I setup a 99 cent coupon for the E-version of my last novel, Off Road, from smashwords.com (coupon JJ72U, every format from Kindle to .pdf) for my FB and Blog friends, and I hope you’ll partake while you have the chance. In the meantime I thought I’d repost the series of articles I did earlier this year on the four main elements the story revolves around: traditional and uniquely American views on God, guns, big trucks, and family. If you don’t like Smashwords.com, you can also buy Off Road directly through the Amazon kindle store or in Nook version from Barnes & Noble, or paperback version from Amazon or B&N. On the left sidebar are some recommendations from fellow bloggers and others.
First and foremost, of course, Off Road is a four wheeling adventure in the mountains of Colorado based on my own experiences. So techniques of technical off-roading are pretty important, as well as some talk about vehicles.
I’ve never seen a novel about technical off-roading. So I wrote one. I also enjoy introducing newbies with shiny SUV’s to remote trails, and watch them light up when they climb a gnarly obstacle in 4low. And my book attempts that introduction as well. And from the reviews I’ve gotten, it even looks like I managed to write a compelling story.
In terms of Off-Roading (big trucks), Off Road tells the story of a “progressive” who considers himself an environmentalist, even though he lives in the city and his idea of exploring nature is a picnic at a roadside table. He knows how to talk “green,” but now he’s forced to deal with the wilderness that he’s always considered himself a defender of. And he discovers that it’s not just worth protecting, it’s worth experiencing, and “protecting” doesn’t mean fencing it all off. Even if it’s not always friendly … and can kill you if you’re not prepared to meet it on its own terms.
When you start experimenting with off-roading the first technical trail you tackle is the one you’ll always remember. Like most people I tackled mine with normal sized street tires on an SUV I still owed payments on. And when I realized what that SUV was capable of and where it would take me, I was hooked. And though I never imagined I’d go further than a stock 4×4, before long I had bigger tires that were made for off-roading. Then came a winch. Then a rear locker. Then a mix of body lift and suspension lift to fit yet bigger tires. Then a front locker. Then a lower gear to put in the transfer case (if I’d gotten that last one earlier, I might not have had to spend several weekends last Spring replacing the tranny).
Now that I have the built-up vehicle I started dreaming about when I discovered how much fun off-roading was, I sometimes miss wheeling in a stocker. The challenges are greater, but so are the rewards. Especially when I would be sitting with my friends having lunch besides a nasty 4×4 trail and a group of Jeepers would come by and their jaw would drop at seeing my stock vehicle on the same trail they were struggling with.
So if you’re interested in off-roading, or are an off-roader, I think you’ll find this book interesting. Here’s an excerpt of the main character facing his first technical obstacle:
I looked the direction he was pointing. After a moment I realized I was looking not at raw wilderness but a road of sorts – two ruts the width of a vehicle running straight across big rocks blackened by tires. Trees on either side bracketed the road with barely enough room to pass between and their branches touched overhead.
It would have been a beautiful scene of a narrow track into the wilderness. Except for the sick feeling that came over me as I realized that this was what they wanted me to drive my forty thousand dollar vehicle up. This was off-roading. Scratchy trees and big rocks.
As I looked further, the sick feeling grew stronger. About two hundred yards away the road appeared to go straight up. I couldn’t imagine that was possible, but there were tire tracks climbing up a slope that most people would consider a cliff. Or at least nothing a sane person would try to drive up.
Gary clapped me on the back. “C’mon, Man. Let’s air down, lock ‘em up and get this show on the road!”
None of those words meant anything to me. “What do you mean?”
“I mean,” Gary said, as he pulled what looked like a set of bright blue tire valve caps out of his truck, “it’s time to air down the tires and lock up the hubs. Except your truck, which doesn’t have hubs to lock up.”
“Yeah,” Dad chimed in, “that truck is too civilized to make someone get out and touch the wheels. Might get mud on their tuxedo.” He laughed at his own joke.
I walked behind Gary as he bent down to one of his over sized tires and screwed on one of the blue valve caps. The tire hissed as air rushed out.
“You’re flattening the tires?” Seemed weird to me.
“Nah. Just bringing down the air pressure. Not all the way flat.”
I thought of how much my tires had cost. “Is that good for the tires?”
Dad had walked up behind me. “Damned right it’s good for the tires. If you don’t want a flat, you’ll air ‘em down here.”
Gary occasionally checked the tire with his gauge. “Yup. Airing ‘em down lets the tire fold over sharp rocks and tree roots and stuff. Instead of getting a puncture. Spreads the weight out so sharp stuff doesn’t tear them up.” He turned to Dad. “You know, Dad … sometimes I forget what it’s like when you haven’t done this stuff before. You sure it’s a good idea to take Paully up this road?”
“Hell,” Dad snapped back, “I took my Bronco up there just about brand new. And those Jap rigs are better than you think. It’ll do it.”
“Forget about the truck.” Gary looked for an answer in my facial expression, “I just don’t know if Paully’s ready.”
If you buy the book and enjoy it, let me know. If you don’t enjoy it … well, we need never speak of it.