Daily Exercise Podcast Time


JR ExercisingHey Space Cadets, how’re y’all doing this fine day?  I’m doing great, and cranking away on the revisions to book four! I’ve also been exercising every day to clear my mind, and hopefully maybe fit back into my uniform before the decade ends! Okay, maybe that last part was a pipe dream, but I’m okay with it!  Anyway, while I walk, I like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.  I’ll give you a list of some of the podcasts I listen to, and some good audio books in another post!  Most of my podcasts are writing related, or historical in nature, so I can inundate myself with ideas to stir the stories.  Hopefully, these podcasts are helpful!

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Hello Space Cadets! A quick update from me, then we’ll get to what brought all of you here!  So I’m slowly picking up steam on book four of the Sleeping Legion Series, which we’ve tentatively titled Maternal Vengeance.  I’m back on the dieting and exercise horse and using my FitBit Blaze to help guide me along.  Life was easier before the injury; I could eat, drink and make merry without worrying about calories!  Now I have to do the whole adult thing and eat healthy and work out.  So much of the healthy foods have no flavor, it’s not fair!  LOL, but like my old sergeant said, “if you wanna be airborne, you gotta be thin!


Anyway, on to the interview!  Today, I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES!


We’re welcoming Josh Hayes to the party, he co-hosts the Keystroke Medium YouTube vlog and writes his own version of SciFy Insanity.  He spent a spell in the US Air Force, which is almost like being in the military, before he got out and joined the Wichita Police Department as a Meter Maid.  Seriously, skirt and all!  Okay, jokes aside he is a member of the Wichita PD and does what he can to protect the mean corn fields of Kansas.


I first met Josh through his YouTube channel, and he’s been nothing but helpful and friendly.  If you’re looking for your own writing community, you should consider joining us on Keystroke Medium’s weekly live shows.  They also have a Keystroke Medium Facebook group where the cool kids hang out.  Now, rather than tell you about him myself, let’s let Josh talk for himself!


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Without further ado, let’s get this interview cranking!


Tell me a little about your military service?

Thanks for the opportunity!  I served six years in the US Air Force as a Security Forces troop. I was stationed at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming for the entirety of my enlistment. I had (in my opinion) a very fulfilling career, making E4 “Below the Zone” or six months early, and promoting to Staff Sergeant – E5 in under 5 years. My duties included: guarding nuclear missile sites, base patrol and the ANCOIC of the SF motor pool.


How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?

The old adage “write what you know” comes to mind. My passion is science fiction, military sci-fi in particular, and I feel actually serving automatically gives your writing a certain credibility. Not that you can’t write great military sci-fi without ever serving, but in my experience you can definitely tell a difference. Mostly with the little nuances that only those who’ve served tend to pick up on.


Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books?  If so, how?

Yes. Most of the characters I have written so far are military bases, but also frequently are involved in some kind of law enforcement.


When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

I’ve dabbled in writing for most of my life (from the time I was 13 or 14) but I didn’t really take it seriously (as I could really make it into a thing) until about 2014. I met a buddy at work, Scott Moon, and he encouraged me to write, and finish, my first book. Since then I’ve published two books and three short stories in several anthologies and Scott and I have started an interview/roundtable podcast Keystroke Medium.


Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?

Right now I’m working on a military sci-fi thriller/mystery novel, Edge of Valor, a project I’ve been planning for the better part of 2 years. The complexity of this book and the cast of characters really pushes me to put by best writing-foot forward.


How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?

Most of the characters in my current project are in the military, so I’ve based them off of people I’ve met, had encounters with, or had knowledge of.


How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?

I wouldn’t say scenes specifically, but there are definite elements I have drawn from my career that I think give the project a lot of color.


Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you?  Has it helped you process your experiences?

Writing is definitely therapeutic. After I got out of the military in 2008 I joined a local police department and have seen many things that I want to forget about when I get home. Writing science fiction and fantasy allow me to escape into another world and divert my focus away from those things.


If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

There is a commander of a naval ship in Edge of Valor that is basically my interpretation on what a great commanding officer would be; looks out for and cares for his subordinates, doesn’t stand on their shoulders to advance his own career, lifts his people up and supports then and leads from the front, not from the rear. Sadly, these are qualities that I find lacking all too often in most command structures, however, I have served under a supervisor who is exactly this way, and it was one of the best assignments of my career.


If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

The Captain of the same navel ship mention above is definitely one of those officers who will throw you under the bus in a moments notice if he thinks he’ll be able to further his career.


What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a number of projects at the same time right now actually. (Probably too many!) Like I said, I’m in the process of writing Edge of Valor, a military sci-fi novel. I’m also working on a short story for Chris Kennedy’s Four Horseman Anthology, as well as a third short story for Nathan Hystad’s Explorations: War anthology. And Scott Moon and I are working on building a collaborative fantasy world that we plan to start writing in early next year.


How can people find you?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00O4VA2YK

E-Mail: joshhayeswriter@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Josh81

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joshhayeswriter

Website: www.joshhayeswriter.com & www.keystrokemedium.com


If this convinced you to find out more, look up Josh and tell him JR sent ya!  I hope you all had a great time getting to know about today’s awesome warrior turned author, he was certainly fun to interview!  Don’t be afraid to say hello here or on their own website, the links are above!  If he doesn’t respond quick enough, glitter bomb hide his donuts and put veggies in the box!!  Mwahahaha!!



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




 –> 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.



Lazy Blogger Day



Hey Space Cadets, I hope you’re all doing well. Today I plan on keeping my post short, I’m not where I want to be with Operation Breakout. Here we’ll give an update on the blog, and some of what I see as my basic policies.  Nothing too sexy, but it had to happen eventually.  Especially with the big plans I have for 2017, which I can’t wait to be able to tell you about.


First, I have several interview series I’m running because they’re fun for me.  Hope everyone else enjoys them as well!  If you want to see anyone specific, just post a comment or contact me and I’ll try to make it happen.  If you hate this series, let me know and I won’t do as many of them.  I can never tell which posts are well received and I’m still learning to read the WordPress analytics.  Regardless, I’ll continually seek to keep the interviews fun and personable but please do sound off in the comment section.

  1. Warrior Weekend Interview Series
  2. Family Friday Interview Series
  3. Sci-Fi Shenanigans Interviews
  4. Mental Health Matters Interviews


Now, onto a topic that has been fun for me to do!  Book reviews!!  I love books, I love to read and I love talking about what I’ve read.  I do need to explain some of my personal policies on this.  I won’t review books I don’t like or couldn’t finish.  My intent is to only review stuff I can give at least three, maybe four, grenades (stars) too.  I’ll freely admit to my tendency to support other military veterans, but that alone won’t make me blow smoke up your six.  You have my word on it.  I hope that I’m as transparent as glass, and if you need clarification please ask.  This is why I list if I was given the book as an ARC read etc.  This desire to be transparent is why I won’t review Boss Man’s books.  I love them, or I wouldn’t write in his world, but I’m not impartial enough to review them.

  1. Wraithkin
  2. Asbaran Solutions


Another topic I wanted to cover was a YouTube vlogger I found, Keystroke Medium.  The hosts, Josh Hayes and Scott Moon, are pretty friendly and the live events are a blast!  They’ve discussed a wide variety of topics and interviewed a lot of authors. If it’s entertaining and about the written word, they have either covered it or will be soon. It’s a lot of fun, and worth a moment of your time. I’ve mentioned before, and I don’t want to harp on it, but I really do enjoy this team. Further, their crazy style has spurred some interesting ideas for new books.  As an author, this is always a good thing!



Finally, speaking of new ideas, I wanted to recommend one last source for story ideas.  The Stuff You Missed in History podcast is a great place to mine ideas. This umbrella venue has a wide variety of podcasts for you to enjoy.  I will freely acknowledge the need to be able to tune out politics this, I sometimes they wear their extreme left ideology on their sleeve. Regardless of their politics, their topics are diverse and generate loads of ideas. I mentioned this, not because I’m getting political (I intentionally avoid doing so here) but to forewarn you. If this isn’t something you could tolerate, you might want to let this ship pass by.  The history podcast tends to be pretty neutral, and has lead me to a multitude of plots for future works.



Hopefully, you found this housekeeping session to be entertaining!  If not, then I hope that it was at least informative.  If you have any ideas for resources for writers, feel free to share them in the comments below!  Tomorrow I’m sharing another Warrior Weekend Interview with Sarah S. Reida, an attorney who advocates for veterans and right middle grade fiction. She became a family friend after she stood up and helped me slay the goliath that is the VA process.  My wife and I call her our “Court Room Warrior Princess,” after the TV show ‘Xena’ that I watched growing up.  It’ll be a hoot, so pop back over tomorrow!



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





–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen shots taken by JR Handley and used under the Fair Use Doctrine.


Keystroke Medium


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Hey Space Cadets, I hope everyone is doing fine!  I am doing great, though a little under the weather.  If you live in Southern Virginia (USA), then you’re likely feeling my pain.  Summer weather one day, snow the next.  Ugh, take your meds already and stop being so crazy!  Also, I finally broke the 50,000 words mark on Operation Breakout!!  If the multiple exclamation marks didn’t clue you in, I’m ecstatic to cross that line!  My original goal was to hit 90,000 words by January 31st, which means on 56% done with 10 days to get the other 44%.  I’m still going to try for my February 1st turnover date, but I might be a little off.  A turnover date is when I have the finished product to the next link in the assembly line of production.  If you want to check my editor, he’s here and would love for you to say hello!  


While taking a realistic look at the numbers, I would need 3,584 words a day to make that happen.  Not sure if I’m there yet but I hope it’s a feasible word count for me down the line.  Ultimately, if I started getting 2,500 useable words a day I will gladly call it a win!  Heck, I’d be so happy I’d throw a party!  Ideally, I’d love to reach 3000 words a day or more but I’ve learned that I can’t set unrealistic goals because it stresses me out, which is bad for my creative process.


Moving right along, sorry I didn’t post yesterday.  It’s the second day I’ve missed since December 1st but it was a much-needed day off.  I was busy working my way through the Dragon Training Tutorial.  I’m not sure I’ll get all of the functionality out of the program, but if I can merely produce a usable first draft, one my editor won’t kill me over, I’ll call it a win.  I’m already getting faster with the dictation than I can currently type.  While the learning curve means less time actually working on the story, in two hours I’m getting as I did with five to six hours of typing.  If I can get more proficient, and tweak my outlining process accordingly, I can see myself finally reaching pulp speed.


Speaking of editing, I recently watched a video by Keystroke Medium on the subject.  I found it very informative, and wanted to share it with you.  I really think it’ll have a lot of actionable advice, most of it from the practical and less on the theoretical side.  While you’re in the video browsing mood, you should check out the other videos as well.  They’ve got loads of good stuff, seriously, just click here.  Come on, I double dog dare you!!  Anyway, in this video you’ll also see mention of a contest that benefits a worthy charity.  They’ve teamed up with Parkinson’s UK to help research towards a cure, a worthy endeavor.  They’re auctioning off 3 Tom Edwards book covers, which are amazing works of art!  Definitely worth looking into, but I don’t want to spoil it so watch the video already!





After watching that video, if the fine folks at Keystroke Medium seemed right up your alley, check them out on Facebook, or on YouTube. Josh and Scott, the hosts, are extremely friendly so you won’t regret it!


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




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