Volition Agent Release Party!

It is official.  Today Volition Agent came out on Amazon.com. Which means, I officially released my second novel!  I am so excited for this novel and I hope you guys are too.

BOOK COVER:

Volition Agent - Kindle Cover (Hires jpg)

BOOK TRAILER:

BLURB:

Lexia is an ordinary person, with no special training or unique skills. That is until Lance, her handler, jumps in and takes full control of her every action. With Lance, Lexia is one of the deadliest government agents. Without him, she is a useless civilian who is completely disposable. When one of her missions goes wrong quickly, Lexia finds herself scrambling to escape capture. The agency she works for disavows any knowledge of her existence and leaves her for local authorities to arrest her on murder charges. Lexia must fend for herself if she wants to survive. With no clues, minimal training, and an unlikely ally she searches for answers. The agency wants her dead. Can Lexia stop them? Or are they still in control?

BUY THE BOOK:

US Paperback: (ISBN: 978-0615840802) Regular price is $6.49, but at the time of this post Amazon has it at 10% off!

US Kindle: (ASIN: B00DMCLTQM)Regular price is $1.99, you can borrow free if you are on Amazon Prime

UK Paperback: Coming SOON

UK Kindle:

I will hope that many of you will run over to Amazon.com and at least spare $1.99 for the Kindle copy.  The sudden increase in sales would be great for opening week.  And $1.99 is very little compared to other things we spend money on.  Besides, you will want to read Lexia’s story over and over again.

RELEASE PARTY

It is time to have a big part to celebrate my second novel being published!  So for the next week I will be playing all types of games, contests, giveaways, and blog posts.

Games:

I am going to play a few social media games over the coming days.  The other night I played one on Facebook with trivia questions about the book release.  To maximize your chances of winning copies of my book, I suggest you follow me on my four social media outlets: My blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  Over the next week there will be different games you can play by following these.  I’ll be giving away Kindle Copies of the book for prizes (and maybe other prizes).

Watch for more games on my social media sites!

Giveaways

There is currently a Goodreads Giveaway, and by later this afternoon there will be a Rafflecopter giveaway by tomorrow morning.  The best way to find both of these is by visiting my website and clicking on the giveaways tab.

Photo Contest:

Recently cover artist Kristin Irons and cover mode Joy Anna received their paperback copies of the book and sent me some pictures.  Below are pictures of each of us with our copies.

Kristin shows of her logo!
Kristin shows of her logo!
Joy shows off her work as Lexia.
Joy shows off her work as Lexia.
Richard with his second novel.
Richard with his second novel.

These photos got me thinking.  To honor Kristin and Joy’s talents in photography, I thought it would be fun to have a photo contest.  So here is what I am doing.  You can enter between now and August 2nd.  Take your picture with your copy of Volition Agent.  Once I have all the pictures, I’ll decide which are the best and they will win some prizes (see below).  Of course there are contest rules and directions for entering below.  Be creative, have fun, and take some great pictures.  I’ll be scoring them on their creativity, and fun.  Winners will be announced by August 13th.

Prizes:

1st Place – $100 Amazon Gift Card

2nd Place – $75 Amazon Gift Card

3rd Place – $50 Amazon Gift Card

4th Place – $25 Amazon Gift Card

Contest Rules:

Be submitting a picture you agree to the following Terms:

Submit a picture by posting in on Richard Flores IV Facebook Page timeline, if that does not work you can enter by emailing me the picture to floresiv.richard@gmail.com.  Tagging photos, or other methods of submitting photos will not be accepted.

By submitting the picture, the picture becomes Richard Flores IV’s property and you agree that Richard can use the picture for marketing, and promotional purposes.  Some examples, but not limited to, posting on my blog, website, and social media sites.

Pictures must be submitted by 11:59pm pacific time on 8/2/2013 to be considered.  Pictures submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Photos must include the entrant and a copy of Volition Agent (ISBN: 978-0615840802) where the cover can be seen and readily identified as belonging to said book.  Those are the only two requirement, the rest is up to you.

Limit two photos per entrant.

Winners are determined solely based on Richard Flores IV’s discretion by methods determined by him.

Prizes will be paid to the entrant only.  Richard Flores IV is not responsible for agreements the entrant may have made with other people involved in the photo submitted.

Family of Richard Flores IV, those that work for Plasma Spyglass Press, and those involved in the production of Volition Agent (Editors, Cover Artists, Cover Models) are not eligible for this contest.  When there is a doubt on eligibility, Richard Flores IV will be the sole decider of eligibility.

Richard Flores IV reserves the right to exclude photos from the contest if he feels the content is not appropriate for the contest.  If said picture is deemed unacceptable, Richard Flores IV will notify the entrant.  They will still be allowed to enter to win if they wish to enter another photo.  Removed photos will not count against the entrants maximum number of photos.

By submitting a photo for the contest you agree to these terms and conditions.  If these terms are violated your entrance will be removed and prizes forfeited.

Blog Posts:

Several people have agreed to post reviews, author interviews, and book features.  If you want to post a review on your blog (I’ll send you a free Kindle copy in return), do an author interview, or feature the book, please feel free to contact me.  I will be posting links to various posts as they are posted.  I typically post these on Facebook and Twitter.

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Volition Agent – Chapter 2 reveal and Preorder details

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 hereVolition 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.

Paperback Pre-Order

Below you will see the print cover spread.  I think it is absolutely great.  Once again I have to thank Kristin Irons and Joy Anna.  With out them the cover would be very lack luster.

Here is Chapter 2:

Volition Agent Book Spread
Copyright 2013 Kristin Irons and Richard Flores IV

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

PRE-ORDER: PAPERBACK

Curse Words in Writing

swearing_3421243I really have never addressed this topic.  It is funny that I have not talked about it since I quite simply love to curse. There is little else that makes certain type of point than a well placed “fuck” or a perfectly timed “bullshit.” And in the work I do, I am certainly well adjusted to hearing swear words, including some very nasty ones directed at me personally.

So when it came to swearing in writing, I never really gave in much thought.  I like to write stories with believable characters, and we live in a world where people curse.  But when it comes to telling a story, cursing can be off putting to some readers, and there has to be a balance. There are many things to consider when you type that first swear in your fiction.  Let’s take a look at some:

Audience

Who is this book intended for?  It might be most obvious to eliminate, or at the least tone down, cursing in a Young Adult novel.  You will likely have none in Middle Grade.  And I am certain your children’s book will be swear free.  But it is more then just the category of your novel.  Are you writing to diehard Sci-Fi readers? Grandmas? Church goers? Parents of young kids? Military readers? and on and on.  Each of these needs a consideration as well.  If this group of readers will be easily offended by the content of your novel, including swearing, you either need to change your audience or remove the words.

Is it Fitting?

Does the curse words fit the story, the world, and the context it is used in?  If you are writing a book about an alien world who have never met humans, I highly doubt they would use the word “shit” in any way.  If you are writing about a character that is getting shot at, I can almost be certain they will swear.  If you are writing a military or police novel, they swear.  Do they all swear?  No.  But I’ve been around enough of both to know that when things get ugly, a swear might slip out.  You have to find out if the swear belongs in the world, the environment, and the type of story you are telling.

Characters

I touched on this a bit above.  If you are writing about the military, there may be curse words.  But if your Main Character is a very mild mannered person who was drafted into the army, s/he might not be prone to swearing.  If you are writing about a priest who is trying to help a teenager get out of a bad situation, he is unlikely to swear.  But then again, he might slip in a minor curse word if the teenager has just pushed the priest too far.  Or the priest feels that is the only way to get through to the kid.  Think about each of your characters.  As you are developing your character, did you ever think of them as the type to swear a lot?  If not, then it might be best to leave them out.  Consider the character’s background.  Growing up rich with a lot of servants and proper etiquette might yield a different swear result than the inner-city bully.

Vulgarity

To some the word “fuck” is vulgar in itself.  I am sure if that is the case they stopped reading my blog a long time ago.  But to others, the way it is used determines the level of vulgarity.  There is a big difference between yelling out “fuck” in an adrenaline rush situation and saying you will “fuck” someone.  The vulgarity of the use of a swear ties in to the character, the suitability of the use, and your target audience.  I swear a lot, but there are certain words, when used a certain way, that even I take offense to.  In the end if you are going for shock value, it should be removed.  Shocking your audience in a vulgar way, will likely knock them right out of your story.  Sometimes to the point they won’t keep reading.

Is the word distracting/excessive?

When you read the text, is the word distracting to the action? Do you, or your beta readers, seem to notice the word more than the actions of the overall scene?  If so, it probably doesn’t belong.  Have your characters done nothing but curse the entire novel?  If so, you may be taking away from the character and that will only hurt the story.  The most obvious test is if you notice.  The second test will come from beta readers.

Excessive is hard to define.  You can’t say that a certain number of curse words is the limit in any novel.  You have to test it with a sample audience, the beta readers.  See what they say.  See what your editor says.  Consider all of it to decide if it works for your novel.  In Dissolution of Peace, we have a military setting, with aggressive and stressed out characters, in a world on the brink of war.  I can tell you that there is cursing in the novel.  My friend asked me if the novel would be appropriate for a 14 and 9 year old.  Before I could message him back and say, “Probably not.” He told me that he searched the novel.  The word “Fuck” came up fifteen times and “shit” twenty plus times.  When I first saw that, I was surprised.  I hadn’t thought it was so much.  And that really does seem like a lot.  But not one beta readers, or my editor, made a single comment on the cursing.  The fact that neither myself or my beta readers noticed proves the fact that it is not excessive.

Of course, others might consider it very excessive.  That goes back to audience.  So far, in both editorial reviews and customer reviews, there has been no mention of the cursing.  So far, it seems, that no one considers it excessive.  As I go back and read the novel, the curse words fit the situations they are used in.  You almost don’t notice them.

To curse or not to curse.  The debate.

Curse words are a big debate in the writing community.  I’ve not noticed forum discussion on the topic that did not have strong opinions on both sides of the debate.  Many have argued that if the right way to use a curse word is to leave it unnoticed, than what it the point of using it anyway?  I often argue that sometimes not using a curse word can be more distracting.  I read a detective novel, very well written, but I just couldn’t see this detective yelling out “dang!” when he got shot at.  To me that was deliberate censorship and it stood out far more than a “shit” or a “damn it” would have.  If the author was against cursing, simply leaving it off might have been better.

And that sort of sums up the use of curse words in a novel.  They will never make or break a story.  I’ve seen excellent novels based in various settings that both use and didn’t use curse words.  But even in those that used the curse words, it wasn’t the curse words you remembered.  You remembered the story.  Curse words are like many other character and story accents.  If used correctly, no one will remember them but they will love your characters and story.

Swears are a lot like sex scenes.  In many cases the story will work just fine without either.  So the choice is entirely up to the author.  But when used correctly, swears are no big deal either.  Only the writer can decide if they belong or not.

Do KDP Select Free Promotions Work?

Yesterday I did my first KDP Free Promotion.  For those that don’t know, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has an option to sign up for KDP Select.  This is a 90 day period where you allow Amazon (and by default Kindle) to be the only electronic form of your book sold.  Some people balk at the exclusiveness this implies.  But there are some pluses.  You get to be part of the Kindle Prime Lending Library. This means that people can borrow your book for free and in return you get a part of the collective “pot” of money.  I’ve not had any borrows yet.  Some authors have told me that you get more borrows for higher priced books, since prime users can only borrow one book per month.  I don’t know about that.

The other thing you get to do is pick five days per 90 day period to make your book free.  You don’t have to do that.  You don’t even have to pick the days when you publish your book.  You can go back and set up your days when you want.  You can do all five together or pick and choose a few days spread out.  The choice is entirely up to you.

As you probably saw in yesterday’s post, I made Dissolution of Peace free in honor of Veterans day in the United States.  It was free on all Amazon sites globally.  I did this for two reasons.  First, I wanted to see how well this KDP Free Promotions thing would work.  Second, I have a special place in my heart for those that serve in the armed forces.  It may even be why I enjoy writing military fiction.  So I decided to honor those people in a way that was important to me.

The real question is, do promotions like this work?

Success is truly something only you can decide.  But, I will show you what it did for me in just the one day since the promotion.  You can decide from there if it could be successful for you.

I would also like to point out that I did not market my free book on anything other then this blog, my Twitter, and Facebook.  I didn’t announce it on one the the many free eBook blogs.  I just spread the word myself.

Getting Books in the Hands of Readers

The point in writing a book is to have it read.  I’ve stressed that making money is not my goal in writing.  My goal is to get readers and maybe get a few fans who want to read anything I write.  So did the promotion get my book in the hands of readers.  With out a doubt it is a huge success in that fashion.

In Amazon US, I had about 19 times more downloads yesterday then I have had since my book was released.  Nineteen times more readers in one day then in the four weeks since my book was released.

In Amazon UK, I had 88 times more downloads yesterday then I have had since my book was released.  The UK was phenomenal in this free promotion.  I’ll get to more on that soon.

In Amazon Germany, I had 7 times more downloads yesterday then in the four weeks since it was released.

I even had my first download in Italy.

In comparison to other promotions I have done, this was by far the most successful.  My own eBook giveaways resulted in only around 10 free eBooks being given away.  This includes those sent to reviewers.  But if I wanted to get more readers, this was certainly a great way to do it.  They may not read it right away, I am sure there are people who just won’t pass up free, but there a whole lot more people with copies of my book now.  This means there are a lot more people in the pool to write reviews, tell their friends, and look for future titles I release.

Creating Awareness of my Book

This is a really hard thing to do.  Getting your book noticed by potential buyers is very hard for any author, especially the indie author.  You are fighting an up hill battle with major authors, major publishers, and the rest of the indie market.  It is not easy to be noticed.

One way to get noticed is on Amazon’s Best Seller Lists.  The thing that always frustrated me about many “help” sites that talk about these best seller lists don’t let you know the secrets to getting on the lists.  The truth is the secret is simply getting sales.  But Amazon does one great thing here.  The Best Seller Lists of the Top 100 eBooks sold is listed right next to the Top 100 Free eBooks.  Number 5 in sales is right next to number 5 in free.

This means that when someone is looking for the best sellers on science fiction ebooks, they are also seeing the best sellers in free science fiction ebooks.  You still have to get the downloads to get on the list, but you can get a lot of benefit once you get on the list.  If nothing more than getting the cover of your book seen by more eyes.

I mentioned how great the UK was in this free promotion.  The first time I checked my Amazon UK page yesterday was at 10:16 in the morning.  My book had only been free for ten hours, which is a fair amount of time, especially considering the time difference.  But at that point I was #48 on the Top 100 Free Science Fiction eBooks.  And by the end of the promotion I was #19.  In that time I had been on the same page as H. P. Lovecraft, Jules Vern, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and more.  I was even next to George R.R. Martin at one point.  That is some good company to hang out with, even on a virtual level.

UK Best Sellers of Science Fiction on 11/12/2012

In the US, it was a slower start.  This, in part, has to do with two factors.  First, the US site has a much larger pool of shoppers.  They include India, and many other places that don’t have their own sites.  But, KDP free events also start at 12:01 am Pacific time.  Right when most of the US is still asleep.  But by 12:45 pm, twelve hours into the the promotion, I was on the top 100 list at number 61.  And by the time it was over, I had made it to 28.  So while the UK really came through on the Best Seller’s list, the US still put me along side the great names of Science Fiction past and present.

 

US Best Sellers of Science Fiction on 11/12/2012

I would say that overall that is a successful way of gaining exposure to my book.  I don’t know how many people browse the Top Sellers list.  But I do know that I often look for books online this way.  So overall even if I didn’t get downloads, people saw my book cover.  And book covers are the brand image of books.  Like all brands, the more the image is seen the more it becomes known and in some cases trusted.

You might be wondering where my book ranked at in the over all ranking for Free eBooks.  In the US it was #779 and in the UK it was #425.  Not bad considering how many thousands, probably millions, of books are on Amazon.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth advertising is probably some of the best.  People often choose books based on the recommendations of friends and family.  While I doubt anyone recommended my book the same day they downloaded it.  I got far more downloads then I have Facebook, Twitter, and Blog followers.  This means people had to hear about it from other people.  So people were at least mentioning my book.  I also noticed that many people were downloading my book in the US before it broke on to the top 100 list.  So they had to find it some other way.

But this huge pool of new readers who downloaded my book will contribute to the word of mouth advertising that will continue to increase traffic to my book.  And will hopefully increase my sales volume.

Reviews

I don’t know if this will increase my reviews.  Before the promotion I had two Amazon reviews, and one Amazon UK review.  But, the increased reader pool also means an increased reviewer pool.  So that has to cause a higher chance of being reviewed. But only time will tell on this.

Increased Sales

Again, only time will tell on this.  But my point has never been to get money.  Some people see the free book giveaway as nothing but lost revenue.  But to date, nothing has got Dissolution of Peace in the hands of more readers than the Amazon free promotion.  I’ve never thought of writing as a way to make money.  For me it is has been about readers, and maybe making enough money to cover the costs associated with publishing it.  Would I complain if my book starts flying off the shelves?  Of course not.  That is the goal of most writers, but not for the sake of money but for the sake of the volume of readers.

From what I have heard from others, the sales will increase but that takes time.

Summary

I can’t really see it any other way.  KDP has hit a home run with the idea of allowing authors five days to make the book free.  And if you use those days through out your 90 day period as a promotional tool, you can really gather a lot of new readers.  And many readers who might not have otherwise picked up your book.  I’ll likely do another two or three of these free promotional things in the next few months.  I see nothing but success here.  And if I enjoyed this much success with limited announcement outlets, imagine if I branched out from my circle of followers.

Of course, many people are turned off be the exclusiveness of KDP Select.  They feel like they are excluding a market of readers that use other eReaders.  Personally I have had little request for ePub format.  But, 90 days is a relatively short time.  If you don’t like it, you don’t have to renew it.  Personally I think it is worth a try.

 

Dissolution of Peace is on Sale Now!

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:

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615706851/
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009N3BFIG

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.

Updates: June 2012

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

List Price: $7.50
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Full Color on White paper
26 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0615659145
ISBN-10: 0615659144
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.

Purchase Links:

CreateSpace eStore:

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.

Amazon:

Click here for the Amazon Listing.

Other updates:

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.

Updates: April 2012

I have spent so much time writing helpful posts, I had nearly forgotten to get my monthly updates out to all of you.  Luckily April isn’t over just yet, and I have some great updates to share.  So without holding things up too long, lets get started.

When it comes to short stories, I haven’t had really any new updates.  Both short stories are out to markets and only time will tell if either of them will get picked up.  According to Duotrope one story I could hear back on any day now.  The other, it will still be 25-75 days before I could hear back.  You can always watch my Twitter Feed or Facebook Timeline, I am sure to post something there the moment I get an acceptance letter.

Looking at my site traffic and link clicks.  It appears many of you are still checking out my story “Death Watch” in Liquid Imagination Online.  I love that this story has some staying power in all of your minds.  If you haven’t checked it out, you can here.  It took Second Place in the Preditors and Editors 2011 readers poll.

I have two new novel ideas in the works.  One brings back Samantha Baxter, the GPA Agent in “Dream Job”. (read it here)  It is still very early in the planning, in fact I haven’t written a word of it yet.  I’ve got another story to tell first.

Which brings me to my current work in progress: Volition Agent.  This story is a Science Fiction story that will likely be my second novel.  I will be making great strides in this novel over my weekend (tomorrow and Thursday).  I had trouble starting it, because my first novel was stuck on my mind.  I couldn’t think of a dang title for it.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I was having some trouble with a title for my nearly complete novel.  It was on my mind so bad that I couldn’t think of much else.  When I wrote this Novel in it’s first draft (and very rough form), I have planned to call it Serenity after one of the the Main Characters.  Of course, all of us Science Fiction nuts know why that would likely not work now.  Firefly and the Movie Serenity have saturated the market with that name.  Since my book has nothing to do with the Firefly franchise, I thought it best to change the name.  When I underwent the significant rewrites I had hoped a title would jump out and bite me.  It didn’t even take a nibble.

Now that trial readers are looking at it, I felt I really needed to get a title.  So much so that my mind was stuck on it.  So stuck on it that I couldn’t write.  I clicked on the random title generator about 300 times.  And it sparked 25 titles that I liked but didn’t really work.  Then finally one hit me.  Looking over all those titles and playing with the words gave me the title.  After sleeping on it last night, I’ve finally got a name for it:  Dissolution of Peace.

I have set a tentative release for early August.  The trial readers are almost done.  I will then be sending it out to for final thoughts and proofreading.  Once that is complete, I will make the final tweaks and it will be ready for publication.  I will announce an official release date once I know when it will be done.  However, you can expect to see me begin marketing it very soon.  I’ll be working on cover art next.  I have an idea of what I want to see, but I’m not an artist.  If you know a good cover artist, let me know.  As always, for up to the minute updates on my book (including release dates, giveaways, and more) follow my Twitter or Facebook.

The last thing I’ll address is my son’s and my collaborative children’s book, Daddy is Tired.  For my new followers, Daddy is Tired is a book my son and I worked on when he was in Kindergarten.  I was writing during “quite time” and my son said he wanted to write too.  So together we came up with a story that he wrote down on scratch paper with a crayon.  After a few months, I took it and edited into what we will see published soon.  I tried not to make to many changes (it was pretty good), and sent it out for drawings.

I know the original release date was the first part of 2012, but we are now a third of the way through the year and the artist isn’t done yet.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but sometimes one delay follows another.  At this point I have no updated release date.  The artist underwent surgery and the timeline is now up to her body’s healing process.  You can’t always put a timeline on that.

It had been my hope that  it would be released while it was still at my son’s reading level.  But, it has already passed that.  He doesn’t know it is getting published (in fact by now I think he forgot he wrote it).  I only hope he is excited about it by the time it comes out and hasn’t lost all interest in writing by then.  I doubt that will happen since he loves to practice his words and his imagination is very strong.  Perhaps we can come up with a few more children’s books to share.

So, with two book released hopefully coming in 2012 I’ve got a lot going on.  Personally I am glad because my family hit quite the financial speed bump when my wife lost her job.  She was the sole provider for our family and my income doesn’t even pay rent.  Some happy news will be welcome this year.  While she tries so hard to find work in this slow economy, I’m trying to relieve stress the only way I really know how:  Write.

So that is the updates for April 2012.  Can’t wait to share more news with you in May!  I’ll see you next week for my next blog post.

Missing in March

I need to start with an apology to my subscribers and regular blog readers.  You may have noticed I have broken my own rule on successful blogging.  Blog on regular schedule.  While I am sure none of you have been waiting to make life altering choices because of my lack of posts, I feel as though I have some how neglected my responsibilities here.  It’s not just here, I have not been very active on Twitter or Facebook either.

Frankly I hate this month.  I have seen a lot of commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings about “What month would you give up for more March?”  It makes me cringe just thinking about have to do March twice a year.  It seams I have terrible luck in this month.  Last year, I lost my job in March.  Years before that have been even worse.  Well, this year my own personal March madness continued (see even my puns are bad in March).

It started off well enough.  As some of you know from my previous posts, I started a new job.  It doesn’t make much but it gets me off unemployment.  Of course I started this job in February along with a move back to my hometown in Vacaville.  All great ways to end February and start off March.  Of course, they all led to me neglecting my blog.

In the middle of March, my wife’s employer decided to make a sudden drastic schedule change.  This caused me to have to beg and plead with my boss for a schedule change.  My employer was very understanding, unlike my wife’s, and they made the change.  Only three hours later, my wife tells me they changed the schedule again.  My wife asked to remain at the same schedule, but she’s the forth most senior dispatcher there and they wanted a senior person on each shift (four shifts).  Never mind the fact that the person she was switched with, didn’t want to switch (and is more senior than my wife).  Well we got through that.  My employer was understanding and made some more changes.

Things got better, because immediately following that I got to attend the wedding of a friend of mine.  They will be a great couple and the wedding was outstanding.  It was a lot of fun and I was very happy to share this event in their lives.  I extend my congratulations to Logan and Tessa Bryce.  I hope you enjoy life together.  There is no greater journey in life then marriage.

Right after that I attended my first San Jose Sharks regular season game.  I am a huge hockey fan, and an even bigger SanJose Sharks fan.  After so many years of wishing I could go, it was great to finally be able to go.  The arena is great and while we had great seats, there probably are not many bad seats at HP Pavilion.  I got to meet Randy Hahn and Brodie Brazil from Comcast Sportsnet.  I have been listening to Randy Hahn call Sharks games for as long as I can remember and to meet him was great.  Brodie Brazil is new to the CSN team, but he provides great rink side commentary and he is very interactive on Twitter.  So meeting them both was a great start to the game.  Everything about attending the game was great, accept the final score.

Left to Right: Brodie Brazil, Me, My wife, Randy Hahn

Two days later my wife started her new schedule after her days off.  The unnamed local ambulance company she works for did not schedule enough ambulances to adequately cover the area.  As a result an ambulance was late to a call.  And my wife was fired the next day.  She has not had an issue there for over nine months, but they were quick to terminate.  I can’t believe a company that puts “Family Values” on their letter head, would fire the main provider of a family of five on an issue that is ultimately their own fault.  This company has little regard for their employees and has created a hostile environment, in which most all mistakes result in suspension and/or termination.

In any case, her income was three quarters of our family income.  I don’t even make enough to pay the rent.  Fortunately quick thinking will likely help me keep a roof over our heads for the next few months.  But, we pray that either her union comes through for her (though that is not likely) or that unemployment kicks in quickly.  God willing, she will find work before this really matters.

As a result I have been trying to pick up extra hours at work.  I’ve also been burying myself in my office so that I can try to get this novel out for all of you.  And, hopefully if you folks like it, I can sell a few copies.  I also had a great idea for another story, with potential for novel length.  So with any luck you may see a few novels from me this year.  Of course, I prefer quality over quantity so we will see what other tricks life has in store for my timelines.

So, March is my least favorite month.  And despite my wife and my Irish heritage, we can can’t see to find the luck of the Irish.  They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  But I am so sick of drinking lemonade (This cliche brought to you by Country Time Lemonade, which I am drinking as I write this).

But, while March is typically a rough month.  I have many blessings in my life.  I have a lovely wife, who loves me for richer or poorer.  I have three great boys, who could care less about bills and just want to play with their Daddy.  I have great family and friends who have put my family in their thoughts and prayers.  I have a job, the start up of a successful writing career, and I volunteer free time to my community.  So while March has got me down, I have 11 other great months to enjoy.

So, you can take my face off the milk cartons of the blogging world.  Though I was missing in March, April is just around the corner.

Updates: March 2012

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.

Updates: February 2012

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.

My other two short stories are still out with various markets.  I hope to hear back on both of them soon.  Of course I will still announce their sales on Twitter and Facebook.

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.