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

World Building Wednesday

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Hello Space Cadet, today I release into the multiverse my first World Building Wednesday where I talk about my process.  This isn’t the only way to build your world, or write a novel, this is just what works for me.  Keep in mind, I have to work around my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) with my process.  These limitations force me to rely heavily on notes, outlines and a paper filing system where all the world building stuff is organized and collated.

 

First, let me show you how I organize my shiny new idea!  This is a broad outline of my organizational thought.  Each of these steps often leads me to rabbit trails that flavor my story.  And remember, anything can be a source for the idea.  Books you’ve read, movies you’ve seen, the news and conversations with friends.  People you’ve observed in public, conversations you’ve overheard.  The world is your creative muse, use it and abuse it.

 

  1. The shiny big new idea!
  2. What do I need to make the idea work?
    1. Characters (People)
    2. Settings (Places)
    3. Equipment and Gear (Things)
  3. Create the world that the story takes place.
    1. Notes on the history of the world.
    2. Maps where I draw the actual world
    3. Key cultural things such as, but not limited to, religion and political thought.
  4. Research anything you need to know for your story.
  5. Outline this shiny new idea.
  6. Write the shiny new idea!

 

So, to summarize the list above, I start with an idea or a character.  Then I flush this idea out a little bit at a time, with ideas based on what I need for the plot.  I keep going, until I have a kernel of a world.  I flush it out, again, with the stuff I need for the story.  This can include researching things, or just the random thoughts that pop up along this path to creation.

 

One big rule I have for myself is that I leave myself room to tell more stories in the future.  The best advice I ever received on writing was from a stranger at my local Starbucks.  I was sitting there plotting out the various parts of my universe and I had papers spread all around me.  He advised me to “Never paint yourself into a corner.”  This stranger gave me great advice, and I use it with my own world.  Just enough to make the story work, in case it leads to rabbit trails that become different stories.

 

Writing for Tim C. Taylor, however, means most of the larger world issues are already made for me.  This will be a fact for anyone writing in someone else’s sandbox.  That said, working with Tim has been great.  He gives me room to do a lot be creative tinkering, with a few rules I can’t break.  For example, I can’t use FTL (Faster Than Light Travel) when writing in the Human Legion Universe but the characters and plot is open to anything I can imagine.  Mainly, he is focused on historical consistency, not changing the cannon and ensuring I not frakk up the aliens he created.

 

I’ve talked with authors who write in other shared universes, to include a few who write in the Warhammer 40K world and it seems these are universal truths.  It can be a lot of fun, in the same way people enjoy writing fan fiction, but there are some constraints.  You get the benefit of a universe full of possibilities waiting for you.  As you read the books in said universe, those thoughts that tingled in the back of your mind can be addressed.  The what if’s, or what happened to Character X when the curtain fell.  That can be a thrilling proposition for a new author who is unsure of himself. It allows you to get your feet wet in the writing process, with some of the guesswork taken out.  Another benefit, especially for a new author, is writing in a shared world generally comes with a built-in audience. In this the universe creator benefits as well, by having you potentially attract new readers to his will or world.

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Now that we’ve covered the topic in broad strokes, let me drill down to show you how my Sleeping Legion series came to be. I was reading Tim’s book Renegade Legion and ideas kept flopping around in the back of my mind.  What about the Marines still in Beta City?  And maybe they could fix those training hulks floating around in space?  I wrote it all down on a list, and messaged it to Tim.  I asked him to write those stories too!  Wow, sort of arrogant fanboy, no?  At that point in time I was working on his Wiki so we were in contact with one another anyway.  Around this time period (2014) I had already started working on my own New Carthage Republic idea.  I mailed Tim’s publishing house the first chapter and summary, seeking representation.  We already had a working relationship, so why not?  He said no, told me it was a good idea but that he wasn’t open for business anymore.  Instead, he was focusing on his own writing and didn’t have time to run a publishing house anymore.

 

I kept writing, bummed, but still writing.  A week later he contacted me with a counter proposal.  Write in his world on those ideas of mine!  It wasn’t a done deal, but he was prepared to be convinced if I sent him a proposal.  I sent him the proposal for the novella’s we talked about.  He approved and a contract was signed!!!  I even wore a wig, in honor of his British sensibilities.  Somehow those novellas became novels, but that is the origin of the Sleeping Legion Series.

 

In the coming weeks I’ll elaborate more on the world building, from maps to tech and everything in between, so stay tuned!

 

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.

Introducing the Human Legion Universe

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Hello Space Cadets, today is my inaugural Marine Monday where I slowly introduce you to the world in which I’ll be writing in.  I stole the concept from Corey over at QuintessentialEditor, who does is weekly Wasteland Wednesday where he sells up his post-apocalyptic world!  Grab some popcorn with him, cause you’ll love the show!  Now, back to your newly scheduled program! 

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In honor of my first Marine Monday, I wanted to introduce you to my favorite world!  I was such a fan that I was invited to write in it!  If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that I’ve mentioned that my first set of novels will be written in the Human Legion Universe.  This is a series of novels written by author Tim C. Taylor centering around the lives of post-Earth humans. Their ancestors were given away as children, in return for protection from outside alien incursions. By giving up a million 5-year old humans, whose descendants would be trained into the fighting arm of their new overlords, Earth would become a White Knight client state.  This relationship made Earth off limits to other species in the Trans-Species Union.  If you are looking to understand these excellent works, I’d summarize them as Starship Troopers meets Soldiers, the 1998 cult classic starring Kurt Russell.  The characters are raised/brainwashed from young kids to be nothing but killers, super soldiers, members of the Human Marine Corps.  This book ranges from small-scale rebellion through to epic space battles… from teenage infatuation to the tragedy of doomed love… and everywhere with dark conspiracies that threaten the existence of humanity, the Human Legion’s fight for freedom has been a hit with science fiction readers worldwide. In its first year, the series earned hundreds of five-star reviews, sold 70,000 copies, and hit the #1 bestseller spots for military science fiction and space opera in the US and elsewhere.  Since then the fandom has only grown! Find out more on Tim’s site and give it a go.  I highly recommend it!

 

Don’t believe me, try it out!  If this sounds interesting, and it should because it is awesome, then go get a copy for yourself!  You won’t regret it!

 

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

brown_bess

JR

PS: Tim has a short story available for free right now!  Check out The Meandering Mayhem of Thogron Throatbiter and enjoy an awesome ride!

The Meandering Mayhem of Thogron Throatbiter (a short story) by [Taylor, Tim C.]

–> The first image is the wholly owned work of Tim C. Taylor and any use of said image must be with permission.  He’s a reasonable chap, ask and he might work with ya!!  😉

–> The second image was a screen capture from Tim’s Human Legion webpage, used with his permission.

–> The last image is from Google’s “labeled for re-use” section of the Creative Commons. 

Shenanigans and Updates

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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?  I’m well, so is my grandmother!  Thank you, truly, to everyone who sent their happy thoughts into the ethos for my Grandma Handley, it meant a lot.  As a quick update, I should (fingers crossed) have the new look for my website up within the week.  Once it is up, I will let everyone know what is going on with that.  We should seamlessly merge it into this page, since I bought the domain and a premium account from WordPress.  If it doesn’t work as planned, I will direct everyone where to go… but I hope it isn’t necessary.

Here is a quick look at where I want my blog to go.  While I work on getting my professional looking blog and a few articles in every category cued up, I will continue on as I have been.  I have to coordinating with the authors I hope to interview, prepare the questions I want to ask and generally be prepared so I don’t look like a boot recruit.  If any of you have any general questions for the warrior authors or the family series, post them in the comments!

  1. Marine Monday’s: A series of world building from the Human Legion Universe, to include my own Sleeping Legion.
  2. World Building Wednesdays: A series of posts on my writing process, not necessarily the right or best way, just my way.  Dang, now I want some Burger King!
  3. Family Fridays Interview Series: A series of interviews with other writers, editors, agents and anyone else involved in the wild world of books.  The focus will be on how we manage our passion for the written word and our duties to our kinfolk.
  4. Warrior Writer Weekend Interview Series: A series of interviews with veterans who write, edit or have any other role within the wild world of books.  I will try to publish these on Saturday, but the guarantee is that it will post on a weekend!  I want to highlight their service, reflect upon how it has influenced or affected their works and get all fanboy over their stuff!  There could be overlap, as many veterans who write also have families, but the focus here will be their service and writing.
  5. Funny Fill Ins: Basically, I’ll keep the witty and humorous bent that I’ve had so far.  If it doesn’t fit into another category I will post it on a Tuesday, Thursday or on an open weekend day.  I will also post any reblogs on these days as well.

 

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

Image result for musketsJR

–> As usual, all images are found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

When Novellas Grow Up

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When Novellas grow up to become Novels

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Hello my fellow Space Cadets!  I thought I would write a quick post about my first novel, The Sleeping Legion: The Legion Awakes, and how I got here.  I didn’t start out trying to write novels, in fact, my contract was specifically for novellas that hit the adventure quick, fast, and in a hurry.

However, as I wrote the ideas just sort of grew organically until my novella grew up into a novel.  As I worked on the final scenes for part two I couldn’t help but hear the song “It is the book the never ends, it just goes on and on my friend… Some fool started writing it not know what it was, and he’ll continue writing it forever just because it was the book that never ends…”  You’re sing along aren’t you?

Knowing I couldn’t put it off any longer, I went to my boss with my hat clutched in hand.  I told Tim C. Taylor about my problem of not knowing what, and how, to cut things to the appropriate length.  He read through my rough draft, likely expecting to talk a novice off the metaphorical edge, then sent me a short email that started with the sentence, “JR, we need to talk.

For clarification, I’m a married man and those words often spell my doom.  As you can imagine, I was justifiably nervous.  I heard Tim, in his proper British accent, saying those five words like a judge condemning a man to his demise.  We meshed schedules, synced up our time zone disparities, and planned our Skype session.

On the day of the Skype session, his face was serious as he looked at me through our shared monitor.  After a moment, he said “JR, you aren’t writing the novellas we talked about in our contract–”

Tim didn’t get to finish as I verbally prostrated myself at his feet, telling him I could do better.  I wasn’t sure if I was laying it on thick enough, I needed him to know I was sincere.  I heaped on some more until I couldn’t be heard over the sound of his laughter.  I took a breath and looked at the cruel man who was likely going to burn my dreams.  I imagined him holding a match and burning the manuscript before my eyes.

Then, to my surprise, Tim said, “JR, these are novels.  Keep writing, but we need a new contract.”

And there I was, suddenly a novelist.  I guess in the end, it’s not the destination you chart but the adventures had along the way.

Until next time, stay frosty and remember to keep your powder dry.

Image result for muskets

 

JR

–> As usual, all images are found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.