Calling all ARC readers!

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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing today?  I’m doing awesome, I enjoyed my time with my family and with Christmas tomorrow the kids are anxious about the pending arrival of Santa.  They’re anxiously awaiting the pitter patter of reindeer feet… and not very patiently!  Today I decided to help a local author find ARC readers for her fantasy novel which is going to be released in January.  I met Cait Ashwood through the Hampton Roads, VA NaNoWriMo group and she’s a sweet lady.  If you’re interested, she has a Facebook Author Page and a website that is pretty nifty looking!  If this sounds intriguing, check out her call for ARC readers here.  And in case you didn’t know, an ARC reader is simply a reader who gets an advance copy (pre-publication) to read in exchange for an honest review on Amazon or anywhere else the author specifies.  Take a look at some imagines of her beautiful web page and see for yourself.

 

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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 owned by JR Handley.

Book Review: Wraithkin

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Hey Space Cadets, a quick update on my series.  The first two novels in The Sleeping Legion Series are live and I’m hard at work writing book three.  I hope to have it to my editing team by the end of January 2017, unless life kicks me in the shins again.  For today I bring you the first in my planned book review series.  As I read something good, I’ll review it and recommend it to you.  Instead of boring old stars, I’ll rate it on a scale of 1 thru 5 grenades.  Obviously the bigger the boom the better!

 

Title: Wraithkin

Author: Jason Cordova

Price: $4.99 USD but it’s available for free in Kindle Unlimited

Obtained: I received an ARC for an honest review on Amazon, but liked it enough to buy it once it went live.

Pages: 302

 

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Rating: 4/5 Grenades

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Summary:

First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  In a nut shell, this is a book about family, no matter what. The Espinoza’s believe that in the end, family is all that remains.  It was a theme throughout the book and was very believable, the author executed this well.  There was also an underlying theme of loyalty to country versus loyalty towards one’s own interests.  It became increasingly clear that the author felt that duty above all was key, which fit nicely into the world he created.

 

Fundamentally, Gabriel Espinoza’s story arc is about his man’s undying love for the woman of his dreams.  While I wouldn’t call it a traditional love story, Gabriel’s love for his fiancée is one of the driving forces of this novel.  She is the be all, end all, of his existence and the impetus for his story arc.  When he fails a genetic purity test, they decide to head off to the outer planets where the discrimination is less onerous and the laws are less strict.  The hope was that they could remain in peace, but that wasn’t meant to be.  War loomed on the horizon!  But seriously, would we have it any other way.

 

The final character arc was for Andrew Espinoza, a clandestine government operative for The Dominion of Man.  His arc was a bit more complicated, and left me wondering throughout the book which path he’d take. He’s torn between his duty to his Emperor and his familial loyalties.  During the course of the book Andrew must infiltrate a rich and powerful clan to determine if they are plotting against the Dominion of Man, but while undercover he discovers something far darker and more dangerous is lurking in the shadows.  All of this ties in with the rest of his family, but I couldn’t explain it without putting out spoilers.  If Andrew interests you, read Wraithkin!

 

In the end, one brother must save himself; the other must save the universe.  But can either survive long enough to achieve their goal?  Well, read the book and find out!

 

Characters:

The two main characters are Gabriel and Andrew Espinoza, who are both citizens in the Dominion of Man.

 

Andrew Espinoza: I found that I liked Andrew a lot, I could relate to him – he would fit with many of the grunts I served with.  Hard when he needed to be, but able to be one of the guys when things were calm.  I can’t speak to his time as a spook, but his characters were certainly believable.  If he showed up on my door step, I’d drink a beer with him no problem.  I can’t describe him, other than shorter and stronger than his peers from other planets, which left me filling in my thoughts on his looks.  I would have preferred a better description of him; however, it didn’t keep me from reading the rest of the book.  He was insanely loyal to his Emperor, which seemed odd since his nation was actively discriminating and discarding his younger brother and others like him.  That part was hard to swallow, but I get the impression that it will be addressed in books two and beyond.  Overall, the character was very well rounded and I liked him

 

Gabriel Espinoza:  I initially disliked this character – I saw him as a spoiled brat. As he grew I came to at least understand him.  His woe is me approach didn’t last too long enough to make me throw my iPod, where I read with the Kindle App.  That’s a plus!  Again, as with his older brother, I don’t have a firm handle on what he looks like.  I prefer to be able to visualize him, but if that’s my biggest complaint we’re okay.  As for his believability, I never quite bought his obsessive loyalty to the Emperor and the system that was actively discriminating against him for his genetic impurities.  It felt off, hollow somehow.  Maybe it will become a thing in book two, answering the question once and for all?  I can say that I will buy his books to find out!  One good thing in his favor was that he was a sympathetic character.  He lost his whole world when the genetic test said he wasn’t “Perfect” and it had to suck to be forced to open your eyes and see the harsh reality of the world around you.  It made him well rounded, but again…I didn’t particularly like him.

 

Plot:

This was an action-packed novel, it never really lagged for me.  I read it from start to finish in one setting because I couldn’t put it down.  I believed that the tactics worked for the novel, the action was believable and the story flowed seamlessly from one plot point to another.  Wraithkin was easy to follow, and I was never confused by what was going on.  The only real part of the plot which I didn’t quite buy was the obsessive loyalty, despite the foul treatment from the system.  I would like to think I would rise up and be an agent of change, rather than just accept the status quo.  Who knows, either way it was a part of the plot that didn’t hit the sweet spot for me.

 

World Building:

I found the world building to be well done, there were parts I didn’t like but it was believable.  I desperately wanted the citizens to rise up against the system of Perfects vs Imperfects, but it was unfulfilled.  Who knows, maybe the author wanted us to hate that part of the Dominion?  I could envision myself in this world, but I’d probably be kicking the applecart over in a hundred million ways.  The only part I couldn’t buy was the obsessive loyalty to the Emperor.  I know, I sound like a broken record but that’s the thing that I just couldn’t accept.

 

Description:

Other than the lack of descriptions of how people looked, the rest of the world was very easy to visualize.  This one section the author got right!

 

Overall:

I think that the easiest way for me to explain my thoughts, is to tell you how I received the novel.  I was given a free ARC (advanced reader copy) eBook a week before the novel went live.  In return, I was to post an honest review on Amazon for the author on the day it launched.  I loved it, gave it 4 out of 5 Stripes  because he hooked me.  I went on to buy a copy, because I liked it enough that I wanted to support the author.  It’s an amazing romp through Jason Cordova’s sick and twisted imagination, and I found I was a fan.  In all honesty, this is a book I would happily recommend.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  Some novel’s I’ve known to only like enough to check out from the library versus buying it.  Or I’ll suggest you read it in KU where you’re not out too much cash.  Not the case with Cordova’s world.

 

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out!  You won’t regret it!  Well, unless it keeps you up all night and you’re late to work… and then your boss fires you, because you became a book addict and a rabid Jason Cordova fan.  Okay, the fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be warned, but enjoy the high!

 

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.

GREAT ADVICE FOR AUTHORS

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Hello Space Cadets, how’s everyone doing today?  Things over in the Handley Trenches are going well, still too early to tell how our campaign is going with The Sleeping Legion Series.  Today I decided to write about some advice I received when I first started getting more serious about my writing.  The advice was good enough, I decided to share with everyone else.  Hopefully you’ll find it worthwhile as well.

 

When I first started writing again I struggled to overcome the limitations of my TBI and perfect my craft.  I decided to be meticulous and sought out the assistance of various experts and have found several podcasts on writing to be extremely helpful.  First there is J.D. Sawyers “NaNoWriMo Every Month” podcast; I’ve found it to be chalk full of helpful advice.  It will soon be rebranded as the “The Every Day Novelist Podcast” but I left it as it is now so you’ll find it easier on the internet.  Dan’s helpful, funny and responds to individual questions on his podcast and through your email.  He has on occasion messaged people directly to be better able to assist them in their literary journeys.  There was also the podcast put out by Terry Mixon and Paul E. Cooley discussing writing and nerd fandom in a hilarious way, though maybe the kids should use their earmuffs.  I’ve found a few YouTube videographers who put out helpful content: Vivien Reis, Jenna Moreci, and Kim Chance.  All of them are great in their own right, but Jenna does tend to cuss a wee bit.  It doesn’t bother this old grunt, but I definitely don’t listen around my kids.  Kim comes off very kindergarten teacher-esq, but she is so cutely cheerful that she helps to pep you up when you’re down.  She’ll definitely help you remember why you wanted to be a writer in the first place.  And Vivien, well, she is just fun in a down to earth sort of way.  She definitely makes you wanna have a cup of coffee with her, so long as hers is caffeine-free… I know, right?  Ugh, that’s almost sinful!!  Sigh, if her writing is good we can forgive her though.

 

Anyway, that’s it for me at the moment.  Now I’ve got to get back to writing a scene for my novel.  It involves a battle where the Hardit mount one heck of a defense of the Hardit Incubation Station.  I can tell you, writing a battle scene, even a short one, can be exhausting!  It’s almost as if we were in the trenches with them.  To all ten of my imaginary readers, I promise I’ll keep it bloody and brutal!

 

I hope this was helpful, and if you have any recommendations for us, leave a comment and a link below and join the conversation.

 

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 owned by JR Handley.

 

 

  1. NaNoWriMo Every Month Podcast 
  2. The Dead Robots Society Podcast
  3. Vivien Reis YouTube videos
  4. Jenna Moreci YouTube videos
  5. Kim Chance YouTube videos

 

World Building: Book Dictation

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Hello Space Cadets, today I bring you another World Building Wednesday.  This one will be about my use of the Dragon Dictation Software to write.  I hurt my hand while I served in the Army, the infantry school combative classes aren’t anything to sneeze at.  Right now, it alternates between being fine, tingling numbness and no feeling in two fingers on my left hand.  I can type now, but if I want to think long term as an author I need alternatives.  Hence audio dictation.

 

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Since I struggle to overcome the limitations of my injuries, I went looking for answers.  It was suggested that I might benefit from using audio dictation software to write, so I started researching.  I went on to purchase the Dragon Pro software, bought a decent microphone (Blue Yeti) and plowed forward towards that goal.  The program is very intuitive and easy to use, however, I’ve found that actually dictating my books to be harder than I imagined.  Towards that end, I’ve bought a few books on the subject, which I will try to write about later.  I also read this insightful article about audio narration by the ATMAC group.  They’re a group dedicated to helping people overcome their disabilities with technology, though they seem to advocate for Apple specifically.  While reading the ATMAC ideas, I took them all with a grain of salt but loved the individual ideas so why not.  I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me!

 

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Now that we’ve talked about what we have, let me tell you about how I use narration.  First, I use them to get my handwritten notes, outlines and other supporting documents because they’re mostly bullet points and brief ideas of the progression of the story.  Then I use the program to get the basic structure of the scene written.  Afterwards, I’d revert to the traditional method of typing to clean it up.  Ideally, I would like to get to the point where I could use the program exclusively but I’m a narrator in progress.  My narration hero, Monica Leonelle, is able to crank out over a novel a month using this method.  Someday I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet.  Dramatic sigh, someday.

 

Finally, let me pass on some of the advice on dictating that I was given.  Everyone will tell you that it’s difficult at first but it is a skill you can learn and they’re correct.  I’m constantly getting better and it helped sustain my word count during NaNo when time was short and I was behind.  First, to do narration well you should probably outline the scene before you get started.  Some people will call this your beat, or beating out your scene.  I just call it an outline, but whatever you call it, they help.  Another thing I did at first was writing the scene by hand and then reading it out loud to the microphone.  I found that once I was in the groove, I would be able to keep going past what I’d written by hand.  Not where I want to be, but I’m getting ever closer.

 

I hope this gave you some insight into my process and motivated you to consider the audio narration process.  If you do, pop back by and let’s talk about 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 or are owned by JR Handley.

   

1.      Dictation: Dictate Your Writing – Write Over 1,000,000 Words A Year Without Breaking A Sweat!

2.      Dragon NaturallySpeaking For Dummies, 4th Edition

3.      5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter (Volume 1)

4.      The Productive Author’s Guide To Dictation: Speak Your Way to Higher (and Healthier!) Word Counts

5.      The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon: Using Speech Recognition Software to Dictate Your Book and Supercharge Your Writing Workflow

6.      Dictate Your Book: How To Write Your Book Faster, Better, and Smarter

Fortress Beta City

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Hello Space Cadets, how are you today?  I’m doing awesome, riding the high of the last book release and waiting to see what people think.  My debut novel The Legion Awakes is available for sale at Amazon link here and now book two is live!  You can also find Fortress Beta City for sale at Amazon link here.  And please, whatever you do, don’t breathe because you could knock me over with a feather right now.  Go on, get into the trenches with me and take a look, and tell the world what you think!

 

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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 owned by JR Handley.

Nick Webb’s Constitution deal, and my new book is out next week — The Human Legion

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One of the stars of the recent boom in science fiction literature is Nick Webb. Now, if your’re reading this, Nick, I would describe you as a very annoying kind of author Not only does he sell a gazillion copies of his books, which come out more regularly than mine, but he also has a…

via Nick Webb’s Constitution deal, and my new book is out next week — The Human Legion

Writers: Judge Yourself by Your Own Standards

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Hey Space Cadets, I wanted to share a wonderful article about a flaw most creative types share. We compare ourselves to others and often find ourselves wanting. It’s important to remember that, in the game of life, you’re only competing against yourself.

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.

A Writer's Path

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by Kate M. Colby

‘Comparisonitis’ is the most infectious disease in the writer community. Can you blame us? When John’s book has 100 five-star reviews and Jane has written six books this year and Joe has landed a major publishing deal, it’s difficult not to feel jealous and shame yourself for what you are/aren’t accomplishing.

Here’s your gentle reminder to CUT. IT. OUT.

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