The Road to Success

accomplishment action adult adventure

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You are responsible for your success and failure. The sooner you accept and integrate that into your work ethic, the sooner you will start being successful. If you blame others for your failures, you will never be successful.

 

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On Writing…..

close up of woman working

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…on art, on being creative:

“Work hard
Think
Cultivate silence
Plan diligently
Plumb your own soul
And try, with every fibre of your being, to get better and better and better……”

James Ellroy

It’s just that simple, and that hard.

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Comic Book Review – Locke & Key Volumes 1 to 6 (2009 to 2014)

Locke and Key

Accomplished novelist Joe Hill teams up with the artist Gabriel Rodriguez to fashion a spellbinding account of the devastated Locke family and their struggles to rebuild after Rendall, beloved father and husband, is brutally murdered by deranged high school student, Sam Lesser. The surviving Lockes relocate to an unlikely family manor on the island of Lovecraft, MA. Yet, as with every gothic mansion, this New England homestead holds dark and otherworldly secrets, secrets that go back generations. Okay, so there’s some standard horror clichés in this plot, and you might be asking, what’s the catch? Is it a safe bet that what starts off as a character study in grieving will swerve into the realm of spine-chilling terror? Yes, but that doesn’t quite cover it, old boy. As the youngest Locke child discovers, Keyhouse possesses some fantastic doors that transform all who dare to pass through them—namely, a doorway that temporarily kills you and allows your spirit to roam freely. Oh, and there’s also this well that houses a twisted spectral entity from the past, an evil phantom that desperately wants out and will use any means available to gain freedom, including releasing the very teenage murderer responsible for the grieving family’s disposition and unleashing him upon their uprooted lives once more.

Despite some familiar horror elements, the Locke & Key series manages to venture off the beaten path in some respects. This six volume series is a page-turning macabre story with clever transition scenes with memorable characters made all the more vivid through Rodriguez’s simple albeit compelling artwork. Joe Hill blends horror with fantasy and mystery to launch a riveting tale of a shattered family that cannot seem to outrun terror.

 

5 out of 5 stars

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Comic Book Review – X-Force Volume 1: Angels and Demons (2009)

x-force vol 1

Darkly drawn: blacks, grays, steel blues and vibrant reds, gory, depictive of graphic violence – this is what X-Force is all about. They’re a hit squad, folks out for blood, and serious about it. This one comes with advisories against the kiddies. It is essentially a gore-fest.

The graphic nature aside, this is very well drawn / colored by Crain. The gorgeous yellows of Magus, the blur of red the first time Wolverine punches Cyclops, the panel expression shots of Rahne – excellent work, and it translates pretty nicely as well.

The dialogue for nearly each issue opens with a stream of consciousness – you get to see inside a particular character’s thought process, and consequently, where they are bumping up against walls in their discourse and interactions with other members of the team. From this point we get the bubbled language and somewhat choppy discourse between the characters. In my experience with this, I can say I felt the pace of the story was quick, maybe too quick.

It’s secondary villain (Risman) is built off of ‘The New X-Men’ (2004), which is pretty neat, turning the concept a bit, striking it at a different angle – for instance, what if X-Force intervened against Risman’s campaign, in large-part because it got personal, well: this is what you’d get.

There’s even a bit of a sentimental lean (not sexual tension) to the story from two of our protagonists: Warpath and Rahne.

 

3 out of 5 stars

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So You Want to be a Writer?

gray scale photography of typewriter

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I can’t take credit for this list, it’s courtesy of Matt Hawkins at Top Cow Productions Inc. Link here: https://topcow.com/

I have, however, made a few edits to the list as I think this is relevant to most if not all writers and types of writing.

So, you want to be a comics pro? If you’re interested in becoming a professional writer here are a few things to consider in order to make sure that this is the right move for you:

1) For the most part, writing is a solitary experience and you can expect long periods of isolation while doing the creative work;

2) Most writers have editors and they also do work-for-hire, which means you will be forced to change your creation in ways that you may not like. You’ll need to find a way embrace and work past this disagreement in order to complete the piece (and get paid);

3) You’ll need to learn self-marketing in order to sell yourself (and your work); publishing companies market characters/titles for the most part, however you’ll need to market yourself. And yes, driving 4 hours to a book signing where 3 people show up is no fun, but it’s happened to everyone.

4) Unless you have a day job, you need to have enough savings to cover your living expenses for 6 to 12 months. Freelance writing jobs aren’t always readily available, so don’t become too comfortable in your current economic status. There are countless freelancers who went from making 60-80k a year to 20k the next.

5) You have to become comfortable talking to people and selling yourself and your stories at cons. Unless you’re on a name brand book it won’t sell itself.

6) Either have something to say or don’t say anything at all. Social media is a bitch, so either have a message and stick to it which can help build you a following (and potentially alienate others) or don’t discuss controversial things at all. If you aren’t comfortable and good at it, don’t do it.

 

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30 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Turned 30

Reblogged from Nate Green’s Scrawny to Brawny blog: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/30-things-about-life

Written by Martin Rooney, the creator of the Training For Warriors system and a pioneer of strength and conditioning for the martial arts.

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1. I wish I spent more time deciding what I really wanted from life.

Figure out your passion and purpose. Don’t wait until 30 to find that out. Chances are the guys that figured it out earlier already have the dream house, the dream job, and the dream girl.

2. I wish I would have known protein was essential for post workout nutrition.

I went from just water and no eating, to carb-only “sports” drinks. I know I would have had way better results if current science had been available. A Gatorade just doesn’t cut it.

3. I wish I would have been more excited for other people’s success.

This will get you ahead faster than only being excited for your own success. Take time to hear what people think. You won’t ever get called a jerk for listening too much.

4. I wish I would have had a full length mirror in my house.

Then I would have known I had to train my legs, too. To think of all the times I did biceps curls instead of squats…

5. I wish I had paid attention to the effect food had on me.

Some foods made me drowsy and others gave me a throat full of phlegm. I thought it was “normal.” Now I replaced that word with “allergy.” Start figuring how foods you eat are affecting you.

6. I wish I would have known girls are more attracted to guys who have fun.

Guys who try to look big and tough miss out.

7. I wish I would have learned to keep my house and car neat.

Someday a girl is going to come to one of them and care about chewed fingernails and the stain on your pillow case. Protein bottles in the back? They smell worse than you think they do.

8. I wish I got rid of things faster.

Once your favorite t-shirt has more holes than a Tiger Woods alibi, it’s time to let it go. Same goes for the old sneakers you’ll never wear again. Same thing with resentment and ill-will.

9. I wish I would have saved more money.

Get a financial planner, an IRA going, and invest. Don’t wait until you’re married and someone else is counting on you. And regardless if you have much money or not, put some away now. Learn the Law of 7 and the idea of compounding interest.

10. I wish I would have learned that driving 20-30 miles doesn’t make a bar any better.

Odds are the bar in your town will be just as fun. And your chances of trouble (DUI, etc.) go way down.

11. I wish I would have known what kinds of food weren’t good for me.

Most labels with “Light,” “Healthy,” or “part of a nutritious diet” are really just trying to cover up how crappy the food actually is.

12. I wish I followed my instincts more.

Listen to that knot in your gut. If you think she might not be the right girl, she probably isn’t. Same goes for your job. Of all the voices you hear, your own may be the wisest and hardest to listen to.

13. I wish I had been more coachable.

Welcome feedback and understand that criticism is positive. Just like rubbing alcohol on a scrape, it will be painful at first. But you’ll be better off cleaning strategic areas of your life.

14. I wish I would have written down exactly what I wanted.

Spend more time planning where you’re going in life than planning where you are going on Friday night.

15. I wish I started my “private” university earlier.

Build your personal library and read. 20 pages a night 5 days a week turns into 100 books in 5 years. 100 books in 5 years can turn you into an expert…in anything.

16. I wish I would have know there was a rotator cuff, feet muscles, neck muscles, hip adductors and abductors.

I would have worked on those more.

17. I wish I had learned the true power of a thank you.

Since I’ve adopted an authentic “attitude of gratitude,” my life has been much smoother. Hint: send a card or gift to someone that deserves it today.

18. I wish I had not been “too busy” for my parents.

When you get older, get a real job, and get married, you only have less time for your parents. Realize that they’re people, just like you. And that they’re actually pretty smart and fun to be around.

19. I wish I used my “down time” better.

Speaking of “too busy,” never say that you are. 24 hours is enough time to get stuff done and still have fun.

20. I wish I was less concerned with what everyone else thought about me.

I now know a thick skin isn’t just important for your hands and working out. It’s important for life and not caring about other people’s opinions of you. The fastest way to be unhappy is to worry about making everybody else happy and not staying true to yourself.

21. I wish I would have laughed more.

Make sure to laugh everyday. Learn to speak the language of “serious fun.” As it implies, get the serious stuff done…but make sure you have your share of fun and play, too.

22. I wish I would have quit some things faster.

Know when to quit things. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there are people, situations, and places where you are spending your time that aren’t serving you. Quit them.

23. I wish I would have defined my values earlier.

Decide what you stand for. If you don’t stand for much, you’ll fall for anything.

My first jobs, workouts, and girlfriends were because other people said they would be good for me. Make that choice for yourself and you won’t develop a weak set of knees when the time comes to stand up for yourself.

24. I wish I didn’t let other people’s expectations hold me back.

Eight words to remove from your vocabulary: “What will people say? What will people think?”

25. I wish I had gossiped less.

Build people up to their face and don’t talk to people behind their back. It only leads to trouble.

26. I wish I had trained around injury better.

Your body has incredible recuperative powers. Don’t let injuries or time off hold you back. And remember, even if you took time off, it’s never too late to start again toward fitness.

27. I wish I would have treated my body like my car.

In other words, don’t just pay attention to your body when there’s a problem. Also, make sure you are putting the right things in the gas tank. Just because it looks good on the outside doesn’t mean everything is good on the inside.

28. I wish I had “kept in touch” better.

Don’t let more than three months go by without staying in touch with the important people in your network.

29. I wish I had built my network even faster.

Surround yourself with people more fit, successful, and wealthy than you are. Just like the tide, you will rise or fall according to the influential bodies around you.

30. I wish I would have realized that the world is “service” oriented.

Serve others. You’ll learn as you get older that it’s not about what you get, but what you give back that really counts.