Weekly Update – October 25, 2022

Final edits are done on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day! Now I move on to formatting (ugh, tedious!), and then it’s on to the cover art! We’re in the home stretch!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for a late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.

MISC.

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 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 company takes 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.

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?

Twins and Losses: The company finally returns home to Ambride, only to become immediately embroiled in a scandal threatening to consume the Ambride Academy of Magic.

Cover WIP

The Final Summons – An Anthology of the New England Speculative Writers: Featuring The Going Rate For Penance, a short story set in the Strongarm & Lightfoot world. Mercenaries Jessica and Samantha Summerland receive an assignment from their least favorite client, and one way or another, this will be their last job.

How Long Will the Series Run?

Unknown, but tentatively ten books.

Are They Available As Audiobooks?

The first four books, narrated by Heather S. Auden, are currently available on Audible.

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 – October 18, 2022

Still plugging away at the penultimate rounds of revisions on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day. I hit the halfway point over the weekend and made a few more minor tweaks. That’s all it is at this point, small adjustments to the text in areas where things don’t quite flow as I’d like them to.

Looking ahead, I’m waiting to hear about panel assignments for Arisia 2023 and what might be available for panels at Boskone 2023. Cannot wait to get back into the convention groove again!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Undergoing final edits. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.

MISC.

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.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day – It’s the final showdown between the Hero Squad and ShadoWorks in this, the epic conclusion to the core Action Figures series. Scheduled for mid-2022 release.

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 – October 11, 2022

The penultimate rounds of edits and revisions on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day have been finished, and now it’s on to final revisions and one of my least favorite parts of the process, formatting. But the light at the end of the tunnel is is sight!

One bit of related good/bad news, it might take me a little longer than anticipated to finish these revisions because I was recently hired to fight direct for Studio Theatre Worcester’s upcoming production of Into the Breeches!, a comedy that you could describe as A League of Their Own if that movie had been about theater instead of baseball.

This is the first FD gig I’ve had since parting ways with the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, and I’m excited beyond words simply to get back into the FD game again, but also to work with a small theater company in an area with a growing arts and theater scene. I’m happiest when I’m being creative and working with other creative people, so landing this job was exactly what I needed to feel whole again. I’ve been missing theater work a lot, but I know I’m no longer up for the time commitment needed for a show like CTRF, which is seven weekends of performance on top of four to six weekends of rehearsal. I have this thing about spending time with my wife and my fuzzies, and the faire took away too much of that.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Undergoing final edits. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.

MISC.

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 – October 4, 2022

Final edits and formatting on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day have begun! I started work on them yesterday at home, with some help by my newest assistant.

Everyone, meet Nadja, Mutt We Do In The Shadows.

As I mentioned several weeks back, my wife and I lost our bulldog Beatrix, who was part of our lives for almost 13 years. We honestly did not expect to want a new dog for a long while, but Veronica saw Nadja on Petfinder.com and fell in love.

Nadja and her five brothers — shar-pei/Doberman pinscher/Staffordshire bull terrier mixes — we born to a momma dog who was given up for adoption because her irresponsible owner never got her fixed and couldn’t handle the costs of caring for seven dogs.

Nadja was the most chill of all the puppies, and considering she’d be living in a home with four cats, we wanted a pup who wouldn’t be aggressive toward other pets. When we first brought her home Saturday she was absolutely terrified, but who could blame her? She’d just been fixed and now she was away from her littermates and mother. We expected she’d need a few days before she felt comfortable, but within two hours of being home, she was napping in our laps. She spent that night cuddling with us on the couch. The next morning, she was full of happy puppy energy and couldn’t wait to play with us.

Our home felt weirdly empty after we lost Beatrix. Nadja will never replace Beatrix and it’s not our desire to replace a truly once-in-a-lifetime dog, but our lives aren’t right if there’s not a dog in it, and Nadja is never going to lack for love.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Undergoing final edits. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.

MISC.

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 – September 27, 2022

This was going to be another “slow week, nothing to say” kind of post, but then I opened my inbox Sunday evening and found an edited manuscript waiting for me! Starting this week, I begin final edits and formatting on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day!

I’ll also be waiting on cover art from Tricia, who, sadly, is going through one of those “Ah, the joys of being a homeowner” phases, so I’m going to remind folks that she sells a lot of her cover art, plus original pieces, on RedBubble, so jump over to the art store page for additional details, and then go support an indie artist in a time of need. Maybe get some holiday shopping out of the way?

Speaking of helping friends, my buddy Al Kholi — who, as I mentioned last week, recently released his debut novel, Blue Light, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords — pinged me for some advice regarding an invitation he received to participate in an upcoming authors expo. The expo seemed legit at first, but then Al mentioned a rather stiff price tag to get in and dropped the name of the company reaching out to him: ReadersMagnet.

Right now, there are indie authors reading this and cringing at the mere mention of the name.

ReadersMagnet promotes itself as a self-publishing service that also offers promotional services, which includes getting authors’ books into major shows and expos — for a fee, which, according to several firsthand accounts (like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one), is much higher than the fee if the author were to apply directly to the show in question.

Now, the company declares rather explicitly that it is NOT a scam — by which I mean, the website has a full page titled “ReadersMagnet is Not a Scam” that explains how non-scammy it is. Personally, I think if you have to put that much effort into telling people you’re legit, you almost certainly are not legit. That is generally a HUGE red flag, along with charging fees well above the going market rate for any service the company offers, grand promises that feel too good to be true, and dicey contract stipulations like requirements to purchase so many copies of your own book, claiming full rights to your work…

I’ve written about the differences between publishers, small presses, and vanity presses before, but if you ever need a more reputable source for determining whether anything you encounter is a scam, hit Writer Beware. They do an outstanding job of sniffing out the bad actors in the industry — and there are countless bad actors out there.

Always do your research before doing business with any company offering to work with you to promote your book, and don’t let your dreams of hitting it big overrule your gut instincts. If something smells off, you’re probably right.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.

MISC.

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 to read for free through Kindle Unlimited, and are available as audiobooks on Audible, narrated by Darci Cole (Target) and Heather Auden.

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 – September 20, 2022

I feel bad about so many empty posts, but that’s the nature of the writing beast: lots of something going on, followed by lots of nothing.

So this week, I’m going to give a longtime friend of mine a quick plug. Al Kholi, a very fine and hilariously funny gent I’ve known for 25+ years, recently released his debut novel, Blue Light, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. I’ve not had a chance to check it out myself, but don’t let that stop you from picking up a copy.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.

MISC.

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 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 company takes 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.

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?

Twins and Losses: The company finally returns home to Ambride, only to become immediately embroiled in a scandal threatening to consume the Ambride Academy of Magic.

Cover WIP

The Final Summons – An Anthology of the New England Speculative Writers: Featuring The Going Rate For Penance, a short story set in the Strongarm & Lightfoot world. Mercenaries Jessica and Samantha Summerland receive an assignment from their least favorite client, and one way or another, this will be their last job.

How Long Will the Series Run?

Unknown, but tentatively ten books.

Are They Available As Audiobooks?

The first four books, narrated by Heather S. Auden, are currently available on Audible.

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