FAMILY TIME

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Tranquility 4JR HandleyHey Space Cadets, how’re ya’ll doing on this fine day?  I’m doing great, working hard on edits for a short story and book four!  I’m excited to see how the story ends before moving on to the next project. During this time, when I don’t have deadlines beating me about the head and shoulders, I took some family time.  Took my bride on the date to Red Lobster, killed my diet and one meal, and generally have been having a blast! Okay, I know that some people might suggest that it’s a little low rent, but chain restaurants are budget friendly. Maybe if the next book sells like hotcakes, I’ll try a “real” seafood place.  I’m told that I’m a bad representation of the Tidewater Region of Virginia because I’ve never had lobster.  Eventually, I will fix this, but only after we keep the power on! Continue reading

Exciting news!!!!!

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I’m lifting my head above the writing and publishing trenches for a few moments to share some exciting news about an imminent new Sleeping Legion book launch, a new audiobook deal, and more. If you follow JR Handley’s blog, you’ll already know about a novellete he’s been working on called No Marine Left Behind. Well,…

via No Marine Left Behind: a new Sleeping Legion novelette — 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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Book Cover Concepts

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Hey Space Cadets, today’s blog will be pretty short.  I’m just started my first draft for my Four Horsemen anthology submission.  Well, is it a submission?  I was invited to submit, so I guess somewhere in between?  My story in this universe is about a bounty hunter, sort of Barney Fife meets Judge Dred.  More details will be coming, both here and on my co-author’s website.  Finally, today I received the rough sketch of the “No Marine Left Behind” short story.  It’s set between The Legion Awakes and Fortress Beta City.  The cover has an extra Marine but is otherwise pretty close to what I expect to see for the final results.  And yes, you’re not wrong to notice the similarities between The Four Horsemen covers and this one.  Chris Kennedy is sharing his super-secret artist.  I was blindfolded on the way to the bunker, so all I know was that the artist MIGHT be human!

 

Take a look!!!

 

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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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Marine Monday: Sashala Kraevoi

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Hey Space Cadets, how is everyone today?  I’m great, I have my wife and mother just finished making their final pass through Operation Breakout before I send it out to my editors, Corey and Thomas.  I’m VERY excited to get that to market and see what readers think of the book.  I’m currently 6k words into a short story, which I’ve tentatively titled “No Marine Left Behind” and I’m very excited about it.  It was my first attempt at a purposely written short story, and my writing progress has improved because of it.  It’s been through one developmental editing pass, and if you need to know more about that you can read about it from my editor by clicking here.

 

After I finish, I’ll be co-writing another short story for an anthology with best-selling author Chris Kennedy.  My new co-author will be Corey Truax, my current editor and fellow Mesopotamian Veteran.  Yes, you are right to imagine the shenanigans which will follow!  I’ll tell you more about it as we get closer but I will be finishing my Sleeping Legion Series before I jump into anything after my current two short stories.  When I need a break from Maternal Vengeance, I’ll hop over onto a few short stories, but then I want to charge full bore towards the Sleeping Legion Finish Line!

 

Okay, so on to our regularly scheduled Marine Monday! Today I was leaked, by our friendly neighborhood LegionLeak source, the official bio of Marine Sashala Kraevoi.  I’m currently working on a short story about her journey into The Sleeping Legion.  It’s been hard for her, but you’ll appreciate her appearance in Fortress Beta City and later in Operation Breakout even more after this.  Now the important parts!  Remember, 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 our favorite Marines official record.  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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Tickety Boo Forum

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Hey Space Cadets, just a quick note to tell you that the gracious people over at Tickety Boo Press Ltd. have given me some space in their forums.  It’s designed to be a place for readers and writers and everyone in-between to chat about books and their love of the written word.  Pop over and say hi, leave a comment and join us in the usual shenanigans!!  Now, if you haven’t finished your gift shopping or wrapping… what are you doing in front of your computer?  GO!!!  Otherwise, click here to join us in the forums to talk books!

 

Also, check out the SciFi Explorations if you’re looking for science fiction deals.  It’s a mailing list that sends deals and recommendations to your inbox of the stories you know you’ll love.  If what I write is up your alley, then they’ll have many more recommendations.  Most of them, at least while they’re in the mailing, are on sale at a steal of a price.

 

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

brown_bessJR

 

 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are owned by JR Handley.

 

Marine Monday: Basil Terloar

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Hey Space Cadets, how are you this fine Monday?  Still feeling the effects of the New Years Hangover?  I’m sober, and even have some blood in my whiskey stream.  My wife is out of town, so I spent a quiet night writing after the kids went to bed.  The Legion Awakes and Fortress Beta City are continually surprising me and I have you guys to thank.

 

First, let me give you a little bit of backstory about Fortress Beta City and Operation Breakout.  Those two stories started as one novel, until Boss Man caught on that I was about to write a Tolkien worthy novel.  After we split the two, Fortress Beta City became the story of the Marines of the 6907th TAC RGT struggling to survive in a doomed city.  The next half of what I plotted became Operation Breakout, where two task forces must fight to secure the continent of Serendine from the New Order.

 

I felt like the build-up in the second book made a lot of promises for the third, so I want to deliver.  Operation Breakout will be as high octane as I can make it, and then my editor will help me add on some dynamite for that little bit of something extra.  As I developed these plots, one of my secondary characters, whose whole purpose was to show how the lost Kalino City was different from Beta City and Detroit City.  The Auxies were treated a bit better and the culture was different, which likely led to Kalino City being lost to the ravages of time.  One of those characters was Auxiliary Technician Basil Terloar.

 

Basil was a cowering wreck, a pacifist in a world where the gun ruled.  He wasn’t like the other boys and girls, resulting in his being shipped off to the Aux Pens (slave pens) to be tasked with the manual labor needed to keep the cities alive.  That is, until that fateful day he met Veteran Sergeant Lance Scipio.  For a sneak peek into him, a look at how the sausage is made, here is his character sheet.

 

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I hope you found this peek into my process enlightening, and the character compelling.  If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

 

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.