Weekly Update – December 21, 2021

Christmas is coming! It’s practically here!

I quote the Grinch intentionally because, honestly, I’m feeling Christmas 2021 less than I usually feel the holiday. I’m not a big Christmas guy to begin with, but the last few years have taken a toll on my holiday cheer. The loss of two good friends, along with the Christmas party they hosted every year, coupled with recent back-to-back family funerals, my usual end-of-year lethargy, and a dose of pandemic fatigue have taken the wind out of my sails in a big way.

Fortunately, my creative energy is back at normal levels following a bit of a dry spell that hasn’t helped my mood any, so that’s been keeping my going well enough. And then there’s the excitement of Arisia 2022, which — as of this writing — is still a go for a live event. Obviously, this may change depending on what Covid is doing, but things are currently still on track.

Speaking of Arisia, it looks like my panel schedule is set, so come find me at the times and locations below — when I’m not pushing paper in the venders room, that is.


Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Production is about to begin on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for an early 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: Final draft is process. Tentatively scheduled for early 2022 release.


  • NEW EVENT! Arisia 2022: January 14 – 17, Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel. The event has a robust attendance policy due to Covid, which you can read here. Panel schedule is as follows:
  • Writing Helpline for Action Scenes: Friday, 7 PM, Marina 2. When writing an action scene, there are times authors find themselves stuck. The writer has one idea and the scene has another. Or perhaps a writer realizes they’ve written themselves into a corner. Maybe the scene is simply boring. Join this panel of writers as they discuss their own experiences writing effective action scenes and offering advice for common problems in writing action.
  • Crafting Memorable Villains: Saturday, 4 PM, Marina 1. It’s been said that every villain is the hero of their own story. Speculative Fiction is populated with compelling assassins, thieves, witches, con artists and mean girls, who are as complex and compelling as the heroes they come up against. What makes villains and anti-heroes irresistible? Our panelists will share how to craft the perfect villain and explain why anti-heroes and villains are so important in their stories. Find out how much fun it can be to give in to the dark side!
  • Shop Talk: Quitting Time: Saturday, 5:30 PM, Faneuil. Calling quits on a story doesn’t have to be a sad situation. Panelists will bring to the table times when a project petered out, a novel got shelved, or the pursuit of writing had to be paused for a time. The question to explore: why did you stop writing and how did you move on from that decision?
  • The Mushy Middle: Conquering the Midpoint Swamp: Sunday, 4 PM, Faneuil. What happens when you come up with an intriguing premise, but around page 50, your story falls apart? Our panelists will discuss the pitfalls of navigating the second act swamp; how they plot; ways to clarify your hero’s journey; coping strategies including beat sheets, the mini movie method, and mirroring; various ways to brainstorm past a block; and other ways to cut the flab from that mushy middle.


The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.


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