An Indie Author’s Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I don’t think you’re typically in it for middle-aged indie authors but I figured I had nothing to lose by trying.  I’ve been writing this sort of letter to bookstores and publishing houses and literary agents and they’re just as invisible and elusive as you are.  At least with you I can keep the format a bit more relaxed and I’m actually more assured of receiving a positive response (or, in fact, any response at all).

There are some things I want for Christmas this year that are a bit more intangible than I would be able to ask from my loved ones.  They’re also things that, I understand, won’t be available Christmas morning or any time in the very near future.  They are, however, achievable and will not exhaust your magic in granting them to me, should you feel they are deserved.

First and foremost, I would like a broader and more active reader base for Christmas.  I’m not asking for J.K. Rowling or GRRM numbers of devotees (certainly the same level of fanaticism would be nice) but if you could take my fans from the five I know are there and double them, please, that would be fantastic.  Give me the grassroots start I’ve been looking for.  Give me the people who won’t rest until they’ve shoved my book in the face of everyone they know in hopes that they will read it.  Give me peeps who will retweet, like, and share.  Give me someone who wants to ask questions about their favorite characters or wants to actually see the sequel released.  Give me people who will give me feedback.  Give me people who are shipping characters.  Give me the crazies.  Give me the random person on the street wearing a U7 logo pin.  Just give me something a little bit more.

Second, give me new readers.  Not the same as my first request.  I would also like people just to read and review my book.  Every reader is a potential five stars.  Every star means that my book has a chance to get featured on Amazon.  That means more readers and more stars.  It perpetuates.  In essence, this is the gift that keeps on giving.  At least, in theory.

Third, give me a bigger hammer.  I’ve been trying to hammer my way through the sequel but I’ve hit a wall and the current hammer I have is apparently not big enough to get me all the way to the end.  I would very much like to have this book done by the time the next Steel City Con rolls around in April.  Plus, they say that the more books you have on Amazon, the better your visibility as an author.  Don’t know how true this is but I would like to find out on my own.  If not a bigger hammer, then someone (see item one) to encourage me to fight it out and keep moving forward.

Fourth, more fan art.  A.C. Mickey is a great artist and is just the style I want.  Give me more of her stuff, please.  If anyone else is interested, poll them.  I’d like to see what they make of my characters.  This also relies heavily on item one.

Fifth, even though I like the grassroots thing, getting out there and pressing the flesh and making sales on my books, I would very much like some help with distribution or backing.  Give me a house/agent/something, doesn’t have to be super-major, that’s interested in picking up the book.  I’d still do as much grassroots as I could, but it would be nice to have someone to help with the heavy lifting.

Lastly, I would very much appreciate a little more self-confidence.  It’s hard out here but everyone knows that.  Give me something that will allow me to have the balls to actually buck up and preach from the mountains how awesome my book is without feeling like a pretentious scumbag and without thinking of the parts that I believe to be flawed.

I know that I’m not on the nice list because I’m a dick most of the year.  I’m a funny dick, at least, you have to give me that.

Unlucky Seven should be on the nice list, though.  It’s done nothing but good for me in just about every possible aspect.  If you don’t want to help me with any of these things, think of the book and do it for the book.  It’s a good little book and deserves to have a great first Christmas.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Keep fighting the good fight.

-JPB

—end transmission—

Con-Fluence: My Weekend as a “Real Writer” at Con

Originally, I had promised that I would try to live-blog from Steel City Con.

The reason this didn’t happen is that I was both too busy and having too much fun to do so.

This first Con with my fellow writer and partner in crime, Spike Bowan, was an absolute blast. On one hand, it was work. A lot of carnival barking – me shouting “Words for sale! Organic, locally-sourced, free-range words for sale!” among other fun lines – and a lot of something else I don’t typically do: selling myself.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a real problem with talking about myself or my book. The more I did it over the weekend, the easier it became and the more books I sold.

It has been something to the tune of seven years since I was last a salesman. With the help of the large crowds and lots of coffee, I was able to launch right back into the groove. I used to be a master salesman and have been told by some that I have the gift of gab. I was very proud of my sales skills back in the day when I had to memorize the specs on a cabinet full of camera equipment and fill other people’s needs. This was a bit different. It’s still all about filling a need but one for straight-up entertainment rather than the hobby/utility of the camera business.

I got a pretty good pitch down and was able to convince a lot of people to at least pick up the book and read the back cover, though fewer actually bought. Still, every sale is a reader. Every reader has the potential to spread the word.

We needed the carnival barker thing happening. Unlike the other artists in Artist Alley, we were not the visual sort. People didn’t see brightly colored rows of prints prominently displayed. In order to attract people, we had to call out to them. I was looking people in the eye asking, “Do you like words? Do you like many words arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner?”

This opening line reeled in a surprising amount of people. Everyone loves a smart-ass.

Aside from the sales, both Spike and I made good friends with the people around us. I found an artist in the lovely and talented A.C. Mickey who produced her renditions of both Zoey and Agent Moorsblade from U7, solely from descriptions I’d written up. Her version of Zoey is frighteningly close to mine. She told me to call it fan-art, but I’m calling it a commission. She might be a fan of me as a person, but she’s yet to read the book. I love her style and want her to draw her version of all of my characters. I think it fits very well with the playful attitude of the book. Anna-ZoeyAlso, she gave Zoey a pixie cut, which is something I’ve never been daring enough to do with her ever-changing hair. Love that drawing. I’ll have to post Agent Moorsblade once I get a shot of the original art.

Also, we made good friends with Brian Hagan and his family. His daughter, Lemony, became the mascot of the three-booth area and drew many a cosplayer to our tables with her genuine amazement, especially anyone dressed Thor or a Pony. Brian’s a writer, kind of like me. If you like U7, you’ll enjoy The Horrible Plan of Horace Pickle which is a superhero novel where the hero tries to stop the villain from destroying mashed potatoes forever. Yes, you read that right. It’s very funny in the vein of Douglas Adams.

Spike and I had so much fun we’re going back for seconds this April. We made sure that our little three-booth family all signed up for the same tables so that we can be together again and we’ve also made many strides toward making IAM (Independent Authors of the Mon-Valley) a larger and more organized effort. These are good people and we want to continue working with them in any possible aspect. And, I’m not just saying that because they might be reading this. I absolutely mean it.

I collected many a business card of (and gave many a business card to) people wanting to work with us, wanting to join in on IAM if, for nothing else, the promise of mutually assured promotion which as I mentioned in my previous blog about self-publishing, is most of the battle. “It’s hard out here,” was the go-to line when fellow indie authors would ask about the self-publishing avenue. That’s no lie, it is. Most of the sales I made this weekend I worked hard for; pitching, hoping, handing out tiny spoilers. Having confidence (or the appearance thereof) is key, I found. The same as with any sales pitch.

In the end, this weekend was awesome. I met some truly great people and made good friends with whom I hope to work in the future. If I met you and left your name out, it’s only for the sake of brevity. I will openly pimp anyone’s stuff, especially if we talked or made any kind of connection.

One last cool thing: I loved the way some people’s faces lit up when I asked if they wanted me to sign their book. Like, they didn’t realize that I was the author pimping my own stuff. Not only that, but their reaction to my pitch about the book and the legitimate interest they showed when I explained what it was about. I’m very much looking forward to seeing some new likes on Facebook and new Twitter followers.

This was, all around, a most profitable weekend.

We will be back in April and I cannot wait. Still looking for that elusive U7 cosplayer, still have a prize in store. Get your costume ready and come see me in the spring!

Oh, and I inscribed almost every book with:

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

The Wrath of Con (a preamble)

This weekend is Steel City Con.

It’s my first big public outing as a self-published author. Yeah, I did the Too Groovy Toy Show as well, but that feels like just a warm-up compared to what I’m going to be facing this weekend.

Contrary to my nerdy archetype, I have only ever been to one Con prior to this one. Over the summer, my wife and I went to Fan Expo Toronto which happened to be going on during a weekend we decided to visit the Great White North. This was a totally on-the-fly decision. We only found out it was going on during the week leading up to our trip. We were walk-ins.

The place was busy but not as packed as I’ve seen in footage from San Diego. This was one of the bigger Cons in Canada from what I was told. It had the misfortune of being held the same weekend as DragonCon, which is ultimately bigger and drew more of just about everything than Fan Expo Toronto.

Based on what I saw in Toronto, I’m pretty excited for what I’ve got myself into at Steel City Con. While I understand that it will likely be markedly smaller (Toronto’s was held in their main urban convention center which is HUGE), I’m still very very excited about it.

It’s cool to think that I’m going to be on the other side of a booth. That I’m not going to be one of the browsing masses but that my product – the thing I’ve put so much of my life into – is going to be available for mass consumption directly to my main demographic. I’m excited to interact with the people some of whom, if I’m lucky, will have already read my book and will be there to see me, shake my hand, and tell me what they liked about my little story.

It’s likely that last part won’t happen but it won’t stop me from hoping. People think I’m joking when I say that I will give a special prize to the first ever Unlucky Seven cosplayer. I am not. I already have the prize in my possession. I’ll have it with me at Con just in case though I doubt anyone will step up to claim it. U7 isn’t that big… yet.

I still have trouble believing that Unlucky Seven is out there and being read by other people. When friends of mine are talking about it – which characters they like, their favorite moments, etc – it feels strange. The whole U7 world was something that was mine and mine alone for a very, very long time. Now, I have people discussing the intimate details with me; asking me questions about things that were alluded to in the book with certain characters or situations, specifically, things that were left unexplained to be revealed later. I know all the answers but am loathe to distribute spoilers, though I have been known to leak certain details to people I consider fans.

Having someone tell me that they love a character I’ve created is the most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced. For someone else to talk with affection about a person who has only been in my head and on paper in front of me for over a decade makes me feel like I’ve done my job properly. The main compliments I get about the book usually involve the characters. It’s easy to put a lot of soul into them when I’ve known them in fiction for over a decade. It’s fun to see how their final (for better or worse) incarnations are received. Early conclusion: my next book should be entitled Everybody Loves Phalanx.

Also, I’ve been told that my naturalistic and flowing dialogue brings all the nerds to the yard. That was sort of the point. This is a book for geeks by a geek. This is the inner voice of the geek culture reacting to superhero origin stories. There’s still an expected suspension of disbelief between the reader and the story but not so much for the characters analyzing their own story. I like to think it’s a unique happy medium between pure superhero fantasy and the brutal reality of being a real-life vigilante.

I may come across a bit bold (read: egotistical) in my writings here but, believe me, it’s hard for me to see the merit in the things I do. I have very low self-confidence in this and most other things in my life. Mama didn’t raise no braggard. I was groomed to be humble. I find it tough to talk to most people about the merits of my book. I don’t know how to react to positive criticism most of the time. When people say: “You wrote a book?” with that happy sort-of surprised tone, I answer: “Yep, a whole book. Has words in it and everything.” They usually ask what it’s about. “Superheroes” is my default answer. Explaining the whole dust-jacket sizzle text makes me feel stupid. I know, I should be more confident and salesman-like but I’m sheepish about it for psychological reasons of which I’m mostly unclear.

Steel City Con will be an interesting experience because, for once, I’ll have to stand proudly and acknowledge my work. I’ll be forced to craft a sales pitch. I’m trying to get my words out there and into the hands of people who will appreciate them in hopes that they’ll pass word along if they like it. I have to remember that finishing a novel of any length and releasing it to the masses by any means is an achievement of hard work, perseverance, and most of all bravery. I feel like leaving U7 to be judged by the fickle and potentially volatile essence that is the Internet took some large pendulous brass ones to accomplish especially when I’m working with grassroots marketing. Amazon Reviews, Goodreads fans, Facebook and Twitter followers… these mean the world to me, especially when my followers work to help me out. Hint hint.

I’m nervous. I’m excited. Hopefully I’ll see you there.

I’ll likely be live-blogging when possible (if possible) this weekend. Stay tuned.

A special additional thanks to all of my GoFundMe donors. You helped me amass 125 books to sell at Con. My wife is worried I’ll run out. I’m looking forward to that, honestly.

Remember, there’s a prize in it if you are the first U7 cosplayer. And no, people on whom I based characters, showing up as yourself does not count. Showing up as another U7 character, however…

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

5 Things You Should Know About Self-Publishing

This Saturday, 11/15/14, marks the six-month anniversary of the release of Unlucky Seven.

I figured I would give you, my loyal readers, a progress report along with some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, you know that I’ve been doing quite a bit of advertising. Probably too much for most tastes. It feels like the only things I’ve been posting have been links to my Amazon site and my GoFundMe campaign (shameless plug).

Can you blame me? I finally finished a novel that was many years in the making and was able to scrape together enough self-confidence to put it out there for public consumption. Suddenly, when you see people buying your stuff and you get cases of your own book in the mail, the classic trope of “someday finishing your novel” isn’t as much of a pipe dream anymore.

I am proud of what I’ve done and I want to get the word out about it. I have it on fairly reliable authority that my book has memorable characters, a fast-paced witty style, and is a very fun and fast read. I find myself going back and re-reading posted reviews and comments confessed to me in text messages and over Facebook frequently to keep my spirits up whenever I feel I’m starting to lose faith in what this book can accomplish.

I’m doing everything grassroots, too. Grassroots is tricky because, aside from yourself, you have to rely on friends to spread the word. Friends of mine in the local music industry know this part all too well. It’s a bit different trying to hock books than it is getting people to go to shows and buy albums but we find ourselves in the same sort of situation: attempting to sell our art when no one knows who the hell we are. The main advantage music has over literature is that it is much easier to stumble upon music. Since I’m not reading my book out live anywhere, I can’t be randomly heard or discovered. I do have a sample track in my first few chapters available for preview at Amazon, however, people have to be brave and/or engaged with reading enough to give it a shot. Instead, I rely on the kindness of friends to repost my links (most of them have), however, it’s tough to get people to read. Much tougher than getting them to look or listen.

I was lucky enough to find a partner in another local published author who also happened to be a good friend of mine, Spike Bowan. We teamed-up for a local toy collectors show where we shared a table and sold our books. We thought we did pretty well and I already had aspirations of taking the book to a bigger convention, namely, Steel City Con here in Pittsburgh this December. Spike and I agreed to an alliance which made things like Steel City Con more affordable at a split-price. We formed IAM – Indie Authors of the Mon-Valley – a writer’s group. Though it’s still in its infancy, our ambition is to give a home to genre fiction writers whose body of work doesn’t really fit well with the many lit-fic and poetry writer’s groups in the area. We don’t think there’s enough encouragement for genre writing and wanted to give the rest of the misfits, like us, a home. I’ll let you know as this develops. It’s kinda still in the chrysalis stage, but we’ll get there.

Some of my friends tell me that writing a book is a big deal. That I’ve accomplished something. Yeah, I suppose I have and, as I mentioned, I’m proud of that fact. It still makes me feel pretentious and icky to run around touting myself as an author or a writer. I’ve never been one to brag (I just wasn’t raised that way) and it feels too much like bragging to admit to people that I have faith and confidence that the words I’ve put down in that book are, briefly, good. I am not good at schmoozing and I am absolutely awful at self-promotion (see above: annoying). I keep getting told that it’s all just grist for the mill; that I’ve got to buck-up some more confidence and really sell my book. This is true. Right now, I’m just sitting here waiting for word of mouth. Let me tell you how quickly that ocean dried up.

It also makes me feel pretentious and icky when people ask me questions about writing. I don’t know that I’m one to be giving advice. Yeah, I’ve been putting words to paper in one manner or another for many years of my life (rants, blogs, Fights of the Week, etc) but, somehow, I don’t feel like one self-published book suddenly makes me qualified to speak as any sort of expert. People have asked for advice on their writing based on their appreciation of mine and I’m not really sure I should be answering. I’m not Dickens or Twain – I’m just a thirty-something from Munhall who sacked up and put a story out there, for better or worse.

Thinking on it for some time, I came up with a few points of advice for the aspiring, speaking only six months out from me being one of them. If anything, take this as preparation for when you finally decide to give the bird finger to all those publishers who rejected you and do it on your own. Learn from this, my friends. Please.

1. If you are a genre fiction writer, publishers and agents will absolutely deny you 99% of the time.

Too pessimistic? Too bad. No one – not anyone ever ever – will tell you this painful truth. Except Stephen King, he mentions his consistant rejections in “On Writing” (a fabulous and inspirational book, btw). The difference between now and when our good Mr. King was trying to break into the industry is the internet. More specifically, there was no Kindle, no Nook, no smartphones, and no apps. All of these wonderful solutions for modern living have taken the traditional idea of publishing and thrown them entirely out the window.

I’m not going to go too far and say that eBooks are putting paper under because that would be a lie. Paper books are still very much a thing in the same manner that, in an electronic world, paper cards for every occasion still greatly outnumber eCards. In fact, after my initial eBook only release, there were many people asking me where the paper copies were. Even though some of them were pretty avid device-users, they wanted it in print. Not just because they wanted it signed by yours truly (which most of them received) but because they were objectionable to the eBook medium in one way or another.

Don’t let that little bit discourage you. There are plenty of people out there buying eBooks, some of them are dragging a net into the deep waters that are the new independent books. These intrepid deep-sea fishermen are looking for your genre fiction. They want something that caters to their niche. They will find you.

The point of this first entry on the list is that, unlike Mr. King whose crazy horror stories finally found a mainstream home after a good number of years, when you get to the end of your rope and stop believing that The Powers That Be in writing are the end-all-be-all of getting your book out there, you can stop writing letters and just do it yourself. The Gatekeepers of the Industry are still present, but there’s a small hole in the fence. Squeeze on through as soon as you feel you’re ready.

2. There are people who will tell you that you achieved nothing because your book wasn’t REALLY published.

Your reaction to this should be a prompt, sturdy, and constant middle finger. These people are defined in the dictionary as assholes and are not worth your time.

You did not get a major publishing house to back your efforts. This in no way invalidates what you have accomplished. If you have completed a novel or a book or a volume or whatever you want to call it and have moved forward with publication, self or otherwise, you have done something that many people only aspire to do. Think about every person you’ve ever known who has alluded to or outright announced the fact that they’re working on a novel. Some people do it just to sound intelligent, some people are legitimate about it. Whatever the case, once it’s actually out there, you’re part of a different club. The important thing isn’t that your book is available (e- or print) but that YOU HAVE FINISHED YOUR NOVEL. Not only have you finished your novel, you’ve done so in a manner that makes you comfortable having other people read it, rate it, and respond to it. Those last parts are the hardest to get over. More on that later.

You have accomplished something that many deign to do but never complete. You’re at the end of the marathon, looking back on all the people behind you, able to marvel at this thing you’ve just done while others may stumble, stop, or quit altogether.

There is absolutely no shame in self-publishing. If anything, going this route makes it more of a challenge. You could send out queries for years and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a result. If you get in with a house or an agent, you’ll have a much easier time with things. On the other hand, if you’re like me, out on the streets essentially putting feet-to-pavement to get word out about your stuff and you do become a success, it will be much more rewarding than going the traditional old-boys-club route.

So, you can tell those assholes who heckle you for self-publishing exactly where they can shove it.

3. You will be criticized and you may not like it.

You’ve put your book out there. If you’re like me, you’re probably using Amazon to do it which means that, as soon as Kindle Direct Publishing clears your product page for publication, the dreaded stars become a major focus of your life. There are five of them. If you’re lucky, most of them will be red all the time.

I have been fortunate so far that people reading my book have liked my book and told me so via the precious Amazon stars. While I’ve only got six ratings and I know I’ve sold more copies of my book than just that, a 4.8/5 rating on my page makes me feel good. People who read it like it enough to say positive things about it, which really gives me a boost. As you may or may not know, most people who rate things online either love it to death or hate it with passion. Not many people are going to rate your stuff three-stars. The internet is not a place of equity and reason, it is a place of extremes.

Although my Amazon rating might be intact, putting the book out there has exposed me to criticism in real life. People reading have told me about characters they love (which I hate) or characters they hate (which I love). I’ve been presented at least once with a sheet of minor grammatical errors (along with some perceived syntax errors, both very short lists) and told by that person that they “hope the second edition addresses these issues”. Bro, there probably won’t be a second edition for a while, fyi.

Still, the criticism is valid. All of it. You have to take it in stride and remember that you’ve put your book out there. There aren’t any real takebacks. Could you pull your book from Amazon, rewrite, and pretend it never happened? Sure. Don’t, though. You had confidence in your work enough to put it up for public consumption. Remain confident in yourself even if someone doesn’t like it. If you’re writing genre fic, like me, your particular niche might not be someone’s bag. Unless they have a solid argument, citing the source material, just consider it that someone doesn’t like your style, let it roll off your shoulders, and move on. Keep your head up. Remember, the person who criticized you probably didn’t write their own novel and throw it out there. You are braver than they’ll ever be. Keep your head high and march on.

4. Do not concern yourself with how many units you move or you’ll go crazy.

Your first experience in sales will be extremely rewarding. When you first announce that you have a book available, your friends will swarm like piranha to snatch up their copies. Within the first twenty-four hours with Unlucky Seven, I sold fourteen units. While that may not sound like much, I have yet to beat that one day total. In fact, I have yet to beat that one day total in a week’s worth of time. Maybe a month’s worth of time.

The first few days of your release will have you obsessively checking your sales statistics (which KDP handily provides). You’ll squeal with glee every time the line bumps up another unit. Then, inevitably, things will go flat. And, they WILL GO FLAT. There’s no real avoiding this. Do not let this affect you. This will happen often.

You’re obviously trying to monetize your work. You wouldn’t have put it up if this wasn’t the case. Amazon, as it states very clearly in the ePub contract you signed in the terms and conditions, is not responsible for the marketing of your book. You will not get any direct help from them unless your book starts to do exceedingly well, at which point they reserve the right to put you up on Kindle’s front page. This will not happen immediately because your name is not John Green. The only thing you can do to up your book’s views is to put it on sale. Amazon allows you to do countdown deals (selling your book at a discount from what you state as your list price) and book giveaways (offering your stuff up for free for a limited time). These options, per the terms, increase the visibility of your book while the discount/giveaway is on. I’ve done a countdown deal and I can tell you that it spiked sales pretty good. I’m contemplating a giveaway just to get the book out there.

Remember that this isn’t a race, but also remember that promotion is key to moving more units. Which brings me to my final point…

5. Marketing is a bitch.

I mentioned this in the above but I don’t know if I can mention it enough. The biggest challenge with self-publishing is self-marketing.

If you’re like me – a self-deprecating humorist with an anti-social streak a mile wide and perhaps (only perhaps) a dozen actual go-over-their-house-for-dinner hang-out-on-a-regular-basis friends – then you’re going to have as much trouble as I do moving units.

Social media is going to be your primary outlet for advertising because it’s free. I’m going to give you some advice that you see in every “how-to self-publish right” type of guide right here, but I’m going to add a bit of marketing advice given to me by my wife as well. This will be a small sub-list.

1. Start an author page on Facebook. Do not make a page for the book itself. You’re going to be writing more things than just the first book, right? Or you hope to, at least? Then you want a centralized author page. Do not make friends and fans follow more than one thing and do not put it on yourself to try to keep up with posting on more than one group page about your writing. Keep it simple. One page means one update reaches your audience. Plus, new friends/fans will be able to easily find your official stuff.

2. Twitter. Make your current account known. Update your fans regularly. Throw them little bonus bones like lesser-known (or unknown) facts about characters and locations in your book. Give them a reason to follow you.

3. Pony up and buy a domain name. While WordPress and services like it are a wonderful thing, people will take you much more seriously if you’ve got your own domain. I purchased jpbidula.com which, come to think of it, you should know already because that’s probably where you’re reading this very listicle. Make sure you’re keeping a blog. Your fans will likely want to hear what you have to say even if it’s usually bitching about a TV show that looks to crush the early origin of one of your favorite superhero franchises. Your fanbase will get to know you as a person from this place and it can be a platform for links – your Amazon page, an etsy or cafepress page for merch, your social media, deviantart if you’ve got any – just to name a few. Your domain should be the hub of your publicity efforts.

4. Goodreads. I got turned on to this site thanks to another good friend of mine. As a Goodreads author, you can really connect to your readers. I recommend checking it out. It comes highly regarded by many many self-published authors. Beware of the fan fiction there, it runs pretty thick.

5. Take some freaking pictures of yourself, you hermit. Better yet, get someone experienced to take them for you. You know people in the art community, I’m sure, and at least one of those people has to be a decent photographer. Go out in the world with them and get some good shots of yourself for promotional purposes. That Facebook page? Twitter? Your domain? Goodreads? All of them look better when your profile picture isn’t a blank outline of a person with a question mark over their face. Putting your face out there, even if you have low self-esteem like yours truly, makes you a real human being and can help your readers relate better to you.

6. Make yourself some business cards. When you do, list most of this stuff on it. When you give someone your card, it should allow them to connect to you on at least the major social platforms (FB, Twitter, your site). People WILL NOT remember who you are if you meet them and tell them you’re an author. They will, however, find your card when cleaning out their pockets/purse/wallet and maybe remember.

Use whatever tools you can for marketing. As I mentioned, I’m taking my book to a Comic Con along with my friend Spike. We’re going to be in the trenches with real copies, pressing flesh and meeting new people. We considered this a prime option for publicity. This does require an amount of capital (hence my GoFundMe site) but, as my boss at my day-job put it, it’s making an investment in yourself and, in the end, it will be worth it.

In conclusion, there will be ups and downs. The ups will feel incredible, the downs will be horrible. Remember that it’s not a race nor is it a competition. You will move units eventually but you have to put the work in to selling them. You have to be relentless with your promotion as much as you may hate it. You will come off to your friends as annoying after a while but they’re not the ones you’re marketing to after the first few weeks.

Above all things, keep your head up and remember that regardless of your sales numbers or reviews you have still accomplished a phenomenal thing. You are brave. You have done well. You will succeed if you put enough time and effort into it.

When we all get to the finish line, I’ll buy the first round.

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

Gotham S1:E7 – Penguin’s Umbrella (held in Gotham against my will…)

Open on Oswald walking down the street with a couple of large thug bodyguards. Cut immediately to a LOL-worthy Fish Mooney temper tantrum, bitching about Oswald being alive and demanding his head. Throw it to Jim who is telling Barb over the phone from the GCPD locker room to get out now. Once he hangs up, Harvey is there to punch him directly in the jaw and hold him at gunpoint, stating that he’ll have to “take (Jim’s) body back to Falcone and beg – BEG – for mercy.”

Oh no. I am so very afraid for Jim Gordon’s life. Y’know, not knowing any of his future story.

Bullock gets distracted, Jim gets his gun, tells Harvey he has a plan. Harvey tells him that he hopes he doesn’t see him again. Jim storms out.

Barb’s phone vibrates on the dining room table as a Falcone thug (with partner) tells her she has a very nice place (still too nice for a police detective, if you ask me). They’re holding her until her fiance comes home. Just as the thug starts talking all rapey (we get it, they’re bad guys) Jim rounds the corner, gun drawn. A Mexican standoff turns into Jim getting the upper hand (knocking out the talky-rapey one and shooting the gun-haver). Jim and Barb make it to the bus station and Jim sends Barb away telling her to never come back to Gotham, since we’ve seen how well that line has worked in the past. She tearfully boards the bus like a good Stepford woman and the title card hits.

Gordon returns to the noisy police station and silences the place with his very presence, asking for “blank warrants that Judge Bam Bam (?) signed. He gets them and walks out.

Falcone is tending to chickens (WTF?!?) while Fish and her Nico Bellic clone (fellow crime boss) bitch that Gordon and Oswald should both be taken out immediately. He tells them that he knows what he’s doing and brushes off their request. We find out from Fish that the Lorde Girl she hired to seduce Falcone is holed up in Falcone’s house cooking and cleaning. He, according to Fish, likes to watch her do chores which, as stated, is weird but seems to be a lightly misogynistic and pretty much harmless fetish if true.

Back at the GCPD, Gordon is typing up those pre-signed warrants when Capt (not) Sarah shows up and asks what he’s doing. He reveals to her that he’s written up arrest warrants for the Mayor, Carmine Falcone, and his close associates on the charge of perversion of justice in the Wayne murders. Kinda out of left field, but whatever. The Captain predictably tells him he’s completely effing crazy and makes him realize that the city is too corrupt to prosecute and imprison their major figures. The Captain tells him to get out of town but Jim, staunchly and in the most noble fashion, Jim says, “No, this is my town, blah blah justice blah.”

At the same time, in the bullpen of the GCPD, a bald Billy Corgan looking dude and a couple of dominatrixes (dominatricees? dominatrixis?) walk in and start acting like they’re in charge. None of the cops seem to want to lift a finger to this as Billy Corgan climbs onto a desk and announces himself as Victor Zsasz (pretty awesome, honestly) and tells the congregation of blue shirts that he was sent by Carmine Falcone personally and is looking for one Jim Gordon. Predictably, everyone points out exactly where Gordon is because he has made absolutely no friends here. Zsasz was apparently told to bring Gordon in alive. Jim tells him, “There are fifty cops in here. Try something.” Zsasz tells all the cops to go away and they do without a second thought. Things devolve into a gunfight between Jim, Zsasz, and his fetish models. Jim quickly runs out of ammo and, while attempting the old throw-the-garbage-can-at-the-gunman trick, catches a bullet to the lower abdomen while making good his escape through the back door and into the motor pool. The bad guys give chase and there’s the typical tense “hide and seek” moment as the injured Jim is taunted by Zsasz.

They use every trope in the book for the last moments of the standoff as, Just when Zsasz is about to find Jim, a rookie looking officer strolls in (apparently having missed the memo from upstairs) and tells Zsasz to freeze or hold it or some other thing. While Zsasz is busy shooting that woman in the kneecaps, Jim tries to sprint away and catches another bullet in his back for the trouble. As Zsasz closes in for the coup de grace, Montoya and Allen, our favorite MCU detectives, ride to Gordon’s rescue! Oh, wow! They’re able to fend of Zsasz and the Leather Girls long enough for Jim to get in the car and escape! Miracle of miracles! Sigh.

Best part about this scene: Zsasz finishes off the poor young female officer with a shot to the heart (and he’s to blame), promptly produces a box cutter, and slashes another hash mark into his arm, proclaiming her “twenty-eight”. Ok, that was pretty cool.

After commercial, Jim wakes up in a university dissection lab. The doctor says she’s a friend of Montoya and Allen. She pulled out the bullets and, amazingly, none of his organs were damaged. She calls out to detective Allen by his first name, Crispus, when Gordon gets out of bed.

It’s here I pause the show. Renee Montoya’s partner is Crispus F***ING Allen?!? How did I not make this connection? It’s right there in the comics. I feel shame. More on this later in the post.

Fish is taking a meeting with Maroni over Oswald. Blah blah threats blah. Maroni calls out Penguin and there’s a pretty funny scene in which Maroni makes Penguin apologize to Fish who then calls Oswald a scaly-faced bitch before slapping him and leaving. Really, the whole exchange plays off as a comedy.

Meanwhile, Falcone’s rapey thug from earlier rolls up on a group of nuns while in the back of a molester van. He kidnaps them, chains them together, and puts them in the middle of the street in front of a Maroni Moving and Storage truck. The truck stops (lucky day to be a nun) and rapey thug tells the drivers that Falcone won’t let any Maroni trucks through until they get Penguin. He kindly offers the men a choice between a beating and a bullet because a serious message must be sent. The scene is actually pretty darkly funny including the part where he puts holes in both of their shins.

Maroni won’t give up Penguin, vows revenge, Penguin tells him that he knows exactly where to hit them, blah blah gangster blah.

Montoya apologizes to Jim for being a dick while they sit outside Wayne Manor. Alfred catches Allen around the perimeter and holds him at knife point until realizing he’s with Gordon. We go to stately Wayne Study (still the only room in the biggest house in Gotham), Bruce does his whole “one day I’ll be Batman” schtick while Gordon tells him that everything is connected to his parents’ murder. Jim vows to Bruce that, should he die, Montoya and Allen will take over the investigation in his place. Gordon does the whole “now I have to go it alone” bit and offers a handshake to Bruce who hugs him instead. How unexpected and heartwarming.

Penguin leads a group of Maroni thugs to destroy a Falcone drug lab. They kill everyone inside including Nico. Maroni’s main thug, after all the murderation, punches Penguin and calls him out on being nothing more than a snitch. He threatens to kill Oswald and blame it on one of Nico’s men just to get Penguin out of his boss’ hair. Oswald calls the thug a cheapskate and it’s revealed that Penguin has bought off the other thugs who hold the guy down while Penguin knifes him in the stomach. His psychopathic and eloquent monologue proves that Oswald is the best thing on this show.

Maroni and Falcone meet (Penguin and Fish on their respective sides). Maroni bargains a piece of land (according to Fish, a “toxic waste dump on an Indian burial ground) in Arkham for Penguin’s life. Everyone walks away happy.

Jim is back at his apartment and looks to be gearing up for war when Bullock happens to show up, drunk with a prostitute on his arm. Bullock says he’s “doomed anyhow, so he’s going to join the good guys”. Jim tells Bullock his plan about arresting everyone everywhere in the city in any way involved with the framing of Mario Pepper and the Wayne murders. Bullock proceeds to bang a prostitute in Jim’s bed without much real objection from Jim. Gross.

They pin the mayor down in his limo in a funny-yet-stereotypical buddy cop maneuver and arrest him. They kidnap him to the Falcone estate and use the mayor to get inside. Without any effort whatsoever, they make it into Falcone’s inner sanctum with rifles and shotguns because when you’re dealing with a mob boss, there’s never any real security right? They serve a warrant, Falcone says Zsasz has Barb and pretty much LOLs in Gordon’s face. Falcone won’t prove this but dares Jim to bring him in if he thinks Falcone is lying.

We’re treated to Lorde girl in the kitchen making muffins with Zsasz as we see Barb sitting at the kitchen counter, hostage. Zsasz gets a phone call, looks at Barb and says, “What a shame…” Of course, it’s because Barb isn’t going to die. They release Barb to Jim. Falcone lets them go citing that there might still be hope for Jim. Zsasz is disappoint because he doesn’t get another hash-mark. Falcone does a lot of lecturing before they leave, blah blah foreshadowing.

Barb and Jim go home and kiss. Yay.

Lorde-girl is happy as Falcone is pleased with her muffins (and apparently not with her muffin itself) and goes to tend his chickens (again, WTF). Oswald appears, looking like he’s got a murder on, and calls Don Falcone by name. Falcone embraces Oswald and we get a flashback to the night before Gordon “killed” him.

All of a sudden, in a huge holy shit twist moment, we find out that Penguin and Falcone engineered EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN THE MAFIA PART OF THE SHOW SO FAR. Penguin made a death-row deal with Falcone to have Gordon be the one to kill him, knowing Jim wouldn’t do it. He promised to come back to Gotham, embed himself with Maroni, and then snitch to Falcone about everything Maroni was up to. This before Oswald dropped the big bomb that Fish and Nico were out to off Falcone himself. We also find out that Jim only lives because Oswald asked Falcone not to kill him as a favor.

Wow, that twist actually made this show a lot better. I have to admit, while it is still very cheesy in parts and some of the bits are grossly inaccurate, this show is growing on me.

About Crispus Allen… yeah, totally forgot that he was Renee’s partner in the comics. In the books, he is unjustly murdered by another colleague and winds up becoming the third incarnation of The Spectre – God’s own holy vengeful wrath. We probably won’t see that on this show but it’s nice to know they at least got Montoya’s partner right. We also probably won’t see Vic Sage and Montoya’s progression into becoming The Question but that’s ok too.

No real complaints again this week. All the stupid Fish Mooney crap almost feels vindicated knowing that Oswald has the upper hand in this whole scenario. We’ll see what happens next. This show is officially coming into its own. I might not have to write any more of these unless some larger inconsistencies crop up.

Bidula’s Last Word – 6/10, if only for the twist.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Oh, and, I’m running a Gofundme to help take Unlucky Seven to Con. You should check it out. There’s rewards and stuff.

—end transmission—

Gotham S1:E6 – Spirit of the Goat (I’m getting tired of going to Gotham…)

We open this week on a LOL-worthy flashback showing Bullock as a Gordon-esque rookie detective with a heavy drinking partner named, appropriately, Dix. This proves that Harvey learned how to be one from someone who was actually named for his attitude.

They’re chasing a killer who calls himself “The Spirit of the Goat”, a shoddily-disguised Batman-looking criminal. Bullock’s partner falls through a trap door (released by The Goat) and falls about ten feet to career ending injury. Bullock opens fire and kills The Goat.

Cut to now, Bullock is “on the clock before the boy scout” as Gordon isn’t yet at their crime scene. A woman, rather ritualistically strung up on a small boat with spent candles lining the rail of the bridge. Harvey is freaked because this is the exact sort of murder The Goat perpetrated back in the day. Apparently, the goat preys on well-to-do first-born daughters. This one was a 21-year-old socialite.

We soon find out why Gordon didn’t make it in to work on time. Barb is chewing his ear off about keeping secrets. He says he’ll tell her the truth (everything he can, dun dun daaa) before storming out of their posh apartment to do his job.

He meets Bullock at the scene where we get another few playful glimpses at Ed Nigma, Bullock shows how freaked out he is by being nervous and standoffish (read: no different than usual). They leave the scene for the old, uber-rich parents of the murdered woman and the father claims he’s been having “strange dreams” while exhibiting either mild Parkinsons or alien hand syndrome. Bullock hides his fear behind dickishness when the family psychiatrist starts getting inquisitive.

Meanwhile, Nygma is investigating the old files. We prove that he’s a total creeper as he sniffs at the young female file clerk as she walks by then dissects her name (Kristen Kringle) and criticizes her filing system while attempting to hit on her in the most ineffective manner possible. I notice that they both have the same type of glasses which, in the Gotham universe, must be a flag for “really smart people”. Also, the file clerk dresses like a 50’s librarian so you know she has to be bookish. The stereotypes in this show just keep on coming.

Back to our intrepid team of dicks who are trying to figure out how the killer absconded with his victim from her locked home (another mansion bigger and better than what we’ve seen of the interior of Wayne Manor, by the way). Bullock remarks some more freaked-out history about the case and continues to hide behind his dick-shield. They figure that, like with the previous Goat, the killer may have some sort of janitorial or maintenance type access, granting him keys (as there was no sign of a forced break-in).

Oswald finally goes home to his crazy foreign mother. Mrs. Kapelput was worried that her son “was tangled up in some hussie’s demon purse” in what is clearly the best line of this show’s run to date. He explains to her that he’s been through hell and back. She blindly encourages him. The scene is hilarious.

Cut to the autopsy table with the dicks watching. Bullock suggests that they look under the scalp to find an incision at the base of the neck. It’s there, stitched shut, with a foreign object inside. Bullock calls that it will be a penny, and it is! He’s now committed to the idea that the original Goat is back from the dead! WOO SPOOKY!

Bullock explains, back at the main office, that it’s a specific kind of penny that was used by the original. They intentionally left this detail out of the file and the media so as not to inspire copycats. Chief Sarah Essen (God, that still bothers me…) forces Bullock to go talk to his old partner, Dix, as he was the only one besides Harvey who knew this detail and is still alive.

Cut to stately Wayne study where Bruce is watching coverage of the Goat murder. Alfred suggests that Bruce, as a first-born son of Gotham’s most powerful family, get out of town until the whole Goat thing blows over. Bruce, predictably, refuses siting that he “has work to do” and gets back to digging into his parents’ murder.

Back to Nygma, who is now rearranging Ms. Kringle’s entire file room. She’s predictably freaked out. You get that he likes her, she kinda likes him, he did what he did to try to help/impress her… blah blah, awkward flirting.

The dicks go to visit Dix in what looks like he shoddiest nursing home ever. Dix is in a wheelchair playing solitaire in a dimly lit room in case you thought he wasn’t lonely and sad enough. He lectures the dicks about Gotham’s “Golden Rule”: NO HEROES. Dix suggests a conspiracy of people rather than the one guy they killed so many years ago. Harvey doesn’t believe it and storms out. Dix tells Jim to watch out for Harvey because he’s a “real white-knight” type. Jim is obviously taken aback by this statement. We find out that Bullock has been paying Dix’s nursing home bill and ordering him dirty magazine subscriptions because, maybe, Bullock isn’t such a bad guy after all.

We then go to yet another place statelier than Wayne Manor and see a young woman preparing to go out and be The Goat’s next victim because she is stereotypically young, rich, and blonde. We’re shown that she leaves her cell phone on a table because why put it in your pocket, right? Her Latina maid gets taken down by the Goat right before the girl (SURPRISE!) gets snatched herself! We saw this exact scene on the horizon from about five-hundred miles away.

The dicks are still chasing people who would “have keys”. Bullock suggest bringing Nygma in on the case because he’s “freaky good with puzzles”.

Barb and Renee have an ex-girlfriend fight over Jim and Barb’s safety with him. Renee says she’s putting out a warrant for Gordon tonight and suggests that Babs leave town until shit goes down. Blah blah Barbara takes Jim’s side like a good little Stepford wife with a bisexual past.

Back at the station, Nygma comes up with another lead for the dicks (while showcasing the fact that he has a question mark coffee mug OMG FORESHADOWING) and the guys wind up at the giant empty house (still bigger than what we’ve seen of Wayne Manor) in which Dix was crippled during Bullock’s first encounter with the Goat ten years ago. The goat is prepping his victim when the dicks arrive, preparing her for the “sacrifice”. The Goat reveals himself in a very Batman way. Bullock goes to chase him down while Jim tends to the victim. Bullock and the Goat fight it out on a large sweeping stairway. The Goat keeps on about how he can’t be stopped and will always come back. Harvey gets his ass beat and Jim jumps in with the fists to take the Goat down, placing him under arrest.

After commercial, Selena breaks into Wayne Manor (through the window of the SAME STUDY! Does this house have ANY other rooms?) while Bruce sleeps on the couch (IN THE STUDY). She swipes something from Bruce’s desk, noting the massive conspiracy wall that Bruce has been accumulating. She beats it out of there as we hear Alfred tromping down the hall.

Oswald, at home, is being bathed by his mother which is NOT CREEPY AT ALL. She tells him that he can trust no one but his mother. He says he’s found someone else to trust. A policeman. A real friend.

At the station, we get some background on the Goat. He’s a maintenance man, with keys, something something criminal of the week behind bars but probably not really. Bullock thinks that, due to the similar circumstances, something “changed” the people who became the Goat. He’s noticeably shaken again and lets Gordon go home before the criminal seemingly wakes up from being The Goat, clenching his fist, to which Bullock responds “holy ghost on a bicycle”.

Barb warns Jim about Renee’s warrant claiming MCU now has a witness to the Cobblepot murder. Barb implores Jim to run (“Barb, I can’t run…”) just as there’s a knock on the door and Montoya and partner lead Jim away in cuffs.

Bullock goes back to the first victim’s house, interrupting a hypno-therapy session with the psychiatrist. He comes to the conclusion, in a roundabout way, that this hypno-therapist is initiating the Goat problem through her “public outreach” to the less-fortunate. She, as the real bad guy, claims to be doing Gotham a service by killing the children of it’s richest and most greedy. She pretty much confesses everything to Bullock for no good reason, apparently thinking she can get away with it. Bullock attempts to arrest her before using a hypnotic cue to send the old rich guy after Bullock as she calmly walks out. Bullock breaks free and shoots her in the leg and brings her in.

He’s explaining himself to the Captain when Montoya and partner bring in a very loudly protesting Jim Gordon who now openly admits to not killing Cobblepot. When Bullock rises to his defense, MCU takes him into custody as an accomplice. There is a bunch of fighting between GCPD and the MCU when suddenly… OSWALD WALkS IN! DUN DUN DAAAAAAAH! Cut to black.

I have to say, this week’s episode was the best so far. Only slightly cheesy, not too inaccurate, and much more of what I really want to see from this show.

The main good point: NO FISH MOONEY IN THIS EPISODE! Probably why it was the best one yet.

I’m not going to complain this time. This one was solid. Still not great, but MUCH improved over past weeks.

I continue to LOVE Oswald’s character. Nygma isn’t so bad either.

The only big problem I still have is that every structure in Gotham is more posh and expansive than Wayne Manor and that Jim Gordon lives in an impossible apartment.

Bidula’s Last Word: 5/10

Watchable this week. Hoping the show stays in this direction and, as long as it stays away from Fish Mooney, I have a feeling it’ll keep getting better. It probably won’t, because Jada Pinkett-Smith was already talking about the filming of future episodes in interviews. Maybe the writers will wise up by the end of the season and kill her off.

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

Gotham S1:E5 – Viper (another f***ing night in Gotham…)

The main problem of the week is the titular Viper; a drug which gives the user super strength and “delusions of ultimate power” with the sad side-effect of rapidly depleting the body’s calcium resulting in not-so-subtle fast-acting brittle bone disease. When it wears off, the user goes all Stretch Armstrong in the most ridiculous way before collapsing into a heap of human jello and suffocating.

The creator of the drug passes out tons of free samples to Gotham’s lower class (read: MOST of Gotham) and chaos ensues. Most notable uses are a drug-addled guitarist who uses it to single-handedly rip an ATM out of a wall and an old walker-using philosophy professor, a good friend of the drug’s creator who while being questioned by our favorite pair of dicks, inhales a vial of Viper and bends his walker into a mess before throwing Jim into the hallway through a wooden door and nearly choking him out.

We find out during the pre-old-man-Bane sequence that Viper was the first version of Venom – the drug used by Bane (that is, the REAL COMIC BOOK Bane, not the Tom Hardy born-in-the-darkness Bane) to give him the backbreaking strength he uses to take Bruce Wayne out of commission in the comics. I have to admit, I called the Venom thing at the beginning of the episode. I was pleasantly surprised to know they didn’t rename the actual drug for the sake of a television audience.

Needless to say, this was a horribly acted interrogation scene. I really want to blame the directors of these episodes for the horror. I feel I need to start blaming the actors just as much.

We also glean from the philosophy professor (again, in the most poorly acted way possible) that the creator of the drug, working for a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, blames his employers for the lives he took and is using the exposure of the drug to gain what he thinks is justice. He infiltrates a Wayne charity function (attended by Bruce and Alfred just for that extra “oh shit” angle that NONE OF US COULD EVER SEE COMING, AMIRITE?) and pulls a “somebody poisoned the waterhole” by letting his inhalant into the ventilation system.

This plan fails miserably after he delivers his missive to the assembled “middle management” and child-billionaire-in-chief. Bullock clears the ballroom quickly and Jim corners the perp on the roof, shooting the gas canister and giving him a huge dose of his own medicine before the perp turns and leaps to his death (body not seen, but the detectives don’t seem to care to investigate any further or clear that one up themselves). Just before he jumps, he tells our dicks to check out warehouse 39. Again, all of this using the poorest acting skills available.

They check this warehouse and find it empty. A Wayne rep (seen in a scene with Bruce, which we’ll get to) ominously warns a person on the opposite end of a cell phone that “we’ll deal with them if they get close”. End to the main story.

This week in subplots:

OMG SELENA KYLE SHOWS UP FOR LIKE A SPLIT SECOND I ALMOST FORGOT SHE WAS THERE THANKS FOR REMINDING ME!

Fish, now the proud owner of some pouty-lipped Lorde wannabe, is “training” her girl to become the weapon she is supposed to be by forcing her to learn to sing and appreciate opera. This, after a few more scenes foreshadowing the rather transparent plans she has in store for Don Falcone, culminates in the last 30 seconds of the episode where Lorde-girl shows up in a white dress with a new blonde doo humming an aria while Falcone sits on some park steps feeding the pigeons.

He goes to her in such a magnetic and insincere fashion that it almost looks like he’s faking it, like he knows what’s up. I kept waiting for him to shoot her while referencing Fish’s now-discovered and possibly thwarted takeover plans. Instead, fade to black. The acting was SO BAD by Falcone that for a minute I thought it was done on purpose!

Oswald comes clean with Maroni about his history. Jim gets called in to verify to Maroni that he, indeed, was told to kill Oswald for ratting but didn’t. Oswald helps Maroni rob Falcone’s casino. Boom done.

Bruce, from his one-room Wayne Manor, decides to continue investigating improprieties in the Arkham deal, wanting to talk to the board of directors regarding why the biggest crime families in Gotham got the biggest pieces of the deal. This leads to the aforementioned discussion with the Wayne rep who claims to be “just middle management”. Bruce, continuing to be made out as a child WELL beyond his years, gets continuously patronized by everyone including his own trusty butler because he’s just a kid. He freaks when the perp delivers his missive about the misdoings of Wayne Enterprises and is about to ask a few shocked questions aloud before Alfred covers his face with a suit jacket and ushers him out of the room to avoid the green smoke of Viper that infected no one.

This week in problems:

Stereotypical characters are stereotypical. This show leans heavily on this. Italian mobsters are overly Italian. Russian/Balkan mobsters are overly Eastern European. Old people are old people and like to feed pigeons. Young aspiring singers are really just sluts that will do whatever it takes to better themselves including luring known mafiosi into their ultimate demise with a display of tits and ass. Above all, EVERYONE IN GOTHAM IS BAD!!!

Stereotypes make this show horrible. They make it predictable. They make it look poorly acted. Wise up and throw us a curveball. I know the writers tried (TRIED) to do this with Fish, by making a “strong” black woman a capo of a major Italian crime family, but they just wound up giving us Eartha Kitt minus the purple spandex.

I continue to be disappointed.

OH! And, news out of the Gotham camp is that they have cast an actress as Dr. Leslie Thompson – one of the most trusted friends of the Wayne family and one of the few who knows Bruce is Batman – for a recurring role starting in early 2015. I would say this is cool but it only means that Gotham will be around UNTIL EARLY 2015. This may become a shame.

Bidula’s Last Word – 3.5/10

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—