Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Week in Writing #331 - The Holidays are Upon Us

Hope everyone is well, enjoying the holidays and, of course, writing.

Well, the holidays are upon us, and all thoughts and time turn to family. The one thing that seems to go by the wayside, at least for me, is writing. Not that I didn't do any but writing was not the top priority.

As I wrote last week, I did manage to squeeze in that review of We're No Angels, a movie I've wanted to rewatch for a long time. This is one of those to be published in the future reviews, which may be next Christmas season. I look at Christmas/Holiday movies the same way I do Holiday music. Once December 25th rolls around, that day is done. Reviews are the same way.

On the subject of reviews, this past Wednesday Paul published a review of Bridge Constructor Portal, a video game for the Xbox One. On Saturday was our last holiday review, The Thin Man (1934), in which Christmas plays a prominent role. And while that might seem like plenty, Trophy Unlocked wasn't done. On Christmas Day, we watched Soul on Disney+ and Trevor's review, which includes Burrow, the short that accompanied it, went up on Sunday morning.

But that's not the end of it. The day after Christmas at our house is unofficially Movie Day. We watched several movies that day, including Wonder Woman 1984. Today, I reviewed the movie and it should go up tomorrow. If you don't catch it, there'll be a link in next week's post.

Later in the week, we will be posting an Actual End of the Decade list, looking back at films and videogames from 2011 to 2020, the official years of this decade. We're sticklers for that sort of stuff; this millennium didn't start until 2001 either.

Not much new on the Powers Squared front, though Paul and I did review some new coloring work from Julia sent earlier.

We did something new this week for our OAPS. Since Friday was Christmas we used an interview we had pre-recorded. Paul figured out how to use OBS to show it on Twitch. Apparently, Twitch likes things live and you have to be an affiliate to easily upload to the site. But if there's a will, there's a way. You can watch it here if you're curious, and I hope you are.

I'm still fiddling with a time-travel idea for the comic book, though it's not really coming together, at least, not yet.

To update on the Copyright issue, I received the paperwork ahead of schedule but it turns out it was for only one of the two issues. I have been writing to them that the issue I was having involved two issues of the comic book, not just the one. Not sure why both weren't included. Trust me I did write, when I got the registration, to the agent I had been working with there but with the holiday I'm not surprised I hadn't heard anything. And now that the government won't be shut down I'm hoping to hear back sooner than later but trust me, I'm not letting this go.

On other writing, I did find some time to work on my Skylar manuscript but, of course, never enough. I'm up to 28,760 words, so I'm not hitting the blog's 1000 words a day when it comes to that alone.

As I mentioned last week, no new queries and I'm playing Schrodinger's cat with the ones that I haven't heard back on yet. Until I look, they're still live and being considered. Reality can wait until the start of the new year when I promise I will be getting back to the queries.

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

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Week in Writing #330 - Trophy Unlocked Anniversary


Hope everyone is staying safe and writing. And, hey, if we don't talk before, let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This week, Trophy Unlocked, the review blog I write for, celebrated its 10th anniversary. Paul founded the blog in 2010 and since then there have been over 1100 reviews and 600,000+ views. To celebrate, Paul wrote a review of The Last of Us Part II.

We crossed streams and discussed the blog and his review on our weekly podcast for Powers Squared, On the Air with Powers Squared. I like to think of Trophy Unlocked as a sister project as all the creators of the comic book write for it as well. It's quite an accomplishment and as the father in all this, I'm very proud of Paul for sticking with it all these years. If you're curious, you can find links on our website: Check it out.

On the subject of Trophy Unlocked, on Wednesday, Trevor posted a review of the video game Lifeless Planet. On Saturday morning, we posted a special review hub for the adaptations we've reviewed of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. To add to it, I posted a review of an Edison-made version of the story from 1910.

For a future post, I wrote a review of Laurel and Hardy's Big Business (1929), one of their last silent comedies. We're also working collectively on an End of the Decade post so I have to finish my contributions on that.

Well, let's start with a bit of good news. I don't know if you remember but Paul and I had a little issue with the copyright for a couple of issues of Powers Squared. I don't know what we did wrong, which means I really have no clue about registering titles, but instead of receiving one for the two issues, we only received a copyright for the script. When we noticed the error, the copyright office told us how to fix it, only after we followed their advice we were told it was the wrong way to have done it and we'd be out the $200 charge.

When I queried about it, the agent I communicated with there seemed to be open to refunding the fee, since after all, we did as they instructed us to do. However, since then, and more inquiries on their side they decided that what we had done was right after all and I've been told they'd be sending us an amended copyright in a couple of months. Things move slowly with the government but a happy ending is a happy ending. And you got to take them where you can.

In other writing, I was able to make more progress on the Skylar manuscript. Right now I'm up to 28,202 words. Not sure how much more I'll be doing this next week though I'm hoping to keep writing on it when I can this coming week.

Work began this month on Powers Squared Issue #17, so there were pencils to review from Rachel.

With the holidays, it's always difficult to work in writing. I do want to squeeze in a review of We're No Angels, which I happened to see on TCM this weekend. Also, on Saturday we'll be having our annual Movie Day, so I'm sure there will be reviews that come from that.

Well, that's about it for now. Hope everyone continues writing, has a happy holiday and I'll see you back here next week.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

A Week in Writing #329 - Making Silly Mistakes

Hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

I hope that I'm not alone in this but this week, I kept making what I'll call silly mistakes. I'd like to put it down to being hurried but since this is a blog where I share the good and the bad, I thought I should share the silly as well.

On Friday nights, Paul and I host a live twitch show, On the Air with Powers Squared, that we call a behind the scenes look at our comic book, Powers Squared but in reality, we also interview not only our creative team but also other creatives as well. This past Friday, we lined up Josue F. Kure, the creator behind Reaper Rules. Josue and I had met through a list launch event and had kept up on Facebook and supported each other's Kickstarters but had not actually ever even spoken.

Well, Josue is a very interesting man with a lot of interests, talents and ambitions so it was a very interesting interview. My silly mistake here was in the lead-up. For every show, I post an image on Instagram, which feeds down to the comic book's Twitter account and Facebook page. Since I'm at work when I make this post, I try to do it as quickly as possible. The mistake here was that Josue uses a middle initial, which while I got right in the image I got wrong in the text. I was able to edit Instagram and Facebook posts, I wasn't able to change the Twitter one. As anyone who has Twitter knows, you can't edit tweets. I didn't have the time to fix it and it wasn't a big deal it still was sort of embarrassing.

On Sundays, I write the newsletter for Powers Squared, this week The Bark,  and while I think the text was good and the links worked I made two more mistakes. To start with, I didn't update the Message line so what went out, rather than saying Happy Holidays Hound Dogs made mention of the now over Black Friday Sale. Since I receive other people's emails, I know that I'm not alone in making mistakes, so I resent the newsletter with a correction. Problem solved.

But wait, no. One of the items every week is a Peek-of-the-Week, or an image from the comic book that is discussed in the newsletter but with a link, in the hopes of driving readers to the website. The nice thing is that while the image may change the link doesn't. And, all is well and good, as long as the website gets updated. But if you don't actually hit the button to publish the change no one will know there's a new image. It took me several hours to realize the image hadn't been updated. Don't know how many people, if any, checked for the new image but again, it was a silly mistake for me to make.

So with that confession behind me, let's move on to other writing and places where I didn't make missteps.

As I've written before, I've decided to wait until the New Year to take up querying again. I just don't want to get caught up in the end of the year desk cleaning that goes on in all professions. And, if you're still keeping track I've sent four and have been rejected once. I have a feeling I'm probably running into that "if you haven't heard back from us" clause, written and unwritten, that means they've passed but I'm not going to worry about it until when I start up again.

I've been working on Skylar most nights. My son Paul writes every night from 10 to 11 and I try to do the same. Some nights it's harder than others. I've had a couple where I start to fall asleep but I still try to make it through. I'm up to 25368 words and 140 pages.

I'm sort of leaving the best for last, I guess. I did write a new review this weekend, Repeat Performance (1947), a sort of mixed genre film that may, by design, not see the light of day until 1/1/2022. This past Saturday, on Trophy Unlocked, I did publish the first of my Christmas film reviews, this one a drive-by Christmas tale, The Last Picture Show (1971). To qualify as drive-by Christmas is either the backdrop or plays a role in an otherwise non-holiday tale.

During the week, Paul published his review of the videogame Injustice 2 Legendary Edition. And on Sunday, Trevor published a review of Onward, the pre-pandemic Pixar release that we watched this past Friday night on Disney +.

In other Trophy Unlocked news, the blog will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Friday. Not only will Paul publish a review on that date but we're also going to cross the streams and discuss the blog on our OAPS that evening. I promise not to make any silly mistakes when posting about that. I hope you'll take this as your invite to watch and ask questions. It is quite an accomplishment. We're live on twitch at 6pm PST, hope you'll watch.

Well, if I don't see you then, keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Week in Writing #328 - The Week That Wasn't?

I hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

I don't know about you but some weeks seem to be a blur and when I sit down to write this post on Sundays, I sometimes wonder what I've done and where the week went. I don't think it's anything to do with getting older, just being really tired.

I feel like I hit the usual marks this week, with one exception. Worked on Powers Squared, that's a weekly check it seems, worked on Trophy Unlocked, and worked on new writing. Do I feel like I'm running in sand? Yes.

Let's start where every week seems to, Powers Squared. There are some weeks, like this one, where I think there is nothing happening with it. I mean, we released a new issue, we reviewed new work, we made posts, we did our vlog and we did our video, but to what end? Despite all that, and buying ads, and being a part of a Black Friday Sale, I don't get the sense we actually sold any issues, which is sort of depressing. I may be wrong and I may get an email later with better news but since I haven't received anything so far, I'm thinking we didn't.

Powers Squared is a passion project but sometimes I feel like no one else feels the passion. To that end, I'm reading Gamal Hennessey's new book, The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing. The secret sauce, it seems, is to find the ideal reader of Powers Squared, persons we have clearly not found. I backed the Kickstarter for the book and signed up to receive a one-on-one session with the author to discuss my book. It's a one-hour time slot so I want to be prepared. I haven't set the time yet but I want to get through most of the book before that.

The book seems designed to help you before you actually start doing your comic book. Since we're 10 to 16 issues in, I'm skipping the parts about putting your team together and the legal side of it getting started. Too late for me. I'm trying to pace myself, reading a chapter a night and I realize that during the Christmas break from work, I need to spend a significant amount of time doing some research on the competition. I've never been big on homework but I need to do this.

I'm trying to get the other members of the creative team on board with helping. I'm planning to gather everyone in January to do an OAPS show about the ideal reader and get everyone's feedback. While I thought 2020 would be a breakout year for us, 2021 is sort of shaping up as a do or die year. I need this to catch on in the next couple of years or I may have to end the project. If you're reading this and you think you have any ideas, please leave me a comment or email me at

More work this week on Trophy Unlocked, which later this month is celebrating its ten year anniversary. Paul is writing a review for The Last of Us Part II for that milestone post. This week, I wrote another future Christmas season review, The Holly and the Ivy, a British film from 1952, but we'll all probably have to wait until next year to all read it.

In the meantime, the festive season was kicked off by Trevor's review on Saturday of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, a French animated anthology that includes a Christmas tale. The Wednesday video game review was also Trevor's of Wattam. As always I encourage you to check it out.

Seeing as we're getting close to the end of the year, we usually do individual posts wrapping up the year. However, this time, since 2020 was a spare year and the end of the decade, we're more a retrospective of the decade.

I didn't do a new query this week and I don't have any real excuse. I'm thinking the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas might not be the best time to seek representation. Agents, believe it or not are people, too, and are probably like the rest of the human race trying to wrap things up before the end of the year. I know I'm not looking for new things to worry about in the two weeks I have left to work this year and I can't imagine they are either. Am I right?

This version of Skylar is up to just under 22,000 words at 21,794. I'm trying to work on it most nights when I can.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Week in Writing #327 - Let's Talk Wednesday

Hope everyone is staying well and had a Happy and safe Thanksgiving.

I know last week I wrote a lot about the previous Thursday, I thought today I'd write about this past Wednesday, or the release date of the latest issue of Powers Squared, #10 What's in a Name? Part 1. I know that sometimes I plug hard the comic book but it's only because I want it to be a success. As with any endeavor a writer undertakes, he/she wants it to be a success. I double down on Powers Squared since it is also something I am self-publishing. i.e. paying for. If you insist on supporting me in this, then please go to

Well, it may sound easy to self-publish a comic book but there are a lot of steps involved, which you can multiply by the number of outlets or platforms you're going out on. As a publisher, you stress over each one.

The first step, which I undertook sometime back, was to submit the comic book to the various outlets. We're on ComiXology,, IndyPlanet and Kindle, each with their own requirements, though many overlap. By that I mean if I meet the specs for say IndyPlanet, I can pretty much send the same files to the other outlets as well. I have been updating the cover for ComiXology, which doesn't like a border around the cover.

The submission process is a little different for each site. As an example, neither ComiXology or Kindle require you to purchase the book when you put it up. To be honest, neither Artithmeric or IndyPlanet require that either, but you want to see what a book looks like before you sell it, you have to order one and have it printed and shipped. With Issue #10, we have two covers, so I had to have two different copies from each of those outlets.

Some are more helpful than others. Paul and I had decided on our own that we wanted to have the issue out before Artithmeric's Black Friday Sale, which is going on right now through December 4, so we picked November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving. Releasing prior to a holiday, or a big convention, is probably not the best idea, as people's minds are elsewhere, but that was the date we chose. It was only a week before the release that ComiXology confirmed that they were also releasing it on that date as well.

ComiXology is the only outlet that you have no control over when the release date is picked and my guess is that they pick the dates based on some sort of algorithm rather than what is the best date to release it. They've picked dates that were the Wednesday before Comic-Con, the day before the 4th of July and this time the day before Thanksgiving.

So everything seemed to be in place except for something special I wanted to do on IndyPlanet. I had given them more than a week but never heard back on it. We wanted our B cover or Covid Cover to be print only and when submitting the issue, I didn't see a way to do that. I wrote to them a couple of times but it wasn't until the 25th before they confirmed they would do it.

About a week before the release, we sent out Press Releases to eight comic book news websites. This netted one story on First Comics News, who has been pretty supportive of us. That story came out the next day. I checked the other outlets today before writing this and that would otherwise be a goose egg.

Then there was the review. First Comics News has also been the only outlet to review all the issues and I was expecting it to be up on the day of release but it wasn't. It took a couple of emails on Wednesday and bothering the editor on Thanksgiving but it did go up a day late.

I also purchased some Facebook ads. I believe I had sworn off those earlier but I was hoping to see if things had changed. Each ad is $10 and runs for five days. We placed one when we launched our new landing page. Despite reaching 5558 people, I don't believe any of them actually signed up. We placed one when the issue was released. So far, that's reached only 984 people 31 clicked the link; no telling if any bought the book. On Friday, we put out another one for the Black Friday Sale. 1204 reached two clicks. I keep telling myself this is a marathon but it would be nice to get somewhere now.

So, the jury is still out on the ads and the release. I'll report back here if I receive any numbers on sales.

No queries this week. Thursday is my night and it was Thanksgiving. For those keeping score, I have sent out four and have one rejection.

I did work a couple of nights on Skylar. I guess a word count would be appropriate; that way we can all track how I'm doing on that project. So, right now I'm at 16535 words. Check back next week to see how much futher I get.

My review of The Clay Pigeon was Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review, thus ending our Noirvember salute. There were two more reviews this week on the blog, Trevor's review of  Transformers: Prime - One Shall Stand went up on Thursday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series that it derived from. And on Wednesday, there was Trevor's review of Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion (PS4).

Next month starts the blog's salute to Christmas titles. Not necessarily for next month, I did write three reviews this weekend of Christmas titles, including A Christmas Carol (1910), Mickey's Christmas Carol, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Maybe they will come out this year, maybe next. I think we have enough for this year so it's nice to get ahead.

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

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Week in Writing #326 - Let's Talk Thursday

I hope everyone is staying safe and, of course, writing.

Let me start with a plug: Powers Squared Issue #10, What's in a Name? Part 1, releases on Wednesday, November 25th. If you're reading this, I would really appreciate the support. Issues are available in print and digital and links will be live on the day of release at the website's new Campus Store. There is also going to be a Black Friday Sale at for a week. You can get 25% off by using the code BLACKFRIDAY. If you've ever thought about buying an issue of the comic book I write about each week, then this would be a golden time to do it.

I don't know about you, but some days are more successful than others when it comes to writing. This week, Thursday sticks out as a particularly busy day. As with most weeks it seems, it starts with Powers Squared.

It began in the morning, when I received an email from the US Copyright Office, in effect, denying our request to update the copyright. It wasn't so much that we couldn't but the mechanism the Copyright Office had told us to do it turned out to be wrong. I don't mind re-doing the claim, with the right instructions, but I was resisted to losing the $200 fee they charged me to make the revised claim, since I was working off their instructions. To their credit, the agent I was working with has offered to see if the fee can be refunded, so that's still up in the air.

During the day, we received pages from Rachel; pencils for the last four pages of Issue #16 as well as the cover. Paul and I did sit down and review after dinner. These sessions don't usually last very long but there are usually comments which are sent back to her and that night was no exception. Nothing really major mind you; all minor. I was reminded with getting Issue #10 ready for ComiXology that they didn't like the cover having a border. I've had to make adjustments and since I'm making changes months after the issue has been drawn, colored, and lettered, I have to be careful not to go outside the margins so to speak. Don't know if you've ever published a comic book, but print versions have margin and trim spaces. I don't think making that change or any of the changes we asked for were necessarily difficult since the next morning, she had the changes ready to go.

That night, I had some things to take care of with posting the new issue of Powers Squared on IndyPlanet. It consisted of adding preview pages. Earlier I had a question about the page count and I still have a question about whether or not one of the covers (we have two this time) can be print only; IndyPlanet offers both print and digital. That question is still outstanding. We're good either way but it would be good to know.

I then made the edits on the next script for Powers Squared, a sort of Metal Gear homage, tentatively called Mission: Istanistan. I was making updates Paul had suggested and I also moved one panel to the previous page. Again, nothing too hard.

I then worked out some talking points for our OAPS podcast. We had Kathryn Calamia on. She currently has a Kickstarter going for her comic book Like Father, Like Daughter. I had met her through a Facebook post in which she was looking for indie comics to use as tier rewards. I thought letting her use Issue #1 of Powers Squared might find us some new readers. I asked her to be on our show but I wanted us to prep for her. The actual interview took place the next evening and you can watch or listen to the show through links you can find here. I think the show went pretty well.

Next, I sent a query letter out for Broken People, trying to keep to my one-a-week goal. I had found this particular agent on QueryTracker as someone "new" that week. It was a bit of a gamble. QueryTracker shows she represents Crime Fiction, which is what I'm hawking, but the agency's website stated True Crime, but I thought it was worth a chance and a new assistant agent might be wanting to build a list.

Well, I was wrong. I sent the query at about 9:40 pm on Thursday and by 1:30 in the afternoon, I was rejected. "Thank you for your query, but unfortunately, I don't think this is a fit for me. I appreciate your getting in touch, though, and wish you the best with this project." Not the most informative of rejections but they rarely are. I don't think it has anything to do with the actual writing, since I didn't send any samples. The instructions on the agency's websites only asked for a query letter.

I'll give the agent credit for being quick. The rejection was sort of like ripping off a bandage. Painful, as always, but quick and over with. So if you're keeping track at home, that's four sent and one rejection. And now I need to send out two more.

I finished that night off with some writing and updates on Skylar, the most recent manuscript I'm working on. I'm reimagining some of what I had written to get to the action quicker and to introduce characters more judiciously.

Not a typical day but you sort of get a sense of what I'm up to; divided in all sorts of ways.

I would be remiss not to mention my Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked, Scene of the Crime; part of our Noirvember celebration. This was also My Little Pony week on Trophy Unlocked with five reviews featuring My Little Pony: Equestria GirlsMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow RocksMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Friendship GamesMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legend of Everfree; and My Little Pony: The Movie (2017). Those reviews were written by Paul and Trevor, so check them out, too.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Week in Writing #325 - Where Did the Time Go?

I hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

I can't say this was a red-letter week for me, writing-wise. I had such high goals coming into the week and here I sit on Sunday wondering what happened? I think we've all had weeks like this. So many things can derail your plans.

On the positive side, I did send out a third query letter on Thursday. If I did nothing else last week to forward my writing, then that would be the best thing I could have done for myself. So, that's three out and, so far, knock on wood, no rejections yet. I did find a couple of agents I wanted to submit to were closed for the rest of the year. Not sure if I'll come across more like that as the days of 2020 grow wee. My goal is 5 queries and if you're like me, each one is a nervous endeavor. So, I'm 60 percent of the way there.

I wanted to write three reviews this week for Trophy Unlocked, but I only finished two: Batman Returns and The Big Steal. Still have Son of Frankenstein and now, Man in the Dark, our latest Saturday night drain the DVR feature. I did publish a new one on Saturday morning, The Third Man, a new entry in Noirvember. Also on the blog were three reviews from Trevor: Big Bumpin'; PocketBike Racer and Sneak King, three Burger King Xbox games from 2006.

The work on Powers Squared this week was more behind the scenes than usual. I have been making updates to the website, as well as the landing page experience for the newsletter. I needed Paul's help with some of the latter and we're sending it out to the rest of the creative team to get their feedback.

There were also thumbnails for the last four pages of issue #16, as well as the cover, that Paul and I reviewed and gave feedback on. Then there were some revisions that we also looked at. Not sure when we'll actually be getting those pages; our artist is dealing with a family emergency at the moment, which justifiably takes precedent over the comic book.

On Saturday, Paul and I attended a Zoom class at UCLA, Showrunners and Show Writers (Fall 2020). It was interesting as we were both interested in that part of the animation industry. Me from a Powers Squared perspective but Paul from a longer-term career perspective. It was informative but more from the personal point of view of the showrunners on the program. The takeaway is that there are a lot of different ways to break into the industry and to keep trying and writing.

So, what got left out of the equation this week was Skylar. I really don't have any excuse other than time and perhaps bad time management. I will have to right that this week and I will make an effort to work on it every time I can.

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

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Week in Writing #324 - Sleep? What's that?

Hope everyone is staying well.

I don't know about you, and I think I write about this every year, but Daylight Saving's Time kicks my ass twice a year. And it's not the Sunday after but the Monday that throws me. My sleep clock has not aligned itself with the "alarm" clock, though I haven't set one of those for nearly 8 months. Even working from home the getting dark at 5 pm is still hard. You feel like you're working late at night.

I was still getting used to the time change when the election happened and the fact that it didn't get resolved right away kept me up that night. I was even awake at 2:30 AM and came out to check my computer if there was any "good" news. I think I recovered and the news got better as the week went on, so I'm over that now.

But this isn't supposed to be a blog about my sleep schedule but rather what little writing I got done during the week.

Let's start with Broken People. Happy to say I sent out a second query this past week and so far, no rejection email yet. I think any response will be several weeks away. This one was again an online form and didn't ask me how I planned to market the book, so that was a bit of a relief. So, two down more to come.

I did some more writing on Skylar this week but nothing since Wednesday I'm afraid to say. I do like the direction it is going so I'm hoping to keep it moving forward as best as I can.

Worked a little more on reviews for Trophy Unlocked. I feel like I'm behind in that regard. I feel like there are three movies I need to review, including Son of Frankenstein, Batman Returns and The Big Steal. It sounds diverse, but those are the films we've been watching and I'm behind on them. They each have a different purpose for the blog.

We ended Spooktober and started in with Noirvember on the blog with No Questions Asked (1951). I have three more to go but I have to get them ready for publication. Blogger, which we use, has changed how you can upload photos so it takes longer now than it used to. Not sure the reason behind the changes but I have to live with them. During the week, Trophy Unlocked also published a review of AVICII Invector Encore Edition, written by Trevor.

This week, as we continue to work on a Pitch Packet for Powers Squared, I watched a 10-year-old presentation from CTNX about this very process. The presentation by Heather Kenyon, the then Vice President of Project Development and Sales for Starz Animation, was pretty informational and got me to rethink much of what I had already written. If you're interested, you can watch it yourself at,

Work continues on Powers Squared. Not only are we working on issue #16 now, as well as #15, we're also prepping to release Issue #10. One of the platforms we're available on is Kindle and I spent some time this weekend putting that issue together for that platform. I don't know if you've ever used their Comic Creator app, but it's quite buggy. It took several tries and repeated saving to get all the way through the issue. There are times when it will simply stop working and that can get to be pretty frustrating.

There is a lot of other work to be done before the issue is released, including trying to line up reviews and putting out a press release. The creative fun never stops.

Well, that about does it for me this week. I've got a lot lined up to do and I'll tell you how I did next time.

So, keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

A Week in Writing #323 - First Query


Hope is everyone is staying safe, wearing a mask, and writing.

I want to start with a bit of good news. After writing about it for weeks now, I actually did send a query this week for Broken People. I decided that I was only holding myself back and that if I wanted to reach my goals, I had to do something positive towards that. So, on Thursday night, I finally sat down and sent out a query, through a form, to an agent. They claim they'll take four to six weeks to get back to me.

I don't know about you but I've had queries rejected within hours of submitting them, so I'd like to think four to six weeks will mean some sort of contemplation on their end. Of course, I am on alert to hear back before that and prepared for never hearing back from them at all, you know how it is. I don't mean to sound down on the process but I have been down this road before.

Even though they asked if the query was out to other agents, and I answered no, I do plan to send out more in the next few days. I don't want to run through all the agents on my list but I do want to get and have at least five out there at a time. There is always the hope that you'll figure out where you went wrong with one query or the other but my experience has been that agents never give you that kind of detail if they reject you. It's usually just a terse prefab email. I hope I'm wrong and I will, of course, report back here as things go.

I worked more on my Skylar manuscript, deciding to restart the story closer to the action, or in this case, the start of the assignment. I think it makes it better and I don't think I'll have to lose too much of what I've already written. But this is the way it works when you're a pantser like myself.

The issue I highlighted last week, our submission to Comixology, got straightened out and we were told which of the two series to use. The bad one is still there but we should be able to avoid that pitfall in future submissions.

Still, a lot to do to get ready for the release. We need to try to line up reviews and any publicity we can. We need to make a video for our social media. We need to create a Kindle version. We need to finalize the website changes and the new landing page. But the main thing is we're one step closer to being ready. And on top of that, we still need to work on our Pitch Packet. So much to do.

Today we published our monthly newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl. I'm giving you a link to it, here, in case you're curious about it. I would also encourage you to subscribe to it as well. I would really appreciate the support.

We had a really good conversation on our On the Air with Powers Squared podcast/Twitch Stream. We interviewed another creator, Lucas Scheffel, the man behind Angry Fred Comics. We had never actually met until Friday night, even though we had supported each other's Kickstarters and social media accounts. Lucas is down in Australia so it was the next day down there when we spoke. Really cool. I hope you'll watch or listen and, of course, support him as well.

My review of Revenge of the Creature rounded out Spooktober on Trophy Unlocked. As always, there was a new video game review on Wednesday, Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams written by Paul.

Since Saturday was Halloween, the movie we watched to delete off the DVR was The Return of Dr. X (1939). That review may wait until next year, but Halloween is only 365 days away.

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

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A Week in Writing #322 - Missteps


Hope everyone reading this is staying safe and wearing your mask.

So, this week, let's start with Powers Squared. We finally took the last step in publishing Issue #10, submitting to comiXology but we didn't get past the first step. I'm not blaming comiXology but somewhere along the way, two series were set up for Powers Squared. We found this out the hard way when we published one issue and it ended up being listed separately from the other issues. Not sure how that happened and the digital publisher did fix it right away. They also told us that they had removed the second series so we wouldn't have the same issue the next time.

Well, when Paul and I sat down to submit, guess what we saw:

They're not the same number, so we're not seeing double but we didn't know which one to choose. We tried to search for something on the website that would point us to the right one but that's not available or at least we couldn't find it. This Series number is a background thing but we didn't want to go down the slippery slope and pick the wrong one, so we stopped the process and emailed support to sort it out.

Did some work on the Pitch Packet. Trying to get more current images into the deck, as the current visuals are closer to what we want to present. There are only a couple that we can't seem to replace. I'd really like to get this behind us. As with everything doing with Powers Squared, we're sort of learning as we go.

In other writing, I completed another review for Trophy Unlocked. As per the usual, we watched a film on our DVR so we could delete it. This week, it was Our Betters (1933), a film I believe I came across by accident but was interested in based on the pre-film discussion on TCM. They were discussing an actor who didn't appear until the last five minutes and his importance to LGBT depiction in films in pre-code Hollywood. Curious, I recorded it and really forgot about the why until we watched it. What did I think will have to wait.

In the meantime, my review of Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein was the Saturday Morning Review. But earlier in the week, Trophy Unlocked celebrated its 1100th review with one Paul wrote for P.T., a playable teaser for a video game that was never made. The game, Silent Hills, was to be a horror game designed by Hideo Kojima and Gullermo del Toro, and also fit in with our Spooktober theme for the month.

To further mix the streams, Paul played the teaser on our Powers Squared Twitch channel. Streaming a video game was something Paul has been wanting to do but this was the first time. He asked me to sit with him for support, so if you watch it, you'll see me reacting and asking the occasional question.

As far as my other writing goes, I did some more work on Skylar, though never enough. I believe I got through another couple of chapters and moved the story forward, so that's good.

On the subject of querying, I did some more prep work on that this weekend. I researched if there were any new agents and deleted one from my list as their definition of mystery is cozy. I also realized that I have a little more to do based on the first online query I started. Not only do I need to decide who would want to read my book, but also provide a one-line Pitch. I know, excuses, but they're all I have.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Week in Writing #321 - One More Birthday!

Another week, another birthday at my house. This final one of the year belonging to my wife. No age or birth year, but if you've been paying attention, we're all Libras, which means decisions here are few and far between. Just thought I'd point that out because of the hole in the week.

Has this ever happened to you? I had sort of an interesting night of it on Thursday, the day after the B-day mentioned above. I basically live with insomnia always being a possibility. I may lay down my head on the pillow but if something is off in my routine, I stop reading too soon or turn off the TV too early, or whatever, I can lie awake for hours. What kept going through my head this night was that I hadn't really written anything that day. So to get over that, I got up at about 2 a.m., came out to my office, the end of the dining room table, and made myself write 1000 words on the Skylar story I believe I've mentioned here a few times. Now, what I wrote, I think I'm going to scrap, not because it's bad but because it doesn't fit in with the story I'm writing now. It does work for an idea I've been tossing around during those sleepless nights so I'll put it aside for now and get it back out when I start on that story.

Per my Fitbit, I got a 76 rated sleep, which is both surprising, given the shortness of time (3 hours and 22 minutes), and good for me in general. A great night of sleep for me is an 80 and that is sadly very rare; I'm usually in the mid to low 70s. I'm not writing to get sympathy, but sometimes the lack of sleep does play into the output of the next day. While I made it through work and OAPS with no real issues, I did fall asleep off and on during our Friday night movie. I hate it when that happens.

Speaking of movies, we played drain the DVR again on Saturday night and I wrote a review for Trophy Unlocked as a result; No Questions Asked (1951). Not sure when that will come out, though another one of mine went up on Saturday, The Curse of the Cat People (1944), as part of our October Spooktober series of horror films. This past Wednesday, videogame review day, Trevor's review of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.

Big News: This coming Wednesday, Trophy Unlocked will be celebrating a milestone 1100 reviews. I won't ruin the surprise, but there is a special review planned for that day, so please check back then for that review.

In Powers Squared news, Julia Canon, our colorist, joined us for our On the Air with Powers Squared twitch stream/podcast this Friday. She's always fun to listen to, so I hope you'll tune in somewhere it is available. See for where you can watch and/or listen to it.

This week, I submitted the Covid Cover for Issue #10 to both Ka-Blam and Artithmeric for proofs. We've never had an alternative cover before, so it's a big deal for us. Not sure we'll wait for them to come back before we submit to Comixology, which we still need to do. There's always something on the horizon that you've got to do.

I wanted to give you an update on our copyright issue. So you don't have to scroll back and look for it in a previous post, we had a slight issue with copyright for a couple of issues, i.e. the script got copyrighted but the artwork didn't. The copyright office told us to rectify this through a Supplementary registration, which didn't seem like it worked. I called the copyright office at the end of September and they couldn't tell me what we had submitted, which sort of scared me, since who else would know what the copyright office had besides the copyright office?

Well, it turns out that what we were trying to do might actually work after all. I got an email from the U.S. Copyright office during the week, asking me, in fact, what we were trying to do. Paul and I sat down today to read through their question and I sent a response to them. They gave me 45 days to respond, which might tell you how fast things move in that bureaucracy. Fingers crossed things will work out for us. I'm at least hopeful now.

On that upbeat note, I'll sign off for today. Keep writing, stay safe, and I'll see you back here next week.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Week in Writing #320 - Getting On Track and Off


Hope everyone is healthy and staying safe.

Sometimes I wish I kept track of things as the week went on. From a writing point of view, the week seemed to get off to a good start. But now as I sit here on Sunday evening, I'm having trouble remembering everything I did.

Monday, I worked on a couple of different things, including a script Paul had worked on for a future issue of Powers Squared. I had read it and made some comments that I put into the script. I think it's coming together.

I also worked on my Skylar manuscript. Completing 1000 words on Monday, hitting the goal for the first time in a while. During the week, I managed to get through a complete chapter when I finished working on it on Thursday. I think it's going well but some much more to go.

No queries this week. I know, I know, I'll never find an agent this way. I guess I'm avoiding it, though I know better. There always seems to be something else to work on. I know I need to and I will do it soon. Check back here for those updates.

A lot of work on Powers Squared. New thumbnails from Rachel for the next 8 pages for Issue 16 (Mocha and Raven) and colors from Julia for Issue 15 (How They Met). Trevor has also lettered the first 8 pages, as it were, for Issue 15. So things are moving forward there.

We received copyright registrations this week for Issues 10-12, which is good since we're getting ready to publish the first one of those soon. That only took 8 months. We've had them go much longer than that.

We posted a new Unboxing Video on Wednesday, related to Issue #10, print versions, and t-shirts. We've decided to change up our posting schedule from Sunday morning to Wednesday afternoons. There's supposed to be more people watching YouTube videos then.

We're still doing our Podcast on Friday nights and we had Rachel on as a guest. You can watch it on If you want to listen to it, go to for where you can listen to it.

Two of my reviews up on Trophy Unlocked this week. On Friday, my review of Woody Allen's A Rainy Day in New York went up, the same day the title was finally being released on Vudu. On Saturday, to celebrate Spooktober, White Zombie was published.

But wait, that's not all for that blog this week. Paul's three reviews for Resident Evil 7 went up throughout the week: Resident Evil 7 Teaser Demo: Beginning Hour (+ Kitchen Demo); on Wednesday Resident Evil 7: Biohazard; and wrapping it up on Thursday Resident Evil 7: Biohazard DLC (Banned Footage Vol. 1 and 2 + Not A Hero + End of Zoe).

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

Sunday, October 4, 2020

A Week in Writing #319 - More Birthdays and Frustrations

A new week and what did I do?

I hate to keep using this excuse but Birthdays played a part in this week as well. Yes, mine was Friday but my sons' were this past Monday. Not that that taints the whole week but that was another day I didn't really try to do too much. If you're new to this blog, Paul and Trevor are my sons but also the co-creators on Powers Squared, that comic book I keep writing about.

Then there was the Presidential Debate on Tuesday. I'm not getting political here but watching that and the follow-up coverage did sort of take a lot of time away from other pursuits like writing. I don't plan to watch any of the future Presidential ones, as it was a colossal waste of time, though I will watch the Vice-Presidential one on Wednesday, so don't expect a lot from me that day.

And while I had the promise of working on Thursday night, the breaking news sort of dominated me after that. So, that's the better part of three nights. And besides the podcast, I don't really try to "write" on Fridays, as that's pizza and movie night.

For the rest of the week, I felt a sort of general ennui which is not conducive to getting a lot done. I don't know if it was the odd, for us, schedule we'd been keeping or maybe just a bit of overload getting the best of me. I kind of felt like doing more of the menial rather than creative aspects of the writing. As an example, I spent a couple of nights updating Pinterest with the reviews that are either scheduled so far or will be having anniversaries this month. So that's gone now as an excuse for next week.

Did a little writing on Skylar and think I've finally finished the chapter I was working on. I already have some ideas for the next few, it's just a matter of putting the ideas down.

Getting back to Powers Squared, we had a good podcast on Friday. Seth Laderman, a former production exec at Lionsgate, was our guest. He's someone I've known for the past several years and he was a supporter of our Kickstarter. You can check it out on our YouTube Channel.

We also had some review work that Paul and I did on Thursday with pages from Rachel. Judging by Twitter and Twitch I think we're getting closer to finishing the coloring on Issue #15. There were some pending questions from the colorist that we've tried to answer but that's still unresolved for now.

Did some "editing" on a script Paul wrote for a future Powers Squared issue. Made some suggestions and am actually making some changes to present to him as a possible way for it to go. I made one pass and am reviewing that before I show it to him.

I did promise to fill you in on my conversation with the US Copyright Office. I spoke on the phone with one of their Information Specialists on Monday but I don't think I got the answer I was after. The woman was very nice and admitted that we had gotten bad advice from one of their own but there was no mention of stopping the process and refunding my money. And she couldn't tell me what had been submitted to them back in 2019, which seems odd for the repository of copyrighted IPs. I couldn't either, but I think we did submit everything, so there's still hope it will right itself in the end. I'm afraid I'm going to have to wait until next year to find out for sure, since that's how long these seem to take.

On Trophy Unlocked, my review of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) went up as the Saturday Morning Review, the kickoff of Horror month on the blog. There should be a new horror film review every Saturday through the end of the month. On Wednesday, Paul's review of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS for the PS4 was featured. We're getting frightfully close to the 1100th review on the blog, so that's pretty cool.

I did write a review of Smarty (1934), for future use. Another drain the DVR movies that have been on there since Joan Blondell was the featured star on TCM. I honestly don't know how long ago that's been but it's safe to say awhile.

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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A Week in Writing #318 - Hey, It Was My Birthday

Hope all is well.

Despite the headline, I'm not looking for belated birthday wishes from last Friday. I'm using it as an excuse for whatever didn't happen this past week that should have.

I guess the big accomplishment for me this week was that I did write three reviews for Trophy Unlocked. As always not sure when they all will appear, one is scheduled, but the important thing is that I did them. Every Friday night, we have homemade pizza and watch a movie but since it was my birthday and we were having something different, we had pizza on Thursday and watched A Rainy Day in New York, a 2018 Woody Allen film that had not, as of yet, been released in the US. I had purchased a blu-ray (yes I still buy discs) through Amazon UK and we watched that. As it turns out that film is supposed to get some sort of release on October 9th, so it's scheduled to run that morning.

On my birthday, we watched another blu-ray that I received for my birthday, Straight Shooting (1917), a silent western directed by John Ford and starring Harry Carey. So, that's review #2.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may also know that Saturday night has turned into drain the DVR day so we watched Downstairs (1932) a pre-code drama starring John Gilbert. Review #3.

I also had the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked this week, with Captured! (1933), a film about World War I. I won't lie, I like to see my reviews get published. On Wednesday, it was another video game review, this time Zone of the Enders (PS2), that Paul wrote.

I've assigned myself the responsibility to post the reviews on Pinterest as well, and as I'm going through the anniversaries or adding new reviews, I'm trying to update the listing with some information about when it was released and if it's a film, who is in it, the director and the genre. I sometimes regret this, especially when a title ends up in more than one category, say Decade and special genres that we call out. It's possible that a title, say an animated Batman film, could end up in three categories. I'm almost through October. I hope that I'll get ahead of it sometime and it will be down to just new titles. I'm mentioning it here because I spent some time on it this week.

A lot of work this week on Powers Squared, with Rachel providing four inked pages for Issue 16, and Trevor finishing the lettering on Issue #14.

Not to leave Julia out of it, she did provide us with an updated website banner. Since at the top of the home page we say Stay Safe, Wear a Mask and Read Powers Squared, I thought we should show the main characters actually wearing a mask. It was an idea I had at the end of the week and it's already up on the website:

Other work continues on revamping the website, which we're hoping to introduce with the release of Issue #10.

We also did our weekly podcast/video, On the Air with Powers Squared, and this time our guest actually showed. Rorie Still, the creator of Flashbang, spent about 45 minutes with us on Friday night. You can, if you're so inclined, watch it here on YouTube. If you prefer to listen to it, please go to and you can find about five outlets for the audio version.

But that wasn't the only video appearance for the book, because the next day, Paul appeared on Rorie's Instagram show, Artist Live. He was on her show for about an hour and you can watch that on her Instagram page here.

I'll throw this out, just in case you're interested, but we also put out a weekly newsletter and if you're at all curious, you can look at it here. This is our smaller version, which we call The Bark. Next week, it's the longer newsletter The Hound Dogs' Howl, in which we'll feature other creative twins and make a recommendation or two as well. I put it there just in case you want to, you know, be supportive.

I also did some more work on Skylar, the newest J.D. Barrister story I'm working on. I've got a real good idea for a future chapter, but I'm still slogging through the one I'm on. I think I only managed about 1000 or so words this week. Too much to do, too much cake to eat, you know the story.

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

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Week in Writing #317 - Venting Some Frustrations

Hope everyone is staying safe.

I'm going to do something I rarely do and vent a little on my frustration with someone I had counted on as a friend. I will not name names, as that is not my style, but I do want to make it clear that I don't appreciate the treatment.

As anyone who regularly reads this blog, my sons and I have a comic book, Powers Squared that we've been putting out for several years. To hopefully publicize it, my son Paul and I do a podcast On the Air with Powers Squared, sorry if this old news to some, which we record while live-streaming on Twitch.TV. For the last few weeks, we've been trying to have guests on the show. We've had the artist, Rachel Wells, our colorist, Julia Canon, and our letterer, Trevor Hankins, on the show. To complete the sequence, we thought it would be a great idea to have someone on the show that has supported the book, at least through the Kickstarter, and had read all the issues, including up through #12 (again part of the Kickstarter).

He was someone I had known for about five years now and had championed to my son as a good guest. There were things he had worked on that we could ask him about, etc. He couldn't make it the first week but said he could this Friday. We had been communicating via Linkedin messenger and had done so as late as Tuesday since we needed an icon for the "ad" we put up on Instagram, which feeds Twitter and Facebook. Got his okay and that was the last thing we heard from him since. Friday comes, we send him the Google Hangout invite and nothing and as I'm writing this nearly two days later, since. I've messaged him a couple of times on Linkedin, but no response.

Now, I'll regret saying this if indeed there was some unexpected family emergency, but it would have been nice to have gotten some sort of heads up that he couldn't make it or at least something since saying he was sorry he forgot or something, anything. Again, I won't name him and I'm pretty sure he doesn't read this blog, but I'm very disappointed.

We were left a little flat-footed at 6 pm on Friday but we managed to pull a preview of Issue #10 out of nowhere at the last minute. You can watch it and/or listen to it. To find the outlets, go to We managed to add a new outlet this past week or so: Amazon Music, so we're now on five podcast outlets. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Other progress was made on the comic book this week, as both Rachel and Julia turned in pages, though for different issues. With Trevor, we're working on Issues 14 (lettering),15 (coloring) and 16 (pencils).

For the future, Paul and I are both working on separate story arcs. I completed my rewrites on Mission Istanistan, which is a three-issue arc and Paul is writing one tentatively called Kamaitachi Story. We'll hopefully get to these next year if all goes well.

We're currently waiting on some proofs to come back on Issue #10. We got one, but there is another one pending. So, hopefully soon.

No update on the copyright issue. I didn't have a chance to call. I feel like I've given them a chance to respond via email, so I will have to find the time this week. Can't let this fester too long.

In other writing, I'm finishing up a review for two films, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and 2. Saturday was Batman Day, so we watched part one on Friday night and part two on Saturday. I've gotten through most of the review, but not quite done yet.

To celebrate Batman Day, Trophy Unlocked put up Paul's review of Batman: Year One (2011). And just when you think there were no more Tony Hawk game reviews left, we had at least one more, which came out on Wednesday, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD.

Made some more progress on Skylar, though I think I only got about 1000 more words done. I'm up to about 13599 words and counting. I'll try to keep you abreast of my progress here.

And, to round off the week, no queries. I know, I'm bad. Still need to research like-books. I tried but didn't find any results when I googled it. Sadly, there is only so much time in a week.

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

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Week in Writing #316 - What I Have/Haven't Done This Week


It's that time of the week for rewards and blame for what I have or haven't done this past week.

Let's start with something out of my hands and work our way back. We're having a little trouble with the U.S. Copyright office. We had, inadvertently, copyrighted the script for a couple of issues (I'm not saying which) but not the actual issues themselves. I don't know what experience you might have with the Copyright office, but oftentimes you don't hear anything from them for literally months, like 6 to 8, so some mistake you made last year won't come to your attention until much later.

In this case, we asked what to do and the advice the Copyright office gave us cost about $200 but didn't really do anything. I won't go into details, but after an initial reply to my issue, there hasn't been any follow up on their part. I was hoping not to have to call and talk to someone but that might be unavoidable and there's no telling if anything positive will come of it. Just a word of warning for you creatives out there.

On the subject of Powers Squared, which we were just on, otherwise, things are going well. Rachel has started work on Issue #16. Paul is working on an idea he's had for an issue or two, which has encouraged me to dust off an old script to bring it up to "standards". It's an idea that dates back to 2013, so it's old, but I'd like to see us do it as well.

We're thinking of changing our posting of videos from Sunday to Wednesday afternoons based on a video by penguinz0, Revealing Youtube's Biggest Secrets, which states that's the best time to post. (I'm linking to it in case you're also producing YouTube content.) There are other changes afoot, like revamping parts of our website and the landing page when Issue #10 comes out.

Worked some more on Skylar, the latest P.I. book I'm currently writing. Got maybe another 1000 to 1500 words done. Sometimes this part of my writing week gets put at the bottom, but I keep hoping to move it forward.

Speaking of hoping to move it forward, I didn't do that with the querying. With the new online forms, you don't know what you need until you get started and they're looking for more marketing and audience targeting than your standard email query. This is not information I readily have at my fingertips. I honestly don't know what book, or books, Broken People is like. So that's more research I need to do, I guess.

Wrote another future review for Trophy Unlocked. This week, it was A Free Soul (1931), a Norma Shearer film, again part of the drain the DVR project we have going. Again, not sure when this one will see the light of day. This past week was the second half of Tony Hawk's Pro Fortnight on Trophy Unlocked with Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (PS2)Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (PS2)Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3)Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS3)Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (PS4) and culminating with  Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (PS4) as the Saturday Morning Review.

So, this week, more writing and more research, and maybe a phone call to Washington D.C. I will report all here. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Week in Writing #315 - That Frustrated Feeling

Hope everyone is staying safe and continuing to write.

Before I sat down to write this entry, I was feeling pretty frustrated as everything I've tried to do today hasn't worked or at least worked easily. I was hoping to spend part of the weekend working on things Powers Squared and even though the weekend isn't technically over (Labor Day), I don't think I'm going to get everything done.

My frustration has nothing to do with the people I'm working with on the project, they're all great. But I was hoping to do some preliminary work on Issue #10, which we want to get out in the next month or so. It feels like it is overdue.

I wanted to get some proofs made. We use two different print-on-demand services, one in the US and one in the UK. Our US one won't let you upload your files until after you've paid, which is all well and good, but you can't pay the invoice generated on the site until they send you an email link, which is a bit frustrating. To their credit, they did check their messages on a Sunday afternoon and sent me the invoice, so I was at least able to get that part done.

With the UK one, which also does t-shirts, I wanted to get a couple proofs made, but could only get one done. Again, not their fault, but one of the two images needs to be altered in a way that is above my limited Photoshop skills. I've contacted the original colorist to see if she still has the layered tiff file that would make the change easier to make. If not, there are other options, but it means it won't happen this weekend.

When I tried to upload the comic book to that site to get a proof made by them, I got an error message I can't get past, so I have to wait for them to get back in the office. Again, I'll probably be able to do it tomorrow, but that's not what I was planning to do then.

Otherwise, things are going well with the book. We have a great team and we've started a new issue this month, our 16th (part of the reason 10 seems to be late). Paul and I had Rachel as a guest on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, and she discussed character design and turning the script into thumbnails. You can watch it on our YouTube channel if you're interested.

In other writing, I finished my first round of research on agents. I decided to wait until after Labor Day to send out my first queries. I will admit to being nervous. I researched about 95 agents. As I discussed last week, I've grouped them into three color categories: greens are the best bets (44); yellows are secondary choices (40) and reds are not to query (11). You sort of want to test a few to see if it's the query or the agent, so I'll take it slow.

I did some more writing on Skylar, but not really enough to have more than this much mention here.

For Trophy Unlocked, I worked on two reviews, one I've completed for Old Yeller (1957) and one I'm still working on for Three Men On a Horse (1936). Again, I don't know when they'll see the light of the internet. This week and next have been pretty much dedicated to Tony Hawk, with reviews this week for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (PS1)Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PS1)Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PS2)Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (PS2) and Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2). The Saturday Morning Review was Mulan, but the 1998 original and not the one on Disney+ (see what we did there?)

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

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Week in Writing #314 - Still Working It

Hope everyone is staying safe!

Well, another Sunday night and another chance to look back on what I have and haven't done this past week.

Let's start at the beginning, no queries yet. I'm still researching agents, trying to do this round the right way. I'm using QueryTracker to do some of the initial research, having decided that my genre is actually crime (sometimes lumped in with "genre" fiction), which helps narrow the search. But it is still time-consuming to go to every website and read each agent's bio. What I'm looking for is if they mention Crime as something they actually handle.

I'm trying to collect a list and color code the agents from Green as ones I want to query, Yellow as ones I would query and red as ones that I won't at all. The colors are based on a couple of factors: Do they handle Crime or genre fiction? Are they located in the U.S.? What is their position within the agency (if there is more than one agent)? And, of course, are they open to queries?

Red is pretty much reserved for people who don't handle crime or genre fiction at all. An example of a red agent is one that QueryTracker pegged as handing Crime but their agency bio says they are, in fact, "interested in narratives in the areas of business, history, memoir, popular culture and science, books that help us live our best lives, literary, book club, and historical fiction." This agent, who will remain nameless, is marked as red.

Green is pretty easy. The agent handles Crime, they are located in the U.S., they are the only agent at the agency who I would query and they are currently open to new queries.

Yellow is a bit trickier. In this category are agents not located in the U.S., but rather the UK. The reason for this is one that a UK agency listed on their webpage "we require an excellent reason as to why you’re querying a UK agent rather than one in your home country (and ask you to include this reason in your email)." It seems like a hill I don't want to have to climb if I don't have to.

The agent is closed to queries - sort of a no-brainer. Most, though not all, eventually get caught up and are back in the hunt for new writers, so those are yellow for the time being. I say most because there are always those agents who only accept queries from people they've met at writing conferences or are recommended to them by someone they already work with. There is no getting to these agents, so they would be red in my book, rather, my query spreadsheet.

And there is the quandary whenever there are two or more agents at an agency that I could possibly query. It depends on the agency, but I usually shy away from the head/owner of the agency in cases like this. Maybe I'm wrong but I figure they're probably harder to attract seeing as they've got employees and business to attend to, in addition to looking for new talent. Someone on staff is probably more accessible.

It differs by the agency but some want you to only query one agent only. The idea is that if internally they think another agent at the firm would be a better fit, they'll send your query to them. My gut feeling, based on no insights, is that if one agent passes, even if another agent might be a better fit,  the query probably ends up in the round file rather than in the other agent's inbox. I would make one agent green and the others yellow. You never know, there will be other books and I might be trying the same agency but a different agent next time.

There are a few that welcome you to send it to another agent if one declines, so in that case, both agents would be coded as green.

Am I making it sound too complicated?

As they say, it only takes one to believe in you, they just never guarantee there is one out there who does.

So much for queries. The research has taken up a good portion of my "writing time" this week and probably the week or two ahead as well, as there are only so many bios and websites I can get through at once. And believe it or not, while doing my day job I'm not dreaming of researching agents. That's not what I live for.

I did work sporadically on the next J.D. Barrister book, currently titled Skylar. I'm about 9000 words into the first draft but I think I only did about 500 words this week. (I know, the blog is called 1000 Words a Day but that's a goal, not a hard and fast rule.) I'm still feeling my way through this one.

This past week, I did complete a new review for Trophy Unlocked, The Great O'Malley (1937), part of our drain the DVR Saturdays. As always, not sure when this one will appear on the blog. This past week had been Phineas and Ferb Week, with six reviews about various IPs related to the series: Phineas and Ferb (Game)Phineas and Ferb Ride AgainPhineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd DimensionPhineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension (PS3)Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff (360), and culminating on Saturday Morning with Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. (And, yes, we signed up for Disney+ to see this on Friday, twice as a matter-of-fact.

The next two weeks will be devoted to Tony Hawk games, so get out your skateboards and game controllers and join the fun.

That takes us to Powers Squared. The end of the month means everyone turns in their pages and, of course, their invoices if they hadn't already. Our artist has wrapped up Issue 15, our colorist is about 12 pages behind her and our letterer is on the final pages for Issue #14. Everything needs to be reviewed and approved. The next storyline is a three-part arc, Mocha and Raven. The story idea is from about 2014 but rewrites were done this year to knock it into form.

As I wrote earlier I was working on it, my second episode script was "finished" enough that I felt free to show it to Paul. I seem to have a blindspot for formatting. I'm not going about these the right way, I'll be the first to admit. Since these are based on already written stories, I'm not doing the springboards, premises and outlines the way you're supposed to. I just wanted to get some more experience writing one and finishing up the storyline from the pilot seemed the right way to go.

If and when I attempt another script, I will try to write something that is not based on a published story and go through the proper process, letting Paul be the showrunner in that case. But I really think we need to work on our Pitch Packet now before any other scripts for the proposed series.

Well, I think that's a good place to stop for this post. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.