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.