Sunday, August 30, 2015

Con Cuisine



I actually brought a camera among all the other conference paraphernalia I carried to last month's PNWA Summer Conference.  However, it remained buried in my back pack throughout most of the event. 

One afternoon I accidently pulled it out while rummaging for a water bottle to wash down my lunch, pictured above.

Normally, I don't take photos of my food.  However, I thought this would make an interesting blogpost about typical "con cuisine." 

Such fare usually consists of a pre-made sandwich, a side dish choice of candy, chips, or fruit; along with a small drink.

This isn't a complaint, but merely an observation.  Conventions and conferences are packed with so much activities that meals, primarily lunches, are often an afterthought by everyone involved. 

Convention "Survival Guides" regularly remind attendees about the importance of good nutrition and staying hydrated to keep your energy level up--so you can participate in even more activities.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Program Review & Upcoming Event: LARPs the Series

(Image from:  LARPs the series, opening sequence)

I just finished binge-watching a webseries I recently discovered:  LARPs the series.

LARP, the non-series, is an acronym meaning Live Action Role Playing.  That is, instead of sitting around a table rolling dice and pushing miniatures around, players physically act-out the action.

LARPs the series (YouTube Channel), premiered on16 January this year. 

The show follows the misadventures of "LARPers" Arthur, Shane, Evan, Brittany, and Will (pictured left-to-right in the led promotional photo, and played by Jonathan Silver, Elizabeth Neale, Jon VerrallCharlotte Rogers and Scott Humphrey).

In this first season the characters' fantasy world and daily lives blur with comedic, dramatic, and poignant results. 

The cast & crew of LARPs just finished shooting Season 2 and are currently doing post-production work. 

In the meantime, mark your calendar/set your appointment app for 29 August, just two days from now, for...

(Image from LARPs the Series Facebook Event Page)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Webcomic Chapter 11 Posted


I finally managed to get getting Chapter 11 of Breakout from Bongolaan (pages 330--363) posted. 

For this chapter's theme song, I stumbled across a piece of Epic Chase Music by Ross Bugden

I now have nearly a year's-worth of daily material, which I mentioned as my trigger point in my previous webcomic post

My life has been busy this year, involving work and family matters, so I haven't devoted any time exploring for new format for this webcomic. 

Now that 2015 is about 2/3rds near it's end, I want to set Monday, 4 January 2016 as the launch date for Breakout from Bongolaan's new format. 

In the meantime, I'll be working on Chapter 12.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Through Blood & Fire at Gettysburg

 
I've been to the Gettysburg National Park twice, and have watched the movie at least three times over my actual visits to the battlefield. 
 
While I know the overall history of the American Civil War, or as wargamers abbreviate it "ACW," I've read very few specific books on the subject, so I don't have a fine grasp of the details.
 
And I've never read any personal accounts of the war, until a few days ago.  I unearthed the booklet, Through Blood & Fire Gettysburg, that a former coworker gave me and I had stashed away in a file cabinet.
 
The booklet is Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's account of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment's valiant defense of Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg
 
(Image of Chamberlain played by Jeff Daniels in the movie Gettysburg)
Through Blood & Fire at Gettysburg was originally published in Harper's back in 1913 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the battle.  This particular copy was published by Stan Clark Military Books back in 1996, of which the back half is composed of maps and photos.  I think my friend picked this up at the Gettysburg Museum Gift Shop.
 
As to the story itself, I have very little to offer other than praise.  Nothing I write here can compare to Chamberlain's lofty and eloquent prose.  He was a firm believer in the Union's cause, and his narrative is heavily influenced by his religious convictions.
 
Chamberlain calls little attention to himself, and instead focuses on the gallantry of the soldiers--both Union and Confederate. 
 
Most of his praise was of course heaped on the soldiers of the 20th Maine.  According to Chamberlain; regimental clerks and cooks, along with the walking wounded joined-in the fight.  Everyone knew what was at stake.
 
When the do-or-die moment was upon them, Chamberlain said one word:  Bayonets.
 
And every solider still standing knew what to do.
 
Through Blood & Fire at Gettysburg is an epic poem of the American Civil War.
 
(Image:  Don Troiani's painting Lt. Col Joshua Chamberlain)
Most reviewers (18 out of 20) on Amazon.com gave the booklet high praise, giving it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.  The 1 & 2-star raters thought this was a rip off, because the booklet either didn't go into details about Gettysburg as a whole, or that half of it was "filler" with maps.
 
Even if I had purchased the book, I doubt I'd give this less than a 5-star rating.  It's hard to take-down a first-hand account, especially from such a notable historical figure.
 
Now I have to admit, ever since reading The Killer Angels and watching the movie Gettysburg, I've become a Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain fan.
 
When my youngest sister was stationed in Maine, we stumbled across Chamberlain Museum, after her wedding and she bought me a T-shirt at the gift shop.  I had it for years until it became unserviceable.
 
On the left breast was a small bust of Chamberlain and below were part of his words spoken at the Commemoration of the Monument to the 20th Maine:
 
 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Review: Bunker Hill

 
 My brother has a keen interest in the American Revolution (aka The American War of Independence, often abbreviated by wargamers as the AWI).
 
After visiting him in New England, the "epicenter" of the Revolution, I remembered I had a couple books about the AWI taking up space in my "TBR File" (To Be Read).
 
One of these was Bunker Hill by Howard Fast
 
I must admit this is the first book I've read by the author of Spartacus, which I didn't know he wrote, along with a slew of other well-known works.
 
Which means I've got a lot of catching up to do--or at least more books to shove into my TBR File.
 
Anyway, getting back to the AWI...
 
(Image from:  Raremaps.com)
...Bunker Hill is an engrossing semi-fictionalized account of the actual battle, which was mostly fought on nearby Breed's Hill.   
 
By semi-fictionalized, I mean that the story follows the actual course of historical events leading up to, during, and after the battle.  However, Fast places historical figures in social situations that may, or may not have happened, along with providing dialogue that may or may not have been spoken.
 
And speaking of speech, the language used by our forefathers, both British and Colonial, was quite different from the eloquent and carefully preserved letters in museums and archives on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
Translation:  Their manner of speaking, especially when talking about war--or sex--was heavily laced with F-Bombs.  (One reviewer on Amazon.com gave the book a 2-star rating because of this).
 
Apparently, sex was foremost on the minds of William Howe, "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne and Henry Clinton, who spent as much time trying to hook up with Boston's Loyalist babes than dealing with "those damned rebels."
 
It was the "rebel scum" however, who snuck onto the Charleston Peninsula during the night of 16 June, 1775 and erected a redoubt.  
 
(Image from The Bunker Hill Museum via The Miniatures Page)
 
According to Fast, they managed to pull this off because His Majesty's Trysting Trio were dealing with erections of a different sort.
 
While scandalously delightful to think about, in actuality; the British were planning to re-occupy the Charlestown Heights, but a spy tipped-off the rebels, who stole a march on the redcoats.
 
The American cast of characters is much larger, featuring Israel Putnam, William Prescott, Joseph Warren, John Stark and Thomas Knowlton, just to name a few.  In fact, it was rather difficult for me to keep such a large cast straight and I had to refer to the Major Characters page quite often.  The American point of view often rested with a Dr. Feversham, a fallen Catholic and cashiered British Army surgeon, who finds acceptance among the rebels.
  
 Bunker Hill weighs-in at 223 pages, divided into a dozen chapters organized according to the date, or time.  The first six chapters take place from 12 June to the early morning hours of 17 June 1775. 
 
The first shots of the battle, which occurs on page 104, were fired by HMS Lively, when it's crew discovered the rebels toiling away at their redoubt on Breed's Hill.
 
Chapters 7-11 focus on crucial points of the battle, from 9 AM until 5 PM, when the rebels are finally driven off.
 
(Image:  Howard Pyle's famous painting, The Battle of Bunker Hill, 1897)
 While it seems like a lot of pages are devoted to everything but the actual fighting, Fast's prose easily conveyed how decisions were made and events unfolded, which lead to the Charlestown showdown.  The only thing that I found annoying was the author's repetitious use of the date in most chapters. 
 
The final chapter takes place the following day, when Dr. Feversham and another physician attempt to exchange, or at least provide medical care for the wounded rebels captured by the British.  They receive a cold response from the British, which convinces Dr. Feversham to continue his support of the AWI.
 
A lot of this had to do with the high number of casualties the British suffered during their three assaults...
 
(Image from Lora Innes' The Dreamer, Act I, Issue 14, Page 43)
 
I give Bunker Hill a solid 4-star rating.  While it was an entertaining tale, the narrative didn't strike any low notes, but neither did it strike epic high ones either, especially for a battle that had such lasting repercussions for both the British and Colonials.
 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

PNWA 2015's Agents Forum

(Movie poster for next week's opening of: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)
Fire Season is in full-swing here in the Pacific Northwest.  Even though I managed to slip away and visit family, my coworkers and I have been busy here at WA State Emergency Management.
 
So these PNWA recaps, along with my other blogposts, will be slow in coming.  I thought I'd do another quick list because I'm still being lazy pressed for time. 
 
Robert Dugoni continued his role as perennial emcee during the Agents Forum and introduced the following
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
and
 
 
Now I don't remember Katie Zaun being present, and instead I have a Dale Sevens listed in my notes.  He appears to be in cahoots with JD DeWitt of Ink Slinger Entertainment.
 
Anyway, last minute cast changes aside, the post-intro discussion dealt with the Four Minute Pitch Session.
 
That is everyone trying to sell (pitch) their book had four minutes, usually less, to win over an agent. 
 
So agents want to get down to basics, or as April Eberhardt summed it up:
 
Who? What? Where? Why should I care?
 
And of the four minutes you're given, you have only one minute to talk.  The remaining three minutes are for the agent to ponder what's good, bad and ugly about your book.
 
Be prepared to explain what compelled you to write this story.
 
A few other things to keep in mind:
 
Be open and knowledgeable about the genre you're writing in.
 
Have a clear idea on who the main character is and what's the conflict.
 
While speaking, be engaged with your listener (the agent), and make eye contact.
 
Advice against stalking:
 
As usual, we were treated to a friendly reminder not to stalk the agents. 
 
If you've attended more than one writers conference you've probably heard of agents being ambushed in bathrooms and having manuscripts slipped under their hotel room doors.
 
But one agent, I forget which one, took this year's Best Stalker Story, when she said she was approached by a writer wannabee while swimming laps.
 
Talk about a good way not to get published.  Ever.
 
So one last piece of advice:  Save the stalking surveillance to the professionals...
 
(A scene from the original series:  The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)
 

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Wargame Wayback Machine

(My Road Trip Purchases)

Shortly after the PNWA Writers Conference, I travelled to the east coast to visit my family. 

During my journey, I managed to delve into The Citadel Games Cellar and unearthed a treasure trove of games I haven't seen in years--and still in their original shrink wrap.

The store has moved around a bit over the years, but still gets a good review on Boardgame Geek, especially for having older games in stock.


(Golan's entry on Boardgame Geek)

...is part of Decision Games Folio Series.  While Golan is a relatively new game, it's based on the older Modern Battles Quadrigame by SPI. My brother and I use to play The Arab-Israeli Wars, so I couldn't pass up a $20 similar themed game with a mere 100 counters to clip.

After flipping through the short rule book, the only issue I have with this game so far is there's no additional literature:  No history about this campaign, nor any designer's notes.  One reviewer called the Folio Series fatally flawed gems.

The next item is Issue #229 (2007) of Wargames Illustrated.

(Some back issues are still available on WI's website)

I snatched up this magazine at the last minute because it contained an article on Napoleonic Warmaster.  Since I have Warmaster and Warmaster Ancients, I thought this would be a good supplement to add to my collection of Napoleonic rules. 

The only problem was:  The article is Part I of a two-part series.  While I love gaming magazines, I get annoyed when these publications split a topic over two, or more issues.

Now I have to go on a quest to find out-of-print Issue #230.

Speaking of quests, I picked up Heroes of Olympus...

(First edition boxed set)

...to augment my Ancient Greece-base RPGs (role playing games) and supplements.  Hardly anyone seems to have played this, but a tad over 16 years ago, Heroes of Olympus garnered a a good review on RPG.net.

I was never into crime dramas, but for $11.95, I was compelled to purchase Crime Fighter.



While Heroes of Olympus at least got one review, there's very little on-line data on Crime Fighter. 

So much for a "just the facts" commentary here.

Last but not least we come to my favorite era in wargames:  The Napoleonic Wars.   I actually have an old copy of the Empire Campaign System...


...but I messed up the map in my attempt to numbering the hexes.  Although I've never owned a copy of Empire III miniatures rules, I figured I could still use the Campaign System for any central European Campaign I'd conjure up, in a round peg-square hole sort of way. 

Which I have to admit, I've not yet done so.

Anyway, this is another game, or in this case a game supplement, that gamers expressed little enthusiasm over.  I found one wargame blogger who played out a short campaign two years ago. 

The overall opinion was the campaign required a lot of paperwork and the map hexes were too small the counters, which made it hardly worth while running a full-blown campaign.

Despite the luke-warm at-best reviews, at least where such reviews exist, I'm happy with my purchases.  I paid "80s prices" for each item, so I don't feel like I've wasted my money.  Or at least too much of it.

Plus, these items take up very little of packed-to-near-capacity storage space--plenty of room for Wargames Illustrated Issue #230.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

PNWA 2015's Editors Forum

(Image of Perry White from Smallville Wikia)
 
This year's Editors Forum was actually the fourth conference session I attended.  Normally, I write my blogposts in chronological order, but I'm feeling lazy and I'm pressed for time.

Back in 2012, when I last attended, Perennial Emcee Bob Dugoni skipped the Editor introductions in the interest of saving valuable time, assuming everyone could read their bios in the conference handout.

He said he wouldn't do that again because he nearly had a riot on his hands afterwards.  So each editor present introduced themselves, told the audience what publication they work for and what genres they're interested in acquiring.

Bob assured the audience that these folks were friendly and approachable (unlike Perry White, pictured above), and didn't fall asleep at night counting the ways they could reject your work.

So here's this year's list of Editors-at-Large:

Peter Field (Timberline Review)

Sheila Gilbert (DAW Books)

Brit Hvide (Simon & Schuster)

Jennifer Letwack (Thomas Dunne Books)

Allison Lyons (Harlequin)

Anna Michels (Sourcebooks)

Lynn Price (Behler Publications)

John Raab (Suspense Publishing)

Robert Sappington (Harken Media)

Adam Wilson (Gallery Books)


After the intros, we jumped right into the Q&A (Questions & Answers).

Since I'm writing a webcomic, and wasn't stalking submitting work to editors, I didn't pay too much attention to inquiries and responses.

When I was paying attention, I actually learned a few things:

One of them being the new term "New Adult" to describe books for college-aged kids (18-22 year olds).  These are mostly coming-of-age stories that are romance-focused, and attempt to answer such monumental questions like:  What kind of job will I get? What will I do with my life? Will I ever get laid? 

The term "mainstream" tends to be a literary default setting when publishers aren't sure what genre to pigeon-hole your work.

One-of books are increasing in popularity among publishers.  They're reluctant to invest additional seed money into a series, especially since subsequent books usually don't earn as much as the initial book.

So when you're pitching you're book, and envision it as Number One in an Epic Series of Epic Proportions, it's best to keep your delusions hopes to yourself. 

Unless publishers inquire about the possibility of a series, or your name is George R. R. Martin, or J. K. Rowling.

In the meantime, each book must stand alone and be a complete story in-and-of itself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Product Review: Blucher and the Hundred Days Campaign

(Image from:  Wargame Info's review of Blucher)
While attending this year's PNWA Summer Conference, we were often reminded that as writers, we're suppose to read a lot, especially in my genre. 
 
Since my favorite "genre" is wargaming, I spent my down-time reading Sam Mutstafa's latest release in his Honour Series:    Blucher.
 
Blucher 176-page rule booklet for playing Napoleonic battles in the grand tactical scale.  That is, units representing 4-6 infantry battalions (2000-3000 soldiers), 6-12 squadrons of cavalry (1000-2000 horsemen), and 2-4 artillery batteries (18-24 guns).  Although the game is flexible enough so players can increase or decrease the troop scale.
 
The rules are quick, easy, enjoyable to read and beautifully illustrated.  I finished the basic rules in two hours, and I-am-a-slow-reader. 
 
Despite the page-length, Blucher is a hardcover booklet, which not only contains the Basic and Advanced Games, but also the Scharnhorst Campaign System, not to mention Appendices, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and seven pages of Quick Reference Charts (QRCs).
 
I've always been intrigued by military campaigns and how battles developed, often more so than how that battle itself was fought.  It was the Scharnhorst system that was the deciding factor in my decision to buy Blucher.
 
Scharnhorst takes up only 25 pages in the rule booklet and is easy to follow.  The author emphasizes that the intent is not to play a lengthy campaign game, which can take on a life of it's own, but to bring about a battle in a manner other than lining up troops along opposite ends of the game table.  In other words, Scharnhorst is more of a battle generator that campaign game per se.
 
 Blucher is the most enjoyable set of rules I've read in my gaming life.  Not only because the rules were easy to understand, but Mr. Mustafa's sense of humor is infused in some of the pages, especially the side-bar notes.
 
Be forewarned:  If you post emotionally-charged complaints on the Honour Forum, you may find yourself on the receiving end of Mr. Mustafa's wit.
 
Here's a response to a hapless player who expressed his hatred for the Scharnhorst system, because an isolated column of his army was destroyed by converging forces of the enemy (as if this never happened historically):
 
As I see it you have two options:
 
1. Distract him [your opponent] with junk food and cheat somehow, OR
 
2. Man Up and accept that you've gotten yourself in a bind, and now you'll have to fight a seemingly hopeless battle against terrible odds.  It will be an epic defense worthy of remembrance in song, legend, and hyperbolic 19th Century novels.  In the movie version you'll probably be played by Sean Bean, but maybe if your lucky, Russell Crowe.
 
(From the sidebar at the bottom of page 148).
 
I've read this quote several times and it still makes me laugh, which compelled me to post it verbatim.
 
A more practical note of caution about Blucher is the ground-scale unit of measure.  That is how players measure movement and weapon ranges.  Instead of using standard measurements, like in the English (inches) and metric (centimeters), distances are measured in Base Widths (BWs). 
 
This allows players to utilize miniatures of all sizes, from 6 millimeter (mm) to 28mm, or maybe even larger.
 
The only drawback, especially for someone as artistically challenged as I am, is that players have to make their own measuring devices.  These are usually dowels, cut-to-length, and painted in an alternating color scheme to denote BWs of the appropriate scale of their miniature collection.
 
Despite the need to venture off to your nearest DIY/Home Improvement store, the Honour website provides a plethora of free downloads not only for Blucher, but for their other games as well.
 
(Image found on:  Sally 4th)
 
Another (although not-free) accessory to Blucher is The Hundred Days expansion kit for the 1815 Waterloo Campaign.  This is a set of gorgeously illustrated cards that can be played in lieu of miniatures.  Since I don't own any painted Napoleonic figures due to being artistically challenged as I mentioned earlier, I added the deck of cards to my order.
 
I wish I discovered this 5-star set of rules earlier, and had the time to game a session during the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

PNWA Celebrates 60 Years

(Image found on The Innovative Instructor Blog)

The last PNWA Writers Conference I attended was in 2012.  My work schedule prevented me from participating these past couple of years.

This year, I managed to squeeze three out of four conference days in between two sets of work shifts.  But it was "strictly business."  Due to the compressed timeline, I skipped out of the after-conference activities...

(Image from Flavorwire, 20 Excellent Photos of Famous Authors Partying)

...by which I mean, the Keynote Speaker Addresses and the Writing Competition Awards Dinner.

In honor of the association's 60th Year Anniversary and founding members, the selected theme was "Connections."

I'm glad I was able to attend and re-connect with some of my writer friends, such as:

PNWA's President, and my Popular Fiction teacher, Pam Binder,
Secretary, and author of  Jeff Ayers;
Board of Trustee Member Terry Persun,
his daughter and fellowette Trustee Member Nicole Persun;
along with Jason Black (aka The Book Doctor).

Robert Dugoni performed his Perennial Emcee duties during the Agents and Editors Forums, but I didn't get a chance to talk to him.

I was happy to encounter my fellow "rank and file" friend Chelly Wood.
According to her, she got the idea of making a stop-motion film of Romeo & Juliet using her daughters' Barbie Doll collection, from my webcomic Breakout from Bongolaan and my YouTube gaming videos.

(Image from Chelly Wood's Free Printable Barbie Clothes Group Pic)

I was humbled by Chelly's praise and even more humbled by her advanced photographic skills.  My "movies" are merely slide shows, so I'll be seeking Chelly's advice on actual stop-motion techniques.

Chelly is writing a how-to book on this subject and pitched a book proposal to an agent.  I wish her all the best.

Another rank and file friend I met was Abigail Carter, formerly of Writerly, and now Bibliocrunch.  I caught up at her Bibliocrunch booth when she wasn't overwhelmed with inquiring attendees.  Upon seeing Abby again, I remembered I bought her book The Alchemy of Loss and asked her to autograph it for my mom, who always grieved the loss of my dad.  When my mom passed away last month, I had to confess to Abby I'm not sure what happened to her book during the maelstrom to settle my mom's estate.

A few classmates from Pam's Pop Fic Class also attended, and I ended up sharing workshops with Emily and Lara.  One alum I didn't see was Tara Sheets, who had not just one, but two stories make it in the Finalist Category of the Annual Writing Competition.

In addition to catching up with old friends, I did make two new connections this year:

1. Jazmyn Wright, who was toying with the idea of turning her work-in-progress into an on-line graphic novel.

2. When I told fantasy author Ardyth DeBruyn about my work, she thought I'd find Penny Arcade's Strip Search, Darths & Droids, along with her brother's webcomic, Sluice.

I did suffer a lengthy low moment midway through the conference.

(Image by Gary Varvel)

I learned about the four Marines (and now one Sailor) shot and killed in Chattanooga, TN, early on Friday, before heading to the gym for a pre-conference workout.

It's at moments like this that I wish I was back on active duty again.

But despite my longing to don my uniform again, I enjoyed the conference, learned a lot and look forward to re-re-connecting with my writer friends again next year.

Coming Attractions:

I attended a dozen workshops during the three-out-of-four-days conference.  I'll be writing more detailed posts about these in the upcoming days/weeks/hopefully not months ahead.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review: Badass

 
Even though many Americans love barbequing and watching fireworks on Independence Day, they find the actual history of how we achieved our independence from Britain boring. 
 
If they bother to learn it at all.
 
Or any history, for that matter.
 
Part of the problem may often be in how history is written, or presented.
 
Take this passage from Wikipedia on The First Triumvirate
 
The First Triumvirate was a political alliance between three prominent Roman politicians (triumvirs) which included Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) and Marcus Licinius Crassus.
 
Informative, but dull to read, isn't it?
 
(Yes, I know it's from Wikipedia, but I'm sure you've read textbooks that should have been filed under the Self-Help Section because they're good cures for insomnia).
 
Now here's a passage regarding Caesar, Pompey and Crassus, from page 57 of Badass, by Ben Thompson:
 
These guys called themselves the triumvirate, which is the official term for a group of three classical-age diabolical madmen working together to control the government until such time as they all decide to backstab and kill each other.
 
While this may not be the most accurate forensic psychoanalysis of Caesar and his Frenemies, it's certainly a more lively account of Roman politics than you'll find in any sleep-inducing textbook.
 
And there's 39 other badasses (and some badassettes) in this book about the ...relentless onslaught of the toughest warlords, Vikings, samurai, pirates, gunfighters, and military commanders to ever live.
 
Badass began as the website Badass of the Week, which continues to provide an ever-growing list of badasses, in history, mythology and fiction.
 
Both book and website are written in an over-the-top, pulp-fiction, profanity-laced, humorous style.
 
In addition to--or despite--the entertainment/shock value, the author does shed light on some of history's obscure historical figures, such as: Chandagrupta Maurya, Liu Ji, Tomoe Gozen, Bass Reeves, Henry Lincoln Johnson, Irena Sebrova and Bhanbhagta Gurung.
 
Badass enjoys an overall 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.
 
I give it 4-stars myself.  I thought the book was both entertaining as well as informative.  However, while I'm not offended by printed profanity, I try to be more judicious using it in my own writing.
 
However, not everyone loved Badass
 
Out of 138 raters, 12% gave it only 1-star, and 5% gave it 2-stars, while 6% thought the book was okay, but could have been better. 
 
(Note:  Amazon has gone to percentages instead of actual numbers of  raters).
 
Many these readers were put-off by author's style, while several of them complained about historical inaccuracies.
 
I only spotted one factoid that I thought was incorrect.  This doesn't mean no other mistakes exist within the pages of Badass.  I simply didn't catch them.  I'm more of a "big picture" kind of guy anyway.  Plus, I'm too lazy too busy to conduct a badass fact-check on Badass.
 
If you read the front and back covers of Badass, you'll see you have a book that focuses on entertainment.  This isn't a bad thing, since it may energize a reader into examining more boring tomes scholarly works.
 
Sometimes you can judge a book by it's cover--and it's illustrated pages--which were provided by the following artists:
 
 
 
Steven Belledin, who also did the front cover, and,
 
 
(Image by Matt Haley on Badass of the Week FAQs)
 
In case your wondering why this book review contains a few other labels, it's because I bought my copy of Badass at this year's Emerald City Comicon.  So Badass's author might be a badass himself, but he's pleasant enough to autograph his books.