Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Week in Writing #279 - 2019: The Year in Review

The end of the year is a good time to look back at everything you've done and all that you haven't. It seems for everything I have done there must be four or five things that I haven't.

Let's begin with writing novels. I always feel like I'm working on something at all times, though I always don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. As an example, I finished my own rewrite of Broken People and while I did send out a few queries but after being rejected, or in this case, ignored, I stopped. I had other things I needed to do so I stopped sending out queries on that book.

I did start a new rewrite, The Runaway, and have been working on that pretty much ever since finishing Broken People. I keep going back to the beginning as new ideas come to me. It's not advice that I would give out to others; the idea is to get through a draft first but in this case, it works for me. I had pretty much the same experience with every book I've written.

And I have officially given up on ever hearing from the guy who was supposed to edit Familiar Stranger. He very much flaked out on me and I'm closing the door permanently on him ever helping me again. Sometimes, you've got to cut bait and move on.

Looking forward, I need to query Broken People more and finish The Runaway. Those seem like pretty straight forward goals, so I'll stick with them.

As far as Powers Squared is concerned, I believe we did a lot: we had our first signing, attended our first convention, set up a mailing list, started a newsletter, started a weekly Podcast and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign. The only thing we overlooked was putting out new issues, though if you count the ones we sent out per the Kickstarter, issues #8 and #9 did get some distribution.

While I enjoy working on the newsletter and believe it is a necessary thing to do, I am happy that we've decided to cut it back from weekly to monthly. We'll still send out emails on a weekly basis, they just won't be a full-fledged newsletter, which takes time every weekend to write. I'm hoping that with a less frequent schedule we'll be able to make what we do send stand out more.

Our goal for 2020 is to distribute more consistently, so rather than releasing whole story arcs at a time, we're planning on releasing one issue at a time on a more regular basis. We want to do more signings and conventions. And most of all, we want to keep making Powers Squared, which means we need to find a new colorist since ours is leaving us.

As far as Trophy Unlocked goes, I ended up publishing 30 reviews this year. I really enjoy working on the blog and I'm already working on ones that may not show up for a year or so. (You got to do Christmas movies when you see them.)

Early in 2020, the blog will reach 1000 reviews, which is pretty exciting.

Well, that's about it for now. Keep writing and see you next week.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

A Week in Writing #278

Since this is my last blog post before Christmas, I want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays.

The holidays are a hectic time, especially when you're trying to wrap up a Kickstarter before the holidays take total hold and people go out on vacation. One of the things I hadn't counted on was backers being slow with their surveys. I finally had to call the last person with a physical reward to get them to fill out the survey. People don't seem to realize they had to fill them out and that it holds up other people when they don't return them.

The other thing I hadn't counted on was one of our suppliers being somewhat difficult to reach and that while they handle Kickstarters and tell you what they want, they don't tell you how to deliver that file to them. There is no place on their website to attach the .csv file they want. It took a lot of effort on my part but I was able to finally reach them and I think we're squared away. The emphasis on think.

Whew! Then there's the actual comic book itself and all the things that go with one. Our artist sent us the final four pages for the month but didn't send the .tiff files right away. Really not an issue since we still don't have a colorist for them, nor do we have the final pages of the issue our colorist was working on. Something to follow up on this week, I guess.

Besides that, I did manage to work in some rewrites on The Runaway. Since I changed out a sequence and a character's part in that, I'm going back from that point forward and seeing what, if anything, I need to change. Reading it for the umpteenth time, I 'm still finding things to change but nothing too major, at least not so far. I'm trying to go through a chapter a day at least, that is when I can get to it.

On the review front, I published Holiday Affair as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review and wrote another one for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which was published on Sunday morning. We saw the movie on Saturday morning so it seemed timely for us to publish one as soon as possible.

We even talked about it on our A Week in Powers Squared video, bringing Trevor into the "show" to discuss it as well. It makes for a longer video than we usually put up but it's always fun when the three of us work on the video.

Well, that's about all for this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Week in Writing #277 - Kickstarter Wrap Up and The Holidays are Upon Us

Well, a new week but the Kickstarter is a little like gum on my shoe. We're still not quite done with it. The fun part now are the Backer Surveys and getting backers to actually fill them out. We tried to stress the importance of those with physical rewards sending theirs in but after about a week, about 14 backers have yet to reply. Oh, the joys of bugging people.

Monday night this week was spent on the Backer Survey questions, which are pretty much the same for physical rewards and the same for the digital ones. However, you have to do a separate survey for every rewards tier, so there were 12 that had to go out. It doesn't seem like much but it took about an hour and a half to complete.

We tried to do a video update on Tuesday night but that got to be trouble. Streaming it on YouTube didn't look good and when we recorded it to be edited, we accidentally saved it in the wrong format, which appears to be an unrecoverable sin with the editing software we have. We ended up posting an update on Wednesday, which prompted a few more to turn theirs in.

In last week's rant, I erroneously underestimated how much my siblings had donated. One of our guest backers was a sister-in-law and one of their grown children. It was my blood relatives that I should have been more upset with. Besides my mother, who gave generously, my brother and half-brother gave all of $10 which is very disappointing. I mean come to play or don't come at all, they chose the latter.

I hate to say it but I'm small, so I blocked one of them from messaging me on Facebook. I didn't need to see photos of snow on his farm if he was going to ignore my repeated messages about the Kickstarter. I know, I know but I didn't drop him totally, did I? And he gave nothing to the cause.

Other work on the comic book continues. Our artist sent us four inked pages to review. However, our colorist has gone radio silent though she did say she would finish her pages (and her work with us) by the end of the month. We're still in the market for a new colorist though we haven't had the time to really spend looking for one. There are only so many hours in the day.

Did more work on The Runaway, inserting a character for previous books into this story. My main character, J.D. Barrister, has a former colleague who shows up from time to time and he seemed like a better fit for a certain part of the story than what I previously had. Now, of course, I have to update all the references to the other characters for that action in the subsequent pages. A good idea always has a cost attached.

I did manage to write and complete a review of Little Women (1933) for Trophy Unlocked but it probably will stay in the files until next Christmas, as we have the three we need for this month. First it was The Man Who Invented Christmas, which went up last week, and yesterday's Saturday Morning Review was Cover Up (1949), a murder mystery set at Christmas-time. Next week, we'll get back into the spirit of the season with Holiday Affair.

So while The Waltz of the Flowers plays in the background, I will sign off for now. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Week in Writing #276 - Reflections on the Kickstarter and Other Writing

Okay, the big news this week is that the Powers Squared Mathemagical Kickstarter funded. Not sure if anyone reading this actually contributed but thank you if you did. We're very pleased to have been able to fund but while there is no shame in not funding, I, personally, didn't want to go through that. It's better to say we funded than we didn't.

Even though we funded, I have to say I am disappointed in some people. I don't know if you've been in a similar situation but when people say they will do something and then they don't, sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don't think the fact that we funded mitigates it either. A promise, especially about supporting something near and dear to you, isn't something that should be made in jest and more importantly shouldn't be welched on. I've had more than one person say they were going to back the Kickstarter after they got paid on a Friday and then have not come through. Frankly, I'm not sure what a paycheck has to do with something that has to be charged but there have been four Fridays come and go and most of these people have not backed us. I'm sorry, but I guess I'm petty. Those things will alter our relationship going forward.

Worse is the lack of support from my own family. It's not that I don't have some well-to-do, if not rich siblings and I received a combined $60 from them. Maybe there are some bridges to rebuild but in keeping with the road analogy, it is a two-way street. Maybe they're not into comic books but that's not an excuse. They should be wanting to support me and my sons and they did not really come through. (I'm pretty sure they don't read this blog either, so I'm not too worried they'll ever really know how hurtful it is.)

I unceremoniously dropped a friend since high school since he didn't support this and I'm planning on dropping a few people from Facebook and other social media when the dust settles on this. And I didn't just mention this once in 30 days but several times over the course of the Kickstarter. You had to make an effort to ignore it. So going forward, I may decide to ignore you.

I know it sounds petty but it is something like this when you learn who your friends are and who you can rely on it a pinch.

The week wasn't all about Powers Squared. I did do some other writing, including more work on The Runaway. I had a thought about editing a passage in the book and re-introduce a character from a different story. I thought it might go down better coming from that character and I could use him better than I was using the character I was using. I'm not sure if I'm putting this in a way that makes sense but it does to me. Hopefully, it will make sense when the rewrite is done.

I also managed to do a new review for Trophy Unlocked. With Christmas coming, we usually do Christmas movies during December and this year is no exception. My review of The Man Who Invented Christmas was the Saturday Morning Review. The one I finished, Holiday Affair, may or may not see the light of day this year or not. I'm planning on writing one this week for Little Women (1933).

Well, that about wraps up this week. Keep writing and I'll be back next week.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Week in Writing #275 - Writing, the Holidays and Kickstarter

The truth about writing, holidays, and travel is that something has to give. You really can't do all three at the same time. This Thanksgiving not only did we have to travel, like we do every year but we also left a day early because of snow in the Grapevine, the main way north out of Los Angeles.
So the week essentially gets cut back to only a couple of days.

It's hard to write with a group of people around as well. With nothing to do for the moment, I sat down to work on this and was quickly interrupted twice in about five minutes. Make that three times. There's no solitude in a crowd.

We did some work on Powers Squared this week, besides hyping the Kickstarter whenever we could. New pages from Nina came in on Sunday, which was a bad day for Paul and I to look at them. He had been gone the previous day to DesignerCon with Trevor, they had a friend over in the afternoon and there was a football game on that I wanted to watch. (I only follow one team in one sport, so give this to me.) We still had a newsletter to get out and I had this blog to write, so time was tight.

The pages looked good when we had a chance to look at them on Monday. We're also actively looking for a replacement colorist. So far, only two people have approached us and both are very good. We're still sort of distracted to really concentrate on that right now.

Paul and I spent some time over the holiday to talk with my wife's siblings and their adult children into supporting our Kickstarter. They were very receptive and we raised a lot of funding. Some even offered to talk with others they work with to support it as well. We're getting closer to our goal but we still have a ways to go.

On Friday, even though we were traveling Paul and I figured out how to do a mail merge and sent out emails to 70 people from the mailing list who have not, so far, supported the Kickstarter. Paul sent out blast emails to classmates in two of his recent classes. And I even sent personal emails to two of my oldest friends and two of my siblings who have not backed us.

So far, the only response I've received was from one of the friends. I've known this guy since high school and he declined to help, stating amongst other excuses that he wasn't the target audience and pleading poverty since he's retired. I'm sorry but I didn't take that well. I'm not the target audience for the comic book, and neither are most of the backers, so that doesn't hold water and he's a retired city employee so I don't think he's really hurting. Hey, I've had total strangers pledge a dollar. Someone I've known my entire adult life can't do that much?

I thought about writing him back but there is no nice way to say what I'm thinking, so I dropped him from our mailing list instead. You have to separate the wheat from the chaff. I guess I'm looking at this Kickstarter as a testing ground of sorts. If you won't support us then maybe it's time for us both to move on.

Managed to squeeze in some work on The Runaway on Monday night and some more rewrites on Thanksgiving day as well. Hard to write too much on the road but I feel like I have to at least try. I think it's in my DNA.

No new reviews from me this week but Trevor published one for Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review, Transformers: Prime - The Game. Trevor is our resident expert on all things Transformers so he brings a lot of knowledge to his review. Next week, we start the Christmas season on the blog and will feature Christmas-themed films every Saturday until Christmas.

Speaking of next week, I'll leave it here for now and we'll pick it up then. Keep writing.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Week in Writing #274

It's amazing the difference a week can make. Our Kickstarter is doing much better. We're up to about 60% funded, so there's still hope that we will fund.

Otherwise, it was a big week for Powers Squared. On Monday, I was interviewed by Adam Torres for his Money Matters podcast. He was really easy to talk to and was not only enthusiastic but also very professional. We talked about the comic book, the Kickstarter as well as let me plug our own YouTube channel and podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared. He also did us a solid and moved the broadcast to the next day to help us with the Kickstarter. A really good experience.

On Tuesday night, we opened a surprise package from Artithmeric, our on-demand publisher. They publish a magazine, Artithemeric 9, the 9th Art and there were two articles that involved us. One was a very impressive story about Powers Squared, which makes us sound like the important comic book we want to be.

The other story was about a promotion Artithneric is doing with Canon printers. Artithmeric uses Canon for their printing because they meet their high standards. Apparently, Canon was also a fan of Artithmeric and wanted to use some of their creators in a promotion with their customers. As a result, Powers Squared was one of three creator-owned comics chosen. As a result, 1500 copies of our first issue will be sent to Canon customers in the United States. Hopefully, that will lead to new readers.

In addition, we received new pages from both our artists, pencils for four pages in Issue #13 and four colored pages from our colorist from Issue #12.

As if that wasn't enough to report, our colorist, Nina Gaillard, is leaving us after she completes work on Issue #12 and we're beginning to look for a replacement colorist. Not sure how we're going to fit that in before the end of the year, but we will try.

In between sending emails to practically everyone I know to mention the Kickstarter, I did manage to do some more work on The Runaway. Got about three chapters done but that was about all the other writing I could manage. It's nice to have the release and I really feel bad if I don't actually write during the week. I don't know what I would do if I didn't.

No new reviews this week from me. Trophy Unlocked did publish one of Paul's for the animated Tarzan (1999).

Well, that's about all from me this week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Week in Writing #273

I try to write these with a positive point-of-view but sometimes that's hard to do. This week, in particular, has been particularly hard. Our Kickstarter is underperforming, despite our best efforts to get support. Our mailing list feels like a waste of time, as so few open the emails on a weekly basis and even fewer of them have supported the Kickstarter.

I don't mean to blame this on our "fans" but most of those on our mailing list have never purchased a second issue and apparently have no desire to help us with our need for funding. Our need is somewhat artificial, in that I've been paying for it to be made and can probably continue to keep doing it but it comes at a cost. We don't go on vacation because we have a comic book, we don't save money because we have a comic book. The hope of the Kickstarter is to help out with that and hopefully get new readers and buyers in the process.

I feel like what we're doing is good work and unique in comic books, though not so unique that it has no place for it. It seems to me that when people actually read it, they like it. Converting that into sales has been hard, if not impossible. This has been our best year for sales and I don't think I've made back more than a couple hundred dollars.

The work is good enough, even the earliest book that we were chosen to have it reprinted by a major printer company as a promotion for what their product can do. And that first issue is nowhere as good as the later ones we've been working on.

I'm not giving up, in fact, against the advice of other Kickstarter creators, I've hired a company with hopes that they can get us funded. They have a 21-day plan and we have 21 days to go, so I'm cautiously optimistic that we can turn it around. If we do, then we'll have to reconsider a lot of things going forward. I'd love to re-examine our mailing list and perhaps some of the promotional work we're doing. But that's probably going to wait until the new year.

While the Kickstarter has been weighing on me, I've been able to do some other work as well.

I've been happy with the time I've been able to spend on rewrites of The Runaway. I recently had a thought during the night that would help with the story and plot. Not a major update but one that made what happens later in the story make more sense. I  like those little moments that make the work better.

I also wrote a future review of Trophy Unlocked, one for Treasure Island (1950), the film we watched on Friday night. This week's Saturday Morning Review was one that Trevor wrote for Accounting+,
a VR videogame that Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame wrote and voiced.

Well, that's enough kvetching for one week. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Week in Writing #272 - Kickstarter and Other Writing

Big week for me as well as for Powers Squared. We finally launched our Kickstarter. If you've never done one, there is a lot that goes into it and I was fortunate to have a good team working with me, my sons, and the co-creators of the book with me, Paul and Trevor. I don't think I could have done it without their help.

I feel compelled to let you know that you can help with the Kickstarter if you want. Please go to We have a wide range of ways that you can help, from $5 to $100 and from digital to print issues, t-shirts and a hardcover trade. If you've been reading about the book here in this blog and have wondered what it's about, then this would be a great time to start. Well, I hope you decide to anyway.

Throughout the campaign, I will discuss how it's going and what is working and what isn't, should you ever decide to do one for yourself. So far, we've notified the people on our mailing list, posted on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and on various Facebook pages, including our own and groups I'm members of. So far, the response has been slow but it is still early.

Last week, we had started work on the next story arc, The Imposter, and this week we had some feedback from the artist, which is always good to get. Even though we may be the co-creators, we're not artists and her feedback and questions are usually very good.

On Friday night, Paul and I recorded and posted our 10th On The Air With Powers Squared on Podbean. For some reason, it didn't show up on iTunes. There is surprisingly little support available on iTunes or Apple Podcasts. I tried to go back to Podbean but got some confusing "help" so I had to write to their Support. Seems our forever free account has expired? Hopefully, we'll get that worked out in short order.

In other writing, I managed to do some more rewrites on The Runaway going through several chapters as I work to get back to where I left off to work on Broken People. I think I'm working through what had been some rough spots for me.

I did not, though I plan to soon, send out any queries for Broken People. There really wasn't any time for that this past week.

On Saturday night, I did manage to write a future review for Trophy Unlocked. On Friday night, we watched The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and I wanted to get it down on paper while there was some quiet time.

My review of Thieves' Highway was the Saturday Morning Review. We published it in honor of Noirvember.

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

Sunday, November 3, 2019

A Week in Writing #271

Sometimes weeks don't go as planned or one aspect takes over for the others. This week, for the most part, was spent working on the Powers Squared Kickstarter. I don't know if you've ever done one but it has been a learning experience. Not hard so much as time-consuming.

Given the limited time I have every day to actually write, a lot of that has been writing and, of course, rewriting things like Our Story and Shipping. But that's not to say that I'm the only one working on it. Both Paul and Trevor have been helping as well. Paul, who shot, edited, re-shot and re-edited our Kickstarter video has also been editing the copy. Trevor has made many of the graphics that we're using to show off the Tier Rewards we're offering.

The software you have to use on the Kickstarter site is a bit wonky if you ask me. To begin with, it's one long page and though it allows you to add whatever you want to, including images, it doesn't act like say Word. If I delete a line at the bottom of the page, all the lines of text above it seem to be adjusted, though the images seem to stay pretty much where they are. The same is true if I add a line at the top, all the text gets adjusted below it. There seems to be a constant re-editing of the page with every change you make. Gets a little old.

I think we're very close, probably one more run through the content and then it's off to Kickstarter to approve. After that, we'll be up and running.

That wasn't the only thing I worked on this week, though it did dominate things.

More on Powers Squared, we got the final inked pages and the cover for Issue #12 from our artist, Rachel Wells. I made a final pass through the script for the next story arc, The Imposter. I hadn't looked at it since July. A few minor edits, like correcting the wrong character name once and adding "Hmm" to the beginning of one line of dialogue.

On Friday, Paul and I did our weekly podcast, On The Air with Powers Squared. On episode #9, we discuss putting together the first creative team for the comic book. You can hear it on Podbean and on iTunes.

Did some more rewrites this past week on The Runaway. I don't know if you've had the experience but sometimes when I go back through something I've written, I get into a better groove with the story. Phrasing I thought was good is made better or thrown out altogether with the goal of making the writing better. Looking forward to getting more back into it when time permits.

No new reviews from me this week but that doesn't mean there weren't several in Trophy Unlocked from Trevor, both video game reviews: SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (PS2) on the anniversary of the game's release; and Catherine: Full Body which was this week's Saturday Morning Review.

Kickstarter promises to be a big factor next week as well but I'm hoping to get back to other writing as well next week.

Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

A Week in Writing #270

My big accomplishment of the week was finishing my rewrite on Broken People. The ending that I remembered as being overly long turned out not to be that way upon final review. I think I was remembering an earlier version.

So, I've gone through it for what feels like the umpteenth time, spell checked and even gone through it to make sure the chapter numbers are well-centered. The next thing to do is to resume the query process. To that end, I did some more research using Query Tracker as the starting point. From there, I look up the individual agents on their agency's websites.

The first disappointment is when the genres listed on Query Tracker are not reflected in the agent's profile or else it's the same word but they're looking for Young Adult mysteries, which, of course, is not what I'm writing. The only thing worse is finding out the agent you're looking for is no longer at the agency or even in the agent game. That happened to me this week when I was doing some research.

I didn't actually pull the trigger on sending new queries; I'm saving that pleasure for the coming week.

This week, for Powers Squared, we received four lettered pages from Trevor, so it was overall a slow week on the comic book. That didn't mean nothing happened. Paul and I, of course, did our usual Sunday YouTube video and our Friday night Podcast. On this last Friday's, we discussed writing the first storyline for the comic book. We initially wrote the first drafts more than 8 years ago and that first script went through a lot of changes between then and 2015 when we actually had the first issue drawn.

We also worked some on the Kickstarter we're doing for the comic book. There's a lot of planning that goes into it but we're also making changes on the fly as we're putting it together.

In addition to the work mentioned above, I wrote a new review for Trophy Unlocked, Revenge of the Creature, though I'm thinking it might wait until next October to get published. That's when the blog once again turns to horror. To complete the month's look at the genre we published Paul's review of
Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island.

Things I need to do this next week, besides write, include finishing the Kickstarter stuff and making myself reach out once again to the editor on Familiar Stranger. I keep putting that off because I feel like I know how that will go. I'll call, leave a message and then never hear back. What is it they say about insanity? But I guess the thing is I don't expect a different outcome. Maybe fate will surprise me.

Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Week in Writing #269

There were a lot of pluses and minuses this week in writing.

I continued to do rewrites on Broken People. I'm getting near the end of the book and for some reason, I was having a hard time concentrating on it. Part of it I'll put down to the day job taking it out on me. It's not that I do anything labor-intensive but it is a big chunk of the day, from leaving at 7 in the morning and not getting home until 6:30, most nights take a lot of wind out of your sails.

I decided to put it aside by mid-week. I should be able to finish it next week. There is some post-climax stuff that I'd like to cut down on. I think I go into too much explanation on what happens after the main story ends. I don't want to be too short, as I don't like to see things left dangling, but at the same time I think I say too much. I have to strike the right balance. And it's not what happens to the characters that I want to shorten, it's the bigger picture stuff. There are events that are put into motion that don't necessarily end with the end of the story if you know what I mean. That's the part that I think I go into too much detail explaining.

Did some work on future reviews for Trophy Unlocked, even completing one that probably won't show up again until next October, when the site does a salute to horror films. Saw and reviewed White Zombie (1932), a really low-budget horror film starring Bela Lugosi, who only the year before had appeared in Dracula (1931).

This week's horror film was The Banana Splits Movie (2019), a very badly done horror film starring a somewhat forgotten IP from the 1960s. After seeing the film, it would probably have been better served staying forgotten.

I also completed a review of Sabotage (1936), a British Hitchcock film that I also watched recently. Not sure when that will show up but it's now ready to go whenever it's called upon. That's one nice thing about writing reviews for older films, they are always relevant in their own way. They might become more so, if, for example, a particular subject matter came up in today's world or there is a milestone anniversary. But, for the most part, if the film stands the test of time, there is always room for writing about it.

We're still putting together our Kickstarter stuff for Powers Squared. We've lined up all the tier rewards and now it's down to putting it together and shooting a video. We want to include Trevor but he's away today at a seminar and Paul is still under the weather. We canceled our weekly Podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared, because he was still too sick to do it.

Last week, we ran a contest to try and cross-promote our A Week in Powers Squared videos, our newsletter, the Hound Dogs' Howl, and our podcast, On the Air With Powers Squared.  Fortunately, we had a winner within 48 hours. At least someone listens to OAPS.

We did receive four pages from our colorist but that was really all that happened with the actual comic book this week.

So next week, the goal is to finish the rewrites on Broken People and send out some more queries and to reach out, once again, to the elusive editor on Familiar Stranger to see if he's still alive and what the f- happened. These enduring mysteries keep us going.

Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Week in Writing #268 - Lots of Rewrites

I've never been one to shy away from rewrites and, in fact, that's my favorite part of the writing process. This past week, I continued my work on Broken People and it's a good thing, too. I found where I had used the exact same passage in two places in the book, no doubt, the error from my previous rewrite on the book.

This book has gone through various rewrites in the past, the first being with my disappeared editor on Familiar Stranger. He had been slow back then but I don't remember so much radio silence in the past. Then, it was called Killer Blog, which was a sort of title that sounded okay but really meant nothing. It's not like a killer blog was a real thing but at the time, I liked it. I did query the book around and almost got somewhere with it.

An agency put me in touch with one of their editors and she gave me some feedback on it. I did find when going through it with her that there was some garbage stuff in the manuscript. Apparently, some time after my work with my editor the manuscript had gotten corrupted and things that I thought were there weren't and there was some real nonsense text in it as well. However, this isn't what she was pointing out to me.

After I completed that rewrite, I resubmitted it to the agency again and, of course, got nowhere fast. I was rejected there and other places with one female agent even calling it misogynistic, which frankly hurt and I felt was misguided. There is sex in the book, not graphic and the man, who is the protagonist, does describe the woman he's involved with but he also describes everyone he meets in some detail.

I rewrote it again, changing the name to Personal and Professional but got again, nowhere fast. I let it sit after a round of rejections. I started to look at it again because of a recent news story, not a couple of years old. There apparently was a couple, a doctor and his girlfriend, who would get women drunk and/or drugged and shoot video of them having sex with her. Now, there was something already similar in the book. My protagonist is a private detective and one of his clients in the book is a former news anchor who had appeared in a sex video.

In the earliest versions, that part was based on another news story in which an anchor went on vacation, got drunk and entered a wet t-shirt contest. She apparently wanted to win so bad that she stripped naked, or close to it, to win. Unbeknownst to her, they were recording the event and it got out and she lost her job as a result.

I had changed that to her being in a sex video while on vacation with her husband. A couple got her drunk and had their way with her and recorded it. That seemed rather out there until I heard about the couple in Newport Beach doing the same thing. So, I decided to take a new look at the book and I changed the name as I went. There was a song on the radio by Lovelytheband, called Broken, which I liked and thought one of the attractions between my hero and the former news reporter, was that she thought he was broken like her.

I thought I had done a pretty good rewrite but after getting nowhere with my few queries, I decided to go through it again and have been spending as much time on it the last few weeks before I resubmit it for querying. So far, none of the ones I've sent have gotten even a nibble, not even the online queries. I think the 6 weeks, if not two months, have passed so I'm calling them rejected.

I even took some time to rewrite the query letter, trying to concentrate on what I thought was the best parts of my previous one and pointing out that it is a character-driven murder mystery and trying to downplay some of the big city corruption that is also part of the story.

Work on the rewrite continues. I think it will take a couple of more weeks before I'm done and then it's back to the query cycle. They say you only have to impress one, right?

When that's done, I will go back again to see if the Familiar Stranger editor is still alive and find out what the f- happened. I may not be a patient person but I don't like to give up either.

In addition to the work on the book, I also completed a future review for Trophy Unlocked. This is a short film called Employee's Entrance, which was on TCM recently. I had started to watch it one morning while flipping channels and decided to record it along with several others so I could possibly review them later.

I also published on Saturday, The Fly, my second review for October and Trophy Unlocked's annual review of horror movies during the month.

Not a whole lot happened on Powers Squared this week. No new pages, though we did get a nice mention from our colorist on Instagram. Trevor did letter four pages so he's caught up for now.

Paul and I did our 54th video on YouTube on Sunday and our seventh podcast on Friday night in our effort to promote the comic book.

Well, that just about does it for this week. More rewrites and hopefully a new review. Keep writing. I'll see you next week.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

A Week in Writing #267

Well, my big plans took a bit of a sidetrack. On Saturday night, last week, I decided to take a second look at Broken People before I sent off any more queries. Well, as I read through it, I found some misspelled words so I've been going back through the manuscript. The mistakes are no one's fault but mine and I'm making some other changes along the way.

It's not really a chore as I find myself liking editing. My goal is always to make whatever I'm working on better so I welcome the opportunity, though it has been distracting from other work.

Speaking of which, there are about three films that I'd like to write reviews of which I hope to get to in the next week or so, in between work on Broken People, The Runaway and whatever might come up on Powers Squared.

On the subject of Powers Squared, we had a pretty busy week. Spent some time this week making some inquiries on various tier rewards. We had to change up our supplier and the style of the t-shirt we want to use. We had worked with our artist, Rachel Wells, to come up with a design, highlighted the name of the school and featuring our Hound Dogs mascot, recently christened as Elvis, after the singer who popularized the song. For this nickname, we hosted a poll on our website and on Twitter and out of the four choices we gave, Elvis was a close but clear winner.

When we priced out the t-shirt on the first vendor we thought of using, the price was too high. Buying one shirt would cost close to $50, with shipping and for a better price, we would have to order 48 or more of them. While we're hoping for a successful Kickstarter, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We went back to our original supplier, Artithmeric, and we can produce either a black or white version for much less and still turn a profit. They will also handle our graphic novel.

For printed versions of the comic book, we're using another supplier, hoping to keep costs down there as much as we can.

Even though I haven't written any new reviews this week, I still had one posted as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review, the original Cat People. October has been Horror film month on the blog, so this is the first of four that will be published this month.

We also posted a new review for Joker. This one was written by Paul. We like to mix in new films as well as older ones. And don't sleep on video games, either.

I'm going to keep working on Broken People and hopefully get to some reviews this week. And next up for us will be doing a video for the Kickstarter. Wish us luck. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Week in Writing #266

Somehow this wasn't the week to get back on track. It's sort of birthday week around here. First, it was my birthday on Wednesday and then my sons' birthdays on Saturday. Ports have fleet week and cities have fashion weeks, we have cake week in my house. My mother likes to call it the House of Libra, as my wife's birthday is in a couple of weeks, we are all born under the same zodiac sign. A lot of indecision around the house.

Sundays are always busy, football game notwithstanding. Paul and I have a weekly video we do for our YouTube channel. This past Sunday was our 52nd, our one year anniversary of our doing them. With the exception of Comic-Con, which delayed it until Monday, we've done them each and every Sunday. We talk about what is going on that week with the comic book, even some weeks when there is very little happening.

We also send out a weekly newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl, and again, even on lean weeks. We've been fortunate that there is usually something worth writing about, including our new Mascot.

Late on Sunday, we did receive some pages from our artist, Rachel. Our first pages since Hurricane Dorian forced her to temporarily relocate and after we had her finish up the mascot. We received four pages of pencils from Issue #12. Paul and I didn't have a chance to look at them until Monday night but we did give our notes.

Did some other writing on Monday on The Runaway but not much I'm afraid. I'm working on a part of the novel that I'm rethinking. I'm sort of using a recent story in the news but I don't want to be too on the nose, if you know what I mean. I'm going through a thought process and making some changes. That's what I get for being a pantser with no outline to guide me, the freedom to make changes on the fly.

Don't think I did much of anything on Tuesday but on my birthday, I actually wrote a review of the movie we went to see, Downton Abbey, which was posted on Trophy Unlocked the next morning. About 700 words, so not too bad between eating out, cake and presents.

Thursday night was mostly spent out again. Both sons were taking classes, so my wife and I decided to have a bit of a date night, but we also had to run an errand for the boys' birthday. Did manage some more work on The Runaway that night but again, not very much.

Friday night, Paul and I did another episode of On the Air with Powers Squared, our podcast on PodBean and iTunes.

Saturday was Paul and Trevor's birthday, so the day was mostly spent with them, which was fun. There are some things more important than writing and family is one of them. Some things, though, still go on. Trophy Unlocked published our usual Saturday Morning Review, The First Tree, a video game reviewed by Trevor.

Next week, I need to get back to things full swing. There is still so much to do, including sending out more queries for Broken People, more work on The Runaway and, of course, Powers Squared.

Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Week In Writing #265

This week has been more what I would call the business side of writing rather than the art of writing. Like every week, this one starts on Sunday, which is a busy day for Powers Squared. Paul and I do a weekly video for our YouTube channel. While the video doesn't take all that long to shoot, there is still some editing, which Paul does, then posting the video and hitting social media to promote it. I'm trying to be more efficient when posting but I sometimes forget.

Then we have a newsletter to get out. Usually, some work has been done on this already but there is always something to do on it, a test email to make sure the links all work and then finally sending it out. I usually take the newsletter and post it on Facebook and Tumblr, though I really doubt many people are really reading it that way.

Finally, there is this post which I also put up on Sunday, and then there is more posting on social media, Facebook and Twitter but different accounts than the comic book.

Did a little work on The Runaway but not much.

On Monday, more business. We were working with our artist on final design for the mascot and t-shirt design. Looking good.

Spent more time on the powerpoint for pitching Powers Squared as an animated series, which is one of our creative stretch goals. Making some edits and thinking about what else to do with it. Not much to show for the evening but sometimes it's just that way.

Tuesday night I worked on two reviews for Trophy Unlocked. They were already written but I wanted to put them up on the blog site and add photographs. These are reviews for The Fly and Cat People, reviews for October and Trophy Unlocked's annual salute to the horror genre.

Since it had been about six weeks since I had sent in a couple of queries for Broken People, and, of course, heard nothing back, I had to take them off my list. I did some more research on agents and even did some looking for a possible agent for Powers Squared. We're going to need representation to do a pitch anyway.

On the way home on Wednesday, I called the work number for the editor on Familiar Stranger. He had actually communicated during the summer and said he would be working on it during August. I think it was the occasion of his birthday and I told him I wouldn't bug him until September. I figured the middle of the month was a good time to try.

Not surprisingly, I got his voicemail at work and left a message. Almost right away I got a text saying to text him. I think this is something attached to the voicemail since I got the same message the last time I tried calling him during the summer.

So, I texted him that I was in the car and then texted him later when I wasn't. I also PM-ed him on Facebook, which was the last way we had communicated. Well, as I'm writing this no response, no real surprise. I'm disappointed but some people are unreliable. I don't like radio silence and I don't like being lied to. I'm going to have to move on since it's been almost a year and a half since I sent the manuscript to him. I knew he'd be slow but this is utterly ridiculous.

We also received pages that night from our colorist. Actually, we had received them the night before but it was late before we noticed so Paul and I sat down to go over them after we got back from dinner. Had a couple of minor issues that we asked her to fix. One of them was not her fault but she agreed to fix it anyway.

I also worked some more on the Pitch powerpoint, changing up the logline and some of the other details, like episode synopsis and images. I sent it on to Paul to look at for more changes. I never mind rewriting, since the point is always to get better.

Also, edited in the mascot in with the new banner that our artist sent us. We wanted to try to match the banner on the school newspaper. Our artist prepared us one that matched what she was doing in the comic book. I took that edited version and added to the template for the newsletter.

Sort of felt uninspired on Thursday, so I worked on this blog, so pretty much everything written to this point was done on Thursday night. I'm trying to figure out a way to squeeze in as much time as I can on Sunday.

I also toyed around with a t-shirt design though I didn't save it. Just wanted to see what it might look like. Maybe I'll try to recreate it later this week.

On Friday, Paul and I recorded our fourth podcast, which is available on PodBean and iTunes. This week, we talked about the origins of the two main characters not named Marty or Eli.

Also received a couple of revised pages from Nina. We had her fix a continuity error that we didn't catch when this was in pencils or inks. She was kind enough to correct it and then we asked her for one more favor, which she did.

Saturday was spent mostly out of the house. We went as a family to see Genndy Tarakovsky's Primal, which was playing at the Downtown Independent theater, we think trying to qualify for an Academy Award nomination. You can read Trevor's review on Trophy Unlocked.

Well, that about does it for the week. Promise to actually write more this coming week. You, keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Week in Writing #264

This past Sunday was the first of the football season. While the three-plus hours I spent watching the game were worth it, as my team won, the loss of the time meant we had to squeeze more into less time. As a result, we had to shoot our weekly video early and we left something out of the newsletter. I take a bit of responsibility for that, as I did most of the writing on Saturday but the fact I was trying to get it out quickly meant mistakes were made.

After the game, I did a little work on the Powerpoint I had started last week before all things Office went bluey. Trying to put together a Pitch Packet for Powers Squared. We think it would make for a good animated series but no one will know unless we put together a Pitch. Made some progress but I don't think it's quite as good as the version I lost but isn't that always the way it goes? The second time from scratch never seems to be as good as you remember it.

Did some work on The Runaway but not very much as it turns out.

Monday night, after dinner, I worked on the Powerpoint again and came up with what I'm sure will be the first version. I'm going to take a look at it again before showing it to Paul and Trevor. Not sure if its going to be Tuesday or not but I know it needs more work.

On Tuesday, I worked before dinner on a review for Susan Lenox (Her Rise and Fall) a 1931 film starring Greta Garbo and Clark Gable, which I happened by happenstance to see from the beginning while flipping channels. Wrote about 1200 words and I'm still not done.

After dinner, worked some more on The Runaway. I'm trying to incorporate an idea that came to me last week. I see a big rewrite in my future after I get done with this draft but I have to get through this draft.

Received a message on Linkedin asking if I wanted to be on a Podcast, presumably to talk about Powers Squared. I'm going to try to listen to one of their Podcasts to see if it's a good fit. Don't want to walk away from an opportunity to market the comic book but don't want to make a fool of myself either.

Wednesday night got back to the powerpoint and made enough updates to warrant sending it to Paul. A WIP the point it to make it better.

Rachel sent us updates for our mascot and T-shirt project. Paul and I sat down after dinner to go through them, picking a couple that we liked but also asking for some modifications. Who would have thought collar colors would be so important?

She gave us three options for the t-shirt design, including the one we thought we wanted. However, we opted for a more open/cleaner design that she came up with, which seems to be modeled after an example t-shirt we sent her at the beginning of the project.

After that, I finished my review of Susan Lenox (Her Rise and Fall), adding another approximately 1000 words. Still, need to look for images for the review.

On Thursday, we received artwork for our Mascot and t-shirt from Rachel. There is still some back and forth going on but I think we're really getting close. She sent us two sets of drawings but there are still a couple of tweaks we'd like her to make before we decide on finished images.

Worked some more on the powerpoint pitch packet, taking into account Paul's suggestions after having looked at the first version. Nothing too radical but anything to make it better. I'll take another pass before I send it to him again to review. Both he and Trevor have been in enough classes and seminars to know what to include, though none of us have ever presented. Still a little bit of work to do to get it ready for that.

Even though I said I was finished with the Susan Lenox review, I went back and added a new paragraph to the review. While commuting I was thinking there was something I needed to mention about the film and had to wait about 14 hours to actually write it down. I don't know if you're like me but sometimes what I think of in the car is so much better than what actually gets written. I don't think I'm alone in that.

The same is true with fiction writing. Some of my best dialogue is "written" in transit. I'll run through an exchange between characters and not quite capture that "magic" when I get to sit down behind the computer. Sometimes it gets better sometimes it doesn't.

Worked briefly at the end of the night on The Runaway, starting the next chapter but not getting a page or more into it before calling it a night.

On Friday, Paul and I, with Trevor, recorded our third On the Air with Powers Squared for Podbean. This time, we discussed the main characters of Powers Squared, Marty and Eli, which like the boys are identical twins. You can listen to this at We're also in the process of having them available on iTunes and will let you know when they're available there as well.

Saturday, we had some work done at the house, so had to spend a lot of time at home. Spent some of the time working on the Powers Squared newsletter The Hound Dog's Howl. Hate to sound like an advertisement but you can subscribe to that at

Also wrote a review of the film we watched on Friday night, The Fly (1958). Ended up writing over 2000 words and will most likely publish this one during October when Trophy Unlocked celebrates the horror genre for Halloween. This week's Saturday Movie review was Paul's review of Megamind, a film we also watched a few Fridays ago.

Well, that's about it for the week. Keep writing and we'll see you next week.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Week in Writing #263

This week started with the Labor Day holiday. We weren't going anywhere and it was too hot to worry about doing much outside. We live in The Valley and it was pushing three digits when two will do.

Staying inside meant I could work on a review of a movie I happened to see the night before on TCM, The Mating Call. A silent film from 1928, I found myself intrigued and I wasn't able to find much really good information about it. I like it when I can find a film I can really write about, which in most cases, is to actually tell the story rather than the very brief and sometimes incorrect ones available on the internet. The review, which I wrote in the morning, ended up being almost 2800 words. Not sure when the review will post, but I like having more in the quiver than just the next one I'll need.

Wrote another 988 words on The Runaway, as I'm trying to make up for a less than stellar week in writing the one before.

We heard from our artist on Powers Squared the night before. She's in a mandatory evacuation area due to hurricane Dorian, so we may not be getting anything new from her for quite some time. The most important thing is for her and her husband to stay safe and live to draw another day.

I know we wrote that we're closing down the poll on Mascot colors for the t-shirt but decided to do what the car dealers do and extend the weekend until the 3rd. I'll post something in the morning in a last effort to get votes. But after that, we'll have to shut it down and make a decision.

Wasn't expecting to hear anything about my queries, though I did check the status on the one through the Query Status Portal and there is nothing new to report. Still no decision has been made. While I don't like the uncertainty, not knowing is better than rejection.

Late on Monday afternoon, I had what seemed like a major catastrophe when all my Microsoft Office products went bad. Not sure what the cause was but when I opened Word, Excel or PowerPoint I got a giant white screen rather than the program or the file I was trying to open. I have protection through Geek Squad but they're going to have to dial in and there is a five to five and a half hour wait due to the holiday, so I'm going to ask Paul to call for me tomorrow. Ackk! It really took the wind out of my sails.

I have a backup computer, my old laptop, but it took 20 minutes to boot up and I had to update a bunch of the passwords, etc. A real pain but I'm hoping this is very temporary.

Tuesday was hard, going back to work and all. Didn't really have the energy to do much writing though I did make some posts on Facebook and Twitter, update the website and come up with a new poll question for Powers Squared.

I also posted about a new review that went up on Trophy Unlocked. In honor of the release of Catherine: Full Body, which was on Tuesday, Trevor wrote a second review of the original Catherine which he posted that morning.

Geek Squad came through and now Word and Excel seem to work fine. I'm still having an issue with PowerPoint. I found what seems like a really good template for putting together Pitch Packets, though this one is for live-action, I would think there are updates that can be made to make it animation friendly.

The problem is that it's a Google doc and I don't like having to do my personal projects on the internet. You can download it into Powerpoint but when I do, almost nothing displays. The same is true of other Powerpoint presentations I have made in the past. This is the problem I tried to fix on my own that lead to my problems with Excel and Word, so I'm going to seek professional help with this. Can't ask Paul to babysit this again for me, so I'll probably hit them up this weekend.

Besides some social media posts, including posting our Peek-of-the-Week on Instagram and some posts on Twitter, didn't really get that much done.

Things are kind of slow with Powers Squared at the moment. Hurricane Dorian forced our artist and her husband to evacuate and seek refuge in Raliegh. Not sure how long she'll be displaced but it has sort of put some things on hold for a while.

Thursday morning, I made several posts on Twitter about reviews tied to release anniversaries. This is something I do every morning when there is one to post about. I've also been posting the same image on Pinterest with a link to the review in Trophy Unlocked. I've been trying to abide by decades with some exceptions like Star Wars, Christmas and Westerns. I'm planning to go back through next year and divide them up into genres as well. But that's fodder for another day.

Thursday night I made more progress on The Runaway, writing about 800 words before dinner. We've been eating kind of late for the past few days so it's kind of hard to get motivated after that. I did have an idea for the story. I'm sure I'm not alone but sometimes real-life events can influence my stories. While I had been sort of banging around trying to think of where to take the story, I decided that I could use a story that has been in the news as background for some of the action in the book.

Friday, Paul and I did our second On the Air with Powers Squared Podcast on Podbean. Last week, we talked about why we decided to do a comic book, this week, we talked about the various influences on the comic book, including our writing and the visual look of the comic book. Would really appreciate it if you would give it a listen here.

This Saturday's Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was one written by Paul for Metal Wolf Chaos XD, the remaster released earlier this summer of a videogame originally released on Xbox in 2004.

Got some good news early Saturday afternoon, our Powers Squared artist Rachel Wells and her husband have returned home after evacuating based on the threat of Hurricane Dorian. Happy to hear that she's okay and happier still that we can get moving again on the comic book and on some merchandise we're excited about.

Saturday, I finally had a chance to get Geek Squad on my issue with Powerpoint. I started with them about 5:30 and it was after 7:30 before the problem was resolved. Geek Squad dialed in and then had Microsoft dial in and work on it. Eventually, they had to re-install Microsoft Office. It took a while but at least everything seems to be working, though everything is running slow and every website I open, I have to reload before everything shows, like the banner image on this post. I'm hoping that soon things will pick up again but the first time something doesn't load it gets a little scary.

I worked on Powers Squared's newsletter The Hound Dogs' Howl, something I had worked on earlier in the day and then after all the dial-in help. We had heard from our artist, Rachel, and she was back home after fleeing Hurrican Dorian. I wanted to update that part of the newsletter but the first time I went in it wouldn't edit. I was able to refresh and then I could edit.

When I worked on this blog on Saturday night, I couldn't even get into the blog at first. Again, refreshing helped but I hope this isn't a long-term trend.

Sort of a bumpy way to end this week in writing. Hope next week goes smoother. Keep writing and we'll see you next week.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

A Week in Writing #262 - Fifth Anniversary Post

Not really sure if this is worth a celebration but this is the Fifth Anniversary of this blog. Five years ago to the day, I published my First Post on this blog site and I've been doing one every week since. While this has never had a huge following, I'm doing it as much for myself as anyone else. I certainly hope there are life lessons and writing lessons included here, I started doing this to keep myself honest. 

A lot of people call themselves writers but don't always actually practice the craft. I wanted to show myself, and the world, that I was actually writing. I've sat down here every Sunday since to re-examine myself and to think about what I have or have not accomplished in the past seven days.

I'm still pretty much working on the same three projects that I was five years ago: writing mystery novels, writing film reviews and trying to get a comic book off the ground. Let's begin with writing mystery novels, which I had hoped would be, at some point, my main focus. I've worked on several in the past five years and I've gone through spats of querying as well as writing and editing. 

At present, I have six queries out for Broken People, a novel I've rewritten while doing this blog. As I've written before, I don't want to have already hit up every agent I could find as I like to prolong the torture, I guess. Querying is perhaps my least favorite part of the writing process. I'm not someone who likes to wait and that's pretty much all you do after sending your query letter is wait, oftentimes in vain. Most of the time, you're supposed to realize on your own that a particular agent isn't interested as they provide no guidelines on getting back to you. I'm using six weeks unless otherwise noted, as the cut-off. The drag is you oftentimes never know why the agent rejected you. Is it the story? The query letter? Did they even get to it? I mean you want to improve but without feedback, it's hard to know your deficiencies. 

Working on my rewrite for The Runaway, though I didn't get much done this past week. Other projects and a bit of ennui. I have been thinking about it and I will work on the next chapter this week.

Still waiting to hear back from the editor on Familiar Stranger. We made a connection and I was led to believe he would be actually editing it or parts of it in August. I promised to refrain from bugging him until September, which is now! Hopefully, my patience will be rewarded.

Trophy Unlocked, Paul's review blog that I write for, is coming up on nine years and 1000 reviews, though it will be sometime next year before the latter milestone will be achieved. Most weeks, I work on a review with this week being no exception. In addition to publishing one this week, The African Queen, I wrote another one for another Humphrey Bogart film, All Through the Night (1942). Not sure when that one will see the light of day but its always better to have ones in reserve rather than trying to pump one out every week.

And, of course, there is still Powers Squared, which has so far released seven issues. Issues 8 and 9, as well as 10 and 11, are done but we're wanting to do a Kickstarter to hopefully alleviate costs and grow interest. We keep pushing it off trying to get all the pieces together and set but we should get it going next month. 

While there is not that much actual writing week to week with Powers Squared, it certainly has kept me busy. Over the past year, in addition to looking at every page that comes from artist, colorist, and letterer, I've also developed a website, started a weekly newsletter, doing a weekly video on YouTube and this past Friday did the first On the Air with Powers Squared Podcast with Paul for You can't say we're not trying.

Five years have been fun and I hope the next five are both fun and profitable. Keep writing.

Each week in the past five years has been different and I hope others who read this either appreciate the struggle and are learning from reading these posts. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Week in Writing #261

This week, I'm going to build this post as the week goes, rather than try to recollect the week on Sunday, since I'm going to be in transit for most of the day. Since this usually covers Sunday through Saturday, we should be good.

The week got underway with new pages from Nina. There turned out to be an issue that we had to address, which is pretty rare when it comes to the coloring. Even though Paul and I look at everything during every step in the process, there are still things that we occasionally miss and this is what jumped out at us with one of the pages. A character was drawn similar to another character, which meant that they were also colored to match that character as well. We also had a special coloring built into the script, but there didn't seem to be a place for it in the panels on the page. To make a long story short, with some back and forth amongst all of us, including Rachel, we came up with a solution.

I did some more writing on Sunday on The Runaway. Still reworking the story, trying to save as much as I can from a previous version while still making changes. I want to make it better, but I don't want to write when I don't have to. I wrote just shy of 1200 words on Sunday.

Also, on Sunday, Paul and I did our video, A Week in Powers Squared, and sent our newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl. Something we still need to work on is building up our audience for both. We're a few weeks short of our 52nd weekly video and would like to get to 25 subscribers. For the newsletter, we're at about 80 and need to get it to 100 as soon as we can. If you're interested, the YouTube channel is here and the sign up for the newsletter is here. Every subscription counts.

Monday was a pretty light day writing-wise. Worked some more on The Runaway. I'm in one of those situations where I've sort of written myself into a corner with the new prose bumping up against the old. I hate to waste what I've written and despite the idea of keeping it for another time, that rarely works out the way it's supposed to. I'm sure as time goes on, the two storylines will diverge again and I'll have several thousand words of useless plot.

I've made the decision to stop posting this blog on Medium since I haven't got any hits in months. It doesn't take all that long to post it there, but with one follower and no reads it's time to cut my losses so to speak. I don't think anyone will really notice it's gone, so this will serve as my announcement. Medium will be just one more social media platform that never took off for me or Powers Squared.

Tuesday was spent on trying to get the word out about Powers Squared's landing page. Made posts on the usual social media (Facebook and Twitter) and even created, using MailChimp, an Email Signup tab on the Powers Squared Facebook page. Using MailChimp has some advantages, but it is not very self-explanatory. I was trying to follow their instructions to link our campaign to Facebook but came across what appeared to be a dead-end. I wasn't getting the dropdown the instructions told me to use. I had to do a separate Google search to find a solution. Got it to work but it took longer than it should have; it always does for me when I'm trying to do something.

Sent out a couple of query letters on Tuesday as well. I don't mind the process, though I have a  certain apprehension when doing them. I'm never sure, based on the instructions on the various agent's websites, if I'm sending the right thing to the right person in the right way. If you're like me and use Query Tracker, you need to be sure to check the websites. While I find the site very helpful, there are sometimes subtleties that get lost. If an agent is shown, as an example, to handle Young Adult and Mysteries, oftentimes, they handle Young Adult Mysteries. Always check the websites and even then it can be a crap-shoot.

I don't like to have too many queries out there at one time. On the oft chance I get feedback from an agent, it might help me to change up the query letter, which is already something I do anyway. Right now I have six out there. I try to give agents time to reply but when it's "only if interested" I'm not sure what that means time-wise. If they're really behind that could be three months, I don't know. But six seems like enough for the moment.

The final page from Issue #11 came in with a slight redesign from Rachel and within about 2 hours and 15 minutes, the coloring was updated and the pages are now on their way to Trevor for lettering. I've said it before but I still mean it, I really like working with everyone on this project. They really seem to rally when it counts and I appreciate that.

On Wednesday, spent some time working on Powers Squared's website. I've been trying to regularly put up a poll question on the site, with varying degrees of success. I thought that it might be related to the fact that the website is the link for them and when you go to the site you actually have to scroll down to find the question. Decided to try to set up a page dedicated to the poll question, which would then provide more of a direct link.

I'm not sure if GoDaddy supports polls, but someone there set it up for me on my home page some time back. I've been using PollDaddy, now CrowdSignal, to create the polls and from there I've been copying the code onto my home page. I discovered that you could duplicate and move a section, which I managed to do successfully today. So now all polls will point to There is probably one there now if you want to vote.

Paul did some work with OBS, YouTube and our new Stream Deck to make it work, so we're set for new videos. There is a fairly significant latency period using this method and the videos take longer to process on YouTube but I'm hoping we can not only make the videos more entertaining but also more closely link the information in the newsletter to the info in the videos. They'll still be different but now they can be more closely related.

Late on Wednesday night, finished a review on There's Always a Woman (1938) for Trophy Unlocked. The film was one that I saw recently on TCM and wanted to see since it paired Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas. You'll have to wait a while to read it, but I'm glad I got it done.

On Thursday, I made an effort to reach out to people I knew on Linkedin to ask them to join the Powers Squared mailing list. Six or seven people. Only heard back from one and even then I'm not sure he'll actually sign up, even though he wanted to get together with me. I don't know why it's so hard to get people to sign up.

More writing on The Runaway, finishing off the chapter I was working on. Being a pantser, I'm sometimes curious where the story will go from here. I know how I want the story to end and it's the getting there that's the fun.

Friday will be my last writing day of the week. It got off with a bang, too, a rejection from one of my queries. It appears to me to be one of those form letters that's meant to look personal: "Thanks for sending me Broken People.  I wish I could represent every book I enjoy.  Because my resources are limited, I can only devote my energy to projects that I feel passionate about, and I'm sorry to say that your book isn't right for me."

Notice how she doesn't say she enjoyed my book, only that she wished she could represent all the books she enjoyed. Sort of encouraging but very unspecific at the same time. And I guess it goes without saying that we don't share the passion for Broken People. So I'm down to five.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I found another agent on my list to query. This one doesn't provide any guidelines about what he's looking for in a query letter. In fact, the agent's website is almost non-existent. But he's listed many other places, so it's always worth a shot. Sent him a similar query to one I had already sent: the first two chapters and a synopsis. It's a little like shooting in the dark since I don't know any preferences he might have. And, of course, there is no timeframe for when to expect or not expect a response from him.

Received the news on Friday that our long-time colorist, Nina Gaillard, has decided to leave Powers Squared after issue #12, which will be her seventh one to color. She's decided to seek other opportunities and projects and while we are very sorry to see her go, we wish her great success in the future.

Sort of a sad way to end this week in writing.

Saturday, before leaving for a weekend trip, posted Trevor's review of Atlantis: The Lost Empire for our Saturday morning review on Trophy Unlocked.

So, that about wraps things up for this week. More next. In the meantime, keep writing.