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. 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 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 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.

Kindlegraphs, Questions, and a Price Drop

Hello, all!

A few things have happened that I thought deserved a bit of an update. We’ll start with the newest thing I’ll be checking everyday, Kindlegraphs. I’ve had a few people express interest in getting autographs from me. This is mind-blowing for me, because it means that there are people out there who consider me at least a minor celebrity. (To give you an idea of my glamorous celebrity life, I received the last email that mentioned the word autograph while I was trying to clean dried pancake batter from the top of the stove in my apartment.) Currently I don’t have any physical items to autograph, but I learned about a thing called “Kindlegraph” a few days ago, and it seemed like a great way to fill the need. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Kindlegraph is a site that allows you to request an autograph from any book an author has signed up for the service. In time, that author will receive a notification and deliver a personalized PDF to your kindle with the cover of the book and an autograph. Neat, huh. There is some fine print regarding delivery charges if you receive the kindlegraph in a certain way, but otherwise it is free. The website is, and my author page is right here.

Next, over on the right side of the page, you may have noticed a nifty little Facebook widget, which at the time that I am writing this is hovering around 183. That, predictably, leads to a Facebook fan page for The Book of Deacon Series. I’ve been posting a few questions over there, regarding where you good folks would like me to focus my literary energy and artistic dollar next. For your edification, the questions I asked are as follows.

Pretty soon it will be time to start writing another Book of Deacon story. I’ve got a few ideas, and at least one partially written tale, but I’m interested to see what you folks think, so I’m going to ask some questions to see what my Facebook fans would like to see. First up, if you could read a book focusing on a single character (or perhaps a small group), who would it be? It can be anyone, minor or major, past, present, or future. (Please try to keep spoilers to a minimum, and if you can’t avoid them, label them.)

And then…

Okay, I got some great responses to yesterday’s question. Feel free to keep contributing, by the way. Today I’d like to talk about art. As you can see from my gallery, I’m a big fan of getting art made for the books. There are images of Myranda, Deacon, Lain, Ether, Jade, and Halfax already. I’ve got a piece of fan art on my site featuring the reader’s vision of Leo, Myranda, and Myn, too. What sort of artwork would you like to see made for the series? Characters, settings, a map, commissioned work, fan art, etc. (As before avoid or label spoilers.)

Well, far be it from me to deprive visitors of my site but not my Facebook page of a chance to weigh in as well, so feel free to comment below. In fact, here’s a sneak preview of the question I intend to ask tomorrow. As you know, right now I only sell digital goods. If you could pick something you’d like to see me offer in the way of merchandise, what would you most like to see? Posters, paperbacks, hardcovers, figurines, plushes, etc. I don’t know the first thing about providing any of these things (except one), but if you people are anxious to see something, I’ll do my best to make it happen.

As a minor aside, I’ve gotten a report of spam coming in with a address on it. I’m looking into this now, but if you’ve had this problem, let me know, so I know how widespread the potential problem is.

Last but not least, I’d originally intended to do one massive round of updates and price adjustments on the same day I published Unstable Prototypes. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, a few of the intended updates won’t be able to happen according to schedule. (I’d go into detail, but some of it is very hush hush, and some of it is a huge long shot that isn’t likely to pan out. I promise to let you know just as soon as I’m able.) As a result, I’ve decided to break them up. That means that Jade, my short novel, is now finally sporting its brand new cover, and is available at Smashwords and Amazon at the brand new price of 99 cents. This isn’t a sale, it is the new permanent price, and it should be trickling out to Barnes and Noble, Apple, et al in the next few weeks.

In parting let me just say that I may have something minor, but pretty neat to show off in a week or so. Until then, thanks for reading.

Two Years Ago Today

Followers of my twitter feed, or just my life in general, know that yesterday was my 29th birthday. (Many thanks for all of the well wishes, by the way!) What most people don’t know is that two years ago today was the day I finally caved in to the pressure of my friends and took the steps to self-publish. It has been a really wild ride since then. On January 27th, 2010, if I suspected anyone but my closest friends (and not even all of them) knew that I’d written something, I would have been mortified. Today I’m eagerly clicking over to my forum and checking my email to see if I’ve got any new comments from people I’ve never met. It has been a blast, and I want to thank everyone who took a chance with a new author and ended up here.

It has become a running theme that, if my friends want me to do something that I don’t want to do, I should probably do it. Thus, last night I decided to dig through storage and pull out a pile of books that one of my friends has been hounding me to find. And here they are.

This represents years of stolen time. It also represents the largest clean, flat surface in my apartment.

That mound of biodegrading spiral notebooks represents The Book of Deacon in its original form. Countless grammar school, high school, and college teachers saw me scribbling diligently in one of these books during their classes and foolishly thought I was taking notes. To be fair, not all of these books are filled cover to cover with plot. One of them has a few pages of notes and outlines, and one or two of them are half empty because I lost them for a while and had to pick a different notebook. Let’s take a look inside, shall we?

Note that this "brief summary" ended up filling nearly a dozen notebooks.

It is worth pointing out that where it says “1st Book,” I don’t mean book 1 of a trilogy. The entire trilogy, in my head, was one book, and it was a prequel to the book I’d originally intended to write. Flipping through the pages of this pile was an interesting experience. I didn’t actually transcribe the book from these pages, for the most part. After I had completely finished the story, I typed it in from memory. My reasoning was that anything I couldn’t remember wasn’t good enough to make the cut. Every now and then I’d flip through and find the exact wording of a scene that I was particularly happy with, but the rest was typed while these were tucked away in a drawer somewhere. As a result, the actual story bears only a passing resemblance to what shows up on these pages. Looking into it now brings back memories of plots I dropped (Myranda had a long sequence involving Tresson soldiers at one point.) or characters who were completely rewritten (Trigorah used to be much more ruthless, and was more of an investigator than a soldier.) or names that had to be changed. (Ivy used to have a much sillier name.)

Also, looking back through these books managed to completely restore my paralyzing embarrassment about them. I quickly shoved them back into storage after snapping these pictures, because I do not want anyone to pick them up and flip through them. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it is a remnant of the extreme lengths I went to in order to conceal them during their creation. For instance let’s look at that top cover again.

Note that I hadn't picked a name at that point.

That big, clear label indicating that it was a book written by me, and that there were other parts? That wasn’t added until had completely filled the book and was ready to lock it away and move on to the next one. Heaven forbid someone see that and start asking me what I was writing about!

I’ve come a long way, I suppose. Now the characters that I carefully cultivated in my brain have gotten loose and are running around in other people’s heads, and I’m constantly thinking up other things for them to do. Since I’ve finished writing Unstable Prototypes, and it is now being proofread by my friends, it is time to dip back into that world and see what I should write next. Direct sequels? Side stories? That book I’d originally intended to write? We’ll see.


Art and More Art

After entirely too much time, I’ve finally finished my second foray into the world of sci fi. That is to say I’ve finally finished the first draft, so now I can stop worrying about what is going to happen and start worrying if things happened the way I intended. There is a long list of notes I left for myself in the text about retroactively changing details or making sure different timings work out, but this process tends to go a heck of a lot quicker than the initial writing, so with any luck you folks should see a brand new book before too long. More importantly, I got the finished version of the cover of the book, so those of you who have been waiting to see it, feast your eyes.

Karter and the funk!

That is Karter. He’s a little thinner than most people pictured him, but I’m thrilled with how it came out. If you’ve read the first book, you ought to recognize the furry little guy on the cover as a funk. One of them plays a very large role in this book. (See? I’ve been taking notes. ‘Make sure you get the artist to draw a picture of the cute character.’) Also, on the subject of artwork, I got my first piece of fan art sent to me. You can check it out on my artwork page, at the bottom. It is notable not only because it is the first time a fan has sent me art, but it is the first artistic depiction of Myn. (Okay, technically the second, but once again, let’s not split hairs.) She’s even holding the helmet she spends so much time chewing on!

Now that the good news is out of the way, I’ve got a more irritating announcement to make. Based on a few emails and comments I received, it seems like Amazon might have had a hiccup a few weeks back and distributed an obsolete edition of the book The Book of Deacon with some typos that I had fixed months ago. It is exceptionally difficult for me to know if this is the case, but I plan to take corrective action. Once I release Unstable Prototypes, I’m going to start working on getting the books in the trilogy The Book of Deacon Trilogy formatted for print-on-demand. (Enough people have expressed interest in print editions that I decided it was probably worth the effort.) That will involve reading through it yet again, then uploading a fresh version of each book prior to sending it off to the printers, so an updated version of book 1 and book 2 The Book of Deacon and The Great Convergence should each go up in the next two months. Book 3 The Battle of Verril will probably be later this year.

I guess that about covers recent happenings. Until the next big event, thanks for reading!

UPDATE: I realized that in the original post I switched from talking about the science fiction books to the Book of Deacon Trilogy without indicating it, which was darn confusing, so I made an update to clarify. That’s what I get for writing an update on my commute to work.

2011 Year In Review, And New Art

Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve got one major piece of news, but before I get to it, I just want to talk about some of the more entertaining things I learned as 2011 went out with a bang.

First, I’d like to thank everyone for their recent interest on the site. I’ve seen a huge uptick in traffic, comments, and email, and it has led to some really interesting discussions. That said, more than a few of you have included spoilers in your comments. I don’t want to tell anyone what they can or can’t discuss, but many people visiting the site and reading the threads of discussion haven’t finished the trilogy. I’ll be working on an update to the site that will allow me to conceal any spoilers without eliminating the full comment, but in the meantime here are a few guidelines to help everyone get the most out of the books. If you have a comment or question that might reveal a plot point, I’d appreciate it if you would either email me directly or warn at the beginning of the comment that spoilers follow. Alternately, feel free to join the forum. I’m sure we can rig up a “spoiler zone” for discussions between people who have read all there is to read.

I’ve also been checking out the search terms that hit my site, and there are a few that are really intriguing. First, I’ve seen the term “the book of deacon movie” come up more than once. Thanks for the vote of confidence, whoever you are! There has been absolutely no talk of such things, naturally, but it feels good to know there is interest. (Unless this is another instance of me misinterpreting facts, which I am known to do.) I’ve also seen a few hits looking for Jade Book 2. I hadn’t planned on a sequel to that story, though I never rule anything out completely, but there are at least two characters who appear in that book that do have a place in books I plan to write soon. I’ve seen a few permutations of searches including the books and “wiki.” To my knowledge, The Book of Deacon does not have a wiki or wikipedia entry, but the internet is an extremely transitory place, so by the time you are reading this, who knows what might have happened? Along the same lines, I’ve seen a lot of searches looking for specific characters, or simply “characters” in general. I imagine I could put together a characters page. If I did, what would you folks like to see on it? Descriptions? Pictures? Just let me know and I’ll see what I can do. I live to serve.

Finally, and most importantly, I heard back from good old Nick Deligaris about the latest cover. Those of you who follow me on twitter (@jrlallo) have already seen the nearly complete version of the cover for Bypass Gemini, but I’ve now got my hands on the completely complete version. Check it out.

Hang on tight to that case, Lex!

That’s actually scaled down from the size he gave it to me. In the words of a friend of mine, “Somehow, he has managed to make me more interested in Bypass Gemini after I’ve already read it. How is that possible, exactly?” If any of you have read Bypass Gemini, what do you think? This leaves just one cover to go, the cover for the Bypass Gemini sequel, tentatively named “Unstable Prototypes.” I can’t wait!

UPDATE: Upon reviewing my post, which has got “Year In Review” in the title, I find that I didn’t actually do any reviewing of the year, so let’s fix that, shall we?

At the beginning of 2011, I had published Books 1 and two of the trilogy, and Jade. I had sold somewhere on the order of two dozen books, in total, and wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of my success. On May 16th, I had published the final entry in the trilogy, and my first Sci Fi book, and having made The Book of Deacon free, I’d started to see some decent interest in my books. My total sales and downloads were in the hundreds, and I’d finally earned enough to get my first check, for $10.78! The next day, Amazon agreed to make The Book of Deacon free. Two weeks later I had given away 18,000+ copies, and was starting to see some fairly positive reviews. I found my way to the top ten of free fantasy ebooks on Amazon not once but twice! Though I hesitate to give dollar figures regarding earnings, I will say this: In the month of December, thanks to some cutbacks they’ve made with my schedule at my day job coupled with massive holiday sales, this little hobby managed to earn more money than my actual career.

Now it is the beginning of 2012. At this moment, I have given away well over 60,000 copies of book 1 on alone, and I’ve had reviews by (among others) Pure Textuality (Book 1 and Book 2), Ebook Apothecary (Book 1), Mel Chesley (Book 1), Best O’ Books (now seemingly defunct),  as well as a guest post and an interview. I’ve had hundreds of ratings and dozens of customer reviews on every site from Apple to Kobo. Some were bad, many were excellent. I found and hired a spectacular artist. My books have been read, re-read, edited, re-edited, and in at least one case, professionally edited. I spiffed up my social presence with a nicer site layout and a forum, and I’ve attempted to improve my Facebook and twitter usage as well. In short, I officially graduated (according to my own informal metrics) from “phoney baloney indie author” to “indie author.” Next step? “Professional indie author.” This is all thanks to you out there, so I bow to you, my readers. Hopefully I can continue to produce things you will enjoy reading in the year ahead. And, as always, thanks for reading.

Merry Merry, Happy Happy (And A New Review)

Hi Everybody. Now that the chaos of Christmas has died down a bit, I would like to take this chance to wish all of you a happy holiday season. We hosted the annual get together at our house this year, and aside from a cauliflower-related explosion, things went off without a hitch. The month isn’t quite over yet, but unless there is a flurry of returns, I can safely say that December has been my best month to date for downloads and sales. I’ve already heard from some people who read my book on their brand new eReaders. (You people are quick readers, might I say.) My thanks to all of you who picked up The Book of Deacon and were inspired to visit this site as a result. I trust you enjoyed the story.

Aside from the strong sales, a few days ago I heard from a fellow author named Mel Chesley. Unlike me, she is fortunate enough to have been picked up by an actual factual publisher, so my congratulations to her. She was writing to let me know that she’d picked up the first book of the trilogy and took the time to write a review. You can find it here. I heartily recommend you head over and check it out, and while you’re at it, check out the rest of what she’s got to offer. It is quite a clever and interesting blog, and one that I look forward to reading as part of my regular rotation.

As always, I’ll leave you with an update. Sci Fi book 2 is just about finished. Hopefully I’ll be starting the climax tonight, then it is just a stone’s throw to the ending and a read through to catch as many errors as possible and tie up the loose ends. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that I can get this thing done and out of the way soon. I’m itching to start a new project.

Thanks for reading!

More Inexplicable Success

Hello once again! It has been a while since last I spoke to you good folks, and the meantime has not been wholly uneventful, so I figured I would give you an update on what’s been going on in my literary life.

First and foremost, not long ago Pure Textuality put out a call for authors willing to write a guest post on the blog. Considering all of the help and coverage I’ve gotten from them, I figured it was the least I could do to offer to lend a hand. My post, called Icing on the Cake: The Value of Good Artwork, went up a few days ago. Check it out, if you’re interested.

Speaking of artwork, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to see fresh artwork for my science fiction books. The great thing about getting art done by a truly talented artist is that you get really excellent work. The less great thing is that truly talented artists are in extremely high demand, so sometimes patience is in order. As I’ve said, though, I haven’t even finished WRITING the second science fiction book, so I wouldn’t have any use for the covers for a month or two at least.

On the subject of the science fiction book, I’m pulling up on 130,000 words, and the end can’t be more than a few chapters away, so it looks like this thing is going to be roughly the length of one of the Book of Deacon entries, rather than the marginally shorter first installment. I’m just about to start working on the climax. The bad news, though, is that after a few weeks of relatively low workload in my real life, things are about to get intense for a few weeks. Aside from the holidays, which are sure to take an enjoyable but sizable chunk of my time, I am also going to be the only man on-site for my department in my day job. That’s going to mean very long workdays and very little free time, so not much writing. I’ll try to get the last of the book at least written by the end of the year, but editing and revising will probably stretch into 2012. I’m beginning to see why being an author is supposed to be a full time job.

Finally, there is the reason for the title of this post. A few months ago, something that I’ve referred to as “The Amazon Sales Anomaly” started. This was what I assumed would be a short-lived spike in downloads and sales on It has not turned out to be short-lived, which is an unexpected but very welcome surprise, since it has allowed me to afford all of this lovely new art, editing, and other extravagances. Well, about a week ago my free book had one really good day, then this past Thursday it had another, except this time it didn’t stop. At just seventeen days into the month I’ve already earned nearly double the number of free downloads as I’ve been averaging over the last three months. Your guess is as good as mine as to why this happened. The best theory I’ve heard has to do with the fact that Amazon has been selling roughly one million new kindles a WEEK. That would certainly lead to a spike in free book downloads. The result, though, is that I’m back in the top 100 free eBooks on Amazon, at least for now, and have even made the top 10 free fantasy eBooks. If you are visiting this site after picking up and reading my book this month, first of all, thanks for reading! Second, I hope you enjoyed it, and third, I’d love to hear what led you to my book, so we can shed some light on this happy little mystery. You can drop me a line via email on my contact page, via the comments section below, or in my spiffy forum. (By the way, someone joined with the username Needlehawk, which is an obscure creature from book 2. The fact that someone would pick a name from my book, let alone such a minor one, is ridiculously rewarding to me for reasons I can’t fully explain.)

Until next time, thanks for reading, and if I don’t post again before then, happy holidays!


Sci Fi home stretch, and other little stuff

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

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

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

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

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

Jade Gets a Cover

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

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

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