Issue 12: Seasons of Change
Winter is Coming...
“Winter is coming.”
It’s funny that a line popularized by Game of Thrones is actually a sentence I spent most of my midwestern life uttering in total fear. If anything, the phrase made Game of Thrones more relatable for me as a viewer. That, and the time I went to a wedding and everyone was locked inside the venue and slaughtered. HAH. Just kidding.
But enough about me? How are you? What’s new? How’re your folks doing?
Okay, back to me now as I roll out a new issue of the Writer’s Writer newsletter!
What Happened Last Issue?
(Because, y’know, that last newsletter was a really long time ago, Wes…)
In the last issue — I discussed battening down the mental hatches, putting in the work, and getting the writing done. Because, as writers, that’s what we do in order to survive. We write. Or think about writing. Or think about how life would be better if we were writing. Or sometimes we just stare off into space but tell other people that’s part of the writing process.
Where was I? Oh. Right. Last issue.
In This Issue…
1. Big Moves
2. Giving Back
3. Current Projects
I’ve learned a lot over the past three years, especially as a global pandemic raged on around me.
I learned a lot about the world.
I learned a lot about myself.
For instance, prior to 2019, I would say that with all of the turmoil in the world, the only thing that could possibly unite us as a human race would be an alien invasion. That’s right… an Earth-shattering event of unprecedented proportions where we’d be forced to come together as one people in order to stave off the dangerous invaders. We’d unite, fight, and then party together as we shared our cultures in celebration.
But now, I realize that’s not at all how things would work.
If the aliens arrived at to our amazing little planet with a mission of destroying the feeble humans, each of us would only care about ourselves. Many of us wouldn’t fight the invaders because it would be considered an inconvenience. Most humans would flat out deny the existence of the aliens until the otherworldly beings showed up at their homes brandishing energy weapons that turned them to sawdust. We’d fight amongst ourselves as the aliens picked us off one by one. It’s sad, really.
Now I have no clue how to unite humanity. I’m fresh out of ideas. Let someone else have this job, please.
As I mentioned, I also learned a lot about myself over the course of this pandemic.
I learned that I actually hated going to the grocery store all along, so the advent of curbside pickup and home grocery delivery streamlined by my life.
I learned that being huddled in large groups had been giving me anxiety for most of my adult life, so social distancing made throngs of people more tolerable.
I learned by using airport restrooms that, even during a pandemic, most dudes still don’t wash their hands after using the toilet.
The list goes on.
Most notably, I learned that spending summers hiding away inside of a house from an invisible disease, and then being forced to stay inside because winter comes and throws seemingly-unending bands of snow atop of my house/car/life was not sustainable.
I’m not built for snow. Or really the cold in general. I have zero body fat. I shiver. My teeth chatter. It’s totally embarrassing in public. I can bundle up and survive a chilly day, but snow has become too much for me.
Due to exhaustion from those snowy winters (and a pandemic, and a number of other reasons), my wife and I made the decision to pick up and move. While I grew up in the midwest, I left the snowy lands of Ohio after high school to attend college in the humidity of Orlando, Florida. After nine years living in Central Florida and then four years spent right on the Gulf Coast itself, we moved to Ohio where a lower cost of living treated our paychecks well and we were able to surround ourselves with family in the earliest years of my daughter’s life.
But Seasonal Affective Disorder (hilariously acronym’d as “SAD”) is very real and very prevalent in the midwest, a location where during winter, one may not see the sun for as long as 18 months at a time. For someone who prides himself on being motivated and driven, it’s often a struggle to channel creativity during the unending gloom.
We could have easily gone to California, where my wife’s company would have happily relocated us, but that was too far for comfort. Heading back to Florida felt redundant. We’d set out over the summer to visit various locations in and around North Carolina, a beautiful state with a varied topography and temperate climate, but not so far from everyone we know that we’d feel cut off.
You may recall these trips from previous newsletters. They were often presented as vacations to the beach and mountains. Hindsight being 20/20, I now realize that they were scouting missions. We were looking for our place, and for the moment, I believe we’ve found it.
Our excessively-large house (that we just moved into a year ago) has been emptied of our belongings—a majority of which found new homes in either landfills or donation centers—and this weekend we’ll make a three-day trek to our new home in Wilmington, North Carolina.
In Wilmington, we’ll be nestled into a neighborhood between the city, the beach, and the Cape Fear River. I’m quite excited and look forward to exploring a new place for the first time in a long time.
That’s the beauty of life. You can go. You can change. You can explore. At will.
Plus, if the aliens do come, I’d rather be at the beach as humanity is vaporized.
As you may have read in the past, I love mentoring other writers and sharing the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the past decade. Not that I actually know anything. I’m no master. I’m pretty much making this all up as I go. But apparently I know enough that I was once again invited to host several workshops over the weekend and speak on panels as part of the 5th annual Full Sail Writing Conference. Having participated in my alma mater’s premiere writing event for the past four years, I was wowed by the response as we had more than 500 unique attendees to our virtual event, setting all kinds of new records.
If you recall past newsletters, I was struggling to find the time to complete the presentations that I proposed (hour-long workshops on Game Writing, as well as the dangers of suffering from Career Tunnel Vision). However, they were completed with days (Hours? Minutes?) to spare, and I had an absolute blast presenting them to those burgeoning writers that attended the conference.
Imagine… a writing conference held on a Saturday. 500 writers invested in themselves and spent their free time digesting wisdom from those who spend their days making it happen. I’m so proud of everyone who attended and will use the knowledge to launch or continue their writing careers.
Unit 44 continues to speed along the production pipeline in its ongoing format from Alterna Comics! New series artist Aleksandar Jovic is going full throttle on art for issue #9, wherein our inept Area 51 employees strive to—oh, wow, I almost went into spoiler territory there! If I talk about what happens in #9, I’ll totally blow the big twist of issue #8. So, to be continued, huh?
However! Here’s a little sneak peek anyway, because I’m sadistic like that.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…!
Issue #5 - In which the agents must investigate and shut down the dangerous Blood Moon Cult has been released and is available for order!
Issue #6 - Wherein agents Gibson and Hatch inadvertently get pulled into the multiverse is available for order from Alterna Comics and shipping now!
Issue #7 is completely finished, and features special guest artist Landon Franklin! (What? Another new new artist? It’s like, “What the heck are you doing, Wes?” More on that story when the book comes up for preorder in December!) But, here’s a peek anyway because I love you!
Issue #8 is completely drawn and colored and is just waiting for me to ruin it with my lettering! (See above about the whole “relocation” thing for more info on why I haven’t lettered it yet!) Hey, here’s a panel from that issue because I think you’re super special!
The future of Unit 44 is looking bright (y’know, provided we don’t get canceled). But even if we do get canceled, I’m gonna keep this series going for as long as is financially feasible. Mostly because I have such fun making it, and also because it’s, like, the only outlet for my crazy that I have at the moment. Some of the stuff that Aleks and I planned for the future is so nutty and ridiculous, and I can’t wait for you to see it.
In fact, the Alterna Comics FALL Preorder Campaign has just launched! While there isn’t an issue of Unit 44 included in this latest bunch o’ comics, there are some wonderful titles just waiting to be explored!
The first issue of The Obsoletes—wherein a group of grizzled intergalactic prospectors are accidentally thrust 20 years into the future and find themselves confused and outdated—is available for order via Indy Planet! AND the book is a big metaphor for me getting old!
If you haven’t checked out my latest sci-fi/comedy adventure, please consider it! We’re off to an amazing start (if I do say so myself).
Issue #2 remains a work in progress! The pages have been drawn by Aaron Humphres and currently await inks and colors. Here’s hoping we (and publisher Silverline Comics) can get the second installment to Kickstarter before the end of the year!
I mean, JUST LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL ISSUE 2 WILL BE.
I’m constantly trying to find time to work on the things I want to work on. However, such things are difficult for us all. Occasionally, when I get inspired, I write a book or two, or three, or five. I have a list of things I’d love to sit and get lost in. Mainly, I’d love to have a year where everyone leaves me alone and I get to just sit and read all the books I’ve purchased but not yet consumed. But then again, who doesn’t?
However, with writing conferences out of the way, and with The Obsoletes series nearly written, and with many, many issues of Unit 44 already in the bag… perhaps I can actually… get to some of these things in the not-too-distant future?
It boggles the mind. Stay tuned.
This is the 12th installment of this newsletter (not counting my “Special Editions”) and I’m still uncomfortable talking about myself. Hey, I have a better idea… what if you all send ME a newsletter each month and tell me what you’re up to instead?
I’m Wes Locher. I’ve been writing professionally for a decade. I write comic books, video games, fiction, and nonfiction. I write whatever seems fun, cool, and inspiring. I also love helping other writers to demystify the process of making a living through words. This is my newsletter.