State of the Dread: December 2021

May be an image of 1 person, beard, nature and tree

There’s a lot that I did better in 2020 than 2021, namely production on this site. I’ve had sprints where I scheduled posts every day, decided it was too much work, and then went months without anything at all.

At the end of those long stretches I always regret neglecting the site. It’s kind of my main thing. When I get yeeted off of every other platform due to being too spicy and/or based, I’ll need this to be my fallback. So I guess I’d better maintain it.

Here’s the skinny for now:

GENERAL:

I spent the first two weeks of November in Pennsylvania for work. No laptop, so little production, but I took my phone and managed a decent first draft of my current WiP, called SIGNATURE WOUNDS. I got through a round of edits on it and sent it to a friend for beta reading, once that gets back and I’ve implemented his feedback, I’ll get it recorded and put it on the podcast.

Other than that, work has been very demanding, what with it being the holidays. We’ve had a few guys quit because the time commitment is high. Sucks, but I get it. I did 50 hours in 4 days last week alone. I’m also making more money than I ever thought I’d make as a nurse, before I dropped out of college, lol. GO BE A TRUCKER.

WRITING

“State of the Dread” will return on a monthly basis.

The aforementioned SIGNATURE WOUNDS will be followed by a very short story in an anthology edited by Rob Kroese, whose books I enjoy a ton. I’m gonna stay mum on the details until it’s ready to go, there’s just a hard deadline on it so I’ve got to put it ahead of other stuff.

After that, the big project for 2022 will be the first installment in my Brimstone world, called THE KORBADELL JOB. It’s a blue-collar epic fantasy, a sort of Lord of the Rings meets Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ve pitched it before as “blast crew goes to Mordor.”

Unlike earlier installments on the DreadPennies Adventure Hour, this one will be released in episodes of 30-45 minutes every week until the first one is done, just like you’d tune in for a TV show. That’ll give me time to generate some art for hype.

I also write book reviews over at UpstreamReviews.com. Excellent site, great people there.

READING

For the most part I’ve stuck to my goal of reading less in 2021, and I’ve only got 6 or 7 books on my “Best of the Year” list right now. I’m slightly disappointed, because that’s a success rate under 10%, but whatever. I expect that in 2022 I will keep this pace.

I’ll read fewer books, but they’ll be longer and more substantial. I actually finished DUNE in 2021 and got extremely into it. I like that feeling, I’ve really missed it. And there’s a ton of source material for me to get involved in down the road. My wife has read EYE OF THE WORLD a few times and I might take another swing at The Wheel of Time as a result.

VIDEOS/PODCASTS

This is a category now! Haha. Thanks to everyone who subscribed to my YouTube channel, I want to make more of this stuff. Nothing has gotten near as much traction as my Mayflower Pilgrim video, so it’s not the biggest priority in the world, but once or twice a month I’ll throw something up on there.

As for the podcasts, I think I’ve figured out what I’m doing there. DreadPennies Adventure Hour will be the primary vehicle for audio fiction, while The Radcracker Podcast will cover book and movie reviews, as well as thoughts I’ve had during my nonfiction reads. I’ve loved sharing that stuff since the days of the Brother Trucker Book Club podcast. It’s easy to record that stuff on the fly or when I’m multitasking, so it doesn’t take a massive time commitment.

DRAWING

Haven’t done as much of this as I might have liked, and I haven’t read a lot of the art books I’ve acquired in the last few years. I think one of the main reasons is that last year I did a Draw Every Day challenge, and this year I didn’t. So for 2022 I’m going to go through the exercises in my Etherington Brother books one by one, and post my progress on Instagram.

I’ve been focusing more on drawing my own stuff, for better or worse. A lot of guys on Insta get popular by drawing Marvel or Star Wars stuff in their own style, and I don’t want to do that anymore. I drew a Jeep with a Captain America paint job, thinking I’d do that for the entire Avengers lineup, and after one vehicle I asked myself What the heck are you wasting your time on this for…and didn’t have a good answer. So whatever I do, it’ll be strictly Graham Bradley/Dreadverse stuff, unless I’m telling a joke.

FITNESS

Got back into weightlifting for a few months in the spring, before life went ape-nuts crazy at work. It hasn’t stopped going ape-nuts crazy, I’ve just decided not to be a twit about it and get back into the gym at least twice a week, plus endurance exercises at home with my sons.

The other big thing is I’m going to get on the Intermittent Fasting wagon again. I’ve had a lot of success with that in the past and need to stop making excuses. Here’s a good book I read on the subject.

OTHER

Look, life is always going to be busy, and sometimes that’s a legit reason, other times it’s just a bad excuse. Proper planning prevents poor performance. Or as a great man once told me, “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” And he’s rich as h*ck, so he’s right.

Another thing I’ve decided to go cold turkey on is swearing. I really struggled with that in SIGNATURE WOUNDS, because the MC is an Afghanistan veteran, but I don’t care. I create work to magnify my talents and create an alternative to the mainstream, which sucks butthole. I guess that’s a form of profanity even though I didn’t say the naughty word. Progress, not perfection. I hold the priesthood, I should be better on that front.

Anyway, that’s where things are at for the final chapter of 2021. I’m going to work and enjoy Christmas. You do the same. Be rad, drive safe, see you out there.

AUGUST IS OVER!!!

One of the three longest and dreariest months of the year is behind us! Two down! One to go!

The others are January and September.

Granted, ever since I dropped out of college my life hasn’t really followed the rhythm of “summer in June, school in September,” but I’ve got kids in school, and I track it for their sakes. Plus I just love the summer, always have. But August can burn in the hell that surely spawned it.

I don’t read a lot of manga, but…

…as I’ve been reaching into the backlist of this popular genre, someone recommended that I check out “Chainsaw Man” and it did not disappoint.

Chainsaw Man, Vol. 1 | Book by Tatsuki Fujimoto | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Utterly demented in the way that only a manga can be, and very comfortable with its own concept, this one just jumps into a world where demons are real and they can kill you, or save you if you befriend one.

Our lead character is trying to pay off his dad’s old gambling debts by hunting down demons and slaying them for pittances. When he falls in with a group of much more organized slayers, he starts to dream of a better life, which is within reach, but it will cost him.

I need to get better at grabbing the reader soon and just having fun with whatever story I’m telling. That’s one reason why I read stuff like this.

FREE GUY was really funny.

The last time that I laughed and cheered and screamed in a movie was Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Granted the Coof screwed over 2020, and my first movie back was Black Widow, which wasn’t good, so I’ve been on the lookout for a fun theater experience.

Free Guy delivered, and it wasn’t just Ryan Reynolds carrying the thing. The cast did great, you could tell they all got really into their roles. I’d seen most of the leads in other things, hadn’t even seen Jodie Comer in anything but she did perfect as Millie/Molotovgirl.

Holy crap though, the cameos! From other Hollywood Alphas like Channing Tatum and Chris Evans, to the YouTubers like Pokimane and LazarBeam…I’m not exactly a die-hard gamer, but I do spend time on the Internet in 2021, so I know who some of these Web personalities are, and I get a lot of the in-jokes.

Even if you aren’t super into gaming you can generally pick up on the lingo. I took my mom, who’s in her 60s, and the only thing I had to explain to her was “NPC” and that was just because she had misheard it.

Anyway, my only knock is that it was pretty heavy on the swearing, and Guy dropped an F-bomb that didn’t need to be there, so be on the lookout. Fun flick.

To my YouTube Subscribers:

I did a live stream the other night, my first one. It went okay. Chatted a little, wrote a little, left it at that.

It’s been about a month since I published a video, but I’ve got a few on deck, I just need to record them. I work at a bunch of resorts in the summer so you can imagine how busy life gets.

Anyway, subscribe to youtube.com/thegraham721

I saw a moose up close last week.

May be an image of nature

“Up close” might technically be wrong. I was on a hike with an old friend and we turned around and the massive thing was just there. He and I had our sons with us so we took a few pictures and then moved in the other direction, checking over the shoulder every few seconds.

Maybe if I had been packing I might have chambered a round just in case even though shooting a moose would be A) stupid, B) immoral, C) ineffective and D) poaching, from a legal perspective. But if I had the choice between trying that or getting trampled, well, not a tough call.

Fortunately the big old beast seemed content to look at us but not charge or anything. He was chewing his twigs, we were walking, he kept chewing, we kept walking.

May be an image of 1 person, black bear, nature and tree

Anyway, that’s all, it was cool to see from this close. If I had the choice I wouldn’t have gotten that close knowingly. I’ve been closer than that to a moose cow, but I was in a semi truck when it happened, which affords you a little bit more armor.

Nature is cool. Don’t piss it off.

The Hardest Part is the Concept

It would be pretty cool to come up with a home-run concept for a web comic that people could identify with, so that I could monetize it and make a trashload of money.

Nathan W. Pyle did it with his Strange Planet idea, and it has worked to great effect. There’s also the Heart V Brain stuff done by Awkward Yeti. Very relatable, very shareable, and so on. Both those guys have a million followers.

I think I finally stumbled upon something that I can make work, at least in principle. Gonna stick it in the old rock tumbler between my ears and see if I can’t knock the rough edges off. Maybe it’ll be a one-shot, maybe it will grow legs.

After all, Charles Schulz had no idea what the hell he was doing in the beginning, but he kept doing it, and 50 years later he was sitting on a mountain of new income year after year.

I think I finally know what to do with all of the lousy texts my brother sends me.

Anyway, cryptic as hell, but I don’t care. I’ve got a concept and I can do something with it. Get back to work.

GEA Chapter 5 is live on the pod.

My apologies for the numerous delays on Chapter 5: The Caribbean Conflict. I wanted to get it right, and there was a lot to cover in terms of transitions and transportation.

The final two segments should come together better than this one did. If they don’t, I’ll let you know here, and I won’t post them if they aren’t ready.

I’m tempted to get started on the next Adventure but I’ve really got to buckle down and finish this one.

Here are the links:

Anchor

Google

Apple

Spotify