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 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.


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!


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.


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 Since then over 3,100 copies have been downloaded.

Copies are still selling on 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.


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.


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:

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


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.

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.

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.

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


[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: 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: at 11 PM (EST)

I hope to see / hear / read you there!


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 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!


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).