Shopping Small: The Indie Author Edition

Over on my personal Facebook page, I indulged in what has become an annual tradition, in which I pimp out my many creative friends’ small business endeavors and exhort folks to spend some holiday cash with them instead of big box stores that dupe you into getting up at the ass crack o’ dawn on Black Friday so you can fight massive mobs for a limited quantity of deep-discount sale items.

I’ve decided to do something similar here for the benefit of my many indie author buddies, as well as for anyone who might be looking for some new hidden gem of a book. Click on the images to jump to Amazon.com (or the appropriate direct sale site) to grab a copy.

YA – SUPERHERO FICTION

Obviously I’ll start with my own books, but I won’t belabor the point since 99 percent of this blog is dedicated to that. Go here and you’ll fund all the links you need to grab any or all of the Action Figures series, or check out this post to learn how you can grab signed copies.

HISTORICAL FICTION

Jake Hawking and the Bounty Hunters – J.M. Aucoin

SYNOPSIS: The Caribbean. 1715. Jake Hawking — pirate, rogue, and scourge of the Spanish Main — is known for his quick blade and cunning wit. It’s earned him some friends in the Caribbean, but it’s also earned him his fair share of enemies. The governor of Havana has hired three of the most dangerous bounty hunters in the West Indies to track and capture Hawking and his crew. It’s not an unusual predicament for a pirate to find himself — hunted to the end of his days — but if the Spanish governor manages to persuade the lot to fly under a single banner, it could make life a little more interesting than Hawking wishes.

With the giant ex-slave Little Queen and the rest of Hawking’s crew aboard the snow-brig Broad-Wing, they’ll need every ounce of wit, sail, and steel if they’re to survive and out duel the bounty hunters. Included in the collection are the first three Jake Hawking short adventures — “A Pirate’s Honor”, “The Royal Bounty Hunter”, and “Little Queen’s Gambit” — previously only available as eBooks (also available on Amazon). This edition also includes a foreword by J.M. Aucoin, the original single story artwork, and four bonus pirate stories and swashbuckling poems.

Inspired by the swashbuckler tales of the early 1900s as well as the likes of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, the Jake Hawking Adventures promise to thrill readers with swordplay, daring, intrigue, and plenty of high adventure.

CREEPY CHRISTMAS

The Stocking Dead – Dean Calusdian

SYNOPSIS:

A sleighful of pop culture satire and a splattering of the zombie genre, The Stocking Dead will chew at your funny bone and gnaw on your heart strings.

It’s the day before Christmas and all the elves of christmasville are getting ready for santa’s big ride, but one of Santa’s helpers isn’t so merry.

Nothing ever goes right for poor little Wendell. Bored at his job, picked on by the toy shop bully and unnoticed by the elf of his dreams he hopes that somehow this Christmas will be different.

His problems are about to get worse. Much worse.

When a bite from a toxic bunny starts turning all the residents of Christmasville into flesh eating fiends, Santa’s winter wonderland becomes an undead wasteland.Wendell and a small band of survivors must desperately attempt to escape the carnage, but the zombie plague is spreading faster than Christmas cheer.

With all hope dwindling, it’s up to our holiday heroes to save Christmas, but can they even save themselves?

Wight Christmas – Rob Borkowski

SYNOPSIS: Wight Christmas, a flash fiction short, tells a cautionary tale of the consequences of interfering with holiday spirit.

Saving Christmas: A Feel Good Macabre Tale – Jess MacLean, Dan Desilets, Rhiannon McCulloch

SYNOPSIS: It’s all your fault. You could have stopped this from happening. Belief in Santa Claus begins to fade and Christmas is in jeopardy. Santa is despondent and his well meaning elves take it upon themselves to “Save Christmas”. Try to remember that their hearts are in the right place as the blood begins to fly.

Saving Christmas is a lighthearted romp through the “Feel-Good Macabre” genre. As you laugh, sigh and cringe your way through this delightfully grim tale, remember this. You are just as awful as we are for enjoying it.

CHILDREN

Ricky’s Spooky House – Micah Edwards, Tom Brown

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest storytellers ever, and you’d like to share him with your kids. But isn’t he too scary? No longer!

Ricky’s Spooky House, the first in the Li’l Eddie series of books, is a retelling of Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher. The beautiful pictures and entertainingly tamed story would horrify Poe, but will delight children and parents alike.

Saving Santa’s Seals – T.M. Murphy, Adam Taylor

SYNOPSIS: When 8-year-old Ryder asks Santa to help his Uncle Ted overcome writer’s block and create another amazing story, he cannot know that they’ll both be getting the best present ever–a wild adventure. But is it real, or just a wonderful Christmas dream?

URBAN FANTASY

The Life and Death of Lily Drake – T. Michelle Nelson

SYNOPSIS: For Lily Drake, slaying vampires is easy…Dating them is the hard part. Lily Drake is your everyday hard-working single mom…until a gorgeous vampire shows up on her front door who she mistakenly assumes is her blind date for the evening. As one crazy scenario after another unfolds, Lily finds herself falling in love with two vampires, slaying the evil ones, and being prophesied as the savior of the entire undead race.

Deciding between pizza and Chinese take-out will no longer be one of the hard decisions facing Lily Drake once she is immersed into vampire society. Humanity or immortality? That doesn’t hold a candle against this question – which of the two handsome vampire cousins? The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene. How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn? Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?

YA – ROMANTIC THRILLER

Mobster’s Girl – Amy Rachiele

SYNOPSIS: Gripping my chest is the only way to hold myself together or what’s left of me will fall out. The past week has enlightened me on one thing-I don’t care. Megan, Mobster’s Girl I didn’t even hesitate. I took two strides and blasted him in the face with my fist. He was ready for it this time-unlike in church. He tried to hit me back but I ducked and smashed him again. Antonio, Mobster’s Girl You can’t help what family you’re born into or what lies they keep from you. You can’t help it if they mold and shape you just the way they wanted. Are monsters born or made? Antonio and Megan have a timeless issue. They were told to stay away from each other. They try, they really do. But they are drawn to each other. Antonio is eighteen and the up and coming mob boss of Palmetto, New Jersey. Megan is a girl uprooted from the grassy plains of Ireland at the age of five. Now she’s seventeen and faced with horrors she never thought existed.

PLAYS – COMEDY

WHACKED – Scott Kegler

SYNOPSIS: A full-length comedic play, “Whacked” follows the life of Jack Murphy, whose wife walks in on a private moment and makes an embarrassing discovery the night before Thanksgiving. The next day, all the in-laws come to celebrate and promptly notice something is not quite right in the Murphy’s little love nest, so they decide to play the parental guessing game. The family of course overshoots numerous times causing the pressure to mount and explode into an array of immoral confessions, misguided religious interventions and plenty of excessive holiday drinking. A Thanksgiving farce stuffed full of sex, family, awkwardness and hilariously needless shame. In the end, the message is clear that (of course) everyone is blameless for their own self-gratification— but that doesn’t make it good dinner conversation.

A Special Holiday Shopping Offer

While I generally hate the holiday shopping season starting WAY before Thanksgiving, I’m running a special promotion that’ll take some time to fulfill, so here I am, making my pitch. I’m experiencing shame over my light hypocrisy, if that counts.

AF CoverPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]If you’d like to grab print editions of one, two, or all three books in the Action Figures series as holiday gifts, I have a special offer: order them from me directly and I’ll autograph the books and send them to you.

  • Buy one book for $15, which saves you the postage you’d pay by ordering from Amazon
  • Buy two books for $25 — a $5 savings on the cover price, plus the postage
  • Buy three books for $35 — a $10 savings on the cover price, plus the postage

You can send your payment to me via PayPal (to ronsonbeck at gmail dot com). Include which books you’d like and your mailing address.

I’ll accept orders through Cyber Monday (December 1) and send the books out as soon as they arrive, so you’ll have them in plenty of time for Christmas!

Rhode Island ComicCon!

It was an off-weekend for me writing-wise, as I was in Providence to help my wife (Veronica of Storied Threads) work her booth at Rhode Island ComicCon.

It was a great weekend for her, and I had lots of fun communing with fellow geeks and, as always, grooving to some of the awesome costumes, starting with this kick-ass group doing “post-apocalyptic Wizard of Oz,” my favorite outfits of the show.

100_7022

 

Here are some of the other cosplay highlights for me…

To feel like the hu-man1 to cosplay like the hu-man!

To feel like the hu-man1 to cosplay like the hu-man!

So. Manos.

So. Manos.

The Birds of Prey! Oracle made this group cosplay.

The Birds of Prey! Oracle made this group cosplay.

I wanted to steal Tom, but she was a friend of a friend, so it would have been rude.

I wanted to steal Tom, but she was a friend of a friend, so it would have been rude.

Big points for the Prince Peach concept and execution.

Big points for the Prince Peach concept and execution.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I have no other response to this.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I have no other response to this.

Sharing The Love: Superhero Fiction

Today I’m going to do something that just might be crazy: I’m going to spotlight superhero novels that aren’t mine.

I’ve grown to like working with other indie authors to cross-promote their books, and I always enjoy hosting blog tour stops or conducting interviews with fellow indie creators, so in principle this is no different, but I admit it’s an unusual decision to give some stage time to books that, in a sense, are in competition with mine.

So why do it? For starters, superhero fiction as a genre needs some attention. Fantasy, horror, sci-fi, they all have very significant presences on Amazon, and you can find websites aplenty dedicated to genre fiction, but there’s not much out there promoting superhero fiction — which, as a genre, is fairly small and for that reason underrepresented.

Also, I’m simply not a competitive person, and I don’t believe that the best way to attract people to my work is to trash other creators and their work. I’ll be honest here, I want people to choose to spend their money with me first. I want the best-reviewed books. I want the top spots on Amazon’s best-seller list for my genre. I want readers to consider my series the best of the bunch. But I’m not going to achieve these goals by pissing all over “the competition”; I’m going to achieve these goals by pushing myself to produce the best stories I can and making damn sure my books are top-quality. As the saying goes, extinguishing another’s candle does not cause mine to burn brighter (or something like that. I’m feeling too lazy to look it up).

So in the interest of camaraderie and community and cooperation, here are some titles that pop up alongside mine on various Amazon lists. I will start with my own work because, hey, I do still have a series of my own to promote (insert smiley-winky emoticon here). Click on the links to jump to that title’s Amazon page, and maybe find something new to read!

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins by Michael Bailey – Average Amazon rating:4.7 stars

AF CoverIt was the worst summer of Carrie Hauser’s life, and the weirdest: it was the summer her parents announced they were getting divorced, and when a dying alien passed on to her his fantastic superhuman abilities.

All Carrie wants now is to settle into her new home in Kingsport and get her life back to something resembling normal – but that won’t be easy when her secret is discovered by a group of teenage super-hero wannabes, who need her help to discover why experimental military drones have been wreaking havoc in town.

Their search leads the fledgling super-team to Archimedes, an artificial intelligence that will do anything to escape its virtual reality prison and enter the real world.

However, the kids aren’t the only ones with an interest in Archimedes, and the super-teens soon find themselves caught in the middle of a longstanding feud between Concorde, Kingsport’s high-flying hometown hero, and his nemesis, the deadly mercenary Manticore.

Save the day? Sure…as soon as school lets out.

Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon – Average Amazon rating: 4.4 stars

Wearing the CapeWho wants to be a superhero?

Hope did, but she grew out of it. Which made her superhuman breakthrough in the Ashland Bombing, just before starting her freshman year at the University of Chicago, more than a little ironic. And now she has some decisions to make. Given the code-name “Astra” and invited to join the Sentinels, Chicago’s premier super-team, will she take up the cape and mask and become a career superhero? Or will she get a handle on her new powers (super-strength has some serious drawbacks) and then get on with her life-plan?

In a world where superheroes join unions and have agents, and the strongest and most photogenic ones become literal supercelebrities, the temptation to become a cape is strong. But the price can be high—especially if you’re “outed” and lose the shield of your secret identity. Becoming a sidekick puts the decision off for awhile, but Hope’s life is further complicated when The Teatime Anarchist, the supervillain responsible for the Ashland Bombing, takes an interest in her. Apparently as Astra, Hope is supposed to save the world. Or at least a significant part of it.

Super Villain Dad (Cape High Book 1) by R.J. Ross – Average Amazon rating: 4.4 stars

Supervillain DadYou’re probably wondering why we’re trying to be so quiet. Well there’s a reason. A really BIG reason. He’s standing over there–no–to your right–no, THROUGH the fence. Yes, on the other side of the big, nasty looking security fence that is literally shaking because of electric jolts. Yes, him. He’s pretty scary looking, right? He’s got to be six five, and he’s got the face of a serial murderer. It’s all sharp and needing shaved. And that whole skin tight prison body suit thing–it’s really not fashionable at all, I admit. What? Why’s he got a streak of white in his hair? Well, see, that’s why we’re here.

He’s a super villain.

So why is an innocent little freshman like me and her annoying twin brother sneaking peeks at him through a prison fence? Well…

He’s our father. At least, that’s what we think.

Super Powereds: Year 1 by Drew Hayes – Average Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Super PoweredsKnowledge is power. That would be the motto of Lander University, had it not been snatched up and used to death by others long before the school was founded. For while Lander offers a full range of courses to nearly all students, it also offers a small number of specialty classes to a very select few. Lander is home to the Hero Certification Program, a curriculum designed to develop student with superhuman capabilities, commonly known as Supers, into official Heroes.

Five of this year’s freshmen are extra special. They have a secret aside from their abilities, one that they must guard from even their classmates. Because for every one person in the world with abilities they can control, there are three who lack such skill. These lesser super beings, Powereds as they are called, have always been treated as burdens and second class citizens. Though there has been ample research in the area, no one has ever succeeded in turning a Powered into a regular human, let alone a Super.

That is, until now…

Powered (The Powered Trilogy Book 1) by Cheyanne Young – Average Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

PoweredMaci Might’s sixteenth birthday is supposed to be the day she’s awarded Hero status. But thanks to a tiny anger problem and a questionable family tree, King City’s elders think it’s best if she doesn’t join the Hero ranks. Determined to change their minds, Maci will break whatever rule it takes to prove she’s Hero material. As her hair darkens and her anger grows, everyone turns against her except Evan; a childhood friend turned scientist who may be able to unlock the secrets hidden in her DNA.

When a villain attacks King City and her dad is held prisoner, Maci discovers a truth she refuses to believe. She may not be a Hero after all—but this time the Heroes of King City need her more than she needs them. And she won’t let them down.

Powered is the first in a trilogy.

Looking for more superhero fiction? Then check out the Pen and Cape Society website!

Weekend Shenanigans

At last, it’s back to work on Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer!

The author during his outing as a medieval plumber, and no, that is not a joke.

The author during his outing as a medieval plumber, and no, that is not a joke.

Last weekend I was otherwise occupied working the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, mostly with my wife (Veronica of Storied Threads), and one day with my friend Scott Kegler, assisting him with his street act for the show…not that he needed me, because the man is a dynamo of comedy. Watching him was a serious education in the art of clowning.

I got to work the faire on my favorite of the show’s theme weekends, Time Travelers Weekend, when patrons are encouraged to go a little crazy with non-period costuming. My wife took advantage of the looser rules on participant garb and helped mastermind an Avengers-themed presence among other merchants and the gaming crew. As you can see from one of the photos, no less than Clark Gregg himself approved of the Marvel-inspired surcoats created by my wife.

My friends Carlos, Greg, and Artemis in their cool Marvel kinghtly surcoats.

My friends Carlos, Greg, and Artemis in their cool Marvel kinghtly surcoats.

That weekend also featured the Doctor Who costume contest, co-judged by my wife, who dressed for the occasion in her Tenth Doctor-inspired ensemble, and our friend Krystal (the winner was a kid who built with his family’s help a full-sized Dalek outfit).

My wife and Krystal hosting the Doctor Who costume contest.

My wife and Krystal hosting the Doctor Who costume contest.

My wife in her Loki outfit and a friend as the Enchantress.

My wife in her Loki outfit and a friend as the Enchantress.

My friend Christian after a dramatic reading of book three. And yes, he read it in character. It was a riot.

My friend Christian after a dramatic reading of book three. And yes, he read it in character. It was a riot.

Credit where it’s due: photos by Lauren Dubois, Eric Tetreault, and Jamie Tarbell.

Cruel Summer – A Brief Update

I got an unexpected day off today, so I’ll be putting it to good use working on Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer — which, at present, stands at about 35,400 words, almost the halfway mark.

I hope to get another good chunk out of the way today, since it’ll be the last chance I get to work on it until next weekend. I’m at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire this weekend, then it’s back to the daily grind for the rest of next week, but then I’ll have all of Saturday and Sunday to sit on the couch, pound at the laptop, and keep the Halloween horror movie goodness rolling.

By the way: as soon as Cruel Summer is out of my hair, I plan to keep the workaholic attitude firmly in place, because I’m already mentally laying out book five, which will be entitled (drumroll, please): Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-Ups. Book four is going to be a darker story, and I suspect readers are going to need something a little lighter afterwards (I know I will), so book five will be a collection of mini-adventures that will pair up various characters in the AF universe. The game plan is to have book four out by March 2015, and book five out by September 2015.

Sharing The Love – The Halloween Series (Part Two)

I managed to sneak in some writing time Friday, which is noteworthy because my writing weekends are gone for a while (to attend a friend’s wedding and to work the Connecticut Renaissance Faire — in the Storied Threads tent for a couple days and as a street performer with my friend Scott).

The Strangers posterI picked up on my Halloween movie watching where I left off last week and started the day with The Strangers, one of my favorite modern horror movies. It’s the kind of movie that unnerves me despite repeated viewings, much like its spiritual kin Halloween. The Strangers also emulates Halloween in that it uses sound to superb effect, though in a different way. Whereas Halloween used its soundtrack to enhance the scares, The Stranger uses silence to ratchet up the tension. There are long stretches of near or total silence, punctuated by bursts of sound that are enough to make you jump.

One of the best moments in the movie requires a decent surround sound system to fully appreciate. One of the masked killers is walking around outside the house, and if you’re in the middle of a surround sound home theater system, you get to hear the footsteps circling around behind you — and trust me, if you’re alone in the house while watching that moment, it’s doubly creepy.

F13 Final ChapterI switched gears a little after that, moving from slow-burn horror on to masked killer mayhem (I like to keep my Halloween movie-fest thematically linked) in the form of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.

It’s an interesting transition between the first three films in the series and the next three. The original trilogy, made between 1980 and 1984, held onto the horror film aesthetic of the 1970s. They had a more raw, gritty feel that made them more effective than the franchise’s later entries, which had a more vivid, slicker 1980s vibe. A New Beginning really suffers from this, and that’s one of the reasons it’s one of the weakest chapters in the series (I say this knowing full well none of the movies are truly great, or even good).

For fans of the slasher genre, the Friday the 13th series is all about the spectacular kill scenes, and A New Beginning falls down hard there; the kill scenes feel timid and restrained compared. Add to that some of the worst acting in the franchise, flat humor, and TV-movie cinematography, and you’ve got a total package that makes one wonder if this movie was cranked out by the studio simply to keep the franchise alive while they thought of something better to do with it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 384 other followers

%d bloggers like this: