Tag Archives: books

What Ever Happened To KOHD

3 Oct

KOHD.  Sounds like a television station, huh?  (Actually, to our discovery, it is one in central Oregon.)

So the FULL name of KOHD is Knocking on Heaven’s Door.  Some of you may know what I’m talking about – others may not.  It depends how long you’ve known me, I guess.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door was a comic series that I illustrated starting back in 2008.  It was a collaboration with actor/comedian, Tommy Blaze.  He wrote it – I drew it.

READ THE REST HERE

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Books Solid

5 May

If you didn’t get a hint from the title, I’m referring to books today.  Yes, those paperbound, white paged things that people have been reading for centuries.

I love to read.  Really, I do.  I have a time and a place for it though.  For example, I’m not a morning reader.  For email, Facebook and things like that, of course I enjoy tuning into the online world and seeing what’s happening.  That’s usually my morning reading.  If I try reading a book or magazine though early in the day, I’ll zone out.  Quite possibly, I’ll fall asleep.

Guy Reading

Above:  No.  This is not me.

I like to read in the evenings.

Anyhow, I’m mentioning that because I thought the other day about how often I read and how many books I consume over time.

I think I’m a slow reader.

I say that, because I don’t get to inhale a lot of books like a lot of people I know.  Therefore, I think I’m a slow reader.  Or just an infrequent reader.  But…I do read a lot.

Okay, I’m bad at math so bear with me.

I average about one novel per month.  And that’s IF I’m lucky.  Sometimes it takes longer.  And, of course, it depends on the size of the book.  To put it in better perspective, the novel I just finished in a month was 500 pages.  But, many of the pages weren’t full of text and the font wasn’t itsy-bitsy.

Typically, I read about 15-30 minutes, 5 nights a week.

So, adding it all together, that’s about 12 novels a year – best case scenerio.

And if I live to, oh, let’s say 80, that’s 528 novels left (again, BEST case…well, unless I live much longer).  Which, if you think about it, isn’t a ton.

It got me thinking that I need to be pretty damn picky about what I read.  Life is short!  I’m thinking long term here.

Book Worm

I’m not going to name any names, but I read a really lousy novel a few months ago.  It kind of irritated – okay, it DID irritate me – because it was so bad.  And I mentioned it takes me a month or longer to read a novel.  So, at the end of it, I felt like I wasted a months worth of reading.  It was one of those things though where I kept thinking to myself It’s got to get better?  Right?  But no.  I didn’t.  The reviews on this particular book were good, too.  I think even my fingers felt cheated after exhausting energy turning those pages.

I’ve read several of the classics – supposedly “best” novels out there.  And a few I haven’t been impressed with.  Not quite sure how they became classics, but what do I know.  Again, I won’t name names (but you know who you are).

This discussion has been about novels.  It’s my preferred choice at the end of the day.  I also do read business books, self help books and things on self improvement.  I’ve also been quite a devoted fan of psychology books and once in awhile something superstitious.  These types of books though take me longer than a month to read and I get through parts of them when I can.  Usually Saturday afternoons or Sunday’s.

With my daughter, I’m – of course – reading to her as well some of the books for kiddos.  “Children’s books” they’re called (secretly though, I’m pretty certain most were made for adults).

And obviously, I read a lot of books on cartooning.  Along with comics I enjoy.  But that’s all at random.  Also it’s part of the job of being a cartoonist.

On another note, I feel like if I read much faster, I wouldn’t enjoy books as much either.

Jack Torrance copy

Above:  Now this guy knew how to write a good book.

Anyhow, I wanted to spark a discussion – if possible – about how many books YOU can read.  What can you get through?  In what amount of time?  Am I a slow reader?  Have you ever read a lousy book and feel like you wasted precious hours?  I’m curious on your thoughts.

With time as short as it is, my reading not maybe quite so fast, I’d like these books to be solid.

Another Kick At It

11 Nov

Back in 2013 I tried to launch a Kickstarter for a new graphic novel I was working on called Don Giovanni.  Suffice it to say, it didn’t go spectacular.  It did gain some backers though and excitement for the project.  But, I had quite a few details for the campaign that weren’t very realistic.  It needed some work.  I asked for way too much money to hit financially (in case you didn’t know, Kickstarter relies on cash contributions from the community to hit a goal set by the creator and in return the contributors get a piece of the project), I didn’t pitch it well and there are other tidbits in the campaign I would’ve done different.  Anyway, it didn’t pan out.  I raised some money, but if you don’t raise enough and hit your goal, you don’t get any of the money and the project fails.  It can sting a little, I’ll be honest.

Don Giovanni CoverAbove:  An original promo for the novel.

Though it failed on Kickstarter, Don Giovanni is a graphic novel I’ve never lost passion for.  Since 2013, I’ve actually re-written it, edited all the text and changed the whole perspective of how it comes together from the original plan.  I’ve been working on it for years.  I’ve made it better (at least in my perspective) and am actually glad it failed raising enough money to publish back in 2013 now.  I know I have a better quality graphic novel on my hands to create.  I’ve learned a lot since then.

Therefore, I have a nice handy-dandy script in front of me, the character design, layout, etc.  What to do next?

I’ve thought about another go at a crowd sourcing platform for it.  I may use a different one this time (so there’s no confusion on Kickstarter) and see what happens.  Admittedly, I’m not great at these (crowd sourcing).  Most successful campaigns have a huge following and – though I have thousands of readers of my cartoons in print and online daily – I feel like I have readers but not a real big actual following of me personally.  I wish I knew each fan/reader on a one-on-one basis though so I could tell them about the project.  They might get as excited about it as me.

All this being said, it may not be easy trying this again.  However, I think it’s worth it.  The BIG picture would be publication from an actual publisher.  But having a physical copy of a completed novel first is probably the best way to go.  Baby steps.

Fail or succeed with crowdfunding, I’ll be completing this graphic novel in my lifetime.  It’s well on its way.  I just don’t want to imagine it being locked up in my drawer with no one seeing it if I never get a way to publish it either myself or something else.  Worth a shot trying to get it funded first.  I know it’ll be good.

Now it just needs completed….

 

5/20/15

20 May

I try to be good with my money but one guilty pleasure I have is buying books.  I buy just about every book I read.  No library for me and I’m not too fond of e-readers.  Nope.  I like those handheld, printed books.

Why do I buy them?  I’m not sure totally sure.  Because, when I’m done with a book, it goes on the shelf.  And typically stays there.  BUT, there might be a method to my madness.  Sometimes, I’ll loan out my books.  The good ones I recommend get handed down if a family member or friend is interested in it.  I guess there’s something to say for that and makes my initial investment worth it, right?  Plus, hey – I enjoy supporting authors and booksellers.  There.  Plenty of reasons to buy them.

So, what have I been reading?

Listen, I won’t get into a huge discussion on everything.  Why?  Because I read A LOT.  No, really – I devour books.  My “special” time is evenings of relaxing and reading before bed.  Of course, it doesn’t happen all the time, but I do cherish those moments.  I’ve found that I’m not too good at reading in the morning.  I get tired no matter how thrilling the book is or if it’s a page turner.  I write in mornings – not read.

Anyhow, I will share several recent books I’ve read (and am reading).

IMG_0087

As you can see from my little pile, there’s quite the mix.

In the past month or so, these are the good ones.

No, they’re not in order, but in this stack I have Stephen King’s Revival, Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train, Janis Heaphy Durham’s The Hand on the Mirror and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

Durham’s book just arrived Monday, so I am just now about to start reading it.  Looks good though and interesting.  I’m always curious about ‘ghost stories’ and supernatural-type things, so looking forward to this one.

And to be fair, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road I started reading YEARS ago.  However, I never completed it 100% (I was about 95%).  But, I just wrapped that up.

I won’t elaborate on these books (they were all good…except not sure on The Hand on the Mirror yet).  I will shed a little detail on Jack Kerouac though.

First off, my apologies to Jack for not finishing On the Road a long time ago.  I’ve read other stuff of his, but that one slipped by.

Also….

Many of you that have been hanging out with me for a LONG time know that I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, for about four years.  During that time, I resided downtown.  And that was also a frequent haunt of Jack Kerouac.

I used to go to the same places he used to.  Many of the places haven’t changed since the sixties.  That was one thing I loved about St. Pete.  My fear is big money and corporations are taking over and are going to ruin the downtown into newer, ‘spiffier’ architecture.  If you make it there now though, you can get the vibe that a lot hasn’t changed in decades.  Pretty sweet currently, but again, I think that’s about to change.

Anyhow, I was very interested about his time living – and dying – in St. Petersburg.  His mother also lived there and he lived at her house for awhile.

I like Jack.  I like his writing and found (find) him interesting.  I’ve written several blogs about him, some of my experiences and more a few years ago:

CLICK HERE to read Kerouac Saturday

CLICK HERE to read My Neighbor Jack

Beyond Jack though, I love reading not only the classics but the newer, good books as well.  I actually pay attention to those book reviews in magazines.  They seem to pan out well.

So, what are you reading this summer?

Are you like me and actually BUY books?  Or read them on your iPad.  Hey, either way is fine.  Maybe you don’t read at all.  Or possibly you enjoy reading labels on cans of Campbell’s soup for fun.

While I’m reading what I got, I’m going to try and not let that money burn in my pocket for another book.  I have a tendency to buy more books as I’m reading books.  It’s tough though when, right across the street, is a bookstore.  Oh, and I get an email from Amazon everyday.

Stay in that wallet, you cash (or credit cards).  Otherwise I’ll be forced to buy a book on overspending habits of buying books.

Happy summer reading!

The Big Picture

18 Apr

I’m constantly coming up with new ideas for my cartooning work.  I know it’s cliche to say it, but I think it’s part of the creative field that I’m in.  I kind of have to.  Actually, I know I have to.

If I had a magic genie or mentor that I handed my ideas to on a daily basis and they just happened, I’d have a lot of stuff out there (oh, and could relax a bit more).  Everything from books, graphic novels, software, apps, websites and more.  Everyday I’m thinking, “Wow.  There might be something here!”.  The reality is though, a lot of the big ideas are just that – ideas.  Nothing really comes from them.

The older I get though, the more I’m starting to realize what ideas MIGHT work and have potential.

I’m also learning that – if I think real hard – I might already have the resources to help make that idea happen. Without even using a genie.

The Big Picture copy

What do I mean by that?

Well, I’ve always had this notion – for some odd-reason – that I must make everything happen on my own.  Which is true, in some sense.  The idea and everything must come from me, or nothing would happen.  BUT, there is help in getting ideas off the ground.  And a lot of times, it’s all right in front of my face with people I know, work with and have a relationship with already.  Resources.  All leading to getting the “idea” to come into focus much more streamlined than me thinking I can do everything by myself.

I’ve smacked myself upside the head a few times after realizing this.  “There’s my answer!  It’s been there the whole time.  Wow…..”

A lot of the details of some of these ideas of mine, I don’t know very well.  Making me the person NOT the best pick to handle something.

I’m not good at quite a few things.  (It’s not secret.  Have you ever watched me try to play basketball?)

So, it’s becoming much more easier for me to have a little system to handle these ideas.

First off, if I think of an idea and I’m very excited about it, usually it’s worked out into a good idea and I’ll run with it.  But run where?

Well, that’s when I stop, breathe – and think of the best route to go with this idea.  I ask my self several things.  Is this something I should do on my own?  Do I know others that could help make this happen?  What’s for dinner?

If it’s something I can do on my own – I’ll start!

If it’s something I think could work better with resources, I’ll try to get them!

From there, it’s a matter of making it happen then.

Now, I do hit a snag.

Sometimes, I have these BIG ideas, and no clue where to start.  I have no resources in a particular area, no direction and I believe it’s something I CAN’T do on my own.  That’s when I wish I had a magic genie to help me out.

For example, I’m working on my graphic novel (still).  I’m not 100% how to pitch it.  I’m not sure if I should pursue a literary agent first.  Or send it straight to a publisher?  Plus, I still have to write and re-write.  Who is the best person to send it to to proof read?  Then, I want to make it all professional, and how do I display it in such a way?

Lot’s to consider.

Of course there are books, YouTube videos and a ton of resources.  And trust me – I take advantage.  At the end of the day though, my mind feels a bit cluttered with different angles I could take on things.  And I’m left feeling like I’m not sure what’s best.

With this graphic novel example, I don’t know anyone to pitch it to personally, I don’t know any literary agents, publishers or proof readers.  So, even initially approaching this has been challenging for me.  That being said though, there are graphic novels out there on the shelves, and everyone that has created them has probably had the same situation I’m in.  I just have to figure out the best route they took, and maybe go from there.

With some quick thinking, maybe contact someone who HAS been published with a graphic novel and see what they did.  That might answer all my questions in one email.

See?  Just requires some thinking.

So anyway, I might have a lot of big ideas – and most people I run across (even those in the non-creative fields) will often have them as well.  No, I’m not trying to be a motivational speaker, but really – if it’s a cool idea – give it a go.  Think of resources you might have around you.  If you wanted to build a rocket ship, you might – just might – have a rocket scientist as a neighbor that could help your project take-off (no pun intended).

Again, my meter for figuring out if it’s something worthwhile is asking, “Is this exciting”?  Actually, it’s more of a feeling,  Am I excited about this?  If “yes”, then hell, I’ll give it a whirl.  I’ll figure out if I need help, resources or whatever it may be.

Some of those ideas will flourish – others will fail.  At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason and I stick with what works and move on from those ideas that don’t.  And even the ones that don’t initially work out, sometimes can resurface later after an idea hits me on how to make it work.  Or someone else brings to the table how to make it happen.

But, all this being said, if you DO know a genie that can make big ideas happen a bit quicker, please shoot me an email.  I’d like to meet one.  I think they’d be a great resource.