Richard Flores IV

Why is Exercise so Hard?

I am really sorry this post comes late this week. I think I have a good excuse. In a way it inspired this blog post. So there is at least that much to say for this.

I have been really working hard to increase my exercise level. I talked about that some in this post. But it sure doesn’t seem to be coming easy and I suppose if it was easy for me I wouldn’t be around 75 pound over weight.

Back as a boy and teenager, I was incredibly skinny. I could eat just about anything and it didn’t seem to matter. I was also more active, playing Soccer through high school, riding my bike everywhere, and just playing outside most of the time.

But as happens with all of us, age has caught up to me. And I am far from an old man, but I am certainly not the teenager I was. When I got my first job, I developed a fast food addiction. I bought it all the time. I loved to cook, but the convenience of a drive thru wins. And then, frankly speaking, it is addictive and the portions are large. I have little control over myself when it comes to food.

Then I developed a coping relationship with food. When I am depressed, sad, stressed, or otherwise overloaded I have to have food. And not a salad.

Finally, I moved in to a more sedentary life style. I stopped sports, mostly because I’d reached an age I couldn’t play youth recreational soccer. I worked full-time, and slowly my job migrated to a sitting position as I advanced within the industry. And I started to develop hobbies that were more sedentary. Video game, writing, movies, reading all replaced sports, playing outside, and running around with friends. Last, I could drive now and I didn’t spend any time on my bike.

Then I discovered I had diabetes. And as they told me all the things I can’t eat, I realized I’d be miserable. And that made me just kind of think, well fuck em, and I ate more of what I shouldn’t.

But I knew it had to change and I set myself some activity goals. Mostly around the None to Run program. The problem with most exercise programs for me, is that I expect instant results. I expect to see something right away. And finally I generally don’t enjoy the solitary nature of exercise. I loved Soccer because I was out there with a team playing a game. The exercise wasn’t the reason I was there.

But there was something about this None to Run program that I really liked. It was slower progress than the Couch to 5K program. It felt doable. Also there was no focus on weight loss goals, or distance, just time. And my wife’s schedule change was making me change my schedule and the time was available now. And I stayed on that program longer than any other program I’ve tried.

But at 9 weeks in I had an injury. My knees were in a lot of pain by week 6 but I’d recover by the next day. But on the ninth week, I couldn’t recover and it turns out it was a real injury and I was out for several weeks. And now I am have a hell of a time restarting it.

Part of the problem was that when I started I had really thought that this COVID thing would pass and by this time I’d be able to run a 5K. And though I still want to do a virtual 5K, it just doesn’t feel the same as running that first 5K with a group of people. But there was something else.

The fear of getting injured again. It took a lot longer to recover from my knee injury than I had expected. Facts are your body doesn’t recover as easy when you get older, but add diabetes into it and recovery is painfully slow.

To satisfy my need for a group, fun exercise I also signed up for a spring learn to play hockey program for adults. It was going to be with a group of friends that I’ve developed through my son’s hockey team. I’ve never ice skated before, and so I planned to take some time on public skating.

I bought all the gear and the next week everything shut down due to COVID. Then suddenly on Monday they announced it would start today with small groups of less than 5 and a number of other safety precautions. Which was great, accept I’d never spend a day on the ice.

I signed up for a private lesson that was on Thursday. It started well, but I took a pretty bad fall. I don’t remember the fall, but after trying to skate again the instructor noticed something and we left the ice. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet.

End result was I got a mild concussion. There is likely some whiplash and other associated muscle injuries. I was told to avoid bright screens for 48 hours (thus I didn’t write a blog yesterday as scheduled).

So here it is Saturday, and I am taking it slow as I try to recover. No ice sports or physical activity until I have a follow up with my primary care doctor. It is suspected that I will need to stay away from activity that could cause head contact for several weeks. It is all pending another evaluation.

And so as I write this they are having the first learn to play class, and I am missing it. And I have to wonder, why the fuck is exercise so damn hard? Why does the motivation come and go? Why the hell can’t exercise solve the problems of a poor diet? (And I won’t get into my diet issues right now, but I am improving those). And how do I do all this without losing my motivation during an injury?

Why do doctors recommend losing weight to manage diabetes, but most diabetes medications seem to cause weight gain? The ones for weight loss never seem to work for me.

I understand this is a bit of a rant and complaining post. But I really hope that by getting it out there, some tips and tricks will come my way. Someone already suggested I start the None to Run program over from the start to try to spark the excitement again. Of course I may have to wait until I get cleared by the doctor now.

Any of my fellow writers, followers, and have tips? Does anyone know of a Couch to 5K equivalent for strength training? How to you find the motivation?

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Writing Updates!

I am hoping once a month to provide you all with some writing updates about things I am working on currently. This week the focus has been on submitting some stale manuscripts and starting up my writing again.

For those that don’t know. I choose to self publish my novels, with my short stories going out to various markets. This is a personal choice, and one I have discussed in past blogs. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t love to find a novel publisher and/or agent some day, but I am content with it being what it is.

Submissions

I have four short stories ready for publication right now. They are all flash fiction stories.

The first is a 633 word story called “Corporate America”. It was rejected once this week, but is already at another publication for reivew.

The second is a 1030 word story called “Diana’s Homework”. It too was rejected already this week and is off to another market.

The third is a 849 word story called “Possession of a Controlled Intelligence”. It is currently out at a market.

The fourth is a 878 word story called “Recruiter”. It is currently out at market.

So in my first week back to publishing I have 4 stories out to market with 6 total submissions, 2 rejections and 4 pending responses.

That already puts my count way ahead of all of 2019, because I didn’t submit anything that year.

In the first part of August I will give all the updates for my first month of submitting!

Writing

I thought when I got going on writing again, I’d focus on short story. Something in that 3 to 5k range. But as it would have it, I decided to jump right into a novel project that I’d started some time ago.

I am working on the third book in the Serenity Saga. I must admit I think I have been a little hesitant to write this one because it represents an end. I’ve always planned the series to be three books long, even when I wrote the original rough manuscript ages ago. I hate endings. And I love these characters. So I think I have just been stalling for the inevitable.

But I put over 5,000 words down in two days and I plan to write more over the long holiday weekend. This puts the word count right now at just short of 13,000 words as I type this blog post. (I do plan to get more in there between now and when this publishes).

It is good to be in the minds of Janice, Mike, Christina, and Francesca again. And I am already enjoying laying out the journey in front of them. I am a pantser, I can’t stand to plot, but with a three book series there has always been some plan in play.

It is a little baffling to me to think that their whole story started with a rough manuscript written in 2005-2006. This was before I ever took the idea of being a writer past putting this story down. It wasn’t until 2011, when I had a short story published, that I kicked the dust off that draft and essentially rewrote the novel.

And in October 2012, Dissolution of Peace was released. I can’t believe 8 years has passed since Captain Serenity’s story was brought out to the public.

The sequel, Illusion of Victory, didn’t come until 2017, three years ago this month. And for the first time, as I finished the sequel, I already knew the title of the third book. Revelation of Secrets.

I can’t wait to share this story with all of you. I can’t make any promise of a release date yet, way too early for that. I’ve been asked if this book will really be the last we see of these characters. I don’t know that for sure, but what I do know is that this book fully intends to wrap up the story line.

I will keep you all updated on my writing. Undoubtedly, as the mood strikes me, I will put together a few more short stories. I have a few ideas running around in my head. Some additional novel ideas as well, but those will wait for Revelation of Secrets to be written.

I hope you have a happy 4th of July. Be safe.

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New Year, New Me… in June

New Year, New Me… in June
The New Office

I think we all know by now that 2020 is just all types of fucked up. So I don’t see any reason just to hit the reset button on a number of things both personally and a professionally. It is time to pull out of this deep dive and get back on course. And no better time than now.

The year started off bad for me. Closing Factor Four Magazine was pretty hard on me. I was already in a creative slump with my personal writing, but when I lost the magazine it was kind of an end game for me. And that decision was made at the very end of 2019. Not the best way to close out a year and start another one.

The depression was real, but I made myself a couple of promises entering into 2020. Some plans to keep the depression at bay and to refocus myself and my life. The end goal was to return to my own creative spirit.

The first was that I’d run a 5K by the end of the year. I’d start my None to Run program in April with a hopes to be ready by summer for my first 5k. It is a 12 week program so I planned to be ready by the end of June.

The second was to make an effort to stay connected with my best friend by seeing her at least once per month. We used to work together and I saw her 5 days a week. When I changed jobs in 2017, that stopped and it wasn’t easy for me. I have a phobia of messaging people out of the blue, let alone inviting them out. I worry I seem clingy, needy, overreaching, and maybe even a pest. I never think that people think as high of me as I do of them. And I figured if I committed to one outing a month with her, I’d start to break down some of those walls. My job offers very little social interaction now, and I need the interaction despite my inability to break the ice.

Well, as we all know, COVID is a son-of-a-bitch. Working from home, everything is closed, and the general fear of the unknown all came slamming at us all early in the year. My wife is an essential worker and has to go to work every day. I used to work one day a week at home, and five days a week seemed great. No commute, even though I just bought a new car for a more comfortable commute, seemed like ideal.

Wear a mask, it isn’t that hard.

But as weeks went by it becomes obvious the impact it has on you to be at home all the time. I worked in my home’s “media room” and after awhile, working in there meant I didn’t was to be there after work hours. Which meant I didn’t want to do some of my favorite things like gaming and watching movies.

Of course, there was no way I was able to see my friend once a month and that goal was shot. It was a real bummer for me and kind of made me feel like I had nowhere to turn anymore.

My son’s hockey team was making a playoff run and that was canceled. I lost the interaction with my fellow hockey moms, which was a fun source of social interaction while enjoying my son’s hockey.

I was able to start my None to Run program early, but around week 9 my knee was injured and that put it on pause to heal. And I still really haven’t picked it back up yet. The lost momentum is more to blame than any injury now.

One of my first weeks on the None to Run program

In general life just seemed to be on pause.

I did decided to start a long needed home project. To take one of the really large rooms and create an office. Where once was my son’s really large bedroom and a tiny utility room, would now be a place for me to work that was separate from the other areas of the house. My wife and I decided it was a good use of the time and stimulus money. Plus we needed to fix some unsafe electrical work.

That project was longer, harder, and more costly than I expected. It drained my savings (which is a new source of stress) and took a lot of hard work. We added Ethernet and coax to the entire house and made the electrical safe again. It took two months to complete, though it felt like ages.

But this week I was finally able to work in the new office space and it has me suddenly inspired. It feels like a space to create, build, and relax. And despite working in it all day, I am quick to switch from the work laptop to mine at the end of the day and start creating.

Add that, my middle son, who is quickly becoming a very avid reader, has started to read my books as well. And talking books with him has been enjoyable. This combination has lead to a sort of “ah-ha” moment.

So this week I fired up my personal laptop for the first time in months. It took ages to power on and update. But once it was ready I needed to get the creative juices flowing. And I knew where to start.

I was right here at this website. I needed to bring the old blog over to the website for a more seamless experience. And I needed a website I could update easily. And so I’ve spent my week working on this website and I’ve decided I need to make some other promises to myself.

Ultimately I need to hold myself accountable, but I also hope that by sharing the journey with my friends, family, and supporters you can help me.

Here is what I need to do:

  • Get physical. Run again. Both my job and my hobbies are sedentary, and I need to change that.
    • Starting Monday I will go back to my three day a week regiment working to get myself back up to Week 9 conditioning for None to Run.
    • I will commit two days a week to injury prevention training.
    • I will find a strength training regiment that works for me.
    • I will get at least a Virtual 5k in this year.
    • I will find other group physical activities that I enjoy.
  • Read again. I need to read, I love to read, but somehow I never make time.
    • I’ve set a low goal of 8 books for the rest of the year.
    • My website as a currently reading section on the left, watch it to be sure I am reading like I should.
    • Rather than spending hours scrolling my phone, I’ll set aside a minimum of an hour most days to read before bed.
  • Write again. Oh how this one seems to be obvious, but also the most difficult.
    • I am going to get back into my once a week blog habit. When I blog regularly, I always wanted to write more.
    • I will go into the short stories folder of my remote drive, and get them submitted to places. Sure, I’d love to be paid for them but more importantly I just want to get them out there. Move on from them.
    • Set to work writing the third book in The Serenity Saga. It is overdue and needs to be brought to life.
    • Remain active on Twitter so I can stay connected with my writer audience and they can hold me to my progress on these goals.
  • Work out some ways to be more social despite trying to remain safe and healthy.
    • I have to work out a way to communicate with my friends and push aside the feeling that I am being bothersome.
    • Undoubtedly some of my friends will be reading this. Their support will be helpful in bridging the gap when I am too scared to do so.
    • Maybe a once a month video call with a few of my friends isn’t too much to ask after all. Maybe I can figure that out someway.
  • This one is the least measurable and probably the hardest one to obtain. But I really want to return to publishing in some form.
    • I don’t know what that looks like.
    • I should allow myself to continue to think of ideas.
    • Valid ideas should be fleshed out to see if they are possible. If they aren’t move on, if they are explore it.

So there you have it. It is a new year, new me… in June. I hope you’ll subscribe/follow this blog. Follow along on Twitter. And most of all, I hope you find your own ways to maintain your mental health during this unusual time. Please share you comments, thoughts, experiences, and tips below. I’d love to learn from you!

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Factor Four Magazine is closed

Sometimes you just don’t want to make an announcement and so you put it off hoping to find a solution that will prevent you from needing to do so.  Unfortunately, I can stall no longer.  Through teary eyes as I type this, I have to announce that Factor Four Magazine is closed now.  There is no plan to publish future issues of the magazine.

Publishing a magazine is a lot of work, but I really enjoy publishing other author’s stories.  But financially, the short story publishing world isn’t self sustaining.  And over all, I could no longer take roughly $10,000 a year from my family’s income to continue to buy the content we’ve become known for.  This is truly heart-breaking for me.  Not only did I love publishing stories, but Factor Four Magazine was starting to gain traction at an accelerated pace.

We spent most of the last four months attempting to negotiate funding from other private sources.  Unfortunately, traditional funding wouldn’t support the idea of another magazine because they couldn’t see a return on investment.  We couldn’t demonstrate a subscription base, the advertisement sales, and issue sales needed to be “a good investment”.

I’ve had very poor success with crowd funding, largely because everyone is asking for funding on their projects.  It is difficult to stand out.  And over all I didn’t think I wanted to put myself through the emotional roller coaster of thinking I could do it, only to fail (as I have done in the past).  And while we may gain one year’s worth of investment, what would we do in 2021?  I couldn’t see a long term future in continually asking for crowd funding.

It hurts to make this choice.  I apologize to all of our readers and writers who invested time with us for ultimately letting everyone down.  I am passionate about flash fiction in our genre and still believe is should be recognized for the art form that it is, separate from the traditional short story.  I am already exploring options to continue publishing but perhaps on a less frequent basis, such as anthologies or other methods.  I hope to see Factor Four return in another form, but I can’t promise anything.

I want to thank everyone who supported us, submitted to us, and ultimately believed we were doing something great.

Happy Reading,

Richard Flores IV

Editor-in-Chief

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August! Already!

Over the last few months, maybe even years, I’ve been saying I’d get back into blogging more regularly.  There was a time where I was really good at doing this and for some reason or the other, I’ve let it slip away.  I’ve intentionally kept my life busy and the result is that sometimes there isn’t the time.  And sometime there isn’t the desire either.  I blame depression for that.

Factor Four Magazine is a passion of mine and I’ve put my creative time into that.  Two issues are under our belt now and I’m really feeling positive that I have good systems in place to handle it.  I am still the only one on the magazine staff, so I do it all.  Social Media posts, readings, editing, layout, advertisement, subscription management, and more.  But you know what, despite all that I’m thinking of putting together another publishing project: An anthology for 2019 release.  No details yet.  But I figured you all could have the early “scoop” since you still come by and read my blog.

The moral here is that time goes by a lot faster than it used to.  Publishing has become my focus when I am not at my day job or being with my family, and some of my writing has slipped by the wayside.  I’ve not abandoned it by any means. I still have four short stories looking for a home.  Plus I still have so many novel ideas to get out.  The final book (maybe) of The Serenity Saga, a new novel, and possibly a sequel to Volition Agent (I was asked about a prequel too). I just don’t think it will be in 2018.  I mean, fuck it is August already!

Speaking of August, it will be a busy one for me.  2018 has been the year of Conventions, both in my day job and writing.  I don’t think I will have traveled so much in one year.  I went to Norwescon this year, that was amazing and I hope they will invite me to be a panelist in 2019. Also, later this year is OryCon.  I haven’t heard if they’ll invite me as a Panelist, so ask about me! But August brings two more writing conventions that I am excited to attend.

SpoCon – Spokane, WA – August 10 to 12

I am really excited about this one because I will be a panelist, and moderator, on several panels.  You can see my whole schedule below, or you can click here.  I’d really like to see you if you’re there, so please come say hello.  I’d like to do a signing, but I’ve not committed to that yet, but both issues of the magazine, as well as my books will be on sale there. Space is still available, and you can register at the website.

 

Title: Should Kids Self-Publish?

Date/Time: Friday August 10th @ 4PM:

Official Description: What should young writers, artists and musicians (and their parents) be aware of before they distribute their work to the public?

Other Panelist(s): Kaye Thornbrugh

My thoughts: I am excited about discussing this.  My regular followers know of my son’s children’s book, Daddy is Tired.  But as a Self-Pub author, I am also planning to provide insight on that avenue of publishing.

 

Title: Flash Fiction: the Genre

Date/Time: Saturday August 11th @ 11am

Official Description: How do you define flash fiction — strictly by word count, or is there more to it? Our panelists reveal the ins and outs of this relatively new literary form.

Other Panelist(s): Voss Foster, S. Evan Townsend, Dawn Vogel, Stoney Compton, Dean Wells

My thoughts: Oh, boy.  I love flash fiction.  I love writing it, and I love reading it.  Of course, you know I took that passion into publishing it.  I’d debate the concept of “new literary form”, but certainly under recognized for the true art form that it is.  As moderator, I plan to focus on not just what is flash fiction, but why is it unique compared to other short fiction.  We will also touch on common pitfalls and how to address them.

 

Title: The Iron Writer Competition

Date/Time: Saturday August 11th @ 1pm

Official Description: The pen is mightier than the sword! Our contestants will take on the challenge of improvisational writing through several rounds of battle, each with a secret writing prompt. Watch writers test their story skills under time and pressure, for a chance at the title of Iron Writer!

Other Panelist(s): Remina Goude, Frances Pauli
My Thoughts: I am hosting another Iron Writer competition.  So far I have two contestants who will battle it out with a secret writing prompt.  We will have three rounds to determine the winner of Iron Writer!  I’d love to have four writers compete, but we have two already.  Not too late to join in.
Title: What Editors Want
Date/Time: Saturday August 11th @ 3PM
Official Description: From the first submission to an ongoing partnership, how can writers stay on good terms with their editors? What are some of the biggest turn-offs for an editor?

My Thoughts: We have a good group of panelist for this.  One of the challenges of what we editors want is that we are all different people.  As moderator, I am thinking I will let the conversation dictate the direction we take on this broad topic.
Title: Short Fiction in SF
Date/Time: Saturday August 11th @5PM
Official Description: SF is one of the last remaining genres where authors can sell short fiction. Although stories might not get the attention novels do, it it is a demanding form on its own. Our panelists discuss why short fiction is worth writing — and reading!

My Thoughts: Does short fiction not get the attention it deserves? I think Flash doesn’t, but the overall short fiction market seems strong enough to me.  I think we will be discussing why SF still loves short fiction, among other things.
Title: The Writing Habit
Date/Time: Sunday August 12th @ 12pm
Official Description: Authors share strategies to keep their work going, even when the pipes burst or your favorite show comes on TV.

My Thoughts: Dr. Glass is one of the Guests of Honor at SpoCon so I am excited to be on a panel he is moderating.  I just mentioned that I am struggling with the writing habit.  So I hope to offer a unique insight into my struggle and how I am working to overcome it.
Title: Impact of Social Media
Date/Time: Sunday August 12 at 1PM
Official Description: Sharing reviews, building buzz, linking and blogging… What impact does social media have on books and other creative projects? How can you make social media work for you?

Other Panelist(s): Grivante
My Thoughts: Social media can feel like a minefield sometimes. It can also feel like a lost cause when it comes to promotion.  But you can make it work for you as well.

WorldCon 76 – San Jose, CA – August 16 to 20

I had wanted desperately to be a panelist at WorldCon, but I got to that party a little late.  Though, I haven’t has very good communication from the folks there to know why.  I won’t get into the controversy here. I will say that to redo programming of a WoldCon this late in the game is not easy and I appreciate that effort for sure.

But, I am very excited to attend.  I haven’t attended at WorldCon since my first one in San Antonio.  San Jose is well know place for me.  I am originally from the Bay Area, and I visited San Jose very regularly when I lived there.  Of course you all know my fan status of the San Jose Sharks.  You also likely know that I am big fan of John Picacio, the Art Guest of Honor.  He also created the Mexicanx Initiative.  I, along with so many others, donated a membership to this cause. In total 50 memberships were sponsored so that we can ensure that the “World” part of WorldCon is represented.

All things aside, I am excited to attend WorldCon again.  I likely won’t get to Dublin next year, but I hope to attend the year after that as well.

 

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Welcome 2018

I started off this blog with the idea that I’d do a post on how to improve your odds of getting accepted to Factor Four Magazine.  But then I got to thinking, that’s no way to start of 2018.  Instead I thought I’d get a short post going about things to expect in 2018.  The positives this year is going to bring.  And hopefully not curse myself along way.

First off is the elephant in the room.  Today I finished selecting the stories for Issue 1 of Factor Four Magazine.  I read nearly 600 stories to get to the point of accepting just 16.  There was a lot of good fiction in that reading queue.  I must admit I was overwhelmed by the task at first.  It took only 6 weeks to hit 600 submissions and the speed only seems to be picking up.  To top that off, I really had trouble getting down to just a few stories to select.  Even the short list was hard to whittle down to these final 16.  Once contracts are signed, the Factor Four Magazine Twitter account will be announcing the authors selected.  April 2018 is the release of Issue 1.  The next task in contracts, and cover art selection.

I have two short fiction stories of my own coming out this year.  I haven’t got a date yet on either.  The first will be released in Mind Candy Vol. 1, this was my first pro-rate sale.  The other will be read on The Centropic Oracle.  I can’t wait to hear a story of mine read aloud.  I have a couple other short fiction pieces that I haven’t sold yet.  I’ll be looking for a home for those this year also.

The urge to write is strong, the time to write is not there.  Work has be crazy. But I am also the only reader for Factor Four Magazine.  All that being said, I am making a goal to get Book 3 of The Serenity Saga out this year.  I am also still toying around with another Volition Agent novel and possible sequel to Broken Trust.  I have a fourth novel idea that will likely work on a stand alone basis.  But the first priority is to continue Christina Serenity’s story.

2018 is the year of conventions for me.  I am looking to speak at a few again.  My longtime followers know that I loved speaking at DetCon1. I’ve applied to speak at SpoCon and plan to apply at OryCon.  I may even apply to talk at VCon in Vancouver.  I plan to attend WorldCon in San Jose and Norwescon in Seattle as well, but I was too late to apply to talk at either of those.  I’ve created an “appearances” page on my website.  If you are going to any of these conventions, I’d love to say hello.  I’d also like to say how great it is to have so many Science Fiction Conventions locally.

Many of you may know that I really love the Washington State Parks system.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to many of the state parks in 2017.  This year I hope to spend some weekends out exploring nature again.  The exercise is great, but the calm and peacefulness of nature is a great clearing of the mind.

I’d also like to take a vacation of some type again this year.  I took my family to Disneyland last year, it was the first time for my kids.  My wife and I hadn’t been since 2004.  I love that place.  I didn’t want to leave. I don’t think I’ll get to Disneyland in 2018, but I’d like to take the kids on another memorable vacation.  Life is worth more to me than just working.  That’s why I made it a point to start publishing again, and I also want to make it a priority to enjoy the time with my family while the kids are young.

The last one is that I’ve made it a point to get back to being financially stable.  It did pretty well until the end of the year.  So this year I am making more of a point of creating a savings account.  It seems counterproductive to launch a magazine and plan a lot of trips.  But I have a financial road-map that I’ve made and it seems to be working out well.

So that is my plan for 2018.  We shall see how it all plays out.  But it sounds like I have a busy year ahead of me.

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Factor Four Magazine is Moving Right Along!

I always tend to find myself so busy in the month of November that I never get to participate in Novel Writing Month.  2017 is still the same, but for good reason.

The main thing that is taking up my time is the planning of Factor Four Magazine.  Authors will be pleased to know that the submissions are expected to open on time on December 1.  Readers will be excited to hear that subscriptions are coming along great.

In fact, we opened for subscriptions today.  We are going to publish our stories on our website, in an eBook, and in print form.  I’m excited to say we have a subscription option for all of these, including one that is only $4 per year (stay tuned, you may be able to  get it cheaper).

First, all our subscription options come with free online access to all past issues.  Now, I know we don’t have past issues right now.  But in the future we will.  And how nice will it be to pay just $4 and not only get the next four issues but all our past ones too.

We also have the option for auto renew and one time, so the preference and option choices are totally up to you.

Now our print issue is available to both US/Canada residents and International.  You can get 25 % off if you subscribe before the year ends.

Now for the hook up.  I have this handy little discount code that will get you an online or eReader subscription for just $1.  Yep, just $1 for the year.  Just use: RF4FFMSOCIAL as the discount code.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE

Now only the first 50 people to use that will get it and, of course, I’ll be sharing it on Twitter and Facebook.  But don’t worry, if you follow Factor Four Magazine of Twitter or Facebook, they each have a code valid for 50 uses as well.

Advertising options are up as well as most of the other pages.  I was hoping to get volunteers up by Thanksgiving, but that may not happen.  I am currently looking for people to join me on my editorial staff.  I just have to get that together.

Now to figure out the Submissions engine.  Happy reading!

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Announcing Factor Four Magazine

I’ve spent a lot of time hinting and implying that I just might want to start publishing fiction again.  Most of you know that I really miss putting our Plasma Frequency.  Well, I’ve made the choice to return to publishing with an all new publication, Factor Four Magazine.

The website is still being built, but I couldn’t wait to share the plans for this great magazine.  Some of this information could change, but this is the idea for the magazine.

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What will we publish?

We will publish mostly flash fiction.  We will have a 2,000 word count per story maximum, but all of the budgeting for the issue is based on 1,000 words or less.  So that basically means we will focus our acceptances on true flash fiction.  We will publish Speculative Fiction with a focus on Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural, Super Hero, or the blend of any of those genres.

We will be a magazine published to an adult audience so some foul language and sexual content would be accepted provided it fits with a well rounded story.  Erotica will not be published.

Theme issues will play some part in our publication, but I am not sure at what level.  I’ll definitely want to do holiday themes when the time of year comes around.

How will we publish?

We will be a quarterly publication featuring 16 stories per issue.  The first issue will be released in April 2018.  We will publish in print, eReader, and online format with subscriptions and single issue options for these.  The cost per issue and subscription has not yet been decided.

Author Compensation

Since much of my readership are authors, I am sure most of you are wondering what we will be paying authors.  We will pay 8 US cents per word or US $60 which ever is more.  We also plan to do some other compensation with regard to a free issue, but that isn’t a guarantee.

Artists will be paid $200 per issue for cover art.

Submissions are planned to open December 1 this year.

How can I find out more?

Factor Four is on Twitter and Facebook and we to have the website.

While I have said “we” a lot currently the staff on this magazine consists of just myself.  I’d like to be bring back some of the editorial practices used at Plasma Frequency, but I’ll need an editorial staff.  While I haven’t officially started asking anyone to join the team, if you are interested you can always reach out to me.  Eventually I will have more explanations of opportunities on the website.

I can’t wait to get this magazine started and return to publishing great fiction!

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Sink or Swim, but be Swept Out to Sea

The day after I announced that I would be working with the folks at SciFan Magazine, they announced they were shutting down.  It was a shock to me, they didn’t warn me it was coming.  It just sort of happened.  But, when a magazine shuts down, that seems to be the case.  One day they’re there, the next day they can be gone.

Magazine publishing is very much a sink or swim business and, as my headline states, you are swept out to sea.  Not only are you trying to swim, you are getting hit by wave after wave.  Money problems, competitive market, unexpected expenses, standing out in the crowd, being discovered; wave after wave hits.  To get above the waves you need a boat.  And building a boat while you are trying to keep your head above water just doesn’t work out often.

Plasma Frequency was very successful as a semi-pro publication.  We were on the low end of that “semi-pro” pay rate, but we attracted great authors and put out great stories.  We tried to be innovative in the way we communicated with authors, and we attracted good people to our editorial staff.  And then a huge wave of financial woes hit us.  We’d just patched the raft we’d created when the next one hit.  And we sunk.

I spiraled down into a depression and there was no recovery for me until very recently.  But even through my worst times, I missed doing it.  And now I find myself strongly considering publishing again.  But this time, I’m trying to build the boat before shoving off into the sea.  I am taking the things I’ve learned from Plasma Frequency, and I am going to apply them to the design.

Plasma Frequency is not returning, I’ll make that clear.  That boat sank and it is time to move forward.  I also must be clear that I could very well decide this boat isn’t seaworthy and not pursue this any further.  But, I can say that I am getting very close to testing the waters and I am eager to see if it is possible to happen again.

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International Podcast Day and Other Updates

I still really haven’t got back into the regular swing of writing since my nearly three year hiatus.  Even regular blogging still eludes me.  I don’t like to do several self promoting posts in a row, but at the same time I believe writing anything is better than nothing.  So I thought I’d touch on a few updates since I last blogged.

But first, today in International Podcast Day, so what better time to announce that I have sold another short story.  My story, “Compassionate Death” was sold to the Canadian Podcast, The Centropic Oracle.  This marks another first for me.  I’ve never sold a story to a podcast before.  I also had to explain to my Dad what a Podcast was.

No information on when this story will be published, but given that today was International Podcast day, I thought I’d share the news now.  Besides, the folks at The Centropic Oracle deserve a name drop.

You may also remember that I sold a short story to SciFan Magazine, which was my first print sale.  I also blogged a little bit about my thoughts on the publishing side and may have mentioned that I missed doing it.  This prompted SciFan Magazine Co-Producer, Dayne Edmondson, to contact me.  They asked if I’d join their review team and I accepted.

Now I will preface this with the fact that SciFan Magazine is doing amazing things and I am happy to be a part of their review team.  However, it has only made me miss publishing magazines that much more.  I will say that I am glad to see a magazine like SciFan.  This magazine has huge potential and could go somewhere big in the near future.  I am so glad to be a part of it.  Still, I hope someday to publish a magazine of my own again.  Someday.

But, on the topic of SciFan Magazine, I am giving away a signed copy of Issue 9 as well as some other great prizes.  Enter through Rafflecopter today!

There are several great prizes and you can earn more point each day by simply tweeting.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go send a few more short stories off to other great publications.  Wish me luck!

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