Weekly Update – January 30, 2023

I’m dropping the weekly blog post a day early to remind you that the Superhero Fiction Writers “first book in the series” promo begins today!

All these titles will be available for free on January 30, and you can go here to browse the titles and then jump to their respective retailer to get them.

You’ll notice that Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is on the list. If you’re already a fan, the sale day would be a great time to send a copy to someone as a gift. If you haven’t read it yourself, correct that horrible, terrible oversight now, and then you can get started on the series in advance of the final book, Zero Day, dropping later this year.

Even though the group sale is one day only, I am making Secret Origins free for the whole week! That’s five days in which to pick up the book for yourself or a fellow reader.

Speaking of Action Figures, work continues on the cover for book eleven, Zero Day. It’s taking more time because it’s going to be a double-sized wraparound cover to commemorate the double-sized finale of the series. And I am calling this a blessed venture, because my cover artist Tricia recently posted the WIP image you see on your right, and it received praise from no less than Randy Milholland, creator of the beloved webcomic Something Positive!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for an early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Untitled Seventh Book: First draft underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None scheduled

MISC.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – January 24, 2023

Starting this week on a positive and self-promotional note: the Superhero Fiction Writers group is planning a series of quarterly promotions for 2023, and the first of those launches next week with a “first book in the series” promo.

All these titles will be available for free on January 30, and you can go here to browse the titles and then jump to their respective retailer to get them.

You’ll notice that Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is on the list. If you’re already a fan, the sale day would be a great time to send a copy to someone as a gift. If you haven’t read it yourself, correct that horrible, terrible oversight now, and then you can get started on the series in advance of the final book, Zero Day, dropping later this year.

Even though the group sale is one day only, I am making Secret Origins free for the whole week! That’s five days in which to pick up the book for yourself or a fellow reader.

On a more sober note, if you were at Arisia last weekend, you may not have heard that (as of this writing) ten people who were at the event tested positive for Covid despite the show’s vaccination and mask mandates. In light of that news, I’m feeling more comfortable in my decision to take a pass on Boskone. I’m negative for Covid, thankfully, and I don’t feel like pressing my luck.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for an early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Untitled Seventh Book: First draft underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None scheduled

MISC.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – January 17, 2023

Arisia is behind me, and unfortunately, I mean that in a larger sense.

Event organizers warned us that attendance would be down this year as people were still squirrelly about attending large gatherings (especially if they were resistant to mask and vaccine mandates while attending). They were right and the foot traffic in the dealers room was not what it usually is, which meant sales were, to put it diplomatically, disappointing.

If this was a one-time occurrence I might be inclined to try and ride it out and return in 2024, but frankly, my ROI at Arisia has been falling for the last few years. Breaking even is acceptable, but doing the show at a loss several times, even a small loss, is simply not good business sense. I’ve always said that if you’re serious about making a go at writing professionally, you can’t take a loss at conventions just because they’re “fun to do.”

Now it’s time to take my own advice.

It’s not an easy decision because I do enjoy the show. I like the social aspect, I like talking shop with other writers, I love doing panels, but I don’t love paying that much in membership fees, dealer fees, parking, gas, and food to do it.

With that in mind, I have also decided to withdraw from Boskone next month. Boskone went ahead with the 2022 show despite the Omicron surge, and everything I heard from folks who were there was that it was a ghost town. I can’t imagine this year will be any better, especially in light of how thin Arisia was, so I’ve cancelled my appearance there too.

Will I ever return to either event? Can’t say. Maybe things will improve and I’ll be willing to give the shows another chance, but for the foreseeable future, I’m done with them and moving on to other adventures.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for an early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Untitled Seventh Book: First draft underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None scheduled

MISC.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a 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 – January 10, 2023

It’s the final countdown to Arisia!

My first author appearance since 2019 is this weekend, and you’ll find me in the dealers room from Friday evening through early Monday afternoon, as well as on the Crafting Memorable Villains panel at 11:30 AM Saturday, and the Mushy Middle: Conquering the Midpoint Swamp panel at 4 PM that same day.

It’s not too late to register, BTW, but do know that the event has strict vaccination and masking requirements.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for an early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Untitled Seventh Book: First draft underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.
  • Boskone 2023: February 17 – 19, 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 – January 3, 2023

Happy New Year, everyone!

Keep your fingers crossed and hope that the pandemic doesn’t ramp up again to spoil the start-of-year convention season here in Massachusetts. Arisia is back after two years of inactivity, and Boskone is having its second rebuilding year (it went up in 2022 but was a shell of its usual self), and I’m happy to say I’ll be at both, masked and vaccinated and ready to talk shop on a handful of panels.

My Arisia schedule, frankly, is a bit disappointing. I’d suggested two panels, put in for six, and was seated on two — neither of which are the writing fight scenes panel, which was initially seated with other people before being struck from the schedule entirely for reasons unknown. Anyway, you’ll be able to see me on the Crafting Memorable Villains panel at 11:30 AM Saturday, and the Mushy Middle: Conquering the Midpoint Swamp panel at 4 PM that same day. I’ll also be in the dealers room all weekend.

At Boskone, I’ll not only be sitting on panels for the first time, I’ll be moderating both of them! On Saturday at 5:30 PM, I’ll be leading the Writing Fight and Combat Scenes panel (yay!), and Sunday at 10 AM I’ll be moderating the Writing Realistic Teenagers panel. Still waiting to hear whether I’ll be in the dealers room but I expect to be there. I was accepted in 2022 but the Omicron surge led me to bow out, and I was told my space would be rolled over to this year.

I’m also waiting for an official word on a different project that, if it’s given the green light, will kick off the weekend after Arisia. All I’ll say for now is, if you’re an actor in the Central Massachusetts area, you’ll want to hear about it.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for a late 2022/early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2023 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2023: January 13 – 16, Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.
  • Boskone 2023: February 17 – 19, 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 – December 20, 2022

The holidays are well and truly upon us, so this will be the last regular blog post until the New Year. If something major comes up I’ll post about it, otherwise, see you all in 2023!

The only noteworthy thing to mention today is that I’ve taken further steps to wean myself off of Twitter, which Elongated Muskrat continues to burn to the ground. The Hive Social recently returned after conducting some much-needed upgrades, so you can find me there at @ronsonbeck in addition to my other social media outlets, my website, and my newsletter.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for a late 2022/early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2023 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 – December 13, 2022

Some good news for those of you waiting for Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day! The screenshots of the cover art in progress have started coming in, and in the past, once those start popping up in my messenger window, the finished product will materialize pretty quickly. Still not sure if it’ll all be ready before the end of the year, what with the holidays throwing everything off, but we’ll see.

In other productivity news, I had a staycation last week, which meant lots of writing time, and that resulted in a first draft of the next Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot book hitting the halfway mark. I’m going to aim for a mid-2023 release on this one.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Awaiting cover art. Scheduled for a late 2022/early 2023 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2023 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 – December 6, 2022

With the year winding down, my focus continues to be on the start of next year, specifically the return of my Boston shows, Arisia and Boskone. I’ve already been accepted as a vendor at the former event, and I’ve been invited to participate on panels at both, so they’re shaping up nicely in those regards.

Whether either proves to be a financially successful show, however, is a big question mark. A recent update from Arisia predicted that attendance will be about 60 percent of what it was at the last show in 2020, partly due to lingering concerns among patrons about attending a large group event while Covid is still a factor, partly due to the event’s Covid policy, which requires proof of vaccination.

I’m frankly fine with the unvaccinated not being there, and I understand some people are still hesitant to be in large public groups, so I’m hoping to at least cover costs but I’m bracing to leave both shows in the red. It might take a while before either event is back to full power. We’ll see.

WRITING PROJECTS

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 2023 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.