meet the dread crew, pirates of the backwoods

I've sat here just staring at the blink blink blink. I don't know what to say. Could be that it's 2:24 AM again. Could be that after four years of hosting them inside my head, I don't know how to introduce these ruffigans to you without shoving them ungracefully into your hands and staggering away in search of a bottle of Tums.

I don't want them to wear out their welcome in the same way I didn't want Liam to wear out his welcome. You'll say just write about what's happening in your life, and this is what's happening, and we're good with that because you're wonderful that way but I'll still bite one knuckle, feeling just weird and strange and exposed and not wanting to be a schmuck and pretty much, yeah. Naked.

Wheeee-ooo. Chilly in here.

The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods is my book and the amazing bike-riding Sydney is polishing the final chapter illustrations right now and then one more proof and then it hits the presses and it'll be shipping in mid-October and here's the cover and check out the maggots wriggling in Vince's beard.

More about the story is here and that's where you can see the back cover illustration too, the one that made me cry on seeing Missy's face. She was only ever in shadow for me, the pirate scout who wears shitkicker boots. I can't tell you how it felt when she winked at me from the pages of Sydney's sketchbook.

You breathe and run and haul a rope, just like the rest of them. My god. You're real.