30 Dec 2013, 6:29am
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Print Edition of Twenty Palaces Now Available

At the moment, I have finally, FINALLY created a POD edition of Twenty Palaces for people who prefer to read (or gift) in paper. Yes, it would have been better if I’d managed this before Giftmas. I know this. I wish it had been possible.

Lightning Source being what it is, the book is currently only available through Amazon.com and CreateSpace. I hope it will be available to all stores everywhere through Ingram in the new year.

[Added later: Yep! Now available at Barnes & Noble, which means your local indie will be able to order a copy for you through Ingram. They may ask you to pre-pay, though.]

If you’ve always wanted to read this book but never have because you only read paper, or you’ve wanted to give it to someone who only reads paper, now is the time.

And if you hate Amazon.com with an icy fire and refuse to give them your money: watch this space. I hope to have more options soon. Very very soon.

If case you forgot what it looks like:

Twenty Palaces cover, small image

Thank you.

Roleplay Twenty Palaces!

Last night my Kickstarter hit 925 backers, unlocking Stretch Goal: Monitor, the second to last stretch goal. This morning we reached 1000 backers, which unlocked Stretch Goal, Mask, the very last one.

So I created something new: Stretch Goal: You. I encouraged backers to create their own stretch goals so they could create anything they wanted and share it with the other backers, if we hit their goal.

Already we have an indie composer who has promised 20P music, and…

Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue have promised that, if we reach 1200 backers, they will expand on the Voidcallers section of the FATE Toolkit to let people role play in a Twenty Palaces-style setting. See here.

I’ve said before that there was no need for me to create a 20P supplement because Voidcallers is already it. But if you want sample stunts, special character creation rules, the whole deal, you probably want to join in on this.

We’ve already gone far, far beyond anything I had a right to expect. Can we manage to hit this goal, too?

I have to run out for a meeting, if you can believe it, but I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

And if you have something you want to share with the other backers, please do.

How your spending can improve (or do nothing for) your happiness (Twenty Palaces announcement)

If you’ve been following the recent research on happiness, you might be surprised by some of what has been discovered. Yes, buying material objects can increase your happiness, but only in the very short term. Buying new clothes or a new hat is nice at first, but we quickly become accustomed to it and the happiness fades.

What makes us most happy–and makes for long-lasting happiness–is experiences, especially experiences that will be happening sometime in the not too distant future. The reason is that it’s not so much the experience (the vacation, the concert, the road trip) itself that brings joy, but the anticipation of it. Read this article in The New Republic for a magazine-length discussion:

What you can learn about the new science of smarter spending: Yes, money can make you happy.

One interesting finding was that people enjoyed TV shows more when they included commercial breaks, because that little teasing delay between acts increased their anticipation.

Why do I mention this? Well, books are both material objects and experiences, and sometimes it can be a long wait for a book to come out. That seems like the best of both worlds.

But I’m not bringing this up because of my Kickstarter, which ends this Saturday and which promises a fun experience some months from now when the trilogy (plus the unlocked bonus books) are finished and released. I mean, sure, you might think this topic would be a good way to promote a Kickstarter, but that’s not why I’m here.

I want to officially announce a paper edition of TWENTY PALACES, the self-published prequel to CHILD OF FIRE and the other Twenty Palaces novels.

No, it’s not available yet. I’m still trying to get the cover to work (that’s today’s task, alongside setting up a new Time Capsule) but telling you now so you know it will be out soon increases happiness, right? If, that is, you’re one of those people who wants to read the prequel but doesn’t do ebooks.

Why has it taken two years to get a paper edition? Two reasons that are really one reason: It’s a lot of work, even with help, and it was too depressing. When the cancellation of the series happened, I was really really down about it, and doing all the work needed for a self-published POD Twenty Palaces would have been too painful. Now, with a little distance, it’s more manageable.

With luck, it will be available by Christmas time.


26 Apr 2013, 11:18am
Twenty Palaces Books:

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(Not So) Permanent Price Drop for Twenty Palaces

[Edited 1/30/2014: Dropping the price did very little for sales, so I'm returning it to $4.99.]

Folks who follow me on Twitter might have heard this already, but sales for TWENTY PALACES, the self-published prequel to CHILD OF FIRE, have dropped to the point that they are genuinely disappointing, so I’ve dropped the price to $2.99.

That price is already live at Amazon and B&N, but I’m still waiting on places like iBooks to update. I publish there (and to Kobo along with others) through Smashwords, and it can take a while for the prices to propagate.

The old $5 price point made sense when CHILD OF FIRE was still being offered at the promotional price of 99 cents, but that ended a while ago and I haven’t made the time to change it.

I also have short fiction for sale on those sites, but come June I’m planning to wrap them all up (along with a few new stories) in a single collection. You can buy those short stories and novelettes individually for now or get them all at once later. Your choice.

One other thing: the prequel has “lending” enabled and it makes a cheap three dollar gift. If you read and liked the books, would you mind sharing them, in some fashion, with others who might like them?


The Twenty Palaces post

As promised, finally, I have the Twenty Palaces prequel ready for sale. Here’s the cover:

Twenty Palaces Cover

Looks terrific, doesn’t it? It’s by George Cotronis, who will also be doing the cover of Don’t Read This Book, the Evil Hat anthology I wrote a story for.

Here’s the book: When Ray Lilly was 13 years old, a handgun accident landed his best friend, Jon Burrows, in a wheelchair and turned Ray into a runaway and petty criminal. Fifteen years later, Ray returns home after a stint in prison; he’s determined to go straight, but he knows he can’t do that without making peace with his old friend.

What Ray doesn’t expect is to discover that Jon has just received a mysterious cure–not only is he out of his wheelchair, he seems stronger and faster than… well, pretty much anyone. Worse, his cure has drawn all sorts of unwanted attention: the media are camped out on his block, the police are investigating him for insurance fraud, and weird shadowy figures have begun to draw closer, figures who clearly do not mean to do Jon any good.

Can Ray atone for the biggest mistake of his life by protecting his oldest and best friend? What’s more, should he?

Yeah, this is the book where Ray meets Annalise, creates his ghost knife, and sees a predator for the first time. It’s also going to be the last Twenty Palaces novel for a while.

Because I’m self-publishing it, it’s going to be ebook only Now there’s a print edition, too. I’ll post Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble links when those go live, but I’ll also be offering the book for sale directly from this website. For $4.99, paid through PayPal, you get a DRM-free epub, a DRM-free mobi, a pdf file, or all three if you prefer.

Buy here. (Update: actually, you can’t buy it from me because the shopping plugin didn’t work) Or you can buy from one of the links in the sidebar.

Thanks for reading, folks.

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.)

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 more »

SFBC Omnibus Editions Have Arrived


Just a few moments ago I received a box of my author copies of The Wooden Man, the omnibus edition of my three Twenty Palaces novels. You can see the black satin ribbon bookmark that marks it as that month’s “Sliver of Night” selection (aka the featured urban fantasy for the catalog) for the Science Fiction Book Club.

And you can see my Halloween table cloth, too. I think that’s appropriate.

Anyway, if you want the omnibus, you’ll have to get it from SFBC or buy it second hand from one of their members. There’s a special introduction I wrote for it that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Circle of Enemies post

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 | Mysterious Galaxy | Powell’s Books

If you want to buy it in ebook form:

Amazon.com Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | Google | Sony Reader

The Game of Cages post

My original plan was to place all book information into one convenient post. Hah! Turns out that doesn’t work very well; there’s too much! New plan: create a dedicated page for each book.

Game of Cages is the second book in the Twenty Palaces series. (Book one is Child of Fire which came out in September, 2009 and was named to Publishers Weekly’s list of best 100 books of 2009). Check out this Chris McGrath cover:

Game of Cages

God, I love that cover. You know what? The inside of the book is gorgeous, too.

The series follows Ray Lilly, an ex-con and former car thief press-ganged in to working for the Twenty Palace society. There are, scattered around the world, a small number of spells and spell books. The magic they allow people to do is often dangerous, but nothing is as risky as the summoning spells that let sorcerers to summon strange, extradimensional beings to our world.

These beings, which the society calls predators, view our world as a fresh hunting ground and see humans as prey.

The Twenty Palace Society hunts these creatures–and the people who summon them–with brutal, ruthless zeal. While Ray is not exactly the nicest guy in the world, he’s a saint compared to the society members he’s forced to work with.

In Game of Cages, Ray is given an emergency job–a predator is going to be auctioned off, and some of the wealthiest and most dangerous people in the world have gathered at a remote mountain mansion to place their bids. Unfortunately, the sale goes wrong and the creature escapes into the small town below with the bidders in close pursuit. Can Ray destroy the predator before it destroys the town?

It already has a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Read the first chapter here, the second chapter here and the third chapter here.

Order the book right now from: Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository (free int’l shipping!) | Books a Million | Borders | Indiebound | Mysterious Galaxy| Powell’s Books

To buy Game of Cages as an ebook, visit:

Amazon.com Kindle | Barnes & Noble | IndieboundPowell’s | Sony Reader
And be sure to look for book 3 in the series, CIRCLE OF ENEMIES, due out on August 30, 2011.

The Child of Fire post

My first published novel Child of Fire, (cover art at the bottom of this post) is out right now. Yaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!

You can buy a copy from any of the online booksellers listed in the sidebar to the right, or in pretty much any brick-and-mortar store. (Call ahead to make sure they have it.)

If you’d like to read a sample chapter first, that’s available now, too. There’s also the starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Finally, the book has made Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2009 list!

The sequel, Game of Cages, has been revised, copy edited and the galleys have been checked. Yay! The tentative release date for that one is August, 2010.

The best summary of Child of Fire I have is the one I used in the query letter that caught my agent’s attention. Here it is (edited slightly because I can’t resist):

Ray Lilly is just supposed to be the driver. Sure, he has a little magic, but it’s Annalise, his boss, who has the real power. Ray may not like driving her across the country so she can hunt and kill people who play with dangerous spells–especially summoning spells–but if he tries to quit he’ll move right to the top of her hit list.

Unfortunately, Annalise’s next kill goes wrong and she is critically injured. Ray must complete her assignment alone–he has to stop a man who’s sacrificing children to make his community thrive, and also find the inhuman supernatural power fueling his magic.

Child of Fire is a contemporary fantasy in the tone and style of a crime thriller.

Here are some of the blurbs the book has collected so far:

“Every page better than the last. Cinematic and vivid, with a provocative glimpse into a larger world. Where’s the next one?” — Terry Rossio, screenwriter (Aladdin, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean)

“[Child of Fire] is excellent reading and has a lot of things I love in a book: a truly dark and sinister world, delicious tension and suspense, violence so gritty you’ll get something in your eye just reading it, and a gorgeously flawed protagonist. Take this one to the checkout counter. Seriously.” — Jim Butcher

“With an engaging protagonist, an unusual setting, fascinating magics, dark mysteries, and edge-of-your-seat action, [Child of Fire] is everything you could want in a supernatural thriller. An exciting and original start to a great new series that will leave readers hungry for more.” — Victoria Strauss (see also: Writer Beware)

“[Child of Fire] is a fine novel with some genuinely creepy moments. I enjoyed it immensely, and hope we’ll see more of Ray Lilly.” — Lawrence Watt-Evans

“Connolly’s story jets from 0 to 60 in five pages, and never lets you brake for safety. He’s a fantastic new voice.” — Sherwood Smith

“Redemption comes wrapped in a package of mystery and horror that hammers home the old saying ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ … and even then you’d better check the yellow pages for one bad-ass exterminator first.” — Rob Thurman

“Classic dark noir, fresh ideas, and good old-fashioned storytelling.” — John Levitt

There may have been other blurbs, but I don’t have a copy of them.

And here’s the cover art:

Cover for Child of Fire

It’s by Chris McGrath(!)

The tags for each book are the working titles:  Child of Fire is tagged as Harvest of Fire, in case you want to read back through all the posts about it (although I can’t imagine why).

Be sure to give the sample chapter a try! Or you can order right now from any of these sellers:

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

To buy Child of Fire as an ebook, visit:

Amazon.com Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s | Sony Reader


  • The prequel to Child of Fire: see here for more details

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Named to Publishers Weekly's "Best 100 Books of 2009" list. Get the audiobook here.

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