Goodreads Book Giveaway

Old School Evil by Brian Cave

Old School Evil

by Brian Cave

Giveaway ends June 05, 2018.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 13 - Results

Shadow Weaver's portal find as it grew big enough for Hordak to walk through. He didn't know what to expect if the world on the other side, but he knew of Nazgar and the technological power he controlled before his death. If Hordak could harness that power for the Horde, he could squash the Rebellion and finally claim victory over that barbarian woman, She-Ra.
“Hopefully, those fools Catra and Scorpia can keep the Rebellion in check while I'm gone,” he said as he disappeared from Etheria and set for on the alien world. “What was it Shadow Weaver called it?” he asked himself. “Earth! That name sounds familiar.” He tapped his plated chin then shrugged. Etheria was his concern, for soon he would have it completely within the Horde's control.
As he walked the craggy landscape, he pondered Shadow Weaver's guidance - collect the three messages crystals to fund Nazgar's location and “liberate” his weapons. He looked at the desolate area that surrounded him and wondered if it was Nazgar's weapons which had caused it. He took the scanner from his belt and held it aloft: it started pinging immediately to his left. Shadow Weaver's directions had been spot on, depositing Hordak at the location of the first of the crystals, hidden within a volcanic cavern.
He pointed his arm at the cave entrance and transformed it, blue energy coursing over his limb, the flesh and blood converting into circuitry and conduits.  The cannon that replaced his hand glowed bright red before a stream of energy shot out, boring the collapsed rock away and revealing the stone altar inside, surrounded by a pool of steaming liquid. It reminded Hordak of home and put a smile on his white scaled face.

Possessing the first of his master's message crystals, Hun-Dred sought out the second at the volcano. While his Cult of Dred handled Maxx Steele and his insufferable Robo Force, Hun-Dred would snatch the crystal and escape. His master's order were explicit - retrieve the three crystals and Hun-Dred will know how to resurrect him so they can take over the planet.
Following his sensor readings, Hun-Dred approached the cave entrance, only to find it blasted open. Did Maxx Steele beat him there? He hovered inside, arming his crusher claws with the drill bits stored on his back. “Who has invaded this sacred place?” Hun-Dred called in his robotic voice, the lights on his chest flashing with each syllable and illuminating different facets of the cave.
“Sacred, is it?” the intruder called out, holding the purple crystal in his hand. “You should really consider a housekeeper.” He snorted out a string of laughter.
“That crystal belongs to me,” Hun-Dred days, ignoring the slight. “It is the property if my master, Nazgar.”
“Thank you for confirming my suspicions, you ugly bucket of bolts. Now, get out of my way so I can give the others and steal your master's ultimate weapon.” The intruder’s arm suddenly transformed into a ribbed barrel and shot a blast of energy at Hun-Dred.
In a microsecond, Hun-Dred's computer brain calculated the trajectory of the blast and hovered a foot to the left, avoiding the attack. More calculations allowed him to evade two other shots all while determining the best counter-attack. Stalactites in the cavern’s ceiling would provide enough weight to crush the intruder, Hun-Dred theorized in an instant.  He tilted his head back and aimed the two lasers under his helmet up, firing two blazing beams above the intruder.
The double lasers crumbled the ceiling’s hold and the massive pointed rock formations, dropping them directly onto the intruder.  Buried under tons of rubble, whoever he was would surely be dead and the crystal would be Hun-Dred’s. He stabbed at the pile of rock with his drill bit and began the tedious task of clearing the rubble obscuring his prize.  
When the ground beneath him Hun-Dred began to rumble, his sensors didn’t pick up the tremors due to his hover capabilities.  At the last moment, the sound of metal boring through the volcanic rock alerted him of something coming up just beneath him. He dodged out of the way just as the massive drill broke through the surface, an ugly white face just below the spinning head.  
“You’ll have to try harder than that if you want to beat Hordak!” The drill said before glowing blue and returning to the intruder’s form.  Hun-Dred had never seen a mechanical or technological being with such great shape-shifting powers - he would take the creature’s corpse to Nazgar for examination once it had been destroyed.  Hun-Dred dropped the drill bit and lunged at the intruder, catching both its arms in his crushing claws.
Hordak yowled in pain and kicked Hun-Dred away.  He surveyed the damage to his arms, mangled just above the shoulder.  The energy that had changed the one arm into a blaster tried channeling through both arms, but stopped at the spot where Hun-Dred’s claws has squeezed.
“That’s a clever trick,” Hordak said, “but as saw earlier, I can change more than just my arms.”  Hunching his shoulders to his neck, more blue energy coursed over his entire body, turning the humanoid creature into a rocket with the same ugly face on it.  Flames shot from the bottom as it launched into the air.
Hun-Dred attempted to fire his lasers at the rocket, but the speed it flew proved impossible for him to lock on to.  Before Hun-Dred could fully turn around, the rocket form slammed into his back and sending him flying. Without a foot grasp on the ground due to his hover capablities, Hun-Dred had no chance of stopping his forward momentum as the rocket continued to push him.
Hordak converted back into his original form and landed on his feet while Hun-Dred continued flying.  The robot slammed against the far rock wall with such force that he immediately exploded into a pile of circuits and crumpled metal, showering sparks everywhere.  Seeing the ease at which the robot shattered, Hordak considered Hun-Dred’s master and tossed the crystal into the boiling liquid at his feet. Anyone would would make such pathetic robots would have nothing worth stepping foot on this planet at all.
Click here for Hordak's respect post.  Click here for Hun-Dred's Respect Post. 

How expected the fighter that got killed in his first appearance to actually survive this round?  He's one of the few villains in this tournament that actually died in their cartoon.  Anyway, besides the blasters under his helmet, Hun-Dred had no real powers - besides maybe a robotic brain, if you can count that.  He doesn't even have any established strength feet with his crusher claws, I just felt bad enough for him that I estimated they could do some damage.  On the other hand, Hordak does have a lot of powers, capable of surviving a roof falling on him and escaping through his drill form.  Hun-Dred just could counter Hordak's many forms and invulnerability.

The Winner

To see the winner of the last round, click here.  To see the rest of the Bad Guy Beatdown fights, click here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Top 5 Best Action Figure Gimmicks

Action figures have some pretty awesome gimmicks.  Think about it - toy manufacturers have been able to squeeze in all sorts of features into your GI Joe, Transformers, and He-Man figures. Spring-loaded missiles, voice chips, battle-damage armor are just a few of the dozens of ways toy designers have convinced us to buy their merchandise.  But what are the coolest gimmicks out there?

Magnets and Wind-ups - Starcom

Starcom toys combined two great features into one awesome toyline.  First, you have Power Deploy, a feature that when a button was pressed or a switch was flipped, would deploy a weapon or accessory automatically.  Returning the part to its original position would wind-up the feature again for its next use.  Second, was the Magna Lock system, where each figure had magnets implanted in their feet.  Normally this would just attach the figure to a vehicle or playset, but placing him on certain places would activate the Power Deploy feature, tying them together in the coolest way.

Combiners - Voltron, Go-Bots, Transformers

There are a lot of toys out there that are designed to combine into bigger toys.  Probably the most famous is the Voltron series, which had three different robots, each comprised of either lions, cars, or other vehicles, sometimes including up to 15 separate parts.  Go-Bots followed suite with Puzzler and Monsterous, but Transformers really took it to the extreme, introducing almost a dozen combiners in G1 with Scramble City, which allowed any four limbs to attach to any combiner torso.

Interchangeable Accessories - Centurions, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

These toys were some of my favorites growing up because of the almost unlimited configurations you could come up with.  Both lines featured a bad figure or vehicle with ports all over their bodies and a boatload of pieces you can plug into them wherever you like.  Both toys had an official configuration, but with the toys you could make them as crazy as possible, bristling with weapons or sleek as hell.  The best part was getting multiple figures and trying to put all their accessories on one toy, just overloading them with missiles and claws until they couldn't even stand up.

Holograms - Visionaries, Supernaturals

These toys had me feeling like we were in some kind of futuristic age.  Holograms were something reserved for sci-fi movies and credit cards, what the hell was it doing on our toys.  Visionaries used it to show off the magic powers they had, but Supernaturals (which was totally cheated out of having its own awesome cartoon) took it a step farther by making a number of generic figures where the entire front of them was a hologram and even used double-channel holograms to show two images as you moved them around.

Lasers - Bravestarr, Captain Power

If holograms were too sci-fi for toys, then action figures that shot lasers would blow your mind.  Bravestarr was the first toyline I had seen that incorporated lasers into them, using a backpack that would shoot IR beams at other toys and play sounds or make other features activate.  If that's cool, Captain Power dialed it up to 11, using lasers to make your toys interact with the actual tv show!  You'd hear sounds if your shots hit and your toy (which was a handheld jet) would shoot out the cockpit if it took too many hits from the enemy on the tv set.  The jets could also shoot at each other like a Laser Tag.  MASK even tried this technology with one set, where MASK's vehicle turns into a disappointing wooden crate.

Monday, May 21, 2018

2 Year/200 Post Anniversary Giveaway!


Two years ago, I decided to start the Old School Evil blog, where I would talk about all the cartoons and their villains that inspired me to write my novel.  Over those two years, I've made a whipping 200 posts, including a semi-weekly update marking progress of the book, a Villain Retrospect series where I post my thoughts on each of the villains, both those I remember watching growing up and the ones I've missed along the way and recently found, and then pitting them all against each other in my Bad Guy Beatdown series.  I've put more time and energy into the blog and book than anything else in my entire life and I'd like to share that with you.

Starting today, I'm holding a giveaway for 100 free Kindle copies of Old School Evil.  Click here or the widget above to enter through Goodreads.  The giveaway will last for the next two weeks, ending on June 5th with another small announcement.  During these two weeks, I'll be showing up in other places online with my retro blogger pals.  Keep an eye out and I'll be sharing them all here.  Good luck to all those who enter!

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 13 - Hordak

Considering the sword and sorcery leaning of Skeletor and the Masters on the Universe in general, it's interesting that the main villain if She-Ra is completely technological. I'm wondering what Skeletor was supposed to be learning from him while Hordak was his mentor. 

Hordak main abilities revolve around being able to change either part of it his entire body into weapons or vehicles. His most frequent change is turning his arm, usually his right, into a cannon of a sort. Normally, he shoots ladders out of it which are strong enough to destroy statues of rock formations. Surprisingly, he doesn't suffer from the Filmation white laser syndrome like Skeletor where his blasts just cause a little flash with no damage to the target. On one occasion he shot a stream of fire from the cannon, while on two other occasions he's either paralyzed or put his target to sleep with different blasts.

Here's also sometimes shown to have a Little claw weapon in his transformed arm, but isn't shown using it, so there's no way to tell if it's stronger than his regular hand. He once turned his arm into a hammer, as well.


His other most common transformation is turning his whole body into a rocket to fly away. He explicitly stated the first time we see him use it that he needs more training to control his rocket form better, after crashing into a thicket.

Another time in the same episode he turns his body into a drill and tunnels out from under a rock collapse. Whether he drilled out before the rocks actually fell on him or he survived the collapse and then changed is unknown.


Besides his shape-shifting abilities, Hordak is shown to be a mediocre pilot, flying around in ships that look a little too much like him. He doesn't necessarily have any weaknesses besides the typical cowardly Filmation villain tropes. His rocket power is generally used as an escape. He does depend on Shadow Weaver for a lot of his schemes.

Strengths: functional shape-shifting, various types of blasts from arm cannons, and alternate transportation forms.

Weaknesses: none

If you want to check out his opponent, click here.  If you want to check out the previous battle, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Top 5 Cartoon Scenes that Messed Me Up


In my book Old School Evil, main character Jayce finally gets a chance to watch Transformers: The Movie after fifteen years. When he finds out Optimus Prime dies, his life literally changes - he realizes that a world of cartoons isn't as simple as he thought as a kid.

Optimus Prime's death is probably considered one of the most traumatic events in kids animation. But it got me wondering what other scenes screwed with my head as a kid when I was watching television and movies.

Secret of NIMH - The Great Owl


Don Bluth had a talent for making ordinary things scary looking, and none were better than Mrs. Bisby's advisor, the Great Owl. Though nothing happened to the cute little mouse, I was worried through that whole scene that she was getting eaten, sage advise be damned.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - The Shoe


A lot of people will say Judge Doom's reveal is the scariest scene in the movie, the high-pitched voice and the dagger eyes, but for me it was the shear terror the animators were able to imbue into something as innocuous as a shoe that really messed me up. And for us to have to watch this innocent footwear dissolve into nothingness is almost too much to take. Absolutely terrifying.

Oliver and Company - Sykes's Death


Disney movies are full of death, there's no denying that. Plenty of villains will fall off cliffs or die in a pigp of magic dust. But Sykes had a special place in Disney's funeral hall - he dies in a way anyone could for in our world, getting hit by a subway. I think the connection to a real world without dragons or magic made it that much worse. Not to mention his dogs getting electrocuted by the third rail.

Inhumanoids - Gagoyle


Kids movies hold a monopoly on traumatic scenes because television shows are way more regulated. But if there's an exception to that, it's definitely Inhumanoids. In a show that's basically made up of nightmare fuel, one scene, or character really, takes the cake - Gagoyle. Whether it's his transparent stomach, or how it just bit off D'Compose's arm, this blue monster is beyond freaky.

Transformers: The Movie - Ironhide's Death


Yeah, I've said it a few times before, but Ironhide's Death is way harder for me to deal with than Prime's. Optimus had a great fight and honestly should have survived the damages to his abdomen. But Ironhide? The shot from Megatron's cannon directly to his face was SO brutal. And that's after everyone else in the ship is shot through. Even Megatron's line "Such heroic nonsense" line is heartbreaking.

If you want to see exactly how Optimus's death ruins Jayce's life, make sure to pick up Old School Evil, available on Kindle and paperback and for free on Kindle Unlimited.  Click the picture below to find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 5/16/18

Old School Evil has officially been on the market just over two weeks and has garnered a bit of attention so far.  I've gotten a couple good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads - including a great one comparing the book very favorably to Ready Player One.  Sales have been sluggish, but I've got a little plan for it that I'll start next week.

I'm in talks to get an audiobook in production.  A voice actor in a lot of Youtube videos has offered to do it and it in the process (hopefully) of making an audition sample for me.  He's been looking into doing audiobooks lately and I've been hoping to get one made so it works out really well.  As soon as I get his sample and sign off on it, I'll be posting a link to his stuff.

Next Tuesday is a huge day for Old School Evil the blog - May 22nd is the 2nd anniversary of starting it, and I'm going to make my 200th post on that day.  I've got a huge plan for it, but will keep most of it to myself until then.  I will be honest, I'm extremely excited about it, so it's hard to keep it secret.  But it is less than a week away, so I'll hang on to it until then.

I've also finally gotten a picture up for my About Brian page on the blog, and created a profile for my Amazon and Goodreads author pages.  Feel free to check them out, and I'll be sharing them all this week as well on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 13 - Hun-Dred

After watching the 1984 one-shot Robo Force: The Revenge of Nazgar, I started wondering if I made a mistake including him in this tournament.  It's going to be difficult for any enemy to build up a sort of threat level in a mini-series, but one episode is almost impossible.  Maybe if he got three episodes - the length of time Nemesis got in Robotix, he might have had a chance, but no, Hun-Dred was doomed from the start.

Does Hun-Dred have anything going for him?  Much like the rest of the Robot Force and Cult of Hun-Dred robots, he's capable of hovering around including over liquids (suck it Marty McFly), though he needs a ship to fly anything above a few inches off the ground. For weapons, he's got to face-blasters which are strong enough to slice through a couple huge stalactites, causing them to fall on the Robo Force and trap them in boiling bubblegum.  He also has interchangeable melee weapons, the pointy bits on his back, to use in his clawed hands.  One of them is a drill bit, I'm not sure what the other one is since it's never employed.



You might think these weapons are pretty weak and you'd be 100% right. While some of the other robots in the cartoons have lasers blowtorches on their hands, Hund-Dred is stuck just holding one of the clumsy, tiny weapons and charging his enemies.  When Hun-Dred stabs at his heroic counterpart Maxx Steel's shoulder, the drill bit he was using just disintegrates. It's a pretty meager effort and for that Hun-Dred gets the ultimate humiliation.

Considering a lot of shows like these are left at least a little open-ended, I'm surprised that they so completely killed Hun-Dred off.  And right after this, they blow up his resurrected leader, the titular Nazgar.  Like, they shoot the little throne Nazgar was hiding in and it explodes.  This show knew exactly what it was getting and decided to go all out and kill its two main villain within seconds of each other.  

This is hardly a villain that deserves to be in any tournament, but I did do a Villain Retrospect on him and he still does more than Dr. Claw or Emperor Dark.  Barely.