Weekly Update – September 22, 2020

Because it was a bit of a hard week last week — namely due to long hours at work leave my wife at home alone while she recovers from foot surgery — I’m going to open on an ego-boosting note.

Fellow author Michael Kingswood sent me this email, which totally made my day:
I found your Adventures of Strongarm and Lightfoot books recently through a deal that Audible put on. Took me a while to get through the other books I was listening to, but finally this week I’ve been listening to Scratching A Lich.
And…dude. That’s awesome!
Hats off to you for penning a super fun story, brother. Loved it. Very much looking forward to the rest of them.
Well played, sir!

Much of the credit of course belongs to my narrator Heather, who made the books come to life in audio.

Next, I’d like to remind everyone that I am running a sale on print books purchased directly from me while supplies last. You can visit the pinned post on this website for full details, but basically, if you buy print copies of any book from me directly, you’re getting a freebie — a copy of Cheap Thrills Digest if you buy one novel, and a copy of any full-length novel of your choosing if you buy two or more. And of course, they’re all signed!

Finally, on another good note, submissions for Faire Times have begun trickling in, and one of them was very promising — which in turn gives me hope we’ll see a lot more strong entries come in in the coming weeks.

If you’re thinking of submitting a story but need some motivation, you can join the new Facebook group for Anthology Writing Fortnight (AnthoWriFo). Think of it as National Novel Writing Month in miniature.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Second draft is finished and with beta readers! Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One – Stepping Up: The omnibus is fully edited and formatted, and is now awaiting cover art!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a fall/winter 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five is finished!

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.

Weekly Update – September 15, 2020

Last week marked a sad moment for me, personally and professionally, when Renaissance Magazine announced that it was ceasing publication after almost 24 years.

The magazine, geared toward renaissance faire enthusiasts and European history buffs, ended due to financial difficulties so severe it told subscribers they wouldn’t be receiving refunds. It came close to folding a few years back but managed to hold on a little while longer, only to become 2020’s latest victim.

This one stung because my first professional writing credit was for Renaissance Magazine — an article about King Richard’s Faire “apprentice program,” which trained people to fill the faire’s street cast. I wrote a piece on the program, of which I was a part, and that was rolled into a related article, an interview with the program’s directors — my friends, David and Paul Stickney.

(Adding insult to injury here, David passed away earlier this year, and Paul passed last year.)

I’d write for the magazine a few more times over the years, but that first article was my “big break,” because within weeks of selling it, I landed my reporter job — and my article was one of my writing samples.

The rest, as they say, is history.

On another quick note, I’d like to remind everyone that I am running a sale on print books purchased directly from me while supplies last. You can visit the pinned post on this website for full details, but basically, if you buy print copies of any book from me directly, you’re getting a freebie — a copy of Cheap Thrills Digest if you buy one novel, and a copy of any full-length novel of your choosing if you buy two or more. And of course, they’re all signed!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Second draft is underway! Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One – Stepping Up: The omnibus is fully edited and formatted, and is now awaiting cover art!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five is finished! Time to let this sit so I can focus on anthology stuff for a while. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 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.

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 – 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.

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to elven 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 – September 8, 2020

In case you missed the announcement on social media, I’m holding a special sale on print copies of my books through…whenever I run out of inventory, I guess.

You can visit the pinned post on this website for full details, but basically, if you buy print copies of any book from me directly, you’re getting a freebie — a copy of Cheap Thrills Digest if you buy one novel, and a copy of any full-length novel of your choosing if you buy two or more. And of course, they’re all signed!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Second draft is underway! Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One – Stepping Up: The omnibus is fully edited and formatted, and is now awaiting cover art!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five is finished! Time to let this sit so I can focus on anthology stuff for a while. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 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.

Weekly Update – September 1, 2020

The Call for Submissions for Faire Times – A Fantasy Anthology to Benefit RESCU, is officially open!

The page has had about 200 hits since it went up, so my co-curator Lyndsey Luther and I are braced for a jam-packed inbox any day now. If you’re among the authors who plan to submit a story, we look forward to reading your work! If not, we hope that you’ll support the project when it moves on to the fundraising stage early in 2021.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: In the final editing and formatting phase, awaiting cover art.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five is finished! Time to let this sit so I can focus on anthology stuff for a while. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 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.

Weekly Update – August 25, 2020

The most important thing to tell you this week is this: we have a new cat!

Ingrid joined the family over the weekend and is settling in nicely. The other fuzzies still aren’t quite sure what to make of her, but she was immediately comfortable around me and my wife, which we consider a strong start. Her previous owner fell ill and could no longer take care of Ingrid, who was then surrendered to a kill shelter in New York. Fortunately, Paws 4 Life Animal Rescue of Bolton, CT got her out. My wife chanced across Ingrid on Petfinder, and the rest is history.

On a more writerly note, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about my fantasy anthology project. The Call for Submissions page has had more than 150 views since it went live, so even if a quarter of those visitors actually submit something, my co-curator Lyndsey Luther and I will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: In the final editing and formatting phase, awaiting cover art.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five is almost finished! Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, September, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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 – August 18, 2020

A couple of cool things to talk about this week…

First, a couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by Franklin Kendrick for superhero-fiction.com’s “Behind the Mask” podcast, and that’s up now. Listen to it for free, if you can stand the sound of my voice for an hour (I know I can’t).

Second — and granted, this is likely of more limited interest — I’m pulling the trigger on a new project, but not as a writer this time. I am working to put together an anthology of fantasy stories to benefit the RESCU Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to those who work within the renaissance faire community. If you’d like to learn more, and maybe even submit something, click the tab at the top of the page for the full details.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: In the final editing and formatting phase, awaiting cover art.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 20, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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.

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.

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to elven 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 – August 11, 2020

Summertime and the pandemic slow progress on this project a little, but we’re finally entering the final stages of publishing the Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One!

This is a collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — that features new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges, author of the James Madison series and an Action Figures super-fan.

The omnibus will be available only in Kindle format through Amazon, and hey, I’m just going to point out that the holidays will be upon us before you know it, so this might be a great gift for someone. Hint, nudge.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: In the final editing and formatting phase, awaiting cover art.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 20, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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 – August 4, 2020

I wish I had some good news to report regarding the audiobook version of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glorybut unfortunately, ACX continues to be a pain.

When an author submits a project to ACX, it undergoes an audio quality review that is supposed to take up to ten business days. The review for Blades of Glory began on May 11 and ended last week when it was rejected because, somewhere within the audio, there was not at least five seconds of silence following the end of the narration for one or more chapters.

That’s how picky they are.

My narrator Heather fixed the problem that same day and the audibook has been resubmitted, along with a request to expedite the process so I’m not waiting another two and a half months for the thing to clear. Fingers crossed.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 6, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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.