Only one post in the month of June?! Where have I been? While it's true that my summer vacation started in June, I've spent most of this month with my school district's alignment committee. We're working with the new teaching standards (TEKS) for 2010-2011 and trying to integrate them into our school year (that's the alignment part). I get a nice stipend for my efforts, and I have dodged these sort of "above and beyond my job requirement" responsibilities for long enough. Yes, I coach our Ready Writing UIL team and, yes, I am the chess club sponsor -- but these things do not encroach on my sacred summer months. This is the first time I've given up some vacation. It wasn't too bad. No offense to those of you who only get 10 days of vacation annually. We really need to get you some more time off (click here, here, and especially here).

Where else have I been? April and I watched a lot of SIX FEET UNDER. We plowed through all five seasons and loved it. I'll need to let it settle in my brain for a few more weeks, but it just might win my heart for favorite television drama. I love stories that explore family dynamics, and I try to do that in my own stories. Alan Ball is such a master. When I first saw AMERICAN BEAUTY, I had the reaction that other aspiring storytellers at my age had when they saw PULP FICTION. It's the thought: "This opens things up for me. I want do this."

Where else have I been? Honestly? Playing a lot of chess. At a certain point this year, I was driving myself crazy with comic book work. About a month ago on this blog, I wrote: "I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for the past year. The waiting is driving me a little crazy." Take that as literally as you can. I was going a little crazy, and it did feel like I couldn't breathe. I needed a diversion. So, in the grand tradition of Marcel Duchamp, I put aside my work and moved pawn to e4. I don't plan to abandon comics, but after seven years of writing comics: my brain needs a new hobby.

Okay, what about the writing? I'm still working on my regular comics with Quick and D Magazine. The next WE'VE NEVER MET will be available on July 1st. (Here's the most recent one.) The July issue of D Magazine is available. It features a new installment of SOUVENIR OF DALLAS, click here. Last week, Oni Press released JAM! TALES FROM THE WORLD OF ROLLER DERBY. Melissa and I have a story featured in that anthology. I also got the pages back from a short story I wrote for OUTLAW TERRITORY, VOL. 3. The artist Luigi Cavenago did an amazing job. A sneak peak:

From page one

From page six

Beyond that, as usual, I have projects in need of a publisher. We're waiting to hear back from a few editors.

Lately, I've had doubts about if there's even a market for the kind of stories I want to tell. That's a rant for another time, but I wonder if my odds would increase in proportion to the use of robots, rotting corpses, ninjas, nazis, pirates, pulp heroes, cowboys (see above), criminals, monkeys, and monsters -or- maybe I just need to put a sexy girl on the cover? Or center my story around a murder in Act One? I realize that's awfully egotistical to throw blame on something as cliché as "the market," but bare with me. If you've read this far, I'm assuming you're a friend. Hopefully, my orphan comics will find a good home.

In other news, my presentation for Pecha Kucha Dallas 3 went very well. I felt comfortable and witty, which is a rare thing for me. My subject was comics and creative collaborations. I suspect somebody somewhere got it on video or at least took a picture. If I find it on YouTube, I'll let you know.

Finally, for Father's Day, I produced and co-hosted a new Indie Show for Fanboy Radio (click here for the episode). The mp3 should be available soon? We interviewed Andy Ristaino and JC Vaughn. My daughter made a special appearance on the show as well.

In family news, Kennedy has had a busy June with visiting family in Indiana, family in San Antonio, and two weeks of YMCA camp. We saw Trout Fishing in America. Fun was had. April is doing well. She's busy at work, finishing some projects before switching to a new design category -- and going to the National IDSA Conference in Portland. This last weekend, she had a girl's night out with her friends Julie and Erica. On Friday, we're all going to California.

Now, I'm all caught up. Life recounted in blog form.