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 – August 18, 2020

A couple of cool things to talk about this week…

First, a couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by Franklin Kendrick for superhero-fiction.com’s “Behind the Mask” podcast, and that’s up now. Listen to it for free, if you can stand the sound of my voice for an hour (I know I can’t).

Second — and granted, this is likely of more limited interest — I’m pulling the trigger on a new project, but not as a writer this time. I am working to put together an anthology of fantasy stories to benefit the RESCU Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to those who work within the renaissance faire community. If you’d like to learn more, and maybe even submit something, click the tab at the top of the page for the full details.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: In the final editing and formatting phase, awaiting cover art.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 20, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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.

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.

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 – August 11, 2020

Summertime and the pandemic slow progress on this project a little, but we’re finally entering the final stages of publishing the Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One!

This is a collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — that features new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges, author of the James Madison series and an Action Figures super-fan.

The omnibus will be available only in Kindle format through Amazon, and hey, I’m just going to point out that the holidays will be upon us before you know it, so this might be a great gift for someone. Hint, nudge.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: In the final editing and formatting phase, awaiting cover art.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 20, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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.

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Oxford 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 – August 4, 2020

I wish I had some good news to report regarding the audiobook version of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glorybut unfortunately, ACX continues to be a pain.

When an author submits a project to ACX, it undergoes an audio quality review that is supposed to take up to ten business days. The review for Blades of Glory began on May 11 and ended last week when it was rejected because, somewhere within the audio, there was not at least five seconds of silence following the end of the narration for one or more chapters.

That’s how picky they are.

My narrator Heather fixed the problem that same day and the audibook has been resubmitted, along with a request to expedite the process so I’m not waiting another two and a half months for the thing to clear. Fingers crossed.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 6, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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

Welcome to a new semi-regular spotlight on my other projects, which will run every fifth Thursday of the month (assuming their is one).

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.

Weekly Update – July 28, 2020

At last week’s Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse session, the topic of finding time to write came up, so I’m going to share some thoughts I shared with the group.

Fair warning, I’ve said this kind of thing before, so feel free to skip it if you don’t need me wagging my finger at you. Otherwise…

Whenever I chat with aspiring writers, I frequently meet people who have book ideas that they’re really excited about. They’ll go on at length about how the idea came to them, and how much they think about it, and what a great novel it would make — the enthusiasm for the idea is there.

These encounters frequently end with, “As soon as I find time to write it…” or some variation thereof.

I won’t belabor the point here. If this is you, the “I don’t have time to write” non-writer, I can pretty much guarantee that you DO have time to write and you’re simply choosing to do something else with that time.

Get past the mandatory time commitments — work, school, shopping, household chores, etc. — you have countless things taking up potential writing time: hobbies, working out, social time with family and friends (coronavirus notwithstanding), sleeping in…

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with spending your time on things you want to do, things that bring you happiness and relax you, but if that’s your choice, then you need to stop lying to yourself — and that is what you’re doing when you claim you have no time to write. You’re divesting yourself of all personal responsibility and shifting the blame onto life in general.

“I don’t have time to write” isn’t a reason; it’s an excuse.

“But I’m serious! I want to write!” you say. Well then, something’s got to give somewhere. Cut back on your daily gym time. Take a pass on the weekly game night with friends. Take a walk in the woods every other weekend instead of every weekend. Wake up an hour earlier each day.

Make time to write.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in final processing — still! Scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events scheduled.

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.

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

Weekly Update – July 21, 2020

Another slow week, sad to say. ACX is STILL dragging its feet on the audiobook version of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs and shows no signs of changing, despite a second e-mail promising “we’ll look into it.”

On a more upbeat topic, I’m hosting another Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse session this week via Zoom, and we’ve had a request to discuss villain characters, which is always a favorite subject of mine. If you want to learn how to craft fantastic villains, join us Thursday evening at 7:30. Here’s the Facebook event page for more info.

As always, we’re open to other topics as well, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner with questions about the basics, a more experienced amateur getting ready to release a book, or a pro with expertise to share. Everyone is welcome!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in final processing — still! Scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events scheduled.

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.