Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Week in Writing #448 - New Release

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

Okay, the big news of the week, at least for me, was the release of Issue #16 of Powers Squared; "Mocha and Raven Part 1". Not that it set the world on fire, at least not yet, but I always hope the new one will somehow get noticed.

The review that came out this week on First Comics News was positive. You can read it here. For the first time, in quite awhile, I tried running ads for the release on both Facebook and Instagram. Not sure that really made a difference. But in case you're wondering, here it is:

And, yes, even at this size the QR Code works. Go ahead, try it, you know you want to.

On the subject of querying, I had managed to send one new query on Thursday and on Sunday morning, received my first out-and-out rejection of the year; what a great way to start the day:

"Thank you for thinking to query me with your project. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like a good fit for my list at this time. Again, thank you, and best of luck finding an agent.

Best, "

I won't name the agent, since that's what this blog is about but I wouldn't really consider that more than a form letter. With this agent, I did send the first ten pages of the book but I don't know what didn't work for them (and I'm using the royal them). I will probably never know.

That said, I did not, again this week, branch out and query for Past Present. Again, my sticking point has been the paragraph or two in the query letter describing the book. I think I managed to get past that this weekend. It's probably still a little long but I think it could work for me this week. We'll see and I will report back.

We completed Steven E. Gordon week on Trophy Unlocked this weekend with our fourth review of a film he's associated with. Trevor's review of Anastasia (1997) was the Saturday Morning Review. Prior to that on Monday, we started with my review of The Lord of the Rings (1978), followed by Paul's review of The Black Cauldron on Wednesday and Paul's review of Oliver & Company on Friday. The capper of the week was our interview with Mr. Gordon on Friday night. We had actually recorded the interview in the middle of January when it was convenient for him. You can listen to it here or wait until Wednesday and watch it on YouTube here. Either way, it's about an hour long and covers his career as an animator and director.

And if that wasn't enough, today we posted a review of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which we actually saw in a theater, our second such film this year, the first being Casablanca.

I also wrote a review this week for Talk About a Stranger (1952), a rather short film that I recorded several years ago, I believe the last time it was on TCM's Summer of Darkness. As always, a review for the future.

I'm still getting used to Daylight Savings Time, so the output this week on Skylar was maybe less than I would have desired. Still working through it though.

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

Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Week in Writing #447 - Here We Go Again!

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

This week starts with Daylight's Savings Time. I'm not going to make a political statement here about the practice only that I accept it but know that it will probably affect me for a week or so; it does every time they monkey with the time. I'm not sure yet how it will affect me this week but, as always, you're forewarned.

The big news for me and the creative team behind Powers Squared, is that we're releasing our next issue this coming week. "Mocha and Raven, Part 1" was originally written in 2014. I honestly don't remember that but it does show that ideas can take years to come to fruition. I do know that it was in the plans from the beginning to bring Billy O'Shea, who gets a brief mention in Issue #1, back at some point.

There were several rewrites of the script from that time, sixteen in total and the actual production began in July 2021 and there were some updates right up to this year before we filed for the copyright. So eight and a half years later, we're finally getting the story out. As always, I hope that you'll take a look at when it drops on Wednesday. It will be available in both print and digital with links at I hope you'll check it out.

I did work more this week on Skylar, which is something I haven't been able to say every week. I've had some thoughts that I'm getting to that will change the story when I get to them, and I think, make it a better story. I won't give an amount this week because it really doesn't matter more than actually working on the story.

I also sent a new quert for Broken People but I didn't make it with Past Present. I wasn't happy with the query letter. Hard to come up with a paragraph to explain the plot but I'm working on it.

No review this week, but I've begun a new one but just barely, She Done Him Wrong. We managed to squeeze the film in last night but I was in no shape to get past downloading some images and looking it up online. The actual writing will have to wait until this week.

That doesn't mean that there were no reviews on Trophy Unlocked. My review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was our Saturday Morning Review, and our last pre-Oscar one. All-in-all, we reviewed 11 films that were nominated. I'm updating them during the awards for our Academy Awards review hub.

Speaking of Trophy Unlocked, next week, we're featuring films that animator Steven E. Gordon worked on during his career, including The Lord of the RingsThe Black Cauldron, Oliver and Company, and Anastasia. Steven will be our guest on our podcast On the Air with Powers Squared on Friday. Tune in at 6 pm at to watch.

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

Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Week in Writing #446 - Internet Ads and QR Codes

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

I don't know about you but there is a lot of non-writing that goes into writing, at least for me. (And, I'm not counting this blog.)

Everyday this week, I've posted on Twitter, anniversary dates for reviews on Trophy UnlockedI do this every morning between getting home from my morning walk and getting ready for the day. I've tried to shortcut this process by keeping track of the ones I've done in the past, so for the most part it's a case of copy paste and find the image to go with it. I do try to occassionally update the hashtags and stuff but for the most part things don't change too much. My hope is that it drives eyes to the blog, which I think it does. I also post on Facebook and Twitter when there are new posts on the blog, which is at least once a week, sometimes, like this week, twice, but we'll get to that later.

I also post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram three times a week for Powers Squared. Every Sunday, I post a new peek-of-the-week. On Tuesdays, the posts go up. I set these posts on Sundays through GoDaddy. [Note: For whatever reason, the connection to Facebook had stopped working, please see previous posts where I called this out. I had tried everything I could think to do, including contacting GoDaddy but nothing had worked. GoDaddy wasn't much help. They pointed me to Facebook, which I contacted but never heard back. I had pretty much given up on it but this morning, wonder of wonders, the connection was there.] Once it posts on Facebook, I think share to varrious groups. I'll also post this to our LinkedIn page and any other social media we're on.

Every Sunday morning, I also upload the video from our Friday podcast On the Air with Powers Squared to our YouTube channel. These are scheduled for Wednesdays at 2:30pm to premiere. We've been told this is a good time to post new videos. I want social media posts to go along with it, so I post something on Sundays that will go out at the same time as the video premieres. Paul and I also shoot a short video on Fridays that I put up on Instagram later on Wednesday, again, pointing them to the video on our YouTube Channel. The same process once it appears on Facebook and other social media, including LinkedIn.

Every Friday, I try to post about our upcoming podcast that night. Once the podcast is done, I update LinkedIn making sure that our Powers Squared page gets updated. This past week, Paul and I discussed the topic of "Separating the Art from the Artist", something to check out on Wednesday, or you can listen to it now.

All this leads me back to the headline. With an upcoming release, Issue 16, "Mocha and Raven, Part 1", drops on March 15. I got the bright idea that maybe we should do an ad on all these social media  sites. So I put something together and got feedback from the other creatives involved with the issue.  Today, I got the bright idea to add a QR Code to the ad. This I found not that hard to do. So, as a preview, here's the QR to the Campus Store on our website:

Let me know if it works for you.

That all said, let's talk about what this blog is supposed to be about, which is my writing.

Well, no new review this week. Saturday night turned into a family event, out of town relatives, an acapella performance at UCLA and vegan dinner, you know not the usual but good fun. So no movie, no review. That said, I did have the Saturday Morning review, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. This week, we had a Game Day review, Trevor's for God of War: Ragnarök.

One new query for Broken People. I'm still, for some reason, holding back on Past, Present, but I will do one this coming week.

I did work several times this week on Skylar. I'm still in clean up mode, but I am taking advantage of any moment I can to work on it, it's just the word count probably doesn't reflect it, yet.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2023

A Week in Writing #445 - Trying Not to Feel Like a Failure

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

When you've been writing about your writing for over 8 years and having been writing for much longer than that, it sometimes might be hard to shake the feeling that you've failed, especially when others may feel like you have. It's not something that I really try to think about, though it's hard not to contemplate such things.

Let's start with this little blog. I began writing this becauese I didn't have anyone in my life that I could really talk to about what I was doing and what I was going through. Readership most weeks is in the single digits and I'm frankly okay with that. This is where I can put down what I'm doing, and I do try every day and every week to write. Some weeks are better than others and some are worse. Being a part-time writer, with a house and a family, there are many things that can get in the way of reaching your goals. Everyday, it seems, there are obstacles to writing; I don't think I'm alone in that.

The goal is always to make a living writing and short of that get some sort of recognition for what you're doing. Part of that is to write everyday and to do whatever you can to get your work out there.

While I have yet to sell a book, does that mean that I should stop trying? I would say no. I try to do the work, like querying agents. I may be cautious about it but that is from experience. If you send out the same query letter to 40 agents and either don't hear back or are rejected, you've shot through 40 agents and perhaps learned nothing from the process. That's why I only send out one a week. But the process is forcing me to do more, like write that synopsis, which I don't think many writers enjoy writing.

And I keep trying to work on new books. Again, it's a time thing but I am working when there are gaps that allow me to do it. I think I've done good work on Skylar this past couple of days. Some of that work has been done while waiting for the next thing to happen, whether it was the podcast on Friday or before dental appointments on Saturday morning.

Writing reviews for Trophy Unlocked is something I enjoy doing, even though I feel like I have a backlog of reviews that will never see the light of day. I am only one of three writers and I'm willing to wait my chance but I don't think I should quit writing them. I don't want to think that not getting my reviews published is a failure but more waiting for the right opportunity.

That said, I did have one go up this week on the site, my review of  The Banshees of Inisherin was the Saturday morning review.

And Powers Squared could easily be seen as a failure. We're putting out our 16th issue and it is not a runaway best seller by any stretch. I do what I can, or at least what I think I can, with social media and getting press but I feel like I'm the only one doing anything, even though I'm not the only one working on the book. And I know pretty much about what I'm doing so it is a recipe for failure. Should I quit doing it? Perhaps financially I should. There are other things I could do with the time and money I'm spending on it. I always hoped this would be something we would do as a family and I've tried hard not to leave anyone behind. And I still hope that we can make something out of it.

But I also enjoy the work and enjoy trying to think of new stories we can tell. You've got to keep trying.

There are a lot of obstacles to finding success but I don't think you can consider failure unless you give up.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2023

A Week in Writing #444 - Getting Somethings Done For a Change

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

More time spent this week prepping the next issue of Powers Squared, #16 "Mocha and Raven, Part 1", this time for Kindle fka ComiXology. I transferred the pages to .pngs since the Kindle Comic Creator app didn't seem to like .tiffs and .pngs are better than .jpgs. The KCC is a bit clunky and it took more than one go to get it right. On Saturday, Paul and I loaded it up to Kindle and now we're in that awkward waiting for approval game. With the last issue, that took what I think was a couple of weeks, which is just too long. We missed the release date, though we're not counting on Kindle for the release.

Sent off to have proofs made at Artithmeric and Ka-Blam on Wednesday. Received the Ka-Blam one back on Saturday, which I think is pretty impressive. Haven't looked at it yet, I'm always thinking of unboxing videos. The other platform we output to is GlobalComix but there is no review, it just goes up, so we can put that one off for a few days. Anyway, we're looking to a March 15th release date.

Got some feedback on one of my future scripts for Powers Squared from Paul. It seems sort of fitting but it's a spin-off of the characters we're introducing in Issue 16, titled Billy and Raven. Paul's suggestion was to sort of invert the story and I think that would work better, so I'm going to have to try that.

Finished two reviews this week, for Dick Tracy (1945) and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. I'm also done with the writing but haven't posted it yet, so I'm technically still not done with Rockabye (1932) and I think it's going to fall to me to write one for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which we watched this afternoon. The Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was Paul's review of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. We're trying to play catch up with the Academy nominations.

One new query this week, so patting myself on the back for that, for Broken People. I came close but stopped short of doing one for Past, Present, the book I've been considering putting out. I think I got flusttered with the actual query letter; while it won't be much different than the one for Broken People, I still have to summarize the story, which is what gave me pause.

While I normally bemoan my lack of work on Skylar, I did have a good session on Friday afternoon and another one on Saturday afternoon. I'm back to editing what I've already done but have made some changes and am considering another one that came to me while editing. The point is, it's getting there.

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

Sunday, February 12, 2023

A Week in Writing #443 - Release Dates Set

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

I don't want to bury the lead, so I'll get to it. Paul and I spent part of Friday applying for copyrights on four issues of Powers Squared, and then setting release dates for those four issues. We announced them on the Friday podcast but in case you're not up to listening, here they are:

Issues 16-18 make up the "Mocha and Raven" story arc which reintroduces Billy O'Shea who made a brief appearance in a flashback in Issue #1 (and yes, it was planned). You can catch a preview of issue 16, here. We're also introducing another yokai, a yatagarasu, Raven, whom Mocha has some history with. Her yatagarasu form is this week's peek-of-the-week. Issue 19, called "Kamaitachi", has Marty and Eli attacked on the college campus by three weasel-like yokai.

I finished three reviews this week for Trophy UnlockedBullets or Ballots; The Banshees of Inisherin; and The Lord of the Rings. Of those three, I think Banshees will probably appear first but no promises of when. I'm working currently on two others, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris and Dick Tracy. A note on the latter, this isn't Warren Beatty's version but rather an RKO film from 1945.

We're getting serious about the Academy Awards, which is why my review of Marcel the Shell With Shoes On was the Saturday Morning Review.

I did send a new query for Broken People and started to put together a new spreadsheet to start querying Past Present. I'm trying to make sure that I don't hit up the same agents I did with the original version of the story and ones that have not responded to Broken People.

In between the reviews, I did manage to get to some work on Skylar. Again, not as much as I should and, as always, I need to do more on it.

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

Sunday, February 5, 2023

A Week in Writing #442 - Getting Behind, Again

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

I don't know about you but I feel like I'm falling behind, again, on my projects. It's not one thing in particular but just the week that was.

I started working on a synopsis for another book, this one called Past Present. This is another one that I've written with J.D. Barrister, my LA private detective. In this one, he's hired by an ex-girlfriend to follow her husband. And what starts out as a rather routine case ends up in murder when incest is revealed. I won't give any more away than that. But I realized once I was into the book that I had already written a couple of synopses for it back in the days I first tried to get representation. I know it sounds conceited but I really like this book, at least the characters and interactions in it.

So, I guess the next step is to query that, avoiding of course, those agents who already turned it down. Surprsingly, not a long list but I'll have to do that separate from Broken People, which I'm currently querying around, and yes I did send a new one out this week. Do I get a gold star now?

I started going through Past Present and making changes so there goes a couple of nights.

I'm behind on everything else, with poor Skylar once again getting neglected. It's nothing personal, just so many hours in the day.

I did spend a good portion of the week on Powers Squared related items, including struggling with my GoDaddy website. It all started when I wanted to add a Character Page for a new one we're introducing in the next book and a preview of the next book, Mocha and Raven. However, the character page would have been my 51st and that's too many for dear GoDaddy. So, I spent a good porition of this week trying to work around that, deleting some old pages and trying to combine issues into story arcs. I had the notion to turn all the issues into one page but there would be too many sections for a GoDaddy page to handle.

It's not that I mind web design, but it's the limitations that I'm getting tired of. Not sure I'm ready to move on but I'm starting to lean in that direction.

The rest of the time was spent on The Hound Dogs' Howl newsletter. It's a monthly wrap up of all things Powers Squared. This my regular ask for new subscribers. If you read this and are interested, you can get your own copy by enrolling at SRCC, the college where much of the action takes place.

It probably won't surprise you that I'm somewhat behind on my reviews for Trophy Unlocked. I did finish one for Marcel the Shell with Shoes but I'm still not quite done with Bullets or Ballots, Lord of the Rings (1978) and now I have to do one for The Banshees of Inisherin as we race to catch up with some of the Academy nominations.

The Saturday Morning Review was Paul's review of Bluey's Big Play, which we saw recently in Los Angeles.

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