Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trayvon Martin... Michael Brown... Eric Garner... Tamir Rice... Aiyana Jones...

It's very hard for me to focus right now. Very hard.

It's enough that I have several projects vying for space in my head and I've made changes to how I want to bring a few of them to fruition (Shadowfox is back in, Lupus Moon is back out, Ascension and Darque Marque Comics have been folded back into one entity). It's enough that even those decisions are clouded by my incessant worrying over the commercial viability of each project. But now there's another stressor that's been thrown into the mix...

Anger. Frustration. Rage.

I really don't know which word to use.

With the recent news regarding the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson/Ferguson, MO situation, the outright slaughter of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the grand jury's decision to not charge the officer who blatantly chocked Eric Garner to death on a New York sidewalk (on video!), and countless other stories that seem to be coming to light at the speed of light, I'm finding it harder and harder to focus on writing whatever whimsical fiction that strikes my fancy at the moment. Instead, I'm more and more angry.

More and more frustrated.

More and more enraged.

I'm not even sure what to do with it. As a writer and one-time amateur filmmaker, the smart money would say that I should funnel my fury through my art - make a statement on how I feel through words or digital video. And I've taken steps in that direction. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I rewrote scripts for a short film and stage skit, both dealing with issues of Blackness - one internally, one externally. I'm not certain when or if they'll see the light of production, but they're definitely projects I'm motivated to work on in the light of what's been happening to my brothers and sisters.

Then there's the concept for a feature film, which would see me take a character from an stage play I never finished, and re-cast her in a dramatized story about a protest and swelling racial tensions over the death of an unarmed Black man at the hands of a white police officer. I'm even thinking it could be one of those films with parallel storylines, with viewpoints from the police's perspective, as well as that of the victim's family, being explored. I even have a title, lifted from an older treatment for a story dealing with racism I wrote when I was in high school. This idea is really tugging at me, but I only have so much time in the day and I've already got other projects on the table in various advanced states of creation. I also want to make sure that this raging passion isn't just a result of plain rage; something that will subside as my emotion does the same.

At the end of the day, it's a creative battle between my interests as a geek, and my duty to my people. It seems silly to trifle with stories of superheros when now, more than ever in my life, I feel the need to add my voice to the others already protesting and say something substantial, something of worth.

I'm not sure which side will win out. Then again, with greater time management--

Maybe one side doesn't need to.


Monday, October 6, 2014

LUPUS MOON Update - 10.6.14

After time, consideration -- and a very unpleasurable comic book writing session -- I've decided to go back to realizing LUPUS MOON as a novel. I'm not entirely abandoning the comic book concept; I'm still very much interested in it. I just think that the time and cost involved in creating that work are not the best uses of those limited resources at this time. I'd still love to hire an artist to design/create a few images of my heroine, Alexandria, for promotion (and motivation). I'm even thinking of peppering the novel with images to reflect the story...

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I must admit, I'm pretty damn excited.

Lupus Moon, the graphic novel, is underway. I'm several pages in, but I admittedly haven't touched the draft in a little over a week. But it's for a very good reason...

I've also been working on Shadowfox. Locking her story down, researching, and world building. I started back on the outline last night, and I'm trying to figure out how I want to break the story down, as it's quite different from writing a screenplay, or an original graphic novel (Shadowfox will be released in traditional single issues, with story arcs being collected into trade paperbacks; I'm thinking about changing up Lupus Moon to follow the same format). I had a bit of a baby epiphany last night before I went to bed; I'm so looking forward to diving back into the work.

This is all coming together in the form of a new company structure. Originally, the idea was to release these titles under the name Blaquecat Studios; but, after looking at the titles I'm wanting to release, it once again became apparent that I needed two different brand names (there may be a third at some point) to cover the range of material -- and "Blaquecat" itself didn't seem to fit. So, going forward, the superhero titles (Shadowfox, Blayze, Pulse and a couple less-defined concepts) will run under Ascension Comics; horror/supernatural titles (Lupus Moon, Darkness Walks, Saints & Sinners, Texas Backwater, The Wretched, Noah) will come out under Darque Marque Comics. I've already created temporary logos for each brand, and will be putting up a Facebook page for them later today (I won't be doing a lot of promotion for it yet, though; gotta make sure this whole thing pans out before I put myself out there too much).

All of this, and we also recently went into production on our web series Love's High Wire. It's a lot, but it's the fun kind of "a lot" -- the "a lot" that I control.

And it's always best to control your own destiny, so to speak.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

LUPUS MOON #15 - "Decisions, Decisions..."

Now that I'm back to working on Lupus Moon full time (having taken some time to finish a polish of Revelation), I've been going back and forth over whether or not I want to birth this thing in comic book format, or if I want to write it in screenplay format first and then convert it over afterward. Since I'm most familiar with screenplays, I think I'll start there...

Seems legit.


LUPUS MOON #14 - "Clean Slate Protocol"

The novel version of Lupus Moon is dead.

Or in suspended animation.

Or cryogenic freeze. Take your pick.

The project is going ahead, however. I'm just back to developing it as an original graphic novel.

It basically came down to doing what I really wanted to to--what made me the most excited. Stripping away concerns about what might make the most money the quickest, what might be the most popular and what is the "smartest" move to make, I just focused on what felt right from a creative standpoint. I've been reading more and more about the comic book industry lately, and the more I tried to push and pull away from it, the more I couldn't shake just how cool it would be for me to have my characters and story realized in a graphic format. I mean, it would just plain rock. So, after a ton of mental wrangling, and realizing I only have one life (that I know of), and that I'm not getting any younger in it, I came to one, simple conclusion: "Why the fuck not?"

So I'm launching into a new direction. The story will be the same, except for a few small tweaks. I'm also going to adjust the antagonist's reasoning for doing what he's doing, looking to tie it in with future books I hope to write. It'll be quite the learning curve, no doubt, but I think it'll be a lot of fun. And I really hope it works out, because I have several other ideas I'd like to turn into comics/graphic novels themselves.

I swear I can't wait until I get that first piece of artwork back from whomever I work with. I'm probably going to cry like a baby.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

LUPUS MOON #13 - "Day Twenty-Four"

19 pages completed at this point.

I should have 96.

This isn't looking good.

I'm not having fun writing the book.  Period. Point blank. End of story. Maybe it's because I'm putting too much pressure on myself, but even with a fairly-detailed outline, it's like pulling teeth to generate the words in my brain, much less translate them to the page (or screen, as it were). All this need for description is killing me. But if I don't do it, this novel will be more like a short story. Which is fine, I guess, but this was supposed to be longer than that. And a novella series was not a part of the plan for this property.

On top of all that, even with the added costs it would take to pull it off, I can't shake the overwhelming desire to realize the story as a graphic novel. This decision was supposed to be made and locked a long time ago, but it keeps coming back. Guess that's telling me something.

I talked it over with Shaundra and she quickly set me straight, asking what was the one thing keeping me from writing Lupus Moon as a graphic novel. I told her it was the money, to which she retorted, without a moment's hesitation,"We can always get money."

True. I guess. I mean, I'm definitely not rolling in it, but we could run a crowdsourcing campaign to try and raise some funds. But I don't have a lot of faith in that. Still, it's worth a shot. I can't deny how exciting it would be to hold the book in my hands with the characters visually realized in the story I created. In a sense it would be the closest I would likely ever get to making the movie I originally envisioned when the concept entered my consciousness many years ago. The same would be true for Darkness Walks, as well as a host of other stories I'd pegged for novelization. Plus, writing the stories, format-wise, is very close to screenwriting--a form I'm extremely comfortable with.

So I'm looking into graphic novels a little more. The big question would be whether to realize the story as one unit, or break it up into individual issues (which would be a safer risk financially) and combining them into what's known as a trade paperback afterward. That would allow me to see if there's any interest in the story (determined by sales) before going "all the way."

Decisions, decisions...