finally, she can use her skills to help her magical community. But as the young witch finds the new cases intertwining, things grow more complicated. Becca’s three cats – the ones with the real power – can smell something is wrong with these clients. But not even Clara, the calico, knows what to do when a man ends up dead and a powerful and poisonous root appears – and disappears – in the case. To make matters worse, Clara and her littermates are feuding – and she can’t tell them about an unsettling interaction she’s had with one of the client’s sisters. Is it possible that some humans may have the same powers as the magical felines? What does that mean for Clara’s beloved Becca – and for the potent poison that has already taken one person’s life? In this second Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, Clara and her sisters must learn to work together if they are to save the person they all love.

Reviewing the first Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, A Spell of Murder, readers said:

“(A) delightful series launch…You don’t have to be a cat lover to appreciate this paranormal cozy’s witty observations, entertaining dialogue, and astute characterizations.” ―Publishers Weekly 

“Cats and magic–two of my favorite things! A Spell of Murder is a charming series debut.” ―Diane A.S. Stuckart, author of the Tarot Cats Mysteries

 “A delightful modern-day mystery―Simon has conjured up a magical tale for our reading pleasure.” ―Marty Wingate, USA Today bestselling author

 “Mystery, mayhem and magic, plus a triple dose of feline intuition, make an exciting start to this new series. These engaging felines will captivate and enchant you.” ―Mary Kennedy, author of The Talk Radio Mysteries 

“In this endearing first Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, Clea Simon reveals what we’ve always suspected: cats really do have supernatural powers! While felines Clara, Harriet, and Laurel are focused on pillows and extra treats, it’s the readers who are treated to an absorbing plot as the cats use their secret abilities to help their human Becca find romance, a new career―and a murderer!” ―Leigh Perry, author of the Family Skeleton Mysteries

He Wrote/She Wrote

I contributed an op-ed to today’s Boston Globe about writing gender and the controversy surrounding the new crime fiction imprint, Scarlet:

“Most mystery authors have never killed anyone, nor personally solved any crimes. That doesn’t mean we can’t imagine it. In crime fiction, “write what you know” is not always the best advice. However, a controversy over a new crime fiction imprint has blown up into an uproar over who can — or should — write what, specifically in terms of gender… (read the whole piece here.)”

Boskone bound!

Okay, it’s right in Boston, but still… very excited to be participating in my very first Boskone, Feb. 15–17!

What is Boskone? Boskone (February 15-17, 2019) in Boston, MA is New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. With over 300 program items, including panels, readings, workshops and special events, Boskone 56 is shaping up to be a weekend you won’t soon forget! It’s going to be a fun weekend filled with discussions of books, art, games, film, music, and more. For more information, visit the Boskone website:

I’ve already got a busy schedule (see below), but in addition to these events, I’m really looking forward to hearing Arwen Curry, whose film documentary Worlds of Ursula LeGuin premieres at the 44th annual Boston Science Fiction Film Marathon, the week before Boskone. (The Friday evening Q&A is free! Check out the schedule for details!) And there’s so much more….

Here’s my schedule. Come by and say hi! But please check out the full schedule. This is going to be amazing!

Friday, Feb. 15:

The Other Others in Urban Fantasy

15 Feb 2019, Friday 15:00 – 15:50, Harbor II (Westin)

Urban fantasy sections in bookstores are filled with zombies, werewolves, and especially vampires (sparkly and otherwise) almost to the exclusion of other entities. Indeed, too many times those creatures define urban fantasy. But there are a plethora of other fantastical beings from the myths and legends of Europe — and every other continent. Authors like Seanan McGuire and Laura Anne Gilman revel in the variety, using it to populate the back streets of their chosen cities. Let’s join them (and our panelists) to explore the road less traveled. 

With Elwin Cotman (Vanguard Classical East), Nicholas Kaufmann, Clea Simon, John Langan, and moderator Leigh Perry

Saturday, Feb. 16

Crossing Genres

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 11:00 – 11:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Some writers work in more than one genre — not just crossing the hallowed boundaries of our three genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but dabbling in mystery, romance, westerns, or even (gasp!) mainstream literature. Does working in one area influence the way you write in another? Also, some of those writers have the audacity to mix genres. When they do so, do they expose the readers of each genre to the other, or reduce their readership to those who love both? Are there mixes that work well, like rum and cola? Are there others more like oil and water?

James Moore moderates panelists Leigh Perry, Clea Simon, Craig Shaw Gardner, and Brendan DuBois

The Shadow of the City

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 12:00 – 12:50, Harbor III (Westin)

What are the challenges and benefits of using a real-world city in your urban fantasy or other spec fic? How accurate do you need to be before natives cry foul? Both London and New York have served as settings for innumerable novels. How would these stories change if the Tube were replaced by the New York subway, or vice versa? And if the setting were Paris, New Delhi, or Sydney, how different would the fiction feel?

I’m moderating this panel! With Mur Lafferty, Karen Heuler, Roberta Rogow, and Cindy Pon

Boskone Book Party

16 Feb 2019, Saturday 18:30 – 19:20, Galleria – Stage (Westin)

Come join the fun at Boskone 56’s Book Party — and meet the presses and authors who have new books coming out at the con! This is your chance to see what’s new from writers you already love, as well as those you have yet to discover.

Sunday, Feb. 17

Reading by Clea Simon

Starting the day with my WIP? Hmmm… 17 Feb 2019, Sunday 09:30 – 09:55, Independence (Westin)

Fantastical Crime and Punishment

17 Feb 2019, Sunday 10:00 – 10:50, Harbor III (Westin)

Must people with magical gifts or superpowers follow the rule of law? Or should new rules apply? How might the existence of special abilities require us to alter the criminal code? We’d probably need new ways to investigate, process, and punish magical malefactors or supercriminals. And prepare to take your moral compasses for a spin.

I’m moderating this one too! With Christopher Irvin, Bracken MacLeod, Leigh Perry, and James Moore