Sunday, June 4, 2023

A Week in Writing #459 - A Pretty Busy Week

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

A lot happened this week, so, let's get to it.

I guess the big news is that we hired a new colorist for Powers Squared. Our current artist, Julia Canon, was handling both the art and the coloring, which proved to be too much. She suggested three people that she had worked with before who were possibly intersted in the position. I sent them a test, a page from a future issue and gave them ten days to complete it. Two did and on Friday's OAPS, we sat down with Julia, Rachel and Trevor to decide which of the two to go with or if we would still need to keep looking.

Well, the group voted and we chose Jennifer Moreno as the fifth colorist on the book. Actually, she's the sixth but that's a tale for another time. We're going to introduce her on our June 16th OAPS, but you're among the first to know.

I also wrote the Powers Squared newsletter, The Hound Dogs' Howl, this week and sent that out this morning. Since it's a wrap up the month of May and the hiring took place in June, the new hire isn't mentioned but will be featured next month. I've given up asking you to sign up for it, as that doesn't seem to work.

We are having a new release on June 14th, Mocha and Raven, Part 2, our 17th issue. You can find where to buy it at The Campus Store, if you're so inclined.

For Trophy Unlocked, I wrote a 2000+ word review today for Anna Karenina (1935). Don't know when it will be published. Busy week on that blog with Paul's review today of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, a movie we watched at 9 am on Saturday.

The Saturday morning review, was mine for Five Star Final. And if that wasn't enough, there was a Wednesday is Game Day review of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake written by Trevor.

What would a busy week be without news on the query front, and, well, bad news at that. I didn't have to wait long this time. The query I sent on May 25 was answered on May 30th. Not suprisingly, the answer was "no".

Thank you for your query letter.

I'm sorry not to offer to read more of your work or offer to represent you, but it doesn't sound like a good fit for my list.

Publishing is very subjective, and this is just one opinion. I encourage you to get other opinions.

And let's not forget about Skylar, I actually did about 1000 words on that as well this week. Can't not work on it.

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

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A Week in Writing #458 - Another Setback

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

What's a week without a setback?

I can't confirm it, but I think the panel I proposed for San Diego Comic-Con is a no-go. I don't know that for sure but all signs seem to point to it. I was basically proposing the same panel that I did at Los Angeles Comic-Con, but I'm guessing there is more competition with SDCC. The reason I don't know for sure is that it appears you only hear back if they accept your proposal and people have started to hear back last Thursday and Friday.

Speaking of not hearing back (see the seque there), I had to DNR a query that I sent on February 9th, as the 90 day window to hear back from the agent had expired. I spent a little time last week looking up other possible agents on my list and I found a new one to query.

I overslept today and spent the morning playing catch-up. On Sundays, I post a new peek-of-the-week and upload the video from Friday night, update the website, schedule a couple of posts for later in the week, and update Pinterest as well. Well, today, I had two videos to upload (our Friday OAPS for Wednesday and our third taste-testing video; Cherry sodas from Galcos) and, in addition, a new post on Trophy Unlocked to promote (we'll get to that in a minute) and then some anniversary posts for Twitter for movies and games released today. Normally, I get through those in about an hour but this morning it took like three. That's what you get for sleeping in, which is something I rarely do.

I need to work on a review this week for Gold Dust Gertie, a film we watched on Saturday night. This morning's new post on the blog was Trevor's second look at the Super Mario Bros. movie to coincide with it's 30 anniversary. Speaking of movies based on games, the Saturday Morning Review was Paul's review of the original Dungeon & Dragons movie.

The news on Powers Squared is that we had our May Team Meeting on Friday night, with the big news that we're looking to hire a new colorist. Their first work will appear on Issue 24, "Gashadokuro", which Trevor wrote and is also Julia's first as artist.

Later that night, Paul and I did an unboxing video of the three new issues; the earliest of which, Issue 17, "Mocha and Raven, Part 2", drops on June 14th. This prompted us to change the cover on the Ka-Blam versions. I had added a border which didn't seem to look as good as the ones without one. Not sure if that's going to complicate the release on their platform, Indy Planet, or not. I'm hopeful but cautious.

As always, did some work this week on Skylar but, as usual, not enough to share.

This coming week, I also need to work on the next newsletter, which will go out next Sunday. Never too late to sign up; enroll today at

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

Sunday, May 21, 2023

A Week in Writing #457 - What's a Week Without a Rejection?

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

What else is new but another rejection. This is a query I sent on March 23rd with a 4-6 week window to hear back. I kept it active until, of course, I received the rejection:

Thank you so much for your query! I have had an opportunity to review your query, and although intriguing, I'm afraid it's not quite right for the list I'm building at this time. Since it is so vital for an agent to be just as passionate about your story as you are, I feel it best that I bow out at this time.

I welcome future queries on exciting new projects from those who have submitted to me previously, so please keep me in mind. Otherwise, I definitely encourage you to continue submitting to others, as what may not work for one person may work perfectly for another. Out of all the wonderful agents you could submit to, I thank you so much for trusting me to look at your work, and thinking of me for representation. I wish you the best of luck in placing this with another agent.

Is it just me, or do all rejections sort of sound the same. "Thank you for your submission", "not right for my list", "best of luck" I feel like I've read those before. There is never anything deeper than that. I've had a few in the past that I was close on and they gave more feedback but lately they sound pretty much the same. But maybe I'm just thinking about the bad news aspect. And I do want to give this agent credit for actually writing back. Most just sort of ghost you with their rejection.

I did send a new one out, so fingers crossed and all that.

My review of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. Spoiler, I've played the game a couple of times but I really enjoyed the movie. I'm working on a review of What! No Beer? but I had hoped to do one on Too Many Kisses, a film I had caught on TCM but somehow the recording got erased before I could.

It seems like every week I'm having some new internet calamity; the website has had issues, etc. Well, this week, the entire internet became a problem as my laptop stopped connecting, at least through wi-fi. I had two virtual visits with Geek Squad but the issue wasn't resolved. Now I'm using a 50-foot ethernet cable while waiting for an in-house visit later in the week. I'm not sure what caused it to stop working and I don't know what the agents fixed or didn't fix, as they tend to disappear into the ether after the computer reboots.

That said, we did do a podcast on Friday, a comic book club meeting to discuss Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi. You can listen to it here or wait for the video on Wednesday.

Next week will be a Team Meeting and things seem to be back on track with Powers Squared. After some discussion, our new artist, Julia Canon, decided that she couldn't handle both the art and the coloring, so we're looking for a new colorist. She suggested three people who were interested, so we sent them a little test page to color.

Paul and I sat down this week and submitted issues #17 and 18 to Kindle. In their infinite wisdom, 18, which comes out in September was the first to get cleared. Haven't heard yet about 17, which comes out in June. If you're curious, you can see a preview here. If you do look, and you should, you'll see that the cover is four thumbnails. That goes along with the new peek-of-the-week.

When I can, I've been working on Skylar, the little project that gets no respect. There's always a time crunch and that book gets the short shrift.

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

Sunday, May 14, 2023

A Week in Writing #456 - One Up, Three Down

Hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing. Happy Mother's Day as well, if it applies to you.

You might have noticed that I haven't been talking about the actual process of making the comic book, Powers Squared, lately. That's pretty easily explained by the fact that we've been in sort of a lull, production-wise. Our new artist was our former colorist and had some catchng up to do before she could begin working on the new issue. The wrinkle for that issue, #24 "Gashadokuro", was written by Trevor, his first to write alone. The companion issue, #25, was written by Paul, but let's not get ahead of ourselves with that one.

It appears we're headed toward hiring a new colorist, as our new artist doesn't have the bandwidth to do both the drawing and the coloring, so there will be another process to get through to find a replacement. I'll report on that when it starts, but I'm hoping for sooner rather than later.

Just to confuse things, we did videos with our artist emeritus the last two weekends. Both videos have been about Free Comic Book Day: What's in My Bag,  Part 1 and What's in My Bag, Part 2 - The Discussion. In the first video, which we made a week ago Saturday, was about what issues we picked up at our local comic book store; and the one we made this past Saturday was about what we read and our thoughts about them. You'll have to watch to see.

And those are additional videos to our normal podcast, which this week was about Summer Movies 2023. We'll getting back into comic books next week with our next Comic Book Club and the next week, our team meeting.

Did my usual query this week but also DNRd three that seem to have outlived the timetable of the agency where they were submitted. I'm sure I'll probably hear something more official from one of them in the coming months but for now the queries are dead, as far as I'm concerned.

I wrote a review of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which we watched on Friday night. And, no, no knowledge of the board game it's based on is required. Not sure when it will appear but probably soon as it is still out in theaters.

Busy week on Trophy Unlocked, starting with my review on Monday of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 3. Wednesday was Game Day with Trevor's review of  Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, followed on Friday with his review of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. The Saturday Morning Review was Paul's for The Angry Bird Movie, which I believe is the last review from the movies we watched during our recent plane rides to and from Dallas in April.

Work continues on Skylar. I won't say rewrite since I haven't yet finished the draft and I'm to a point where I will probably be deleting more than I'm adding for awhile, so no word count this time as it will probably only go down.

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

Sunday, May 7, 2023

A Week in Writing #455 - Getting Things Ready

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

I think I spent the past week on the business of writing and not so much on the craft, and I'm afraid I'm not 100% done either. My main focus this week was to get the next three issues ready for printing; not an arduous adventure but one that took longer than I had hoped. Some of it has to do with working after hours with businesses in Florida and England. Best to hope for is twenty-four hours later to hear back, but that's not always the case.

Artithmeric, which is outside of London, has a 24 hour hold on .pdfs you upload before you can submit them for proofs. And granted that hold doesn't necessarily last that long but for me it might as well. They were very quick about releasing them but, even 11:35 PM is after hours for me, so it has to wait until the next evening. And it doesn't help if you upload the wrong .pdf, which I did for one issue. Granted, they caught it, but we're back to the 24 hour cycle, no delayed a day by my error.

Ka-Blam, the Florida printer, requires that you pay first before you can upload the .pdfs, so it's at minimum a two-day process for me while I wait for the invoice to be generated.

Still need to do Kindle and GlobalComix; the former is much more difficult to work with than the latter. Kindle, which used to be called ComiXology, has an approval delay in the process though they are much more strict than the others and take much longer. We had one issue that seemed to take a month to get approved and by then, the release date had come and gone. But of course, the sales make up for it, which is a lie.

The other work project I took on was getting the newsletter ready to go. And, yes, here comes the monthly ask for subscribers. You have to "enroll" at San Romero Community College to receive the newsletter. It's Free, of course, and it would really make me feel better if you did, if you indeed care about my well-being, dear reader.

I've got myself in a bit of a reading pickle. Saturday was Free Comic Book Day and we did a video with our former artist, Rachel Wells, What's in my Bag? FCBD 2023, Part 1. Well, now I have to read five comic books by next Saturday and I read about five to ten pages a night, so I feel doomed to fail. And I have to read another book, Made In Abyss, for our Comic Book Club and I just got my chance to start last week as well. (I finally finished Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which I feel like I had been reading for months.

Worked more on the pilot outline. I guess I'm ready for it to be reviewed, I just haven't submitted it yet.

Did some work on Skylar this week. It's a bit of a cheat, as I wrote the ending, which had been swirling around in my head for a couple of weeks, so I thought I might as well get it down in Word. Things never read as well on the screen as they sounded when you're driving around thinking about it, but at least the first draft of that part of the book is finished. Now, it's just the next 10 to 20,000 words in between. Piece of cake, right?

One new query this week and so far, knock wood, no new rejections. Of course, that doesn't mean I haven't been, as I'm sure some time frame has elapsed on one of them, but I like to think I haven't been rejected yet on those; gives me hope.

Seeing as it was FCBD, my review of Dick Tracy (1945) went up as the Saturday Morning review on Trophy Unlocked. Now, I'm being tasked with writing the review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a movie we saw this morning, so I should probably get on with that.

Keep writing, and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

A Week in Writing #454 - You Don't Need to Tell Me Three Times

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

Okay, I get it. I received a rejection notice on April 4, which I wrote about in that week's post; it was part of a flurry of rejections (two) I received while travelling. I had actually sent pages to the agent, upon his request, and had been waiting an appropriate amount of time before bugging following up with him. The rejection letter sort of stopped that.

Well, just to make sure I knew I was rejected, Martin Literary Management sent me a second rejection this past Thursday. Interestingly, it turns out the agent is no longer at MLM. Did that play a part in his rejection? I'll never know. At the time, I felt like the letter was based on the first email rather than the submission and I thought it was a form letter. Now, they're two for two:

Dear David,

Thank you for submitting the requested additional materials for your project. I regret to inform you that ______ ____ is no longer affiliated with Martin Literary Management. Your material is no longer under consideration, but we wish you all the best in your literary endeavors and hope that this development does not discouraging you from pursuing your goals


This one sounds like they received the materials I sent at least. I don't imagine anyone read them. And, no, there was no signatory on the email, just the logo for the agency. Form? I believe so; probably sent to everyone who had submitted to the agent. So Martin Literary is a no-go. You don't need to tell me three times.

I did submit a new query this past week. This one requests a compelling letter, a paragraph about yourself and the first chapter. Hopefully, what I sent fits the bill.

And, no, I haven't yet queried Past Present. I know, I know, I should but I'm still not happy with the query letter for it.

Spent part of the week working on two projects, Skylar and the Powers Squared Pilot outline. With the former, I'm up to nearly 65,000 words, still way short of my goal but little by little I'll get there. Still not happy enough with the latter to share but I think it's better than it has been.

Working on a review of  Odds Against Tomorrow (1959). As it happens, as part of the drain the DVR, this Harry Belafonte film was there and felt like it would be an appropriate time to watch it with his recent passing. I plan to work on it some more tonight and this week, though that won't be the main project. Trevor's review for Lyle, Lyle Crocodile was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. No GameDay review this week.

This coming week, I think I need to spend time on two projects, both for Powers Squared. The first is the upcoming newsletter which goes out next Sunday. Even though it's pretty much laid out there are still articles to write. I think this month, we'll be doing a write up on the Mario Bros., who are, as it turns out, fraternal twins.

The second project is getting ready for the next issue, which we've scheduled for the middle of June, so I need to get proofs, etc. and start arranging for reviews and release. I'm also going to go ahead and do the same for the other two issues we're releasing this year, at least with the proofs. I don't think that will take terribly long but there's always something that comes up along the way and it has to be done.

Speaking of being done, I think I am for now. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

A Week in Writing #453 - What's Up with Me and Social Media?

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

I don't know what it is with me and social media but now I'm having issues with LinkedIn. If you're a new reader of this missive, I had issues with connecting my website via GoDaddy to Facebook. Those issues cleared up without much help from either GoDaddy or Facebook; I'm sure about the former, but I never heard back from the latter at all.

Now, I'm apparently unable to post on LinkedIn. I have my account and my business page for Powers Squared and make three to four posts to each every week. Usually, it has to do with something on the website or a new podcast or video I'm trying to promote. As an example, each Friday when I post the podcast on PodBean, there is a social share distribution which pushes it out to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn, but to my account not Powers Squared's page. On Fridays, I like to update the post to my account with some tags and then copy it to the page. That worked great until this past Friday when instead of providing a place to make the post I got a black screen.

LinkedIn gave me the usual advise, clear the cache and history and then try it in Incognito. Sadly, it didn't work. They were kind enough to make the post for me but they're also escalating it. I haven't heard back since Saturday, but I'm trying to remain positive. But why do I keep having these issues?

Finished another review this weekend, for Speedway (1928), a silent melodrama starring William Haines and Anita Page. I thought it might be a good one to post prior to the Indianapolis 500 race in May. Part of the drain the DVR Saturdays.

The Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked, in honor of Earth Day, was Paul's review of WALL-E. The Wednesday Game Day review was actually a movie based on a video game, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which we had watched the previous Sunday; I added a A Non-Gamer's Perspective at the end.

Things seem to be slow this month with Powers Squared. Our new artist, Julia Canon, is adjusting to the new role and we should have pages by the first week in May. I don't mind the getting into the groove change over but I don't want to see production drop off so significantly. I'd like to at least get the next two issues done by the end of the year. Our weekly podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, dealt with this in our monthly team meeting.

We're still working towards a June release of Issue #17 and I'm putting up peek-of-the-weeks related. This week's though goes all the way back to Issue #1 and Billy O'Shea's first appearance, since we recreate that moment in the new issue.

More writing on Skylar but again I think I'm editing out as much as I'm adding, if that makes sense. I'm hovering just below 64,000 words with 80,000 being the goal. I'm changing things as I go and hope that I'm making improvements as I do.

On the query front, one new one, no rejections but a couple of DNRs. I've got 8 out there. As they say, it only takes one.

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

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Week in Writing #452 - A Week of Lapses

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

I seemed to have a week of mental lapses when it came to the business side of writing, by that, I mean social media posts about Powers Squared. As the old saying goes, I was a dollar short and a day late all week long.

The crux of this were the usual posts I make during the week. On Sunday mornings, I schedule posts for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for Tuesday's peek-of-the-week feature and for Wednesday's YouTube video release. These, of course, don't really get much beyond those platforms unless you repost them to various groups, which I have been doing fairly religiously for several years now. I also add them to other social platforms and LinkedIn, where Powers Squared has a page. For some reason, this practice skipped my mind on Tuesday and when it came to Wednesday, I felt awkward reposting both, so I cut back on where I reposted each. I know that might not feel like a big deal, but I think the YouTube video, our Comic Book Club on Stray Dogs, may have suffered, as until today there had only been one view. Not that our numbers are ever really high, but that's particularly low.

I'll blame some of this on the time crunch at the end of the day. My day job doesn't always end smoothly at 6, so it may be later before I'm done. And then I'll usually want to go for a walk, usually my second of the day, to get my step count up. And then my wife and I will watch the evening news. At dinner for the past week, we were watching episodes of The White Lotus, which are about an hour long, so the bit of time I have to write is very limited by then and the social media posts have gotten squeezed out as a result.

I did work pretty much all week on Skylar, but I think the word count may have actually gone down with the updates I'm making. I'm just under 64,000 words and I should hit between the 70,000 to 90,000 word count threshold when I'm done. I think I'm several weeks away from that, though, and then there's the editing, which is the part I really like the most.

I did send out one query this week, but it was very late in the evening before I got it out, like 10:55 pm. And no time for the Past Present one I keep promising to do. One thing that has kept me from the online forms is the question of comparative fiction, or what else is your book like or whatever the question they ask. I was watching a few minutes of the Max series Perry Mason. While I'm not a regular viewer, I do see parallels with my J.D. Barrister stories. While they deal with a case, the show, like my books, also deal with what is going on with the main character, i.e., relationships, etc. Of course, mine is not about a lawyer and the time frames are decades apart but I think there is fertile ground there. Of course, we'll see when I try it.

We had someone we would consider to be a big guest on our podcast, On the Air with Powers Squared, artist Patrick Ballesteros. If you've ever been to San Diego Comic-Con and in Artist Alley, you'll know you're near his table because of the long line in front of it. Trevor had taken a class from him and we've known each other for several years now, but we were all surprised that he accepted our invitation. Hopefully, he'll publicize it, too. I think we all thought it was a good interview. The link above will get you to the audio and the video goes up on Wednesday on YouTube or you can watch the recording on for the next 10 days or so.

My review of The Real Charlie Chaplin was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. This was a movie that I watched over two flights during our trip a week ago to and from Dallas. The movie isn't that long, but I had only watched part of it one way and finished it on the return trip. We sort of rushed it out, since today (April 16) is Charlie Chaplin's birthday. See the tie-in?

The Wednesday/Game Day post was actually a review hub for the video game series Hitmanwhich Paul has reviewed.

I'm currently working on a review for The Last Command (1928), which we watched on Saturday night. I'm also supposed to add to Paul's review of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, you know a non-gamers point of view.

Not much is happening at the moment with the actual Powers Squared book. Our new artist is still working through things and says she should have 5 to 6 pages this month. I must admit I'm getting anxious now that we've passed the midway point of the month and we haven't seen anything yet. But I have faith.

I did make some updates today to the website, adding a preview, minus cover, for Issue #17, which is coming out in June. The cover is done by the way, but I wanted to save it for a future peek-of-the-week series prior to release.

I'm anxious to try to return to the pilot script that we abandoned several months ago. Still at the outline stage and I want to get back to it.

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

Sunday, April 9, 2023

A Week in Writing #451 - No Queries, Just Rejections

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

For me, this past week was not really condusive to getting a lot of writing done. I was out of town from Monday to Friday back in Dallas, Texas, where I'm originally from, visiting my mother on her birthday. I did manage to get some writing done on Skylar and deal with some things related to Powers Squared but I did not send any queries this past week.

But even though I might not have sent any, that doesn't mean rejections stopped. After not hearing back for so long, I, in fact, got two in the same week.

In early December, one agent had asked me for additional pages, which I sent him. I had been considering asking what was the appropriate time to wait to nudge on a partial but I guess I don't need to. While I was in flight, I received the agent's rejection:

Dear David,

Thank you for your query and interest in representation. I regret to inform you that Martin Literary Management is unable to take you on as a client at this time. As I am sure you are quite aware, we receive hundreds of queries a week and, as such, we must turn down many projects that might have great commercial potential.

Please know that I personally read each and every query and that some of these rejections are based strictly on the subject material, which may not be an appropriate fit for my interests. Some rejections, however, are based on writers not having a good understanding of how to prepare and pitch their work as a query to an agent.

If you are at all disheartened by this rejection, I encourage you to seek out the anecdotes of writers who have garnered a fair amount of success for themselves after enduring what can be, at times, a very grueling process.

This rejection is by no means an assessment of your writing abilities, your creative voice, or to "rain on your parade." I sincerely hope that you will find a way to continue on this journey until you achieve the desired result.

I wish you all the best.


I don't know if it's just me, but this seems like a form letter based on a query, not one based on a partial submission. Don't get me wrong, a rejection is a rejection, but I might have expected a different form letter since he had requested pages (three chapters) four months ago. Based on that, it's hard not to take it as "an assessment of" my "writing abilities". However, his is not the final word and I'm not done trying.

But wait, the rejections kept coming. On Wednesday, I received this from an agent that I had sent the first chapter of the book. It didn't sting too much since I had already DNRed the the query since it had been two months.

Dear David,

Thank you for submitting your book, Broken People, to me and I am very sorry for the delay in responding.

I am afraid that it is not quite right for my list at this point. Due to the volume of submissions I receive, unfortunately I am unable to offer more thorough feedback, much as I would like to!

If you would like to know what we recommend after receiving a rejection, you might find this page useful.

I appreciate you taking the time to submit your work.

Kind Regards,

Curious, I followed the link noted in the email above to What Happens When You Receive A Rejection? I guess this is supposed to make you feel better about being rejected and "help" you improve your writing and your outlook.

But there was this passage:

Think about the types of passes you’re getting from agents. Are they all form rejections or are any of them personalised? If an agent has taken the time to personalise then you’re possibly very close and it might just mean you haven’t found the right agent at the right time (there’s a lot of luck involved in publishing) and you should keep trying. But, if all you’re getting is form rejections then it might be time to take a deeper dive into your submission package and the book itself in order to help you achieve your goals.

So, now I'm left wondering is what I received a form letter? It came back with my original email attached and seemed to be personalized but is that just a fancy form letter? It also makes me wonder do agents really spend time giving useful feedback to writers they're not interested in representing? Given how busy they all are/claim to be, I would be surprised if they do.

As mentioned before, I did manage to squeeze in some time on Skylar, mostly late at night or in the morning waiting for others to get ready. I don't have a word count for you on how much I did but I am making some progress; we're up to 63,801 words so far.

The Powers Squared work was related to pages from our colorist, Julia Canon, which arrived on Monday and which Paul and I managed to look at that night. I also had some communications with our former artist, Rachel Wells, who is doing some work on the mascot for me, which she had originally designed.

We landed back in L.A. on Friday afternoon and made it home in time to do our podcast On the Air with Powers Squared. This time it was a Comic Book Club meeting with Rachel, Julia and Trevor joining Paul and me to discuss Stray Dogs by Trish Forstner and Tony Fleecs. You can listen to it now at or watch it on Wednesday on YouTube at

Since we've been home, I've managed to write one review for a documentary I watched on the plane The Real Charlie Chaplin and start another one for Clash of the Wolves (1925) starring Rin Tin Tin. I'm hoping The Real Charlie Chaplin can go up before his birthday next week.

The reviews kept coming on Trophy Unlocked. The Wednesday Game Day review was The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog and Saturday's Morning Review was Puss in Boots (2011), both written by Paul.

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

Sunday, April 2, 2023

A Week in Writing #450 - Skylar Taking Shape

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

I don't usually lead with my work on my novel Skylar so I'm going to change that now. No, I'm not done, nor am I close, but I did have a good week with the book, getting in close to 3000 new words in, maybe more, including over 1400 today, as a matter of fact. Some of it comes down to timing, either having it or choosing to write when the opportunity comes up.

Anyway, I've gotten through a couple of points in the story that have been rattling around in my head for awhile and I've set up what could be a nice bit at the end. See, I'm not calling it a twist but I think it will make a nice payoff when the time comes.

It's hard to write too much about something without actually talking too much about the story itself and I'd like to keep as much under wraps as I can.

On the opposite side of the scale, I spent a good part of the week working on the new issue of The Hound Dogs' Howl, our monthly newsletter. A lot of it is part of a form I've established but there is some writing involved, including an introduction, a story about twins in the news, Joyce and Raissa De Haas of Double Dutch Drinks; a Heard Around Campus segment (since this supposed to be about a college) and some miscellaneous bits here and there. Paul and Trevor add a recommendation, this month The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Oh, I could send you a link but I'd rather have you sign up for it, you know, take it out for a spin.

We're sort of in a slow patch for the book, as our colorist turned artist, Julia Canon, is finishing up her coloring work before she starts on being the artist full-time. I'm hoping that transition begins in April.

Well, I did it. I proposed my panel to San Diego Comic-Con. I'm not even sure if the window is officially open, I was just told April, so I sent in my one paragraph version. I'm not sure what else I'll have to provide. There are supposedly forms but I don't know if there is pre-judgement on the idea first or they send the paperwork and make their judgement then. The important thing is that it's in, so we'll see how it goes. There's nothing wrong with trying, only inaction.

On the business side, I had a bit of a scare with the website. While I was updating various groups about our recent peek-of-the-week, I found that there was a problem with our website. Apparently, something had gone wrong with the certification and Google was labelling it a dangerous website. Well, it took some waiting, but Go Daddy did fix it and told me how to in the future. But there's nothing worse than sending out links that scare people away.

No new reviews from me this week again. Rather than watch something new, we decided to watch Safety Last, the Harold Lloyd classic that was celebrating it's 100th anniversary on April 1. And yes, we did review it about 10 years ago. This week's Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was Trevor's review of Shrek Forever After.

One new query, again, only for Broken People. I did work on my paragraph long synopsis for Past Present, but I have yet to test the waters, though I did do some work on putting together a list of agents to query. Basically, the same form letter will be sent with the book bits changing. I'll keep you posted.

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

Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Week in Writing #449 - Report from the Front: WonderCon 2023

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

Well, it's that time of year again, the start of comic book conventions. I know that while every city or town of any size, it seems, has a convention of some sort, we tend to stick to the big two, WonderCon and Comic-Con, mostly because they're local. I wish I could attend more but there is only so much time and money to go around.

This past weekend was WonderCon 2023 in Anaheim. My sons and co-collaborators on Powers Squared attended on Saturday. The drive down took about an hour and then it took another hour to park the car. So, there was at least one panel I missed. However, I did attend one panel that I believe speaks to my situation and might speak to yours as well, should you be a part-time creator like myself.

The panel was called Balancing Your Day Job and Your Passion Project: A Survial Guide, hosted by Mallory Shoemaker and Jordon Dene Ellis. If you were really interested in Mallory and Jordon, then this was probably the panel for you. A lot of the time was spent talking about their own experiences, which while not universal ones are similar to most part-time creators. Too many ideas, too many projects and not enough time. Neither, I take, are making a living off their projects as both are happily fully employed at Adobe.

The take away from the panel were five tips:

1) Done is Better than Perfect

2) Don't monetize everything

3) Take Breaks. You need them.

4) Pick and Choose your projects

5) A Day Job Doesn't = Failure

These are all good things to keep in mind, though I wouldn't mind monetizing something I'm working on.

The fun part of cons, at least for me, is learning new things and meeting friends who are also there. We did manage to walk pretty much the entire floor and ran into several people that we've known from past cons, including Don Nguyen, Stephen Silver, Steven E. Gordon, and Patrick Ballesteros. We didn't talk to Patrick, he's always very busy, but he did, later in the day, email us and agree to be on our podcast in April, so there's something to look forward to.

Now, it's back to the real world and remembering #5 from above, not feeling like a failure.

Because of WonderCon, no new reviews from me this week. My film day is Saturday and after walking around, accumulating nearly 10 miles worth of steps, no one was in the state that could take watching a movie. We'll get them next week.

That doesn't mean Trophy Unlocked closed up shop. The Saturday Morning Review was Trevor's review of The Aristocats (1970).

I know the official name of this blog is 1000 Words a Day (Easily to complete the url), it is rare that I hit that feat. It is more of a goal. When I'm writing a review that seems to be fairly easy to hit, but with fiction it can be a bit harder. However, earlier this week, working on the oft-overlooked Skylar, I hit the mark and went a little beyond as well one night. It was a matter of having time and starting early, something that didn't happen for most of the rest of the week. I did however, tackle some of the things I've been alluding to in this blog about the story, so there is more work to do.

I started having some second thoughts about Past Present, not so much the story but some of the situations in the story that might need to be updated to keep up with technology, which has changed since I first wrote it. The same about Broken People, but for that one, I'm waiting to see if I get a bite before going ahead and making any updates. That said, or written in this case, I didn't send out a query for Past Present, though I did for Broken People. I also DNRd a couple of queries from January that would seem to have expired without feedback from an agent.

Our podcast this past week, was our March 2023 Team Meeting. Artist Julia Canon and letterer (and co-creator) Trevor Hankins joined Paul and me to discuss the state of things and where we want things to go. We're talking Kickstarter but that will be much later in the year. If you're curious about the state of the book, you can listen here or watch it on Wednesday here.

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

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Week in Writing #448 - New Release

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

Okay, the big news of the week, at least for me, was the release of Issue #16 of Powers Squared; "Mocha and Raven Part 1". Not that it set the world on fire, at least not yet, but I always hope the new one will somehow get noticed.

The review that came out this week on First Comics News was positive. You can read it here. For the first time, in quite awhile, I tried running ads for the release on both Facebook and Instagram. Not sure that really made a difference. But in case you're wondering, here it is:

And, yes, even at this size the QR Code works. Go ahead, try it, you know you want to.

On the subject of querying, I had managed to send one new query on Thursday and on Sunday morning, received my first out-and-out rejection of the year; what a great way to start the day:

"Thank you for thinking to query me with your project. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like a good fit for my list at this time. Again, thank you, and best of luck finding an agent.

Best, "

I won't name the agent, since that's what this blog is about but I wouldn't really consider that more than a form letter. With this agent, I did send the first ten pages of the book but I don't know what didn't work for them (and I'm using the royal them). I will probably never know.

That said, I did not, again this week, branch out and query for Past Present. Again, my sticking point has been the paragraph or two in the query letter describing the book. I think I managed to get past that this weekend. It's probably still a little long but I think it could work for me this week. We'll see and I will report back.

We completed Steven E. Gordon week on Trophy Unlocked this weekend with our fourth review of a film he's associated with. Trevor's review of Anastasia (1997) was the Saturday Morning Review. Prior to that on Monday, we started with my review of The Lord of the Rings (1978), followed by Paul's review of The Black Cauldron on Wednesday and Paul's review of Oliver & Company on Friday. The capper of the week was our interview with Mr. Gordon on Friday night. We had actually recorded the interview in the middle of January when it was convenient for him. You can listen to it here or wait until Wednesday and watch it on YouTube here. Either way, it's about an hour long and covers his career as an animator and director.

And if that wasn't enough, today we posted a review of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which we actually saw in a theater, our second such film this year, the first being Casablanca.

I also wrote a review this week for Talk About a Stranger (1952), a rather short film that I recorded several years ago, I believe the last time it was on TCM's Summer of Darkness. As always, a review for the future.

I'm still getting used to Daylight Savings Time, so the output this week on Skylar was maybe less than I would have desired. Still working through it though.

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

Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Week in Writing #447 - Here We Go Again!

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

This week starts with Daylight's Savings Time. I'm not going to make a political statement here about the practice only that I accept it but know that it will probably affect me for a week or so; it does every time they monkey with the time. I'm not sure yet how it will affect me this week but, as always, you're forewarned.

The big news for me and the creative team behind Powers Squared, is that we're releasing our next issue this coming week. "Mocha and Raven, Part 1" was originally written in 2014. I honestly don't remember that but it does show that ideas can take years to come to fruition. I do know that it was in the plans from the beginning to bring Billy O'Shea, who gets a brief mention in Issue #1, back at some point.

There were several rewrites of the script from that time, sixteen in total and the actual production began in July 2021 and there were some updates right up to this year before we filed for the copyright. So eight and a half years later, we're finally getting the story out. As always, I hope that you'll take a look at when it drops on Wednesday. It will be available in both print and digital with links at I hope you'll check it out.

I did work more this week on Skylar, which is something I haven't been able to say every week. I've had some thoughts that I'm getting to that will change the story when I get to them, and I think, make it a better story. I won't give an amount this week because it really doesn't matter more than actually working on the story.

I also sent a new quert for Broken People but I didn't make it with Past Present. I wasn't happy with the query letter. Hard to come up with a paragraph to explain the plot but I'm working on it.

No review this week, but I've begun a new one but just barely, She Done Him Wrong. We managed to squeeze the film in last night but I was in no shape to get past downloading some images and looking it up online. The actual writing will have to wait until this week.

That doesn't mean that there were no reviews on Trophy Unlocked. My review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was our Saturday Morning Review, and our last pre-Oscar one. All-in-all, we reviewed 11 films that were nominated. I'm updating them during the awards for our Academy Awards review hub.

Speaking of Trophy Unlocked, next week, we're featuring films that animator Steven E. Gordon worked on during his career, including The Lord of the RingsThe Black Cauldron, Oliver and Company, and Anastasia. Steven will be our guest on our podcast On the Air with Powers Squared on Friday. Tune in at 6 pm at to watch.

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

Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Week in Writing #446 - Internet Ads and QR Codes

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

I don't know about you but there is a lot of non-writing that goes into writing, at least for me. (And, I'm not counting this blog.)

Everyday this week, I've posted on Twitter, anniversary dates for reviews on Trophy UnlockedI do this every morning between getting home from my morning walk and getting ready for the day. I've tried to shortcut this process by keeping track of the ones I've done in the past, so for the most part it's a case of copy paste and find the image to go with it. I do try to occassionally update the hashtags and stuff but for the most part things don't change too much. My hope is that it drives eyes to the blog, which I think it does. I also post on Facebook and Twitter when there are new posts on the blog, which is at least once a week, sometimes, like this week, twice, but we'll get to that later.

I also post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram three times a week for Powers Squared. Every Sunday, I post a new peek-of-the-week. On Tuesdays, the posts go up. I set these posts on Sundays through GoDaddy. [Note: For whatever reason, the connection to Facebook had stopped working, please see previous posts where I called this out. I had tried everything I could think to do, including contacting GoDaddy but nothing had worked. GoDaddy wasn't much help. They pointed me to Facebook, which I contacted but never heard back. I had pretty much given up on it but this morning, wonder of wonders, the connection was there.] Once it posts on Facebook, I think share to varrious groups. I'll also post this to our LinkedIn page and any other social media we're on.

Every Sunday morning, I also upload the video from our Friday podcast On the Air with Powers Squared to our YouTube channel. These are scheduled for Wednesdays at 2:30pm to premiere. We've been told this is a good time to post new videos. I want social media posts to go along with it, so I post something on Sundays that will go out at the same time as the video premieres. Paul and I also shoot a short video on Fridays that I put up on Instagram later on Wednesday, again, pointing them to the video on our YouTube Channel. The same process once it appears on Facebook and other social media, including LinkedIn.

Every Friday, I try to post about our upcoming podcast that night. Once the podcast is done, I update LinkedIn making sure that our Powers Squared page gets updated. This past week, Paul and I discussed the topic of "Separating the Art from the Artist", something to check out on Wednesday, or you can listen to it now.

All this leads me back to the headline. With an upcoming release, Issue 16, "Mocha and Raven, Part 1", drops on March 15. I got the bright idea that maybe we should do an ad on all these social media  sites. So I put something together and got feedback from the other creatives involved with the issue.  Today, I got the bright idea to add a QR Code to the ad. This I found not that hard to do. So, as a preview, here's the QR to the Campus Store on our website:

Let me know if it works for you.

That all said, let's talk about what this blog is supposed to be about, which is my writing.

Well, no new review this week. Saturday night turned into a family event, out of town relatives, an acapella performance at UCLA and vegan dinner, you know not the usual but good fun. So no movie, no review. That said, I did have the Saturday Morning review, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. This week, we had a Game Day review, Trevor's for God of War: Ragnarök.

One new query for Broken People. I'm still, for some reason, holding back on Past, Present, but I will do one this coming week.

I did work several times this week on Skylar. I'm still in clean up mode, but I am taking advantage of any moment I can to work on it, it's just the word count probably doesn't reflect it, yet.

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