Why your editor admires you (and why you might not realise this)

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Hello Space Cadets, I wanted to share a post which has touched me personally. As I slog through the edits of book two, Fortress Beta City, I find that I need to continually remind myself that this is for the better.  As I scrolled through blogs I follow, this jumped out at me.  I definitely needed to hear this today.  A brief discussion has me wondering about the quality of what is about to go live.  If they let me, I’d polish it until nothing was ever published.  Because I’m currently anxiously awaiting the return of my second novel from my editors, with another in the final beta review.  I’m in the thumb twiddling, nail biting stage of WAITING.  I pass the time writing book three and hoping the first two are good enough to warrant publishing this.  Reading this post, when the revisions for book two are so massive, was exactly the pep talk I needed. Thank you to the lovely writer, follow her blog, it is worth it!!

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

brown_bess

JR

 

 

–> I reblog this on the assumption that the author of said post used all images are used in accordance with copyright laws.  She’s a smart cookie so I’m sure they did!

Nail Your Novel

5730710531_07b49820e8_zWhen I write a report about an author’s novel, it usually runs to at least 25 pages of detailed notes and developmental suggestions, plus annotations on the manuscript. Sometimes I’ve written 60-page reports. Although I make my responses constructive and helpful, and discuss strengths as weaknesses, I know it’s daunting to receive such a screed. I know my writers think ‘crikey, she needed to say all that? Did I get it so wrong?’

And this: ‘I thought the book was perfect. What kind of shambolic half-wit does she think I am?’

Well today, I’d like to let you know how the editor sees your book.

My open letter to the edited

Although it may be hard for you to believe when you see the size of my report, I know your manuscript represents aeons more time than the hours it takes me to glide through with my editorial eye…

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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. 

Blog & Writing Update

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Hello Space Cadets!!  In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting articles about the various parts of my writing process.  I plan on covering alien creation, foreign languages and character creation.  In addition, I’ll write about how I ‘invent’ new technologies and where I conduct my research.  There will be posts about resources I use, and mentors I’ve been lucky enough to have.  Now that my website is wrapping up, it is time to do all of the prep work for a smooth transition into my blog schedule.  I look forward to bringing you with me on this journey, and can’t wait to read your comments in the forthcoming posts. 

 

Now, as for a quick NaNoWriMo update!  I’ve been sucking it recently, life has been crazy and I’m way behind.  With two special needs kids, you just have to seize life by the… and carry on.  I grab words where I can and attend my local Hampton Roads NaNo Group’s Friday write-ins to catch up.  Yesterday I managed to crank out 900 words while I was there, not bad since I am working on a crappy laptop that isn’t comfortable for my sore hands.  This has convinced me to double down on my goals of learning to better use my Dragon software and lighten the load on my hands.  So, now that we’ve gotten here…. It is time for my word weigh-in and the judgement that will surely follow.  It is Day 12 and I’m sitting at 13,052 words.  I hope to finish the day at 17,000 words but that might just be a pipe dream.  I still have to take my son out clothes shopping, he’s outgrown everything he owns.  Ugh, not only is he EATING me out of house and home, now he’s growing like a weed.

 

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

 brown_bess

JR

—> As usual, the image I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

NaNo Kick-Off Party

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Hello Space Cadets, today I wanted to tell you about a NaNoWriMo kick off party I attended at my local public library.  The meeting included a brief overview of what NaNoWriMo was and then a quick introduction to navigating their website.  We quickly jumped into a few fun writing prompts and I wanted to share mine.

First we got a blank comic strip and we had to write the dialog for ours.  Here is what I came up with in the three minutes provided.

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Then we were told to pull several plot points out of a bucket; an action, a character and a location.  We were given these plot points and told to write a short story in under three minutes.  Here is what I pulled out of a bucket.

And without further ado, here is the story I came up with!

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Not much else to say here, but if you wanna have fun you could use the prompts and write your own story?  Would love to read them in the comments section!!!

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

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JR

 

—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

PLAGARISM: My Confession

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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?   I’m doing great, but I wanted to take a day to write a more serious post about the reason for internet caution. Specifically, I wanted to talk about the confusing realm of copyright law and how it applies to the images we use on our blogs.

 

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer; I didn’t go to law school; I don’t even play a lawyer on television. 

 

Disclaimers aside, I did complete a bachelor’s degree and part of a masters before I suffered my TBI after playing around in Iraq.  As a trained historian, I was taught the basics of plagiarism.  I would never copy the writings of another author, or steal their research and/or intellectual property.  It’s wrong, and would violate the core of my strongly held beliefs about right and wrong.

 

It goes beyond just schooling.  I was raised with this moral compass and it was reinforced by the Army. There, I lived by a code that prohibited lying, cheating, and stealing.  I was further indoctrinated into this by my years spent attending a military college with the mantra, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.”  Harsh perhaps, but it’s how I choose to live my life.

 

Why do I mention all of this?  Recently, it was brought to my attention that I haven’t been careful with the visual mediums on my blog page.  I displayed pictures I didn’t own, or have the rights to use on my blog.

 

I was mortified, petrified even.  Also, I was ashamed.  If you’ve been following my page, you likely remember the post where I mentioned it.  Afterwards, I went through my blog and sanitized it (military speak for removing all potentially incriminating information).  I took down all the pictures I didn’t have the rights to use and replaced them with pictures from the creative commons that are free to use.  I find them from Google using an advanced search, and indicate where they came from with a tag at the end of my post.  You’ll see that I go out of my way to credit the specific source AND to direct traffic their way.

 

This should, in my meager understanding, help shield me from the claim of damages under my theory that I am providing free advertising.  I don’t know if this is good enough for a lawyer, but I’ve done the best I could.  If you want further help, my friend Corey has given these helpful links.  His first helpful hint was the Electronic Frontier Foundation who posted this Legal Guide for Bloggers as a resource for those trying to be above board on their site.  His final resource recommendation was the GCF LearnFree.org group who posted an article about Copyright and Fair Use.

 

What does this mean to you?  It’s a cautionary tale.  I would suggest you verify what you are putting on your page like I have.  You might be a small fry right now, and you might be a best seller, but the potential for being sued is real.  It becomes more real the second you start advertising your name and your books on your page.  The second you monetize your blog it becomes commercial.  If this is you, then it matters. These are the ones likely to get sued, so don’t be that guy/gal!

 

Now, not everyone is a qualified artist capable of rendering their own art.  How do you find your own art?  First, if you own a camera and can take your own pictures, those are yours. You own them.  Even a photo of another piece of art is yours to use.  You can get a cheap, or free, photo editing program and watch some YouTube videos on how to use it.  You can search images in the Creative Commons, just indicate that they are such.  Or you could use the Google search feature like I do that does the same thing.

 

You could also hire an artist/graphic designer directly, though, it could get costly. If you do this I would recommend having art generated that you can use repeatedly for many posts.  And finally, you could source it from a site like Shutterstock that lets you buy rights to use various finished stock art pieces.  Just be careful you buy the rights you need.  Some of the lesser prices are for art you can’t monetize.  If you ever dream of selling art from your blog on coffee mugs, then you better be able to monetize it.

 

A final word of caution, I’m not a legal scholar so this is just one neophyte helping a Brother/Sister Noob in the “Ways of the Copyright.”  If you need specific help, I suggest you find an attorney specializing in Copyright Law.  Like I said, that aint me!

 

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

 Image result for muskets

JR

 

 

—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

 

EXAMPLES OF CITIATION FROM MY SITE:

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

–> Authors Note:  These images were taken by J.R. Handley and are owned by him.  Anyone wishing to use them may do so, provided proper citation is used.

–> This image was found on the hilarious iFunny website, under the search word #infantry.  Go on over and check out those comic geniuses!! 

–> The artwork from today is original content created by Corey at the Quintessential Editor.

–> As usual, this picture was found on Google and is labeled for reuse.  It was posted by The Blue Diamond Gallery, go on down and check them out.

–> The artwork in question belongs to Davis Ashura and is being used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Author Update

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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?  It has been too long since I’ve written a blog post, and for that I’m truly sorry.  First, my wife got sick with the dreaded flu, so true to my husbandly duty I provided care.  This involved making loads of chicken noodle soup, manning the fort, and not burning the house down!  Then I got sick—thanks to her generous nature.  Ugh, I hate being sick but I made it through the other end alive.  I would love to tell you I soldiered through it and worked the whole time…but mamma said I shouldn’t tell lies.  I spent several days where I got ZERO done.  Ugh, I was hoping to have book two done so I could be working on book three but it wasn’t meant to be.

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Finally, at the same time I was sick, Hurricane Matthew hit my locale hard.  We had a lot of flooding, which caused a few local electrical fires when water got into houses.  People lost entire houses when flood damage forced the city to condemn them.

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My own personal vehicle flooded, so I’ve had to deal with insurance to get it repaired or replaced.  Luckily, State Farm has been awesome and is even upgrading my rental car to a truck since my injury makes tiny cars painful and no mid-range vehicles were available.  My contract only requires a car, but they are going above and beyond.  I should know in a few days whether they’ll repair it or total it.

All I know at the moment is that they categorized the damage to my vehicle as Class 2 Flood Damage.  They found water in my gas tank, mixed in with my oil and sitting inside the cigarette lighter/power port things on my floorboards.  To be honest, I forgot they were there so I missed them when I did my best to clean the water out of the inside.  Oh, and they found nasties inside my engine itself; things like leaves, trash and other debris from the storm.  I back up to our cities water drainage system and it overflowed.  It is basically a ditch that connects to a lake, which the city made deeper so rainwater had a place to run off.  When we flooded, my car sucked in some of the litter which is sadly in it and it apparently is the opposite of helpful for your engines.

 

On top of all that, my mother’s house flooded and took on several inches of water.  They’ll likely have to gut and redo the entire first floor to account for the water damage.  I’ve spent time over there, as much as I could while being sick, helping pull up carpet and other things which have to be done.  It definitely could have been worse, so for that we are grateful.  All told, Team Handley weathered the storm and came out smiling on the other end.  Some did not, AND didn’t have any flood insurance.  They’ll be struggling, but it taught us a valuable life lesson: BUY FLOOD INSURANCE if you live in a flood zone!!  Sigh, should have been common sense but I guess not.

 

But all that aside, my mother has been busy getting the corporation ready for the launch of our books.  We will have an official bank account tomorrow, and as a gift, she hired someone to do our webpage.  Within the month it will be ready, though likely sooner.  She hired Matthew from MWS Media Creative Services to do a kickass website for us!  When the page goes live, I hope to jump into my previously stated plan for the website.  That means I need to get off my arse and come up with questions for my military veteran authors, and for authors in general, about how you manage your writing life with your home life.  If you guys have any questions along those lines you’d love to see answered, put them in the comment box.

 

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And since I called this an update, I guess I’ll tell you where I’m at with book two.  I’m currently editing it, but I’ve solved all but one of the major plot holes.  I’m currently on page 138 of 202 and hope to get even further than that before the day ends.  My editor is following close behind me cracking the whip.  No really, that wasn’t a metaphor… that crazy Navy bastard has a whip.  I think he used to be an Indiana Jones fanboy.  I never judge, but those Navy boys are sometimes hard to understand.  Me, I preferred Rambo and GI Joe!  Of course, that was back when he was an All American Hero, before the remake made him some sort of UN Merc, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

 

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

Image result for muskets

JR

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