The Great Blog Catchup

Hello! This is my first blog post in a while; one-year, six months, and five days, to be precise. I thank all of you who have stopped by to check out my website while I was away; you see, at first I got a cold or the flu in December of 2017 and by the time I was better, I had fallen out of the habit of blogging once a week that I wanted to establish. And prior to that, in April of 2017, I became involved in an educational nonprofit organization—Toastmasters International, aka Toastmasters—that focuses on communication, both public speaking and interpersonal, and leadership. I joined Toastmasters because I wanted to improve my ability to speak in public for the day when my book is published. I have to say, though, that I’ve gotten much more than that out of my time in Toastmasters. In the short time that I’ve been in Toastmasters, my life has been transformed for the better in a multitude of ways. Perhaps even more ways than the Marvel Universe, cinematic or otherwise, has alternate dimensions!

Thus, I decided to do a one-year volunteer leadership position as an Area Director, which started in July of 2018, but in actuality, started about June tenth of that year in an unofficial capacity, as myself and the other district leaders started on our journey, what with all that was required of us to get us trained and up to speed for our new adventure. (Think of it like when you start a new job, as there are certain similarities between the two in regards to this part of the process; although we get paid in claps instead of money, here in Toastmasters!)

The Area Director position was more intense and involved than I thought that it would. (Plus, I made the choice to invest all of that time and energy into being an Area Director.) Thus, I was unable to balance my responsibilities an Area Director and my intention to blog once a week and maintain my website, like I wanted to do, and anticipated being able to do; and I even put my writing on hold, as well as the self-publication of my first book, which is ironic when you think about it, given the reason that I joined Toastmasters in the first place!

This is the first post in what I’ve dubbed The Great Blog Catchup, as I have over a year’s full of blog posts to makeup, along with the current once a week blog post. (I had intended to go back and fill in the blog posts that I put up almost every week for the past year, even though they had no content in them, so that people would know that the website is still active. However, I think that the deletion of them all in order to start fresh is the way to go, which is what I did, and will, in all probability, cause less confusion as well.)

That means that my intention is to write two blog posts a month for the one-year, six months, and five days, and I will start with this one. Well, that sounds like a whole lot of fun to me! Have you ever been behind on a project and worked hard to get caught up? This could be a personal goal, or a responsibility that you had. Feel free to share your stories here. And, as this is a blog about the craft of the written word, how is your writing going?

C0-WRITING: Bringing it to Life By Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

[This blog post was originally scheduled to be out around mid-February to coincide with the three month anniversary of my website. As John Lennon so famously said, "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." I apologize, to you, and to our guest bloggers, for it being late.Today I have a guest blog written by two of the finest people that I know. I'll let their work speak for itself. Janet and Will, take it away!]

Writing can be a solitary occupation.  Janet and I started writing novels individually over a decade ago.  We’re fortunate that as husband and wife we have each other to discuss ideas and answer questions that come up in our writing.

Every writer needs to have someone in their life to help out when tackling something as formidable as a novel. Even those doing NANOWRIMO can use a second pair of eyes, or a listening ear.

Don’t ever think any of the famous authors you’ve admired have done it all themselves. While their writing partners, proofreaders, muses, assistants, or whatever they call them, may go unnamed, they do exist. One of the places that can give you a hint to their identity is on the dedication page. Hidden somewhere in those names are those who helped get the novel written. It may end up being their editor, but they did not do it unassisted.

This is one of the reasons we began co-writing. We figured that since we were helping each other out with story ideas, word choice, grammar and beta reading for our individual novels, why not write a novel together?

After our first book came out, the questions started. "How exactly does this work?" people would ask. One of us would answer "What? You mean writing?" They would point a finger at the two of us and say, "No. I mean this—writing together. How exactly do you do it?"

We gladly explain that first, we each have different strengths. Those may include plotting, dialog, grammar, or scene descriptions. Next, we try to explain that the story has priority. It is a living thing.  Who gets credit for writing or editing what part is not the issue. Most importantly, we check our egos at the door and let the story come to life.

If you are pursuing a solo writing career or if you think co-writing might be your thing, remember that you will always need someone else. Finding a partner or whatever you want to call them is important to your personal life and to your writing life.

Janet and I still write independent of each other and it shows in the voice of what we write.  Our co-written pieces sound very different from either of our solo works.

Co-writing was an experiment. Neither of us had any idea what would come of it. Friends weren’t even sure our marriage could survive. BUT, they were surprised and so were we that it worked.

Our fourth book together—SLICK DEAL will be available April first… and yes, we’re still married.



Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

The next Skylar Drake Mystery, fourth in the series, SLICK DEAL will be available April 1, 2018.


Janet Elizabeth Lynn


Will Zeilinger

A Multicultural Holiday Message and a Blog Post: My Writing Process

Hi, everyone. A blog shall be forthcoming in this space soon. I've been sick for the last 5 days, so haven't worked on one, as I've been concentrating on getting better.

Until then, I wish you one of the following, in no particular order, if you celebrate (or celebrated) any of these:

Happy Hanukah

Happy Boxing Day

Merry Christmas

Happy Kwanzaa

And, of course, any that I may have missed! There are so many! See for yourself:

Lastly, before I take off, happy New Year!


Here's a rough draft of the blog for this week. I'll be posting the finished draft soon.


My Writing Process


My writing process is one of a similar vein to what I’ve written about before in my blog, or alluded to, at the very least: get words on the page. It’s a stream of consciousness type of writing. Think of it as the writing equivalent of idea brainstorming: everything is considered fair game and is written down on the page, and goes on the page; no judgment, no critiquing, no critiquing of an idea’s worth, no editing.


There is a stream of consciousness writing style, but this ain’t that. That style is more for in-text, and this is more of a process. That style is defined as stream of consciousness, and mine is defined as writing down anything and everything as it comes, regardless of what I think of the idea, or how I may balk (or cringe) at it, or what my inner editor, as NaNoWriMo calls it, or my inner critic thinks of it.


It’s all for a purpose. I’m creating something, of which everything is a piece of it, everything is a whole of it, a part of it. I’ll go back and add missing pieces later, and address anything that needs addressing later on, at a later date, but for right now, in the heat of the moment, as Asia says, I must strike while the iron is hot, the bellows are burning (or lit?) and the metal is ready to be forged, the metal is in a state of readiness.


Later on, when the metal cools, and the words are written, then, and only then, and after a break, will I go back and shape and bend and forge and tinker with them, massaging them into the shape that I want them to be in. But that’s at a later stage of development, a later stage in the process. This’ll be the time when I look at things with a critical eye, judging them for their merit: the ideas, the words themselves (that I used), the construction of the sentences, the punctuation (or lack thereof), that I use.

This’ll be when I throw things out, or modify them, shape them into the space that I want them to be in, the shape that I want them to be in, the order that I want them to take. “Yeah, I’ll have a . . .,” no not that order, the word order that I want them to be in, as they take shape before my eyes, like a potter shaping and crafting a pot on the (his?) wheel.


Why I Want to Self-Publish

I want to self-publish because it provides me with the opportunity to sit in the big chair . . . to command the spaceship . . . to see the stars and the heavens . . . to reach them in what would otherwise probably be unattainable in this simple, practical, ordinary life of mine . . . to be the captain in command of a mighty starship, a vessel of exploration, one of peace instead of war and violence and conflict, rather than the propagation of these, and a great many lesser and greater things that come with being human and the human condition, going hand and hand with it, propelled by my words, my stories, my ideas, and will be all that’s left behind when it’s time to for me to go.


If I may humbly say, it’s my legacy to this planet earth and its citizens. The freedom to self-publish gives me options that I otherwise might not have in my personal and professional life.


It gives me room to expand, to grow, to spread my wings and fly. I have the opportunity to make my own opportunities. I get to be in command of my fortune; my fate; my future; my destiny; educing them all as I steer my ship to the port of the North Star, to my home, the repository of words, creativity, and ideas.


I have the fortuity and chance to be in a position of leadership (even though I’m just leading myself—ha-ha!); and have the chance to be in control of my destiny and the creative challenges that come with running my own business, managing my time, working my own hours (but still working—no slacking off here!), making all the creative (and business) decisions and the freedom and flexibility to do what I want, unhindered by someone else’s vision, thoughts, goals, opinion’s, decisions about what’s best (and best for me). (Lifestyle choices, in a way, you might say!)


I’m starting my own small press, strictly to publish my own work. In lieu of signing with a traditional publisher for a small percentage of the profits, where I do most of the work, although, to their credit, they do do a lot and have opportunities that self-publishing does not, where they make the lion’s share, when I can do it myself, retain the rights to my work—which is of the utmost importance to me—and earn all of (or more of) the profits.


I know I accept all the risk and pay all the expenses too. I know the reality of the situation, with respect to the amount of books I’ll sell, and the amount of profit, prosperity, and abundance I’ll see from the sales of said books. Still, I’d rather keep the goose that lays the golden eggs, than give it away for cheap.


Plus, I like the challenges of being my own boss, and of running my own business, it affords me opportunities that I might not otherwise have. The option to self-publish my work and run my own small press and business empowers me, uplifts me, it gives me hope and courage, that it’s my way out of poverty, that I can make my life better and improve my lot in life; that I’m not just stuck here, where I am because of my own mistakes and choices and failures.


I’m moving on. Uncouple this starship from the space station’s docking ring, it’s time to go out into the unchartered heavens, go forward and explore, and be among the stars; the journey awaits.

Editing: The Thing I've Come to Love

Editing—like vegetables—is something I’ve come to see the necessity of. Editing—is it similar to that appropriately titled movie—It Came from Outer Space? It seems like that to me sometimes, as it’s so alien and different and foreign from the practice of writing.


Writing is a rush, for me: it’s freeing; it’s liberating; it’s exhilarating; akin to a runner’s high, I imagine. Editing, mmm, not so much. Editing used to be a labor, but not of love. Editing used to be a chore, something I avoided, studiously and steadfastly.


I disliked it, and it was an exercise in frustration . . . and futility, and it was boring, and was not something that I wanted to do, not striking the same note as writing does when I’d rather be doing something more fun, like writing, which is comes easy to me (but still takes work and requires a lot of hard work and determination and discipline and dedication to my craft and improving myself at the craft of writing); easier than editing anyway, which has been a learned skill, and something I’ve picked up as I go, and with practice.


So I just concentrated on writing, turning on the tap (when I turned it on) and letting the creativity flow full blast, and left the editing alone. There was resistance to editing my works, which is why I have a backlog of work that needs editing, as I’d rather be writing. (This gets me motivated to go back and edit my stuff now!)


Editing for me back in the early days of my writing was something that I stopped doing, as I would get stuck fussing over the page (or paragraph) that I was on—endlessly—as my perfectionistic nature rose to the fore. This caused me to give up in frustration. Now I wait until I’m finished with the work before I start to edit it. There’s something indescribable about the experience of editing for me, but I shall try.


So why have I come to have and gained more of a genuine and hard earned respect for editing? I see the value in it, from self-editing my own works, which I think every author ought to consider doing, and learning the skill and craft of. It might make you a better writer.


I like the challenge of making my words sing, making what I wrote better. I like the challenge, and the satisfaction, of editing my work and parsing those sentences, cutting out and removing unnecessary words; to get to the truth; to get to the most beneficial, the most constructive word choices and order of words, for the most impact, the most effect. Editing is a creative act unto itself. This quote by George F. Pentecost sums up my process, my perspective on it, if you will:



“It is the sculptor’s power, so often alluded to, of finding the perfect form and features of a goddess, in the shapeless block of marble; and his ability to chip off all extraneous matter, and let the divine excellence stand forth for itself. Thus, in every incident of business, in every accident of life, the poet sees something divine, and carefully scales off all that encumbers that divinity, and permits it to be revealed in all its transcendent loveliness.”



If the words are my block of marble, I like chiseling them down to the finest and sharpest shape they can be: a precise, paring away of all unnecessary words in order to get to the true beauty inside of the block of marble, to get to the true power of the words, to get to their strength.


Now, I look forward to editing. It doesn’t replace the rush and the exhilaration—creatively—of writing, but I have a respect and appreciation for it. But now I love editing. Like a good friendship. It’s something I’ve come to love; a true labor of love.


Sources Cited




The Benefits of Blogging

Although there are many benefits to be gained from blogging (see the Additional Resources section at the end of the blog post), I’m going to talk about the benefits that I have personally reaped from blogging.


It keeps me in, as Billy Joel said (sort of, but not really), “a writing frame of mind.” If, when, I’m not constantly (or near constantly), thinking of my next (or current) blog post or other writing projects and what I’m going to write, I’m writing, or editing, or on the lookout (or searching) for new ideas, as I need content to post in the blog.


It’s All About the Deadline—and the Discipline


The weekly deadline forces me to write.


It makes me more disciplined.


It makes me more organized, a goal I’ve long striven for. (And continue to strive for.)


It Creates Good (Writing) Habits and Promotes Good Skills


Because of this weekly blog writing that I’ve undertaken, a writing schedule is organically emerging—which is an unexpected blessing—thanks to this, and National Novel Writing Month last month (and years prior?), and the ongoing regular writing of speeches for Toastmasters.


Blogging forces me to write consistently, which is something I’ve long striven for, as I said; it’s becoming an almost reverential daily practice now. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has helped with that, as have other timed writing events. But this, this, forces me to do it in an expedient way, like none of the other timed writing events, because of the short time frame that’s involved; I only have a week to write something, to come up with something new. It is a challenge, in so many ways, on so many levels: being organized, having the discipline to sit down and write something (and research it), and then edit it before the one week deadline is up and I share it with the world.


Blogging on a weekly basis, along with the other writing I do, sharpens my craft of writing; my editing; my eye; my ear.


It makes me a better writer.


It helps me stay focused, and motivated, which extends to other writing projects. It helps me move forward—in life—and in my writing life; that momentum that blogging builds carries over to them both, which is an unexpected godsend, and a blessing.


Blogging, and the routine it creates via the deadline, helps me to break bad habits (writing and otherwise) and establish and create more constructive and productive habits (writing and otherwise).


Blogging puts my writing under the microscope for me to examine, and thus forces me to be (a) better (writer). It exposes my writing foibles and proclivities.


Writing (a blog) enlivens me; exhilarates me; infuses me with energy. It lifts me up. It inspires me. It infuses me with vitality to keep going, to keep writing. It’s empowering and inspiring.


Blogging provides an avenue for me get my writing out there in the world, while I work on longer, creative works.


It’s a dream come true to do what I love.


Well, that’s it, short and sweet. There are many benefits to blogging, more than I personally know of and am aware of (yet, at the moment), as well as the more traditional, for lack of a better word, benefits.


Additional Resources

There's Always Time for D.O.D.O.!

This is a spoiler-free book review of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: a novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. This is just a rough draft; a more complete version will be coming soon.


Warning: There is colorful language in this book, and it gets racy and saucy at times, and has scenes of an intimate nature that are graphically described in this book. If you have delicate sensibilities or are easily offended, I suggest skipping this book.


Having said that, what a well—written book! It’s made a believer out of me as far as co-writing goes. This is one of the most well—written books I’ve ever read, especially for one of its length (742 pages!). Lengthier books that I have read usually leave something to be desired at some point. Not so this book. It was full of lively humor and verve, and moved along nicely, with a plot (and plot points) that I was never entirely sure if I guessed right on. I didn’t see with 100% accuracy and certainty where it was going, other than in a more general sense (possibly, anyway). The book always had something happening all along the way that kept me engrossed. As one of the main characters, Melisande says, “Reader . . .,” I was spellbound, I was enchanted, I was mesmerized, I was engrossed. I didn’t expect it to end that way!


Magic. Science. Technology. Alternate universes. Time travel. Love. Constructs of the modern and ancient world, stemming from ourselves. Mysteries worth delving into. The mysteries and vagaries of the human heart, human nature, and everything in the aforementioned sentence fragments at the beginning of this paragraph.


The characters are too numerous to mention, but two of (and perhaps) the main protagonists are Tristan Lyons and Melisande Stokes.


Boy meets girl, and boy accidently knocks her down. The boy, Tristan, and girl seemingly fall in love, but don’t act on it (or do they?) generating romantic tension throughout the book. The girl, one Melisande, no girl Friday, but a strong, accomplished, capable woman in her own right, holds her own.


It was well-plotted and well-executed book, full of rich character development and story arcs. Enough to keep me on the edge of my seat while I wondered what happened, and what was going to happen, to our erstwhile heroes. (This to me suggests that they plotted everything out to a T beforehand. (And hopefully for the entire arc(s) of the entire series!) While I don't know for sure, I do believe that it's possible (probable) that there will be more (books in the series). After all, I've (we've) got the time (for good books), right?


I prefer to write alone; this book has made me a believer in co-writing.


The writing on this book is sumptuous, in my opinion, and with lines like ““You ordered that to try to throw me off the scent, in case I was doing some sort of ninja psych-eval of you,” he said casually, as if just trying the idea on for size. “Ironically, that tells me more about you than if you’d just ordered your usual.”” how could it not be?


A nice feature that I haven’t seen, not in quite this way, is to have a cast of characters and a list of terms included in the book. What makes this different, and provides variety, is that they are organized by a timeline, and contain spoilers. Both of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

I would say this book belongs in the Urban and Historical Fantasy genres.


I strongly suggest this book, if you like, or are intrigued by what you’ve read here; as Melisande would say, “Reader . . .,” you may not be disappointed.


P.S. In February, I will have a guest blogger—my first!—who will be writing on the topic of: drum roll please (brrrrrgggggggggtscch!) co-writing. Synchronicity is a wonderful thing, as that came about just as I was getting into the book. Please join us then, won’t you?

Ragnarok is Here! Yippee!

This is a spoiler-free movie review of Thor: Ragnarok.


Thor . . . is worthy . . . .


To be more precise, Thor: Ragnarok is worthy of a second viewing! (You may have thought I was about to write that Thor is worthy to wield Mjolnir, didn’t ya?)

I loved it! From the first line (which is a good first line, and had me hooked, like a good first line of a book) to the Post-credit Scenes (there are several, so stay seated, True Believers, you may be glad that you did!) My suggestion is to stay until the end of the movie, if only for the music.


“Asgard is her people,” is a line from the movie. And the movie has an epic Lord of the Rings fantasy feel to it. By the time the movie was over, and the credits rolled, I wanted more! More wit, humor, action, Scrapper #142 (played by Tessa Thompson), and more glib and pithy lines and comebacks.


In no particular order, a few of the stars are (as innumerable as the stars in the cosmos, they seemed; also, more please!): Benedict Cumberbatch (as Dr. Stephen Strange here; but in another role: Sherlock!), Karl Urban (as Scourge), Chris Hemsworth (as Thor), Jeff Goldblum (in a delightful turn as The Grandmaster), Mark Ruffalo (as the Hulk), more Tom Hiddleston (as always!; he plays a great Loki). Heck, I’d take more Hela too (played here by Cate Blanchett, whom I didn’t even recognize, her costume and makeup were that well done)! And more to boot (for brevity’s sake, I didn’t include an entire cast list; they all did a good job).


I loved the cinematography, the way that the movie was edited, the music, the acting, the fight choreography (which was new and different, compared to the usual fare we are all exposed to on a regular basis), all sharp and crisp, and snappy, like the dialogue. I’d love to see more of the Scrapper #142 character. From the moment when the character made her on-screen appearance, my initial reaction was that she needs to be in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie; she’d fit right in there.


Chances are slim that the character will—because of story reasons that I’m unable to discuss-and you don’t want me to spoil it for you, do you?—but it’d be nice to see more of this character in the future. I love the Jack Kirby lovefest that is in the movie. It was a delight; when I first saw the sets and the costumes and the make-up, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Even after they had been in the movie awhile, and my focus should have returned to the story, my attention was—with great frequency—drawn back to them, they were that good.


(In the theater world, this is called stealing focus; a definite no-no; here’s it’s glorious! I can still see the actors engaged in their craft, while I sneak peeks at the stuff in the background.) This would be a good movie to pause, and take a long look at all of them, in order to learn from them. (For those who aspire to be costumers, make-up artists, SFX wizards, and set designers, take note). The homage to Mr. Kirby did him justice, in my opinion.


And, at least we didn’t get what now seems to be the standard superhero entrance; said superhero lands in a crouch with one knee on the ground, then rises.

The writing was super(b)! It was crisp, and spirited, and sharp, like one of Loki’s sharp-tongued one-liners. I love the tie-ins from the other Marvel movies, nods to the comic books, and how the writer drew the threads from all of them together in this movie. Hulk’s reappearance was good, well timed, and well-done. I thought Marvel had the rights to all their characters back, with the exception of Spider-Man, the X-men, the Fantastic Four and their related characters (I want my Silver Surfer! Attention Marvel: please get all the rights to the Fantastic Four back, and take another shot at getting my beloved Silver Surfer onto the big screen. Thank you!)


A Friendly Neighborhood Public Library Staffer informed me otherwise (if you want to know more about that, or other characters that Marvel doesn’t have the rights to anymore, see the links at the end of the blog. Also, there is a link to the Easter Eggs in the movie, but I suggest that you watch the movie first, so as to avoid the spoilers in it). Marvel did the best that they could, it seems, with what they could work with, and are allowed to do, with respect to the legal tangle that the Hulk property is embroiled in. I’d still love to see a proper treatment of Planet Hulk though. The musical choices were apt, and ranged from the unconventional to the obvious (Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant Song), as it fit within the scope and framework, irreverence and tone, of the movie.


If there were Guardians of the Galaxy 2 like credits at the end of the movie—to prolong the fun and irreverence of the movie—that would have been wonderful. But I understand why it’s they’re not in there, as there needs to be some separation between the different movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), some separate identities between the movies, to make them distinct and different, so that all of Marvel’s movies don’t look, and feel, the same.


To be fair, there were 7 things in the movie that I thought were less than ideal or that I am uncertain about. They contain spoilers, so I am unable to discuss them here, lest I ruin the movie for those who may want to see it. At a certain point, the movie downshifts the humor a tad, in order to move towards the conclusion. It’s noticeable, and it seemed like a letdown, as I wanted the humor and fun to continue, but it picks up other threads where the slight drop-off in humor left off, so I was thoroughly engaged in another aspect of the movie, and didn’t miss the slight diminishment in the humor much, or for long.


The Marvel Cinematic Universe, much like our own, continues to expand. And I love it. I loved all the Easter Eggs, how material from various sources was combined to advance the story (both in this movie, and in the overarching story that Marvel is telling), tie them all together, and force the characters to grow and change and evolve; and for the stories to move forward.


What Marvel is doing, to me, is like scribing the chapters of a book, wherein each movie is a chapter that builds upon a previous movie, as it ties and links the movies and storylines together, which is unique and hasn’t been done before in comic book movies, not on this scale, scope, and to this degree before. Marvel is taking all of these threads (movies) and weaving them into one grand tapestry. And all of this is building up to Avengers: Infinity War (after the Black Panther movie). If Thor: Ragnarok is a taste of what’s to come, I’m there.


Links Provided


Brian Michael Bendis Goes to DC (Comics, that is)!

Full disclosure: I am a Brian Michael Bendis fan; I’m also a True Believer (as fans of Marvel Comics are sometimes called). I like good stories, and I prefer Marvel’s brand of storytelling to DC’s, with some exceptions on both sides, of course, as both companies have had their hits and misses, and their share of successes and failures—and mistakes.


WOW! Where did this come from?!I never thought this would happen! It never even crossed my mind, since Brian Michael Bendis has been firmly ensconced at Marvel for “. . .18 years . . . (Yehl).”


How will this affect Marvel Comics and DC Comics? The wide-ranging effects will probably be felt by both companies. Mr. Bendis has been a staple at Marvel for a long time, and revitalized some of their flagship titles while he was there; his creative influence and input were also felt on Marvel’s live-action movies. Given all that, he will be missed in their Bullpen, which “is the nickname used for the staff and all those who work around the clock at the Marvel Comics offices (ComicVine).”


Marvel’s loss is DC’s gain? I don’t know. That remains to be seen; how much creative control will they give him? Will DC give him free reign to tell any stories that he wants, free of corporate or editorial or company interference and control? (Within reason, of course, as some level of input from the higher-ups at DC is to be expected.) If DC does these things, then chances are good that he’ll do well.


If DC is smart they will include him as a creative consultant on their live-action movies—just as Marvel did (DC’s animated stuff is fine, as it’s done well, and most of which I like a lot and hold in high regard). If he is added to the team of consultants, it might improve the quality of DC’s live-action movies, bolster their popularity with the fans, garner more positive reviews from the critics, make them more successful, and thus, generate more revenue. Here is yet another area where his presence will be missed at Marvel.


Since the announcement, Mr. Bendis has been enthusiastic and has had fun with it, Tweeting out: “This is real. I love you all. Change is good. Change is healthy (Gustines),” and “Now which one is Clark? (Bendis),” both of which are a good sign. When you do what you love, it’s play instead of work. The change seems to have revitalized him (if that’s what he needed), and given him that (creative) spark and fire that he needs in order to go on and continue to create his art.


As for the reason for the change from Marvel to DC, Mr. Bendis said “The move came, in part, from surveying what he had accomplished there and struggling with thoughts of, “Am I repeating myself?” (Yehl).” It sounds like he might need a creative recharge, and wants to advance his artistic horizon’s forward, in terms of creativity, and wants new challenges. A switch to DC fits the bill nicely, then. As an artist, I understand the need to have new creative challenges. Artists must always push the boundaries, evolve as artists (and people, naturally, to continue to inspire and have material to draw from and inspire our art with), work outside their comfort zone and skill level, and expand their art.


Mr. Bendis has written what I consider to be an excellent book on the art and business sides of the comic book industry, entitled Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels—one of the best that I’ve ever read on the subject. It discusses the various skill positions needed to make a comic book (writer, artist, letterer, colorist, inker) and how the writer interacts in a collaborative manner with them (and other professionals in his field too), but the primary focus is on the relationship a comic book writer has with the artist he is working with on his current project.


It is a story of a writing community. I have experienced a similar phenomenon (in its own way) in writing prose and poetry. It’s just my take on it, as I belong to several groups of writers: a prose critique group; I have my poetry workshopped and revised at a poetry group I attend; in these groups (and others I didn’t mention see my author bio. for a full list) we’re all part of a writing community. Even though we are all working on our own independent projects, we are working together, collectively, to strengthen our writing, to make it the best it can be (as the comic book creators do when working on a comic book).


In his book, Mr. Bendis talks about leaving the audience with a sense of wanting more, full of excitement and anticipation, so that the audience wants to turn the page to see what happens, saying “I try to create a mini cliffhanger at the end of every page. EVERY PAGE (197).” I extrapolate this to prose as it’s like the last page of a chapter which makes the reader want to continue reading to see what happens next with our heroes.


In this case, Mr. Bendis has done just that with this announcement—and leaving Marvel for DC. He has made the last panel on this page (and this chapter) of his life a “. . . mini cliffhanger . . . (197).” Which makes me curious, want to turn the page to see what’s next, and see what’s in store for the intrepid Mr. Bendis and the characters he creates and brings to life.


Well done, Mr. Bendis. Well done.


Sources Cited


Bendis, Brian Michael. “Now which one is Clark?” 7 November 2017, 2:24 PM. Tweet.


Bendis, Brian Michael. Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels. Watson-Guptill Publications, 2014.


Comicbookman26. “Marvel Bullpen.” ComicVine. CBS. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.


Gustines, George Gene. “Brian Michael Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC Comics.” The New York Times. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.


Yehl, Joshua. “Top Marvel Writer Leaves for DC.”


The Story of . . . How I Made My Website

The story of how I made my website is a lesson in perseverance . . . and grit. In case you want to build a website of your own, or pursue some dream or project of your own, here’s my tale.


I had a vision—and little else—of what I wanted my website to be. The challenge was how to get from A to B; how to make my vision a reality. I lacked the knowledge and expertise (and experience) to build a website; in short, I was clueless, as I’d never tried to make my own website before. Since I was without said clue as to what to do, I had several false starts before I got underway, as I went around in circles before I figured out the navigation system—left the harbor—and set sail in the open sea, as it were.


There were many challenges and obstacles that I had to face and overcome, most of which stemmed from the fact that I was unsure what to do, and unfamiliar with the process of website creation and how to use the website builder tools that were provided. Since that was the case, I fumbled my way through the darkness towards the light, as it were, and, as with many other things in life, I learned by trial and error, and through the many mistakes I made.


I selected a demo template to use as the basis and foundation for my website, but I was unable to see how to make it fit in with the vision I had for my website, and how to make it work for me in order to make my vision a reality. Since I was unable to make that template work, as I failed to see how I could adapt it to meet my needs, and meet the vision of what I wanted my website to be, because, again, I didn’t know how to get it from A (a demo template) to B (a unique website all my own), I decided to drop that template and switch to another.


It took me several tries to get the new template going, and there were mistakes aplenty, which I was unsure how to fix, or undo what I did; so I scrapped the whole template, and all the changes I had made, and started over with the same template, from scratch, again. As luck would have it, I was only in the initial stages of website creation on that template and thus had only made minimal progress at that point; therefore, it was quite easy—on this next attempt—to pick up where I left off, and recreate the work I had done on the previous templates. On my last attempt, when I really bore down, I managed to make some progress, and the website began to take shape. The vision I had for my website began to form in a more complete way; it started to become a reality, and was on its way to coming into a more complete focus, and a more complete vision of my website than the one I already had (which consisted namely of what pages and what features I wanted on my website).


Of course, I still made mistakes, even though I was making progress; but I was able to recover anything that I discarded or deleted, or fix said mistakes. I learned along the way, how to do the things I wanted to do, in order to achieve my goal and my vision. I invested time in using the website platform’s help and how-to video’s features, which paid dividends. Both of these were helpful. The part that consumed the most time, at least it seemed that way to me, was the time spent to look up pictures and images in the public domain to match what I wanted, as part of my vision for the website.


It used up as much time as it did, and I was determined, and had dedicated myself, to locate just the right pictures, without any idea of what they were, or what was available in the public domain that fit the image I had, and the theme that was developing, for my website. Of course, writing comes into play in this too.


I worked on the writing for what I wanted to post, initially, on the website—all the writing you see on the website, for one—my author biography and my first blog post for another, and ended up ripping  both of the latter two apart and writing them again; and rewriting them, based on the suggestions and feedback I got. I spent a good quantity of time going over them and caressing them and molding them into the shape that you see now; their final form. (For now anyway!)


The last step was to have people look at the website prior to its launch, and tell me what they think. All this feedback was instrumental to the launch, successfully, of my website. There were many times in the creation of the final version of the website, especially near the end, where I thought I may have to have someone come in and help me with this, because I didn’t know what I was doing, and I managed to persevere through that, and push on to finish the website.


I managed, in the process of building the website to figure out how to do the things I wanted it to do, or that I was unsure if they could be done to get the look I wanted, in order to make the vision of my website a reality. While I worked on the project, I overcame frustration, confusion, uncertainty, doubt, wanting to quit and give up, wanting to have someone come in and help me with this, or do it for me; I started over with a demo template five times, and innumerable attempts on each of those five times, before I successfully finished it and created the website that you see here before you; I also overcame a lack of knowledge, skills, and experience in order to achieve my goal. In the end, there are things that I’d like to change, and the website is far from perfect, but I’m happy with the results.