February Book Cover of the Month Elite 8!

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Time to vote for the final 8 for best covers!! I’m hoping author Bradley P Beaulieu’s “With Blood Upon the Sand” pulls out a win! It’s my favorite cover in left in the running.

M.L.S. Weech

Feb_Cover_Collage 8Hello everyone! The Elite 8 is here, and the voting is getting more and more difficult! I don’t get tired of saying it; this was another record-breaking round! The Sweet 16 had 788 votes, which puts us at a total of 2,255 votes so far!

Let’s go over some numbers:

The Closest Contest:

We had two contests come within 5 votes.  Heartstone by Elle Katharine White vs The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore and Dragon Legends by Ava Richardson vs Surviving the Evacuation: Ireland by Frank Tayell were equally close calls with Richardson and White each wining by 5 votes and only 53% of the total votes.

The Largest Victor:
This wasn’t close by any stretch of the imagination.  With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu showed up big time against An Impossible War by Andy Remic. Beaulieu won by 45 votes, earning 71% of the total…

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World Building Wednesday: Background Noise

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Hey Space Cadets, hope everyone is doing awesome!  I’ve finished my short stories and am outlining my fourth novel in the Sleeping Legion Series today.  Should be a barrel full of laughs, if by barrel you mean massive body counts.  And if by laughs, you mean manically!  Operation Breakout was high action and Maternal Vengeance will kick it up a notch!  Speaking of high octane, the

 

ddshort story I’m co-writing with Corey D. Truax will be kick ass as well!  Can’t wait to be able to share it with you, but until then let’s rise above that noise and get on with it!

 

For today’s World Building Wednesday, we shall talk about background noise.  See what I did there in that last paragraph?  LOL!!  Okay, in all seriousness I wanted to talk about the use of background noise in your writing.  Nothing too long and drawn out, just a brief discussion.  I’m personally split on this one.  With the use of my Dragon to dictate I can’t have background noise, but I don’t write with just the Dragon.  I still write some scenes the ‘old fashion way,’ especially the more nuanced or complicated ones.  For these scenes, I pick my music to help me create a mood.

 

So, for generic scenes I’m struggling with I like to use playlists of ambient sounds to keep my mind actively engaged.  Nature sounds, campfires and the like.  I’ve also found a few science fiction based ambient noise sites to help get me in the mood for my genre fiction. Sometimes, if I’m feeling lonely I’ll listen to a coffee shop or library soundtrack for my ambient noise.  I will also listen to classical music and any other instrumental to keep the hamster spinning on his wheels.  One place where I found a collection of mood setting sites was on author Kim Chance‘s blog.  Check it out for some really helpful links.  And of course, there is YouTube.

 

When I just need intense emotions, I’ve been known to listen to music that gets the blood pumping.  Sweet beats, kick ass vocals, anything to set the stage for literary awesomeness.  Depending on the mood of the scene, I can listen to ballads, country, folk and anything else light.  When I want action and adventure, I’ll switch to rock-in-roll and heavy metal.  This works when writing the combat scenes, when you want the blood to boil and heads to roll.  Have you used any of these?  Do you have some good ambient noises to suggest?  Then throw a man a bone, leave a comment below!

 

 

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 images owned by JR Handley.

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Marine Monday: Stork Class Shuttle

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Hey Space Cadets, how’re you doing today?  I’m sucking wind, trying not to self-destruct from a Daylight Savings Time gone horribly wrong.  Tell me again why this is necessary?  Sigh, back to other more pleasant things.  I’ve finished the developmental edits of No Marine Left Behind with my editor, Corey.  Now the piece of literary excellence is off to Thomas and his Red Pen of Doom for a final copy edit.  I hope to have more information about that one to you soon.  My editing team’s also deep into their edits for Operation Breakout, and I should be publishing it next month.  More updates and publishing news to come soon.

 

You can still get the prequel novella, The Demons of Kor-Lir, by signing up for my newsletter.  Also, Boss Man has a new short story coming out for free if you sign up for his newsletter and I recommend it!  I’ll be sending out a newsletter soon with more information, but until then let’s move on to today’s Marine Monday.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy the journey!

 

Today I was leaked, by our friendly neighborhood LegionLeak source, the official vehicle stats of the Stork Class Shuttle. Enjoy the read, but please remember to destroy this message after reading it so the anonymous source can live long enough to continually feed us excellent intelligence!  Without further ado, here is the leaked document!

 

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Hopefully you enjoyed this sneak peek into one of the most prolific classes of shuttles in the Human Legion.  If you did, stay tuned for next week as we anxiously wait for the latest documents smuggled our way!

 

 

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 screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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Drumroll…BookBub results! Spoiler…they are awesome!

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Hey Space Cadets, if you’re interested in a numerical breakdown of a BookBub you’ll love this blog post!!

JR

Ana Spoke, author

I’m not one to wish that every day was Christmas or my birthday, but I wouldn’t mind reliving the 6 March 2017 a few times. Well, 7 March, actually, because even though my BookBub promo was international, in Australia the email didn’t go out until 1am on 7 March. I spent the entire prior day checking the stats and telling myself to just calm the hell down, while worrying that something went wrong. I didn’t need to worry – when I woke up the next morning, I could see that long-awaited spike. Over 2,000 copies were already downloaded in those first six or so hours, and the green line keeps moving since. It has completely dwarfed my prior stats, which were in 5-10 per day range (without advertising). Isn’t it beautiful?

That’s a total of an amazing 5,094 downloads over the first three days. The breakdown per country is as…

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Book Review: On Basilisk Station

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Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  I’m currently reading one of the greats of military science fiction, David Weber.  I want to read his novels, and mine them for useful skills.  He created one of the largest fan bases, so he is clearly doing something right.  Nothing has really changed on my end, so I won’t bore your ear holes with gibberish.  Instead, let’s jump right into the nuts and bolts of the story.

 

Title: On Basilisk Station

Author: David Weber

Price: $0.00 USD (Kindle Version)

Obtained: I bought it when it was free on Amazon

Pages: 432 pages

 

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Rating: 4/5 Grenades

4 Grenade

 

Summary:

This book shares the story of Commander Honor Harrington of the Royal Manticoran Navy.  She commands the HMS Fearless, having assumed command after some new weapons are added. These changes have the rank and file upset, but Honor is determined to give it the old college try when she participates in the navy’s war games.  After a sneak attack ends with her ship scoring a direct ‘kill’ against the flagship of one of the Lords of the Admiralty.  She ends up banished to picket duty on Basilisk Station, essentially an assignment to Siberia in her universe.  There is the usual tension, as she has some issues with her command, the drama of ground combat with the Medusa locals a smattering of intrigue and political shenanigans.  And lest we forget, since this IS a novel about the Royal Manticoran Navy, there is space ships knocking it out to the bitter end.

 

Characters:

The main character in this novel is Honor Harrington, a naval commander who is given command of the HMS Fearless at the beginning of the novel.  I found myself very much drawn to her, she was a well-developed character, who had enough depth to make her believable.  Having grown up a Navy Brat and taken Navy JROTC in high school, I felt like she fit with the upstanding naval officers I’ve known.  Admittedly, I went on to an Army college and then enlisted into the infantry so otherwise my exposure to the Navy is almost nil, but I felt like she fit with what I’ve known in real life.  She’s a no-nonsense kind of woman, who gets the job done and overcomes, no matter the cost.  Honor does all this without sacrificing her troops needlessly, but isn’t afraid to risk all and pull the trigger when the need arises.

 

Plot:

I felt like the plot moved along at a steady pace, a bit slow in places but not enough to draw you out of the universe David Weber was creating.  The plot was enough that I kept turning the pages for more, which is all we can really ask for!  He went a little heavier on the science of his space flight than I like, but I was able to skim over those pages easily enough and enjoy an otherwise good space opera.  The parts where David Weber described the combat on the ground was entirely believable, given the way he set up the primitive natives.  It fit with what I knew from my own training as a historian and my time as a grunt.  The only real issue I had was that the changes in POV felt jarring and were hard to follow.  I read this novel as an eBook, and it was published as a trade paperback in 1993.  I’m guessing that the novel was simply poorly converted, and the indications of the swapping POVs weren’t carried over, though I haven’t verified this.  Either way, it was an issue for me.

 

World Building:

I felt like the world building in this novel was solid, there was just enough to understand everything.  The setting was cogently written, believable and fun to imagine yourself joining.  Probably a bad idea, as lots of people die in these fights, but such are the dangers of SciFy fandom.  Admittedly, I came into these novels after being seduced to the dark side by the TRMN Fan Club at RavenCon last year so I knew a lot about the universe going in.  I think it would’ve still stood alone on the laurels of the world David Weber created, but felt the need for full disclosure.

 

Description:

I felt like this one is hard, my visualizations were colored by the outside representations I’ve seen from the TRMN.  These fans are dedicated and cosplay his universe, so when I read these books they were what I pictured.  I think it was well done, but it’s possible my affiliation with his rabid fans colored my readings of things.

 

Overall:

Aside from my issues with the jarring switches from one POV to another, I really enjoyed this novel.  It kept me hooked, and gave me an idea of how to make the hard science fiction approach to space combat more enjoyable.  It was a bit heavy on the math, which I’m in no way qualified to judge the veracity of, but was otherwise enjoyable.  I did like it enough to buy book two and will be reading that next.  When the author is such an iconic master like David Weber, us noobs need to read and learn.  It wasn’t a WOWZER five grenade novel, but it was good.  Despite my issues with it, this is a book I would happily recommend.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  Some novel’s I’ve only liked enough to check out from the library, but this one you’ll want to buy for your reading pleasure and keep on your bookshelves.

 

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 David Webber fan.  And then, because you’re unemployed and need a job, you enlist into the Royal Manticoran Navy.  As a spacer, you are then deployed to the front lines.  This shock to your sensibilities then forces you to desert, so that you might live.  And then you track him down, the man who ruined your life, and climb into his window in your skivvies.  And he shoots you with grapeshot.  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 or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.

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Coming Soon: A New Short Story

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Hey Space Cadets, just wanted to share Boss Man’s latest blog post since it involves a free short story!  And my blog post for today hit a snafu and will post tomorrow.  I just finished On Basilisk Station by David Weber and am writing a book review of this novel.

 

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 screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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The next Legion Bulletin going out very soon to signed up Legionaries will have download links to a new Human Legion short story. Actually, it isn’t new because it’s a slightly revised version of the story I sold to the Crises & Conflicts anthology by Newcon Press a while back, but since that hasn’t sold much, […]

via Cover reveal: Hill 435 — The Human Legion

World Building Wednesday: Cover Art

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Hey Space Cadets, how are you doing today?  Things are good here, the interview with The Dead Robots Society Podcast went well.  As soon as I know when it’s going to go live, I’ll spread the word.  I tried not to sound like too much of an idiot, but you’ll have to be the judge of that.  And on the writing front, I’m half way done with my short story for the Four Horsemen Anthology.  I’ve also started the outline process for book four, which we’re tentatively titling Maternal Vengeance.  I don’t know the date book three, Operation Breakout, will go live but I’ll keep everyone posted.

 

Now, on to today’s World Builder Wednesday!  Today we talk about cover designs!  I’m no expert, and I’m actually colorblind, so this is a hard one for me.  My friends Corey and MLS Weech are actually much better at this part, so you should check them out if you want an expert opinion on the topic!  To my way of thinking, there are several steps you have in picking the cover for your next best seller, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. So rather than tell you this is the way, let me just say that this was my way. That’s right, the Burger King of cover designs.

 

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The first step in picking out a cover was to figure out my genre, since I know each genre and subgenre have their own idiosyncrasies.  Once I knew where my book would fall in the pantheon of fictional greatness, it was a simple matter of looking at other well received covers in that genre.  I found out what expectations they created, trying to get a general feel for my own design.  This step is the most dangerous, as you could spend hours drooling over art and lose yourself so completely that your wife and kids send out the hounds and form a search party.  Be warned, never browse covers alone!  Seriously, that’s my PSA for the day!!  Don’t do it, you’ve been warned!

 

Once I knew what I wanted, overall, I started to figure out designs for my own book.  How could I come up with a cover for my own book that fit within this niche?  You want to do two things; show your reader what type of book they’re getting, and not create false expectations of your own book. You don’t want pictures of spaceships on your novel if they’re planet bound.  Nor would your cover have some half naked beefcake if you’re writing lesbian erotica.  The cover HAS to show the potential reader what they’re likely to find inside.  For me, this meant considering the overall theme of the book and scenes from within it.  How you choose to go about it is largely dependent on the book you write, but you have to have a starting point for any potential artist you hire.

 

After you pick the general idea you want for this masterpiece, you begin the second most dangerous part; browsing the portfolios of cover artists.  This is another phase that can suck you in, and still your soul.  You could lose days, weeks, maybe even years rousing the artistic awesomeness of the various cover designers out there.  Don’t be that guy, be disciplined and direct.  After all, you have to get this done an expedited manner so you can write the next great American novel there’s always more books to write, so you can’t afford to get sucked into the outer trappings.  I was lucky for this stage, I had another author, Chris Kennedy, lend me his cover designer.  He made it easy by serving as the middleman, but I know this will always be the case and don’t need to learn to stand on my own.  My advice, at least for finding good cover artists, is to start searching now so when you’re ready you just have to reach out.  And find several you like, as you never know when they’ll be available.

 

Just to show you an example of my process for my pending short story, “No Marine Left Behind.”  This story tells Sashala’s journey during Phase Guinshrike of Tim C. Taylor’s Renegade Legion, into Lance’s world in Fortress Beta City.  For this story, I told the artist to give me space Marine’s in bad assed power armor.  I wanted them to be in some burning woods after a shuttle dropped them off, and I wanted the dying Beta City in the background.  This is the progression of the art in question.  Hopefully this helps clear up my muddy explanation of the process!  If not, least you get pretty pictures!!

 

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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 screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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