Sci Fi home stretch, and other little stuff

Much as I enjoy having that gorgeous image of Jade and Halfax as the first thing that greets you on this page, it has been a while since I last provided you good folks with an update on my various projects. Here’s what’s been going on.

For those of us in the States, Thanksgiving weekend just passed, so I have been a bit busy with visiting family, eating vast quantities of delicious food, and decorating my house for Christmas. This translates into very little writing, I’m afraid. I’m not sure why, but this Sci Fi sequel is taking me forever to get it out of my head. (Lousy real world, always taking time away from my daydreams.) I would say that I’m two action scenes, a climax, and a resolution away from plot completion, so I’m very close. My artist should be contacting me soon to work out the details of the new cover for Bypass Gemini, as well as the cover for this new Sci Fi book. The naming poll for the sequel is still up, and largely ignored, in my forumĀ here. You’ve probably got a week or two more to influence my decision, or offer alternatives, so feel free to weigh in.

I’ve also been keeping tabs on the search terms that have been hitting this site. It seems there are a few people out there looking to read The Great Convergence online for free, or offline for free, or in any other way for free. I’m glad I piqued your interest enough to inspire you to seek out the next chapter in the series. If you like, you can always read the first half of Book 2 (or any other book I’ve written) for free on Smashwords.com. I don’t have any plans to make Books 2 and 3 free any time soon, though I have been known to toss a coupon code out every now and then, so there is always hope, I suppose. There is also the chance that you can find someone out there with a torrent – another word that has been showing up in searches to the site. I understand that there is someone out there who created a torrent for the first book, which is extremely confusing, since it doesn’t cost anything and has no DRM, so you could just get it legitimately for the same price and less hassle, but to each their own, I guess.

I’ve been getting some really great fan mail recently. (It is only recently that I’ve been able to begin using the term fan mail, rather than “emails about my books.” The concept of having fans strange and frightening.) I’ve gotten some great pictures of landscapes and other inspirational sights, and many very kind words of encouragement and support. Thanks to everybody who has dropped me a line, though I’ve already thanked you personally with a reply, and for anyone else with questions or comments, you can either comment below, or visit my Contact page for more direct methods of communicating.

Until then, back to work, I suppose. Thanks for reading.

Jade Gets a Cover

Oh man. Have I mentioned how much I love getting artwork done for my books? A few weeks ago I managed to finagle some more time on Nick Deligaris’ calendar, and after a few emails back and forth, this was the result.

Hi, I'm Jade. Have you met my buddy Hal?

Seriously. I gave him words, and he gave me THAT! Click the picture and bask in the details. I’ve been staring at it for more than an hour, and I’m still noticing little touches. (I mean, the scar actually goes BEHIND some of his scales!) One or two more additions, basically just the title and author credit, and this masterpiece will be ready to adorn my lowly short story, Jade. That won’t be for a month or two, though. I will wait until all of my covers are complete before I do any updates. Until then, my thanks as always to Nick, for his fabulous work. What do you folks think?

Looking for Feedback Once Again

Hi everyone.

I just got through talking to my artist about the cover for Jade, and I must say, I am extremely excited. Finally, a dragon makes it to the cover! (Okay, some of the more eagle eyed readers out there will point out that it is technically the second time a dragon has made it to the cover, but let’s not split hairs.) The cover is paid for, and the first sketches should be ready before long. The anticipation is killing me.

This is part of a second big marketing push for me, and will it will coincide with the eventual release of the SciFi sequel. This, unfortunately, means that I’ll have to actually finish the SciFi sequel. There is some good news and some bad news in that regard. The good news is that, at over a hundred thousand words, the book is just about ready to be wrapped up. The bad news is that the wrap up process is probably at least another twenty thousand words. Then comes the oh-so-important proofreading process, which will have to happen at least three times. Then comes the potential revisions, then the proofreading of the revisions… Writing takes a while, what can I say? So don’t hold your breath for a quick arrival. There is one part of the process that you can help out with, though. I’m terrible with names, and though I think I’ve found a title that I’m happy with, I’ve decided to test out the poll function in our recently added forum. You can find it here. Feel free to share your opinion, though to vote or post, you’ll have to register with the site or the forum.

Since SciFi 2 has taken so very long, I am looking to do a few shorter stories next. Naturally they will be back to the Deacon setting. They will expand and explore a few of the most characters we’ve already met. Ideas are already being batted around for books focused on Lain and Ivy, but I’m curious what characters you good folks would like to see. Any thoughts?

While I’m on the subject of feedback, I should take this opportunity to ask for your thoughts on something else. I believe I’ve asked this before, but is there anything else that you would like to see on this site, or available from this site? Site features, merchandise, more frequent updates? It has been suggested that posters based on the covers would be well received, but like virtually every other part of this prolonged literary experiment, I have no idea where to start with something like that, and I don’t want to dig into it if there is no interest. Toward the end of this month I’ve got a few mandatory “we don’t want to pay you, so please don’t come to work” days from my day job, so I’ll have a few extra hours to spend on either the books, the side stuff associated with the books, or sleep.

If you have any thoughts on the many questions I’ve asked in this post, feel free to leave a comment, post in the forum, or shoot me an email. I look forward to your replies. Until then, thanks for reading.

More New Covers On The Way

Hi, everybody!

Just to give you a little glimpse into how I make purchasing decisions regarding the books, here’s how it works. As I’ve said, I try to invest every dollar I earn from the books back into them, trying to make them better. Now that I’ve had experience with commissioning artwork and hiring editors, I know roughly how to estimate how much money I’ll need for the next piece of work I want to get done. That means, once I decide I want something, I set an earnings threshold, and once I hit it I contact the appropriate people and get things moving. Well, the threshold for fancy new covers rolled over earlier this week, so I sent out an email to Nick, and it looks like he’s available! Neat!

The books that will be getting new covers are Jade, Bypass Gemini, and the Bypass Gemini Sequel. As always, I’ll let you guys get a look at the covers as they are finished, but I won’t be pushing them as updates until much later. It is worth pointing out that, if I want a finished cover for the second book in the Sci Fi series, I’ll have to finally choose a name. I’m bad at that. Not only that, but I’ll have to give a name to the Sci Fi series as a whole! I have absolutely no ideas for that. If you are one of the few people who has read Bypass Gemini and you have an idea for what a series of similar novels should be called, feel free to leave a comment or shoot an email my way.

So, now that the cover money is spent, what do I start saving for next? Well, since I’m trying to stick with one editor, and she’ll be working on Book 2 of the trilogy for a while, I won’t need the money for an edit on book 3 any time soon. (That said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have it squirreled away in preparation for her availability.) Unfortunately, I’m fresh out of books that need covers, too. That means that I’ll probably try to price some of the side stuff that people have been after me for, like a map. We’ll see.

Before I go, I would also like to acknowledge what is probably the most intensely negative review I’ve ever received. I know I’ve linked to my blog reviews, and spoken about reader reviews both good and bad before. This one bears special mention. I try to take all of my reviews seriously, but this one takes the cake in terms of raw negativity. Unfortunately, since it is on the Barnes and Noble page for Book 1 of the Trilogy, I can’t seem to direct link to it, so here it is, recorded for posterity.

Dont bother. One star for effort.

Your characters are week, hollow and completely boring. There is no story line. Fantacy is not your thing. Write a math text book. Maybe come up with a character who doesnt pass out and sleep and whine for most of your long useless waste of paper. This is the worst book I have ever forced myself to finish, while waiting for something to happen. I wont be looking for a sequil to nothing. Sorry, I never ever expected to feel obligated to write a reveiw like this one.

– nmetcalf63

Most of the time reading a review that pans my book is painful for me, and I try to find ways to address the problems mentioned. This person disliked my book on such a fundamental level, the best I can do is thank her for taking the time to finish the book despite her dislike. At least I was able to make her feel obligated to share her thoughts about it. It is good to know I made an impact.

That’s all, at least until the first picture shows up. Thanks for reading.

 

 

An Interview (and Other Things I Never Could Have Predicted)

For those of you who follow Pure Textuality, this will not come as a surprise. (For those of you who do not follow Pure Textuality, for shame! Head on over to the site or twitter feed this instant!) My first honest-to-goodness interview has just gone up! I’ve been asked questions before, but they have always been in the form of a canned questionnaire that didn’t really have anything to do with me specifically. PT took the time to think up some really excellent questions, and I answered them to the best of my ability. I would like to thank Jena Gregoire for giving me this opportunity to share my own thoughts on my writing, and for the added honor of being the very first interview on her site! Please give it a read and let us know what you think.

In other news, I’ve been gathering up the info available from comments, reviews, and searches, and there are a few things I have been able to determine. First – and a friend of mine is enjoying a great big ‘I told you so’ about this – it seems like there are quite a few of you out there that would like to see a map of the book’s setting. I’ve got a few scribbled maps that I worked off of, but the thought of having a professionally illustrated one made hadn’t occurred to me until well after I had been published. Doing a map that is anything resembling accurate or useful is a fairly sizable task, but I’ll start talking to artists and try taking some notes and see what I can do in the weeks and months ahead.

There have also been a few more suggestions that finding my books in paperback would be nice. I poked my nose into the necessary procedures, and I’m a little reluctant to move forward with that right now. It should be clear at this point that I’m not the kind of guy who gets things right the first time, or even the third or fourth, and having a print book made does not provide much room for error. I’ll have to talk to my artist and do a phenomenal amount of tweaking on the manuscript before I’m willing to take the plunge there.

Speaking of my artist, in about a week I’ll probably be sending Nick an email to start talking about new covers for Jade, Bypass Gemini, and the as yet unnamed Bypass Gemini Sequel. Anyone who has read either Jade or Bypass Gemini is welcome to share their thoughts on what they would like to see on the covers. You can leave a comment, or perhaps start a thread in my brand new forum. I’ve also seen more than a few searches hoping to find a picture of everybody’s favorite baby dragon, Myn. Depending on what my finances and Nick’s schedule look like, I might, might, ask him to draw up a picture of the little beast. If you would like to see that, let me know. You’ll find I’m highly susceptible to peer pressure in this area. (If your comments start drifting into spoiler territory, make sure to warn people, or better yet, move the discussion into the forum.)

That’s about it for now. Thanks for reading.

Site Updates

My, but things are moving fast, aren’t they?

Regular visitors will notice a fresh new look to the site. This theme may get tweaked and adjusted a bit over time, but for now, I’m happy with it. If you look at the navigation bar, you’ll also see that we’ve also got a fancy new forum. Now if you want to have a discussion longer than a few comments, you can do so! It is probably going to take a while before the forum sees any significant use, but I’ll try to pop in once or twice a day to see if anyone has shown up and said hello.

At any rate, that’s two more things off of my to do list. What do you folks think? Any other wants, needs, or desires?

New York Comic Con (and a Whole Lot of Little Things)

A handful of small announcements have piled up, so I figured it would be wise get them all out here before I forget.

First, NYCC. My spare time is split between writing these novels and doing articles and reviews for BrainLazy.com. That site started as a way to justify all of the time I spent saying stupid stuff and playing video games, but like the books, it has taken on a life of its own. Aside from the steady stream of video games to review, BrainLazy gets us press access to some pretty major events, including PAX East and New York Comic Con. For the third year in a row, I’ll be attending NYCC while wearing my journalist hat. However, since I now have a legitimate product that might interest attendees, for the first time ever I’ll be wearing my author hat, too! I even had some cards made up!

Joseph Lallo: Card Carrying Author

Take a close look at that QR code by the way. Yep! My card bears the mark. I’ll probably be attending NYCC on Saturday, Oct. 15th, and Sunday, Oct. 16th. I won’t have a booth or anything. I’ll just be pacing the floor, looking for cool stuff to write about and trying to hand out a few business cards, but if you’re going to be there too, send me an email or post a comment if you want to meet.

Speaking of BrainLazy, keep your eyes peeled for a little bit more crossover between this site and that. I created www.bookofdeacon.com to avoid polluting the BrainLazy front page with news about the books. (Technically, I created it because a friend of mine bought me the domain for my birthday, but offloading my book-related yammering was the best use I could think of.) Every now and then, though, a topic arises that would be of interest to both the readers of my books and the readers of BrainLazy. When that occurs, I’ll probably do a double post: Once here as myself, and once at BrainLazy as my somewhat more abrasive alter ego, Decoychunk.

Another cool thing I’ve learned is that the iBookstore, which is one of the many retailers that carries my stuff, will be distributing it to 26 more countries. Not just my book, naturally, but everything in the Smashwords premium catalog, and presumably everything ELSE they have for sale. Here’s the list of countries:

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

I’m not sure how many sales these new countries will send my way, considering most of them aren’t native English speakers, but it’s neat to know that the iPod, iPad, and iPhone bearing public in a host of new nations will be able to download my books if they wish.

Finally, I’m beginning to gather requests, comments, and suggestions regarding how best to connect with my fans and readers. I was recently asked if I have a Facebook fan page for myself or my books, and while I don’t right now, that’s something I could certainly create. There has also been talk of a forum. The mere mention of it to my web guy made it magically appear, though it isn’t quite ready to be deployed to the general public. I’ve been seeing a lot of search hits on my site indicating that there are people out there with great concern for some of my more popular characters and little patience to find out what happens to them in the long run. Obviously I won’t be putting up a big list of spoilers to set their minds at ease, but I could certainly imagine that sort of thing showing up in a forum for readers to discuss. Expect a few changes to the site, and an update to this very post when they roll out.

A New Review!

Hi, everyone. Pure Textuality has posted their review of The Book of Deacon. If you have a moment, please check it out. I can’t thank them enough for giving my book a chance. The same naturally goes for Best O’ Books and Ebook Apothecary for their reviews as well. The amount of praise and support I’ve received is flattering beyond words. PT is planning on adding interviews to their site, and I’m lucky enough to have been asked to contribute. Hopefully I can provide interesting or useful answers to whatever questions she may have for me.

I’ve started working out the specifics for the professional edit of my second book, but based on the feedback of a very helpful reader, I am confident that the current revision has taken care of all but a few major errors. That means that the editor will only need to iron out the finer details, like the perplexing conundrum of when to use a hyphen, or my old foe the semicolon. The money for that has been set aside, but while I was initially hoping to get covers for the rest of my books with the next chunk of money earned, it was brought to my attention that I should probably be thinking about how much of my earnings Uncle Sam is likely to want. Silly me, never anticipated earning enough for that to be a concern. I guess this is the self-publisher’s equivalent of puberty: Not the most pleasant experience, but at least it means you’re growing up.

Until the next piece of news, thanks for reading.

 

Notifications

Hey, everybody, just a quick heads up. I just got my notification of the professional edit of The Book of Deacon from Amazon, so if you haven’t, you will soon. As I’ve said, all this does is fix the admittedly copious amount of typos, and opting in will wipe out any bookmarks or highlights you’ve done, so update your book only if you wish. You won’t be missing any new content. Also, if you end up re-reading, you’ll probably find, as one eagle-eyed reader has, that there is at least ONE typo that remains to be corrected. Curse you perfection! Why must you be so unattainable!?

Coverage!

I’m not sure if it is an alignment of the planets or just dumb luck, but in the past week or so I have had three eBook blogs tell me that they were interested in reviewing The Book of Deacon. First was Pure Textuality, who I found out will be looking at my book immediately following GAME OF THRONES. (Not too confident about comparing favorably to one of the greatest works of Epic Fantasy in recent memory.) After that came Ebook Apothecary, and then Best O’ Books. I cannot say enough good things about these blogs. Even ignoring their excellent content, the people behind each of these sites have been pleasant and helpful without exception, and you can be sure that I’ll jump at the chance to work with any of them again in the future. At the moment, Best O’ Books and Ebook Apothecary have both posted their reviews. You can find the Best O’ Books review here, along with a short guest post by me. The Ebook Apothecary review is here. If you get a chance, please check them out.

After batting a few ideas around and bouncing them off of my braintrust, I’ve decided that my next big expenditure for the books will be a professional polish for The Great Convergence. My friends and I have done our best to wring out as many typos and name-swaps as possible, but considering this is at least the third time we’ve done so, the chances are very good that we’ve still missed some. The idea of someone reading through the professionally primped Book 1 for free, then dropping hard earned dollars for a flawed sequel strikes me as something of a bait and switch, so I’m trying to see to it that the full trilogy gets the same expert treatment ASAP. I sent a message to my trusty editor, but she’s in high demand, so it will be at least a few months before I see a corrected version.

If sales continue to defy all explanation, I’ll probably be getting covers made for Jade and the Sci Fi books next, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Sci Fi sequel isn’t even done yet. (It is nearly as long as its predecessor, though, with a fair amount of plot to go. Good news for fans of my longer stuff, I guess.)

Until next time, thanks for reading.