Only two days left in my Kickstarter drive

I have generally avoided asking people to help spread the word, but the whole purpose of writing these books was to bring in new readers. At this point in the campaign, I’m going to create this as a resource for people willing to share news in their own social media spaces.

For friends who prefer ebooks:

At the $12 pledge level, they’ll get THE WAY INTO CHAOS, the first book in the trilogy (including the Chris McGrath cover). The basic description of the series is right on the main Kickstarter page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1179145430/the-great-way-an-epic-fantasy-trilogy-by-harry-con

The (pre-edited) sample chapters start right here:

http://www.harryjconnolly.com/blog/index.php/the-way-into-chaos-chapter-1/

They’ll also get A KEY, AN EGG, AN UNFORTUNATE REMARK, the urban fantasy novel with a protagonist in her mid-sixties. The book is sort of like The Dresden Files if Harry Dresden was actually a cross between Auntie Mame and Gandalf. A more complete description can be found here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1179145430/the-great-way-an-epic-fantasy-trilogy-by-harry-con/posts/628459

They’ll also get the comic fantasy novelette my son wrote as part of the homeschool project, with cover art by Kathleen Kuchera:

http://www.pinterest.com/kathleenkuch/my-art/

Finally Also, they’ll also get a copy of TWENTY PALACES, the prequel to the books in my Del Rey series. More detail here:

http://www.harryjconnolly.com/blog/index.php/twenty-palaces/

And finally, we’ve just this morning unlocked the last book, a short fiction collection that will include the Twenty Palaces short “The Home Made Mask” along with other new and reprinted stories from me.

That’s a short fiction collection and three novels (plus the novelette my son wrote, with cover art) for only $12. For someone who is unfamiliar with my work, that strikes me as a pretty good deal.

At the $25 level, they’ll get all of the above and the other two books in the trilogy. That’s five novels all together, including all three of the Chris McGrath covers, plus the short fiction collection and the novelette.

If they’re gamers, too, then only $5 more will get a game supplement, too, so backers who play FATE Core can run a game in the setting of The Great Way. Also, as I write this, we’re only 30 new backers away from unlocking a FATE Core supplement for KEY/EGG It’s unlocked. There will be two FATE Core supplements for everyone at this level.

For people who prefer paper books,

Well, that’s a heavier lift, because the reward levels for the trade paperbacks are well above the typical market rate for books.

Twitter-friendly sample posts:

If you’re new to Harry Connolly’s fiction, the last hours of his Kickstarter have some good deals. http://kck.st/18DEKAL

or

Four ebooks for $12 and six for $25. Be sure to check out Harry Connolly’s fiction: http://kck.st/18DEKAL

Also! The hardcover omnibus edition offered at the King/Queen level and above is not going to be available after Saturday evening when the Kickstarter closes. If you’re the sort of person who likes rare (if not necessarily valuable) books, this will be the only opportunity to score a copy.

ADDED LATER: The new stretch goal is STRETCH GOAL: YOU, which means that backers can set a goal for them to create something they can share with all the other backers.

One of the option is an expanded writeup of the FATE Core Voidcallers game setting. Now, I’ve had people asking me for a Twenty Palaces rpg for a while and frankly, FATE’s Voidcallers is it. They capture the feel of the setting and the magic far better than I ever could.

So if you would like a Twenty Palaces rpg, help the campaign reach 1200 backers.

Also on offer in Stretch Goal: You: audio fiction, music, and I know someone else is working on a historical 20P game writeup.

I can’t pretend this isn’t exciting. Not just because of the numbers, but seeing other people jump in with their own ideas is a real thrill.

Thank you, everyone, for the support you’ve given me so far.

About that Kickstarter: Holy Cow (omnibus limits and stretch goals)

As I write this, my Kickstarter project is at 80% of goal after only four and a half hours. So, that’s wacky pants and completely unexpected.

That said: As soon as we hit goal, I’ll open up more slots for the hardcover omnibus edition. That seems to be the format that most people prefer and I only limited it because they’re expensive to print and ship. Delivering physical goods is the kryptonite of most Kickstarter projects, and I guess I was over-cautious.

Also, I know I need to prepare to some stretch goals, and I’m doing my best to estimate those costs. I don’t want to rush into a promise I can’t keep.

That said, I do have A KEY, AND EGG, AND UNFORTUNATE REMARK already written (working title: “The Auntie Mame Files), and I’m doing the math to work out how much I’d need to get that book ready to publish. I already found an excellent editor to work on it, but I’d have to figure out the art and typesetting, too.

There’s also the short story collection, which will include the new Twenty Palaces story. That story will get written and the collection will be released no matter what; the pledges would only go to cover art and editing.

So, thank you to everyone who has pledged so far.

Revision

Twitter user @UOJim asked me to write a post about revision, and I realized I have never done a systemic evaluation of the way I revise. Writing this will be a way to organize my thoughts on the subject, all of which I will probably forget once it’s time to go back over EPIC SEQUEL WITH NO DULL PARTS next spring when the first draft is finished.

(See how hopeful I am? Finished draft in the spring. It’s like a magic spell: I write it to make it happen.)

The way I figure it, there are two basic kinds of revisions: story-level and text-level. more »

2012

I’m going to keep this short.

The most popular entry on this blog is the one where I dissect the reasons why my series was cancelled. I’m not what you’d call excited about that, but the fact remains. With luck, I’ll have a post in the new year that will finally draw more attention.

The year itself has been tough. I’d hoped to sell A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark but my agent was reluctant to send it out and I took her advice. Thank god. Last fall I took another look at the manuscript and realized I’d blown it. The novel needs major revisions and christ but the moment for it has pretty much passed. I’ll still finish it, eventually, but that leaves a big hole in my schedule. I put out no new work in 2012.

As for 2013, the only novel I expect to put out is King Khan, the tie-in novel for Spirit of the Century. If Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts sells, it’ll probably be scheduled for 2014. In any event, life is short. I am working constantly. I don’t have a lot to show for it right now.

On a personal level, my family life has only been getting better. I am a very, very lucky ugly fat man.

And that’s it. I don’t do New Years’ resolutions, because they carry the cultural baggage that no one keeps them, and I never wait until Jan first to make the changes in my life I think I need. But I’m going back to work now, and I’m going to keep working on a sequel to a book that hasn’t even sold yet and which probably won’t come out until 2015.

I don’t even know what to say about this except that I can muddle through it.

One year anniversary of the end of 20 Palaces

I’m writing this ahead of time because I expect to be hanging with my son at the tournament when this posts, but today is exactly one year since I announced that Del Rey would not be picking up any new Twenty Palaces novels and that I was putting the series on hiatus, with all the ominous implications of the word.

And that fucking post is still the most popular thing on my blog. More people have read about my failure than ever read my books.

What has changed since then? Well, A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark is on indefinite hold. The book itself is a major misfire–not in concept but in execution. It needs a massive rewrite before it’s ready to be shown anywhere and that’s not a very high priority for me right now.

What about Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts? aka A Blessing of Monsters? Well, shit. We’ll see, won’t we? One big change is that I seriously underestimated the amount of story there; what I’d planned to complete in one volume is not, in fact, complete after 140K words. So it will become two books. Possibly three. We’ll see what my publisher says, assuming I find one for it.

As for me, I’m working on a Twenty Palaces short story, which won’t be told from Ray’s POV. I’m hoping to have it finished soonest so I can get to work on Epic Sequel With No Dull Parts. I’m still waiting on editorial notes for King Khan, the game tie-in book I wrote for Evil Hat’s Spirit of the Century role-playing game, and that will likely be the only book release for me in 2013.

I know. 2012 saw only two anthologies: Don’t Read This Book and Tales of the Emerald Serpent, and next year will almost certainly be a single game tie-in novel. I like all of that work and I’m proud of it, but I need to put out original novel-length fiction if I want to keep my career going.

I have failed my book in the worst possible way

Today was supposed to be a chill fucking day. My agent has the revised version of EPIC FANTASY WITH NO DULL PARTS. Last night I sent KING KHAN, my game tie-in novel, to Evil Hat. I hope they like it because Christmas is coming and I could use the money. Next I’m supposed to work on EPIC SEQUEL WITH NO DULL PARTS and a Twenty Palaces short story I’ve been kicking around.

But today was for relaxing, people. Today was meant to chill and read through an old manuscript.

It was just about a year ago that I put the “final” touches on A KEY, AN EGG, AN UNFORTUNATE REMARK and sent it to my agent. After reading my revised draft, she didn’t want to try to sell it; she didn’t think it was ready.

Some writers would be all outraged by that, but I shelved the book and worked on something else. I knew I could revisit it later after taking some time away from it.

Today, I took a printed copy out to the coffee shop to give it a read.

It’s really a failure. Like, full of an amazing amount of fail. It’s so off that I have a hard time reading it. It’s embarrassing.

What happened is pretty clear: I had something in my head that did not get onto the page. The tone is wrong, the POV has no specific voice, the important emotional moments glide right by without any effort to acknowledge their power…

Fuck. I had this idea for a book in my head and I thought I was writing it. I wasn’t. Maybe I loved the idea of the book too much, because I didn’t take the time to address the problems those ideas would present. Maybe I’m hadn’t studied other works with that tone carefully enough.

Maybe the problem was all that and more. I’m going to have to think on this carefully. Someday. For right now I’m putting this book aside and working on something else.

Damn. Just when I become too confident, I find new reasons for humility. What the hell. It’ll just make me a better writer 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 »

Friday quick notes

1) I’m taking the family to see Steven Tobolowski live on our local NPR affiliate this morning. Exciting! My son loves his show (my son loves oral storytelling) and we can’t wait to see how it goes. And I don’t think I have to say that I’m also a big fan of Steve Scher, the interviewer.

2) I get a lot of people asking me about the status of the Twenty Palaces books, so I’m going to say: Please stop. I’m waiting to hear something official from my editor at Del Rey, but I’m not going to announce anything until I get the final word from them.

Believe me, when I finally hear, the first person I share the news with will be my wife. The second person will be the whole rest of the world. But it’s a stressful time right now, so please don’t keep prodding me. When I know, you’ll know, believe me.

3) After years of hearing about other writers receiving anthology invitations, I’ve started getting some of my own. The only one I’m sure I’m allowed to talk about is a book related to Evil Hat’s Don’t Rest Your Head rpg, which is being edited by Chuck Wendig. And I have a nasty little story idea in mind…

4) I sent a revised copy of A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark to my agent. New book! Hopefully soon.

5) I’ve been planning a large politics post for quite a while, and hearing that the U.S. government just killed a U.S. citizen without due process is prodding me to get around to it. Watch (or avoid) this space.

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.)

Sorry I’ve been so quiet here

I’ve been pushing to finish A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark and clocking some serious family time.

Plus, my brain has been incredibly boring lately.

While I was away:

Quick updates here:

While I was away I submitted a revision of a short story to a shared-world anthology (details to come) that was received quite well.

I received my final check for my current contract with Del Rey, which my stupid bank is going to hold until next week even though they’ve promised they wouldn’t have to do that any more and I have enough in my fucking account to cover it. (Good to have new money, though).

I made good progress on the revisions for A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark, having solved the notes my agent gave me. I hope I’ve solved them, anyway.

Finally, I dealt with a hundred minor annoyances that I couldn’t tweet about. Hmph.

Quick Friday post

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.

Revisions today, along with a book

I was working on A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark today, trying to make up for my low productivity yesterday (doctor’s office visit and unfamiliar neighborhood can complicate things). But what do I find when I show up at my local library?

My hold on A Dance With Dragons has come through and the book is right there on the shelf waiting for me. Do I stop revisions so I can start the new book?

What I figure is that I’ll end my work session a little early, as soon as I finish this chapter… no, I forgot I needed to add this character to this scene… hey, this is turning out pretty good, I should make a note to change that other chapter… and now I need to fix the thing with the safe… and why don’t I wrap this part up here.

In the end, I worked until well past my usual writing time, just because I was enjoying it. (The revision is 1/3rd done. I send it to my agent after that.) But! I get to walk home with the book and read it all the way, now that the sun has come out.

Only three weeks to read a thousand pages! I know I won’t be renewing this baby, so time to get cracking.

State of the books/trailer/shorts report

Thanks to a comment I received yesterday, I realized that I’ve been putting people off for months now about the status of the books, the trailer, everything. And that’s not fair. So here is a quick rundown of where things stand on the projects I’ve been promising. And since this is long, I’m going to put in a more »

Let’s call this a draft.

You heard that right. Draft zero of A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark is finished at 77K words and 43 chapters. Longest chapter: “An Unwelcome Party Guest Catches A Glimpse of Himself” (aka chapter 1) at 2,851 words. Shortest chapter: “Another Little Drive” (almost the end of the book) at 754 words. I suspect that first chapter will be substantially trimmed, leaving “The Recrimination Game” as the longest.

You know, I struggled with this book the way I struggle with all of them, but I had fun with it, too. In fact, when I was outlining it I had a serious crisis of confidence. Life is short: was this one of the books I wanted to have as my life’s work? Really?

Thank Pikachu I got over that. This book turned out to be a lot of fun.

So! I have to give it another read-through before I send it to my agent. I have a judo throw to add to one scene, and I stupidly gave two characters very similar names, then switched them mid-way through. Plus, there are the inevitable word echoes, under-researched locations, and screwed up sentences.

Still. DONE! I’ll be picking up a 22oz of Arrogant Bastard Ale on my way home tonight and I’ll celebrate happily.

Birthday Gift Report!

So Friday was my birthday. I woke up at my usual 5am work time and did my pages. What’s more, I added even more cool stuff to the end of A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark–it sounds self-serving to say this, I know, but I’m getting really excited about this book (and I can’t wait to be done with it and move on to a new thing).

What did I find when I arrived home? A giant gift-wrapped box on my dining room table. My son, naturally, was super-excited to have me open it, but I was exhausted from several long days and begged a nap (gift one).

After we had our fruit salad and I did the whole wish/candle thing, I tore it open. It turned out to be a George Foreman Grill (gift two).

Now, I’m skeptical of electric cooking appliances. I use our food processor and stand mixer all the time, but specific gadgets for cooking? Too fussy, too messy, too much trouble to take out and put away. Especially that last one. I use the crock pot about once a week, and even though it’s fine for the first two, it’s a pain in the ass for third. We just don’t have that much counter space or storage.

But this gadget? The cooking plates come out and fit in the dishwasher, it has no controls beyond an on/off switch, and it folds up pretty compactly.

What’s more, my wife had picked out a beautiful steak for me to have for dinner (gift three) and it cooked up beautifully. I can’t wait to try potatoes, asparagus, and (naturally) burgers in it. My son is eager to put a personal pizza in it, and I’m game for that.

One other birthday gift turned up at the end of the night. Google Alerts brought me this: Publishers Weekly gave Circle of Enemies a starred review. (gift four) That means I’m 3 for 3 for PW reviews. :) I’m seriously pleased about this.

Anyway, I’m back to making donuts. At this point, it’s a sprint to the end of the draft. I just wish it wasn’t so damn gorgeous outside, which is like a gift I can’t play with. Local temp for July 2nd: 78F. Sunday the second is expected to be ten degrees cooler.

Today is my birthday

Well, really it’s my not-birthday (ob repetitive explanation: My wife and I share a Bday, which sucks, so I bumped mine back a month). But that doesn’t matter, right? It’s just a date, and I’m supposed to celebrate the new year.

You don’t have to ask. I’m 46.

Anyway, I was up way, way too early to write, and write I did. After having almost zero idea how I was going to end A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark yesterday I bumped against the frontier of my synopsis and started brainstorming ideas. Within an hour, I had the end all worked out, and as I was smoothing it out this morning (connecting the plot points clearly, I mean) I had several more good ideas.

That’s all recorded, and at this point it’s a race to the end of the draft. I’ve already made today’s long-goal; hopefully I’ll be able to do another thousand words or so before I go home.

There will be no cake tonight. I don’t like it, and neither does anyone else in the family. We’ll be having melon-free fruit salad, instead, which is the tradition for my bday. What other efforts will be made on my behalf I do not know. I just hope I get a nap.

Anyway, I get a little more time to goof around online, then it’s back to the word mines. Have a great Friday and Happy Canada Day, you wonderful Canadians.

24 Jun 2011, 12:44pm
making books:
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Boy yesterday’s post seemed cranky, didn’t it?

I didn’t think I was being all cranky, but it geez.

Anyway, I’m not online much because of the book-writing. Both yesterday and today were big days for me. Doing 2.5K words is a modest goal for many writers, but for me it’s nearly unthinkable. Hitting that mark two days in a row, with extra time to revise an old short story? That’s practically a breakthrough. I may have transformed myself into a totally different person. I’d better oversleep tomorrow and waste the whole day on Twitter or my wife and son might not recognize me.

Anyway, it’s not even one o’clock, and I’m done for the day. ::thumbs up::

“They’re so funny. They use the subjunctive when they ought to use the nupative.”

Let’s make this a quick list of items of interest, okay?

First of all: Hey New Yorkers! I’m going to be in New York City next week, visiting Manhattan with my wife and son. Yes, I’m also going to meet up with my agent (first time face to face) and my editor (not first time). And others, too, if things go well.

Publishing people! Who use the subjunctive correctly! And who probably also know how to use the nupative, even though that doesn’t even exist, except in last night’s dream about condescending NY grammar fundamentalists. (See subject header)

Anyway, I’m also planning to attend the KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading Series on June 15th. I don’t know either of the authors who’ll be reading there, but that just makes it more exciting.

Are you in New York? I’d like to meet there, and maybe do something after. I look like this. If you see me there, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself.

Second: I mentioned this on Twitter last week, but haven’t here; Twenty Palaces, the prequel to Child of Fire, is 100% done! Well, unless Del Rey buys it and my editor has notes. And except for the copy edits. And galleys. And another polish, if I want to give it one, (and I always do).

Still: One. Hundred. Percent. Done. I’m back at work on A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark (aka: The Auntie Mame Files). I like this book, although I suspect it’s going to be a stand alone. We’ll see.

Third: On the advice of a friend, I’ve started polishing up some old short stories to self-publish them. I mean, why not? Several have been published before and several will need substantial rewriting, but it will be nice to have something new to put out into the world.

Fourth: Look what came in the mail over the weekend?

IMG_2698

It had this in it:

IMG_2699

I’m going to assume he meant “this book,” to mean “the book for Harry Connolly.” Seems obvious, right?

I sorta expect a significant proportion of this text to be right out of his LiveJournal, but with luck I’ll pick up some extra tips for writing short work for small checks, rather than doing these months-long projects on spec, which sucks.

Fourth: Is it completely ridiculous for me to record all the Bookscan numbers I get from Amazon.com into a spreadsheet? I mean, I can’t even keep my characters’ names straight, but I’m fastidious about this?

Fifth: I still have a lot to do before I head to NY. Good thing I finished those Dungeon Quest books (by Joe Daly). Now that the hilarity is over, I can get some shit done.

Sun!

It’s almost seven am, I’m freshly breakfasted, the hummingbirds are floating outside my window, the stellar jays are squawking, and the sun is shining.

I’m going for a walk.

But it’s not going to be a “fun” walk; it’s going to be a vigorous exercise/plot walk. A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark has been a bit difficult lately and I’m not sure where it should go next. This walk will be a chance to plot a course forward. Which I need.

Also, did I mention that the sun is shining?

Hopefully, I won’t see you guys around the interwebs for a few hours.

  • 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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