D.G. Valdron Books Carousel



Well, the Starlost Unauthorized Kickstarter is over. Frankly, I’m a bit relieved.  It’s been a trip, but honestly, I felt a little bad about bothering people with my promotional efforts.

It worked though – I reached 230% of goal, or almost $2300.00 which is more than I’ve made for any other single book I’ve written… for a book I haven’t written.  I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.

First, I should express my thanks: To Stephen Kotowych, who provided an incredibly clear, straightforward and useful presentation on Kickstarters at the Indy Writer’s Conference in Toronto, back in April, and who was kind enough to review my draft Kickstarter.  Tao Wong, who organized the Indy Writer’s Conference, which ended up a cornucopia of useful ideas, advice and opportunities. Alex McGillivary, who also inspired with his Kickstarter for Bigfoot Country, and offered useful advice.  Dean Naday, cinematographer and video editor who saved me from going over a cliff, and Anna Valdron, for support. Without each of them, this Kickstarter wouldn’t exist, or it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

I also want to express my thanks to everyone who knew me and pledged.  I am touched.  Maybe it was just the project was kick ass and amazing, but I can’t help but narcisstically feel that it was a personal gesture of faith and friendship, and that means a lot.

And my thanks to all the people who had no clue who I was, but decided that this project was worthwhile and deserved support.  I think that was about 60% of my backers.  To you, I say: Brothers! Sisters! Indeterminate strangers! I love that you love this subject, I’m passionate about it too!

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Starlost Unauthorized by D.G. Valdron — Kickstarter

Hello Boys and Girls and Other, Children of all ages, Sapient beings of any description!  Welcome to my Starlost Kickstarter!

I am thrilled to say, that we exceeded our initial goal in the first week!  We are now into our Stretch Goal of $2000 – $2500.

It’s been a great experience, I want to thank everyone for their support.  But now I want to do the final push. If you’ve pledged support, god bless you, and thank you so much.  I’m not asking you for money.  If you’d like to support, but don’t have money, that’s okay too.  But what I am asking for every single one of you, is to help spread the message, pass the word, email, post, repost this, send it to friends, send it to groups you think might get into it.

This is going to be a hell of a book, I am passionate about it. Help me make it great!


At this point, I have published well over two dozen books for myself and other writers, and as a writer, I can say that covers are a pain in the ass.

So I thought I’d jot down a few notes to maybe help out other writers, including self publishers and people working with small presses.

Apart from either doing book covers myself, or being an active participant in the design of covers, I have a few other qualifications. Back in the day, when newspapers were laid out by hand, I was a production manager on small newspapers and magazines. Following that, I went on to design posters and promotional materials for stage plays, short films and arts and cultural events. As this was going on, I maintained a steady interest in art and audited art history classes. I don’t pretend to be some great authority, but I do know enough to make my way around a page.


In the old days, book cover design was pretty simple. Broadly, you had two sizes – paperback or pocketbooks about 4.5 x 6.5 inches, and trade paperbacks – loosely around 6 x 9 inches. Both had a width to height ratio of around 2 x 3. There was lots of variation, but those were decent rules of thumb.

The point being that you had a good idea of the space you had to work with, and the ratio you needed to work with, and subject to a little fiddling, you were fine. This may seem like mechanics, but the scope of the canvas dictates what you can and can’t do, or what works and what doesn’t work.

Now, however, it’s gotten more complicated. For books, we still have that 2 x 3 ratio, and pocketbooks and trade paperbacks. But now book covers are being presented in a variety of sizes, only some of which involve the physical books.

If you are browsing online Amazon or Barnes & Noble for instance, your first sight of the cover will be a tiny thumbnail, maybe 1.5 x 2.5 inches, and that first sight will be accompanied by a whole bunch of other similarly sized book covers competing for attention. That’s on a computer screen, if its on your phone, it’s even worse.

The key take-away is that for random online book browsing, your cover will be presenting under the worst conditions – a tiny image, with lots of competition.

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A JOURNEY INTO THE PAST. An experiment in hypnotic regression at a socialites party awakens a mysterious shadow of the past in the body of mild mannered accountant, Martin Owen. As the experiments progress, a band of friends are slowly drawn into a quest for King Arthur’s tomb and a Roman Emperor’s lost treasure. But the mysterious shadow has its own agenda, and as it slowly takes over Martin’s life, the friends must come to grips with their own desires, betrayals and illicit passions. Is the shadow from out of time leading them to glory… or doom!



Just a quick note.  DRUNK SLUTTY ELF AND ZOMBIES has been uploaded to IngramSpark.  It can now be ordered from the 40,000 platforms, including thousands of brick and mortar bookstores that IngramSpark spark!

Just a note of explanation – IngramSpark is to print books what Amazon is to Ebooks. They’re a giant publisher and distributor, hosting many titles, and providing services to small and independent publishers.  Getting onto IngramSpark is potentially a major breakthrough.

Does that mean I’ll be getting into real bookstores?  Probably not. The economics don’t quite work.

Basically, physical bookstores operate on a rip and return basis.  They order books, they try to sell them within a specific period of time. If they don’t, then they just rip off the covers, send them back, junk the rest and only pay for what they’ve sold.  Believe it or not, that’s the way it’s been working for a hundred years, and it’s been working fine… mostly. It’s the operating mode for books, magazines and newspapers.  And it works fine for big publishers, dealing in substantial volumes.

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Tiny Plastic Men scores AMPIA award nominations | National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI)

I’m a horrible person. I freely admit that. But I’m not horrible all the time. I have moments when I’m even okay to be around.

And when those moments happen, you’ll find me searching for the gently quirky, the strange, the oddball. All those hidden treasures and diamonds in the rough we all go blasting past, on our way to our busy lives.

Which brings me to Tiny Plastic Men, a very quirky, very fun little television series that deserves cult status and a lot more attention than it seems to have gotten.

Tiny Plastic Men is about three guys who work in a little independent toy company, Gottfried Brothers. Gottfried isn’t Mattel or Lego, but by God, they’re in there giving it their all, from board games, to action figures, to video games and somehow, they’ve managed to care themselves a niche.

Our heroes are three peons who work in the testing department: Crad, played by Chris Craddock — the everyman of the group, middle aged, divorced, burnt out, anger issues and yet somehow struggling to get by and be a decent person while pining for his boss, for whom he nurses a crush; October, played by Mark Meer, who starts off goth and gets seriously weird, and Addison, played by Matthew Alden, a kind of stereotypical lovable lunk of a manchild. Rounding out the cast are Alexandra Gottfried, played by, Belinda Cornish, daughter of old man Gottfried, and a piranha in a woman’s body, who Crad pines for. Beyond that, there’s a revolving cast of recurring characters.

Given that this is a show about three buddies working as product testers in some second string toy factory, you shouldn’t expect this to be your regular sitcom about people sitting around their apartments or having real jobs in the real world. There’s a basic silliness to the premise, a bit of surrealism, a bit of absurdity, a lot of off the wall stuff. This is not Friends, trust me. It’s not even the Big Bang Theory.

In fact, I don’t think that there’s anything quite like it. The closest I can come to is a sort of Earthbound version of Red Dwarf or perhaps a more insane version of the IT Crowd.

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The Fall Guy: Ryan Gosling & Emily Blunt, Two Forces Of Barbenheimer, Get A Thumbs Up In Test ...

So, I watched the Fall Guy, starring Ryan Gosling, and a bunch of other people I don’t really care about, and I came away … “meh.” Not even “Meh!” Just… “…meh…”

I kind of wondered why. It had all the ingredients. A bankable star, big set pieces, charismatic leads and supporting crew, a story. But oddly, I felt unmoved.

In some ways, I think I was hoping for something akin to “The Stuntman.” If you haven’t seen it, go find it. Basically, the Stunt man is about some shlub, he’s escaping prison or something, and he stumbles into a movie set, and ends up in the middle of some hair raising stunt sequence where he’s scrambling, terrified for his life, as everything goes to hell around him, until suddenly the Director yells ‘cut!’

Seems that the movie has lost a stunt man, he died or something, and our hero is thrown into the wild world of movie making, struggling through ridiculously contrived and impossible stunts, as a Godlike Director harangues everyone. Brilliant film. I want to go watch it now.

Then I think there’s an old Burt Reynolds movie, Hooper (guessing) about a stuntman. In it, Reynolds plays a stunt man, slowly wrecking his body, as he commits to increasingly dangerous stunts, second guessing his life, coping with rivals, trying to build a relationship and struggling with a callous director. I don’t know that it’s briliant, and there’s a lot of Burt Reynold’s being Burt in it. But there’s also something genuine in it, perhaps Burt had some resonance and insight into the tough guy stuntmen doing risky, reckless work that makes it worth a watch. That seemed more affecting than the fall guy.

But this? It just never really engages. For a movie about movie stunts, there’s remarkably little engagement. We never see the intricacies of how stunts are pulled off, the meticulous care going into an effect, the degree of planning, or the degree of genuine risk. We mostly just see stunts. But we know they’re all stunts, even when they’re played for real, so it kind of falls into this uncanny valley of artifice.

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