SciFy Shenanigans: Josh Hayes

Standard

Hey Space Cadets, how’s everyone doing today?  I’m doing pretty good, I would say great except for the wife’s health issues.  I recently finished my super-duper secret project, and I’m getting ready for Christmas.  Insurgency: Spartika launched yesterday! So did The Expanding Universe 3 Anthology, so if you need something to read give it a chance and leave a review when you’re done!

But enough about me, let’s interview some people! I love to conduct the Warrior Weekend and ‘SciFy Shenanigans’ interview series. I’ll send out the interview form to any author that fits those niche categories.  If you know anyone you want me to interview, contact me through my blog and I’ll give it a shot!  I love giving everyone a chance to get personal with the names behind the books they love!  So let’s get right to the point of my latest blog posting!

Grass

I wanted to help you get to know these wordsmiths, so I created a template for the authors to talk about their latest book and their creative process.  They’ll be able to pitch the other stuff too, of course, but many authors have deep backlists.  It’s hard to get into the weeds with these prolific literary giants, but like all good sergeants I took decisive action. I took a weed whacker to the mess, and here are the final results!  The questions are in no particular order, so grab your seat while your minion makes your popcorn and enjoy the ride!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of All Ages……

 

First, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hi! Well, I’m a science fiction and (hopefully someday) a fantasy author. I’ve been writing in some form or another since I was about 14 years old when I wrote my first military sci-fi epic in a single-rule, one-subject notebook. In 2012 I started really getting into the indie space, and it’s been an awesome ride ever since.

I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Jamie for 4 years and we have 2 beautiful babies. I also have two fantastic children from a previous marriage and when all four of them are here the house becomes extremely busy! Though I will say, that when all four are here, it’s a little easier to get stuff done because the older ones can watch the younger ones.

I published my first book “Breaking Through” in 2015, which was supposed to be the first of five novellas in a series of 5, however that project didn’t work out the way I’d originally envisioned it, and now I just published book 3 “Shadows of Neverland” and hopefully I’ll publish the fourth and final book in the series next year sometime.

 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I am fascinated by flying. Helicopters and drones mostly. I’ve been trying to convince my better half to that drone racing is a worthwhile endeavor, however, my arguments—despite piles of scientific data that support the idea—have gone unheeded.

 

I’ll go out on a limb and assume that if you write books, then you also enjoy reading them.  What other genres do you enjoy, and how have they affected your writing?

I read most genres. The only genre I don’t really read is anything romance related. Just not my thing. Over my lifetime, I’ve read about an even split of sci-fi and fantasy, though here recently, most of my time has been spent in fantasy. I love A Song of Ice and Fire and The Stormlight Archives.

 

Who are your biggest writing influences?

Brandon Sanderson, for sure. I’ve read all of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books. GRRM. The Dark Tower series (and characters) by Stephen King.

 

Who are your favorite authors and books?

The Stormlight Archives is probably my favorite series by far, followed closely by the Mistborn Trilogy. Song of Ice and Fire usually takes third. Of course, The Ember War Saga series by Richard Fox makes the list, one of my favorite modern mil sci-fi series and also the new Galaxy’s Edge series by Nick Cole and Jason Anspach.

 that turned into writing for me. I’m fairly certain I started both at the same time. I lived in Germany as a kid, so we didn’t get a lot of the TV that people got here in the states, but my Mom always recorded Star Trek: The Next Generation and we watched it as a family, and I loved it. That series is was pushed me to read more sci-fi and also write my own stories and create my own universes.

 

What is your preferred writing style?  Do you have a favorite point of view; first person, third person, etc.?  Feel free to answer as both a reader and as an author!

I tend to write in third person limited. This is also my preferred narrative form as a reader. (Unless the main POV is a character like Mark Watney from the Martian, then it’s okay.

 

When did you get serious about your writing as a career, instead of writing as a hobby?

Like I said, I got big into the indie publishing scene around 2012 when I met a co-worker who also turned out to be a sci-fi writer, Scott Moon. I’ve become increasingly more disciplined over the last several years, and now that my writing is, for lack of a better phrase, starting to take off, I take it more seriously than ever.

 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? 

I typically try to write in the early morning, before anyone is awake. I try to make it to the computer by 5am at the latest. I’d prefer to make it by 4am, but if I’m being honest, there are times I hit the snooze a lot.

 

Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day?

I usually aim for 1500 a day during the weekdays and 4k on Saturday. If I write on Sunday, then those are generally bonus words. When I’m in crunch mode, I’ll aim for 2k or 2500 words a day.

 

What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer the sound of silence? 

It depends on whether I’m dictating or not. Most of the time I type, and then I’ll listen to music without lyrics, movie scores or Brian.fm. If I’m dictating, then I usually don’t have any music playing.

 

Okay, time for another random question.  What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think landed you on the government watch list for?

Hmmmm, embarrassing? I’m not sure. But I have researched a lot about Hitler and WWII, the driving issues behind the war and Hitler himself for a series I’m working on for later in 2018.

 

What is your current novel?  Can you tell us a little bit about the premise?

My latest release is called “Terra Nova,” a spin-off novel I’ve co-written with Richard Fox, based on his Ember War series.

Terra Nova is a planet in a completely different galaxy than the Milky Way that an alien race in his Ember War series gave to humanity as a way to escape the coming Xaros (big bad alien drones bent on universal domination) invasion. Jared Hale led a colony mission to Terra Nova to start a new home for mankind. The catch is that with the distances and math (handwavium), humans can only get to Terra Nova through what’s called a Crucible, basically a hypergate, and even then only every few decades.

This novel stars about 20 years after the end of the Ember War and finds war-hero Ken Hale leading a second mission to the planet to reunite with his brother. However, when they arrive, they find the colony abandoned and all the colonists missing. The novel and following series are what happens the Hale and our new main character, Warrant Officer Katherine Carson a bad-ass, special forces type. She’ll lead her Pathfinder team on a series of missions to uncover the truth of what happened.

 

Terra Nova is apparently a series, where can we expect it to go?

Terra Nova is the first book in a planned 5 book series, it’s available now, and the second book should be available around February.

 

Where did you find the inspiration for Terra Nova?

Richard came to me and asked if I’d collaborate with him and write something in his Emberverse. Obviously, I took a few milliseconds to ponder over this proposal, then finally said, “Oh, oh, oh, yes, yes, yes, pick me!”

We talked about what we wanted to do with a spin-off and the different places we could go and decided that Terra Nova was the obvious choice. We went back and forth for several weeks on characters, plot points, and story-arcs, and came up with a novel that I think readers are really going to enjoy.

 

The characters from Terra Nova are sent into a gladiatorial death match. Who wins? 

Definitely Carson. As a Pathfinder, they’re like modern-day Delta or Rangers, and she’s not afraid to cut a throat or two.

 

What was your favorite part of writing Terra Nova?

Writing with someone else is a completely different type of writing from simply putting down words by yourself. We worked off a pretty detailed outline, and move days I could just sit down and spit out a couple thousand words at a shot. This is the first project I’ve worked on where the book was completely plotted and outlined out before I started writing. I’ll definitely continue that process for all of my other projects.

 

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from Terra Nova?

For Carson? Kate Beckinsale, for sure!

 

When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are, or do you let them develop as you go?  The age-old plotter versus pantser, character edition.

With the story, I’m very much a plotter. For the character, I have a base when I start, then they grow as I write the story.

 

How did writing Terra Nova differ from your previous novels? 

Collaboration is very different from solo-writing, so there was a little bit of a learning curve, for both of us, but this project has really challenged me as a writer, and I’ve grown because of it.

 

If Terra Nova had a theme song, what would it be?

Richat by Mark Petrie – Youtube it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Terra Nova is full of many amazingly talented characters, and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?

Carson and Nunez are my favorites, Carson because she’s a hard-charger and is the underdog on this mission in more ways than one (I’ve got a thing for underdogs), and Nunez because he’s got a similar sense of humor to mine, generally says what’s on his mind and makes a lot of off-color comments at all the wrong moments.

 

And to bring us home, what advice do you have for writers who are just starting out?

Build your tribe. Network with other authors, and not just in a “will you read my book” kind of way. Make real relationships with people. Make an effort to help wherever you can, even if you don’t get anything in return. And WRITE. Practice all the time, better your craft, study your craft and keep at it.

 

Finally, where can readers and future stalkers find you?

 

I hope you enjoy this little conversation, and if you want to find out more about Josh Hayes then follow the rabbit trail to their den of insanity!  If they don’t like it, beat ‘em with a carrot and keep on truckin’!

 

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 shots taken by JR Handley and used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

–> Some of these interview questions were inspired by my good friend TeacherofYA, and are used with her permission.  If you have kids who love to read, she’s the girl who’ll make the literary introductions!  You should check her out, after a lifetime of reading, your kids will thank you.

Daily Exercise Podcast Time

Standard

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!

Continue reading

WARRIOR WEEKEND: Josh Hayes

Standard

warrior-weekend

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!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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!

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.

newsletter-banner

 

Lazy Blogger Day

Standard

jr-handley-header

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!

brown_bess

JR

 

 

–> 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.

newsletter-banner

Keystroke Medium

Standard

Keystroke Medium Pic.PNG

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!

 

tom-edwards-coverstom-edwards-covers-2

 

 

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!  

brown_bess

 JR

 

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

 newsletter-banner