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FEBRUARY 2015

Greetings, folks. Once again, it is I, your—if I may say so—beloved literary figure staying in touch with you, the little people. I'm sure you all appreciate that, as a big mucky-muck, my time is limited. I also have to be aware of my own exclusivity, which is why I don't like people looking me in the eye. Or touching me. Nevertheless, I don't want you to think that I've forgotten you all, because you're important too. Not as important as I am, obviously, but still important.

Ish.

Glad that we've got all that clear. Well done, everyone. We move on...

Empire The American EMPIRE (No, Not That One)

February 24 is the American and Canadian release date for EMPIRE, Volume II of The Chronicles of the Invaders, by Jennifer Ridyard and myself. The book has been out for about six weeks in Ireland and the UK, and readers have been very kind about it.

EMPIRE continues the story where CONQUEST left off, as Syl, the first of the earthborn Illyri, and Paul, the human opposition leader who fell in love with her, head to different parts of the universe. Their very different journeys—Syl into the deepest mysteries of the Nairene Sisterhood, Paul into the battles of the Illyri Brigades—cross paths again as they begin to confront the deadly mystery at the heart of the Illyri leadership.

No events are scheduled for EMPIRE, but you can listen to Jennie and me talk about the series here, and buy books signed by both Jennie and me from Goldsboro Books in London, The Gutter Bookshop in Dublin, No Alibis in Belfast, or The Mysterious Bookshop in New York. Details are here.

A Song of Shadows A SONG OF SHADOWS

The first chapter of A SONG OF SHADOWS, the 13th—14th? It depends on how you count "The Reflecting Eye"—Charlie Parker novel is now up on the website, and you can read it here. Charlie Parker, recovering from the life-threatening attack he sustained in THE WOLF IN WINTER, retreats to the coastal Maine town of Boreas to heal. His neighbor, a woman named Ruth Winter, and her daughter, Amanda, are polite but distant—until danger puts Charlie Parker once again in the position of defending the weak and avenging the wounded. An evil rooted in the death camps of the Second World War has returned to Boreas, but Parker will not face it alone . . .

The UK publication date for A SONG OF SHADOWS is April 9, but the book will be out a little earlier in Ireland. See below for information about tour dates, but these things are always subject to change; the "Events" page of my website is the best source of current information.

By special request, Waterstones will be offering a limited signed edition of A SONG OF SHADOWS with another companion CD, this one called Shadows, featuring music by Wilco, Mark Lanegan Band, Au Revoir Simone and others. I'll be handing out CDs at tour events as well, and if you can't get to Waterstones, or an event, our lovely friends at Goldsboro Books (who will also give you a copy of the "I Live Here" limited edition, for free, like, if you ask nicely), No Alibis, The Gutter Bookshop, and Alan Hanna's will take orders for signed books, and will also make sure that you get one of the CDs.

The American edition of A SONG OF SHADOWS will be available in August, and we're making arrangements now for signed editions, as a U.S. tour this year seems unlikely.

Tour Dates

Tour dates for the UK are now available on the website.

On our little island, the following events will take place:

DUBLIN
Tuesday, March 31st, 6.30pm
The Gutter Bookshop
Cow's Lane
Temple Bar
Dublin 8
+35316799206
info@gutterbookshop.com

BELFAST
Thursday, April 2nd, 7pm
No Alibis Bookstore
83 Botanic Avenue
Belfast BT7 1JL
Northern Ireland
+442890319601
www.noalibis.com

DROGHEDA
Friday, April 3rd, time TBA (early afternoon)
Waterstones
G12 Scotch Hall
Marsh Road
Drogheda, Co. Louth
+353419838527

The No Alibis event is free, but ticketed; please call or email the store to reserve your place. The Drogheda event will be a drop-in signing, happening in the early afternoon around lunchtime. We'll confirm the time shortly.

Due to time constraints and the demands of touring, I have to drive on to a new city after each evening event on the UK tour, so I won't be as available as in the past. Apols!

The UK tour will be followed by a South African tour, to include events in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, commencing on April 23rd. We'll include those dates and venues in a later newsletter.

Further down the line, I'll be one of the guests at the Edge-Lit 4 festival of science fiction, fantasy and horror in Derby on Saturday, July 11, 2015, with more details available here.

I'm also very flattered to be one of the guests of honour at FantasyCon 2015, which takes place in Nottingham on October 23-25. This will coincide nicely with the publication of NOCTURNES 2, of which more below, but more info on FantasyCon 2015 can be found at fantasycon2015.org.

A New Look for Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker Books

No, he hasn't done something to his hair, but Hodder, my UK publishers, have given Charlie Parker a new look for 2015. Beginning on February 12 with EVERY DEAD THING, DARK HOLLOW, THE KILLING KIND and THE WHITE ROAD, new mass market paperbacks will be available, not only with shiny new covers but also with newly-written individual introductions, giving a bit of background information about each book. The rest of the Charlie Parker novels (and BAD MEN, for good measure) will be available in their new covers, with their new introductions, on March 12.

"Yes," I hear you say, "but I already have all those books!" It's true, it seems unfair to make people who already bought the books buy a whole new set just to get the new introductions. We are thinking about how best to address this, so stay tuned for further developments.

NOCTURNES 2

NOCTURNES 2, my first collection of short and longish fiction in over a decade, has been delivered to my US and UK publishers, and will be published on both sides of the Atlantic in October. As things stand, it contains 17 pieces, but that may change over the next month or two. I can tell you that it includes a sequel to "The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository," and a fragmentary novella entitled The Fractured Atlas. There is also a hugely extended version of "I Live Here," previously available only as a very limited edition, and now increased from 6,000 to 12,000 words.

THE HOLLOW KING

Meanwhile, "The Hollow King," my first return to the universe of THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS since that novel's publication back in 2006, will be read aloud on BBC by Penny Downie (she of Downton Abbey fame) as part of a three-part series called "Blood, Sweat and Tears," with Mark Billingham and Denise Mina providing the other stories. I was lucky enough to attend the recording in London—before a live audience, which made the atmosphere electric—and Penny did an absolutely superb job on the tale. If you want to hear how the Crooked Man might sound, then tune in.

It's scheduled to air on BBC Radio 4 at 15.45 on Friday May 8, 2015, and should be available online as well. Be sure, though, to listen to the brilliant contributions by Denise and Mark as well, which will be broadcast at the same time on Friday April 24th and Friday May 1st respectively. We'll post reminders to Facebook and Twitter as the dates draw closer.

At the moment, I'm mulling over whether or not to include "The Hollow King" in NOCTURNES 2, as it may find a more appropriate home in something to mark the 10th anniversary of THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS next year. We'll keep you posted but, for now, the BBC broadcast may represent your best chance to return to the world of that little book, should you wish to do so.

ONCE UPON A PLACE

Another short story, "The Bear," will appear in ONCE UPON A PLACE: New Children's Stories by Irish Writers, a collection edited by Ireland's Children's Laureate, and all-round good egg, Eoin Colfer, coming from Little Island Press in October. Publication and purchasing details should be available in early summer.

Beyond that, the radio show, ABC to XTC, continues weekly on the Internet station RTE 2XMTuesdays at 10:00 pm GMT, with a repeat on Saturdays at 9:00 pm, and you can sometimes find me on Twitter at @jconnollybooks.com.

Now I must throw another peasant on the fire, and a scantily clad servant is waiting to serve me strawberries and champagne. (I do wish he'd put some clothes on—he'll take someone's eye out with that thing—but he's funny like that.) It's been lovely talking to you all. It wouldn't be the same without you.

Best wishes,

John

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