Sunday, August 7, 2022

A Week in Writing #416 - Eight Years On


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

It didn't really occur to me until I numbered this post that I've been doing this little blog for 8 years now. (52 X 8 = 416). I'm not sure what this proves other than I don't know when to quit. Shout out to Paul Hankins, who has been my editor for the entire eight years and the one person I know who has read every post. No telling how bad this would read without him.

I don't really want to spend this post going over what little progress I've made through the years. This has been my place to share the ups and downs of my writing journey. And, since it has been eight years, I guess I'm still on that journey. I don't know if I'll ever make landfall but I'll be happy to let you know if I ever get there, wherever there happens to be.

Part of that journey is trying to get representation for my writing. As I've been detailing my recent efforts using the book Broken People. If you've been reading this blog, you know how much I love this process and how sarcastic I can be. To that end, I did hear back on a query I had given up on. The query dated from 4/29/2022 and it wasn't until Monday I heard back.

Surprise, not, it was a rejection but one that at least seemed somewhat personalized, coming as a response to my original email, so color me impressed:

Hi David,

Thanks for thinking of me for this. While I did like the premise, I'm afraid that I didn't connect enough with the pages in order to pursue. I do wish you the best of luck in placing this elsewhere.

All the best,

__________

I also realize, based on his reaction, that updating the book was probably a good idea; it is something I have done since. While I don't want to go into all the changes, the book used to start with:

Her hand was soft and surprisingly warm and holding it grounded me. I had spent most of the day playing errand boy for a law firm. My business card reads private detective but when times were hard, and my rent is already overdue, I'll do practically anything for money. Delivering subpoenas and summons wasn't below me.

Now it starts like this:

    The first punch landed and drew blood. If that hadn’t happened, the fight would have almost been comical. Daniel Redmond had to have a foot or more in height and nearly two hundred pounds on his opponent, a short, wiry Guatemalan former flyweight named Pedro Lopez, or as the ring announcer called him, the “Guatemalan Guerilla”. What Redmond didn't have was his wits about him and the flyweight was getting the best of him.


It gets to the action quicker and I hope that it might make an agent more interested in reading more.

Changing topics, work on Powers Squared continues. On Monday, we got pages from our colorist. Paul and I reviewed them and sent back some notes.

Sundays are busy for me when it comes to the comic book. I update the website with a new image every week, or what I'd like to call a peek-of-the-week. It's a glimpse at a future issue; currently, it's Issue #14. I also post Friday's OAPS on YouTube and set it to go up on Wednesday. Then I update Pinterest with both updates and finally set up some social media posts to go out on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tuesday for the peek-of-the-week, and Wednesday for the video.

This Sunday, being the first one of the month, means there is also a newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl to get out. A lot of it I do during the week leading up to it but there are still last-minute revisions and links to check before it gets sent.

I'm working on a couple of reviews this week, The Devil and Miss Jones was a movie I happened to catch while otherwise writing, and Tomorrow is Another Day from Saturday's drain the DVR exercise. I hope to finish them this week.

One of my reviews, Bull Durham (1988) went up as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. Wednesday's Game Day review was Trevor's for The Looker.

To round out the week, yes, I did work on fka Skylar, it's just not in a way that has increased the word count but I'm getting there.

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

Sunday, July 31, 2022

A Week in Writing #415 - Getting Back into the Swing

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

I don't know about you but my life seems like one long routine. By that, I mean there are days when I'm supposed to do something, like Sundays this blog. Once that routine gets disrupted, it is sometimes hard to get back into it. Holidays, family events, and Comic-Con are all things that throw off your schedule for good and for bad, and finding that groove again is sometimes hard.

I still managed the basics, including my new query on Thursday. This time I actually re-queried someone I had previously queried three years ago with a different version of Broken People. I wonder if they'll remember. While I know what you're thinking, they must have gotten thousands in the past three years, I've been surprised before. Agents might not be good at things like getting back to you on queries but they sometimes keep track of stories they've rejected.

I also fiddled about with fka Skylar this week. I guess I should come up with a better title since Skylar is now called Lillie. I'm going through now trying to do a better job of connecting the two stories together. My main character, J.D. Barrister, is handling a case for a neighbor, Lillie, who is being trafficked by her former drug dealer to pay off a debt, and his presumed future father-in-law wants him to work on a case involving a tontine that his father-in-law signed after World War II. Originally, I had Skylar being that neighbor and, while she had the same issue with her former drug dealer, it was her father who had signed the tontine.

Not much to report about Powers Squared this week. No new pages from either the artist or the colorist, though I've been promised pages are coming. I did take a second look at a future script for the book. I didn't realize that the last time I had looked at it was a year ago but I wanted to make some changes and one change led to several others. Not sure it's the final form but I'm thinking it's getting close.

We tried a new sort of episode for On the Air with Powers Squared, a comic book club. All five of us read Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo. I know it's a manga but that was the title we settled on. You can listen to it now or watch it on Wednesday when it hits YouTube. We're going to do the next one in September, this time it's going to be Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales, so read ahead and join us.

I'm currently reading a graphic novel The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker but I don't think we'll all be reading that for the show.

I wrote one review this week, which went up on Saturday Morning on Trophy Unlocked, Thor: Love and Thunder, which while still out in theaters has been there for a couple of weeks. As part of the celebration of my wedding anniversary, the four of us went to a 10:30 am showing. It was almost like a private screening, which was the point. In the anniversary spirit, I started to review Bull Durham which was the film on our first date. Not sure when I'll get that finished and when it will appear.

The Wednesday Game Day review was Trevor's review of Lucky's Tale (PS VR).

I feel like this is a bit short, but I think that's about all from me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Monday, July 25, 2022

A Week in Writing #414 - Report from the Front: SDCC 2022

 

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

Sorry this is a day late but it takes a day or so to absorb and process everything. San Diego Comic-Con is over-stimulation for everyone. As someone told me it's like multiple conventions going on at once with comic books, film, television, gaming, books, collecting and other things in between all being covered somewhere, and, all at once. There is really no way to do everything as plans are often eschewed or ruined by events.

There is a lot of walking involved, so it's not for tenderfoots. For the four days and preview night we were there, I must have walked 86,429 steps per my Fitbit, an average of 17,285 per day while the previous week I averaged about 9,317. Your mileage may vary of course but combine that with a lack of sleep and it can be a tiring experience. 

People go to the convention for a spectrum of purposes, from geeking-out fandom on one end to trying to learn and share about their craft on the other. We fall in somewhere in between in my family and, sometimes attend very different panels and events. My intentions are to mix the two but the results, sadly are mixed.

I attended what I thought were professional panels about How to Get Press Coverage. Enamel pens, Help I'm Lost in a Sea of Content, and How to be a One-person Comic Book Company. I had intended to also attend one on Kickstarters but, for reasons I'll get into, I did not.

Blame Ozzy Osbourne for my missing the latter panel. Apparently, he is releasing a new album Patient #9 and got Todd McFarlane to do the artwork. The two of them were to do a noon time and 1:10 pm signing of a poster (no size indicated) at Stern Pinball's booth (?). I thought I was safe to attend the first and make the Kickstarter panel. 

Did I mention that you not only had to win a lottery to gain admittance but you also had to arrive at the Convention Center before the doors open (6:30 to 9) and stand in line to claim a wristband (both times had the same color). But, no, that's not enough. As with every event at SDCC, you have to arrive early, which I did, getting in line sometime soon after 11 am. I was already in the third curve of the line which snaked out from the wall into the floor of the convention center, where I stood backpack on my back and holding a poster tube in anticipation. 

And, even then, that wasn't enough, as you had to get a ticket to redeem for the poster. That doesn't even get to the rules involved: No photographs, no video, no interaction. As if you were on a conveyor belt get your poster and keep moving. While I am not a huge fan of Ozzy, I had seen Black Sabbath on their final tour. The rest of my family had signed up for the 1:10 signing which while I'm standing in line seemed like an afterthought to the organizers as they didn't seem to know where people should line up for that. 

As if that weren't bad enough, 12 o'clock comes and goes and we don't move an inch. Sometime around 12:15 Ozzy shows up. I know, big star and I'm only a peon but there is such a thing as respecting other people's time and the effect you have on them, especially at a place like SDCC. Now, the professional might have gotten out of line to attend the Kickstarter panel, the father in me wanted to make sure we got one, as others are bigger fans. 

They take us 10 at a time over to where the Prince of  Darkness is waiting. The closest thing I can compare it to is a freak show (not that I'm calling him a freak) but the experience was somewhat similar There is no interaction or eye contact and by the time you've seen him, they're already hurrying you through the line, with an attendant handing you a pre-autographed poster. And as soon as you have that, they cut the wristband off of you and send you on your way with a stiff 11 X 17 poster into the wilds of SDCC. 

There appear to be four autographs on the poster. Ozzy's, McFarlane's and a couple of randos who I'm sure are crucial to the process but unidentified. I'm sorry to say I don't know what Todd McFarlane looks like so he might have been there; another man sat across the table from us but there was no time to see who he was and there were no introductions made.

I wasn't even sure what time it was but I knew I couldn't keep this in any sort of quality condition as is. I saw one of my sons, Trevor, in line for the next signing and told him I was going to look for a top loader for the poster. Artist Alley was nearby but none of the art supplies there sold them. The only place I knew of was somewhere on the other side of the floor. I'm trying to contact my family using my phone with one hand as I feared putting the poster down. Others were aware and wanted to see it. One guy offering me $10 for it. I countered with $1000 and the negotiations stopped.

Finally, find Hot Flips in the 1200s buy two top loaders and head back to where I had last seen Trevor. However, by then his line had moved and been capped, without him and Paul, who had also arrived for the line and sent him on to another signing. With the 1:10 signing in doubt, we go to eat while things are sorted out. 

Long story short, all three, Paul, Trevor and my wife, Nancy, all managed to get through and get their posters, though none were signed by Todd MacFarlane, adding insult to injury. Given the experience the booth could have given the posters away instead of trooping people by him. 

Rant over, several of the panels that I thought might help me didn't really address anything that would help me in the long run. I had thought about turning some of the artwork for Powers Squared into enamel pins. Well, the panel Enamel Pins: Creating Collectibles, held promise, it was more about those who make them and do it as a side gig. I already have a side gig and there are already people who make custom enamel pins so while I listened I don't think this was right for me.

Neither was the How to Be A One Person Comic Book Company. While it is certainly possible and the guy leading the panel was making a living doing it, his presentation was more about the software you'd need to have in place to pull it off. While 3-D modeling has it place and with three batches of software, you can make them talk, it would be a much different look than what Powers Squared looks like and I don't know about you, I'd rather write than learn how to make iClone 7 work with Poser and Blender.

Also, I enjoy the collaborative nature of putting together the books. Writing with Paul, and watching Rachel Wells put together the visuals and Julia Canon's coloring add to the enjoyment. Oftentimes, Rachel will come up with something we hadn't thought about for the visuals. I would think being the one person who does it all would be the end of all of that.

While the title Help I'm Lost in a Sea of Content seemed to address my world, the panel really didn't. The panelists were involved in other aspects of content, clothing, reporting, and streaming they really didn't offer anything that turned the lightbulb on, "if only I did this" sort of thing. I did learn that reactive videos are a thing, as if people had the time to watch someone else watching something. I know I don't.

The first panel I attended, How to Get News Coverage was probably the most helpful. I had attended it at least once before at WonderCon and while some of the panelists were the same, having sent press releases that failed to get published I was interested in learning from my own experience. So, pro note: reach out to publications beforehand and introduce yourself. Ask how they want to hear about you and your work, don't assume that you know what they're looking for. Try to get to know the journalists at them, by reading their stories and following them on social media. Contact them before you do something, like a Kickstarter, not after it's already going. Be short and get to the point. A lot of groundwork but in many ways common sense.

There were other panels I attended and people I reached out to, though there were several I would have liked to have met there but didn't. Some of the best moments at the con are conversations with people and while those may be hard to have they really do mean the most. 

What's in store for the next one? Well, I'm going to try and get a table next time, maybe even Small Press for SRCC Press.

As I mentioned last week, no real writing got done this week though some things did move forward. New reviews hit Trophy Unlocked with Paul's review of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach coming out on Wednesday Game Day and his review of  Atlantis: Milo's Return being the Saturday Morning Review.

The most pleasant surprise was how well On the Air with Powers Squared did without us. Rachel and Julia did a really great job without us. I think it's one of the best shows. I find it rewarding that something we started and sustain without us. The two of them have really great chemistry and did some art challenges related to Powers Squared. We're a little late with some of the technical aspects: the audio version, but it will go up on Wednesday on our YouTube channel and I would highly recommend the show.

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




Sunday, July 17, 2022

A Week in Writing #413 - Prepping for the Task Ahead

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

Coming up next week is SDCC 2022, or what is also known as Comic-Con. For those who have never been, the convention is a blur of activity with exclusives, panels, autographs, and announcements all seemingly overlapping to the point that you can never see it all, try as you might.

Around my house there is at least two weeks of prep, going through all the posts about what is coming to San Diego and trying to figure out who will go do what (panel, signing) while we're there. I want to mix professional learning with fun and networking, which in our house takes a series of spreadsheets and a planning session or two. Not to mention the nightly bleery-eyed meetings to plan the attack for the next day when we're there.

I wrote last week about my apprehensions with the new COVID variant but we're going anyway. If you want to think happy thoughts about us while we're there, please do. I have to think we'll come out of this clean or clear, after the app of the same name.

If you're going, I'll be the one wearing a Powers Squared t-shirt, so if you are, say hello if you see me.

In the spirit of Comic-Con, we had artist and creator Don Nguyen on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared. Unlike us, Don has a table at the con in Artist Alley. We did apply but we were turned down due to the backlog from the previous canceled SDCCs in 2020 and 2021. I imagine it's a very different experience but one that we'll need to do eventually if we want to play in the big leagues. I always feel like we're just a step or two away from something happening.

On the subject of Powers Squared, our latest issue dropped this past Wednesday; Issue #13, The Imposter, Part 1. (The link will take you to where you can buy it.) Releasing printed comic books in this day and age is harder than you'd think, what with paper shortages. One of the platforms we use is backlogged to the point that they couldn't guarantee it would be up on their site, even with two weeks' notice, so we're only up on three out of the four we usually work with. I checked as I'm writing this and it is still not up and they're closing shop and will be at SDCC as well.

Had a learning experience with proofs. One set, from the other print platform, took over two months to get the proofs to us and it was only then that we saw the error in our ways. Apparently, I had included two of the same page in the pdf so there were three blank pages at the end of the issue, including the back cover. Thankfully, it is not an issue that we're releasing in the near future so we can make the change.

While it might seem like we're only doing Comic-Con prep, that would be wrong.

During this past week, I did send out a new query for Broken People, my Thursday night chore. I also messed around a little more with the opening chapter. I'm sure that is not the right thing to do but I decided that I could make it better, so I did. I still need to rewrite the synopsis, which would open up more query options for the book. I did remove one from my list as a DNR, as their prescribed time period had expired.

I also managed to make some headway with fka Skylar, though I think I'm updating some backstory ideas I have for it, all of which I think will make it better and have a better twist at the end. So, the word count will come; trust me.

I also wrote a review for Blast of Silence, which I realized was a leftover from some Christmas holiday recording and part of the Drain the DVR campaign. Not sure when that will come out. As I mentioned last week, we're good with Christmas movies for a couple of seasons and we're not in a rush to put this one out.

My review of Jingle All the Way was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. We decided to give in to the inevitable pressure from Hallmark and acknowledge Christmas in July. No game review this week but that feature will return next week.

Let's talk next week, while we're on the subject. Writing, including this blog, will go on hiatus from Wednesday until Sunday, so I probably won't get a lot of work done before we leave; no film reviews will be written and no queries will be sent. On Monday, I will, however, publish a Report From the Front, detailing my experiences at Comic-Con and any pertinent information I might have learned while attending.

So, until then, keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

A Week in Writing #412 - New Issue Coming Out


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

Let's start with Powers Squared. We have a new issue coming out officially on Wednesday, July 13. It's #13, The Imposter Part 1. Just when relationships appear to be pulling Marty and Eli apart, someone on campus tries ruining Marty's reputation by impersonating him. Who could it be? Find out on Wednesday. The issue and where to buy it can be found at The Campus Store. As they become available, there will be links to where it can be purchased both physically and digitally. There is also some new merch as well that I'm excited about, some chibi t-shirts, and a new poster, again, links at The Campus Store if you're at all interested. I'd love it if you were.

In addition to that, we're also releasing a short character video - Who is Pedro? He's a character that is introduced in this story arc and plays a big part in the story. You can watch it here on Wednesday morning.

On our Friday podcast, we talked about the new book but Paul also discussed the passing of Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and what the manga, anime, and games have meant to him. And, surprisingly, how it influenced an issue of Powers Squared. That also goes up on YouTube on Wednesday afternoon and can be watched here when it does.

Otherwise, it's been rather slow on the comic book front, nothing new, so far, from our artist or colorist, at least not this past week.

On our horizon is San Diego Comic-Con. No table this year, though we did apply, there was no room. We'll try again next year if there is one. I don't mean to sound cryptic but I'm not hundred percent sure this year is going to happen, what with COVID numbers rising. I believe it will but I am sort of nervous about being in a room with 160,000 of my closest friends. Can anyone say "super spreader event"? We're taking precautions but it is always in the back of your mind.

Just as an editor's note: I don't envision doing this blog on the Sunday night we get back. However, I will do it on that Monday, as a Report from the Front. I will be attending some panels about writing and comic books and I will share what I learn here, but you'll have to wait.

Did get some time working on fka Skylar this week. I've been moving around some things and have some, of what I consider, to be really good ideas for how it will end; I just got to get there. But I do want to report, time was spent on the project.

Another query this week for Broken People. I did DNR one of my queries since I never did hear back but otherwise it has been radio silence from the agents so far. This is, of course, the new normal so I feel like I have Schrodinger's query until either the time passes or I hear back.

Finished a new future review for Trophy Unlocked. This one is for a less than cheery Christmas movie, The Cheaters (1945), part of our Drain the DVR campaign. I guess this caught my eye last December. I know, the title alone really makes you think about the holidays. Not sure when this one will appear. We seem to be overwhelmed with Christmas movie reviews and there are only so many weeks in December.

We did manage to cut into our backlog this week with the Saturday morning review being Paul's review of Mickey's Christmas Carol. As I wrote on Facebook, blame Hallmark for making Christmas in July a thing. We're just trying to keep up, that's all. Wednesday's Game Day review was Trevor's review of Kao the Kangaroo (2022).

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

Sunday, July 3, 2022

A Week in Writing #411 - Getting Ready

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

There is so much to get ready for in July. If you're not a subscriber to The Hound Dogs' Howl, the Powers Squared newsletter, then you may not know that our next issue, #13 The Imposter Part 1, is coming out on July 13th. That's a Wednesday for all those Triskaidekaphobians out there, so it shouldn't be unlucky. In the next week or so, I'm going to have to make sure all the preps have been made, including updating our Campus Store website, making sure the providers are ready as well, and getting out a news release and The Bark, our bulletin.

To that end, I was working on updates to our website and to Artithmeric's, our British on-demand publisher. In addition to the new issue, we're also premiering a new line of Chibi t-shirts designed by our colorist, Julia Canon, who will be making her Powers Squared debut with the issue, even though she's been working with us for a couple of years now.

We also have a video to premiere along with the issue about a new character we're introducing, Pedro. So much to do. This goes back to my last blog about the work of writing.

Our OAPS this week was with Kurt Zauer, an indie creator who reached out to us. That's always interesting. Apparently, he was told we have a good show, which is always nice to hear. He was on the floor of the Anime Midwest Con where he had a booth in Artist Alley. He also has a Kickstarter, which he also wanted to talk about. You can check out the audio here and on Wednesday, the video will be on our YouTube channel, if you want to check it out. It's always nice to meet other creators out there.

Alas, no new review from me this week. Our Drain the DVR Saturday hit a snag when the movie, Girl Crazy (1932) was out of synch, for some reason, and unwatchable. Hopefully, we'll see it some other time.

I did have a review published, today, as a matter of fact, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022); school's back in session. The Saturday Morning Review was Paul's for Lightyear (2022). And the Wednesday Gameday review was Paul's for TimeSplitters: Future Perfect played on an Xbox.

One new query this week for Broken People. I haven't heard back from any of the last several so far, even ones that other writers were reporting were not handling new clients. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. I try to give agents a reasonable amount of time before DNRing them (Did Not Respond). I'm really happy with the rewrite of Chapter One, so I'm hopeful I'll catch someone's attention, at least to send more pages.

The big news is I've been able to work on fka Skylar. I still call it that, even though the character's name has changed. I don't have a good title for it yet. I'm going back through it, I know again, trying to add bits where I can. I had another idea that I'm sure will work better than the last one.

The other thing to get ready for is San Diego Comic-Con, which is rapidly approaching. We're just attendees again this year but there are still people to see and things to discuss. We're a little apprehensive about a large-scale in-person event but we're trying to be cautious in our approach. Whatever I find out, I will divulge in my Report from the Front, though it will be delayed a day, as I will be driving most of Sunday. Thanks in advance for understanding.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2022

A Week in Writing #410 - The Work of Writing

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

Not a bad week, really, but sometimes it feels like I'm doing more of the work of writing, rather than actually writing if that makes sense.

I sometimes feel like I spend more time making updates to the Powers Squared website. I thought I had been keeping up but apparently, there were covers to update, links to change and even credits that needed to be updated. It seems like a never-ending process. Even trying to keep up with it, I realize I miss things, like posting links to videos. I decided to change that by posting them early rather than waiting for them to be released. I upload the videos on Sunday mornings and schedule them for Wednesday afternoons, and I also update the peek-of-the-week every Sunday. For both, I schedule Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts for later in the week; Tuesday for the peek-of-the-week and Wednesday for the videos.

There are other posts I make, like every morning on Twitter for posts on Trophy Unlocked that have anniversaries, #OTD. I've been doing that for a couple of years now, but finally got wise last year to saving and reusing the posts rather than trying to come up with a new one every time.

Then there are also posts I make to Pinterest, some for Trophy Unlocked and others for Powers Squared. As I started with, sometimes it feels like the work of writing, not the writing itself that takes up my time.

Worked a little bit on fka Skylar. I had an idea I wanted to introduce but I couldn't find the right place to do it. I guess I'll have to save it for later.

After rewriting the first chapter of Broken People, I started to go back through the book. I even found one section that didn't make sense where it was. I guess it's fortunate that no agent has asked to see more than the first three chapters so far.

I did query the book again, though I'm not really hopeful of the agent. I read some comments on Query Tracker about them. Apparently, they received responses that they didn't like. So far, I haven't received anything, so I'm waiting that out.

Powers Squared continues to move forward with our artist sending in eight pages of pencils for issue #22.

We're going to set release dates for Issue #13 this week and hopefully some more things as well, like new merch.

We had our monthly team meeting on Friday and since we're going to be at Comic-Con, Rachel and Julia may host a show without us. That should be fun. We're also talking about setting up a Comic Book Club for the podcast as well.

Our pitch is finally finished and now we're waiting to schedule someone we trust to go through it for us. So much is going on.

With Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a review for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which should be going up soon on the blog. We watched it finally on Friday night on Disney+. I'm also working on a review for Chance of Heaven (1933) from Saturday night but that's still in progress. For those interested, the Saturday Morning Review was Paul's review of Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe and the Wednesday Game Day Review was Paul's for Bugsnax: The Isle of Bigsnax (DLC).

So in the week ahead, I have to finish my review of Chance of Heaven, work on our monthly newsletter, The Hound Dogs's Howl, make a new query and work on fka Skylar. Wish me luck.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Week in Writing #409 - Numbering and Rewrites


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

Funny thing. As soon as I published last week's post, I realized I had been numbering wrong for the past few weeks. Apparently, in my world #406 repeats, so I was off by one for about three weeks. The numbering has been corrected but it's things like that that make you feel stupid. Great way to end a week.

I know I said I was going to work on fka Skylar this week, and surprise surprise, I didn't really. Instead, I got interested in rewriting the first chapter of the book I'm currently querying around, Broken People. As you probably know, most queries require a writing sample, some part of the beginning of the novel. It can be 1000 words, the first chapter, the first three chapters, or the first 50 pages, depending on the agent/agency. The one thing they all have in common is that they start at the beginning. I started to wonder if the lack of response was due to how the first chapter started, so I thought I should rewrite it.

I don't usually get into specifics of what I'm actually writing but I'll make an exception in this case.

The first chapter takes place in a club, A-X-N, pronounced Action, where my private detective has followed a man that he has to serve with a subpoena. With the help of a waitress, whose name he doesn't yet know, they've found the man getting into a boxing ring with a former flyweight; the guy's large but super drunk. I won't get into all the action but I began to feel that I had started the chapter in the wrong place.

In the old version, I had the private detective enjoying holding the woman's hand; helping to ground him after a day of searching for people in a rain storm in Los Angeles. If you've ever lived here, rain is a scarce commodity so when it rains, things don't work. Traffic, the backbone of the city, bogs down and what might have taken you an hour can take three. I'm serious, I used to commute to Santa Monica and I had spent that much time one-way because of rain. (Don't miss it.) I thought it humanized my main character but I think maybe that doesn't work so well in a thriller.

In the new version, I have the action start when the first punch from the flyweight lands and draws blood. After all this time, I remembered the old adage start as close to the action as you can, which I wasn't doing obviously.

Now, rewriting a chapter is more than just moving paragraphs around. I mean, there is some of that but things still have to flow. It's not a one-time sit-down and it's done thing either. It took a couple of nights and in the end, the first chapter got shorter but I think it reads better.

I used it on my Thursday night query, so we'll have to wait to see if that was the missing ingredient. I still need to write a short synopsis so I can broaden my search. All in due time.

So, I still need to get back into fka Skylar but I think the time was well spent.

I wrote a new future review for Trophy Unlocked. This time it was Steamboat 'Round the Bend (1935), Will Rogers' last film. Interesting, that wasn't the reason I DVRed it a year or so ago. I had heard about him as a film star amongst his other accomplishments but had never seen anything he had been in, so when this film was shown I thought it would be a chance to watch something he was in. I'll save my opinion for the review, whenever that gets posted.

Paul's review of Hercules (1997) was the Saturday Morning Review. The Wednesday Game Day review was Trevor's review of Moss: Book 2.

Finally received the proofs for Issues 13-15 of Powers Squared. Paul and I did an unboxing video on our Friday On the Air with Powers Squared podcast, which you're invited to listen to and/or watch. I had requested sets of proofs from two of our on-demand publishers but only received one set so far, but you can't wait forever. Check it out at https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps if you're interested.

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

Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Week in Writing #408 - Another Banner Week, Not.

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

I realize I sit down every Sunday night to write this and I really never know if anyone reading this is actually writing. I would really like to hear from someone, anyone, reading this to leave a comment and let me know what you're doing. Are you a writer? Is this blog ever helpful? Feel free to leave comments below. It would be nice to hear from you.

I can't say I really burned it up this week at the laptop. I'm really not sure what the reason is. I'd like to say it's Daylight Savings Time that is throwing me off. I never feel like I get enough sleep. I'm aware that this is an ongoing theme of the blog but it gets light outside at five-something in the morning and I'm apparently a light sleeper. Brain turns on, worrying about things I can't control mind you, but I'm up. At night, I try to soldier through until 11 but I'm getting to be no good after 10:30.

To that end, not much happened on fka Skylar. I mean I opened it up and figured out what I need to do next but beyond that a few lines and nothing more.

As far as reviews go, I've been busy. The Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was mine for Nanook of the North (1922), which came out 100 years ago that day. I like it when that works out. Am I the only one?

Wednesday's GameDay review was Trevor's for Resistance: Burning Skies.

I also wrote two reviews for the future. Has anyone else been watching the TV Series, Julia? Well, we have been which got us interested in re-watching Julie & Julia (2009), which I wrote a review for on Friday night/Saturday Morning. Then, as part of our drain the DVR Saturday night, we watched Stage Fright (1950), so that was what I worked on Saturday night and Sunday. In all about 3500 words, for those who are counting.

What if you ordered a proof and it never came? Well, that's what it feels like sometimes. In May, I ordered two sets of proofs for new issues of Powers Squared: Issues 13-15. As of Friday, I had not received either set. What I had hoped to be an unboxing video for them on OAPS turned into a pre-recorded segment of us signing the fine art prints from our less than recent Kickstarter. Actually, the timing was good as the rewards went out on Friday or were supposed to. I'm hopeful that I'll have one by this week. Would really like to know they exist before launching them onto the world.

Final touches on the pitch, which now goes to Trevor to put together. I went through and selected images for us to use. Hopefully, we can get this done soon and see if we can get another look at it from the person that gave us feedback. Things just take time.

We're in the beginning stages of organizing our yearly pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con, which should be live this year. Preliminary stuff so far, like signing up for the parking lottery, but steps that have to be taken.

Sent another query for Broken People, and surprise, no response from any of them so far. This week, I should expand to another book. Can't hurt to have more than one out on the query trail, can it?

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

Sunday, June 5, 2022

A Week in Writing #407 - Feeling Disappointed


Hope everyone is feeling well and staying safe. And, of course, writing.

I'm not one to really talk to about branding. I mean, I'm trying with Powers Squared but I wouldn't say I was an expert at any of it. We try our best to keep things moving forward, trying new ways of getting the word out and, of course, selling merch. Currently, all of the latter is done by one on-demand printer, but I'm having second thoughts about them.

When someone receives something with your brand on it that is damaged and the response is "well, it's not that damaged," it makes you rethink their customer service angle. I'm not in a position to make good on other people's mistakes, but I think they should on their own. And push back that it wasn't that bad sort of gives me pause.

Someone received a t-shirt with our school logo on it (more on the school later) and one of the letters was missing part of the coloring. Apparently, it had gotten stuck to something else in the box and part of it had peeled off. I know the person and I wanted them to, of course, wear the shirt but if it's damaged, they would be less likely to. I took it on myself to write to the on-demand printer about it and they didn't seem to appreciate the feedback. They especially took offense to my notion that it was bad customer service not to make good. (No names, that's not what the blog is about.) Are these the sort of people I want to handle my brand?

So, I'm at least beginning the process of looking for another t-shirt printer. Hopefully, someone who will stand by their products and shipping. So far, it's just been a Google search but if you know of someone, please let me know in the comments. If and when a decision is made, you will be one of the first to know.

Well, back to the school in question, San Romero Community College (SRCC), the fictitious one in Powers Squared. I got an email from a website about nursing schools and they had apparently gotten queries about SRCC. From a creator's point of view, I was amused by the notion that someone wanted to actually enroll. I did inform the site that it was not a real school.

While we're talking Powers Squared, we've begun work on issue #22 of the series. It is our artist's 17th book with us so we had a nice chat with Rachel Wells on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, about it. We've also expanded the number of platforms we're on by three: iHeart RadioPlayer FM, and PodChaser, so there's even less reason for not listening.

Also, today was our monthly newsletter, the bulk of which I pull together. While it's intended for our mailing list, I'm going to share it with you, dear reader. Check it out here, if you're curious and, you know, maybe enroll at SRCC.

A new review from me this week on Trophy Unlocked, posted today for Top Gun: Maverick, which we watched on Saturday. Our plan is to be one week after the big openings, hoping for smaller audiences in the theaters. Such was the case on Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning's review on the blog was Trevor's for 101 Dalmations (1961). Wednesday (Game Day) was also one from Trevor for the game Resistance: Retribution. I'm also working on one for Brief Encounter that we watched on Drain the DVR Saturday night.

One new query this week. By the time I get to Thursday nights, I'm looking for the off-ramp from the week, so I'm taking the easiest queries to send. I know I need to spend more time and expand to another book as well but for now, I'm doing the minimum.

I did open the document for fka Skylar so I at least touched it. Not much more than that I'm afraid.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

A Week in Writing #406 - Where Did the Week Go?


Hope everyone is well, enjoying the long weekend and, of course, writing.

Have you ever had a week where it doesn't feel like you've got anything done? I mean, despite sitting at the computer and ready to go, nothing seems to get finished. This was the week for me. I kept getting a late start and despite best intentions, I don't feel like much got accomplished.

On the plus side, I did send out a new query for Broken People, the thing I detest most doing. No word yet, so you know, fingers crossed. It only takes one, as they say, to believe in you. I was going to DNR another query because it was coming up on their time period for responding. I didn't when I saw on Query Tracker that the agent got back to someone, a rejection, after that time frame, so I thought I'd wait around to see if I hear back. Of course, not hoping for a rejection.

Other than that, I was spending most of my "wake" time working on a script for a possible issue for Powers Squared. Even if we don't use it, I felt like I had to write it. It's about Jennifer Perry and trying to delve into her backstory a bit more. As I believe I mentioned, she was not a favorite character by the person who reviewed our Pitch Packet and we wanted to give her something more and have it still fit in with our story. I think we did that and this script was sort of introducing that side. Trying to make her a "real" character, which I believe was the knock against her.

I did write a new review for Trophy Unlocked for the film Downton Abbey: A New Era, which went up this morning. We saw it in a theater on Saturday morning, hoping the hour and a week's delay from the opening would mean sparse attendance and it was only about 20% full. We watched it in a theater that used to be part of the Arclight Cinemas, here in Los Angeles. I really miss that chain.

I also had another review up on Saturday morning, Top Gun, the original film, not the higher-flying Maverick sequel. My guess is we're probably going to see that film next weekend. Not sure how early we'd have to go to avoid a crowd for that one. That may be our pattern for the rest of the summer, go a week late to avoid the crowds but not too late to hear spoilers.

The Wednesday Game Day review was Trevor's for Kao the Kangaroo: Mystery of the Volcano.

Speaking of films, we had Lucas Scheffel, a creator we know from Australia, on our podcast on Friday. Not only does he work a remote job, for a company in Austin, Texas, but he and his family are living in a caravan while driving around the country. Lucas, the creator of Angry Fred, is also a big Elvis Presley fan, so we talked about the upcoming Elvis movie. You can listen to the conversation on our website: https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps or wait until this coming Wednesday to watch it on YouTube on our channel. Your choice.

No work this week on fka Skylar, sorry about that. I think that's the real reason I don't feel like I got anything done.

Well, that's about all from me. Keep writing, and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Week in Writing #405 - Hitting a Wall

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

Monday started off with a rejection, a query I made back at the end of March, so I was figuring it was about out of code anyway. Decided to take the opportunity to DNR the three previous ones I hadn't heard from that pre-dated that query. One had a day to go before their two-month lead time. Was I too hasty? Somehow I doubt it; just taking care of the inevitable early. So, is the going rate 1 in 4 actually send rejections? Down now to just three "live" ones.

Make that four, as I did squeeze out a new query on Thursday night. I think I'm selling myself short and I might, dare I say it, try to query another book simultaneously. I'm also thinking that maybe I need to rewrite the first chapter since maybe it comes off too soft for a thriller. I don't know, really, I'm floundering here. I don't know what agents are necessarily looking for or I would have one by now. But the rewrite has some merit as I need to get into the story right away; previous advice from an agent who didn't sign me regarding another book.

I've been hitting a wall recently with my writing and I'm not talking about being bereft of ideas, it's time. I've been crashing, physically, at about ten or ten-thirty and I have to force myself to get back to work. Doing that, of course, throws off my sleep and I end up crashing the next night as a result. Vicious circle.

That's been cutting into my writing time quite a bit of late. I don't know about you but sleep for me is a sometimes thing and there are times when everything is running smoothly and then there are times when it's not and it throws everything else off. My problem to deal with.

Spent some time working on a script idea for a one-off about Jennifer Perry. Trying to give her some more background and make her a more interesting character. This is based, in part, on some feedback we received on our Pitch Packet a while back.

Writing that and my review of The Killer is Loose were just about all I got through this week. My review of Our Town was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. We decided to go one and two with that and Paul's review of Wonder for obvious reasons if you've seen that movie. Trevor's review of Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 was the Wednesday Game Day Review.

No new review from me this week. We went to Amoeba Records in Hollywood on Saturday and purchased a copy of MST3K Season 11. Ended up watching the first episode of that instead of draining the DVR (good thing we don't review TV). To make up for it, I posted, as a draft, a review I had done for Chaplin. You gotta do something, right?

Sadly, nothing new on fka Skylar. Blame the lack of sleep and the script.

Speaking of, Trevor wrote one for Powers Squared that's pretty good with the Eli character fighting a Gashadokuro. Paul and I need to write a companion piece for Marty. We're thinking of sliding it in after our next story arc.

I'm also reading Paul's fourth draft of his book; so much writing going on. I'm a little more than three chapters in. I reserve critique for him when I'm done. And no, I won't give away any of the plot.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Week in Writing #404 - Plowing Forward


Hope everyone is well, and, of course, writing.

I'm sure you get tired of hearing this, but a lot of the week was taken up with Powers Squared. To begin with, there was new artwork for Issue #21 from our artist, Rachel Wells, to be reviewed. Maybe that wasn't the first thing but it is the most important thing to review. We had some back and forth on the cover earlier but that seems to have been worked out. We're going for a Metal Gear vibe with the cover.

We had two shows this weekend, one with the entire creative team, our monthly team meeting. If you didn't catch it live (and I'm betting you didn't) it'll go up on YouTube on Wednesday at https://youtu.be/fGZ8_vs0wWg. We sort of had a discussion about what to do if Twitter goes weird (weirder?) after Musk's proposed takeover (Is it back on or still on hold?). I was on it before and still am, but I'm concerned about what could happen to it in the future. Is there an alternative?

We did another show with Rachel on Saturday morning (LA time), wherein we discussed the books we had all picked up on Free Comic Book Day, which was last week. We did that live, as well, on twitch.tv/powerssquared and also posted it that day on YouTube at https://youtu.be/1SEHw-o8adA. That's available now.

Next the fun of submitting proofs. Ordinarily not a hard process. We use two on-demand printers: Artithmeric (our partners in the Kickstarter) and Ka-Blam in Florida to provide a domestic source. Both have different processes for submitting and neither is as easy as you'd want.

We're still waiting for the fine art prints to sign. I've been told they've been sent but I don't know when to expect them or how to send them back once we receive and sign. I did receive my share of the cut from the Kickstarter, which wasn't really all that much. However, I'm prepared to move forward on the translations.

We did a table read of the pilot script, a real family affair with my sons, my wife, and I each taking parts. Read pretty well and with a few minor changes, we should be good to go with it.

Had one of those going to sleep thoughts about the next scripts for the comic book. I had written one with Marty and Eli's parents coming for a visit. In the first few versions, it was coming for a Parent's Day at the school but I didn't really like that. I set it at Christmas and we were going with that version when last night it hit me that the prior issues (20 and 21: "Mission: Istanistan") take place at Spring Break and I didn't like the time skip implied.

Did a rewrite today taking out the Christmas references and I think it still works. The holiday wasn't so important to the plot as a nice backdrop and a chance to get some Christmas stuff for the comic book. I guess that'll have to wait.

I also tried my hand at a script explaining Jennifer Perry's past. For those of you unfamiliar, Jennifer is Eli's girlfriend in the comic book. When we did the first go-round of the Pitch Packet, we got surprisingly negative reviews on Jennifer, which we tried to fix by giving her a backstory that still fits with the book but gives her more depth. That was the script I was working on. I haven't given up but it seems to be harder than I thought to make an issue out of it.

No new reviews from me this week, though I will be working on one for The Killer is Loose, which I saw on Saturday night after watching the Amphibia finale (and no, I won't spoil it).

Only one new review on Trophy Unlocked this week. Paul's Saturday morning review of WonderMy review of Our Town will follow next Saturday. If you've seen Wonder, it makes sense.

More writing on fka Skylar but never enough to take note about.

And I did manage one new query for Broken People on Thursday. So far nothing back on any of the others, which in this day and age means an eventual rejection when the clock runs out.

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

Sunday, May 8, 2022

A Week in Writing #403 - Am I Getting Anywhere?


Happy Mother's Day!

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

Do you ever have weeks when you feel like you're running in place?

For some reason, it struck me this week that I'm feeling that way with my writing. I feel like I'm going through the motions but not advancing. Have you ever felt like that?

It's not that I plan on walking away from writing, only that I need to figure a way to shake things up. I'm thinking about this in connection with the thriller I'm querying and the comic book, Powers Squared. Week after week I do things, the "right" things, but I'm not seeing results. It's all about growing a fan base, which is the one thing I really struggle at. 

I think Powers Squared is a good comic book. We're telling an interesting story, and getting better at it as we go, but I feel like we're stuck at the beginning of the process. No one new is coming on board and that's sort of defeating. As I've written here many times, a writer wants someone to read their work and so far, at least, no one seems to read it. The Kickstarter was sort of a wake up call to me. If there is a secret sauce, I definitely don't know the recipe.

On the subject of Powers Squared, we're getting closer to finishing the art for Issue #21, "Mission Istanistan Part 2", coming years from now it seems. Our artist has finished thumbnails, so pencils and inks will probably be done this month unless her other gigs get in the way. Not sure yet what the next story will be, though I do have three scripts already written.

In addition to our usual On the Air with Powers Squared we also did a special What's in My Bag? related to Free Comic Book Day. We included Rachel Wells, our artist, for the first time. We're doing another special next Saturday to discuss the books we've read. It'll be live on twitch.tv/powerssquared at 11 am PT, if you're interested.

Need to get back to the Pitch Packet and the pilot script. We're having our artist redo one of the character designs and I think we've made a character that was sort of weak stronger as well. They happen to be one and the same. Jennifer Perry was not a favorite of the person we showed the pitch to and we need a new image to move forward with finalizing it. It is interesting that the "show" and the comic book are the same but different and I think the pitch is helping make the book better as well, though on a go-forward basis. We're not going back to the first five issues. No, you can't make us. I think I can speak for everyone involved that we're done with those.

Changing to Trophy Unlocked,  this was Star Wars week with five reviews, starting Monday with Paul's review of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition for the PS3. That was followed on Tuesday with Paul's review of Second Look - Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, another videogame; Wednesday was Trevor's Second Look - Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens; Thursday was Paul's Second Look - Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi; and the week ended on Friday with Trevor's Second Look - Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

For something completely different, Saturday Morning's Review was mine for The Egg and I.

I did write one new review this weekend, Our Town (1940). Interesting story, Paul has been reading some middle grade fiction because the book he's written fits in with that age group. One of the books he read was Wonder, and so on Friday night, we watched the film version. In the movie, at least, the high school put on Our Town as their spring play. I had recorded the film from a previous showing on TCM, so it seemed appropriate to finally watch it on Drain the DVR Saturday.

One new query this week and no responses for far from anyone. Circle back to the title of this post for how I feel about that.

Did some more writing on fka Skylar this week but never enough.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2022

A Week in Writing #402 - Not Quite Done


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

While I'm done hyping the Kickstarter, I wasn't free from it this past week. While I was pretty sure I had sent all the pages for the Graphic Novel months ago, they apparently didn't have them at Artithmeric. I found this out when I was sent the Graphic Novel to give an artist approval. Problem. The version they sent me was the 2019 version and not the remastered version we had worked on last year.

So, I had to reassemble the pages for both the graphic novel and for the five issues that make it up, which we had also remastered and had added our SRCC bug to. I wanted to be sure they had everything. So I assembled about 225 pages in six different folders and sent the files to them in two We Transfers. Well, that was too easy, as even though they had the .tif files and could manipulate .pdfs, they couldn't or wouldn't for whatever reason make the files into .pdfs.

Night two, made the .pdfs, which was really easy since I had made sure the files were sorted. Feels like busywork rather than anything creative. Sent those back overnight only to receive the artist proofs the next morning, with the pages resized, something I told them I wasn't going to do (talk about the busywork that would be).

So, night three did a precursory look at the pages. If they used the same ones I had sent them and kept them in order, they should be good to go. I checked and even asked Paul to check them as well. So, the thing I wanted to avoid came true, having a crush of work at the end of the Kickstarter. Now, it is in Artithmeric's hands. Since I didn't back it, I'm not sure what the updates are for it.

I do know there's one more thing for me to do connected to it. One of the tier rewards was signed prints, which we'll have to sign. Sorry if you wanted the artist to sign them but he's in Indonesia, so I don't see that happening.

So, three of my nights were sort of compromised with lingering duties for the Kickstarter. However, that wasn't the only thing I worked on.

Finished another version of the pilot script, yes Powers Squared. Edits and punctuations. Actually, made a second set of corrections based on Paul's editing this weekend. Now I'm starting in on the Pitch Packet. A lot of updates to be made before we're done with that.

It's funny how dates sort of sneak up on you. On Saturday, I had started working on a brief essay for our newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl, when I realized that Sunday, today, was May 1st and we publish the first Sunday of the month. Thankfully, the newsletters sort of write themselves but it still has to be written, reviewed and edited. Made it out before 10:30 am, which is sort of the goal.

No new reviews this week, though I did put up an older review I had written, All Through the Night (1942), Bogart's follow up to The Maltese Falcon. I wrote the review back in August 2019 and just now got around to putting it up on the blog, though not published. Fun to look at the photos I had collected over two years ago and put them into the review. Talk about a bit of a brain teaser. I've got a lot more of these to get through during any downtime.

Only one new review this week on Trophy Unlocked. The Saturday morning review was Paul's of The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, a version that had been released only days before. Next week promises to be a busy one, as Paul and Trevor have a new crop of reviews and Second Looks regarding Star Wars films and games.

Worked a lot, that being a relative term, on fka Skylar this week. I really enjoyed getting past that chapter and now it's back to the other story in the book.

And one new query this week, which I squeezed in on Thursday, unofficially Query Night. So, while I added one new one, I also DNRed two others that were past their expiration dates and no communication about them.

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

Sunday, April 24, 2022

A Week in Writing #401 - Funded, Now What?


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

Well, the Kickstarter funded with days to spare; whew! I will admit I don't enjoy the process, as I've detailed in the previous posts during the past month. Often frustrating, we did finally get over the finish. If anyone reading this took the hint and backed us, I want to thank you. As a writer, I want people to want to read what I write. I'm not doing this blog for the heck of it (more on that later). I have goals, just as everyone does, and I consider Powers Squared a brand I helped to create, and as such, I want people to read it.

I'm not quite ready to do a post-mortem on the Kickstarter, I'll actually wait until it has finished before I do that.

Back to the more on that later bit from above. On our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, we had as our guest Doug Neff, the moderator of San Diego Comic-Con's Comic Creator Connection and the author of Epic Win! The Geek's Guide to the Journey from Fan to Creator. You might not realize it, dear reader, but that book was responsible for this blog. In it, Doug talks about building a team to help you with your creativity. Sadly, I didn't have a team like he described. I feel like I'm self-motivated but I didn't have a coach, someone to make sure I was trying to reach my goals. So, I hit on the idea of making the internet my coach, so I started this blog to keep me accountable.

Paul and I had also been through the Comic Creator Connection several times and even though we never were able to make a lasting connection with an artist there, we still kept up with Doug and his husband, Corey, and try to be sure to see them at every con we both attend.

If you're curious about what we talked about, you can listen to it on the Powers Squared website: https://powerssquaredcomicbook.com/oaps, or on PodbeanApple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAmazon MusicTune Inand our LinkedIn page. And coming up on Wednesday the 27th, you can watch it on YouTube at https://youtu.be/ojBM-Cj0q1w but you'll have to wait.

Big week for Trophy Unlocked with three reviews published. Wednesday/Game Day featured Paul's review of the videogame River City Girls. The Saturday Morning Review was Paul's review of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Today (Sunday) the third review went up, Trevor's review of the just-opened The Bad Guys. Not to be outdone, I wrote on for The Batman, which we watched on Friday night but mine will wait for the appropriate time when the blog does a spotlight on Batman. Of course, I'll let you know when it goes up.

After finally getting to the chapter I've been wanting to write for fka Skylar, I've continued working on it more though it never seems to be enough. It's never enough. I'm up to 34,585 words at present with many more to go.

No new queries this week. I think I ran out of steam on Thursday night. It's a window that if I miss it, I'm afraid I miss it. Coach, I'll do better next week.

Well, that seems like a good place to stop. Keep writing and I'll see you again next week.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

A Week in Writing #400 - Almost There


Hope everyone is staying safe, getting boosted if you need it, and, of course, writing. Hope everyone had a happy holiday no matter what you might be celebrating.

I'll get the numbers out of the way since I sense people reading this blog for the most part don't care about them, but we're a hair's breadth away from funding our Kickstarter. I have shaken every tree, sometimes more than once, and there you go, I can't quite raise 1000 pounds on my own. On the other hand, my partners in this, well it's actually their Kickstarter, have brought in sizably less money than I have. I really think they expect me to do most of the heavy lifting and I have as much as I can do in a couple of hours every night and on weekends. I apparently have a limited appeal.

I have learned a couple of things. Most importantly, if you're trying to build up favors by backing other people's Kickstarters, then you can pretty much forget it. I went back to about 13 Kickstarters I had backed in recent memory, some within the past two weeks, and only two reciprocated and backed ours and for far less than I backed theirs.

I've learned that you get as much credit for the lowest amount as you do for a moderate amount. So, unless there is something I really want in print, it's the first tier for me.

I've also found that people will say they'll back you and then "forget" to actually do it. Or they'll tell you they can't because they're short at the moment, which is a bit of a frivolous argument since you can back someone for $1 and still get credit for backing them. It's not that the money comes out of your bank account right away, it has to fund first, and then, if you're paying by credit card, which you have to, then that $1 doesn't come due for another 30 days after that.

I know I sound bitter because I kind of am. This is the part of the Kickstarter process that I hate, the feeling like you're being judged as worthy or not.

This was made clear to me when I went on a show the other night. It was other creators discussing their Kickstarters. I got the sense that I was an intruder at someone else's club and my camera didn't work but I persisted. They showed the Kickstarter, I gave a brief explanation about it, and answered the one question that was asked. One of the other creators said something to the effect of "I can't back that but look at this" and then made a visual joke using a black mask as if it were the beard of another creator on the call. Not a great way to build up your confidence. That said, I netted 12 pounds from the evening, as three of the creators on the call backed us.

On the other side of the equation, we did a similar Kickstarter, at least for a Graphic Novel for the first five issues, about two and a half years ago. We funded at a much higher amount, too. And, even though we rewrote most of the book for this one and paid for new covers, I think that plays into it, too. Even family doesn't want to get pinched twice, I guess.

But we'll fund, I know that. I can still back it and put it over the top, but I've been trying to let others have that honor. And the other creators who ignored me can pretty much write off any future funding from me. It may sound petty but I'm keeping a list.

We are moving forward on Issue #21, the conclusion of the "Mission: Istanistan" story arc, which finds Marty and Eli called in to help the U.S. military with a rogue nation's WMD. Look for it in a couple of years, at the rate we're releasing. We're planning to release three more issues this year, "The Imposter" issues 13 and 14, as well as a one-shot "How They Met" issue #15. No dates have been set just yet.

Onto other writings. I finally got to that chapter I've been talking about for a couple of weeks now in fka Skylar. It didn't come off as good as I had it in my head, they never do, but at least I got it down and can go back later when I finally edit this puppy. And I have no idea where I am with respect to the book's length. Still more to write, but I have been trying to work on it in between messaging within Facebook groups.

No new review from me this week. It may sound weird but you can blame my lawn for that, or more exactly, my new lawn. I know what you're saying, a new lawn in Southern California in the middle of a drought, you cad, how could you? Well, I haven't had one in about ten years or more and I finally decided I wanted to put one down before there is no more water. And I'm putting down a drought grass to boot. So after it gets set, I only have to water it every so often rather than three times a week for 15 minutes as someone at a nursery told us we'd have to do with some grasses.

The reason there was no movie was that the delivery, which was supposed to happen between 8 and 10 in the morning, didn't happen until almost 6 pm at night. By the time all was said and done and they put the sod in that evening, it was too late for a movie with dinner. Instead of a new review, I moved one I had written sometime back for Gulliver's Travels (1939) up on the blog for future consideration.

I was the coveted Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked this week with Crime School (1938) starring Humphrey Bogart and the Dead End Kids. Trevor's review of Spirit of the North: Enhanced Edition was the Wednesday Gameday review.

No new queries this week, as I was being humiliated on the internet, see above.

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