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Veins Cycle Media Kit
The Veins Cycle is a series of supernatural thrillers by veteran short story author Lawrence C. Connolly. The main action of the series takes place within a 24-hour period. Leading off with Veins (2008), the narrative begins with a quiet, edgy sort of horror interspersed between scenes of high-speed action, and moves into break-neck carnage with Vipers (2010). The planned third book, tentatively titled Vortex (2013) will draw the series to a close.
The Veins Cycle deals with issues concerning ecology, ancestral memory, spiritualism / religion, psychological damage, duty, and the ways in which people strive to comprehend and grasp the unknowable. Strong female characters are important to the books, and Connolly explores the female psyche and women’s issues with a skilled hand.
Also an accomplished musician, Connolly composed and recorded a soundtrack to Veins along with his band. The album features a series of soundscapes that capture the mood and evoke images from the book.
Table of Contents
- Basic Information
- Author Bio
- Covers / Author Photo
- Reviews for Veins
- Reviews for Vipers
- Media Appearances
Author: Lawrence C. Connolly
Illustrator: Star E. Olson
Publisher: Fantasist Enterprises
Number of Pages: 260
Illustrations: 8 Black & White
Format: Trade Paperback • 6 x 9
Bar Coded: Yes
Price: $15.00 US / $20.00 CAN
Title: Veins: The Soundtrack
Composer: Lawrence C. Connolly
Label: Fantasist Enterprises
Distributor: CDBaby / iTunes
Number of Tracks: 6 + 2 Bonus Tracks
Total Run Time: 38:13
Price: $10.00 US
Author: Lawrence C. Connolly
Illustrator: Gerasimos Kolokas
Publisher: Fantasist Enterprises
Number of Pages: 276
Illustrations: 16 Black & White
Format: Trade Paperback • 6 x 9
Bar Coded: Yes
Price: $17.00 US / $22.00 CAN
Lawrence C. Connolly’s books include the novels Veins (2008) and Vipers (2010), the first two books of the Veins Cycle. Vortex, the third book in the series, is due to be released in 2013. His collections, which include Visions (2009), This Way to Egress (2010), and Voices (2011), collect his stories from Amazing Stories, Cemetery Dance, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Twilight Zone, and Year’s Best Horror.
Covers / Author Photo
Click image for high-resolution version.
Photo by John Connolly
Why is the book/series called “Veins”?
The title refers to geologic formations that are sometimes called “veins of coal.” These are horizontal deposits pressed between layers of rock. In western Pennsylvania, where Veins is set, these formations are frequently exposed on hillsides that have been cutaway to make room for roads and buildings. They are also laid bare during surface mining, and it is that process that lies at the heart of the Veins Cycle. The narrative takes place in and around an abandoned surface mine.
More importantly, however, is the title’s connotation, its association with life and blood. The Veins Cycle presents the earth as a living thing, an organism capable of being wounded beyond healing. That’s the crux of the story, and the title gives us that.
That’s the long answer. Here’s the short one: I think Veins is a cool title.
So no vampires?
Not in the usual sense. The Veins Cycle does not feature traditional centuries-old denizens of the night. And yet, when the third book is released in 2012, I hope people will consider the three books together and realize that they are indeed about a kind of vampire, a kind at once more deadly and alluring than the traditional variety.
Why did you focus on western Pennsylvania?
It’s a mysterious place, where forests fold into valley and rise along mountain crags. Enter a Pennsylvania forest and start walking . . . sooner or later you’ll come to a place where the earth opens into an unnatural valley of sumac, hemlock, and weedy grass. These are the wounds that never heal, the deep man-made scars left behind after the coal veins have been carted away for heat and industry.
Is there a better setting for a supernatural thriller, a horror novel, or a work of rural fantasy? Maybe, but I haven’t found it.
Your books feature a number of strong female characters. You also chose to write from a female point of view. What inspired you?
The mercenary answer: According to a recent AP survey, women account for 80 percent of the fiction reading market. Of the men who do read, the average is five books a year versus nine a year for women. As a prominent agent once told me, if you don’t have a strong woman as one of your leads, I don’t want to see the book.
The technical answer: Having a roughly 50/50 split of male and female characters helps when writing dialogue attributions. For half the characters it’s “he said.” For the other half it’s “she said.” Thus, if you have two main characters sharing a scene, you don’t have to keep mentioning their names.
The introspective answer: My great grandmother was a Quaker school teacher, my great aunt a college art teacher. During one long-ago summer, after I’d spent a disastrous first-grade year rebelling against reading flashcards and Dick-and-Jane books, they took me away to a cottage in the Canadian woods and taught me all about reading and the power of story. At home, my father traveled a lot, leaving my mother the most influential figure in my early life. My wife suffered debilitating illness while in grad school, spent a term recovering in a rehabilitation hospital, eventually returned to the university to finish her degree and begin a long career as an information specialist. We never had a son. Our daughter is an amazing go-getter, more successful, secure, and level-headed at 25 than I have ever been. These are the people I’m writing for.
The what-do-I-know answer: I don’t understand women any better than I understand men. People are a mystery to me. Writing is a way of figuring them out.
What can readers learn from reading the Veins Cycle?
Learn is a strong word. The book isn’t about learning or teaching. It’s more about sharing and suggesting. I hope that readers will take time to consider the folly of considering humans as the masters of the earth.
The rocks were here long before us. They will continue long after. We exist for an instant on the surface of something far beyond our comprehension, and yet we think we are in charge. I hope readers will consider those things.
Why did you wait so long to begin writing novels?
I saw no reason to hurry. I was having fun writing all those stories, and working on them gave me plenty of time to learn the craft, gradually building up to longer lengths . . . stories to novelettes . . . novelettes to novels. As I see it, I wasn’t really waiting. The novels were waiting for me.
Reviews for Veins
“Feels like some of the best magic realism that’s been written lately . . . highly readable.”
“With . . . expert imagery, Lawrence C. Connolly takes a reader on a different kind of magical mystery tour . . . about what drives people to extremes, and how destiny ultimately intervenes.”
“[S]ubtly haunting, bringing together Native American Okwe myth with a crime thriller. The plot is fast and intense and the characters are wonderfully real.”
—Laura Lehman, BellaOnline.com
“For years I’ve been an admirer of Lawrence C. Connolly’s exquisite and deeply affecting short fiction—he always writes with great skill, intelligence, compassion, and subtle lyricism; but with VEINS he has done the impossible and surpassed his own high standards. This rich, mesmerizing, and darkly wondrous novel held me under its spell for days as I read it, and haunts me even now, weeks later. This is what grand story-telling is all about, regardless of genre. I began the novel as an admirer of Connolly; I finished it as one in awe—and so will you.”
—Gary A. Braunbeck, award-winning author of Destinations Unknown and Mr. Hands
“Much like the souped-up vintage Mustang that cuts through the heart of the story, VEINS starts fast, accelerates quickly, and finishes with a flourish, fulfilling all the promise at novel length that Lawrence Connolly has been flashing for years in his outstanding short stories.”
—Robert Morrish, fiction editor of Cemetery Dance
“VEINS is haunting work, meticulously crafted by one of the genre’s most masterful storytellers, writing at the top of his game. If you’ve read Lawrence Connolly’s stories in the pages of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Borderlands, or Cemetery Dance over the past decade, you already know that he is a captivating writer who crafts drum-tight plots, loaded with realistic characters and fantastic settings with great style and substance. But you don’t really know Connolly until you read VEINS, his amazing first novel. Open VEINS and it will spill out uncanny surprises that will thrill and horrify, charm and chill, on almost every page. VEINS is Connolly’s crowning achievement: a multi-layered, intense exploration that scrapes away the surface of reality, excavating the wondrous and dreadful secrets that lurk in the twisting caverns beneath. In this harrowing, fast-paced novel, Connolly plumbs the depths of the dark side in a way that no one has done before. Some books are good, others are great, but a rare few are tremendous and beg to be read over and again. VEINS is a tremendous and unforgettable read.”
—Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of 100 Jolts.
“One of the joys of my days at Twilight Zone was encountering the work of an extraordinarily subtle and imaginative writer, Lawrence C. Connolly, who brought enormous power to the shortest of stories. And now, in VEINS, he’s created something equally extraordinary—a supernatural novel that brings Native American magic to a crime thriller as intense and fast-moving as a Tarantino movie.”
—T.E.D. Klein, award-winning author of The Ceremonies and Dark Gods
“Lawrence C. Connolly writes with clear beauty and a purity of prose, his world not confined to the page, but breathing, soaring, sometimes kicking and cussing, but ever appealing to all the senses. VEINS is both spiritual and physical, blending both this world and the world of that beyond with seamless grace. Connolly is a writer to follow, and his work a thing to savor.”
—Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower, from Leisure Books
Reviews for Vipers
“Add ambitious evil spirits to a marathon game of Grand Theft Auto and you have this breakneck made-for-the-movies celebration of bloody carnage and black scheming . . . fans of summer blockbusters will be happy to crunch popcorn through the car chases, explosions, and brutality.”
“Lawrence C. Connolly’s Vipers is to his Veins what Coppola’s Godfather II was to The Godfather; he’s taken the dark, rich, mythological noir of the first novel and deepened its themes, expanded its vision, and reached near-operatic levels of grandeur, terror, and complexity. There is a brand-new and formidable mythos being created before your very eyes, and, stunned, we can only await with wonder—and more than a little awe—where next Connolly will take both it and us. Simply jaw-dropping, Vipers must be read by any serious follower of horror, crime, and dark fantasy who wants to see the next step in the cross-genre revolution.”
—Gary A. Braunbeck, International Horror Guild and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author of To Each Their Darkness and A Cracked and Broken Path
“There’s always a worry when we read something new by an author whose work we both like and admire; what if the standards have slipped, and we end up disappointed? Should we be wary of Vipers, in case it turns and bites us? Thankfully, and emphatically, no: in this, his follow up to the award-nominated Veins, Lawrence C. Connolly shows us once again just how imaginative, intelligent and skilful a writer he is. Deftly weaving together mythology, edge-of-seat action sequences, more characters than most authors would dare try to control in a single narrative, terror and a real sense of an encroaching apocalypse, he delivers a novel that is at once gleeful, unpredictable and entirely ominous. Connolly shows us all how it should be done, using taut, graceful prose, vibrant imagery, glorious worlds-spanning ideas and well-drawn characters that we actually care about to deliver a book that he can be enormously proud of, and that the rest of us can read, love and be in awe of. And, maybe, be a little jealous of.”
—Simon Kurt Unsworth, author of Lost Places
“Lawrence C. Connolly has the rare ability to completely transport the reader. Opening the pages of Vipers creates a doorway to the forested mine country of Pennsylvania. But beware—as you race along the dusty, backcountry roads with the characters, with the thrill of speed comes something else, something deadly and far from human. Connolly delivers a taut novel of horror and suspense that will have you reading chapter after chapter long after you meant to go to sleep.”
—Alice Henderson, author of Voracious
Veins was a finalist for the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award.
Veins appeared on the Preliminary Ballot for the 2009 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.Veins was nominated for the 2nd Annual Black Quill Award for Best Small-Press Chill by the editors of Dark Scribe Magazine.
Vipers appeared on the Preliminary Ballot for the 2011 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.
Prosody with Ellen Wadey
Host Ellen Wades interviews Lawrence C. Connolly on the NPR-affiliate program about poets and writers.
First broadcast in November 2008.
Writer’s Talk with Doug Dangler
Host Doug Dangler (doing what may be the world’s most bizarre impression of Igor) interviews Lawrence C. Connolly on this special Halloween edition of Writer’s Talk.
First broadcast in November 2009.
The Funky Werepig Show
Host Greg Hall conducts his first of two interviews with Lawrence C. Connolly.
First podcast in July 2009
The Funky Werepig Show
Host Greg Hall conducts his second of two interviews with Lawrence C. Connolly.
First podcast in July 2010.
Pontifications of Maurice Broaddus:
Interview with Lawrence C. Connolly.
“Dark Arts and Crafts” by Matt Betts:
Interview with Lawrence C. Connolly (page 8-9).
“Scare Tactics” by Dawn Stanton:
Interviews with Lawrence C. Connolly,
John Alfred Taylor, and Michael A. Arnzen.
“Tolkein Points” by Ken Chiacchia:
Interviews with Lawrence C. Connolly
and Mary Soon Lee.
“On Writing Horror” by Ann Cecil: Transcript of a panel discussion with
Lawrence C. Connolly, Lee Howard, Robert Martin, and Dawn Martin.