Reviews, Part 29

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1) The person writing at “The Entropy Pump” seems to think that Ray’s successes in the first couple books show that he’s a “million-to-one snowflake” and disapproves.

2) Paolo Gabriel V. Chikiamco writes a very interesting (and positive) review of Child of Fire at Fantasy Faction: “While the characters are the heart of the novel, and the reason why I enjoyed it so much the first time I read it, what I grew to appreciate in subsequent readings is the way that Connolly manages to both hew to and eschew a tried and tested fantasy formula.

3) LiveJournaler Zornhau really enjoyed it: “It’s what you’d get if James Ellroy spent a month reading Lovecraft. Macho. Dystopian. Touching. Disturbing. The horror is horror, but the heroes go up against it and gain not entirely futile victories.

4) Alice at All there is… and the rest of it liked Child of Fire: “I like the main character, Ray Lilly. He changes, almost against his will over the course of the book. It’s a matter of regaining a moral compass. He doesn’t necessarily want to be a better person, but he knows he has to. I will definitely read the rest of the series.

5) Garrett at The Ranting Dragon gives Child of Fire a big thumbs up: “This novel is an exhilarating addition to the urban fantasy genre.

6) Bill Martell, the screenwriter at Sex in a Submarine, really liked Circle of Enemies: “I really liked that this is Ray dealing with people from his past – that made this more than just an entertaining story. It deals with lost loves and ex-friends and guilt and remorse and every messy friendship situation you’ve ever had.” It’s nice when a reader really sees what I was trying.

7) Drew Bittner at SFRevu gives Circle of Enemies a “Recommended”: “Harry Connolly delivers another high-powered and fast-paced adventure, with a great protagonist in Ray Lilly.

Reviews, part 28

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1) Owlcat Mountain thought Circle of Enemies was the best Twenty Palaces book yet: “The unique system of magic, the complex characters, and the fresh and vibrant plotline all combine to form one of the summer’s best fantasy novels.

2) Dean Fetzer liked both Game of Cages and Child of Fire enough to use the word “genius”: “Okay, if you don’t like anything fantastical or supernatural, my advice would be to look away now. But you’ll be missing good reads. Your loss.

3) Samantha Holloway at the NY Journal of Books liked Circle of Enemies quite a bit. “It’s noir made vital again with really strange monsters. It’s a thriller almost totally lacking the usual obsession with the technical details of the weapons, leaving more space for thrills. It’s one man against the dark with only a paper knife and woefully little education. And it’s addictively compelling.

4) Beth at Library Chicken also liked Circle of Enemies: “It’s a gripping combination of characters and situation, and finishing the last book makes me want to start the series all over again.

5) Michael B. Sullivan also also liked Circle of Enemies: “But if you’re looking for a dark, action-and-investigation oriented modern day fantasy series, nobody else is writing books quite like Harry Connolly, and you should check out Child of Fire.

6) Charlaine Harris says nice things about my books: “I think Connolly’s books are startlingly original and suspenseful, and I recommend them all highly.” (Which is very nice! I expect I’ll have to update that link very soon, though)

7) K.C. Shaw at Skunk Cat Book Reviews thought Circle of Enemies was the best book yet: “Connolly’s monsters would freak the hell out of Lovecraft.

The trailer script revealed

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As promised, here is the actual script I wrote for the trailer. You can see the similarities and the differences.

What’s that? You missed my post last night with the full trailer embedded? You hate Vimeo? Well, here’s your chance to watch it on YouTube:

Anyway, you can see there are quite a few differences, to put it mildly. The guys at Wyrd told me straight out to write whatever I wanted–to not hold back at all–and they would figure out what they could or couldn’t do.

Well, dangling from the hole in the world wasn’t going to happen, and neither was the Molotov cocktail. There were some other things that were shot but didn’t make the final cut, like Catherine’s only line.

And there was other stuff that the guys at Wyrd just grabbed and ran with, like the floating storm, the confrontation with the guy drawing the sigil, and the final shot, which the director rightly changed from a punch to the ghost knife. Not to mention, thank god they changed the way Annalise is introduced. ::slaps forehead::

A note about formatting: This isn’t “correct” script formatting, because Christ this is a blog post and it’s 10:50 at night and I don’t want to go nuts making a fake screenplay. Also, I cheated the format for my own purposes by using two columns–why not, right? I didn’t have to follow any formatting rules! It was my money!

Plus, for those reading this on my main blog, my nifty WordPress theme puts a gray bg on part of it. Just pretend that didn’t happen and we’ll both be happier.

For folks who haven’t read a script before, character names are ALL CAPS the first time they’re introduced. The INT or EXT mark a new location in the script, and making the first few words in a line ALL CAPS also designates a new location or shot, esp in a montage like this.

Here’s the script behind the cut. Continue reading

The full Twenty Palaces trailer is now live

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Previously, I’d posted a teaser trailer for my Twenty Palaces books, but we’re finally ready to share the whole thing. This version includes all the special effects, characters and short scenes from Circle of Enemies (not spoilery), Catherine Little, Charles Hammer, the ghost knife…

And of course, Annalise doing some damage.

Here you go:

Full Twenty Palaces Trailer from Harry Connolly on Vimeo.

Swear to god, the guys at Wyrd did a fantastic job on this. Above and beyond, really. If you follow that link to their site, you can find out more about their award-winning genre documentaries, including H.P. LOVECRAFT: FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.

Hey, if you like the video, please do let other people know about it. Almost forgot: if I can work out the formatting, I’ll post the original trailer script tomorrow, so folks can see the differences and how things change.

Reviews, part 27

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1) Google Alerts didn’t offer this link, but I found it on my own. Marshall Payne really, really didn’t like Child of Fire: “… the overuse of Dick and Jane sentences and lack of expressive writing bothered me…

2) Over at the blog for Black Gate magazine, “GrueCrow” liked Game of Cages very much: “Catherine and Ray have been dispatched to botch the sale of a predator, who is being held in the “cage” of the title. Of course this doesn’t turn out to be as simple as planned, and the plot deepens in complexity and bounds along from there on without leaving any holes to fall though.

3) Christine Rains liked both books: “This is dark and gritty urban fantasy at its best.

4) Dreamwidth user rushthatspeaks liked Game of Cages but thought it was too similar to Child of Fire” “Still, this is perfectly competent fantasy of a kind I would call ‘urban’ except that it’s kind of semi-rural, with an enjoyable Twin Peaks vibe.

5) Harriet Klausner liked Circle of Enemies: “Fast-paced and loaded with action, Ray’s timely and angst ethical dilemma (think of drones in the war against terrorism) makes for a great tale.” But she calls the book the “final Twenty Palaces urban fantasy thriller.” Does she know something I don’t??? :)

6) Owlcat Mountain liked Game of Cages: “Harry Connolly’s first novel, Child of Fire, was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly. And indeed, Connolly proved worthy of the honor—for a first-time author, he showed remarkable skill. With his second novel, Game of Cages, he continues the tale of Ray Lilly, an ex-con swept up in a world of magic and danger.

7) Jaime at Ruled by Books liked Child of Fire: “The characters that Connolly creates, most especially his main character (Ray Lilly), are outstanding. Ray has a very clear voice, which is difficult in the first person point of view common in the Urban Fantasy genre. However, Connolly quickly differentiates him from his peers in the genre.

You guys, OMG

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I just watched a rough cut of the Twenty Palaces trailer (no, I will not share) and it looks fantastic!

There are no effects yet, and the cut is still rough, right? Obviously. But it looks fantastic.

Sooooo excited!

Added later: I watched it at home with the sound, and it’s 50x more awesome. You guys, seriously.

Fun with Bookscan

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Did you know that Amazon.com lets authors look at the Bookscan numbers for their books? Of course you did. Did you know that Bookscan, which shows a fair portion of an author’s sales, doesn’t show them all? Probably.

But it’s still fun to look, right? Especially if you’re on deadline and have a massive amount of writing to do, and even less time than usual to do it.

Anyway, for quite a while the sales of Game of Cages and Child of Fire were going along at a steady pace. The numbers weren’t fantastic; HBO isn’t going to dump that Martin guy’s show for something made from mine, but it was steady and–best of all–not declining.

Then I did that guest stint at Charles Stross’s blog and those Bookscan numbers really jumped… for the length of time I was blogging there. After, they sloped back down.

But lately they’ve risen again, fairly steadily. I mean, the numbers are much nicer than before.

And I have no idea why. Am I being hilarious on Twitter? (all the spambots following me think so) This blog isn’t getting significantly more hits, and Google Alerts isn’t pointing me at any new reviews.

Which just goes to demonstrate that it’s true that authors don’t have a lot of control over books sale. Guest blogging did pretty well for me. This second surge? No clue. As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with me or anything I’m doing.

Good news revealed

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A week ago (for you guys–I’m writing this the same day) I told you I had some good news that I wasn’t free to talk about yet. Well, I’m told the 29th is the day, so here’s the good news.

The Science Fiction Book Club is going to put out an omnibus edition of Child of Fire, Game of Cages, and Circle of Enemies as a Main Selection for their September catalog. The book will be called The Wooden Man: A Twenty Palaces Omnibus and the catalog will reach book club members in mid-August (although the book itself won’t ship until after 8/30/11… aka, the release date for Circle of Enemies. It’s also going to be offered online through the BOMC2.

It’s also going to be a “Sliver of Night Selection,” which is meant to highlight especially good urban fantasy novels, which means the omnibus will include a black satin ribbon bookmark.

Fancy! Almost too fancy for a scruffy guy like me, but I’m very happy they like the books. I hope their readers like them even more.

Yay!

Reviews, Part 26

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1) Wayne (@skyfall_ranger) liked the Twenty Palaces books quite a bit: “Twenty Palaces is what you get if you take fairly high magic Lovecraft and make an action movie. Swimming in blood. And on fire.

2) LiveJournaler brooke_hok had a mixed reaction: “Basically they’re fun, fast-paced books that you’ll probably enjoy if you like gritty Urban Fantasy with a mystery element.

3) Bob Walch at bookideas.com gave Child of Fire four out of five stars: “If you like fantasy grounded in reality with some fascinating twists and turns coupled with edgy characters give this latest Harry Connolly novel a try.

4) Douglas Justice (aka @TushHog5 — we don’t judge!) liked both books: “Just finished your books – in fact A game of cages last night …and loved ’em!”

5) Author Nicholas Kaufmann liked Game of Cages, but not as much as Child of Fire. “I’m enjoying this series immensely, and can’t wait for the third installment, Circle of Enemies, to come out this summer.” He’s not alone in thinking the cast of characters was too big. Much of the editorial work I did on this book involved identifying and delineating the characters.

6) Tim Gray (aka @timgray101) had this to say about Game of Cages: “A weird beastie and lots of people having bad days. Fun stuff. Kind of” I understand just what he means.

7) LiveJournaler jpsorrow (aka author Joshua Palmatier) liked Child of Fire enough to seek out Game of Cages at some point but he found the first third rough going. “… once the reader was given something to focus in on–a plot thread that was clear and easy to follow–it drew me in and kept me reading.” Folks in the comment section have quite divergent opinions on the quality of the book. He’s not the first reader to be somewhat disengaged by the first part of the book, where Ray and Annalise are not sure what’s going on in Hammer Bay and poke around trying to get to the bottom of things. It’s a pretty common storytelling style in mysteries, but quite a few readers didn’t like it; maybe it’s a matter of execution.