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.