Friday, November 9, 2012

Where to grab Blackburn Burrow ...

Today was pretty exciting - I was interviewed by a local news anchor regarding Blackburn Burrow and Amazon Studios. It's exciting that things are still moving along!

I realize I should probably make it easier for everyone to pick up new copies of the comic, so here you go -- links to the first two issues. Get the Kindle version if you have a Kindle or an iPad or tablet with the Kindle app (the app is free) -- it really looks great!

This is the link to read the comic in the browser:
Issue 1
Issue 2

Links to the comic for Kindle at
Issue 1
Issue 2

I'm also ecstatic that I was able to rewrite the opening to Shiloh's Way ina manner that finally makes me happy. The whole original intro was driving me nuts.

Anyway, this is the part where I promise to blog more! No, really ... I promise!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Did I miss it?!??

So, Blackburn Burrow blew up yesterday, and my blog missed it.

You know, this is the problem having a real job while trying to get a real job writing while still working in my writing and ... well, you know -- playing video games. In other words, the blog needs more attention, especially if I want to really keep everyone up to date.

So, here's the deal: Amazon Studios released the first issue of the Blackburn Burrow comic based on my screenplay! It's a great step in the right direction of selling the screenplay and building interest in it at the same time. It was written by Ron Marz with art by Matthew Dow Smith.

Pretty much everyone covered the release, from the LA Times to Bloody Disgusting. Even better, it shot up to #1 in the Kindle store for free comics/graphic novels. Twitter had tons of messages flitting about and the people in the forums I visited really seemed to enjoy the issue.

It is quite a bit different from my screenplay, but that's Hollywood. It will continue to evolve and change. This really makes me want to complete the novel I'm working on of the story, not to force the movie that way, but just so that the original vision lives on. I'm fine with the changes. It's exciting to see how people deal with the characters I created.

It's been fun coming into contact with some amazingly talented people, too. Idnlove to work with someon them, but I'm so terrible at promoting myself and pushing for those sorts of endeavors. I really need to step up my game.

Sadly, this is a business where if you don't talk about yourself, no one will talk about you ...

I'm just so bad at talking about me. Scary.

Anyway, if you want the first issue, head to Amazon! It's free!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Snip, snip, snip -- cut more!

Cutting about 10% out of my novel was pretty brutal. However, to be brutally honest, the 10% I cut really sucked. That's the technical term. I'm in the process of writing an entire new chapter, then properly linking it into the rest of the text.

It's not actually all that difficult, but you can run into continuity errors if you screw up.

However, having actually optioned something now, I think it's time to get this book out there and move onto something new. The publishing business is a mess right now, though. It's very, very difficult to get someone to read your writing, let alone print a book of it.

It used to be a real negative to publish your own work; a lot of people still try to force that traditional schema on people. To me, though, it's really like an audition to get picked up by a publishing house. If you can find some modicum of success in digitally publishing for the Kindle or the like, you'll get picked up. At the very least, you might make a little bit of spending money.

So, to that end, I'm actively seeking out people to help me get the manuscript in order. Primarily, I'm trying to find the right artist for a cover and someone to edit/proofread the darn thing. So, here's fingers crossed that it goes well. It's a brand new world.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Moving right along

Exciting things are happening, even if my writing has been a bit slow recently. The most exciting for me was my first mention in Publishers Weekly. They published an article on Amazon Studios upcoming plans, including the digital comic of my script Blackburn Burrow. You can read the article here.

My screenplay The Bandit Hero made the finals over at the Story Pros contest, which was unexpected. And, I just submitted a series proposal to Amazon Studios. However, I really need to start to work on my books a bit more. Still, there are a lot of positives going on. Now, I just have to find time and space to write a lot more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A step in the right direction

I'm very happy that my family friendly fantasy THE BANDIT HERO and my anime inspired space opera GAIA 4 have moved ahead in the Story Pros screenwriting competition. That being said, it's the quarterfinals - so, it doesn't hold a lot of weight unless they continue forward. After all, who remembers the guy that came in 4th in the 50yd dash in the Olympics? A win would be really nice as I begin the crazy quest for representation.

Living in Florida, I really need someone in Hollywood with both the knowledge and experience to sell my writing. It's just the way of the world. I have to admit, I would love to be able to write full-time one day, I have dozens of ideas for both books and screenplays that I'd like to work on. Working a full-time job really makes it hard to work on more than one project at a time.

Enough griping - it's going to be an interesting summer with all the contests going on. Here's hoping I actually get some writing done as I feverishly wait for the results.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wisdom from High School

Ah, the Internet ... sometimes I really do believe that this connectedness is a mirage. In reality, we are far more disconnected from people than we ever were. On a major blog today, I saw a writer trolling the readers. He'd written a contentious piece the previous week, which I have no issues with. However, he decided to write a follow-up to disparage all those that disagreed with him.

This I have a problem with ...

So, I wrote my own little response, and I'm going to share it here, because I think it is valid outside the context of this one event:

When I was in high school, I was EIC of the high school paper. I learned an awful lot doing that job, primarily because I had a great teacher. She knew classical literature and journalistic beats equally. Along with my other duties, I was responsible for a regular editorial.

For one issue, I wrote something that ended up being a bit contentious and created a lot of controversy. We actually got a lot of letters to the editor on the piece, which is almost unheard of in a high school. I suggested I write up a follow-up editorial to answer some of the criticisms and clarify my points.

I'll never forget what she said. I had my shot -- if I didn't communicate what I needed to, if I needed to clarify, if I had to answer critics, then my editorial failed. If it can't stand on it's own, it's rubbish. If it can -- then no further response is warranted. She continued: I had a platform, the paper -- it was mine. Any further response would be like bullying people. Not only do I get to choose the letters to respond to, but I'd be using my position to make other people look wrong, because I could cherry pick the response.

No, I'd had my say, now it was time to let others take it up.

If the original piece had accomplished what it supposed to, this response wouldn't be necessary. Furthermore, the writer seems like a whiner responding to such unimportant elements of the reaction. Did he not have confidence in the original essay? Was his pride wounded that people didn't just accept his opinion?

When you put your writing out there, you must accept the slings and arrows along with any praise. Don't be a baby when people disagree.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yes, I'm obsessed with Nova ...

I have had a somewhat productive week. I submitted a rewrite proposal to a studio, and, while I am not confident I will get the job, I approached the topic from a total rewrite perpective. So, I may end up doing more with the story. I've become quite fond of the characters.

I also submitted a couple more screenplays to a competition. Screenplay contests are weird beasts, as you're not really in competition with the other screenplays. Your opponent is whoever reads your script. It is quite possible that everyone involved would love the project -- except the one person who reads it first. It's a crazily subjective thing. So, while its fun to try, you can't put too much weight on the outcome. However, a positive placing could really provide some nice returns and coverage.

Marvel also revealed the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy this week ... Including Star-Lord. For those who aren't aware, he was last seen battling Thanos alongside Nova in a pocket universe. That means Nova Prime aka Richard Rider should also be alive.

The problem is Marvel is fixated on creating a new Spider-man light version of Nova set on Earth. I'm fine with both existing - the Nova Corps, after all, normally has many members. But, Rich is one of the few Marvel characters that hasn't ever seen a significant retcon. He has a relatively linear line of growth as a character. His connections through the Marvel cosmic arena make him an awesome human point of view out in the alien wilds. Here's hoping that Marel comes to their senses and does this right.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mine's not gilded! No fair!

I find it quite difficult holding down full-time employment while attempting to write. It's not simply the time and exhaustion factor (though both are significant), it's the stress of being responsible not just for yourself, but others. My job doesn't just support me; other's rely on my income.

After awhile, it begins to feel like a prison, but not one from which you can ever be released. It's the drowning feeling of being caught in a trap, swept by tides not under your control. The pen garners the weight of Sisyphus' boulder - you can start, but never finish.

In our society, I think this feeling of being stuck is rising among all ages. No one wants to feel like they're in a cage.

It's funny, I'm working on a proposal right now that has a pair of characters facing a similar conflict. For them, it's about having chosen duty over dreams. It's a choice that begins to wear at them. Of course, duty is important. The selfishness of just seeking your dreams without regard to anyone or anything else is pretty self-indulgent. Still, hopes and dreams are what makes the prison bearable, right?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Well, THAT didn't work ...

I sat down today, wrote out a proposal, drew up some character summaries, finished about 90% of the series bible ... so far, so good. I dug into the script, and - yeah, it didn't work at all. It was just so boring. Not what I wanted at all.

I suppose it isn't unusual for this sort of thing to occur, it's just a bit disheartening. However, it's not back to the drawing board. I really like the concept, so I just have to work out the structure a bit more. Gotta toss the script, though.

I just want to get this one right -- it's a really interesting opportunity!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One TV show? Psssh ... Try three!

So, Amazon Studios has announced that they are now accepting TV series for consideration on their development slate, both comedies and kid's shows. Well, half-hour comedy - not gonna happen. Yeah, I've got some great concepts, but I'm just not that funny; humors is hard! In my scripts and prose, I get off some really funny scenes, I'm proud to say. However, being consistantely funny writing a sitcom ... Whew, I don't think I could.

Now, shows for kids - that's more my style. I actually have three concepts I'm willing to throw at this. I envision one as animated, one live action (think iCarly, Victorious, Wizards of Waverly Place), and one preschool that could be a mix or include puppets.

Having ideas is great --- but, that means I have to write up three sample scripts and a brief bible for each show. THAT is a lot of work. However, I want to get on the ground floor here. At this point, my main goal is to get enough work, accolades, etc to entice a manager to take a chance on me. Optioning a TV show would be an amazing step.

I'm thankful that Amazon is giving neophytes like myself a chance to break into the business. The day I can't submit to Amazon Studios anymore because I'm represented, guild member will be a success for me and Amazon.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The discovery is the thing!

It's always fun to find something new. It's that explorer/adventurer nature in us. Part of the reason I write is to explore new places, even if it is just something I created. It's new, exciting, and I never know where my story is going to go.

So, today I set up a Roku streaming device -- mainly because there are a couple channels my 360/PS3 don't have. However, I've found a ton of content I never expected. There are a surprising number of cooking channels. That's fun; I do like food.

More importantly, there are some great music channels! One of the things I miss most about college is the strangely organic and viral way that new music infects you. Everyone is looking for a new sound and is excited to share. Once you're in the "real world," it almost becomes work to find new songs.

One of the channels I loaded up was SomaFM -- wow, there are a bunch of amazing, eclectic stations with a diverse selection of genres. I often like to listen to music when I write; it inspires me. Having all this new music where I can simply switch between trance or world music at touch is fantastic.

Anyway, check it out online - you don't have to have a Roku! SomaFM is commercial free and listener supported. If you do like it and start listening, you might want to consider a donation! You can listen and check them out here.

On the writing side, I solved a major plot/motivation issue in the writing assignment I'm working on. I'll be starting the write up the proposal tomorrow. Fingers crossed - I'd love to get hired. I think I have a really strong story for this. It'll be nice to have some new music to write to!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just wanted to share two anime really quick. First up, Hanasaku Iroha is a slice of life story about a girl from Tokyo being shipped off to her grandmother's traditional Japanese inn to live and work. It has a really mellow, moving, and funny storyline. I love that the big story events are really just every day occurrences. The music and backgrounds are amazing, too. You can watch it for free, legally, here.

I've also just started watching a new series that has just begin broadcast in Japan called Kids on the Slope. It's set in 1966 Kyushu and is about teens and jazz. The music is by Yoko Kanno, so you know it's amazing. Only a few episodes in, but, so far, I have to highly recommend it. I mean, come on! Moanin' by Art Blakely on Blue Note Records features prominently in episode 1. How cool is that? You can also watch it free here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I have decided to enter a couple of my screenplays in the StoryPros script contest. Sometime this summer, I would like to start approaching agents and managers to try and get my career off the ground. I have an option, which is great - but, placing in a contest or two would really kind of beef up my credentials. It's hard to get read in Hollywood when you don't live there, so I need to take opportunities where I find them.

I'm still plotting out bits for my submission to a writing opportunity, while working on the expanded plot of Gaia 4 for the novel. When you create a world and know everything that's going on in it, one of the hardest things to do is to determine what to share.

Every glimpse that you give the reader shapes their impressions and expectations. Revealing to much information too soon can rob a scene of dramatic impact. If you don't reveal enough you may lose the reader or leave your world flat. So, yeah ... I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And, months later, this happened ...

I really, really promise - the blog thing is going to pick up. Life has been busy in a good way. First off, I've optioned my first screenplay! BLACKBURN BURROW was picked up by Amazon Studios and is now on their development slate.

Even better - it's going to be a comic book written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith! Look for it around Comic Con time - I'll have more to announce then, I'm sure.

I've been struggling with what to focus on since then. I've completed a couple more screenplays, but the challenge is where to go from there. I do believe I'm going to turn one into a novel. I think a book would capture the world and allow greater exploration of the setting than my screenplay allows. Hopefully, it will generate more interest, as well.

Anyway, I'll leave it there for now! Exciting things are afoot - now, I just have to actually put in the work!