So Many Announcements

Well, folks, it has been a very busy week. And because the universe has a wonderful sense of humor, it decided that now was the perfect time to ramp things up in the day job. I pulled a couple of twelve and thirteen hour days, which left precious little time for anything beyond the usual answering of book mail. A bit of fan mail, and mail of some other kinds. Today, we’re going to focus on those other bits of mail. Mail that said things like…

Paperbacks Approved and Ready for Publication

Finally, the whole story can end up on a bookshelf.

That’s right. After way too long, I finally managed to pull together the necessary procedures to get the final two books in the trilogy published in paperback format. I know that there are plenty of you out there who prefer good old ink and paper over a piece of electronics, and you the grave disservice of leaving you for months with a cliffhanger that ebook readers were able to swiftly put to rest. Well no longer! Now you can finish the trilogy in good old dead tree format. Go ahead and check out the updated book page, where you’ll find links for Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Smashwords Interview

Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, the website that has taught me the most about the ebook biz and has been distributing my books to everyone but Amazon, contacted me a few days ago to ask if I would like to be interviewed for the Smashwords blog. Considering the “first one free” policy to which I owe most of my success to date was inspired in large part by a Smashwords article on fellow indie author Brian S. Pratt, naturally I agreed. The interview is to be conducted by former writer for Rolling Stone (the magazine, not the band) David Weir. I’m about as nervous as I am excited. The phone call pre-interview is set for Wednesday, with the interview going live a few weeks after that. Speaking of Interviews…

Interviews with Indie Authors

Now that’s an author photo.

What seems like ages ago, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a fellow asking if I’d be willing to contribute some of my “wisdom” to aspiring authors like myself. He was planning to gather together any responses he got into a book of interviews. Well, that book is now available. Rather than giving you the whole spiel, I’ll let them give you the rundown on their website. I love that, when I was unable to dig up an appropriate image of myself, they visited my Facebook page and borrowed the profile picture, so I show up on page 97 wearing an awesome Strongbad shirt and a NYCC media badge. Which reminds me…

Media Badge for NYCC Confirmed

Yep, just a few days ago I finally got sign off. My contributions to the ailing but not yet dead Brainlazy.com have earned me press status once again. Due to a perennial schedule conflict, I’m not able to attend the whole show, but I’ll probably try to be there Saturday at least. If you’ve got plans to be at the show and you’d like to meet face to face, let me know and maybe we can work something out.

Seeking Representation?

This one is still breaking news, but I received a pair of comments from the good people at Trident Media Group asking if I was seeking literary representation. I looked up the name, and it seems like these people are legitimate, and they represent an awful lot of big names. I’ve replied to their message with a request for some info. More as it develops.

To Be Continued…

A few days ago I made a mysterious tweet of mystery. In a few days, the mystery will be revealed. That’s all I’ll say.

Until then, thanks for reading.

The Audio Book Experiment

Not too long ago I asked a question or two over on the Facebook Fan Page about interest in and thoughts about a potential Book of Deacon audio book. The consensus was that if I were to do it, I should pursue a pair of narrators (one male and one female), but overall there wasn’t a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the project. Since I’ve got a lot of writing to do, I decided that I probably shouldn’t devote too much time to a major project like that. That said, I was still curious about how the process of doing an audio book would happen. A bit of research turned up www.acx.com. For those of you who don’t know, ACX is like a big “help wanted”/”looking for work” site for authors and narrators. As an author, you select your book, make some decisions about how you would want to handle payment, choice of narrator, etc, and then put it up for the world to see. As a narrator/producer, you look at the available books and see what projects you think you would be right for. Eventually, if all goes well, narrator and author get in touch, things are hammered out, and the book is made. It seemed like a neat idea, so I started to look into it.

Now, as with anything, there is the potential for legal and financial complications. Rather than risk screwing things up with The Book of Deacon Trilogy, I decided to put Jade up for bid. It is short, related but not central to the series, and not currently entrenched with foreign dealings. Seemed like a reasonably safe way to see how the site works, and if perhaps the trilogy might one day find a home there. The page for Jade can be found here.

In other news, the site has gotten a minor face lift, mostly in the artwork sections, to help navigate to areas of interest faster. Basically it is just a table of contents at the top of pages with a whole bunch of sections, but I think it will be handy. You go ahead and choose “Official Artwork” from the artwork menu and marvel at the ease of jumping down to “Commissioned Character Art”. Oh, and while you’re there, you can look at the latest addition to my art gallery, a character reference sheet for Calypso, the mermaid from Entwell, drawn by the prolific CatseaTheDevil. Why would I commission a picture of such a minor character? Hmm. Why indeed… Hey, anyone ever wonder what my phone screen looks like during my commute?

Kind of like that, actually. Yeah, the trappings of an Entwell story are starting to come together, and I add a paragraph or two whenever I’m away from the PC for a while, and thus unable to work on Lain Origin. Good news on that one, by the way. I’ve just written the most terrible moment in his life, which means I can finally move on to happier things for him.

Let’s see. Any other things knocking around in my head that I should ask about? … Well, there’s this, I suppose. Something you’ll hear me mention every now and then is “The Unnamed Second Trilogy” or “Trilogy 2”. Some of you may be familiar, but for the rest of you, this is a planned series of books that follows long after Jade and features an almost entirely new cast. I’ve actually written a whole book of it, but it is just sitting on the shelf. Why? Because there is ONE character who I feel ruins the whole story, and my friends are split on whether or not they agree with me. I was thinking of putting up a sneak peek, but it seems cruel because this is a book that is on indefinite hiatus. I’d discuss the issue with you good folks, but then I’d be giving away plot points that would ruin the story for you. Still not sure how to deal with it. Any thoughts?

A Challenger Approaches…

Greetings once again. I know I just recently updated, but enough cool stuff has happened in the past few days that I feel a new post is in order. We’ll start with this image:

The words “rambunctious” and “scamp” come to mind.

That image, the unmistakeable work of catseathedevil, depicts Myn gnawing on her favorite chew toy. Not only does it look great and show Myn’s mischievous (and dare I say, vengeful) side, it was drawn in response to the commissioned image from the previous post! Do I smell a rivalry? I hope it’s a friendly one!

In other news, I received a very nice email from someone complementing me on the trilogy. Now, every now and then I get a piece of fan mail, but something about this one was extra special. Why? Because it came from the translator in charge of the converting the trilogy to Bulgarian! That makes this technically my first review of the translated edition, and it was well received. Awesome! Not only that, but Book 1 (Marked in Bulgaria), has shown up on the publisher’s website. If you can read Bulgarian, you can find it here. If you can’t, feel free to laugh at the machine translated page here.

There are a few other things, too. I earned one of these:

Hooray for digital gold!

This is my first contest entry of any kind to show some success, so I’m pretty pleased to have come this far. We won’t know until September if I’m a finalist. More interesting is the fact that it isn’t one of the fantasy stories, but Bypass Gemini that has earned this honor. (This is because the book entered into the contest had to have come out more recently than any of the Book of Deacon stories.) It is good to know that the sci-fi can hold its own. For reasons which are still not discussable due to a bit of uncertainty, Bypass Gemini could conceivably end up being one of my most important stories…

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Plushies, Bulgarians, and Sales, Oh My!

Again, good news comes in waves! We’ll start with what many of you have been waiting for. I’ve finally made the first payment for the Myn plush! The work will be done by the excellent PakajunaTufty. To whet your appetite, and to see what sort of style she might have in mind for the little dragon, I commissioned the following image from her, check it out!

She’s so cute I’m gonna die!

Now, initially the plan was to do one design down in the 18″ range, and that’s still going to happen, but this morning she suggested a 4′ version that I just could not resist, so I decided to splurge and pay for both designs. I’ll spread the word when they are ready. Right now we’re looking at around $160+ for the big one, and $50+ for the little one, plush shipping to your area. Now, realize that you’d be paying for hand made plushies from the artist herself, so if you ask me, these prices are entirely appropriate. However, I realize that they may be a bit steep for those of you on a budget, so if you would love a Myn plush in either size but can’t afford one, let me know and I’ll start discussing things with the artist and with some cut and assemble places and see if an agreement can be made about how to provide a batch at a lower price. In the mean time, here’s the sketch of the design process for the plush.

Gotta love behind the scenes drawings!

In other news, no less exciting, I’ve got some news from the Bulgarian front! Below you will find the intended cover for the Bulgarian edition of The Book of Deacon.

Look! Letters I’ve never seen before!

The top line is my name, Joseph R. Lallo. The main title has been changed for the Bulgarian market. They went with Marked, which I think is a pretty appropriate title. The book, if things stay on track, will go on sale late August/early September. Neat!

Finally, it is July, and you know what that means? Time for a great big sale over at Smashwords. All of my books are available for half price, and Jade is FREE! So head on over to Smashwords to check out the sale. And don’t forget to look around for other great books that are on sale all month!

That’s it for now, but I’d say that’s plenty. Thanks for reading!

Lots of New Fan Art, and Other News

Happy Monday, everyone! As I’ve made quite clear, I’m a sucker for fan art. I’m always completely enthused when I discover that something I’ve written has inspired someone with artistic talent I wish I had to produce a work of art. That’s why I’m thrilled to say that Deviant Art user catseathedevil is a fan of the series. She’s already created three images, depicting five of the characters so far, and she’s only about half way through reading them! The first drawing she made is below, and you can find the rest in her gallery. I should also be adding the rest of them to the fan art section soon. Many thanks to her, and I hope my story continues to hold her interest and stoke her creative fires.

In other news, over the weekend a reader contacted me to ask if I would spread the word about the book her friend recently released. Since us indie authors ought to stick together, naturally I was glad to oblige. Here’s the trailer for Fae Hunter. (One of these days I’m going to have to think about the whole book trailer thing. It is a neat idea.)

To wrap up this little update, a few days ago the plush maker I contacted about the potential Myn plush asked me for refs. Fingers crossed that some time soon we’ll see some sketches!

As always, thanks for reading.

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.