21 Mar 2013, 7:38am
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I am earwormed

Yeah, I’m watching season 1 of Veronica Mars again. The whole first season is only $12.50 on Amazon at the moment(!)

Damn this show is good.

13 Mar 2012, 8:25am
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Silence falls

I’m really sorry, folks, but I’m turning off comments on my main blog again. I cleared my spam trap last night and when I woke up it was full again. You guys don’t see it because Akismet works pretty well, but occasionally it hoovers up a real comment and I don’t have time to search for ham in the trap.

Folks can respond to me on Twitter and LiveJournal, and I’m thinking of creating a Facebook fan page where people could interact without all the bullshit.

Sorry, but time is precious and I have to hoard it.

updated to clarify this is my WordPress blog on my main website I’m talking about.

This blog post will not change your life.

Ever since I returned home from dealing with my father-in-law’s death my WIP, A Blessing of Monsters, has been sorta stalled out. I’ve been making progress, but it’s been slow going, not nearly as steady as December and January.

Today I’ll be powering up Mac Freedom and going offline for most of the day. I just discovered a plot hole in the story (stupid magic spells) and I can’t just make a note to myself and go back to it later. The change means the relationships between all the characters have to change, and those relationships are what the book is about. So, vomit draft revision, which I hate but end up doing every time.

Not only has my writing been struggling, but the funeral caused a long delay in replacing my son’s eyeglasses. Folks might remember the end of last year when I put Lord of Reavers on sale through my site to help offset the costs. Thank you, everyone who bought a copy; I hope you enjoyed the story. With luck, he’ll have settled on a pair of frames he likes and I can post a pic by the end of the month.

I also have to do that Seattle thing where I wear shorts and an ugly sweater when I go for my walk. The landlord hasn’t gotten the washing machine fixed, and we’re coming up on… what? two weeks since we got back? I’m sure there’s a law stating when a washing machine has to be replaced or whatever, but I’d rather wait for a repair. Whenever we get something new around here, it’s the cheapest possible thing and doesn’t work well. Or it’s smaller. Or it’s just generally not good.

So we’re just looking at laundromats and laundry services, and I’m out of long pants to wear.

Finally, the Cage Match between Ray Lilly and Anasûrimbor Kellhus ends today at 5pm EST. I’ll be offline most of the day and will probably not see the numbers until after it’s over. It would be nice to see Ray vs. Tyrion, but if not I’ll be glad to work on my new book this weekend instead. And I’m glad the comment section has settled down and gotten less nasty.

But if Ray wins, I’ll bring in Annalise for round 2, and I’ll make the writeup lighter in tone.

And now I’m out of here. Hope you guys have a great day.

Know someone who’d like to read some fantasy this Christmas?

Here’s the skinny: This week I did the final revision on a novelette I’ve been writing off and on for several months. It’s available right now on my website right here:

Lord of Reavers.

The only place you’ll be able to buy it for the next month, at least, is right here on my website. Why? Well my landlord has just raised our rent and my son needs new glasses (we don’t have vision insurance). On top of this we have holiday foods, gifts, and travel, which we’d already budgeted for, but this makes it a little tight.

Luckily, the rent increase won’t start right away. But! I do need to make a little extra money.

Therefore, if you know someone (or several someones) who would like a short sword and sorcery tale for the holidays, let me humbly suggest the link above. I’m selling them in epub, mobi and pdf formats, which should work on every ereader from Kindle to Kobo. In fact, if you’re planning to give an ereader as a gift to someone who likes fantasy, this story would be easy to preload.

So! You can buy one copy and send it to everyone you know, or you could pay for each copy you plan to share. Maybe you’d be more comfortable with something in between. Whatever you think is best.

Sorry I couldn’t set the price at the traditional 99 cents, but PayPal insisted on tacking on a $1 S&H fee and I couldn’t get them to take it off.

Happy Holidays, folks. I hope you enjoy the story.

New story, email issues, party party partay!

My email is being cruel cruel to me, so don’t be surprised if it takes me a while to respond.

Also, I’m going to have a S&S story online very soon, hopefully today.

But first I have to go home and attend my son’s birthday party. It’s not his birthday, but it is his party. The little guy has everything planned out.

Also, I met my small goal today, even though it’s a big goal day. It’s weird; I used to thrive in a sleep-deprived trance. I’d come at my writing in a weird exhausted state when everything felt heavy, and that would help me silence my internal editor.

But over the last year I’ve been trying to get enough sleep as part of my plan to live past 50, so today, one of the first trance-days in months, I feel utterly useless. It’s weird.

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.)

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 »

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 French version of CHILD OF FIRE came out last week

And I didn’t even know!

Here it is. It even has a five-star review already.

18 Sep 2011, 11:02pm
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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.

Hup!

I just weighed my backpack with the computer and all my regular stuff inside: fifteen pounds, six ounces. Yikes. What’s more, that’s before I put that Pat Rothfuss novel in it.

I may need to rethink how I lug my crap around.

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.

4 Jul 2011, 5:35am
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Hey Americans, Happy Independence Day.

Today I declare my independence from the rules over the use of “whom” and also leg pain. How about you?

While I’m thinking about it: a message to smokers

Hey, smokers, if I could have your attention for a moment, I’ll keep this brief.

Cigarette butts? Those are trash. Litter. Seriously, you shouldn’t be just throwing them anywhere. They should be actually thrown out, after being put out. You wouldn’t toss a candy wrapper or banana peel on the sidewalk, would you? (I hope not)

Many years ago when I first moved to Seattle, I had a joe job that required me to sweep up the sidewalks out front every day. At one point I had a discussion with my co-workers while they were on a smoke break, and I told them: “You know how those butts you drop are magically gone the next day? Well, it ain’t magic.”

So! Let’s keep in mind that butts are trash and should be disposed of like trash. Thanks!

14 Jun 2011, 12:45pm
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I am in New York

Actually I’m in a Starbucks on the upper west side, near the American Museum of Natural History. My wife and son are meeting me here and then we’re going to see some dinosaur bones and maybe some of the guys who hassled Ben Stiller that time. Starbucks! Ubiquitous meeting place of the phoneless.

We’ve been here less than 24 hours and already my son is asking about rent in the city. I think it’s safe to say that he likes it, although it requires a little more walking than he’s used to.

My wife is absolutely stunned by how clean and nice the city is. We’re staying downtown, where her old stomping grounds were, and she just keeps saying “It’s changed so much! My god, I’m old aren’t I?”

Me, I just had lunch with my agent at (checks card) the dici–a place that loves big knives and lower case letters. My food was really good, even though the humidity took the edge off my appetite. But omg rare beef with sweet peppers! I’m happy. We talked about a lot of interesting things and I have a ton of thinking to do. More on that later, maybe.

Still haven’t had pizza yet. (See first paragraph about >24 hours) There’s a little place near our hotel that looks like it would be nice to try, so we can sample some Real New York Pizza(tm). What’s the name of it? Sbarro’s, I think. Can’t wait!

(Just kidding, New Yorkers, I swear. I know Sbarro’s is airport pizza.)

Anyway, this morning we did the tourist thing and went to the top of the Empire State Building. It was a challenge for my wife to have been a New Yorker for so many years and now play tourist (and that place is highly concentrated tourist time) but I eased her through the experience by exclaiming things like “So many tall buildings!” and “The trains run under the ground!” and other things sure to make locals think we’re cool.

We’ve ridden the subway several times; as I’ve told my son, the sights and sounds are soooo recognizable from a million movies and TV shows. Just about anyone in the developed world knows the NY Subway sound. That weird metallic EEEeeeEEEeeEEEEE! we always hear.

My family has joined us, so I’m logging off. Hope you guys are enjoying your week.

Bedbugs in NYC

How bad is the bedbug infestation in New York City at the moment? We’re trying to plan a 4-day trip to Manhattan for the summer (after watching the Ric Burns documentary, my son is anxious for the trip) but only for a few days. We’re looking at the Cosmopolitan Hotel for our stay, but I need to be able to tell the fam something reassuring about being bitten in our sleep.

Also, other hotel options would be welcome.

The Steampunk(ed) Nerf gun

For some reason known only to the elves that live inside his brain, my son recently decided that he wanted to paint one of his Nerf guns to be “Steampunk”. Where that came from, I don’t know. He’s never read a steampunk novel as far as I can tell, and… Well, let’s just leave that at “mysterious.”

And being our son, we said “Annoying project? Sure!”

We forgot to take a picture of the Nerf Maverick in its unmodified form, but here it is, courtesy of the cool website Think Geek–behind the cut: more »

Five Things Make a Friday Post

1) Quick question: Should I do another August book giveaway to promote Circle of Enemies? I’m not sure it did me any good last time, as far as drawing in new readers, but it was nice to give away cool stuff.

2) My wife and son are spending the day on their bikes, riding the Burke-Gilman trail as far as they can go. That means that, instead of spending the day writing at a Starbucks and the library, I’m going to work at home, sans interruptions. Kitchen floor: swept.

3) What have I been working on? I should be able to let you know very soon.

4) Taxes are nearly done. At this point it’s about printing them, e-filing and transferring the money to the correct account. Also, I was a complete idiot about them this year. Here’s why: I’d been stressing over the bill. Now, we had the money in savings, but I was stressing over it because it would cut quite deeply into our cushion. It was only last night, late, that I remembered that I had a CD with no early-withdrawal penalties set aside specifically for taxes–and it has triple what I need to cover the bill. Phew!

5) I’m not gluten-free anymore. I did lose a little weight, but it was mainly because we didn’t have food available when I was hungry. Me with low blood sugar? Not a good husband. Not a good parent. Besides, it’s unsustainable and unhealthy. Also, it didn’t stop the allergic reactions on my face. (This is an FYI: no diet advice, please.)

  • 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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