Family Friday Update

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Hello Space Cadets, I hope this post finds you well and in good health.  The American Thanksgiving Holiday has just passed and the process of recovering from the food coma’s have begun.  If you’re participating in the Great NaNoWriMo, I wish you many words and hope your journey is well on its way. 

 

Speaking of the NaNo, I’m behind but still within the realm of finishing the 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’m working on Operation Breakout, the third novel in my Sleeping Legion series.  I’ve also put some words into two short stories and some last-minute revisions of Fortress Beta City. That’s the second novel in the Sleeping Legion series.  The first two novels in the series should be in ready to leave me and wander into the big bad jungles of the Amazon.  I’ll post more as soon as my editor and boss give me more information.  My current word count is 35,939 words across several projects related to the series I’m currently writing.  I am behind, but it is definitely salvageable!

 

As for my interview series, they will come as soon as the authors I’ve contacted respond.  I will keep you posted, and unless I have something to say this will be the last post marked in the series until my interview requests start coming in.  Since I can’t offer you an author’s interview, let me instead recommend a book by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Húrin.  It’s his first complete book since the 1977 publication of The Silmarillion.  If you loved the Lord of the Rings, you’ll love this! 

 tolkien

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

 

A Call to Action: Beta Reading

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Hello Space Cadets, I bring you some important news from the field!  The Sleeping Legion is rousing… As I type these words, REVENGE SQUAD: After War, the first book in the forthcoming Revenge Squad series by Tim C. Taylor is due to be launched in about a month.  Is he nervous?  You bet!  Excited?  Oh, yes!  And if you join the Legion you can be a part!  As a Legionary, you can read the recon team edition today.

 

Tim would be very grateful for any Legionary Bulletin members who can spare the time to look over the recon edition.  The novel has been edited and proof read, but Tim has two particular concerns:

After War features a hero who is also something of a grumpy old soldier.  He claims personal experience in two of those conditions, but he hasn’t been a soldier so he may have written something that doesn’t sound right to someone with that background.

Donna the Editor and Tim are both English.  This means they wear powdered wigs, commute to work on a red bus, and only take off their bowler hats when bathing.  In full disclosure, I will quote Tim’s perfectly British attempt to defend his countries honor.

“Despite scurrilous rumors spread by JR Handley, it most definitely does not mean we drink warm beer.  Damn you, rest of the world!  British beer is served at cellar temperature, I tell you.  As God intended!”

All joking aside, they both worry that they might fail to spot something that seems off to their North American and Australian readers.

 

How to download After War: Recon Edition

The book is available in Kindle and ePUB format (the latter for Nooks, iBooks, Kobos and other devices). To distribute them I use a service called BookFunnel. You should be able to get the book loaded wherever you want by clicking or tapping the button. If you have trouble getting this book, just tap the Help Me link at the top of the book download page and BookFunnel’s friendly support team will help you get your book.

 

What does the Book Recon Team do?

 

Recon Team volunteers help by scouting ahead for hazards and highlighting dangers in a draft of a forthcoming book.  If you read a passage and it makes you whistle, curse, or throw your book (and the device you’re reading it on) across the room because something isn’t right, then I would like you to tell us about it.

 

What I’m asking volunteers to do is to read the Recon Edition as if you were reading any other book and make a note of anything that strikes you as wrong.  This could be characters acting in a way that doesn’t make sense, passages that are confusing or have spelling mistakes, sex scenes that make you cringe, combat scenes that don’t ring true, heathen Britishisms (that’s highly unlikely with me [JR Handley]), though Tim is confident that he will corrupted me at some point) or anything else that feels wrong.

 

We can’t promise to agree with or act on everything you tell us, but we do promise we’ll read and consider everything you bring to our attention.

 

How do I communicate what I’ve found?

 

This time we’re doing things a little differently, opening things up and turning it into a wider discussion.  If you have something you want to say, add a post to the BattleNet forum on humanlegion.com.  There’s a forum specifically for the Legion Awakes Recon Team, which you can find here.  Be aware that other members of the team may read and comment on what you say.

 

You will need to register for BattleNet first.  Instructions are in the forum itself.  It’s as quick and painless as I can make it, but should hopefully prevent endless posts telling us how we need more Viagra.  In fact, I’ve already managed to identify and ban some spambots trying to register, so it’s working so far.

 

To help us know which part of the book you’re referring to, it’s useful to do the following.

If you’re reading the Kindle edition, tell us the Kindle location (or give the chapter number if the comment is not specific to a line).

Please copy the first 3-4 words of the sentence (because the Kindle location is not enough by itself to know which line you’re referring to).

 

So if the opening paragraph started at Kindle location 80, and read something like this…

I always get the shakes before a drop. I’ve had the injections, of course, and hypnotic preparation, and it stands to reason that I can’t really be afraid.

 

…And you were of the opinion that injections and hypnosis didn’t sound futuristic enough and something really ought to be done to jazz them up, then you might put as your forum post:

 

Chapter1. Loc 80. [I’ve had the…] The med tech sounds too 1950s!

 

That’s all there is to it.  Remember that this is meant to be an enjoyable experience, so have fun and if there’s any danger of becoming onerous, then stop commenting.

 

BTW: if you can’t place that classic opening paragraph, there’s a short article on it here.

 

Recon Team Benefits

 

Many people have told me over the past few years how much they have enjoyed the sense of playing a part in creating a book.  We at Team Human Legion hope you do too.

 

Other than reading an advance copy before anyone else (and for free), and being able to chat about it directly with the author, there are a couple more little bonuses.

Everyone who comments will be named and thanked in the final edition.

Everyone who comments will join our pool of Redshirts.  The books in the Human Legion Universe get through a lot of characters, and most of them need names.  Where we can we’ll use names from our Redshirt list.  We might mangle your name a little if the story demands it, but you should recognize yourself.  Redshirts have a habit of not surviving for long, but despite the name not all Redshirts are doomed to a brief and bloody literary existence.  Who knows?  You might wind up doing duty as a romantic interest.  If you would rather not risk ending your literary alter-ego’s existence falling into a volcano or as a casualty when the pirates board your ship, then mention that in your BattleNet comment and you’ll be safely excluded from the Redshirts.

 

OK, I’m Sold. How do I get my book?

The book is available in Kindle and ePUB format (the latter for Nooks, iBooks, Kobos and other devices).

 

To distribute them I use a service called BookFunnel. You should be able to get the book loaded wherever you want by following the link on the next line. If you have trouble getting this book, just tap the Help Me link at the top of the book download page and BookFunnel’s friendly support team will help you get your book.

 

Here’s the link:  RECON EDITION: THE LEGION AWAKES

 

Thank you for your support. Now go read the book and have fun…

 

What next for Human Legion Books?

December 2016 will be a busy month.  All being well, we will release five books:

 

The Sleeping Legion

The Demons of Kor-Lir: carnage as a green Marine squad encounters a hidden foe. The eBook edition will initially be exclusively available to Legionaries.

The Legion Awakes: A Marine is awoken centuries after his time and has to turn around the worst squad in the regiment or die. Meanwhile, a civil war that will rip apart the galaxy is about to kick off…

Fortress Beta City: After Tranquility-4 is immolated in the civil war, the Hardit New Order reigns unchallenged under Supreme Commander Tawfiq… until a Human Legion task force under Colonel Nhlappo arrives to retrieve the Sleeping Legion. But there are more secrets buried under Tranquility’s soil than even Nhlappo and Tawfiq know…

 

Revenge Squad

After War: Retired onto a frontier planet and told he’s now a colonist, NJ McCall is lost in every sense when a filthy alien penetrates the perimeter of his farm. What happens next will change the world.

Hurt U Back: NJ McCall’s first assignment is to Port Zahir, and it does not start well. The Revenge Squad HQ is abandoned, its personnel assumed slaughtered. But NJ’s new family will not let him give up. Battling through dockside rivalries, revolutionary intrigue, police harassment, and an ex-fighter pilot turned bishop with an eye on his soul, NJ must face overwhelming odds if he is to deliver his revenge. The eBook edition will initially be exclusively available to Legionaries.

 

That should be plenty for one month.  We’re not idle though.  We will be back with more releases in 2017.  The next Sleeping Legion novel, Operation Breakout, is well underway.  The next Revenge Squad novel, Second Strike, has been outlined, and the opening scenes written of the final Human Legion novel, The Battle of Earth.  Deeper into 2017 will see more Sleeping Legion and Revenge Squad novels and exclusive content as part of the first Human Legion box set (which will be available on Kindle Unlimited, so anyone with a subscription can get it free).

 

Well, I’d say that’s about enough for one day!!  Hope it finds you well, especially going into the Thanksgiving Holidays!  But remember, when in doubt, drink more beer!

 

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

 brown_bess

 JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are personally owned by the author of the Human Legion Universe.

Marine Monday: Legion-Leaks

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Hello Space Cadets, for today’s Marine Monday I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the concept of Space Marines.  These definitions and rules of use come from a highly-classified document from the Human Legion Database given to me by a whistle blower.  Apparently, she believes that the garbage they call food qualifies as a violation of her rights.  The Rights of Sentient Creature’s Act of the 2nd Human Legion Council clearly protects the warfighters, and the garbage they’re fed should criminal.  As I sift through the Mega Terabytes of data, I’ll publish what I can squeak though the oversight software. 

 

For starters, the very term MARINE refers to both the soldiers and military organizations whose primary function is one or more of the following:

  • Close assault and boarding of space-faring vessels
  • Defense of space-faring vessels against close assault and boarding
  • Assault from space against the defended surface of a planet

 

The term is widely used to describe the relevant military forces of most political entities within the Trans-Species Union.  None have survived in the space beyond the Trans-Species Union territory, but presumably they call those forces Marines as well.  Since nobody has lived to tell us otherwise, you MUST presume that I am right! 

 

The original Earth term for the military meaning of marine (water-borne rather than space-borne military forces) is now referred to as ‘littoral marine’ or ‘seaborne marine’.  Referring to a member of such a unit as a ‘wet marine’ is a sure way to start a fight.  However, like any good soldier, I don’t mind knocking a few heads together so you’ll hear me using it.  Use it at your own risk, but you’ve been warned!  Again, the term Space Marine is never used by civilians or pansy Spacers.

 

The military term ‘marine’ is not capitalized in general use, although marine organizations will frequently capitalize when referring to themselves.  Since the accounts you are now reading are about the Human Legion, and its predecessor/rival, the Human Marine Corps, we capitalize as ‘Marine’ when referring to those organizations.  We, the authors of these leaked files, are ourselves Marines.  Whatever the grammatical niceties of proper nouns might demand, it is impossible for us to think of ourselves as anything other than Marines with an capital ‘M’.  To call us marines would be an insult.

 

 

And, we would argue, an insult to our ancestors, for we were not the first Marines by a long shot.

 

Seaborne marines were critical in ancient Earth history.  In the Battle of Salamis (-480CE) Greek marines played a crucial role in defeating the much larger Persian forces, helping to set the cultural underpinning of what would later be called Western Civilization.

 

A ship-boarding technology called the corvus enabled Roman marines to win naval supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea (around -250CE), ultimately meaning the Romans defeated their arch rivals the Carthaginians to become the dominant regional superpower for many centuries.

 

The next major innovation in seaborne marine forces came two thousand years later with the development of a much larger self-contained, combined-arms marine army that could fight wars almost unaided.  This was the United States Marine Corps, the slower sibling of the US Army.

 

It is widely speculated by modern-era Marines that the military units formed from human slaves following the Vancouver Accord were inspired by the US Marine Corps.  Others regard this as wishful thinking, pointing out that while the Human Marine Corps might draw inspiration from the fighting spirit of their US ancestors, the segregation and racism inherent to their command structure more closely follows the army of the British East India Company in the early 1800s CE.

 

Whatever the truth of that argument, we the Marines of the Human Legion acknowledge the rich heritage of our military ancestors from Earth, and indeed those from other planets.  We recognize their example and transcend them, because the Human Legion is not based in the past.  We have a single mission: to fight for a better future. A future for us all.

 

Freedom can be won.

 

Well, if you’ve enjoyed my relating to you this leaked slice of classified lunacy, be sure to follow this blog and stayed tuned!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section

Beta Reading Recon Team

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Hello Space Cadets, do you yearn for action and adventure?  Does your soul beg to shake free from the shackles of Mother Earth?  Do you love reading, diving into fictional universes and then discussing it in depth?  Basically, there’s a call out for all of the Geeks, Nerds, Fan boys/Fan girls and all around science fiction fanatics.  If this sounds like you, and you want to help an author launch his debut novel, head on over and join the Legionnaires!!  Be a part of the adventure, shape it and mold it until it is a piece of literary perfection that Heinlein would be proud of!  🙂

 If you want to join the recon teams, you need to first join the Legion, which you can do here.  You can then discuss your thoughts on the BattleNet, but you don’t need to do so to chat away.  You can find join the discussion here.

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section

Warrior Weekend Interview Series

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Hello Space Cadets, like I mentioned yesterday I didn’t plan ahead well enough for an interview series.  I am working on playing catch-up, but let me tell you about what I envision with this.  If you missed it, I’m a combat veteran of the Late Unpleasantness in Mesopotamia.  It changed me, my world view, and the content of the stories I tell.  I’m curious how other veterans in the writing world (authors, editors, publishers, etc.) manage it.  How does it affect their process?

 

One thing that has always been important to me is to support other veterans, so this is my chance to pay it forward.  It is my thanks to the thousands who manned the lines with me.  It introduces them to the world, and lets us reminisce for a few on our shared experiences.  I hope you find this worthwhile, but on top of their military service (for any country), they are readers and writers just like us.  Maybe together we can learn from each other.

 

Since I don’t have any larger post planned for today, I wanted to recommend a book.  When I got back from Iraq my brain injury made reading difficult.  I couldn’t concentrate, the words blurred and I gave up.  Even the large print books weren’t cutting it.  I’d given up, and was listening to my neurologist lecture me again about exercising my mind when he decided to find a solution for me.  If you don’t know, your brain is like any other muscle.  If you don’t use it, you lose it.  When you suffer head injuries, the potential for the loss of said muscle down the line grows exponentially.  To combat that, they recommend brain teasers and the like, in addition to reading a lot.  After much nagging, I set a routine, I wake up and do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle with my morning coffee. 

 

My doctor wasn’t satisfied with a few minutes of mind games so he did some research about an amazing new technology called a Kindle.  It has a few neat features; backlighting, magnification and could read the book to you when you needed a break.  I was convinced, my parents ponied up the cash (gotta love supportive mothers) and I was off to the races.  I started with all of the free books available and narrowed down my searches to science fiction and fantasy.  I’m a huge fan of military science fiction and space opera, always have been since I found an old copy of Heinlein’s Starship Trooper in my local library.  It was old, battered and tucked into the back shelf.  I figured if it was good enough for someone to hide it, making sure it was there for them, I had to read it too.  Since then there have been many other good stories, jaunts through space and the like.  Now armed with a Kindle, I sought out books that fit into that genre.

 

The first successful Kindle search I made from within the device lead me to Terry Mixon and his Empire of Bones Saga.  It was great, made even better by the fact that Terry was an Army guy like me.  Let’s face it, a lot of the military veterans writing science fiction are Navy guys.  They figure SPACE ship, OCEAN going ship…. They’re all ships!  I honestly gave him a chance just because he was from the 101st Airborne too.  I wasn’t disappointed and you won’t be either.  Go check it out!

 

Empire of Bones (Book 1 of The Empire of Bones Saga) by [Mixon, Terry]

 

Finally, I’ll recommend a short story by my boss and science fiction author Tim C. Taylor!  Welcome Home, Janissary is set in the universe I’m writing in, and it is definitely worth a read!  It’s currently free, so you’ll get your money’s worth!!

 Welcome Home, Janissary by [Taylor, Tim C.]

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

Family Friday Interview Series

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Hello Space Cadets, today would be my inaugural Family Friday series but that just isn’t going to happen.  I intended to do a series of interviews with authors, editors, and anyone else in the book industry about how they manage their passion with the demands of any other careers and their families.  I’m doing this series because I certainly don’t have the answers so why not interview other authors for advice?  Maybe we can learn the great secret together!

 

While planning for this interview series I made a few logistical goofs.  In my ignorance, I didn’t plan ahead enough for an interview series.  It had more moving parts than I knew about, though common sense should’ve clued me in.  Basically, I had to write the questions template, make one for the spouse/significant other and save it.  Then I would need to tailor it for each individual author with the appropriate introduction etc.  This will include links to their social media, webpages and blogs so anybody interested could find the author in question.  And all this BEFORE I could even get it to the artists.

 

Once I had a potential interview subjects, I would need to ask them (several at once) if they were interested and hope they say yes!!  If they did, I would need to give them the interview document with enough time to answer it.  I think a few in the cue would help here, so that would take some organizational skills as well!  Finally, I would have to wait for them to mail the form back.

 

This might take me several weeks to organize, but in the meantime, I’ll post a link to a podcast which has been super helpful and hope you enjoy it too!  It is the NaNoWriMo Every Month Podcast by author J. Daniel Sawyer.  He is a great guy, very willing to help new authors and his podcast has helped me a lot.  Yes, I realize the back catalogue is deep BUT the podcasts are less than 15 minutes each!  Go give it a try, you won’t regret it!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

World Building Wednesday

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Hello Space Cadet, today I release into the multiverse my first World Building Wednesday where I talk about my process.  This isn’t the only way to build your world, or write a novel, this is just what works for me.  Keep in mind, I have to work around my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) with my process.  These limitations force me to rely heavily on notes, outlines and a paper filing system where all the world building stuff is organized and collated.

 

First, let me show you how I organize my shiny new idea!  This is a broad outline of my organizational thought.  Each of these steps often leads me to rabbit trails that flavor my story.  And remember, anything can be a source for the idea.  Books you’ve read, movies you’ve seen, the news and conversations with friends.  People you’ve observed in public, conversations you’ve overheard.  The world is your creative muse, use it and abuse it.

 

  1. The shiny big new idea!
  2. What do I need to make the idea work?
    1. Characters (People)
    2. Settings (Places)
    3. Equipment and Gear (Things)
  3. Create the world that the story takes place.
    1. Notes on the history of the world.
    2. Maps where I draw the actual world
    3. Key cultural things such as, but not limited to, religion and political thought.
  4. Research anything you need to know for your story.
  5. Outline this shiny new idea.
  6. Write the shiny new idea!

 

So, to summarize the list above, I start with an idea or a character.  Then I flush this idea out a little bit at a time, with ideas based on what I need for the plot.  I keep going, until I have a kernel of a world.  I flush it out, again, with the stuff I need for the story.  This can include researching things, or just the random thoughts that pop up along this path to creation.

 

One big rule I have for myself is that I leave myself room to tell more stories in the future.  The best advice I ever received on writing was from a stranger at my local Starbucks.  I was sitting there plotting out the various parts of my universe and I had papers spread all around me.  He advised me to “Never paint yourself into a corner.”  This stranger gave me great advice, and I use it with my own world.  Just enough to make the story work, in case it leads to rabbit trails that become different stories.

 

Writing for Tim C. Taylor, however, means most of the larger world issues are already made for me.  This will be a fact for anyone writing in someone else’s sandbox.  That said, working with Tim has been great.  He gives me room to do a lot be creative tinkering, with a few rules I can’t break.  For example, I can’t use FTL (Faster Than Light Travel) when writing in the Human Legion Universe but the characters and plot is open to anything I can imagine.  Mainly, he is focused on historical consistency, not changing the cannon and ensuring I not frakk up the aliens he created.

 

I’ve talked with authors who write in other shared universes, to include a few who write in the Warhammer 40K world and it seems these are universal truths.  It can be a lot of fun, in the same way people enjoy writing fan fiction, but there are some constraints.  You get the benefit of a universe full of possibilities waiting for you.  As you read the books in said universe, those thoughts that tingled in the back of your mind can be addressed.  The what if’s, or what happened to Character X when the curtain fell.  That can be a thrilling proposition for a new author who is unsure of himself. It allows you to get your feet wet in the writing process, with some of the guesswork taken out.  Another benefit, especially for a new author, is writing in a shared world generally comes with a built-in audience. In this the universe creator benefits as well, by having you potentially attract new readers to his will or world.

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Now that we’ve covered the topic in broad strokes, let me drill down to show you how my Sleeping Legion series came to be. I was reading Tim’s book Renegade Legion and ideas kept flopping around in the back of my mind.  What about the Marines still in Beta City?  And maybe they could fix those training hulks floating around in space?  I wrote it all down on a list, and messaged it to Tim.  I asked him to write those stories too!  Wow, sort of arrogant fanboy, no?  At that point in time I was working on his Wiki so we were in contact with one another anyway.  Around this time period (2014) I had already started working on my own New Carthage Republic idea.  I mailed Tim’s publishing house the first chapter and summary, seeking representation.  We already had a working relationship, so why not?  He said no, told me it was a good idea but that he wasn’t open for business anymore.  Instead, he was focusing on his own writing and didn’t have time to run a publishing house anymore.

 

I kept writing, bummed, but still writing.  A week later he contacted me with a counter proposal.  Write in his world on those ideas of mine!  It wasn’t a done deal, but he was prepared to be convinced if I sent him a proposal.  I sent him the proposal for the novella’s we talked about.  He approved and a contract was signed!!!  I even wore a wig, in honor of his British sensibilities.  Somehow those novellas became novels, but that is the origin of the Sleeping Legion Series.

 

In the coming weeks I’ll elaborate more on the world building, from maps to tech and everything in between, so stay tuned!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.