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.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Week in Writing #213

Another week with less than glamorous results as far as pages and reviews go. Didn't have the same excuse as I did last week but for reasons, I never did get around to everything I thought I would. And like last week, that isn't to say that things didn't get done, just not as much as I would have hoped for.

I've been negligent in my review writing. To begin with, I still haven't finished The Secret of N.I.M.H. and I've even started another one, Get Out, for Trophy Unlocked's annual salute to horror films in October. I'll probably still have to complete N.I.M.H. sooner than later but I'm not sure we'll actually need it as I have some other animated film reviews on file. On Saturday, the 20th anniversary of its release, we published Paul's review of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.

Work continued this week on Powers Squared. We discovered a couple of glitches between the script and the story if that makes sense. We had the boys doing some things they couldn't based on the circumstances of the storyline and previous artwork. Our artist, Rachel, had found one and we had discovered the other. Luckily, it was only two panels and Paul came up with a really good solution that everyone was amenable to make. So we're getting close to the end of the artwork for Issue #8.

Nina, our colorist, is not too far behind. She normally works one month behind Rachel and is on target, having already delivered half of the pages. I'm hoping to give her Indiegogo project a bit of a boost by mentioning it here. She has her own project, a Children's book, Talia and the Droplets and you can support her here:

Related to the colorist, I had a rather aggravating issue with PayPal when I tried to pay her. At the beginning of the month, our main credit card was compromised with over $600 worth of charges, including about a dozen Uber trips no one has taken and two train trips, not to mention some Groupon and Jamba Juice charges as well. Well, one of the charges I questioned, which I made through PayPal, proved to be a legitimate charge. I didn't recognize the company receiving payment as the one I thought I was paying (Apparently, I'm not the only one to make this sort of mistake.) Even though I had called the credit card company, several days before to right the wrong, PayPal was still blocking me.

I was unable to clear the problem on their site, since the solution was either circular, taking me back to the same page or they wanted information I had no plans to send them, like the credit card statement (none of their business). When I tried to call them, it was an automated voice that could not understand me or seemed unwilling to transfer me to a real human being. It took more than one call and a lot of yelling on my part, that I was put in line to speak with a person. And then, since it would take about 40 minutes, they would call me back. (I had a similar experience with Go Daddy some weeks back for an issue I haven't been able to clear.) Well, I was able to get this taken care of over the phone, but it took about an hour. Not really sure what the point of the story is but to share my pain.

Meanwhile, Trevor has started to letter Issue #8. Paul and I are reviewing the lettering for Issues #6 and #7, not so much for misspellings but some omissions and some possible changes. It is always a different experience to see everything in print to get ideas to float up. Nothing really big.

Still working on the motion comic video. We've been having some issues with the files we've sent to be used. Not sure, but he hasn't been able to see anything once they've been downloaded. I had gone through and made about 20 reduced .pdfs but those didn't work for some reason either. Now, I'm sending him TIF files through WeTransfer, a rather time-consuming process, given their size. As I'm writing this, the upload process has been going for over an hour and has about 50 minutes still to go, though it should all be done by the time anyone actually reads this.

On my other writing, no new pages from my editor on Familiar Stranger, which is disappointing. I hate it when I feel like I have to harass people to get a response. When we talked briefly a couple of weeks ago, I thought he was anxious to get this over with, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

I've been working on rewrites for The Runaway and I've come to see why I might have abandoned it at the time. It gets to be a little confusing, which I think I need to streamline, though a little convolution is a good thing with stories like this just not so much that it weighs the story down. And, if it confuses me, how would a reader fare?

I usually don't try to write about what is going on in the news but a recent story caught my eye as I had written about something similar from a fictional point-of-view. In one of my earlier J.D. Barrister stories, A Killer Blog (a name I'm not really crazy about), I had a character, a former newscaster, who had lost her job and her credibility by being caught on video having sex with another couple. In my earlier version, she was a somewhat willing participant, though she wasn't aware it was being videotaped. As a result, she was not viewed very well by readers and potential agents.

This past week, the news story broke about a couple in Newport Beach, California, who was arrested for drugging and raping women they both had sex with and videotaping the encounters. The situation really reminded me of what I had thought up six years before. Now, making my character more of a victim, given this reality, might make her more sympathetic to everyone. I may have been the only one who liked the character, so I'm interested in seeing if I can ressurect her reputation with some rewrites. At the moment, that seems more interesting than trying to start an out and out rewrite of The Runaway.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Week in Writing #212

Well, I can't say this was a banner week for writing for me. As anyone who works a full-time job and has a family knows, writing sometimes takes a backseat to other things, including in my case fatigue. I was pretty tired all week and with family coming first, I don't feel like I got a lot done.

As an example, I didn't really make much progress on my review of The Secret of N.I.M.H., even though I said I would work on it. Luckily, I'm not the only one who writes reviews for Trophy Unlocked. On Saturday, we published Trevor's review of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad so we were able to keep with the animated-theme for our Saturday Morning Reviews. Trevor had recently finished reading The Wind and the Willows, on which the Mr. Toad section of the film is based.

As far as Familiar Stranger goes, I did get pages back from my editor, 50 pages as a matter of fact, and made the updates he suggested, which were mostly grammar. I'm ready for more whenever they come.

Did a little rewrite work on The Runaway. It's been good to read this manuscript again and see all the places it needs to be fixed. I'm still not sure where it's going yet. I can see some of the things I was trying to set up but I don't remember why I stopped working on it. That may get to be clearer as I get further into it.

So, on to Powers Squared. This week, Trevor finished the lettering for Issue #7 so we have our second issue completed with our new creative team and Kirby Good and Evil is pretty much put to bed. Paul and I haven't really looked through it about any possible changes but it's good to get another one down.

On Issue #8, or the beginning of the Mathemagical story arc, our colorist has completed up through page 12. We'll have to get Trevor started on the lettering now.

During the week, I stumbled across something that we're going to try. I'm a member of a Facebook group Comic Book Creators Interested in Promoting One Another and following someone's Kickstarter, I saw that their video was made by Your Motion Comic, so we're going to have one made for the first five issues. I spent part of the weekend with Paul picking pages and making pdfs to send. When it's completed, I will be sure to provide a link here as well as on

So, I've still got work to do this week on rewrites and reviews and if all works out, I'll be reporting better things next time.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Week in Writing #211

Let's start this week off with a little good news, little being the operative word. After over two months of radio silence, I did manage to get ahold of my editor who has had Familiar Stranger since late April. Since then we've spoken once, over the 4th of July holiday. I've been trying hard to give him space, no one likes someone looking over their shoulder, but it's hard not to hear anything back or to have recent phone calls not returned or acknowledged. I wasn't necessarily expecting him to be finished by now but I just wanted to know how it was going.

Well, he says I should be receiving notes this week. I'm not 100% sure if it will be the entire manuscript or just part of it. Either way, I'm looking forward to working to make the book better, which is always my goal with writing.

While waiting, I started reviewing and editing an unfinished manuscript I had last edited since a few days before Christmas 2015, called The Runaway. It's actually sort of a continuation of some of the storylines I set up in Getting Even, which I finished re-editing last weekend. I'll be honest, I sorted of remembered some of that when I decided to edit and hopefully complete it. I'm about 100 pages into what is currently 328 pages long. I don't remember where I left off but that will be part of the excitement of reading it again after nearly three years away.

My goal is to keep feeding my editor with the other manuscripts that I've been working on. The goal, besides making it better, would be to find an agent and a publisher. And if you've ever gone down that rabbit hole you know that it is quite the lottery and time-suck. I'm hoping the more I have ready to go the better shape I'll be in to achieve the goal of being published.

I'm hoping to get some insights during the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in October. By then, hopefully, I'm ready to start that process with Familiar Stranger. And, of course, spoiler alert, I'll be writing about it here.

This week with Powers Squared started last Sunday when our artist sent us layouts for the last four pages of Issue #8 as well as the cover. The choices were a little more straightforward as we liked one version for two pages and the other version for the other two. Our artist gave us four choices for the cover and we chose one that we thought best.

The rest of the week we spent nailing down the layout for Uncle Brian's Apartment since it is one of the more stable locations in the book. Where is the boys' room in relation to the front door? Where is the kitchen in relation to the living room? Those sort of things. We were sort of stuck in some ways with what had already been in previous issues so it was really coming to grips with the past.

I had planned to launch a weekly poll on the Powers Squared website on Friday and even though I had done some prep work to have it be easy to add, the poll was still loading after about 30 minutes, which was a clear sign something was wrong. I contacted GoDaddy but the online Chat service that helped me add the Poll was offline. So I called them instead but the wait time was about 11 minutes. When given the option to have a callback I took it. Unfortunately, the call back was from billing not from tech support. When the representative transferred me, I was told the wait would be over 20 minutes and when I wasn't given a callback option I hung up.

I'll try again next week so if you were really looking forward to it I'm sorry you'll have to wait.

I didn't get as far as I wanted with my review for Trophy Unlocked. In fact, some of the time I would have spent on my review of The Secret of N.I.M.H. I was spending on rearranging rooms in Uncle Brian's apartment in Paint. Life is all about choices.

Did publish my review for Kiki's Delivery Service as this past Saturday's Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. I promise to do more work this week.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Week in Writing #210

Well, Happy Anniversary. I was looking through an old laptop, you know what else do you do on a three-day holiday Sunday afternoon and noticed that the first post on this blog, literally called First Post, and it was September 1, 2014, so this marks four years I've been writing this. Four years of writing about writing; writing about rewrites, reviews, Powers Squared, Trophy Unlocked and, of course, waiting and waiting and waiting.

My purpose for writing this hasn't changed either. I started this is "to keep myself honest. I want someplace to discuss the process, not so much my writing process, though that will be mentioned, but also the process of going from writer to published author, which is the goal."

Ironic that one of my earliest observations still hold true to this day, "My editor is still sort of AWOL." That was true four years ago and it is still true today. I even tried calling him yesterday afternoon and the call went straight to voicemail. I'm guessing, like four years ago, he may be at Burning Man which means he's as off the grid as you can get these days. Still waiting to hear something, anything, about Familiar Stranger. Four years ago it was A Killer Blog for those keeping track.

And just like year, Paul and I registered to attend the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena in October. Always looking for ways to improve my writing and marketing, which is one of the seminars they'll be having. If you're going, maybe we'll see you there.

I've been wrapping up the rewrites on Getting Even. I had hoped to be done by now but I'm down to the last chapter so it's close.

Work continues on Issue #8 of Powers Squared. Rachel sent us inks for pages 9-16 and Nina delivered colors for pages 1-8. Tonight, we received thumbnails for the rest of the issue as well as the cover, so there is always something happening and more for Paul and me to look at, though it will probably be tomorrow before we do.

Speaking of AWOL, just like the last few posts, we're still waiting to hear back from our contact at comiXology. Somehow that feels so familiar, too. It's been at least a month since I sent him issue #6 to look at and well, no word yet. Not discouraged but disappointed.

We had what might amount to be our last Friday afternoon Google Hangout of the summer with both Rachel and Nina. You can follow the link to our YouTube channel here. It will take you to our website. The audio from our end isn't very good, not sure why but both Rachel and Nina are clear as a bell. I purchased a better microphone for when we do it again, though I'm not sure when it will be. I've really enjoyed talking with them this past summer.

Completed a review this week for Doctor X but actually published one for Dumbo as the Trophy Unlocked Saturday Morning Review. Still, have one to write this week for The Secret of NIMH.

So another anniversary has come and gone and all I got you was this post.