Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Introduction to Spinward Fringe


Put simply: Spinward Fringe is a long running series of Space Opera Books by author Randolph Lalonde. The origin story behind the series is in the First Light Chronicles trilogy, now collected in Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins.

The story is set in the far flung future and follows two crews as they make their way through a complicated galaxy in decline. At the core of the story is a ship, a constant fight for survival and the sometimes complex situations that come up for the characters and on a broader scale.

This series often crosses sub-genres between Hard SciFi, Cyberpunk, and a few other styles. Through it all the characters are our eyes and ears, providing context and a real emotional connection to events both personal and galactic in scale.

As an independent author Randolph Lalonde realizes that his readers determine the longevity of the series and his overall quality of life. He writes full time, spending most of his efforts on the Spinward Fringe series.

Here are the books in chronological order accompanied by a brief synopsis:

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: ORIGINS -Includes all the First Light Chronicles Books
Formerly known as The First Light Chronicles Omnibus

First Light Chronicles: Freeground
Freeground station houses an entire civilization of humans and it’s under siege. Low on manpower and allies, they discover a group of friends with original thinking who can defeat cadets and trainers alike in detailed virtual combat simulations. Fleet Command has no choice but to send them on a very real, very dangerous mission: to go into the galaxy and acquire allies and technology on their behalf.

First Light Chronicles: Limbo
The First Light crew have emerged from hyperspace into a war zone. Forced to choose a side, Captain Jonas Valent commits them to a fight for freedom against an unknown enemy. The Vindyne Corporation is hell bent on taking the agricultural jewel of the Gai-Ian solar system, Concordia. How Captain Valent and his crew weather this storm will change the crew, the ship and their mission forever.

First Light Chronicles: Starfree Port
The First Light crew enjoy their first safe harbour while repairs are conducted. The consequences of their encounter with Vindyne are becoming apparent. They are being hunted. With enemies circling they're pressed to continue their mission. The crew are faced with their most daunting challenge yet: to balance personal desires with what they must do for the Freeground Nation.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 1: Resurrection
Captain Jacob Valance has no memory. Left on a strange ship on the fringe of the galaxy, he was forced to begin a new life. Years pass. He’s been joined by a ragtag crew of fringers and become a man who can recover lost property, hunt down hardened criminals and go where others fear to tread. Little does he know his search for clues to his past is about to bear fruit.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 2: Awakening
The Samson crew are caught in their Captain’s problems as his past catches up with him. As new allies start to fall in line old enemies come out of the shadows. While they struggle to deal with their own problems, Regent Galactic starts putting a plan in motion that could bring about the fourth fall of man and position themselves as the saviors. Their ambition could spell disaster for the entire galactic fringe

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 3: Triton
After narrowly escaping a brush with an old enemy Captain Valance and his crew reach out to their allies for help. Meanwhile, allies and enemies from his past are set to reveal themselves in unexpected ways, changing his life and the galaxy forever.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 4: Frontline
Captain Valance and his crew are finally learning to work as a unit. Oblivious to the grander designs of the Order of Eden, they are drawn into a brutal conflict over a planet the Order is depopulating so they can use it for themselves. Who will survive the encounter?

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 5: Fracture
Part One Of The Rogue Element Trilogy
The crew of the Triton is making their way to Ossimi Station, a safe haven for independent ships and traders. In a galaxy gripped by conflict and teetering on the verge of chaos, Captain Jacob Valance and his crew will be faced with the unexpected, the unknown, and an opportunity to save thousands of lives. Will their sympathy be their undoing?











Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments
Part Two Of The Rogue Element Trilogy


The crew of the Triton continue their misadventure near Ossimi Ring Station. They are forced down different paths and a fight for freedom that will cost them dearly begins. New opportunities, dangers and experiences await them all, as the Order of Eden stirs, advancing their own agenda.











The Expendable Few - A Spinward Fringe Novel
AKA Broadcast 6.5
Commander Clark Patterson and several other officers in the Freeground Military are ejected from regular service when a desire to look beyond Freeground Nation’s borders is proven by an oppressive government. They are assigned dangerous missions by a special Intelligence Oversight Group.

If Commander Patterson and his people complete these missions, they’ll gain their freedom from Oversight and have the opportunity to start over in a tumultuous galaxy. Patterson’s fascination with another crew who left Freeground years before and managed to survive serves as a destination, but will they survive to reach it?

*** This book takes place between and during Spinward Fringe Broadcasts Six and Seven. ***



Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7: Framework
The crew of the Triton find themselves marooned in the Rega Gain solar system. Refusing to abandon the refugees and liberated slaves who joined them along the way, Ayan Rice and her friends negotiate a deal with the Carthan Government to found a home on a terraformed moon.Meanwhile, the fugitive, Jacob Valance and the former Samson crew work to restore their ship and continue their fight against the Order Of Eden in earnest. Little do they know, the fight will resume well before they're ready, and the entire Triton crew will find themselves caught in a war that threatens to change the galaxy forever.Burning questions are answered in Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7: Framework, the cumulative book in the Spinward Fringe series. Stories come to an end, characters face their destinies, and the series changes forever.


Spinward Fringe Broadcast 8: Renegades
It has been months since the Siege of Port Rush. The Warlord, under the command of Jacob Valent, has been travelling to ports across the sector to gather intelligence, capturing ships and cargo as they go. Manpower and funds are still in short supply, but the Captain is winning the support of the British Alliance, and his crew suspects he has a long term plan that will lead to bigger prizes.
After a period of intense training with the new Ranger Division, Alice and a number of young recruits fight the last remaining forces left behind after the siege. The enemies on the ground near Haven Shore are almost eliminated, and she will have to make a decision: remain with the new outfit, or return to the Warlord, her father’s ship.
Haven Shore has become a beacon for peace while war looms in the near future. Politics and petty squabbles threaten to destabilise the new government while commanders fight for the manpower they need to complete repairs on the Triton and the rest of their small fleet.
Ayan, Jake, Minh-Chu, Alice and their friends will face the greatest of challenges as they are forced to make life and death decisions. The galaxy teeters on the verge of all-out war, and they have very little time to find their place before it begins.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 9: Warpath
The war is on! Conflict grips the Iron Head Nebula and the star system that Jake, Ayan, Minh-Chu and their loved ones call home. The Order of Eden, British Alliance and other organisations creeping in the shadows enter into an all-or-nothing conflict that will change the political shape of the galaxy for centuries while Freeground is forced to leave its home space in search of help and safety.

This is what the crew of the Triton, the Warlord and the residents of Haven Shore hoped to avoid, but it was inevitable. The great galactic war has begun, and there are even more combatants waiting in the shadows to exert their influence on the conflict




Spinward Fringe Broadcast 10
More information on this book will be available soon.

















Spinward Fringe Broadcast 11
More information on this book will be available once Broadcast 10 is available.














Interviews With Randolph Lalonde About Spinward Fringe

Audio Interview with Twisted Sci-Fi
http://www.twistedscifi.com/audio-interview-with-spinward-fringe-author-randolph-lalonde/

Interview with Read Freely
http://www.indieauthorland.com/archives/1468/Kindle-eBook/interview-with-randolph-lalonde-author-of-the-spinward-fringe-series/

Interview with Two Ends Of The Pen
http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.ca/2010/08/interview-with-randolph-lalonde.html

Spinward Fringe Chart History

All of the books have reached the top 10 on Smashwords and a few other sites that carry independent writers' work. Here are two of the many articles mentioning the rise of a few of the books:

Spinward Fringe Broadcasts 1 & 2: Resurrection and Awakening rising to the top 10 in Science Fiction on the Apple iBookstore.
http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/self-published-science-fiction-fantasy-bestsellers-for-april-2013/69640

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7: Framework #1 in Science Fiction at Smashwords
http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/space-opera-tops-self-published-bestsellers-list/63566


::: RETAILER LINKS :::





If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to offer advice on how to improve this mini-guide, please post a comment below.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The First Spinward Fringe Trailer

It took the weekend, but after assembling choice bits of audio and all the useful images I have from Spinward Fringe I managed to cobble together an early trailer for the Spinward Fringe Series. The image design took less time than I thought it would, and I managed to take first crack at a cover for a book that's in long term development.

For anyone who happens to be a long time reader of the series, the second background image is a huge hint as to the subject of the book I'm developing as I write the regular Spinward Fringe series.

Here's the video:



[A quick note to the author who asked me where I "stole" the graphics from: Any images, music, or audio clips I didn't generate myself were acquired legally from the current rights holders. I have full legal entitlement to all materials contained in the video and it cost less than $9.00 total. There was a great deal of design work done as well, the resulting images are copyright protected.]

I couldn't have done it without your reviews as well as the video and audio I've received from you. The teaser would be half silent if it weren't for Allan, Geoff, J and Ross. My goal while creating the video was to convey enthusiasm, and to get the viewer excited about the books. It's hard to find people who can sound enthusiastic about anything, harder than most people think, and I'm happy I had enough footage to more than fill the 40 or so seconds.

This video is just an example of the kind of thing I'd like to do using the video and audio you send in for the Video Drive and Book Draw will go towards a larger, more complete video. This one is more like a teaser.

I hope you enjoy the video and that the word spreads even further about the series. Oh, and I apologize to the people who posted comments and rated the video while it was still in the test / proofing phase. Your comments may be gone, but they're not forgotten. Okay, well, maybe they'll be forgotten, you might want to post them again.

RL

[Is the teaser / trailer effective? Do you think people will get excited and or curious about the series?]

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Video Drive Book Draw


I'm creating a testimonial style trailer for the Spinward Fringe series and need your help. What I need are video clips of readers talking about the series for 30 seconds or more. What I'd like to see is a measure of enthusiasm about the series, your favourite book, character or feature in the series. Here's what I need in the video:
  • It can be taken with a decent phone cam, web cam, or any other camera I can coax a Youtube worthy video from.
  • The video can be taken anywhere.
  • I have to be able to hear what you're saying.
  • Try to email the video clip here: randylalonde(at)gmail.com. If it doesn't go through we'll arrange something else.
  • Don't add titles or animations please, leave that to me.
  • In your email tell me: your name, if your comfortable with me showing the video individually or if you just want it in the trailer, and where the video was taken.
What exactly will I do with your video? I'll clip it together with parts of other videos I receive and create a testimonial trailer(s) for the series. Some clips may not be used right away. I may show your video on its own unless you tell me you would rather it was only used for the trailer.

When I recieve your video I'll send you a link to the eBook with a code that will make the price of Spiwnard Fringe: Fracture $0.00. If there's another eBook you'd like (that I've written), instead, please let me know. If I receive more than 10 videos I can use I'll conduct a random drawing for 3 free signed and printed books on September 30, 2009 and those three submitters will receive a printed copy of any one books for free! Any usable video submission is eligible. I've received one already and at least one more is on its way. I promise every submitter that I'll cast them in as favourable a light as possible even though I'm sure you don't need the help!

If you're too shy for video but would like to help, you can submit an audio clip. You won't be eligible for the drawing but the first 20 audio clip submitters will receive a free eBook of their choice from my back catalog.

There are a lot of impressive book trailers, but I don't find many of them particularly moving. My manner of thinking is that if I can artfully edit together music, some impressive graphics and some video from my generous readers I might be able to put together a trailer that's as impressive as the reviews you've all been kind enough to write for some of my work. The First Light Chronicles Omnibus at Mobipocket is a great example of this. Seeing that many reviews makes a difference.

Thank you very much for your reading and for your help thus far. I see a future for the Spinward Fringe series and that's why I'm working on the next two books right now. That's why I'm trying to introduce it to more readers. The more the merrier, after all.

There's a lot going on with the Spinward Fringe series right now, so check back for more information soon.

RL

[What do you think of regular book trailers? Do you think a testimonial trailer could be better?]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Fracture Now Available!

I love this book, my editor loves this book. This is the kind of writing I wanted to do for the Spinward Fringe series: true space opera. There's a little technology, environmental interest, fantastic environments and a few other points that make science fiction great but the real focus is on the characters.

Why do a trilogy so late in the game?

The answers are pretty simple. It was time to create a new starting point. A lot of new readers will want to start with the First Light Chronicles and work their way through the series, true, but this book provides them with an opportunity to experience just a part of the story and discover the characters in a different way. My writing has come a long way as well and I think this is a very good story to start with for a new reader. Will they want to go back and read from the beginning after reading this book? Possibly, and they'll still have a few surprises waiting for them if they do.

The outline for Rogue Element also put the book at over six hundred pages and I didn't want to keep everyone waiting another eight months for a book. So I split it into three parts. The next one is right behind this book, so there won't be long to wait, trust me. Some of you might not be finished reading this one when the next comes out.

Now that I've told you how crazy about this book I am, and you know why it's the first part of three it's time for me to spill the synopsis and tell you where you can pick it up.

[Broadcast 5]
The crew of the Triton, a rare, Earth built Space Combat Carrier, make their way to Ossimi Station, a safe haven for independent ships and traders. In a galaxy gripped by conflict and teetering on the verge of chaos, Captain Jacob Valance and his crew will be faced with the unexpected, the unknown, and an opportunity to save thousands of lives. Will their sympathy be their undoing?

Recommended for readers who have experienced the Spinward Fringe series from the beginning and for people completely new to the story.

Spinward Fringe: Fracture at Smashwords
Online HTML reader
Online Java reader
Mobi Format (Mobipocket Reader, Kindle)
Epub (Stanza, Android Aldiko, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)


I would prefer you purchase your copy through Smashwords because they don't use DRM (Copy protection), so there's no limit to how you can use your copy or back it up. The only drawback is the lack of an index, but I've made things easier by numbering the chapters, so you can make up for it with a word search. They also pay fair royalties, which is impossibly rare.

Spinward Fringe: Fracture At Mobipocket

Mobipocket Format With DRM (Digital Rights Management - Copy Protected)

Mobipocket readers have been incredibly supportive, so I've released this book there as always. The plus side to this version is that it includes an index with every chapter listed right after the copyright page. Again, if the index isn't important to you, I suggest you pick up the Smashwords edition above.

Spinward Fringe: Fracture At Amazon.com

Kindle Edition With DRM (Digitial Rights Management - Copy Protected)

This version is available through Amazon's Whispernet, and it contains the index. If those points aren't important to you, please pick up the Smashwords edition in .mobi format.

The print edition will be available sometime in the next 30 days, I'll announce its appearance as soon as it pops up!

Thank you very much for joining me on this journey. My long time readers know that your support is what keeps me writing full time. The frequency and quality of these books is fully dependent on the patronage of my audience, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I don't make what most people would call a great living, but I've got a roof over my head, food on the table and my Internet connection is all paid up. I love entertaining and the opportunity you've provided for me to do so!

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please take a moment to post a few words about it wherever you purchase it!

RL

[Now to get back to work on the second and third parts of the trilogy!]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spinward Fringe Fracture Release Date and Video Drive

The editor has told me that Spinward Fringe: Fracture is the best book in the series. Now that's what I call passing muster.

Aside from some minor cleanup this book is ready to go, and I expect to be performing eBook conversions this afternoon. Testing will take place tonight and the book will be out on or before August 30, 2009!

The print versions will follow in the next few weeks and I'll post more information about that as the printed copies become available on the Lulu and Amazon stores.

Now for a little bit of information about the book!

  • Spinward Fringe: Fracture is shorter than Frontline.
  • It is the fastest paced book I've ever written or read.
  • The story and dialog are written for screen and adapted for eBook format. In other words, I approached this like a film and not a book.
  • This book is written so anyone can enjoy it. Meaning that long time Spinward Fringe readers and people who have never touched one of the books can both pick it up. You don't have to read everything that's come before. I expect most readers who start with Fracture will most likely go back and start reading the previous books, however.
  • If you're concerned about waiting forever for the next part of this series, don't be. I'm writing Spinward Fringe (and nothing else), full time for the rest of the year and into 2010. All other projects are on indefinite hold.
  • My editor and I agree: This is, hands down, is my best work.
Here's a synopsis!

The crew of the Triton, a rare, Earth built Space Combat Carrier, make their way to Ossimi Station, a safe haven for independent ships and traders. In a galaxy gripped by conflict and teetering on the verge of chaos, Captain Jacob Valance and his crew will be faced with the unexpected, the unknown, and an opportunity to save thousands of lives. Will their sympathy be their undoing?

Now, here's how you can get your copy for free:

I'm creating a testimonial style trailer for the Spinward Fringe series and need your help. What I need are video clips of readers talking about the series for 30 seconds or more. What I'd like to see is a measure of enthusiasm about the series or your favourite book in the series. Here's what I need in the video:
  • You have to at one point mention Spinward Fringe.
  • I'd like you to be enthusiastic.
  • It can be taken with a decent phone cam, web cam, or any other camera I can coax a Youtube worthy video from.
  • It has to be rated PG-13.
  • The video can be taken anywhere.
  • I have to be able to hear what you're saying.
  • Try to email the video clip here: randylalonde(at)gmail.com. If it doesn't go through we'll arrange something else.
  • Don't add titles or animations please, your clip will most likely be edited.
  • In your email tell me: your name, if your comfortable with me showing the video individually or if you just want it in the trailer, and where the video was taken.
What will I do with your video? I'll clip it together with other videos I recieve and create a testimonial trailer for the series. Some clips may not be used right away. I may show your video on its own unless you tell me you would rather it was only used for the trailer.

When I recieve your video I'll send you a link to the eBook with a code that will make the price of Spiwnard Fringe: Fracture $0.00. If I recieve more than 10 videos I can use I'll conduct a random drawing for 3 free printed books on September 30, 2009 and those three submitters will recieve a printed copy of any of my books for free!

Before I go, I'd like to thank all the readers so far. Without you this big step forward wouldn't have happened. I wouldn't be doing this full time and this book would not have come into being. I'd probably still be working on Spinward Fringe: Triton. So, once again, thank you for all your support!

There's a lot going on with the Spinward Fringe series right now, so check back for more information soon.

RL

[What do you think of the new cover? The Video Drive? The book details?]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Strange Horizons and Close Encounters - It's Alive!

In the process of writing eight books in the First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe series, a lot of extra material has been generated.

So much, in fact, that the Spinward Fringe series has started to become a universe. While I was looking through the contents of the digital vault where I keep all the bits and pieces that get cast aside when I'm editing I realized that some of the material is actually quite good. Frontline, for example, had over 11,000 words cut and buried in those words are two pieces that could stand on their own. One of those pieces, Landing on Leeds, is featured as the first part of the Strange Horizons and Close Encounters serial.

Here's the full concept behind the series:

It's a place to tell peripheral and background stories that didn't fit in the books, and preview parts of the books that haven't been released and to tell stories about characters who are experiencing life in the universe in a very different way.
  • It will be a free series.
  • It's a living document! Meaning that you get more content by by re-downloading the file instead of downloading another eBook when each part is released. Instead of a bunch of little files mucking up your device, you'll have one bigger, changing file with a text index.
  • Each part will be a short, spanning between 1,500 and 5,000 words.
  • Some stories will be split into multiple parts.
  • When the book reaches 100,000 words it will go to print and another living document will be created.
  • Guest writers will eventually be welcome.
  • There will be no Spinward Fringe big picture spoilers.
  • Most of the series will be fresh material that does not appear anywhere else.
  • At least two parts will be available per month unless the project ends or something else comes up, in which case everyone will have fair warning.
  • The story lines will be named. For example: the serialized story line starting in August is called the Nerine storyline.
  • Some of the pieces will be stories from different characters' histories, such as Frost's, Alice's or Oz's.
  • This project won't interfere with work on the regular Spinward Fringe series. In fact, the first six parts are already finished.
  • The quality of each piece will be the same as the work in the regular Spinward Fringe Series.
  • This will be taking the place of the Dark Arts serial. I may eventually develop that story into a book unless there's enough reader support for the serial to continue, in which case I'll find time for it.
Without further delay, here's the link to Spinward Fringe: Strange Horizons and Close Encounters. This version is compatible with all readers. You'll find a short story about the arrival of the Holocaust Virus in the core world city of Leeds and a preview of the next Spinward Fringe Fracture book which does not spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read Spinward Fringe Triton or Frontline. Part one of the series is unrelated to this storyline.

Oh, and about the cover graphic. I can't claim credit for the elements of the piece, I only composed it, but you can certainly expect a visual upgrade on future Spinward Fringe covers. After celebrating a year of writing independently and earning a living it's time to take things up a notch. I hope you enjoy the new look! The artists are credited in the eBook.

RL

[What do you think of the living document concept?]

Spinward Fringe: Change Is Coming

There are a number of people wondering where yesterday's free Spinward Fringe short was. It's running late.

I won't give you excuses, that's not how I work. Instead I'll tell you why.

Yesterday I got a call from my lead Editor and she told me Spinward Fringe Fracture is the best book in the series.

It was staggering news.

It also validated a few decisions I've made about what I'm going to do with the Spinward Fringe universe. Sadly, that also meant I needed another day or two for preparations before I released anything. That's why the first free content for the Spinward Fringe universe is delayed.

There is a lot of exciting news coming up if you're a reader, and many changes for the better are being made.

Over the next two weeks I'll be addressing a lot of topics on this blog including:

A new approach to cover art.
Treating the books like cinematic features
Spinward Fringe: Strange Horizons & Close Encounters
The Spinward Fringe: Fracture release
The Spinward Fringe Trailer
What happened with the SyFy Channel "Your Next Space Opera Is Here" campaign.
And other topics that I'm not ready to list.

Tonight Spinward Fringe: Strange Horizons & Close Encounters launches and I'll explain exactly what that is.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey. Your support is the reason why this series has come this far and I'm proud to entertain you. Now it's time to take things to the next level.

RL

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Word On Genre

This blog post started as I was responding to this blog post by KM Weiland entitled: Why Genre Writing Could Kill Your Career.

I suggest you give the post a read before continuing on here, but in case you're pressed for time, I'll sum up the controversy that genres pose to authors and then to readers.

Authors who genre write may be pigeon holed, that is, being known as "that scifi writer" or "that fantasy writer" and not seen as being capable of, or interested in writing in other genres. Publishers often expect a different level of sales for each genre, so if someone like me is published in the science fiction genre (which doesn't sell as much as say, mystery or romance), I'll be paid less than a pure romance genre writer if I decide to write a romance novel because I'm not known in the genre and my last science fiction book may have sold well for its genre, but not well compared to the average romance novel. Thus, many cross genre writers use a different pen name for each genre. (I use L.S. Randolph for horror, for example).

Authors sometimes have great difficulty selling a book outside of their normal genre as well. The perception is that readers won't buy a mystery novel from "that SciFi guy". I've only seen it once, but large publishers and two agents I've spoken to say they see it all the time.

Genres also come with stereotypes that aren't always false. For example, Science Fiction space novels (especially Space Opera), are often considered trashy or cliche paperback books by people who don't read them. That's partially thanks to the old science fiction publishers from the 50's to 80's who would pay writers to churn out books that fit that stereotype perfectly. Readers who purchase the wrong Space Opera novels can end up with over used plots and cardboard characters. The same goes for romance, the noir subgenre of mystery or practically any other genre where a number of publishers have found what they think "delivers on reader's expectations." I cringe at the term. If that's all I was here for, I may as well have stayed in customer service, answering phones for a great big company who didn't much care about doing more than they had to in order to "deliver on customer's expectations." It paid better.

Here's what I had to say about my current place on genre writing:

I have at least a fair understanding of how common cliché's in genre fiction are. The bulk of my work over the last twenty months has been in the science fiction sub-genre of Space Opera.

I see the genre bracketing as a challenge, however, and strive to create an experience for my readers that includes creative takes on what may have been done before, something that hasn't been done before, while giving them POV characters that they can relate to on some level and are on believable, emotional journeys. It's not easy, but it's a pretty enjoyable task when things start going right.

The genre gives me a default audience, which is both a blessing and a curse. I've been at the top of Mobipocket's science fiction listing for nearly a year http://bit.ly/jYoLZ and that gives my new releases a boost, but crossing genres is still difficult if you're not in the general top 10 category wide. I love SciFi fans, especially my readers, but I get a special charge when someone who doesn't read SciFi enjoys my work.

I have more to say on this topic, so I'll blog about it on my own space and not take up more of yours! www.spinwardfringe.com

Thanks for bringing this topic up K.M. Weiland... just look what you did... *wink

--- End Comment

To expand on that a little, I have to add that I self publish. Now I self publish by choice, having turned down at least one very real, very bad publisher's offer. I'm not interested in my Spinward Fringe series being boiled down for a broader audience. I'm not interested in writing by formula so everything I do simply "delivers on reader expectations". In case you were wondering, the publisher who made the offer wanted a formula Space Opera, they went as far as to come out and say so. Like I stated above, I want to push. I want to try new ideas, new writing styles, new characters with new voices and I want to surprise my readers with something they don't expect.

That's where genres hurt us, they make it easier for readers to walk on by a whole section of the brick and mortar or online book store when their next great adventure or drama could be somewhere in the middle. They could be missing out, because within every genre there is a gem for everyone.

Reader reviews are the best guide in my opinion. When I'm looking for a new read, especially in a genre I don't normally shop in, I look at the user reviews first. When I see someone say; "I don't normally read this genre, but this book was fantastic," I know the book is worth a closer look.

RL

Thanks for opening that can of worms K.M.Weiland, it was a bit of fun!

[Does making books easier to find make up for the genre stereotypes?]

Spinward Fringe: Things are happening...

Spinward Fringe: Fracture is on its way to the editors and I'll soon hear back on the worthiness of the book.

I enjoyed writing the piece and I'm looking forward to working on the next one after any required polishing or massaging on Fracture is finished.

The first part of the Dark Arts series is finished, but that doesn't mean that Tuesday won't be free content day on this site for a while. There's a scene that didn't fit into Spinward Fringe Frontline or Fracture, and it involves a character that will eventually become closely involved with big picture events. I'll be making this scene available on www.spinwardfringe.com for free on Teusday, August 25.

There are two other Spinward Fringe segments planned for release after the first. To be honest, I don't have any other free releases planned after, that, but you never know.

As for Dark Arts, so far I've recieved a little positive feedback, sold three copies of the eBook and received a donation of $5.00. Thank you very much for your support on this very little known piece. At this point I'm starting to consider expanding the piece into a full length novel but there's very little chance of continued serialization unless support picks up. It was a fantastic experiment and I've learned a lot from the feedback and other results I've seen. It seems the readers have spoken, and though a few people were well entertained, you all seem to prefer science fiction.

I'm looking forward to releasing the Spinward Fringe free content and to the release of Spinward Fringe Fracture. I'll announce the release date of Fracture as soon as I can reliably establish one. I'm enjoying the Fringe these days, and more people are joining the crew every day.

It's a good time to be a Fringer...

RL

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From Fringe To Fright: The Dark Arts Experiment

Two months ago I finished an edit of Dark Arts: Rising, the first part of a potential horror serial that was based on the concept of a dark resurrection changing the world. It was a short, 15,000 word piece that presented a fantastic creative challenge. Horror.

Horror writing has always been my kryptonite. I'll confess: in my twenties I wrote two very bad, very long horror novels. I even tried writing one by hand to see if I could somehow change my style for the better by avoiding typing. I got a stack of double spaced hand written pages four hundred deep that will never see the light of day. A crime against Bic pens and ruled paper.

Dark Arts: Rising has more potential and I'm happy to announce that, for better or worse, it's available for free at Smashwords for every kind of eBook reader you could imagine and on its very own blog page. If you're noticing this story late, then you're sort of lucky. Everyone else had to read it piece by piece as I released it over the last seven weeks. Something about serializing this work in particular was a lot of fun.

The story is set in 1996 and begins with a dark resurrection conducted by one, Zachary Ellison. Maxwell, a grumpy British occultist, has been on his trail for years and is one of the last members of a secret society. He does his best to counter the damage Zachary has done to the barrier between the spirit and corporeal worlds while trying to lay the ground work for a re-ignition of the occultist secret society charged with protecting the general populace from what goes wailing and rending in the dark.

If you enjoy reading this ditty and want more, show your support by posting a review on Smashwords or donating whatever you think its worth. It was a blast and total change of pace to write and it didn't slow down work on Spinward Fringe much at all.

RL


[Have you read Dark Arts Rising already? What did you think?]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spinward Fringe: Fracture - Early Editing

I've begun my editorial pass / possible final draft on Spinward Fringe: Fracture and it occurs to me that there are a few very important things about this book that I didn't mention before.

It's a shorter book than Spinward Fringe Frontline. I decided that instead of taking eight or so months to release a large book, I'd split the story into three acts and write a trilogy.

The book also takes elements of the early Spinward Fringe series (Resurrection / Awakening), and fuses them with the First Light Chronicles setting and character style. Two days pass in this book, the story pace is faster than ever, I find the dialog pops more in this book than in Frontline, and I get to tell this story from many angles and explore the experiences of characters that I think more readers will be able to relate to more easily.

There's also special attention paid to how certain characters react to what they may have gained or lost over the last few months (since page 1 of Spinward Fringe Resurrection), and I've made a great effort to keep the story from getting bogged down with constant flashbacks to moments we've seen before. Instead, I try to keep building a few characters by reviewing bits of their past and emotions in the present that I haven't had a chance to examine in detail.

I've also returned to a kind of story telling that had the tendency to evoke a lot more emotion from me. I wrote a new prologue for this book that nearly had me in tears. Normally I'd be patting myself on the back and hoping that all that emotion survives my edit, but in this case I was left wondering if I made everyone around me uncomfortable at the writing jam I was attending. [A writing jam is when a group of writers get together in a cafe or someone's home and spend time working together or on their own projects.]

There's one more thing I'd like to mention before I get back to work. Editing this book is fun. Editing Frontline was a bit of a chore at times because of its sheer size and the characters spent a lot of time in a setting I no longer enjoyed imagining because it was an awful place, I wouldn't want to find myself in the same situation that the characters are in for most of that book. Don't get me wrong, the setting was great for the story, I had just spent days imagining it already at that point.

So far, editing Spinward Fringe Fracture has been very rewarding. I'm finding a lot of places where I'm smoothing out some rough edges, which is normal, and a few places were I get sucked in by the scenes and the story so well that I forget to edit. It happened with Frontline as well, but only after the first edit was completed and I had to go back to the beginning for another pass.

If my editor and beta readers approve this edit when I'm finished, you can look forward to Spinward Fringe: Fracture at the end of August.

Gotta love being independent, this stuff happens fast!

RL

[Do you prefer shorter books and a release every 2-3 months or longer books and releases every 8-9 months? Please comment below!]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Announcing Spinward Fringe: Fracture

That's right. Spinward Fringe Rogue Element has become the Rogue Element Trilogy. The first book is called Response. In online stores the name will read: Spinward Fringe: Response.

Why, you ask? The answer is simple. The story quickly outgrew the confines of one book. I had to cut Rogue Element into three parts, otherwise I'd have a five hundred page novel that would take me nine months to write. Okay, maybe six, but I went through that with Frontline, and I'd rather deliver a two hundred page novel in three months instead of a four hundred page novel in six. There are a lot of readers who agree, and it fits the nature of Space Opera.

What's the book about? Well, without giving anything serious away, it's time for a distress call. It's a common story seed in Space Opera stories, and it's time for me to to it differently, to twist the whole concept of responding to a distress call into a nice big plot pretzel gone wrong.

I've taken a completely different approach to this book and I'm happy with how it's turned out so far. I wanted to write Rogue Element like a film, like I was the director looking to milk every moment for as much drama and action as possible while tossing some intrigue and character development in for good measure. I also wanted to recapture some of the excitement that made the First Light Chronicles worth reading.

What's the end result? The first part is in draft, and it feels like I've crammed a screenplay into a prose novel. It's exciting, the science is something I'm proud of, it's emotional, and I poured so much into this book that I had nothing left by the end. I feel like taking a decade off, like I don't know exactly what I have here, but I like it too much to judge and need a professional opinion.

I'm a very fortunate man. I have not one, but two qualified people ready to look this over for me. They'll tell me if there is something missing, or if it's too fast paced, or if I've given birth to a great big, creative turkey. As with anything I enjoy writing, I've lost all objectivity, and they'll tell me what I've done here.

All I know is that the first draft is complete, it was more fun to write than Spinward Fringe Frontline, that I'll be back at work on this draft starting my personal edit tomorrow, and that this book is called Spinward Fringe: Response, it's part one of the Rogue Element Trilogy.

There's something else. There are perfectly good chapters from past books (such as the completed, edited prologue from Spinward Fringe Frontline), that will never be used. Some of them read like shorts, so I'll be releasing one free after the last part of Dark Arts: Rising hits the web next week. There will also be preview chapters for Spinward Fringe: Response that, when put together, read like their own short story. They'll be released here on a weekly basis until the book is released.

I'm excited, my editor is excited, and my new proof reader is well chuffed as well. I'll tell you what their verdict is and how long you'll have to wait until the release as soon as I know.

RL

One more thing: The book is written so new inductees to the Spinward Fringe universe can start reading here. The preceding books will always be there for them, but they can start at this point if they like.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

One Year On Mobipocket

Never has one website and its users had such an effect on my life.

Since I uploaded my books on Mobipocket, who I thought would be more of a distributor than a direct conduit to readers, I've gone from working in a cubicle to writing full time. Mobipocket hasn't made me rich, far from it, but thanks to the readers who enjoy my work I have just enough to do what I love without making time for another full time job.

"Why are you leaving Mobipocket?" Someone asked me this week. They interpreted my inclusion by other online eBook retailers catalogs as a move to separate myself from Mobipocket. My answer was simple; "I'm not leaving Mobipocket!"

My books will always be listed there. I've always been treated fairly by the site runners and there are a lot of readers who still very much enjoy Mobipocket, so there's no way I'll leave them behind when I have no reason to, especially after having a great year on their listings. For most of my time there I've been listed as the top selling science fiction author, an honour bestowed upon me by hundreds of readers who wait patiently for each Broadcast and spread the word (most of the time).

The reasons why I'm listing on Smashwords and Shortcovers are many, but mainly it's because Amazon.com, the owners of Mobipocket don't seem to be letting Mobipocket grow or change with the times. Just in case Amazon.com does something that really damages Mobipocket (and I don't know that they will, I hope they don't), I need to know my readers have a place to go to get my books.

There's also a need for more compatibility and people are very irritated with DRM, so there has to be an alternative to Mobipocket for any publisher or independent author. [EDIT: Smashwords doesn't add DRM to their eBooks and are compatible with all readers, even one I saw from Hong Kong recently] Things change, especially in the digital world, and I want my readers to feel confident that they can find my work no matter what reader they're using. I'll be the last person to force someone to buy print.

So, thank you very much Mobipocket, without you I wouldn't have met most of my readers. Thank you readers, without you and your reviews I would still be working in cubicle hell! Here's to another year on Mobipocket, may they remain viable and vital.

There is one more thing I should mention. I'm trying to spread the success I've had on Mobipocket to Shortcovers, Amazon.com and Smashwords. There are a few ways people can help and the one I'd like to focus on right now is getting reader reviews for the First Light Chronicles Omnibus on Amazon.com and Smashwords. I can't send signed copies out to everyone who posts a review, I simply can't afford it, but I can provide free eBooks! So if you post a review, send me an email with a link to it and you'll be rewarded! It doesn't have to be exhaustive, overly long or even an essay. Just a paragraph or two.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Now Available At Smashwords: Spinward Fringe Frontline!


Writing Spinward Fringe Frontline was the greatest writing challenge I've ever undertaken. It's the longest book I've ever written, weighing in at over two hundred thousand words, and the story's layers functioned in a way that closed out a few old plotlines and blew a few new ones wide open.

To date I've never written a more complex book that makes no compromises for the plight of the characters. They get into trouble, they stay in trouble, it's not fun, swashbuckling trouble either and I try my best to drag the reader down into the character's problems (physical and mental). According to a few readers I actually succeeded, while others have enjoyed it as a space opera novel with a much more serious voice than the ones that came before it.

I'm proud to present Spinward Fringe Frontline on Smashcovers today, and I hope you enjoy it.

Here's the synopsis:

Captain Valance and his crew are finally learning to work as a unit. Oblivious to the grander designs of the Order of Eden, they are drawn into a brutal conflict over a planet the Order is depopulating so they can use it for themselves. Who will survive the Frontline?

Smashwords is offering Spinward Fringe: Frontline in:
Online HTML reader

Online Java reader
Kindle (mobi format)
Epub (Stanza, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)


This weekend I'll be posting an extensive article here talking about what's going on with the next book in the Spinward Fringe Series: Rogue Element and I'll be talking about the future of the series. It'll be worth checking in for!

RL

[I'm looking for a few readers to post reviews on Amazon.com and Smashwords. Please send me an email after you've posted your review, there will be a free eBook in it for you!]

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Spinward Fringe Arrives At Shortcovers!

Some time ago I received an Email from someone at Shortcovers in response to a blog post I made concluding that they weren't ready to do business with independents. I didn't state it that directly, but it was difficult to conclude anything else after reading my comment.
After speaking with someone on the telephone (he was actually one of the top enders), I started the process of listing my work with them.

Even though they don't have an automated eBook conversion system in place yet and things are still in the refinement stage behind the scenes, the people at that company made it work. That's what was impressive about this organization, there are people behind each step of the conversion, listing and posting process. Even though it's frantic over there, it's a new subsidiary of the Indigo / Chapters corporation, they're improving things.

As far as the readers are concerned, they're working with publishers to bring prices down and their site is pretty slick. I have their eBook reader on my iPod Touch and it's very easy to navigate.

They are the best Canadian eBook company around by far, and they're positioned to be one of the top in the world from what I've seen so far. They currently have apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, Google Android (TM), and Blackberry.

You can see my listings at Shortcovers here.


RL

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Now Available At Smashwords: Spinward Fringe Triton

Of all the books in the Spinward Fringe series so far, Triton has generated the most email responses. People seemed to enjoy Resurrection and Awakening, but they absolutely absorbed, read, and re-read Triton.

To be honest it was a book with a soul of its own, writing it felt very different from the others. Spinward Fringe Frontline is again very different (Broadcast 4), and it's getting quite a few emails as well, but there will always be something special about Resurrection and Triton.

When I think of Spinward Fringe, those two books are certainly touch stones, they represent the core of the series in some very important ways.

That's why I'm very pleased to present Spinward Fringe Triton on Smashwords, my new iPhone, iPod Touch, Sony Reader, and general distributor. They seem to be able to provide for practically any modern format.

Here's the synopsis:

After narrowly escaping a brush with an old enemy Captain Valance and his crew reach out to their allies for help. Meanwhile, allies and enemies from his past are set to reveal themselves in unexpected ways, changing his life and the galaxy forever.

Smashwords is offering Spinward Fringe: Triton in:
Online HTML reader

Online Java reader
Kindle (mobi format)
Epub (Stanza, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)


Friday Spinward Fringe Frontline will launch on the site. I hope this helps everyone out there who have been trying to get access to my work but couldn't do so conveniently because they use an iPhone, iPod Touch or Sony Reader. I'm glad I could finally entertain you. You can download your copy from the Smashwords site or use your Stanza reader and the Smashwords ebook store.

RL

[I'm looking for a few readers to post reviews on Amazon.com and Smashwords. Please send me an email if you're interested, there will be a free eBook in it for you!]

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spinward Fringe Resurrection and Awakening: Now Available At Smashwords

The Smashwords release parade continues.

Today I'm proud to present (not for the first time), Spinward Fringe Resurrection and Awakening combined in one digital file. This is the last collected science fiction book I'll be offering. Resurrection and Awakening were both on the small side, so it made sense to combine them for the Smashwords release. They are available separately as well if you prefer.

I'm glad to see it finally available for the iPhone through the Stanza reader. There's a Sony Reader format version as well.

Here's the synopsis for Spinward Fringe Resurrection:

Captain Jacob Valance has no memory of his past. Left on a strange ship in an unfamiliar sector of the galaxy, he was forced to begin a new life.

Years pass and after much hard work he's earned a reputation as a man who can recover lost property, hunt down hardened criminals and go where others fear to tread.

All the while he's been searching for clues to his past and a better method of making his way through the galaxy for himself and his ragtag crew. Little does he know great change and the path to his past lay before him.

Here's the synopsis for Spinward Fringe Awakening:

The crew of the Samson are caught up in the problems of their Captain as his past starts to catch up with him. Just as new allies start to fall in line old enemies come creeping out of the shadows, putting everyone at risk.

While the crew struggles to deal with their own problems, Regent Galactic begins putting a plan in motion that will bring about the fourth fall of man and position their Corporation as the sole savior of the civilized outer fringe of space. Their ambition and greed spell disaster for the bulk of mankind.

The threads of Jake Valance's past start to come together in this, the second part of the Spinward Fringe series. He's at the same time to be the benefactor and victim of a personal history he knows nothing about.


Smashwords is offering Spinward Fringe: Resurrection and Awakening in:
Online HTML reader

Online Java reader
Kindle (mobi format)
Epub (Stanza, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)



Writing the Spinward Fringe series has been at the same time my greatest writing challenge and a purely enjoyable experience. I've been fortunate enough to have a number of readers (mostly Mobipocket users), who enjoy the series. I hope this fortune continues with Smashwords so I can entertain a broader audience.

RL

[If you're looking for the printed edition of this book, you can find it at Amazon.com]

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Light Chronicles Omnibus: Now Available At Smashwords

Yesterday I released the First Light Chronicles: Freeground free eBook on Smashwords. Today it's the First Light Chronicles Omnibus, which contains the entire trilogy: Freeground, Limbo and Starfree port.

It's finally available for the iPhone (through Stanza, just browse to the Smashwords store), the Sony Reader and any other reader you could imagine.

When will the Spinward Fringe Series appear? Soon. In fact, some of them may already be there.

To celebrate its release to the iPhone and iPod touch I'm offering a 25% discount code [NK87H] until August 7th.

Here's the synopsis:

In the middle of the darkest region of explored space sits one bright beacon; Freeground Station. Serving as a supply and trading post it is home to a select number of human beings that will take an unlikely chance to make a difference in their end of the galaxy.

Jonas and his friends spent their spare time in tactical simulations and drew the attention of Freeground Fleet Command when they hacked into restricted combat scenarios for elite trainees and defeated all comers.

Instead of punishing Jonas and his friends they offered them an opportunity to undertake a dangerous and exciting mission. They were to go out into the Galaxy and acquire any advantages that would improve life for Freegrounders.

This series is about their first voyage together, the challenges they face, and the relationships they forge with each other and the beings they meet along the way.

The First Light Chronicles Omnibus contains the entire First Light Chronicles Trilogy. Freeground, Limbo and Starfree Port.

---End Synopsis---

Smashwords is offering the First Light Chronicles: Freeground in:
Online HTML reader

Online Java reader
Kindle (mobi format)
Epub (Stanza, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)



I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I enjoyed writing it over a year ago. My work on the Spinward Fringe Series (which follows this collection), continues and I have to say it's been a fantastic experience so far.

I'll be releasing books on Smashwords throughout the week. When I've finished them all I'll be providing a peek into the upcoming Spinward Fringe book: Rogue Element.

Enjoy!

RL

[If you're looking for the printed edition of this book, you can find it at Amazon.com Oh, and please ignore the signed editions on sale for over $40.00 there, they're all fakes.]

Freeground: Now Available For Everything, Even the iPhone

I've been trying to find a good distributor and conversion service for the ePub format. In doing so I may have found the ultimate distributor.

Mobipocket has been very kind to me, but since Amazon decided that their iPhone reader (said to have been completed in August 2008), would not be released people have been less and less interested. [EDIT: Amazon stopping Mobipocket from releasing their iPhone reader has not been confirmed by Mobipocket or Amazon, they're silent on the subject.]

Smashwords has provided a free conversion and distribution solution that's above and beyond what I could have expected.

That doesn't mean I'm abandoning the format, in fact, Mobipocket readers will always have access to my work at Mobipocket.com or from Smashword's site. There are differences between the two sources. Mobipocket's files come DRM protected and have an index. Smashwords books are not DRM protected but don't have an index. Smashwords is working on a good indexing system, and considering how quickly things are developing over there I'm sure it's coming soon. This is NOT me announcing a switch to Smashwords. All my work will continue to be available from Mobipocket, Amazon.com (printed and Kindle), and Lulu.com. I'm not dropping any distribution avenue, just adding a very good one.

I'll write more about Smashwords and what I'm doing there over the coming week.

For now, the free eBook that stands as the beginning of the First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe Series is available at Smashwords for free. You can access the book using your Stanza reader on your iPhone / iPod Touch, just head over to the Smashwords store and get your free copy.

Here's the synopsis:

Large enough to support an entire civilization, one of the last free ports all alone in the dark, Freeground Station is about to come under siege. Able to fight off periodical assaults and attempted takeovers in the past, they are losing ground technologically and with no nearby allies they find themselves resorting to unorthodox methods to improve their situation.

Jonas Valent, once a former engineer with the Freeground Fleet has been reduced to a trade and supply agent, a glorified port traffic director. In his spare time he and his friends engage in anonymous combat with anyone who opposes them in station wide simulations. Their success rate and original thinking have earned them a great deal of attention. Fleet Command has no choice but to send them on a very real, very dangerous mission: to go into the galaxy and acquire allies and technology on their behalf.

Smashwords is offering the First Light Chronicles: Freeground in:
Online HTML reader

Online Java reader
Kindle (mobi format)
Epub (Stanza, other)
PDF
LRF (Sony)
PDB (Palm)


Smashwords is a distributor made for indie writers and so far they've treated me extremely well while barely lifting a finger. I hope this makes for a good place for everyone to pick up my books and I'll announce the arrival of each one as they're adapted. Now is a great time to spread the word about the First Light Chronicles and the Spinward Fringe Series. I have to give everyone who reads my work credit, they've been very supportive and adept at making my work more well known.

More to come...

RL

[Meanwhie, work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element continues!]