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.

Fan-made Jewelry

Hi everybody! Just a quick one today, but it was too cool to keep to myself. A few days ago Amy, a long time fan and the first to review each of the Deacon books on Amazon, popped by the site to see what sort of new happenings were afoot. After seeing what the rest of you were saying and doing, she shared with me an idea she’d had for a pendant. Then she went ahead and MADE it!

Chosen Pendant, by Amy from Bright Jewels

Pretty neat, huh? And particularly cool for me, because it uses elements from the original cover for the first book. The one that I designed! She calls it a mockup, but I think it is looking pretty good already. You can see more of her designs over at her Etsy Shop, Bright Jewels. Check it out! THEY ARE AVAILABLE NOW! Check out the comments to see how you can get a special fan discount!

UPDATE:
Just so you don’t have to go looking around, here’s the original cover that inspired the pendant.

The Book of Deacon

Read an Ebook Week and other news

Hey folks!

A few things worth mentioning.

First, Read An Ebook Week starts tomorrow! This is a multi-site promotion devised to inspire people to, you guessed it, read an ebook. What does this mean for you? Loads of ebooks at low, low prices! For my part, I am discounting everything in my library on Smashwords that I possibly can. Book 1 of the trilogy, book 1 of the sci-fi series, and Jade will all be free as a part of the promotion, and the rest of my catalog will be half price. That means you can pick up a Smashwords edition of everything I sell for $4.50 total! Order now! Operators are standing by! For those of you who already own all of my books, there are plenty of other authors participating in the promotion, so if you’re looking for some indie books and you are on a budget, March 4th-March 10th is a great time to head over to Smashwords and see what looks good.

There, now that the marketing part of the post is out of the way, let’s see what else I’ve got to talk about.

Last week I posted on the Facebook Fan Page for the book a question about who would play each character if The Book of Deacon were to be made into a film. As usual, I got a lot of great answers. New suggestions are still coming in now and then, but here’s a summary of what we’ve heard so far. I’ve linked the IMDB page of each of the actors who I could find a page for, and the list for each character is roughly in the order of popularity from the Facebook thread.

Myranda

Deacon

Ether

Lain

Ivy

Desmeres

Arden (The beefy partner/competition to Trigorah)

Ayna (Infuriating fairy wind mage)

Oriech

  • That old guy from that Are You Afraid of the Dark.

Calypso

Any one of the Generals

Some really good suggestions. Now, I was also asked who I had in mind. Honestly, I didn’t think about it, with a few exceptions. So I brainstormed a bit and looked through the suggestions, and here’s what I’m thinking, for a few. This is assuming live action for all but the least human characters, though to be honest, I see this more as a CGI or traditionally animated feature.

Myranda: I’m really liking Christa B. Allen or Rachel Hurd-Wood for this one. I’d have to watch a few of their performances to get a decent idea of which wins, though.

Deacon: I could definitely see Zac Efron in this role. Joseph Gordon Levitt is good, too.

Ether: I like Angelina Jolie for this one. I think she could pull off the “chiseled out of marble face of a Greek goddess” look with a baked in sense of smug superiority and disdain pretty well.

Lain: I see both malthropes being done by CGI, so this is a voice casting. Liam Neeson might be the winner here. Hugh Jackman good too.

Ivy: Again, voice casting. I like Zooey Deschanel for this one. For some reason Gwen Stephani popped into my head, too.

Desmeres:  My friend Cary. He was semi-loosely the basis for the character when I was writing it. For his own privacy I’ll forgo a link to a picture.

Wolloff: Billy Connolly. Failing that, anyone who can pull off a good irate Scottish person. Craig Ferguson perhaps?

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

There, now that there is enough content to force this WAY down to the bottom where it is likely to be missed, here’s what I’ve been up to for a while. I’d indicated that writing the Lain book was likely to get me down, thanks to the fact that Lain’s back story isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world. I’ve got a lot of good notes, and few pages written, but to take my mind off of things I’ve been plying my hand at art. I’ve had lots of requests for a picture of Myn, so I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring. As is so frequently the case, it was only after gentle prodding from my friends that I grudgingly agreed to share these with the world, since I’m very self-conscious about… everything. But, hey, if I’m going to show off my efforts, I might as well go all the way. It started out like this:

Note the built in self-criticism.

Look at those little bitty wings. After some serious messing around in GIMP, I ended up with this:

She stood up!

Better. The size of that wing was the result too much research for any sane man to do. For those of my level of geekiness or higher, that wing is technically still too small. A bat-type flier needs a wingspan to body length ratio of about 4 or 5 to 1. That wing is only about 2.5. You should see the boat sails she ends up with if she’s realistically equipped. Anyway, after producing that, color was in order:

Red and gold. Just like Iron Man.

I realize there’s no size reference, so just picture her head just about reaching mid-thigh on an average adult. At this point I got a little whacky, and fired up Blender, and put this together:

See? CGI!

And then I thought, “Hey, I’ve got a 3D printer, why not give THAT a try?”

Uh oh! She had an accident!

It turns out her dainty little tootsies were too little to survive the removal of the support material. In theory I could deal with that by printing it much bigger (or giving her bigger feet, or having her stand on a pedestal or something), but at this point I’m through the darkest part of the prep-work for the Lain book. For now, anyway. If I hit another chunk I don’t like thinking about, you might see more dopey stuff like this.

Thanks for reading!

“Unstable Prototypes” has hit the shelves!

Well, the virtual shelves anyway. I realize that most of you found your way to this site thanks to my fantasy books, but I’ve also written some science fiction as well. The first book, Bypass Gemini, was written after I had finished brushing up Book 3 of the trilogy and had released Jade. Basically I asked my friends “What should I write next?” I got the answer “You should write some science fiction.” (It turns out this was a veiled attempt to get me to write something about time travel. Not knowing this, I wrote something that was in no way related to time travel.) Bypass Gemini was released in early May last year. Two weeks later, The Book of Deacon went free on Amazon and my sales EXPLODED. Expecting this to be short lived, I decided a second science fiction book was in order. Having a second series, I reasoned, would give me a fighting chance to cause a second little blip later on.

Now it’s nine months later, the first “blip” hasn’t ended, and the second sci-fi novel is done.

It is called Unstable Prototypes, and it is a unique novel in a lot of ways. First, at a hair less than 160,000 words, it is my longest single novel to date. It also represents the first novel written after getting fan feedback. There are two characters in the first book, Karter and Ma, who were big favorites among the small batch of fans who read the first novel, so I decided to center the story on them. Hopefully I didn’t lose the magic that made them so fun for readers the first time. This is also the first book to debut with fancy cover, rather than starting with a mediocre creation of my own. In order to make sure people know that they are indeed part of the same series, I’ve replaced the Bypass Gemini cover with a commissioned cover, too. I’ve also updated the format of the Amazon file to include a table of contents, by the way.

Speaking of the sci-fi series, it has highlighted a fairly common problem for me. I can’t think of a name for it. You have no idea how many times I’ve spit-balled this with my friends and family, and we’ve yet to come up with a worthwhile name. It is my hope that people will come up with their own, and I can just use that one.

At any rate, Unstable Prototypes is for sale right now at both Smashwords and Amazon, with the rest of the retailers to follow in a few days/weeks.

Just to avoid having a whole post on BookOfDeacon.com without providing any news about The Book of Deacon, I’d like to point out that there are three brand new pictures in my fan art gallery, by a reader named nami. Head on over and check them out!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

More Reviews, and a Fancy Map

Hello once again!

Just a quick update, this time. I didn’t get a whole lot of feedback on the map I was working on, but I decided to brush it up and push it out anyway, just as a placeholder until someone with a greater degree of cartographic skill can come along and tell me what I should have been doing or what I’m missing. I’ve got a topic going in the forum for anyone who wants to make comments, suggestions, criticisms, etc.

This Map is a cartographic Frankenstein's monster.

For those who are interested, the nifty coastline effect was achieved primarily through a method I learned about here, the mountains, trees, and waves came from here, the paper effect came from here, and the font comes from here. The compass rose in the corner is 100% me, though. Many thanks to the respective creators of the respective components for giving me the tools to make art despite a complete lack of artistic skill on my part.

While I’m handing out thanks, I would also like to thank The Akamai Reader for the recent reviews of the books of the trilogy. Head on over to check out her reviews of The Book of Deacon, The Great Convergence, and The Battle of Verril. I’m very pleased that my writing continues to catch the eye and earn the praise of book blogs all over the internet.

That’s all for today. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Technical Difficulties and Facebook Results

A-a-a-nd we’re back!

My apologies for the considerable amount of downtime and other technological shenanigans that have been going on with the site. Something went seriously wrong somewhere on the backend, and it has been wreaking all sorts of havoc with the sites I help run. Brainlazy.com got the worst of it. Hopefully things have quieted down for a while and we can achieve full recovery. Whether this is related to the spam I previously reported may have been going out with a bookofdeacon.com address remains to be seen. (Again, if anyone out there has been getting unwanted emails from me, let me know through whatever means you feel comfortable. A copy of said email would be helpful, too.)

But enough of the tech talk! I’d asked some questions on Facebook, and the preliminary results are in! Naturally you folks can still weigh in for as long as you like, and I’ll take a look at everything you send my way, but for now, I wanted to give you a look at my meager attempts to oblige your requests.

On the subject of what to write next, the clear winner is Lain. Between Lain alone and Lain in combination with Desmeres, he received five votes or so, with Desmeres, Deacon, and Myranda in a three way tie for second place. In response, I opened a file named “Lain Origin” and started writing. Because anything dealing with Lain is going to trend toward the dark and gloomy side of the spectrum, I’ll probably split my time between that project and a few lighter ones in order to keep myself from getting too bummed out. A story about the Entwell wizards or Ivy, for example. An older thread on Facebook was also encouraging me to put out the first book of the “Unnamed Second Trilogy” that I’d mentioned I was working on, but as I said before, I’m not convinced that it would go over too well as is. I might have to touch bases with the brain trust and see what I can do to smooth down some of the sharp edges.

The second question was about artwork, and I can honestly say that I did not get the response I was expecting. I thought for sure that I would get a flood of requests for a high quality image of Myn. I only got one. Instead, I got requests for landscapes depicting things like various ruins or the village of Entwell, or formal portraits of the characters. Primarily, though, I received requests for a map. So… here.

This is scaled down. The original is way too massive to post.

This is the result of an hour or two of reading tutorials and an hour or two of fiddling with GIMP. It is very preliminary, but I’d like to know if I’m heading in the right direction before I invest too much more time on it. If you like where I’m going, I’ll add a few more details, then add in as many place and region names as I feel are appropriate. By the way, don’t think for a minute that I am responsible for either that fancy paper OR those fancy mountains and trees. There is a group called “The Cartographer’s Guild” that has offered up some free tools and education for people attempting to make maps such as these. If and when I complete a map, I’ll be sure to credit all of those who provided tools and advice.

Finally was the merchandise question. I only asked it last night, so there hasn’t been an awful lot of time for results to pile up, but I’ve yet to receive a strong majority for any one thing. So far there has been interest in plushies, jewelry, posters, t-shirts, and paperbacks. Somehow I had completely overlooked the possibility of t-shirts, by the way, and I’m not 100% sure how I’d pull off jewelry or plushies, but it will be fun to investigate. Naturally, before I move forward with any of that, I’ll have to have a word with the artist to talk royalties and rights. Now, as for the paperbacks…

I assure you, it is a whole book, not just a cover.

Yeah, I’ve been working on that on and off for a while, and I’m nearly there. That is a picture of a proof I had printed from Create Space. For those who are interested, it is a 6×9 inch US Trade Paperback, and it runs about 325 pages. If I’m able to make the appropriate changes, that book should become available via Amazon.com and Create Space before too long. There are a few more steps, a few more decisions to make, and then it will be ready for purchase. I’ll be sure to spread the word when it happens. I’m shooting for a price point of $9.99, but circumstances beyond my control might put the kibosh on that.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Thanks for reading.