The Story So Far 1, 10-09-2020, October 09, 2020, More Than Milk, Children's Picture Book

The Story So Far |1


I suppose this could have been a “Writing about Writing” post, but its about more because I do more. I have been making strides in a lot of areas of my life over the last year and a lot of that was fun, but now I find myself in a bit of a pickle. I have this great project going on in real life that is going to take a lot of money, time and manual labor to deal with properly. I am at the point where I am needing to HUSTLE to make some extra cash because If I don’t, I’m not sure what will happen.

What’s the problem? Why don’t I just work more?

I can’t really. Blessedly, I have been able to work during Rona 2020, and I pray there will be no Rona 2021 to get in my way, but that’s besides the point. The work I have been doing at my day job is finite. There is only so much I can do, only so many hours I can work based on our volume from week to week. Mix in days I have had to take off lately and all signs are telling me that I need to open up additional streams of income.

So just find more ways to make money.

That sounds simple, but I am a fairly involved father in addition to being a very lucky husband to a beautiful and lovely wife. It has been said that in every problem, the solution exists. What makes things complicated, is that every blessing, has its own issues. That’s because everything has its cost, unless its a gift, which I would gladly welcome. My marriage and fatherhood takes up so much time. Making money at an hourly rate takes time. My real issue is opportunity cost. I have solutions in mind that lead to me being able to free up my time, but they carry financial costs that I don’t want to deal with right now. If I had to or if I knew these things would pay off, I’d peruse them, but the uncertainty gives me pause.

I have 2.5 manuscripts completed and ready to query. I have sent More Than Milk to a handful of publishers and mostly gotten form rejection letters. One company wants me to assume they aren’t interested if they don’t respond after 6 months. More Than Milk is my children’s picture book about breastfeeding. My other completed manuscript is for a Fantasy children’s picture book called The Dragon’s Treasure. The incomplete manuscript if for Superheroes Get Hungry, Too which is (you guessed it) a children’s picture book about superheroes and food. It’s supposed to be this light, fun thing. Unfortunately, I made a whole big production out of it and I took SOOOOO long to finish it that I put in on a long hiatus and then wrote MTM 3 or 4 times before deciding it was ready to submit for publication. I decided to rewrite SGHT again and totally change the premise. It is still about various food topics and features a whole bunch of fun Superheroes in funny situations, but since a professional editor had looked at it and said it needed to be narrowed down I decided to listen to that advice, initially.

During the month of September, I participated in a challenge to draw one entry for each day of the month of September inspired by the Tokusatsu genre. I have done some Tokutember drawings in the past. They were a lot of fun and the exercise gave me a lot of ideas. This year, while following the prompts, I got a great idea: I would make a trio of Tokusatsu-inspired characters for my latest version of SGHT. For those of you who don’t know, Tokusatsu is a genre of Japanese live-action film and television. It covers everything from Godzilla to Power Rangers and a whole lot more. Be warned some of it is not made for children. My characters, this team for SGHT, is inspired by arguably the 3 biggest Tokusatsu franchises made for kids. I tried writing a story for them and it turned into a comic book script better suited for older kids than my target. I plan to write an honest-to-goodness children’s picture book manuscript featuring my toku-trio, but I really do need to focus on getting MTM queried to more publishers first.

There is another complication. While writing the (working title) Team Optimum manuscript, I realized it was morphing into something else, so I let it. I like the script and I have my eye on an artist I would like to partner with to launch a crowd funding campaign to get this thing made. That’s another matter to get into later. I read the would-be SGHTv3 to my wife and she told me there was no way it would work. I knew it already, but I was just going off of momentum and I was so excited about it. She countered and suggested I take a different approach to SGHTv4: throw out the manuscript and the characters I had designed and open myself up to a different manifestation of the concept. I love the idea.

I don’t know when I am going to do the rest of the work, but I already have a fresh angle to take on SGHTv4 and a first page or so written down. It won’t hurt anything to share this here, so I’ll just get it out now. The plan is to use some of my existing characters made for SGHT and pull in designs elements I have created in my past years of Tokutmeber work. I’ll streamline my designs, keep names where appropriate and throw all these characters into a zany story tied together with a bunch of food-themed antics and gags. It should be a blast.

In order to have all the time and energy for this, I stopped doing my weekly Tokusatsu read: Kamen Rider podcast, as well as my comic book and Star Wars podcasts. I told my wife last night that I can feel the siren song of making more podcasts, and additional new podcasts as well. I am trying to ignore them and make sure I am working on querying and working on my private, costly project at home. I decided to start writing “The Story So Far…” series of blogs to chronicle my development on these writing projects. I have found a lot of success in journaling on paper to help me reach some spiritual and health goals over the last couple of months. G-d willing it will help me here too.


One of my secret projects is being put on hold for a while, so I really have no excuse to not query a publisher this week.

I found a couple lists of publishers open to submissions in 2020 and I picked one. Then I went through all 30+ agents and publishers highlighted there, each listing highlighted an agent t a particular publisher. I proceeded to copy down the information of all of them into a document I could reference, complete with links to relevant pages, such as submission guidelines and information about the agents. I am going to work through this list one agent and publisher at a time and take my shot. I don’t think I will share who I queried each week, but I will be honest and admit whether or not I did the work this week. I will also be keeping myself honest and fess up to what extra stuff I did each week. I had planned on these posts to help me set my intentions for each week, but I now think it will be better to track my activities here, so I can look back and reflect on everything I did each week.

My intentions are set, I don’t really need to think about them anymore.

Every week I intend to:

-Query a publisher every week for MTM.

-After 4 weeks of this, I will start querying for TDT as well. That list of publishers has agents interested in a variety of books, so I have leads for querying in different genres.

-Write a poem or flash fiction every week

-Keep my podcasting to a minimum


This is what I did this week:

Published Dusty Dreams [LINK]

-Made an overview video about Tokutember 2020 – MJ Loves Toku 72 [LINK]

-Reviewed Beast Heart! Strikers #2 – Swinging Through Comics 44 [LINK]

-Reviewed The Rise of Ultraman #2 – Swinging Through Comics 45 [LINK]

-Made list of publishers to query

-Submitted MTM to a publisher. After I sent it off, an idea occurred to me, since I haven’t sent a query for MTM for about one month, why not set up a little something to help me keep track of the various queries as I sending them? I want to keep that tracker ticking up until each book gets picked up by an agent or publisher. If I keep getting form rejections from my latest version of the query letter I will periodically revisit it. I wonder if I should hold off and send the current iteration to everyone on my list and then, only after that, revisit it to see if it needs to be tweaked. If I can’t get a manuscript accepted after one year, I will consider self-publishing it.

-Query Counter: Since MTM – 1 October 8, 2020

-Conceived and published the Story So Far… which you are reading right now, so you don’t need a link

Read this week:

The 99 Cent Lady By Elan Mudrow

Deep Roots By Aak

Finally Alone By Aak

Beast Heart! Strikers #2 By Pitts, Hunter and Cvetkovic

The Rise of Ultraman #2 By Kyle Higgins (Inactive), Matthew Groom, and Francesco Manna


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