Lauri and Jaakko Ahonen created an Indiegogo campaign for their darkly comic full-color graphic novel Jaybird. Evidently it was quite successful, as now it’s been published! “Little Jaybird lives in a very large house alone with his bedridden mother. Portraits of dignified ancestors look down upon him from dusty walls. At times also a curious spider peeks from between the cobwebs. Even though it’s safe inside the house, with its doors barred and windows boarded up, reality can’t be shut outside forever.” It’s available now for download (complete with original soundtrack music), and this September Dark Horse Press will release it in a hardcover book edition.
Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the Dinosaur Birds is number 54 in John R. Erickson’s long running series of short novels for children featuring the misadventures of Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security.
The books are published by Erickson’s own Maverick Books, based out of his hometown of Perryton, Texas. The books are not unknown outside the area; but in the surrounding region, very few children grow up without encountering Hank and his humorous stories. The realistic depiction of life on a Texas cattle ranch as seen through the eyes of a vainglorious but not particularly bright ranch dog has also garnered many adult fans in the region.
The books feature illustrations by Gerald R. Holmes. However, this review is based on the audiobook version of the story, featuring Erickson’s reading. Erickson is a talented voice actor; the story is presented more like a radio play than a straight recitation, with Erickson playing all parts: human and animal, male and female, each distinctive and memorable. Quite a few fans, and this reviewer, feel that you haven’t experienced Hank the Cowdog until you have heard one of the audiobooks.
“Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the Dinosaur Birds”, by John R. Erickson. Illustrated by Gerald R. Holmes. Maverick Books Inc., 2009, paperback $4.99, CD audio book $17.99, paperback/CD combo pack $19.99, online audio $9.95.
M.C.A. Hogarth is now publishing audiobooks of her works, professionally narrated and unabridged. Her first three offerings are "Stormfront," a military SF adventure from her Pelted universe (home to Ursa Major-winning story "In the Line of Duty"), and the two Kherishdar collections, The Aphorisms and The Admonishments, featuring the catlike aliens, the Ai-Naidar. Audiobooks are available from Audible.com, iTunes and Amazon.