Tag Archives: Cat & Mouse

Happy New Year and looking ahead to 2017

cmcoloredHappy New Year everyone! I know some of you are ready to put 2016 behind you, but I’m ever the optimist so I’m anticipating 2017 to be a great year. I’ll add the obligatory “I can’t believe it’s 2017 already! Where has the time gone?”

I don’t have a lot of convention appearances lined up just yet, but one is fairly immediate. On Jan 19-20, I’ll be a guest at Auburndale City Con (near Lakeland, FL). The other shows I have lined up are: Daytona Beach Comic Convention on April 23, MegaCon in Orlando in May, Wizard Orlando in August. I’ll do something for FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) in May, but don’t have that hammered down yet. Wherever I end up, it’ll likely be with my pal Barry Gregory—three years running. Last year his lovely and talented wife, Jenni joined us, as did Thomas and Rene Florimonte. So, I’ll be somewhere, just not sure where yet. I hope to add a few more shows to the list, and I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

silverblade-cover-posterOn the family front, Brittany is starting 2017 off in LA as she seeks work there. I’m anxious to learn all that she’ll be getting to do this year and anticipate seeing her on the screen before the year is up! Brett will become a senior this year—OH MY!—and he’s becoming quite the young man. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my weekly (mostly) pleasures is my Friday night game session with Brett. Now that Brittany is in LA, she’s talked about joining us…if she can figure out the time difference. BJ’s still working hard on her Young Living business venture and we’re both pretty excited to see what’s in store for her there. If you haven’t “liked” her FB page yet, I’ll ask that you please go do it now: CLICK HERE!

I’m pretty excited about several things on the creative front. I’m working on two projects with long time friend and artist Dean Zachary. I’ll give you more as they develop, but a peek at them looks like: the first we’re calling SilverBlade and the high concept is Indiana Jones meets John Constantine. Joining me and Dean on SilverBlade is Barbara Kaalberg on inks and Thomas O’Connor on colors. You should see an image on this page somewhere. The second project Dean and I are working on is a revamp of Cat & Mouse, a series I did with the talented Mitch Byrd (and Steven Butler on some of the early issues) back in the late 80s/early 90s. Dean and I have made changes and updates, obviously, but the spirit will remain. The first story is about human trafficking, something I’m pretty passionate about. While Barb inked the image you see on this page, we’ve got another super-talented inker in mind to join us here, and the coloring is done by Kevin Gallegly.

Demon's Tails Ad

Demon’s Tails Ad

I can’t mention C&M without folks thinking about Demon. I’m excited to say that Paul Pelletier has agreed to reunite with me and produce a second Demon’s Tails mini-series. As I write, we’re still working on the story details, and—of course—the story will have to move at Paul’s pace, but I’m excited that we’re getting started on it. Thomas Florimonte has agreed to round out the reunited team as inker. So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about it. Long time pal Barry Gregory colored the image you see here, and we’re currently planning for it to be part of the Gallant Universe where Barry and Steven have just wrapped up their incredible John Aman, Amazing Man series. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out!

There’s nothing really specific that I can mention, but I’ve been talking to Barry about some pretty cool comic-related projects. I’m looking forward to more on that end. Sorry about being so mysterious about it. You know that you’ll be the first to know when I can talk about it…but the possibilities are pretty exciting.

Hope your year looks to be as exciting as mine. Happy New Year one and all!

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2015 to come

Well, last week I rehashed some of the highlights of 2014 for me. This week, I’ll talk about what I’m looking forward to in 2015. Thus far, I’ve got two appearances lined up, but I’m optimistic more will happen. I’m always on the lookout!

In early April, I’ll be a comic guest at MegaCon and will be in Independent Press Row with my friend and hot new comic writer Wes Locher. If you’re in the Orlando area and you like all things geek, you can’t not be at MegaCon!

My other planned appearance is the Florida Writers Conference in Orlando in October. The details aren’t finalized yet, but I’ll be giving a presentation or two and probably be on a panel or two. Last year was my first and it was fantastic! I’m very excited to be returning.

I’m hoping the new year will bring me some news of the two projects I have floated about: Cat & Mouse and Beah. If I haven’t finished them by the time of this writing, I hope to get two other pitches circulating which I’ve told you about: Citizens and The Rejects. Just click on the titles to go “like” the Facebook pages for each of them where you can find art and updates on the projects.

I’m excited that Trumps has new life in it because Anthony Pereira emerged and is alive and well—and drawing the 2nd issue. Plus, I’m hoping to announce an inker on the project soon!

I’ve hinted at it before, but I’m working with a publisher to try to come to a happy agreement to see The Gifted come to fruition. While I’ve written it as a novel, he’s very interested in pursuing it as a graphic novel. The challenge is to find a way to get the art done for the small press. I’m very optimistic about it because the publisher seems to want it to happen.

I’ve also talked to artist Kevin Tuma about doing a Champion one-shot. Tuma wants to publish the work himself, so I’m excited about seeing that happen.

I briefly mentioned this a few months ago, but I “internet-met” a talented artist who is a martial arts student of a good friend of mine. I don’t know her that well (I did say “internet met”) and I don’t think she’s a huge comic fan, but her pencil work is astounding! So I hope to finish putting together a pitch for a sci-fi piece with newcomer Gabriella Rossetti.

Around Y2K I did a short comic adaptation of a short film by some folks in the Muscle Shoals area. Thanks to the changes in digital technology, I’m going to see that it becomes available. It’s being colored by my old Malibu colleague Albert Deschesne.

Speaking of older work, I’m in the process of collecting some of my older work and making them available as both a compilation and in digital format. Works to be collected will include Demon’s Tails, Krey, and some others.

Something else I want to do is an anthology that collects some of my shorter comic work. I’ve only got a couple at this point, but I’m hoping to get some others done.

I’ve talked to a few other artists who expressed interest in putting something together: Patrick Rolo did some work with me back in the Malibu days and Moye Daniel almost did some work with me…but disappeared. Both of them have reappeared, so I’m hoping we can make something happen.

Lastly, I really hope to finish my Cat & Mouse novel and send it to an agent who has already agreed to read it. I’m more than 30,000 words into it, I just need to get BIC!

So…as you can see, quite a bit of stuff that I’m excited about that will hopefully make 2015 an exciting year!

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My Old Pal!

For most people, friends from childhood are distant memories and/or simply pictures in a school annual. Facebook and other social media has changed that some, now they’re pictures on the computer. Prior to my joining Facebook in 2009, I hadn’t seen or heard from most of the people I went to high school with since my 20 year reunion a few years earlier. And prior to my reunion, it’d been 20 years since I’d last seen or talked to the overwhelming majority of them.

Me with Thomas Florimonte and Barry Gregory, co-owners of Ka-Blam!

Me with Thomas Florimonte and Barry Gregory, co-owners of Ka-Blam!

There are a couple of people, though with whom I have kept occasional contact from way back when. The earliest friend I still speak with every few months is Duane Holland, a friend from my elementary years. Duane and I were comic book geeks together. He was the only one in my school who could talk comics with me…and yes, we’d occasionally trade comics: he liked the Fantastic Four while I was an Avengers fan. He’d probably strangle me if he knew I was going to tell all of you about the time we camped out in a tent behind my house and sang goofy superhero songs thanks to Mad Magazine. Weirdly enough, I can still hear those tunes in my head.

Barry Gregory, however, is probably the oldest pal that I kept any sort of regular contact with. My friendship with Barry goes back to the 6th grade when I was the new kid in class after transfer-induced move. One or the other of us found out we liked comics and we immediately hit it off.

As 7th graders, Barry and I created our own group of superheroes; we mostly liked the same stuff and so mostly dug each other’s creations. I can’t recall who was first, but it was probably Barry who showed me a few pages of a comic he was drawing (and often tracing. We did that in a bunch of the comics we produced) and I was doing the same.

L-R: Barry, Tony Fortenberry, me, Mark McElroy. The Four Horsemen!

L-R: Barry, Tony Fortenberry, me, Mark McElroy. The Four Horsemen!

But, because we did like the same sort of stuff, we ended up doing a “crossover,” inspired very much by the then-recent Avengers/Defenders crossover. We divvied up the chapters and stories and chores and the story line hopped from my comic to his—just like the Avengers/Defenders story.

I still have much of that work in my possession. In deference to Barry (and since he knows nothing about this post), I won’t put any of his artwork here—and I’m not going to put MUCH of mine here; keep in mind I was in middle school when I did this, so don’t be hatin’! Many of the characters I created way back then live still, if in changed form. The least changed character still around is the Demon character from the Cat & Mouse series.

We kept going to comics one way or another and tried a couple of times to do different things. We were writers in perpetual search of artists. After a few false starts, I stumbled across a few and we tried again. When we pitched Cat & Mouse, we also pitched SilverStorm (written by Thomas Fortenberry) and something we called Hero Task Force (the name taken from several years of RPG sessions). Regrettably, the publisher only wanted C&M and SilverStorm and HTF never came to be.

This is the cover to the first full comic I ever did...back around 1976.

This is the cover to the first full comic I ever did…back around 1976.

Barry, of course, continued to work not only as a writer but as a color guide colorist (created guides that computer colorist would then use to color in photoshop) and I was able to hire him some when I was an editor.

Barry is the same one I mentioned a few months back who introduced me to the comic shop and back issues. He’s now not only a comic creator, but the co-owner in the premier POD (Print on Demand) comic printer in the industry. And while I don’t talk to him as much as I probably should, we remain friends to this day. Facebook or not!

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Florida Writers Conference 2014 report

While I’ve been to dozens of writers conferences in the past, this is the first time for me to attend the Florida Writers Conference. Had it not been so local, I’m not sure I would have attended this year.

But I’m glad I did. Of course, I have my Full Sail colleague Jennie Jarvis to thank for that.

fwc1Wow, but what a cool conference. It’s already clear to me that many of the attendees there feel and think of each other as family as many of the conversations I heard sounded like those from a family reunion. There were tears shed for those who were no longer able to join the conference or who had passed on. I didn’t know them, of course, but you could tell by the shared emotions of the group that they were talking about a family member.

It’s the kind of group that you want to be a part of because writers are an odd sort. And I mean that in the most affectionate way. They’re (and when I say “they,” they includes me) just weird and nobody understands them but other writers. It’s just the way it is.

I made new friends and some potentially cool contacts as well (maybe they’re both and the same, who knows?). I even discovered there are a few writers groups nearby—and they quickly invited me to be a part of the group.

fwc2I spoke twice on writing comics, once to the main part of the conference and the other time to the young writers conference. The young writers asked some pretty cool questions, too! The good news (for me, that is) is that portion seemed to go over well and I’m already talking with them about next year! Yes, that’s very exciting to me.

I also sat on a transmedia panel with some talented folks (including my Full Sail colleagues Julie Anne Wight, Dr. Tof Eklund moderated by the talented Allen Gorney!) where we talked about taking stories to different formats. It’s cool to hear so much interest in graphic novels.

On a more writing related note, got the first rejection to the C&M reboot. Sigh. Shall soldier on. Nothing more on BEAH, but am about to lick the stamp for CITIZENS. Cross your fingers!

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Unintentional Part 2

So last week I started off thinking I was participating in a blog tour that I’d accidentally already done, then shifted to the release of The Remaining, then started yakking about the projects currently in the works. Well, I got kinda excited talking about it but really ran out of space…so I wanted to finish talking about the other projects I’m working on that just aren’t quite as far along.

Trumps1.2-3  trumpslogoSo first up I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version on this first project. In the late 90s, I started working with artist Anthony Pereira, an artist I’d actually discovered while working at Malibu. We decided to do a project. He finished the first issue…and then promptly disappeared. Seriously. Well, fifteen years later, he’s now found—AND working on issue #2 as if no time had passed. It’s really kinda cool. But, the fact that the first issue of Trumps is completely penciled is the reason this one is listed first here.

I’m in the early stages of a Champion mini-series with artist Kevin Tuma. Kevin’s been around for a while and we’ve actually worked on a single issue before—but it was never published. Kevin drew issue #3 of the ill-fated Vortex mini-series published by Comico. While I haven’t asked, he’s probably still owed a chunk of money like the rest of us. Champion, for those of you who are paying attention, was a secondary character in Cat & Mouse vol. 1. He played a more pivotal role in SilverStorm vol 2. So there are some changes in store for the character, but I think you’ll like what’s going on with him.

BlogBeltThrough my old Malibu pal Kurtis Fujita, I “met” artist Gabriella Rosetti. On facebook (of all places, right?) Kurtis pointed out that one of his martial arts student was also a really talented artist. And because Kurtis is certainly one whose artistic “filter” I trust, I want to check out her work. I was blown away by her pencil work! We started chatting and she’s now working on the preliminary sketches while I flesh out a plot. I don’t have her permission to post this image—and while I should have asked first, I’ll risk reprimand because I didn’t plan ahead better and because I think you really need to see this so you can get excited, too! I know it’s just a peek, but I’m so excited to see what she comes up with. It’s a straight sci-fiction piece…and I’ll just leave it at that until we’ve got a little more.

EPSON MFP imageA few months ago I reconnected with another artist I worked with back in the Malibu days and we just swapped a handful of emails before it came up he was interested in doing more comic work. As I don’t have an editor’s budget anymore, I laid it out for him and he was still interested and so we’ve kicked around the idea of a second Demon’s Tails mini-series. Patrick Rolo has drawn a few sketches at this point, as I’m still fleshing out the plot for it as well. I love the way he handles Demon, though…so I hope you’ll be seeing much more here.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve just started talking to an independent publisher about doing a series of graphic novels. While nothing’s set in stone yet, I’m very excited about the optimism and excitement displayed by the publisher. Yes, I’m intentionally being very vague because of that very thing. I don’t want to say too much. I will say this (so those of you really paying attention might actually figure out which project it is): the story started as a comic series then shifted to an illustrated novel. The novel is written. Finished. The content screams for images, though, and so I’m SOOO excited to be talking about turning it into a series of graphic novels. Yep, you’ll definitely hear more here when I can talk about it.

A few other things kinda cool—not quite as exciting as the new stuff, but still kinda cool. I’m working on graphic novel collections/compilations for some of my older work that is no longer available for whatever reasons. I’ve collected as much of the original art as I could find and am moving forward. First up will be Demon’s Tails (and it helps, I think, that I’m working on vol. 2!), followed by Krey. The only way these are currently available are as back issues—and likely in the reduced boxes. I know I pick them up from the reduced box when I can find them to take them to shows—but I’m tired of looking, so I’ll just print up the compilations and also try to make them available digitally!

Dang it, got long again. Thanks for hanging in with me!

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Oops I did it again=My Writing Process Blog Tour and The Remaining

If you’re here because of Jim Miller’s link to the blog tour, thank you for stopping by to visit. Hopefully you’ll find some posts here you enjoy. Unfortunately, I already participated in this very blog a few months ago but didn’t realize it was the same one. If you’re interested my responses to those writing process questions, pop over here to read them. If you’re one of my regulars (thank you, of course, for your regular visits!), please pop on over to Jim’s site and show him some Ramblin’ love! Jim is my colleague at Full Sail. Thanks for inviting me to participate, Jim!

Serves me right, I guess. I was feeling guilty for participating in this because I just declined a blog tour two weeks ago. Apologies offered to the asker (she knows who she is). I though, however, this one was different from those I’d done in the past and it looked like something I could do relatively quickly…The first one I remember as “what are you working on,” while this one was “my writing process.”

SO, since I’ve covered the process part, let me catch you up on the what I’m working on part!

FIRST, I’m happy to report that THE REMAINING should be out. Check it out here:

Wait, don’t just “check it out,” BUY a copy! I’ll sign it for you—for FREE—the next time I see you! What a deal, huh?

I’ve been working on some comic pitches of late and have even built facebook pages for them. I’d sure appreciate it if y’all’d go and click the “like” button for each of them (link on the logo of each title).

The first one making the rounds is Beah. With art supplied by the talented Tim Holtrop! We’ve received one “no,” (but I got some nice feedback and he said he’d take a peek at other proposals from me, which is very nice) but remain optimistic. My good friend Emily Y. Kanalz—from way back in the Malibu days—is supplying the color for this. Y’all, I’m telling you, this project looks fantastic. I’m just hoping the “words” can keep up with the art!

The next one to make the rounds is Cat & Mouse. I’m teaming up with Henry Martinez who is producing some really cool pitch pages (you have to go like the C&M page to see what we’ve got so far!). The original run of C&M was in b&w and I tend to think of it that way, but I’d like to pitch it either way—and I don’t have someone coloring this one yet. If you a fan of the first volume, this isn’t the exact same characters; they’ll be different, but the mood and spirit will be the same.

The next two are mostly ready, but it’s mostly on me to get it ready now.

Citizens is a project with the entire art package supplied by Joe Badon. Joe’s art style is so unique that I really anticipate he’s going places once the right people see his work—maybe it’ll just take the right story to have him noticed. I’m hoping that story is Citizens. I think it’s different from most anything I’ve done. While I’ve worked on science fiction stories before, I think of this one as sort of a futuristic post-Vietnam story. So, it’s not a “war story,” but a post-war story.

Then there’s Rejects with artist JC Grande and colorist Jesse Heagy, both of whom really deliver on some pitch pages you can see on the facebook page. It’s probably the more mainstream of the projects. It’s superheroes, with a twist: It’s a team of heroes who’ve been rejected by all the “A-list” teams. Just learning their names will tip you off to why they have issues with success.

I’ve got a couple others in the very early development phase…but I see I’m way over the limit, so I’ll save those for a future post. But I’ll go write it now so I promise it’ll just be a few weeks!

Thanks for listening to me ramble a bit. See ya next week!

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An update ala a Blog Hop

So I hope you’re new here as part of the blog hop. If you’re a long-time visitor, thanks for your continued support. A blog hop is when bloggers encourage their readership to visit other bloggers, as I will do at the bottom of this entry. I haven’t participated in many blog hops mostly because I don’t really think I get a lot of new readers and so those who come here pretty much know the usual info in a blog hop. So I’m mostly doing this one because a)Kayla asked me to participate (you should go visit her blog since she was kind enough to send some of you my way—AND, she said really nice things about me!); b)I still needed an entry for this week—I skipped last week…was busy grading—yuck!; c)the hop is different from most of those I’ve seen cross my path.

So, without further adieu, the hop questions are:

What am I working on?

I’m working on several things at the same time. I’m one of those who tends to keep a lot of irons burning just because you never know when a project will collapse, fall through, etc. And I’ve had my fair share of projects to disappear. At the top of my list are a couple of projects I’ve already blogged about: Beah and Citizens. Follow the links to read more about them. I’ve also got other comic projects in various stages getting ready for pitch: The Rejects (with JC Grande), Cat & Mouse (with Henry Martinez), Demon’s Tails V2 (with Patrick Rolo); Unnamed with Kevin Tuma (we’re still in the “talking about the story” phase); an unnamed with Gabriella Rossetti (just wait until you SEE this one!). I’ve just finished a Graphic Novel adaptation of a horror film which is slated for a September release. Oh—Four of the projects now have FB pages. Go LIKE them here: Beah, Citizens, Cat & Mouse, The Rejects.

On the prose side, I haven’t done as much to work on my current novel. My agent is still pushing The Interns…but I’m about to toss in the towel on that one. Yeah, I know, I’m sad, too.

I thought I had a little web-series that was going to happen—even assembled a tiny writing team—but it looks like that might not happen either. Was exciting to think about that, though. So, for the meantime, I’ll continue to focus on comics…just because I’m so dang excited about them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Gee, that’s tricky, isn’t it? There are some things that I would consider as “personalities” of my work…and that combination makes it uniquely me. I tend to write strong female characters, stories set in the South (my beloved homeland!), stories about individualism and about individuals overcoming tyranny, oppression, etc. I try to infuse my faith into my work without it being overbearing and/or annoying…but I think that’s important to my work.

The problem with my answer to this question is that most of my work is in comics, but “comics” isn’t a genre, it’s a medium.

Why do I write what I do?

I write because I enjoy writing. I write comics/graphic novels because I absolutely love the medium and what it can do. We have an unlimited special effects budget and are limited only by our imaginations. Comics/Graphic novels is also a visual medium in which the reader controls their experience. When you watch tv or a movie, your experience is determined by the director. The reader controls their own reading experience when reading a graphic novel. And I find that very cool.

How does my writing process work?

I don’t know that I have only one process, but the one that tends to work for me is starting from a concept; moving to a character and giving them an attainable goal; putting them in a world; tossing obstacles at them; building an outline…and THEN sitting down to write.

Who’s next in my Writing Process Blog Hop?

I’m happy to push you to a couple of writers I like. First, go take a peek at my pal Sid Williams’s blog. I’ve known Sid for a looooong time (since the late 1980s for those of you really keeping track), and he’s got the write-stuff! Check out SidIsAlive…and tell him I sent ya there! I’d also like to web-direct you to the web home of Wes Locher. Wes is just days away from earning his Creative Writing degree from Full Sail but has already published a bunch o’stuff. I’ve read much of it (tempted to say “all,” but that might not be true) and he’s going places! You wanna get in on the ground floor of an up and coming writer, start watching his site here.

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