Fresh Meat, Not Reboots: Ashok Vadal

Like me, you’re probably tired of every new movie franchise really just being a retread, reboot, sheboot, or genderbend of an old classic.

There are plenty of other characters out there who deserve to make it to the screen besides Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, King Arthur, and so on. I could list a million more.

We’ve seen every damn iteration we should see. Studios will just milk a property that has no trademark but enjoys high brand recognition.

Here are some book series that you should jump into so that we increase the chances of seeing them on screen someday.

Ashok Vadal is the protagonist from Larry Correia’s Saga of the Forgotten Warrior series, an epic fantasy that moves at the pace of a thriller and has a distinctive Indian flavor to it. (Dots, not feathers.)

Why is he cool? The man is a killing machine, carrying a sword that has been borne by hundreds of men before him. Their skill is grafted onto it and Ashok knows how to fight like the previous bearers.

On top of that, he’s powered by The Heart of The Mountain, a magical source of healing and strength that makes him unstoppable. To make things really interesting, he’s an atheist…

…and he’s on a mission from the gods.

That’s all I’m gonna say. Read this series. Get us an Ashok movie.

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.

Bad@$$ Artwork for Sleepless Hollow

I’m 5/12ths of the way done with the art for my next book. Follow me on Insta and Twitter (@DreadPennies) for updates in real-time.

Just knocked this one out Saturday, biggest piece in the book.

Silas and Josie.

Kay, the ghost hunter.

Kerstan, a ghost who helps the good guys.

The Headless Horseman with shotguns, riding a mammoth. Because yolo.

One Thing Led to Another

The Brother Trucker Book Club Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, frigging everywhere.

Today on the pod: two books that are the first in their respective series, focusing on massive sweeping epics about their main characters.

Part of the journey is the end.

The meat of these stories is their journey. Get ready to get lost in the lives of Kvothe and Hadrian.

https://anchor.fm/brotruckbooks/episodes/Ep-043-One-Thing-Led-To-Another-e44h9j

With and Without Magic

Time to dig into some ‘Merican history! Two books on the same subject, the Lewis and Clark expedition.

One is factual and enlightening, the other is a whole boatload of magical brouhaha and is entertaining.

Gear up for the 4th of July by catching that seasonal spirit. (You’ll need time, UNDAUNTED COURAGE is a chunk of a book.)

https://anchor.fm/brotruckbooks/episodes/Ep-040-With-and-Without-Magic-e3vh22

Also on Google, Spotify, iTunes, frigging everywhere just search for it.

My Best Reads of 2018

With 6 days to go, my stats for the year are as follows:

Total books read: 138

Print/eBook: 38

Audiobook: 100

Re-reads: 14

Did not finish: 27 (adjusted total 111)

And now for the best!

Calvin, by Martine Leavitt. A schizophrenic boy is convinced he can make his visions go away if he crosses Lake Erie on foot and meets Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.

Iron Gold, by Pierce Brown. Fourth of the Red Rising series, first in the follow-up trilogy. Gush gush gush.

Thunderhead, by Neal Shusterman. Second in his Arc of a Scythe trilogy, and worthy of its incredible first installment. My only knock was that it felt like the third act of the story was derailed by a need to add allegory to the 2016 US presidential election. Still, Shusterman told his story well, as always.

Shatter, by Aprilynne Pike. Second of two in AP’s excellent future corporate regency tale, billed as “Marie Antoinette meets Breaking Bad.”

MHM Sinners & Saints, by Larry Correia and John Ringo. Counted as one because of the series factor. I love Correia’s MHI world, and was shocked to find that I love Ringo’s take on it…almost more than the original. (Don’t shoot, Larry! I’m sure you agree.) A great tie-in trilogy with a stunner of an ending.

Quiet, by Susan Cain. Superb book on introversion, what it really is, how it manifests, why it is a benefit to society, and why all those Facebook pages kissing up to it are crap. Read this instead.

Only Human, by Sylvain Neuvel. Though this trilogy experienced a sophomore slump, the third installment brought it back around to greatness. Weird and unique, but ultimately brimming with imagination and an interesting view of life.

The Vanishing American Adult, by Ben Sasse. Did you watch those insane hearings this summer for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh? I mean before all the bogus rape accusations. If you remember the one Senator in the chamber who was saying anything at all that made sense, that was Ben Sasse. Read this book.

The Fantasy Fiction Formula, by Deborah Chester. Recommended to me by Lisa Mangum, this was a belter of a book that will one day make me a million dollars.

Dry, by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman. Hey, it’s Neal again! Dry talks about what would happen if southern California suddenly ran out of water. Crazy book, made all the more horrific because its premise isn’t that far off. While the actual occurrences are debatable, the self-interested human nature depicted in it is not.

So begins the avalanche of Christmas books!

When Thanksgiving lands on the 22nd, we will have what is mathematically the longest Christmas season possible at 33 days. Get your reading in.

I started with the audio of this gem by Tolkien, who wrote letters to his kids from Santa Claus and his Polar Bear. This book collects those annual Christmas Eve letters, some of which ran contemporaneously with World War 2.

Overall it was good, and some of it even ties in with his Middle-Earth races. I’ve heard the print edition is illustrated so that is cool.

That is all I really have for now, it has been a rough week for reading, but more will come.

Recent Reads, Fever Dream edition

This is a big update so let’s keep it quick:

The Last Wish, Andrzej Sapkowski. This is from The Witcher, a popular Polish fantasy series that started in the 90s, became a video game, and will soon be a Netflix series with Henry Cavill. I got a ways into the audiobook before I caught the flu and spent a whole night dreaming CRAZY stuff about The Witcher while trying not to barf. So I couldn’t finish it. But it was interesting.

Squanto, Charles River Editors. A seasonal pick, and a really good one. It relies on a lot of original sources, which are rare enough, so it paints a more accurate picture than the footnote stuff you get in school.

The Witch Elm, Tana French. An extremely talented author, this book had a strong hook and gorgeous writing, but it wandered and ultimately failed to land for me.

Skyward, Brandon Sanderson. Love this dude, love his stories, this was one of his quicker-paced books and was really well done.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson. She’s a famous blogger, known for her humor, so I picked this up. It was really hilarious in parts, but like most blogger books, it got repetitive in tone and moral.

Veritas, Quinn Coleridge. A supernatural semi-frontier story in 1890s Colorado, featuring a main character who is a blind-mute. The latter half delved into a lot of darkness and torture but it was overall a good read and I will pick up the sequel.

Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King, Brandon Mull. A favorite series of mine, though apparently these are now coming out eighteen months apart? Bummer to wait that long. Typical good middle grade fantasy, though the ending cliffhanger involves a main character getting amnesia, and I kind of hate that as a plot device. Nevertheless I will read the next one…when I’m halfway to my next-next birthday. 😡