Sunday, December 26, 2021

A Week in Writing #384 - Happy Holidays

Hope everyone is having happy holidays, staying safe, getting boosted, and, of course, writing.

I will come clean this week and let you know this has not been a great week for writing. It seems that leading up to Christmas, there is always something to do, and writing sort of takes a backseat.

It wasn't all cookies and cider though. We started with the week with a meeting with the partners at Artithmeric to discuss our upcoming Kickstarter. The start got sort of pushed back to late February, though there was no explanation for the delay. We still have some work to do. I can't say I've done a lot of work on what we need to do, but that's what next week is for, right? We'll get it done.

Paul and I also shot a couple of videos for On the Air with Powers Squared back-to-back on Wednesday. The first one we posted was a look back, or Rewind as it were, for what we did during 2021, including publishing two issues, a signing, and 50+ podcasts. Of course, I encourage you to listen for yourself at If you're curious who we've interviewed you can watch some of them through our website at

Work still continues on Trophy Unlocked. On Wednesday, Paul's review of the indie game Octodad ran, and we finished the holidays with my review on Saturday of We're No Angels. I did write another Christmas review, A Carol for Another Christmas, but you'll have to probably wait a while to read it. I think we might be good for next year already.

I did some work on Skylar earlier in the week, but I haven't touched it since Wednesday. I know the next chapter I'm going to write but I haven't written it yet. I'm sort of tired of not working on it, to be honest. I think about the chapter almost every night, so I need to write it.

Well, that about does it for me. Hope everyone has a safe rest of the holiday and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Week in Writing #383 - It's Almost Christmas!

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

I know that the whole world seems to be in a hurry to resume "normal" life but I think we have a long way to go. I don't know about you but I'm feeling lucky to have avoided COVID so far and I hope my luck continues. The novel I'm working on takes place post-COVID or at least, in a presumed post-COVD Los Angeles.

The protagonist of the story is a private detective, J.D. Barrister, trying to restart his business after COVID had all but shut him down. I won't go into the story so far but after-COVID seems to be a moving and elusive target. I originally had this starting this past summer, but I may move it to Spring 2022. I'm incorporating things like masks and social distancing and it might be interesting to incorporate whatever is next with the pandemic as part of the story. I can't imagine any novel taking place during this day and age that can avoid the pandemic's influence on characters' lives.

One place it hasn't affected is the make-believe world in the comic book I work on, Powers Squared. As much as I wanted to incorporate it in the novel, it doesn't belong in this fantasy, not that it hasn't had an effect on the book itself. I won't go into a year-end look until next time but COVID has touched everything.

Speaking of Powers Squared, we're currently working on thumbnails and pencils for Issue 20, coloring and lettering for Issue 19, and a Kickstarter for a graphic novel of the first five issues. Our colorist is doing some chibis of characters we want to use as a tier. I don't have much to say so far on the Kickstarter but we're having a meeting this coming Monday about it, so I might have more to tell next time. I really want this to be a success and the last time we have to look at the first five issues again.

We had a team meeting with the creatives on the book, which you're welcome to listen to at We try to get together once a month to both check-in with everyone, but also to build a sense of team. I also want the creatives to be more involved with selling the book they're working on.

Just wrapped up a review hopefully for next December, Star in the Night, a short from 1945 that retells the nativity. I know it sounds like I'm really planning ahead but it sort of makes sense with holidays and Halloween films to write reviews when those sorts of films are easily available to watch and you're in the mood to watch them.

Speaking of Christmas, my review of Little Women (1933) was a Sunday morning review, since Saturday morning was dedicated to the 11th anniversary of Trophy Unlocked and founder Paul's review of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I have to give Paul credit, the blog has grown over the years and currently has over 1400 reviews and has been read by nearly 700,000 people.

Other reviews this week were three by Trevor as Trophy Unlocked's salute to the EyeToy wrapped with reviews of EyeToy: Play 2 on Monday, EyeToy: Operation Spy on Wednesday; and EyeToy: Kinetic on Friday.

Well, that about does it for me. I hope everyone reading this has a Merry and Safe Christmas if you celebrate. Keep writing and I'll see you again next week.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

A Week in Writing #382 - Getting Really Personal

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

Not to get overly personal but on Friday I had a colonoscopy, which I encourage anyone of the age to get. The prep is not really too bad anymore, but you do sort of lose a day after being sedated, which I did. But that is a small price to pay for peace of mind. End of public service message and on to what I did or didn't do this past week, which is the point of this post.

No queries this week, partly due to prep for the above. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be doing any more for the rest of the year. I'm not seeing the point in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Agents, I assume, have families and lives and may, like all of us, be looking forward to time off at the end of the year. I'd hate to be something they either ignore or give quick treatment to in order to clear their desks.

Busy week with Powers Squared. We've been showing our pitch packet around and the comments have been positive and helpful so far, as we'll continue to tweak it before trying to sell the idea. I won't give away names but I do appreciate the feedback we've received so far.

More thumbnails from our artist, for pages for issue 20. It's interesting to see what you've written being, for lack of a better word, storyboarded. You see things that you didn't expect and sometimes seeing it drawn out leads you to want to make changes, which was the case this week with one of the pages we received. It's not the artist's fault but seeing it makes you rethink it sometimes.

The process of putting together a comic book, if you're not the writer/artist, is one of teamwork and compromise. Sometimes you don't get everything you want and sometimes you get more than you expected. The latter has been our experience for the most part. Our artist makes changes when she thinks the work is better than how we wrote it but we also get the final say.

More reviews this week. One new one for Fitzwilly, a Christmas heist movie from 1967. Look for it next year when we get back to holiday films. On Saturday morning, it was my review of The Holly and the Ivy, a British drama from 1952. Before I get too far into Trophy Unlocked, I did want to say the blog is about to celebrate its 11th anniversary. In honor of that, this past week's On the Air with Powers Squared was about the blog and holiday films, as well as a little bit about L.A. Comic-Con, for those who don't read this blog. Enough of crossing the streams.

Back to Trophy Unlocked, this past week has been devoted to the EyeToy with Trevor's reviews of  EyeToy: PlayEyeToy: GrooveNicktoons Movin'Sega Superstars, and EyeToy: AntiGrav. If you're saying to yourself, there are more EyeToy games than that, well there are and there will be more reviews next week. In addition, Saturday morning will be Paul's 11th-anniversary review. I'll let that be a surprise. Anyway, please check it out.

I worked on Skylar for the first few days of the week, but the rest of the week was sort of taken up with what I noted in the first paragraph of this post. Enough said on that. But I do think I'm making progress on this version.

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

Sunday, December 5, 2021

A Week in Writing #381 - Report from the Front: L.A. Comic Con 2021

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

On Saturday, we did something we hadn't done in a while and went to a Con; L.A. Comic-Con to be exact and the first time we have attended that show. It's hard to compare Cons; L.A. is small by comparison and while we were there for about two hours or so, we managed to pretty much walk the entire floor.

One of the features is that the main stage is front and center when you walk in, which is very democratic in that everyone can see. The downside is that it's very loud and if you're trying to have a conversation with someone nearby, as we tried, hearing each other becomes nearly impossible.

We were able to meet a few old friends, and I will say I felt very special when an artist we hadn't seen in more than a couple of years recognized me. Maybe he's really good with names but I was wearing a mask, and even though I was also wearing a Powers Squared t-shirt, I was also wearing a jacket, since it was cold outside. The recognition really made my day.

In the era of COVID and the Omicron variant, we decided to spend as little time inside the Con as possible. I won't say we gave it a fair shake, but it was a little less like a comic book convention and more like a swapmeet. Mixed in with the artists were a lot of vendors selling all sorts of things. There were a few booths that didn't seem to match my expectations from a comic book convention but still got my attention. One was about changing how we get fresh food, another was a booth inviting attendees to dance, and another one was giving tattoos, several chairs no waiting. Not that I would ever want a tattoo but even if I did, I don't know that I'd want the passing world to watch.

Didn't attend any panels this time, again blame COVID, and the line to get to the autographs was too long to want to stand in line for. Not sure who there was to get autographs from anyway, but it was in another room from the main floor.

Would we go back? Possibly. I wouldn't say we saw L.A. Comic-Con at its best nor did we try to indulge too much in what it did have to offer. Would we table at this Con? I don't know. My budget is always tight with the book, so while that might help with our following, I can't afford too many money-losing outings. And I'm not ready yet to slap money down when I'm not sure we're completely past COVID.

So, what did I work on the rest of the week? Good question.

I did work more on Skylar but a name change is coming, as that character's name has been changed and her importance to the story diminished. I'm now calling her Lillie because the image that prompted her description was from an Instagram post of a woman with that name. The tontine idea is still alive but I'm having it come from a different source, the father of my protagonist's girlfriend. I don't want to get into too much detail but things are changing and I'm getting through it as best I can. I am back to about 11,000 words so far.

No new reviews this week from me, though I did start one for Lady on a Train (1945), a murder mystery set around Christmas, which I had DVRed last year. I hope to have that done and up for next Christmas, as the films for this year have already been selected. One of those, Batman Returns, which is set around Christmas, was Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. Earlier in the week, was Paul's review of the video game Snake Pass.

I'm sorry to report there were no new queries from me this week. The one team I follow in the one sport I follow, the Dallas Cowboys, which is where I'm from, played that night, and I sort of lost focus after that. I will promise to do better next week.

We had an interesting On the Air with Powers Squared. I had talked to one guest about appearing and she invited her partner to join the show. Well, before we went live, the first guest bailed, I guess due to the bad audio. So we ended up interviewing only the danger half of Danger and Mayhem, who were on the show to discuss their new digital platform for comic creators, Comic Rebel. You can catch it here if you want to listen. It will be up later in the week on our YouTube channel.

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