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.

This is how today went:

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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.)

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.

This is how you can tell I’m cool

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Yesterday I was making the rounds signing copies of my books and, as I was walking to my first B&N, I pushed up my slipping glasses and heard a tink!

And my glasses fell off my face in two pieces. The metal bridge finally succumbed to fatigue and snapped apart.

How can you tell I’m cool?

So cool, Brewster.

Hell yeah.

By the way, none of the B&Ns in town had copies of Circle of Enemies in stock. Hurricane Irene delayed them, I’m told. Can I tell you how happy I am that the biggest bookstore chain in the country won’t stock my books in a great many of their stores until at least a week after it’s come out?

This is how happy I am:

So cool, Brewster.

Anyway, my wife “fixed” them by wrapping a wire around the nose bridge and hot-melt gluing it in place. That’s better than tape, I guess? I think she’s mad at me.

Quick Friday post

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1. I have promised a thread for spoilery discussions of the Twenty Palaces books. I have not forgotten this promise.

2. Today is the day I travel around Seattle (by bus!) signing book stock in stores. Fun! Okay, not. Actually, it’ll be a good time to do some reading and thinking about item 3.

3. My agent got back to me with some notes about A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark. They seem very straightforward but will require a bit of fixing to address. Must turn on brain.

4. My agent has also shamed me into replacing my phone. Let us not speak of this further.

5. The Livestrong calorie counter is making me rethink my devotion to kielbasa and peanut butter.

6. Booster Gold is a terrific character.

7. My email inbox has been exploding for weeks. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I have to do something.

8. Last night was date night for my wife and me. Unfortunately, our sitter never showed (don’t know why) so we ended up cooking some quick, sorta-crappy food and then rushing out to Elliott Bay Marina to see “Cirque du Sail” a couple who travel around the world on their sailboat, with their kids, and pay their way by doing acrobatic shows in the rigging for donations. Last night was the final Seattle show but they’ll be in San Francisco in a few days. They’re very good. Check it out if you can.

9. One the way to the Marina last night, my wife turned to me and said “Thanks for coming to see this thing with me.” I said: “Hey, it’s Date Night! We just had bad food and now we’re going to see some unlikely entertainment. The only difference is that we’re dragging the boy behind us in a little red wagon.” Date night, everybody.

10. Time to get out of here and start signing. Have a great holiday weekend, Holiday Weekend People.

Circle of Enemies, Chapter Two

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Chapter one is available for free right here.


Lenard came up behind me. “You’re taking him?”

“He’s here and Ty isn’t,” Arne said, “so yeah. I sure as hell can’t take you. Stay here just in case. He only has to drive a car—as long as he doesn’t point the grill at Seattle and take off, he’ll be fine. Besides, if I show up with you, they’ll probably make us mow the lawn or something.”

Lenard laughed. “Fuck you. Those guys have Japs do their landscaping. They’d make me patch the roof.”

“I’ll be two hours at least. Probably three. Go into the kitchen while I’m gone and wash some dishes. Make yourself useful.”

“Hey, I was born in this country, just like you. I’ll do a day’s work when I see you do one.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” Arne said. “No shit, Lenard. Be careful.”

“Always.”

Arne turned to me. “Let’s go for a drive, Ray. You owe me.”

He started toward the front door, and I followed. I’d always trailed after him, going from one place to another. It felt natural to let him lead me around, and the feeling—that if I did what he wanted he’d eventually give me what I needed—was startlingly familiar.

And he was right. I did owe him. Continue reading

Circle of Enemies, Chapter One

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Here’s the first chapter of Circle of Enemies.

It was August in Seattle, when the city enjoyed actual sunshine and temperatures in the eighties. I’d spent the day working, which made for a nice change. I’d just finished a forty-hour temp landscaping job; dirt and dried sweat made my face and arms itch. I hated the feeling, but even worse was that I didn’t have anything lined up for next week.

As I walked up the alley toward home, I passed a pair of older women standing beside a scraggly vegetable garden. One kept saying she was sweltering, sweltering, but her friend didn’t seem sympathetic. Neither was I. I was used to summers in the desert.

When they noticed me, they fell silent. The unsympathetic one took her friend’s hand and led her toward the back door, keeping a wary eye on me. That didn’t bother me, either.

I stumped up the stairs to my apartment above my aunt’s garage. It was too late to call the temp agency tonight. I’d have to try them early Monday morning. Not that I had much hope. It was hard for an ex- con to find work, especially an ex-con with my name.

I’m Raymond Lilly, and I’ve lost track of the number of people I’ve killed. Continue reading