This is where I am today on this guy. Had planned on doing a watercolor background of a sandstorm, but then as I worked on that I started to see an aerial view of sand dunes instead. So I am going with that for the moment and maybe I'll change it up at some point. I don't know. I have about seven days left to finish it up, and at the moment, I'm pretty happy with the style and the way it's looking. I don't know if I'll change the colors of the background to make him stand out even more. I want the background to be sand (or representative of it) because I cannot hear his name without immediately remembering my time in the desert. Which is selfish because my time there was so short. Anyway. I'll be doing a video essay on this painting once I finish it up and that'll go up on the youtube channel whenever it's done. Feel free to send me any comments that you have about the painting. And again this isn't supposed to be "making fun" of him or creating an idol to worship. I'm just trying to understand him better without using words for once.
Here is today's progress on this Dubya painting. I'll start work on the video essay before long. I guess this was inevitable.
I've only been at this father thing for a short time, but I have a couple guys to thank for setting good examples for how to do it well. My dad and my father-in-law. Rather than buy them a card at the store, I made this one here. I love you both and hope that your day is filled with more enjoyment and good company than any of your days before.
For any of you who are following my Dr. Househusband comic, I am moving it completely over to Patreon. This is mostly just to maintain separate spaces for me (the serious guy) and me (the non serious guy.)
If you haven't yet seen my Dr. Househusband Comic, then please click the button below to check it out.
It's a comic strip and there will be more comics to come (as time allows). Thank you so much to those who've shared the page and who've commented with suggestions or just regular old Kudos. Onward.
At the moment I have reward tiers set up for patronage, but most of that stuff will change as I determine what my actual needs are. Currently I am running the comic strip on a pseudo-weekly schedule, and it is totally free. So if you want to laugh at my interpretation of what it's like to be a stay-at-home dad, then you can check the comic out without spending a dime.
In addition to that, the page serves as a history of my own growth as a visual artist. I post all kinds of stuff on there that I won't be posting on my "professional" website, and if you know anyone who is interested in getting some original stuff (or possibly some fan art), then please feel free to comment on the Patreon page (or email me), and I'll see if we can work something out.
Okay. Back to work. Sounds like a baby is rolling around in her crib. Why would she nap for more than ten minutes?
If you're looking for something to read this weekend, then consider my new book The Bombmaker's Wife which has just received it's second 5 star review on amazon. Everyone who has been awesome enough to give me feedback on the book personally and online: thank you. There is no greater reward (aside from financial security) than knowing that a book I wrote made people question pre-conceived notions or that it made them think about things they'd never considered before. (I generally use other mediums if I'm going for laughs. Who knows what will come in the future. Maybe one of these days there will be no social issues worth writing about and I can focus on making people laugh full-time?)
So that's 2 reviews so far, and I am exceedingly grateful that there are people out there who have taken the time to spread the word about the book. I know time is valuable, and I appreciate yours. So thank you so much.
If you're interested in getting a kindle copy, click this button:
Or if you're like my Aunt Sheila and you only read physical books, click this button:
I can tell you that this is an important book all day long, and I would if you let me. But if you don't want to listen to me, then see what the reviewers had to say. Give the book a chance; I'm sure you'll be glad that you did.
Click the button below to see the reviews on amazon (and maybe write one if you already read the book but didn't know where to go and do it.)
Have a great weekend!
There is this pretty amazing site (Library Thing) that I had never heard of before where you can offer up copies of your books as review copies to anyone who is a member of the site. The winners of the giveaways are asked to review the books they win a copy of, but no one will hunt you down if you don't review the book. (I mean, you should review of course. Since the way that people are able to find new authors who aren't backed by a large press is through word of mouth and reviews, although they are most often typed, are word of mouth too.)
So I'm offering up 100 copies each of The Bombmaker's Wife, Battle Rattle, and also my collection Battle Rattle and Other Stories with the hope that some people out there might be willing to review the books in exchange for getting them for free (They've all been reviewed some already, but I hope to get a lot more reviews in order to build a larger fan base as I move onto the next books in the Riverside Series I am working on, and until I have big advertising dollars on my side, I am counting on readers to help me spread the word about the work I'm doing.)
So what do you need to do in order to win a copy of one of these books? All you have to do is sign up for LibraryThing (which has over 2 Million members already), then you can click on this button right here:
Once you've signed up and clicked on this button, you should be able to scroll down the page and locate each of my books (as well as a bunch of others that you may be interested in reading.) There are buttons that read "Request it" to the right of each book. You click that button, and then you get on with your life and once the giveaway ends, you might get a free copy of the book. Because I am a small and insignificant man, I am limited to doing E-book giveaways at this stage. There are physical book giveaways on LIbraryThing and one of these days, I'll be able to run some of those too.
If you don't want to fool around with a giveaway, you could always just buy the books, though. I'm not gonna stop you.
Here are the links to my books available currently.
For those of you who are unaware, I've been working on some kids books for my daughters over the past few months. I have a couple already printed out (one using Pint Sized Productions and the other using Shutterfly: let me know if you want more info on that stuff) that we read to the girls when I'm lucky enough for Shannon to choose Finn Fetches Numbers or So We Brought One Home.
My own experience as a stay-at-home parent has shown me that if you are driven to do something, even if it means you have to wake up at 4 a.m. to do it, then you can. All it requires is enough desire, motivation (and the support of your loved ones) to make it happen. You can sleep when you're dead (just kidding. Go to bed earlier. You're just watching bad TV anyway.)
The Youtube channel will grow over time, adding some little cartoons and book trailers and so on. But for now I am just talking about the revisions I'm making as I finalize this book My Toys Are Your Toys Too which I hope to send out to agents at the end of the summer (and then if no one bites, I'll publish it on my own because there are so many great options for that now it is becoming silly not to consider if as a viable way to be a writer and earn a living. No more on that here because this is not that kind of blog.
If you are at all interested in digital art or if you just want to hear me talk about the kind of things that run through my head before the sun comes up, then you can do that here:
And if you want a little sample of what I've got going on over there but you don't want to leave my website because it is the most amazing place on the internet, then you can see that here:
That's it and that's all.
Hey everyone. As you are aware, I am working on a lot of different projects currently. One that I am excited about is that the physical version of Battle Rattle, my best-selling Kindle Single that is available on Audible and on Amazon will soon be available as a stand-alone print book too. I think the cover art is pretty sick (I mean, I did it myself with a lot of trial and error and a lot of help from online resources and friends and family who took the time to say "that's bad" and "that's good".) So here is the RGB version of the cover that will appear on the print version of the book when it is released in the next couple of months. I will, of course, give you more info on this as I know for sure. I've still got this kid's book and a podcast about a fake town and I'm running a newspaper about a fake town and I also need to be a decent father when my girls are awake.
In addition to this news, I wanted to publicly thank Raegen Pietrucha again for her generous review of Battle Rattle that appeared in Mid American Review and that is now posted to Goodreads for anyone in the universe to read. I've been fortunate to have a large number of readers who've just "got it" when it comes to this story, and that isn't something that happens often. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post reviews (good and bad) wherever you do so. A writer can't do much good if no one reads his work, and reviews help people to find new writers. All right. Happy Wednesday.
Here is the cover art:
Thank you to whoever took the time to say this about The Bombmaker's Wife on amazon:
"Excellent book! I enjoyed the plot and very well written. Looking forward to reading future books from this author."
This is the first "public" review of the book so far, and I am so grateful that folks take the time to leave reviews. Reviews show potential readers that other readers have taken a chance on a book (or another product) and when you know someone else has taken a chance on an obscure writer (like myself), it's easier for someone else to take a chance too. And that is what it's all about for people like myself at this stage in the game. Unless I become a household name, word of mouth is what I rely on. And, of course, if I get picked up by a press that can help me do some of this promotional stuff, then it'll be easier to get my books into the hands of readers. For now, though, I really need the help of people just like whoever was kind enough to leave that review yesterday. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So please, if you've read The Bombmaker's Wife (or any of my books) please leave a review: an honest one by clicking the button below!
For anyone who is in a sharing mood today, feel free to copy and share this link to the book's amazon page on whatever social media channel you like. Literally every single share is a blessing. I think this book is important and I want to get it into readers' hands. Your help is appreciated so much.
If you want to review it on Goodreads, you can do that by clicking this button:
Copy and share the link below if you're feeling friendly:
And finally, I am trying to get this review giveaway thing set up on LIbraryThing (yes, there is yet another "thing" out there that I am trying to use to help me spread the word about my books.) Once that is set up, I'll have a number of review copies available for free.) So I'll let you know. In the meantime, you can review it on LibraryThing by clicking on the button below. You'll have to make an account if you don't already have one, so be aware of that.
Here is a little Dr Househusband Memorial Day animation I made to honor those who served.
Enjoy the day.
Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy in whatever form. I appreciate your support. Knowing that people are willing to buy the books means a lot. I want them to be be read too. I don't just care about sales, but if no one buys the book or knows the book exists, then the book will not be bought or read. And a book that goes unread has no chance of doing much good in the world (assuming the book is meant to do that.)
Goodreads has made it possible for me to offer people a safe spot on the internet where they can read samples from my books. I've made samples of all my books available there, and now anyone who wants to see what they might be getting into when they crack open a book by Brandon Davis Jennings can actually crack a book open before you buy it or read it for free on the Kindle Online Lending Library or with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription. There are "look insides" for the e-books on Amazon as well, but not everyone likes Amazon and some folks don't want to go to Amazon unless they are actually buying something that they can't get anywhere else. Anyway, here is the link for The Bombmaker's Wife Goodreads page where you can read a sample from the novel:
Please share this post with your friends and family or anyone who you think might be interested in a story that is more complicated than the nonsense that was just on Law and Order SVU. (Tina and I are both sick of that show and yet for some reason we keep watching....)
Here is a link to the book description on the Amazon sale's page:
I never really thought I would want to write a series or stories set in the same place because the idea seemed too boring to me. But that was before I took the time to think about how much a single place can evolve over time (perhaps something a lot easier to notice when you aren't moving around every couple of years.) Everything around us is constantly changing and will until the day we die...not counting the way our bodies decompose, I guess.
As much ugly as there is out in the world, I'm doing the only thing that I know how to do in order to put a dent in that. I can't do it alone, and I appreciate all the help that you've given me. If I win this contest, then it'll be a lot easier to promote the book (since Amazon will pay to do some of the promotion for me, and as you are aware, Amazon has a lot more money and a lot more people working for them than I have. So it goes.)
Thanks again. I've said it a lot and I'll say it more. Writers aren't doing much to affect change in the world when they don't have readers. I'm lucky that I have a few.
For anyone who has bought (or does buy) the physical book, you also get the ebook (Kindle Version). So if you want to read the book, you know, immediately, then all you have to do is either download the Kindle App or, if you own a Kindle, then you can just download it on that device. Obviously I am thrilled that people have bought copies already, and I want to make sure that you don't have to wait if you don't want to. So just in case you didn't know, now you do.
Thanks for all the support, and for the text messages, and congratulations and so on. It was really nice to hear from friends out of the blue on this. Glad to know that you all still care despite how rarely we get to see or talk with one another. I know I wasn't really promoting this much before it was done, but I barely had enough time to get it all squared away before the deadline.
If you want to get a copy of The Bombmaker's Wife (which will increase my chances of winning the competition and, I believe, increase your chances of reading a good book this summer), please click the button below.
That button will take you to the Kindle Version. If you want to buy the physical version (which will get you the Kindle Version as well, then click this button instead.
Here is a little video clip that is part of the bigger trailer I am working on for The Bombmaker's Wife. It just happened to have a match in it, so it is a visual pun related to Kindle match book. That's about all there is to it. Happy Sunday.
A few people have asked me if there is anything they can do to help me win this contest. First off: thanks so much for caring enough to even utter those words.It means a lot.
Here is what I know about the contest:
The contest winner receives 20,000 British Pounds and a book deal along with a marketing campaign and all the glory that goes with it. Also here are the FAQs for the contest's webpage.
So I want to win, surely. But aside from writing (what I believe to be) a great book, getting it set up as both a good looking physical book and an well-formatted ebook, and then getting those books entered into the contest yesterday, there isn't a whole lot that I can see from Amazon about what exactly I need to do to increase my odds of winning. What I do know is that if I hadn't entered the contest, then there is no way the book could win at all. That's a truth that has served me well with contests in the past, and it is advice that I will give my daughters when they're old enough to worry about things like that.
It is possible that if you review The Bombmaker's Wife here: (Review the Bombmaker's Wife on Amazon.UK) then it will make the book more visible to the judges at Amazon, but I cannot guarantee that. It's also possible that if it sells a lot of copies, then the book will be more likely to win. But, like I said, I don't know for sure. There is some mention that this contest functions similarly to the Kindle Scout program (but if you don't know what that is, then that means nothing to you.)
What I am doing to spread the word about the book in a way that I hope is a bit less annoying than just running around town and sticking the book in their faces is writing a news blog about the town of Riverside where The Bombmaker's Wife takes place. The articles are written by Davis McKiernan, the best reporter for The Riverside Tribune. So it's guaranteed that the stories will be true and full of facts that concerned citizens have the right to know: not that they care.
Whether or not I win the contest, there is a chance that Amazon will like the book enough to publish it on one of their imprints. And that is something I would really like to have happen. I don't mind doing all this work on my own, and I will gladly keep doing it this way for as long as I have to, (gratefully my essay collection is still being released by Little Presque Books at some point this year or early next) but having a little help with promotion would be nice. If not, then I'll just have to adapt and keep getting better at it myself until I'm hired to write Pepsi ads. I dream of doing adds for Pork Cracklin's, but that is most likely just a pipe dream.
So the best way that you can help me is by telling people about the blog and by telling people about the book. I am doing everything I can to make finding those things easy as can be. And I will always link back to them on these posts.
See, here are links to all the info that matters.
Finally, if this stuff is too serious for you, then you might be interested in my comic that I am running on patreon. Dr. Househusband. I had to take a couple weeks off in order to get this book all lined up, but it's coming back with a vengeance: like a two-year-old who hasn't napped all week long.
Feel free to share this info with the entire universe and, if you're feeling generous, consider supporting me on patreon here:
Thanks so much.
To celebrate the release of The Bombmaker's Wife, Waiting for the Enemy is free on kindle today. If you don't have a kindle and still want to read the book, then you can download the Kindle App for any device you own (well, not like on a Gameboy), and read it there. Here is the trailer. And you can get the book here: Get Waiting for the Enemy Free (expires May 20, 2017)
Thanks to all of you who continue to support me as I work at this.
It is done. The Bombmaker's Wife is out on Amazon and can be had for $3.99. You can also read it for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
Here's the book jacket business:
When Jordan O’Duffy is sexually assaulted in the Riverside High School locker room two months before graduation, he begins to plot his revenge on the students he believes assaulted him. Zeva, a Bosnian Muslim illegal immigrant who worked with Islamic extremists in the Middle East for years escapes across the Atlantic Ocean and settles in Riverside.
Zeva sees something in Jordan that reminds her of the life she’d once lived before her husband and son were murdered by soldiers during the Bosnian genocide. Can Zeva help Jordan, a boy abandoned by his father and ignored by his mother, to make it through the final two months of high school without turning to violence? Or will the truth about her past be what pushes Jordan to take his father’s guns to school to act on the terrifying thoughts he’s been having?
You can buy the book for kindle here: The Bombmaker's Wife.
The physical edition of the book is under review currently, and once it is made available for purchase, I will let you know. It's priced at $9.99 and if you buy that version I was able to give you the ebook version for free (so you can start reading it immediately if you're not good at waiting for things to show up in the mail.
Thanks for all your support, everyone.
The cover has been finalized, and here it is. Thank you to everyone who emailed and talked to me in person about this. Not a whole lot of time to babble on here since the deadline for the contest is the 19th, and I need to have the physical edition edited and formatted and so on in addition to the ebook. And, as you know, I have these amazing ladies in my life that are my first priorities. So here is the cover, and the description will follow soon. Also, there will be a series of news stories that go along with the book that will start running on a "News Blog" called The Riverside Tribune (named after the newspaper in the town where the majority of The Bombmaker's Wife is set) once the book is released this Friday (so long as everything goes according to plan; does it ever? No. It does not.)
Speaking of the plan, I hear a baby waking up. I'm on my way, Maddie!!!!!!
There's a contest that pays 20k pounds to the winning author, and I have all these books I've written just sitting around, and after seeing the guidelines and thinking about what I want this particular book to do, I have decided to enter. No book can change anything if no one reads it, so it's better for me to attack this way than to sit around hoping that someone will do the work for me. Practicing what I preach is a lot more important to me now than it was before I had children and even if that sounds corny to people, I don't care. There is no time for me to worry about being sentimental and how my work or my method of distributing that work will be received by academics and people who are afraid of change. You know who you are, so if that sounds like an attack to you, then I guess it is. Although, it is very unlikely anyone "offended" by that will be reading this anyway.
Part of what I've needed to accomplish while getting The Bombmaker's Wife finalized for publication, is to make a strong cover that communicates the right mood and also entices a reader to click on the book (no clicky, no buy-ey). I've received some guidance from my good friend Eric Smallwood and also a few generous artists out in the world who've shared their knowledge of painting on YouTube...for free. Robert Marzullo and Jazza, I am mostly talking about you two gentlemen. But there were some random others who I hope to one day track down and thank as well. Only so much time, as you are aware, and each minute spent not earning a dollar is a minute spent accruing student loan debt. Hooray!?
I'll be talking about The Bombmaker's Wife more as I move forward, but I wanted to let everyone who has read my previous fiction know that this book is set in the same town that Rake and Vezchek live in while not deployed (Riverside), but it is a book that is more about America and the people who live in it: legally and not. A better description and a teaser and all that jazz is to come, but for now, here are a few of the cover mock-ups I've done just so people can have a look at something tangible, and so you can see that a person who has no formal training in visual art can create something that compliments his work just by getting up at 4 a.m. every day so that he has time to practice before the daughter train chugs into town, snags him from the station, and then rolls down the line to chaos city.
In short, don't make excuses for yourself; make a plan and adapt. Keep working hard, and find a path that you can travel. There is a path for you even if it's bumpy and foggy and if you find yourself back at the entrance a few hundred times. Keep traveling, and you'll get somewhere, even if the place you wind up is a place you never thought you would be. I don't know who you are or if anyone is actually reading this, but if you are reading this, I believe in you and I believe in the good you can do in the world. So, you know, go out and do it.
Comments are welcome, of course. Anyway, here are four of the comps so far. More on all of this to come soon, and, for those of you who are less interested in "serious" books. I also recently finished my childrens' book My Toys are Your Toys Too which I'll be shopping around as soon as I figure out where to submit it.
It's been a long time since I've talked about Operation Iraqi Freedom is My Fault, and I don't want to jinx myself by saying this stuff, but it looks like Tim Johnston and I are much closer to making the book a physical thing that will come into the world, hopefully, before world war three begins.
When I wrote OIF is My Fault, no one had ever dropped the MOAB (but I knew what it was). When I wrote the book, I'd never considered that Donald Trump could ever be president of the U.S. When I wrote the book, I had no children and I never thought I'd be a father to daughters (I sure am glad that I've been that lucky though). When I wrote the book, things were a lot different than they are now, but one thing that's clear to me as I re-read these essays is that I still believe the things I wrote in the book, and I don't know how I could have said them better, and I am lucky that I've had people who believed in me and what I was writing along the way.
I want to thank all the people who've expressed interest in writing reviews and blurbs or just saying that they're excited to read the book. It means a lot to me. It seems like there is always another book being published and everyone is telling you that the book is a "must-read" because that's what advertising is supposed to do. You need to sell books if you want to make money so that you can afford to write more books so that you can sell the new ones and so on and so on. So to anyone who is still able to muster excitement for this book, I am grateful.
Operation Iraqi Freedom is My Fault is much closer to publication than it's ever been, and this has been made possible by Tim Johnston at Little Presque Books. Hopefully all the time and effort put into doing this book "the right way" will mean that it is better designed to do its job.
In order to "celebrate" finishing another round of copy edits on OIF is My Fault, Waiting for the Enemy is free today and tomorrow on Kindle. Just go here to grab a copy: Free Copy of Waiting for the Enemy (expires on May 3rd). I hope everyone has a great week.
Also: here is the trailer for Waiting for the Enemy from a hundred years ago:
No one has ever done this before. I am the first human to ever consider writing a book that is (at least partially) sharing propaganda. But all good books are partially propaganda (feel free to debate me on this; I won't respond.)
In all seriousness, this is what most of my "free" time is devoted to while I sit around like a goon, waiting to hear back from agents on book queries. This has taken a lot longer than I expected it would, but since I didn't know (and still don't really know) how to "do art" I had a ton of catching up to do.
That is mostly what this post is about, I suppose. I wanted to say thank you to a few folks on Youtube whose expertise I found extremely helpful during this process. But first, of course, I need to thank Eric Smallwood for talking to me about this stuff one on one and for doing such a killer cover for Battle Rattle and Other Stories and for being an all-around good guy all the way back when we were in The Dead Cardinals together up until now.
If you are at all interested in learning how to draw or paint or whatever, then you can go to Youtube and get hundreds of hours of tutorials for free. You don't have to go to school to learn. If you are motivated, then you can create your own curriculum, you can buy books (I bought a few), and you can ask people for help. I mean, they're out there, those helpful people. I am not claiming that I'm a professional artist on the same level as any of these folks who I am going to post links to, but what I am saying is that when I started out, I did stuff like this:
And now I can do stuff like this:
The image of the soldier there isn't done, and I used a reference, and on and on and on. But if you would've asked me a few months ago, I would've told you that it would've been impossible for me to learn how to do anything that looked anything remotely close to that good. All right. Anyway, if you or someone you know is interested in learning about art and you or they don't have the time or money for art school, then here are a few places that can help bridge that gap (or completely eliminate the gap depending on ability and motivation.)
Draw With Jazza! He's kind of my go-to guy.
Proko! This guy has some great free stuff too.
Robert Marzullo! Another site with great tutorials.
All of these guys helped me a ton. And there were some other random videos out there for when I was working on specific things (I have a lot more for animation, and I will talk about that soon enough, I'm sure.)
The final image of the post is this one from the book in progress. Thanks a bunch to all those people out in the world taking the time to help others to make art. Maybe one of these days I'll get around to sharing some of the stuff I spent over 100k dollars learning in school before I graduated and was hired by my wife as a househusband.
Here's a little card to say Happy Easter. If you don't celebrate Easter, it's still fine since this card doesn't technically have anything to do with Easter either; although, for some reason, this is about what it's come to.
I hope everyone has a great Sunday and that the coming week is a good one.