Monday, February 23, 2009

Another mystery project...

Well, I may have found an artist for my long awaited fantasy project, another one I'm not sharing details of because, well, I don't want to! An artist tracked me down a few days ago, an amazing amazing amazing artist, actually, and after talking with him, he'd like to give it a go. I sent him a snippet from my book (what's being converted to script) and he was VERY impressed with the sample. I started the book back in the mid to late-90's, put it down for over a decade, and picked it back up again in November, cranking out over 200 pages of straight text. Unfortunately, it's all written in notebooks, so it's taking me a while to get things moved over to my PC... actually, I didn't have any intention of doing that for a while, but this artist is giving me a nudge to do it, so who am I to complain! So... working on script for that when I have time now. Luckily, there's a lot to work from in the book and literally notebooks of storylines (I had planned for this to be a set of trilogies, so I have plots for a ton), so this one could go on for a while!

Project Updates... Faction for Small Press Idol

So here's the mock cover KT did for SPI 2009 for Faction... I really love his style, it comes across as very organic. check out how the bandages look on his right arm... or what's left of it anyway. The judges in SPI gave us a little bit of a hard time for the art and the pitch, but the pitch has been polished and the final cover we'll use for the big show will be a lot more dynamic and should drop some jaws. We can't share anything, though, until it has been shown on the SPI site, so hold on to your hats!

Project updates... Horror Mini

I'm up pretty darned early this morning... My alarm was scheduled to go off about seven minutes ago, but I've been up for over an hour. I just wanted to throw some updates out there...

Mystery horror mini-series... Denman is just about finished with all of the faces for the characters, and they are all turning out great, so I thought I would go ahead and post them.

Every one of the characters has a distinct personality which plays out in the story nicely... I'm still editing the last two issues, but the story itself turned out great, if I do say so myself. Thanks to Denman for the nice images and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Progress and progress...

Progress, progress, and more progress.... Denman and I have been talking and are working to get everything we need for a submission package good to go by about mid-June. It's going to be tough, because there's a lot to do (sorry Denman!), but it's got to be done. I've done some serious research on where I'm going to need to wander around at SDCC this year to get things looked at and I'm prepared to dig in, wait in lines, beg, borrow, plead, coerce, or whatever I have to do to get my foot in the door. I'm not looking for a HUGE publisher to pick up the book, necessarily, but, trust me, it deserves to be published, it's a great project and needs some attention accordingly. We'll see how that goes, but I CAN'T WAIT to get the stuff printed out, glossy and purdy...

As for Small Press Idol 2009 - FACTION is coming along nicely... KT and I have been exchanging emails regularly (sometimes quite a few in a day) to get things worked out. The script for our issue 0 is written, edited, and I'm very very pleased with how that process went. I'm actually writing issue 1 right now, preparing for the possibility that we could win this thing! I love the world, I love the characters, and I love the messy situations I'm putting the main character into. KT is making some great progress on our Round 2 portion of the competition and I'm jazzed with how things are turning out.

Across the board when it comes to comics it's really amazing to see the conversion from written text to sketches to the final inked, colored, and dynamic product. I look at things and think "did I dream this up?" I just can't believe things are finally coming together like this and I can't wait to share everything with the world.... Once that's done, of course, time to start cranking on one of my other billion comic-related projects... Take a deep breath, Erik, you've got a while to wait before you can do that. yeah yeah yeah.... whatever!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Small Press Idol 2009 - Pitch (updated)

Well, after some critiques from the judges and forum-members, I ended up changing around my pitch for Faction, so below are the results. I received some very positive feedback about it, so I'm happy. Based on the rules of the contest, I can't post anything online that hasn't been put up on the contest web site, so you'll have to wait for round 2 to see more... KT is working on an updated mock cover, so maybe I'll get that up at some point to.

The year is 2025 and the worlds’ governments are focused on eradicating the escalating terrorist threat in the Middle East secretly supported by the demonic Den Malignity. This effort has left Master Sergeant Acker Kinney, a Special Ops Medic, scarred and short an arm, forever changed.

When Acker is attacked by a demonic minion while recovering from his wounds in a military hospital, he is saved by Knights from the Society of the Enlightened. Soon he will be one of them; men and women blessed by God with countless lifetimes of knowledge and rediscovered powers.

The Society and the Den Malignity, enemies in an eternal struggle, must react when other factions, long thought banished or destroyed, rise to reclaim what was theirs. The Society and its knights must determine in this changed landscape who their allies and enemies are as factions vie for a stake in the world’s destiny.

The schemes of gods, the desires of demons, the powers of nature, myth, and the supernatural – all set forth to control a world the Society has sworn to protect. This is Faction.

SPI Site: Project Site: Forum: Forum (you have to join to post): Judging forum (where they get voted on):

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Small Press Idol - 2009

If you didn't already know, I'm taking part in Small Press Idol 2009, which is really an entertaining experience so far! It's kind of like the American Idol of comic books having to do with the whole product, not just an artist or a writer. Round 1 is going on right now, so if you're interested, you can still join in the fun (links are below). If you don't want to join in the fun, go check out the competition this year, it looks to be really stiff! KT Gravatt and I are working together to get "Faction" published and we just got voted through to round 2 today, all three judges voted "yes". They had some things to say about the project, but nothing that can't be fixed. So go over and check it out!

If you make it through round 1, your "0" issue will get published as part of an anthology. If you make it through to round 4, your "0" issue gets published by itself. If you win the whole contest, you get a four issue mini-series published and prize money (a pot and then the majority of sales of the book less production costs and 10% I believe).

SPI Site:
Faction Project Site:
Faction Forum:
SPI Forum (you have to join to post):
SPI Judging forum (where they get voted on):

Monday, February 9, 2009

Posted "Deviations" like a mad man!

Well, I was inspired so I went through some of my poetry and posted it on my DeviantArt page for people to check out. Surprisingly, I've received a lot more views since I added poetry, who would have thought? Just click on "gallery" to check them out. Be warned, I cover a large gamut of emotions.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A legend has passed... Pay your respects to Lux Interior from the Cramps...

I'm not sure if you've heard of them, but if you haven't, you've missed out... Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, the first horror-punk band started back in the late seventies, has died. I've been listening to them for around fifteen years, I think, back when I first got into Garage Punk while I was working at Waldenbooks in Carlsbad... I went with a friend to a White Zombie concert just so I could get a glimpse of the Cramps and I wasn't disappointed. Lux was on stage doing his thing, singing songs like "Human Fly", "Green Fuzz", and "Goo Goo Muck" and at one point, climbed up on one of the huge amps on stage, stuck the mic in his mouth, and started, well, making moves on the top of the amp, grunting into the mic, which sounded odd since it was in his mouth at the time.

Regardless, the loss of Lux is a blow to the punk world whether you've heard of him or not...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Go check it out!

So, if you're interested in finding out who's working with me on my horror mini-series, go check out Denman Rooke's blog over at He's got amazing skills with any medium he delves into, so I'm excited to be working with him... Every image he sends me gets me more jazzed about how the end product will turn out ~ unlike anything I've seen. While you're at it, check out his band, too... yes, he's an artist in more than one sense of the word. His band is called The Last Hope (I note a little irony in the fact that I call myself "the last bard" and his band is "the last hope"... kind of funny, huh?). You can give them a listen and buy their stuff from their myspace at ~

Yet again I demonstrate that I can't separate music and writing! I'm cool with it, are you?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tips for writers....

I've been submitting comments on various forums all over the web-verse and had a thought... Perhaps I'll add some tips for writers on my blog to help those who get stuck on things... I've been a world-builder of sorts since my early days of writing, so I have a tested method of writing that seems to work very well for me. Keep in mind, this is me trying to get my thoughts out, so they may be a bit disjointed at times... I think at some point I'll try to compile the thoughts into a more cohesive package.

1. Idea Phase - This is your brainstorming phase. As soon as you can after you have your original light bulb go off, sit down and write out as much as you can, stream of consciousness about the idea... Even if it's garbage, get it down on paper, on a file, or something so you don't lose it. This is the trick I use when I have a particularly profound dream that might be of some creative use later. Even if everything changes from this point, just get it down. If you don't know names, write something generic or "insert name here", doesn't matter. This is the foundation for what you will work on later.
2. World Building Phase - Here is where you take some of the comments you jotted down in your notes and you start to flush out what kind of world the book takes place in (this goes for novels, comics, or screenplays). Is it in a post-apocalyptic future, in the far reaches of space, steeped in some sort of time period, etc... What does or does not exist in this world? Magic, technology, spirituality (religion, other gods or beliefs), superpowers, mutants, aliens, what kinds of people, what kinds of jobs, social classes, governmental system(s), etc... Kind of like a program, you are setting tolerances for the world on a grand scale. Even if your character(s) never interact with some of the aspects, they are present just in case you need them.
3. Character Building Phase - Here is where you follow the same criteria as the World Building Phase, but in this case, you do it for the characters. What do they look like, what do they wear, what do they believe, what is special about them, what are their strengths/weaknesses, etc... If you have an anarchist punk who only drinks beer, he wouldn't exactly be caught in a coffee shop sipping hot chocolate, right? That's an extremely lame example, but I think you get what I mean. If a straight laced conservative type walks into a biker bar, there had better be a good reason for it! The more the character is supposed to be involved with your story, the more you should know about them. What makes them tick, did anything interesting happen in their childhood, when did their "powers" if any first manifest (if it's not an origin book), etc... Get the idea? Don't make these things up on the fly while you're writing the book because they will come back to haunt you. If you think of something that you feel is important later, by all means add it in, but do some error trapping, make sure you haven't written something previously that contradicts your changes. Make sense? It's very important that just like with the drawn character, something has to distinguish each character from each other. I'm not talking chocolate versus vanilla, I mean fundamental differences in personalities, powers, beliefs, etc... Otherwise the character might as well talk to themselves all the time.
4. Events Phase - This is where you start jotting down ideas of what you would like to happen during your book. Are you dropping a bomb on the characters, are they going to get locked into a log cabin somewhere and reenact Evil Dead? Is one of them going to get attacked by some sort of supernatural creature. Things like that... If you have a sequence of events that are somewhat interrelated, that's even better. Keep in mind that you don't want to throw the kitchen sink in here... Don't have the characters running into aliens one page and vampires the next... it might be funny, but not along the same plot-line... Now, I know X-Files and Fringe can pull off things like that, but I don't think they do that in the same episodes. Buffy doesn't fight aliens and Mulder doesn't carry a stake. Got it?
5. Drop-In Phase - This can be an outline or just dig into writing at this point (that's what I do). I have the world, the characters, and the events... Now it's just time to combine them. Drop the characters into the world you created and push them into the events. Everything needs to be logical... Get the characters established into the world in some way if you can or at least imply it and then rock the foundations. The development needs to be handled organically, which may help with problems some people have such as with dialogue. You need to think about how each character will react to the events and how they will react to each other. You're going to have calm and crazy people in a stressful situation. Sometimes the calm person can slap the crazy person to calm them down... sometimes it has the opposite effect. Start writing and see where the CHARACTERS drive you. Don't force the plot, let it roll out of you as stress free as possible. Hopefully if everything in the previous phases were carefully developed, writing will be a lot easier. If you get stuck, try going back through what you've written and get yourself in your characters' shoes, that may help. If not, get a bigger hammer... force the lock... whatever you want to call it. Write through the rough patches and hopefully you'll get to your stride again. Once you've powered through it, you may be able to go back to those rough patches and polish it up again.

That's it for phases, but I wanted to talk a little about other things... Probably just one today...

Dialogue - Dialogue seems to be tricky for a lot of people. I read somewhere in a forum recently that someone felt like their dialogue sounded something like poor dubbing from a b-martial arts movie. If you developed the characters on the front end properly and drop yourself in their shoes, the dialogue should flow out comfortably. If not, you need to try and sink yourself into the character more. Also, in some cases, people seem to feel obligated to add dialogue to a panel best left silent. The art of the medium is that we (the creative team) are supposed to tell a story with words AND pictures. This means that the artist is able to express things just as well without saying a word. Sometimes the image of two people looking at each other intently can just as easily say "I love you" or "I'm going to stick a hot poker in your eye" as well as actually verbalizing it. Try it out... Did you read any of the 9/11 books Marvel put out, especially Amazing Spider-Man Vol 2 #36 by Straczynski and Romita Jr? Not a word in the book, but the emotions conveyed in the issue were stronger than many writers can manage in their careers. Avoid having the dialogue reflect exactly what's happening in the panel, "I'm going to punch you" or "My knife is in your belly"... Again, lame examples, but a lot of people do it. Another pitfall is people leaning towards old school method of writing. This isn't done much in mainstream books for a reason. It worked in the 80's and before, but don't dot it now! How many times can you remember people stating in a panel what super-power they are going to use? I don't want to list examples because, well, I'd like to be working for a major publisher, but here's a made up sample, "With my rock hard skin, your blows are completely ineffective." If you state it in the first issue, that's one thing, but the reader isn't stupid. One thing I've seen in a lot of books in the last few years which I like is on the inside cover of the book a listing of characters, their basic personality, and what powers they have... That's assuming it's a superpowered book...