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 – The final book in the series? Maybe? Tentatively scheduled for early/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 – December 7, 2021

Woo hoo! More good news from the Arisia front!

Panel schedules were posted last week, and not only did I get on all four writing panels I’d put in for, I am moderating two of them, including the panel on writing fight scenes! Yay! Here is what my panel schedule looks like so far — dates, times, and locations subject to change, of course.

  • Writing Helpline for Action Scenes: Friday, 7 PM, Marina 2. When writing an action scene, there are times authors find themselves stuck. The writer has one idea and the scene has another. Or perhaps a writer realizes they’ve written themselves into a corner. Maybe the scene is simply boring. Join this panel of writers as they discuss their own experiences writing effective action scenes and offering advice for common problems in writing action.
  • Crafting Memorable Villains: Saturday, 4 PM, Marina 1. It’s been said that every villain is the hero of their own story. Speculative Fiction is populated with compelling assassins, thieves, witches, con artists and mean girls, who are as complex and compelling as the heroes they come up against. What makes villains and anti-heroes irresistible? Our panelists will share how to craft the perfect villain and explain why anti-heroes and villains are so important in their stories. Find out how much fun it can be to give in to the dark side!
  • Shop Talk: Quitting Time: Saturday, 5:30 PM, Faneuil. Calling quits on a story doesn’t have to be a sad situation. Panelists will bring to the table times when a project petered out, a novel got shelved, or the pursuit of writing had to be paused for a time. The question to explore: why did you stop writing and how did you move on from that decision?
  • The Mushy Middle: Conquering the Midpoint Swamp: Sunday, 4 PM, Faneuil. What happens when you come up with an intriguing premise, but around page 50, your story falls apart? Our panelists will discuss the pitfalls of navigating the second act swamp; how they plot; ways to clarify your hero’s journey; coping strategies including beat sheets, the mini movie method, and mirroring; various ways to brainstorm past a block; and other ways to cut the flab from that mushy middle.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording finished! The audio is in final review with ACX now, so it’s waiting game time. Scheduled for late 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 late 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: Editor’s notes have been received and the final draft is underway! Look for this new book in early 2022.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • NEW EVENT! Arisia 2022: January 14 – 17, Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel. The event has a robust attendance policy due to Covid, which you can read here.

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 – November 30, 2021

At last, things are starting to shake loose for Arisia 2022!

I received my vendor acceptance letter last week, and now I’m just waiting to pay my invoice to make it 100 percent official, but I will be back in the vendors room — right where that red to on the map is. Now I have to hold my breath a little bit longer to see what panels I’m on this year.

And for Boskone to finally open their vendor applications. Come ON, people.

Arisia is going to be very strict about vaccinations and mask use (good!), and they’re planning to shut down the vendors room each day for an hour or so, so vendors can take off their masks and eat in safety and comfort. The policies all sound promising and well-thought-out.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: Editor’s notes have been received and the final draft is underway! Look for this new book in early 2022.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • NEW EVENT! Arisia 2022: January 14 – 17, Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel. The event has a robust attendance policy due to Covid, which you can read here.

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 – November 23, 2021

Thanksgiving is upon us, which means Black Friday is similarly nigh. Nigh, I say!

First, I will again be making the first books in my three series available for the Kindle for 99 cents during the Black Friday weekend. You can grab Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich, and Well-Behaved Women – Awakening at the sale price beginning Friday, November 26 through Cyber Monday, November 29.

I also mentioned last week I would be offering a special sale on print editions, and that will also begin on Black Friday and run through Cyber Monday, or until supplies are gone. You’ll be able to buy signed bundles of the first three books in each of my series at a bargain price, and the first person to buy each bundle will receive a bonus fourth book free! Check back here Friday for the full details.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: In the editing phase. Tentatively set for a fall/winter 2021 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.

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. Scheduled for late 2021/early 2022 release.

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 – November 16, 2021

Thanksgiving is next week! How the hell did that happen?

Anyway, I will again be making the first books in my three series available for the Kindle for 99 cents during the Black Friday weekend. You can grab Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich, and Well-Behaved Women – Awakening at the sale price beginning Friday, November 26 through Cyber Monday, November 29.

I’ll also be inventorying my leftover books from my recent author event and holding a special website-only sale on signed copies, so watch this space for details.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: In the editing phase. Tentatively set for a fall/winter 2021 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.

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 – November 9, 2021

First, for the benefit of those living in Massachusetts, I have a small author event coming up this Saturday: the Nahant Public Library’s Indie Author Day!

I’ve been invited to this event several times but the timing has never worked out, but this year, I’m free to go, so I’ll be joining eight other independent authors for an afternoon of readings, brief discussions, and of course, selling books.

Next, I will again be making the first books in my three series available for the Kindle for 99 cents during the Black Friday weekend. You can grab Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich, and Well-Behaved Women – Awakening at the sale price beginning Friday, November 26 through Cyber Monday, November 29.

I will also be announcing a small sale of signed print editions here on my website after my event this weekend, so stay tuned for that.

And now, a more serious word related to the concept of buying from local and independent creators…

As I’ve mentioned here before many times, the country is facing supply chain issues that stand to limit inventories in stores this holiday season, especially in small, independent book stores. And I’ve often flogged the importance of buying from indie artists and authors, regardless of the season, but especially during the holidays. Whenever I post such calls to action on social media, they get a lot of likes. Everyone seems to be behind it.

Then Christmas morning comes, and everyone is posting photos of the stuff they got at a big-box store or through Amazon.

The intent might be there, but the follow-through is reliably lacking. Folks talk a noble game but don’t take the next step and actually buy something from an independent creator. You can’t just talk the talk, folks, you have to walk the walk. Make this your year to follow through and support indie creators.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: In the editing phase. Tentatively set for a fall/winter 2021 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Nahant Public Library’s Indie Author Day – Nahant Public Library, Nahant, MA, Saturday, November 13, 4 – 6 PM.

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 – November 2, 2021

Nothing of significance to report this week, I’m afraid. My brain was too preoccupied with the family issues I mentioned last week. I’m hoping to shake off the fog on my day off tomorrow and get some good work done.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootTwins and Losses: In the editing phase. Tentatively set for a fall/winter 2021 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Nothing 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.