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Inventory Clearance Sale!

With 2021 looking like a blank slate in terms of shows I normally attend, I am sitting on a rather significant inventory of print editions of my books. Rather than hold onto them, I’m going to clear some space in my office with a special buy one get one free sale!

Go to the Buy Now page to make your purchase. If you buy one full-length novel at regular price (plus shipping), you’ll get a free copy of Cheap Thrills Digest! If you buy two full-length novels, you’ll get a third of your choice free! When you place your order for two books, add a note specifying what you’d like for your freebie and I’ll add it to your shipment.

Of course, every book you receive will be signed by me, and remember that every copy of Well-Behaved Women that goes out will result in a $5 donation to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center — even if one of those books is your free selection.

This offer is good while supplies last, and those supplies are limited! I’ll update my inventory here as items sell out, but right now, everything is available so act now and maybe pick up some early holiday presents!

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The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Stepping Up

Five heroes, three adventures, one collection. This is where the action begins!

The Action Figures Omnibus Vol. 1 – Stepping Up collects the first three novels in the Amazon best-selling YA superhero series into one bargain-priced omnibus edition, featuring a new foreward by Action Figures super-fan and award-winning indie author Patrick Hodges (the Wielders of Arantha series).

In Secret Origins, Carrie Hauser arrives in Kingsport, Massachusetts in time to help a team of superhuman teens fight off Archimedes, a renegade artificial intelligence.

In Black Magic Women, Carrie and her friends in the Hero Squad find themselves in the middle of a magical war between the mysterious Dr. Enigma and her rival, the necromancer Black Betty.

In Pasts Imperfect, the bloodthirsty Buzzkill Joy unleashes chaos in Kingsport, and only the Hero Squad can stop her — but Joy’s dark secret threatens to tear the team apart from within.

Available now through Amazon, exclusively for the Kindle!

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from Innsmouth Look Publishing, follow this website or sign up for the weekly newsletter.

Action Figures – A Series Overview

What’s it About?

The series focuses on Carrie Hauser, a 15-year-old girl who one summer experiences two life-changing events: her parents announce they’re getting divorced, and she gains superhuman abilities after encountering a dying extraterrestrial after he falls to Earth.

Her adventure begins after Carrie and her mother Christina move back to Christina’s childhood home town of Kingsport, Massachusetts, and Carrie meets four teens with powers of their own: superhero fanboy Matt Steiger, who owns a pair of magic gloves that can produce any object he can envision out of thin air, like a living cartoon character; Sara Danvers, a telepath and telekinetic who is afraid of her own abilities; the easygoing Stuart Lumley, who possesses superhuman strength; and Missy Hamill, an adorable motormouth with enhanced strength and reflexes.

The teens form a superhero team almost on a whim, but soon find themselves fighting for their lives against very real super-villains – much to the dismay of Kingsport’s hometown hero Concorde, leader of the super-team The Protectorate.

Who is this Series For?

Fans of superhero comics, TV shows, and movies in general, but particularly of titles featuring teen heroes such as Young Justice, Teen Titans, Young Avengers, and Champions.

The tone is generally lighter than a lot of YA books out there now. While there is drama and conflict, and some later stories deal with darker issues, I try to keep the series fun, upbeat, and optimistic.

Is it Suitable for Young Readers?

Action Figures is a PG-13 series that contains mild to moderate profanity, non-graphic violence, some mature themes, and later on in the series mild sexual content.

An added word about the violent content: while the violence is not graphic, the consequences are not downplayed. This isn’t sanitized Hollywood violence. People get hurt just as they would in real life and do not easily shrug off injuries, and in some cases the characters have to deal with the emotional trauma of their experiences.

What are the Books in the Series?

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret OriginsCarrie and her new friends in the Hero Squad (yes, they know their team name is awful) find themselves caught in the crossfire as the deadly mercenary Manticore comes to Kingsport, on the hunt for the rogue artificial intelligence known as Archimedes.

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women – The sorceress Black Betty threatens to raise hell – maybe literally – as she pursues her vendetta against the Protectorate’s resident paranormal expert Dr. Enigma.

Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect – Missy’s life is turned upside-down when she learns the truth about the source of her powers, and her connection to the bloodthirsty killer Buzzkill Joy.

Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel SummerSara finds herself in the crosshairs of the mysterious hero killer the King of Pain, but to save herself, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.

Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-UpsThe Hero Squad, still reeling from their devastating encounter with the King of Pain, get a little help picking up the pieces from their friends in the Protectorate and the Quantum Quintet.

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play – The Squad finds itself outnumbered and under-powered after one of their members goes missing – and at the worst possible time as foes from their past reappear, more dangerous than ever and ready to exact revenge.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War – On Earth, Carrie Hauser is a hero, but on the far side of the galaxy, she’s just another soldier on the front lines of an interplanetary war against the terrorists in the Black End.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage – Carrie returns to Earth to reclaim her life, but life has moved on without her. Does she have a place with her team, her friends, or her family anymore?

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury – Black Betty is back, and ready to unleash Hell — literally, but can the Hero Squad trust Dr. Enigma to have their backs? Or does she have her own dark agenda?

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences – The Hero Squad learns that hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Stepping Up – Collects the first three books in the series (Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, Pasts Imperfect) and features a new foreward by Patrick Hodges and a new introduction by the author.

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to elven books but might run one or two books longer. In any event, it will come to a firm end at some point and not run on indefinitely.

Where Can I Learn More?

Read can read sample chapters from Secret Origins, short stories set in the Action Figures world, buy signed copies, connect with me through social media, and get regular updates at my website: innsmouthlook.com

Weekly Update – January 12, 2021

Looks like we have an official release date for Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology, and it is, appropriately, Valentine’s Day!

There’s been no word yet on the full lineup of authors and stories, but I’ll throw all that your way as soon as I know, along with a preorder link so you can grab this collection when it drops and maybe help us score a number one position on Amazon’s best-seller list? It’d be a nice way to start off 2021 after what’s been — to put it very mildly — a rocky start.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: The current draft is off to my editor Julie so she can do her thing, and cover art notes have been sent to Tricia so she can do hers. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2021 – January 15 – 18, 2021: This year’s convention will be a virtual event, and I’ll be part of the event’s virtual dealers room, which is active now! And I’ll be appearing on the Muppets: Most Wanted! virtual panel on Monday, January 18 at 11:30 AM.

MISC.

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.

A Tale of Two Anthologies

The following is likely to be of interest more to writers, especially those interested in having their work included in an anthology, but here we go anyway.

During the second half of 2020, I had two anthology projects on my to-do list — one of which ended successfully, the other, not so much — and it’s that second one that was truly disappointing, because it was an anthology I was going to edit.

A bit of backstory: due to the pandemic, renaissance faires across the country — including the one I’m involved with as fight director, the Connecticut Renaissance Faire — had to cancel their seasons. Beyond the disappointment felt by many patrons and participants, this was a huge blow to artisans and performers who make their living at these shows — and as self-employed artists, their financial safety net options were even scarcer than for a lot of folks with “regular” jobs.*

(* = I say “regular” rather than “real” because working in the performing arts is as legitimate a field of employment as any, but it can be unsteady and irregular in terms of consistency of schedule and income. But I digress…)

Around the time the CTRF producers were debating whether to attempt opening in the fall, I was working on a submission for an upcoming anthology of superhero romance stories. On a bit of a whim, I decided to put together an anthology myself, the proceeds for which would be donated to the RESCU (Renaissance Entertainers Services and Crafters United) Foundation, which provides financial aid to faire participants in need.

I went with fantasy for the genre and submissions would be open to anyone who in any way participated in a renaissance faire, both of which I felt best reflected the faire community’s typical interests and sensibilities. To tie the stories together, I required that they take place in a fair or festival setting.

As a point of interest, this is all typical for anthologies; they frequently have some sort of unifying theme or concept, and submissions are open only to a specific demographic. These criteria may seem like they’d be limiting, but they’re there for good reasons.

On the former point: without a core concept, or at the very least a primary genre to tie the stories together somehow, an anthology is tough to market. It may sound counterintuitive, but trying to be all things to all people doesn’t necessarily net you a wider audience. If you’re a fan of horror stories, how inclined would you be to spend good money on an anthology with only one horror story?

As for opening submissions only to the rennie crowd: I wanted this anthology to be by those within the community to give it extra meaning. When that decision was questioned, I put it this way: if someone was publishing a collection of stories about the musical Hamilton, would you rather read stories by the cast and crew who worked on the show, or by some random audience member?

Besides, the national rennie community was huge, and full of creative energy looking for an outlet. I figured the response would be pretty strong, and at first, I seemed to be right. I worked up the submission guidelines, posted them on my website and posted an announcement on several faire-oriented Facebook pages. Within two weeks, more than 300 people had viewed the submission guidelines.

I thought I was all set. I assumed — based on nothing, admittedly — that half of those people would never submit anything. Of the remainder, half of them would be rejected instantly for failing to follow submission guidelines or submitting a manuscript riddled with errors — the two big reasons for immediately rejecting a manuscript, regardless of the publisher — leaving me with 75 submissions worth reading. I reckoned the odds of finding ten to twelve quality stories from that were fairly high.

Between the time submissions officially opened on September 1 and when they closed on December 31, I received eight submissions.

Of those, half were insta-rejections for failing to follow the submission guidelines — specifically, the criterion that the story had to offer a fair or festival as its primary setting. Two stories had no such setting whatsoever, and the other two used a modern renaissance faire as its setting, which I specifically ruled out because I felt it limited the anthology’s appeal to a too-select audience — and, frankly, because it felt cheesy as hell.

Three stories had potential, but also had some issues that needed to be resolved before they were ready for publication. To be blunt, under different circumstances, two of the stories also would have been rejected out-of-hand because they read like first drafts. There were typos galore, egregious formatting errors, glaring continuity glitches, redundant word choices — issues typical of any first draft.

But I wasn’t exactly experiencing an embarrassment of riches for submissions, so I decided to see if these stories could be polished to professional quality. I asked my friend and fellow indie author Lyndsey Luther (Greencloak) to serve as my co-curator and co-editor, and together we reviewed the stories that had cleared the first hurdle, wrote up our respective notes, and sent the manuscripts back for revisions.

One author sent back a new draft. The other two fell off the face of the earth, neither returning revised stories nor formally withdrawing their submissions.

The eighth story we never read because it came in at the end of December, by which point it had become clear this anthology was DOA. On December 31, I sent emails out to everyone who had submitted but not been formally rejected announcing the project’s cancelation.

Naturally I was disappointed by this, but I consoled myself with the fact that the time I’d mentally blocked off for the next steps in the project — editing and formatting the manuscript, sending out contracts, prepping the Kickstarter campaign to fund everything, etc. — was available to me again and I could focus more on my own writing.

And on the other anthology, which I’ll tell you about now. Don’t worry, this part is much shorter.

Some of the folks behind the website superhero-fiction.com decided to put together an anthology of superhero romance stories. As it happened, I had the skeleton for a story in the back of my mind — a concept for another superhero anthology of pulp hero-style stories, which I never pursued because the anthology was not paying its contributors; the publisher was going to keep all sales revenue for its own purposes, so I tucked the idea away for possible later use.

When the call for submissions for Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology went out, I pulled the concept out of mothballs and got to work. Within a few days, I had a finished first draft of Like a Knife in the Heart featuring a brand-new character, the Sapphire Silhouette. After sending it out to some beta readers for feedback, I reworked it a little, got the word count down to where it needed to be — barely, but I made it work — gave it a few coats of polish, and sent it off.

And then I waited.

Several weeks later, I heard back from the curators, who loved the story but wanted the romance elements to be front-loaded a little more, which I didn’t entirely agree with from a structure perspective. I felt the culmination of the romantic tension between the Sapphire Silhouette and her love interest was just that, a character arc reaching a climax, needed to follow the climax of the plot, but the curators wanted the romance to be up front and center. It was a romance anthology, after all, they reasoned, so I spent a day juggling story points around to give them what they wanted and sent it off again.

And then I waited some more.

Near the end of the year, I got word that my story was good to go, pending a final editorial review — which for me involved one extremely minor note that didn’t even require a fix.

More waiting.

But worth it in the end, because the anthology is locked for a Valentine’s Day release.

I realize I’ve thrown a lot at you, so let me summarize the big takeaways for me, which I hope you aspiring writers might find useful should you decide to submit to an anthology:

  • Pay attention to an anthology’s chosen genre and theme, and craft your story to meet those criteria.
  • Also, pay attention to who is welcome to submit stories. If the criteria don’t apply to you, don’t submit.
  • Anthologies, even from small presses, can receive hundreds of submissions, so patience is not only a virtue, it’s necessary.
  • Follow the submission guidelines, to the letter.
  • Make sure your submission is as polished as possible.
  • It’s in your best interests to submit as early as possible and not at the last minute. It takes pressure off the curator, and it gives you time to submit a new story if your first one is rejected.
  • If the curator contacts you for any reason, respond immediately. Don’t procrastinate, or worse, ghost them.
  • Respect word count limits. Don’t under- or overwrite and assume the curators will give it a pass.
  • Don’t submit to anthologies that don’t pay the author. Your time, effort, and art have value. Don’t give them away for free — or worse, to enrich a publisher who won’t share the wealth.
  • Remember what I said about patience. It takes time to read and review submissions, so don’t contact the curator to ask how things are going. It’s a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” situation.
  • The curator might ask for changes to your story. That’s normal. It’s on you to decide whether to stick to your guns or make the changes, but if you stand firm and refuse to alter your submission, don’t be surprised if that earns you a rejection.

Now, get writing, and good luck!

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Oxford, MA with my awesomely talented wife Veronica, who runs a business called Storied Threads.

After 15 years with the Falmouth Enterprise, where I worked as a general and political reporter, blogger, and editor, I left the news industry to focus on my creative writing.

In addition to my novels (more on that in a minute) I’m a freelance writer, and I’ve produced scripts for Pastimes Entertainment of Revere, MA and the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

What Do I Write?

Action Figures is a YA superhero adventure series featuring a team of young superhumans who set out to make a name for themselves in the superhero world and quickly find themselves in over their heads. Fun, full of humor and action, populated with likable characters (including some of the villains), and suitable for teen readers and adults who still love superheroes. Oh, and no love triangles. Ever. The first book, Secret Origins, reached the #1 spot on two Amazon best-seller lists, and the ninth book, Hell Hath No Fury, reached #1 on an Amazon best-seller list.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot is my response to all the overly serious fantasy novels out there that have forgotten how to have fun. The series follows two hard-luck adventurers for hire with a knack for biting off more than they can chew and their friends as they explore ancient ruins, fight deadly monsters, go on epic prophecy-driven quests for artifacts of great power hidden in highly inconvenient locations, and cross a lot of rickety rope bridges along the way. The first book, Scratching a Lich, received a gold medal for fantasy fiction from BellaOnline, a resource for women in writing, which also recognizes feminist writers and their work. The first three books are available in audiobook format.

Cheap Thrills Digest is a short story collection featuring introductions to my two series, plus an original novelette-length horror story, Lost Souls, which is exclusive to CTD. If you’re curious about my writing, you can grab this for just $6 in print or 99 cents in e-book format.

Copyright 2018 Tessa Beatrice/Underdog Comics

Freedom Winds is a mini-comic I wrote for Underdog Comics, and you can read it for free at any time here, here, or here.

Well-Behaved Women is an urban fantasy trilogy for feminist audiences. After returning to work following a near-fatal shooting, Sergeant Rose Booker encounters a woman claiming to be the reincarnation of Julie d’Aubigny, the infamous 17th Century French swordswoman. Things only get stranger from there as Rose and Julie cross paths with a crime boss with a knack for exacting bloody revenge on his enemies. This is more serious and mature than my other projects — not recommended for young readers. Book one, Awakening, is now available. Book two, Transition, was released in April 2019, and book three, Endtimes, was released August 2019. The entire trilogy is available in audiobook format.

The Final Summons is the first anthology from the New England Speculative Writers. The collection features 14 fantasy, horror, and science fiction stories by NESW members, including my story The Going Rate for Penance, which is set in the world of Strongarm & Lightfoot.

What Will I See Here?

I post weekly updates that include progress reports on various projects, cover art reveals, new release announcements, a schedule of appearances and book-signings, the occasion essay on writing, and whatever random bits and pieces capture my attention.

Where Can You Find Me Online?

Official website

Weekly newsletter

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

Instagram

Goodreads

LinkedIn

Weekly Update – January 5, 2021

Welcome back, everyone! Hope you all had a fun but safe New Year’s Eve!

I took the last couple of weeks of 2020 off to rest and recharge my creative batteries a little, and think about the year ahead for me as a writer, and one of my goals is to ease off the throttle a little. I tend to push myself when working on a project and try to cram in as much writing as possible, and this year that led me to burn out a bit.

It also led me to neglect an important part of indie authorship, and that’s the business end of things. While sales this year were up overall, especially on the entire Action Figures series, I really didn’t do as much as I should have to promote my work, so I want to focus more there in 2021.

I’d also like to find time to work on some other ideas I’ve had knocking around in my head, but I’m not going to force that for the sake of my creative health.

And to get that particular ball rolling, let me first remind everyone that my short story Action Figures – An Adventure in Babysitting is part of The Superhero Mega Anthology, a massive collection of superhero short stories and comics now available for free! And each contributor is offering up additional bonuses, perks, and free giveaways, so download it now and check it out.

If that’s not enough, in a few months Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology will be available. That one will feature Like a Knife in the Heart, a new original pulp hero-style short story featuring my new character, the Sapphire Silhouette. Check back for release date announcements there!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Third draft is complete. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2021 – January 15 – 18, 2021: This year’s convention will be a virtual event, and I’ll be part of the event’s virtual dealers room, which is active now! And I’ll be appearing on the Muppets: Most Wanted! virtual panel on Monday, January 18 at 11:30 AM.

MISC.

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.

The Best of the Rest

Copyright 2018 Tessa Beatrice/Underdog Comics

Freedom Winds is a mini-comic written by me, illustrated by Tessa Beatrice, and distributed by Underdog Comics and artist Tessa Beatrice. The comic follows the adventures of a crew of renegade pirate women fighting the Triangle Trade.

You can go read it on Underdog Comics’ Facebook page now, as well as on TapasWebToonBecomics and Tumblr. Please support this small press by liking the comic and sharing the link!

The Final Summons is the first anthology from the New England Speculative Writers. This collection of sci-fi and fantasy stories includes The Going Rate for Penance by me, a fantasy short set in the world of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot. Available in hardcover, paperback, and for the Kindle.

Cheap Thrills Digest is a bargain-priced short story collection featuring tales from Action Figures and The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, the original horror short Lost Souls, and the essay Critiquing Critiques – How to Leave a Review.

Faire Times – A Fantasy Anthology to Benefit RESCU is an upcoming anthology co-curated by me and Lyndsey Luther (Greencloak). We’re currently accepting submissions and expect to release the collection in mid-2021.

Well-Behaved Women – A Series Overview

What’s it About?

Rose Booker remembers how she died. Both times.

Rose’s pursuit of the truth behind those memories leads her to discover that she was in a past life the legendary pirate queen Mary Read — and that she’s not the only infamous historical figure who has returned from the dead.

Who is this Series For?

Well-Behaved Women is an urban fantasy trilogy featuring a predominantly female cast. I wrote it for everyone looking for an action-packed adventure tale driven by complex heroic (and villainous, and somewhere in-between) LGBTQ women.

Is it Suitable for Young Readers?

No. The series contains violence, language, and sexual content that make it inappropriate for younger readers.

What are the Books in the Series?

Awakening: Nearly a year after being shot and left for dead, Sergeant Rose Booker returns to active duty with the Worcester Police Department, hoping to put the past behind her — except she’s not sure it’s her past that’s haunting her.

When hard-drinking hellraiser Julie d’Aubigny enters Rose’s life, she promises to reveal the truth behind Rose’s nightmares — or are they memories? — of her death at the end of a hangman’s noose.

But first Rose must stop the mysterious madman waging a bloody campaign of vengeance that threatens to turn the city’s streets red. All she has to do is uncover his identity — and his own dark secret.

Transition: The adventure continues as Rose and her friends deal with the aftermath of the events in Awakening and face off against a new, deadlier enemy hellbent on revenge.

 

Endtimes: Rose, Anna, and Julie face the fight of their lives in the conclusion of the Well-Behaved Women trilogy.

All three titles are available as audiobooks on Audible.

Where Can I Learn More?

Read can read sample chapters from Awakening, buy signed copies, connect with me through social media, and get regular updates at my website: innsmouthlook.com

Who Needs A Free Last-Minute Gift?

Christmas is almost upon us, and if you’ve discovered you still need something for a loved one, how about a big honkin’ anthology of superhero stories? The Superhero Mega Anthology is more than 500 pages of superhero comics and short stories — including an Action Figures short by me — and not only is it completely free, each author is offering bonus goodies for signing up for their newsletters, following their blogs, buying books from their websites, etc. So click the link and get your copy now!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – A Series Overview

What’s it About?

Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot are a pair of hard-luck adventurers for hire with an unfortunate knack for landing jobs that pay too little and threaten their lives too much. Erika Racewind is a hardened elven warrior who doesn’t like people, except maybe when she’s killing them. Winifred Graceword is a kindhearted elven priestess skilled in the healing arts. David is a young sorcerer on a path to discover who he really is – and whether that person has a last name, because going by just David is getting old fast.

Together these companions travel across the land of Asaches looking for adventure and the glory and riches that come with it. Mostly the riches, though, because you can’t buy food and beer with glory.

Who is this Series For?

Sword-and-sorcery fantasy fans looking for something a little lighter than most of the fare currently on the shelves. If you want heavy, dark, serious stories with lots of death, destruction, torture, rape, and political intrigue, go read something else because you won’t find it here.

What you will find is a fast-paced adventure filled with colorful characters, rip-roaring action, humor, and gentle jabs at the classic elements of fantasy fiction.

Which is not to say this series is a comedy or parody. There is still drama aplenty, but as a rule I don’t take things too seriously. You can read these books and not feel like you need a hug and a room full of puppies afterward.

Is it Suitable for Young Readers?

Not really. The series is a hard PG-13/light R for violence, language, and sexual content. It is suitable for older teens, but not for the YA crowd.

What are the Books in the Series?

Scratching a Lich: Derek and Felix find themselves entangled in an urgent quest to slay a legendary lich before he can trigger a world-ending apocalypse – as insane undead sorcerers are wont to do. Together with Erika Racewind, bodyguard for a mysterious young wizard named David, and Winifred Graceword, they head out to discover lost cities, recover long lost magical artifacts, and slay great evils in order to fulfill curiously specific prophecies – as mismatched, ragtag groups of adventurers are wont to do.

Assassins Brawl: The companions are hired to safeguard a spoiled brat of a princess targeted for death by the assassin Ruined Isys, but as is often the case, there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Now all they have to do is determine who is behind the plot before they get caught in the crossfire.

Blades of Glory: Derek, Felix, and company are up for a job that seems a little too simple for a payday that seems a little too generous – but unfortunately, so are the famed adventurers of fortune known as the Noble Blades. Which of them will be the first to find a stolen ceremonial mask that is absolutely positively completely normal and not at all some lost artifact possessed of dark power?

Sworded Affairs: The heroes take a job to dispose of a potentially dangerous magical artifact only to become snowbound in an isolated city besieged by flesh-hungry beasts — and under assault from within by a dark conspiracy. Late spring 2020 release.

Elfish Motives: Winifred Graceword is called home under mysterious circumstances, which lead to the company revisiting the lost even city of Wihend. But what do the four clans want with their long-abandoned ancestral home? Tentative late 2020 release.

How Long Will the Series Run?

Unknown, but tentatively ten books.

Are They Available As Audiobooks?

Scratching a Lich and Assassins Brawl are currently available on Audible. Blades of Glory and Sworded Affairs will be available in early 2020.

Where Can I Learn More?

Read can read sample chapters from Scratching a Lich, buy signed copies, connect with me through social media, and get regular updates at my website: innsmouthlook.com

Weekly Update – December 15, 2020

Folks, this is going to be my last blog post for 2020. I plan to spend the rest of the month relaxing and getting ready to have a quiet holiday with my wife and our fuzzies and not worrying about business stuff. See you in January!

In the meantime, please remember that all through December, audiobook titles produced through ACX purchased through Audible will pay authors and narrators a 5% bonus on their royalties. The first three Strongarm & Lightfoot books and the Well-Behaved Women trilogy are available, so now’s a great time to give them a listen!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Third draft is complete. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a fall/winter 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished!

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2021 – January 15 – 18, 2021: This year’s convention will be a virtual event, and I’ll be part of the event’s virtual dealers room, which is active now! And they’re now getting the panels assigned, so hopefully I’ll have news on that before the end of the year.

MISC.

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.

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