FAQ

Here are the answers to some questions that I’ve either been asked, or seen people hit my site with as a result as searches. If you have any more questions that need answers, feel free to leave them in the comments.

General

Why didn’t you edit or proofread the books before publication?

The sad answer to this question is, I did. I read through each of my books at least once before publishing them. The problem is that at no point during the creation of these novels was I able to dedicate myself to them entirely. When you proofread in the fifteen minutes before going to bed, or during brief breaks between exam study sessions, or in the twenty minutes before you leave for work, mistakes will slip by you. Two of my friends read through my stuff as well, but I had a nasty habit of introducing new errors while correcting old, or adding new sections to the book after they had already read it. The amount of success I’ve had so far with the books was utterly unanticipated, or else I probably would have subjected them to somewhat more intense scrutiny.

Why didn’t you get the books traditionally published with <insert popular publisher>?

Short Answer: I tried.

Long Answer: Back in 2008 and 2009, traditional publishing had actually been my intention. I looked up a few articles explaining the steps one goes through to get published, and got to work. The first step is getting a literary agent, so I hit Agent Query and visited Preditors and Editors, made a list of a few dozen agents who represented the fantasy genre and did not appear to be part of a scam, and I went to work. About a year later, I had received rejections from about half of them, and the other half hadn’t gotten back to me.

I didn’t expect to get snapped up by the first person I contacted, but as I asked more and more, and received more and more rejections, I began to realize that I wasn’t being rejected on the strength or weakness of my book. I know this, because I was always politely turned down before they had ever seen my manuscript. Only one even got to see a few pages of it, and that was simply because her submission format requested five pages. More troubling still was the fact that most of the rejections I was getting were form letters, often not mentioning my name. Either I had written a really awful query letter, or even getting a second glance from a literary agent required far more luck than I had realized. (Those who know me will not be surprised to know that I assumed that 100% of the blame rested upon my query letter. I am an expert at figuring out how things are my fault.)

Now, the difference between a success and a failure, in publishing as with everything else, is persistence. I would like to think that if I kept at it, I would eventually have succeeded. Unfortunately, each rejection I received made me more certain that the mess of a novel I had thrown together was never going to go anywhere. I shifted gears and eventually found my way to Amazon digital text platform (now kindle direct publishing) and Smashwords. Now, at least, I am getting feedback and income, two things that will enable me to improve myself.

How do you pronounce Lallo?

I pronounce it “Lah-Low” (rhymes with follow). Other Lallos out there pronounce it “La-low” (rhymes with Hallow). I realize I’m probably the oddball on this one, but hey, I spell my nickname “Jo” instead of “Joe”, so I guess I’m just strange.

The Book of Deacon Trilogy

What is the appropriate age range for The Book of Deacon?

I’ve been asked this question rather frequently. I didn’t write it for a specific age, and I’m not a parent, so I may not be the best person to ask. However, I’ve asked my readers, and those who have children seem to agree that this is a Young Adult appropriate novel, with 12-13 years of age as a decent starting age. That said, I’ve received emails and reviews from readers of all ages indicating that they thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Why did you make the main character/so many central characters female?

This is a question that I wish I had a more deeply artistic answer for, but really it comes down to balance. The seed of an idea that would eventually become the Book of Deacon trilogy started when I was in second grade or so. I had envisioned this giant quest involving the standard generic “descendents of great warriors” cliche. As I sketched out the ideas, I realized two very important things. First, all but one of these descendents of great warriors was male. Second, it was probably a good idea to decide from whom these descendents descended. So I started to sketch out a second set of characters, and since the first set was mostly men, the second set would be mostly women. Since I had a few more years of mental development by the time this second set was developed, it ended up being the more interesting of the two, and thus became the set of novels I wrote.

Why no chapter breaks?

Another question that really ought to owe more of its answer to style than it does. Basically, I didn’t realize how important they were. I wrote the books as one continuous, meandering story. It was actually supposed to be one book, but it quickly grew wildly out of control. Since I didn’t write it with chapters in mind, I hadn’t taken the care to divide the action or events up into discrete chunks, so any cursory attempt to split it into chapters felt arbitrary to me. By the time the plot came to a close, I had read a few Terry Pratchett novels, and he has a tendency to forgo chapters as well. If he could do it, surely I could, right? Judging by the comments from my readers, the answer to that question is no. Generally speaking, future novels will probably have chapter splits. Bypass Gemini already does, in fact.

How do you pronounce that name?

There are a few characters with names that, let’s face it, are a little strange. Mostly I don’t care how you pronounce the names, but for the sake of clarity, here is the intended way:

  • Epidime: Epi-dime. It rhymes with “tepid wine”
  • Desmeres: Dez-merz.
  • Myn: Min
  • Myranda: Mir-and-uh
  • Oriech: Oh-rike

Does <insert character here> die/come back/fall in love?

I try to keep the main site semi-spoiler-free. However, the answers you seek may be here or here. And if they aren’t, shoot me an email and I’ll add them.

Bypass Gemini

Why a Science Fiction book after so much Fantasy?

There are a few reasons for this. First, at the time I started writing Bypass Gemini, I had yet to see any success from the Book of Deacon Trilogy, so I was beginning to think that I wasn’t cut out for that genre. I’d asked my circle of friends what sort of book I should write next, and one of them suggested I try Sci Fi. It seemed like it was worth a try, particularly considering the fact that I got my degree in Computer Engineering. One would think that this would make me more qualified to write about high tech hocus-pocus, rather than the sword and sorcery type. Thus, Bypass Gemini was born.

What is the name of the sci-fi series?

I haven’t picked one yet. Any ideas?

43 Comments

  • JOHN EDmonds

    *** CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
    I did think at sometime a village full of wizards might jump in and help if their world was being over run.

  • Joseph Lallo

    I would have been interesting to see how they would have contributed to the crisis at hand, but judging by the sheer destructiveness of their minor disagreements, and their tendency to disagree at the drop of a hat, one wonders if they would have done more harm than good.

  • Joseph Lallo

    Thanks for the comment. It will be a little while, but I’ve got a story in my head that will be set closer to the original trilogy. I’ll be sure to spread the word when I start working on it. Thanks for reading.

  • Joseph Lallo

    *** CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
    Yes indeed, Ravenwood tower in Jade is the same place that Wolloff taught Myranda white magic, just a few generations older and with a few additional owners in between. As for Ether at the time? Obviously nothing is set in stone until I write it, but as it stands right now, Ether’s status at the time that Jade is taking place is similar to what it was prior to her summoning at the end of The Book of Deacon. She still exists, but she’s not really in a position to be a threat or a help to anyone.

  • Nurah

    I found the books very plot heavy, which I really liked. I had no way of knowing how it would end, and found myself reading late into the night just to find out.

    My only greviance was with the character Ivy. I found her impossibly annoying, and often agreeing with Ether’s insults. I wonder, was Ivy’s personality much the same before Demont’s tinkering?

  • Joseph Lallo

    Heh. You and one of my proofreaders are in agreement on this one. It is probably safe to assume that Ivy was considerably more confident, less insecure, and less traumatized before her tinkering, and thus probably a bit more tolerable. I’m glad you enjoyed the books otherwise.

  • Sandy

    HI!
    Quick Question: How old is Myranda? I have thought of her as twenty, maybe twenty one, since you use ‘woman’ for her instead of girl sometimes. Plus, she just doesn’t seem teen-y. THAT IS MY VIQ!
    -Sandy

  • Katie

    Hello, Mr. Lallo…
    First, I have spread joyous reviews of your writing. Second, I have a few questions, being an unpublished author.
    1: How does a minor publish a fantasy book?
    2: In this fantasy book, a main character dies, giving the book a bittersweet conclusion. My reading teacher disliked that he died and tried (and failed) to persuade me to bring him back to life. My Lang.arts teacher screamed at me about how it should have been a happy ending. Is that too harsh? Should I bring him back to life? Would you?
    3: How is it that you aren’t worldwide famous right now?
    -Katie

  • Joseph Lallo

    Hi Katie! Thank you for spreading the word about the books! I’m glad you liked them. Let’s see if I can answer your questions.

    1. I self-published through Smashwords.com and kdp.amazon.com. To my knowledge, there is nothing stopping a minor from doing the same. I haven’t read the terms of service with that in mind, so you might want to check. As for getting traditionally published, I never quite managed that, so I’m not sure.

    2. If you feel that the death of a character is right for the story, then by all means, leave it as is. I won’t lie, you will probably have readers upset about the decision, but I personally feel that you should tell the story you want to tell. Some of the greatest stories ever told have ended in tragedy.

    3. Well, I’ve gotten fan mail from the USA, England, Germany, etc, so technically I am world famous, I guess. Other than that, who knows why people do or don’t get famous?

    Thanks for the comment, and good luck with the book!

  • Katie

    Hello, again…
    I (tried to) read through everything…How do I copyright my stuff? Like, do I have to pay or…I am so confused!
    Also: What does it mean when it says the parent/guardian is The publisher? Do thy get credit for my work?
    Anything helpful would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Katie

  • Joseph Lallo

    Technically, in the USA you automatically have the copyright to your stuff simply by creating it. You can pay $35 on a government website to register your copyright, though. I’m away from my PC at the moment, so I can’t give you a link. I can tell you that, while it is handy to have in case of a lawsuit, I haven’t done it yet.

    As for the parents as publishers thing, I’ll try to look into it tomorrow for you. You might also try sending an email to the site and ask for clarification. I’ll comment again tomorrow.

  • Joseph Lallo

    Okay, I took a look and sure enough, as a minor there are some complications, since technically a minor cannot enter into a legally binding contract. So for KDP, you’ll need to have a parent or guardian sign up, but I believe you are allowed to assign your own name as the author of the book, so you get credit. For Smashwords, I’m not sure. I’ll send an email and ask. The copyright page to register your stuff (if you want) is this: http://www.copyright.gov/eco/

    I’ll shoot this to you as an email as well, just in case you don’t check back.

  • Jennifer

    First of all, congratulations with getting your books in print and getting the Kindle awards. These are great accomplishments, and I anticipate nothing but finally getting a continual increase in the recognition that you and your works truly deserve. 🙂

    I just re-read the trilogy for the second time, and even though I loved them the first time around (and raved about them to friends and family) I definitely got more out of the books the second time around. Due to the fast moving story and multiple plot lines, I didn’t want to put my nook down for a second the first time around, and I’m sure I missed some of the finer details in my early morning and late night reading sessions.

    I currently have your original electronic versions and was wondering if you included a map of the world in the print versions, updated electronic versions or had one available elsewhere. I also wondered if you had any plans to expand political geographic and land illustrations related to the trilogy. Maybe what Kenvard looked like pre-war, what the Final Reserve valley looked like, and other significant parts of the series.

    Keep it up!

  • Joseph Lallo

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks! I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far with the books.

    There is a fairly simple map, you can find it on the “support artwork” page (http://www.bookofdeacon.com/fan-stuff/support-artwork/). Currently the only edition of the books that includes this map is the Bulgarian edition coming out in a few weeks. I’d definitely consider expanding the map. I’m always interested in finding new ways to expand the books in any direction I can manage, and when it involves artwork, I’m doubly interested. Maybe in a month or two, when the major personal and work projects I’ve got cooking are finally complete, I’ll start looking for an artist who can help me with that. (I’d go for the same artist who did my covers, but he’s absurdly busy right now.)

    Many thanks for the comment!

  • Sandy

    Hello!
    Well, guess what I just realized?
    I have commented on this site under two different names and emails. I suppose I forgot that I had commented the second time around and so commented again. So I am Katie ^look up as well 😛
    Just saw it and thought I should say that 😛

  • Tammy Adkins

    Hello,
    I have a cousin who is a great artist but where he lives there is not a great demand for art. he has loved art since he was a child and I feel he is great. I think with what you write which is amazing in its self, that as for artwork that would go with it he could do a awesome job. He lives in Kentucky and works in coal mines, but has resently went back to school. He has 2 kids if you are interested I would have him contact you. He is on face book and some of his work is on there. His name in Chris Isaacs please feel free to look around. I have also face booked you as we’ll and you can look from mine.
    Thank you
    Tammy

  • Joseph Lallo

    Hi,

    I am certainly a fan of art. I don’t know if my books are necessarily his style (there’s actually a few “Chris Isaacs” on facebook, so digging up the right one for the purposes of samples might be tricky), but feel free to send him to the site. He can take a look at the existing art and if he feels like he’d like to create something in the setting, he can contact me. I could certain foresee commissioning a thing or two.
    Thanks!

  • Casey Chelette

    So I just finished up the entire trilogy on my Kindle. Couple of unanswered questions rolling around in my head.

    *** SPOILERS ***
    1. Ivy simply let Demont go by throwing him back through the portal. Was it understood that the other D’Karon would kill him back in his home world?

    2. Epidime took control of the gigantic creature and was chasing the Chosen up the mountainside. Myranda jumps into the the stream of energy and presumably “dies”. Then Epidime is talking to her about closing the portal. Then he vanishes. Next Myranda fights her way back to her body. So, What exactly happened to Epidime? Did he die? What exactly killed him?

    3. Did you ever consider having one of the Chosen use a soul extractor on the generals. As I was reading I figured that was how they could keep Epidime from jumping bodies but it never happened. Just wondered if it crossed your mind.

  • Joseph Lallo

    Hi there! Let’s go through these, shall we?
    *** SPOILERS ***
    1. At the time, Ivy was simply unwilling to become the killer Demont designed her to be. Her intention was to throw him out and slam the door behind him, so to speak. What happened after wasn’t her concern, so long as he wasn’t in her world anymore.

    2. What happened to Epidime? The long way to answer that is to tell you to read my short novel Jade. The short way is, Epidime didn’t necessarily die. He didn’t even necessarily leave.

    3. You know, the use of the soul extractor on Epidime specifically was one way in which I’d toyed with dealing with him. I didn’t include something like that in this book because I was afraid it wouldn’t be terribly heroic for our heroes to deploy so grotesque a weapon as the one that took Ivy’s prior life from her. There are still a few extractors in circulation in the Northern Alliance, though, so there remains the possibility that one might be used on a future threat.

    *** END SPOILERS ***

    Thanks for the great questions!

  • Casey Chelette

    Not to take anything away from the story, it was magnificent, but in my mind it would have been sweet revenge to have Ivy just rip the soul right out of any of the generals with one of those things. Also, I wondered why Ether didn’t just travel through the ground and find some lava whenever she was weakened? I assume that it would have taken her last little bit of energy to do so. But, man was she awesome after a little bath in some magma.

  • Joseph Lallo

    A heroic soul extraction would have been a pretty epic scene, I’ll give you that.

    Moving around, particularly through ground, while in her earth form is somewhat taxing, so digging for magma in most cases wouldn’t have been a valid tactic to perk Ether up. Now if she’d had the foresight to save some oomph to take a plunge before she was past the point of no return, a lot of the fights would have gone very differently, but she’s always been very short on foresight.

  • Casey Chelette

    Yeah that was one of the things that got me so mad. She has all this power and she squanders it because she thinks she is invincible. If only she would have listened to Lain sooner things might have been different.

  • jgmassey

    I loved this book it is one of about three I have have read multiple times. I have read this one twice, and I love every word. I just have one question, might this trilogy have some sort of (non sidequest) follow up. Because after I read it, I thought for days how, even though they saved their world, the ‘d’karon’ are just going to go and pillage other world’s as they please. Plus there is always a chance for them to come back. I was also wondering why they attacked those world’s, could it be for the magic in their planet. Because the dkaron wasted all theirs with their permanent magic? Loved the series, but I kinda got left hanging.

  • Joseph Lallo

    There will indeed be at least one followup, which I’ll be starting in a month or so. Possibly many followups, pending interest. But you’re pretty much on target with the D’Karon’s motivation for attack.

  • Joseph Lallo

    I, in fact, do NOT explain how the stuff got there in Book 4, and you didn’t miss it. That’ll be explored at some point, but not just yet.

  • Micolash

    Recently had the pleasure of reading all three books, after reading the first I was hooked, so thank you for that.

    Had a question though, about Epidime, who managed to become my favorite character by the end of the books. He seems to be different than the rest of the D’Karon, with his constant possession. In comparison to the others who seemed to create a body to live in. Also his motivations seems to be less clear than the other generals, as he seems to prioritize tormenting people, and sometimes showing some tendencies to value that over the main goal of D’Karon. So my question is this, is Epidime some other being than the other generals? and does his goal differ from the other generals?

    Thanks again for these excellent books, eagerly waiting for the next one.

  • Joseph Lallo

    Well spotted! Yes, Epidime IS different from the other generals. Though he and the others are all “D’Karon” in that they were the first members of the invading force, Epidime is certainly a different sort of being. His backstory hasn’t been fully (or even partially) revealed, but here’s a taste of it. He’s actually a being the D’Karon encountered in one of their many conquests, and he joined their cause because it suited him. The D’Karon seek to conquer and consume. Epidime’s aim is different. He wishes to experience new places, and new people, to learn how they think, how they act, and to learn to better manipulate them. He’s a ravenous consumer of knowledge, and in effect is using the imperialistic efforts of the D’Karon as a means to find new people and places to feed this hunger.

    If you’ve read the trilogy, but haven’t read the book called Jade that is set some time after, I suggest you take a look at that one. (It is somewhat relevant to this discussion.) Glad you like the books, and thanks for reading!

  • Micolash

    Thanks for the quick reply. I have yet to read jade, but have purchased earlier today, think I will go and read that immediately. I was unaware Epidime was featured in that one as well, which makes me all the more curious to read it.

    I must thank you for the information, I just got really interested in Epidime as I was reading, and really wanted to know more about him. He is one of those characters that just instantly became one of my all time favorites, when he revealed his true personality.

  • Joseph Lallo

    You’re very welcome. I’ll warn you that he is not featured in the upcoming sequel, “The D’Karon Apprentice”, but he does show up in another book that should be coming out next year.

    I think it is fair to say Epidime is my favorite villain from the series as well.

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