We have only one more week until Volition Agent releases for public sale. To honor this, and to get you wanting more, I’ve decided to share Chapter Two with all of you. If you haven’t yet, you can read chapter one here. Volition Agent releases on Kindle and Paperback on July 2nd. The Nook release is still TBD.
You can add Volition Agent to your Goodreads here, and please do.
If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can get an Advance Reader Copy in PDF or Kindle formats. All I ask is for a review on your blog. Contact me and we can discuss this.
If you want to pre-order your paperback copy of Volition Agent, you can do this through Createspace (an Amazon company), the book printer. If you order today, and use standard shipping, it should arrive very close to the release date (or earlier). There are currently no options to pre-order for Kindle. So if you’d like a Kindle copy early, the only way to get it is to be a book blogger/reviewer and get an ARC.
Here is Chapter 2:
Volition Agent: Chapter 2
Copyright Richard Flores IV
Lexia burst through the door into the alley, still cursing at Lance. She shut up when she saw the red and blue lights reflecting off the buildings. Lexia peaked around the corner slowly before pulling her head back.
“Please tell me that isn’t your car out front,” Lance said in her mind.
Lexia just nodded. She ran down the back of the alley. Two cops came around the back of the building.
“You, stop!” One ordered.
Lexia turned around and ran the other way. Two more came around the front of the building. Lexia looked back and forth at the cops. She took a few steps back and then ran her way through the door of the neighboring building.
She sprinted down the hall, ignoring the cops yelling at her. She hit the end of the building and came to a door. It was locked.
“Hurry up, Lance.”
“I didn’t exactly expect you to park right in front of the target.”
“This wasn’t an assassination assignment either,” Lexia said as the door clicked open. She sprinted up the stairs.
“She attacked us.”
“We’d disarmed her,” Lexia yelled.
“Listen, I handled it within regulations.”
“Regulations! She was a mom; that baby has no parents now thanks to your trigger finger.”
“Can we focus on getting out of here?”
They crashed through the last door and onto the roof. Lexia looked around quickly. “Well, how are we getting out of this?”
The building was shorter than the other two next to it. Three floors, if Lexia counted the flights correctly. This building was twice as wide too. She started to run to the back of the building. She could hear the cops coming up the last set of stairs. She looked over the edge. It backed up to the next street over. From down there she would have a better chance of escaping.
“No way,” she said.
“It’s a survivable jump.”
“It’s my broken bones.”
“You want to be arrested?” Lance’s voice rang through her head. “You know the rules.”
The Agency would disavow her in an instant. She looked back at the door. She took three steps back. “I don’t really have a choice.”
Lexia ran forward and jumped from the building. She opened her eyes for the landing just in time to see a cop car coming around the corner. Hitting the ground, Lexia rolled over several times. The cop car slammed on the brakes and swerved as she tumbled in front of it. The car hit a lamp post.
She jumped up in an instant and took off running down the street. Lexia heard more sirens in the distance, each getting closer. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw another cop car round the corner. The sound of the car behind her was close. She thought she could feel the heat of the engine as it barred down on her. At the last moment she cut down another alley.
Lexia heard the car screech to a halt. She looked over her shoulder to see another cop chasing her. She rounded a corner right into another dead end.
“Did you even look at any of the maps?” Lexia’s voice snipped at Lance.
“Shut up.” Lance’s voice chilled her spine.
The cop came around the corner. His gun pointed at Lexia.
“Hands up!” The cop ordered. Lexia was glad Lance listened. “Turn around slowly, in a complete circle.”
Lexia kept turning and turning until she spun one full time around and now faced away from the cop.
“Stop. Down to your knees.”
Lexia followed the instructions and put her arms on the back of her head. She waited nervously as she heard the cop approaching behind her. He was slow and methodical in his steps. She prayed Lance had a plan out of this.
She felt the handcuffs ratchet onto her right wrist. Just as the cop began to pull her wrist, Lexia dropped forward and pulled hard, toppling them both over. Her wrist screamed in pain as she grappled with the officer.
They rolled over and she managed to get a solid punch to his face. He shoved her off of him. Lexia began to topple backwards, but managed to catch her balance and lunged forward. Knocking the cop over again. Grappling with his arm until she finally pinned him to the ground, she pulled his arm behind his back. She used her other hand to flip open the cops handcuff case. She used his cuffs to restrain him. She pulled him up and sat him against the wall.
“I think he’s back here,” Lexia heard a voice yell out.
“I’m here!” The cop yelled.
Lexia knocked him out in one swift blow.
“Was that necessary?” Lexia asked.
“The fire escape,” Lance said.
Lexia looked up. She took a run, jumped up on a dumpster, kicked off the wall and just barely caught the bottom of the fire escape ladder. She pulled herself up quickly to the first landing. She checked the window, locked.
“Up there, on the escape!” A cop called out.
She scaled the next ladder and found an open window. Slipping inside, Lexia quickly made her way for the door. She flung it open and ran for the elevator. After hitting the button twenty times the elevator opened. Lexia pressed the basement button inside and leaned against the back wall trying to catch her breath.
“Now what?” She said between gasps.
“Basement parking garage.” Lance’s voice didn’t sound very reassuring in her head.
“They’re bound to have the building surrounded.”
The elevator opened. A strong odor of urine entered. Lexia peeked out cautiously. She didn’t see anyone among the dimly lit rows of parked cars. She ran until she spotted a sedan and walked around it. Taking the handcuff still hanging from her bleeding wrist, Lexia swung hard at the glass. First time nothing happened, just a loud noise that surely told everyone she was down here. The second time the window shattered.
“Well, they know we’re here now,” Lexia said as she slid into the car. “I don’t know how to hot-wire a car.”
“I do. So just let me work,” Lance said.
Lexia just let Lance have complete control as he went to work. The sound of the orphaned child’s cries rang in her mind. She couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d done. She was sure this wasn’t the first child whose parents she had killed, but she just couldn’t get the crying out of her head.
The engine roared to life. She sat up and put the car in reverse and pulled out slowly. As Lexia drove up the ramp she was kept her speed within reason. She was glad Lance didn’t want to draw attention.
She came out to the street and pulled away slowly. She was careful not to look in the direction of a cop, who was just coming out of the alley. Two more cop cars screamed past her. As she turned on the next street she gunned it.
“Can you get to the safe house from here?” Lance asked.
“I hope so.”
“Don’t go home until I can get things in place with The Agency.”
Crap! They got my car out front. It wouldn’t be long until they figure out who I am. How could I have been so stupid as to park nearby?
“Lexia, you understand?” Lance’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Go to the safe house, stay there. I’m jumping out.”
Copyright Richard Flores IV
Head over to this page and check it out. I think they are still building the page to include descriptions ect. But feel free to leave a review if you have already read it. If it does well on Nook, I’ll start releasing all my titles on Nook on release day. Happy reading.
Don’t forget the Paperback is also available at Amazon.com for $7.99. That is a Trade Paperback at mass market price!
As of this morning Amazon.com has officially begun selling Dissolution of Peace! It is one week early, but I am over joyed to see all this hard work finally amount to something.
I hope people enjoy the book and spread the word about it. I’m still offering signed paperbacks for only $5.99 for the next week. You can get that from the BUY BOOKS tab at the top of my blog.
Here are the Amazon.com Links:
Don’t forget to add it to your shelves on Goodreads!
Here is the trailer again, just to get you a psyched up as I am.
Book Release Announcement
I am pleased to announce that I finally have a release date for Daddy is Tired, the children’s book my son and I wrote over a year ago. On June 28th, Daddy is Tired will be officially released for sale on Amazon.com. But, I got good news for you all. You can order now on Createspace and get a special discount (see below). Everything the book makes goes directly to Cinco and I really hope to encourage him to continue his pursuits of writing and the arts. So take a moment to share the links below and share this wonderful book. It is a great, fun early reader that I feel parents and children can relate to. Now, a little about the book:
Daddy is Tired
Authored by Richard “Cinco” Flores V, Illustrated by Lorikitty, Authored with Richard Flores IV
Full Color on White paper
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Readers / Beginner
Daddy is Tired is a children’s picture book about a dad who wants to rest while his son would rather play. Dad hopes for a little nap, but his son just wants to play.
This book was written by Cinco, at five years old, in one of his own quiet time sessions. Of course his dad didn’t get to rest either, he had to help.
Use discount code: 78VZNJ65 to get 10% off. This code will only be good until the book is released officially on June 28th, 2012. Feel free to share the link (https://www.createspace.com/3671972) and discount code with everyone you know.
Click here for the Amazon Listing.
In other news, I have been hard at work getting the Print Edition of Plasma Frequency Magazine Issue 1 ready for it’s release. I am working on advertising spots now, and there are still a few spots available for this issue. We have been hard at work on the layout. And, once the print edition is final, we will begin work on the Kindle Edition. One great thing in the subscriptions are coming in all over the world. We have subscribers in the US, Singapore, the UK, Denmark, Canada, and elsewhere. So I am excited about the release of Issue 1. Here is the cover art by Tais Teng and it is inspired by “Frequencies” by Michael Hodges.
Of course, we are hard at work on reading for Issue 2 now. And this has left me little time for much else. I suppose the if I wish to get more of my own writing done, I will need to seek more volunteers to help me with the reading, artwork, layout, and advertising. All of which take a lot of work.
I still don’t have cover art to show you for Dissolution of Peace. But, I suspect it will be released in Late August. I plan to have an official release date in the July updates.
My novel in progress has ground to a halt. Mostly because of all my other life commitment. The Magazine, my volunteer activities, and my job keep me pretty busy most of the time.
No new short story acceptances to report either.
So that is the June Updates. See next week for my next blog post, not sure what Topic I will choose though.
It is funny that most people ask me the question: Should I self publish or should I try the traditional publisher? There are other options for publishing your book that just those two options. We’ll explore some of those with this post. I’ll give you my thoughts on each of these, and you can give me your thoughts in the comments.
The Conglomerate Publisher
We like to say “Traditional Publisher” but truthfully traditions are changing and the term doesn’t really fit anymore. And, truth be told, traditional publishing can be divided up. So we’ll talk about the conglomerate publisher. These are the big guys in publishing. Orbit Books, Tor, Del Rey, Bantam, Baen, and Scholastic are just a few examples. And, if you look most of those up you will find a parent corporation they are under. The parent corporation often has a number of press names they use depending on the genre. They employe a ton of editors, copywriters, printers, and basically just a lot of employees that work to publish books.
Advantage: Well they are the big guys. Land a deal with them and you are likely to get exposure in a wide market area. They will handle most of your book’s marketing. They have the ability to print out mass copies. They may offer you a higher advance and royalties too (maybe).
Disadvantage: Getting accepted is hard. Many talented authors spend a lot of time just to get rejected from these guys. Nearly everybody submits to them. You often have to sell off a lot more copies to pay off your advance (they have a higher overhead then any other option). Even if you do get published you tend to find that it takes a long time to get anything going. And, I see a lot of people published by these conglomerates that are still marketing the heck out of their own works. The other HUGE disadvantage is that authors often think getting published by these guys guarantee a hit novel, it doesn’t. Plain and simple these guys can do little to make you any better of a writer and story teller.
The Mid-level Publisher
A lot of sites go straight from Conglomerate to Independent when they talk about types of publishers. But there are a few mid-level publishing companies. These companies may be only big in one genre, or maybe are big in one country. The main difference here is that they tend to publish more books then the independent publisher, but not as many as the conglomerates.
Advantage: They handle the major marketing. They can produce a moderate amount of books at one time. They offer you a good advance and royalties. They tend to have a smaller overhead which means more profit margin and hopefully more money in your pocket.
Disadvantage: Acceptance is still hard. Exposure is not as big, but in the days of the internet and Amazon it is getting much better. There can still be lengthy delays from acceptance to publish date.
The Independent Press
This is often confused with someone who sits in their basement printing books. That is not the case. These are simply smaller companies working to publish books. They tend to specialize is a genre or two. They often only have one or two editors (sometimes more). They often don’t work to make huge profits. Sometimes they are Sole Proprietorships (one owner) or Partnerships. But many are now LLC, LLP, or even incorporating.
Advantages: Acceptance times are often faster. They are far more approachable. They will market your book as well. And, with the internet as big as it is. They are often on the virtual shelves of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and their own private stores. They often pay lower advances but higher royalties (though not always). It often takes less sales to “burn off” the advance and start earning royalties. They are in the business of getting good writers out to the readers that other presses are simply over looking. But, you will find more and more authors are going with smaller presses to get their voice heard. First, you still have to market your book no matter what way you go about this. Here you get a little help. Plus, even if your Novel is rejected. The smaller presses are far more likely to tell you why. Giving you a chance to fix the mistake and try again.
Disadvantage: They simply aren’t the big guys. Most don’t stock book shelves of brick and mortar book stores. But, some do. But with how many books are purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. It is starting to be irrelevant. Last, many authors worry about using a Independent press simply due to brand recognition factors. But, I frankly never looked at who published a book until I started writing. Most readers don’t care who published it, only how the story is written.
A vanity press is often confused with a Independent Press. But they are vastly different. A vanity press publishes almost every thing they are sent, provided you cut them a check. That’s right. You pay them to publish your book. They offer many of the services other presses offer, editors, marketing, ect. But you have to pay for it. They slap a publishers name on it and sell it. They came is to play when self publishing was hard, and carried a much more negative image then it does today.
Advantages: Frankly it is hard for me to think of any. Money should always flow in the direction of the author. I suppose if you wanted to self publish, but didn’t want to let people know you did it. This is the way. But why?
Disadvantages: It’s a rip off. Frankly they over charge for just about everything. You may as well hire a good independent editor, and publish it yourself. Or better yet, give a few of these Independent Publishers a shot and not have to pay a dime.
This is just as it sounds you self publish your works. You pay for the cover art (or make it yourself), you solely market, you format it on Createspace, KDP, or where ever. You are the publisher of your own book.
Advantages: No middleman to work with. You get final say on everything. You do it all. You are guaranteed to get published.
Disadvantages: You do it all. Self publishing is the most underestimated form of publishing. It is by far the most work. You have to pay for an editor (and you really need to do that if you plan to self publish and maybe even if you plan to use a different method). Sure you could just take your story, look it over and then throw it together on KDP and tell you friends to go buy it. But, is that really getting published? Or just perpetuating the stereo type that nothing good is ever self published? Of everything I mentioned here, self publishing is the hardest.
You can see there are a lot of options, you can choose what works for you. I strongly recommend that you look at them all. I think Independent Presses give you the best balance between self publishing and “traditional” publishing. That is just my opinion though. Perhaps in another post I’ll highlight a few independent presses that specialize in certain genres. If you know of one, visit the contact page and let me know.
I can’t believe we’re already six days into March. A lot has happened since my last updates and as a result my regular scheduled blogs had been disrupted. I hope to start posting every week again, but instead of Sundays it will be on Tuesdays. So keep an eye out for regular blogs posts again, hopefully I can keep up the advice blogs.
Let’s start with some personal updates. I spent President’s Day weekend moving. I didn’t move far, just back to my hometown of Vacaville, but the move still took three days. My advice… DON’T USE BUDGET. I reserved a truck with Budget Truck rentals, and AFTER I confirmed the reservation they decided to tack on a $200 deposit. Had the online reservation tool mentioned that prior to confirmation I would have canceled. So, I called Budget and told them I wanted to cancel. They charged me $50 to do that. I can’t possibly believe that the 10 minutes from the time I pressed confirm to the time I canceled, inconvenienced them that much.
Well, that took away half my moving truck budget and made it impossible for me to rent from anywhere else. So I had to move my whole three bedroom house with my minivan. That made the move tiring, exhausting, and LONG. But we got everything moved but we are still working on unpacking.
I finished that move on a Monday and started my new job on the Wednesday after I had been out of work for just under a year. I know many other people have been out of work even longer so I feel blessed and fortunate to have found work. That being said, it is still hard to get back into the rhythm of working full time after so many days off. I hope to get a schedule figured out soon so that I can fit in my scheduled writing and gym time. But it feels good to have a reliable income again.
On the writing front, I haven’t got much done. My January short story is still in it’s infancy. I think it is just short and it needs to be developed more. I didn’t get one done in February, but I may start in on another novel based on the Characters and world of “Dream Job” (you can read it here in the first issue of Cygnus Journal).
The two short stories I have out are still making their rounds. “Miles from the Future” recently received another rejection. However it was a rare personal rejection explaining that it made it all the way to final stages, but was apparently just nudged out by other works. I am debating on where to send it next. I have a very promising story called “Compassionate Death” that is currently still circling with some Pro Markets. I haven’t got much feedback on it from editors, but my trial readers really seemed to enjoy it. I think it could still be some time before either one is published, but I look forward to when I can share them with you.
My son’s Children’s Book, Daddy is Tired, has hit yet another road block in its journey to publication. The illustrator has developed a medical issue that has impacted her drawing arm. While it is not anything major (as in life threatening) it is very painful. I hope she can get the treatment she needs and gets well soon. There is one plus side. I did get this sample image to share with you all:
My recently completed first draft for my untitled novel, is still resting. I plan to get to the first rounds of edits this month, schedule permitting. I am excited to get that one out to you guys as well. I know it is a bit premature but I already wonder about cover art for that one. I also hope the sample readers like it. It will be a ton of work, and I do intend to use professional help for the final draft. But that is still a long while away. If I can think of a good title, I will certainly share it with you guys.
On this blog, I plan to work on another help piece for authors on the subject of properly critiquing other writer’s works. I have found that helping others with their works has helped my writing improve more than any other method. In any case, I am not sure if that post will be out next week or the week after.
But, I will have something to share with you next week. So, until then, happy writing. As always you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
A lot has gone on since I wrote my January Updates in the first part of January. There are new announcements and progress reports to share. Let’s get started, shall we.
On February 5th, I finished the first draft of my still untitled novel. It game is at just over 67,000 words and only took forty seven days start to finish. As I mentioned before, I didn’t write everyday. Life gets in the way sometimes. So, it took 21 days of writing. I am pleased to be finished, but now the real work starts. There are many other steps ahead and I will probably start the self editing in March.
I did write a January short story. I put it out for critiques and the overwhelming response is that it seems unfinished. I originally wrote it with a quick little idea, thinking a flash piece. But it seems it needs some expanding. The problem is, I am not sure where I will go from here. We will see.
Daddy is Tired, the children’s picture book, is still waiting on the illustrator. So, unfortunately there is no cover art to show you yet. I also don’t think a March release will happen either. The lead time from the publisher is lengthy. So, perhaps April. The illustrator has told me she will be staying up late tomorrow and hopes to finish then. Official release dates will be announced as soon as I have them.
I’ve done a lot of reading since I finished Shining in Crimson by Robert S. Wilson. I read Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card and The NanoTech Murders by Lee Gimenez (review here). Right now I am reading I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I know it is amazing that I have not read this book yet, not sure why I never got to it but I am reading it now. Once I finish that, I will have to head back to the book store.
I’m planning a move any day now. I plan to move back to Vacaville, my hometown here in California. I’m living just up the road in a neighboring city right now. We moved here for cheaper rent, but we miss home (even with it being so close) and we hope to move before March 1st. But, that may not be possible. It all depends on if we hear back from the applications we have put in.
Well, that’s the updates for February. We’ll have to touch base on these again in March. Hopefully then I will have release dates and other fun stuff to share.
Recently I found out that my short story “Death Watch” was nominated for the Preditors and Editors Best of 2011 Award in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Short story category.
The Preditors and Editors Award is based on votes. So please take a moment to vote. Voting is easy. “Death Watch” is listed alphabetically. Select it and scroll to the bottom. Fill in your name and email. If you wish you can leave a comment for other voters. Then click the submit button. Then they will email you and you verify your vote by clicking the link in the email. Done.
Thank you! Thank You to all those who already voted!
Click Here to vote
Click Here to Read “Death Watch”
I haven’t mentioned this much, maybe a few posts here and there, but I love video games. Like many people in my generation, I have grown up with the video game industry. As it has grown so have I. I started with Mario on the NES, and this week I began playing Battlefield 3 for my PC. That is a lot of growth in a short amount of time.
Just like writing, I don’t have as much time for games as I used to. In life, you have to make time for the things you love to do. So I make time for the games when I can. And, of course, when a new game I love comes out (such as Battlefield 3) I tend to spend a lot of time with it. And, while getting my butt kicked last night, I thought a lot about my uncontested favorite video games: Tomb Raider. It got me thinking about a different aspect of video game evolution. So this morning, I figured I better get this blog out now before I started in on the Battlefield.
Its easy to notice the evolution of graphics, controls, consoles, or even the sheer size of the games. But, story telling has almost become a requirement in the video game world. Take a look at the original Mario Bros., a game that is still great today, but really tells a limited story. Scroll Right and save the princess. The story has since grown, so that even the newest Mario games have a far more detailed story.
But stories have gotten even more important in the over all game play. Characters’ stories are often crafted and even the slightest of changes are contested by the fans. Katie Fleming, the Queen of Tomb Raider Fandom, recently hosted a Youtube video debate on the changes to Lara Croft’s character bio. I mention this because it demonstrates the affect of story telling on today’s games. This was a very passionate debate by loving fans to Lara and the Tomb Raider franchise. There is true love there for the character and her story.
People can now get even more immersed in the game world by an entertaining story, a creative world to be explored, characters you care about, and a protagonist you love to hate. Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? The same recipe for a good story has now become the recipe for a good game. Games have become more about being playable stories then just a game. I have spent many nights up late playing one more “level” just to find out what happens next in the story. Just as I have done so many times with the pages of a book.
I think the evolution of gaming in the direction of story telling started early. Almost all games had a story of some sort. But, it has become so important now that even games like Battlefield 3, that are primarily played for their massive multi-player interaction, have ensured they have a story to go with their game. Picking up a gun and shooting other players has no longer become good enough for most of the gamers.
With the development of another Tomb Raider in the works, story telling comes to the forefront again. Almost all the buzz about this game has been about the story: The reinventing of Lara (again) for our playing enjoyment. I have not heard much talk of graphics, moves, or controls. The talk has been about Lara’s new look, the story of Lara’s past, and the world she will be stuck in. The same things I talk about (and look for) in a good book.
In fact, video game characters have made the move into other story telling medium as well. Of course you have movies like Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, and Prince of Persia. Tomb Raider had a great run of Comic Books. Some have even made their way into novels. In fact, if the right people are reading this I should note that I would love to write a Tomb Raider Novel (HINT HINT SHAMELESS PLUG).
As a writer you may have considered writing a novel, a comic book, or even a movie. But the world of video games offers another chance for story telling. And, video gamers can be the most fun and challenging group to write for. We love our games, their characters, their worlds, and the story they have to tell.
Now if you will excuse me, I am needed on the Battlefield.