Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde
Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Monday, December 21, 2009

Twitter, Facebook, and Other Things I Should Really Ignore

There is a TMI* Tsunami taking place right now, and I'm realizing that my life and my work suffer whenever I go near it.

Twitter, Facebook, and blogs about writing sucked up a massive amount of my time during September, October and especially November this year and I didn't realize until the first week of December how much it hurt my writing.

Twitter and Facebook don't seem to take up much time, but a minute here and another minute there add up, not to mention those intermittent distractions break up work flow without providing any real breaks. You feel like you stepped away from your desk sometime, but really, you went no where and didn't do anything of any importance. I found myself checking Twitter in the middle of chapters instead of focusing on transporting myself into a character's shoes, as I normally do while writing a passage.

Blogs on writing and publishing wasted a lot of my time as well, as I mentioned earlier. My opinion on most of them are the same as a dog chasing its own tale. Cute, and entertaining for a short time, but generally useless and dizzying. Sure, there are a few articles and blogs out there that are well informed, but when it comes down to it fiction writers all have their own creative process.

As for blogs on the publishing industry, well, that's a space that's even worse. eBooks are changing a lot, but in the end, people are still reading, Publishers, publicists, book stores and agents are still sucking up massive percentages of the average published authors income (over ninety two percent on average). That hasn't changed, in fact, the independent writers are having a better time than ever connecting with their audience and reaping more rewards than ever. Some signs point to publishers changing or perishing, others are pointing to the eventuality that publishers are going to swoop in and take it all away from the Indies again. Basically that's what hundreds of industry blogs are saying and arguing at length. It's all the same thing over and over again without any redeeming knowledge. Once you know the argument and watch for REAL news, you can ignore the hundreds of blogs that discuss that sort of thing at length.

That is why, dear readers, I don't talk about the how-to of self publishing. There are plenty of sites about that sort of thing and this site is for you, it's about the fiction I've produced and you (hopefully), enjoy. I'd much rather announce progress in my latest book, survey you for your opinion, or raise interesting questions about the story than preach about getting to the top 10 on Smashwords or Mobipocket.

My whole point is that for a few months I produced less than half of normal and found new ways to interrupt my work but now that's over. Twitter and Facebook may occasionally get a nudge or a wink, but I won't be browsing to either one during the work day. Blogs about writing and the publishing industry won't be getting so much as a nod or a further thought. I'm too busy writing for your entertainment to stop and consider my navel along with all the others who like to tell others how it's done.

Now, back to work.

RL

[If you'd like to contact me in a public forum, feel free to visit me on the KindleBoards where I have my own conversation thread.]

*TMI = Too Much Information

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spinward Fringe Fragments: Release Date, Cover & Another Announcement

Spinward Fringe Fragments, Broadcast 6 will be available on February 28.

I know people expected this to come out sooner, but the days of releasing unpolished work are coming to an end, and that means involving more people in the proof reading and editing process. Whenever you include more people and refine something to a greater degree, you add time to the process. It will be worth it.

That being said, let me talk about this book a little.

As it is the book is daring, looks at a lot of characters and situations from a completely new perspective and delivers on the promise I made to myself; to make something new that introduces a fresh, interesting, exciting setting.

Some of your favourite characters are dropped into an unfamiliar, dangerous situation. The epic layer of the big picture story comes back into play in this book as we ramp up for the end of some of the oldest plot lines in the series. This book has been challenging to write, exciting to experience, and is already near the end of its second draft.

Sadly, material that was earmarked for the Spinward Fringe Strange Horizons and Close Encounters anthology has been pulled back into this book, and I'm spending too much time working on this and the last part of the Rogue Element Trilogy to write more material for the anthology. It'll have to wait until these books are finished.

Writing a trilogy is different. This isn't one book split up into three parts, these are three books that have different feels, very different events, and leave a different impression on the reader. Knowing that the current plot cycles are coming to an end in the third part of the Rogue Element Trilogy adds a level of immediacy and completeness to the set.

That's right, all those plot lines you've been following since The First Light Chronicles Omnibus*, are coming to an end.

Will there be more Spinward Fringe books? Yes. There are plenty of adventures left for many of the characters, but not all.

Keep that in mind when I say that at the end of the Rogue Element Trilogy there will be no plot questions left regarding any surviving main characters.

As you can tell from the above cover, and hopefully from Spinward Fringe Fracture, I'm working with some great people to bring the books up to the quality one would expect from big publishing houses. As many readers know, this has been happening in stages, and I'm proud of how far things have come since early 2008.

Thank you and happy holidays to new readers and long supporters! I appreciate all of you picking up the books, reviewing, reading and talking about what I do. If it weren't for your support I wouldn't be doing this full time.

Again, have a safe and happy holiday season!

RL

*The First Light Chronicles Omnibus is to be re-released as the Spinward Fringe Origins Trilogy when the final revision is complete in early 2010.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Won NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), takes place in November. It challenges writers to turn out fifty thousand words in 30 days, which might seem like a lot, but for most full time writers, it really isn't.

For example, when I'm working on a book that's properly plotted and researched my average is over twenty five hundred words per day, six days a week. It's a pace I grew accustomed to during 2008, when I pledged to write every day of the year. I missed fewer than a dozen days, and found that I'd grown into writing as a continual habit by 2009.

That's what NaNoWriMo is all about, writing for long enough, often enough and consistently enough so it becomes a habit, something you just do like brushing your teeth, breathing, or shovelling the step in winter. I won NaNoWriMo, finishing with over fifty thousand words in November even though I was still planning for most of the time. I also rediscovered my deep hatred of word counts.

Most NaNoWriMo books are dropped at the end of November because the focus is on quantity, not quality, so most authors discover that writing can be a part of every day life to some extent, so future works benefit a great deal. Some authors even do word sprints (timed writing sprees between 15-60 minutes long), long after NaNoWriMo is over. If that's part of your process, fantastic.

I enjoyed word sprints when I was writing in a person to person group. The company of other writers in the same room was a nice change, and the collective creativity there was astounding. Did I get a lot of writing done during those events? I certainly did, and I appreciate the work of our coordinator and other volunteers, who did a fantastic job this year.

What does winning NaNoWriMo mean to me?

Well, I got most of the way through a book I was writing anyway, and I met some impressive writers who had a great deal of determination. Will I participate next year? I certainly will in some capacity, but I won't be tracking my word count. I already write over three hundred days a year, it's a part of life. My focus is on creating quality work so I can entertain my readers in new and exciting ways. If there's some way I can help others do that next year, then I'll gladly step up.

RL

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Comes Early To Spinwardfringe.com

On January 1, 2010, I'll be celebrating two years of writing science fiction. I've written a bit in other genres, sure, but science fiction has become what this little known author is recognized for.

I appreciate all the support you readers have given me since this journey began. That support has come in the form of buying and reading the books, offering advice on eBook formatting, catching a couple errors that wriggled past my editor and myself, and more recently, regional folk who have become beta readers. I'd be remiss if I didn't also recognize the people who were kind enough to post reviews on Amazon, Mobipocket, Smashwords and others. You guys spread the message in the most accessible way, often inviting other readers to join us on the Fringe.

Recently, The First Light Chronicles Omnibus became the 7th most downloaded book on Smashwords, and it's still the number one Science Fiction novel on Mobipocket. That means that a lot of people are still just joining us, nearly five thousand over the last three months, actually. Since the Holiday Season is almost upon us, and I feel like celebrating, I'm offering all the books at Smashwords for 50% off (see Coupon Codes below), until January 14, 2010.

It's a good time to start reading in this universe, with work on the Rogue Element Trilogy going exceptionally well and an announcement as well as a cover for the second book forthcoming, things are getting very interesting. There's a lot of material, and this Friday I'll finally be telling you what the Rogue Element Trilogy is really all about. The first book in that set, Spinward Fringe Fracture, is already available, and I'll be setting firm dates for the second and third.

Announcements aside, this discount offering is meant as a welcome to everyone just joining us on this journey. For everyone who's been along for the ride and has sent me an Email in the past, there will be a different surprise coming your way. Without further delay, here are the coupon codes and links for everything on Smashwords:

Science Fiction / Space Opera
Book List Link: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/randolphlalonde
First Light Chronicles Omnibus - Free Forever At Smashwords
Spinward Fringe Resurrection and Awakening - YH56P
Spinward Fringe Triton - UY26G
Spinward Fringe Frontline - AR79E
Spinward Fringe Fracture - BX83P
Spinward Fringe Strange Horizons and close Encounters- Free (Read Last)

Horror
Dark Arts: Rising - Free Forever

Obligatory Legal Stuff:
Files downloaded from Smashwords are non-DRM (without copy protection), and will not expire after the codes become invalid. Each book is still copyright protected, do not share them with unauthorized parties. These codes and the books are authorized for personal use only.

Regardless of the legal stuff above, I have to admit that Smashwords is the only eBook distributor who makes giving an eBook as a gift easy. They offer the files in every eBook format, so if you're buying for someone else, you can simply buy the book, download the file onto a USB key or whatever you like, then pass it to them. Most distributors / retailers make this impossible thanks to copy protection, but Smashwords leaves the files unprotected. [Editor Insert: Please buy a copy of Randolph's books once for each time you give the gift, this is how he makes a living, after all.]

Thank you once again for supporting me so I can write full time. I'll do my absolute best to continue to entertain you in the future!

RL

Monday, December 14, 2009

Which Spinward Fringe Character Would You Kill? An Inconclusive Survey

It was a surprising survey subject, according to the emails I received. Several readers sent me a pleasant digital note to simply tell me; "I won't be voting. Don't kill any of them."
Thank you for the emails, everyone, I honestly didn't expect such a response. Surveys can tell you a lot, even when the voting is split four ways.
Here's how it worked out including the survey results, private messages and emails:

Ayan: 1
Liam: 4
Oz: 2
Jason: 4
Alaka: 1
Agameg: 4
Fin: 4

Six people emailed to tell me they wouldn't vote, one going as far to say that putting the survey up was a terrible idea. Several others sent private messages via Twitter or Facebook either voting for other characters not on the list (one told me I should kill Alaka's wife and children!), or to tell me they wouldn't vote.

That tells me that Ayan, Oz and Alaka are favoured characters, while the rest are regarded as less important or less liked. I may be reading too much into this, but I also think many people voted with a hesitant hand, unsure of which way to go.

Some of you are probably wondering if a character will die in the Rogue Element Trilogy. Well, one already has. Will others? I would rather not say. Being a hater of spoilers, I'd rather not tip anyone off.

Will I pose similar questions in the future? Why yes, I'm sure I will, but I'd also like to see what you think about readers voting on major events in an ongoing series, so chime in!

RL

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spinward Fringe Resurrection and Awakening Arrive On Mobipocket, Together

After being available on Smashwords for months, this combined edition eBook of the first two volumes in the Spinward Fringe series, now it's available at Mobipocket with a proper linked index. This edition is also available on Amazon.com

Resurrection and Awakening are the smallest books in the series, so it's only natural that they be collected so the length matches the price. The funny thing about this is that no one complained about the size or price of either book aside from yours truly. I always thought they were a little slim separately, and now that's been remedied.

People are still just discovering the Spinward Fringe series. In terms of readership it's a young, or small niche body of work, but anywhere from ten to fifty people download the First Light Chronicles Omnibus every day, so something will eventually come of it, I'm sure. I'm very pleased with the response the Smashwords edition of the trilogy has gotten, and a few people have gone on to read the Spinward Fringe series as well. It makes me even more eager to get the final revision of the trilogy into circulation (my editor is currently finishing her work on it), and to complete the Rogue Element trilogy.

Things are progressing with Spinward Fringe and other projects at a nice pace, especially since I took time away from Twitter and other social networking, which was sucking time and attention away from writing. More on that in an upcoming post.

For now, I hope Mobipocket customers who are just finishing the First Light Chronicles Omnibus will enjoy the next pair of books in one shot!

RL

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Inkblot Books Publishes A Short By Randolph Lalonde In Virtual Imaginings, an Anthology

I'm proud to announce that Inkblot Books has published a short story of mine, Uncle Aleister, in an anthology called Virtual Imaginings. (Smashwords Link Amazon Link)

Here's the book blurb:

It began with “Hey, let’s write a book!” and culminated in Virtual Imaginings, a collection of stories written by popular indie writers frequenting the online message boards at kindleboards.com. An eclectic mix of styles, these writers deliver a book that will leave the reader searching for more. All proceeds will be donated to an organization benefiting breast cancer research and treatment.

The story I offered for this collection of fifteen works was, as you know, Uncle Aleister, about a young boy who has a bogeyman problem. It's set during WWII Britain before the bombing was a constant reality, and he's being taken care of by various relatives while his parents are "in the country" (something adults used to tell children when their parents were missing or dead but they hadn't been remanded into the state or delivered to a new guardian). It's a short among stories of equal and greater quality that cover an eclectic range.

It is an honor to be included amongst many other talented and well known authors. The proceeds go to breast cancer research, and though I haven't had someone in my family affected by the disease, I do believe it's a cause worth supporting. Every cure counts.

Here are those links again: Smashwords Link Amazon Link

I'd also like to thank Inkblot Books, Editor Liam Parker, Cover Artist C.S. Marks and all the participating authors for their contributions.

RL

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Now Available At Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble recently became active in the eBook market, partially by making their own reader, the Nook available to combat Kindle.

The good news about Barnes and Noble's eBooks is that they sell in multiple formats. You don't need the Nook to read any of the eBooks they offer.

That's why I'm happy that the Spinward Fringe books have arrived on their site, there are a lot of people who are fiercely loyal to B&N, seeing them as the good guys in the war against Amazon.

I prefer not to take sides, but to make my work available to everyone equally.

You can find the Spinward Fringe Series here.

If you're looking for the First Light Chronicles Omnibus, it's available on Smashwords for free, and there's a format for everyone.

It's nice to see something other than the latest virus spreading around.

More news on what's going on with the series and the status of the latest Spinward Fringe book is coming soon, stay tuned!

RL

Google Chrome OS


Recently Google made the announcement that their new operating system wouldn't be available for a year, which doesn't surprise me at all. Operating systems aren't simple, and Google is often concerned with getting it right. I spend a little time reviewing the new information they provided and researching the system they're proposing and was disappointed, however.

The cloud has a lead lining.

If you view Netbooks as a toy, then I can see why this OS is appealing. If everything you do is on the internet without exception, then yes, this OS is for you. Google has done some pretty impressive things in the past, and I expect this OS to be equally impressive.

Then there's the flipside. If you don't view Netbooks as a toy, rather as a tool (last one I looked at had a dual core CPU, 160GB HDD - great for most utilitarian work and business), then the Cloud is NOT where you should be. Take my example: At any given time I'm writing two books, at least one of which is due for publication, have a dozen or so image, music or video files that I had to PAY to acquire the rights to, and I have other intellectual property that I don't want to see pirated because my personal income would suffer. Now, I'm not saying the cloud would be easily crackable, but it's possible.

More importantly, look at that file list and imagine if the power went out for 2.5 days like it did a few years ago. My Netbook and anything else using the Chrome OS would be absolutely useless. I don't care how fast it is, if it doesn't get you anywhere, there's no point in having it.

I'm disappointed. Since I wasn't following this story too closely because I knew an actual release was very far away, I was hoping that Google would actually take a real bite out of Microsoft with some practical software that didn't assume that Netbooks are toys. Toys don't have dual core processors and 160GB hard drives. I don't write entire novels on toys, my Netbook is an important piece of hardware.

In my opinion, the Chrome OS, as it's presented, is a toy. Meant for use by people who mostly use the Internet for play. Business or creativity doesn't stop when the power goes out or the Internet goes down, so neither should your computer.

Try harder, Google.

RL

Friday, November 20, 2009

First Light Chronicles Omnibus: Facelift and Free Downloads

Around September first I listed The First Light Chronicles Omnibus for free on Smashwords.com. Since then over 3,100 copies have been downloaded.

Copies are still selling on Mobipocket.com and there's a trickle in print, overall the Omnibus has done well. To be honest, I can't wait to see what those 3100+ downloaders have to say when they finish reading it. People have been kind so far, but there's always a different reaction to free material.

There's something going on with this book other than mondo downloads, it's still in editing. With the long time success of this book the decision was made to commit to doing a final edit several months ago. That edit is still underway. My part is done, rewriting a little in rough places and editing the text line by line, and now the editors are busy going through it.

The new cover was supposed to be on hold until the book was updated internally, but with over 3100 free downloads from Smashwords, I couldn't resist updating the outside of the book so it better fit in with the Spinward Fringe Series.

When will you see the final version of the Omnibus? That'll come in January, we're taking as much time as we need to improve what's there without changing the story or style. Everyone who already owns an eBook copy will be able to re-download it for free, either from the site they originally purchased it from or from Smashwords.

What's happening with the next Spinward Fringe Book (part 2 of the Rogue Element Trilogy)? It's well under way, and there are more than a few surprises waiting for you. It's an unconventional piece of fiction and I believe it holds up to the first book in the Rogue Element Trilogy. There's a lot more news to come on that soon.

RL

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dollhouse Cancelled: Fox Will Show All Of Season 2

If there's one person who has proven over the last few years that networks have no patience, it's Joss Whedon.

The Fox Broadcasting Network has picked up half seasons of his shows for the last two series he's been involved with - Firefly and Dollhouse.

Dollhouse was the result of a development deal Fox signed with Eliza Dushku, she was the one who brought Joss aboard. A good idea, since she seemed right at home in the Dollhouse.

There was difficulty when the show first premiered. The first few scripts for season 1 weren't all that Joss Whedon wanted them to be, and it took a while for the series to find its legs. That led to Fox not ordering more episodes once the first 12 had been made. The 13th episode, Epitaph One, was a sweat equity investment, with a low budget and many friends of Joss Whedon jumping in to play parts that were written to deliver a story that takes place many years in the future. I thought it was fantastic, and many fans agree. It never aired, but was used to fulfill the DVD order of 13 Dollhouse episodes.

Fox ordered a second season. Their initial order was 13 episodes, which will be completed. The remainder of season 2 will air in December 2009 and early 2010. Expect some closure since they're wrapping episode eleven now and they'll have time to rewrite episode thirteen to give us a great big ending.

Joss Whedon has already mentioned that he's working on something else, and the excitement for Cabin in the Woods is steadily building. I've also heard a rumor that he'll be directing an episode of Glee, which would be fun to view.

Does his new found freedom mean there's a chance Firefly could be resurrected? No, not according to the breakfast round table with Joss, Nathan Fillion, Andy Tudyk and Ron Glass that came as a special feature on the Blu-Ray edition of Firefly. During their lively discussion, they break the news to the fans gently; there will be no more Firefly. Sad, but we, and Joss, will have to move on.

All we can do is look for the actors and show runners from Dollhouse elsewhere, wish them the best, and support their good work when it hits the boob tube, silver screen, or interweb.

RL

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Chatter Author Panel For 11/7/09 - Recorded Episode With Randolph Lalonde





In this seventy four minute episode of Book Chatter, hosted by Stacey Cochran, I was fortunate enough to join in on an author's panel featuring Red Adept (book reviewer), R.J. Keller, and Maria Schneider.
It was a pleasure to share in a discussion about writing science fiction, self publishing, independent distribution, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and a few other topics. Everyone had a different take on various topics and there was even some audience participation via the live chat room.

In case you can't see the embedded video above, here's a direct link to the episode on UStream: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/2514253

So sit back as we chatter on about our books and the state of the eBook market.

RL

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan


Jane Espenson. That name has graced the credits of good television shows ranging from Ellen to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's not an actor or director, but one of the best television writers out there.

That's why when I sat down to watch the direct to DVD film, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, only to discover that it was a limp clip show that told a predictable, sloppy story that no one needed to see I wasn't just disappointed, I was insulted.

Personal feelings aside, until I saw The Plan I considered Starship Troopers 3 to be the worst film of the century. Now The Plan easily takes that title. I'd rather watch Starship Troopers 3 three more times than see The Plan again.

Let's get this over with quickly.

Performances:
Functional. The clips from the show were as expected since they were just that, rehashed portions we've already seen. The half of the content that was new was performed functionally, with the exception of the rebels on Caprica. They were convincing and even though we knew what happened and didn't see much of them, I found they were the best part of this movie.

Direction / Editing:
Matching old footage with new material is difficult. They did that adequately but you could tell that several scenes were roughly blocked in by cargo crates or small set pieces piled up to create a backdrop. I also saw some chroma-key work that was so bad that it looked like it was done when the original series was around in the 1970's. That's more of a special effects concern, I realize, but in the scene I'm thinking of there were a number of ways to get around using a green screen entirely, and they should have taken one.

In short, there really wasn't much wrong with the directing but there was absolutely nothing special either. The editing shone for the first 15 minutes of the show and dragged us sloppily from one clip to another for the rest of the film. Considering what they had to work with they may not have had a choice.

Writing
Ronald D. Moore is credited as the "developer of the Battlestar Galactica Series". Glen A. Larson is not credited as the creator in the opening credits. Moore can have it. After the thorough job he's done of crapping in the well during the last season of the series and by approving this "film" I don't think the original creator, Glen A. Larson, should want it back. In fact, Glen A. Larson is working with Bryan Singer to develop the series over again, scrapping Ronald D Moore's "Cylon battle for God's favor" version.

Moore didn't write this movie, but Jane Espenson was interweaving her story through a show she wrote with Ronald D Moore, David Eike and a few others. Moore's misguided notion that we want to see science fiction interwoven with religion (remember Star Trek DS-9? He did it there too), is absolutely tangible throughout The Plan.

The Plan is about the continually failing Cylon plots to finish the destruction of the human race from within, using the Cylon models camped inside the fleet to carry out their carefully planned evil schemes. I don't have time to point out all the holes in that concept, but let's wave to at least one.
When a Cylon operative dies within range of a base ship / resurrection ship they are downloaded into a new body. At many points in this story any one of the blundering Cylon operatives could have chucked themselves out of an airlock, or tossed themselves into a big grindy-thing and voila! Rebirth and fresh intel on the location of those darned, pesky humans. Big base ships would have come in and nuked them into oblivion.

There are even bigger holes, but I won't spoil it for you. This is an artfully written clip show with no redeeming entertainment value. Jane Espenson, credited as the only writer on this film, dropped the ball. It's sad, it truly is because the result looks like a desperate money grab as the Battlestar Galactica franchise dwells in rerun heaven.

If this is the type of story we can expect from Caprica (the prequel Battlestar Galactica series coming up some day), and at any moment any of the machines can be expecting to break into dialog about how they just "want God to take them to his bosom" then I won't be wasting my time.

Overall:
Don't buy it. Don't rent it. Don't even bother stealing it.

RL

[How could you Jane?]

Friday, November 6, 2009

Randolph Lalonde On Book Chatter Tonight

[UPDATE] The show is on for tonight, Saturday the 7th at 11pm. All of Book Chatter's technical difficulties have been taken care of. You'll be able to join us on UStream here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bookchatter Please feel free to participate in the chat room! [UPDATE]

Yesterday I received an invitation from Stacey Cochran to be a guest on his weekly Podcast: Book Chatter.

He specifically wanted to speak to me about the Spinward Fringe series. After checking his work out again, I had seen other interviews conducted by him some time ago, I agreed.

There might be a question or two about being an Indie author, but it looks like the topic he'll focus on most will be Spinward Fringe, since that's what I'm best known for thanks to my 400 or so readers.

There will be two or three other authors on the hour long show, and you can probably expect a little cross talk between us since it's happened on shows before. There's no telling what questions might get tossed around, which makes for a pretty interesting atmosphere.

There is also a live chat room that readers and other participants can use to ask any of the authors questions. Stacey watches the chat pretty closely, so if you have anything you'd like to bring up (with the exception of direct spoilers), you should definitely say something in chat.

Book Chatter airs tonight on UStream:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bookchatter at 11 PM (EST)

I hope to see / hear / read you there!

RL

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November: NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month, where the organization behind it challenges all us writers to pen 50,000 words in one month. (More info here)

Many authors who already write novels on a regular basis don't see 50,000 words as a challenge. Surprise surprise, I'm included in that grouping, so my goal this month is 140,000 words. My word count will be recorded on their website and possibly on www.fitlogg.com along with my daily workout progress (Only I'll be using the calorie burn rate as a word count meter), and I'm going to do everything I can to hit my mark.

I'm using NaNoWriMo as the perfect excuse to drop everything (including Twitter, sorry), for all of November so I can finish writing the Spinward Fringe Rogue Element Trilogy. It's going to be a blast. In fact, it already is. I got up extra early this morning to get a head start.

I'm not going to be talking about what's going on in the Spinward Fringe universe much this month since I'll be so busy living in it, but rest assured, there will be a ton of news on the other side of November!

RL

EDIT: After making today's word count on the first day of NaNoWriMo, it's become pretty obvious that I'd rather have a target of 70,000 words and put out something of quality than struggle with a 140,000 word mess.

I'm changing my target for NaNo to 70,000 words, which will still be a challenge to beat while keeping the story tight and unpadded (without filler).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Who Dies?

It's well known to some readers that I listen to the people who enjoy my particular brand of fiction. They're responsible for bringing one of the most treasured characters back from the dead, for getting more than one book into print, and for a decision I made right at the end of Spinward Fringe Frontline that changed the series forever.

I like hearing what you have to say, I love every email you take the time to send, and I've found your criticism useful. You trust me to entertain you every time you pay hard earned money for a new Spinward Fringe book and I can't thank you enough.

Now I'm writing three books one after the other, all Spinward Fringe. The first two will continue and conclude the Rogue Element Trilogy. The third, which is named and planned, will once again break the mold that's forming around Spinward Fringe. This is going to be fun.

For now, I have a job for you, dear reader. Some time in the upcoming books a character will die. You decide who by voting on the list above. The only condition I have is that you've read all the books first. The polls will be open for 30 days and I'll only take this poll seriously after 30 people have made their grim preference known.

RL

[Oh, and the character who dies will NOT be coming back]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spinward Fringe: First Fan Art

Marcus Froment, an all around talented artist and tattoo master is trying his hand at Anime. I was quite pleased to discover that he was using Ashley from the Spinward Fringe series as his study subject.

I suppose she'd fit into anime best out of all the characters, being one of the more light hearted characters in the series.

He's posted his first two images already with the promise of more as he refines his Anime style. Click this paragraph to take a look!

RL

[Could this be the beginning of a fan art section here?]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Fragments


It's been quiet on the site for a couple of weeks, but behind the scenes things have been absolutely nuts.

Before I ramble on about anything else, it's time to announce the title of the next Spinward Fringe Novel: Spinward Fringe Fragments. As the second middle book in the Rogue Element Trilogy it promises to take our characters into unfamiliar situation and to unfamiliar places.

Readers who have already finished the series and have read the Strange Horizons and Close Encounters Living Anthology will have a head start. One of the characters appearing in this book was first introduced there in the Landing In Leeds short.

When will Fragments be released? I expect to have a complete draft by the end of November. A lot of work has already gone into this book, an unbelievable amount actually. The story that flows between this and the final book of the Rogue Element Trilogy is one I've wanted to tell for years, and I'm making sure that I'm bringing everything you expect from a Space Opera and more.

What else has been keeping me busy? The final edit of the First Light Chronicles and built up to re-release is wrapping up this week. It'll be available for free under the name: Spinward Fringe Origins on Smashwords sometime in November, but I'm not treating it like a free ebook. It's getting its own high end book trailer and a new cover. The Omnibus will be updated to match the new edit as well, so if you already purchased an eBook edition of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus, then you can update it for free wherever you purchased it.

So, there's my progress report for the time being. Keep your eyes peeled for more news, I'll keep you up to date as more projects near completion.

RL

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sons of Anarchy - A Review Without Spoilers

Last year Sons of Anarchy premiered, and being a curious Canadian, I couldn't help check it out. This series comes from Kurt Sutter, a writer best known for his work on The Shield and it primarily focuses on a biker club called Sons Of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original (or SAMCRO for short).

Their stomping ground is a small fictional town in California called Charming, where the cancerous Sheriff is on the take, the Deputy Sheriff is wise to it and he's biding his time, waiting for his superior to die or step down so he can clean up the town.

SAMCRO makes most of their money running guns up and down the California coast, and to make things a little more interesting, the guns come from the IRA. They keep hard drugs out of their town and have earned the trust of the local residents.

To make things even more interesting the Sons of Anarchy is a legacy biker club. A few of the founders are still alive, but one of the most important figureheads is long dead, and his son, Jax, is the club's Vice President. His step father, Clay, was his biological father's best friend, and President of the club, creating an environment ripe for conflict. Things become increasingly complicated when Jax discovers his father's memoirs, an unpublished manuscript that was written to chronicle the Biker Club's fall into crime and to lament the loss of the original spirit behind the Sons of Anarchy. I'm not giving anything away here, this is all established in the first episode.

After seeing most of the episodes (I'm currently waiting for Sons of Anarchy Season 2 Episode 6), I have to say I haven't been disappointed for an instant. Everything I've seen has been believable, interesting and entertaining overall. There are layers to the story this series tells and my only regret overall is that there are only thirteen episodes per season.

Here's a more detailed look:

Performers / Performances
Here's the majority of the cast: Ron Perlman as Clay (Hellboy Series, Dark Country), Charlie Hunnam as Jax (Children of Men), Katey Sagal as Gemma (Futurama, Married with Children, Eli Stone), Mark Boone Jr. as Bobby Elvis (Halloween II, Spooner), Kim Coates as Tig (Blackhawk Down, Prison Break), Tommy Flanagan as Chibs (Sin City, Smokin' Aces), Johnny Lewis as Kip 'Half Sack' Epps (Felon, The Runaways), Maggie Siff as Tara (Leaves of Grass, Push), Theo Rossi as Juice (Cloverfield).

There are other instantly recognizable faces, each of them bringing considerable talent. As far as a biker drama cast, it's like a dream come true. Looking at the Biker Club sitting around the table you can't help but love the diversity of character, especially when it would have been so easy to cast the show on a shoestring budget with one or two big names and a number of cardboard cutout thugs. Everything is right with this cast and everyone gives it their best. It's an ensemble, and it really feels like each performer is acting to best deliver the scene, not to compete with each other for the camera.

Direction
I'm not going to go through a list of names here, few of us follow director credits so the list would probably mean more to me than anyone else. If you're looking for the directors and their credits, check out the IMDB here.

The only complaint I have with regards to direction is that there just isn't enough riding in the show. What I mean to say is that I don't get a chance to see the enjoyment the characters feel at riding down a California highway on their bikes (mostly if not all Harley Davidsons from what I've seen), on a sunny day. Something we see a couple times, but for the most part we have to assume they enjoy that off camera.

Other than that, the direction is fantastic. They use their sometimes small sets in ways that focus on the actors and the more iconic features in the scene. A good example of this is the Grim Reaper carved into the club house table. The President of the club is often shot at the head of the table, which is normal, but they take the trouble to include a part of that carving, giving Ron Perlman's character more weight (figuratively), in the scene. When they do give us a chance to see the bike club roaring down the roads I get a sense of wide open spaces when they're on a California highway and the show does give us the opportunity to witness the biker club rumbling down main street. I've been in one of those long lines of bikes once and at sidewalk level numerous times, it's always impressive and they manage to capture some of that rumble and roar.
As far as dramatic direction is concerned (you know, when the bikes are off screen), it's top notch. They manage to capture and compliment the solid performances this show should become known for and often instill a real sense that the audience is a close bystander.

Writing
Kurt Sutter is the primary Writer and Producer, and oversees the overall plot arc while writing most of the teleplays himself. The team surrounding him are at least on par, so the quality of episodes not written by Sutter aren't reduced. The feel of the series is very consistent.

The story arc featuring Jax and his father's memoir feels like it's meant to play long, over more than two seasons. That's good news for this show, considering it provides a good base for the conflict between Jax and Clay, the President of the Club. The dynamic set up in Charming (a fictional town), with the Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff and civilians is fantastic for setting, especially since there's a lot of room for dramatic change. As for the biker club itself? The members of Sons Of Anarchy are diverse and you really get the feeling that they have their own ways of going about things, their own motivations. The women entangled in the biker life are powerful, complex and are most interesting when they're unsure of their place.

Wrap all that up with rivalry and secrecy and you have a winner. The characters and stories in this show make something like Gray's Anatomy look like a dull soap opera.

Overall
This is the most fun you'll have without getting on two wheels and taking a road trip. I hope Sons of Anarchy goes on for as long or longer than the Shield. I don't think I'll ever get tired of riding with SAMCRO.

RL

Monday, October 12, 2009

Strange Horizons and Close Encounters: On A Break

There's a lot going on behind the scenes in the Spinward Fringe Universe. Lately I've had to put in some long hours to make an October 31 deadline for multiple projects and that's meant that I've lost pace with the work I wanted to complete for the Strange Horizons and Close Encounters Anthology.

The good news is that work on the rest of the Rogue Element Trilogy is going very well. A lot of the story has been reworked since the completion of Spinward Fringe Fracture, and everything is looking a hell of a lot better.

While work continues on the Rogue Element Trilogy and I get ready for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short. More on that later), I've been spending long hours polishing the First Light Chronicles and most recently Spinward Fringe Resurrection for a full on re-release. Everyone who already has an eBook copy of the books will be able to update their versions for free when Spinward Fringe 2.0 arrives.

The production of the new book trailer is in early stages, and a few actors may be auditioning for voice parts soon. The production class of this trailer will be much higher than the average Space Opera Book Trailer by far, but that means I'm putting a lot of hours in on sourcing visual material, music, and finding the right performer. I hope to have a rough cut finished in the last week of October.

I apologize for the delay with Strange Horizons and Close Encounters, but it can't be helped. Getting all the editing work finished and the Rogue Element Trilogy out before Christmas takes priority I'm afraid. Will I add to the anthology in the future? Certainly! There's also a growing possibility that another writer will be contributing in the future. An imaginative, talented scribe has shown real interest in telling a story in the Spinward Fringe Universe and I should see a submission sometime in the next few months.

It looks like, despite how much or little time I have to dedicate to the Living Anthology, it'll grow.

RL

[If you're a writer who has read the Spinward Fringe Series and would like to write a piece set in the Fringe Universe, send me an Email and I'll be happy to provide you with the submission guide.]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Spinward Fringe Career At The Moment

In an earlier post I wrote about editing the First Light Chronicles Omnibus from start to finish.

Since then I've had a few emails come my way voicing the general sentiment of "It's finished! Leave it alone and move on!"

Well, this is a brave new world, where a book or any other electronic media can be improved or changed and in some cases should be improved. I'm afraid that the First Light Chronicles needed more attention. There were some omissions, errors and I had a need to look the book over sentence by sentence so I could improve the narrative overall.

My readers (past, present and future), deserve it. After looking the First Light Chronicles over I had two choices: edit it carefully from beginning to end or rewrite it completely. After speaking to my editor and a couple of proofers I decided to edit. They're working on it with me, making sure I didn't miss anything and giving me their opinions on loose ends as well as characterization. They were dead set against the First Light Chronicles being rewritten. General consensus was that yes, the style needed a little work, but the series was fantastic.

When this is finished in a month or so every version of the First Light Omnibus will be updated with the new edition. A free re-download wherever you purchased it will update you to the newest version. The First Light Chronicles trilogy will also be re-released as Spinward Fringe Origins (Broadcast 0).

The reason for this re-release is pretty simple really. There's a crowd of people who don't understand that what begins in the First Light Chronicles series continues in the Spinward Fringe series no matter what I do on the cover, inside the book or where it's listed for sale. As it turns out I have to make this change so the new market these books are reaching accept them more easily.

One more word on the editing of the First Light Chronicles / Spinward Fringe Origins Trilogy. I'm enjoying it. It's a lot of hard work an long hours, but there's something about going back and reflecting, examining where the story began that is really helping me direct the future of the Spinward Fringe series. This is a labor of love, and knowing that these books will never be edited again drives me to do the best job I can. The proofers feel the same way, I've been told.

What's going on creatively?

I'm still working on the latest book in the Spinward Fringe series (to be named next week on this site), and I'm having a blast with the characters and story. I'm also getting things together for another book trailer which will look vastly different from the last one.

Things are looking good for the Spinward Fringe series, and I couldn't be happier to work on it. There's more news coming, so keep checking back!

RL

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Word On The Printed Word

There were people who thought print would die (books in general, actually), when TV went colour way back when. If I were alive in that day, I think I would have disagreed.

I make my living writing and most of my income, over 90%, comes from eBooks. As an independent it's been a fantastic vehicle. I can offer my work for free, cut out the middle man, and charge comparatively little for most of my titles.

Most of my eBooks are read on cellular phones, and to be honest I've only read one book on my cell, I found it confining. Now I use my iPod Touch, which I find is much better. It's still not quite an eBook reader though.

Soon we'll be seeing a rush of eBook readers, most of them will be cheaper, multi-function and feature real, COLOUR EPaper. That's where I think a lot of the resistance to eBooks and eBook readers comes from, the fact that most people haven't seen EPaper. It's not backlit, so it's easy on the eyes, the picture is very solid and the edges are nice and crisp. You don't get the feeling that you're looking at a moving picture, which is where a lot of the eyestrain people experience on non-EPaper reading devices. LCD isn't a great reading medium for books.

The arrival of colour EPaper and inexpensive readers does signal a broadening of the market, but I don't think the printed book will disappear forever. Publishers are foolishly entrenched in an old business model, where they end up losing money on eBooks, so they'll be resistant. Aside from that there will always be people who prefer turning dead tree pages, and I'm not putting them down. Without them the printed book would die in no time.

I think the printed word will be around for a long time, even if books are one day considered quaint and antique.

Why go on about print, you ask?

Well, after hearing from many readers who prefer print, I've released Spinward Fringe Fracture as a printed book on Lulu.com. You can take a look at it in my Lulu store.

RL

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spinward Fringe Status Update

Anyone who follows me on Twitter is aware that I've been putting even more hours in lately. Considering my normal work day is between 8-12 hours, that's a lot of time.

Here's what my days have looked like lately.

When I wake up in the morning at any time between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM (I don't use an alarm clock, the one in my head is loud enough), I put the coffee on then get to work on the latest Spinward Fringe book. How is that going? It's going extremely well and I'll be announcing the names and release dates for the next two books sometime in the coming weeks.

After a few hours of that and a shower I get to work on editing. During mini breaks I check twitter, say something like; "I'm editing... again," my Email and the few bulletin boards I participate on.

These editing sprees generally last until 10:00 PM or midnight.

What am I editing, you ask?

Well, until recently I've been doing a deep edit on the First Light Chronicles: Freeground. In my opinion it's the weakest book in the series and needed some serious attention. Today I finished working on it and tomorrow the proof readers get their copies. After I finish working on Spinward Fringe tomorrow morning I'll be taking the dreaded red pen to First Light Chronicles: Limbo, a stronger book by far, but I think it could use another pass.

What happens when we've finished editing the First Light Chronicles Trilogy?

Everything gets updated. Anyone who has purchased a digital copy can re-download it and enjoy the fresh edit. The story isn't changing, so there are no worries there. As far as people who purchased the printed copies are concerned, well, all I can tell you is that the price of the Omnibus will be greatly reduced on Amazon.com and the new edition will be easy to find (see below).

Something else will be happening to the First Light Chronicles Omnibus. I'll be relaunching the book under a new title: Spinward Fringe Origins.

With the Spinward Fringe series slowly gaining exposure, people are confused when they realize that the main characters exist in two series; The First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe. The solution to this is to launch a new book. The format will be more professional, there will be an actual cover, and it'll appear in a final edit. eBook editions will be free on Smashwords and the retailers they distribute to.

There will also be a new book trailer for Spinward Fringe Origins. I'm in the process of securing the rights to some really good stuff and writing the script.

After that's all finished I'll continue with my editing spree. The entire Spinward Fringe series is undergoing another edit and proofing. Will this slow the scribing of the next two Spinward Fringe books down? Not at all. In fact, I've found that I've been more productive since I started this editing work.

The Spinward Fringe books won't be getting new covers or new names and I won't be changing the story at all, so you can rest assured that when all is said and done what you enjoyed about the books will certainly still be there.

The Spinward Fringe series has been enjoying great success on Mobipocket, which keeps me housed and eating spam, something I'm perhaps a little too grateful for. Now Kindle sales are starting to get off the ground and people are discovering the First Light Chronicles Omnibus on Smashwords (over 560 people have downloaded it for free in the last 25 days). I owe it all to the readers, and in respect to you all I'm doing my very best to make these books and the upcoming volumes as good as what you'd expect to see from a New York Publishing House.

Thank you for supporting me, things will only get better from here.

RL

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Publisher Offers On Spinward Fringe and Comments On The Industry


I've been self publishing for the better part of a decade and I'm still learning about promotions and the publishing industry. Even my experience with a comic book company (that was very good at self promo thanks to a shameless CEO), and a design / promo firm didn't give me half the modern tools I have now.

While promoting a book is something I can do, it's still something I have to continue learning about from experimentation, observation and consideration. The lesson I've learned is that there's always some new way to get the word out, and it's important to decide early on how much effort you'll put into each method.

Now it's not just the self published authors like me who are left to do their own promotions. The vast majority of published authors don't get book tours, speaking engagements, television appearances, or advertising booked by or paid for by their publishers. It's all up to them. The few publishers who still dole out significant advances seem to expect the authors to spend most of that on promotions. Even an award winning novelist I had the chance to speak to at length a while ago flatly told me that the publicist his publisher assigns him works seemingly half heartedly until the book comes out and then promptly disappears, leaving him to find opportunities to promote the book himself. Good thing the novelist in question is exceptionally good at building buzz.

I just turned down a third offer from a publisher who wanted to publish the First Light Chronicles Omnibus and the first three Spinward Fringe books. It happened early last week, first there was an enthusiastic phone call and then some details in an email. They wanted the International book, ebook, film, television and audio book rights. In response I sent them my sales numbers for the last quarter and didn't hear back. I called them the next day and eventually got to speak with the person who had originally gotten in touch with me only to hear her say that their authors didn't make a quarter of what I did and it would take two years for them to republish the re-branded books. As it is I barely make a living on what those books earn, to hear that I would have to pull them off the market and stop writing full time just so I could get publishing credit for work that already has a following wasn't encouraging.

The conclusion? The Spinward Fringe Series will remain independent. All three offers on those books have been insulting, so I'm doing another editorial pass on the whole series with a couple of proof readers so they can stand up to and surpass publishing standards. If a publisher makes an offer on something else, say a horror novel, then they're welcome to it but the Spinward Fringe series is staying right where it is.

It seems to me that published authors are do it yourselfers to practically the same extent as I am these days, and with the difficulty publishers are having with adjusting to the arrival of the eBook, I wonder where their laziness and backwards thinking will take them.

RL

[How important is it that your books come from a well known publisher? Is a logo important to you when you're book shopping?]

Friday, September 25, 2009

The First Light Chronicles Omnibus: Free At Smashwords

As an independent author I have a lot of freedom. I can often decide where my work appears, when it appears and how much it costs.

After Omnibus has lived in Mobipocket.com's top three science fiction books for a year I've decided that the First Light Chronicles Omnibus (not just Freeground, the first book), will be free from now on, but only on Smashwords and sites they distribute to such as Barnes and Noble.

Why Smashwords? It's simple. They have a growing presence in the North American market, an easy to use interface, and their conversion system provides for all eBook formats.

The difference between this and the Amazon / Mobipocket version is that it doesn't include menus. I suggest using bookmarks or word search, that's what I do when I run into a book without menus.

Smashwords will most likely add the ability to set up menus and I'll add them then.

The real point here is that every user with every type of reader can enjoy a copy of the entire Omnibus for free. Will other Spinward Fringe books become available for free at a later date? No. There's a great deal of free content out there right now and it's easy to find. Besides, I have to make a living somehow, right?

Here are some details on the First Light Chronicles Omnibus in case you're unfamiliar with it.

Synopsis:

In a dark region of explored space sits one bright beacon; Freeground Station. Serving as a supply and trading post it is home to a select number of human beings that will take an unlikely chance to make a difference in their end of the galaxy.

Jonas and his friends spent their spare time in tactical simulations and drew the attention of Freeground Fleet Command when they hacked into restricted combat scenarios for elite trainees and defeated all comers.

Instead of punishing Jonas and his friends they offered them an opportunity to undertake a dangerous and exciting mission. They were to go out into the Galaxy and acquire any advantages that would improve life for Freegrounders.

This series is about their first voyage together, the challenges they face, and the relationships they forge with each other and the beings they meet along the way. The First Light Chronicles Omnibus contains the entire First Light Chronicles Trilogy. Freeground, Limbo and Starfree Port.

---End Synopsis---

Smashwords is offering the First Light Chronicles Omnibus in these formats:
Online HTML reader

Online Java reader
Kindle / Mobipocket (mobi format)
Epub (Stanza, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)


Other free eBooks include the Dark Arts Short and Spinward Fringe Strange Horizons and Close Encounters.

RL

Work continues on the latest Spinward Fringe novel, it's been a blast so far.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Strange Horizons and Close Encounters September Update 2

It's update time for the Living Anthology - Strange Horizons and Close Encounters.

This time we get another look at the Triton and Captain Valance from Nerine's perspective as I take a small piece of the latest Spinward Fringe novel: Fracture. Threading this together as a single perspective story was something I actually wanted to do as soon as it was written since it was written separately from the rest of the book to provide point of view that could show the reader what it was like to be new to the Triton.

Why do I like Nerine? She's a character who has been forced to grow up too fast, finds herself in situations that most of us would be pretty lost in until we realized we had to make the best of things or be left behind. Her story is one that's off center from the main plot but is directly affected by the decisions made by the main characters.

Having said that I'd love to see someone else write a story for her and the people in her immediate orbit in the future. There's part of the appeal of a Living Anthology like this. It's free, widely available, and open to submissions.

The next addition to Spinward Fringe: Strange Horizons and Close Encounters will be something no one's ever seen.

You can get more information, download or re-download it in all eBook formats only at Smashwords.

Be aware, this book is recommended for readers who have read the entire Spinward Fringe series.

RL

- Thank you for downloading this project 188 times so far.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Whatever Happened To The Spinward Fringe TV Series?

Some time ago the SyFy channel's President stated that, even though they've green lit Stargate Universe and Battlestar Galactica derivation, Caprica, he didn't believe that they had their next great space opera program.

So, being the bright eyed optimist that I am 1% of the time, I announced on their forums that Spinward Fringe was that space opera.

I invited people who watch this site to participate, lending their support to the thread and a few people did so despite the drastically dropping popularity of the ailing SyFy channel.

As I expected, the executives don't visit the SyFy forums unless it's a thread attached to an established television series, and even then it's a very rare thing. Let's face it, they're far too busy making existing and future shows happen to visit the General Topics section. That's all right, I didn't expect to get the attention required for anyone at the SyFy channel to give me a call and hear a pitch or five. It was only the first step.

In a post on the SyFy boards I took the opportunity to thank the board regulars and supporters who posted on the forum and update everyone on what's happening with the Spinward Fringe television series.

You can check that out here: http://forums.syfy.com/index.php?showtopic=2335588&st=0#entry6493766 on the SyFy Channel forums.

Suffice it to say it'll be a very long time (I assume), before we see the Spinward Fringe series adapted for the big or small screen but that's to be expected. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get in touch with anyone who can make that kind of thing happen the right way, especially for an independent on the outside of the industry like myself.

That doesn't mean it's impossible. I'm beginning the initial work for a screenplay before Christmas and I'll be developing it throughout 2010. That'll most likely take a year. In the meantime I'll be building a contact list, submissions addresses and getting ready to enter contests that lead to development contracts. There are two such contests in Canada alone, so I'll be looking for others until 2011, when I start submitting.

Why will it take so long?

The answer is simple.

I'm not going to let this slow down what's most important to me and most of my readers: writing new Spinward Fringe books and improving my craft. Writing is my first love, not hobnobbing and submitting.

Even though I know submission time is far off and results (as well as the various rejection letters I'll be recieving), are a great distance off, I can't help but momentarily muse on what a producer would have to say after discovering how many books there are.

Considering I already write the books like a high profile television series or series of movies, it would be very interesting to see what industry pro's would have to say. To be honest, I'd much rather hear what my readers have to say, however. You're the ones who really matter, after all.

RL

[What do you think of Spinward Fringe as a television show? Would you rather see it as a monthly TV Movie? Or on the big screen as an annual film? What flavour of Fringe would you prefer?]

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Strange Horizons and Close Encounters: September 7 Update

The living anthology grows with the addition of Taking New Versailles.

This was the original prologue to Spinward Fringe: Fracture but it didn't fit in the end. I thought I could add it into the second book as a chapter but again, it didn't fit with the story.

That's no statement of quality, I personally enjoy the piece and the event detailed within does take place. So, like Landing in Leeds (another short in Strange Horizons and Close Encounters), it's found a home.

The next update for Strange Horizons and Close Encounters will be the second part of the Nerine Story. If you've already read Spinward Fringe: Fracture, you've seen it.

Eventually new material will be added to this book every two weeks, but at the moment I'm spending half my time on improving the quality of all things Spinward Fringe and writing the next three books. That simply means that I'll be alternating the Nerine plotline with new material for the next six weeks.

Don't bother keeping track, I'll gladly tell you exactly what's in each update to Strange Horizons and Close Encounters so you know if you've seen the material before or not.

This time, it's completely new material. So go update the eBook at Smashwords and enjoy Taking New Versailles.

RL

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Other Books By Randolph Lalonde

The Spinward Fringe science fiction series has outsold everything else written by Randolph Lalonde, holding the top spot on Amazon.com's Mobipocket eBook sales site for over a year in the science fiction section.

Before work on that series began on January 1, 2008, Randolph Lalonde wrote fantasy, horror and strange fiction. Three books in those genres have been made available to the public. Here they are in chronological order:

Fate Cycle: Dead of Winter
Past the Northern Reach in the Lands of Athoul there is a tradition called the Promise March. It is during this tradition of matchmaking that A young soldier in training named Deih Utonin meets Celeste, a Young Lady favored by her people. As just another in a line of Suitors, Deih is left with the task of proving himself as more than just a Soldier from a powerful House. Other, more pressing matters threaten to interrupt them as conflict in the south brews and Celeste’s Mentor calls her back to her side. The young pair are faced with making decisions That will effect them for the rest of their lives.

Note: This is the most light hearted work available from Randolph Lalonde. Written in more of a fairy tale style, this book functions as the prequel to Fate Cycle Book I: Sins of the Past. It can also stand on its own for people who prefer light hearted character driven fantasy.

Sorry, this book is no longer available. A re-release is in the works, but no date has been set.




Fate Cycle Book I: Sins of the Past
Three thousand years have passed since a sorceress and her companions exiled the corrupt City State of Caydor to the far off realm of Rikaam. After the Caydorians have fallen from history to legend, a portal has opened on the lands of King Gavat Lorridge. The King sends one of his best military leaders, Warlord Deih Utonin, through to discover the fate of the Caydorians. Meanwhile, the young King is left with his sage advisor, the Lord of the Winds, to aid him with a kingdom on the brink of war. On the other side of the portal the descendants of Caydor discover a portal of their own and send an expedition to explore. A new clash of cultures and kingdoms is about to begin, the scale of which none have ever seen.

Note: This is the first of a set of two. The upcoming second half to this saga is called Exodus, and will be available in 2010. Regardless of being the first part of a pair, the main plot concerning Deih Utonin and his wife Celeste is complete. It`s not necessary to read Fate Cycle: Dead of Winter before reading Fate Cycle Book I: Sins of the Past.

Sorry, this book is no longer available. A re-release is in the works, but no date has been set.




Dark Arts: Rising
Now for the horror. In 2009 a serialized short called Dark Arts: Rising was written as a proof of concept. Work on other horror novels will continue in 2010, including the Dark Arts, which will be expanded into a full novel named simply: Dark Arts. For the time being Dark Arts: Rising is available as a free eBook from Smashwords.

Here`s the synopsis:
The resurrection of Zachary Ellison has brought on a series of events that are changing the world forever. Maxwell, one of the last surviving members of a secret Order of occultists, has failed to catch him in time and is tasked to begin reviving the Order while attempting to minimize the damage his old foe is set to cause. Terrors unseen for thousands of years threaten to emerge if he fails.

Note: Dark Arts: Rising was an experiment made to test a new writing style, setting and story. Thanks to reader response, a full length Dark Arts novel is planned for 2012.





Sons of Brightwill

More on this book (including the cover image), will be available soon. This is a one shot fantasy novel slated for release in 2012.

Mobipocket: Service Unavailable

It's been impossible for regular Mobipocket users to deny that Mobipocket has had more short term difficulties lately.

I believe some of the problems stem from a mass cleanup they've been doing of their public domain titles. [More on that here]

I'm assuming for now that these problems are temporary. It happens, especially when a major service has to remove thousands of files at a time.

Sadly, the vast majority of my readers are Blackberry owners and Mobipocket regulars, which would normally leave me in a very awkward position. Not this time.

This time I'm prepared. If you have Mobipocket Reader you can still get my books at Smashwords DRM free. They even have work there that isn't available anywhere else, like the Strange Horizons and Close Encounters Living Anthology.

There's better news. Until September 21 my books will be available for $3.95 or less at Smashwords, some will even be free. Why? It's simple: I realize some people are panicking about their Mobipocket bookshelves going away, and I'd rather you didn't. This is also a good opportunity to tell your friends about the series. Smashwords has all my books in every eBook format you could imagine. The First Light Chronicles Omnibus is now free.

The above sale isn't a sign that Amazon is shutting Mobipocket down, in fact, I don't know what's going on over there. It could just be a public domain duplicate cleanup. I hope Mobipocket will be around forever, but I'd rather play it safe.

Thank you very much for being loyal readers, I'll do everything I can to ensure that my work remains available at reasonable prices. I'll update this post when Mobipocket reappears.

[UPDATE: Mobipocket is up again after two hours of downtime (by my rough estimation). The notification that they're still working on eliminating poor quality PD books is still up. My migration sale will continue.]

RL

Monday, September 7, 2009

The First Spinward Fringe Trailer

It took the weekend, but after assembling choice bits of audio and all the useful images I have from Spinward Fringe I managed to cobble together an early trailer for the Spinward Fringe Series. The image design took less time than I thought it would, and I managed to take first crack at a cover for a book that's in long term development.

For anyone who happens to be a long time reader of the series, the second background image is a huge hint as to the subject of the book I'm developing as I write the regular Spinward Fringe series.

Here's the video:



[A quick note to the author who asked me where I "stole" the graphics from: Any images, music, or audio clips I didn't generate myself were acquired legally from the current rights holders. I have full legal entitlement to all materials contained in the video and it cost less than $9.00 total. There was a great deal of design work done as well, the resulting images are copyright protected.]

I couldn't have done it without your reviews as well as the video and audio I've received from you. The teaser would be half silent if it weren't for Allan, Geoff, J and Ross. My goal while creating the video was to convey enthusiasm, and to get the viewer excited about the books. It's hard to find people who can sound enthusiastic about anything, harder than most people think, and I'm happy I had enough footage to more than fill the 40 or so seconds.

This video is just an example of the kind of thing I'd like to do using the video and audio you send in for the Video Drive and Book Draw will go towards a larger, more complete video. This one is more like a teaser.

I hope you enjoy the video and that the word spreads even further about the series. Oh, and I apologize to the people who posted comments and rated the video while it was still in the test / proofing phase. Your comments may be gone, but they're not forgotten. Okay, well, maybe they'll be forgotten, you might want to post them again.

RL

[Is the teaser / trailer effective? Do you think people will get excited and or curious about the series?]

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Video Drive Book Draw


I'm creating a testimonial style trailer for the Spinward Fringe series and need your help. What I need are video clips of readers talking about the series for 30 seconds or more. What I'd like to see is a measure of enthusiasm about the series, your favourite book, character or feature in the series. Here's what I need in the video:
  • It can be taken with a decent phone cam, web cam, or any other camera I can coax a Youtube worthy video from.
  • The video can be taken anywhere.
  • I have to be able to hear what you're saying.
  • Try to email the video clip here: randylalonde(at)gmail.com. If it doesn't go through we'll arrange something else.
  • Don't add titles or animations please, leave that to me.
  • In your email tell me: your name, if your comfortable with me showing the video individually or if you just want it in the trailer, and where the video was taken.
What exactly will I do with your video? I'll clip it together with parts of other videos I receive and create a testimonial trailer(s) for the series. Some clips may not be used right away. I may show your video on its own unless you tell me you would rather it was only used for the trailer.

When I recieve your video I'll send you a link to the eBook with a code that will make the price of Spiwnard Fringe: Fracture $0.00. If there's another eBook you'd like (that I've written), instead, please let me know. If I receive more than 10 videos I can use I'll conduct a random drawing for 3 free signed and printed books on September 30, 2009 and those three submitters will receive a printed copy of any one books for free! Any usable video submission is eligible. I've received one already and at least one more is on its way. I promise every submitter that I'll cast them in as favourable a light as possible even though I'm sure you don't need the help!

If you're too shy for video but would like to help, you can submit an audio clip. You won't be eligible for the drawing but the first 20 audio clip submitters will receive a free eBook of their choice from my back catalog.

There are a lot of impressive book trailers, but I don't find many of them particularly moving. My manner of thinking is that if I can artfully edit together music, some impressive graphics and some video from my generous readers I might be able to put together a trailer that's as impressive as the reviews you've all been kind enough to write for some of my work. The First Light Chronicles Omnibus at Mobipocket is a great example of this. Seeing that many reviews makes a difference.

Thank you very much for your reading and for your help thus far. I see a future for the Spinward Fringe series and that's why I'm working on the next two books right now. That's why I'm trying to introduce it to more readers. The more the merrier, after all.

There's a lot going on with the Spinward Fringe series right now, so check back for more information soon.

RL

[What do you think of regular book trailers? Do you think a testimonial trailer is better?]