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.