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: 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 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 and also posted it that day on YouTube at 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 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.