Quick Editing Update

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Hey Space Cadets, just wanted to give you a quick update!  I’m still alive, I’m just deep into the final edits with Operation Breakout.  It’s looking even better than I’d hoped after Corey got his teeth into the story.  Until then, enjoy this awesome interview of one of my favorite authors, Terry Mixon.

 

 

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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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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Marine Monday: Tirunesh Nhlappo

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Hey Space Cadets, how’re you doing today?  I’m doing good, coming down from my editing high.  Corey and I just spent four hours reading through the first 14 chapters of Operation Breakout, with another longer session planned for tomorrow to get through to chapter 30.  Tomorrow I also have an interview with The Listeners of the Dead Robot Society, one of my favorite podcasts!  I’ll share before it goes live, though I won’t know the exact date right away.  And I’ll try not to look too much like an idiot, I promise!!  Finally, I’ve made good progress on my submission for the Four Horsemen Anthology.

 

Now, on to today’s Marine Monday!  For today’s chat let’s talk about what was leaked to me by our friendly neighborhood LegionLeak source!  We have the official bio of Field Marshal Tirunesh Nhlappo.  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 bad assess official dossier.  If you did, stay tuned for next week as we anxiously wait for the latest documents smuggled our way!  And if you wanna drop a little into the LegionLeaks tip jar, they wouldn’t mind one bit!

 

 

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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Operation Outbreak Snippet #1

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Hey Space Cadets, how are you doing?  I’m doing good, rolling through the main battle sequence for Operation Breakout and excited to get it to my editor.  I know I need to make a blog post, lest the raving fans storm my trenches and seize my flag… wait, or was that a game?  Hmm, capture the flag anyone?  Anyway, what was I saying?  Right, I wanted to give you a blog post worth reading. 

 

Today, I decided to give you a snippet from one of the many battle segments of the book.  In order to understand it, you just need to know that the main character is Colonel Lance Scipio and he’s about to mess up some enemy Hardits.  Or is he?  I dunno, I’m feeling kind of stabby, so maybe I kill the main character and go back to the drawing board for book four!  Mwahahaha, I guess you’ll have to read and find out!  Anyway, on to the snippet!

 

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Hope you enjoyed the fragment of my unedited manuscript!  If you’re feeling friendly you could leave a comment, start a conversation!

 

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.

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WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES: Terry Mixon

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Hello Space Cadets! Things are going well, still trying to figure out how to balance the business side of writing with the creative.  How much time on the blog versus how much time writing the next dang book.  I would rather do only the writing, but if people can’t find me to read it how will I cover my editing?  Corey is an awesome editor, but he’s gotta eat too so he doesn’t work for free.  Anyway, let’s get right into today’s topic.  Another interview with a military veteran!!

 

Now that we’ve gotten past the pleasantries, I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES.  Terry Mixon is the author of The Empire of Bones Saga, The Humanity Unlimited Saga, and The Fractured Republic Saga.  He served as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division.  While he was with the ‘Screamin Eagles’ before I was, it’s all the reason I needed to dive into his books.  Boy I’m glad I did!!  He also worked alongside the flight controllers in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center for almost two decades, supporting the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and other human spaceflight projects during his tenure there.  He lives in Texas with his lovely wife and a pounce of cats.

 

That’s his bio, in a nutshell. However, let me briefly tell you how I came across Terry Mixon.  I was looking for podcasts about writing and Google lead me to The Dead Robots Society Podcast.  I loved it, they were friendly, approachable and targeted authors in the Indie community.  This lead me to their Facebook group for the podcast and interacting with the wonderful community of listeners.  It’s the most helpful bunch I’ve come across, you should seriously join them as well.

 

Once I got active in the group, I started also peppering the co-hosts Paul E. Cooley and Terry Mixon with questions.  They both gladly answered, sharing their knowledge and paying forward their success.  Seriously, my books wouldn’t be there without his encouragement along the way.  No author operates in a vacuum and he was part of my process.

 

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

 

Tell me a little about your military service?

 I joined the Army in the mid-80s straight out of high school.  Being from a small town and living out in the country (way out), I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.  Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

I served as a helicopter crew chief in the 229th Attack Helicopter Battalion working on OH-58 Scout Helicopters.  The name changed to 1/101st Aviation Regiment while I was still there, but it was still the same job working with the same people.  And who wouldn’t love working on helicopters and occasionally getting the chance for some stick time?

 

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

It’s certainly gave me some understanding into how a military group functions.  While I don’t have the same insight into other services like the Navy or the Marines, it gives me a leg up in understanding the people in those organizations think.  I can look at details, but knowing how people think is a lot harder.

 

I also spent a lot of time playing role-playing games in the service.  I started before I joined, but there was never any problem finding a group of people wanting to play something.  That gave me another leg up as a storyteller.

 

Basically, I made things up.  The same thing I do when I write.  I doubt I would’ve run into so many people doing that in so many different made-up environments if I hadn’t joined the Army.

 

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

 I do.  Seeing how pilots worked together and operated certainly has influenced the way that I have ships operating in space.  When I’m fighting on the ground, the things that we were trained in certainly add to it, but I’m no infantryman.  Again, it’s all in the mindset.  You can learn facts, you can’t learn how people think and how they’re trained.

 

When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

 I really started applying myself in my writing in 2011.  A friend sent me his manuscript that he intended to publish.  Up to that point, I’d been reading books on writing but not actually doing the work.  Maybe I was more in love with the idea of being a writer than doing the writing.

 

Him getting down to brass tacks convinced me that I needed to get off my ass and do it.  From 2011 to 2014, I wrote erotica under a pseudonym.  It paid the bills and gave me experience, but wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing.  I picked it because I knew a few places I could get feedback on my fiction.  That helped tremendously.

 

In 2014, I switched gears to writing science fiction.  I’m a lot happier and surprisingly I’m having more success.  It’s a win-win for me.

 

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

 Empire of Bones, Liberty Station, and the soon to be published The Scorched Earth: Grid Down are all up there.  In each one, I was exploring a new world and that’s exciting to me.  Figuring out all the details, settling in on who the characters are, those are what really excite me about telling stories.

 

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

 Honestly, there are a number of characters scattered throughout my novels that have bits and pieces of people and events from my service.  It’s amazing how things from thirty years ago color the characters and events as I write them today.

 

I can’t point to any one person or any one thing and say this was directly inspired, but it all comes together in a whole that was affected by my service.

 

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

 There have been a few.  I’ll admit that there are some that I’m tempted to write but just don’t know that I should.

 

Like the question above, little bits and pieces are peppered throughout my writing.

 

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

 I didn’t serve during wartime, so the writing is perhaps less therapeutic for me than it might be for others.  It has certainly helped me understand things that happened thirty years ago.  Given me insight into why people did things the way they did.

 

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

 I think I would have to say Harry Rogers.  He’s one of the lead characters from Liberty Station and my Humanity Unlimited Saga.  He lives in tough times, but the world is opening up all around him in unexpected ways that he never believed possible.  He’s like Christopher Columbus.  He gets to explore the universe.

 

Admittedly, the world he comes from is a lot like our own with the problems turned up from a simmer to a boil, but I think he would be the most interesting to explore beside.

 

Of course, there’s always Princess Kelsey, too.  She’s in the far future and having to deal with all kinds of changes to her life and challenges that would be a lot of fun to be around.  Until the plasma cannon went off.  Then it might be a little less fun.

 

Seriously though, the characters I write would all be interesting to serve with.  Each of them has things that make them special I honestly can’t think of any that I wouldn’t want to serve the side.

 

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

 None.  I write characters that I like and each have plusses.  Of course, serving with Princess Kelsey might get me killed, so there are some downsides to her exciting life.

 

What are you currently working on?

 I just finished writing The Scorched Earth: Grid Down. It will come out in early February.

 

I’m also writing book 7 in The Empire of Bones Saga.  I hope to have the draft wrapped by the end of January.  That should put it out in early March.

 

I just finished reviewing the audio for Ghosts of Empire, book 4 in The Empire of Bones Saga, as well.  I suspect it will be out in February as well.

 

How can people find you?

  1. Amazon
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter: The work of the Devil. 😉
  4. Website
  5. E-Mail: terry@terrymixon.com
  6. Dead Robot Society Podcast

 

One additional thing to the “how people can find me section.” I have a new releases mailing list people can find at my site.  That’s the best way to hear about my new stuff.

 

If this convinced you to find out more, look up Terry!  Seriously, you won’t regret it.  I hope you all had a great time getting to know about him, because I’m a total fanboy!  Don’t be afraid to say hello here or on his own plethora of websites or on the extremely active Facebook page for the podcast.  If he doesn’t respond quick enough, glitter bomb him!  Mwahahaha!!  Or join the army of people making hilarious Sailor Moon memes of him and Paul E. Cooley.

 

 

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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Calling All Writers

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Hey Space Cadets, 2017 is here!  It’s a new year, so I’ve decided to talk about my goals for the year.  I hope to write 2k words a day, as I strive for a million words for the year.  Towards that goal, here are some places where you can submit your writing.  I’ve mentioned some of them before, but they’re worth re-posting.  I hope you find these helpful, and if you have more share and I’ll add them to the post!!

 

One of the anthologies I’ve mentioned before is the Roswell Anthology being assembled by Tickety Boo Press Ltd..  In this short story, which should be between 2-5k words, you’re tasked with writing a tale surrounding the alleged alien activities surround Roswell, New Mexico.  I wrote mine, it was fun and is now waiting for my editor to do his thing.  In fact, this short story will become my previously mentioned Odera Chronicles.  You should join me, maybe our pages will end up touching!!

 

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The second anthology, which I’ve already mentioned, is the Zeborian Anthology.  In this anthology, you’re given a premise and a short backstory and then set free to let your creative juices flow.  You get to do all of this in 2-5k words, which seems to be the sweet spot for anthology short stories.  I’ve not written this one yet, but I hope too.  If this sounds like your thing, get started writing and keep us posted!!

 

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Finally, I found a new eMagazine or eZine that has an open ended subject matter but limits you to 6,000 characters.  I don’t think I could write that concisely, but if that’s you it’s a paying gig!  The Thing is run by Matthew Wayne Selznick, the very same soul who slew interweb dragons for me and helped make my webpage shine.  He’s pretty reasonable and easy to work with, so go ahead and give it a shot!  I posted about him here and here if you want to learn more.

 

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If you know of any others, give me a holler and I’ll add it to the list!!!  At the conclusion of this post, I’ll link to several more general places where you could submit your work.  I’ll also list anywhere I found that had lists of places to submit for you to jump down the rabbit hole with me. 

 

 

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, are screen grabs taken by JR Handley or were used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

  1. Roswell Anthology
  2. Zeborian Anthology
  3. The Thing eZine
  4. Lambda Literary (LGBTQ)
  5. Writers Life Lists
  6. Joe Vasicek Lists