Sunday, November 7, 2021

3 Early Novels Re-released!


So many of you are wondering what to read now that you've finished with Monkey. Well, good news! I have re-released the novels I wrote while I was in the Army. Back then I published them under a pen name, but now I am proudly attaching my real name to them! So take a gander, why not?

Thursday, September 9, 2021

My Story of 9/11 and the War on Terror


It's been twenty years since the darkest day in American history; September 11, 2001. There are grown adults now who weren't even born when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Those adults have no concept of what it was like that day. That is not a judgment on them, it is just amazing to me. It was also the day that came to define my young adulthood.
 

 I was in the Army on that day. I was in year two of what would be over a decade of active service. I was twenty years old. I didn't have any intention of staying past my first enlistment. But the events of that day compelled me to re-enlist twice, the second time from an active combat zone in Iraq. I look back on that day twenty years ago and everything that happened because of it, and I contrast it with what has happened in the past few weeks in Afghanistan and I cannot help but feel like everything we all went through, everything we sacrificed, was all for nothing. 

I cannot help but feel like our leaders in the year 2021 failed every veteran who served in the War on Terror. We left Iraq in late 2011 and Isis took it over. This year, before we were even completely out of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the very government we fought to depose and free that country from, took everything over once again. Thirteen American troops died in a terror attack amidst the chaos the ensued. As a result, we are now exactly back to where we were on September 10, 2001. Twenty years of sacrifice all for nothing.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Rules for Writers

 

1. Respect the reader. The story does not belong to the writer when it is being read, it belongs to the reader. You provide the words, they provide everything else. You’d do well to remember this. 

2. Minimize character and setting description. Limit it to one or two lines and let the reader fill in the blanks. 

3. Do not lecture the reader. The reader does not need to be fixed. Even if they did, it is not your place to try to fix them. 

4. Show AND tell. A writer that cannot effectively tell when appropriate deprives himself or herself of effective storytelling tools. 

5. Steal liberally. Like an idea, character, etc from a story or author you admire? It’s okay to steal it and repurpose it for your own work. As long as you change it just enough, its called inspiration and it’s totally fine. 

6. Start on action. Reel the reader in. Give them something right off. Life is too short for stories that don’t grab you immediately. 

7. Every scene must advance the story. Don’t introduce elements you don’t intend to pay off. Everything must effect the story or how the characters behave (which effects the story.) Eliminate all needless matters. 

8. Always be clear when and where the action is taking place. Nothing annoys the reader more when they have to ask “where the hell are they” or “what the hell year is this?” 

9. The words plotter and pantser... they are meaningless. Just shut up and write, no matter the method, get the words down on paper. 

10. Publishing is not a meritocracy. No publisher or agent owes you a damn thing. Remember that.

Dave Chadwick is the author of Monkey.

Monday, April 12, 2021

It's here! Monkey: A Novel

 

It's finally here! Monkey: A Novel is finally completely available on Amazon and Lulu! You have many options with which to get your Monkey on.

 Amazon Kindle - $6.99

Paperback from Amazon - $16.99

Paperback from Lulu - $16.99

Hardcover from Lulu - $19.99

DRM-Free eBook from Lulu - $6.99

There is an audiobook version currently in production, with the amazingly talented Rikk Wolf of Robot Co-Op as narrator. I'll update you all on when that will be available as we get closer to completion.

What's this book all about? Glad you asked!

This is a story about a monkey. A talking, wish granting, chain smoking monkey. He's been doing this for a long time, but doesn't quite remember where he came from, why he's a wish granting monkey, or even why is name is Monkey. There are lots of wish granting rules he has to follow. This can be a challenge sometimes, but he doesn't let it bother him as he goes about his life at a zoo near Poughkeepsie, New York. One day, though, his home and master are attacked and life is never the same again. He has to find a new master and sets off on an insane adventure of murder, love, revenge and publishing.

This one has been a long time coming, and is my first prose novel in over a decade. It is my first novel in my new creative life, and the first I am publishing under a new commitment to publish one new prose novel each year. I started writing this about mid-July 2020 and finished the first draft on January 5, 2021. So from inception to publication, it took around nine months. I've kept it really close to the chest, but now it's out there for everybody else to read and enjoy.

So pick it up, read it, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and tell all your friends! As for me, I'm onto whatever my 2021 novel is going to be. I have a few ideas, haven't settled on one yet, but I hope to start writing in earnest soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Reset Button

Hey everybody. It's me, Dave. I'm hitting the reset button on my creative life, and will henceforth be writing under Dave Chadwick and not Sugar Ray Dodge. I've used the SRD moniker regularly since 2004, and it became as much my name as David Chadwick was for a long time. I'll still be holding onto it and my intellectual property I wrote under it, obviously. That name and those works are part of me, legally and sentimentally. I'll always be proud of the work I did under that name. But there are a few reasons I have decided to move forward under this "new" name. 

Sugar Ray Dodge has become associated with fan work. My comic series, Mystery Science Storybook, started in 2015 and for many years was my primary focus. I took movies featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax and created my own illustrated parodies out of them. The first two volumes were very successful in the MST3K fandom, and it became my most successful creative endeavor to date. Then everything came crashing down in August 2016 when I was harassed by Birdemic: Shock and Terror director James Ngyuen. I parodied his movies in the first three volumes of Storybook, although he was only aware of the parody in the first volume. He didn't like this, accused me of violating his copyright, filed a DMCA claim with Amazon and every other vendor Storybook was on. The foundation of all of Storybook's success was destroyed. I spent two more volumes trying to rebuild, but it was all for naught. Too much damage had been done to the brand. 

In addition, the MST3K Netflix revival in 2017 sucked up all of the oxygen within the fanbase (while at the same time fracturing it,) and there was no longer any interest in smaller independent projects like Storybook. There just isn't a place for it there anymore. More than that, though, by the end of 2019 and the conclusion of the fourth volume, I realized that creatively, Storybook had simply run its course and I was burned out on the series.

I have also been going through a bit of a crisis of confidence since early 2018. I don't want to get into all the personal aspects of it, I'll just give you the broad strokes. I had a job that I felt was important. I felt it was a chance to build something amazing, and I put everything I had into this job. Things were going great... and then suddenly they weren't. The tides turned hard and suddenly this great thing I was a part of was no more. It was brutal and it destroyed my confidence.

But Dave, that was three years ago! Have you been in this funk for three years?! The answer to that question is, unfortunately, yes. There are other elements that contribute to all this that I'm not going to get into, but I feel like I've shared the root cause of it. I have participated in other endeavors like professional wrestling, which was fun and I enjoyed my time doing it. But always behind it was this lingering lack of confidence that I have to get back if I'm to finally move on with my life. 

So those are the reasons for the big reset. I simply need to start from scratch, build something new from the ground up. That's why I'm saying good bye to using the SRD moniker. I need to be Dave again, and that's what I'm going to be.

So, what can we look forward to in the future? Well, I'll be starting a new podcast shortly called The Dot Info Podcast. I also have written a new novel! It's my first prose novel in over a decade. I have taken all the books I wrote under the SRD moniker out of print for the time being. Not that I don't love them, I just moved on from them when I started Storybook. So we're a couple of creative generations removed from them anyway. I may revisit them someday, but for now I want to focus on the present. And that means focusing on this new novel and future novels. I don't know if I will self-publish this new novel, serialize it on this blog or try to get it published traditionally. Time will tell, but you will see it eventually.

I have set a new goal for myself, which I stole from Chuck Palahniuk's book Consider This, and that is to publish a new novel every year. Monkey, the novel I have spent the last six months writing, was my 2020 endeavor and will be published one way or another in 2021. I haven't decided what I'm going to write in 2021 yet, but believe me, I'm going to write something. This is my new focus, to build my own literary career and legacy. Comics, for as much as I loved doing it, are too risky, expensive and time consuming. Returning to prose after being away for so long has been challenging, but it's a challenge I'm glad I undertook. 

It also means writing regularly on this blog. I started my own opinion website way, way back in 2003 right after the Iraq War started. As a rule, I haven't done anything political online since January 2009, and that's a policy I intend to continue. However, if I want an audience, I have to produce some kind of regular content. Like I said, I'll be starting a new podcast soon. But I will also be posting regularly on this blog. What about? I'm really sure yet. But there will be something, count on it.

So here's to new beginnings! I hope you'll go on this journey with me.