Sunday, July 21, 2024

A Week in Writing #518 - And It Gets Worse

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

I have not been able to do that for most of the week and it's starting to drive me crazy. My computer has been at Geek Squad since Sunday afternoon, and the two to three days has stretched into four. If it's not ready by Friday, I'm going to go take it back. I can't go another day without it. I'm starting this on Wednesday night using a Chromebook and the whole process is only adding to my aggravation, with the small keyboard and several sites not logging in for whatever reason.

I can't make posts on some sites, like LinkedIn, which doesn't trust that my password is my password. (Agghh!) And some apps I haven't logged into in years, like Grammarly, won't stop trying to launch. (Double Agghh!!) The Chromebook is better than nothing, but not by much.

And, if that wasn't bad enough, my glasses broke for the second time this year and I've had to resort to an old pair, vintage unknown. Just what you want to have happen a week before you're going to a five day convention.

For writing, this has been perhaps my worst week so far. I'm finding without being able to write, my whole routine is thrown off and I'm losing my mind in the process.

I finally did get back the laptop on Thursday, but the damage was already done to the week. Add to that planning for SDCC has taken up time as well, even though I don't do the heavy lifting in the process. We usually have several sessions working in all the things you can and cannot do at Comic-Con, as there are events and panels that conflict with each other. Even with planning, nothing is guaranteed. You want to do something and so do another 100,000 people.

We did meet on Thursday night with Jen Moreno, the current colorist and future artist on Powers Squared. Jen has shown some talent, but has never done a comic book before. Feel like we're both experimenting. Paint me cautiously optimistic. She probably won't start drawing it until September, but I would really like to get another issue done this year.

Speaking of that, I did do some rewrites this week on the script, following Paul's feedback. I haven't shown him the rewrite yet, but I hope we're closer.

Our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, which started this week's problems, went off without a hitch. The Geeks couldn't make the update; per the agent I spoke with, some older computers cannot handle the OBS upgrade, which was my problem, but he re-installed the older version.

The podcast itself was Paul and I talking about our prep for SDCC. You can listen now here, or wait until Wednesday, when Comic-Con kicks off, to watch it here. We're planning to talk about our experience the week we get back. But in the meantime, the artists will take over the podcast again, hope you watch when it goes live next Friday at 6pm PDT on twitch.tv/powerssquared.

Our salute to X-Men continued on Trophy Unlocked, with three posts starting on Tuesday with Paul's second look at Deadpoolfollowed on Thursday with my review of X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), followed on Saturday with Trevor's Second Look at Logan and Logan Noir. I'm now two reviews down, having missed last week doing a review of Three Faces East and now Scarface (1932), which we watched last night. Not sure when I'll get to them, but it probably won't be this week, as it is another short one for me.

Again, Skylar got left out in the cold.

Now, just as a reminder, everything will be a little slower next week. This post will be a day late and will be another Report From the Front with what I learned at the Con.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing, and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

A Week in Writing #517 - From Bad to Worse

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

As if things couldn't get worse...

After going a couple of days without air conditioning, and just when things are getting back to normal, it looks like my computer will have to go into the shop. It all started with trying to update OBS, a software we use for our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. What should have been an easy update not only delayed us going live, but after spending three plus hours online with Geek Squad, now appears that the issue couldn't be resolved, at least not over the internet, and I'll have to take the computer in. Not sure that means they can fix it, but that's my next/only alternative.

I'm hoping it won't be long in the shop, as it will impact me if it's even overnight, let alone several days. Not only do I write, including this blog, but I also post on social media in support of Powers Squared and Trophy Unlocked, update the website, etc.

Speaking of Trophy Unlocked, X-Men Month is still going strong, with reviews of  X-Men Origins: Wolverine by Paul going up on Monday morning, followed on Wednesday by my review of X-Men: First Class, followed by Paul's review of The Wolverine on Friday and Trevor's review of X-Men: Days of Future Past as the Saturday Morning Review.

The delayed podcast on Friday was also about the X-Men franchise, with an emphasis on the films, though there was some talk about the animated series that have been based on the comic books. You can listen to it here, where you can also find links to various platforms, or watch it on Wednesday after 2:30 pm here. You can also find links to our video podasts at https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/videos.

I'm a little frustrated on the progress of Powers Squared of late. We're waiting for the final pages from our current artist and I reached out to someone whom I believe wants to be the next artist and all I'm hearing back are crickets. I'm not really seeing the advantages of texting and will have to resort to actually calling them to get updates. I feel like that's the old way to do things, but I don't see much of a choice.

I tried to do some writing on Skylar this week, but didn't get far on either Monday or Tuesday. Monday night was sans air-conditioner and I'm finding my creative juices flow better at 73 degrees than say 93 degrees. Tuesday I was too tired after a lousy night of sleep to make much headway.

Prep continues for our annual trip to SDCC. We're in the panels stage now, with each of us reviewing the panels as they're released. As always, you can't do them all. The family will sit down soon to go over what we found and then map out some sort of strategy for the con, which also includes the floor, autographs and exclusives. It's very involved.

So, depending on the RX for the laptop, my writing might be curtailed in the new week. Fingers crossed it will go fast.

That about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see  you back here next week.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

A Week in Writing #516 - Not the Best Holiday Break


Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

I won't go into details, but the time I've had off from work was very expensive for me personally and I mean that in the dollars and cents way. Nothing really bad happened, but keeping up a house can sometimes be very expensive, not to mention maintaining cars. It's been a large financial hit all the way around and time has been spent on other things besides writing because of it.

I did manage to finish a chapter and write a new one for Skylar, including over 1400 words today, which has been a long-time goal not oft reached; hence the name of the page: https://1000wordsadayeasily.blogspot.com.

I'm also working on a review of Man's Castle, a 1933 melodrama starring Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young. As usual, no idea when it will appear on Trophy Unlocked, especially since we're in the midst of X-Men month on the blog. So far, Trevor's review of X-Men (2000) kicked things off on Tuesday, followed by Paul's review of  X2 (2003) on Thursday and my review of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) as the Saturday Morning Review. During July, we will review all of the X-Men movies and a video game, culminating with Deadpool & Wolverine at the end. See, there is method to the madness.

On the Powers Squared front, Paul, Trevor and myself, the creators of the comic book, did our own character tier list as this week's OAPS podcast. This was in reaction to a similar tier list done the week before by the artists (Julia Canon, Jen Moreno, and artist emeritus, Rachel Wells). You can listen to ours here or watch it later, on our YouTube channel (@powerssquared), on Wednesday at 2:30 pm PDT, here.

To give you a preview, here's the artists' version:


and here is ours:


You can decide which is right. (See last week's post for links to their podcasts (audio and video).

We opened the banner we ordered for LA Comic-Con and it looks good. I was worried that the QR code wouldn't work, but it does. Haven't put it all together yet, but will share when that happens. We also received the t-shirts we ordered for the Con as well. While we're not going to be selling them there, we wanted to be able to wear everything available. There will be a discount for anyone who buys during the Con online.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week.

Monday, July 1, 2024

A Week in Writing #515 - The Artists Takeover


Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

We're a day late since I was driving most of Sunday. Too tired to really think much after 9+ hours behind the wheel. I have to give longhaul truck drivers credit, as I don't think I could ever do that.

Thanks to the artists, both past and present, for taking over our podcast in our absence. They decided to do a tier list of the characters from Powers Squared (there's a tab on the home page) if you want to play along. You can watch them on Wednesday at 2:30 pm on our YouTube channel. The audio is coming to https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps. Not sure I 100% agree with their ratings and am proposing the creators of the book do one of our own.

We're trying to map out podcasts for the month of July, and the artists will return at the end of the month, when we're off at San Diego Comic-Con. Speaking of which, last week, I heard from SDCC about tabling for this year's show (I was on the waiting list). As great an opportunity that would have been, I'm not prepared enough for that show, so I had to respectfully decline the last minute offer. Perhaps I would have been more ready to go if we had tabled somewhere before, but I'm not even sure I have everything I'll need and don't want to blow the opportunity by not being ready for it (and the additional costs associated with it as well).

Part of what I want to learn about tabling, for LA Comic-Con is, hopefully, going to come from speaking with small press exhibitors at SDCC. They are, hopefully, in the know and we can get advice before ordering our books. If the opportunity comes up next year, we'll be ready or at least better prepared to go from standing still to the big show.



Speaking of Powers Squared, we had a nice feature in the patreon magazine Mystic Mind #10 from Kirin Comics. I responded to a post, I believe on Facebook, looking for indie comics looking for publicity and we were selected. I'm told we will be considered for a Reader's Choice at the end of the year. You can support them at https://www.patreon.com/kirincomicstuff. If another way comes up to get the magazine, I'll be sure to let you know.

No new reviews from me this week, though my review for American Graffiti was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. Next month, though, July, will be devoted exclusively to X-Men and Deadpool. If you've been reading along, you know that we've been watching all the X-Men franchise films, including Deadpool, now that all pays off. So, keep checking for the first of 15 reviews, including a Deadpool video game and, of course, Deadpool & Wolverine, which will conclude the month. The movie, unfortunately, opens during Comic-Con, but we've reserved seats for the 29th, so it will be reviewed as promptly as possible.

Travelling Friday to Sunday and prepping for that trip, unfortunately, took a hit on my output this week. I did work some on Skylar and feel like I'm finally getting to new parts of the story. I've already mapped out an ending, but there are still several steps before I get there.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week. Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 23, 2024

A Week in Writing #514 - Starting to Take Shape


Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

Spent some time this week trying to put the booth for LA Comic-Con into shape. Got out the box of things we used at our last convention appearance, which was over 5 years ago, and started to put together what we're going to need now. This includes a skirt for the table and a new banner for the booth. It was decided by a group vote to have the new banner and the table cloth match colors and then there was agreeing on the placement of the items on the banner.

We already have one for Powers Squared, though it has the old logo on it, but we wanted to have one for SRCC, which is how people join our mailing list. Getting people to sign up is really the goal of the con as far as I'm concerned. I want to sell books, but I want us to expand our reach, too.

While we're not selling t-shirts at the show, they will be on sale on the website. To that end, we ordered some t-shirts to wear at the show. I will, of course, post photos on our website after the event, but until then, you'll just have to imagine what I'm going to look like wearing Julia's chibi Dr. Atlas designed t-shirt.

We were able to ask another creative about their con experience when Lucas Scheffel made his 7th appearance on our podcast, OAPS. Lucas, dressed as his character Gary Gorilla throughout, related his experience with conventions in Australia, which is where he lives. We also discussed his latest Kickstarter for Gary Gorilla, as well as his thoughts on the last two issues of Powers Squared. You can listen to it on or find other platform links on our website: https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps. You can also opt to watch it, and it's worth watching, when it goes up on our YouTube channel on Wedenesday afternoon at 2:30 PDT. While you're there, subscribe and ring the bell, as they say.

Next week, will be the 250th OAPS podcast, but we will be out of town (more on this later), so the artists past, present and possibly future will be taking over the show for us, the first of at least two times this summer.

Speaking of future artists, we took some steps this week on replacing our artist, who is leaving the role at her own choice. Our current colorist has expressed an interest in assuming the artist role and we asked her to draw the four main characters to get the testing underway. Still waiting to see what she comes up with.

I wrote a review this weekend for The Big Trail (1930), John Wayne's first starring role in a film directed by Raoul Walsh. My review of Blondie (1938) was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked.

And there was more work on Skylar this week, though not as much as I would have wanted. I seem to be getting a late start and getting sleepy earlier, which is a bad combination.

Next week, we'll be visiting my wife's family over the weekend, so this missive will be a day late.

That does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week, just a day late.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

A Week in Writing #513 - The Show Must Go On


Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing and a Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there.

More cancellations on this week's OAPS podcast. We were doing our 14th Comic Book Club podcast, to discuss Pompo: The CinĂ©phile Vol. 1, story and art by Shogo Sugitani. This time, Jen and Rachel had to pull out at the last minute due to reasons. But, as the old saying goes, the show must go on, so just Julia joined Paul, Trevor and myself on the show. Interestingly, earlier in the week, I had the notion that one or more wouldn't make the show. It was a good show, as we also discussed our three favorite films, since that is also something in the manga. If your curious, you can listen to it on our website. If you want to watch it, it's on our twitch channel now (twitch.tv/powerssquared) but only for  a week. If you're reading this later or want to watch it on our YouTube channel it will be available there on Wednesday afternoon.

Next week, fingers crossed, Lucas Scheffel's rescheduled appearance. We're closing in on #250, but unfortunately, we won't be a part of it, as we're having to go out of town. The good news is that Julia will be hosting another artists' takeover.

My plan this week was to work more on Skylar and it did start out well, with my writing more than 1200 words on Monday, but the progress did slow as the week went on and there was more editing than writing.

I'm currently working on a review of Dark Phoenix (2019) for later in the summer. We've been on a mission to watch all the X-Men films prior to the release of Deadpool & Wolverine, so all will be revealed in good time. Trevor had the last two reviews on Trophy Unlocked with a review of Robot Dreams as the Saturday Morning review and Inside Out 2 up today; we watched it on Friday afternoon in 3D before the podcast.

New issue was released this past Wednesday, Powers Squared Issue #21, "Mission: Istanistan, Part 2"Every release is not without a hiccup or two along the way. One of the platforms we're available on, even with a month's notice, missed the date of release, but did make good the next day. If you're curious, check it out here.

They're far alone from problems. As has been noted here, we did a Graphic Novel version of the first five issues some time back and then did a revised version for a Kickstarter with another platform we're on. Not too long ago, we did another trade for the next four issues, which is currently only available on LibraryPass. However, I wanted to have print versions available for the future. When I submitted the pages, I included the cover and the backcover in the .pdf and they ended up in the book. (My mistake, though it wasn't one I rushed to fix.) This past week, I got around to dealing with it; I wanted to make sure I was following how the previous trade looked. When I downloaded the .pdf being used, it wasn't the right one. Rather that using the .pdf we used for the Kickstarter, the old version was being used (that is, if anyone ordered the book.) I'm still in the process of getting that fixed. This is how I spend my nights sometimes, working through fun stuff like this.

Issue 21 was featured in the Indy Spotlight on First Comics News on Saturday. Always nice to get a little unsolicited push. Much appreciated. I won't go through all the gymnastics I had to do to get this link on our website, but it's there as well, along with the other stories which have featured Powers Squared.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

A Week in Writing #512 - A Week of Reviews/New Issue

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

Rather than a week in review, this was a week of reviews, as I spent most nights this past week finishing reviews for Trophy Unlocked. I know that doesn't sound like a week's worth of work, but given how things are going, that took the week. A couple of the reviews were pretty far along, American Graffiti and X-Men: Apocalypse, but another was barely started, Pushover. Then there is finding images, spell checking, adding links, posting and placing the images and that takes longer than you might think.

As it turns out, Pushover was the Saturday Morning Review on the blog. That was more of a late Friday night decision but that one's up. The X-Men review will have to wait for summer and I'm not sure when American Graffiti will appear; let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In other news, we have a new issue of Powers Squared coming out on Wednesday. "Mission: Istanistan, Part 2". This issue is a continuaiton of "Mission: Istanistan, Part 1". In that issue, the U.S. military enlisted Marty and Eli to help stop a rogue nation, Istanistan, from deploying a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) that they've been developing. Eli volunteers to teleport into the site and, using telepathy, Marty relays instructions on setting an explosive. But things go wrong and Eli is captured. Even though the Army tells Marty there is nothing they can do, he takes it upon himself to mount a rescue. But things again do not go according to plan. You'll have to read the issue to find out what happens. The issue will be available in print and digital through our website's store, The Campus Store. It's where the Hound Dogs shop.

Not a lot this week with Powers Squared. Our colorist's computer has been on the fritz for awhile, so we don't yet have her pages and I'm not sure when we'll be seeing art from our artist (see last week's post for details on that situaiton.) And no work forward yet on finding a replacement, other than some texts with our current colorist.

Our podcast had a guest all lined up, Lucas Scheffel, the creator of Angry Fred and Gary Gorilla, but he had a family emergency and had to postpone. Luckily, we had recorded a short preview on Issue #21 in April and were able to slot it into the OAPS timeslot. You can listen to it on our website (which also has links to the other platforms it appears on) or wait and watch it Wednesday afternoon on our YouTube channel (@powerssquared).

As always, Skylar got the short shrift. I did find myself editing another of the books, The Runaway, sort of by accident. I was looking for something else, but opened the title and started reading and editing as I went along. A real edit job awaits before I would submit for query, but I think it reads pretty well.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.