Blog & Writing Update

Standard

 

Hello Space Cadets!!  In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting articles about the various parts of my writing process.  I plan on covering alien creation, foreign languages and character creation.  In addition, I’ll write about how I ‘invent’ new technologies and where I conduct my research.  There will be posts about resources I use, and mentors I’ve been lucky enough to have.  Now that my website is wrapping up, it is time to do all of the prep work for a smooth transition into my blog schedule.  I look forward to bringing you with me on this journey, and can’t wait to read your comments in the forthcoming posts. 

 

Now, as for a quick NaNoWriMo update!  I’ve been sucking it recently, life has been crazy and I’m way behind.  With two special needs kids, you just have to seize life by the… and carry on.  I grab words where I can and attend my local Hampton Roads NaNo Group’s Friday write-ins to catch up.  Yesterday I managed to crank out 900 words while I was there, not bad since I am working on a crappy laptop that isn’t comfortable for my sore hands.  This has convinced me to double down on my goals of learning to better use my Dragon software and lighten the load on my hands.  So, now that we’ve gotten here…. It is time for my word weigh-in and the judgement that will surely follow.  It is Day 12 and I’m sitting at 13,052 words.  I hope to finish the day at 17,000 words but that might just be a pipe dream.  I still have to take my son out clothes shopping, he’s outgrown everything he owns.  Ugh, not only is he EATING me out of house and home, now he’s growing like a weed.

 

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

 brown_bess

JR

—> As usual, the image I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

AMERICA’S TOP SECRET WAR: Atropia

Standard

top_secret

Hello Space Cadets, I wanted to bring you some updates. First, let me update you on my progress in the Great Quest known as NaNoWriMo.  I am currently 11,062 words into Operation Breakout, the third novel in my Sleeping Legion series.  This is a lot farther behind than I would like, but I’m trying not to psych myself up and get in my own way.  According to the scheduled, I should hit 15,000 words today.  I got a late start because I was wrapping up my last novel and getting my editing done.  What can I say, the editor Corey is a slave driver!  I finished my outline for my current project and got it tentatively approved by my publisher Tim C. Taylor on Day 4.  Hey, if your Supreme High Overlord isn’t happy, aint nobody happy!  Since that approval was granted I’ve been writing full bore in a race to the finish line.  Yesterday I wrote 2,416 words and if I can do that for four days I’ll be back where I need to be.  However, over the next two days I’ll again be knee deep into Fortress Beta City for my final editing pass before it goes to a copy editor and is published.

 

While most people are participating in NaNo so they can finish a novel, or to motivate them to just write, I’m searching for something else.  I’m searching for a technique which helps me achieve balance between writing, blogging, family time, exercising and that albatross authors simply call marketing.  Realistically, if I can hit that 2k words a day, I’ll be on pace to become the next big pulp writer of my generation cranking out 5 to 6 books a year!  And maybe, someday, I can roll around in piles of money like the Scrooge McDuck version of JK Rowling!

 

All of this has forced me to rig for silent running, hunker down and pound out words.  I’ve failed, as I couldn’t go cold turkey on the social aspect of writing.  See, told you I needed NaNo!!  But that wasn’t the only reason I’ve been less visible.  (looks around nervously)  I’ve also been silent because I’ve been dealing with Army life again.  Yes, my fat and broken body was recalled to fight in the Army’s top secret war against the dictatorial regime of the Donovian Militants.  Atropia was being invaded and the US Army has been stretched thin with our decade long campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently bolstering South Korea against the aggressive posturing of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

 

This left the US Army with a critical manpower shortage, without a draft to re-fill the ranks.  Their solution, recall those who were listed in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserves).  Basically, we’re calling up the broke dicks and grey beards.  Rest assured, we were resolute in our resolve to defend the Atropians against the evil Donovian Militants, who sought to take advantage of our national distraction in the Middle East.  In a campaign, reminiscent of the short war in Panama known as Operation Just Cause, the enemy was repelled and stability returned to the region.

 s-l300

 

Now that I can again return to the tranquil comforts of home and hearth, I shall endeavor to get back up on the writing horse.  Wish me words as I fight the evil muse for every sentence!  But rest easy, we got this!

 

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

Image result for muskets 

JR

 

—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

NaNo Kick-Off Party

Standard

Hello Space Cadets, today I wanted to tell you about a NaNoWriMo kick off party I attended at my local public library.  The meeting included a brief overview of what NaNoWriMo was and then a quick introduction to navigating their website.  We quickly jumped into a few fun writing prompts and I wanted to share mine.

First we got a blank comic strip and we had to write the dialog for ours.  Here is what I came up with in the three minutes provided.

photo-nov-03-10-01-11-am

Then we were told to pull several plot points out of a bucket; an action, a character and a location.  We were given these plot points and told to write a short story in under three minutes.  Here is what I pulled out of a bucket.

And without further ado, here is the story I came up with!

photo-nov-03-12-24-14-pm

Not much else to say here, but if you wanna have fun you could use the prompts and write your own story?  Would love to read them in the comments section!!!

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

 Image result for muskets

JR

 

—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

PLAGARISM: My Confession

Standard

Image result for plagiarism

Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?   I’m doing great, but I wanted to take a day to write a more serious post about the reason for internet caution. Specifically, I wanted to talk about the confusing realm of copyright law and how it applies to the images we use on our blogs.

 

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer; I didn’t go to law school; I don’t even play a lawyer on television. 

 

Disclaimers aside, I did complete a bachelor’s degree and part of a masters before I suffered my TBI after playing around in Iraq.  As a trained historian, I was taught the basics of plagiarism.  I would never copy the writings of another author, or steal their research and/or intellectual property.  It’s wrong, and would violate the core of my strongly held beliefs about right and wrong.

 

It goes beyond just schooling.  I was raised with this moral compass and it was reinforced by the Army. There, I lived by a code that prohibited lying, cheating, and stealing.  I was further indoctrinated into this by my years spent attending a military college with the mantra, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.”  Harsh perhaps, but it’s how I choose to live my life.

 

Why do I mention all of this?  Recently, it was brought to my attention that I haven’t been careful with the visual mediums on my blog page.  I displayed pictures I didn’t own, or have the rights to use on my blog.

 

I was mortified, petrified even.  Also, I was ashamed.  If you’ve been following my page, you likely remember the post where I mentioned it.  Afterwards, I went through my blog and sanitized it (military speak for removing all potentially incriminating information).  I took down all the pictures I didn’t have the rights to use and replaced them with pictures from the creative commons that are free to use.  I find them from Google using an advanced search, and indicate where they came from with a tag at the end of my post.  You’ll see that I go out of my way to credit the specific source AND to direct traffic their way.

 

This should, in my meager understanding, help shield me from the claim of damages under my theory that I am providing free advertising.  I don’t know if this is good enough for a lawyer, but I’ve done the best I could.  If you want further help, my friend Corey has given these helpful links.  His first helpful hint was the Electronic Frontier Foundation who posted this Legal Guide for Bloggers as a resource for those trying to be above board on their site.  His final resource recommendation was the GCF LearnFree.org group who posted an article about Copyright and Fair Use.

 

What does this mean to you?  It’s a cautionary tale.  I would suggest you verify what you are putting on your page like I have.  You might be a small fry right now, and you might be a best seller, but the potential for being sued is real.  It becomes more real the second you start advertising your name and your books on your page.  The second you monetize your blog it becomes commercial.  If this is you, then it matters. These are the ones likely to get sued, so don’t be that guy/gal!

 

Now, not everyone is a qualified artist capable of rendering their own art.  How do you find your own art?  First, if you own a camera and can take your own pictures, those are yours. You own them.  Even a photo of another piece of art is yours to use.  You can get a cheap, or free, photo editing program and watch some YouTube videos on how to use it.  You can search images in the Creative Commons, just indicate that they are such.  Or you could use the Google search feature like I do that does the same thing.

 

You could also hire an artist/graphic designer directly, though, it could get costly. If you do this I would recommend having art generated that you can use repeatedly for many posts.  And finally, you could source it from a site like Shutterstock that lets you buy rights to use various finished stock art pieces.  Just be careful you buy the rights you need.  Some of the lesser prices are for art you can’t monetize.  If you ever dream of selling art from your blog on coffee mugs, then you better be able to monetize it.

 

A final word of caution, I’m not a legal scholar so this is just one neophyte helping a Brother/Sister Noob in the “Ways of the Copyright.”  If you need specific help, I suggest you find an attorney specializing in Copyright Law.  Like I said, that aint me!

 

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

 Image result for muskets

JR

 

 

—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

 

EXAMPLES OF CITIATION FROM MY SITE:

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

–> Authors Note:  These images were taken by J.R. Handley and are owned by him.  Anyone wishing to use them may do so, provided proper citation is used.

–> This image was found on the hilarious iFunny website, under the search word #infantry.  Go on over and check out those comic geniuses!! 

–> The artwork from today is original content created by Corey at the Quintessential Editor.

–> As usual, this picture was found on Google and is labeled for reuse.  It was posted by The Blue Diamond Gallery, go on down and check them out.

–> The artwork in question belongs to Davis Ashura and is being used under the Fair Use Doctrine.