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

The Circle of Enemies post

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Now that each book gets its own dedicated post, I’m going to put this one to be your one-stop shop for Circle of Enemies info.

For starters, the book trailer is here.

The first chapter is available free.

The book earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. (That makes me three for three so far.)

Here’s the pretty, pretty cover:

Circle of Enemies

Trust me, it’s pretty. I just can’t get a decent scan Fixed. It’s a new design, and personally I really like it.

Here’s the plot description on the back cover.

Former car thief Ray Lilly is now the expendable grunt of a sorcerer responsible for destroying extradimensional predators summoned to our world by power-hungry magicians. Luckily, Ray has some magic of his own, and so far it’s kept him alive. But when a friend from his former gang calls him back to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, Ray may have to face a threat even he can’t handle. A mysterious spell is killing Ray’s former associates, and they blame him. Worse yet, the spell was cast by Wally King, the sorcerer who first dragged Ray into the brutal world of the Twenty Palace Society. Now Ray will have to choose between the ties of the past and the responsibilities of the present, as he and the Society face not only Wally King but a bizarre new predator.

What that doesn’t quite capture about the book is that this is the most personal and most emotionally-complicated book yet. It’s somewhat less violent than previous books, but the violence that’s there hurts more.

Now it’s time to do the blurbs:

“Ray Lilly is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read lately, and Harry Connolly’s vision is amazing.” — Charlaine Harris

“An edge-of-the-seat read! Ray Lilly is the new high-water mark of paranormal noir.” — Charles Stross

If you want to buy a paper copy:

| Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (free int’l shipping!) | Books a Million | Indiebound | KoboMysterious Galaxy | Powell’s Books |

New contest!

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We’re looking for a new potato salad recipe. The one we used out of Fanny Farmer didn’t really float anyone’s boat, and life is too short to make due with blah potato salad.

Please post or link to a recipe for your favorite potato salad. Entries should appear on the main blog or in my LiveJournal: Twitter responses and Facebook comments won’t count for convenience’s sake.

The winner will receive a signed copy of Circle of Enemies (once my author copies arrive). Alternately, you can ask me to send it to a third party–either an individual or an institution. Of course, it will take a little time for us to try the recipes, but hey, it’s all to the good. How will the winner be decided? Family taste test. I should warn you, my son is a picky eater.

Thank you for your suggestions. Carb heaven, here we come.

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.

Last Day of the Charity Auction for a Circle of Enemies ARC

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If you want to read Circle of Enemies before everyone else (and would like to help a worthwhile charity, the Ballard Food Bank), there’s only one day left in the benefit auction of a CoE ARC.

Win the auction and I’ll pay shipping to send you the book by priority mail, plus all proceeds (after PayPal fees) go directly to the Ballard Food Bank.

One day left, and thank you to everyone who’s already bid!