Wednesday, August 26, 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.


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

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Dark Arts Rising Soundtrack and More Info

It should come as no surprise to my regular readers that I listen to music while I write. The Dark Arts are no different, in fact I listen to more music if anything.

Dark Arts Rising takes place in 1996, and the soundtrack includes a few radio hits from that year as well as a number of tracks that came out between 1994-1996 and made an impact on either the top 40 or the metal charts. There are also a couple other, older tracks mixed in for colour.

It's a strange feeling to research a time you lived in. The reminders of what life was like back then with the Internet just starting,and texting reduced to short pager messages are pretty interesting. It was only thirteen years ago but life has changed technologically. Picking and choosing which features of the year to include in the story just so it felt like 1996 was a lot of fun, and if the response to the Dark Arts is positive, I look forward to continuing to look back into the recent past.

Dark Arts Rising begins tomorrow and for seven weeks there will be a new segment every seven days. It's a copyrighted, free to read project. Instead of charging money up front for the work in its entirety you can read the story as it's posted and pay whatever you think it's worth afterwards. If there is enough support I'll write more in the future. Dark Arts Rising is a completed work divided into seven sections.

So, enjoy the soundtrack, support the bands you enjoy and I'll see you back here tomorrow when Dark Arts Rising launches!


[What do you think of the business model behind the Dark Arts? Leave a comment!]

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who Is L.S. Randolph?

Who is L.S. Randolph?

The short answer is, he's Randolph Lalonde, an independent author who lives in Ontario. Canada. He's also the best selling science fiction author on the owned EBook website (for seven months and counting). That sounds impressive, sure, but in truth he's still a new author and Mobipocket isn't a very big site.

Randolph Lalonde writes full time, focusing much of his efforts on the Spinward Fringe space opera series of books. For more information and a quick bio you can check out the Wikipedia page.

Why take a pseudonym if you're only going to go public with it?

Many authors take a pseudonym for many reasons. In this case the name Randolph Lalonde is starting to become known for Science Fiction that's suitable for young adults up to adult readers. It's all rated PG-14 and thankfully many readers enjoy it a great deal. It's also important to mention that publishers and agents find it awkward when one author's name is attached to more than one genre. There are a lot of reasons behind that and I won't bore you with them.

A pseudonym can afford some creative freedom and that's the most important reason behind it in this case. I'd rather write horror unfettered by expectations set in my other work. Let's face it, horror is nothing without the terrible things that the genre tends to visit upon the characters trapped in the genre.

What kind of horror does L.S. Randolph write?

The first project is Dark Arts Rising. It's a supernatural / horror tale that begins with a series of terrible events. There's bloodshed in the first dozen or so words and the whole tale begins with a victim. Not typically what you'd see in the science fiction from Randolph Lalonde.

The second project may be RAGE³ (Rage Cubed), which follows the story of a serial killer from a unique perspective. It's looking like this novel will take a very, very long time to write and is well divorced from the Dark Arts Rising project. No hocus, no pocus, no supernatural aspects at all, just good old torture, murder, human evil and the chase involved in finding a way to stop it. Again, not exactly the kind of story you'd expect under the name of Randolph Lalonde.

Will there be other horror/supernatural projects? I have no idea. With enough support Dark Arts could be an ongoing series and considering someone's already donated a small but respectable amount in good faith that could be likely. I'm still writing Spinward Fringe full time, but there's nothing saying that another book or short story idea won't come along and you'll find yet another title attached to the name; L.S. Randolph (which is really Randolph S Lalonde lightly scrambled).


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dark Arts To Begin July 7, 2009

After getting the thumbs up from my editor and test readers, the Dark Arts series is set to begin on July 7, my birthday gift to myself. Dark Arts is a horror series that will be available here for free (later to appear in EBook formats).

The first installment, called simply RISING is divided into seven parts that will be released every Tuesday.

Here's a general description:

Dark Arts is a supernatural horror series that focuses on members of a mysterious society of occultists who use any means to maintain the divide between the spirit and material worlds.The Dark Arts series is written in distinct plot cycles and offered for free. The success and continuation of the Dark Arts series depends on donations from the readers.

RISING tells a story about two characters; Zachary who has been possessing one mortal after another as he seeks the secrets of true resurrection and Maxwell who bears the responsibility of destroying Zachary and preventing him from accomplishing his goals. The surly British occultist has been led to the place where Zachary was first killed as a mortal and has to take the opportunity to further the goals of the society while there is still time.

RISING is a complete plot cycle, adapted into prose from a concept for a television series. If enough readers demand more after finishing RISING I'll gladly provide.

What's happening with Spinward Fringe? I'm working on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element right now, actually, no worries!


[Have you read Supernatural Horror before? Whose your favourite author or series?]

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Progress Update: What I'm working on right now and what's coming.

Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is well on its way. It's important to note, however, that there are other projects in the works as well, even though the bulk of my energy goes towards the Spinward Fringe Series.

The last few weeks have been very interesting. Writing a pair of novellas that have nothing to do with the Spinward Fringe setting was a good idea. They were experimental and won't be published. Those ninety thousand words weren't a waste of time, however. In doing the work I developed a few new ideas, cleared a few character questions up (concerning Spinward Fringe characters), and gave myself the opportunity to make a few decisions about what I'll be working on for the rest of 2009. It also gave me a chance to clear my head after working on Spinward Fringe Frontline for over five months.

Since that 90,000 word writing spree a lot has been happening, here's an update:

Spinward Fringe Rogue Element
I've written the beginning to Spinward Fringe Rogue Element, determined the course that the characters will be taking through that book and gotten a couple of extra chapters down. Aside from that I also managed to mangle the Spinward Fringe Triton cover to my satisfaction, turning it into a fair representation of the attitude behind Spinward Fringe Rogue Element. I'll be glad to get back to it this weekend.

Dark Arts
It's been years since I've written horror or anything supernatural. While exercising my brain on those novellas an idea took root centered around a few characters and it just wouldn't go away. That's where Dark Arts begins. I'm taking a pseudonym on for this project: L.S. Randolph. Do I care if anyone knows about it? Nope, spread the word. I just need to do this work under a different name. This work is intended for adults, the imagery and subject matter will eventually go further than I've ever gone in unpublished or published works. Think Exorcist meets Saw. There will be more on this and a free short story to kick things off shortly. I'm giving myself this week to work on it before getting back to Spinward Fringe.

The Secret Horror Novel or RAGE³
This was the horror novel I had originally planned to start working on after Frontline. Sadly the twenty one page outline (sort of a write by numbers assignment I had penned), went missing and no Canadian police agency got back to me about doing an interview or ride along for research. Fate's telling me to go back to the drawing board and it looks like I'm doing just that. I'll be doing research for this one while I work on another outline from scratch. If anyone happens to see a blue notebook with Spiwnard Fringe, First Light Chronicles and RAGE³ notes inside, drop me an EMail, willya? (Oh, and it's prounounced: Rage Cubed). What's the idea behind this book? All I can say at this point is that it's about a serial killer.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6-7
The First Light Chronicles and the Spinward Fringe series are still drawing interest thanks to some very faithful readers who seem to be spreading the word and things are still going pretty strong on Mobipocket. Keeping that in mind I'm making plans for the sixth and seventh books in the Spinward Fringe series as I write Rogue Element (the fifth book). I still write each one as though it's the last, giving readers somewhat of an ending (like in Frontline) while leaving things open enough for another book. There are a lot of stories left to tell in this setting, with these characters and I'm hoping I can keep on going. It's largely up to the readers though, so keep spreading the word and remember that the books are available through for everyone who doesn't like reading EBooks.

Fate Cycle Book II: Exodus
This long awaited finale (that's right, there won't be a book III), is still sitting in a manuscript case waiting for the last 9 or so chapters. I'd apologize but frankly the science fiction I'm working on is much better. Going back to the Fate Cycle series means doing a full edit of Fate Cycle Book I: Sins of the Past without changing the story THEN I'll get to finish Book II: Exodus. If you really want to take a look at the fantasy novel I wrote ages ago and its more playful, simpler prequel (Sins of the Past: Dead of Winter), you can pick them up on Mobipocket. I will eventually finish Exodus, there's no question, but right now I have to look at things more realistically and write what people enjoy (and demand), the most.

Other Projects and Whats Ready
I'm still focusing most of my efforts on writing Spinward Fringe, finding new ways to get it to people and getting it noticed. That series is not only my best work to date but it has nearly three hundred readers. The fact that I enjoy writing that series the most at the moment is a massive bonus. When I take a few days to work on something else I'm just taking a break from Spiwnard Fringe, and always plan on going back. I'm always thinking about the characters and plot lines based in that universe.
What's ready? Cover art for RAGE³ has been purchased and the central image for Dark Arts has been found, now I have to beg to borrow or buy it. Considering how very broke I am, I might have to take extraordinary measures... *gulp*

To sum up: Watch for Dark Arts while you wait for the next Spinward Fringe Installment (Rogue Element). For the rest, well, I'm hoping to get around to everything in 2009 but nothing is certain, so keep checking back for news!


Thanks for sticking with me thus far. Things can only get more interesting from here!