The New Superhero StoryBundle Is Live!

I’ve mention this before, but now the StoryBundle Indie Superhero collection is available for purchase!

StoryBundle

Here’s how it works: you set the price you want to pay for the base bundle of four e-books (which includes Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins) and determine how much of the payment is shared with the writers. If you pay at least $12, you get four bonus books.

This is a curated collection; every book has been read and personally selected by a member of the StroryBundle team, so you know you’re getting some good stuff here. Plus, you get to try out some titles you might not otherwise know about, AND support a group of independent authors.

To learn more about each author and title, go check out their websites and Facebook pages:

A Short Series Of Brief Announcements

First and perhaps most importantly, draft two of Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-Ups is done and out to my test-readers! Hopefully I’ll hear back from all of them within the next couple of weeks so I can make my next round of revisions and ship it off to my editor Julie for her scrutiny.

Julie is earning her money from me big-time, since she’s also in the middle of editing The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot to get that ready for its late September/early October release.

My big pile of books for two October events.  Hope they all find new homes!

My big pile of books for two October events. Hope they all find new homes!

Both books should be available for my two October appearances now on my calendar. In addition to my book-signing Sunday, October 4 at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, I’ve added an authors roundtable event at the Sharon Public Library in Sharon, MA. On Thursday, October 8 at 7:30 PM (date and time tentative) I’ll join fellow genre fiction authors to discuss fantasy/sci-fi/horror fiction and sign copies of my books.

And by that time, I should be well into the first draft of my next book: Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play!

Team-Ups – A Brief Update

Going to keep it short and sweet, because I still have a lot of work to do. Draft one of Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-Ups is done!

Draft one suggests that book five will be the longest entry in the series yet, coming in at 100,011 words. I’m going to work on slimming it down a bit, but I think readers are going to have a lot of good reading coming.

What’s the book about? Glad you asked…

The Hero Squad is finished.

Their friendships damaged in the wake of the King of Pain incident, perhaps beyond repair, the team go their separate ways to lick their wounds and figure out where their respective paths will take them…and if those paths will ever lead back to each other.

Team-Ups features a series of individual adventures that partner the Hero Squad with unexpected friends and pit them against some surprising foes. Sara finally learns the price of her betrayal; Matt and Nina Nitro go hunting for superhuman fugitives; Carrie gets a rematch with Manticore that takes a shocking turn; Stuart follows Dr. Enigma into Boston’s magical underworld in search of a powerful and dangerous artifact; Missy gets a lesson in taking names and kicking ass from the Entity; and it all leads to Carrie finally learning the truth behind her fantastic powers…but is she willing to pay their terrible cost?

Shameless Self-Promotion Time

I’ve already mentioned my book-signing at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire in October, but now I think it’s safe to call it 100 percent official. Check out this page from the CTRF website!

CTRF Screencap

You may notice some other notable names on there, such as fellow indie authors J.M. Aucoin, Erin Thorne, and E.A. Rappaport, as well as the esteemed R.A. Salvatore.

And the push to get The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot out to the masses in time for the signing proceeds apace. The manuscript is with my editor Julie, and a preview copy has gone out to about half of the kind readers who volunteered to check it out and help me with the initial publicity push.

That said, I still have space for a few more readers! I’d like to get 10 total and so far I have seven. If you’d like to read a preview copy, go to this post for details, then contact me.

Friday Fun Facts

Today begins a two and-a-half day writing weekend — the “and-a-half” is because I’ll spend part of the weekend consuming meat and beer at a friend’s Fourth of July cookout — and it’ll be the last weekend I have for a while, because I’ll be working ConnectiCon next weekend with my wife. So, three fewer writing days, but I get to spend them cosplayer watching instead. Fair trade-off.

As I warm up for today’s writing, I thought I’d share some random nibbly-bits about Action Figures — little insights into my thought process, backstory material, scenes that’ll never make it into the series, stuff like that.

* The Buzzkill Joy character’s look is based on actress Bex Taylor-Klaus, who many people know from her stint on Arrow, and who is currently on MTV’s Scream series. I had just begun rough-plotting Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect when I first saw her on Arrow. I was immediately struck by her look and thought, That’s Buzzkill Joy.

I sent Tricia, my cover artist, a couple of photos of Bex and told her to use them as inspiration. Actually I think I said something to the effect of, “I want Joy to look like Bex Taylor-Klaus, if Bex were a bloodthirsty lunatic.”

rt by Tricia Lupien.

rt by Tricia Lupien.

I think she nailed it pretty well. I hasten to add that I think Bex herself is not a bloodthirsty maniac, and would be a lot of fun (and completely safe) to hang out with.

Quorra

Olivia Wilde as Quorra.

* Joy is not the only character whose looks are inspired by an actress. Natalie “Nina Nitro” Guerrero’s hairstyle, in real life and in the story, are inspired by Olivia Wilde’s Quorra character from Tron: Legacy.

PS: Natalie loves Olivia Wilde but didn’t like Tron: Legacy.

* Like Carrie, Matt inherited his musical tastes — as well as his tastes in movies — from his father. Stuart’s love of hard rock and heavy metal comes from Gerry Yannick, back when Gerry, Stuart, and Matt were friends. Stuart passed along his tastes in part to Missy.

* Stuart’s grandmother is a retired police officer. She rose to the rank of sergeant but declined further promotions because she enjoyed working the streets. She impressed upon Stuart the importance of helping people and defending those who can’t defend themselves.

* Missy learned to speak rudimentary Japanese watching anime. Her uncle Seiji helped her fine-tune her fluency during secret Skype sessions (because, at the time, Missy’s dad was still actively denying his Japanese heritage and didn’t speak Japanese in the home). Also: Missy is a hardcore Hayao Miazaki fan.

* Gwendolyn “Doc Quantum” Quentin — back when she was simply Gwendolyn Green — met Tisha “TranzSister” Greene at MIT. The two were roommates who became such good friends, classmates referred to them as the Green(e) Sisters.

* Matt bought his original black trench coat after watching The Matrix for the first time.

* Matt’s love of The Matrix led to Kingsport High School banning students from wearing Halloween costumes — but it wasn’t entirely his fault. The year before Carrie’s arrival in Kingsport, Matt went to school dressed as Neo, which prompted Angus Parr to make a remark about Matt shooting up the school. A teacher overheard this and sent both of them to see vice-principal Dent. Matt was told to take off the costume, and costumes were banned from that point on. Angus was briefly suspended, which only fueled his longstanding hatred toward Matt.

Kunoichi. Art and copyright Adam Warren.

Kunoichi. Art and copyright Adam Warren.

* Before she was Kunoichi, Missy’s superhero name was Ninjette, but I had to scrap that after Adam Warren released Empowered, which features a character named Ninjette. I made a joke about it in Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins. I can’t be too mad about it, because I’m a longtime fan of Warren’s work, and of Empowered. Bonus fun fact: both Adam and I are former students of the Kubert School. Obviously, Adam has had more success in the comics industry than I have. Extra bonus fun fact: the late Joe Kubert, the school’s founder, was the man who told me, with kindness but total honesty, I had no future in art and should pursue this writing thing I seem to be interested in.

* Matt and Stuart first bonded during a school talent show. They were paired together and instructed to come up with a skit to perform. They reenacted several scenes from The Blues Brothers, which Matt had watched weeks earlier with his father. A parent-teacher conference followed soon thereafter.

* Edison “Concorde” Bose never went to college. He wanted to attend MIT, but was thrust into the corporate world following the death of his surrogate father. He managed to sneak in business classes here and there, but never received any formal higher education in any scientific field.

* Nina Nitro and Dr. Enigma originally played different roles within the series. Originally, Astrid filled the role of the kids’ friend/contemporary, but as I plotted out the series, I realized Nina would work much better, so I flipped the characters’ relationships with the Hero Squad.

Hope you enjoyed this look inside the rattling, echoing cavern of my brain pan. If you have any questions about the series, please feel free to shoot ’em over!

Looking For Readers!

First, on a non-selfish note, I want to give a virtual high-five to my friend and fellow author J.M. Aucoin for dropping his first full-length novel, Honor Among Thieves. It’s available now on Amazon in hard copy and Kindle editions, so click on the image to pick up a copy!

Now, onto business.

Over the weekend, I power-edited The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot and sent it off to my editor Julie for her final review. I plan to release this book in advance of a book-signing at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, so sometime in the late summer or early fall.

I’d like this new book to hit the ground running, so to speak, so I am looking for 10 people interested in reading a preview copy of the book. This would be an “unedited proof,” which means it will not be fully formatted and there may still be typos hiding among the text, but it would otherwise be the finished product.

Here’s the deal: if you want to be one of my preview readers, shoot me an e-mail using the Contact Mike link. On July 31, I will send the first ten people to respond an electronic copy of the book (as a PDF, or as an EPUB or MOBI file for e-readers) to check out.

If you’re selected to be a preview readers, the next step is easy: read the book, and finish it by the end of August.

Once the book page is live on Amazon, I’ll contact preview readers to let them know. If you liked the book, leave a review, and as a thank-you, I’ll send you a signed copy of the final print edition!

What Am I Working On Now?

Well, as I indicated in my last post, I’m putting Action Figures – Book Five: Team-Ups on a very brief hiatus to do a final polish on The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, a fantasy adventure novel that I wrote a few years ago. I’m hoping to get that wrapped up this weekend and ship it off to my editor to be mercilessly scrutinized and dissected.

What’s this new book going to be about? Let me answer you with the text that’ll appear on the back cover…

In the land of Asaches, there are great men and women who have changed the course of history. Their adventures are honored in song, their names are spoken with a reverence normally reserved for the gods, their heroic deeds have elevated them to the status of living legends.

And then there are these guys…

Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot are two hard-luck adventurers for hire looking for their big break — or an excuse to retire before they get killed. Salvation appears in the form of Erika Racewind, a mysterious elven woman with a dark secret and lucrative job offer. Desperate and destitute, Derek and Felix agree to join Erika in escorting her young charge across Asaches.

Of course, nothing is ever so simple for Strongarm and Lightfoot.

The boy turns out to be no one less than the fabled Reaper, he who is destined to destroy the mad lich-lord Habbatarr and save the world from total destruction. The adventurers soon find themselves fighting off fanatical cultists, hordes of mindless undead, bestial Hruks with a taste for human flesh, and unspeakable subterranean horrors — and things only stand to get worse as they travel ever deeper into Habbatarr’s blighted domain.

The fate of the entire world hangs in the balance, and the only things standing in the way of a global apocalypse are a mild-mannered warrior, an occasionally good-hearted thief, an ill-tempered elf, and a Chosen One with a serious attitude problem.

Asaches is screwed.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, the new series from author Michael Bailey (Action Figures), is an irreverent take on the fantasy genre. Get ready for an epic tale filled with action, magic, monsters, quests, treasure, inconveniently located ancient artifacts of great power, curiously specific prophecies, and dangerously rickety rope bridges that someone really should have repaired a long time ago.

There you go!

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