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
Deep down I think we all seek some type of validation. It could be with a loved one, in our careers, and in our friendship. It can also be with parking. We all need it. I have a confession though, I self doubt a lot. That is to say that I am constantly needing validation that my choices are the right ones. This is true of my writing career as well.
But I think writers are a group that need a special type of validation. There are a lot of people out there that want to be writers. There are even a lot of people out there who say they are writers and really don’t know what they mean when they say that. But deep down we writers want to be validated as authors. Unfortunately validation doesn’t always come.
So at what point are you valid in claiming you are an author. Well, that is a bar that we set for ourselves. Some set the bar really high, claiming they can only be an author when they get that first professional sale. Some claim that they can be called an author simply because they say they are.
But what really validates the claim to that title of author? Well for me it is the recognition of my peers, my readers, and friends.
Last year I felt really good when I took 2nd place in the science fiction and fantasy short story category of the 2011 Preditors and Editors readers poll for “Death Watch”. I felt even better at all the nice comments I received. I even felt validated as a short story author. The sale of my first two short stories in a matter of months helped a lot, but being recognized in that poll was special to me.
But what I really wanted to do was sell novels. So in 2012, I didn’t work on many short story projects. I put my work towards publishing my first novel, and I did it. My goal was to get a lot of new readers, and I did that. My goal was to get a lot of reviews and praise, but that has not really happened. I’ve had 8 reviews on Amazon US and 2 on UK. Don’t get me wrong, I am very pleased with those reviews. But one of my roll models, the person that inspired me to get Dissolution of Peace out, seemed to get a lot of reviews very quickly. Even a lot of editorial reviews (of which I’ve only had two). It is my opinion that he made a big splash in the Horror scene, while I seem to have made only a slight ripple (like a pebble dropped into the ocean) in the Sci-Fi scene.
So, I started to question the validity of my claim to be a novelist. Some of my role models in the independent scene, including the person above, have not even shared (to my knowledge) the work I have done. I think perhaps I expected too much from those I thought would return the favor. But the point is that I began to question if I was any good at what I was setting out to do. This is that self doubt I was talking about.
The problem not feeling validated, is that you tend to slump. And I did a significant slump. But then the readers poll came around again. I was nominated for best Science Fiction and Fantasy novel. There were also 85 other novels nominated. In the end I took another top ten finish, coming in 5th for the 2012 poll.
There were some great comments in there too. I take great pride in how much people love my work and my characters. I was ecstatic to see some of these things, they mean a lot to me.
I think the important thing that this post should point out. If you are a reader, like I am, you need to set out to review ALL the books you read but especially the ones you enjoyed. You need to make sure to share that with everyone. Because if you want to see writers continue to write, they need to feel validated. And for many of us, your reviews, purchases, and kind comments validates our purpose. I think this is more important than a professional sale, and or even a large book deal, though those all help. After all, it isn’t about who publishes what we write, but about who enjoys what we write.
So to those who continue to buy my books, vote for my books, comment on my books, review my books, and share my stories: I thank you. You fuel my my writing career and make it that much more likely that I will someday reach all my writing goals.
As for the parking, I think I will just pay for it. That is a validation that can be impossible to get.
Today is Cyber Monday. That means that you are likely out looking for good deals on various gifts for others, and maybe even yourself.
What is a better deal then free?
For today only Dissolution of Peace will be free on your Kindle! You can pick up your free copy here: LINK
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.
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”