Hey! I'm Bob McGough, the author of the Jubal County Saga, an Urban Fantasy series about a redneck wizard with a crippling meth addiction. The books are set in backwoods Alabama, based loosely on the area I am from (an hour south of Montgomery roughly). Over the course of the series my protagonist slowly starts to piece his life back together, learn how to do magic properly, and may even one day move out of the storage shed he calls home, all while solving a bunch of rural occult mysteries!

You can check out the series here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CC7KKM8

Beyond my books I also design silly little one sheet rpgs, run a small non-profit dedicated to supporting art and culture in the Montgomery area, and do some podcasting.

Here is my verification: https://www.reddit.com/r/talesbybob/comments/17j6qim/iama_verification/

Comments: 110 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

acertaingestault40 karma

Hi Bob! Never heard of you or your books, but I love the premise. What would you say is the most redneck quality or anecdote you included in the books?

talesbybob42 karma

Oh man, great question haha. One of my favorite is when Howard gets into a fight at a high school football game. Shirts are popped off, over the top insults are hurled, and it quickly gets wild. Which leads to the cops getting involved of course.

Someone also summons up a demon possessed hog to cook them for bbq, to save on the price of pork.

Office_Zombie22 karma

Hi Bob, Since I like the White Trash Zombie series, this sounds right up my alley. But are you planning on releasing an audiobook any time soon? I have no time for reading, but spend a metric shit-ton of time in my car listening to books.

talesbybob33 karma

That's actually what I am working on currently! Talking to a voice actor next week hopefully. The goal is by Labor Day next year to have all six books in audiobook form.

ShakeSignal2 karma

I need to hear Michael Kramer’s accents for these characters. Is it him?!

talesbybob1 karma

No one is locked in yet!

AADPS13 karma

Hi, Bob!

I'm almost finished with my second novel, but I'm already dreading the revisions I have to do on both of them. How do you approach revisions in a way that doesn't make you have keyboard-related stress dreams?

talesbybob23 karma

I hate editing with the power of a thousand burning suns. Here is my process:

Finish book -> Start writing next project -> Six months from finishing, do my first pass of edits -> Send to pro editor -> Do my last round of edits -> Publish.

What gets me through is that I have started the next work, so I feel more productive, and that I have let enough time go by that it feels a little more 'fresh' to me.

AADPS4 karma

Thanks, Bob, much appreciated! I just realized I have the first book of your series stashed away in my Kindle library, I've bought the second one. Looking forward to diving in!

talesbybob4 karma

That's awesome, thank you!!!

flashy9911 karma

Since magic is central to a wizard, what was your approach to designing a "working magic system" vs letting it stay mysterious?

talesbybob34 karma

I opted for a more "soft" magic approach. Much of the magic is based loosely on southern hoodoo, using spell jars and the like. Then I just mixed in some more traditional magical elements, such as being able to summon fire. But I've avoided spelling everything out, to give myself some flexibility if I need it, if that makes sense? Marsh (my protagonist) wasn't ever properly trained so as he learns, we learn.

aredd6311 karma

Added to my Kindle Unlimited, thank you and congratulations! My question is in regards to KU actually. I want to make sure that the amazing authors I read are compensated fairly, but my book addiction gets awfully expensive. Does Kindle treat authors well who have books in the KU library?

talesbybob19 karma

So the short answer is...depends.

So KU is most beneficial to folks who either have longer books, or longer series. My books are on the shorter side so technically I make more per book if someone buys an ebook as opposed to reading in KU. BUT! I make a lot more of someone reads all the books on KU than of they bought book 1 or 2, but then stop because, hey, books aren't cheap.

For me, at this point in my career word of mouth and reviews are more important than money (thankful to have a day job that pays the bills). I'd rather someone read in KU and leave a review than someone buy all the books in print and not leave a review.

If I were in your shoes, I'd rest pretty easy. No one is in KU that doesn't want to be pretty much. Everyone makes the call that works best for them, so don't sweat it!

AgentOrangutan3 karma

As an aside, the two omnibus editions aren't in KU? The individual books are. I prefer omnibus versions for shorter works, but now I'll read them individually.

I'm in England if that makes a difference to KU?

talesbybob4 karma

They aren't, because I am intending to publish them "wide." If I put them in KU, I have to stay exclusive to Amazon unfortunately!

CGordini9 karma

Just curious, have you read the Dresden Files?

talesbybob11 karma

The first 3 books! My series gets favorably compared to it. "If Harry Dresden did meth" one review said.

readerf523 karma

But does everyone hate him?

That is a constant in books about wizards or druids; the “establishment” doesn’t like him and is out to lay blame on him for every infraction. It became annoying in the Dresden Files, and it is alive and kicking in Benedict Jacka’s novels, too. I can’t remember who writes the Druid novels, because, same thing and it started to overwhelm the stories and I stopped reading.

There must be another way to make a wizard interesting other than making him the hated member of the leaders. Please tell me yours is different. I really want to read and enjoy.

talesbybob5 karma

He's definitely hated, but not for being a wizard. He's hated because he makes his living stealing copper out of people's air conditioning units lol. He doesn't have a ton of contact with other wizards, because he's kinda terrible at it and they avoid him. So probably not what you are looking for, but at least for a different reason haha!

Tessachka3 karma

This sounds like my favorite kind of series! Grabbed the first book on Kindle, but super curious if there are any plans for audiobooks? Edit: Saw your answer to another comment, psyched you're working on it!! I'll definitely keep an eye out next year too! :)

talesbybob1 karma

Thanks for checking it out! And I was driving, so glad you saw the audiobook question answer, while I wasn't able to answer!

notimeforl0ve2 karma

This is what just upped me from "hmm, maybe" to "oh yeah, I'm all over this."

talesbybob1 karma

Awesome, thank you!

Goosfrabbah8 karma

Three questions:

  • What books or series have you most enjoyed reading in the last 5 years?

  • Presumably you have read fantasy and were inspired to write this style because of it. Besides your own stories, what author has your favorite magic system?

  • Is there a way to get your novels that doesn't involve sending more money to Jeff Bezos? Are you allowed to sell directly?

talesbybob8 karma

  1. I've really gotten into Adam Neville the past few years on the horror front. Great at folk horror. Fantasy-wise I've been discovering cozy type stuff, which I think has been a pleasant reaction to the bleakness of covid. Books like House by the Cerulean Sea and the Kitchen Witch series.

  2. I think Sanderson creates the best magic systems. But...best doesn't mean favorite sometimes. In this case Glen Cooks Black Company books have my favorite magic.

  3. I seel books in person! But I am not really set up to mail them. So catch me at an event and I'll happily sell and sign you one! If that's not an option, just know I really do appreciate you asking!

Alexis_J_M7 karma

How does the wizard avoid the temptation to magick up high quality meth and go all Walter White? (Or is that too much of a spoiler and I need to go read the books myself?)

talesbybob9 karma

Asking the real questions!!!

In short, I'm embarrassed to say I had never thought of that. But I do know he wouldn't be able to do so, the way magic works.

Fun fact: there was a real Walter White in Alabama that was an amazing meth cook

devinx937 karma

Hi Bob! Would love some insight into your writing process. Do you have the ending in mind at the start or let it develop as you go?

talesbybob10 karma

For the series, I have a clear endpoint in mind, and a number of important beats that will have to happen. For each individual book I get a core idea (hopefully with an ending) and then jot down a few notes. Then I just see where it takes me usually.

No_Hour_9156 karma

Have you designed a Jubal one sheet rpg?

talesbybob11 karma

Not yet. I really should though. I have been working on a hack of it as a setting using both the Troika! and Mork Borg rule sets.

Hefty-Ad2016 karma

Do you have a favorite quirk of your wizard, Howard Marsh? Or some quirk of his that’s based on you/someone you know?

talesbybob5 karma

He loves Hawaiian shirts, because I love Hawaiian shirts! Makes it easy to cosplay as well haha

Trappist14 karma

How did you spread word around after publishing your first book in order to gather a following? Just word of mouth or something else?

talesbybob5 karma

I've never done ads, just word of mouth. But as part of that I do a lot of in person events, such as speaking on panels at conventions like Dragon Con. Reddit posts on r/fantasy whenever I launch a book have also really helped. At this point I can tell that the words of mouth is starting to spread organically, which has been amazing.

selkiesidhe4 karma

Definitely on my TBR list (it's massive). The premise sounds hilarious and awesome.

My questions:

Why/where did you get your inspiration for your stories?

And, what unconventional advice could you give to upcoming or indie authors?

talesbybob4 karma

  1. I grew up in the county in Alabama with the most dirt roads. We were also not unfamiliar with meth. I figured if I added in a wizard who used hoodoo style magics, a book would ensue. Six books later...haha! The ideas for individual stories come from all over, mostly lives experience of life in the south mixed with decades of playing RPGs.

  2. Get into unusual places. I've done readings in bars, and set up at all sorts of events ranging from Oktoberfests to crawfish bowls at breweries. May not be the exact market you'd normally sell to, but you will stand out a lot more.

IntnlManOfCode3 karma

When will Marsh get his teeth fixed? I read all 6 earlier this year and looking forward to the rest, but the descriptions of his teeth left me gritting mine.

talesbybob2 karma

Over the next arc! Dentures are very likely coming for him soon!

nakedUndrClothes3 karma

It’s not available at the four libraries that I have memberships at, bummer. It does sound like a book series I would like though, so maybe I’ll add it to my Christmas list. Now for the question, are your books available at libraries? How does an author even get their book into the library? I’ve always wondered about the mechanics of this.

talesbybob2 karma

I know of two libraries that have them, but I also know the librarians who got them ordered. So if you will ask your library to stock it, they might!

Cien_fuegos3 karma

Just bought the series. You had me at "Methgician". Where did the idea come from for the series?

I recently tried to write a shortish read and had a great idea but then stopped after the first book.

talesbybob3 karma

I've known a few people over the years who I thought "man, if anyone was a wizard, it would be them." And usually they were some combination of artist and someone struggling with addiction. A lot of those people don't get happy endings, so I set out to write one.

Plus, I'm from the backwoods, and they say 'write what you know' haha!

7foot6er3 karma

we're you inspired by the McCoy character in Butcher's Dresden series?

talesbybob3 karma

I'm drawing a blank on who that is (I only read the first 3 and it's been YEARS). But no. My book inspiration is Criminal Macabre really, if anything.

TackYouCack3 karma

So what are you doing for Halloween this year?

talesbybob3 karma

If I can find a good red light I'm gonna decorate my truck as Zero from Nightmare before Christmas. Then taking the family trick or treating!

nyr21133 karma

Love the cover art style for the series. Did you design it? Also it seems like an interesting book. I'll check it out sometime.

talesbybob3 karma

I hired someone to make the first cover and paid for the source file, then I made the rest using the source file as a template. I'm terrible with color, but my LadyWife has a good eye for that so she tells me where I fucked up haha

onanmyman3 karma

Reconcptualizing Southern Gothic? I like it!

talesbybob2 karma

Pretty much! Like a William Faulkner for the modern era, only without the talent and far more cursing haha!

conrad_4003 karma

When I look up your publisher, Broken Oak Publishing, I get virtually no results (save for your book). Do they not have a website, or are they an imprint of a different company?

talesbybob5 karma

I am Broken Oak Publishing haha, that's why. I only publish me currently, so no website at the moment. But that should be changing over the next couple of years.

kitterific2 karma

Oh shoot, these sound fun!!

Are you from Luverne or somewhere near there? Enterprise is my hometown. :)

I’m excited to read these!

talesbybob2 karma

My high school job was bagging groceries at Super Foods in Luverne haha! I'm from that general area, more Highland Home than Luverne though. And can we talk about the eldritch horror that is yalls Weevil Ronald McDonald? Wtf Enterprise!

kitterific2 karma

Oh, you are country, haha! I love hearing about local stuff and it’s awesome to make acquaintance with someone successful from LA (Lower Alabama).

And.. okay, that thing is pure nightmare fuel!!! 😂 If you’re ever up for a scavenger hunt around E-town, almost every little shop or store has their own Weevil and some are actually pretty cute. They even made an official checklist of which ones to see. Not surprised in the least that the McWeevil made its rounds on the internet for being terrifying beyond all reason.

talesbybob2 karma

So basically a cooler version of the Dothan peanuts? I can fuck with that! Next time I am down that way, I will 100% be checking them out.

eatmorcowz2 karma

Hi Bob, when can we expect your announcement that you're running for US Senate ?

talesbybob2 karma

The little bit I have worked with my local government to get stuff passed has shown me I want nothing to do with being an elected official haha.

Trappist12 karma

Based on all the politicians I've heard say they aren't running, you'll probably have a campaign running by next year.

talesbybob2 karma

Lol, well my personal politics do not align with the majority here in Bama, so it would be a big waste of money on my end

wouldbejane2 karma

Hey, Bob. It's Meredith R. Stoddard. I loved being on your Southern Fried Fantasy Podcast. You're a very engaging interviewer.

I've been reading Bringing Home the Rain and really enjoying it. I am curious about your process for building characters, especially secondary characters. Do they come to you as you write? Do you use character sheets or plan arcs for characters other than Howard?

talesbybob2 karma

Hey! Great 'seeing' you again! A few characters I had in mind from the get go, like Krista and Granny. But most I end up coming up with on the fly. Once they are created, then I start thinking of ways to include them in the future. I've tried using character sheets in other projects, but they never seem to take. I'm just too much of a pantser I guess haha!

OutlawGalaxyBill2 karma

Thanks for taking the time to post!

Just one question:

1) Your books are in KU but I'm not a KU subscriber -- if I pick up your books on your freebie days, do you get paid for my page reads even though I'm not a Kindle Unlimited subscriber or are the freebies just useful as promo for your series?

talesbybob3 karma

I don't, but if you grab it on a freebie day I'm more than happy. It's not about money right now, it's about word of mouth and people leaving reviews.

Deitaphobia2 karma

Is he a product of his raisin' that says 'hey y'all' and 'yee-haw'?

talesbybob3 karma

Y'all, for sure. Yee-haw is a little more Texas than Alabama haha

wokka12 karma

Alabama is closer to the Dukes of Hazzard vs anyone in Texas :)

Love the premise, anxiously awaiting an audiobook version. I know they probably aren't cheap, but go for Luke Daniels or Ray Porter. Maybe even hit up soundbooth studio, Jeff Hayes.

talesbybob2 karma

Thanks for the recommendations! I will take a look, since I am not locked into one person yet.

bboycire2 karma

Is he a redneck who discovered that he's a wizard? Or do you mean it in a "redneck engineer" kind of way? As in someone who dabbles in wizardry, but with no proper tools, no patient with safety and classical study of being a wizard?

talesbybob1 karma

Both. He is a redneck, who is also a wizard. But he also has no proper tools, no patience with safety, and has really never actually studied how to be a wizard.

cousinwash2 karma

This sounds great!! Just curious, where are you from?

talesbybob2 karma

I was born and raised about 45 minutes south of Montgomery Alabama.

traindriverbob2 karma

Hi Bob, Bob here,

I was an avid reader in my teens and 20's (30 years ago, lol) but then kids, smart phones work and life got in the way. I just started reading regularly again for the first time in 20 years and I'm starting with a series of 42 books that has a failed wizard as one of its many protagonists. Maybe you've heard of it or read it? The Discworld series by English author Terry Pratchett.

If so, thoughts on these?

I'm guessing from your replies to this AMA your books are going to very VERY different. I'm very much looking forward to delving into your world, one that is very different to my suburban Australian one, and the books I've read in the past, such as the likes of Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Tolkien, Dean Koontz.

talesbybob1 karma

I do very much love Pratchett!! The Guards books are my favorites, but I haven't read all 42 yet (maybe six or seven) so it's still early days!

My books are a lot different for sure. It is sort of a silly concept, and it does have its moments of over the top humor. But on the whole it is a little bit more serious of a series than Discworld.

traindriverbob2 karma

Awesome. Thanks for the reply. I only read about 25 Discworld books first time around, am on Wyrd Sisters now. So I have both old and new reading ground to cover.

Now that I’m back in my reading groove I often read multiple books at once. You just made my list lol.

talesbybob1 karma

Awesome, thanks for taking a look!!

Unveiled_Nuggets2 karma

But like what kind of red neck. Larry the Cable guy? Bubbles? Beavus? Hank Hill? Bo Duke?

talesbybob2 karma

I honestly can't think of a directly relevant comparison from modern media. If you are from the rural south, then you've met this guy. On the rare occasion that he has a working car, he's probably come by your house to hit you up for a few bucks, and to case your ac unit for later copper theft. He can drink a staggering amount of beer in a sitting, and then usually gets into some sort of potentially lethal set of shenanigans. All the cops know him by name, because he went to school with them years ago until he dropped out, and now they arrest him on a DUI every so often.

epbrown012 karma

Howard's a young version of who you picture listening to John Fogerty's "Old Man Down The Road."

(Btw, bought the whole series today, since Kindle Rewards was offering 400 pts with the purchase.)

talesbybob1 karma

Thank you!! I hope you love it!!

xplodingminds2 karma

Have you ever heard of or read David R. Slayton's Adam Binder series? The first book is called White Trash Warlock and while it's been a while, I remember really liking the unusual choice of having, well, a white trash magic user. Your series sounds right up the same alley -- although a methgician sounds even further out there (in a good way).

Also not a question, but I saw that you've made the covers outside of the first one yourself. Even having that basis, that's some beautiful work. Genuinely some of the prettiest covers I've seen.

talesbybob1 karma

I have! I've talked with David a few times over the years, such a genuine person! I am always flattered to be brought up in relation to him/his series!

And I really appreciate the kind words about the covers! I'm certainly no graphic design wiz, so it's always nice to hear someone tell me I did a decent job! Thanks :)

Ok-Feedback56042 karma

How this story's concept came into your mind?

talesbybob1 karma

I'm from rural Alabama, and wanted to see the area I'm from represented in media. Add in a wizard, and it was off to the races haha!

Ok-Feedback56041 karma

K..I see..but if you're that much fond of rural area depiction..would you like to represent ohio in your project?(just askin)

talesbybob1 karma

I have never lived there, so I couldn't be true to Ohio like I am to Alabama. Also, I bleed crimson, and hate Ohio State haha

Shmogt2 karma

When you started what was your main marketing plan to get things going?

talesbybob2 karma

Posting on social media pretty much. I've known that if I can just get word of mouth to a certain point, it will start to be somewhat self-sustaining. The first few books, the launches were fairly paltry, but starting with book 4 they really started to pick up some steam. I'm actually really huge on transparency, you can see all about my process here, from book launches to monthly income: