Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Week in Writing #227

This is supposed to be one of those weeks when you take a look back at what you've done and look forward to what you want to get accomplished. I'm going to resist the temptation to look back at 52 weekly posts to come up with this year-end post.

Let's begin with Powers Squared. So much has happened and there is still so much to do. We began the year with a new creative team. Paul and I wanted to take the comic book in a new direction and we were happy to start working with Rachel Wells and Nina Gaillard on the comic book. Because of them, this has been a very productive year, which we will begin releasing in 2019. We've completed three issues and are about a month or so away from completing a fourth. (It previously took us two full years to get five done.)

The last three of the first five issues came out this year and despite some nice publicity, including an interview with FreakSugar, reviews in First Comic News, a nice write-up in Adventures in Poor Taste and an Ask Me Anything, I don't think we broke any sales records. In fact, I don't think we've sold enough to warrant getting paid by comiXology. (In fact, I think the lack of sales caused them to sort of turn their backs on us, so to speak.) It would be easy to give up, but I think the best stories are still to come.

I don't talk about the cost to produce the comic book (and I won't here, either) but let's just say it takes just about every extra penny we have and preventing us, as a family, from doing things like taking vacations, doing things to the house, to buying a new car. I'm hoping to change some of that by doing some crowdfunding in the coming year. I don't want you to cry for me Argentina, but we're hoping to get some help and, hopefully, more exposure for the comic.

We've tried to grow our social media presence with a website, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, Tumblr account, Twitter account, a YouTube Channel, and, lastly, a Pinterest account. That's not to say we've been successful on all fronts. You have to keep feeding these platforms and sometimes that's very difficult. I don't want to get too far ahead with revealing too much about future issues so that when they come out we have new images to share. At the same time, I wanted to promote the issues that came out last year, which sort of left our current Creative Team on the sidelines while we did that.

Now, we can concentrate on our new issues. I plan to submit Issues 6 and 7 early in the new year to comiXology but would also like to see if we can get some support from some of the media outlets that had supported us last time out.

Would also like to look into printing on demand. To that end, I spent some time this week coming up with back covers, both inside and out, for the issues. Now to get those reviewed and then we'll see where to go from there.

Work has already begun on Issue #10. We've submitted the script to Rachel, who has already begun to do some sketches for a new character we're introducing. She also seemed to really like the script which is a good thing as we're going to be living with this story arc for most of the coming year. This story arc is called What's in a Name? and will continue for three issues.

Trophy Unlocked celebrated its eighth anniversary and the 900th review post this past year. We're getting our end of the year posts ready and those will be out tomorrow, the 31st. This past week, we posted three new reviews. In addition to our usual Saturday Morning Review, What Price Hollywood?, we also published a review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which Trevor wrote. We also published one more from Paul for Ready Player One.

Every year, we spend the day after Christmas watching movies, which we call Movie Day (I know, really clever). As a result, we have a couple of reviews, including Ready Player One and one I wrote for Wonder Wheel. Not sure if we'll be writing reviews of the other films we watched that day or not. One of them, Incredibles 2, we've already written about.

While I wasn't sure last week about the rewrite for The Runaway, I did some work on Christmas Day and a couple of other days this past week. The stumbling block I thought I had sort of disappeared when I got back to it. So I'm about 12,000 words into that rewrite.

Still no word from my editor on Familiar Stranger. Despite his promises to the contrary, it has been radio-silence for most of this year. I did receive about 50 pages but that was literally months ago. I wish I didn't feel the pressure to get the work done but I do. And frankly, I have a hard time when other people don't feel the same urgency. But there isn't much I can do to light a fire under him.

I need to spend some time putting together a list of potential agents to try and sell Broken People. I've kept spreadsheets in the past but I think I'm going to start the process from scratch. There are a few agents from the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference that I'd like to query to as well.

So next year, I hope it's a breakout year for Powers Squared, with more eyes on Trophy Unlocked and I find an agent for my books. Tall order, but that's what dreams are made of.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Week in Writing #226

Well, the holidays are practically upon us and as I suspected prep has taken its toll on output.

For the most part, I'm rethinking The Runaway. I got to the point where I'm not sure where to go next. My premise needs more attention that I can give it at the moment. I need to figure out how my PI can find someone with little or no information provided by his client. It will take some thinking and perhaps research so it moved to back burner for now.

This week in Powers Squared has been fairly active as everyone involved gets ready for Christmas and family. Our colorist, Nina, has notified us that she won't be able to finish the next four pages until after the New Year. That should be fine since there won't be more than four pages and a cover for her to do in January, so I don't anticipate us getting behind schedule.

Rachel sent us the final pages for Issue #9 and the cover both based on a little feedback we gave her. I really like how the last panel got worked out.

We finished a rather last minute rewrite on the script for the next story arc, Issues 10-12, currently called What's In a Name? It started with my taking a final look which led to some rewrites and then more edits from Trevor and Paul. Some of the changes were grammatical (apparently I don't know a question when I write one) and word choice. We had pretty much worked it all out prior but this is the 12th and hopefully last rewrite.

Rachel has, in the past, made some artistic changes but we're also curious about how she likes the story since we're all going to be living with it for most of the coming year. She seemed anxious to get to work on it but I'm not expecting anything from her until after the holidays.

Still trying to Direct Message Powers Squared followers to also follow us on other social media sites. Once again, I did five and then Twitter won't let me do any more than that at one sitting. Not sure what's up with that but it does make sure I'm not spending too much time on social media. So far, the results haven't been overwhelming, no new followers on Tumblr or YouTube, as a result, this week. I know its supposed to be an uphill march but I never realized it would be this slow.

Our poll question, "Who is your favorite supporting character in Powers Squared?" has gotten our usual one vote so far. Somehow the saying, if you can reach just one person, seems a little hollow when you only ever reach is one. If I knew who the person is who responds to the poll question every week I'd point them out for praise. Again, thank you for paying attention.

New video up on YouTube, A Week in Powers Squared #13. You can watch it here. Paul and I discuss the origins of the characters: Uncle Brian, Mocha, and Jennifer Perry.

As far as Trophy Unlocked goes, we've completed our annual look at Christmas films with the comedy The Santa Clause. But wait that's not all, Paul reviewed Once Upon a Deadpool, which is a PG-13 version of the R-rated hit Deadpool 2, which came out much earlier this year. A bit of a box office grab for Fox/Disney, but really worth the trouble if you managed to see a screening during its limited run. I'm sure it will see the light of day on home video next year if you missed it.

I did finish two more reviews, one for next week, What Price Hollywood? and one for next Christmas, Cover Up, so you're going to have to wait for that one for about a year. With the year coming to a close, please look out for our annual lists of Highlights from the past year, with each of the reviewers weighing in with their own lists. Those should be out early next week which means you'll have to wait a few days for those.

So until next week, hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Week in Writing #225

With the holidays upon us, some writing has been spent on Christmas cards rather than rewrites. Couple that with general fatigue (am I still getting over it being dark at 5pm?), a dental appointment, shopping, and a neighbor who suddenly had to discuss replacing our common fence and this wasn't my most productive week. That doesn't mean nothing happened, but when there are so few hours in the day to write in a day, every hour is precious and not to be wasted. That's not to say that all there is to life is writing, but I hate it when I haven't done any during the day.

This week in Powers Squared, sort of quiet for most of the week. We did receive four pages from Nina, pages 9 through 12 of Issue #9. They came in at 11 pm our time on Saturday night, so Paul and I haven't at the time I'm writing this, which is Sunday morning, had a chance to look at them. Had a bit of a scare when I got a notification that Dropbox could no longer synch with my computer so I couldn't see her pages. Turned out to be a pretty easy fix, literally pointing the Dropbox to the E drive instead but it was a momentary concern.

Decided to get serious with the script for the next issue, currently What's in a Name? I haven't looked at the script for a couple of months and with fresh eyes I am finding some changes that we need to make. Hopefully, I can get that done in the next few days so it's ready for review and for our artist come the beginning of the year.

Still trying to make a social media push. Decided I could direct message those who are following the comic book on Twitter and ask them to follow us on Tumblr, YouTube, and Pinterest. I'm finding that after five DMs in a day, Twitter will no longer let me send messages; not sure what that's about. So far, the only reactions have been from Nina or related to her. Not sure if that's a good percentage, like 20 DMs and 2 responses but it would be nice if someone with no connection to the project would step up. I'm posting our linktree in case there is something you might care to follow us on as it relates to Powers Squared. As I say, any and all support is greatly appreciated.

It's a little disconcerting to try to keep all the balls in the air and realize so few people are watching. Our weekly vlogs are becoming an exercise in frustration as we tend to have few or no views. Last week's at this point has zero views. Our weekly poll on the website gets few hits; week after week, we get one vote. Whoever you are, thank you.

I did do some rewrites on The Runaway. I did have some time to think about it on my hour plus each way daily commute and did find some time to work on it on Saturday afternoon. Sort of interesting experience to writing a murder mystery while listening to Christmas carols but I think the pages I worked on did get better.

On the review front, I've tinkered a little with Song of the South but haven't really make any real progress on getting it done. Published our third Christmas review, this one Babes in Toyland (1934) aks March of the Wooden Soldiers. This version stars the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.

We attended a somewhat botched preview screening of Aquaman on Saturday. This was a paid screening but the lights were left on through the first ten minutes and for a few seconds towards the end of a scene the sound went out; not the AMC putting its best foot forward. Did write and publish a review this morning.

So looking back, while I'm disappointed I didn't do more, I did get somethings done. It's all about moving the chain every week.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Week in Writing #224

This week I tried #PitMad on Thursday. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is a Twitter event, short for Pitch Madness, in which you tweet a 240 or less synopsis of your book in hopes that a participating agent will like your tweet and request pages, etc. You can tweet up to three times during the event which runs from 8AM to 8PM EST and it is recommended that you change up your tweet up, in case one version catches interest. I decided to try Broken People, the novel I had just completed rewriting.

I had three written different tweets but since the event conveniently overlaps with my work hours, I only sent out two tweets during #PitMad. Well, maybe third time would have been the charm since I received zero likes. As with most of my interactions with social media, the results have been less than stellar. And, of course, I'm not too discouraged so this isn't the last post on this blog.

Speaking of Broken People, I'm still making touchups. It's hard to stop polishing. The truth is, that no matter how polished you might think it is when you submit, you will more than likely have to make further edits as part of your road to getting an agent and getting published; or so I've been told.

I'm still thinking about the next project. At this point, I'm leaning toward Runaway, a novel I had started but for reasons I can't remember, stopped writing. Before re-editing Broken People, I had made some edits on Runaway, so that seems like the logical next project. The plot gets a little convoluted and as I'm a pantser (meaning I write without a plan) so I may have lost my way the first time around.

Sort of a light week when it comes to Trophy Unlocked. I'm still working on a review for Song of the South, a film we watched a week or so ago. But other things have gotten in the way of getting further along with the review. We have the four reviews we need for Christmas this season, so there isn't a lot of pressure to come up with one for the rest of the year. Speaking of which, we did publish a review of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the 1966 TV Special, on which the recent feature film is partially based.

In other Trophy Unlocked news, we went to an advance screening of Bumblebee this past Saturday night. The sixth installment in the live-action Transformers series is really very good. Trevor, our resident Transformers expert, wrote and published his review. He is by far the best choice to do that.

This week in Powers Squared, the week started with thumbnails for the last four pages of Issue #9 from our artist, Rachel Wells. She sends us two versions and Paul and I picked the ones we liked. I don't think we picked one page over another but rather these panels from one version, the layout from one version but the panels from another.

We also received several cover ideas from her as well and chose one in particular for her to work on. The cover, as you can imagine, is very important. Trevor also finished lettering the first eight pages of Issue #9, so he's caught up for now.

On the subject of social media, Paul and I are still trying to find a following for our weekly vlog on YouTube, A Week in Powers Squared. Even though we have three followers, we can always use more, we're only getting a couple of views, which I wouldn't be surprised are us looking at it.

We're finding it hard to get much traction in social media. Not only do we have few views on YouTube, but we still have no followers on Tumblr, not that we don't publish something there every week. We're similarly unknown on Pinterest, which I just started pinning on, if that's the right term. I have one follower there but I think that's more because I know my follower from another place. If you want to be a hero, follow Powers Squared on one or all three. It won't cost anything and it would be greatly appreciated. Consider it a free gift for the holidays. Always better to give than receive.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Week in Writing #223

The big news for Powers Squared this week is the new banner and channel description we've put up on the YouTube website. The image was done by Rachel Wells. Paul wrote most of the description, which was better than the one I came up with, something along the lines of  "A weekly exercise in futility as two men try in vain to grow their social media in a series of unviewed vlogs."

Seriously, we would appreciate it that if you read this blog you'll also take a look at our latest video and would like it even more if you could subscribe and ring the bell so you can receive  notifications when new videos are available. They're the usual rubbish and no longer than a few minutes, so it won't take long to show your support.

Seeing as this is the end of the month, we've received eight pages from Rachel, bringing us up to page 16 and four more pages from Nina, bringing that part up to page 8. Trevor also lettered three pages, so it seems to be firing on all cylinders.

This is the week that both Powers Squared and Trophy Unlocked made their first appearances on Pinterest. While I've had an account for awhile, I had never really done anything with it, other than collect pins on a private board. I decided that maybe it would be another way to publicize both. Pinterest brings up to six the number of social media accounts we now have for Powers Squared. For Powers Squared, I'm trying to upload images from the comic book pointing back to the website. I started with the main characters and will hopefully be adding more as the days go on.

Speaking of Trophy Unlocked, we had a bit of milestone this week as Trevor's review of
Starlink: Battle for Atlas for the Nintendo Switch makes the 900th one on the blog Paul started 8 years ago.

We also got the Christmas Holiday reviews started with Trevor's review of the animated The Tailor of Gloucester (1993), an adaptation of a Beatrix Potter story. Recently, Trevor has really gotten into Potter's artwork and this seemed like a natural for him to review and to kick off the season.

On that subject, I came across a Christmas review that I had done but had not published, Laurel and Hardy's Babes in Toyland (1934), aka March of the Wooden Soldiers. That will most likely appear before we wrap up our annual salute to Holiday films.

I also published my review of A Star is Born (2018), just on the tail end of its theatrical run. We don't see all movies when they first come out so it's no slam on the film that it took so long to get a review written. Publishing it became tricky with the milestone, so it had to be fitted in before it got to be too old. Oh, the joys of blogging.

In other writing, I finally finished my rewrites on Broken People, though there may be some tweaking to come. It sort of felt a little anti-climatic to finish it. While rewrites are a bit of a beast, I get nostalgic for the process as I'm finishing it. This one, as I've discussed, was more than just rewriting but also blending two stories into one. I sort of changed the ending, as I took the better of the two previous ones with a bit of a twist. Right now, its 94,281 words and 519 pages.

And just when you think you're done hearing about it, I do have news on the editor and Familiar Stranger. It seems he had a birthday recently, which means he's still alive, so one question answered. In my greeting, I slid in something like "Hope to hear from you soon" to which he replied that I would be soon. Now soon isn't exactly a definitive time but this was the first acknowledgement from him in months, so who knows, something might actually come of it. I guess the keyword here is "Might" but at least there's hope. And what a better way to start out the holidays.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Week in Writing #222

Well, I hope everyone had a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving. Sort of good to be back to reality after a long road trip, which seems to take longer every year. Nothing like spending the better part of four days driving to make you miss your routine. Nice to have seen family, and overeat, etc.

And like I wrote last week, the one thing that has to give way is the writing. Still, was able to get things done though sometimes sitting twisted on the edge of the bed in a hotel room, which is a way of writing that I would not suggest. Thankfully, that was mostly social media stuff that has to continue no matter the day.

Good progress this week with Powers Squared. Our artist sent us eight pages of pencils for Issue #9, including four she had previously sent up with updates. I guess I got the versions confused since we sent back a critique asking her to fix something she already had. I even sent photographic references to her, at her request, before I found my error. Apologies all around.

The banner Rachel is working on for us for our YouTube channel also seems to be coming together as well and hopefully, we'll have it up soon. You can watch our latest weekly vlog here.

In addition, we received four pages from our colorist from the same issue, which look good.

Also a shout out to Nina for updates to our banner image, which you should see on our website, as well as our twitter account for the holidays:

From this.

To this.

This was one of the updates I made sitting on that hotel bed. I had the added joy of not finding Nina's revision where I thought I had saved it, though I was still able to hunt it down in my emails. Whew!

Continued my rewrites on Broken People both the pencil/paper and computer varieties. Had an interesting situation come up while I was reading pages in the hotel room. Seems the version I had planned to use had a very different ending than the one I thought I'd brought. However, it did get me to thinking about the ending so I may go with a version of what I brought. For those of you who don't frequently read this blog, and that's most of mankind, I'm attempting to update a story I had written and queried based on a recent news event which I think could help shape the story. I'm also trying to combine the better aspects of two versions of the story, fka A Killer Blog. What I'm finding out, is that's not always so cut and dry as I had thought/hoped it would be. However, it is helping, I hope, to make this a better story.

So, for those keeping track, I'm up to 477 pages and 86,636 words so far with the rewrite so far and about 60 pages of edits to go. I hope in the end that it's a better story, and, of course, that it will sell. I hate to bring up the crass side of the business but isn't that the ultimate goal of writing?

Thanksgiving didn't change the radio silence I'm receiving from the editor on Familiar Stranger. I don't want to think he's dead but he's done nothing in the last several months to prove the contrary to be true.

Reviews are starting to stack up on Trophy Unlocked as #900 looms in the very near future. I have one for A Star is Born (2018) that is still pending and may come out soon. We recently published a review of Ralph Breaks the Internet, which we managed to see on opening day and get a review up on the blog before heading out for a long road trip early the next morning, thanks to Paul's hard work.

For our Saturday Morning Review, we continued our salute to Noirvember with While the City Sleeps (1956), thus bringing an end to that salute before launching into our Christmas movie review month in December, for which, I believe, all but one review has been written.

So, that was the abbreviated week that was. Hope you had a Happy and Safe holiday and am looking forward to seeing what can get done the next week, the last of November.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Week in Writing #221

I know I don't always write this but this was a pretty good week as far as writing goes. I made good progress on my current rewrite, there were new pages of Powers Squared and new reviews up on Trophy Unlocked.

Let's begin with Broken People, a title I like. With the pencil and paper edits, I'm up to page 495, as far as turning those into manuscript pages, I'm up to page 354 or 64,452 words, so it's coming along, though I don't think I'll get it wrapped before Thanksgiving, which was my sort of stretch goal. Even with doing the edits on paper, there are still times when I'm leaving myself notes to either write something else or look up something. I'm liking where it's going, so that's important.

I'm going to leave my editor on Familiar Stranger for dead. He doesn't seem to want to communicate, which is really on him. I don't know what happened. I'll keep trying, but at some point, you've got to move on. As I've written before I sort of live by the lyrics from Twenty One Pilot's Heavydirtysoul "Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit". I want to get it done now and, apparently, he doesn't.

Good progress on Powers Squared. Trevor finished the last pages and cover for Issue #8, Rachel sent us pencils for pages 9-12 and Nina sent us the first four pages of Issue #9, so things are happening.

Paul and I did our 8th Week in Powers Squared vlog on our YouTube channel. At Paul's suggestion, we came up with a new thumbnail for this vlog.

Thumbnail for A Week in Powers Squared #8

We also discovered that there is another channel called Powers Squared, so need to change ours. When we tried YouTube wouldn't let us because we'd changed it too recently, which is like several months ago. But when we do we'll be sure to share it here.

Went to Local Comic Book Shop day and was able to look at some other issues to see what we need to do for a back cover. I'm still interested in offering a print on demand option but we need to come up with a back cover for each issue. Oh, if I had more time every day. I think I need a time turner.

Check the website, on Black Friday for an update to the Home Page to celebrate the Christmas season.

For Trophy Unlocked, published a review of Follow Me Quietly (1949) as part of our annual Noirvember celebration.

I also finished two reviews, one for The Santa Clause (1994) for our upcoming month of Christmas films and one for A Star is Born (2018). Not sure when that's going to be published. We're trying to work around the 900th review and an anniversary review and don't want to overshadow either. So you may have to wait for A Star is Born.

In honor of Penny Arcade's 20th Anniversary, we published Review Hub - Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness

So, Thanksgiving is coming up this week, which means food, family and football. One thing it doesn't mean is a lot of time for writing. Will carry on as best as I can and will report back here next week.

Hope you have a happy and safe holiday.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Week in Writing #220 - Radio Silence Really Sucks

Do you ever have weeks where you feel like being nice isn't paying off? I have that feeling about my editor on Familiar Stranger. It's been two months since I received any pages and then it was only the first 50 with only grammatical changes. We've talked once since, not for lack of trying on my part, I've called him several times, though spaced out over weeks, left voicemails and no response. I've texted and I've written emails, but nothing. I've tried to be lighthearted about it but what I'd like to ask is what the @$#!! is going on? You're raised to be nice, so I asked if it's something I've said or done, instead. I'm truly getting tired of being ignored, especially when he said he wanted to do the editing, said he liked to work with me and even when we did speak, say pages would be forthcoming. I don't understand the radio silence.

There seems to be a lot of that going on. We're not hearing regularly from either the artist or colorist on Powers Squared. Not sure what's up with that either. The only communique has been an invoice from the colorist, which I paid. Usually, that means pages are coming but so far nothing. I would have thought they might ask about the L.A. fires, make sure we're alright since we're about ten miles from one of them but no.

Paul and I did our seventh Week in Powers Squared vlog on our channel where we share what's new this week. It's pretty short, you can watch it here:

Thus concludes our ranting section of this week's post.

On the writing side, I've continued to make edits on Broken People. The rewrites are in two stages. There are the pencil and paper edits and there are the updates to the manuscript based on those. With the former, I'm up to page 299 and with the latter, page 197.

What happened this week, is that before dinner, I was working on reviews for Trophy Unlocked, after dinner updating the manuscript and then before bed the pencil and paper edits. I would say that for the most part, it seemed to be working.

As far as Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a future one for The Secret Bride, a film I happened to see on Monday night. With that completed, I wrote one for our Chrismas season on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the original TV special from 1966. With that completed, I began working on one for The Santa Clause. When that's done, we'll have one more needed for the Christmas reviews that will be published on the December Saturdays leading up to the holiday.

For the Saturday Morning Review, published Shadow on the Wall (1950) as part of our Noirvember celebration.

I wish there was more to talk about. I'll be trying to contact everyone this week so maybe I won't be ranting about radio silence again next week. Until then, keep writing.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Week in Writing #219

The afterglow of the Writers Digest Novel Writing Conference hasn't quite faded and I'm still very much into the rewrite of Broken People (fka A Killer Blog). I'm trying to work as quickly as I can through the rewrite as I would like to get it in order before the holidays take over completely.

This is actually the part I enjoy though I don't want to be rewriting forever. I know there are things that need to be cleaned up after I combined two versions into one. While I tried to make sure actions matched up, they don't always as neatly as I'd like them to.

As I believe I've written before I'm updating one novel while I'm waiting (impatiently) for my editor to get back to me with new pages on Familiar Stranger. If he's reading this, and I doubt he is, come on already.

While I had been waiting I had taken on some other rewrites. A Killer Blog caught my attention since it sort of dealt with something similar to the recent arrest of a doctor and his girlfriend who would drug women and record the sex that followed. In the first version of A Killer Blog, which had also been called Personal and Professional at one time, the premise was that J.D., the private investigator,  and the protagonist of the story gets involved in investigating a murder of a political blogger when a former newscaster he meets asks him to help her with the story that she hopes will get her back on the air. She is off the air because while on vacation with her husband she had a menage-a-trois with another couple that she didn't know was being videotaped and uploaded on the internet.

This did get some interest, though I didn't find an agent for it. I then tried another version of the story, where the newscaster is a waitress he meets and while she helps him with the investigation, she is not his client. Instead, the client is the murder victim's fiancee who, like the newscaster before, doesn't believe the police have arrested the right murderer. I wrote this version after an agent accused J.D., and through guilt by association, me, of being a misogynist, which I felt was misguided but caused me to write a "cleaner" version of the story.

Now, I'm bringing back the waitress as a disgraced newscaster, who rather than being a willing participant in the menage-a-trios was drugged and a victim. Since this happened before the #metoo movement she is still fired over it. In addition, the blogger's fiancee also hires J.D. to look into the murder, sharing with him some of his research. Blending them together is a little more than just drag and drop or find and replace. It's also giving me a chance to do some other edits, trying to bring in some of what I learned last weekend into the rewrite.

I also did some work this week on the final film noir review for November, or Noirvember as it's known in some circles on the internet. As part of the month-long celebration of the dark side of cinema, Conflict was published on as the Saturday Morning on Trophy Unlocked. The other three are ready to go so we can now turn our attention to the next holiday celebration, Christmas. Since we got a late start on Friday, we watched a short film, The Tailor of Gloucester, which Trevor will review. We have two other films in mind but are still missing what the fourth one will be. (If you have any ideas please leave a comment.)

I'm thinking of trying to set up an Instagram for Trophy Unlocked. I think it might be another way to attract readers to the blog, which is coming up on two milestones, 900 reviews and 8 years.

Powers Squared was not forgotten this week. Our artist, Rachel, sent Paul and me the final tiffs for the first eight pages of Issue #8 as well as thumbnails for the next eight pages. As discussed previously, we go through two versions and pick A or B by page and sometimes panel by panel. This time it was mostly B with a couple of A-versions in the mix as well. She also pointed out an issue with the script that Paul and I had missed. Nothing too major but it was still good of her to point it out.

Nina, our colorist, started working on the first eight pages of #9. She asked us to ask Rachel to make a couple of updates, which she made the same day, which is really cool.

Trevor is getting close to finishing Issue #8 but I still need to supply him with an image for the credits page. But things are moving along on all cylinders.

Paul and I sat down for our sixth A Week in Powers Squared YouTube vlog. This time, we actually talked a little bit about the concept and premise of the story, hoping that it might interest our viewers, to actually want to read the book.

So that was the week that was. I'm planning on calling my editor tomorrow to try and shake some pages loose. In the meantime, I'll continue to work on Broken People.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Week in Writing #218 - Report from the Front - Writers Digest Novel Writing Conference 2018

Well, as the title indicates, I attended the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference 2018, along with Paul, this past weekend in Pasadena, Californa. As whenever I go to a convention, I try to summarize my experience here.

Going to this convention was a little like going to San Diego Comic-Con, in that you leave feeling excited about the future. Writing is what I want to do and I've just been immersed in a two and a half day celebration and learning session. The feeling is that if I can just keep with it, I, too, will eventually be published, not rich but published. There is a great emphasis on the fact that one does not necessarily lead to the other. But I'm not picky, one step at a time.

It's not to say that all the advice on getting to step one is consistent or equal. I attended several "so you want to get published" types of programs and the advice was sometimes complementary and sometimes contradictory. Case in point, mainstream publishing. Agent Barbara Poelle, whom I saw on two panels, made the point that if a book goes out of print, you can ask for the publishing rights back. This was 180 degrees different than advice from April Eberhardt, who, as part of her pitch for Hybrid publishing, said that mainstream publishers want the rights for the length of copyright and will not ever give them back.

And there is also the issue of self-publishing, which again Poelle said would keep you from getting the book published by a mainstream publisher and later, Danny Manus, during his panel Everybody Says My Book Should be a Movie, said if you self-publish and it doesn't sell, mainstream publishers will be okay if you change the title and submit it to them.

In both these instances, I would tend to believe Poelle, though I'm not trying to call anyone out on this.

Friday began with a really good panel called FightWrite led by Carla Hoch. Really interesting. An overview of what you need to know before writing fight scenes, Battles and Brawls. I won't go into everything she said, though I did think it would be a good panel for Comic-Con since there are several panels there already devoted to writing. She's also a weapons expert and that would also do well there. She also has a blog I would recommend,

Fearless Marketing lead by William Kenower was a sort of last-minute replacement when another presenter became ill that morning. Not really about how to market but more about how, as a writer, you need to bring your love of writing to that side of the business. More of an inspirational session than down in the trenches on marketing.

The Query Letter Panel featured four agents: Barbara Poelle, Laurie McLean, Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty reacting to previously submitted query letters read by Writer's Digest editor Tyler Moss. As he read, each agent would raise their hand when they would stop reading the query.  A couple of takeaways: each agent is different in what they will react to. They are humans after all.

Good Comps are important to some agents but not so much to others. I didn't get the sense that if you didn't have a good comp, they would stop reading the query. They are more to give them an idea about what to expect. It is more if the subject or genre isn't something they represent that will stop them from reading. Again results will vary by agent.

Also, when comparing your book to another be sure to make the comps current (less than two years) but not a phenomenon, like J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin. Also, unless you already know comps, don't research online but ask a librarian for comparable titles.

The important elements are the Hook, the Book, and the Cook. Tell them about the hook or a logline that will grab their attention, as well as genre, word count, comps. Give them a couple of paragraphs summarizing the story (the Book) and tell them something about yourself (the Cook).

Don't follow up, unless the agent has asked for pages from you. Usually, there will be information about responses on the agent/agency website. Read those first before submitting as they all have different requirements.

Writing Sex Scenes with Rachael Herron, Sophie Littlefield, and Adrienne Bell was next. Their point was that sex scenes are usually really emotional acts that will be significant later. Sex is not an accidental act. Each genre will have it's own conventions and expectations.

There are two types of sex scenes, Closed door, and open door, which I think are sort of self-explanatory. I tend to write closed door but there are apparently audiences for open door and they can go from "flower" and "staff" to "pussy" and "cock".

Simply put sex should mean something to the story and if the characters aren't well developed the sex won't work. Also, you should use protection when your characters are having sex. At least mention it once.

Rape is not sex, it is a crime scene.

The final panel on Friday was A Recipe for Disaster: 4 High Stakes Elements Every Character Needs, led by Jordan Rosenfeld.

Tension is what keeps the reader reading.

1) Danger can be broken down into 4 types:

Intentional Danger - brought on by the antagonist
Accidental Danger - an accident
Natural Danger - Hurricane, earthquake, etc.
Supernatural Danger

You can be in physical danger and emotional danger.

2) Conflict - an act of an opposing force. Opposing goals, wills, plans, etc.

Protagonist vs. Self
Protagonist vs. other characters (antagonist and allies)
Protagonist vs. Nature
Protagonist vs. Supernatural
Protagonist vs. Society (family, culture, religion, etc.)

3) Uncertainty/Suspense - Nobody knows what will happen next, that's why we keep reading. When characters are anxious, so are the readers.

Implausibility is when a character behaves in a way they have not before, surreal, creates uncertainty.

4) Withholding - The act of not giving someone something they want or not in the time they want it. It creates complex feelings within characters.

Things to withhold: approval/respect/esteem/material possessions/romantic union/information, etc.

Goals should be driven by character's backstory and by plot events. A character should have a goal in every scene.

Torture the protagonist. Be mean to him or her.

Eliminate the everyday, mundane dialogue and info dumps.

Have beautiful descriptions.

We stayed for the keynote speaker, Robert Crais. His advice:

Finish what you start - finish your book
Write about what you love - what you want to read
Don't chase trends
Defy the conventional wisdom - trust what you love
Free yourself from the yoke of perfection
There is no one way to write

Saturday started with 10 Best Ways to Market Your Book led by Laurie McLean

Her advice was to:

1) Develop 1 year and 5-year goals, which could be anything from finding an agent to quitting your day job in five years.

2) Know Who You Are
What could your author brand be?

3) Social Media Audit
Google yourself and see if you show up on the first page.

Ways to accomplish this:

Think of Twitter as a cocktail party and Facebook as a family reunion.

Set up an Amazon Profile - You can have one without having a published book. It is an aggregator of your social media

Use Pinterest


One suggestion that came out of this which applies to writing queries. A lot of agents want the first ten pages in the body of the email. One way to do this, rather than cut and paste directly from Word, is to paste the first ten pages into a new document and save as plain text and then paste that into the email.

Next was The Changing Face of Publishing - What all Authors Need to Know with April Eberhardt.

Eberhardt is a writer's advocate as well as an agent. She gave pros and cons for various publishing including Traditional (Big Houses), Small Press, Self-Publishing (DIY), Assisted Self-Publishing, Amazon Publishing, Cooperative Publishing, and Hybrid Publishing.

While she will try traditional publishing, it seemed that the real point was to push Hybrid publishing as a second choice. The biggest pro, according to her, is that you get to keep your rights, but the biggest issue for many writers is the $5000 to $10,000 you'll have to spend out of your own pocket.

The choice is really up to you. What do you want personally? Professionally? If it's to make money, don't quit your day job (this would not be the only time I heard this at the convention).

Finally - Make Revision FUN! with Rachael Herron

She suggested using Nanowrimo to write as many bad words on the page because you need something to revise.

Remember: Not every suggestion will work for you.

Revision is when the magic happens. She considers the first draft to be the zero draft and revision gets it to the first draft.

The first thing is to finish your book. Revising as you go is a bad thing (this harks back to Robert Crais' advice as well.) That is unless that's the way you work and you're completing good works.

97% of writers never finish a book.

Start your revision with the theme. Every choice is made easier if you know the theme. Every scene should serve the theme whether explicitly or implicitly.

Make a sentence outline. For every scene write a brief sentence. Not the time to make line edits (you'll remember what needs to be changed.) Don't spend time fixing things you might not want to keep.

A sentence outline will allow you to read your book in a matter of minutes.

She uses post-its to keep track of changes she wants to make to the story. Then she combines the outline with the post-its.

Look for plot holes. Is there the inciting incident? Are there turning points? The context shifting mid-point? The Dark Moment? The Resolution?

Main characters must be primarily involved in creating/fixing/changing their internal and external plot conflicts.

Ask yourself: Are your characters believable? Individual? Are their goals/motivations/conflicts compelling? Enough to make the reader turn the page?

The sentence outline is your map.

Revisions are hard but only you can do it.

Go through revisions in a linear manner.

Pro Tip #1

Save each day's work with the date in the title and email it to yourself. It's a backup.

Pro Tip #2

Every day read over all post-its before you start working.

Make various passes through the manuscript:
Character Description
Character Voices
Replacing dialogue tags with action beats
Adding emotion and visceral feelings

Last pass:
Make line edits
Now is the time to make the book sing.
These scenes are staying. Make sentence edits.
Time to contract and expand when necessary.

Can't do your own copy edits (grammar) you won't see them.

And remember: Not all advice works for everyone.

The next panel was Research Writing What You Don't Know with John Dedakis

He talked about doing what he called Spade Work, i.e. prepping, tapping into your subconscious, interview your characters.

Do some preliminary research but don't get bogged down.

Write the first draft straight through - turning off your internal editor.

Note what you don't know but keep writing. This will help you focus your research.

Your first draft is not the final draft.

Research methods:

Go There!
Have Beta-readers familiar with what you're writing about give you feedback.
Interviews - for writers who are introverts, this may seem like getting out of your comfort zone.

What to Expect When You're Expecting ... A Publishing Career led by Barbara Poelle.

Poelle gives a very breezy take on the steps once you've finished writing your book. It starts with you finishing your book. Then revising and revising again. Then there's the query letter (Hook, Book, Cook).

Thet letter should go out to about 15-30 agents (using their websites for specifics). Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the agents.

Of course, Barbara will be one of them and you'll want her to represent you. She'll ask for pages and you'll nudge her after 7 weeks and then every 2 weeks after that.

When she offers you representation, you're to ask to talk to two clients, to find out 1) what she does well and 2) what she needs to improve.

Then you'll want to know from her how much revision she thinks you need and to set your expectations.

She touched on movie/Tv rights, foreign rights, audio rights, in addition to publishing rights.

Even though you'll want her, she did talk about how new agents might have more bandwidth and be hungrier as they build their lists.

The final panel on Saturday was Everybody Says My Book Should Be a Movie with Danny Manus.

The bottom line is that most don't.

Themes have to be broad and universal. Must appeal to foreign audiences as well, since a bulk of the money comes from overseas.

Characters can't be ordinary people doing ordinary things.

Genre: Most have two. Primary, which sets the rules of the genre - the concept and a secondary one that moves the plot.

He talked a little about adaptations, but the overall feeling was that its an uphill fight.

And, Self-publishing is the mistake. Hollywood will not knock on the door.

The final panel on Sunday morning was Act of Villainy: Breathing Life into Your Antagonist with Phillip Athans.

Every story begins with an act of villainy.

A villain is a character who is actively destructive in some way.

The antagonist is a character in opposition to the protagonist but is not necessarily a villain.

A villain is someone whose motivation we understand but whose methods we find abhorrent.

He ventured the 3M's of a good villain:


There are the obvious motivations:
Pure Evil

Then there is the secret motivation - why the villain thinks he's doing this.

The final motivation is The Hole, or why the villain is really doing what he's doing. What hole in the villain's life or psyche is being filled by the villain? The why not the how. The villain doesn't necessarily understand what or know it in a conscious sense.

To write a convincing villain, you must explore the darkest corners of your own psyche. If you're freaking yourself out, you're probably on to something.

So that sort of sums up what I learned. The big takeaways are to keep writing and don't give up!

As far as my own novel, I did about 100 pages of editing. Attending this conference has given me some ideas that I'm trying to put into motion. I'm trying to go through Broken People (fka A Killer Blog). I've already excised the first two pages and am considering trying to combine the first two to get to the action faster. More on this as I go along.

Still, radio silence from the editor on Familiar Stranger, so nothing to report there.

Worked and finished two reviews for Trophy Unlocked: While the City Sleeps and Follow Me Quietly. As an added bonus, TCM was showing the latter on Saturday night, so I was able to watch it again and add some details that had been missing.

Published the last horror review for October, The Mummy (1959). Now we're closing in on Noirvember, as well as discussing the 900 review milestone, Christmas reviews, and the anniversary review as we're coming up on eight years.

Even though Paul and I were attending the conference we did manage to look new pages from both the artist (pages 5-8 issue 9) and the colorist (pages 17-20 and the cover for issue 8, as well as a holiday surprise for the website. Gave a little feedback but for the most part really good work. Our colorist already turned around the pages, so the artwork for Issue 8 is done.

Speaking of the website, there is a new poll question to answer:  Would you want to be able to make yourself invisible? Would love to see your vote on the website.

And speaking of all things Powers Squared, Paul and I made our 5th A Week in Powers Squared Vlog on YouTube, which we invite you to watch here. It's short and fun, so watch.

Well, that's about it for the week. Next week it's hopefully rewrites, reviews, and more planning on the future of Powers Squared.

If you have any comments or questions, I'd really like to see them.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Week in Writing #217

Next weekend, Paul and I are attending the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena. It will be our second time to attend. In the spirit of the event, I'll start with my current rewrite work on fka A Killer Blog. 

I had two versions of the story that I was trying to wed together and it was the main focus of my writing this past week. Putting together two similar but slightly different tellings of the same events proved to be much harder than I had expected and somewhat frustrating. If I had more than one version of the novel open, I would find myself editing the wrong version. I took a different approach and at least, by the end of Saturday, had combined the two versions and made the edits I had wanted to make, though sometimes the lines I wanted to edit were not in the combined version.

There is still a lot of work to be done. As an example, when searching for a phrase, I found it used twice within about 50 pages of each other, showing the differences between two. While I feel I think better at a computer, I know I edit better with paper and pencil, so it looks like I'll be printing through another ream of paper to finish the editing. Hopefully, by the,n I'll come up with a better title.

And hopefully, by then, I'll hear from the editor on Familiar Stranger, but as of now its still radio silence from him. I  tried to change that and called this week but I got voicemail instead. Today, with people only having cell phones, I have to wonder if he saw it was my number and did not answer. Ouch! I'll have to keep trying but some of it comes down to him as well. Communication is a two-way street.  Not sure why there has been no response. Very curious to say the least, frustrating as hell but curious nonetheless.

The silence we had been getting from our contact at comiXology finally broke and in a rather disappointing fashion. While he has blown hot and cold since we've been dealing with them, he pretty much turned on the cold air for good. I had asked if he could look at the next two issues of Powers Squared but in so many words he told us to leave him alone. Not what you really want to hear from anyone, especially your "publisher". 

I haven't done a study but anecdotally, I get the feeling that indies, like us, don't usually get much support from the online publisher. While they had done some press for the release of Issues 3 through 5 that was more to make up for not doing anything when the first two issues were published. That goodwill is now apparently gone, used up.

comiXology is not really in the business to grow new IPs but rather to make monies on existing ones or new ones that come from the major publishers: Marvel, DC, Image and the like. Like YouTube, they welcome all comers but the little guys aren't primary to their success. 

While we will still, hopefully, publish on their site, we're going to have to carry the load ourselves so before we submit Issues 6 and 7, we're going to have to get some things lined up on our side. More on that later.

On the flip side, San Diego Comic-Con recognized Paul, Trevor and I as Professionals. While that doesn't really matter to readers, it was still nice to receive. So, there is hope.

As far as the comic book goes, we have received the first four pages of Issue 9 as pencils. Rachel sent us the pages earlier in the week and we gave her some feedback. New versions followed but that is about it as far as what we've received. Surprisingly, October has been a slow month. For the first time, I'd say I was concerned we're not going to have 8 new pages this month. No pages so far from Nina either, traveling and family but there is still time I guess before the end of the month.  Trevor has lettered more pages on Issue 8 but other than that, not much more to report on production wise.

Paul and I have continued our weekly vlog on our YouTube channel and we've continued with our weekly poll on the website. Last week's poll question was "If you had to choose one: Telepathy vs. Teleportation?" with teleportation winning four to none; that's right four. This week's poll question "If you had to choose one: Super Sight or Super Speed?" only has to votes with Super Sight winning two to none. So far the numbers for both are low and while it's easy to want to give up, hope and desire keep us going.  

The rewrites on fka A Killer Blog has taken away from time on reviews for Trophy Unlocked. I did do some more work on the review for While The City Sleeps but not really enough. I also need to work on a new review for Follow Me Quietly, the film noir we watched on Friday night.

Our horror look for Spooktober did continue with Get Out (2017), which was our Saturday Morning Review. Even though the film is very recent, I gave it a more in-depth look since I figure it will be talked about for a while.

So, next week, rewrites, reviews and seminars. I'll be sure to share here what I learn next weekend as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Week in Writing #216

A lot of radio silence this week. Still no word from my editor on Familiar Stranger. My fault for not contacting him but it wasn't a good week for making phone calls. Not wanting to let moss grow under me, I've been working on the novel fka A Killer Blog, though it doesn't have a new name as of yet.

I've been making pretty good progress though I decided I needed to take into consideration another version of the book I had written. Like the other novels, the protagonist is a private detective, J.D. Barrister. In the original story, he meets a former news anchor, who was disgraced when she appeared in a sex video. She sees a case J.D. is working on as a way to redemption. The case is the murder of a blogger, hence the fka, who was murdered when he discovered that the mayor of Los Angeles was being funded by the leader of a Mexican drug cartel.

The woman's past was not agreeable to agents, so I ended up changing her, making her simply a waitress who is more of a bystander to the case; even changed her name to Abigail Dietrich. Her past was shady but not as overt as Stacy's had been.

In light of the #metoo movement and the recent arrest of a couple that would drug women and then videotapes them having sex, I got the idea to make Stacy's video one in which she was a victim. She still loses her job because no one believes her at the time but she is now a victim of circumstance. I hope the change will make her more acceptable.

What I'm finding is that some of the work from the second version helps the overall story. Most of it is the sequencing of the story which I think the newer version helps. The issue is gelling the two together. The final version will be a bit of cut and pasting between the stories as well as some new bits to connect the two. It can be a little overwhelming but hopefully rewarding.

On the review side, I completed the review of The Mummy (1959), meaning we have the necessary ones for Trophy Unlocked's annual celebration of horror films. This week, we published a review of Doctor X, an early Technicolor horror film directed by Michael Curtiz starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, and Lee Tracy.

Now we're starting on film noir of Noirvember, which is just an excuse to celebrate the genre prior to Christmas films in December. We watched While The City Sleeps on Friday so I will be working on that review next week.

Something I had thought I would have been working on more this past week was Powers Squared. Except for checking on them after the destructive Hurricane Michael passed through Georgia, where both are based, really haven't heard anything from either the artist or colorist this week, though we did appear in an Instagram story Nina put up earlier in the week, so I know she is working on it.

Trevor, who is working after Nina completes the coloring, has just completed the first six pages of Issue #8, so progress is being made.

We added a new poll question on the Powers Squared website. Again, its a question related to the comic book. This time we're asking for people to choose one of two superpowers Marty and Eli share: telepathy and teleportation. Interested in what you might think so please vote. We change the poll every Friday afternoon, so hurry.

I did learn, vicariously, through Nina's Instagram about something called Linktree. One of the downsides of Instagram is that it allows you only one link in your profile. Linktree allows you to create one link that contains several other links, sort of like the branches of a tree coming off the trunk. I set one up on Instagram for Powers Squared. Fairly easy to do and something I would recommend to others who are trying to use Instagram for promoting their IP.

Paul and I also made our weekly Vlog about Powers Squared, available on our YouTube channel.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Week in Writing #215

This is a good week to talk about the process of putting together an issue of Powers Squared, especially since this is the first week of the month and we're beginning work on a new issue #9, Mathemagical Part 2, with our artist Rachel Wells.

Every month, Rachel finishes 8 pages of art in inks and the next month, our colorist, Nina Gaillard, will color those 8 pages. With an issue being 20 pages, it takes about three months, including the cover and then another month for the coloring. Lettering can take place during that time but usually wraps up about a month or so after Nina is done.

So, this week, as it is the beginning of the month, Rachel sent us 2 sets of layouts for the eight pages she'll do this month. Paul and I sit down with the script and compare the layouts vs the script and decide which version we like best. Not only do we go back and forth on pages, as in the A version of page 1 and the B version of page 2, but sometimes it's down to the panel with the first four from the A version and the next two from the B version. Rachel will then take those and start work on the pencils.

This month, she had some ideas on the script, making suggestions about the actions and placement of items within the panel/story. I don't know if anyone else is out there writing an indie comic book but sometimes you don't notice inconsistencies or that having him play the guitar is better than having it by his side just before someone says "I heard you playing..."

She also made a suggestion about moving one panel from the top of page 8 to the bottom of page 7, since the action would flow better. Hey, our scripts are not written in stone so we're pretty flexible with suggestions and encourage a collaborative working relationship. The goal is to always make it better, which is the same approach I try to take to my writing.

In other Powers Squared news, we put up our second poll question on the website. Seeing how the first poll question registered no responses, I'm happy to report that right now, and after two days mind you, we have 4 votes on the poll question. The poll question this week is "Would you give up super powers for true "love"?" You can vote on the Powers Squared website. The poll is on the homepage.
The poll questions will relate to items related to the story of Powers Squared. If you're curious as to the first question, it was "Are you a twin? Yes, No, I don't Know."

We're still trying to publicize our YouTube Channel including the Vlog post Paul and I put up last Sunday. I boosted a post on Facebook about it and while they say we reached 348 people and received 100 likes on Instagram, the YouTube shows only 2 views, which is, of course, disappointing, to say the least. But Rome wasn't built in a day and so organically growing a social media following is a slow march. In the meantime, you can watch the video here. While you're there, please subscribe and ring the bell to get all of our YouTube notifications.

If you're wondering if we've heard back from our contact at comiXology, the answer would be "No" and I'm not pushing it at this point. There is this other comic book convention in New York that he is no doubt attending. I figure I'd give him a week to recover and then resend Issue #6 as well as Issue #7 to him. If he doesn't respond after that, then he's an ass and we can all agree on that.

If you're wondering if I heard back from the editor on Familiar Stranger, the answer again would be "no". Not the same excuse here but I'll have to follow up, again, and see if I can shake some pages loose.

On my own, I finished editing fka Killer Blog with a pencil and now will start the updating process this week. It may take a couple of weeks but I should have the re-edited version done soon and will then try to send it out to agents. I wouldn't mind having someone edit it but I'd like to shop it around before I die and that seems unlikely given the current rate of getting feedback at this point. Oh, the fun of queries.

Trophy Unlocked published Trevor's review of Coraline as our Saturday Morning Review, seeing how it straddles the animation theme from September with the horror theme for October. I've also completed my review of Get Out and am working on one for Hammer's The Mummy.

Next week, the challenges are going to be time-related again. We have a concert to attend on Thursday night and another birthday next Sunday, my wife's, so time will be well spent but not all of it on writing.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Week in Writing #214

Like most weeks, this one came with its own set of issues, not all of which were bad. To begin with, this past week was sort of birthday week at our house. I had mine on Tuesday and both Paul and Trevor had theirs on Friday. (My wife's is in a few weeks away in October; get your cards ready now.) And, yes, we're all Libras in this house. I say all this to note that there were some other things that took time in order to get any writing done.

That's not to say that I didn't do any this week. Most of the time has been spent on the rewrite I mentioned the last couple of weeks, taking an old manuscript (fka A Killer Blog) and updating it to take into account some recent news items that could be assimilated into the story. My method is to print out the pages and then read them with a pencil in hand and editing as I go. I try to be less enamored with my writing and more critical.

I've gone through about 350 pages so far and it is a little less than 500 pages. Since this has gone through several (and I mean dozens) of previous rewrites, as I'm going through I'm remembering chapters from other versions that I want to incorporate. When I get to sit down at a computer with my notes I'll be sure to go back and find those chapters. I'm looking forward to the process. Since this has been edited several times prior, I don't think I'm going to send it, again, to my editor and may try to shop it around.

Speaking of my editor, I did actually call him this week and tell him I'm ready for more pages. He even said he had more to send but as I'm sitting here recounting my week, I'm still waiting. It's hard to strike the right balance between understanding people are busy with other things than yourself and having to wait for days, weeks and months for them to deliver. If I didn't like working with him and appreciate his insights, I would have walked away months ago.

No new reviews were written by me this week, not enough time to really sit down and do one. I have several in progress and with no new movie from Friday, I'm hoping to have some time this week to finish one. Since we're heading into October and our annual salute to horror, I need to finish Get Out, though I do already have one ready to go.

For the latest Trophy Unlocked Saturday Morning Review, I published one for Aladdin (1992), the film most notably voiced by the late great Robin Williams and the source material for Disney's latest Broadway triumph.

So this brings us to Powers Squared, the oft-written about and apparently seldom read comic book that we've been working on for years now. We published the Promo created for us by Your Motion Comic on the website and then republished a slightly different version on our YouTube Channel. Someone we had shown the video to before had a comment after it was published, which made sense so we had the change made and uploaded the new version on Saturday. We lost all of the views, so if you have seen it, please view the new version here. While you're there, please Subscribe and ring the bell. Also, comments and likes are always welcomed.

Part of the reason to subscribe is so that you'll be aware of any new videos we publish. Paul thinks we should put up one every week, so we'll see. It will sort of be a Week in Powers Squared type of Vlog and sometimes will just be me and sometimes, we hope, will include others on the team. See our first one, me and Paul here.

Speaking of the YouTube channel, I really hate having to work with Google on these things. The first time we tried to upload it not only logged us into the wrong channel but on its own changed the name of the Powers Squared channel. Every time I have to log into the channel, all of my other logins get hosed and I have re-login to Google under a different ID so I can get to things like this blog site. I am having to re-edit what I wrote, since somehow, even though I saved it, the blog post was not all saved. (I'm blaming Google just because.)

This week, with a little help from GoDaddy, and I mean little help, I was able to get the Poll question to work on the website. I hope to do a weekly poll question with them being related to the comic book so some of them will help if you've read it. GoDaddy had first directed me to a free poll website, but it turns out it doesn't work with their software. When I chatted with someone on Friday about it, they at first said they weren't hosting my website, so that was not a good start. They finally came around but said they couldn't help. I did manage to find one, PollDaddy, which is an unrelated service and was able to get the poll to work.

On other Powers Squared news, our artist, Rachel, sent us the last four pages and the cover to Issue #8 as jpegs on Wednesday. She does this in case we have any other last minute changes. There was one panel on one page that we wanted to be redone and I sent her an email that night with the change we wanted to be made. After a couple of days, I started to wonder why we hadn't heard from her. Turns out the email got stuck in my Drafts and didn't send. When I found it on Saturday afternoon, I sent it to her and by Saturday night she had made the change and sent us Tiffs. Those have been put in the Dropbox for Nina so the cycle continues.

Our letterer, Trevor, made a few minor changes to a couple of pages so I made a new .pdf for Issue #6 and #7, the latter I sent to everyone on the creative team.

I'm not going to send the new issue to our contact at comiXology until after New York Comic Con because he hasn't responded to my emails about Issue #6 from other a month ago. No reason to put me through the aggravation of waiting for an answer that will not be forthcoming.

There seems to be a lot of waiting when it comes to writing. A lot of waiting, so get used to it.