Sunday, December 17, 2017

LUPUS MOON #35 - "First Draft COMPLETE!"

And there it is. Finally, 17 days after NaNoWriMo wrapped up, I'm officially finished with the first draft of Lupus Moon.

I should've been done a long time ago. Originally, the intention was to keep working each and every day until the draft was completed, but after November ended, I really wanted a break, and convinced myself that if I took a day off it wouldn't be a problem. I'd try to work, but if it didn't happen, no big deal. Well, that day was Friday, and I didn't write. Then came Saturday and Sunday, and I didn't write on those days, either. Long story short, I didn't touch the manuscript (feels weird being able to use that word) until six days later--and even then I only added 655 words, a far cry from hitting at least 1,667 words a day throughout the challenge. Anyway, here's how the final days of the draft broke down:

Friday, 12/8 - 930 words
Saturday, 12/9 - 1214 words
Wednesday, 12/13 - 1,043 words
Friday, 12/15 - 545 words
Saturday, 12/16 - 573 words
Sunday, 12/17 - 1,171 words

Now that I'm done, the first thing I'm going to do is let the thing sit for a month or so to regain some perspective and objectivity before I start rewrites. In the meantime, I'll be flipping back over to Shadowfox to rewrite and polish the first arc and move it one step closer to release...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #30

AND THERE IT IS. 1,728 words on the final day to give me a grand total of 52,416 words for the competition. I've OFFICIALLY won NaNoWriMo.

The story still isn't done, but the final battle between my heroine, Alex, and the villainous Tristan is about to begin. I'll be working on the book tomorrow before (maybe) taking the weekend away from it and finishing it off next week. It's been a fun and taxing journey, and I appreciate each and every person who read my posts, clicked a reaction, or left comments of support and motivation. I'm still a ways off from getting this thing ready for you to read, but I promise you, it's coming. Taking a moment to think about it, I really can't believe it--I actually wrote a friggin' novel. Hopefully, the first of many, but for now, let me just get this one done first...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #29

I DID IT. 1,764 words today pushes me over the mark at 50,688 with one day to spare. I've conquered the word-count part of NaNoWriMo, but I still need to hit my daily goal tomorrow to make it official. Besides, the draft isn't done yet. But it's close. Very close. I can smell it...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #28

Started slow, but ended on a high note: 1,865 words is the second-best day I've had this month, bringing me to a total of 48,924. That means if I just hit my daily goal tomorrow, I'll finish with 50,591 words and surpass the overall NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words with a day to spare. Some have gone way over this mark much earlier, but you know what? This is my first time attempting this and I've just about made it. As my baby told me, I just have to finish strong. And I will...

Monday, November 27, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #27

1,775 words, pushing me to 47,059 with three more days to go. I'll hit 50,000+ if I just make goal each day, so it's not a matter of if, but when, and how far over I'll be by the end of the month. What's funny is I may wind up finishing the story at the same time, or very close to it. That would only be an added bonus...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #26

Closing out the last weekend of the challenge with 1,694 words, bringing me to 45,284. Story-wise, I'm in the third act. It'll be interesting to see how this thing fills out in rewrites, but I know one thing--I'm ready for this to be over...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #25

I don't know how to act being done this early, lol. Added 1,673 words, for a combined 43,590. That 50,000-word, month-end goal is in reach, and I'm ahead of schedule. It could only be better if I was done with the first draft, but I'm very much loving the journey...

Friday, November 24, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #24

Much easier writing session. Tacked on 1,778 words, bumping my total to 41,917. I saw someone claiming to have written 7.500 words IN A DAY, and while I'm in no position to dispute that, I can't help but wonder about the quality of what they wrote. But hey, that's what rewriting is for. If they really wrote all that in a day, good on them. I'll just be happy hitting my goal of 1,667 per day...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #23

After spending the day with family and getting back for a late start, it was exactly what I DIDN'T need--a challenging night of writing, thanks to an integral scene with lots of details that needed to be reviewed, revised, and worked in. But I stuck with it, and I got my words in; 1,714, bringing my total to 40,139. I count my days from when I wake up to when I go to bed, so even though it's just after 5:30 AM, it counts as a win. Now to shut it down, rest up, and get back at it tomo--later today. crazy as it sounds, I'm actually really enjoying this...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #22

Added another 1,764 words, bringing me to 38,425. I'm steady rolling, but tomorrow will be the big challenge. I don't plan to write while visiting family; instead, I'll get my words in when we get back. I'm pretty sure I'm making much to do about nothing. I've been regularly starting my sessions late in the evening and I've still managed to stay on top. Tomorrow will be no different. Speaking (typing) it into existence now...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #21

I started slow, picked up speed, then cooled down a bit at the end, but I have another 1,781 words to show for it, and a new total of 36,661. I wish it was more, but that's just me wanting to rush things. What matters is that I've hit goal every single day, and for that, I'm extremely proud.

Monday, November 20, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #20

1,830 words, for a total of 34,880. I don't intend on working so late every night, but I've always been good at it...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #19

Added 1,688 words, bringing my running total to 33,050. Worked very late into the night due to checking out WWE Survivor Series (I was right; last night's NXT Takeover was vastly superior), but I got it done, and I'm ready for more tomorrow. Forward always.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #18

And there it is. Not my best day, but it's more than enough when all you wanted was to hit your daily goal before you went out to an event. 1,675 words pushes me, finally, over the 30,000-mark, at 31,362. Now to eat something, grab a shower, then head out. Wishing everyone an awesome rest of the day!

Friday, November 17, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #17

This is what's awesome about this challenge--I can't predict how things will go. Got a SUPER LATE start today. Like, not-starting-until-like-damn-near-10PM late. After eating some pizza and getting nice and full, the 'itis could've set in and taken me down, but I slapped on my headphones, cranked up some video game boss music, and laid into a section of the story where business is starting to pick up--culminating in a 1,805-word day, which brings me up to 29,687 total. I'm going to celebrate for a little bit, then go ahead and lay it down. I need to get my words in early tomorrow; my lady love and I are wrestling fans, and we're going to WWE NXT Takeover: War Games tomorrow night. Looking forward to it. Until next time, I #amwriting.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #16

1,679 words, bringing the total to 27,882. Even though I'm ahead of schedule to hit the 50,000 mark for the challenge, I'm worried about the overall length of the book. I have a goal of 85,000 words and, by the looks of things, I'm not going to be anywhere close by the time I finish this draft. I know there's rewriting to be done, so thing will change, but I guess if I don't have it after that, I'll go with what I have. No need in adding in a ton of extra words just to fluff the final count...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #15

Halfway to GLORY! Well, at least, to the end of the challenge. Did my thing and kicked in another 1,723 words, bringing the big number to 26,203. Really not much more to add, so... In case I don't see you again, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #14

Shutting it down after another 1,702 words added, bumping my total to 24,480. The writing moved really fast in parts; I'd love it if the rest of the month went like this. Just saying. Positive energy, good vibes--all of that...

Monday, November 13, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #13

Another good day--adding 1,748 words, for a total of 22,778. I guess I know now that I actually can write a novel; I just need the discipline to see it through. I used to balk at the idea of putting something I'd written down for a couple of weeks or a month before rewriting it, but I can say now with an open and honest heart that I will absolutely have ZERO PROBLEM taking time away from this thing when it's done. I still love it, but...damn.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #12

Tacked on 1,677 words, for a running total of 21,030. The hardest part of this whole thing is when you're losing steam for the day, but you're still short--so you write some more, just knowing you have it, only to find you're still short. You get tempted to write any old thing just to get across your daily goal, but then your conscious kicks in, and you're forced to just sit there and eke out just enough words to get over your threshold, WHILE making them pertinent to your story. But it's done for the day, so um, yeah...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #11

1,692 words, for a total of 19,353. I had one of those writer moments where you swear you've written so much more, only to do a word count and find yourself a good 600 words short. But I ground it out and got 'er done, so there's that...

Friday, November 10, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #10

It wasn't a blowout, but a win's a win--1,675 words, for a total of 17,661. I'm a third of the way through the challenge, and so far, I've been on point every day. This is my first time doing this, so that's a win as well. Hey, I'll take 'em where I can get 'em...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #9

1,775 words today, pushing my total to 15,986. The hardest battle is with my lack of patience. I'm doing a lot of writing, but it feels like the words aren't adding up fast enough. I have to remind myself that I'm still working at a faster pace than many (as well as myself if I wasn't doing this challenge). It's just giving me a lot of perspective--and even more respect for folks who have done this multiple times. You folks are gods and goddesses...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #8

You already know I've been getting late starts to my day, but it ain't how you start, it's how you finish--and I have 1,762 reasons why today was another good day, as my total word count is now up to 14,211, and things are heating up story-wise. I'm very much enjoying the process. Looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #7

Yet another late start, but I slept in after taking some Ny-Quil to fight off the last of my illness (a kernel of it remains steadfast). It was, still, an earlier start than yesterday and a better writing day--in fact, my best so far at 1,941 words (I know the pic says 1939, but I wrote two additional words in an existing chapter from yesterday, so...)! My overall total now stands at 12,449. Like yesterday, I tempted to add a more, but while I worked on scripts for this week's Abigail Waller comics then, I'm going to make the actual comics now. My Wednesday drop has been late the past couple of weeks. I need to get back in form...

Monday, November 6, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #6

Got another late start, but all that matters is that I hit my goal, which I surpassed with a perfect 1,700 words for the day. This bumps my overall total to 10,508. I'm tempted to add a little more to today's tally, but I'm going to take the time to work on scripts for this week's Abigail Waller comics. I'm not exactly knocking it out the park, but I'm getting it done...

Sunday, November 5, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #5

Got a very late start today. Got up late, then went to check out THOR: RAGNAROK. It was after 7PM when I started so I knew it would be a late night, but it's all good--'cause I tacked on another 1,716 words, bringing my total to a smooth 8,808. Now to hit the hay and get back on it tomorrow (later today)...

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #4

Day #4: Added 1,671 words, bringing my running total to 7,092. I'm ahead of schedule a little bit, but not enough to take it easy. With so much of the setup out of the way, I'm hoping things pick up words-wise, as I want to get to a point where I can have a bad day without screwing the proverbial pooch. But my head is above water for now, so I'll just rejoice and be glad in that.

Friday, November 3, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #3

1,765 words down, bringing my total thus far to 5,421. I got a seriously late start today; I had to make the day's Abigail Waller comic and get it posted, not to mention battling a flu-like sickness (I'm still not 100%). I thought about letting it go and trying to play catch up down the line, but I know how difficult and dangerous that is, so I'm proud of my persistence and tenacity in getting it done...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #2

Well, if it took the Astros seven games to defeat the Dodgers to win their first-ever world series, it took "extra innings" for me to reach my word goal for the day--but I did it. 1,858 words toward the finish of my novel, bringing my two-day total to 3,656. I got a late start and was held up doing some research for a location and the best way to describe my protagonist's skin tone (don't ask), but I'm proud of myself for hanging in there and getting it done. No time to rest on that accomplishment, though, because I'll be back at it tomorrow. Onward and upward..

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 - Day #1

Off to a great start. I adjusted my initial daily word goal from 1,500 to 1,667 to keep with the 50,000-word goal by the end of the month. So how did I do today? Not shabby; I finished with 1,798 words, and wrapped Chapter One. I'm quite the happy camper, and look forward to getting back at it tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

So I'm Doing NaNoWriMo...

I wanted to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last year, but for whatever reason I didn't. I was probably working on another project and didn't want to split my time, but I'm not certain. I did, though, tell my self that when it came around next year, if I hadn't done it by then, I would participate--and Lupus Moon would be my project. Well, here we are, on the cusp of November, and I have yet to bring Lupus Moon to fruition, so I guess I'd better keep my word to myself and jump right in.

I have no idea what to expect. I'm daunted by the task of hitting at least 1,667 words a day for 30 straight days (including Thanksgiving). Sure, I could miss target on some days and make them up on others, or take days off altogether as long as I hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, but if I'm going to do this, I want to do it the "right" (read: hard) way. If I'm successful, it will easily be the most writing I've done in a month-long period. But hey, no guts, no glory, right?

I'll be documenting my daily process here. Feel free to join me on my journey. Feel even freer to wish me luck. I'm going to need it...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“Behind the Ink” – Nerds of Prey Interview

I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Shannon Miller of the popular “Nerds of Prey” podcast about “The Life and Times of Abigail Waller,” its origins, and my creative process (which, admittedly, needs a lot of work and a helluva lot more discipline). Check out the interview here and make sure you check out the “Nerds of Prey” podcast!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Random Ramblings #52 - "If it Ain't Broke..."

Tried to give an old favorite working spot a second chance after a long layoff. I didn't work out well. First, they've shortened their hours (I was planning to write until 6; they have "summer hours" and now close at 5), then secondly, there was no way to connect my laptop to their wifi (the only working connection was one detected by my cell, but not my laptop; the lady next to me had the same issue).

I tried to make the best of it and use my phone to listen to music (gotta have my tunes), but I'm also used to being able to check social media between breaks as well as research things on the spot as they come up. Long story short, I closed out my tab and have returned to where I should've gone in the first place--(in my Paul Heyman voice at :45 sec) the CURRENT, REIGNING, DEFENDING, and UNDISPUTED writing spot champion, Starbucks!

Now let me get to work...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Shadowfox #13 - "Today Was a Good Day"

I stepped out to the local Starbucks to get some more work done on Issue #1 of #Shadowfox. I was concerned about hitting a 1,500-word goal (I want to set a daily goal, but make sure it's doable), but wound up shutting it down with 2,120 words under my metaphorical belt.

I'm tempted to do a little more at home, but I think I'll leave it alone for the night and relax (or work on something else!). I'm sure I'll be going WAY over the initial 7,500 budget for this issue, but it's all good. Just more for the readers to (hopefully) enjoy...

My office for several hours today.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Moment Out of Time...

Just had a moment... I was letting my dog out and thought for a split second, "I wonder how my mama is doing?"

Then I remembered. And it hurt.

Still adjusting...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Random Ramblings #51 - "Out and About"

My baby grabbed this quick snap of me while I was trying to figure out my next move. At that moment, I was working on the pilot script for a TV series.

I realized I don't post too many pictures of myself on here, so...

Proof that I actually do write things.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Day After We Laid Mama to Rest...

Today was a very tough day. The pain I've been holding onto just couldn't be held back anymore. I had hoped it would be a bit better, but the reality--and finality--is sinking in. I'll never see my mother again. I'd do anything to see her one last time, but then I'd grab her and never let go. I'm just so used to her being there that it's unfathomable to think that she isn't. I may be a grown man, but right now I feel like a little boy.

I just want my mommy...

Monday, May 29, 2017

So I Lost My Mother...

We had a death in our family last week. My mother, Naomi, passed away suddenly, leaving us stunned, shocked, and deeply, deeply hurt. Our hearts are completely broken, and will never, ever, be the same. I can say for myself that, although I knew this time would eventually come and I called myself mentally preparing for it, I was/am just not ready for it. I guess no one ever really is...

Please keep my brothers and father in your thoughts, prayers, and wishes as we prepare to lay my mother to rest. This is an extremely trying time to say the least, but we are fortunate to have the support of so many great friends and family.

My beautiful mama.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Comicpalooza 2017

This past weekend was one that Shaundra and I look forward to every year--the annual Comicpalooza pop culture extravaganza. Comics, cosplay, celebrities, panels, games--you name it, they have it. It's an event we've been going to every year for the past several, and although they have their share of snafus and WTF? issues, we never fail to have a good time (though, honestly, a lot of it is due to us being two goofy, nerdy fools).

This year's event got off to a negative start for us. We arrived early enough on Friday to grab a spot in our favorite parking lot literally right across from the George R. Brown Convention Center, a massive structure right on the southeast edge of downtown H-Town.

Or, at least, we thought we arrived early enough. In past years, the entire lot (not a huge one) was first come, first served--but apparently this year, Comicpalooza decided to reserve half the lot for folks who had prepaid, three-day passes. I didn't see these passes online when I bought our tickets (otherwise we would've grabbed one if the rate was reasonable), so we were out of luck when we were informed that the half reserved for non-pass-having folks like us was full and we'd have to find another lot. There was one close by, so it wasn't a huge issue, but I was a little bummed nonetheless. Anything a convention can do to squeeze a few extra bucks out of us hapless nerds, I guess.


Since we did already have our badges, we were able to walk right into the GRB and head upstairs to our first panel. The celebrity Q&As are always awesome, but I rate a con by how good their panels are. After all, I'm here to learn how to better myself as a writer and entrepreneur, so, push come to shove, I'll take a good panel over a cool celebrity appearance (something that got put to the test on Saturday). Unfortunately for us, however, the folks who were supposed to present at our first panel, "Building a Podcast," decided to pull a no-call, no-show--leaving us completely SOL. It sucks because while I myself was interested in what they had to say (I've batted the idea of doing a podcast back and forth), it was one of the few panels that Shaundra was really interested in, as she's thinking of doing a podcast for her personal business. With the extra time on our hands, we went to the main lobby and watched people go by until it was time for our next panel.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch--though, by the time we headed home, we had made a few major changes to Saturday's schedule. There were a few celebrity panels we were looking forward to attending, but after realizing where they were scheduled (the same room), when they were scheduled (one after the other, with short breaks between), and the organization's practice of clearing the room completely before letting folks in for the next session, we decided it would be too much of a hassle to subject ourselves to. We wanted to go to all three, but thought (and will think as long as they do this) it was stupid to make people who are already in the room leave, only to get at the back of a line (that was already building while the previous session went on) to go right back in the same room--and most likely get worse seats than the ones they just had. As it was, I had decided against attending a couple panels that really interested me in favor of the celebrity Q&As, so, after weighing things (I could either attend something that would feed my knowledge/interest/passion, or something that would be very cool to be a part of, but ultimately fruitless and empty), we decided to forgo the Q&As in favor of the panels.

I don't regret that decision one bit. The panels we attended were awesome, and we were still able to lay eyes on the celebrities we wanted to see by strolling through the autograph/picture area during a break (we even wound up attending one of the Q&As we had decided against when the panel we wanted to go to got cancelled without letting us know--sloppy work by the convention, but we turned the negative into a positive). The last panel we attended turned out to be a waste of time and we left early to head home, but by that point we had learned what we wanted to and were just looking to fill time to extend our experience.

Sunday was slower, due to being the last day of the convention as well as Mother's Day, but it was another winner for us, as we got in our last bits of junk food (we treated it as a "cheat weekend"), attended a final couple of informative panels on securing a literary agent and budgeting for comic books, and sat in on a couple of celebrity Q&As, one of which featured a WWE star we absolutely adore. We rounded out the day with wrestling by a local indie federation, then headed back to the lair to recoup, recharge, and get ready for the coming week.

We had a blast as usual. I learned a lot, gathered motivation and confidence to continue my creative endeavors, and made some promising connections that might be helpful in bringing those endeavors to fruition. All in all, Comicpalooza 2017 was exactly what I needed it to be. Now it's time for me to get to work. After all...

It'd be cool to be at Comicpalooza as something more than just an attendee. ;)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Random Ramblings #50 - "Inconvenience Store"

I do the weekly grocery shopping for my household, since I work from home while Shaundra has to brave Houston traffic to commute to her office. It's a hassle since I hate going to the store, but it's also a hassle to starve, so...you know...

As such, I've come to know a few of the checkers and baggers at my local store--and their tendencies. Armed with this knowledge, when I'm ready to leave, I'll pick certain lines based on the personnel. The lines might be longer than others, but if it ensures me a less stressful checkout experience, I have absolutely no problem waiting.

This logic flies directly in the face of "The Expediter," however--the person I've noticed popping up more and more often who's sole job is to throw a wrench into my plans by calling me out and directing me to a line that's shorter, most likely because I've avoided it due to not wanting to deal with someone working it. I've been foiled by this nemesis before, and she got me again today.

As I was scanning the checkout lines, I saw one staffed by a particular bagger I don't care for (nothing personal of course; I don't even know the guy's name). Not only is he slow physically (and maybe mentally, I can't tell), he bags items together that shouldn't be (think cheese and raw meat) and puts stuff in areas of the basket that I don't want them in. So, when I saw him, I simply moved on to another line. All was good. All was fine...

But "The Expediter" wasn't having it. "Sir?"

You know how you think you hear something, but you're not sure, so you ignore it? Yeah, that was me. There were plenty of other people in the store. Surely she wasn't talking to--

"Sir?"

Dammit.

I could've been an ass and kept my eyes locked straight ahead, but unfortunately for me, I'm too nice for that. So I looked over at the destroyer of my good vibes, and she motioned me, naturally, to the line I had specifically avoided. I thought about telling her that I was fine where I was, but then I'd expose myself to her scrutinization of my choice, and ultimate discovery that I was, in fact, being an ass. Deciding that was worse than whatever bagging fate awaited my groceries, I reluctantly took her suggestion.

The expected annoyance soon followed. If I roll up with everything in the top portion of the basket, why in the name of Asgard would you put something under it? I bought an 8-pack of paper towels. Yes, it's large, but it fit in the top of the basket with everything else. But, of course, once Mr. Sorry Sacker got his hands on it, he slapped a sticker on the package and shoved it under the basket. Why, for crying out loud? Look at my purchase! Why must I bend over when there's absolutely no need to? 

Luckily, that was the only infraction this time around. The list was small, which didn't allow for too much sacking that could lead to food contamination, and there wasn't so much that he tried to put something in the baby seat--

Talk about something I really can't stand...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Random Ramblings #49 - "Basic Gym Etiquette"

For financial reasons (but mostly convenience and laziness), I workout in the fitness center at my apartment complex. Depending on what I'm doing that day I might listen to music--but most of the time, I prefer to be alone with my thoughts in complete silence. That can be hard to obtain in a common facility, naturally, but with a little clever scheduling, you can maximize the likelihood of getting the place to yourself. If there are others there when I show up it's no big deal. I do what I came to do and move on.

I do have a code, though. A simple one, based on basic respect: If you come in the gym, and something you want to do is going to change the atmosphere of the gym for persons already there, at least be courteous enough to check with those persons before you just up and alter things.

See? Simple. At least you'd think it was...

I was alone in the fitness center today, working back. the door from the outside has a coded lock on it, and everyone who lives there is given the code. So it's safe to assume that anyone who can't open the door has either forgotten the code--or doesn't live there. So anyway, I'm doing my thing, when I noticed what looked like a Black woman standing outside with her hand on the doorknob, peering in to see if anyone was inside with a Black man over her shoulder. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I've pretended to not see folks at the door, or stood completely still hoping they wouldn't see me, all in the name of preserving my silent gym. Most of the time, however, I wind up opening the door for them because they've either spotted me and started knocking or I've spotted them before the knock and know what's coming. In this case, I hadn't heard a knock, but I figured if I saw them, they saw me, so...

As I approached the door, I saw another Black dude coming and my concerns only increased. If they were all together, I just knew they'd come in, talking all loud and goofing around (the third dude was scrawny as a rail; I had no delusions he was coming in to do any serious work; alas, he never did anything but sit). When I reached the door, the guy who I thought was behind the woman was now front and center. For all I knew, maybe he'd been there the whole time. In any event, I opened the door, and he said, "Thanks." At least there's that, I thought. Then I went back to the bench while he, the woman, and the scrawny guy came in.

As I picked up my weights and got a better look at my new gym mates, I realized that the "woman" was most likely a transsexual--the only thing giving it being the muscularity of her arms. They weren't muscular as in a "she works out" kind of way. No, they were muscular in a "those are the arms of a really skinny guy" way. Either way, it didn't matter; she wore a long sundress and was snacking--loudly--on a bag of chips. In other words, she wasn't there to do any work, either. And unless you count a few seconds of watching herself twerk in a mirror was work, she lived up to my assessment.

So with Scrawny Dude just lounging around and Ms. Thing checking herself out and grubbing, that left the other guy--the only one that was there to use the room for it's intended purpose. As expected, they talked loudly, disturbing my peace, but it wasn't until Mr. Workout pulled out a small radio and turned it on--without so much as a word or look in my direction--that I really got annoyed. It's weird; we've gone from having radios playing music out loud or over speakers, to doing our own thing via headphones, back to having our music playing out loud, this time from phones or pill-like wireless devices.

You might be reading this and think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but my thing is this: if someone was quietly working out in the gym when I got there, what in the world makes me think they want to listen to my music out loud--music that didn't exist before I walked into the room? To me, that's a special kind of arrogance, but it happens all the time. And what pissed me off in this particular case was that the problem wouldn't have existed if I hadn't let them in. So, in essence, it was my fault. Being nice had, as it has so many times before, bit me in the ass.

After doing absolutely nothing but adding noise to the room and loitering around on equipment I thought I'd have to ask them to move from so that I could use it, Ms. Thing and Scrawny Dude left, going outside with Mr. Workout to a vehicle they had guided by cell phone into the complex. Apparently there was a trade-off; Mr. Workout returned with a new friend, while the vehicle with the loiterers went on its way. Mr. Workout operated as a trainer, showing his friend a few things. At least he was there to actually workout. I don't know what all they did, though; I left soon after my last set.

Just another day in the fitness center...

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kevin's Cinema Chronicles #1 - "Excuse Me"

So Shaundra and I went to the movies tonight to check out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (great movie, by the way--lots of fun, and heavy on the feels) at our current favorite movie theater, the Santikos Palladium ATX West Houston. Had a great time for the most part, but something happened that really pissed me off before the show started, and it's an ongoing thing that's bothered me since at least 2000 (I remember the year because there was a very specific instance that occurred when we went to another movie based on a Marvel property, X-Men). It's folks who don't know the meaning of the words "excuse me."

Now, to me, "excuse me" is a very simple phrase, taught to me by my mother, who instilled basic manners in my brothers and I. We've all heard it at some point in our lives, so ignorance of the words is unacceptable. It costs nothing to say, and doesn't diminish you in any way when you use it. In fact, it's great sign that you were raised with at least smidgen of decency and not by a pack of hyenas. Why, then, are there so many asshats out there that seem to not be aware of the concept?

Here's the deal: we were sitting in our seats, waiting for the show to start. One of the things we love about this theater is that you reserve your seats ahead of time--so you know if there's going to be people sitting next to you or not. According to the layout of the theater online, we were going to have some people sitting right next to us on our right. A group of four friends came in and sat to our right, but there was a spot left between us and them. Maybe they read their seats wrong and skipped a seat, I thought, or maybe they didn't want to sit next to Black people (we've had it happen where it seemed folks left a buffer on each side of us on multiple occasions--I call it our "Black halo"). It never occurred to me that there was one more of them to come, and he/she was delayed for some reason.

Sure enough, right before the show is about to start, down the aisle comes some greasy-headed punk in glasses and a red t-shirt. All the seats to my immediate left were taken, so I knew he was going to step in front of Shaundra and I. No problem. But since at least 2000, I've had an issue with people just crossing right in front of me, sometimes stepping on my feet, and not saying "excuse me." We've even seen it where the words were uttered to the folks immediately to the left or right of us (who were non-Black, interestingly enough), but not to us. Now, maybe it's coincidence, or maybe it's what I call my "Black paranoia," but it seems to imply this attitude that we're not important or worthy enough to extend a basic courtesy to. Fact is, it's happened so many times that I've gotten in the habit of making sure not to move my feet when I see someone coming, just to see if they have any home training, or if they're entitled assholes.

Believe me, there have been plenty of assholes.

But anyway, back to greasy head. So I see him coming, and my feet are already comfortably extended before me--and I ain't moving unless he uses the magic words. Everyone else he crosses either had their feet pulled closer or moved, but that was them, not me. So this moron walks up to me--

And pauses. But only for a split second. Instead of saying "Excuse me," he decided he was going to step over me (one fool tried this in the past, only for me to raise a foot and trip his trifling ass--X-men in 2000). In the process, he stepped squarely on my right foot, and acted like nothing was out of the ordinary. Now we've all stepped on things in our lifetimes; you know immediately when your foot is landing on something that isn't flat. So for this butt wipe to ignore it told me he didn't give a fuck, and/or likely thought it okay and what I got since I didn't automatically move for him without him saying anything--as if it's my place to do so.

Surely, this dude will at least say "excuse me" or "my bad" for stepping on my foot. Nope. No such thing. So I did what any person with a devil on one shoulder and a petty little muthafucka on the other would do--I raised my foot while he was on it and tried my best to send him stumbling to the floor. Alas, I was unsuccessful, and the jackass took his seat--right next to Shaundra. I really wanted to say something--charge his bastard ass up for being such a rude piece of shit--but then I realized if I caused static, my baby would have to deal with the awkwardness of sitting next to his ass the entire movie, or worse, it could lead to an altercation that would get us thrown out and we'd miss the movie altogether. So I sat there, stewing, until I finally got lost in the film and forgot about it.

Until it was time to leave. The sorry bitch-ass was behind us as we filed out of the theater, but I noticed he wasn't brave enough to walk past us. Outside in the lobby I stepped aside and mugged him as he passed, but he kept his eyes straight ahead--like a punk who cut you off in traffic only to wind up next to you at a stop light. I threw a few more menacing looks his way, but our eyes never met. On their way out of the building one of his friends, a scrawny type who I was beyond confident would stand no chance against me if it came to blows, looked me dead in the eye, but kept it moving. The offender, though, acted like he didn't see me.

Whatever, man.

I wasn't going to hit him. I wasn't necessarily trying to start a fight. But I was trying to scare him, though. People tend to act all badass until it's time to deal with someone face-to-face, and since I've apparently made people nervous just by coming in their direction and being Black in the past, I figured I might as well use that power to my advantage for once. But if he did "come at me" physically, I was ready to lay his ass out--and his wormy-looking friends, too. I'm not a big guy by any means, but I had the size advantage on them. Maybe it helped that I've been working out, and the shirt I was wearing fit snug on my biceps.

Then again, I'm sure having the Hulk on it didn't hurt, either...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Shadowfox #12 - "Genesis"

Shadowfox has undergone another transformation since the last update.

I know. Nothing new.

I'll spare you the ridiculously-numerous details, but long story short, I'm moving ahead with the project as a short story "prose comic" series. Originally slated for a six-issue first arc, I was able to whittle it down to five installments. I was actually hoping for four, but there was too much story for that--and it was story I liked--so in it went. In the process, I eliminated two characters that, though I love them, were not necessary for this story, and I think it's a definite improvement because of it. Naturally that meant I needed to rework the outline--again--but it came together a lot easier than I feared it would, so today I broke ground on the new Issue #1, "Genesis."

The intro I went with was partially-written from a previous prose attempt, so all I had to do was mesh it in with a few new details, move some stuff around, make sure everyone played nice with each other, and I wound up with something that put a smile on my face when I was done. I generally wouldn't count the preexisting words as part of my daily total, but in this case, with having no idea how many words were added amidst the ones deleted and ones moved around, I'll gladly make an exception. I finished the day with 1,154 words, set against a soft goal of 7,500.

The most important thing is that I had fun. So much so that I'm wanting to continue, but I've spent enough time on Kysha for today and I need to get out of the office for a bit. It is the weekend, after all...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

I'm a 2017 Glyph Comics Award Nominee!

It was already a nice day, but this just made it that much sweeter...

My webcomic, The Life and Times of Abigail Waller, has just been nominated in the "Best Comics Strip Or Webcomic" category for the 2017 Glyph Comics Awards!

For the uninitiated, the Glyph Comics Awards "recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year." This is a huge deal for me, and what really makes it awesome is that I'm fortunate enough to be included on a list with some truly-talented heavy-hitters. 

You can check out the full list of nominees here!