Ever since I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice a number of years ago, Laurie R King has been one of my favorite authors. I have read almost everything she has ever written (I was happy to discover just now that there are two books I have yet to read, more for me!) and she has an incredible talent for being poignant, funny and perfectly descriptive of human emotions. Her novel Folly is the best assessment of deep depression I have ever encountered, and anyone going into the psychological or medical field should read it. A bit sidetracked, sorry.
Her series of novels about Sherlock Holmes and his apprentice Mary Russell, beginning with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, is soon to have an eleventh installment. The last two books were quite dark and this one, The Pirate King, is to be more humorous - combining the world of Sherlock Holmes with another of my favorite things, The Pirates of Penzance. The book even takes its name from the opera, as shown below.
P.S. Don't be scared off by the word "opera"; Kevin Klein is in it.
As part of the promotion for the new book, hitting stores September 6th, Ms. King is conducting a number of contests, on of which I entered. One of the characters in The Pirate King is a scarlet macaw, and she wrote a flash fiction about him, fittingly titled Parrot King. The story is free to download from her website, with the request that you return it with a picture. I was at work when Ms. King put this up online, so I promptly printed it and used what office supplies I could find (pen and highlighters) to illustrate the thing.
The link to the Parrot King page is here. Submissions are being taken through September 5th, after which you can vote for your favorite. There are a number of really good drawings, and they are worth checking out. As mine was the first submission Ms. King was nice enough to send me a movie style poster for the book, absolutely fitting for me. I'm really looking forward to the next book in a series I love so much I got a tattoo of it. Yea, beat that.