Armed Forces, Veterans, and Memorial

This will probably become my perennial Memorial Day post. It’s not the kind of thing that I’ll have a ton to add to, it’s just something we all need to do on the regular.

The book I think of most for Memorial Day is FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, by James Bradley. The review is above. It’s these books that will help us understand what it costs to create a nation and protect it from tyranny.

To me, that’s what Memorial Day is. Remembering the country we have, and what we enjoy in it, and those who died to give us that ability to enjoy it. They don’t get to have it. They just paid for it. We’re living on their work.

I touched on the idea of the price of a nation in HOWLING WILDERNESS, during a draft of the first chapter. This might not make it into the final version but that’s fine. The sentiment is there.

“Fifty years,” Lady Vandervoort said, her voice lowering just a touch, her eyes going distant. “None of it happened here. It wasn’t on Katahdin, it wasn’t in Maine. We trained in Virginia. Built mimics in the Ohio. Crossed Pennsylvania. Fell into a trap in New York. Finished the fight in New Jersey. This place…this place had nothing to do with it. But we are free here, because of what was done there. Fifty years I’ve carried the memories of that day, and all the hard days before it. Now here we are…finding this uniquely Merykan way to celebrate what we have.

“This? This is the anomaly. Life isn’t like this. Hasn’t been like this for most people in most places for most of the time we’ve walked the earth. Life is war and chaos and brutality and subjugation, speckled with tiny moments of peace along the way. This is peacetime. Enjoy it for what it is. Remember what it cost to get you all here. Have fun bombing around in the woods and the swamps, I guess, but know that you hold a diamond in your hand. It isn’t yours, it’s just yours to take care of. People died to find it, to pull it out of the ground and cut it and shine it up so you can look at it and see how pretty it is.

“Make sure it stays that way. One of you little bastards is going to win this thing and get a Council appointment. The diamond isn’t yours to spend. It’s yours to preserve. Think about that for the next two thousand miles.” She chuckled, lost in some distant memory. Then she sighed. “See you at the other end of this. Good luck.”

The cultured reader will know who Lady Vandervoort is from the original Engines of Liberty trilogy. If you don’t know, I won’t spoil the surprise.

Anyway. Celebrate well, and use this day for what it really means.

What am I working on?

I don’t have any artwork to share on this one yet, because it’s all sketchy blue-line stuff in the rough phase. However, you should know that I’m progressing on both the artwork and the draft for HOWLING WILDERNESS, the next exciting entry in the Engines timeline.

To give you guys a bigger picture, here’s the scope of said timeline.

Engines of Piracy: (1692 AD)

This is a planned trilogy that will replace an old idea I had for a pirate fantasy novel. I realized that several components of the story would work well as an Engines tie-in so I repurposed it as such. Given that it takes place almost 300 years prior to the Liberty trilogy, there won’t be much–if any–character overlap. The protagonist is a Spanish inventor named Tiberio Iniesta, and the antagonist is a British minor nobleman whose name I haven’t decided on yet.

I have other ideas to connect it to the main timeline. Historians will note the year, and when I tell you that it happens in Port Royal, Jamaica, I think you’ll remember a significant event that took place there. It still happens in this alternate timeline but for a very different reason. 🙂

Engines of Liberty (1984 AD)

This is the trilogy I have already written and published. I’ve decided to narrate it for the DreadPennies Adventure Hour podcast, as I will all of these books. Calvin Adler is the central figure of all three books, with love interest Amelia McCracken and antagonist Godfrey Norrington rounding out the big three.

Once upon a time I wrote a novella trilogy called Engines of Winter that took place 10 years after PATRIOT’S GAME, but it ended poorly and I need to rework it. In my head I’m treating part of it like canon, and if I ever get around to it, I’ll make sure to codify the relevant details into the timeline.

Engines of Justice (2034 AD)

This trilogy introduces Ezekiel Duncan “Ezzy” Trench, a member of the Federal Lancer Bureau, whose job it is to hunt down rogue magicians on American soil. He’s a descendant of one of the Rebel Hearts. He has magic himself but he’s approved for use due to his national loyalty.

HOWLING WILDERNESS takes place in this era but it’s not part of the Justice trilogy. HOWLING’S protagonists are a mysterious man known as Graveheart and a young Appalachee woman named Mickey Littleton. The villain’s name is Calico Hind. More as that one comes along.

Similarly I have another standalone called BLOOD RUST that’s about a disgraced bullfighter trying to win back his honor. Only it’s the Engines timeline, so this bullfighter operates mechs and fights against robot bulls.

Engines of Tyranny (2084 AD)

I have to be very careful with what I say about the Tyranny trilogy, because it concludes this alternate timeline in a way that I think is unique. This is the one that will really, flagrantly, definitely connect the Engines timeline to the rest of the DreadVerse.

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The eventual goal is to release the individual stories in each trilogy as audiobooks and paperbacks, then release omnibus hardcovers with exclusive illustrations. Each one will have to be crowdfunded. Should be awesome.

Anyway, I’m working on HOWLING, and making it as strong as I can. It’s fun to write and that’s always the key element. Stay tuned.