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.

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 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.

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

Old Time Christmas Radio

With my budding love for old time radio productions and vintage music, YouTube keeps throwing things at me to feed the addiction.

I found this playlist of old time Christmas radio programs. I’ll listen to them over the next two weeks (!!!). Jump in if you like.

Christmas Books I’m Gonna Check Out

Aiight so by the time this posts I will probably have read one of these, but I don’t care and neither do yoooooooooooou

The Wizard of Oz guy takes a crack at Santa’s origins. Interesting. Looks like he wrote sequels but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Started this once, but never finished it. I may yet, despite its publisher, because Simon Vance is one of my stealth favorite narrators. We’ll see. This book is a backstory for Marley from A Christmas Carol. Why do people think they can just write a tie-in to a seasonal classic and get away with it?

I did the audio and this one was actually pretty heartwarming.

I remember almost nothing about this book. Remember how I worked in Park City in December? I spent all of January trying to forget that, it was freaking Hell Month.

Should probably re-read it. My review on GR said it was fun.

Christmas books I’ve read…

I bought the nice HC edition and I read a handful of them to my kids every year.

Great little production with a full-cast narration. Would listen again.

I’ve read a few in this series and I skipped ahead to read the Christmas one. It’s fine, if you’re into culinary mysteries then this one will scratch the itch for you. It’s a change of pace from my normal procedural reading because the protagonist is a mid-fifties woman, but she reads like a real person.

There was another book I suddenly can’t think of…they made us promote it back when I worked at Deseret Book, it was basically a Salt Lake City version of A Christmas Story, only the kid wanted to go sledding or something, instead of getting a BB gun. I dunno, it was all right, it wasn’t great, and Deseret Book is run by a bunch of cultural Marxists these days anyway, so eh.

Oh and there was this:

I’ll put a review up at Upstream, but it’s really cool. A zombie story on Christmas Eve, and Nate’s a good writer.

Read any of these, I don’t care. We’re in December, BABY!

Chances are good I’ll hit 75 books…

…by the end of November.

I’m at 74 right now and I’m partway through 75, so come on, really. Haha.

I was sorting through my to-read list for December. Only one Christmas book so far, but then I saw this Hallmarkian Christmas Romance and thought what the hell, I can throw on some plaid and review that in my shop.

I’ve also got an L. Frank Baum/Santa Claus thing to read, provided it doesn’t suck.

Gotta finish strong. I didn’t put the dent in my list that I wanted to this year, so next year is going to be an all-out blitz. Haha. If I start up a machine where I feed in audiobooks and spit out videos, that’s fine. It increases the odds of me actually making money off this stuff, lol.

Anyway, here’s what I’m listening to that’ll round out November. I assume the publisher ruled out Lockley’s original title of “Ninja WHAAAAAT?”