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.

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.

Projects for 2023

Guys, I’m planning an end-of-year bash on the channel (subscribe!) where I will announce what I’m going to publish/produce/accomplish next year. Here are the categories

Reading: Fewer books, but longer ones. Average one per week or so. This will include the current four Stormlight Archive volumes, biographies on Jefferson Davis and Robert Rogers, and a huge lineup of artbooks that I’m behind on reading.

Writing: I will publish ENGINES OF MERYKA: HOWLING WILDERNESS, as well as the print/illustrated editions of SHERIFF PORTER and ANSWERABLE COURAGE.

Drawing: I’ll have my hands full doing illustrations for three books. One way to make that manageable will be to limit the amount of art I put in each one. I’m thinking eight total for the shorter books (not including the cover art) and no more than fifteen for HOWLING WILDERNESS. I’ll have to be very strict with my schedule.

Video: Production on video content will be regularlized. There will be at least one weekly video on my channel, reviewing a book or weighing in on something generally.

Audio: The Radcracker Podcast will continue, with new art and a more rigid format, so that the content is (frankly) better.

2023 is going to be a big year for me. I’m done moving, my schedule is consistent, and with my time consumption being predictable, I can dial in my meaningful creations with greater speed. I reserve the right to change any of this stuff as needed. Stay tuned.

Armed Forces, Veterans, and Memorial

This will probably become my perennial Memorial Day post. It’s not the kind of thing that I’ll have a ton to add to, it’s just something we all need to do on the regular.

The book I think of most for Memorial Day is FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, by James Bradley. The review is above. It’s these books that will help us understand what it costs to create a nation and protect it from tyranny.

To me, that’s what Memorial Day is. Remembering the country we have, and what we enjoy in it, and those who died to give us that ability to enjoy it. They don’t get to have it. They just paid for it. We’re living on their work.

I touched on the idea of the price of a nation in HOWLING WILDERNESS, during a draft of the first chapter. This might not make it into the final version but that’s fine. The sentiment is there.

“Fifty years,” Lady Vandervoort said, her voice lowering just a touch, her eyes going distant. “None of it happened here. It wasn’t on Katahdin, it wasn’t in Maine. We trained in Virginia. Built mimics in the Ohio. Crossed Pennsylvania. Fell into a trap in New York. Finished the fight in New Jersey. This place…this place had nothing to do with it. But we are free here, because of what was done there. Fifty years I’ve carried the memories of that day, and all the hard days before it. Now here we are…finding this uniquely Merykan way to celebrate what we have.

“This? This is the anomaly. Life isn’t like this. Hasn’t been like this for most people in most places for most of the time we’ve walked the earth. Life is war and chaos and brutality and subjugation, speckled with tiny moments of peace along the way. This is peacetime. Enjoy it for what it is. Remember what it cost to get you all here. Have fun bombing around in the woods and the swamps, I guess, but know that you hold a diamond in your hand. It isn’t yours, it’s just yours to take care of. People died to find it, to pull it out of the ground and cut it and shine it up so you can look at it and see how pretty it is.

“Make sure it stays that way. One of you little bastards is going to win this thing and get a Council appointment. The diamond isn’t yours to spend. It’s yours to preserve. Think about that for the next two thousand miles.” She chuckled, lost in some distant memory. Then she sighed. “See you at the other end of this. Good luck.”

The cultured reader will know who Lady Vandervoort is from the original Engines of Liberty trilogy. If you don’t know, I won’t spoil the surprise.

Anyway. Celebrate well, and use this day for what it really means.

Channel Recommendation: Erik Grankvist

Every passing day I get a stronger urge to do more work with my hands, to be a maker, a real analog learner. I’m only getting closer to 40 and I haven’t achieved the more important stuff I set out to achieve in life.

My garage? Not a workshop. It’s full of mostly other peoples’ stuff, and bicycles. No workbench. One modest tool box and a cart with a bunch of junk on it.

I’m going to fix that this summer. In the meantime, look at this Swedish kid who bounced out of high school and started just straight-up DOING things. You want to talk about memes and masculine urges where you ditch society and build your own life in the wild?

He’s literally doing it.

Gotta get my arse in gear.

Post-Kentucky Catch-Up

Hi DreadHeads,

I was in Kentucky last week. I spoke about it on the most recent episode of Radcracker.

Listen here in your browser: https://anchor.fm/radcracker/episodes/Graham-Spends-A-Week-In-Kentucky-e1ircht

Mostly I was there for work, but I had a hot minute to check out some local sights on Friday night. Gorgeous state, gorgeous scenery. It just rained a ton and turned everything green, and I liked that.

On the way back to LVille from Benton

Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, IN

Because Louisville is right across the river from Indiana, my branch is zoned for that part of the state, and I got to make a few deliveries in an old historical district.

And since I was close enough to it, I checked out the Louisville Temple. Wasn’t able to do a session, but I walked the grounds.

Louisville Temple

Anyway, I’m back in the saddle now and returning to work on HOWLING WILDERNESS.

BREAKING: Beets taste like dirt

And they always have.

For serious though, I’m shoving more vegetable smoothies down my gullet to crush my hunger cravings and prevent me from eating soy-infused corn sold by truck stops. I desire to once more weigh 180 lbs.

I deserve this suffering for the money I have spent ingesting food unfit for the body my Woad ancestors bestowed upon me. I shall report further.

Like this post if you want me to share my daily weight on the bathroom scale when I wake up.