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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Film Adaptations and Cinematic Universes

We all know about the MCU and DCEU.  Screenrant recently released an article about other cinematic universes currently under development, and that got me thinking about fantasy fiction and what books I’d like to see as a cinematic universe:

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The Dragonriders of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey:

To begin with, this is my favorite all time fantasy series.  The characters are amazing.  The world is unique, and, well, dragons.  Every time I see a movie that discusses dragons or even creatures that maybe, in the right light with enough alcoholic assistance could be dragons, I’m baffled that this hasn’t happened.  Someone more knowledgable than me might know why, but I’d be the first guy in line to see this world come to life in the form of a cinematic universe.  Like MCU and Star Wars, this world has a lot of great characters that beg for independent films.  It sits atop my list of dream movies.

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Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere:

First off, this is already a multimedia universe.  His stories span graphic novels, RPGs and even a video game.  This universe is so deep and trawling, the potential for movies is endless.  There’s even potential for other media-related products.  Knowing Sanderson’s work, he’s probably finished a novella while I was working on this blog.  He’s already given us 10 years of glorious storytelling, and we can only hope we receive many years more.

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The Night Angel Trilogy, by Brent Weeks:

Don’t close this browser!  The Lightbringer series is wonderful, but the key to great cinematic universes is a diverse range of characters that can hold their own in a movie.  I won’t deny there are a handful of powerful, interesting characters in Lightbringer, I simply think this trilogy is more suited for the big screen universe than Lightbringer (which I’d LOVE to see Netflix or HBO take on).   The thing that drew me to the Night Angel Trilogy was that this book honestly felt like pretty much every character could be his or her own main character in a book.  That’s why I’d choose this one.

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Age of Fire, by E.E. Knight

This might be a reach in comparison to the others, which have much deeper worlds and larger casts, but the right mind behind this universe can take advantage of some of the characters and cultures and simply have fun with it.  Others may clamor for the Vampire Earth saga, but that seemed to taper off for me.  I can’t argue it has more scope and more powerful characters, but this is the more complete story at this moment.

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Discworld, by Terry Pratchett”

I’ve read a few of these.  The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky are simply beautiful.  I don’t care for whom they were written.  This has the sort of scope Sanderson’s Cosmere has, but I don’t think people see it.  I’d be first in line for a Tiffany Aching saga, let alone the whole Discworld library.


I absolutely want you to comment below on what you think I’ve missed out.  I won’t lie, I left some out for simple bias and others because I felt they’d be better suited for the small screen.  I could clog the internet with all the sagas I think would be great cinematic universes.  These are just the first five I could think of.  (Shout out to Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle!)  My point is, as production companies are beating down the door for potential cinematic universe fodder, why not look at the genre that’s inherently designed for such a purpose?


As for my books?  First off, if anyone wanted to produce anything based on my books, feel free to shoot me an email!  I’ve been asked how I feel about adaptations.  I’ve always felt The Journals of Bob Drifter would be better suited for series.  There’s a balance between what would make for a good series and what would make for a good cinematic universe.  You haven’t seen the last of Harmony and Kyle, but I still think I’d prefer to see that as a series than a cinematic universe.  I was ecstatic to hear Wheel of Time was tagged for a series.  I think that’s the right call.  I feel the same way about Bob.

Caught is the first in a trilogy, and each character, I feel, could hold his or her own in a movie.  For those reasons, I’d feel this project would be better suited for the big screen.  I have other books, deeper and more expansive in scope as I grow in skill, that would be even better suited, but this is what’s out there (or scheduled to be out there) for now.

Did I miss something?  Do you have ideas on project managers or cast members for any of the series I mentioned above?  Feel free to make a comment below and share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Blast Promo for Angela B. Chrysler

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Angela is a friend of mine and the Captain of the HMS Slush Brain.  She’s also a great author.  Her book Fire and Lies is out today, and I wanted to help get the word out.  Here’s a summary of the book.

Blood waters the fields of Alfheim. War rips across the land of elves and usurped kings. The Fae gods draw near, and Queen Kallan’s strength is tested as she follows King Rune into Alfheim. But the Shadow Beast caged within Rune’s body writhes in hunger, and Kallan’s newest companion, Bergen the legendary Berserk, is determined to end the conflict with her life. As the witch, the king, and the berserk come together, the truth buried within the past resurfaces. Now, Kallan must master a dormant power or watch her kingdom fall to the Fae who will stop at nothing to keep their lies. Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2) picks up right where Dolor and Shadow left off, concluding one chapter of Kallan’s life as the next chapter begins.

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She’s got a lot of information out about her book on her blog.  There’s a great video trailer there as well.  I read the first book on of the Tales of the Drui, Dolor and Shadow.  

You can find my review for that book here.

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Here’s a short bio about Angela:

Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats.

While writing, Ms. Chrysler fuzzies her cats and survives on coffee, Guinness, and the writings of Edgar Allan Poe who strongly influences her style to this day. When she is not writing, she enables her addictions to all things nerdy, and reads everything she can get her hands on no matter the genre. Occasionally, she finds time to garden, mother her three children, and debate with her life-long friend who she eventually married.

Thanks for reading
Matt

Indie Pride Day

Today is Indie Pride Day, and I took a while to think about what I wanted to say on the matter. What I finally settled on was the evolution of independent publishing.

I didn’t want to self publish. When I started writing seriously (twenty years ago), self publishing was a new thing. It had a stigma that followed it through the years. The idea is, like with a lot of things these days, anyone can self publish. It’s true. Anyone can publish anything and toss it out there. In my younger days, I thought self publishing immediately implied “unable to be published for real.”

That was pretty horrible of me.

It’s true. Anyone can throw up an image on social media. Anyone can publish a book through any number of self publishers or self-publishing programs. The question is:  does an increase in the overall amount of art decrease the quality of good art? At the end of the day, people read my book, and they either like it, or they don’t. I know what it’s like to feel like an artist without a voice, and that’s horrible. All any artist can ask for in this world is an opportunity to be seen — to be judged.

As a journalist, I bought into the concept of the marketplace of ideas. This horrifies businessmen because an influx of supply indicates a decrease in demand. The fear is, if all these “bad writers” keep putting out “bad books,” no one will want to read.

Then something dawned on me. There are plenty of “established” authors I simply don’t enjoy reading. Just the other day, I saw my student walking around with a book. I said in my own overly blunt and direct way that I didn’t like the author. Keep in mind this author is very successful and regarded as one of the best in the business. Can I argue with millions of book sales?

So if there are traditionally published authors I don’t like, doesn’t it stand to reason that there are at least a commensurate number of self-published authors out there I enjoy? Turns out, there are. Throughout this week I’ve been giving shout outs to several self-published authors who wrote very enjoyable books. They range from not bad, to simply amazing. That’s the beauty of art.

Look at music. One group of people goes to a bar and listens to a local band and says, “I hate that this place can’t get any real bands out here.” Another group of people can go to a different bar or concert and say to themselves, “Man, I just hate that all this ‘mainstream’ sell-out crap gets all the attention.”

There’s a distinction between a published author and non-published author. No matter how bad the book might be, the published author still put in the time and effort it takes to write a book. I’ve written six. It takes a foolish amount of commitment. I know a few people who I honestly believe are more capable writers than I am, but they’re not writing. Anyone can throw a book down and say, “I can write better than this crap.”

Be my guest.

There’s a distinction between a traditionally-published author and a self-published author, but I’m starting to think that has more to do with marketing and budget than quality of product. This is more true in the higher quality of work than quantity. I still want to be traditionally published, but my reasons have more to do with marketing and publishing than it does with credibility these days. There are a lot of great books out there. My library is full of them. I have favorite authors, but the more I read, the more I realize what a blind jerk I was those twenty years ago. Lack of opportunity doesn’t indicate lack of ability. Self publishing gives everyone that opportunity.

For me, I think July 1st is going to become a day where I celebrate the fact that my book is out in the world. Not only is it out there, but most of the people who read it and leave a review, like the book. Self publishing made that possible. Caught will be out later this year. I don’t have any doubt about it. 1,200 will be out about a year to 18 months later. In time, that traditional publisher will pick me up. I expect to grow as an artist. I loved The Journals of Bob Drifter, but if Caught doesn’t demonstrate some sort of improvement in my own ability, then I’ll be sad. I want each book to be better than the last in at least some small way.

For you readers out there, I’m one of you. Every author is one of you. When I open a book, I want it to be great. This past year, I’ve met several great authors who are self published.   I’m out there, and I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I was good at it. I’m thankful to be an independent author. I’m learning. I’m improving. Wherever I am in the next ten to twenty years, I’ll be grateful to be among other great writers who were able to get their stories out to the world.

Thanks for reading
Matt

Book Review: Dolor and Shadow by Angela B. Chrysler

Dolor and Shadow is the first book in the Tales of the Drui series.  Like most first books in a series, it’s got a fairly steep learning curve and some development points that need to be established for future books.

The main characters Kallan and Rune, steal the show.  The rest of the cast is interesting, but not quite built on.  Luckily the character of Kallan stands on her own.  She’s a compelling person with an interesting internal conflict.  Rune is a solid counter to her.  I was most happy with the book when they were in the thick of the plot.

I gave this book 5-stars because it is a great start to a series, but, like I said, it has a lot in common with other great starts to books.  I absolutely love “Eye of the World” and Dragon Flight, but those books start slow and sometimes drag a bit.  My brother asked me to read the first one hundred pages of “Eye of the World” before I said anything, and I’ve never been happier to listen to him.

Dolor isn’t much different in terms of the amount of set up it requires.  This is a deep world with a lot of backstory to it that requires a few viewpoint shifts and early chapters that can slow a reader down, but don’t stop because the reward is a great “cat-and-mouse” plot that drives the story quickly once everything is established.

I’m a fan of the setting and the magic system.  I’m a big fan of epic landscapes and solid magic systems.  This is still fairly soft, but the magic system is a plot solution device, it is, in fact, a source of conflict from my point of view.

Fans of heroic women will enjoy this story.  Kallan isn’t a normal heroine.  She may be one of the first “broken” female heroes I’ve seen.  I don’t know that I’d go so far as to call her an antihero, but she isn’t the “pluckly lass” from down the road.  She’s a queen and a young woman nearly broken by stress.  Her journey alone makes the book worth reading.