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WorldCon Upcoming and Other News

Last week I didn’t do my normal blog post, the one from the Monday before was very emotionally draining and I needed a break.  I wasn’t surprised that post got little attention, even from my friends, but there is still something about laying it all out there that drains you.  The good news is I am feeling much better.  I wrote more on my work in progress, got a very good review on Dissolution of Peace (see below) and have been working hard to get ready for WorldCon.

WorldCon!

For those that don’t know about WorldCon, it is the World Science Fiction Convention.  It is held annually and also is the host for the Hugo Awards.  I’ve been trying to go to one for three years now.  When I first learned about WorldCon, I tried to go to Renovation, but at the last minute I had to cancel.  That was a shame because it was only about a four hour drive from my house.  Chicago was just not going to happen, the cost was too much.  But finally this year I get to go.  Lone Star Con 3, in San Antonio looks like a ton of fun.  But I made several mistakes that I will have to plan for next year (though I don’t think I will get to London, I hope to get to the North American Science Fiction Convention (takes place when WorldCon is not in North America).

First, I had no idea about the panels.  That is to say, I knew that there were discussion panels to see.  What I didn’t know was that I could ask to be on them.  Second, I delayed to long to get back to them about a signing.  Third, I couldn’t get a Dealer’s Table for Plasma Frequency.  But, I think this actually works out better.  I get to experience the convention, learn all there is to learn about it, and hopefully next year I will know better where I can help out.

I am beyond excited.  I’ve got some business cards to hand out for the magazine, and I have some postcards to hand out during the event.  The postcards are for my book and they are announcing a way to get both my books free.  I’ll explain that more soon.

Whether you are a fan of my books, fan of Plasma Frequency, or a writer/artist looking to talk to me in person about getting your work in Plasma Frequency; I hope you will seek me out.  I’d love to meet with writers, artists, and other professionals in the industry.  If you see me there, please feel free to say Hello!  If I have  a moment I would be happy to talk to you.  Also, I understand that you can leave a message for me on the Voodoo message board.

While I was not able to get involved in any of the panels as a panelist.  I fully plan to attend a lot of convention activities.  Below is a list of some of the activities I plan to attend.  Of course, I may have to cancel some of these depending on what else I discover.  But maybe I will see some of you at these. (Sorry if I butchered any of the panel names, I wrote them from my memory).

Thursday:

4pm Self Promotion

5pm Opening Ceremonies

9pm Best Practices for Booksellers

Friday:

4pm The Romance of Military SF

5pm How Magazines are Changing in a Digital World

8pm How to build a Book Campain

Saturday:

11am How to Write a Short Story

12pm Planning a Starship

2pm LSC3 Film Festival

4pm The shift for Print to Electronic

5pm Writing Combat

Sunday:

10am Mars and/or Bust

11am Should SF consider the Furture

1pm Crowdfunding

2pm Real Animals in a Fantasy World

5pm Extend your book into Social Media

8pm Hugo Awards

Monday:

10am Writing outside Genre

12pm Armed Society is a Polite Society

3pm Closing Ceremonies

The rest of the time I will be either moving around the convention to see the exhibits or out sightseeing in San Antonio.  I plan to spend some time at the Riverwalk, the Tower of the Americas and the Alamo. When I get back, I plan to write a blog post all about my experiences there.  I’ll also be on my Twitter and Facebook with updates of where I am and what I am seeing.  I also will have an article in Issue 8 of Plasma Frequency all about the trip.

Get My Books Free!

Design by Mister Signs

Design by Mister Signs

Design by Mister Signs

Design by Mister Signs

In honor of my first WorldCon and because I can’t think of a better way to get the attention of a ton of Science Fiction readers, I have made Dissolution of Peace and Volition Agent free for Kindle from August 29th to September 2nd.  Five full days to celebrate my books and WorldCon.  I would really like to see my book make some “Top Seller” lists on Amazon.  My readers did wonders with Dissolution of Peace on its first free day.  So please spread the word that these books are going to be free on Amazon.  The more people who know the better!  Thank you!

New Dissolution of Peace Review!

Bookworm Babblings reviewed Dissolution of Peace today!  They were very excited about this book and said some excellent things.  It really brightened my mood.  Please go give it a read, and leave a comment if you’d like.

 

Hope to see some of you at WorldCon!  See you next week for my post about the trip!

 

 

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I’m Not Attractive

I usually stick to the more “professional” topics on this blog and write a lot about writing, authors, and publishing, but this week I feel compelled to get a bit more personal.  There is a tie in to writing and being an author, I think.  And if I get to that, I’ll talk about it.  But, before I go any further, I have a feeling this post may come across as a “poor me” post.  I might sound a bit like Eeyore.  But I assure you that I write from inspiration, even in my blog posts, and I felt inspired to write this down so I am going for it.

The inspiration for this came from Facebook.  I get a little too much inspiration, and distraction, from that site.  But the truth is I am on there a lot (I just wish I got the social experience I crave from it).  It wasn’t someone’s post that inspired me today.  It was that greyed out text in the update status box that reads “What’s on your mind?”  On my personal Facebook page I comment on that phrase a lot.  But over the last few days it has been taunting me. Every time I’ve read it for the past few days, I’ve wanted to post a real response to that.  But, I chickened out.  Today I told myself I would really post what has been on my mind, it is simple enough.  One sentence really.  But, just a little bit ago I chickened out again and posted, “Facebook always asks “What’s on your mind?” but I don’t think it really cares.”

I did what I always do when I am faced with something I think might be going a bit too deep, I resort to an attempt at humor. You see, what I had wanted to post was much more of an insight to my own personal demons. I wanted to post in that status box, “I wish I was attractive.” Wow… something tells me that when Facebook designers sat down and decided to put “What’s on your mind?” in the status box they didn’t really mean that.  They probably were hoping for something more along the lines of “My cat just chased a laser light and ran into the screen door.”  See… there is that attempt at humor jumping in again.

It is interesting that I couldn’t post that real part of me on Facebook to a group of friends and family, but I can post it here for the entire world to see.  Probably because I know none of my friends will read this.

I know I am not an attractive man.  My wife might argue with me on that, but the fact remains the same: I’ve spent my whole life being overlooked by the opposite sex.  First I was skinny, lanky, and awkward socially.  Then I got a bit more social, but I was still lanky.  Now, I love to be social.  But, I’m fat. Once again I find myself the perfect description of unattractive.  I compensate for that with humor.  When I make a woman laugh, for just a moment I feel good about myself.  Not just women either, anytime I can make someone’s day a bit better I feel good. (Perhaps that is why I want to be a respected author with a fan base.)

I am very happy with my wife.  Despite all my awkwardness, I found someone I can be with for the rest of my life.  I know many of you are thinking that if I’m happy with my wife, why does it matter what others think.  But let’s be honest, we all care what others think.  My wife doesn’t get jealous.  She says it is because she trusts me.  And I know deep down that is why.  But to me it is because she knows she has nothing to worry about. I’m just not the kind of man that has women chasing after him.  Of course, many would argue that woman won’t say anything to me or compliment me because they don’t want my wife to get the wrong idea. Perhaps that is true. But where were they before?

I told you this would sound a lot like Eeyore.

So if I am happily married, why does it matter so much to me that I am attractive? I just want to be someone my wife can brag about.  She has nothing about me to brag about, and she doesn’t bother to try.  She can’t say I am attractive, she can’t say I’m rich, she can’t even say I’m successful.  The few times she has bragged has come after talking to her about this very topic.

Ah, there it really is.  I just want to be successful in something.  I’ve spent my whole life trying to be someone that made an impact on the world, or even my community, or even my friends. If I died tomorrow who anyone outside my family morn my loss? …That sounded a little emo of me. (Attempt at humor).

I volunteer in my community.  But my attempt to be a city council member failed.  I tried to be a business owner, and failed.  I tried to go for my dream job, and failed.  Financially, any amount of good luck with money has been followed by a haunting from my previous money mistakes. Now I am trying to realize me dream of being a writer, but the jury is still out on that one.  As for a career, I’ve settled into security and accepted that is the path for me.

Back to the topic.

As much as I crave social interaction, and lack it, it would figure that I would pick the very solitary lifestyle of a writer.  But I think I like the company of writers because I discovered that for the most part, writers are a group of people with Self-Esteem issues.  I’ve found some very attractive writers out there, but that isn’t the only esteem issue out there.  For some they are terrified of social situations.  Others, lack confidence in their writing. The list goes on.  I think that is why you find so many authors out there with pen names.

There are so many reasons to have a pen name, but one of the most common I hear is because of some variety of the statement: “I don’t want people to know I write.” or “I don’t want people to know I write this.”

It seems that to be a writer you must have some personal demons.  Mine is that I am ugly and lack success.

Next week, I’ll try to come back with a little bit more upbeat post.  Something to do more with writing.

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Memorial Day

88888-2023-USAI just woke up.  It is almost 9am here and I just got out of bed.  That doesn’t happen anymore, but thanks to my kids having a day off from school that aligned with one of my days off from work, I got to sleep in.  I also was excited as I woke up because I had a day to work on Plasma Frequency, and my own writing, without having to stop for the multiple school schedules of my kids.  Of course the real reason for all this is because of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day summons thoughts of barbeques, American Flags, parades, festivals, and generally speaking fun.  But Memorial Day is something much stronger than that.  This is a day to remember those who paid the ultimate price for their service to our country.  And there are many of them.  Over the years there are those American that sign up to serve there country.  The reasons they signed up are not relevant, but what is important is that they did sign up.  They signed up to do something many people avoid.  They put on a uniform and go out to some of the most remote, war torn areas of the world.  They sign up for countless days, months, and years away from their families.  They sign up to spend many sleepless nights on watch.  They sign up to come home and see their children grown, their spouse age, and their hometowns changed. Their lives seemingly frozen in memory, only to find the world went on without them.

Yet if you asked many of these men and women, they’d tell you they are the lucky ones.  They got to come home while so many others didn’t.  For me, Memorial day is about honoring those that didn’t come home.  Those that paid for my freedom, freedoms I use everyday, with their lives.  Those that had the courage to do something I couldn’t do, sign up.

I am a huge fan of military history and military fiction.  There is something about the idea of these everyday people becoming heroes.  Unfortunately these men and women are often unsung heroes.  So on Memorial day, please hang your American flag, enjoy your barbeque, take time with your family, but please remember to honor those heroes.

 

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Volition Agent Excerpt and Announcement

As promised I have an excerpt from Volition Agent.  Below you will find the complete first Chapter.  This hasn’t been reviewed by my editor yet so there may be some rough spots but I have made some of the story changes the Beta Readers suggested.  I will warn you, once you read this you will want to see Chapter Two.  And, if this excerpt gets enough views and buzz around the social media, I’ll likely give you Chapter Two soon.

In the original novel announcement, I suggested a a release in the first week of June.  Frankly I may have been a bit overly ambitious on this, and while I still hope for a June release I haven’t even got a copy of the manuscript to my editor.  So chances are we are looking at more of an end of June release.  Now before you all strike me down in rage, I really want to release the best possible novel I can.  I love Lexia, Lance, and the rest of the characters here and I want to make sure I present their story the best way that I can.  The beta readers have given me some excellent feed back that requires a bit more tweaking to the story.  But trust me, as you will see below, Lexia will knock your socks off.

Before I get to the excerpt, I’d like to say some of my thank yous again.  Joy Anna is the beautiful Lexia Santarelli you see on the cover below.  I want to thank her for being the first person to ever portray one of my characters, and I didn’t even have to beg.  Kristin Irons is the photographer and cover artist responsible for the cover.  She only made me beg a little bit. 🙂 I really need you to visit these two great women on Facebook and give them the thank you they deserve. Finally, I’d like to say that I will be working with Tiffany Carrera as my editor for this novel.  Though I have known Tiffany for years, this is the first time I will be working with her on a project. I’m looking forward to it.

Now I suppose you are ready to read Chapter One.  Well here it is:

Copyright 2013 Kristin Irons and Richard Flores IV

Copyright 2013 Kristin Irons and Richard Flores IV

Volition Agent: Chapter 1

Copyright Richard Flores IV

The alley had a smell of fresh rain mixed with the odor of a week’s worth of trash.  This late at night the traffic was light; occasionally a car could be heard driving down the wet roads. Lexia Santarelli leaned against the brick wall of the six story apartment building, looking over her finger nails.  She didn’t understand the need to start her assignments in such filthy locations, but her handler chose the locations.  It was out of her control.

Lexia glanced at her watch.  He was late, but that wasn’t really a surprise.  She pushed off the wall and walked over to a side door of the building.  Knowing how her handler, Lance, didn’t like to waste time approaching target, it was likely in this building.  It wouldn’t hurt to find a subtle way in.  She reached out to test the handle, suddenly her arm jerked back.

“What do you think you are doing?  You know you’re supposed to wait for me,” Lance’s voice spoke in her mind.

“And you’re supposed to let me know when you jump in,” Lexia whispered.

“We don’t need any fingerprints left on this assignment.  Did you bring your gloves?”

“Of course,” Lexia’s realized Lance had taken full control of her movements as her hand went to the Glock in her shoulder holster.  “Damn it, Lance.  You think I can’t remember my own gun?”

“I’m just making sure.”

Lexia began slipping on her gloves.  “What is today’s assignment?”

“We’ve got an informer.  An Agency employee is believed to be passing on information about who we are watching.”

“Well let’s get started,”  Lexia opened the alley door.

She made her way down the dimly lit hallway.  Lance must have overridden the building’s automatic lighting.  As she approached the last door on the right a click could be heard as the door unlocked.  Lexia opened the door and looked up the flight of stairs. Somehow she knew it was three floors up.

“Third floor,” Lance’s voice echoed.

“I know,” Lexia started up the stairs keeping a brisk pace.  “What’s the hurry?”

“She’s getting ready to leave.”

Lexia pushed through the third floor door.  She walked down the hall looking at each door number as she passed it.  The creak of a door opening could be heard around the corner.  Lexia peaked around and saw a short blonde woman near the door.  The blonde looked the other way first, Lexia ducked behind the wall.

Easing around the corner Lexia saw the blonde was turning to lock the door.  Lexia moved down the hall at a pace just short of running.  She took hold of the blonde and crashed through the door.

A scream echoed in the room as the blonde fell onto the floor.  Lexia shoved the door shut.  The woman scrambled backwards in an attempt to get away.  Lexia picked her up and tossed her on the couch.

“Take it easy,” Lexia said to Lance.

“Wh- Who are you?” The blonde cowered back into the couch.

“Agent Santarelli,” Lexia spoke Lance’s words.  They didn’t give names, what was Lance thinking?  “What are you doing?”

“I know what I am doing.  Let me do the talking now,” Lance said.

“I was just going out to get some things.”  The blonde moved closer to the edge of her seat.

“Don’t feed me bullshit, Jamie.”  So that was her name.  Lexia decided to follow protocol and let Lance talk.  “We work for the same people.  And our boss knows what you’ve been up to.”

“I don’t understand.  I’m just a secretary.”

Lexia picked Jamie up by her shirt and pressed her against the wall.  Lexia put her face close to Jamie.  “Who have you told and what have you told them?”

Tears began rolling down Jamie’s face.  She sniffled once, but said nothing.

Lexia slammed her against the wall again. “I asked a question!”

What has gotten into Lance?  In the past year working with him she never saw him get so angry with someone who was clearly so defenseless.  Worst of all, he was using her to do it.

“Calm down.” Lexia said in her own words.

“I’m calm.” Lance said in her head.

“I don’t know what you want.” Jamie said in between sobs.

Lexia heard a door open down the hallway.  Pulling her gun, she spun to the direction of the sound.  It was pointed at a man with a golf club held up high.  Lexia felt her finger pull the trigger.  In a surreal scene she saw the man fall to the floor, never hearing the shot.

“God damn it, Lance!” Lexia yelled forgetting protocol.

Suddenly Lexia was knocked to the ground by Jamie.  Her head smacked the floor, dizziness and stars filled her vision.  As her head cleared, Jamie was straddled over her.  She delivered a hit to Lexia’s stomach, Jamie wasn’t strong but it got Lexia’s attention.  Lexia threw her off.

Jamie rolled over into the wall.  Lexia heard a baby crying.  A baby.  But Lance already had Lexia diving on Jamie again.  Lexia realized they were struggling for her gun.

Jamie was no physical match for Lexia, but she refused to let go of the gun.  Another shot rang out, a bullet wizzed past her head.  Jamie was going to kill her.

Lexia finally was able to twist Jamie’s arm so the gun was pointed at Jamie’s chest.  There was a crack.  Jamie screamed.  Suddenly there was no resistance from Jamie.  Lexia had broken her elbow.

Cries came echoing down the hallway, the baby only got louder as time passed.  Someone is must have called the police.  Come on Lance, we got to go, she thought.  Lance couldn’t hear her thoughts, and he didn’t release Jamie.  The gun still in both women’s grip was pointed at Jamie’s own chest.

Tears covered Jamie’s swollen face, the faintest signs of bruising were starting to show.  She looked into Lexia’s eyes.  Then she glanced down the hall at the room were the cries came from.

“Please, don’t kill me,” Jamie pleaded.  “You’re not going to kill me are you?”

“I don’t know sweetie, I don’t know,” Lexia said for herself.

Lexia forced Jamie’s finger down on the trigger.  Lexia closed her eyes as the gun fired.  She pulled the gun from Jamie’s hands and holstered it.

“God damn you,” Lexia yelled.  “She is a mom.  Don’t you hear that baby?”

“She was a traitor and an enemy of the state,”  Lance said.  “We need to get out of here.  The cops are on their way.”

Copyright Richard Flores IV
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Merry Christmas! (Free Ebooks)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What ever your choice of holidays this season, I hope you and your family enjoy them to the fullest extent.  Christmas is a time of year I always enjoy.  Something I find I enjoy even more now that I have kids.  It is a time of giving, a time of joy, and even a time of excitement for the things to come in a new year.  So from my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Here is your Christmas Present:

Did you get a new Kindle?  Or are you wanting a to load up a eReader you are gifting?

Check out Dissolution of Peace.  As a Christmas present to the world, I have made Dissolution of Peace free for THREE DAYS.  On December 24, 25, and 26th, you can get your Kindle copy 100% free.  This will be the last free give away I do for a little while, since my KDP Select will be expiring in the new year, and I have yet to decide if I will renew it.  So don’t miss out.  This is a great chance to send it as a gift to a friend’s eReader, add it to the eReader you are gifting, or to load up your eReader.  Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Here are what reviewers are saying about Dissolution of Peace:

“Lots of action, good emotional points and I love the landscape… I left my soft chair and became a love-crossed, beautiful captain of a starship.” – Scifi Book Review

“Tension. Betrayal. Love. Lust. Politics. Action. This story has it all.” – Robert D. Marion

Amazon customers are frequently calling Dissolution of Peace a “Great Read”.  So don’t miss out on a chance to grab it for free.

Once you get your copy of Dissolution of Peace, run over to Plasma Frequency and get your free copies of all our issues for your eReader of choice.  All three of our issues are free and that is a lot of great short fiction that belongs on any Speculative Fiction reader’s eReading device.

Here is how where you can unwrap (get) your free presents from me:

Dissolution of Peace on Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009N3BFIG

Dissolution of Peace on Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009N3BFIG/

Plasma Frequency Magazine: http://plasmafrequencymag.com/

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Should Authors Write Book Reviews?

Yesterday I asked my Facebook and Twitter followers what they would like me to blog about.  I got only a few responses.  This one, on twitter, caught my eye:

Peter Snede (@Petersnede) wrote: “@Richard_Flores4 I’m interested in a post on authors writing book reviews. Are neg reviews advisable? Do they help them connect w/others?”

I had never really given it much thought.  I’ve written a number of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  I’ve even written a couple of them on here.  But, I never gave much thought  if I was doing a good thing or a bad thing.  I just did it to help out fellow Authors and to help out readers.  So I spent yesterday at work thinking things over on this topic.

We all know that when you get your book ready to sell, you hope to get some reviews.  Whether that be on Amazon, Goodreads, or a blog post.  Generating buzz around your book (positive buzz) will only help you sell more books.  But, what is the benefit in reviewing other author’s books?  Here are some of them:

  • You can hope that the favor is returned.  Perhaps you review their book and they will do the same for you.  If not them directly, then you can hope that your generosity will be rewarded through Karma, fate, good vibes, or whatever you want to call it.
  • Since almost every way you can do a review, you can create a profile that has a link to your site.  You might generate traffic to your website.  If you are reviewing the books on your website or blog, they will find your website when they search for that book.
  • Perhaps your Blog audience enjoys your reviews.  That will certainly help you get more visitors, and get your name out there when you are selling your books.  Chances are if your reviews entertained them, they might take chance on your book.
  • The Author may publicly recognize your review and post it to Twitter, Facebook, or to their own site.  Hopefully that helps you.
  • If you review enough books, name recognition is certainly possible.

The reason I do it is simple:  I enjoyed the book enough that I thought my blog audience would enjoy it as well.  After all a review is my opinion, and for the most part I think my blog audience enjoys my opinion.  I write all these blog posts for my blog audience, not so much for myself.  So, I never gave much thought to all the above benefits as well.  The reason I write reviews on Goodreads and Amazon is to help out fellow authors by increasing their reviews and for the benefit of the buyer who is trying to decide if this book is right for them.

But, Peter asks an important question:  Are negative reviews a good idea?  Well, that was a very tough one for me the first time I had to face a book I didn’t much care for.  When it comes to my blog I only share books I enjoyed.  The reason for that is simple, I want to help my blog audience find the next book they will enjoy.  For me, writing a negative review on my blog serves no purpose to my blog audience, and since my blog is not book review blog anyway, I just don’t do it.

But, when it comes to Amazon or Goodreads, I review books that I don’t like too.  Simply because those are public resources that people come to looking for their next purchase.

But back to the topic:  My moral tough spot.  I had read a book, or rather a collection, that started off horribly.  I even debated putting it down and not reading it anymore.  The problem was, I was given this book for the sole reason of writing an Amazon review.  The even bigger problem was I know the author.  He is a good Author and person.  I talked to my friend and fellow writer about my issue.  He made a good suggestion:  Write the Author and tell them you don’t like it.  Tell them that if you wrote an honest review it would be a bad one.  And explain to them why you don’t like it.  If he insists you still review it, then do so.  If he says well thank you, then you don’t have to review it.

I reviewed it, because it also got a lot better.  I gave it an honest rating and an honest review.  But what if it hadn’t gotten better.  Well, the way I see it that is up to you.  If you are only writing reviews for the benefit of you audience finding books that they will like, then only review books you think are good.  If you run a book review website, you are in a tough spot.  If you are given, and agree to, review a book for your blog.  Then you have to review it.  You could contact the Author and warn them.  Or you could just write the review.

If you are just doing reviews on Goodreads or Amazon you have another option.  If I don’t enjoy a book, I simply rate it.  I don’t write a full review.  I just give it a star rating at leave it at that.

Frankly, unless you are a critic, I don’t think writing a full on bad review does anyone any good.  You won’t change the book, it is already published.  And if you are trying to aspire to be a good Author, then you want to build a positive network of authors.  So, I suggest you follow the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” rule.  Remember a review is way different then the test reading process.  This book has already been published.

Will writing bad reviews end your career?  I don’t think so.  But it won’t boost it either.  However, if you plan to start a blog that reviews books, plan to be an honest book critic (the Siskel & Ebert of books) then you need to take a different approach.  And, I’m not really qualified to give you some guidance on that.

You will notice that I have never once said you should give a false review to a book.  Friend or not, the moment you start writing false reviews you destroy your credibility as an Author and a Reviewer.  Boosting egos won’t work.  If it is a friend, tell them the book is not your style.  If you are not comfortable writing a bad review, don’t do it.  Once of the best things about reviewing is you get to choose what you review.

In summary:  I do recommend that Authors review books.  I don’t think you need to write bad reviews.  And, writing reviews will help you connect with other authors, and with a audience all your own.

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Moving and Internet Outages

As some of you know, I was moving this week.  I got all settled in at my new place and had the ATT install technician come out and install my service the next day.  Since then I have not had a stable internet connection.  I don’t know why they are having so much trouble getting this right, I have had five different techs visit.  But, needless to say, I can’t update this much until they get it together.

Hopefully I can return to my regular blogging soon.  I am still able to update Twitter and Facebook from my phone, so if you want to stay up to date, you can follow me there.

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