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.

J.R. Handley Blog

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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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.

four horseman banner

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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Writing a World Building Style Guide

Bible_and_Key_Divination.jpgToday, I wanted to talk about style guides. No, not the Chicago Manual of Style.  I’m talking about self-generated style guides that serve as a bible for your universe(s). I’ve been working with the Human Legion recently, and I’ve spent some time organizing world building notes spanning multiple authors. Different authors, writing different series, but in the same universe.

The solution, for me, was apparent — compile the notes and make a style guide to ensure consistency. This was easier said than done. Let’s talk about how to make one, what it can do, and potential information to keep within it.

A style guide, for those of you unfamiliar, is a tool to create consistency throughout a story, world, or universe. It is tremendously helpful to an editor, because it will show them invented words, character information, and world background. We’ve talked about World Builder’s Disease before, a style guide is a great place to dump the info filling your brain.

World Builder's Disease MemeIt should be noted, some of this information is only useful if you are writing within a large world or universe. Depending on the scope of your work, you may not need an elaborate style guide. It would be useful to create a short style guide for an editor. This becomes more essential if you have created words or are utilizing an odd stylistic device.

Before I jump into what to include, I wanted to mention how a style guide will save you time. When I first started working with the Legion, they had tons of reference documents. These documents were contained within multiple folders, spread out between authors. I’m talking about more than thirty folders, and many individual documents within.

This became a battle of navigation for me. How many arms and fingers does this alien race have?  A simple question, really. So, I would open up the shared folders, begin navigation, move from one author to another, search differently labeled folders, and maybe I would find the info…or maybe not.

Waiting for an Email

You might be saying, “Why not just contact the author?” Good point! Unless they are on a completely different timezone or work schedule. For me, the more time I spend working the manuscript and not on the phone, the faster things get done.

Usually, the info was there, I just couldn’t locate it quickly among the massive archive of folders. Plus, I have proclivity to over-organize. There is nothing wrong with organizing your files however you want. If it works for you as the writer, don’t change anything.  But as the editor, I needed a more intuitive and rapid way to find information.

While the writers and fans of the Human Legion have done an outstanding job of creating infopedias (Official Infopedia, Fan Wiki), much of the information within the style guide is secretive in nature. Hidden motivations, planet histories, and tasty spoilers. It’s intel the writers understand, but the readers don’t need to know about…not yet. As one of the editors, I needed to reference these notes to help steer the ship.

moon footprint.jpgSo began the first step: compiling all of these pertinent documents into a universal source. One that would contain all of the information hyperlinked. Now, if I need to know how many arms and fingers an alien has, I click Alien Species in the table of contents (hyperlinked), scroll the alphabetized list, click the species in question (again, hyperlinked), and viola.

Format. Much like a webpage with clickable links, if you can add navigation within the style guide, you win the prize. I use Word, which allows for linking within the document. This might seem excessive, but after compiling the needed information into a living document (i.e. it will keep growing) the word count was around 15k for the style guide.  If I relied on scrolling to navigate, it would take forever.

What should you put in the style guide?

A Refined List

Character Name List. A listing of character names, properly spelled, makes the gods of writing smile. Especially, when you have tons of characters. Non-human species seem to generate the most inconsistency — a standard helps.

Once a character name list has been generated, you can begin hyperlinking supporting documents (characters sheets, sketches, etc). This made life really easy for me.

Corey question: the character’s eye color has changed from blue to green…what is the correct color?  Answer: Table of Contents -> Character List -> Click Character (confirm spelling) -> read character sheet.

Technology List. Holy bologna, this is a massive list for the Legion (and one I need to update). Depending on your genre, you may have invented technology. If it’s military sci-fi, then the technology probably has corresponding acronyms. Some of it might be written as a proper noun, some of it might not be. Whatever you decide as the writer, there needs to be consistency. Listing how these should appear is a step in the right direction.

Science_and_Invention_Nov_1928_Cover_2.jpgLocation List. Sweet mothers milk, another sprawling list. If your story spans cities, continents, planets, or farther, it might be wise to start compiling these locations and linking supporting documents. There will always be the handful of readers who say, “Wait a minute! Isn’t Planet D’s sun too intense without the aid of an exoskeleton?” If the reader has sunk into your world well enough to notice things like this, you owe it to them to be consistent.

Invented Word List. My favorite!  Nothing will blow Word’s circuits like a ton of invented words being thrown into the mix. Invented words, within reason, are one of the spices that make a universe unique. Just be sure to list those words. It might be wise to mention if only one person, species, or planet uses these words too.

Acronym List. Holy alphabet soup, Batman! This will probably only be useful to those of you who are writing in certain genres. An alphabetical listing of acronyms, backronyms, and initialisms makes me want to river dance. It becomes ten times more important when you are inventing these.

alienSpecies List.  Have you unleashed new races and species on your manuscript? Cool. You might want to compile a list and start linking reference documents. Remember the question above about how many arms and fingers an alien would have? This list solves those problems before they begin.

Basic Grammar and Punctuation Section. This is more of an editing thing, but if you find yourself working collaboratively with someone from another country, you might want to flush out the differences. British and American styles differ. The goal, especially if you are collaborating on the same book, is to achieve consistency of style.

question-markThat’s it for today! I’m curious about what methods you all use to compile and organize your universe notes. Do they exist in a jumble of folders, or have you found a way to compile them intuitively? I’d love to talk about it and pick up some pointers. Until we cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always — stay sharp!

Wasteland Wednesday #7

*Language and Content Warning*

skull and crossbones.jpgskull and crossbonesUnlike QE’s normal informational blog, Wasteland Wednesday is potentially full of foul language and post-apocalyptic nonsense.

Wasteland Wednesday

 

It’s time for another edition of Wasteland Wednesday. Come and cuddle up next to the bonfire. Ah, don’t mind those inbreeder heads. I collected those to pay off some heavy writing debts I owe to the muse.

Anyways, I wanted to talk a little about the novella, The Wastelander Survival Guide, today. A very rough discovery draft has been hacked away and while I am working on the rewrites for the main book, the novella will marinate.

army combat manual.jpg

The novella features images similar to what a U.S. Army combat manual would have inside. It is also formatted much the same way. 

The concept for the novella stems from the world I have created. In the main book, Drake carries around a journal (you can see it in his back pocket in the final cover art for the book) and writes tips to survive the wasteland. This, he compiled at the behest of Lex. While he’ll never admit it, he enjoys keeping this journal and it has allowed him to elaborate on his wasteland “virtues.” To Drake, these virtues are what he believes will keep a person alive (it’s worked for him).

Each chapter of the main book is opened with a tiny excerpt from Drake’s journal highlighting a virtue. The book is written in a way that these “Drakisms” help drive the story. One of Lex’s secret hopes, is that there is life outside of Middle America. In her eyes, a book of how to survive the wasteland would be essential to anyone who delves into unsettled areas.

While she wouldn’t say this to Drake, her plan it to eventually inherit the book and find a way to reproduce it. Drake’s name has become legend in Middle America and she sees the potential to monetize/trade it in some shape or form. She also believes there is life outside of the wasteland. If this is true, such a guide would be valuable to an outsider.

She also wants Drake to compile this journal because she notices a drastic down-tic in his reckless tendencies when he takes time to organize and expel his thoughts. Lex knows that there is merit in Drake’s rantings. Despite the vulgarity and rough exterior, not many people make it to old age in the wasteland; Drake has almost made it to his sixties.

hourglass[Break in Timeline] 

Eventually, Drake’s journal does end up in the hands of someone in a “civilized” part of the world. They rewrite his journal and cast Drake as a romanticized folk hero. The rewritten version of the journal is reproduced as a survival guide for the expansionist movement into the isolated areas of the post-fall United States.

His “Drakisms” are recast as real-world virtues a potential settler should embody to combat the unknown dangers awaiting them. The chapters are very short, illustrated, and offer a very romantic look at how to survive the wasteland. Some portions are rewritten completely and deviate from Drake’s original writings.

I guess plagiarism and intellectual property rights aren’t a big thing in the post-fall United States…

The first book, Legacy of Drake, hints about aircraft flying overhead and unknown technologies making it over The Red (the area of seemingly impassable radiation) into Middle America. Perhaps there are other isolated pockets of people and inbreeders struggling out there? The wasteland might just be a bigger place than we realize, or it might be much smaller.

question-markThat’s it for today’s wasteland news!  I hope you all enjoyed this sneak-peak into Wastelander: The Drake Legacy and the Wastelander Survival Guide.  I’d love to know what you think and answer your questions (as long as the answer won’t be a spoiler-sandwich). Until we cross quills again, keep hiding, keep hoarding, and as always—stay alive.

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Book, Blog, and Thanks

I wanted to take a day to address a couple really amazing things happening in my life right now.  My progress on Wastelander: The Drake Legacy and the continued growth of my blog page (thanks to viewers like you).

First off, a massive thank you to all of you who swing by my blog, like, leave comments, or just simply give it a read.  I started this page in June, and in a little more than a month, I’m happy to report almost 300 followers, with more than 100 views a day.  I don’t know if in blogging terms that’s a big deal or not, but to me it’s huge.  Especially in the span of month and some change.  I couldn’t be more appreciative.

thanks.jpgAn extra big thanks to Akaluv (A.M. Bradley), kernerangelina (Where Dragons Reside), Sheila M. Good (Cow Pasture Chronicles), Grandtrines (Still Another Writer’s Blog), ascreasey (Mind the Dog Writing Blog), and M.L.S.Weech for your consistent reading, words of encouragement, and sharing.  You all rock.

I know this list of contributors is incomplete, but I just snagged the top six comment givers (as per my stat page) to keep the list from getting out of control.  While I am highlighting these six, every single one of your individual likes and comments help keep me motivated to push out these daily posts.  Regardless, if you are writing or reading, the bloggers listed above are some great people to follow.

Now I’m going to point you all toward my upcoming book, Wastelander: The Drake Legacy, which I’ve added to my blog layout with a teaser.  There are still a lot of things to do, but the first draft is very close to being finished.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while (you’re awesome) you might be thinking, “But Corey, you posted here you were almost done!”  I hear you.  It’s a classic example of when the story outgrows your outline.

Wastelander Layout

The idea for this book came to me shortly after my son Thor was born.  He wasn’t gaining weight quickly enough so my wife and I split the day into two 12-hour shifts to ensure he got food whenever he needed it.  She took 6am-6pm and I took 6pm-6am.  It was during those quiet early morning hours of December 2015 when Drake came to me.  I grabbed a notebook and transcribed a rough outline.  Now about seven months later, Drake has taken me into parts of the wasteland I didn’t know existed and done things that flabbergast me as his creator.

I‘m currently talking to artists to create artwork for the cover.  Also there is the novella, The Wastelander Survival Guide, that will release with the book.  The novella is going to be heavily illustrated so I’m looking for an artist for this as well.  Fun times are being had.

That’s the update!  Tomorrow we will get back on track with writing tips and other tomfoolery.  Until then, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Wasteland Survival: Open

Be open to new possibilities.  Be open to new people.  Be open to new ways of thinking.  Be open to the idea you are unique and special and perfect, and just…sigh…a dreamer.  I remember when people used to say bullshit like that.  And I admit, I sort of believed it in my own half-assed, let’s get drunk and sing karaoke and talk about how to fix the world, kind of way.  That was before the bombs fell.  Things are different now.

wasteland.jpgNew possibilities have been replaced with uncertain futures.  New people replaced by potential murderers.  New ways of thinking replaced with new ways of getting yourself killed.  As for being a dreamer, the only dream worth having is the one you wake up and don’t find yourself in the wasteland anymore.

If you want to survive out here, open your mouth to breathe, open your eyes to see, open your ears to hear, but close off everything else – especially your heart.  You decide to open that fucker up and someone will put a bullet through it.

-Drake 

Written from the viewpoint of Drake, the protagonist in my soon to be first-drafted novel, Wastelander: The Drake Legacy.  He’s very interested in these “Daily Posts,” and might just show up again to share his wasteland wisdom.

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