A New Interview

Book news seems to come in waves for me. I received not one but two requests for interviews in the same 24 hour period! The first was from my Bulgarian friends, who seem interested in including a brief interview as a bonus for Bulgarian readers. That one, naturally, will have to wait until the (potential) release of the Bulgarian Edition before I can spread it around. However, the mind behind Deleyna’s Drift contacted me about helping contribute to a blog post about why indie books are good for readers. Click here to read the blog. I’m rather proud of this particular interview. Not only is it one of the longest ones I’ve been a part of, it evidently may be used in part for a writing class! Neato! Incidentally, the rapid-fire interviews have illustrated to me that the most difficult question for me to answer is “describe yourself.” It is not a subject I’ve ruminated upon at great length, and I never know what qualities are therefore remarkable. Must introspect for a while…

Thanks for reading!

Let’s Talk Sci-Fi

Hello again, everyone! I’m happy to announce that Pure Textuality has just posted a review of my latest book, Unstable Prototypes. The review was penned by longtime fan Alicia, so many thanks to her! As this is BookOfDeacon.com, I tend not to push the sci-fi stuff nearly as much as the fantasy stuff, but in light of this review, I guess I ought to take a moment to discuss that side of the creative coin.

The science fiction stories differ from my fantasy stuff in a number of ways. First, they rely a bit less upon each other. Bypass Gemini and its sequel Unstable Prototypes each represent a full story, rather than being an installment in a trilogy or the like. While it is useful to have read the first before reading the second, I tried to introduce and explain all of the elements in each book, such that a first time reader of the series picking up Unstable Prototypes shouldn’t be completely lost. It also means that the sci-fi series is open-ended, with no hard ending or overall story arc setting the pace. (There are at least 2 more books planned.) I take things less seriously in the sci-fi books, with a heavier use of comedy, and a few naughtier words and references. The story is more like an action movie than an epic; high speed chases, explosions, etc.

Currently, the sci-fi isn’t doing nearly as well as the fantasy, but there are a few reasons for that. One has to do with the fact that I don’t have the first entry free. For now, that’s beyond my control, but if all goes according to plan, the price will become less of an issue in the future. Another is because there is no indication in any of the storefronts that either book is related to the other. I know that I prefer to read books that are part of a series, so that if I like it, there’s more to look forward to. Thus, I’d like to think that grouping these as a named series would help. The problem is, no amount of wracking my brain has produced what I would consider to be an appropriate series title. “The Book of Deacon” was an obvious name for the fantasy series from the start. Nothing comes to mind for the sci-fi series. I’ve toyed with the idea of running a contest to name the series, but the problem with that is that ideally people would have had to read both of my books to be able to come up with a good suggestion, and there aren’t very many people who have done so. It’s what you might call a Catch-22, I need to get readers to run a contest to get a name to get readers. Tricky.

One thing that I’m proud to say is that I seem to have created a few memorable characters for the sci-fi series, and as usual, the main character is the least among them. Lex may be the designated protagonist, but from what I’ve heard, Karter, Ma, and Solby/Squee are the winners when it comes to the character popularity contest. That’s nice, though, because Solby and Squee (each of which are examples of a creature called a funk) are prime candidates for a plush… which is a sneaky way for me to segue back into talking about The Book of Deacon. Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news. As followers of this blog and my various other means of social communication should already know, the plush-maker I talked to about making a Myn plush had to back away from the task for a bit while she dealt with a medical procedure and its recovery. Well, she’s fine, but according to her most recent post, unfortunately the recovery is taking its toll. For now she’s going to have to set aside plush projects until further notice. The Myn plush is still happening, but there is no longer a timetable for completion. Sorry about that. I’ll try to come up with some digital doodads and goodies to hold you folks over until I can oblige the plush requests.

One last thing. A few friends have suggested I should do a reddit AMA. My reply to them was “What’s a reddit AMA?” It turns out, it is an “Ask Me Anything”, a post in a special section of the reddit site where you make yourself available to answer questions. Though I’d like to think I’m always available to answer questions through facebook, twitter, this site, and any other means you can find to communicate with me, if there are folks out there interested in seeing me do an AMA, I might give it a shot.

That’s about all for today. If you’ve got any thoughts or questions, go ahead and leave a comment. That goes for sci-fi questions/name ideas, AMA opinions, and anything else you’ve got on your mind. Thanks for reading!

Book 3 Edit Done, and a Book Recommendation

Hi everybody! Sorry for the long wait between posts, but things have been pretty quiet around here lately. At least, until a few days ago, when I received the edited manuscript for The Battle of Verril back from the editor. I’m currently massaging it into the required formats for publication, at which point I’ll push it live. Once that’s done, all three books in the trilogy will have received the professional treatment, which means a few things. For one, it means that I’ll be able to ship out the final manuscript to the Bulgarians for translation. (By the way, my brother has pointed out that my periodic reference to “The Bulgarian Deal” makes it sound like I’m living in an old Guy Ritchie movie.) It also means that all is in readiness for me to start looking into getting paperbacks made of Book 2 and Book 3. That will require me to pick out some sterling quotes to slap on the back cover of each, which will be tricky, because there are comparatively few “official” reviews of those books. I’ll also see if my artist can wedge me into his schedule to fiddle with the covers to fit the format, and to do that I’ll need page counts and… you know what? One thing at a time.

In other news, a long time fan by the name of Karen Graham has completed a book of her own! I’m honored to say that my own experiences in self-publishing helped inspire her to take the plunge and publish her own story, and I’m further honored to have been one of a handful of people asked to look at it prior to publication. I can thus state with full confidence that it is really quite good! You can find it here. It isn’t in one of my usual genres, falling into Mystery/Thriller/Women’s Fiction territory, but the story and characters were well formed, and the use of language was superb. It is worth checking out, if you’re in the market for a slow, subtle story about tragedy, loss, and the scars they leave.

That’s about it for news right now. I’m hoping that, by the next time I talk to you, I’ll have some news regarding some of the many back burner projects, but only time will tell. Thanks for reading!

Bulgaria

Честит Майките ден на всички! That means “Happy Mothers Day everybody!” in Bulgarian. This is another newsflash you’ll already be aware of if you follow me on twitter, but now you’ll get the details. At the beginning of last month, a toy distributor in Bulgaria called MBG Toys contacted me. It turns out that they are starting a small publishing wing (MBG Books) for producing fantasy novels, and one of the people in charge had read The Book of Deacon and was interested in translation rights. I did a bit of research, and to the extent that I was able to determine (believe it or not, I don’t speak Bulgarian), this seemed to be legitimate. I decided to give it a shot.

Now, this would represent the first time I’d ever signed away any rights for my books at all, so I wanted to make sure I did it the right way. That meant a lawyer, some discussions, and negotiations. It took time, but an agreement has been made and a contract has been signed. In about three weeks, give or take, there will be a rough draft of the translation, at which time I will know the cover price, and thus how much I’m likely to earn from this endeavor. It isn’t going to be a “quit your job” sum by any means, but if I crunched the numbers correctly, even in the worst case it will cover any expenses and leave me with some money in my pocket. More importantly though, it means that more people will be able to read my books, I’ll get a few copies in a language I can’t read, and technically I’ll be a published author… in Bulgaria. It is a step in the right direction.

In other news, the Lain Origin is rolling along slowly but surely. One of my proofreaders, after significant prodding, convinced me to hand him the 40 or so pages of scattered scenes I’ve written, and he seemed pleased. I may be putting up a snippet for you folks to read in a few days, if I can comb out some of the more glaring typos and figure out what scene would be best to share.

Additionally, the person to whom I’d spoken about making a plush version of Myn, as discussed earlier, had to set the project aside for a few weeks while she dealt with some health-related matters. I’m pleased to say that she is recovering well. In a few more weeks, if she’s feeling up to it, we’ll start discussing the Myn project as well. Until then, I wish her a swift and safe recovery.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

UK Giveaway

Hi everyone. I might have some reasonably large announcements coming up, but for now just a short one for any fans in the UK. Elizabeth Baxter, over at Small Blonde Hippy, was kind enough to review The Book of Deacon a few weeks ago. I’m pleased to say that it sparked a bit of interest amongst her readers, so she reached out to me about collaborating on a few things. After a sequence of emails and a battle with overseas shipping, customs forms, and my cramped schedule, all is finally in readiness.

On this Sunday, May 6th, she will debut a new feature for her blog, called Spotlight Sundays. It is a series aimed at introducing her readers to indie authors, and I’m honored to be her first subject. Along with an interview, she will be running a giveaway. One lucky person will win a signed, numbered copy of The Book of Deacon.

Head on over and check out the announcement post!

UPDATE: The interview has gone live.

UPDATE 2: The Guest Post and Giveaway have gone live.

Brand New Wiki, and a Variety of Things I Can’t Talk About

In my continuing efforts to give my fans everything they would like me to give them, I am happy to announce that The Book of Deacon now has its very own wiki! As I write this, it is little more than a framework, with some basic information on the books and selected characters and little else. My understanding is that it is considered bad form for me to update the info in my own wiki, so I’m hoping that a few enterprising fans will take it upon themselves to fill in the gaps. Standard wiki rules apply. Please try to be accurate, please try not to be vulgar, and please be considerate to others. There are no rules against spoilers, but feel free to label spoiler material if you like. If you’re interested in contributing, but don’t know how, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll talk to the man in charge about creating a tutorial of some kind. You can contact me if there are any problems, too.

There have been a few reviews, too. Pure Textuality posted a review of the first of my sci-fi books, Bypass Gemini. Some of you may recognize the name of that reviewer. She’s a long time fan who I’m proud to say has decided to join the ranks of the Pure Textuality reviewers. I wish her great luck, and thanks for the great review! The Book of Deacon got some love courtesy of Ileandra Young at her blog. My thanks to her as well. Also, for those of you who missed out on winning an autographed copy of The Book of Deacon during the Pure Textuality giveaway, I recommend you keep your eyes on Ebook Apothecary. I happen to know she’s in possession of a few copies.

Now, on to the stuff I can’t talk about in detail. First, pending merchandise. Remember when I asked you good folks what sort of merch you would most be interested in? First was paperback (done), then was jewelry (done), but another big request was a plush of Myn. Well, nothing is ready for announcement, but I’ve contacted a skilled plush artisan. When there is something to share, I’ll share it. I had mentioned in one place or another that I’d contacted a printer about possible posters, but I’ve had no reply on that, and haven’t had the opportunity to follow up. Another thing I’ve got going, though it is a bit earlier on in the process and a bit more hush hush, is a project that involves lawyers, contracts, translators, and Bulgaria. Nothing is even remotely definite on that, so I don’t want to jinx it. (There’s actually something even less definite involving all of those same words, but with Germany in place of Bulgaria, too.) Finally, I’ve been talking to the folks behind StoryBundle… and that’s about all I can say about that.

Last, but certainly not least, do yourself a favor and head over to my freshly redesigned art section. I changed the layout, splitting the fan art, official art, and support art into their own sections. I did this specifically so that I could share my thoughts about the fan art, and the thing that inspired me to make this change now was the arrival of the following bit of fan art. Magnificent.

So, that’s what I’ve got going on. Merchandizing, foreign intrigue, and a wiki. More details as they develop! Until then, thanks for reading!

Back From Boston, and Open For Business

Hello once again! Well, PAX East is behind me, having brought with it awesome New England food, video games, and general geekery in near overdose levels. It was what you might call a working vacation, and the mound of notes I brought back is going to be keeping me busy with my other other job for a week or two. That doesn’t mean that I’ve completely taken off my indie author hat in favor of my phoney baloney game journalist hat entirely. No sirree! For one thing, the first round of requests for autographed books have been signed, packaged, and shipped. If I did everything right, the first of them should be arriving at its destination on Monday. (Fingers crossed on that one, by the way. I’m a shipping novice.) How did they get their hands on their books, you ask? At my brand spanking new store, of course! Right now my one and only “product” is a copy of the paperback with my scribbled signature on the front page, but I’m working on adding a thing or two to my inventory. I’ll be sure to spread the word when I do.

Also, in my absence the folks at Pure Textuality saw fit to pick up the final book of the trilogy and write a review. You can check it out here. My continuing thanks to the folks at that site for their continuing interest and enthusiasm for my books.

The other big, and confusing, news is that someone has approached me to negotiate producing a Bulgarian language edition of The Book of Deacon. … I cannot begin to articulate how bizarre it is to be writing that. There is a profoundly complex sequence of legal hurdles to be navigated before such a thing can occur, and I’m not entirely certain I’m going to go through with it, but it certainly has been an interesting thing to think about.

On the off chance than any of you are intellectual property attorneys with advice to share on the subject, feel free to comment. Otherwise, thanks for reading!

PAX East, A Review, and Other News

Hi everybody! As I mention occasionally, in addition to my day job and my writing, I am a contributor to a game and humor website called www.BrainLazy.com. For the third year in a row, BrainLazy will be attending PAX East as media! For those of you who are unaware, PAX East is a Boston spinoff of a west coast video game convention called Penny Arcade eXpo (now called PAX Prime). My friends and I will be attending all three days of the event, scurrying from booth to booth, interviewing game makers, and generally being incredibly busy. As a result, while I usually try to be very on the ball with comments and emails, you might see some lag during the convention. Since during my day job I’m a contractor and don’t get any paid time off, the three days I take for this event are generally the closest thing I get to a vacation. That said, I’ll try to dedicate a few minutes a day to moderating the comments and answering the emails. If any of you are attending the event and would like to meet, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

I also got an email from Ebook Apothecary, informing me that a review of my first sci-fi book, Bypass Gemini, had been posted. You can find it here! As always, my thanks go out to her for selecting the book, and I’m proud to say that it earned a high score and high praise. She has now become the second person to inform me that a certain scene in the book made her go cross-eyed, which is a rare achievement for a book, I think you’ll agree.

Speaking of the sci-fi books, for some reason Barnes and Noble has yet to get the eBook version of Unstable Prototypes listed, but I’m led to believe it will be up by this Friday or next. We’ll see. Meanwhile, the paperback version of The Book of Deacon is now available on their website (you can find it here) and at the time of this post it is cheaper there than anywhere else, so if you are a bargain hunter, check it out.

I’ve already received a handful of requests for autographed copies of The Book of Deacon, but I haven’t managed to get the official purchase link up. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll have one up by Wednesday, just in time for me to go away on a long trip. (Hey, I never said I was business savvy.) However, if those of you who have already requested your books (you know who you are) have got paypal accounts, I might be able to get your books signed and sent to you before the official link is up. Send me an email if you are a current paypal user and are impatient, and I’ll tell you what you can do to take a shortcut around my payment system.

The last bit of news is that, after an innocent question about whether or not it was appropriate to start my own wiki or Wikipedia entry (predictably, it is considered to be something between a faux pas and an outright violation of guidelines), I inadvertently inspired a few people to start working on putting one up for me. Many thanks to all involved, and I’ll be sure to link it once something goes up.

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading!

Paperback Ahoy!

It looks like at some point in the last few days the paperback edition of The Book of Deacon quietly went live on Amazon. You can find it here! Currently it isn’t linked to the Kindle Edition in anyway, but I’ll be in contact with Amazon about that, and assuming they merge the two pages, one or both of the product pages will change. I’ll do my best to keep the links on the site up to date.

Now, if all you want is a physical copy of the book, feel free to place your order now. If you want an autographed copy, we’re working on a formal method for ordering one now, but in the mean time, send me an email at jrlallo+autographs@bookofdeacon.com to reserve your copy. In the email you should tell me your full name, how many copies you would like, and how you would like them made out. I’ll get back to you ASAP to acknowledge your request, and when things are ready on the back end, I’ll email you again to get your shipping info and give you the payment details. Note that the price for an autographed copy is probably going to be $12.99 + shipping, the same price as the retail sites… except I’m not a massive corporation, so I can’t really offer free shipping. Like everything else in this crazy experiment in self-publishing, this is entirely new ground for me, so please be patient, I’ll do my very best to handle it correctly.

I am probably going to wait a bit to see if I get any positive or negative feedback on the first paperbacks before I move forward with editions for books 2 and 3. As for other versions? I know I’ve got a few of you out there who are hoping for a hardcover. The jury is still out on that one. I should be able to make a limited number of them, but right now I am not deep enough into the process to even give an estimate of when (if ever) I’ll be able to get that ball rolling toward completion. I suppose the only other book format that it is even remotely within my power to produce is an audiobook, but I’ll tell you right now that the chances of me ever producing one of those are exceedingly low. I simply don’t have the time or resources to do it properly right now, and a poorly made audiobook is a pretty torturous experience.

Let’s see, what other announcements can I make… Well, back when I needed to get the cover tweaked, I made a list of new art bits to be made, and those have been shipped off to the artist, so the chances are good that the next time I do a post, it will be showing off one or more sketches from Nick. Among other things, there should be a picture of a certain little dragon…

Thanks for reading!

Status Updates and a New Review

Hello once again! A few things worthy of note this time around. My ongoing effort to get all of my books professionally polished has taken another step forward. As of late yesterday, Amazon and Smashwords accepted a revised version of The Great Convergence. It should trickle out to the Smashwords Premium Catalog over the course of the next few weeks. I’ve already shipped out the next manuscript to the editor, and if all goes according to plan I’ll be signing the payment agreement soon and the edit should be ready for June. Unstable Prototypes is still in the approval step for Premium Catalog, too, so you Nook and iPad users are unfortunately going to have to wait a bit longer before you can purchase it through your dedicated bookstores.

The paperback edition of The Book of Deacon (Book 1), I’m sorry to say, has not taken any steps forward since I last mentioned it. I’m of the opinion that the cover needs a tweak or two, and until my highly skilled (and therefore extremely busy) artist can take a look at it, I don’t want to send it off for production. This isn’t an ebook, after all. I can’t provide free corrections if it makes it into your hands with glaring errors. Thus, I’m taking it very slowly, though I have no doubt in my mind that it will have plenty of errors despite my best efforts.

While we wait, though, I suppose I’ll ask a question, and I’ll probably toss it up on the Facebook Fan Page, too. I’ve had a number of requests for autographed copies of the paperback when it becomes available. Now, I’m always happy to try to find a way to oblige requests like that, but my options are fairly limited. I’m not one of those big-shot authors who can traipse across the country doing a signing tour, I’m afraid. I could potentially set up an address for you folks to ship your books once you buy them, then sign them and ship them back, but that’s a major hassle for all involved, and kind of pricy thanks to all of the shipping. Another option would be for me to pick up a pile of books myself, then you buy them directly from me, and I sign them and ship them off to you. Yet another possibility would be for me to have some fancy stickers or cards printed up, then sign and mail them out when requested, and you can stick them in the book yourself. What would you folks prefer? And more importantly, how many of you would be interested?

Finally, a while back a blogger by the name of Small Blonde Hippy posted a teaser from The Book of Deacon, and today she posted a review. Check it out.

Thanks for reading.