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

 

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.

Author Update

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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?  It has been too long since I’ve written a blog post, and for that I’m truly sorry.  First, my wife got sick with the dreaded flu, so true to my husbandly duty I provided care.  This involved making loads of chicken noodle soup, manning the fort, and not burning the house down!  Then I got sick—thanks to her generous nature.  Ugh, I hate being sick but I made it through the other end alive.  I would love to tell you I soldiered through it and worked the whole time…but mamma said I shouldn’t tell lies.  I spent several days where I got ZERO done.  Ugh, I was hoping to have book two done so I could be working on book three but it wasn’t meant to be.

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Finally, at the same time I was sick, Hurricane Matthew hit my locale hard.  We had a lot of flooding, which caused a few local electrical fires when water got into houses.  People lost entire houses when flood damage forced the city to condemn them.

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My own personal vehicle flooded, so I’ve had to deal with insurance to get it repaired or replaced.  Luckily, State Farm has been awesome and is even upgrading my rental car to a truck since my injury makes tiny cars painful and no mid-range vehicles were available.  My contract only requires a car, but they are going above and beyond.  I should know in a few days whether they’ll repair it or total it.

All I know at the moment is that they categorized the damage to my vehicle as Class 2 Flood Damage.  They found water in my gas tank, mixed in with my oil and sitting inside the cigarette lighter/power port things on my floorboards.  To be honest, I forgot they were there so I missed them when I did my best to clean the water out of the inside.  Oh, and they found nasties inside my engine itself; things like leaves, trash and other debris from the storm.  I back up to our cities water drainage system and it overflowed.  It is basically a ditch that connects to a lake, which the city made deeper so rainwater had a place to run off.  When we flooded, my car sucked in some of the litter which is sadly in it and it apparently is the opposite of helpful for your engines.

 

On top of all that, my mother’s house flooded and took on several inches of water.  They’ll likely have to gut and redo the entire first floor to account for the water damage.  I’ve spent time over there, as much as I could while being sick, helping pull up carpet and other things which have to be done.  It definitely could have been worse, so for that we are grateful.  All told, Team Handley weathered the storm and came out smiling on the other end.  Some did not, AND didn’t have any flood insurance.  They’ll be struggling, but it taught us a valuable life lesson: BUY FLOOD INSURANCE if you live in a flood zone!!  Sigh, should have been common sense but I guess not.

 

But all that aside, my mother has been busy getting the corporation ready for the launch of our books.  We will have an official bank account tomorrow, and as a gift, she hired someone to do our webpage.  Within the month it will be ready, though likely sooner.  She hired Matthew from MWS Media Creative Services to do a kickass website for us!  When the page goes live, I hope to jump into my previously stated plan for the website.  That means I need to get off my arse and come up with questions for my military veteran authors, and for authors in general, about how you manage your writing life with your home life.  If you guys have any questions along those lines you’d love to see answered, put them in the comment box.

 

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And since I called this an update, I guess I’ll tell you where I’m at with book two.  I’m currently editing it, but I’ve solved all but one of the major plot holes.  I’m currently on page 138 of 202 and hope to get even further than that before the day ends.  My editor is following close behind me cracking the whip.  No really, that wasn’t a metaphor… that crazy Navy bastard has a whip.  I think he used to be an Indiana Jones fanboy.  I never judge, but those Navy boys are sometimes hard to understand.  Me, I preferred Rambo and GI Joe!  Of course, that was back when he was an All American Hero, before the remake made him some sort of UN Merc, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

 

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

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JR

–> As usual, all images are found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.