Cover Reveal! Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play

As I write this, I’m getting ready for day two of Boskone, but I’ve already been quite productive, thanks to my body deciding that sleeping until 5 AM on a Saturday was late enough (and I say “thanks” in the most sarcastic way possible).

I’ve received my finished cover art for Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play, and I spent the morning prepping the print and Kindle editions for release, and by the time you read this, the Kindle version may already be available for pre-sale. I’ll post a link on Monday, but you can go check for yourself on Amazon if you’re impatient.

For now, check out the finished front and back covers, and grab Power Play on Kindle when it drops on Tuesday, February 28!

Art and copyright 2017 Patricia Lupien.
Art and copyright 2017 Patricia Lupien.

Weekly Update – February 14, 2017

Welcome to the full o’ love edition of the weekly update — and what I love is that Boskone is this weekend! I’ll be down in the dealers’ room all three days, so come by to say hi, talk about writing, and buy signed copies of my books.

WRITING PROJECTS

Copyright 2018 Patricia Lupien
Copyright 2018 Patricia Lupien

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Edited, formatted, awaiting front cover art (in progress, at right).

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Another solid weekend’s worth of work is in the bag. I’ve put down more than 19,000 words in about two weekends’ worth of work, so about a quarter of the way done already.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I’m saddened to announce that I won’t be at the spring New Bedford Book Festival in April. I had this on my calendar since the fall show was good to me and I’d heard the first spring show was really strong, but the organizers pushed this year’s spring show back from March and it now conflicts with my Robin Hood Springtime Festival rehearsal schedule. If you’re in the area you should go anyway to support local indie authors and maybe find a new favorite book.

I do have another possible event cooking for April, however. The details are still being hammered out, but when things are official, I’ll let everyone know the date, time, location, and possible big name fellow guest (tease tease).

Finally, I’m planning to do a giveaway of Secret Origins for the Kindle next month to support the release of Power Play. It’ll run on Amazon from Monday, March 13 to Friday, March 17. I’ll say a little more about this next week, but consider yourself fore-informed (forewarned doesn’t sound quite right).

Weekly Update – February 7, 2017

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Edited, formatted, awaiting front cover art.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: First draft is underway! I’m off to a good start thanks to a solid writing weekend, and I’m hoping work on this will clip along so I can have it ready for a fall release.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

flowers-and-rainbowsMISC.

To end on a cute and flattering note, apparently my cover artist Tricia’s daughter has decided she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and illustrate book covers, and she drew one that she’s declared is for my next book — which she has also declared will be called Flowers and Rainbows.

Lance Flowers is a male model by day, a vampire by night. Allison Rainbows is a down-and-out MMA fighter with a grudge. They’re detectives.

I could make that work 🙂

Weekly Update – January 31, 2017

Art and copyright Patricia Lupien 2017
Art and copyright Patricia Lupien 2017

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Edited, formatted, awaiting front cover art. Tricia sent me a very rough rough over the weekend, and it looks like she’s going to have some fun with it. The central figure, by the way, is Sara, who is also the central figure of the story.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished! Mostly. I still have to put a button on the very last scene, but I’m going to call it done for now so I don’t waste time agonizing over one or two final paragraphs.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: And here’s what I’ll be working on next! I have a fun concept in mind for the plot, so expect another rollicking adventures with Derek, Felix, and company later this year!

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

Nothing to report here, citizens.

Weekly Update – January 24, 2017

meg-quantum-finalWRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Edited, formatted, awaiting front cover art. Tricia sent me the final back cover art (at right) and I absolutely love the classic pinup vibe.

And remember, fans, I am making a small number of advanced reader copies available, so if you’re interested, drop me a line and let me know. I can give you full details then, but I’m looking for people who have read the entire series to date (book six pulls heavily from other events in the series, especially book one), can read book six before it’s released to the public in late February/early March, and will post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or their own personal websites, so serious inquiries only, please. ARC readers will get a finished copy of the book when it’s released in their preferred format.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft in progress. I’m into the final set piece so I should be wrapping things up within the coming weeks, and then I’ll be moving on to the next Strongarm & Lightfoot book.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

If you happen to be out Tuscon, AZ way, go check out the Tuscon Festival of Books at the University of Arizona March 11 and 12. You’ll find lots of great indie authors out there, including several of my fellow Young Adult Authors Rendezvous colleagues, and there will be two signed copies of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins available.

Dare To Be Stupid

After one of my Arisia writing panels wrapped up, I chatted briefly with an aspiring writer stuck on a story point. She had a character, portrayed throughout the story as highly intelligent, who needed to make a stupid decision in order to keep the story moving.

Now, I don’t know the full details of the story so I can’t say whether the character truly needed to make a stupid decision. I took her problem at face value and shall do so for the purpose of this post, but my tendency is to believe that if your narrative requires a smart character to behave stupidly to keep things moving forward, you might want to take a look at the story to see if this in fact true or if you’re just looking for an easy out. But I digress…

The writer’s problem was that she didn’t know how to let her character have a Duh Moment without it undermining the character she’d built and taking readers out of the story — which is a legit concern. I’m sure all of you can think of a story that hinged on an intelligent character making a painfully dumb and totally uncharacteristically decision and it completely wrecked your suspension of disbelief.

So how do you do it well? Four ways immediately come to mind…

Give the character incomplete information

Your hero, a bomb disposal expert, finds a ticking time bomb. The bomb is a standard homemade job, easy to understand and disarm by cutting the ever-reliable red wire. The timer’s running down fast.The hero has enough time to either evacuate the building or to defuse the bomb. He chooses the latter. Problem is, except the bomb was made by a color-blind individual who couldn’t tell his red wires apart from his green wires. The hero clips the red wire and boom, everyone dies — including himself.

Not a perfect example, perhaps, but it gets the point across. The hero could have made the smarter choice to get everyone out to guaranteed safety, but he instead took a risk that literally blew up in his face.

This approach is a tiny cheat because your character wouldn’t be making a truly stupid decision, but I prefer this method because it preserves the character’s integrity; his choice was revealed as the wrong choice only after all the information has been revealed, so the character wasn’t behaving in a contrary fashion. Your intelligent character was still behaving intelligently based on the information he had at the time.

Make the character choose while under extreme stress

Stress and emotion cloud people’s judgment. Someone mired in fear, sorrow, rage, etc., won’t behave rationally. That’s human nature, which is what makes this a viable option; readers can empathize with someone stuck making a tough call when they’re freaking out about something.

Give the character a blind spot

There are certain topics, situations, and people that cause us to think less rationally than we otherwise would. You probably know someone who constantly makes excuses for a loved one’s lousy behavior but is pretty quick to call out other for displaying that exact same behavior — and I’d bet good money that someone is a parent with a bratty child.

A character with a specific mental blind spot is more likely to be excused by readers for momentarily abandoning their intellect, in part because it is, again, a trait readers can understand and empathize with.

Use the character’s intelligence against him

Years ago I read a piece in Reader’s Digest about smart people having stupid moments. One of the (quite possibly apocryphal) anecdotes involved a college professor who went on vacation and realized he’d brought his house keys with him. Worried about losing his keys and effectively locking himself out of his home, he decided to mail his keys back home so they’d be there waiting for him upon his return.

Sounds clever, right? And it is, until the professor got home and realized that his mail was delivered through a slot in his front door, meaning the envelope containing his house keys was safe and sound inside the locked house.

Intelligent people can and do outsmart themselves. They grossly overthink or under-think a situation, often out of overconfidence in their own intellect, and miss a critical point.

There are other possible approaches to executing a Duh Moment, but regardless of how you do it, the key to selling it successfully is to set it up in advance. The extreme stress option, for example, won’t work if you don’t show your character crumbing under pressure and making a bad call earlier on in the story.

The character cannot have his brain fart out of nowhere.

Yes, people in real life have moments of out-of-left-field stupidity all time, but the paradox of fiction is that things have to make more sense in your story than in real life to be believable. A smart character has to have a clear reason to behave stupidly at a key moment in the story or it will come across as inconsistent characterization and weak writing.

Weekly Update – January 17, 2017

arisiaArisia 2017 is a wrap!

This year’s show, unfortunately, wasn’t terribly successful from a financial perspective. Sales were below last year’s, for both me and my tablemate J.M. Aucoin, but I got to participate in four panels over the weekend, and those were a lot of fun — and educational, for the attendees and for me. I picked up a few new techniques and learned some new approaches to writing, which I’ll never complain about.

Nor will I complain about the fact my last sale of the weekend was to a young girl who walked away hugging her new copy of Action Figures. That made an otherwise slow day totally worth it.

Speaking of Action Figures

WRITING PROJECTS

meg-quantum
Copyright 2017 Patricia Lupien

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Edited, formatted, awaiting cover art. Speaking of which, check out this color rough of the back cover art, which features Megawatt Quantum, who plays a prominent role in book six. I thought it’d be fun to portray her in the style of a WWII-era pin-up girl, a nod to her penchant for retro fashion. Tricia has some fine details to add but this is basically what you’ll be seeing on the back of book six.

Remember, folks, I am making a small number of advanced reader copies available, so if you’re interested, drop me a line and let me know. I can give you full details then, but I’m looking for people who have read the entire series to date (book six pulls heavily from other events in the series, especially book one), can read book six before it’s released to the public in late February/early March, and will post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or their own personal websites, so serious inquiries only, please. ARC readers will get a finished copy of the book when it’s released in their preferred format.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft in progress. Arisia took up my weekend so nothing got done on this or anything, but I hope to get back to it soon.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

rejected-princessesBook recommendation time! I’m currently reading Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Hereticsby Jason Porath, partly for fun but partly for research and inspiration for one of my future projects (currently going by the working title of The Well-Behaved Women Trilogy), and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to give this book a try. And you can keep up with Jason’s ongoing Rejected Princesses project at his website, on Facebook, and on Tumblr.