Blog hop: meet my character

My good friend Liz Fountain invited me to participate in the “meet my character” blog hop. I was supposed to post this one yesterday, but I got distracted and derailed. Anyway, here goes.

* Is your character fictional or historical?

Charlie Crabtree, the main character in my new novel, is fictional.

* When and where is the story set?

The book takes place in North Georgia in 2014. I haven’t come up with a title yet, but most of the manuscript is written. I’m fine-tuning it right now.

* What should we know about him/her?

Charlie has struggled with a weight problem all his life. One morning, as he sits in a gas station and munches on a sausage biscuit, a gas pump explodes outside. He has to run out the back door of the gas station with the other customers. As he rushes out the door, he suffers some chest pains. He thinks he’s having a heart attack. Thus, Charlie goes on a diet and undergoes an intense transformation.

* What is the main conflict? What messes up?

Charlie’s father bought him comic books all the time when he was a boy. Unfortunately, Charlie’s father passed away when he was only eight. Ever since then, Charlie has kept the comic books in a wooden chest in the closet. They’re his only link to his father. One afternoon, a robber breaks into Charlie’s apartment and steals several items — including the old comic books. Charlie spends the rest of the story looking for the robber and the beloved comics.

* What is the personal goal of the character?

He has two goals: to lose weight and get back his old comic books. During his journey, he also meets a girl named Tanya. He falls deliriously in love with her.

* Is it published?

Not yet, but I expect it to drop in a month of two. I just need to think of a good title and tinker with a few minor things.

 

(I have no idea where the photo at the top came from. It’s not my work. The person responsible for it is a genius, though.)

Coffee with Jack White

I’m still hammering away on my new novel, but I took a break from it over the weekend and drew a picture of myself drinking coffee with my favorite musician, Jack White. This image popped into my mind the other night at work and I had to sit down and draw it. I hope you’re doing well. Have a nice weekend. I’ll write more later.

A new drawing

I haven’t drawn as much during the last two months because my new book has consumed all my creative juices, but I did sit down and draw a picture of Jesus this evening. Lately, I’ve felt the need to draw him.

My new novel is about halfway finished, I think. If everything runs on schedule, I think I will complete it by the end of September. I hope so, anyway. I feel really good about it. I think it’s a great story. I’m eager to publish this thing and let it fly out into the world.

I hope you have a great week. Thanks for reading.

A new book is in the oven

I haven’t blogged much lately because I’ve been working on a new novel. I think I’m about halfway finished with it. Whenever I become engrossed in a book, I neglect my blog. And I don’t draw much either. So here are three old drawings that I haven’t posted in a long time. Hope you’re having a good week.

Lillie Mae Rische

My job has really taken a bite out of my drawing time lately, but I’m still able to sit down and do some sketching on Sunday evenings. I drew a picture of the Noid, a character from the old Domino’s Pizza commercials, last Sunday. This time, I drew Lillie Mae Rische, Jack White’s fiddle player. I bought his new CD last week while I was buying groceries and I’ve been listening to it over and over again. One of my favorite songs is Temporary Ground, where Lillie Mae sings and plays the fiddle. They performed this song on the Conan O’Brien show recently. It was brilliant. I liked their old-fashioned microphones and their matching silver instruments. I hope you all have a nice week.

The Noid

Here’s a pencil drawing I just finished this morning. It’s a picture of the Noid, a character from the Domino’s Pizza commercials back in the 80s. The Noid was a creation of Will Vinton Studios, who also brought us the California Raisins. I was fascinated with the Noid when I was a kid. Still am.

My encounter with Conan O’Brien

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I was in my bathroom the other day, cleaning out the cabinet under the sink. I noticed a little green door in the back of the cabinet, a little door I had never seen before. I opened it and crawled through … and I entered a magical shopping mall filled with frolicking unicorns and dancing leprechauns and Lionel Richie music. In the food court of the magical mall, there was a KFC. I went inside it and (behold!) Conan O’Brien was sitting at a table. I asked if I could sit with him and (behold!) he said I could.

Then, as we were eating, he leaned over and whispered something to me. He said he was a risk-taker and a rule-breaker and a cake-baker and a yard-raker. I was amazed! And then he confided in me further and revealed that he was a smooth-talker and a fast-walker and a Facebook-stalker and a bathtub-caulker! While he was telling me all this, I discreetly reached over and stole a chicken wing from him.

Filled with rage, Conan O’Brien transformed into a pterodactyl and flew away, spraying me with dung as he flapped out of the restaurant. I was sad because I had failed to get his autograph … but I happily scarfed down the rest of his coleslaw and mashed potatoes.

So it goes, so it goes.

Sillysparrow Ness

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This is a drawing of Sillysparrow Ness, a YouTube diva who talks about books, chickens, and Doctor Who. (And other subjects too.) I discovered her by accident a couple of weeks ago. She did an amazing job of dissecting and analyzing the episodes Human Nature and Family of Blood. I drew this picture while camping at a motel, drinking coffee and watching cartoons.

Long time, no see

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Sorry I’ve been out of touch lately. Ever since I took the new job operating the pellet-shooter at work, I haven’t had time to do much else. The night shift is a harsh master. And during the time when I’m not working, I’m recovering from the time when I was working. But it’s only a temporary job. I should go back to my normal duties (and my normal life) in roughly a month. I’m looking forward to it. I don’t mean to complain. I’m thankful to have a job. It’s a blessing. But it demands all the energy I have. I stagger through the front door in the mornings feeling like I just had a lobotomy.

I hope you’ve been doing well. I hope you’re having a good summer … or winter … or whatever season it is in your corner of the world.

The picture up above is my friend Katrina. It’s one of the few drawings I’ve done since I started working on the pellet machine. Katrina just moved to Florida today, so this is my going-away present to her.

Oh, and Citizens of Purgatory is free for the next couple of days. If you have a Kindle, or a Kindle app on your phone, you can click here to download it.

 

My writing process

 

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Recently, my friend Liz Fountain tagged me in a “blog hop” series where various writers answer questions about the way they write. Here are my answers.

 

1.) What am I working on?

At the moment, nothing. (Unfortunately.) Since my writing is a “glorified hobby” and not a major source of income, I have to do work that I’m not so passionate about during the day. Recently, I started a new job at a mill. In an effort to learn how to operate my pellet-spitting machine, I’ve decided to put my writing on hiatus and free up some space in my mind. Later, after I’ve conquered the machine and grown accustomed to my new job, I’ll start another book. (Or maybe just a short story. I haven’t decided yet.)

 

2.) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

So far, I’ve published two novels, Under the Electric Sun and Citizens of Purgatory, on Amazon. 

Under the Electric Sun is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, science fiction story set in a massive underground city beneath the ruins of Washington, DC. While the “after-the-end-of-America-as-we-know-it” scenario is vaguely similar to Hunger Games and other dystopian novels, my book contains a lot of offbeat humor inspired by Douglas Adams. The main character in Under the Electric Sun is a cybernetic raccoon named Tristan, a government-issued tutor. Tristan and his dim-witted student, Jake Sheldon, throw sarcastic barbs at each other throughout the book. When Tristan and Jake climb a secret staircase and see the surface of the earth for the first time, they enter the ruins of an affluent gated community where the locals have turned swimming pools into gardens and golf courses into wheat fields.

Meanwhile, Citizens of Purgatory takes place in Alabama in 2003. I don’t really know which category to put this one in. I suppose you would call it a slapstick Southern gothic comedy. When I was writing it, my biggest inspirations were Garrison Keillor’s radio stories and Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

 

3.) Why do I write what I do?

I grew up with Doctor Who and Douglas Adams. I’m fascinated with science fiction, especially humorous science fiction. But I’m also madly in love with small town Americana, so I enjoy writing Southern gothic fiction too.

 

4.) How does my writing process work?

I start off with a vague idea of who the characters are and how the story will unfold. I write one chapter at a time, writing a rough draft of the chapter and fine-tuning it before I move on to the next chapter. Then I go back and overhaul all of them, moving through the manuscript one chapter at a time again. Sometimes I take brief vacations between chapters to avoid a nervous breakdown.

You can click here to order my books.

 

(The photo above is a paper typewriter made by Jennifer Collier. She’s a genius.)