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 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.


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.


[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'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.


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)
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)

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


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.


- 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: 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.


[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.


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'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.]


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.


[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) 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.


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