For a Few Credits More: 4HU Anthology

For-a-Few-Credits-MoreMy good friend J.R. Handley and I strong-armed our way into writing for an anthology. We stole some pets, torched a lawn, pooped in some mailboxes — but hey — that’s all part of the author hustle. Some people write query letters; some people resort to criminal mischief.

Moving along! I’m pleased to say our first jointly-written story is coming in September, and it takes place in the Four Horsemen universe (4HU). The anthology our offering will be showcased in is titled For a Few Credits More.

For the uninitiated: the 4HU is a bodacious military science fiction series that was spawned into existence by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy. Instead of trying to write a hack description of the 4HU, I’m stealing the the publisher’s blurb (Seventh Seal Press). We can add this theft to our list of offenses.

It’s the Twenty-Second Century. The galaxy has opened up to humanity as a hyperactive beehive of stargates and new technologies, and we suddenly find ourselves in a vast playground of different races, environments, and cultures. There’s just one catch: we are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.

Enter the Four Horsemen universe, where only a willingness to fight and die for money separates Humans from the majority of the other races. Enter a galaxy not only of mercenaries, but also of Peacemakers, bounty hunters, and even a strung-out junkie in the way of a hired assassin.

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I’m very excited to be contributing to such a kick-ass series. Here’s the 4HU books so far, and a couple that are projected to release later this year.


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Four Horsemen Universe

For-a-Few-Credits-MoreMy good friend J.R. Handley and I strong-armed our way into writing for an anthology. We stole some pets, torched a lawn, pooped in some mailboxes — but hey — that’s all part of the author hustle. Some people write query letters; some people resort to petty violence.

Moving along! I’m pleased to say our first jointly-written story is out now, and it takes place in the Four Horsemen universe (4HU). The anthology is titled For a Few Credits More.

For the uninitiated: the 4HU is a bodacious military science fiction series that was spawned into existence by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy. Instead of trying to hack out a description of the 4HU, I’m stealing the the publisher’s blurb (Seventh Seal Press).

It’s the Twenty-Second Century. The galaxy has opened up to humanity as a hyperactive beehive of stargates and new technologies, and we suddenly find ourselves in a vast playground of different races, environments, and cultures. There’s just one catch: we are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.

Enter the Four Horsemen universe, where only a willingness to fight and die for money separates Humans from the majority of the other races. Enter a galaxy not only of mercenaries, but also of Peacemakers, bounty hunters, and even a strung-out junkie in the way of a hired assassin.

I’m very excited to be contributing to such a kick-ass series. Here’s a list of the 4HU books so far, and the one I’ll be in is projected for September.


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Alien Days Anthology: Released

I‘m pleased to announce that the Alien Days Anthology: (The Days Series Book 2) has released. Yet another book that ol’ J.R. Handley and I managed to weasel our ways into.

What’s it about? Aliens, my dudes and dudettes. Aliens. Seriously, though, the official blurb is this:

Alien Days is a multi-author anthology with thrilling tales of aliens, invasions, artificial intelligence, friendship, deceit and extinction. A combination which makes this collection a must-read for science fiction short story fans.

-Castrum Press

With some heavyweight authors weighing in, and the book listed at 435 pages, there’s a lot of bang to be had for you buck. And if you live that Kindle Unlimited life, you’ve got it made in the shade.

As for our story, here’s the elevator pitch.

Image linked to Amazon.

Girl is “raised” by dad. Dad is war hero. Dad wanted a boy. Girl joins military, becomes a woman. Woman is first female through advanced training. Woman is banished to a remote base. Woman feels forgotten, unwanted, rejected. Woman drinks. A vice inherited from dad. Woman finds alien artifact and is zipped into the unknown. Woman is given great power and responsibility. Her decisions will impact the fate of our little blue planet, and much, much more.

The girl/woman is Alexis Monroe, the short story is Am I Alone?. It’s the first short story released that teases J.R. and my upcoming universe and series — The Odera Chronicles (#oderarising). More on that later. For now, please, check out the anthology! Leave a review. Feed an author.

A big thank-you to Castrum Press for giving our story a platform! I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of this book.

Thanks for stopping by the page today, and thanks for reading. I hope you all have a fantastic day that is jam-packed with space pirates, wizards, romance, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

Alien Days Anthology — Releasing May 17th

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve had a chance to update this website. My son, Thor, is now three. I’ve had to move our family across the country, without the benefit of my wonderful, deployed wife. I’ve also managed to get another story accepted for publication.

I‘ll be focusing on that upcoming book, Alien Days, today. I will admit that this bit of interweb has been neglected by me — that’s going to change. Look forward to more updates. This website has always been an outstanding tool for my personal and professional growth — not to mention the host of amazing people I’ve met via this site.

Rest assured, I’m never going to be the author that bludgeons you about the face and neck with buy-my-books adverts on this page — or really anywhere else. I’ll toss a post in, here and there, as the timetable requires.

The Alien Days anthology was one of those opportunities that fell into my lap via a connection with an author I knew — J.R. Handley. Together, we’ve worked on many projects in the past — you can check those out by clicking/touching here.

J.R. had mentioned Castrum Press was looking for submissions. J.R. and I collaborate often, and we have a folder of overflow stories we’d puzzled together in the past. Some individual stories, some planned pieces for bigger things. We picked one, J.R. submitted, and here we are — feeling good.

The book is set to release on May 17th. To be honest, I know very little about the contents of the book. I do know there are some really outstanding and prolific authors listed. It’s humbling to be among them. It’s weird to be published in a book with authors who I’ve read and idolized professionally.

Our story is titled: Am I Alone? It’s the tale of Alexis Monroe. One of the first women through an elite military school, she now stands mind-numbing guard duty on a secretive U.S. Air Force base. Every day, Alexis guards an entrance to a massive warehouse. Every day, she grows more and more despondent. A drink (or three) from her flask, while standing guard duty. A risky decision. An awakened alien artifact. All these come together to alter the course of her life.

Alexis Monroe is an important character in a sprawling universe. J.R. and I have very, very big plans for her. The Odera Chronicles (as we are calling them) are coming, and we are chomping at the bit to get those books into your hands. For now, I hope you pick up Alien Days on May 17th, and I really hope you enjoy our story.

For a Few Credits More: Released

510QAdWwRNL._SY346_It’s been a great week in my camp; my wife finished a prolonged underway on her ship (sort of), and my first published book is out! Well, to be fair, it’s not just my book. It’s an anthology with a number of best selling science fiction authors featured. I’d talked about this book, For a Few Credits More, a while back. If you missed that post, you can read about it right here.

The book is based in the best-selling Four Horsemen Universe (4HU). What’s great about the anthology (outside of being able to write in it), is that it gives new readers a chance to test the waters. There’s a bunch of books published in the series, which I highly recommend. I have a feeling after you give the anthology a read, you’ll be building a mech-suit in your garage and taking it to some dastardly aliens.

My story, which I co-authored with J.R. Handley, is titled Luck of the Draw. The story follows a man who is trying his best to disappear, but just can’t shake his bad habits. This leads to him being forced into a high-level contract, dealing with his ghosts, and doing his best to stay alive.

The anthology is already getting some great reviews, and I was tickled to see one of the reviewers mentioned Luck of the Draw specifically. So thrilled was I, that I took a screenshot and placed it below.

Luck of the Draw Review.jpg

Thanks, Ken (if you’re reading this, then shoot me an email, so I can thank you via the interwebs). Please, give the book a read and leave an honest review. You can snag it by clicking/touching this link, or clicking/touching the image of the book at the top. Now, I have some other books that need to be written; no rest for the wicked. Thanks for reading!


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Announcement: The Odera Chronicles

co-authorship.jpgMy friend and sometimes co-author J.R. Handley recently wrote this post about an upcoming book series we are working on together. It’s called The Odera Chronicles, and it’s a science fiction book about one woman looking for redemption and glory. Buy the ticket, take the ride (i.e. give the post JR wrote a read).

If you don’t feel like taking the exodus over to JR’s page, here’s the short version:

Alexis Monroe proves her prowess by being one of the first women through an elite infantry school. Instead of going to combat, she is blacklisted to guard a warehouse in the middle of the desert. Alexis sinks into depression, gets drunk on duty, makes a bad decision, and unleashes a series of consequences involving spaceships, urinating robots, synthetic alcohol, kitten calendars, and cozy recliners.

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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…

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Fear and Loathing at RavenCon 2017

Author Note: This article was lost when my author and editor sites were merged. A big thanks to Yudhanjaya Wijeratne for pointing out the broken link and wanting to read the article in the first place. Now, on to the shenanigans.


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I’m walking through the darkened courtyard of the DoubleTree Hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia, trailing just behind Chris Kennedy. The sun has dropped from the sky, much like my morale after sitting in on a panel where one panelist plugged their book eighteen times. I know this because I kept tally. Eighteen.

Putting this from my mind, I increase my pace and try not to slip on the water-soaked cement. Some kid splashing with a writhing knot of multi-colored pool noodles underneath him shouts up at me from the water, “I bet you didn’t think you’d see someone with seven pool noodles in their trunks!”

jawsIt’s true, kid. I didn’t think I’d see that. Who swims in the dark? That’s how you get eaten by the night sharks who dwell in shallow hotel pools! 

Of course I didn’t say any of that out loud. Careful to not get pulled into an existential conversation about the stuffing of pool noodles into bathing suits with no adult supervision around, I continue following Chris. He is navigating toward a suite being shared by a publishing house. I’m following like a lost puppy.

We’d communicated electronically, but this convention – Ravencon – was my first in-person meeting with him. We had joked about sharing a few beers. Him and I are both Navy vets, so a shared beer is sort of a sacred thing. It seemed Chris was making good on this promise. Unfortunately, the outside door that would give access to the suite is locked, a fatal flaw in his planning.

Undaunted, the quick-witted publisher/author stalks over to the fenced-in balcony where a collection of women puff on cigarettes. It’s the typical metal fencing you see at hotels of this type: waist high, blocky bars, not designed to keep your room from being ransacked, but meant to keep you from passing out and falling into the bushes or wandering into the pool for a final swim.

smoking skull.jpgChris asks the smoke-breathing women if they would mind opening the door to the wing from the inside. Instead, they tell us to jump the fence. Opting for a less acrobatic solution, we squeeze through a one-foot space against the wall, slide the glass door open, and step inside.

A collection of men and women are sitting around and meandering about. A fold-out, veneer table to my left is covered in half-emptied bottles of hard liquor. Despite the age of the occupants attending this venue, the room décor was like that of a college party: plastic trashcans overflowing with bottles and trash, fold out chairs, crappy lighting, hotel carpeting – the works.

Everyone stops talking, looks over at us, then one of the older men tells me to close the door behind me. After I complied with his orders, we walked over to a huddled circle of seated people. The Giver of Orders, a kindly man who didn’t want to be assaulted by cigarette smoke, produced a black cooler bag. It was packed with local craft beer. Happy and grateful to have obtained free social lubricant, I quickly empty the bottle while somewhat awkward conversation happens all around me.

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Everyone around me has titles under their belt, or have contributed to the production of multiple books. I have no published works to my name. As an editor, I’m mildly successful considering I’ve not been doing it professionally for long. But this is a room full of established editors, authors, and publishers. So, I did what I do best: drink, listen, drink, respond, drink, nod, drink, and smile.

drinking buddies.jpgI don’t pass out a single business card – despite having them made for the convention – and I didn’t tell a single person who I was or what I was doing there. I just play the fly-on-the-wall game until we all said our farewells. Chris headed home, and I wandered off to my room. Later that evening, I thought about what a missed opportunity that was while I worked my way through the beers I had stocked in my hotel fridge.

Less than a week later, while I was in the safety of my own home, Chris sent an offer to publish a series J.R. Handley and I have been outlining called The Odera Chronicles. A few weeks later, he informed me a short story I had co-authored will be showing up in an anthology he is releasing in September.

This, for me, is the purpose of something like RavenCon. It’s not about judging the merit of the panels (or panelists), or pimping your books to a room full of disinterested people. It’s certainly not about gloating about your successes and comparing yourself to others. Sometimes, it’s about wandering around, meeting people, pool noodles, jumping fences, and drinking the occasional beer. It’s about being present and open to a strange adventure.

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Editing

Currently, my editing business has been put on the back-burner. I’m a military spouse, full time stay-at-home dad, and author. All of these things eat away at the very limited amount of time I have, and time constrains ultimately led to me leaving freelance editing.

With that being said, I was fortunate enough to work with some amazing folks during my brief time as a developmental editor. Some don’t want me to blab about my involvement in their work, others don’t mind at all. Here’s what I can release.

J.R. Handley and the Sleeping Legion series

Handley brings a visceral realness to his military science fiction. Jumping into the well-established Human Legion universe Tim C. Taylor and Ian Whates had developed, Handley has been finding his legs as an emerging and prolific author. Each book I receive from him is better than the last.


M.L.S. Weech

Weech and I go way back to our time in the Navy; we served together at Combat Camera Group Pacific. Weech is what I would describe as a master craftsman when it comes to storytelling. When a reader picks up one of his books, they couldn’t know how many times Weech has re-written, altered, shaped, and sharpened the words in front of their eyes. Truly an author who cares, it’s been my pleasure to work with him.


 

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The Legion Grows: Another Editor Reports for Duty

Red Pen of Doom.jpgMy back was against the wall. The grammar errors were all around me.

“I’m a developmental editor,” I said. “This grammar stuff is kicking me in the tender bits.”

“Fear not, Corey-the-human,” a voice sounded through the darkness. “The Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom is here.”

In a sick-ass flash of power and insight, Thomas, the mercenary copy editor, hacked the manuscript to shreds.

All was right in the world again.

In short, Thomas joined the Legion. Find out more about the mercenary proofreader and read his intro by clicking right here (the link will teleport you to the Human Legion website).

You can look forward to seeing our collaborative editing prowess on display in J.R. Handley’s next book in the Sleeping Legion series: Operation Breakout.

More of an update than an informative post today, but I have some how-to posts coming. I’ll be starting a new series tackling point of view, as this is the most common issue I seem to deal with in my editing work (also the item most people ask me about). Until we cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always—stay sharp!

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Moved in: Hello Virginia

home-sweet-home-1456862578eiX.jpgAt long last I have moved into the new house and am sinking back into a normal schedule. *maniacal laughter* This is my fifth or sixth military move, and let me tell you, this one was a kick in the poop shoot.

Regardless, the house is now painted, baby-proofed, and mostly unpacked. I felt bad for the garbage collectors because I had a mountain of broken down cardboard boxes and packing paper stacked into the stratosphere in front of the driveway.

Other technical difficulties included: transitioning my business to a new state, building a companion author page to this one (located here), going 2,000 pounds over the weight limit for household goods (whoops), and attempting/succeeding to move a 200 pound desk and other miscellaneous furniture up a flight of stairs…two story houses are the worst.

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My new home office—where the magic (insanity) happens.

I wrote a post a while back about how environment impacts writing. Some people are flexible and can write at a rock concert, and some people need a perfect little nook. I seem to fall into the latter category. But I have my nook now and am looking forward to judo chopping all the work that has been piling up.

A big “thank you” to J.R. Handley for stopping by the house and bringing over a housewarming gift from his family. Talk about a warm welcome to Virginia. Not only did we eat lasagna until our stomachs almost exploded, we also plotted out a short story for an upcoming anthology. We will be co-authoring the short story, so that should either be really mind blowing, or make people weep uncontrollably. Maybe both?

Wastelander Cover.jpgI mentioned my companion site, that is where I am going to start keeping updates on Wastelander, other book projects, collaborations/co-writing projects, and my author updates. I’m not dense enough to think everyone who comes here for writing tips gives a hoot about my hack fiction — but if you do, be sure to swing over for updates on that front.

All right, moving forward. Time to start doing what this page was meant for: writing tips. Please stay tuned and thanks for bearing with me during this overly long move. Until we cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always — stay sharp!

 

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