February 2020: State of the Dread

Hey Dreads, what’s kraken?

Celebrate with me, January is finally over! One of the two most miserable months of the year, the other one being August. The first is cold and joyless, the second is hot and joyless, it is what it is. Here’s what I did last month:

Brother Trucker Book Club

THE PODCAST

Putting out 3 episodes proved to be much better than doing 13. So far I like that format. The first two episodes saw the passing of Mike Resnick and Christopher Tolkien (who I have read) and the third episode dropped right at the passing of Mary Higgins Clark (who I have not). A solemn month for legendary writers in their genres.

Right now I’m reading an old Resnick title that I never got to, and I’m already enjoying it tremendously after one chapter. The man uses dialogue like surgeons use scalpels.

Be sure to subscribe to the Brother Trucker Book Club Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you, listeners!

 

THE ARTWORK

IMG_20200123_100147_689

My #draweveryday challenge was a success! 31 new pieces of varying quality made it into my sketchbook, or into the digital archives as the case may be. Check out instagram.com/dreadpennies to follow along. 

The above image was by far my favorite. I got to sit in a safety class for three days at work, and had this idea after seeing an article that said Texas legalized the hunting of feral pigs from a hot air balloon. Story Idea! 

So I drew it as I listened to the instructor drone on about the importance of not running people over with your truck. (I had heard this information before.)

As for this challenge in February, check out the video below:

 

THE WRITING 

I admit I wish I had finished a draft of WITH ANSWERABLE COURAGE this month. To be honest I’m having trouble finding a balance between the new job at Krakengard and my responsibilities at home, but I think things are finally clicking. Just gotta grab life by the face and slap it around a little bit.

That said, I’m three chapters away from having a draft down, and then I’ll switch gears to the illustrations. Still looking at a post-Halloween release date.

I’m also–and this is very tentative, I don’t have details for you–beginning the preliminary stages of developing an audiobook for SLEEPLESS HOLLOW. Cannot wait to have that one out there in my favorite format.

 

THE UNFATTENING

Last year I lost 20 pounds and then found them again in about 5 months, so believe me I’m pretty mad about that. I blame the new job, which is exceptionally less physical than the old one. I’ve finally figured out what to do about that, and if you care to follow along my fitness journey, check out @batteringraham on Insta.

 

WHATEVER ELSE

Really we’re just gearing up for the baby to come, which feels like it’s taken forever, and I’m not even the one who has to carry her all the time. Ugh you guys, my poor wife…almost there. Home stretch.

In the meantime, GUYS check out this great YouTube Channel I found and totally love: it’s called Ambient Worlds, and the guy puts together these hours-long videos of movie soundtracks with nice sound effects in the background. For example, he’s got mood music for each of the Hogwarts House common rooms, with fires crackling and whatnot. He also has videos for Gondor, Rohan, the Shire in Middle-Earth, or stuff for the Hunger Games, I mean…everything. It’s just beautiful. I’ve been writing to it and I love it.

Okay time to get back to work. If you’ve read any good books lately, comment below! I’m always on the hunt for a recommendation. I’m trucking full-time, last month I read 15 books, I can probably get to yours 😀

SLEEPLESS HOLLOW Free Chapters

Front Cover

Hi gang,

If you haven’t been following on Twitter or Insta, I’ve recorded the first 3 chapters of SLEEPLESS HOLLOW, which launches next week! They’re on the Brother Trucker Book Club Podcast. Individual episode links below:

Chapter 1: A Distant Relation

Chapter 2: Endless Watch

Chapter 3: The Book in the Box 

And for some icing on the cake, check out my page on Inktale! You can buy all kinds of sweet merch with the Headless Horseman on it! Everything from throw pillows to towels, mugs, shirts, hoodies, and more.

Thanks for tuning in!

States of Dread: Production Update

Hey there, DreadHeads. Here’s an update on my various projects, and when you can expect various things over the next year.

SLEEPLESS HOLLOW:

I’m 95% done with the cover. Illustrator Greg Newbold (check out his wonderful work here) has graciously weighed in on my in-progress shots on Facebook, and his feedback has really helped to clean it up. Here’s what it looks like right now, cover not final.

I still don’t feel comfortable announcing a release date for it. I have a few more things to write into the manuscript, which came in at 60k words. Right now my editor has it and her initial opinion is highly encouraging. I’m sooooo excited to share this book with you guys.

THANKSGIVING EPIC FANTASY:

A few years ago I jokingly drew a picture of some Pilgrims and Indians riding giant turkeys into battle together, and I lamented the lack of fun Thanksgiving books. We have tons for Halloween and Christmas, why not round out the trifecta?

So I’m working on a book that will come out next year in November, which coincidentally is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower arriving in North America. Right now I’m in the research phase, and I just finished reading this great book by Caleb Johnson.

I want to use as many real historical figures as possible, and in order to do it well, I needed to know more about everyone on the boat. In November I’ll read another book for research, written by William Bradford himself:

Of Plymouth Plantation by [Bradford, William]

I’m not revealing the title of my book yet, but you can bet it will be fully illustrated. This continues the streak of my best story ideas starting out as sarcasm.

BRIMSTONE, or “Blast Crew Goes to Mordor”:

This book needs a lot of work. Major thanks to my friend Madeline for an extremely thorough reading of it, she gave me a lot of feedback that will make the story tons better if I apply it right. Unfortunately there is nothing about that process that I can rush, and when I do get around to this book it will have a TON of artwork in it, so I wouldn’t expect it out before 2021 at the absolute earliest. Trust me that it will be quite the ride when it is there. In the meantime I’ll work on smaller projects for annual releases, and pick at this one slowly so I don’t rush it.

THE PODCAST:

I’m so happy about how well the podcast is doing! Big thanks to everyone who’s tuning in. Look up the BROTHER TRUCKER BOOK CLUB wherever you listen to podcasts. I do three episodes a week–two for book reviews, one for trucking stories, usually around 15 minutes.

READING:

At the time of this posting I have read 98 books in 2019, 35 in print and 63 on audio. This doesn’t include 12 books that I elected not to finish after getting about a quarter of the way through. 2019 has been a great year for discovering new good books. And the best time of year hasn’t even landed yet!

THE FUTURE:

This is hard to predict, and is mostly guided by things that I would like to do. I just have to be selective with my time. I want to release at least one book per year. Sometimes that will mean a short book, but I’ll always have something in the queue.

This fall I’m going to practice more with digital drawing, because I’ve got a major itch to get into cartooning. We’ll see how it works with my writing, because novels are my first true love. It just might be time to start having some little art kidlets, if I can swing it.

The important thing is to not spread myself too thin and burn out, as I often do. My real kids are getting older and I really want to dedicate more time to adventures with them. I just have to balance my craft with the more important things.

That’s all. Stay tuned to my Twitter and Instagram (@DreadPennies) for other updates. Thanks everyone.