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.

Mental Health Matters: JR Handley

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Hello Space Cadets, how are you doing today?  Things are going well here, my recently published books, The Legion Awakes and Fortress Beta City, are hopefully entertaining those who were so kind as to give them a chance and the year is winding down.  I’m still in awe at well the books are doing, but it just goes to show what you can do when you have a strong support team on your side.  I’m pretty blunt in my about me section that my books are a team endeavor as we compensate for the residual complications from one too many blows to the head.

 

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With the passing of such a staunchly outspoken advocate for those suffering from mental illness, Carrie Fisher, I decided to do a series of interviews with other authors struggling with their own woes.  As I find candidates, I’ll send them the questions and post their replies.  Obviously, this won’t be a regularly scheduled event.  The first advocate for the mentally ill I’ll interview in this series is myself.  I use this term ‘advocate’ loosely, but I’ve also made no bones about the fact that I suffer from PTSD after my time spent in the Late Unpleasantness in Mesopotamia.  I’ve long admired people who were open about his struggles with their own issues, people who use their own personal example to show that you can adapt and overcome your inner demons.

 

Without Further Interruptions…

 

  1. I know you’ve been very open about your struggles with mental health, would you feel comfortable giving a brief overview?
    1. In a nutshell, I suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq from getting up close and personal with one too many IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). Also, with exposure too one combat parties.  Apparently, it’s a tradition in some parts of the world to welcome unwanted guests with lead shot and shell?  Why wasn’t I given the memo, for crying out loud!  On a happy note, those demons pepper the pages of my novels.  See, sharing is caring!!  Now you can stay up at night with bad dreams!
  2. How have these issues affected your working life?
    1. The TBI requires me to write with a team and lots of lists. I forget a lot of stuff and a get my words mixed up.  My mother and wife go behind me, helping me get it into English the non-aphasia world can grasp.  I won’t bore you with the technical details of the diagnosis (Read: I forget those details too), but it has made the process infinitely more difficult.  However, through adversity comes triumph and every chapter finished becomes an even bigger reason to celebrate.  In a nutshell, wow I really like nuts, my issues mean I have to accept help and face the fact that I can no longer be an island.  Now my process involves a village.
  3. Have you had to adapt your writing style in any way to accommodate your mental health issues? If so, how?
    1. I’ve had to become anal about the use of outlines and detailed notes. I maintain a series bible that is almost a novel in its own right as well, my very own Human Legion Universe Encyclopedia.  For you younger ladies and gents, those are books where facts were listed and described.  They were basically the dictionary of life and history.  We had them in these buildings called libraries AND sometimes we bought them from poorly dressed door-to-door salespeople.  I’ve also had to constantly tweak my writing times, so I get my brain when it’s at its best.  I get about 5 good hours a day; the rest of the time things are too foggy to produce.  During the funky foggy time I tend to write my blogs and do my daily housewifery chores.  When my writing triggers my PTSD issues, I force myself to go for a walk and use my coping skills.  I’ve learned them at the VA hospitals, where they are hounded into you.  They’re viewed as the be-all, end-all to therapy by overworked doctors who would prefer to pump you full of pills and push you out the door.
  4. Have you made any mistakes along the way, and if so, what have you learned that you could share?
    1. I have, tons of them. If you ask my wife, MILLIONS of them!  I’ve learned not to push too hard and to pace myself.  A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint.  I’ve learned that if I get lax in my physical health, the mental health suffers which causes my writing to suffer.  Basically, I’ve come to realize I need to treat my body well so it can treat me in a hopefully reciprocal fashion.  Also, I’ve learned the value of schedules and just sitting down and working.  No magic muse comes down from the heavens and inspires you, you have to crack the whip and force that wench to work for her supper.
  5. What is your biggest continual daily struggle?
    1. My injured hands; one too many broken fingers paired with some muscle damage makes JR a slow typist. I’m forcing myself to cope with this by fitting the Dragon into my daily routine.  The second biggest struggle would be my memory.  It was caused by a combination of the severe, chronic combat related PTSD and the TBI and is a pain in the arse.  Note to readers, don’t get blown up in Mesopotamia.  The free t-shirt just isn’t worth the price of admission!
  6. What advice would you give other authors struggling with mental illness?
    1. Seek help, seriously it’ll save your life. Talk to someone; your priest, doctor, wife, ANYONE.  Don’t fight this battle alone, call in the heavy hitters to stand by your side.  And don’t be ashamed, there is nothing wrong with being human and struggling.  Then I say pour your demons onto the blank page, it helps to neuter them!
  7. What support system do you have to help you write through it?
    1. I have my wife and my mother who help do my first line editing or alpha reading. They also translate out the erroneously used words, missed descriptions and general shenanigans.  They help keep my universe consistent and help edit my blog posts.  You can’t see it, but my mom’s standing over my shoulder punching me and waving at you!!  Say hi to my mom!
  8. Do you find your writing to be therapeutic?
    1. I do! Writing as therapy was the very avenue I took onto the road that is authorship.  It works, whether you write in a journal, fiction or non-fiction.  Give it a shot!
  9. Since I’ve got you here…. Let’s talk books! What’s your current work in progress?
    1. I’m currently writing Operation Breakout, the third in the Sleeping Legion Series. I’m also working on two short stories and the beginning of a new series, The Odera Chronicles.  I’m making The Sleeping Legion Series my priority and the other stuff is going on in the background as secondary projects.
  10. If the readers are interested in finding out more, where can they find you?
    1. If you’re here, then you found me!! But I’ve an author page on GoodReads, Amazon and a Facebook page.  That’s it, I’m too much of a technological troglodyte to be anywhere else online.

 

I hope you find this post to be inspirational, but mostly if you struggle I hope you realize that you’re not alone.  At the end of this post, I’ll list some resources you can reach out to if you’re in need.  Be well, you got this!!  And if you have any other mental health resources I should link too, send me a note and I’ll add them!

 

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.

 

RESOURCES:

  1. NAMI
  2. Suicide Hotline
  3. VA Suicide Hotline
  4. Crisis Text Line
  5. UK Suicide Prevention
  6. Trauma Support Group

Christmas Update

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Hey Space Cadets, today I will postpone my usual Marine Monday for a Christmas recap!  I spent the morning opening gifts with my kids, enjoying their reactions to the gifts; ours and Santa’s.  My youngest is thrilled with the Master Chief Helmet from the Halo Universe, and given the difficulties required in wrapping it, we let Santa claim that victory.  We also got him several Halo 12-inch action figures, which were also a hit!  My oldest got a plethora of art supplies, as he is gifted at turning nothing into something with paint, crayons and the like.  My wife got the usual, clothes and boots.  What can I say, she has an addiction!  And I, I got one of the best-worst gifts ever!!  Skyrim for my Xbox One!!!  (Pardon me, book three will not be postponed until 2020!)

 

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My other favorite gift, given to me by the wonderful inhabitants of the Amazonian Jungles, was that my debut novel, The Legion Awakes, has been in the top 40 of the Hot New Releases in Military Science Fiction (Space Marine) since it was launched.  It was even ranked number 97 overall for a brief 12 hours!!  I feel like it has to be a dream, but I don’t want to wake up.  Book two, Fortress Beta City, has also been in the top 50 of the Hot New Releases in Military Science Fiction (Space Marines) as well which is mind blowing.  Not sure whether this trend has legs, but even if this is the pinnacle of my writing career I can die happy.  It’s official, I’m an author and have two published novels.  This, I believe, is as close to immortality as humanity might strive.  We last forever in the what we leave behind; paintings, pictures, words and music.

 

So truly, I’m humbled and I will strive to make every book even better than the one before it.  I will commit to working as fast as possible to get book three, Operation Breakout, finished in January and off for the pre-publication reviews.  I’ll bribe my editor, Corey, with the naval equivalent of Scooby Snacks so he works fast enough to keep you happy!!  Oh, and I’ll also gift his lovely wife the coffee to sober him up when he over indulges in his snacks!!  Hopefully we can keep this war wagon trucking down the path to world domination with a loyal army of Space Cadets toasting us into oblivion and beyond!!!  FORWARD TO VICTORY!!!

 

 

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.

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.

Sleeping Legion Update

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Hello Space Cadets, I wanted to tell you the official release date of my second novel!!  I’m still pinching myself, is it a dream?  Cause if it is, don’t wake me up!!  The second novel in my Sleeping Legion Series will be released on December 21st, 2016!!  Can you believe it?  After all that blabbering, it is finally real!

 

Just to give you a taste of what’s to come…. With no context! 😉

 

“Tonight, we crush these Hardits. Look at the ground around you. Look at the blood of the fallen. Look at the destruction. How long have we sat on these walls and watched our brothers and sisters pour their blood onto the battlefields? How long has the enemy hovered, just out of reach or out of range? How long have we waited for this moment? It is here. We wait no longer. Jotun, human, Marine, Aux — none of that matters now. We are Legion!” 

 

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Not gonna lie, it will be an epic contest of wills and many will die.  If I pulled a JK and apologized for every death….well, I’d die before I was done!!  Hope everyone is as enthusiastic as I am!!

 

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 cover art owned by Human Legion Publications under licensed use for JR Handley.

 

NaNoWriMo Update

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Hello Space Cadets, I’m sorry for the delay in posting lately. I AM still alive; my alien overlords haven’t called me back yet.  I took a few days off for Thanksgiving, and then had to play a crazy game of catch up to finish the NaNoWriMo event.  It has been insane!  Long days, longer nights and loads of coffee.

 

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Okay, as for the NaNo… let me give you a recap. I finished the rewrites for book two, Fortress Beta City.  It’s now with my copy editor for the last pre-publication pass.  This was a lot of work, hours of conference calls giggling over pizza, but it is done.  It is, hands down, the favorite book I’ve written.  My former editor, and boss, was so close to the story that together we missed some ways it could’ve been better.  I imagine that many authors who let outsiders play in their sandbox experience these issues.  I think book one, The Legion Awakes is good, but I’m even happier with book two.  And let’s face it, there is also the element of my improving skill at storytelling.

 

In addition to Thanksgiving, I had my 35th birthday just after Thanksgiving and it was wonderful.  My wife is very supportive of my work, so she bought me a fancy dancy ergonomic desk chair.  Stand back boys and girls, she’s mine and I’m keeping her!!  My birthday present to myself was finishing book two, Fortress Beta City.  Like I said earlier, the final structural/content editing pass is done, and I don’t tend to worry about the copy editing!!  Hey, I’m just not too overly attached to the commas and whatnot.  Now we wait for the final formatting before it’s off to the presses!!!!!  Okay, maybe beta readers too…. but IT IS DONE!!!!

 

Now that I’ve mentioned the editing, I need to pretend my momma taught me some manners.  I’m not an ungrateful frakker, so thank you Corey Truax!!  You do good work, glad we hired you!! Tim C Taylor will love the finished product!!

 

Sorry literary world, he can’t be your editor…. HE’S ALL MINE!!!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

 

Continuing on my NaNo writing journey, I also pushed past book two and wrote over 36,000 words into book three, Operation Breakout.  I’m loving this book too, it’s full of action and has improved upon the mistakes I made in earlier novels.  I feel like Operation Breakout is the fulfillment of the promise of high action that was made in Fortress Beta City, and as a writer I always want to honor the implicit promises I make.

 

Growing, always growing (and not just my belly) towards being a better novelist.  That’s what I hope I’m doing anyway.  Hopefully readers will agree; I’m sure I’ll find out soon.  I’ve not done it alone, I’ve had great mentors and support.  I won’t list those mentors today, but I will write a post about who they are since they are so very supportive of new writers.  They host podcasts, webpages and Facebook groups that are very supportive environments.  Another noob would be welcome, the Fire Marshal just extended our digital capacity!  Again, more to come!!

 

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 personally owned by the author of the Human Legion Universe.

A Call to Action: Beta Reading

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Hello Space Cadets, I bring you some important news from the field!  The Sleeping Legion is rousing… As I type these words, REVENGE SQUAD: After War, the first book in the forthcoming Revenge Squad series by Tim C. Taylor is due to be launched in about a month.  Is he nervous?  You bet!  Excited?  Oh, yes!  And if you join the Legion you can be a part!  As a Legionary, you can read the recon team edition today.

 

Tim would be very grateful for any Legionary Bulletin members who can spare the time to look over the recon edition.  The novel has been edited and proof read, but Tim has two particular concerns:

After War features a hero who is also something of a grumpy old soldier.  He claims personal experience in two of those conditions, but he hasn’t been a soldier so he may have written something that doesn’t sound right to someone with that background.

Donna the Editor and Tim are both English.  This means they wear powdered wigs, commute to work on a red bus, and only take off their bowler hats when bathing.  In full disclosure, I will quote Tim’s perfectly British attempt to defend his countries honor.

“Despite scurrilous rumors spread by JR Handley, it most definitely does not mean we drink warm beer.  Damn you, rest of the world!  British beer is served at cellar temperature, I tell you.  As God intended!”

All joking aside, they both worry that they might fail to spot something that seems off to their North American and Australian readers.

 

How to download After War: Recon Edition

The book is available in Kindle and ePUB format (the latter for Nooks, iBooks, Kobos and other devices). To distribute them I use a service called BookFunnel. You should be able to get the book loaded wherever you want by clicking or tapping the button. If you have trouble getting this book, just tap the Help Me link at the top of the book download page and BookFunnel’s friendly support team will help you get your book.

 

What does the Book Recon Team do?

 

Recon Team volunteers help by scouting ahead for hazards and highlighting dangers in a draft of a forthcoming book.  If you read a passage and it makes you whistle, curse, or throw your book (and the device you’re reading it on) across the room because something isn’t right, then I would like you to tell us about it.

 

What I’m asking volunteers to do is to read the Recon Edition as if you were reading any other book and make a note of anything that strikes you as wrong.  This could be characters acting in a way that doesn’t make sense, passages that are confusing or have spelling mistakes, sex scenes that make you cringe, combat scenes that don’t ring true, heathen Britishisms (that’s highly unlikely with me [JR Handley]), though Tim is confident that he will corrupted me at some point) or anything else that feels wrong.

 

We can’t promise to agree with or act on everything you tell us, but we do promise we’ll read and consider everything you bring to our attention.

 

How do I communicate what I’ve found?

 

This time we’re doing things a little differently, opening things up and turning it into a wider discussion.  If you have something you want to say, add a post to the BattleNet forum on humanlegion.com.  There’s a forum specifically for the Legion Awakes Recon Team, which you can find here.  Be aware that other members of the team may read and comment on what you say.

 

You will need to register for BattleNet first.  Instructions are in the forum itself.  It’s as quick and painless as I can make it, but should hopefully prevent endless posts telling us how we need more Viagra.  In fact, I’ve already managed to identify and ban some spambots trying to register, so it’s working so far.

 

To help us know which part of the book you’re referring to, it’s useful to do the following.

If you’re reading the Kindle edition, tell us the Kindle location (or give the chapter number if the comment is not specific to a line).

Please copy the first 3-4 words of the sentence (because the Kindle location is not enough by itself to know which line you’re referring to).

 

So if the opening paragraph started at Kindle location 80, and read something like this…

I always get the shakes before a drop. I’ve had the injections, of course, and hypnotic preparation, and it stands to reason that I can’t really be afraid.

 

…And you were of the opinion that injections and hypnosis didn’t sound futuristic enough and something really ought to be done to jazz them up, then you might put as your forum post:

 

Chapter1. Loc 80. [I’ve had the…] The med tech sounds too 1950s!

 

That’s all there is to it.  Remember that this is meant to be an enjoyable experience, so have fun and if there’s any danger of becoming onerous, then stop commenting.

 

BTW: if you can’t place that classic opening paragraph, there’s a short article on it here.

 

Recon Team Benefits

 

Many people have told me over the past few years how much they have enjoyed the sense of playing a part in creating a book.  We at Team Human Legion hope you do too.

 

Other than reading an advance copy before anyone else (and for free), and being able to chat about it directly with the author, there are a couple more little bonuses.

Everyone who comments will be named and thanked in the final edition.

Everyone who comments will join our pool of Redshirts.  The books in the Human Legion Universe get through a lot of characters, and most of them need names.  Where we can we’ll use names from our Redshirt list.  We might mangle your name a little if the story demands it, but you should recognize yourself.  Redshirts have a habit of not surviving for long, but despite the name not all Redshirts are doomed to a brief and bloody literary existence.  Who knows?  You might wind up doing duty as a romantic interest.  If you would rather not risk ending your literary alter-ego’s existence falling into a volcano or as a casualty when the pirates board your ship, then mention that in your BattleNet comment and you’ll be safely excluded from the Redshirts.

 

OK, I’m Sold. How do I get my book?

The book is available in Kindle and ePUB format (the latter for Nooks, iBooks, Kobos and other devices).

 

To distribute them I use a service called BookFunnel. You should be able to get the book loaded wherever you want by following the link on the next line. If you have trouble getting this book, just tap the Help Me link at the top of the book download page and BookFunnel’s friendly support team will help you get your book.

 

Here’s the link:  RECON EDITION: THE LEGION AWAKES

 

Thank you for your support. Now go read the book and have fun…

 

What next for Human Legion Books?

December 2016 will be a busy month.  All being well, we will release five books:

 

The Sleeping Legion

The Demons of Kor-Lir: carnage as a green Marine squad encounters a hidden foe. The eBook edition will initially be exclusively available to Legionaries.

The Legion Awakes: A Marine is awoken centuries after his time and has to turn around the worst squad in the regiment or die. Meanwhile, a civil war that will rip apart the galaxy is about to kick off…

Fortress Beta City: After Tranquility-4 is immolated in the civil war, the Hardit New Order reigns unchallenged under Supreme Commander Tawfiq… until a Human Legion task force under Colonel Nhlappo arrives to retrieve the Sleeping Legion. But there are more secrets buried under Tranquility’s soil than even Nhlappo and Tawfiq know…

 

Revenge Squad

After War: Retired onto a frontier planet and told he’s now a colonist, NJ McCall is lost in every sense when a filthy alien penetrates the perimeter of his farm. What happens next will change the world.

Hurt U Back: NJ McCall’s first assignment is to Port Zahir, and it does not start well. The Revenge Squad HQ is abandoned, its personnel assumed slaughtered. But NJ’s new family will not let him give up. Battling through dockside rivalries, revolutionary intrigue, police harassment, and an ex-fighter pilot turned bishop with an eye on his soul, NJ must face overwhelming odds if he is to deliver his revenge. The eBook edition will initially be exclusively available to Legionaries.

 

That should be plenty for one month.  We’re not idle though.  We will be back with more releases in 2017.  The next Sleeping Legion novel, Operation Breakout, is well underway.  The next Revenge Squad novel, Second Strike, has been outlined, and the opening scenes written of the final Human Legion novel, The Battle of Earth.  Deeper into 2017 will see more Sleeping Legion and Revenge Squad novels and exclusive content as part of the first Human Legion box set (which will be available on Kindle Unlimited, so anyone with a subscription can get it free).

 

Well, I’d say that’s about enough for one day!!  Hope it finds you well, especially going into the Thanksgiving Holidays!  But remember, when in doubt, drink more beer!

 

 

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 personally owned by the author of the Human Legion Universe.