Tag Archives: comics

Matt Nelson's Catbeard Book V: Poopdeck & Pawprints

Catbeard Book Five is Here!

The latest in Matt Nelson’s hilarious piratey comic series has arrived with Catbeard Book Five: Poopdecks & Pawprints! Once again we can all set sail with Catbeard and the crew of the Fearsome Roar, and I couldn’t be more excited. If you haven’t read Catbeard, you should rectify that immediately. (New storyline begins November 17th.) It’s hilarious, and these days it’s a nice respite from the absurd chaos reality throws at us.

Matt Nelson's Catbeard Book V: Poopdeck & Pawprints
Matt Nelson’s Catbeard Book V: Poopdeck & Pawprints

I’m also in this book! I was honored to be asked to write the forward for this one and I jumped at the chance. Plus it meant Matt would do an illustration of me! He gave me the option to have a standard portrait, or he offered to draw me as a gibbering Lovecraftian monstrosity. Clearly, I made the correct choice.

It's me as an elder...uh, thing. Credit to Matt Nelson.
It’s me as an elder…uh, thing. Credit to Matt Nelson.

Want to know what I wrote? Well, you’re going to have to pick up the book. You can buy them directly from Matt or pick them up for your Kindle over on Amazon. Catbeard always starts life as a free webcomic, and you can follow along at catbeardthepirate.com. If you want to support Matt’s work (and you should) you can join me in supporting him on Patreon.

Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

My 2017 Reading List

My Reading List for 2017

Can you feel it? The end of a year approaches. That means it’s time to revisit all the books I’ve read over the last year. As always most of this list correlates with my Goodreads reading challenge. (See my Goodreads Year in Books here.) It’s always a bit longer here because I can’t list any of the beta readings I do for friends.

I had no challenge this year. Which was great. There’s a lot of books on this list that I had been saving after the last few challenges. It was nice to be able to work through the proverbial nightstand pile. One minor note, there’s are a few books on here I’d consider novellas. Usually, they wouldn’t make the cut or they’d be shifted to another list, but I am keeping them this year. I read a few enormous tomes, so I feel they balance things out.

Since this list is always enormous, l forgo reviews. However, follow me on Goodreads where I do occasionally leave reviews. I call out some of my favorites of the year at the end of each list. As before, all links will go to Amazon as a default, but if one of these books sound interesting to you, then I encourage you to visit your local independent bookstore and purchase through them. It’s vital for your local economy to buy local whenever you’re able.

📚 Novels

  1. Yesterday’s Demons (The Verdant Revival Book 1)
    by Mike Ripplinger
  2. Red Rising
    by Pierce Brown
  3. Hard Magic
    by Larry Correia
  4. The Incorruptibles (The Incorruptibles #1)
    by John Hornor Jacobs
  5. Dawn (Xenogenesis #1)
    by Octavia E. Butler
  6. The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1)
    by Helene Wecker
  7. The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #1)
    by Glen Cook
  8. The Last Days of New Paris
    by China Miéville
  9. Two Serpents Rise (Craft Sequence #2)
    by Max Gladstone
  10. Hammers on Bone (Persons Non Grata #1)
    by Cassandra Khaw
  11. The Girl with All the Gifts (The Girl With All The Gifts #1)
    by M.R. Carey
  12. The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)
    by N.K. Jemisin
  13. The “Wonderful” Wizard of Futhermucking Oz (Futhermucking Classics Book 1)
    by Matt Youngmark
  14. Beta Reading
  15. Rocannon’s World (The Hainish Cycle #1) …again
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  16. The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)
    by John Scalzi
  17. Beta Reading
  18. River of Teeth
    by Sarah Gailey
  19. The Magicians
    by Lev Grossman
  20. The King in Yellow …again
    by Robert W. Chambers
  21. The Half-Made World (The Half-Made World #1)
    by Felix Gilman
  22. Engines of the Broken World
    by Jason Vanhee
  23. The Brotherhood of the Wheel
    by R. S. Belcher
  24. Alif the Unseen
    by G. Willow Wilson
  25. Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin #1)
    by Patrick O’Brian
  26. “I Give You My Body . . .”: How I Write Sex Scenes
    by Diana Gabaldon
  27. A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
    by Patrick Ness
  28. The Rise of Ransom City (The Half-Made World #2)
    by Felix Gilman
  29. Devil’s Call
    by J. Danielle Dorn
  30. Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3)
    by Max Gladstone
  31. Lord Foul’s Bane (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever #1)
    by Stephen R. Donaldson
  32. A City Dreaming
    by Daniel Polansky
  33. The Stand
    by Stephen King
  34. This Dark Earth
    by John Hornor Jacobs
  35. Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1)
    by Annie Bellet
  36. Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1)
    by Fonda Lee
  37. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
    by Susanna Clarke
  38. The House on the Borderland
    by William Hope Hodgson
  39. Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines #1)
    by Philip Reeve
  40. All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)
    by Martha Wells

🏆 Favorite Novel of 2017:

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni
by Helene Wecker

I can understand why The Golem and the Jinni took so long to write. (Apparently, ten years.) It’s captivating. Wecker’s command of language is stunning. The story is a classic American tale exploring the immigrant experience through the eyes of two people who are both similar and yet unlike anyone else. A must read.

🏅 Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2017:

The Half-Made WorldThe Half-Made World
by Felix Gilman

This was recommended to me by a friend, and I am so glad I picked it up. The weird west is fast becoming one of my favorite genres. Its worldbuilding is superb and its characters fantastic. The conflict between the Line and the Gun is well realized. I was hooked and loved every moment I spent with its pages.

Jonathan Strange and Mr NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

It has magic and fairies and English gentlemen magicians. Its characters are fully realized, its plot more intricate than most novels, and all of this is handled with a deft hand. (Oh, Clarke’s use of language is divine.) A love letter to Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and England.

Picking this was difficult this year. There are so many others I could have named as runners-up but tradition dictates I only pick two. Sorry other books and authors of aforementioned other books, thems the rules.

💥 Graphic Novels:

  1. House of the Holy
    by Mike Carey (Author), Dave Kendall (Illustrator)
  2. Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery
    by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Author), Roc Upchurch (Illustrator), Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
  3. The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes …again
    by Neil Gaiman (Author), Sam Keith (Illustrator), Mike Dringenberg (Illustrator)
  4. Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth
    by: Kurtis J. Wiebe (Author), Stjepan Sejic (Artist)
  5. Triceratots
    by: Josh Montreuil (Author & Artist)
  6. Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars
    by Jeff Lemire (Author), Dustin Nguyen (Artist)
  7. Injection Vol. 1
    by Warren Ellis (Author), Declan Shalvey (Illustrator), Jordie Bellaire (Illustrator), Fonografiks (Illustrator)
  8. House of Penance
    by Peter J. Tomasi (Author), Ian Bertram (Illustrator), Dave Stewart (Illustrator)

🏆 Favorite Graphic Novel of 2017:

Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & SorceryRat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery
by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Author), Roc Upchurch, Fiona Staples (Illustrators)

Rat Queens is a traditional D&D fantasy-style book, but it’s not the setting that’s so engaging. It’s its characters. Every single one is delightful in their own particular way. Hannah, Violet (my fav), Betty, and Dee are complex, and that complexity makes this book shine.

🏅 Favorite Graphic Novel Runners-up of 2017:

House of PenanceHouse of Penance
by Peter J. Tomasi (Author), Ian Bertram, Dave Stewart (Illustrators)

A story of guilt, loss, and humanity. The Winchester House is a strange place. This book explores Sarah Winchester’s motives behind the building of the infamous house. The art is gorgeous, if not a bit difficult. Violence should never be easy to confront, and House of Penance refuses to glorify.

The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & NocturnesThe Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
by Neil Gaiman (Author), Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg (Illustrators)

So, this is a bit cheat, since Sandman has long been one of my favorite comic series of all time. But I needed to include it here. Gaiman’s book is still as delightful as it was when I first read it. Dream’s quest to regain his stolen possessions still serve as an excellent catalyst for a fantastic journey.

So there’s my list for 2017! I read a lot of amazing books and some really great graphic novels. (Sadly, no short stories this year.) I have no reading challenges in 2018. So, I plan on continuing with my escapism theme for the foreseeable future.

Are you looking for a good book? Want to see my reading lists from previous years? Check any of the links below and see what I was reading in the bygone halcyon days.

 2013 • 2014 • 2015 2016 •

Next year, why not join me? Goodreads does a reading challenge every year, and I am an active participant. First, follow me on Goodreads (leave me a review while you’re there), and once the New Year arrives, participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2018.

Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Barbara Bernát Euro Redesign

Friday Link Pack 03/20/15

Friday is here. That mean it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Enough prattle! Let’s get to it…


H. P. Lovecraft Letter Sheds Light On Pivotal Moment In His Career
James Machin recently discovered this letter from Lovecraft to J. C. Henneberger. The letter, nearly 5000 words long, unveils some of Lovecraft’s thoughts before he moved to Brooklyn, and before he turned down the editorship of Weird Tales. Fascinating stuff.

JRR Tolkien Falls Off Children’s Most Popular Books List
As Dylan sang: the times, they are a’changin’. While lists don’t negate the greatness of the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Tolkien’s other work, this is still a notable occurrence within speculative literature.

The Secret To Creating A Really Good Bad Guy
Author, editor, and writing coach C. S. Lakin has some great advice for those of you wanted to push your bad guys beyond the stereotypical traps in which so many villains find themselves.

Top 10 Social Media Marketing No-Nos For Authors
I posted this on Twitter and I was really excited to share it here as well. Author Anne R. Allen goes into detail about what NOT to do on social media. Every author needs to read this, and then re-read it, and then memorize it. I can’t tell you how many times I see authors breaking these rules on the internet.

Three Recent Reviews
My books have slowly begun popping up on review blogs. In this post I highlight some quotes from three recent reviews. I really appreciate folks taking the time to do this. If you have read my books please consider taking the time to write an honest review. They not only help us indie authors, but also help your fellow reader.


Photos From The Blade Runner Model Shop
Check out the work that went into the creation of the models used in Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi Blade Runner. (Easily one of my favorite movies.) The level of detail is equal to that of the models we saw for the Stars Wars sets I featured in a past Link Pack. Bonus: there’s even some Star Wars models USED in Blade Runner. See if you can’t find them in these pictures.

Barbara Bernat’s Euro Redesign
This beautiful redesign of the euro combines elegant type with beautiful imagery and makes someone rethink the idea of currency. Now… what can we do to get her to redesign the U.S. dollar. [Thanks to Kari-Lise for sending this one my way.]


Lighten Up
This beautiful piece by cartoonist Ronald Wimberly discusses whitewashing. The subtle change in a persons skintone to appeal to white people. It’s something that is prevalent in comics, and advertising, and books, and so many more industries. I really appreciated his thoughts. [Thanks to Steve for sharing.]

Man Builds Igloo ‘Speakeasy’, Serves Patrons In Polar Bear Costume
When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. But, what do you do when life dumps a metric ton of snow on you? Well, you make an igloo bar and dress up as a polar bear bartender. Obviously. [This also came from Kari-Lise.]

Carbon 3D
3D Printing is coming along in a big way over the last few years. It’s clear that it will fundamentally change our world. Carbon 3D just upped the game.

Never Trust A Corporation To Do A Library’s Job
As Google’s priorities change, what happens to the data they wanted to organize and catalog? Internet archivists are now stepping in to save our collective memory. An important look at archives, libraries, and how corporations have much different priorities. [Thanks to Dave for pointing me at this.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

The Emu War
In the attempt to curb the population of emus Australia employed soldiers armed with machine guns—leading the media to adopt the name “Emu War” when referring to the incident.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Picture In The House
One of the first stories to introduce readers to Lovecraft country. This is also where we first hear about Arkham and the Miskatonic Valley.

Gif of the Week:
Dogs are the best

Recent Bookquisitions

My book queue isn't this unorganized. Really... it isn't...
I always have a queue for the books I am reading. Anytime something strikes my fancy I buy it and add it to the stack or else I’ll forget and then miss out. Well, my pile has grown larger and I thought it be fun to share some of my recent acquisitions:

Pallitine Rising
Pallitine Rising by Roderick Davidson
I haven’t read any fantasy in a while and I’ve only heard good things about Roderick Davidson‘s first novel so I picked this up. (It’s on sale right now so nab it while you can.) Adventure, knights, dragons, and creepy cults? Sign me up.

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction
Hawkeye had always been a fringe hero and kind of worthless in my opinion. (Sorry die-hard Hawkeye fans… all six of you.) However word on the street is Matt Fraction‘s treatment is amazing, hilarious, and a must read that completely revitalizes the character. Okay. I ain’t going to lie… I read this the moment I got home. Everything I wrote was true. If you read comics pick this up.


Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck
After I posted my recommendation of Elizabeth Bear’s short story Shaggoth’s in Bloom a few weeks back fellow blogger Matt Rice over at Books, Brains and Beer recommended this collection of new weird stories. Looking forward to diving in.

So that’s the most recent editions to my queue. These three will be joining the seven other in the stack. What’s about you? Bought anything good lately? Anything you’re excited about? Leave a comment and let me know! I’m always looking for a good book.

Art Highlight: Josh Montreuil

The Stars Were Right

The above image (click to see it larger) comes from my best friend and one of my favorite illustrators: Josh Montreuil. Last Christmas my wife commissioned him to draw the cast of “The Stars Were Right” as a surprise gift for me and he did a fantastic job. Wouldn’t you agree?

As writer I love seeing the different ways people interpret these characters. I posted this piece before, and as I said last year there’s a lot going on that I really like: Wal’s tattoos, to Samantha’s robes, Josh’s take on Wensem, and even the details in the world around the cast: from the open sewer to the strange writing on the storefront window.

Josh Montreuil is available for commissions, check out more of his work at his blog.

I really want this to become a weekly series. So I plan on starting to highlight art from “The Stars Were Right” fans and readers and sharing it with all of you! If you have any submissions please email them to me at: hello@kmalexander.com with the subject line: “Stars Art Highlight.” Include any links to a website showing your work so I can share that as well and let me know if people can buy your piece/prints/etc.

A Stars Were Right Christmas

The Stars Were Right Cast

My wife is awesome. How awesome? Well this awesome: for Christmas this year she commissioned one of my best friends and beta reader – comic book artist Josh Montreuil – to draw the characters from my latest manuscript, “The Stars Were Right!”

He out did himself. The result is the amazing image you see above. (Click to embiggen.)  The characters are (left to right) : Protagonist Waldo “Wal” Bell, Detective Carl Bouchard, Priestess Samantha Dubois, her brother Hagen Dubois, Peter Black, Zilla, Wensem dal Ibble, and his son Waldo dal Wensem.

It’s incredible, and the first time I have ever had anyone render a creation of mine. As writer it’s amazing to see how people interpret these characters and just gets me that much more excited to keep working with them.

There’s a few details I really liked:

  • Wal’s tattoos – wagon wheels on each forearm- are a lot more stylized than I had pictured in my head.
  • Wensem dal Ibble has kind of a Solomon Grundy look to him which is good as I sorta leave his race up to a lot of interpretation.
  • I also really like the casualness of Samantha’s robes. She’s more of a professor than a priest. So it makes a lot of sense.
  • There is also the entire construction of Lovat (the multilevel city Stars is set in) in the background and the crowded nature Josh brings to it that I really love.
  • He nailed the look of Bouchard, the determined gruff cop a little worse for ware but determined to get his man.

There’s really not enough adjectives to describe how much this piece touches me and if anything it lit a fire under me to get The Stars Were Right out there for public consumption.

Here’s hoping for some big news in 2013.

…and thanks Kari-Lise, and thanks Josh, truly. You couldn’t have given me a better gift.