Empathy, Stock Art, Eye glasses, Homeschool and Booze


Let’s start with Empathy. Everyone has been having a laugh at the Forbes writer who put together the “If I was a small black child” column. It was dumb, thoughtless, and actively harmful. Obvs.

But you can rely on Ta Nehisi Coates to talk about this stuff in the best possible way. One, Two. That second link contains links to a pair of Megan McArdle articles that are also invaluable. Excellent reading.

As for me, I was a total goof off in school–smart but continually bored and prone to do stupid stuff to impress my friends (like any teenage boy). There were whole years that went by when pretty much every day I did something that could have gotten me jail time.

And no, I didn’t want to work hard. I wanted to play rpgs, get high, smash stuff, throw a carpet over barbed wire so we could swim at the pool after it closed, etc, etc.

So it’s easy to say: “If I were a…” and then imagine the path you would take to success. It’s much harder to look back at your own self and realize what a lazy screw up you were, and admit that a more difficult environment would have defeated me.

Next is stock art, which is what I need right now. I have a sword and sorcery novelette almost completely ready to publish. All I need at this point is a decent(ish) stock image for the cover. Hard part? Finding something I think is decent.

Anyway, I plan to release this particular story only through my website. Why?

Let’s move on to “Eye glasses.” My son needs them. Not just one pair, either. He needs a reading pair and a non-reading pair. Add to that the sad fact that my landlord mailed me a little something–no, it wasn’t a Christmas card. It was a notice of rent increase.

Yay! Rent increase notice right before the holiday (but not so soon before that we could budget it into our spending.

It’s not a big increase and our rent is already very reasonable. It’s just hard timing and I hope enough people will want to buy this short story that we can cushion this blow. More about the story later.

Next: you know how public school teachers will sometimes show movies in class? Guess what! His homeschool family has found an excuse for the extended editions of LOTR! Starting tonight. More on that later, too.

Finally, booze. I just bought the smallest non-airplane-sized bottle of Jack Daniels I could get. Why? Well, I don’t drink like I used to (what with the kid-having and the belly-reducing and all) but I do love egg nog. LURRRVE egg nog. And it just doesn’t seem right without a little bourbon.

Plus, I couldn’t resist that cheap German spiced wine. I actually bought two bottles of it. You know the one I mean? You warm it on the stove and drink it until you’re loopy? I don’t care if it’s crap. I love it. And did I mention I only bought two bottles? That’s some self-control right there. (Tangentially related, the store only had two bottles left).

And that’s all for today. I was supposed to write 2500 words on A Blessing of Monsters today, but after all those revisions I only managed 1500. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.

It’s Official: The Twenty Palaces Series Has Been Cancelled (long)


(Update to this post: I’m shutting down comments because it’s been over a week and they’re still coming. What’s more, I don’t really want to keep talking about it. Thank you.)

(Second update: Disabling new comments hid the old comments, which I didn’t want, so comments are back on again.)

(Third update: This cancelled series is sort of uncanceled. Self-published novellas seem like a viable path forward, and that’s what I’m trying. Check out my books page for new entries into the series.)

Yep. It’s true. Based on the sales of Circle of Enemies, Del Rey has decided not to offer me a contract to write more Twenty Palaces books.

What? Why?

Well, Pretend Questioner, let me address that in a very long blog post Continue reading

This is how today went:


Me: “Hey, book.”

Book, still sprawled out all over my life like the non-rent-paying couch-surfer it is, looks up. “Hmm?”

Me: ::Punches book in the face so hard it flies through the window, over the city, and lands in an open grave. The impact is so powerful that the piles of dirt on either side collapse onto it, burying it completely.::

Me, an hour later: ::Saunters up to grave, a celebratory burger in one hand, a marble tombstone tucked under the other. Drops tombstone in place and takes out broken, petrified femur stolen from Dorothy L. Sayers’s coffin. Kneels down and carves “A KEY, AND EGG, AN UNFORTUNATE REMARK” at top of headstone with bronzed tip. Below that line, carves “Agent has called this one to judgement.”::

Me: ::Walks away, eating burger::

(Actually, I haven’t sent it to my agent yet. I have to prep a nice little thing to accompany it it first.)

The full Twenty Palaces trailer is now live


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.

Today is our neighborhood festival


There’s a huge slide set up around the corner and ponies are eating the grass of the baseball field. The art exhibit and other stalls are all set up, and there’s a beer garden, too. Bounce houses? didn’t see them on my way over but I can’t imagine they won’t be set up later.

I know my wife and son will be dropping by later to have their fun. I hope I can still be here to meet them.

Why make a book trailer?


As promised, here’s a quick note about why I made the trailer, (Vimeo | YouTube) then I’ll let it lie for a bit. But first!

A big “thank you” to everyone who helped spread the word about the 99 cent promo price for Child of Fire. Yesterday was pretty great, and the book climbed to #159 on the Paid Kindle list, was #16 in Fantasy overall and made it to #3 in Contemporary Fantasy. In fact, it’s still #3 as I write this even as the main Kindle List sales ranking has slipped back. Now it’s up to word of mouth and momentum.

Anyway, I’m tremendously grateful, to the point that I’m a little befuddled by it all. It’s always difficult for me to ask favors, and now I find myself full of gratitude, and… that’s difficult. I don’t want to gush. I don’t want to be standoffish or brusque. Maybe if I’d been more in the habit of asking favors I’d have worked this out by now.

Trailer! Here’s the thing: Trailers are terrible for promoting books. Seriously, I have never bought a book because of a trailer, and I’ll bet you haven’t either. So why make one? Most importantly, why spend just shy of five grand on it?

Well, it’s not for the promotion, clearly.

But what if you knew someone who was an amazing painter, and you wanted to hang their work in your home? What if your friends were accomplished musicians and you wanted to commission a song? Wouldn’t it be cool to let them run with it?

Well, my friends are filmmakers–good ones, too. Everyone who’s seen LOVECRAFT, FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN knows that. So when I got a little unexpected money (French and German foreign sales) I thought Why buy a car? This will last longer and won’t make me fat(ter).

At first I considered asking them to make a short film–pick a scene from one of the books, dramatize it, the whole deal. But when I sat down to think about it, I was paralyzed with options. Which scene would be doable? How would we deal with stunts? How do we handle exposition?

I could have done the opening to Child of Fire, but there was some stuff there that wouldn’t translate well to film. So I decided to ask them for a book trailer.

And of course I’m treating it as though it’s a book promotion; that makes it tax deductible. Still, to me, it’s about hiring my friends to make something cool for me, about them showcasing what they can do (and maybe get some work out of it), about seeing Ray and Annalise onscreen, and sharing that with all of you guys.

Because you know what? A lot about this industry is changing, and people who think they know everything about it or think they can predict what is the right /wrong move to make are kidding themselves. It seems to me that the best thing to do is whatever seems cool. That’s what I take away from the way others have found success: they had their interests and obsessions, and they didn’t “promote” so much as create stuff they thought was cool.

Okay, I think I’m done talking about the teaser trailer for a while. Back to the usual natter later.