Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Week in Writing #296 - Stay at Home Week 6

I think it was the late lyricist Peter Sinfield, who wrote: "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends..." which is how I'm starting to feel about the Coronavirus. Not that I'm one of those who can't wait to throw off the shackles of governmental repression but this seems to be a never-ending story.

I will be honest with you that I'm not one of those people who needs to be around other people to feel alive. When I did go to work, I spent most of the day with headphones on because there was no escaping all the noise from everyone around me. The environment was open seating, by which I mean we sat at a long table and had the most minuscule of dividers between us and the people on either side or in front. I'm hearing they're talking about changing things up but I can't imagine they'll make it Covid-safe. I think I'm home for the duration which is okay by me. And I'm not alone at home so I can get by. I do look forward to someday going to a record store or a comic book store or to a movie in a theater but I can hang on until that day comes.

As far as writing, which is the point if this blog, I think we're done with the next script for Powers Squared (Issue #15) and the proposed Pilot for a series based on the comic book. I know, big dream but they do come true and you have to be ready for them. If nothing else, it's a good exercise to learn to write in a different format than a novel or a comic book. We even read the Issue #15 script on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. Now, we need to work on the Pitch packet.

Paul and I attended a Zoom presentation during the week about how to get more ears on our Podbean podcast. So far, I think it's working as we have gotten more reactions than normal, though I'm not 100% sure if everyone who reacted is going to become a longtime listener. We're now not only on Podbean and Apple Podcasts but we're also on Spotify and the podcast is playable from Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

With a creative endeavor with a website, there is work that goes into maintaining it. This Saturday I redid our Join page on the website, which I encourage you to do, adding in Spotify as well as reorganizing the various ways you can follow us. I also added a new character page for Quincy Victoria Davidson, who gets introduced in Issue #10.

I did finish two future reviews for Trophy Unlocked this week, King of the Underworld (1939), a gangster film starring Kay Francis with Humphrey Bogart getting top-billing, and Loose Ankles (1930), a pre-coder starring Loretta Young and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Not sure when they'll go up but I'm certainly ready when the call comes. While I know the rest of the world is watching Netflix, we're trying to go through the backlog on our DVR and get rid of some of the older recordings that have been sitting there for literally years.

This week's Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for the Dreamcast, a videogame from the last century, 1999 to be exact. Like classic films, this blog also covers classic videogames as well. My job when these reviews are published is to update Facebook and Twitter and to add them to a Pinterest page I set up for the blog, you know a different and visual sorting of the reviews. I also tweet every day that there is a title, movie or videogame on Trophy Unlocked with a release anniversary as well.

I was able to work some on The Runaway but probably only about 1000 words this week. I think I've written that I think I'm in the home stretch but it might take until the end of May to get the draft completely done, at least at the rate I'm going.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Week in Writing #295 - Stay at Home Week 5

Does this feel like the new normal yet? If I could I would work from home, though I'd prefer it to be writing for a living rather than what I currently do for a living. There's nothing wrong with what I do and there is nothing wrong with the company I do work for, but writing is what I want to do and it is still only an avocation.

I'm still not seeing this abundance of time even though there isn't that commute. When I get off work, I'm trying to go for a walk which means that's time I'm not writing. In my case, I need the steps. I know there is nothing magical about 10,000 steps but I do know it's better than zero steps, so I do try to make an effort to get some walking in, though I sometimes feel like it's an uphill battle.

Powers Squared once again took a big chunk of the week's writing. Again, it's not so much the writing but what I say is the business side of the project. For the first time, we had an issue rejected by Comixology. And it wasn't for content but formatting. We submitted the same file we had used during the Kickstarter and apparently, it wasn't as good as it could have been. They didn't like the border around the cover, some pixelation on a page and the margins around the outside were too wide, or at least could have been thinner. All fair critiques and I had no problem fixing them but it's a little time-consuming and as much as I don't mind editing to make something better, I don't like having to re-do things. I know that's a bit of a contradiction but that's how I feel. I resubmitted it a couple of days later, so I think we're good. Now I'm wondering if I need to change files used elsewhere.

We also received new inked pages from Rachel, which we needed to review and there was one page that was revised, so we had to send it to Julia, our colorist, before she did too much on it. We were wondering how she was doing, so during our intermission on movie night, we noticed she was streaming her work on the book, so we dropped in for a quick chat.

And, of course, there's the podcast/twitch stream, the newsletter and the YouTube video that have to be done every week as well.

Finished one review this week, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, but that may wait until October. I think I'm one short of the five we'll need for that month. We're trying to go through our DVR every Saturday so who knows what we'll find there.

I actually have a new review up on Trophy Unlocked this week as the Saturday morning review, Little Big Man (1970), a sort of  Forrest Gump of the Indian Wars.

And then there's The Runaway. I'm still working on the book. I got through one chapter but there is still a lot of work left to be done. I keep thinking tomorrow or tonight and something always seems to come up. I won't outright lie and say this will be my priority for the week but I really want it to be. When I finish this draft, I'll have to take some time to send out queries. What's a pandemic without some rejections thrown in for good measure?

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

Sunday, April 12, 2020

A Week in Writing #294 - Stay at Home Week 4

Am I the only one who doesn't see an end in sight for this? Not that I really miss most of the workday experience but it's the rest of it that sort of gets to me.

I feel like I've lost the little bit of private space I have in the house, which has never been very much to begin with. I usually write either at the end of the dining room table or on a tray in the living room. I also work from home from the dining room table, which means there is no mental separation. To make it a little harder is that my wife is also working from home and the laptop she's using is also on the dining room table, so while I'm trying to write, she's also on her computer, doing what I don't know. What matters is that the time and place I used to call my own is now a shared space. It's a little thing but it does sort of inhibit me a little. I really wish I had a private place I could go but that's not in the cards.

This week, I did manage to do a little more writing on The Runaway, finishing one chapter and starting another. I think things are progressing but never as fast as I want them to.

I did write a couple of reviews for Trophy Unlocked, Gulliver's Travels (1939) and Little Big Man. I'm not sure when these will appear. My co-writers on the blog have a large backlog of reviews and theirs have been featured much more of late. This Saturday Morning's Review was the recent video game Doom Eternal. And I know they've planned out special months for part of the year so I'm not sure where I am in line.

We tried to upload the next issue of Powers Squared (#9) onto the ComiXology site but ran into a potential issue. When we uploaded Issue #8 earlier this year, it ended up as a different series than the rest of them. For whatever reason, there were two Powers Squared series listed and only one of them is good. I was able to get the renegade issue put back with the pack and was told the other series had been or would be deleted. However, it was back on Saturday night. I've also found out that the person that had helped me is no longer with the company so we're still up in a little limbo at the moment. I'm pretty sure which one to use but I was also pretty sure last time and you can see where that got me.

More rewrites on the Pilot script but they're mostly format issues. Paul has taken a course in animation writing and, I believe, has a flair for it so I'm counting on him to point out the error in my ways. Hopefully, we're coming to the end of that and I'll be able to work on the pitch deck. All these new talents I have to develop on the fly.

We sort of cut corners this week. We decided to do a different sort of Podcast this week, which we also simul-stream on Twitch. For this week's installment of On the Air with Powers Squared, we read the first issue, which I know is great for an audio podcast but we did our best to describe the artwork. Well, we liked the video so well that we also used it for our A Week in Powers Squared video. Hey, it's Easter, so come on. For anyone counting, we've done 31 podcasts and 80 weekly videos and this is the first time we've crossed the streams so to speak. I've also posted the video on our website, so no reason not to watch.

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

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Week in Writing #293 - Stay at Home Week 3

There is a certain sameness to every week now, some of which is good and some of which is mundane. If I don't have to ever commute or iron a shirt for work again I could be a very happy man.
I feel like I have extra time but I never think I'm using it correctly. There are no little projects around the house that I'm sneaking in while I'm "working", at least none I would admit to on a pubic blog. However, I'm not really finding that extra bit of time that I'm otherwise saving. That time seems to be taken up with sleep and the second walk of the day. By the time I get back to writing, it seems that I'm pretty much getting back to it at the usual time if not even later than I had. I know bitch, bitch, bitch, as my step-father used to say when we complained. I'm lucky to have a job that I can do from home, but I wish there was more.

Powers Squared seems to be taking up most of my writing time again this week. I've been wanting to get us up on Amazon Kindle, which is hopefully another revenue stream. God knows we could use it. Well, everything has to be formatted in a kindle friendly format, mobi, and then uploaded onto the Kindle Direct Publishing Site. It's not hard but repetitive. And all the metadata about the book has to be entered for each one as if it were brand new. With the exception of my name, since it's my account, I had to enter everyone's name anew each time.

Once we had a couple of issues up, when I tried to find them, the input had to be exact or else it couldn't find them. To facilitate that I set up an Author's Page on the Amazon site and at least captured all the issues in one place. If you have a kindle reader or you're just curious, you can find everything at

Then there are pages to review. Every month, our artist sends us two sets of thumbnails for the eight pages she plans to draw that month. Paul and I then have to sit down and go through them. Again, not a hard process but it takes time away from whatever else either one of us might be planning to do. I'm not complaining, just trying to explain where the time goes.

In addition to that, Paul and I do a Podcast  (and a Twitch Stream) each Friday and a YouTube video each Sunday as well as a newsletter. Each takes time and thought. It's not always easy to come up with two to three different topics each week about Powers Squared. We were able to do a Q&A session on Friday and on Sunday talked about our Poll Question: What Do You Miss Most about Comic Books during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

And if that wasn't enough, in this week's Hound Dogs' Howl, we were finally able to feature some creative twins, who had recently had their first table at a convention. Pretty cool stuff but we had promised their father that we would let them review it before we published, so that had to be written ahead of time.

I also did some rewrites this week on the script for Issue 15, How They Met, which will be the next issue Rachel will be working on in a couple of months but we wanted to be ready.

Putting that aside, I did manage to finish two reviews for Chaplin and The Curse of the Cat People. These will appear at some point in the future. This week's Trophy Unlocked Saturday Morning Review was Trevor's review of Ori and the Will of the Wisps, a video game that came out last month.

What got squeezed out this week was The Runaway. No time for that story. I'm hoping next week to be able to get back to it, with all this extra time I have.

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