Weekly Update – April 6, 2021

Nothing much going on this week, but I do want to share a fun discovery I made over the weekend: my Action Figures series has its own page on the TV Tropes website! I don’t know how it wound up there, but the page is remarkably thorough.

Next item: National Superhero Day 2021 is April 28, and I plan to make the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins free for the day! If you found me through one of my other series or one of the anthologies I’m featured in, that would be a great time to check out my flagship series.

And if you’re already a fan, why not share your love of the series and gift a copy to a friend? You know, give them a head start on catching up so they’ll be ready when book ten drops (which will be soon, promise!).

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, cover art is in progress. Tentatively set for an April 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 spring/summer 2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • NEW EVENT! Quarancon 2021 – April 8 – 12: This virtual convention is back for another year, and I’ll be sitting on a Zoom panel to discuss writing fight scenes, which is at 3 PM on Saturday, April 10.

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 – March 30, 2021

I can’t speak for all authors, but I know I cycle through periods where I feel like I’m not getting anything done, and periods where I feel like I’m getting a ton accomplished.

I’m heading into one of those latter periods now, because I am currently waiting for my cover artist Tricia to work her magic for Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences, my editor Julie has The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives in hand, I’m close to finishing the first draft of the sixth S&L novel, and the first few chapters of the audiobook version of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins by my new narrator Bethany have come in and they’re sounding great.

Combine that with the arrival of spring, at long last, and the fact my wife and I were able to get out over the weekend and actually do something — a nature walk followed by visiting a local brewery and having a safe outdoor eating experience (our first time eating out since last February!) — and the fact my wife is now fully vaccinated, and you’ve got one reenergized writer.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, cover art is in progress. Tentatively set for an April 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 spring/summer 2021 release.

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • NEW EVENT! Quarancon 2021 – April 8 – 12: This virtual convention is back for another year, and I’ll be sitting on a Zoom panel to discuss writing fight scenes, which is at 3 PM on Saturday, April 10.

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 – March 23, 2021

The recording work for the audiobook version of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is underway!

My new narrator, Bethany Boles, uploaded the first files late last week and everything is off to a great start. Her goal is to record two chapters per day, with weekends off for family time, and she stays on that schedule, the “first draft” audio will be done no later than mid-April. Allow another two weeks for pickups and editing and the audiobook should be ready for ACX review by the end of next month.

Here’s where it gets uncertain, because ACX’s efficiency when it comes to reviewing audiobook files has been, to put it kindly, lackluster over the past year. It should take ten business days but I and fellow indie authors were experiencing wait times ranging from several weeks to a few months. ACX claims it’s addressed the problem, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, and final formatting and cover art are in progress! Tentatively set for an April 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is into the third act.

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 – March 16, 2021

Good news, everyone!

After considering a dozen different narrators, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve selected Bethany Boles to handle narration duties for Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins!

In the end it came down to Bethany and one other narrator, both of whom gave me a great audition, but Bethany made some intriguing character choices in her reading that pushed her over the top.

As it so happens, Bethany is an old friend from the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, so I know first-hand how very talented and cool she is. I mean, how many people in the world can I make Robert Z’Dar references with? Damn few, and she’s one of them.

Fun fact: after moving out west, Bethany worked for The Jim Henson Company (super jealous!) and was a production assistant on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled that this project is back on track, but also that I get to collaborate with a friend again!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is into the third act.

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 – March 9, 2021

I’m happy to report that the audition process for the Action Figures audiobook project has taken a turn for the better.

The first several auditions I received were disappointing as a whole. A couple had promise, but nothing wowed me — until last week, when I got a really exciting audition, and word from an old actor friend of mine she might be interested in the project. I’m hoping to wrap up auditions this week and move on to the recording phase.

On another note…

You may have heard that there is a consumer-led Amazon boycott this week, a call to refrain from buying anything from the retail giant, using their Alexa products in your home, viewing anything on Amazon Video, etc., to show support for workers whose efforts to unionize have been thwarted by the company.

To be clear: I support the unionization of Amazon workers and I support the boycott. Amazon is absolutely a problematic company, and consumers should take the action they deem necessary to send the message that Amazon needs to do better.

Now, whenever similar past initiatives have popped up, there’s often been a corresponding response among indie and small press authors begging consumers to make an exception when it comes to buying books. A lot of indie authors are able to make a living on their writing thanks to Amazon, so of course they’re going to be squirrelly about even a week’s worth of lost sales.

Further, Amazon is largely responsible for the rise of independent authorship by giving writers a truly national, even global sales platform. Fifteen, maybe even just ten years ago, an indie author couldn’t get their books on Barnes & Noble’s or Borders’ websites, but Amazon let them all in, and gave indie authors the tools to produce professional-quality products.

Amazon rightfully deserves a lot of the criticism it receives, but it deserves credit where it’s due as well.

Anyway, the immediate point I’m making is this: Amazon is a necessary evil for a lot of us, and it’s not easy to break away from the Zon and sustain our income levels. Some have done it, absolutely, but they’re what’s known as “the exception to the rule.” For every author who successfully “goes wide” — diversifies their retail outlets so they’re not selling solely through Amazon — there are several more who have tried and have never generated enough sales traffic to justify leaving Amazon, partially or entirely.

Consumers are a big part of the reason why so many of us can’t make a go through other retailers. For all their Amazon-bashing, they still turn to Amazon on a regular basis, and probably always will. And even when they say they’re going to spend their money elsewhere, they don’t do it — not to any appreciable degree.

After receiving a lot of feedback from readers, including people who wanted my books but didn’t want to give their money to Amazon, I tried going wide. My entire catalog was on B&N and Kobo for more than two years, and I saw a grand total of four sales between the two platforms in that time. I literally sold twice as many books through my website in that two-year period. I promoted these other retailers aggressively, told people directly at shows that they could buy my stuff through B&N, and they always said, “Oh, great, I’ll look that up when I get home!”

And yet, more than 95 percent of my total sales were through Amazon.

The hard, unfortunate reality is, a lot of indie authors, myself included, can’t survive without Amazon. We just can’t.

We’d love to, but we can’t.

And even if another viable platform popped up to challenge the mighty Zon, we wouldn’t be able to all jump ship and continue to make sales on-par with Amazon overnight. There would be a transitional period during which our sales would drop off, perhaps too sharply and for too long to keep us going until things leveled out again, so that would drive us to resist making that change.

We’ve all thought about this, a lot. I’d love to no longer be so beholden to Amazon, but I am. All I can do is make the best of it and be honest about my decisions — which, yes, are almost entirely financial. I’m in no position to take a moral stand and abandon Amazon as my primary retailer. I’ve gotten spoiled by having a home and food.

I may say that flippantly, but it’s true nevertheless.

Go ahead and boycott Amazon this week if that’s your thing. I certainly won’t hold it against you.

All I ask is that you don’t hold it against me when I go back to pushing book sales on Amazon when it’s all over.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021, currently auditioning narrators.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is into the third act.

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 – March 2, 2021

This week’s big news is that I am working on getting the long-delayed Action Figures audiobook project back off the ground.

I’d initially started work on that in late 2017, but for multiple reasons I’ll simply call “behind the scenes issues,” it stalled out hard. My original narrator left the project amicably, and now I’m on the hunt for a new narrator to tackle not just book one, but the entire series.

The major challenge here will be to find someone who can tackle what has become a huge, diverse cast of characters. In writing up notes for whoever eventually gets the job, I realized I had more than fifty regular and recurring characters and countless incidental character who pop up over the course of the series. That’s a LOT of distinct voices to juggle.

I plan to take my time reviewing auditions and be ruthlessly picky about who I ultimately choose to take this on, but I hope to get the first — and maybe even the second — audiobook out this year, and maintain a two-audiobooks-per-year schedule until the series wraps in 2023.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021, currently auditioning narrators.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is past the halfway point.

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 – February 23, 2021

Bit of a slow week this week, but I am happy to report that Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology got off to a great start in its first week on sale, breaking the top ten on three Amazon best-seller lists! Reviews have also started coming in and it’s doing well there so far (four star average on Amazon, 4.5 on Goodreads). If you’ve already picked up the book, please remember to leave a review!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is past the halfway point.

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 – February 16, 2021

“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is here! Get it now for the Kindle or in print!

In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is close to halfway finished.

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 – February 9, 2021

“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is now available for preorder on Amazon! Grab this new collection of short stories for the Kindle for only 99 cents! Releases next Sunday — Valentine’s Day!

In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).

We’d love to get this collection off to a strong start right out of the gate, so here’s what you can do to help out and support this group of independent creators:

  • Buy the book, of course. Either preorder it or buy it on release day. Either way, it’ll give it a boost on Amazon’s sales charts and increase its exposure to other readers.
  • Once you’ve read the book, leave a review! Leaving one on Amazon is best, but a Goodreads review would also be helpful.
  • Spread the word to fellow readers who might like this anthology — such as by sharing this post, for example.
  • If you find an author you really like, consider checking out their other books, following their websites, subscribing to their newsletters, and/or following them on social media.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is well underway!

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology: In final production, scheduled for a February 14 release.

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 – February 2, 2021

It’s almost here!
“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is now available for preorder on Amazon! Grab this new collection of short stories for the Kindle for only 99 cents! Releases next Sunday — Valentine’s Day!
In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).
We’d love to get this collection off to a strong start right out of the gate, so here’s what you can do to help out and support this group of independent creators:
* Buy the book, of course. Either preorder it or buy it on release day. Either way, it’ll give it a boost on Amazon’s sales charts and increase its exposure to other readers.
* Once you’ve read the book, leave a review! Leaving one on Amazon is best, but a Goodreads review would also be helpful.
* Spread the word to fellow readers who might like this anthology — such as by sharing this post, for example.
* If you find an author you really like, consider checking out their other books, following their websites, subscribing to their newsletters, and/or following them on social media.
One another quick note, I finally bit the bullet and did some long-deferred website upgrades, which includes a more user-friendly Buy Now page. Go check it out, and remember, I’m still running my inventory clearance sale! Buy one full-length novel and you’ll get a free copy of Cheap Thrills Digest (while supplies last). Buy two novels and you’ll get a third free!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. 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.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is well underway!

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology: In final production, scheduled for a February 14 release.

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.