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Even More Obligatory Author Shilling

Harry Connolly posting again, while Charlie hammers away at his work.

I'll confess that I was startled when I saw Elizabeth Bear's earlier Obligatory Author Shilling post. Sadly, my first thought was "Is that even allowed?"

As in: Are we allowed to confidently tell readers about our books? Are we allowed to talk about our books as though they're good things that readers would enjoy, without a whole shitload of fancy footwork first?

What can I say? The Imposter Syndrome is strong with me. But I'm going to follow Bear's excellent example and write a straight up post about my new book, which drops today.

It's an urban fantasy called A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark and it's the last fiction stretch goal for my Kickstarter.

Here's the cover:

Key/Egg cover
Art and design by Duncan Eagleson

Readers familiar with my Twenty Palaces novels be warned: this isn't that. Key/Egg is a pacifist urban fantasy. In a genre where protagonists routinely behave as though they live in a lawless frontier where every problem must be solved with a bullet from an enchanted Glock, this is a book where problems are solved through diplomacy and trickery.

Also, in a genre filled with 20-something ass-kickers, the protagonist is a woman in her mid-sixties who's a cross between Auntie Mame and Gandalf. Why should older characters be constantly relegated to expository roles? Why not let them strut their stuff a little?

The story is set in modern-day Seattle, and involves one of those murders that Leads to a Larger Scheme. If you're a long time reader of James Nicoll's LiveJournal and you read to the end, you'll know why I thanked him in the acknowledgements.

Anyway, after the bleakness of the Twenty Palaces novels, I wanted something light and fun. This is it; a thriller without violence.

Check out some sample chapters here. Thanks.



No link....


Sounds like something I might enjoy reading, but there's no link to your sample chapter.



Maybe better, the last sample chapters this author posted here ended in a huge cliff hanger and I had to purchase the whole trilogy! ;-)


Sorry for the lack of a link. I am still figuring out the nuances of Movable Type. I thought the post would remain unpublished until I was ready, but oops.

There's a link to the sample chapters now.


As I scrolled down and saw that front cover in motion, without registering detail, I saw Mulder and Scully. Classic M&S angle shot, with enough coroborrating details (his dark suit, white shirt and tie was enough for me to see Mulder). Is is deliberate?


Not on my part, but I'm a visual idiot. Duncan (he created the cover) might have done it deliberately, though.


No idea of your writing style, but can we have the protagonists facing understandable and rational evil ie a sane villain who does things for good reasons instead of doing them for either no reason or just to show how evil s/he is?


Dirk, you can absolutely have that. That's the sort of villain I put into this book.


" No idea of your writing style .." You haven’t read the ' Twenty Palaces ' series then?

Your required Villain Profile pretty well matches that of the ' Twenty Palaces' Bad Guys, who are perfectly reasonable in their intent...well we are all the Heros of our own stories aren't we? Try...

" ...With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic."



You might like to put direct links to purchase both here - if OGH thinks that that is a good idea - but also on your own web site, thus for UK readers ..

That’s where I ordered my copy from anyway.

Yes, I know, I know, Big South American River doesn’t raise glad cheers hereabouts, but I have a stinking cold at the moment...yep, on top of everything else in this past year I am now stricken with Pneumonic Plague - did I say a Cold? That was me Being Brave in a restrained British sort of Way - and The Empire of Evil River is convenient.

I'm up to chapter 6 and it looks to be pretty good so far with a nice sense of pace and believable characters in an interesting situation.

Just as well I use an ancient IBM model B keyboard - the Bile that is dripping out of my every orifice would entirely destroy any modern keyboard in moments.


Couple more shillings and we'll have a Guinea!

Keep 'em coming, plox Charles, this is really helping to expand my author list.


Purchasing links are at the bottom of the sample chapters, so it's only one click more.

Also, these go to some other stores as well, not only big river. And from a buyer's perspective, some of the alternative stores have a better price than big river as well.


Duly bought, now reading :)

Have you read the novella "Edie Investigates" by Nick Harkaway? (and Angelmaker, a novel that follows it). Excellent stuff, and the Edie of the first title is best described as "what happens when your kick-ass Jane Bond hits 80".

Well worth the investment of your time, you'll be reading Tigerman before you know it. It was certainly this site that suggested the author (in a thread a year or two ago), it may even have been Charlie himself. As an aside, I understand that the author's father writes under the name "John Le Carre"...


Hi Harry

Sounds reasonable. Will buy it on Kindle or similar. Or if all else fails as a "book".

So could you give us a definition of "God"? Not that I'm here, but thinking of one thread back! Seems reasonable if you want to kill it!

"Revolutionary Atheist" - come the revolution, It's first up against the wall!


Thank you Harry Connolly.

I bought your new book (Kindle edition). I enjoyed it quite much. Perfect reading when you are suffering a flu.

Please produce more books like this!

There are not too much books in the fantasy genre that make you feel good. This is one of them. Especially since the main character seems to be coming back (or that is what I understood).


The samples sold it. That and knowing it existed. I hope you try your hand at SF someday.


Thank, you guys. I appreciate everyone giving the books a try.


Mr. Connolly,
I'm about bit beyond 2/3 of the book. I'm engrossed since I was up till 1:30 before I stopped. You did a very good job making me care about these characters.


I finished “A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark” last night and I do agree with jja @15 .." Perfect reading when you are suffering a flu."

Though Flu isn’t actually a requirement for enjoying the book of course, and “.. Appealing to the diseased reader demographic “may not help you in making a pitch to your Publisher for the Series.

Speaking of which...I do hope that you are developing a series from " A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark " ?

In my opinion the novel does work very well as the first book in a successful series so let’s hope that a commissioning editor agrees with me and commissions another book or three in an " Auntie Mame " series/trilogy.


Finished it at lunch.
And I want more books like this.
And I _never_ would have expected the ending given the conventions of urban fantasy.


I very much liked the sample and it's on my short to-buy list.

I liked the Twenty Palaces novels a lot, and without knowing, my guess is that the problem was the extreme violence. It was completely appropriate in context, and I didn't have any particular problem with it, but that's my best guess. That or the sincerity, or the bleakness. A world where everything could be lost quickly if an understaffed organization makes a mistake, and that organization is corrupt, and the heroes continually risk their lives saving the world with the expectation they will fail. Maybe some readers don't enjoy experiencing that.

So it's good you've tried the opposite. Maybe this will work better, and the older series might catch on once you have a reputation.


I'm currently rapidly working my way through the great way (and will be recommending it to fantasy reading friends as it's great), so the shilling does work!


Confession: I'm not planning any more Marley Jacobs books. As far as I'm concerned, A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark is a stand alone novel.

What I'd really like is for this sort of book to become a well-established subgenre, so I can keep reading them while working on new stuff.

Sorry, but I feel like I've said everything I wanted to say in that book. Until/unless I think of something else, that's how the story ends.

Still, thank you all very much for coming here into the comments and saying nice things. Word of mouth is king.


A shame. But its a sign of great writing that it leaves the readers wanting more.

And it got a 5 star review from me.



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This page contains a single entry by Harry Connolly published on March 3, 2015 7:54 AM.

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