Sunday, August 29, 2021

A Week in Writing #367 - Powers Squared Takes Over

Hope everyone is staying well, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

I know Powers Squared plays a major role every week in my creative space but this week it seems to have, at least temporarily, taken over. Part of that is due to getting ready for our signing on September 18th, the release of Issue 12 on the 15th, getting the Remastered version of Issues 1-5 ready for the Kickstarter in the Fall, and working on our Pitch Packet.

To start the week off, ComiXology rejected our submission, not for content but because there was some pixelation on page 3 of the book as well as other issues with Compression. They also complained that we had set it up under the wrong Series number. To tackle the last one first, for some reason there are two numbers for Powers Squared when we submit, even though they've told us they've removed the unnecessary one. We picked the first one listed but apparently, that's the wrong one. When we resubmitted, there was no way to correct that, so we're hoping our note in the "Tell Us About Your Book" section will explain and they'll tell us the right one to use so we don't have to guess in the future.

As far as the pixelation and compression issues, we went back to Trevor and his original files. He has a new version of Adobe and we're hoping that will do the trick. The other platforms, both print, and digital, did not have any issues.

In the past, we've let Comixology set the release date but we decided to go with the 15th even if they're not ready yet.

I wrote and Paul edited a press release about the signing and the release of the new issue. The first news site I submitted to on Sunday, published it on Sunday. If you regularly read the First Comics News site, you may have already seen it, if not here's a link. As always, if you're in the LA area and want to show some love, the signing is at Golden Apple Comics on September 18 from 1-3. We hope you'll be there.

There were also new pages to review for Issue 19. We even had our artist on our podcast On the Air with Powers Squared on Friday to discuss putting together the issue. She had sent pages earlier in the day and we used the show to talk about one more change we wanted her to make. We also discussed the back cover she's drawn for the BD for the Kickstarter. That's really coming along.

On that topic, Paul and I both individually reviewed the 100 pages Trevor had re-lettered. We have a few changes we need to have made but nothing too significant and nothing that is really his fault. It is interesting to see the first 2 story arcs at one time and see what still needs to be updated. We've been looking at that in conjunction with talking about the pitch packet, which Paul has also edited this week. Oh, the changes we would have made if we only knew what we were doing. Frankly, from a creative point of view, I'm getting tired of the first five issues and want to move on to better issues in the future.

There's more that I could discuss about Powers Squared but hopefully, that gave you a taste of what we've been through.

Let's move on to Trophy Unlocked. I've been tasked with writing two reviews, one for the animated film Batman vs. Two-Face (2017), which I've completed but not posted, and the other is Mystery of the Wax Museum (1932), which we watched on Saturday which I'm only partially finished with. The Batman review is for a planned salute to the Caped Crusader in September and Wax Museum is for October and our salute to horror.

Otherwise, the blog just completed No More Heroes week, with four reviews. On Monday, it was No More Heroes (Wii), on Tuesday it was No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise, on Thursday No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Switch), and on Friday Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (+ DLC) (Switch). All were written by Paul, as was Saturday morning's review of Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train.

Despite everything, I did send off a new query on Thursday for Broken People; another email one, the type I prefer. While it is essentially the same query, there are some subtle changes. This time, I did some rewrites on the brief synopsis agents seem to want. So, that brings me up to four.

I also did some more work on Skylar this week, though, honestly, it is never enough time.

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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

A Week in Writing #366 - Finally Scheduled a Signing

Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

Well, persistence pays off, at least sometimes. After several months of writing with no response, we finally had a breakthrough with Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles and were able to reschedule our March 13, 2020 signing that was canceled due to COVID. My sons and I, and I hope our current colorist, will be there on September 18th from 1 to 3, Delta permitting. It seems like a long way off and the world can go to shit many times before that date, but here's hoping. I've been buying copies of older issues, the current collection of the first five, and even bought some business cards for San Romero Community College. I hope if you're reading this and want to be supportive, you'll make the effort to come by and say hello.

Oh, by the way, this won't be the only time that you hear about the signing, so don't worry about that.

In other Powers Squared news, we looked at thumbnails for the next eight pages of Issue #19 and reviewed colored pages from Issue #18. Meanwhile, we're still working on the BD for the Artithmeric Kickstarter coming in, I believe October. Trevor has finished his updates to the lettering for the first five issues. We've settled on both a front and back cover to the book. I'm hoping that we get everything we need to provide as soon as we can. I don't want to be scrambling at the last moment.

Sort of out of the blue, I had a friend contact me to help him with a graphic novel. I wasn't really sure what to say. I sort of had plans for the weekend, so I didn't want to commit to calling him. He sent me seven pages from a movie script and to be honest, I'm not 100% sure what the film is about. I want to be helpful, but I don't feel like I have a whole lot of time to commit to it. But we'll see.

I managed to send a new query this week. Another email and one with a time limit to hear back from with the proviso if they're interested. I will, of course, let you know if I do hear back and even if I don't, that's the point of this blog.

I did some writing but more thinking on Skylar this week. It's coming together in bits and pieces and I'm hoping to work more on it tonight, as a matter of fact. I did work on it this week, but it's been several days since I've actually written on it.

On to Trophy Unlocked, where for the second week in a row I had the Saturday Morning Review. This week, it was Rain (1932). That was followed on Sunday with Trevor's review of PAW Patrol: The Movie, so you can see we cover everything from pre-code films about prostitution to animated films about cute puppies saving lives. Wednesday was Paul's review of the videogame Return of the Obra Dinn to round out the week on the blog. I did write a new review of Breakfast For Two (1937), but no idea when it will go up, so stayed tuned.

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

Sunday, August 15, 2021

A Week in Writing #365 - A Little Bit of Everything

Hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and, of course, writing.

It was a busy week, with a little of everything going on. I'd like to say everything was humming along on all cylinders, but that's not really the case (I'll get to the details later).

Let's start with querying. I managed, on Thursday, to send out my second one in a row. I know that's nothing remarkable, but it's something I hate doing. I'm pretty sure I'm not good at it, considering the results I've been getting with this round of queries, which is none. But I try to be positive and hopeful. I'm not sure if that's a sign of insanity or not.

I'm still going with agents who want email queries, which is this one. For those keeping score, I have two live queries out there now. There was a third, but it's been 12 weeks, which is what the website said was when I'd hear back if they were interested. If I hear something later from them, I'll consider it a bonus, though the last time I heard late from an agent it was to just reaffirm the rejection.

I did work on Skylar again this week, though I haven't worked on it since Wednesday.

When it comes right down to it, I'm only writing 5 to 6 nights a week, including query Thursday night. If you're curious as to my schedule, Friday nights after we do OAPS, more on that later, we eat pizza and watch a movie, so no new actual writing gets done. It's not like I'm not working, but the actual writing is rare on that night.

Speaking of Friday, we did our 101st On the Air with Powers Squared with our creative team on the show for our monthly roundtable. I'll admit I was in a bit of a bad mood going into the show. Maybe I'm being impatient, but sometimes it doesn't seem like the artwork (plain and colored) are coming in fast enough. I know I'm not the only sole support for either artist, but I thought we had agreed to a certain number of pages a month and that's not always happening. I think I made the issue clear and we managed to have a good show, especially when we got off topic and started talking about bird stories.

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, the second anniversary of our first signing at the local comic book store. We decided to do reviews on next week's show about the comic books we pick up, so we did a "What's in My Bag?" video, ala Amoeba records. While they have celebrities tell you what they purchased, or what they're trying to hype at the moment, we discussed the five comic books we picked up, as a preview for next week's OAPS. You can watch the video (it's short) here.

One of my unofficial positions on the podcast is playing producer, so I'm in contact with the next people we plan to have on the show. Now it seems their appearance may be shifting since it's supposed to be when their Artithmeric Kickstarter starts and we have been told different dates, so we'll see.

We're still working on ours. Trevor is about done with the remastering work he's been doing on the lettering and our artist just finished, at least inks of, the cover and some thumbnails for the back. I had hoped we'd be done by the end of the month but I fear it will go into September, which is why I set the deadline early to cover that contingency.

Wrote a new review this weekend, Private Detective 62 (1933), publishing date unknown. However, my review of Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919) went up as the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. Wednesday's review was Paul's about Papers, Please, a puzzle simulation video game from 2013 for Microsoft Windows and OS X.

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

Sunday, August 8, 2021

A Week in Writing #364 - Yes, I Sent a Query

I hope everyone is staying safe, getting vaccinated, and writing.

Yes, the headline is correct, I did send a query this week. I don't know about you but I find the queries that you do on a form rather daunting and a tinge more impersonal than those that want an email. To be honest, I'm not good at the marketing the forms want you to provide. While the forms seem to have standardized the process, at least for the querier, the agent's response to them is not. I don't know if an agent ever really sees the forms, the same way I'm never sure the agent reads the email, but it seems to me that it's faster to send an email, though I get the same anxiety either way.

Going through what's already out there, I closed out another query DNR, so I've got two. One that is coming up on the 12 weeks the agency's site said they need and the one I just submitted on Thursday night.

I did some more writing on Skylar, even though I think I just got through one more chapter this week. Still, it is some progress and I do like working on it. I got a late start last night and didn't get as far as I had wanted to get, but I could barely keep my eyes open.

On the subject of writing, we published our podcast with Carla Hoch, the author of the book Fight Write; it was our 100th episode of On the Air with Powers Squared. I think it was a good interview and I encourage you to watch and/or listen to it. Links at and it will be going up on our YouTube channel on Wednesday. If you write fight scenes, you'll want to catch it. I've just finished reading Fight Write and would highly recommend it, even if Carla had not been on our show.

Now that we've crossed into the Powers Squared section of this post, let me give you an update. We just submitted Issue #12 to comiXology so we're off to the races. Issue 12 is What's in a Name? Part 3 and concludes the story arc. The logline: Marty and Eli have each other's back but continue to be drawn apart by the events and people in their lives. Could this be the end of Powers Squared?

Our on-demand publishers already have the book and the other submissions are pretty easy to do (GlobalComix and Kindle). When a date is set, I will, of course, let you know. What you do with the information is up to you. That is a veiled plea to buy it.

We've shifted some of our attention to the coming Kickstarter with They want to get our book, as well as others, into bookstores in Europe. We've remastered some of the dialogue and our artist is coming up with a new cover and back cover to use on the BD (bande dessinée) that they'll be kickstarting. The cover, at least the drawing has been completed and they've approved, so now we're working on the back cover. My goal is to get our end done by the end of the month with the Kickstarter to go live in October. If you've never read the comic book this would be a good jumping on point, as it will be the first five pre-Rachel Wells issues.

No new review this week, as we changed up our norms. We watched The Suicide Squad on Friday, reviewed today on Trophy Unlocked. Instead of watching an old movie, we instead watched four episodes of Harley Quinn, the DC animated series with Kaley Cuoco voicing the main character.

That said, my review of The Racket (1928) went up on Saturday. This is the film I wanted to watch after reading Bathing Beauty: A Novel of Marie Prevost by Laini Giles. The film was nominated for the first Academy Awards but lost Best Picture to Wings.

On Wednesday was Trevor's review of the video game Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz, so now you're caught up.

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

Sunday, August 1, 2021

A Week in Writing #363 - Recovering from Comic-Con@Home

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

Usually following Comic-Con I go through a slight depression. I don't mean that I get clinically depressed or anything like that but that after five days of living the dream, the reality of life sort of sucks. When you do Comic-Con from home it's not quite the same thing, so getting back to reality isn't as jarring.

My excuse this week for not sending any queries this week is that Thursdays, the night I try to send them out when I do, was also my wedding anniversary and even though ours was a home-bound celebration, I didn't have the time or inclination to send them that night.

With that out of the way, let's get on to what I did do, which includes getting back to Skylar, my oft written about but little worked on current novel. There were a couple of days this week that I did get  1000 words plus written. There is a change that I want to make to the story but I'm going to wait until I get through a complete draft before making it. But I'm feeling good about it.

I started a new review that I'll try to finish tonight for Big City Blues (1932). My review of Downstairs (1932) was this week's Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. Prior to that on Wednesday, it was Paul's review of the video game The Mummy Demastered for the PS4.

On to Powers Squared. This week, we finally worked out the pencils for pages 5 through 8 and we should be receiving the inks any day now. This has been a surprisingly difficult issue though I don't think it has anything to do with our artist, who seems game to go through multiple versions so we can get what we're after.

We did two podcasts this week. On Thursday, we shot our 100th episode of On the Air with Powers Squared, interviewing Carla Hoch, the author of Fight Write, a book written to help writers with fight scenes in their books. I think it was a great interview and I encourage you to watch and/or listen to it when we release it on the 6th. We had met Carla at the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in 2018, which seems like a decade ago, and she was nice enough to be our guest.

On Friday, we did our usual live OAPS podcast, with Trevor as a guest. We talked about Comic-Con@Home and our impressions of the virtual event.

I'm hoping that this month we concentrate on two things. One is the cover and back for the BD that will be a part of the Artithmeric-sponsored Kickstarter, which is scheduled for October. We've done some preliminary work on the front cover with Rachel and discussed an idea for the back but I'd like this to be a priority.

The other is for Paul and I to work on the Pitch packet for Powers Squared that we've been kicking around since before the pandemic. I'm hoping we can put it together and get it done.

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