The Best of the Rest

If you enjoy Michael’s full-length novels, check out these anthologies, collections, and side-projects featuring his work. Available on Amazon, and signed print editions may be purchased directly from the author.

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology features ten tantalizing tales of masked heroes saving the day and falling in love.

From sweet saviors to steamy angelic warriors, reluctant heroes to grumpy playboys, this anthology has something for everyone who’s ever fantasized about being a hero…or falling for one.

Do you dare to peek behind the mask and live out your sweetest, darkest, steamiest fantasies?

Each story includes superheroes and swoon-worthy happily-ever-afters!

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.

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!

Copyright 2018 Tessa Beatrice/Underdog Comics

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.

Weekly Update – July 27, 2021

If you’ve been waiting for the print edition of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives, wait no more!

Now, if you’re waiting for the audiobook version, it will be a while yet. My narrator, Heather, has finally gone back to work (yay!), which means she has a little less time for narrator work (boo!), so expect to see the audiobook ready some time in September.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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 a September release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Third draft finished, now with beta readers.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

New event! The Ashland, Hopkinton, and Framingham Public Libraries Local Author Book Fair – Saturday, August 14, 2PM to 5PM: My first post-pandemic event! Sure, it’s a small local show, but I’ll take it! If you’re in the Central Mass. area that day, swing by and say hello!

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.

Weekly Update – July 20, 2021

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives is here!

Tricia finished the cover art over the weekend, and as you can see, it’s another fantastic, eye-catching piece. As that was the final element I needed to wrap up this project, I did that on Sunday, and the Kindle edition became available Monday. The print edition is in the pipeline and should be ready very soon — and then, of course, I get to work on the audiobook edition!

Here’s the official synopsis to tease you further. Read it, and then go pick up the fifth book in the series!

***

After surviving an unforgiving winter in the northern city of Além, Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot are eager to lead their friends back to Ambride to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

That idea goes right out the window when the companions learn about a major gathering of the four elven clans in City Lyth — Winifred Graceword’s home. Ancient tradition demands that Winifred heed the sacred call of her people, and who is she to reject ancient tradition?

Winifred immediate regrets her decision upon returning to City Lyth and reuniting with her estranged parents, who have yet to forgive their black sheep daughter for rejecting her birthright to follow her own path.

Derek and Felix thought Além was cold and unforgiving, but that place has nothing on Winifred’s mother, General Rhian Godswrath.

The mother – daughter reunion proves uncomfortable for all involved, but Winifred’s plan to keep her visit short and sweet falls apart when she learns why the long-separated elven clans have reunited: they intend to launch an expedition to the long-lost city of Wihend, in which no elf has set foot for centuries.

Except for Winifred, that is.

This news is not well-received, to say the least, but the elven coalition recognizes a valuable asset when they see one, and Winifred and her friends are pressed into service as guides for the expedition. They know the city, they know the dangers lurking within, and they know how to handle themselves in a fight. What could go wrong?

Everything. Everything could go wrong.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives is the fifth book in the irreverent, award-winning* fantasy series by Michael C. Bailey (Action Figures, Well-Behaved Women). Brace yourself for an epic tale of secret cities, malevolent monsters, arcane artifacts, bloody battles, feuding families, and more mother issues than any elf has a right to.

(* = The 2016 Bella Online Ebook Awards, gold medal in fantasy fiction)

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: The Kindle edition is available, the print edition is coming soon, and work on the audiobook edition is about to begin!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

None 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.

Weekly Update – July 13, 2021

The cover for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives is almost finished! Tricia is into the fine color work, which is when her pieces really come to life, as you can see at right.

Now, you might notice that the figure at center top — Rhian, Winifred’s mother — has undergone a significant change from the last draft. Tricia thought she wasn’t looking very prominent in the piece and needed to command more attention, which is perfectly in keeping with her character, so Tricia swapped out her formalwear and put her in armor.

There’s not much left to do but finish the color work and add the logos and text, and then we’ve got ourselves a brand-new Strongarm & Lightfoot adventure ready to go!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done, awaiting cover art. Tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

None 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.

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. Soon to be available through Audible!

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 and the sins of their past have not been forgotten.

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 eleven, possibly twelve books in the main series. There are potential spinoffs in the works, but the core Action Figures series will come to an end by 2023.

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 – July 6, 2021

Tricia continues to truck along on the cover for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives. As you can see, she’s into the preliminary color work, which is when her creations really start to come to life.

So, who are these people? Going clockwise from bottom left, we have our own Winifred Graceword, her parents Alastair, Rhian, and Everett, and her younger brother Matias — but that’s all I’m going to give you for now. I’ll be posting the back cover text soon enough!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done, awaiting cover art. Tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

None schedule.

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, 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 one 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 four books are available in audiobook format.

Beneath the Mask is an anthology of superhero romance stories. The collection, scheduled for a February 14, 2021 release, features ten stories, including my story Like a Knife in the Heart, starring a new character, the Sapphire Silhouette.

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.

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.

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.

Copyright 2018 Tessa Beatrice/Underdog Comics

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.

Meet the Innsmouth Look Publishing Team

Heather Auden is a professional actor and audiobook narrator. She narrates The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot series and did the second and third books of the Well-Behaved Women trilogy. You can find her other audiobook work on Audible.

Bethany Boles is a professional actor, a former PA for the Jim Henson Company, and is active in the children’s television production industry in California. She narrates the Action Figures series.

Darci Cole is an author and narrator, who narrated the first book in the Well-Behaved Women trilogy. You can find her other audiobook work on Audible, and preorder her debut novel, Target, on Amazon.

Patricia Lupien is a graphic artists and designer who is responsible for the covers that grace all books produced by Innsmouth Look Publishing. Visit the Art Store page to buy her art on a variety of products.

Julie Tremblay began as a beta reader for Innsmouth Look Publishing before taking over as regular editor on all the company’s novels.

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 – June 29, 2021

Ah, one of my favorite parts of the creation process is upon me! Tricia has started sending me teases of her cover for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives, including the bit to the right. I’ll tell you that the lady on the left is none other than Winifred, but the lack of her ever-present smile might have thrown you off. But who’s the smug jerk next to her? Is that why she looks less than thrilled to be there?

I guess you’ll just have to pick up the book when it drops, which should be later this summer!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done, awaiting cover art. Tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

None schedule.

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.

Weekly Update – June 22, 2021

Finally got a full writing day in over the weekend! The eleventh Action Figures book continues to take shape, though what its final form might be remains a mystery. The thrill of being a pantser.

On an amusing note, I received a two-star review recently. I know that doesn’t sound amusing, but go ahead and read it and tell me it doesn’t make you laugh.

Effective villains? Ramping up story tension? HOW DARE I?!

Negative reviews are inevitable in this job, and you eventually learn to ignore them (or stop reading them), but ones this laughable are worth relishing. The guy’s complaining that partway through the story — he didn’t even finish reading the book before posting! — the villains have the upper hand. I decided to skim some of his other reviews, and he’s left similar complaints about other books in which the antagonists at some point had the upper hand. This is apparently his bugaboo, which he’s certainly entitled to, but if you only enjoy stories in which the bad guy is Skeletor-level ineffectual, you’re going to hate a LOT of great stories.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done. Tentatively scheduled for a summer/fall 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Convention of Heroes 2021 – Runs this week through June 25. Join superhero authors for a series of virtual panels on writing superhero fiction and related topics. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I won’t be able to make my panel on creating superhero characters, but you should still check it out.

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.

Weekly Update – June 15, 2021

The adjustment continues. I have a full, dedicated writing day coming up on Friday, my first in a few weeks. I’m honestly not loving the loss of writing time that comes with having a regular day job, but earning actual adult money that pays my bills takes the sting out a little.

FWIW, I’ll be working on the next Action Figures book, which is starting to shape up as the penultimate book in the series. The question is whether how much it will bring the series arc to an end — which sounds like a dumb thing to say considering I just called it the penultimate book, but I’m considering taking a page out of J. Michael Straczynski’s book and using the final book in the series as denouement for the whole series.

Now, if you’re a fan of JMS, you probably get what I’m talking about, but for those who aren’t familiar with his most notable creation, Babylon 5, the series was structured to offer its major climax more toward the middle of the overall story and use seasons four and five to let the aftermath play out to the series’ ultimate resolution. Even though that plan was altered due to the uncertainty of the show receiving its full five-season run — it looked like it was going to end with season four, so things were accelerated to get it all in — it offered a different approach to the traditional three-act story structure.

With Action Figures, I’ve introduced a lot of characters and concepts that will have far-reaching impacts in the world I’ve created. Problem is, I never planned to continue the series in perpetuity; the plan was always to wrap things up as the main characters transitioned from childhood to adulthood, and it feels like I’d be denying the readers by setting up a whole new set of pins only to never knock them down.

So, assuming things play out as I want (hope), the final book will tie off all the threads pertaining to the core cast and set the stage for future stories set in the AF universe, but not necessarily featuring the Hero Squad. Guess we’ll all find out together.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done. Tentatively scheduled for a summer/fall 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Convention of Heroes 2021 – June 21 – June 25. Join superhero authors for a series of virtual panels on writing superhero fiction and related topics. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I won’t be able to make my panel on creating superhero characters.

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.