Writing Tag


Howdy my fellow Space Cadets!

As we speak, my first novel is about to go into its final round of beta reading. Hopefully it will be published very soon. A prequel novel will go into beta reading as soon as the first one is done and will be used as an incentive for those of you who join the Sleeping Legion’s mailing list. I just finished the first draft of my second novel, though I know it will need significant revisions. I am really excited that it has gone to the editor – though I am sure there is still work to do on it. Hopefully the edits will be finished soon and it too will be ready for the beta phase. I have my outline ready for novel three in my series – and it’s great, if I do say so myself!

While I await the red ink of my editors I’ve been updating my world building notes my post-Sleeping Legion Series. This has been a sad time, since I lost so many loved characters to the war, well they say if you love something then you should let it go. Something about it returning, true love, blah blah blah. Anyone else ready for the space marines gore fest too? Ugh, these pesky emotions….

Anyway, I decided to let you guys get a sneak peak of my characters by doing this writing tag that I got from Jenna Moreci and Kim Chance.  Did they tag me? Nope, I’m not that cool….YET!!! Pfft. But, I took it and ran with it anyway!


1) A crazy hacker’s gone into your computer, and has deleted all of your music, except for one song off of your writing playlist. Which song is it?

Right now, it would probably be anything from the King Arthur sound track because I rock the classical instrumental vibe when I write – or I listen to coffee house chatter for background noise.

2) Your protagonist and antagonist have been paired up by friends to go out to lunch together. Where do they go?

            Hmm, well I have several protagonists and antagonists but to make it easier to answer I will stick with two humans! I know, I’m a bloody alienphobe!! So I believe Lance Scipio (protagonist) and Spartika (antagonist) would go to Chic-Fil-A for some good old fashioned Earth food. They’ve been on military rations for so long and even the devil deserves to try a waffle fry once in its life!! And that sweet tea? Ugh, we just might foster world peace….Nah, who am I kidding? They’d eat their meal and try slitting each others throats but at least it would be a yummy last meal!

3) You’re crossing a bridge when the troll living under it stops you. He demands to read a chapter from your novel, and won’t let you cross otherwise. Which chapter do you give him?

            I tend to write my chapters differently, where each is more of a scene than a chapter. Some follow on chapters then use another person’s perspective in the same space of time. I would love to read him the scene where Lance and his AI, Xena, figure out how to find the cloaked wee beastie from the prequel novella. It was the beginning of something special between those two!  What can I say, I love that pesky AI!

4) Your friends have invited you out to a party. Surprise! All of your characters are there. Who do you choose to hang out with?

            Lance, he was a lady’s man who might have some sweet tips! Further, I love the company of other veterans, even fictional ones. I would also love to chat with Xena, who is likely the universes first lesbian AI! She is witty, funny and no nonsense. Oh, and I would also love to meet Hayley Mason. She has a crush on Lance Scipio – it would be fun to tease her about her school girl-esq crush. Well, maybe not…she IS a Space Marine and might break my face off. Oh heck, I’d hang out with all of my Human Legion folks….just keep me away from those Hardits.

5) Crap. You left your car keys in your house, and you’ve (somehow) locked yourself out. Which of your characters picks the lock for you?

            Marine Charlotte “Wires” Rochambeau, she is wonderfully sneaky!! Hey, if she can hack the White Knight Master Code AND keep those bunch of misfits from 1st Squad, Whiskey Company, 6907th TAC Regiment alive by fudging their grades….well, she could handle some archaic Earther key lock!

6) The zombie apocalypse is happening right now. (It sucks.) Everyone is fleeing the planet, and moving to Mars. ONE of your characters can go with you. Who do you choose?

            First, I was going to say Lance Scipio because he is a bad ass…but if it is Post-Apocolyptia then I want a lady to go with me so I choose Marine Sashala Kraevoi! She is fun, smart and totally capable of taking care of herself. Did I mention her knives? Oh, and the fact that she isn’t hard on the peepers doesn’t hurt either!!!

7) You’ve been given the opportunity to travel to one place (town, building, landmark, country) in your book. Where do you go?

            I would go to Beta City; it is where all the cool kids live!! Beta City is on the island of Scofa, in the middle of Lake Sarpedona….so it will also have a view!! And hey, Tranquility-4 is a decent place, as far as alien planets go. Plus, from there I could play with all of their cool tech and space ships!! Hello, it is near the orbital elevator!!

8) You meet your main character and start a conversation with them. Problem is, you’ve only got six words or less to do so. What do you say?

            “You’re awesome, take me with you!” Okay, anyone who knows me in real life knows I’m a talker so I probably am physically incapable of limiting myself. I would keep talking, but that isn’t a bad starting point.

9) Crazy acid rain is falling from the sky. Which of your characters would you use as an umbrella?

            Spartika, because nobody likes a coward or a traitor. OR, maybe Zempi because she is a geonocidal Hardit bent on galactic conquest….

10) You’re out at a restaurant with your main character, and the time has come to order dessert. What do you order for them?

            Anything, they’ve existed on space rations for so long it would all be new!! Okay, I would order pecan pie, but only so I could steal their dessert too!! Wait, Space Marines…forks…on second thought, Lance can keep his own desert! Then, for post dessert fun I would take him to Starbucks for a latte!!!




Whelp, those are my answers!! If you found these questions fun…give me all the credit! If you hated it, blame Kim!!  Feel free to do the tag too!!!

Post Project Blues


When I decided I wanted to be a writer I expected it might be emotionally taxing.  I was harnessing my war trauma and channeling it into military science fiction novels, hoping I could excise my demons while writing solid fiction.  I mean, hey, I spent 4 years in Navy JROTC, another 4 years at a state military college and 8 ½ years enlisted in the infantry.  Why not work with what I know, write militaria?  Of course, there would be risks, pitfalls, as it forced me to confront my demons.  What I didn’t expect, something they didn’t tell me about, was what happened AFTER I finish any given project.  Even if I was just a normal writer, I would expect to get frustrated when I got stuck.  I would expect to be happy when I finish a project, but I would NEVER expect I would be SAD!  Since I finished my second novel and the short story, I have been making busy work while I waited on my editors to get back with me.  In that time, without my world to visit every day, I got a bit blue.  I didn’t realize just how much I’d come to count on my fictional friends to help me cope.  Maybe I should mention all of this to my shrink, rather than my blog family, but shrinks have the tendency to give pills and white “I love me” jackets (aka straight jacket)!  What are your thoughts, dear readers?  Do you get down when you are in the situation of between projects?


JR Handley


PS:  Be kind, my editing staff have all taken for the hills….. it’s just me, my kbar and these lovely MREs.



The first novel in The Sleeping Legion series is done, and happily in the hands of the first round of beta readers.  Still no feedback, so I’m holding my breath and turning blue…..


Okay, I’m back.  I’m now working on the second book in The Sleeping Legion series, Operation Breakout.  I’m approximately 33k words into the manuscript and making some tweaks.  I had to take a break for two months because of a hand injury, though my Dragon Software program comes tomorrow, so I’m hoping it will be my end run around the pain and back into my story.  I hope to get Operation Breakout done within the next two months, though the sooner the better.  I’ve created more Human technology and hope to add some bad arsed fight scenes!!  I’ve also included some new alien hardware, though it is just a further explanation of what Tim C. Taylor wrote in his part of the Human Legion Universe.  Speaking of Tim’s books, I just finished book five, War Against The White Knights, and it was wonderful.  The only sad part is the wait for book six!!!  Anyway, enough rambling here…. Operation Breakout aint gonna write itself….. Or is it? (insert maniacal laugh)

Let it be written…


Just a quick post, because my fingers hurt and my head is set to explode, my first novel is officially written!!!  After many fireworks and screams of joy, I get to begin the long and arduous editing and revising process.  This is all new territory, so come, walk with me as we learn together!

Sleeping Legion B1

This is only a provisional cover, it needs to be edited to reflect that my novella grew up into a novel!  The final version will follow when it’s ready!!

Sleeping Legion Status Update


If you are reading this, you must either be pretty bored or have fallen off the flat part of the interwebs! As the title implies, I wanted to write a quick blog post to update you to the status of my first book. I have written part one, for a grand total of 23,244 words, and it is currently in the editing phase. The second section is still in progress, though it is currently 29,205 words. I have about two and a half scenes left to write, so I still see it being done before the year ends. I recognize the disparity between the lengths of the two parts, and upon further consideration think that the last 3,000 words will likely serve as an epilogue. That said, it is already 52,449 words and solidly in the novel territory.


As you’ve read, this is a team effort, with my wife serving as the translator between the communication issues provided to me care of an insurgent IED (improvised explosive edvice) and imperfect battle armor. We are at the stage in the writing where she really earns her money, not that I pay her, since the insanity runs amok and she has to translate it to English for the world.


Because I loved Mister Rogers and the Jerry Springer Show, I decided to leave you with a thought of the day. Some deeply philospohical thought that sums up where I am. They might be zenlike, Buddha might or might not approve, sanity might or might not reign but there it is. Here goes my inaugural idea! After deep thought and contemplation, I will tell you that writing a novel is a lot harder than getting blown up in a war zone… Keep that in mind as you plan your future!

The Sleeping Legion Series



And now it’s official!!  Tim C. Taylor announced today on his site about my forthcoming work!  Can’t wait to finish and get it out there for everyone to read!  I have written approximately 50,000 words so far, have a few more sections to write, though as I write them I tend to find new ones I have to add, and then it is on to the editing phase!!


For those of you who wish to browse the website of the main series, I will gladly post the link.  I recommend his work, it is everything you love about military science fiction, but British!!!