Status Updates

Status Updates

The Pit of No Return (FM6) is OUT!!!

Main Focus: Gush (Fantasy Action/Aventure YA) Novel, First Draft = 16k out of 100k estimate (16%)

Side Focus #1: Assault on Dread Fortress Paine (Post FM6 Novella) = 6k out of 30k estimate (20%)

Side Focus #2: Mancy Family Dinner (Post FM6 Novella) = 7k out of 30k estimate (23%)

Back Burner #1: FM7 School Story = 0k out of 80k estimate (0%)

Back Burner #2: Super Secret Awesome Project

Other Stuff I Need to Get To: FM3-FM6 concordance updates

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Betrothal: The Three Types of Zoo

A BETROTHAL excerpt on Zoos, yes, Zoos:

There are three different types of zoo entrance:  the Wilderness Type, the Prison Type, and the Kong type. 
The Wilderness Type is employed by a committee of public trust shareholders that have never actually been camping much less in the Outback/Anaconda River/African Savannah, yet they know what the wild is supposed to look like, so all is well.  This is why the Wilderness Type of zoo ends up with heaps of big fake logs, plastic looking rocks, and a roof that mimics a hut with lots of dead straw and twigs.  It looks good at the opening of the zoo but after a few years gets really messy:  the logs need to be chopped down, the vines die, the rocks rust, the straw blows all over the place, and the janitors are always being called out to clean it up.  The Wilderness Type says, “We’re wild and crazy and you can be wild and crazy too!  Growl!” 
The Prison Type is contrasting with the Wilderness Type.  Its modern, it gets the job done, and it doesn’t take hostages.  Walking to a Prison Type of entrance you are greeted with queues—metal railings bracketing you in on each side, forcing you to transverse the twisting line of steel and boredom—while bland elevator music is pumped into overhead speakers, quelling your rising frustrations.  Once you escape from the queue you are led to a factory-like line of ticket booths, the workers encased in steel and glass with that small hole to trade money for tickets and the even smaller hole for you to talk to the cashier.  When you finally have the ticket you are buzzed through an electronically locked door and on the other side your safety is in your own hands.  The Prison Type says, “We have tried our best to keep you from getting killed, we don’t want to have to clean up your remains.” 
The Kong Type is created for the sole purpose of creating a sense of awe, both in the attendee and in the designers who think quite a lot of themselves.  The Kong Type has a giant front door opened wide; the space between hinting at what awaits you inside.  Maybe there is a colossal arch towering over your head, and statues, lots of statues:  brass, bronze, stone, all kinds of statues of elephants, tigers, and other dangerous predators.  And animal shaped bushes, can’t forget that.  Maybe someone even gets the bright idea to have the animals dragged outside and walk through the concrete when it is settling so there are giant paw and hoof marks under your feet.  The Kong Type says, “You are not prepared for my wonder!” 
I am sorry to disappoint after all that, but the zoo we went to wasn’t a Kong Type. A Kong Type in Utah? Come on people. Set up your expectations about things. Has anything really been Kong Type in this entire novel? Except for Tad…

THE BETROTHAL: OR HOW I SAVED ALAN EDWARDS FROM 40 YEARS OF HELL by Richard Raley, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Betrothal Breakfast

A BETROTHAL excerpt for a common morning breakfast:

By six of the next morning, I was up and about, showered then changed into my trusty khakis and t-shirt. Sam had headed off my ability to enter their room for access to my clothes at the pass and instead made me share closet space with Tad, so getting them wasn’t a problem, though seeing Tad in his little g-string again was. 
By seven, breakfast for four was well on its way. When Hannah and Sam made their appearance it was to the smells of sausage, bacon, pancakes, and toast. “And he cooks, why am I not surprised?” 
“Be nice, Sam,” Hannah scolded her sister. 
“I didn’t know what you two like so I made a bit of everything,” I told them, putting the plates of food out on the table before I headed back into the Den of the Cheetah G-Strings once more. 
Opening the door, I was greeted by Tad’s butt cheeks as they saluted the ceiling. It’s something I know I’m going to have nightmares about for the rest of my life. I’ll never be able to look at spotted cats the same way again, to say nothing of reading National Geographic. 
“Tad, wake up and put on some clothes!” This got no reaction, so I smacked him on the shoulder, which only earned me a groan and that weirded me out even more. Desperate measures: “Hannah and Sam are making out in the other room.” 
Tad snapped up like I’d dunked him in cold water. “Wha’ was that?” 
“Hannah and Sam are going to eat all the food,” I lied. 
“Oh…I thought you said something else.” 
“Must have been dreaming something.” 
“Yeah,” Tad grinned, “Good dream though.” 
The four of us sat down and had breakfast. I learned rather quickly that Sam is one of those people that just doesn’t like the morning hours of the day. She said little, glared often, and the only communication she seemed capable of was grunts and growls. “I need coffee,” she finally confessed. 
“Tad and I can get some when we’re out with Alan,” I offered her. 
“I suppose my cousin has everything planned out and we all have to follow the queen’s will?” Sam snarled 
“You’re in a bad place today,” Hannah stated the obvious, but did it in such a sweet way that you immediately forgave her for it. 
Looking down at a glass of orange juice I had taken to time to freshly squeeze, Sam sobbed. “I need coffee!”

THE BETROTHAL: OR HOW I SAVED ALAN EDWARDS FROM 40 YEARS OF HELL by Richard Raley, like "The Sun Also Rises" without all the excessive drinking, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Covers

The last time, I promise!  It's actually only the second cover for PRIME PICKINGS.  My problem with the first was purely with how plain it managed to look.



I kept the exact same design but changed the fonts, Engravers to Pistolgrip, and whatever that plain white one is to Rockwell Bold with an outline.  MUCH better, MUCH easier to see.  Also notice that lovely bit at the top preparing for the amazing King Henry Price, whose first book comes out in a few weeks.


I also redid THE BETROTHAL.  I know...it's like the 3rd one.  The problem with it the first time was that you couldn't see the subtitle:


The problem with it the second time, which I actually liked, was that Amazon hated this cover, it messed up the newsprint style any time it shrunk it and made it look horrible.  I also got complaints about the swirling font, which I admit is probably something that works better with a physical copy a potential buyer will try to pick up and twist to read.

Now...Number Three, same background but just having fun with Pistolgrip font, matching up THE BETROTHAL with PRIME PICKINGS and all the other covers I have coming out over the next three years (besides THE KING HENRY TAPES, which used The Battle Continuez Graffiti font).  To me it is a cleaner and bolder cover.


What does the Russian judge think?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Real Review: A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin.

Link:  A Dance With Dragons on Amazon (Hey, look who has a top review!)

*Beware, Minor Spoilers*

If you had told me to make a list off the top of my head before I sat down to read this novel, of events I'd want to see, or resolutions I was looking for, it would have been something like:

Dany mastering her dragons, escaping the Meereen situation, and heading west.
Tyrion arriving at Dany's court to serve her in his unique ways.
The battle with the Others finally starting in a serious way.
Jon learning who he is.
Cersei's trial and the unleashing of FrankinGregor.
What is Jaime going to do?
Is Briennie dead, what did she say to get out of the noose?
Quentyn arriving at Dany's court and revealing Dorne's plans to her.
Victarion using the horn to control the dragons.
Bran meeting the Greenseer and finishing his training.
Arya finishing her training.

A pretty obvious list based on the story so far, right? I would have been happy with 3 of these stories moving along, 4 would have been downright wonderful. Instead I got one and a half. And the kicker...it's the last one and a half I would have chosen.

This would have been bad enough...only it got worse. GRRM manages to add two more very interesting plotlines, one of which is Stannis' battle for the North, the other of which we'll let be a secret, and he gives no resolution for them either.

This is a novel that ended 200 hundred pages short. Throughout all of it we are given two "big" stories, the North and the East, and both of them look to lead towards large power altering battles that will rival the Blackwater...only we never get to them. The book stops before BOTH.

It is a novel filled with ships sailing, and sailing, and sailing some more. Of marching, and marching, and marching some more. Jon Snow becomes muddled in food stores, concerned with wildlings, with not an Other in sight of the wall. Dany reverts back to trying to save absolutely everyone, doing anything at all to make a false peace, and turns on her own dragons. Cersei has 2 chapters, Jaime 1, and both of them feel like they should have either been included into AFFC or left out till Book 6. Bran and Ayra train, but it has no end in sight.

Tyrion....Tyrion learns to cherish his inner dwarf. If all this doesn't sound exciting, don't worry, you will be lucky enough to get to read near 50 pages of food descriptions scattered about the novel. There is also about 100 "You know nothing, Jon Snows", about 50 "Words are Wind" and considerable "I must go forward" and something about Lannister's and debts I didn't know about...

I can't say it was all bad. If there wasn't good I wouldn't be so disappointing in where the book ended after all. Reek, Barristan, Asha, and Davos were all fantastic, the single Melisandre chapter shed much light on a certain bastard's destiny, and my main-dragon Drogon was the star of the book.

But...I have just finished 1000 pages, it is fresh in my mind, and what drives me to my disappointment is the thought of another 5 years...where I will have my list above, one scratched off, and yet two more added.

3.5 but it doesn't deserve the curve.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Betrothal: Arch-Burgers

A BETROTHAL excerpt on the types of fast-food joint you might find yourself in.


A lot of people falsely believe that every fast-food burger place is the same, but this is far from the truth. Like most things in the universe there are three distinct types of Arch-Burgers and its cousins. It’s a rule. 
The most common kind is the Zombie Arch-Burgers. You walk into these all the time and it’s the general view of what people think of when they think fast-food. Workers that are barely awake with grease stains on their clothes, stale fries, microwaved burgers, and five day old nuggets—or tenders or strips or whatever the corporation has trademarked—that taste like cardboard, that type of thing. The whole place has this feeling like it has lost its brains and is looking for another one, maybe yours. With secret sauce on top. Or maybe the secret sauce is made out of brains…oh my Earth Goddess, I cracked the code! I feel like Robert Langdon… 
The next rarest form is the Uber Arch-Burgers. Merely stepping inside will tell you if you are inside of an Uber Arch-Burgers. First, it will be clean. But, there will also be expensive decorations, usually something somber yet inspiring an artistic heady flair, like model ships or cast-iron animals. Somewhere in an Uber Arch-Burgers you will also find a television, and probably a brand new one, with the news turned on and a few yuppies drinking coffee around it while they use the Uber WiFi to update their social networking sites about the fact they are eating at an Arch-Burgers…because people really care. Optional is a section just for children, with a ball pit and jungle gym that you might even find at a Zombie Arch-Burgers, but also with added video game stands that usually ended up drawing Tad and I like a bee to honey and eventually getting us kicked out once enough parents complain about us hogging the toys. 
Rarest of all fast-food, is the Crazy Arch-Burgers. If you’ve been in one, you know what I’m talking about. The Crazy Arch-Burgers literally sits on top of some kind of mystical fairy magic field and draws every crazy person within five miles to it, and those that aren’t crazy are made crazy just by walking in the door. I once walked into a Crazy Arch-Burgers and in the course of one meal happened to have one guy sit across from me out of nowhere and act like I wasn’t even there, another lady walk in with her own homemade sammich and not order a single thing, another guy walk in and order breakfast at two in the afternoon before throwing a hissy fit on his way out about ‘You can’t even get burger in this place!’, and the finale before I ran outside screaming to try to warn people away was a kid cutting his arm on the ball slide, and blood fountaining out like he was in a Tarantino movie. Beware the Crazy Arch-Burgers, it will change you…and not for the better.

You can read more Arch-Burger adventures in THE BETROTHAL: OR HOW I SAVED ALAN EDWARDS FROM 40 YEARS OF HELL by Richard Raley, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Friday, July 8, 2011

RReview: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Link:  The Black Prism on Amazon

Ranking: Get it Now!

Comments:  Green Lantern meets Man in the Iron Mask.  A unique and complicated magic system, some creative world building, and one great twist overcome mostly archetypal characters and some Michael Bay worthy humor.  While I mark it as "Get it Now!" the paperback does come out in August, just a warning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Betrothal: Meet Tad

I decided it wasn't fair that THE BETROTHAL was getting absolutely zero pimping from me, so here's the first of a series of excepts to come out this month.

Meet Tad

“Got any new ones?” I asked and instantly regretted the good manners my mother had whipped into me. 
“Nah, man.  I got too many, and they’re kind of breeding now, so I don’t want to introduce a new species that will start eating the little ones.”  See my point about how gruesome fish are? 
“Does that happen often?” 
“Well, it’s not like you’re standing here and suddenly there’s a feeding frenzy with sharks gnawing on tuna heads,” Tad defended. 
I followed him into his bedroom.  “Basically you go to bed at night and when you wake up some of the smaller fish have gone off to see the Big-Fishie-in-the-Sky?” 
“Exactly.  I mean, there isn’t even any blood.  Just the occasional floating fin…they don’t like eating the fins.  And you got the mini pool-scooper for that, don’t even have to touch it.” 
“Why couldn’t you have gotten a dog?” 
“You find me a dog that glows in the dark and I’ll buy one,” Tad said as he started packing his duffle-bag like suitcase with clothes and bathroom supplies. 
“With the miracles of science, you never know,” I continued, looking at the silver shag-carpet like I was worried I was going to step on something squishy.  “…you know they made pigs glow?” 
“Really?” 
“Yeah…green…like nuked bacon...or like those green tube-lights you crack at raves or in caves.” 
“That’s awesome…you know you rhymed, been writing any poems?” 
I ignored him.  We both knew from several badly written love poems in high school that couplets were not my thing.  “I don’t know why they did it, but yeah, interesting stuff.  The pigs, not the poetry.” 
“Would be useful is bed, could turn the lights off and still see what you need to see.” 
I chuckled…only Tad.  “Why do I have the feeling you use glowing condoms?” 
“That’s for the reminder, man.” Tad snapped his fingers and threw a jumbo-size box of condoms into his suitcase. 
“You really need the whole thing?” I asked. 
“Yes, I really do.  Just in case…” 
“Expecting many buses of cheerleaders in Utah?” 
“You can never be too careful, man.  Them cheerleaders will sneak up on you.”  He grinned at me.  Tad’s good at grinning.

You can read more about Tad's wisdom in THE BETROTHAL: OR HOW I SAVED ALAN EDWARDS FROM 40 YEARS OF HELL by Richard Raley, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Now on Smashwords

Both of my books are now available on Smashwords.com in all the formats they provide.

You can check out my author page here:  http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/richardraley

Both are also involved in the summer giveaway, you can get BETROTHAL for 50% off and PRIME PICKINGS for FREE by using the coupon Smashwords provides.