Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Book Is Out . . . FINALLY!

The Galactic Mage - by John Daulton
The book is out. I'm very excited. And, so I don't forget, or in case you aren't going to read all the way down (which will be sad, because there's an awesome video down below), I'm moving this blog over to my website now since it's all up and running nicely now. Here's the link:

So, if you'd like to continue following along on the journey that started a really long time ago it seems, but actually less than a year ago, then you'll want to hop over there and bookmark the site. That link I just gave takes you to the actual novel page, but you can jump to the blog page if you prefer.

Okay, enough of the business stuff. Here's what's happening so far.

Sales are going awesome here in the first two weeks since release, and The Galactic Mage is getting rockin' good reviews on Amazon so far as well. If you haven't checked out the site or the book, or even the killer video trailer for the book, you should. The video is fine entertainment all by itself. You can see it below.

The novel is available on in paperback and in Kindle e-book format, and it is also available for Nook on the Barnes and Noble website.  Have a look, enjoy, and hopefully I'll see you on my website or on Facebook (

Anyway, without further adieu, here's the video trailer. Turn up your speakers and enjoy:

See, that was fun, wasn't it?

Grab a copy and enjoy it, and stay tuned for the second book in the series, The Rift in the Races, coming soon (possibly November, but at least by this time next year). I'm hoping that Cris Ortega will once again grace my book cover with artwork, and, if sales keep going and I can afford another video, I'll certainly go that route again too. Oh, and keep an eye out for a novella I've got coming out very shortly too. It's called "Auction Yard." It's not science fiction or fantasy, it's a contemporary fiction piece, but if you like good moral tales, you'll enjoy this short, touching read.

Thank you to everyone who followed along on this blog. I'll see you on the other site.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 291: Coming January 15, FINALLY

To put it short and sweet, it's done. January 15th is the magic day. On Monday, I'll push the last button and—according to what article, FAQ, or email response I choose to believe—it will be live within 3 to 7 days. So, there you have it.

I can't wait.

I really want to put up the video that Mike at made for me—it's a book trailer that I am freaking so stoked about—but I am going to hold off. I want to have a grand release in the style of a royal coronation or something, not a trickle out style one. I suppose releasing it early would provide some early energy for the project, but, I'm holding off in favor of letting any emotional boost the video gives people serve as the impetus to actually buy the book.

So, for those who are curious, since I get asked this regularly, the book will be available in paperback and e-book formats. Paperback and Kindle e-book will be available at, and the Nook version of the e-book will be available from the Barnes & Noble site.

I know a handful of people will recall way back when this was getting started, there were also some conversations about pricing, and how I could sell paperbacks through my website on the "e-store," and if I did that, I was going to make $3 more personally than if I sell it through Well, that's still true. However, I need 1000 Amazon sales and at least 50 Amazon reviews as soon as possible, so, I'm not going to promote selling it that way. My website has it set up so people can buy direct, and anyone who stumbles across that mechanism for buying it can get it like that, but I expect most people would rather use an account they already have set up at Amazon anyway. The e-store doesn't use existing Amazon accounts as I understand it, so, as a marketer, I know that having the least number of steps between creating a desire for a product and facilitating purchase is best.

So that's the news. January 15. Keep an eye out here, on Facebook, or on my site

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 230 - Fantasy Writer Attacked by Moby Dick

Me being devoured by Melville's monster.
(This will make sense by the end.)
So I know that somewhere in the back of your mind over these last few weeks you have been plagued by a constant and nagging need to know what is up with The Galactic Mage release. Being fully aware that the release of my book is the central part of your universe to the exclusion of all other thoughts and perhaps even to the neglect of your children and pets, I have decided to take a break from the crushing weight of reading I have been be-heaped with by my professors—that very “be-heaping” giving evidence to the sort of thing I have been be-reading and that has been be-assigned to me by said be-professor… sigh… and, in so be-taking that be-break, I will bespeak of what is up with my be-book.

This copy will be worth millions
So, for those that missed the report on my Facebook page, I have actually got my first “proof” copy and have set upon the task of reading it through to make sure it’s all good to go. My dearest wife volunteered to read it first, and so it was she who got to discover all the little things that were missed or messed up.

For starters, my editor gets high praise for, in 533 pages, having missed only 4 typos, three of which came at the very end, at the very highest point of climax, and all very close to one another. I can’t help be believe that these oversights, so close together, were due to her having been riveted to the page and, in the thrall of my genius, incapable of functioning in her role as proofreader and editor extraordinaire.

In addition, and quite outside of editorial control, there were two other issues, one of which is a funky spacing thing in which a line of text has only three words in it, but is spread across one full line like this:

There was a bunch of text in one line and everything was fine blah blah and then
the                                                     dog                                                             peed.
Which is not what the book really says, but this shows you how jacked up it looks.

Not sure what that is all about, but needless to say, I'll have to fix it. I fancy that, knowing my luck, fixing it will cascade into some monstrous problem in which whatever technological side effect (Romulan sabotage) that made this happen will become the proverbial golem in the gears, and I’ll spend the next 15 months ordering proof after proof copy, forced to read and re-read the whole damn thing over and over until I finally get a copy wherein the golem is not lurking on some new page or another. Let us hope I am wrong. Seldom do I hope such things, but there it is.

In addition to those problems, I personally made a mistake as well. Now, I know what you are thinking. Right now you sit gaping into your monitor, the downspout of your mouth  pouring saliva into your keyboard as you intone silently in your mind, “No possible way that you made a mistake, John,” but, alas, it is true: I did. Mortal that I am, I forgot to include a graphic.

The Galactic Mage - 8 Schools of Magic
There are 8 schools of magic in my story, and while a graphic that depicts the circular relationship of each to the other is not strictly necessary, I think it goes a long way toward clearing up any possible confusion for readers, especially new-to-fantasy readers who aren’t familiar with the idea of “magic schools” like regular readers of the genre are. So, while not an essential feature, it’s a highly important one if I want to make my story accessible to as many people as possible. And yet, I completely omitted it from the book file. Sigh. Again.

So there you have it, that’s where the book is. My wife just finished reading the proof copy last night, so I’ll be making the corrections to the manuscript today and getting it re-uploaded as soon as possible. Then I can order a new proof copy and start the reading-it-through-again process all over. (And yes, it’s going to get read through every time I have to fix it until it’s as perfect as I can get it. I am going to do everything I can to prevent myself from being one of those people who does not have the pride in workmanship or care for his/her reader to deliver a book in the highest quality possible.)

Beyond that, I have a “book trailer” video underway that I am very excited about. I just saw the first 20 seconds of it yesterday in raw form, and it’s going to be super awesome. In addition, my website is being tweaked this very moment by someone far more qualified than I in order to make it a better commercial venture than I have it set up to be at the moment. And, well, beyond that, I still have a couple hundred pages of Moby Dick to read for this, my last class ever (at least it is if there is a kind and loving God in the universe… or at least some kind of luck that isn't always stupendously horrific and hateful of my personal joy). This class is KILLING ME! I love the books, but not all crammed so close on top of one another. It’s very hard to work, have a family, go to school at night, write books/short stories/blogs/satire, build a website, put together a novel for sale, anticipate and prepare for a new grandchild despite my incredibly youthful and scant quantity of years, AND read books like The House of the Seven Gables or Moby Dick in a two week window, which also includes reading another fifty or so pages of literary criticism on said whale of a novel (please just shoot me in the face if I ever have to do that again after this year) and then write about both book and criticism for class. Bleh. Can’t wait to be done.

That’s where it is. You can thank school for making this novel release take forever and for the precipitous decline in blog post frequency since the semester began (not to mention the over-wrought style of writing you have just waded through—those three of you who managed it—that I am stuck in and too lazy to edit out right now), but, well, only 6 weeks left and I’m done forever. WOOT!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 186 - The Spaceship Has Arrived, But... Lights ON or Lights OFF?

Well, the cover is really close to done (maybe even today!). I have spaceships now, and they are so flippin’ cool. It took a while to hammer out the right look, but Cris Ortega is a master and a professional, and she put up with my picky B.S. and kept at it till she captured just the right look to match my descriptions.  Talk about having to create images from nothing. Cris Ortega has such skill when it comes to bringing out totally original imagery, making real, with little or nothing to refer to or serve as guide, amazingly detailed images that become tangible objects at the tip of her pen. It’s like magic.

You have to think about that for a minute… she has to take my words, which I write down trying to describe what I see in MY head and turn them into images of actual things. Then, she has to send those images back to me and hope that what she created looks like what I saw in MY head. She’s never seen the images or the things they depict. She has to hope I describe them well enough, and that she, who is not a native English speaker, mind you, has interpreted them in the way I hope she interprets them, and then, with all those complications in play, she has to put in  her time to create the image, then send it to me, knowing full well that I might go, “WTF? This isn’t want I wanted at all.”

So, all that said, with incomparable skill, she crafted from thin air, exactly what I wanted. Here’s my (well, Orli’s) ship (light issue aside; I’ll get to that shortly):

The Aspect - From The Galactic Mage

Freaking amazing, yes? I think so. I’m totally stoked.  And here’s the kicker. Check out how this started. This is the first sketch she sent, way back in the beginning of this project when she only had my first crude attempt at trying to describe the ships to guide her.

It’s actually pretty cool, but it doesn’t have the length or feel of the ships in the book.  At that time, we didn’t need to worry too much about it, because that was an initial layout for the whole deal. So, after that initial sketch, we were working on the characters (Orli, Altin and Taot), and then dealing with the sky and castle walls. When we got back to the ship, this next one was the first sketch Cris sent back, after my explaining the ship was sort of pointed at the characters, and hovering relatively close.

This one, while also a nice design, looks more like a shuttle or something. Much too small of a ship type. This would carry five or ten people, not a few hundred. So we had to go back to the drawing board (literally).  I knew I wasn’t explaining my ship very well, so I went through my book and copied out the scene where the ships first appear and sent that to her. I also, very quickly, using the mouse to draw, made a really gross picture for her to use to get a sense of shape and perspective.  This is what I sent:

Pretty terrible, eh?  Hah. But, look what she came back with:

As you can see, that’s essentially the ship we have now, with a few minor changes (I didn’t like the jet engine looking thing as an example).  And this is where the lights conversations began.  From that original, we’ve played with lots of color schemes and lighting. In the version at the top of the stack below, you see where we started. Below it are the iterations of thruster colors and external lighting variations that we went through as we tried to capture the right look. In the first, you’ll see the bright yellow lighting at the thruster end. I felt it was too bright and made it look like the ship was moving (which it’s not in the way the cover is intended). Plus, frankly—and I even told Cris this—it made the thrusters look like flashlights. So, the colors that follow, well, followed, with the last one being the one I chose (front window lighting still in question, and sort of the long-winded point of this whole blog post). Here they are; some you might have to look at to figure out what changed (which is fun):

In the end, we both agreed that the blue thruster color was the best. It’s subtle. It shows there’s some sort of energy going on back there, but it doesn’t overwhelm the image. It helps establish perspective and orientation of the ship, and, well, it’s just freaking sweet looking.

The only thing remaining is to decide: lights on or lights off.  I've put in a short video below that shows the two flipping on and off, which makes a cool comparison, and I tossed in a static side-by-side for those who don't want to watch the cool light-switch effect.

I keep going back and forth between the ominous look of the lights off. It’s dark, imposing and intimidating with those black windows. They strike me as being that way to repel radiation and intense light from stars and stuff. But then, with the lights on, it looks like someone is in there, looking out. It’s seems more alive.  I kind of have a preference after staring at this for two days, but I’m curious what other people think. Alive or ominous… on or off?

Tell me in a comment, or go to my Facebook page and vote in the poll. Or both.  (Here's a link to my Facebook Page for the poll).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 173 - Graphic Updates and a New Dilemma

Well, finally after a long run of nothing, we’re making progress again. In what seems an eternity since last I had something to talk about, we’ve matured Altin’s face on the cover, AND we’ve added stars, stone and selected a font for the title. Now, those of you who are of discerning dispositions might think, “That seems a lot to suddenly do, John. Are you sure none of that happened over the last three weeks, well before now, and you were just too much of a lazy piece of crap to write about it?”

Now, while that might seem a fair question, the truth is, it’s not so much laziness as it is really a long wait for progress, and then the beginning of a new college semester (my last if there is a loving God or a generous Fate or any epicurean anything that chooses just to let things fall in place). In fact, there is so much going on right now, and there has been such immense delay, that I can’t help but consider heavily delaying the release until January or February. I have three months of brutal graduate level lit class to deal with (including a scant 3 weeks for reading Moby Dick and lots of critical essays about it, not to mention writing about it all, all included in that time), and it seems that—if the delay you've seen in my just getting this posted is any evidence at all—I might not be able to do the initial-launch marketing for my book with suitable diligence, dedication and strategic attention to detail. 

All that said, I’m not sure about the release timing now, so you tell me what you think I should do. If one puts aside one’s enthusiasm to see the book right away, doesn’t it seem like a better idea to release it when I can launch it quickly and well, given that the delay is only 3 or 4 months, which, given that it was supposed to be out in July, seems like not much difference at all at this point? The other advantage is that, if I wait, I can write the sequel and have it out within a year of release, which is particularly good for sales and marketing (made possible given that, once this semester is done, I will have my life back for the first time in over a decade). What do you think?

So, with all that covered, it's time for some actual project updates, since I imagine a few of you might be curious on what’s transpired. First, Altin’s face (new version depicted above). Have a look at this video and you’ll see I am shifting back and forth between the changes. The “Before” has a narrower jaw line, and in the “After,” it’s more square, and there is subtle but very tactical shadowing under the eyes and on his brow. Cris Ortega shows her mastery in being able to, with such delicacy, add a matter of two to five years to this character. Think about how abstract a request that really is in a matter of carrying off a person in a work of art?  Anyway, have a look.

Pretty cool, eh?

Okay, also, we’ve got some stars in the sky, and we’ve got some stone in the background, and we have some title fonts.  Here’s the sky (the white lines are the breaks between front cover, book spine, and back cover):

I cut out some stuff that counts as "surprise" material.

Very cool, I think. Some of it will be blocked out by the spaceship, about which Cris and I are going back and forth working out ideas. Science fiction isn’t something she’s done much of, so she’s having to do a lot of work learning what has come before when it comes to space ship design. She’s having a lot of fun with it.  Now, opposite that, when it comes to medieval technology she is rock solid, and, speaking of rock, look at how beautifully she has rendered the stone of Altin’s tower:

Yes, that's the tip of Taot's tail and a claw (or is a duclaw on a wing?).

Isn’t that amazing? Look at the cracks and texture. It’s just incredible. Reminds me of Disney, Pixar and even of the old-school Warner Brother cartoons when they used to render backgrounds with similar care to the first two studios. 

Okay, last, I’ll show you the font I’ve chosen. There were several choices, which I’ll toss in below, but the first one is the one I am going with. Some of the others are actually cooler to look at and I even like them better from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, but I felt that from a distance, they would be hard to read, particularly the very gothic looking ones in which, if you shift your eyes right, the “M” can actually be seen as an “A” and an “L" (3rd, 6th and 7th), plus the 5th looks like a "D" and an "I". The second one down is very cool, probably my actual favorite, but the cross in the "M" might confuse readers into thinking there is some Christian undercurrent to my story (or blasphemy), and I don't want to send out messages that run anyone off. So, that said, here they are, with winner on top, then the rest:

Alright, that’s all for now. Let me know what you think about the waiting till January thing. I really am still on the fence. I want to get it out. It’s been so long, I’m eager to get going. But my rational mind thinks that a new release is only a new release ONCE, and with each passing month becomes less so. I think there is some advantages to be had in having all my ducks in row so I can really capitalize on that first few months for generating buzz. Which means patience. Not my strong suit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 141 – Oh that dreamy man of mine!

Not to worry, I have not switched teams, and my wife’s place as the object of my desire is secure. But, I do have my man, now. My man for the cover of my book I mean.

So, after a bit of a delay, we are making progress again as Cris Ortega has finished up the face and hair of my protagonist, Altin Meade. We had to do some chatting back and forth regarding the details of his robes, which is interesting really, because as I go through this process, I realize that some of the things that are perfectly fine in the book don’t work perfectly well together in a picture.

The character wears gray wizards’ robes for most of the story. But, putting him in gray robes is not particularly compelling when standing him next to a character (Orli) who is in mostly black, while both are standing in front of a gray stone wall with a black star-filled background. (I actually yawned six times just trying to write that sentence).

SO, Cris, being the consummate pro, is trying to save me from myself, and made some suggestions. She put in some stuff, and we are kicking around ideas on how to make that part of the cover more snappy—part of that includes deviating from “the facts” a bit.

When I started this project, I expected to stick to the facts. I figured the cover image would be exactly representational of some scene or something in the book, with no deviation from the story. But as I’ve gone through this, not only have I seen that doesn’t work very well aesthetically, it really makes ZERO sense from a marketing standpoint. So, if I literally allow the artist to take some artistic license, not only is that reasonable and more fun for the illustrator, it is just a plain good idea for me too.  So, as the project unfolds, I find myself having more and more fun watching it evolve into something from which new ideas can feed (and just wait till you guys finally see how awesome Orli looks).

That said, I still want this damn book out already. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Although, I guess at this rate, I’ll be in perfect timing to have this thing be a Christmas gift idea. I will have to write lots of articles on HubPages and Squidoo and those platforms and try to stuff lots of keywords and backlinks into them to get fantasy fans the world over to buy my story. How fun would that be? So, for now, I’m letting the fate of my story unfold itself as the universe wills it to be. Or luck. Or … whatever.

Anyway, to the right is the full view of Altin (this is all there is to see for the most part, he's behind the dragon and Orli), and keep in mind, the robes are barely sketched out and lightly colored in, so that’s why you don’t get to see much more (for the most part). Cris and I are still tossing ideas around on how they really should look, so when you see the final project, he could be wearing pink pajamas or shiny bronze armor for all I know. But he is a looker isn’t he? Look at that face. I used to be young and handsome and, well, bedecked with a full head of hair. Oh well. My wife loves me, so, there you go. I guess that’s why she gets so many characters named after her in my books (even if one of them did get eaten by a giant worm in one a long time ago).

(Oh, and on another note, if you haven’t read any of my Shadesbreath humor/satire on Hubpages, and you are looking for a chuckle, go have a look. Lots of illustrated goofy stuff like my last blog entry (like most of the illustrated posts on here, really) that might make you laugh: )

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 130 - A Waiting Nightmare

Once upon a time there was a man who hated waiting. In fact, his aversion to waiting was so tremendous that he would often go hungry as opposed to having to wait for toast to toast or top ramen to boil in a microwave.

Well, one day, this man decided to write a book. Because he was impatient to have it done, he worked on it every day for a long time until it was finally done. Then it was done. So he tried to publish it. He wrote nice query letters with lots of pretty words on them and sent them to publishers who spat on them and used them to train their puppies where to pee. Finally, the impatient man got tired of waiting for publishers, so he decided to publish his story himself.

He did everything he could do to get the book going on his own, and then he found people to help him with the stuff he could not do.

And then he waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

In fact, he waited so long that he actually went crazy. For, as you may recall, he was famously impatient, and, therefore, having to wait made his brain explode. It also made his chest scrunch up in a tight little fist inside him, and it even made his sphincter whimper and cramp up sometimes.

Finally his impatient mind just went, poof.

The next thing he knew he was on a grasshopper train headed for Daisy Duke’s cutoff drawer. Only there were no tiny, bun hugging jean-shorts in there, but instead, a big smoke screen that couldn’t keep flies out on a hot summer day. So the train, which was only driven by grasshoppers and not really made from them—it was really made of butter instead—melted. The butter poured down the trestles and ran out into the fields where it began to smell bad in the grass, just like it does in a man’s moustache after he eats corn on the cob or really buttery bread.  The smell was awful and flocks of geese threw up in great sheets that rained down on the crazy man, but these were not the nice sheets you put on your bed—not the 600 thread-count ones, oh no, these were sheets of partially digested water bugs and gooey green strands of pond scum and algae. Pretty gross.

The Grasshopper Train to Daisy Duke's Cutoff Drawer

So anyway, when the impatient man finally got his brain to work again, his wife was like WTF? He shrugged, having no memory of the event, and began snuffing and snorting and mumbling about how he really wanted to get his book done.

His wife had to try very hard not to slap him because he was being such a little pouty bitch. Finally she said, “It will get done. You just have to wait."

“I hate waiting,” he said.

And all the grasshoppers laughed at him.