Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Week in Writing #344 - Lifestyle Choices

Hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

The headline for this blog has as much to do with being a writer as it does with one of our recent guests on our podcast On the Air with Powers Squared. Lucas Scheffel, like so many of us, is a writer, in this case, he writes a comic book, Angry Fred. Lucas was on our show to hype an upcoming Kickstarter he's doing for the next issue of his book. While we've had Lucas on the show before, this time he was talking to us on the road, as it were. Lucas and his partner Julie Anne and their son Phoenix are living a nomadic lifestyle, out of a 1975 16-foot long caravan. Their plan is to drive around Australia for the next year or two, sort of the See America campaign Chevrolet ran decades ago but down under and more serious.

While I am amazed that you can still do so much with so little and while on the move every few days, it is just an example of another lifestyle. Different from mine but also somehow linked. We're both creatives and are working on our projects when we have the time. The important takeaway is that nothing should stop you from being creative. If Lucas can do it, anyone can.

On the subject of OAPS, we had one of our biggest videos out this past week based on our conversation with Gamal Hennessy. While I know a lot of writers have hundreds of thousands of followers, we're really happy that it boosted our YouTube subscribers to 31, the most we've ever had. And while 17 views may not be earth-shattering, we've had more ourselves, it is more views than we've had in a long time. Success comes in steps, so we're looking at these numbers as a positive.

Things have been sort of quiet of late on the comic book. Our artist just recently moved and has been offline as far as we're concerned for the last few weeks. Trying to give her time. Our colorist is working on pages but nothing for most of the month. So if you hear the tumbleweeds rolling through that's why.

In other writing, I did a new query for Broken People, which now makes four that haven't expired or have been rejected (fingers-crossed). One more this week and I'll be up to my goal of 5. I know what you're saying, don't set your sights too high but I want to be proactive but cautious with this.

I'm still working on Skylar, though it never seems like enough. There are always extracurricular activities, other projects, that keep getting in the way. I've tried to take care of some of that this weekend, hoping to give myself more time to work on this writing.

On Trophy Unlocked, we're in the middle of the Godzilla/King Kong MonsterVerse. My review of  Kong Skull Island went up on Wednesday and Trevor's review of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack went up on Saturday. We're leading up to a review next Saturday of the not-yet-released Godzilla vs. Kong. It's coming out on Wednesday but we're not going to be able to really watch it until Friday. We're also hoping to squeeze in Zack Snyder's 4-hour Justice League sometime soon as well. Time is always in short supply.

In other future review news, I wrote up one for Chances (1931), a pre-code World War I drama that I literally stumbled across on TCM a few weeks ago. You'll have to wait, until when I don't know, to see what I thought of it.

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

Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Week in Writing #343 - Too Soon?


Hope everyone is staying safe and writing.

The too soon this week could mean a lot of things. Too soon to see results? Too soon to go back out in public? Too soon for the grass to grow? That last one is more personal and again, this isn't a gardening blog.

Maybe it's too soon to see results. I was good this week, I did send out a new query (pat on the back), this one including not only a synopsis but a bio and marketing points as well. I'm not really comfortable with the latter stuff. But it seems that anyone creative nowadays is supposed to be some sort of expert as to marketing their work.

I always thought they had departments, groups, and companies that were the ones who would handle that and know how to reach the right people. But with writers and creatives on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, we're all supposed to know how to reach a crowd or else have one ready-made for our next project. I came across a writer I follow who noted he had 29K followers. He must know something I don't, I guess. It also seems to help that you've succeeded at something. Nothing spells success like success and people tend to follow those who are successful. I know this sounds like a lot of gobbledygook that you've probably heard a million times but there is some truth in it. The higher your profile the more people you'll attract. The secret sauce is raising your profile.

Enough of my ranting for one blog.

The week started out pretty good, as on Monday, I managed to hit all three projects. I worked on the synopsis I needed, looked at new color pages of Powers Squared, and finished a review for Trophy Unlocked, in this case, Judas and the Black Messiah. Since that went up today on the blog, let's start with that.

While it seems like what I'm writing doesn't always appear right away on Trophy Unlocked, this week it seems like it was all me. On Wednesday, it was my review of King Kong (1976), on Saturday it was my review of King Kong (2005) and today, it was my review of Judas and the Black Messiah.

I also worked on and finished two more this weekend, Kong: Skull Island and Trouble in Paradise (1932). Kong: Skull Island will appear on Wednesday, as part of our MonsterVerse leading up to Godzilla vs. Kong coming later in the month. And no, we're not going to see it in a theater but rather stream it on HBO Max. It is too early to go back out in public. There are no films worth dying for or taking the risk of getting really sick for.

Also spent some time this week getting ready for our interview with Gamal Hennessy, the author of the recent book The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing and a VP at GlobalComix. I think the interview went well. If you want to hear it, you can at

Next week, we're revisiting a creator down in Australia, Lucas Scheffel, the man behind Angry Fred. He has a new Kickstarter coming and he wants to talk about it. Should be fun.

I also set in motion the process of getting Issue #11 and #12 published. We've been sitting on them too long and need to get them out. But before we do, it's a good idea to get a proof made to see what they really look like, so I sent off the files to both Ka-Blam and Artitheric. Do I see an unboxing video in the near future?

With my other writing, let's start with querying since I've already ranted about it.

I had to take one from open to close and not because I heard back but because I hadn't. We all know my displeasure with the new standard of "no response means no" approach that many agents take with new writers. The no feedback means you don't know if what you sent sucked or it wasn't right for them or they didn't even read it. Most feedback isn't great, let's face it but you want to make it better the next time or else you'll keep making the same mistake over and over again not knowing or changing something that would have worked because you never got any feedback on it at all.

My goal is to do one query a week until I have five "active" ones out there. As of right now, I have three. I want to leave myself room to punch it up if the spirit moves me and not have shot my whole wad at one time by sending out fifteen or twenty at once, since you can't get those back.

With Skylar, I've started to go back through it. If too much time passes between writing on a book, I sometimes have to get a running start and basically go back through it from the start and change things that didn't work or don't seem to be working for me now. This is the case with Skylar; I'm starting back at the beginning. I've even changed the way the woman in the story looks, having gotten some inspiration on that front. Every night I think about the book, it's just that not every night do I get to write on it. My goal this week is to work on it more days than not.

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

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Week in Writing #342 - Going Global

Hope this finds everyone staying safe and writing.

Okay, I should probably start off with that I mean by the title; I don't want to bury the headline. This weekend, actually today, which is cheating a bit, we put up the 10 issues of Powers Squared on a new service to us, GlobalComix. We were introduced to the service through Gamal Hennessy, the general counsel and vice president of content for a new comics distribution and marketing. We met him through his recent Kickstarter and a week or so ago, had a one-on-one (two-on-one, as Paul also attended) to discuss marketing for Powers Squared.

The site allows readers to simply open the book online rather than download an app to read it. We've made the first five pages (which includes the cover) free and we're hoping to get some exposure and readers on the site. If you want to look at our collection there, That makes five platforms where issues can be purchased, so I think we're set.

One of the bits of advice Gamal gave us was to try to sell to libraries. That sounded like a good idea and we tried, with Paul contacting someone at CSUN, his and Trevor's alma mater, about buying the graphic novel. Well, we were turned down flat but it the nicest way possible. Apparently, they only purchase from a single middleman, the name of which she gave him. However, I don't think we would make much headway on our own, so I turned to Artithmeric, the publisher of the graphic novel version, to see if they can make any headway in that regard. I figured they would have better luck than we would. They seemed interested, so hopefully, something will come of it.

In other news, our artist is starting on Issue #18 and sent us two sets of thumbnails, which Paul and I went through on Thursday. It's not her fault but I had other goals for that night, like sending out another query but ran out of time.

This was a busy week on Trophy Unlocked, even though none of the reviews were from me. This week was a salute to walking simulators with Paul's review of Gone Home on Monday, his review of Tacoma on Tuesday, his Second Look at The Stanley Parable on Wednesday, Trevor's review of Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist on Thursday and Paul's review of The Beginner's Guide on Friday.

These all lead to a crossing of the streams between Powers Squared and Trophy Unlocked. On our Friday Podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, Paul reviewed the book House of Leaves, and the next day published his review of the same book on Trophy Unlocked, the first such book to be reviewed.

This week, I finished the two reviews I was working on, Peter Jackson's King Kong and Smart Woman (1931). The Jackson Kong review is going up next Saturday, so look for it. I also started a review on Saturday night that I finished on Sunday for The Secret Six (1931); again, no publication day set.

So now we're down to the nitty-gritty, actual writing of books and that's where, once again, I fall short.  I did work a little on Skylar but really only enough to make me realize that I need to redo some of what I've done so far. The investigation part of the book, it is about a private detective, is rather dull so I need to punch it up with something like a murder. Trust me, I can make it work with the story but it definitely needs something.

I need to punch up a synopsis for Broken People this week. A lot of the online queries want one. I don't think it will be all that hard, since I've written them for various versions of the book but I do need to make one that I can send. I'm never sure when in an email query an agent wants a synopsis but when they ask for one to be attached to a query online, there's no way around that.

I guess a bit of good news is that the two I have out haven't been rejected yet, so hope is alive.

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

Sunday, March 7, 2021

A Week in Writing #341 - Grass on Your Front Lawn

Hope this finds everyone safe and writing.

I'm using a quote from the movie Rationing for two reasons. First, this week, I did finish my review of that 1944 film but also because I've spent the last two weekends putting down seed. And while this is not a gardening blog, I should say that so far the weeds are coming in really great. The seeds are supposed to take three weeks to germinate so I'm hoping they will come in with a vengeance when they do.

So, since we're talking reviews, not gardening, let's start with Trophy Unlocked. My dual review of Spider-Man 3 and  Spider-Man 3: The Editor's Cut appeared as this week's Saturday Morning Review. During the week, Paul's review of the video game A Short Hike appeared on Wednesday. I've got two reviews now to do, one for Smart Woman (1931) from our drain the DVR Saturday and now Peter Jackson's King Kong.

On Powers Squared, we made a change and are now only doing a monthly newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl. While in the long term it will be easier for us, in the short term it was the big project of the morning. We're still doing the same things we have been doing we just won't be putting them into a newsletter on a weekly basis. That was one of the items that came out of our discussion last week with Gamal Hennessy.

The other was to try to sell our graphic novel, or the hardback trade version of the first five issues, to college libraries. We wrote a Sales Sheet this week for it and showed it to the publisher, who is also in advertising and he seemed to really like it. Now it's just a matter of moving forward with trying to sell it. One step at a time.

Paul and I did sit in on a Zoom call, which Gamal was also on, to learn more about Crowdfunding. The big takeaway is that you need a crowd to crowdfund.

Paul figured out how to bring the PodBean player into the website, so it's easier than ever to listen to our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. This past Friday, we met David Whalen, the creator behind Correct Handed Comics and, more specifically, The Offspring. We had both been featured in a story on bored panda a couple of years ago, which led me to use Offspring as a competitor for Powers Squared when we were working on our Ideal Reader project. And that led me to invite David to appear on our podcast.

Onto Broken People, I did send out a second query this past week. This wasn't my first choice. I had, through Query Tracker, found a new junior agent that seemed like a good target but the agency's website didn't have a link for them yet. The one I did send it to, like the one I queried last week, also wanted the first 50 pages, so in the end, I sent the same email query to them. This agency makes it sound like it will actually respond to queries so I will, of course, let you know if and when I hear back.

So, to round out the week, I did some additional work on Skylar but as you can imagine, it got the short shrift again this week.

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