Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Different Sort of Move

Hello, folks.

Well, I'm finally doing it.  It's only taken me a few months, and I'm only tired as all hell, but I'm finally doing it.  I'm moving.

But first, a little backtracking.  

Last time out, I was all worried about moving to another state, following Lenora's job.  I'm no longer worried about that.  Things are still moving forward with her job and all, but she did some inquiring, and it looks like a move like the one that's being talked about would take anywhere from five to seven years.  There are some other things that go along with that, but what it boils down to is that we'll be in Tucson for the foreseeable future.  I'm pretty happy about that.

I have a card mostly designed!  I just need to add one more element to it, and it'll be good to go, methinks.  But that's not the big thing.  

The big thing is that this blog is moving.  It's going to www.stevedforbes.com.

That's right!  I have my own domain!  Go figure!

I'm also going to be putting up a few things in the form of webcomics there, so be on the lookout for that.  

I already have a page of Bullet Time up.  I'm going to ask for your patience with this.  There's going to be some dust and some changes going on over there.  I've already imported the blog, and I've got to start putting up the webpages I have.  It's going to take a little bit to get settled, but I'll hash it all out.  

So, like I said, I'm going to beg your indulgence.  I'll be writing my blog over there from now on, and geting things all set up.  Changing some things around, stretching out, putting up the webcomics.

Yes, webcomics.  I'm going to put up the pages I have for Bullet Time (the entire first issue!), and I'm also going to be putting up pages for Group.  You'll be able to see it in two places, actually, but we'll talk about that other place in a little while.

I'd eventually like to get Bullet Time finished.  We'll see how that plays out.  Just be prepared to sit back and enjoy the ride.

I'm going to put up a page a week from both stories.  That's going to give you at least three days worth of content, because I'm also going to blog more often.  I haven't decided on the days yet, though.  Once the dust settles down over at www.stevedforbes.com, I'll let you all know.  

Okay, I think that's it for now.  I have a couple of domains to register, an artist to contact, and then sleep to get.  

Thanks for reading, and I hope you follow me over to my new digs.

In the meantime, go watch the Ocean's 11 remake.  Everyone loves a good caper movie.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


It's definitely in the realm of possibility.  I don't know how to feel about it, really.  How about I come back to it?  That's real life stuff.  Let's talk comics for just a short bit.

I tried to make a move recently, and was told today that the people weren't interested at the moment.  Well, that's what it boiled down to.  But I'm not going to let it keep me down.  I'll just have to continue to work hard.

Speaking of which, I'm pretty stoked about the upcoming SDCC.  Its been five years since I last went, and I'm a LOT further along now than I was before.  A lot of that is due to the fact that I'm pushing myself to be more out there with my writing and my projects.  I have to do it for myself, because no one else is going to do it for me.  That's simply the way it goes.

I've also avoided going to see Watchmen.  I'll buy it when it comes out on dvd, but I believe that the movie was made too soon.  A story that deconstructed superheroes should not have been translated into a medium that was just getting good at telling superhero tales.  This is a movie that should have been done in another ten to twenty years.  That's just my take.  Obviously, others disagreed. (It's not like I was asked, anyway.)

Yup.  I'm distracted.  It's the moving thing.  Okay, I'll break it down, and I'll try not to get too technical.  I'm also going to start WAY back, but I'll gloss over the boring bits.  Well, I'll try.

Okay, I was originally born on Long Island, NY.  When I was 18, I joined the military.  While there, I've lived in Japan, NY, and CA.  After separating (honorably) from the military, my first wife and I moved back to NY.  We split, and she moved to VA.  She then asked me to move to VA to be closer to the children.  It just so happened that my job had an office in the same town my ex was living, so I transferred.  

I got remarried, my ex moved back to NY, and my present wife hated the VA office.  She wanted to move, and we talked about it, and settled on Tucson (after discarding NY and CA as being too expensive to live, FL and GA as being too uncomfortable, and Alaska as being too damned far off the map).  

While in Tucson, we've moved twice, which doesn't count the initial move here.  Following all of this?  Now, we're in a house that we'd like to buy.  We'll come back to that in a little bit.

Now, my wife's job is growing, as a region.  She works in insurance, and the states the office here has to handle are growing at a phenomenal rate.  It's almost unheard of.  If the pace stays the same, with low instances of accidents, next year's profit sharing is going to set a record for the company.  

However, the rate of growth, if consistent, would necessitate the Tucson office being its own regional office, instead of just a satellite of the San Diego office, which it is now.  Right now, her company is sharing space with another company in a building, but the company likes to build its own office whenever it can.  It likes to own the buildings.  If (no, not if, when, really) it becomes its own region, there will be an exodus out of Tucson.  Why?  Because there aren't enough qualified people to hire here.  That's saying something.

So, the rumors my wife has been hearing are Oregon and Colorado.  There's also the possibility of staying in Arizona and moving to Phoenix, but that chance is pretty slim.

This is down the line.  Two to three years.  We'll call it two years for the office to gain its own region status, and then another year to have the building built and ready to move in.  Maybe a little less on the building, but still.  It would be a phenomenal chance for my wife, and one I don't think she should pass up.  But what does it do to me?  What would it do to us, if we bought the house?

Let's start with Phoenix first, the most unlikely of scenarios.  It does nothing to us, besides ensure the fact that we would need to buy a second car.  We've been jumping through some hoops with the one car all this time, but nothing too strenuous.  If the office moves there, that would mean a lot of driving for her, which isn't something she's looking forward to, but would do.  If we have bought the house by then, there's no problem with that, either.  I could keep my job, and things would be great.  Nothing much changes.  Again, that's the most unlikely of scenarios.

Either one of the next two means a move, and while I wouldn't be happy about it, I'd do it.  

Colorado: not really a favorite place of mine.  Not really a place I'd like to be.  I'd LOVE to visit, but I don't know if I'd want to live there.  Just a vibe, y'know?  Nothing I can really explain.  But who knows, if we were to go there, I may love it.  I just don't think I would.  

I'd much rather go to Oregon, if I had my druthers.  We have Dark Horse comics somewhere in Oregon, we have Gail Simone there, we're still relatively close to San Diego (driving distance?  maybe, but Colorado definitely puts us out of range for a drive there for the con), and besides that, it would be a return to lush greenery and friggin seasons!  I didn't know how much I missed greenery until I went back to NY and saw it.  

So, what does this do to me?  Of course, with moving, I'd have to quit my job.  The job I struggled a bit to keep (one of the positions kicked my entire ass!), the one that allows me to work for four days, and have three off.  The one that allows me to work at night, that allows me to bring out my laptop and write.  The one that allows me to do everything I need to do, almost as I need to do it.  That one.  

Would I be able to transfer to another city position, if we were to move to another state?  Who knows?  I can't even do any real research on it, because I don't know what state or city they would move the office to.  I don't know what the environments are like, pay, work schedule, anything.  

And then, there's the fact that I'd be starting all over yet again.  When we moved out here, Lenora knew a few people, but I didn't know anyone.  I now have a job that I love, working with people that I generally like, and am making friends I can hang out with.  And then to have to leave all of that behind?  I did it when I moved to Virginia, and then had to leave there just as I was truly getting comfortable.  Three years.  And now, to possibly have to do it again?  Not something I'm looking forward to.

Then there's the house.  We like it, and we'd like to buy it.  But why buy it if we may be moving?  Then we'd have to sell it, and everyone's seen the economy.  So that may be put on hold while we figure things out.

There's another possibility, however.  Lenora could retire.  She's eligible in 2 years.  She'd be 52, and would have 15 years with the company.  What would she do then?  I don't know.  She's very good at her job, but her skill set is limited.  Her age would be a factor, too.  I personally don't think retirement is an option right now.  It's like moving to Phoenix: it's out there, but highly unlikely.  

Yep.  We have a lot to discuss soon.  A lot of ramifications, and things hinging on other things.  

Thanks for listening.  I appreciate it.  I'm going to go continue watching Lost.  For you, however, I recommend watching The Saint.  The original movie, not the spectacle with Val Kilmer.  I think it was made in the 50s.  You'll be glad you did.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some Things...

Today's a great day.  Really.  It's Thursday, and it feels like it.  I don't feel behind or under the gun.  It's really a fantastic feeling.

Had a little scare earlier today, though.  Well, one was more drastic than the other.  I had a nightmare to start off my morning.  I haven't had one in a while, so I figure that I was due.  It wasn't that bad nor particularly frightening, either.  Just enough to get my blood going and wake with a small start.  And no, it wasn't really anything to write about.  

The bigger scare, though, was the fact that the 4 day passes of SDCC are almost sold out.  In a day.  WOW.  That blew my mind.  Yes, I got one, but I need to get another one for Lenora.  Otherwise, it'll be the more expensive day passes.  We'll see how it goes.

And that's just to get IN the place.  I still need to get there and back, and lodging.  We're looking to stay at a friend's house during that weekend, so that'll be taken care of.  Getting there?  Probably a rental car and using the trolley once we're there.  It'll get taken care of.  

I'm also looking into something that would be really good for me.  More about that if it does or doesn't happen.  Hey, if I have to play the waiting game, so do you.

Yes, I'm still waiting to hear about the big project.  I know it's March.  These things take time.  So that I'm not in a holding pattern, I'm still working on other things.

I was at work the other day, and finally finished the first issue to Annie O.N.E.  Pretty stoked about that.  I was having trouble with it before, but that trouble went away.  So it's good.  I was also working on Group, and am nearly ready to snd th next set of pages off to Sara.  She's doing a phenomenal job with it, let me tell you.  I'm very lucky to have her.  

It doesn't help that I was giggling my ass off as I wrote a particular scene in Group, either.  It was pretty funny to me, in a messed up sort of way.  Maybe I'll talk about it somewhere down the line.  

Oh!  I have to investigate getting a card made up for SDCC.  Looking into that now.  It should be good.  It will also be the first time I'd be handing out cards not only as a professional, but for something that I really believe in: myself.  My card, for myself, not for someone else's business or anything like that.  It's not for Amway (also known as Britt Worldwide), or for a lawyer network or anything like that.  It's going to be for me, and all about me.  I'm pretty excited.

I'm also trying not to start another project.  I want to get these finished first.  Well...  Okay, I have another artist for another project, but it should be good to go pretty soon.  That project is already written.  I'm talking about another writing project.  I have a couple of ideas, but I'm keeping them under wraps for now.  It'll do me good.  

I should be starting up a couple of editing projects soon, which will keep me busy. 

For real life stuff, nothing too much is going on.  Lenora took off today and tomorrow, so we're spending time together.  That's always good.  

Work is good.  One of the newbies didn't make it through training.  She wasn't really suited for the job, anyway.  Was going to get someone killed.  Literally.  It was just a matter of time.  It became harder than it needed to be in order to get rid of her because of my other co-workers, but it all turned out well in the end.

There are another couple of newbies in classroom training right now.  

Okay, time for a small aside.  Call me superficial, but there's a certain quality of both men and women that I work around that has to be spoken about.  I'm not going to say that we're all beautiful, but damn, there's a high concentration of good looking people there, both men and women.  There are few people that wouldn't be able to find someone they liked there, just from a perspective of looks.  Personalities is something different.  But the last few classes have been something of a decline in quality of talent and quality of "talent."  It was too good to last, I guess.

I may be training at my job soon, too.  Not training for it, training other people to do it.  Yeah, I find it scary, too.  Not something I'm really looking forward to, because I don't feel comfortable enough in what I'm doing at all positions yet in order to really train at them.  Ah, no matter.  It's coming, and I'll make my way through it.  It will be fine.

That's it for me for now.  Go watch The Mummy (Boris Karloff).  


Thursday, March 5, 2009


I've recently done my first interview, and I think it went very well.  It was an e-mail interview, and it should be up in about a month at Jazma Online.  I'll let you know when it's up.

It was kinda strange, being interviewed.  Some of them were generic questions, and some were more specifically about me.  I give props to Rich Vasseur for doing some homework before he sent in the questions.  It was an interesting experience.

I've been doing a LOT of work, if you haven't noticed.  I do the two columns, I edit, and I write.  Right now, I have the rest of the script for Annie O.N.E. to finish and get to Cristhian, and I have some e-mails to get around to sending out today.  

However, until doing this interview, despite the columns, I never really thought about people wanting to hear what I have to say.  About anything.  

You see, I don't do the columns for any other reason than to help writers get better.  Artists can go to art school to learn how to draw, but where do writers turn?  Comics has a very specific language, and even though formats may change, there are two basic methods to use.  Who teaches the writers how to succeed in this?  How many classes are there that teach comic book writing?  I've only run across one, maybe two, but that's it.  

So Bolts & Nuts is there in an attempt to help fill that gap.  I say a lot in it, and I'm thankful that people find it helpful, but besides telling the world I'm something of a long-winded jerk, what does it really say?  

Is that what interviews are for?  Getting to the person behind the words?  I think so.

I just heard a podcast interview that Cary did.  I wasn't overly thrilled with it.  It did its job of raising awareness of Fallen Justice, which is always a good thing, and while it was the Cary show (it was his interview, after all), I feel he didn't tell the full story of the genesis and changes to the series.  I was basically listed as the co-writer, and the person responsible for expanding it from four issues to six.  No mention of why, or what part I played in that restructuring.  Both of them.

I also take some objection with the interviewer.  He made it sound like Cary wrote the entire thing.  No question was asked about who did what in the story, or anything that could have gotten off the Cary show. 

I guess I should be happy I was mentioned at all.  Ross and Harold got some props, but Ken, the guy who edited the book, didn't get a single mention.

Sure, there was ample opportunity to be mentioned.  One of the questions was basically, how did everyone meet.  No real answers were forthcoming from that question.

Maybe it's just a case of me having sour grapes.  That's totally possible.  I won't deny it.  But I don't think so.  

I have a small head cold.  I hope to kick it by Saturday.  Lenora's birthday is coming, and I took off Sunday in order to spend the day with her.  We'll be going to the movies as part of the plan.  Friday the 13th.  Even though it's her day, she wants to go see something for me, not for her.  That's love for you, folks!  She first put Watchmen out there, but I said no.  I've seen most of the Jason franchise in theaters, and I didn't want to miss this one.  

I was about to close out, but that would have been wrong of me.  

The man who's responsible for me being in comics found me on Facebook.  Let's take a trip in the Way Back Machine.

It's the early 80s.  I'm in 3rd grade.  A new guy named Larry Thomas comes to school, and we become friends.  He introduces me to comics, my first one being a DC with no cover.  From there, I was hooked.

Larry was something of a troubled youth.  Pretty sullen, and kinda violent.  Something of a bully.  Hell, he even bullied me on occassion.  We took martial arts class together for a while, but he quit a couple of months in.  We'd be over each other's houses, and we'd trade comics.  He has a sister, who's name I cannot remember.  She was younger, and so, uninteresting to me.  I thought his mother was hot, though.  I still can't drive by his house without remembering some pretty good times.  This was all elementary school stuff.  But as a kid, Larry wasn't very happy.

We went to different schools then, and lost touch.  He found me once before, though.  I was in the Marine Corps at the time, and my mother gave him my phone number.  Surreal.

Now he's found me on Facebook, and from the conversation we had back when I was in the Corps to now, I'd say that he's done a complete 180.  And honestly, I couldn't be happier for him.

When I spoke to him those years ago (seven?  eight?), he sounded happy and calm, but also remorseful of things he did in the past.  He expressed that remorse to me, lightening his burden, and asked me to do something for him involving someone else.  I did that without any hesitation.  It was small, and cost me nothing.  However, those small things are often the most powerful ones.  

Larry seems to be doing well, and that's because he found religion.

I don't want anyone to misinterpret what I'm about to say here.  I'm religious.  I'm pagan.  However, I honestly believe that religion is a private thing, because it's not for everyone.  Being pagan, I also have problems with the dogma of Christianity.  The Bible, up to the New Testament, is a great history book, as well as rules for living for Jewish people.  The New Testament, however, has holes you can drive universes through (the OT does, too, but the OT technically isn't "Christian").  Go red Holy Blood, Holy Grail for a history lesson (just disregard the Plantard stuff).

I have rarely met a person who found the Jewish/Islamic/Christian God and was a better person for it.  (I only add Islam in there to be complete.)  Most of the time, they turn into unsmiling people who are trying to have their "sins" lifted, and aren't interested in much else except spreading the "good news."  They know what they've done, they know what they're missing, and they're pissed about it.  They want you to be miserable, too, which is why they harangue you with their beliefs, spouting it as "truth."

Go punch a brick wall.  Punch it with all your might.  Hard, right?  Broke your hand, too.  That's truth.  Air isn't invisible, it's translucent.  Fire is hot.  The physical world, the one that we know, is truth.  It can be proven, from the standpoint of our limited understanding of these things.  You KNOW you're going to get burned if you stick your hand in the fire.  You don't know if there's any such thing as a higher being.  The question can always be asked when it comes to first causes.  If there's a god, what came before it?  What came before that?  You can espouse theories all you wish, but in the end, it all comes down to belief.  Beliefs aren't truths.  

Like I said, I have rarely met a person who changed for the better when they found God.  However, I think Larry is one of them.  Positive changes.  I can look at the pictures he has up on Facebook, and see that his smiles are genuine.  He's happy.

And honestly, his happiness makes me happy.  I wish him continued happiness.  

Okay, I'm going to eat something, and then get started on this script and e-mails.  Like I said, go read Holy Blood, Holy Grail.  You'll ask all kinds of questions afterward.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lotsa Happenings!

Well, that's how it seems, at least.

No news on the big project as yet.  Just wanted that out there first.  When that happens, I'll let you all know.

I do have some news to share, though.  I've been doing Bolts & Nuts for Project Fanboy for a little more than seven months now.  Weekly, for seven months.  I'd call that something of an accomplishment.  I'm proud of it.

But one of the bombshells that was dropped on me was the fact that I was linked to.  Bolts & Nuts was linked to at Blog@Newsarama, by the managing editor of Oni Press.  Go read it.  He called us eloquent.

That's a bit of a big thing for me.  There are times when I forget that the internet is huge, because I'm just talking to the same people on the sites.  However, when the managing editor of a quality company links to you (and Mark Waid, to be fair), saying that he would have written sooner, but every time he goes to write, he finds another person writing eloquently about it, and links to you, that's something of a big deal.  Will it push the readership up?  Possibly.  Dunno.  Will it get my stories seen by others when the time comes?  Possibly.  Dunno.  Does it make me excited?  Poss--  Heh.  Yes.  I'm still waiting for the day when someone tells me that the information I'm giving is wrong, but it's been eight months, and it hasn't happened yet.  The internet is full of people who are more than ready to tell you you're wrong, but I've only met a few that have said that the material is of quality.

Am I looking for validation?  Sure.  I'm a writer, and writers need that validation to tell them they're worth a damn (or not).  Yes, I'm here to help people, but it's also nice when your peers (or those to whom you'd like to be peers with) say that you're doing good work.  

In his post about the job of an editor, Mark Waid used the phraseology "bolts and nuts."  Now, I purposely named the column Bolts & Nuts because I wanted it to be familiar, yet a little unusual, while still giving title to the overall thrust of the column.  We all know that it's "nuts and bolts" that gets all the play, and I played on that.  Did Mark Waid use that particular phrase in acknowledgement of my column?  I have no idea.  Could I ask him?  Sure.  Would it make a difference?  Not to anyone besides me.  Maybe eventually, when I pitch something to him.

But yes, that link has me jazzed.  I have a link to myself in my signature at Digital Webbing, and a link here to the blog, but Ron Montgomery also has a link to B&N in his signature at DW, telling people to read me.  I found that both unsettling and nice.  Unsettling because it wasn't something I was expecting.  To my mind, in order for someone to put something in their signature, they have to feel strongly about it, therefore, Ron feels strongly about the column to endorse it like that.  

It's humbling, really.  It gives more weight to the responsibility I already feel to make sure that the column is relevant, not to mention continues to come out weekly.  Seven monts is a long time, and I'm still nowhere near out of material.  

I'm also being interviewd by Richard Vasseur of Jazma Online!  This is the first time I've ever been interviewed, and it has me jazzed!  I've really done one other interview, and that was a few years ago.  That was done with Tom Brevoort (yes, that Tom Brevoort), and like this one, it was through e-mail.  However, that was me interviewing him.  This one is all about me, baby!  

But what does this do?  I mean, what happens down the road?  Who's going to want to read about little ol' me?  Honestly, I don't think that I'm that interesting.  I'm a writer, so I live in my head.  How is that intersting?  It's not as if I'm going to be giving any secrets away here, is it?  

I have a story idea!!!  It's about...right.  Like that.  I really do have a story idea (several, in fact), but it needs to be fleshed out first.  I have other things I need to get out, as well.

However, I'm hoping the interview leads somewhere.  What I'd really like is to see Bullet Time completed, and it would be awesome if that were to happen because of it. 

What I'm really hoping for with all of this, though, is increased readership, more interviews, a few editing gigs, and maybe a writing gig, creator owned or not.

Speaking of which, I have another guy who asked me if I'd be interested in playing around in his world.  We're talking story specifics now.  That would be cool.  

FiveTales should also be launching in March.  I have some work cut out for me on that front.  It should be fun, though, and should keep me from getting into too much trouble with taking on other things. 

I'm getting better at lettering, to boot.  That makes me pretty happy, to tell the truth.  I'm learning, and as long as I continue to improve, that's all I can really ask for.  No, I'm not going to get so deep as to start creating my own fonts or things like that.  No logo creation for me.  I'll leave that to the experts.  Just let me write my stories, possibly letter them if it doesn't hurt too much, and I'll be happy with that.

In real life news, Lenora's birthday is coming up.  There's going to be a party for her on Saturday, and I'm trying to take Sunday off.  I have a personal day coming to me, but I have to jump through some hoops in order to take it, which sucks.  It's a use it or lose it type of deal, and I'm not to thrilled about having to jump through a hoop in order to use what was freely given.  It's like saying "Here's a glass of water, but before you drink it, I want you to go move a few dozen tables.  Then you can enjoy your water, free of charge.  You've earned it."  

But, my wife's going to be fifty.  Five zero.  Sure, it's just a number, but still, it's magical.  

And we had our first real semi-argument.  We're getting over it.  It was eggshell walking for a day, but we're getting better.  There was no right or wrong, we don't disagree about things like that.  But after going on six years, for this to be even a semi-argument, I think we're doing pretty well.  No, I don't think the honeymoon is over.  It's only over when you think it's over.  To quote a commercial I found funny in the 90s, "Nothin's over, I just need somethin' to drink!"  (Name that without using the 'net, and you're good!)

Back to comics: I have another potential editing gig or three on the horizon.  Just waiting to hear back now.  We'll see what happens (but at least one of them should be relatively soon).  

And now, up above , is a teaser for Group.  Let me know what you think.

Now, go watch some movies made by Hammer Productions.  You'll be glad you did.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


I was riding alongside Lenora, who was driving, looking at the mountains in front of me, feeling the cool breeze, smelling the oncoming of spring...  And then I had the onset of pangs of homesickness come over me.  

I get homesick a few times a month, it seems like.  I understand that we chose to move here, but Tucson, for all of its barren beauty, is not in my blood.  It's not where I grew up.  I miss the green, I miss the true cold, I miss the wet.  I miss the variation of houses, the variations of people.  I miss the melting pot that is Long Island.

True, I haven't lived there in years, but at least in Virginia, there was greenery and temperature variations.  Maybe not much of a variation of people, but there were all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore.  It wasn't home, but it was close.  

I miss the snow.

I remember driving back up to the base one night.  I was young and tireless at the time, and the trip was only about two hours or so--most of it was getting off of Long Island.  I was down there for the weekend, and it was snowing.  I don't recall the weekend, I don't know which car I was driving, but I rememember being by myself on the road once I started going into the mountains.  Like I said, it was snowing, and the evergreens were thick with it.  My headlights cut the night, and the shadows in the trees were greenish black.  Greenish black, with white highlights because of the snow, and all I wanted to do was to pull over and stare for a while.  That's all.

It was the first time I'd ever truly ached over the beauty of nature.  

There was another time, after I had gotten out of the Marine Corps and after my first wife and I had split, I was walking along with my girlfriend at the time.  Her name was Wendy, and she was a few years older than me.  At least 35 at the time.  One of my mother's friends.  I was about 28 or so.  Anyway, it was winter, and we were walking along, just taking a stroll.  It was starting to warm up, and the snow was melting.  There was some ice along the curb, and water was running beneath it and to the side, doing some erosion of it as it travelled to a nearby drain.  It struck me as very pretty, approaching beauty, just with the look of the gray day and the snow and the ice and the running water.  As we walked, I just quieted down and watched it, lost.  Wendy asked what was wrong, and I told her what I saw.  She saw it too, but had taken it for granted.  She then looked at me again and called me special.  Not many people would see it the way I had.  

I've never thought of myself as special.  Lenora calls me special all the time, and I don't feel it.  I guess no one ever truly feels special.  Not by themselves.  They may know their self-worth, but it takes two to feel special.  It's like being able to tie a knot in a cherry stem with your tongue.  Some can, most can't.  Do you feel special because you can?  What if someone tells you you're special because you can?  Same thing.  

I write, and I notice things.  I think I notice things because I write, and I write because I notice things.  I think they go hand in hand.  I don't feel special because of either "ability."  I can't draw, and I think those that can do it well are amazing.  

So that's me being homesick.

Writing...  You know, I'm kinda proud of myself.  Only a little, mind you.  I'm seven months into writing Bolts & Nuts, without having missed a week yet.  I could have taken a break over the holidays, I could have taken one for my birthday, I could take a week off due to a well deserved vacation--but I haven't.  I think that says something.  Week in and week out for seven months.  I'd call that a minor accomplishment.

Work on Group is coming along nicely, as well.  Sara and I have decided upon a colorist, so we've added that to the mix.  It knocks down my "ready for publication" pages down to three, but we'll be getting there soon enough.  Three weeks worth of material is golden.  I just need to fix a few things before I letter them up.

I've recently come to the decision to do the lettering myself.  It does take some imagination on my end, some working out of certain things, but I think it's worth it.  It gives me more control over my words.  Not that I'm a control freak or anything.  I think I'm less controlling about my words than a lot of writers out there.  That may come from an understanding that every writer needs an editor.  Being an effective self-editor is difficult, but I'm trusting my storytelling instincts to guide me, and then shore up some of the other things later.  Sara is doing an incredible job with the script, and we're coming up to a really powerful sequence soon.  I'm anxious to see what she does with those pages.  I also have to send her some more money for supplies soon.  

I've also recently decided to do a radio show type of podcast out of one of my stories.  I just wonder how time intensive it's going to be.  Knowing me and my standards, probably decently time intensive.  I'm something of a perfectionist, and I know that's going to come into play when it comes to producing this thing.  Not only do I have to write it, I have to find actors for it, rehearse, record, and then add sound effects and music.  Outside of the actual writing of it, I hope I can get to a point where the rest is done in about three hours or less.  One can dream, right?

I think that's really about it.  Work is going well.  Being off probation and actually having the job is a great weight off my shoulders.  If I could sleep for more than four hours at a time on this shift, I'd be good to go.  The summer bid should be a lot better, though.  Instead of going in at midnight, I'll be going in at ten pm.  I think that'll be a lot better.  Since I'll have to be there by ten, I have to leave the house by 9:35, which means I have to get up no later than 9, but will probably get up by 8:30 or so.  This means I'll have to be asleep by 2 if I want to get about six hours of sleep.  Getting off at 8 and going to bed by 2 gives me six hours of doing whatever needs to get done, and if Lenora is still working nights, I get to spend some time with her in the morning before she has to go in, also.    I'm not seeing a downside here.

It also gives me a more of a slow time at work, so I can get more work done while there.  That's where I'll be doing the bulk of my lettering and plotting, as well as the column writing and editing.  I'll save the comic writing for home, where I can work on it undisturbed.

I finally have letters for the big project I keep talking about!  I'm excited about it, actually.  I have the letters in, they've already been colored, and there's something of a promo piece.  That just needs a logo of some sort, and then it should be off to the races!  The next month should be VERY exciting, depending on the timeframe with which these things move.

I think that's it for now.  Go watch The Thing From Another World.  You'll be glad you did.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Self Empowerment!!!

I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good about myself today.  No, I don't say that all that often, but then again, I'm not easily satisfied with myself.

I guess you could call it a little thing, but it's a step forward for me, and because of it, I'm pretty proud.

I'm teaching myself how to letter.  Finally.  And I'm having a good time doing it.

A little backstory.  I decided to teach myself how to letter months ago.  About a month or so before we moved.  Maybe a little more.  So, it's been on my back burner for a decent amount of time.  I went out and bought a couple of books on it: the ComiCraft book and the DC Guide.  The DC guide is on both coloring and lettering.  Since I have trouble putting together blue jeans and a black shirt, I'll stay away from trying to color.  Well, I'll stay away from trying to color for myself.  I'll learn some of it as an editor, but that's about it.

I also went and got the Adobe CS3, as well as a Dummies book on it.  Ready to rock, right?


My plan is to do a lot of this work while at my job.  Because I work at night, I have a LOT of free time to do stuff.  I get a ton of writing done, and I've read more books in the past year and a half than I have in years.  It's a great job, and now that I'm off of probation, I don't have to ask permission to bring out my laptop or read or anything like that.  I know the rules, I do my job, and my extra-curricular stuff is my reward.  Nice.

Anyway, I didn't have enough RAM on the laptop in order to run the stinkin' program!  I was frustrated with that, yes.  One of my co-workers helped me to look up some RAM, and I eventually bought it.  Sure, it was six months or so later, but I got it.  (And it was cheaper than what I was originally going to pay for it, too.)  So, THANK YOU, Harry D.  You hired me as an editor for your script, and that allowed me to buy the RAM, and a few other things.

There's a funny story to go along with this.  Lenora and I also joined Columbia House through her My Points.  We ordered The Flash: the complete series for myself, and CSI season three for her.  This was before I ordered the RAM.  We did it all online, and we were waiting for Columbia House to send us back an e-mail saying we were in.  Days went by with nothing.  

I ordered the RAM, and figured out when it was supposed to arrive.  I was checking the mail like a madman, wanting the RAM to get here.  So I'm on my weekend, had already taken a nap, and went to the door to check the mail.  Lo and behold, there's a box!  I'm happy as hell, and bring the box inside, tearing into it.

Only to find the dvd sets we ordered!

I howled!!!!

Nope.  Wasn't happy at all.

The RAM came the day after.

So, I installed it, and the laptop thanked me for it.  It now runs CS3 with no problem.  

I broke out my books and dove in, face first.  And I was stymied and frustrated.  First, it was trying to find the damned elliptical tool in order to make the actual word balloons.  After I found that, it was trying to make the words appear in the damned balloons!  I didn't realize (until right this moment, actually) that I had the layers backward.  Letters have to lay on top of the balloons.  Yeah.  Nice.

I started out just placing words anywhere on some art I had laying around the computer.  Once I got a little bit of the knack for doing it, I lettered up one of the pages of the project I'm waiting to hear back on.  I have the three pages of artwork from the script I wrote, but none of the lettered pages yet.  After I lettered the first page, I knew that I found a worthy challenge.

The purpose of me learning to letter is trifold.  First and foremost, it'll make me self-sufficient enough so that I can do it myself.  I'll hire someone for logo's, but that's about it.  Since I really only plan to letter my own stuff, it saves me money on hiring a letterer.  Secondly, it'll help me become a better writer.  I won't flood the page with words anymore.  It takes being conscious of space requirements to a whole different level.  Lastly, it will help me be a better editor.  I can watch for spacing and placement and the like, and know how to correct them or speak from a place of knowledge when I ask for changes.  It's a win-win-win situation all the way around.

After I lettered up that page, I downloaded all of the free fonts from Blambot, and put them in Illustrator before lettering up the second page.  After I lettered up the second page, I went back to the book for some minor tweaks about how to do some things, and the third page turned out better than the previous two.

I'm not yet ready for the neighborhood chores, but I'm getting there.

And yes, lettering those pages was a delightful challenge.  Forming the words into a diamond shape, placing the balloons around them, finding out the best way to put them so that the eye is led across the page in the correct manner, figuring that out around the artwork...challenging.  But one I'm up for.

With that under my belt, I'll more than likely letter my webcomics myself.  That's the goal, and there's nothing like jumping right on in.  I'll be working on the pages I have starting tomorrow, and make a decision then.  

That's what I have going on in the self-empowerment movement when it comes to lettering.  There is more, though.

I'm frustrated with some of my writing friends.  We were supposed to launch a webcomic site last month, but we're now well into February, and there are only three of the five of us who are ready.  The idea is to do a page a week of our own stories.  I have 12 pages ready to rock.  Twelve pages, and a logo.  So I'm good to go for three months.  The goal was to have about 6 pages each ready to go, and then we can move forward with the site.  We've already got the hosted space.  We just need to get on the stick.  

I'm afraid of it falling apart around me.  That would depress me.  I'd move forward, but I wouldn't be extremely happy about it.

I do have an idea, though.  I just have to talk to one of the other guys to see where they're at before moving forward with it.  I may just do it, anyway.  I just need another paid editing gig, and I can go look for an artist for another story.  If I can get another paid gig or two, I'll search for the appropriate artists and move forward from there.  

As it stands right now, I can put up the pages of the first issue of Bullet Time for content.  That would give me either eleven or twenty-two weeks of content, depending on how often I updated it.  My goal is to have five or six days worth of content.  I gotta keep you all coming back for more!  I have an artist who wants to work with me on a story, which gives me another forty-four or twenty-two weeks, depending on if I update once or twice a week.  So if I start with Bullet Time as just content, and then add Group and My Life, and did all of them once a week, that's three days a week of content for no less than 22 weeks.  I call that very nice.

And if I get one more artist, that gives me four days of content.  

Well, I do have Annie O.N.E. on deck.  I have five penciled and inked pages for that.  (AND I just realized how the inks can go to both the letterer and colorist at the same time!  Lettering rocks!!!!)  That project is slated to go to traditional publishers first, but if they don't bite, I'll take it to the web.  That would give me five days of content for twenty-two weeks, and more than enough time to search for another artist to replace Bullet Time on the rotation. 

A LOT of things on the plate.  Writing, lettering, editing, the columns, and then I'm also burning to do a podcast like the old radio shows of yore.  I have an actor that's interested.  I just need to write it, and get some sound effects to produce it with.  If I'm able to produce those well and sell them, I'll have a GREAT many things to sell next year.  Books and an audio cd.  

If I don't dream big and being totally dependent on me, who else will?

Non-comic stuff?  Well, I got a new tattoo on Saturday.  After it's all healed up, I'll put up a pic of it.  It was a birthday present from Lenora.  She loves me!

I'll also be getting an iPhone in a few weeks.  That's one of my own gifts to myself.  Sara Cappoli, the artist of Group, is my other present to myself.  That woman has skills!  

Besides that, I'm waiting patiently for Prince to drop the first album of the year.  He said he'd be dropping three, and I'm waiting for it.  (And I just decided which story I'm going to search for an artist on.  Three issues, sixty-six weeks!)  

And that's it.  I'm hungry, but Lenora should be home soon.  Gonna have some bratwurst, and she's bringing buns home.  Some bratwurst, cheese, and mustard.  Good times, folks.  Good times.

And I'm out!  Go listen to some Huey Lewis and the News.  You'll be glad you did.