The Odera Chronicles

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JR Handley Blog HeaderHey Space Cadets, how is everyone on this fine day?  I’m doing well, and wanted to bring you my news!  My former editor, Corey D Truax, and I have signed our next series with a small publishing house, Theogony Publishing.  This umbrella publishing house is a part of the larger and more dynamic Chris Kennedy Publishing.  Corey and I scoped him out together, in a totally non-stalker kind of way, and liked how he operated. He’s professional, and another veteran of America’s Armed Forces. I think Corey liked that he was a sailor too, but I forgive them both for their imperfections

So, what to say about The Odera Chronicles without giving too much away?  This story tells the tale of Alexis Monroe, one of the first female infantrymen in the US Army. Alexis was an only child, her dad was a Seabee and veteran of the wars in Mesopotamia. After her mother died, it was just the two of them, so she became the son he wanted. Alexis strove to please him and honed her inner tomboy. Shortly after she graduated college, females were being allowed to join the combat arms of the military. Alexis enlisted into the infantry.  Alexis did well at training, very well. When those scores were combined with her college degree, she was quickly advanced to the rank of sergeant. Despite how well she did, her fellow grunts always assumed she was promoted because she was female. When she graduated from training at the NCO Academy, she was given an out of the way assignment. Out of sight, out of mind, or so the Army thought. Her job was simple; guard a warehouse, don’t look inside.  Of course, she looked – and a grand adventure ensued.  To find out more, you will have to read the book.

As you all know, I will keep you up to date with our plans for the series, but for now, less really is more!  I really enjoyed working with Corey as he edited The Sleeping Legion series, so I think this collaboration will be a blast. I really hope that the fun we have translates onto the page. We both really want our readers to enjoy this little tale of galactic woe. So, if you’ve enjoyed the shenanigans over here in the Handley Trenches, then re-enlist on the insanity train!

 

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.

Story Prompts: Closets (#1)

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Hey, Space Cadets. I hope this fine Tuesday finds you well!  I’ve hit an impasse on Operation Breakout. Namely, managing this blog takes more of my time than I really have.  While I love the collaboration, writing stories needs to be my top priority. Soon, if I can’t find a solution, I might cut back to every other day posting.  Either way, for today, I wanted to try something different.  I’ll be doing a series of writing prompts, and today’s will use the image below as the starting point.  My goal is to improve my ability to write shorter works, and you get to be my lab rats!  I hope you enjoy the insanity that follows! Feedback is welcome. Negative, positive, grammatical, whatever you want to post. Ultimately, a writer grows by seeing their flaws and honing their craft.

 


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She opened the door to her storage closet and braced herself for the horror that would come.  Her normally ruddy complexion turned an ashen white as a hoarse voice whispered to her, imploringly.

“Just let me explain.”

It wasn’t how she expected to spend her Saturday morning, after a glorious Friday evening with her friends.  She’d met up with members of her Imperial Space Fleet Academy graduating class, to reminisce about old times.

With long deployments, spread across Imperial Space, she hadn’t seen several of them in years.  Many of them had exited the Navy, and entered the private sector.  Enjoying lucrative jobs in the Imperial City, which allowed them to meet with their classmates.

The rest, well their time in service meant most were ready for their own class on ships captaincy.  It was only their return to attend the Ship’s Captain Course, after so many good officers died in the insurrection that just ended, that brought them all together.

After so long apart, she’d just gotten through telling them how happy her marriage was.  Droning on about how they’d stood the test of time and were still together after all these years.  College sweethearts even.

What she didn’t expect was to go into the storage closet to find her husband joined in coitus with her best friend.  The fact that he was wearing her high school prom dress and ‘that woman’ was wearing a tux only added fuel to the rage that followed.  She knew she only had a few seconds to decide her next move.

Is the prison time worth killing them?  Would it be better to take a picture, humiliate them both?  What do I do?



 

Hope you all enjoyed this science fiction short, and I’ll try to do more of them in the future! Again, feedback is welcome. Heck, if I get an idea doing this that I like, I might just turn it into something more. If your feedback helps make that happen, you’ll get a mention in the acknowledgements. Or, I’ll make you a redshirt in the book and you can meet death with glory (in the story, of course).

 

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.

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Villiany Rediscovered

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Hey Space Cadets, how are you today?  I’m doing well, and getting back into the swing of writing again.  Still waiting on my edits for the two short stories I wrote, but that’s life ya know!  As for book three, Operation Breakout, I’m at 37,124 words and fixed an issue that was holding me up.  I’ve not yet started my writing today but I will once I put my son to bed.  Also, I was wrong about being at 38k yesterday.  I was at 36k, but I am still hoping for the 40k by the end of the year.  In addition to working on book three, I’ve outlined another series I want to write after I finish The Sleeping Legion Series.  More on that in the coming year!!  I think I will hold off on my New Carthage Series, I love that idea too much to attempt it before I’m ready and I’m passionate about wanting to do it justice.

 

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Anyway, I was re-reading the blog of a fellow science fiction author, even with two books publication it still feels weird saying that!  While reading, I found a great article about the nature of villainy in literature.  Joe Vasicek writes great science fiction, and maintains an excellent blog with enough traffic to make for lively debates.  Don’t believe me, check the number of older posts on his Hugo Award blog entries!  LOL!  His post about villains in literature, both practically and as a trope, was well written.  I highly recommend you read his blog and comment.  If you’d like, we can continue the discussion here as well.  While I like his work, one point he didn’t address was on the fleeting nature of villainy in modern times because villainy is often in the eye of the beholder.  Too often we view the world through relativistic lenses, even when it isn’t appropriate.  Yes, sometimes someone is so beyond the scope as to be universally evil (Hitler, Lucifer, the woman who cancelled Firefly), but that isn’t always the case.  Times change and so do social mores and values.  Yesterday’s heroes often become todays villains… an example of that can be seen in how some view our Founding Fathers.  The once heroes of our nation are only talked about in the context of their slave ownership or treatment of women by modern society.  I’m not a fan of this, revisionism never sits well with me and I tend to judge people within the context of their time, but you shouldn’t ignore this in a discussion on villainy.  What do others think?  If you have an opinion, sound off below or check out Joe’s post here!

 

Speaking on the topic of villains, a YouTuber vlogger I follow, Kristen Martin, recently made a video on the subject!  She breaks down how to write believable bad guys, which is on pointe for my fellow writers out there.  She even found a check list for writing better villains, written by Jerry Jenkins.  Check that out, then watch her video!

 

 

And since I also posted the ‘How To’ video, here’s another from Jenna Moreci whom I also follow on the YouTubes.  She’s a bit salty, but gives good advice.  Her novels ain’t bad either!  If you follow the links to her, you can jump straight into that rabbit hole and find her various links on her YouTube channel.

 

 

 

 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.

WRITERS ARE CRAZY PEOPLE

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Hello Space Cadets, today is another throwback post.  I think this story was posted way back when, before anyone had found this post so I decided it needed an edit because it’s too funny to go unloved.  This happened when I was writing book one, The Legion Awakes, in the local Starbucks.  The very one whose store number became Lance Scipio’s beloved 6907th TAC Regiment.  I was spread out over the long corner table organizing the story, so I could fix issues Tim C. Taylor had with the combat scene.  The scene in question was part of what became the novella The Demons of Kor-Lir which is still available to those who sign up for my mailing list.

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Like I said, I had to share what happened.  I had just finished a very early draft and sent it to my editor, Tim C. Taylor.  This was before Corey Truax came into the picture.  Anyway, as I poured over his critiques, I noticed that he suggested I bone up on my science and medical knowledge, since my death scenes didn’t read true.  Hey, I was a grunt… we haven’t trained to kill people with swords in a few years!  And swords in space?  Blimey, what sort of Army do you think I served in?  For some reason I’m envisioning Stripes meets The Jetsons but I digress.  I read Tim’s comments, until I had a flash of insight!  I realized my aunt was an ER nurse, so I decided to call her up to go over some things. 

 

While still sitting at the previously mentioned Starbucks I called my aunt – we talked about decapitations, death grips, arterial spray and how long it takes someone to bleed out.  Upon finishing my phone call I noticed that the Starbucks had gotten unusually quiet, the long table I was sitting at was suddenly empty and people were reacting as if they’d suddenly smelled something foul.  I swear, I almost sniffed my armpits to make sure we were good!  Then one of Virginia’s Finest, Officer Friendly, and yes names have been changed to protect the innocent, walked over and sat in the chair opposite mine.  When he had my attention, he got chatty.  “Everything alright here?  Anything you need to confess?  Do you need a lawyer?” 

 

Rarely one to be at a loss for words, I quipped a reply chalk full of my usual shenanigans.  “Nothing to see here officer, move along,” before laughing nervously.  Officer Friendly wasn’t smiling.  Sighing, knowing I needed to figure out what was really going on, I asked and waited for the big reveal. 

 

Officer Friendly was right there to clear it up, “So, murder plans this weekend,” he asked.  Was it ironically?  Meh, I don’t know but I was instantly relieved that there wasn’t something more serious.  Did I just type that?  Nothing serious about murder?  Man, the Army seriously warped my mind! 

 

Smiling, I simply informed him that I was working on my novel and consulting my experts to improve the text.  “I’m not a serial killer Officer, I’m just a writer.”  Luck was on my side, he chose NOT to check my browser history and all the murderous research I’d been doing.  The best part about all of this, it was the first time I called myself a writer out loud and around strangers.  Hopefully the times that follow won’t require armed law enforcement and a concerned public!  Well, unless the officers are protecting me from adoring crowds as I outsell the great JK Rowling!!

 

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.

World Building Wednesday: Sand Tables

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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing today?  What’s that?  I can’t hear you, sound off like you got a pair!  And if you don’t, fake it till you make it!  So, now that I have your attention, let’s have a little chat over coffee!  Today I decided to give you get a sneak peek into how I wrote my battle scenes.  Let’s dive into the world of sand tables, sometimes called Recess for Soldiers!

 

So where to start, first let me start by discussing what a sand table is.  In a nutshell, a sand table is a surface bearing a three-dimensional map of a given piece of land.  According the Merriam-Webster, it’s “a table bearing a relief model of a terrain built to scale for study or demonstration especially of military tactics.”  Basically, I a super special map!  The military has used them since forever, long before Christ was even a Corporal.

 

Now that I’ve explained what a sand table is, I’ve decided to show you the one I made for my first novel.  Yes, The Legion Awakes, which will be published on December 19th, 2016.  It’s an improvised sand table for a combat scene in the novel involving a battle that my main character is involved in.  Wanna know more, read the book!  You’ve probably already read this, but please let me be prideful for just a few words!  I’m currently writing The Sleeping Legion Series set in the military science fiction world of Tim C. Taylor.  That book will be out soon, so I wanted to share some of how I got here.  Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let us return to our regularly scheduled programing.

 

Anyway, the key to a successful sand table is that they provide you with the opportunity to visualize the battle space in three-dimensions.  This allows you to better describe the field as you’ve envisioned it.  It allows you to envision all of the obstacles which might get in the way of the armies you are describing, though this could work for any type of writing, combat or otherwise.  I supposed I would be remiss if I didn’t also tell you that these can be used to model towns, and other generic settings for your works in progress.  Not as exciting, but certainly necessary.  They are used by the military for strategic visualizations, are extremely helpful with strategic planning, but can be used by everyone!!

 

Without further adieu, my masterpiece!

 

My Sand Table

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LEGEND:

Cups: Akoni Mountains

Green Sponges: Dense forests

Brown Building Blocks: Old Government Tower and Akoni City

Blue Paper: Water Features; Dynia River and Lake Charon

 

Now that we’ve covered this in depth, feel free to sound off in the comments below!  And if this tickled your fancy, click the follow button and never miss out on the insanity or shenanigans from the Handley Trenches!

 

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.

 

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.

Beta Reading Recon Team

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Hello Space Cadets, do you yearn for action and adventure?  Does your soul beg to shake free from the shackles of Mother Earth?  Do you love reading, diving into fictional universes and then discussing it in depth?  Basically, there’s a call out for all of the Geeks, Nerds, Fan boys/Fan girls and all around science fiction fanatics.  If this sounds like you, and you want to help an author launch his debut novel, head on over and join the Legionnaires!!  Be a part of the adventure, shape it and mold it until it is a piece of literary perfection that Heinlein would be proud of!  🙂

 If you want to join the recon teams, you need to first join the Legion, which you can do here.  You can then discuss your thoughts on the BattleNet, but you don’t need to do so to chat away.  You can find join the discussion here.

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