Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde
Free Ebooks by Randolph Lalonde

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quarantine: Another Zombie Movie

This will be short.

The performances in this film range between good to fantastic, sadly this is just another zombie film. The shaky, on the scene style of filming that combines basic cinematography with the Blair Witch Project and it's effective while being terribly cliche and the fact that the "good guys" don't gear up like Rambo is a pretty nice touch too. There's also a payoff at the end that's not half bad.

Sadly the only thing good about this film is the acting, other than that this is just another zombie film. I'm numb to them now. Like the ghoulish, mindless, boring villains themselves, zombie flicks have been multiplying and spreading across our screens threatening to mark the first decade of this century as the shambling decade of horror.

The plot of Quarantine is uncreative, predictable and unworthy of the performers who put their best efforts in. If you love zombie flicks, then spend some time watching this, yet another example of how Hollywood in unintentional collaboration with numerous European studios can flood the market with mediocre genre films until absolutely no one is watching.

RL

[Spinward Fringe Frontline News: My editor is currently reviewing the first 200 pages as I continue writing past the page 250 mark.]

Friday, January 30, 2009

Somacow Reviews Spinward Fringe Triton

Geoff of Somacow finally cracked the cover of Spinward Fringe Triton. His hesitation isn't the result of procrastination, a feeling of boredom towards science fiction or even some kind of ocular affliction. He was simply afraid he wouldn't enjoy the book.

I understand. If he didn't enjoy it he'd be obligated to give it a bad review, and Geoff and I, well, we've become pleasantly acquainted and mutually wish each other all the success in the world.

The good news here is that I didn't phone Spinward Fringe Triton in, I actually put some real effort into it and for Geoff that seems to have paid off. Thank God, because when this man decides to voice his dislike for something he uses his wit and sizable vocabulary to great effect.

The review is well done, with a few jests slung here and there at Ross, a commentary from J following shorty after that made me grin and all together, if you don't already follow SomaCow, you should take a listen to this episode. There is some fecal humour preceeding the review, so wear a poncho.

RL

[This brings review week to a close! What did you think? Post your comments below please!]

Mirror's Edge: A PC Game Review By James

Sometimes a game comes out that changes the field just enough so that it becomes a reference point for other games. When I saw James, a good friend of mine who used to write reviews for a now missing website, started playing it I couldn't help but look on and wish I had time to play myself. I like what I had seen of it, and wanted to know more so he took the time to write a review that was good enough and fair enough to post here.

Without further adeu, let's see what he thought of the PC version of this game that's not about guns, but running and jumping at such a height and speed I was white knuckled just looking over his shoulder.

Mirrors Edge (PC)

Well its been some time now since EA put out Mirrors edge on the consoles and we all know that the reviews have been by and large, mixed. Why is this? Many reviews cite control issues, and of course the tendency of Faith to watch idly as you deftly jump her within arms reach of an object, only to ignore the instinct to live, and plummet to her oh so wonderfully squishy end.

Kudos to Dice for coming up with so many varieties of squishy death sound effects.

So has any of this changed on the PC version? Well, by and large Faith still acts very much like we were always told lemmings did. Then we found out it was just horrible horrible acts of animal cruelty. Much like this game.

Don't get me wrong. I find it amazing fun and innovative. It's not quite perfect, though it is going in the right direction, but it still doesn't excuse the fact that there are many game breaking issues that occur in mirrors edge.

Faith frequently will stop dead in her parkour practitioning tracks for what seems like no reason at all, then you look down and notice, quite possibly way too late, that your stuck on the miniscule edge of some other object that Faith for some reason, despite her obviously extensive training, does not seem to want to step over. Or the occasional leap that lands you in a spot which causes faith to float in mid air until you either reload the game, or a passing police chopper peppers you to death.

For a game that is supposed to emphasize speed and flow, it breaks it far too often.

Controls are not bad however, this might be an improvment over the consoles, but, being that it is a First person game, it is almost made for PC controls to begin with. If you have ever played a round of any fps of the past decade you'll find the controls fairly farmiliar, WSAD is your running, left shift your duck, space your...well you get it. The only control that has me annoyed is the magical "which way do I go" button. For some reason the default for this was chosen as left alt. Now, left alt is heinously close to the ever present ever annoying windows key, and I can't count how many times I've ended up pressing that instead, which usually ends up with my corpse on display on the games oh so pearlescent streets.

Which brings me to another point, the visuals. This is a very simple, yet visually appealing game. The dystopian future is very well presented, even if it does seem a bit odd that there is piping, cranes, ropes, chain fences, unused bricks, mortar, and arbitrary though conveniently setup plywood boards for jumping off of, onto, or otherwise.

All in all mirrors edge is not a bad game it just seems to be riding the "innovative game" coat tails a bit too much as an excuse for lacking polish. I would recommend waiting till it comes down in price, especially for PC users since EA seems intent on loading all of their games with Securom and other DRM up to wazoo despite the fact that it is 100% ineffective at doing anything other than annoying the crap out of its legitimate users.

- V

[The news about Spinward Fringe Frontline is coming soon, don't worry.]

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Worst Movie Of The Century (As of 2009)


There was good news a couple of years ago: Sony was working on a third part to the Starship Troopers franchise and they were actually spending serious money on it. Well, they should get a refund.

I enjoyed the first Starship Troopers film even though it was cheesy, an obvious bid to capture the attention of science fiction fans who missed Star Wars (it didn't work, by the way), and the acting was terrible. It was based on a book that really was a notable stepping stone in Science Fiction, but it ignored most of the pesky pages between the covers. So all together, the first Starship Troopers was an excercise in ambition that resulted in an orgy of special effects, gore and a whole bunch of bravado and yelling. It could have been worse.

The third Starship Troopers film, Starship Troopers: Marauder, demonstrates how bad worse really is. The century is only nine years old and here I've found a movie that couldn't have been fun if I spent the whole time sucking down a peyote smoothie. I have never seen a film that more thoroughly wasted my time than this ninety minute failure. Truly worthy of the title: Wost Movie Of The Century, I'm sure a remake of Howard The Duck would have been much better, in fact if I could over write my memory of Marauder with Howard the Duck, I'd do so gladly.

Now that Starship Troopers: Marauder has been out for a while, the story behind its creation is out. It's simple: Sony wanted to package one bad film (Starship Troopers), that did very well in the rental stores with a worse film (Starship Troopers 2), and then create a flashy third film (Starship Troopers 3: Marauder), to create a bargain sequel on Blu-Ray. Now, thanks to the terrible quality of Starship Troopers 2 and 3 you can pretty much get the trilogy for the price of the first film alone. It's all marketing folks, and judging from Starship Troopers 3, with its terrible acting, worse special effects, nasty editing and total lack of entertainment value, they didn't care much about the end product as long as they could use the words; 'trilogy' and 'hi-def' with 'blu-ray.'

In a world where few companies actually believe that you should do something right or not at all, Sony excells at proving that they can produce terrible products better than anyone on earth and that they rarely do anything right. I couldn't have done worse if I tried my best. Now for the good part of this 'review' (which, I realize, isn't actually a review, but an all out attack against Sony, Blu-ray, and Starship Troopers), here are the top 10 reasons why you should avoid Starship Troopers 3: Marauder and why I vote this the worst film of the decade. God help us if anyone manages to make a bigger stinker. . .

SPOILER ALERT: This top 10 list is spoilery.


10 The sound track sounds like it was done with a late 70's synthesizer played by a 12 year old with no talent and only three fingers.

9 This series of films was originally based on a noteworthy science fiction novel. They have fallen so far from it that it's embarrassing.

8 Characters are completely unbelievable. Their backgrounds, performances, dialogue and interactions are poorly delivered and badly written.

7 The technology in this film would either never work (due to the pesky laws of physics) or simply doesn't make sense. Some of it even looks like it's from the 90's.

6 The directing is so bad that I am absolutely certain I could have done better myself with a super 8 in a maximum security prison.

5 The special effects are much worse than the first film. I've seen more convincing effects in Swede movies.

4 Production design lacks any creativity. Everything is borrowed or stolen from other films and television shows. I'm sure they raided the original Lost in Space props room among others.

3 The main villain bug is a great big version of a part of the female anatomy in such great detail that this film should have been rated XXX.

2 Casper Van Dean is the best actor in the film by far.

1 Let me spoil the ending: everyone finds religion and the highest paid actors survive.


Do your part: Boycott Starship Troopers.

RL

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Down With Mad Men, Long Live Trust Me

A lot of people love the premium television show about advertising professionals in the mid 20th century called Mad Men. I don't. I think it's boring, predictable, the writing is flat with little or no pop and I can't wait until the cast is free to work on better projects, because the acting is the only good thing about that show.

Now that that's out of the way...

Along comes the new TNT show; Trust Me. This is another show about an advertising agency, an idea mill if you will. It's modern but not shined up, you won't see many metrosexuals (not that I have anything against them other than the fact that they're far prettier than I am), and you certainly won't see a relief to the pressure the characters in this show are under. This show grinds, and the grist in that mill comes in the form of some great characters played by many comedic actors we've seen in numerous places. From a Will and Grace veteran to the star of the failed show Love Monkey, along with many other medium to well known television mainstays.

There's a vitality to this show. Nothing is easy, everyone feels pressure from the top, and everything happens at the absolute worst time for everyone. People fly off the handle, and the comedy is imbedded deep in the drama. Watching this popping dialogue being slung around by these actors is like watching an hour of solid bippity-boppity-bounce-bounce-boo! (That's excited speak for; 'the dialog is really well written, fast and tight.') The really good bits, where a little sunshine peeks in through the dark clouds come in the form of realizations and temporary victories made by the characters who recover just enough to climb the next hill.

Oh, and there's a genius new girl caught in the middle.

Go watch this show.

RL

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Day The Earth Stood Still: A Review Without Spoilers

First of all, this is a review of the new film of the same name as the original black and white classic.

Taking an honest look at this film, it's not so much a remake as it is a new film that considers some of the same issues, uses some of the same imagery and tries to convey a similar message.

There honestly isn't much I can say about this movie without giving something away, so this'll be a short review. I will, however, tell you what you need to know in order to decide whether it's a film you might enjoy.

The directing, acting and special effects are all very well carried out. I didn't doubt any of the performances or characters for that matter. This film isn't another Independence Day, it's not what I'd consider an action movie though there are some explosions and fantastic sights. The film asks questions and answers a few from a certain point of view that have insulted some reviewers.

This is a film with a few very simple messages that is made to entertain as well as provoke thought and discussion. If that's not your cup of tea, then you shouldn't bother renting it. I personally know a few people who felt very insulted by this movie, and to be honest, I hope they spend a little time thinking about why they found the movie insulting. Open minds won't have any difficulty grasping the point behind the whole film, in fact, they're more likely to be entertained by it than anyone.

I highly recommend this film to anyone with an open mind who is tired of empty spectacle movies. There's plenty of spectacle in this feature, but it has a message and I'm a big sucker for a movie that's trying to tell you something, even if it's doing it in a very blunt, straight forward way.

RL

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Star Trek Nemesis: A Look Back

I miss Star Trek Generations, let's get that out of the way right off. When I watched Star Trek Nemesis for the first time years ago I came to the sad conclusion that it would be the last Star Trek film until they reinvented the franchise somehow.

When Enterprise fell on its face, I was sure we'd be without a new Trek series for at least 10 or 20 years. Right now there's a new Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams that will hopefully bring people back to Trek, and I'm looking forward to it.

Before we all go on to a new Trek, however, I thought it would be interesting to quickly review the last film we saw, Star Trek X: Nemesis, so here goes.

I enjoyed the more military feel to the ship's operations, the advancement in character story, the performances rendered by the main-stays and even some of the rivalry. One thing that had been missing from the franchise was a captain versus captain tale of any grand traditional scope, and I admit, this was a good try. Sadly, it didn't satisfy and was no where near comparable to the famous captain versus captain film from the Star Trek franchise: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn.

Another saving grace for this film was the special effects. I found they were perfectly convincing, did everything they had to. The dogfight in the end looked really good even though combat in space promises to be quite different and will most likely be fought with ships kilometers if not thousands of kilometers apart. It was still fun to watch, especially on the big screen.

Now that all the positives have been laid out, here comes what certainly contributed to this film being the last Generations Star Trek movie. First of all, the villain reminded a large portion of the US and Canadian audience of Doctor Evil. Yes, that over the top villain from the Austin Powers movies. The story was good, but highlighted a lot of problems with the Star Trek setting and there were some other massive issues. Here's a list:

Alien worlds are named after Earth mythology by the aliens that inhabit them (Romulus, Remus).
Dune buggies? Why?
A starfighter in a hallway? I remember going to get more Junior Mints when that started...
ANOTHER Data??? I thought he was a rare specimen, but it's starting to look like they just dump pieces of him all over the place like old McDonald's wrappers.
Where is the exploration in this film? If I were an explorer, I'd make sure to at least visit the Romulan gift shop! All Picard got this time out was some gaudy knife with someone else's blood on it.
Last but not least, the directing in this film was nothing beyond standard fare.

Now, don't get me wrong, this film does make a fair attempt at saying farewell to the fans, the whole cast and production staff knew this would be the last Generations film, but they could have at least gotten a director who had done action or science fiction before, and worked a little harder on some of the action sequences to make them more plausible. The dune buggy and starfighter sequences were a bad fit for the film and not "very Trekkie" as a good friend of mine put it years ago. The suspension of disbelief snapped for a lot of people.

I'm glad to have this DVD as a part of my collection, but because I'm a fan of the Generations era of Trek (and I'll admit, pretty much all other Trek except for the latter half of DS-9), not because this film is in any way a stand out from the pack like Star Trek First Contact or The Wrath of Kahn. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you rent it online or at your local vid store before the new Star Trek film hits theaters in May, it is worth seeing once at least if you're a Science Fiction or Star Trek fan, despite its many shortcomings.

As for the new film, well, J.J. Abrams has a lot to live up to. His new movie won't be compared to Star Trek Nemesis, but to the rest of the franchise as a whole. That's damned hard to face, considering there have been some real golden moments in all the Trek series'. I hope he manages to give us something that is entertaining, somewhat reflects Gene Roddenberry's vision and starts us on a new seven year mission. I miss seeing Trek on my television, and my ultimate hope is that this leads to a series and not to an eventual sequel like Star Trek: The Voyage Home. Don't get me started on that one...

RL

Status update on Spinward Fringe Frontline: 227 pages locked in, writing 4000+ words per day and loving it. When will I be finished? Hopefully before page 400. More on that later!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lawrence Fishburne On CSI: CSI Revitalized?

CSI Vegas (the first CSI from which all others spun), has had its ups and downs both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

To be honest it's one of my favorite shows along with CSI: New York. In addition to that, Grissom was one of my favorite characters on television. I enjoyed his character because of his struggles, triumphs, and the nemesis that followed his long term story.

I have to admit,though sadly, that it started to look like the Grissom character was starting to get a little old and I'm not speaking in terms of years. It's not because of the excellent actor behind that character, but the writing. I'm sure I wasn't alone in having the feeling that Grissom was being drawn off to better pastures. I approve the current destiny for that character, I like where he ended up. I won't give it away, you'll have to go watch a re-run on your own or buy this season's DVD set when it comes out.

Enter Fishburne, someone who is beloved to millions of science fiction fans of both mild mannered and fanatic variety. It is difficult not to recall his character, Morpheus, from the Matrix films. In fact I recall him fondly as I glance over to the Matrix Ultimate Edition Bluray discs, one of the only Bluray sets I ever plan on owning (I'm not a Bluray or Sony enthusiast, but hey, they were a gift).

Lawrence Fishburn plays Dr Raymond Langston, a professor who aids Grissom in an investigation in two episodes before starring in The Grave Shift, the first episode in the series with him in the lead of this ensemble cast. This episode isn't a reboot of the series, but re-introduces us to a job that has been depicted in a fairly jaded manner on CSI over the last couple years. Langston is a newbie that finds himself repulsed by many things that would repulse the audience if we were in his position. He learns things most of the viewing public wouldn't necessarily know, and walks us through re-introductions to many of the other mainstay characters while initiating the early steps of friendship, light rivalry and finding his place in the pecking order; somewhere in the middle.

I enjoyed the trip, seeing the good Doctor start to connect with characters all us CSI watchers are so familiar. In fact I think we're perhaps a little too familliar with some of these characters and take many of them for granted as a result. This is an episode about Langston's first day at work, and it's written so the audience experiences that with him. I enjoyed it.

As for Lawrence Fishburn's performance, he didn't disappoint me. Langston isn't Morpheus. He's a little stiff, much like his character from the Matrix but he shows more concern, reacts much more openly to the people around him and comes with that 'new guy smell' as I like to call it. He makes a few strides of his own but still has a lot to learn as evidenced by a few of his mistakes. All that comes through Fishburn's performance plainly.

I can't reveal anything about this episode plot wise, but it's an impressive episode in an already solid, well established series. I highly recommend that you catch it on rerun if you missed it or watch it online if it's available in your area.

RL

I like the new CSI and I'll be watching.

Friday, January 23, 2009

January 25 to January 31 Is Review Week!

I realize that things have been a little slow on my blog lately because I've been working hard on Spinward Fringe Frontline. So I've decided to take half an hour a day this week to review something on television or film.

I used to review interesting and terrible productions on this blog fairly regularly, and I thought, since there was little I could report on while the work continued on Frontline other than the fact that it's going well, I'd give reviews another spin.

There's a few things to keep in mind, however. I tend to be brutal when I review something, I've written such classics as "Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Starship Troopers 3" and "The Happening: Don't Let It Happen To You". The titles are only the beginning of these all out attacks. I actually enjoy pulling entertainment apart if it's likely to waste someone's time.

On the other hand I can be very generous in my reviews, and to be honest I enjoy writing that kind of piece a lot more even though I rarely find entertainment that's worthy of praise.

Anyway, there you have it: Starting tomorrow, it's review week on this blog and I hope to entertain you while I hack and slash or excitedly exult with some humour mixed in either way.

As far as Spinward Fringe Frontline is concerned, well, I'm having quite an adventure and I can't wait to pass it on when the book is finished. It's taking me longer to write this one simply because it's a bigger book, there are three running plotlines, and some very important things happen in this volume. I'll have more to say about that later on, until then, enjoy the fireworks.

RL

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Amazon.com: In Need Of Reviews

Recently Amazon.com began listing my work on their primary merchant site. Awfully nice of them, especially since they did it for free, but that's only the beginning of the battle.

Sadly, independent writers don't place well when their work is first released. There's no advertising budget, the books aren't backed by a big publisher that can make them a large priority and I don't have copies in bookstores across the globe.

That's why I'm asking for your help.

I've enjoyed a great deal of support and a sudden rise in popularity on Mobipocket thanks to you good people, so it's hard for me to ask for anything more but I'm in a tight spot. What I need is pretty simple.

The most direct way to help out is to post a review of your favorite book in the science fiction series, First Light Chronicles Omnibus, Spinward Fringe Resurrection, Awakening or Triton. People often read the reviews other readers have posted before investing in a single book and especially before they start a new series. Having some positive reviews attached to each major book is the most important thing at the moment so if you have the spare time this is the best way to help.

Another way to help is to post about the release of my work on Mobipocket or Amazon on your own blog or a bulletin board (preferably one that's within context).

You can also tell readers you know personally about the books being available in print. A lot of people are still resistant to Ebooks for many reasons. Make sure it's someone who enjoys science fiction, however. I've found that these books cross into the fantasy genre well, but they don't cross into the romantic or historical fiction genres too gracefully...

There you have it, if you can think of another way to lend a hand just post it in a comment below.

Thank you all for your help and support thus far. It's been a great ride and it'll only get better with the upcoming release of Spinward Fringe Frontline!

RL

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Books by Randolph Lalonde: Now Available On Amazon.com


Finally, instead of going through other companies to get my books available internationally through Amazon I'm using their services from beginning to end. The results are amazing. I have proofs of all the science fiction books I've published (The First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe books), and every single one of them is perfect.

The proofs arrived a week early and the listings on Amazon.com are up. My storefront is linked just to the right of this post. I'm honestly happy with the way they're treating me from one end to the other and glad I went through the trouble of re-designing the covers and interiors. The prices are also quite reasonable considering the high quality of the books.

The only drawback is that the books are only available on Amazon.com, not Amazon.ca or Amazon.co.uk so there's no super saver shipping available for anyone outside of the US. The shipping fees for anyone outside of the United States are pretty reasonable though, much better than Lulu.com or any of the other companies I've investigated.

Before I run off and resume work on Spinward Fringe Frontline, I'd like to take a moment to reassure the people who read my work as Ebooks. Unlike big publishers, I will NOT wait until the printed version of my books are on the market before releasing the Ebook versions. I'll gladly release any work I publish as an Ebook first. There's just no point in delaying a release, especially if I know people are anxious to get their hands on what I'm doing.

Thank you again for your support, without you I wouldn't be doing this. Now go spread the word to all those non-Ebook lookers that Amazon can send them a copy of an old fashioned, glossy covered, weighty book if they like. I know I'm glad I have hard copies now, they look pretty good on my shelf and are doomed to be dog-eared soon.

RL

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline: The Work Goes Well

It's past midnight here and I'm wide awake, wired.

Spinward Fringe Frontline has taken more time to write than anything I've worked on in the last few years. I've done more research, more rewriting, more editing so far on this one work than anything.

Why?

I want to write an adventure epic that beats everything I've ever written hands down.

When this is finished I want to open the proof copy, start reading then wonder to myself; Did I write this? Did some much more imaginative, talented author put a book out under my name?

I said a long time ago that something isn't worth writing unless you enjoy the work, unless the story and characters grip you and refuse to let you go until the tale is told, their words are on the page and the story is ready to be passed on.

So far I've enjoyed working on Frontline. It's shaping up the way I want it to, and the story is moving very quickly. The writing is getting easier as I go, the characters are telling me what the next line is, where they want to go and keeping up with them is becoming blissfully difficult.

Sadly, I have to get a few hours of sleep before continuing my work, but for all those who are wondering, I have 177 pages locked in as of tonight and there's a lot more coming a lot faster.

If you're really having trouble with the wait, there are a few things going on. Amazon.com is now accepting orders for the First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe books. Some are still in a pre-order state, but will ship in the next few days to anyone who orders early.

Geoff of SomaCow.com will be rendering his review of Spinward Fringe Triton live on Friday night. The live show can be seen and heard between 7pm-10pm here. Their show does often contain mature content, so you're informed. I have to take this opportunity to thank J, one of the hosts of SomaCow, for introducing me to the show. I enjoy being a regular listener just as much if not more than I enjoy being their "resident author."

Tomorrow I'll be back at the keys for a whole 8+ hours and I can't wait. Spinward Fringe Frontline is a book with some serious grip.

RL

Friday, January 9, 2009

Coming to Amazon.com Soon: Randolph Lalonde In Print


By January 17, 2009 many of my books will finally be available in print through Amazon.com. They'll be be pressing copies the day they're ordered and you can benefit from Super Saver Shipping as well as other Amazon.com specials.

It'll be nice to be working with a retailer (or Etailer in this case), that people trust and doesn't charge anyone outside of the US massive shipping fees. Here's a list of the books that will become available on or before January 17:

First Light Chronicles Freeground
First Light Chronicles Limbo
First Light Chronicles Starfree Port
First Light Chronicles Omnibus (All three of the above collected)

Spinward Fringe Resurrection
Spinward Fringe Awakening
Spinward Fringe Resurrection and Awakening (both books collected in one volume due to their individually smal size).
Spinward Fringe Triton

All of the above titles are already available through my new Amazon storefront on the Kindle (that's Amazon's proprietary reader), and through Mobipocket or Lulu.com for those of you who prefer to read your ebooks in PDF format. There are also signed copies from a very limited initial test print run I had done early in 2008 just in case you're looking to snag a collector's item or memento. (Links to all of those places are just to the right of this post).

Since I'm still an independent writer and Mobipocket users have been so loyal, I won't be waiting until printed copies of future books are available before listing titles electronically like most publishers do. So Mobipocket users will have access to my work weeks before anyone who still reads conventional print has a chance to order a copy. I'm happy to make Mobipocket a priority even though things have slowed down quite a bit. Without the users there I wouldn't be putting my work up on Amazon.com and I wouldn't have a remote shot at making a living at this.

Thank you all for your support so far, there will be an announcement when the books are officially available so you don't have to keep checking my webstore every day (don't wear out your Ctrl+R keys Paul, you'll hear the news here moments after I do!)

RL

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spinward Fringe Triton and Frontline: The Soundtrack





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It's no mystery that I write to music. What a lot of people don't know is that I tend to assign characters and certain scenes (or chapters), themes. The music provides a touch stone for me to go back to, an easier way to get in the mood to write for a certain character or in a certain imaginary environment.

As of yet there haven't been any (serious) offers to put Spinward Fringe on the telly or silver screen, but if they ever did I'd hope that they'd take a look at this list of songs that I've attached to characters and scenes. I thought you'd enjoy a musical tour of these two books. While vastly different, I'm fiercely proud of both of them, especially Frontline right now since it's turning out so well.

Below is a list of the tunes and a very brief description of where they fit (roughly). Since I'm avoiding spoilers here some of the descriptions are pretty vague and they're in no particular order. Enjoy!

Pandemonium - Apocalyptica: Opening Theme
Ion - Apocalyptica: Triton Space Combat
Burn - Apocalyptica: Gunfight on the ship!
Toreador II - Apocalyptica: Starfighter combat sequence
Stroke - Apocalyptica: Jake's in trouble! (Again)
Faraway - Apocalyptica: Ayan and Jonas' theme
Whistling in the Dark - They Might Be Giants: Spinward Fringe Triton Epilogue
Seven Lives - Enigma: Hyperspace trouble!
Fata Morgana - Enigma: The ship gets ready / training.
The Alchemist - Enigma: The ship gets ready / training.
Darkest Before Dawn - Enigma: Decisions are made / Captain's Office.
Goodbye Milky Way - Enigma: Funeral / Bound for the nebula.
Following the Sun - Enigma: Agameg Price adds to the Big Surprise.
Damascus - Conjure One: Planet Pandem
Center of the Sun - Conjure One: Peering into Eternity (Chapter name)
Premonition - Conjuer One: The wreckage of war (Chapter name)
Redemption - Conjure One: A trip planetside.
The Messenger - The Tea Party: Lead singer of Stonemark strums an acoustic in the park.
Stargazer, Requiem, Paint it Black - The Tea Party: Stonemark's on stage set.
Welcome to the Machine - Queensryche (cover): The View From The Top to Lucius Agrippa Wheeler (Chapter names)
Hang 'em High - My Chemical Romance: Oz picks a gunfight!
Venom - My Chemical Romance: Frost runs for his life!
1st Person - Stone Sour: Ship combat (Frontline).
Rough Boy - ZZ Top: The Night Watch (Chapter) and Samson Crew love song.
La Grange - ZZ Top: Frost's drunk (again).
Spring III - Vivaldi: Ayan's sleeping.
Nightbreed Title Tracks - Danny Elfman for the Clive Barker Film: Nightbreed: Meunez meets Collins
So Ha - Splashdown: Stephanie can't stop laughing.
Sugar High - Splashdown: Ashley's Theme
Halfworld - Splashdown: Alice and the Clever Dream
Lighthouse - Hope: A new life aboard.
Faraway (Radio Edit) - Apocalyptica: Spinward Fringe Triton End Credits
Following the Sun - Enigma: Spinward Fringe Frontline End Credits.

A special thanks to Elizabeth Mock who pointed out the site that made the playlist at the top of this post possible. I'd also like to thank all the musicians who wrote and performed this music, please don't sue me!

Oh, and work on Spinward Fringe Frontline is going magnificently well. You'll see more news from me on that and other developments very soon!

RL

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline: The Space Opera Series Goes Epic

Space Opera.

There was a time when just hearing the phrase would conjure up films like Star Wars, Star Trek (I'm thinking of The Wrath of Kahn and The Search For Spock as well as whole sections of the Generations television series), Battlestar Galactica, or a small number of other films that writers, directors, actors and everyone else in between managed to infuse with compelling stories and dramatic performances.

When I started writing the Spinward Fringe series I realized that I was setting the stage for something different, something I had never written or seen anywhere before. That's the kind of thing I live for.

Resurrection and Awakening happened, they told a lot of the story very quickly and through a few twists and turns everyone who read those books knew what they had to in order to experience Triton.

Then I started Triton. It was a much greater undertaking than I had ever attempted before and that includes Fate Cycle: Sins of the Past, a 360 page epic fantasy novel I took the better part of two years to write some time before. Spinward Fringe Triton was larger than Resurrection and Awakening combined, had a few very clear plotlines, developed the universe in a greater sense and more than anything: it contained more than one love story. One begins and comes to a tentative conclusion while the others go on their merry little ways complicating the lives of many characters. Again, Triton forced me to write in ways that I hadn't before, to face challenges I hadn't overcome.

After many emails and messages through other delivery systems I've found that my risk taking paid off. It's a good thing too, because I was proud of Triton even before I gave it to my editor, before I was sure all of its parts made a worthwhile hole.

Now I'm right in the middle of Spinward Fringe Frontline. I can't go into details, and I can't even begin to describe Fronline without explaining what comes to mind when someone mentions the term Space Opera

When I see those words (Space Opera), I think; this is a story where one or more characters are searching for something, wherein a quest for love, success, honor or even the greater good is undertaken. To me a true Space Opera always includes a story that you could express in song, perhaps a romantic tune, a dark dirge, or heart breaking melody that tells us of the sacrifice our heroes are making for the greater good. Space Operas, to me, often tell us about something a character wants or needs but the quest for it isn't easy. Sometimes they have to sacrifice thier precious few opportunities to satisfy their emotional needs for the greater good or timing and circumstance doesn't allow them to fulfill their dreams. All the while every character has a song to sing. From the heart one will croon woefully, looking to the stars in hopes that their heart's desire is singing the opposite part of thier unfulfilled duet.

Meanwhile there are dark goings on, the same melody is played by villains, only it's twisted and sinister as they scheme and consort in the shadows. Thier desires, though counter to the greater good, may still be worthy of song especially since the real villains don't see their quests as wrong but take great pleasure in using nefarious methods to accomplish them.

Therin lies the true foundation of the Space Opera. Like many Operas before there is a greater good to serve, a reason for our heroes to stop singing their duet parts and join in on the thematic chorus that will temporarily replace the longing in their hearts with bravery and give them the strength they need to make choices that serve the greater good.

We in the audience know that when devilish villains take the stage a sacrifice may be required before the heroes can finally defeat them.

The Opera plays on and as the heroic chorus is countered by the villainous theme sung in Diabolus in Musica tones we sit white knuckled, chewing fingernails and gripping our partner's arm waiting to find out which character will think up the perfect trick, out sing our villain or make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. All the while we're hoping to hear that romantic theme triumphant, signifying that the golden pair have found their way to each other, praying to hear the heroic chorus sung thundrously high over the defeated villain and desperately trying to avoid thinking back to that dark middle act wherin nothing was won, hope seemed impossible and the villain had his day. We wonder before the end if the villain or hero will have the swan song as they are killed or sacrificed and find it hard to watch as those final moments play out.

That, to me is Space Opera. To elaborate a little more, I think that's a quick and dirty guide to Epic Space Opera.

More specifically, that's what I'm doing in Spinward Fringe Frontline.

The stage is set, the players are all in costume, the audience has returned from the first intermission and now I go to write that dark, sinister second act.

RL

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Farewell 2008, Helloooo 2009!

On January 1, 2008 I resolved that I would write every day of that year. I only missed sixteen days and the results of putting the work and time into my craft are beyond what I could have imagined.

I started with Freeground on January 1, and I had no idea what I started. Five and a half more science fiction novellas/novels followed along with a non-fiction self help, two other books that will go unpublished as well as the full outline and treatment for a horror novel/screenplay that you'll most likely see this year.

My writing has improved, my plot craft has gotten sharper and I've fallen head over heels with the universe I've created over the last 365 days as well as the characters dwelling within. The Spinward Fringe universe is something that will persist whether people are interested or not. The good news is that interest is growing and Spinward Fringe is actually putting bread on the table and a roof over my head.

In August I launched the First Light Chronicles Omnibus and the first Spinward Fringe novella (Resurrection), on MobiPocket and the few people who had purchased them through Lulu.com were kind enough to post reviews there. The growing interest there since has shown me not only where my audience is but that there's actually a demand for what I'm doing. I love to entertain, I could easily say that it's one of my primary reasons for being and it seems the British love what I'm doing. Not to diminish my other readers, I appreciate everyone, but over 70% of my readers live in Britain. If this keeps up I'll have to make the trip to meet a few, but I'm still a little under funded for that I'm afraid.

Since then there have been rumors of a television series, another rumor that the whole book series has been put on hold because I've been picked up by a publisher and yet another rumor that I'm giving up Science Fiction for Horror. Well, none of those are true. If there's a television series coming (and I'd love it if there were), no one told me. I haven't been picked up by a publisher, but two agents have passed on me since I'm self published and I'm certainly NOT giving up Science Fiction.

It's true that I'll be writing a horror novel after Spinward Fringe Frontline, but only one and it's already fully outlined so it won't take very long. There are plenty of Spinward Fringe books waiting to be written and you'll see a few of them in 2009.

Here's something else that's true: I'm just a hair away from making a real living at this. No side jobs, no extra work here and there, just writing full time. Complete independence is a dream that not only my characters lust after, but something I've sought out my entire life and thanks to all of you I may be able to attain that goal. I'll have the opportunity to entertain with the written word a hell of a lot longer, hopefully for the rest of my life. In the meantime my primary donator and a couple much smaller ones have filled in financial gaps that I would have had to pick up a part time job to cover, I have to thank you especially. Just the fact that people are buying and enjoying my work is amazing, that someone actually invests a little (or a lot), more so I can keep producing is just incredible.

To think back to a time when I thought few (if any), people would be interested in what I was writing but I kept inventing and typing anyway really shows me how suddenly and surprisingly things have developed. I wrote for the enjoyment back then, and to be completely honest, writing is still a selfish act for me for one simple reason: I love what I'm doing. If I don't enjoy writing something, I simply don't do it. The fact that others are entertained by what I'm doing just makes me want to create better, more surprising and engaging fiction, thus increasing my enjoyment. It's a mental exersion that its own reward and I couldn't stop if I tried. Having said that, any movie, book, television or puppet show is always a lot better when you've shared it with a friend. So I'm truly fortunate to have a few hundred friends to share my favorite books with. When you have a cinema running in your brain 98% of the time it helps to have a few bodies in the seats.

Thank you all, I truly owe so much to everyone who has purchased one of my books, clicked on the donation button or passed the word.
You'll see some amazing, horrifying, and interesting things in 2009. After all, 2008 was just about getting started and 2009 will be all about making things bigger, brighter, bolder.

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

RL

Happy new year!