Weekly Update – January 16, 2018

Arisia 2018 is a wrap!

I had what was, financially, my best show ever. This is not to say I am rolling in money, but the weekend was profitable — which can be a big deal to an indie author. These shows are not cheap to do and it’s easy to lose money — which is what happened in previous years — so it’s nice to be able to go home even a little in the black.

But the best part may be yet to come. I’m currently chatting with someone who is interested in having me work on a project for her small company, and the concept I’ve been pitched is intriguing. We’ll see where that goes, but I’m feeling hopeful.

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I managed to sneak in a little bit of work during my busy week, but I’m mostly hashing out some plot issues for a while.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book four: First draft in progress. Got some work in on this last week, and I’ll pop back to jot down stuff as it comes to me.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Edited and formatted, waiting on cover art.

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Third draft written.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins (audiobook): Review completed, final editing in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

For a variety of reasons, some voluntary and some out of my control, I am going to be passing on Boskone this year. I don’t have any other shows on the horizon quite yet, but I’m on the lookout.

MISC.

I’m taking part in a month-long cross-promotion with several other superhero fiction authors, and until January 31 you can grab Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins along with 32 other titles for free!

It’s the final countdown for the New England Speculative Writers group’s open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. The deadline for submission is January 31, so get cracking! Go here to get the full details.

Finally, 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.

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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.

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 (spring 2018) – 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 threat known as the Black End.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage (spring 2019)

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to ten books but might run one or two books longer. In any event, it will come to a firm end at some point and not run on indefinitely.

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 9, 2018

It’s Arisia prep time, but you can read all about that down in the Appearances and Events section.

Today I’m going to give you a peek at the behind-the-scenes work on my March 31 photo shoot for Well Behaved Women. It’s a rather ambitious project that requires me to assemble six full costumes, complete with the appropriate props, for three models.

Last week I purchased all the things I needed for Jen MacPherson, the woman who will be modeling for the main character, Sgt. Rose Booker of the Worcester Police Department. This was probably the most demanding outfit to assemble since it has to look reasonably like an actual WPD uniform.

I have to give a big shout-out to Trippi’s Uniforms of Shrewsbury, which helped me acquire the appropriate uniform shirt and hat, and a few key finishing touches, such as the little WPD pins on the collar. A bonus thank-you to the unnamed cop at the counter who pointed out a critical detail, that ranked officers (sergeants and higher) have gold-toned uniform accents, not silver-toned. I never would have guessed that on my own.

I had to poke around the Internet for some of the other finishing touches, such as the badges for the shirt and hat. You can’t buy authentic badges without a police administrator’s permission, I learned, so I had to search around for replicas that looked authentic-ish and accept that these specific details wouldn’t be perfect matches — although I suspect that only actual WPD officers would notice.

My wife will be putting her embroidery machine to use to duplicate the other unobtainable element, the official uniform patch. Add to that the non-firing prop handgun I found on Etsy — most places will not ship realistic firearm replicas to Massachusetts — and I should have a pretty damn good-looking WPD uniform.

As for the other models’ costumes, I’m not going to tell you who the characters are in the interest of preserving the mystery for a while longer, but here’s a photo of one of the other costumes. Any guesses who it is?

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I indulged in a great three-day writing weekend and I got a LOT done. Having the cover shoot coming up is giving me some great motivation to finish this series up.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book four: First draft in progress.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Edited and formatted, waiting on cover art.

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Third draft written.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins (audiobook): Review completed, final editing in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • THIS WEEKEND! Friday, January 12 through Monday, January 15, 2018: Arisia 2018 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I’ll be back selling books and speaking on three panels: We Got Movie Sign! Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in Burroughs, Saturday, 10:00 PM); Stage Presentation: A Minute or Less to Impress (in Faneuil, Sunday, 11:30 AM); and Fight Science for Writers — Hands-On Demos (in Otis, Sunday, 4 PM).
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

I’m taking part in a month-long cross-promotion with several other superhero fiction authors, and until January 31 you can grab Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins along with 32 other titles for free!

It’s the final countdown for the New England Speculative Writers group’s open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. The deadline for submission is January 31, so get cracking! Go here to get the full details.

Finally, 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 2, 2018

Happy New Year, everyone!

Things are off to a brisk start here. After taking a year off, the Worcester Writers Collaborative resumed its annual tradition of getting together for New Year’s Day dinner and drinks and shop talk, I finished getting the e-book versions of all my novels up on both Barnes & Noble and Kobo, I finished editing and formatting Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War, and I have secured my new tablemate for Arisia. More on them next week.

 

In other news, I am taking part in a month-long cross-promotion with several other superhero fiction authors, and until January 31 you can grab Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins along with 32 other titles for free!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: With the day job on hiatus for a while, I was able to plug away and finally get some good work done. I’m creeping up on the 30,000 work mark and hope to keep up the momentum despite a busy January.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book four: First draft in progress.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Edited and formatted, waiting on cover art.

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Third draft written.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins (audiobook): Review completed, final editing in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • UPDATED! Friday, January 12 through Monday, January 15, 2018: Arisia 2018 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I’ll be back selling books and speaking on three panels: We Got Movie Sign! Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in Burroughs, Saturday, 10:00 PM); Stage Presentation: A Minute or Less to Impress (in Faneuil, Sunday, 11:30 AM); and Fight Science for Writers — Hands-On Demos (in Otis, Sunday, 4 PM).
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

It’s the final countdown for the New England Speculative Writers group’s open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. The deadline for submission is January 31, so get cracking! Go here to get the full details.

Finally, 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 19, 2017

It’s taken a while, but all of my books are now available for the Nook via Barnes & Noble.

This concludes phase one of my winter project to make my catalog available through non-Amazon sellers. I have identified a few other outlets and I’ll be working to tap those markets as well, since the Kindle Select program has lost its financial luster in a big way over the past year.

I realize that for a lot of you all this is no big whoop, but I encounter a fair number of people who, for reasons ranging from totally legitimate to completely ridiculous, hate Amazon and refuse to buy anything from them, so it’s in my best interests to diversify retailers.

On another important note, this will be my last blog post for the year. I’m going to take a couple weeks off from the grind of shameless self-promotion and enjoy my holidays. Crazy, huh? My regular auto-posts are still lined up but the weekly update will be on hiatus until January 2018.

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I’m optimistic that I am past the continual mental blocks I encountered in writing the first act of book two and things will flow a little more freely from here on out. In the meantime, I continue to prepare for the cover photo shoot scheduled for March. I have three excellent models lined up, along with my photographer, cover artist, and costumer, so it’s just a matter of gathering the costume and prop pieces I’ll need.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book four: First draft in progress.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: I got my edits back over the weekend, so I am spending tomorrow working on the final draft and formatting. I’m on-track for a late February release!

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Third draft written.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins (audiobook): Review completed, final editing in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • Friday, January 12 through Monday, January 15, 2018: Arisia 2018 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I’ll be back selling books and speaking on three panels: We Got Movie Sign! Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Saturday, 10:30 PM); Stage Presentation: A Minute or Less to Impress (Sunday, 11:30 AM); and Fight Science for Writers — Hands-On Demos (Sunday, 4 PM).
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

First, a reminder that the New England Speculative Writers group is still holding its open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. The deadline for submission is January 31, 2018. Go here to get the full details.

Finally, 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 12, 2017

Details for Arisia 2018 keep popping up on the official event website, and it’s shoving any holiday spirit I have right out the door and filling me with Arisia spirit.

Arisia recently posted a list of the folks who will be in the dealers’ room with me, and the list so far includes the talented women of Broad Universe, the always awesome Auntie Arwen’s Spices, the geeky jewelry and accessories of Emporium 32, and Tea and Absinthe, which has a lot of great teas but no actual absinthe.

I’m also finalizing plans with the folks who will be sharing my table space in the dealers’ room, so look for an announcement there very soon!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: Made it to the one-quarter point in the story last week. Things continue to take shape slowly. In the meantime, I’m nailing down the details for the cover photo shoot, and I hope to have everything set by the end of the year.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book four: First draft in progress.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Fourth draft finished, in the editing process.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Third draft written.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins (audiobook): Review completed, final editing in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • Friday, January 12 through Monday, January 15, 2018: Arisia at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I’ll be back selling books and speaking on three panels: We Got Movie Sign! Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Saturday, 10:30 PM); Stage Presentation: A Minute or Less to Impress (Sunday, 11:30 AM); and Fight Science for Writers — Hands-On Demos (Sunday, 4 PM).
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

First, a reminder that the New England Speculative Writers group is still holding its open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. The deadline for submission is January 31, 2018. Go here to get the full details.

Finally, 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.

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 (spring 2018)

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage (spring 2019)

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to ten books but might run one or two books longer. In any event, it will come to a firm end at some point and not run on indefinitely.

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