State of the Dread: Jan 29-Feb 4

Utahraptor ostrommaysi, and I wrapped his shins so they wouldn’t hurt after running.

Writing

I’m officially working on the print draft for SHERIFF PORTER. It’s more or less set. I also drafted an episode of TALES FROM THE ROAD.

AND I FINALLY FIXED THE PAPERBACK EDITION OF PATRIOT’S GAME!!!! NO LONGER DOES THE MAP SAY THE ATLANTIC IS THE PACIFIC!!! It only took me 5 years to figure that crap out!!!!! Go buy the paperback edition to celebrate!!!!!

Reading

Finished pretty much everything on the slate from last week. WARLORD is getting an Upstream piece. THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER has a writeup over here. I also blasted through Larry Correia’s nonfic about guns.

This week I’m finishing EMPIRE OF SILENCE. It’ll be my third time reading this beast. I’m gearing up for a run at the sequels. After that I’m going to listen to an entire book on Speechify. It’s a kitchsy old sci-fi for the 372 Pages podcast.

In print, I am really enjoying a L’Amour book right now. It’s a long one, so it’ll be a while before I finish.

Side note, my daughter is almost completely potty-trained, know what that means? It means I’m upping my Audible membership babyyyyy, I’ve got room in the budget for more credits babyyyyyy, haha. It’s crazy how expensive it is to have your toddler poop in a tidy way. Like forty bucks a month, frick.

Drawing

The piece up top. I’m also gearing up for the full slate of SHERIFF PORTER illos. I’m forcing myself to limit it to 10 pieces plus the cover. This will help me get a realistic idea of how long it will take to illustrate HOWLING WILDERNESS.

The soft-finish date for the PORTER illustrations is Friday, March 31st. I feel like it’s doable. Then that book goes out to be crowdfunded.

Reminder that you can listen to the 3.5 hour audiobook for free on my other podcast.

Video

There’s a new segment on my YouTube and Rumble called “Ask a Trucker.” I film these short videos on my DOT break. I’m considering adding a little extra to these; they’re easy to film and I like doing them. If you have a random question for a trucker, send it to dreadpennies at gmail dot com.

Audio

New episode of Radcracker dropped here. Make sure you subscribe on any platform you use. Google, Apple, Spotify, whatever.

Fitness

I did my 2,000th pushup of the year, and also had a 10-exercise circuit in the shop, which is officially named Fortress Fatphobia. At the weekly weigh-in I was down to 215 lbs. This week I want to be down to 214.5. I still didn’t get that second PE session in with my kids but I did do the drawing class with them, so there’s progress.

The goal this week is two workouts in the Fortress, with my sons. Aiming for Wednesday and Friday because it won’t be as cold on those days.

That’s it for now. Get back to work. And when you’re done working, cancel Netflix, cash your paycheck and go buy a good book!

Good news about my Amazon titles…

I don’t know when they implemented this, but you can now create hardcovers of your indie titles and they’re available as print-on-demand books. Freaking huge. I’ve wanted this for a while.

They are just printed hardcovers, so no dustjackets, but I suppose those could be acquired at a premium through another vendor. Very stoked on that.

Will I offer any of my existing books this way?

Yes, but only some. THE HERO NEXT DOOR will get the treatment, along with SLEEPLESS HOLLOW and the forthcoming ENGINES OF LIBERTY omnibus. Hardcover art will be different for all of these, so you’re getting something new for your money.

No dates or anything yet, I’m just very excited about this development.

Back to our regularly-scheduled tomfoolery.

State of the Dread: Jan 22-28

Sup. I drive a Durango. We get after it.

Writing

DONE! The beta draft of HOWLING WILDERNESS is in the wind. Getting feedback already and it’s productive. I’m not touching the draft again until after February. If you want to read the first chapter, it’s up on CrackerStack. Subscribe while you’re there, I’ve moved book reviews to that site.

This week I’m planning/outlining scripts for a new series of videos, the old Tales from the Road series I did on the podcast. It’ll cover the same material but I’m punching it up for fun. Feels like I’ve talked about that before, it’s my actual focus right now.

Also, fun thing: my friend Savannah was passing through Texas and saw this on a shelf at a gift shop, she said it reminded her of me, haha. I laugh because that’s more or less what one of my main characters looks like, from a book she hasn’t read yet.

Reading

I finished a couple of things. GHOSTS OF ZENITH by Larry Correia was great, the review is pending at Upstream. Started reading MAXIMUM BOB by Elmore Leonard, but didn’t care for the content so I punted. THE OLD GODS WAKEN by Manly Wade Wellman was entertaining, the review is on CrackerStack. Ditto for my reread of THE QUICK AND THE DEAD by L’Amour.

I’m currently reading WARLORD by Doc Spears. It’s almost exactly a rewrite of A PRINCESS OF MARS, which has me concerned, but I expect there will be a twist or revelation to justify it. Should finish it Monday, that review will be on Upstream.

Once that’s done, I’m reading THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. If I finish it, I will start my third reading of EMPIRE OF SILENCE by Christopher Ruocchio. Still picking through AMERICAN MUCKRAKER when I have time. Very good book.

Drawing

Still working on the personal project, it’ll be finished this month. I’m having fun.

Video

New one here, and I’m very grateful for the responses. I had an announcement to make.

Also, instead of doing a “what I read this year” video in December, I’m going to do a monthly breakdown. As of right now I’ve finished 11 titles (thanks, audiobooks, haha) so that’ll be more manageable.

Audio

Normal thing, new episode of Radcracker dropped.

Fitness

I’m at 1500 pushups for the year and feeling awesome. The hard part is avoiding the temptation to do more too soon. Every week it gets easier to blast out a set of 20. This is my final week at 20, once Feb 1st rolls around I switch to 25, and keeping count will be more intensive. Big thanks to the bois in the Fat Chat for helping with that.

But once again I missed the second PE session with my kids. I resolve to hit that one this week. So easy to be lazy on a Friday.

Speechify: My experience so far

For a long time I wondered if there was an app that would read my ebooks to me without having to buy the audiobook that accompanies them. Turns out Speechify can do that.

I hadn’t heard of it until Sanderson talked about it in one of his recent videos. Apparently the founder of the platform said he invented it to help with his dyslexia; you upload documents to the app, and it reads them back to you while highlighting the words that it’s playing. There are, naturally, other applications for this, but that was its inception.

The technology is still kind of new and rough, but I paid for a whole year up front because I want it to refine and succeed. Funding and feedback are the ways to make that happen.

So, here’s a list of things I’ve noticed as I’ve used the service so far.

  1. It can read ebooks to you, but you have to upload them into your library on your account. It will accept PDFs and DOCX documents, but not the direct AZW format, which is what the Kindle uses. In order to convert those you’ll need some kind of third-party software like Calibre.
  2. That’s been fine, except that some of my ebooks have DRM enabled and Calibre doesn’t automatically break that. I’ve had trouble figuring out how to make that happen.
  3. The voices are computer-generated, and somewhat generic based on their sex or nationality, which you can select from a list of options. They also have two celebrity voices right now, and those are Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow. Kind of cool.
  4. One of the downsides is that it’s hard to just listen for long periods of time, because the app doesn’t integrate natural inflection into its playback. You can tell you’re listening to a computer reading something to you. I assume this feature will improve over time, and with modification.
  5. Sometimes the playback doesn’t read numbers correctly. In the same document I’ve noticed it reads fractions as “five and a half” and “five one slash two.” I’m not sure what triggers the difference.
  6. You can take a picture of a page of text from a book and it will read it to you. If the text includes footnote references, it’ll also say the letter of the footnote, exactly where it appears in the text. Uploading a tidy document is critical.
  7. Since the app performs real-time dictation, it needs a steady Internet connection to read whatever you’re giving it. If you’ve got spotty cell service you can expect a lot of interruptions during playback. I haven’t listened for any extended periods of time while at work, which is kind what I was looking forward to. I’ll keep trying this in different parts of town to see how it works.

For the most part though, I like it and I hope it keeps ironing out the kinks.

State of the Dread: January 15-22

There’s a reason they call it the pectoralis major.

Writing

As promised, I finished draft 2 of HOWLING WILDERNESS. I need to make a final sweep of it just to make sure it’s formatted correctly for the betas. Once that’s finished I’m gonna do some edits on SHERIFF PORTER, that will be my next paperback release. I might not get to it this week though.

Reading

I finished HELL AND BACK, TRESS OF THE EMERALD SEA, AN HONEST PRESIDENT, and THE MAGNIFICENT NINE. That’s a Longmire book, a Sanderson Kickstarter book (which I’ll review on Upstream), a presidential bio I covered over on the CrackerStack, and a Firefly novel which will be up there shortly.

This week I’m rereading LOST PLANET HOMICIDE by Correia, so I can read its sequel GHOSTS OF ZENITH. Both are audio shorts. After that I have THE QUICK AND THE DEAD by L’Amour, and then I’m tackling a Conan collection by Robert E. Howard.

I was reading the ebook edition of a Lady Mechanika book but honestly I’m just done with that series. Vol6 was really lousy and vol7 is not an improvement. Fond memories, time to move on.

I’m still working my way through AMERICAN MUCKRAKER when I have time.

Drawing

Nothing super groundbreaking. Here’s a sketch I did a few weeks ago, which I am now digitizing. It’s just for fun and not from a current project.

Audio

The latest episode of Radcracker is up.

Video

Nothing here. I’m thinking of doing a few videos based on THE LAW OF SUPERHEROES, just for fun.

Fitness

I did another 500 pushups last week to bring me to 1,000 on the year. The goal is 25k but I’m adding 500 every month. Right now, for example, I do 5×20, but in February I’ll start doing 5×25. And so on and so on. By December I’ll be at 75 per set. It’s gonna be brutal.

One problem I’m having right now is I only do 1 PE session in my shop per week, and I need to do two. So I’m committing to that here. I’m also going to get up early on my days off and exercise out there.

Onward and upward.

State of the Dread: January 8-14

He’s a cool dude.

Writing

It pleases me to announce that I will finish draft 2 of HOWLING WILDERNESS this week. Once it is done I will contact beta readers for feedback, and I won’t touch it for six weeks.

While it is down, I will publish at least one paperback edition of an old project.

Reading

Last week I read GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE, HOGS IN THE SAND, and INTO THE LIGHT. There is a review pending on that last one at UpstreamReviews.com.

This week I have HELL AND BACK, TRESS OF THE EMERALD SEA, and AN HONEST PRESIDENT on deck. If I blast them all out, MAGNIFICENT NINE will probably happen too.

That’s a Longmire book, a Sanderson KickstarterX4 book, a bio of Grover Cleveland, and a Firefly novel.

Drawing

Toying with new Radcracker art.

Audio

The GI Joe thing is fun and cool, but I think there is still something weird going on with Radcracker. My most recent episode hit 5100 plays in 3 days. Then it stopped. The episode right before that was just about as fast. I’m entering a beta phase with Anchor on ads, so I’m not making any money off the listens. I’ll have to find another way to earn money off it.

Video

Channel link here. Didn’t do one last week. I’d like to this week, I just don’t know what about. Then again it’s about as simple as grabbing a book off my shelf, sitting down in the shop, and flapping my lips about it. Y’all know I can do that for a solid twenty minutes.

Fitness

I did 500 pushups at work, which is less than it sounds because it was 100 per day, in sets of 20. It was cool though. Follow on Twitter, hashtag #PectoCracker

This week I want to do a few more iso sessions in Fortress Fatphobia. I only did one, I’m aiming for three now.

State of the Dread: January 1-7, 2023

My wife knitted this scarf for me a couple of years ago, and since the Pottermore quiz sorted me into Ravenclaw, she added the patch. It is a lovely gift and I love whipping it out at Christmas.

Writing

I owe a Round Robin chapter to my friend Nate, so I need to get on that. Once it’s done, I’ll finish a draft of HOWLING WILDERNESS and set it aside.

I started a Substack. It’s called the CrackerStack. It replaces my Patreon, because you can do a paid subscription there and I’ll put some paywalled posts every month. Otherwise it’ll be for book and movie reviews.

State of the Dread will now be a weekly accountability segment. I’ll still share other things here.

As always, hit up Upstream Reviews for fiction reviews.

Reading

Gonna blast the absolute daylights out of a lot of books. This week I will finish GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE, HOGS IN THE SAND, and INTO THE LIGHT on audio. If I have time, I’ll read AN HONEST PRESIDENT.

I’ve also got a new Lady Mechanika graphic novel to read from the library. Used to own those in print, but I sold them all after volume 6. Long story. I’ll post about it on the CrackerStack.

My ongoing reads in print are AMERICAN MUCKRAKER and SAVING FAITH.

Drawing

I sketched this at Church this morning.

Video

My latest on the channel, which you should sub to here:

Audio

Always sub to the Radcracker Podcast. I record those in the car on the way home. Slice-of-life, what’s on my mind, that sort of thing. It’s funny and insightful and I love doing it.

Fitness

I’m in a fatchat with some gordo bros who are looking to lose weight. Very exclusive, you can’t get in, don’t ask. This week I’m doing 100 push ups per day, counting my calories, and working on stretching my useless arm so that it’s better.

Video proof of the push-ups will be in my Instagram stories every day.

Happy New Year. Buy something from me.

Hi guys.

I’ve been blogging and publishing and making videos for years. Every year I try to have some success at it but it usually just costs me money.

Pretty tired of not being good enough at this to sell anything. Not sure exactly how to change that so I am trying this.

WordPress costs me about 75 bucks per year. If I can sell 100 bucks worth of books off this site (profit, not gross) I will continue it into 2024. It just renewed in December of 2022 so I’ve got a full year to try this out.

I also started a substack, it’s crackerstack.substack.com. It replaces my Patreon for now. Nothing is really set up yet but I’m just letting you know.

I’m at that point. Let’s ride.

Kill The Beast https://a.co/d/0pDDN9k

What I read in 2009

2009 was the first year that I actively tracked what I was reading. I had read that Louis L’Amour once read 115 books in a single year and for whatever reason I wanted to beat him.

Granted, I used audiobooks and he didn’t, but I also read a few epic fantasies, and he read a lot of dime novels. I figure it balanced out.

I didn’t have a tidy system for tracking it all, I just wrote it all down without numbering it or putting months on it. Now it’s all numbered and color-coded and stuff. Over the next few days I’ll post each year’s record since I started tracking it. Anyway, here’s 2009.

I’m going live on my channel in a few minutes to discuss all of this.

(Exactly as it appears in my document):

Inkdeath

Warbreaker

Hunt for Dark Infinity

Burying Our Swords

John Carter of Mars

Artemis Fowl

Tarzan of the Apes

Reagan in His Own Voice

Seventh Son

Reading Like a Writer

Black Belt Patriotism

Rings, Swords and Monsters

Hearts of Steel

The Indigo King

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

Believe in What You’re Doing

Redefining Joy in the Last Days

Too Much to Carry Alone

Eye of the World

Watchmen

Bright Blue Miracle

Escape from the Carnivale

Opening Atlantis

Hourglass Door

Fablehaven 4

Sea of Monsters

Titan’s Curse

Battle for the Labyrinth

Last Olympian

Demigod Files

Hatter M

Epic

Seeing Redd

Godless

Tuck

Forest of Hands and Teeth

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Federalist Papers

Dragon America

How to Win Friends & Influence People

I Am Not A Serial Killer

The Supernaturalist

The Graveyard Book

Anansi Boys

Stardust

Wings

Silver Kiss

Maze Runner

Red Prophet

Wish List

City of Bones

Superman: Neverending Battle

Silver Hand

Other Side of the Island

Superman/Batman vs Alien/Predator

Patrick Son of Ireland

Arctic Incident

Old Man’s War

The Heldan

Supergirl

Maximum Dinobots

ROTF Graphic Novel

The Sight

I Am Spock

Complete Guide to Guys

Where’s my Jetpack?

Schlock Mercenary vol. 1

The Alliance

Cry of the Icemark

History of the Millennium

Land Keep

Heroes of the Valley

Catching Fire

Across the Nightingale Floor

Key of Kilenya

Pingo

Elantris (Graphic Audio)

Chivalry

Course of Human Events

Mice and Magic

Uglies

You’re Not Fooling Anyone…

Saving Madeline

Glenn Beck’s Common Sense

Alcatraz/Knights of Crystallia

The Lost Symbol

Endless Knot

Leviathan

Something Wicked

Amulet of Samarkand (#90)

Tuesdays with Morrie

Superfreakonomics

Troy Lord of the Silver Bow

Grass for His Pillow (Otori 2)

Christmas on Mill Street

Pretties

Hashbrown Winters

Hunger Games

Storm Front

Next 100 Years (#100)

Notebook

Little book of BofM Evidences

Reagan’s Funeral

Merchant of Death

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Lord of the Flies

A Christmas Carol

Shadow Dragons

Hush Hush

Pirate Latitudes (#110)

Stir of Echoes

The Dark Divine

Mormons and Polygamy

A Sound of Thunder

Eaters of the Dead

Heart of Stone