Weekly Update – February 12, 2019

Release week for The Final Summons got off to a solid start when the New England Speculative Writers anthology hit number one on Kobo’s best-seller list for fiction and literature anthologies. Woo-hoo!

To keep up the post-release momentum, I’m spotlighting other books by my fellow contributors you might be interested in. Go check them out!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Book eight is fully edited and formatted, so now it just needs its cover art!

Well-Behaved Women: The current drafts of books two and three are done. Book two is ready for my editor and book three is ready for test-reading.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich: Still waiting. ARGH!

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

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

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Boskone 2019 – February 15 – 17, Westin Waterfront Hotel, Boston. It took forever to nail this down, but I’m in! Come visit me in the dealers room this weekend!

MISC.

The New England Speculative Writers group is preparing a NEW preview book for newsletter subscribers! It should be ready later this week, so I’ll provide an updated signup link when it’s good to go.

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 – 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 (spring 2019) – 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?

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 – February 5, 2019

The Final Summons is here!

This project has been close to two years in the making, but now the anthology from the New England Speculative Writers is here, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes in softcover, hardcover, and e-book formats.

Thanks to everyone who supported this project during its Kickstarter phase, and to everyone who pre-ordered their copy. And please remember to leave a review on your favorite retail site and/or Goodreads to help spread the word!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Book eight is fully edited! Now comes the tedious work of formatting it for print and e-book, and then it’s just a matter of waiting for the cover art.

Well-Behaved Women: The current drafts of books two and three are done. Book two is ready for my editor and book three is ready for test-reading.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich: ACX is taking its time on the final processing, but the audiobook should be ready any day now.

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

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

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

Nothing currently scheduled, but I have a couple of things in the works I hope to announce soon.

MISC.

The New England Speculative Writers group if offering not one but two free books to new newsletter subscribers. Simply click on this link and sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll receive e-book versions of the two collections pictured here, featuring novel samples from NESW members. The fantasy collection includes the first two chapters of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich.

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 29, 2019

It’s the final countdown for The Final Summons!

You have until February 4 to pre-order your copy now and then go to TheFinalSummons.com to collect your free swag, including laptop wallpapers and a collection of short stories by the New England Speculative Writers group.

The price of the e-book version will be going up after release day, so if you want to get it for 99 cents, do it now!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: I got my edits back from Julie over the weekend, so this week will be spent working on a final draft and formatting. And then I just need my cover art and I’m good to go!

Well-Behaved Women: The current drafts of books two and three are done. Book two is ready for my editor and book three is ready for test-reading.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich: The audiobook is done and in final processing! It should be available by the end of the month!

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

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

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

Nothing currently scheduled, but I have a couple of things in the works I hope to announce soon.

MISC.

The New England Speculative Writers group if offering not one but two free books to new newsletter subscribers. Simply click on this link and sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll receive e-book versions of the two collections pictured here, featuring novel samples from NESW members. The fantasy collection includes the first two chapters of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich.

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 22, 2019

Arisia happened this past weekend, and as always I met lots of cool people and the panels were a blast. Sales, however…

Doing these shows is always a crap shoot. I know from helping out my wife back when she vended cons, you can do a great at a given show every year and suddenly, boom, bad sales year — for reasons you can almost never really pin down, so you don’t even know what to fix.

Had there not been so many extenuating circumstances that significantly increased my costs — namely not having a table partner to split the vending costs and moving to Boston Park Plaza, which was MUCH more expensive to park at — it still wouldn’t have been a fantastic show, but the financial hit I took would have been much smaller.

But I’m not here to complain. I post things like this to provide a glimpse into the world of life as a professional writer, which isn’t always as sunny as some indie authors make it sound. It’s work, and sometimes that work doesn’t always pay off as hoped, but all you can do is learn, adapt, and forge ahead.

WRITING PROJECTS

Well-Behaved Women: The current drafts of books two and three are done. Book two is ready for my editor and book three is ready for test-reading.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich: The audiobook is done and in final processing! It should be available by the end of the month!

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

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Final draft in process. Tentatively scheduled for a February/March 2019 release.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

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

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

Nothing currently scheduled, but I have a couple of things in the works I hope to announce soon.

MISC.

The Final Summons is two weeks away! Pre-order your copy now and then go to TheFinalSummons.com to collect your free swag, including laptop wallpapers and a collection of short stories by the New England Speculative Writers group.

The New England Speculative Writers group if offering not one but two free books to new newsletter subscribers. Simply click on this link and sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll receive e-book versions of the two collections pictured here, featuring novel samples from NESW members. The fantasy collection includes the first two chapters of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich.

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 15, 2019

My first show of the year is in the books, so to speak. Imagine Books & Brews was happily profitable, which is always nice. And now, onto Arisia 2019!

Now, for any aspiring or working audiobook narrators out there, the New England Speculative Writers is auditioning narrators for The Final Summons now on ACX. Head on over and let us hear what you’ve got!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well-Behaved Women: The current drafts of books two and three are done. Book two is ready for my editor and book three is ready for test-reading.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich: The audiobook is done and in final processing! It should be available by the end of the month!

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

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Final draft in process. Tentatively scheduled for a February/March 2019 release.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

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

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • THIS WEEK! Arisia 2019 – Boston Park Plaza, Boston, MA, January 18 – 21. My panel schedule is as follows:
    • Over-the-Counter Culture: Kevin Smith and Clerks – Whittier, Friday, 5:30 PM: Twenty-five years ago, the no-budget B&W indie comedy Clerks was released theatrically and immediately catapulted writer/director Kevin Smith to the pantheon of Gen X icons. Hailed as an important new voice, Smith spent the next quarter century building and catering to a rabid fanbase. He’s still held up by the media as a nerd king, but some look at him today and see wasted potential. We’ll revisit the man and his work, figuring out why Clerks in particular inspired so many.
    • Creating Cover Art – Cabot, Saturday, 2:30 PM: We’re all told not to judge a book by its cover, but in reality, a cover’s artwork plays an important role in attracting new readers. Learn what goes into the design of these covers, including how artists are chosen and what they are given to work with so that they can design artwork that attracts interest, even though it is partially obscured.
    • Writing Fights That Matter – Newbury, Sunday, 1 PM: Fight scenes take many forms in speculative fiction–space battles with improbable physics, wizard duels, and your classic bar scene dust-up, but at heart, a fight is an argument fought without words. This panel will focus on convincing readers that no matter what form your battle takes, the stakes are clear, enormous, and compelling. How can a writer make every fight not just plausible, but memorable?
    • The Best Villains: Creating Satisfying Baddies – Cabot, Sunday, 8:30 PM: Abhor Sauron? Loathe Joffrey? Detest Fred? Speculative literature is filled with antagonists, villains, and scoundrels. How do writers create villains with understandable motivations without romanticizing their terrible deeds? Panelists will use examples from literature to discuss the techniques and challenges of writing memorable evil-doers.
    • Bad Movie Night – Cambridge, Sunday, 10 PM: Sometimes the most fun you can have with a movie is to laugh at it. It’s a longstanding tradition for many to spend a long evening enjoying the work of such production companies as Troma, Full Moon, and The Asylum. Online commentators like Allison Pregler and the folks at RedLetterMedia have made careers out of celebrating the experience of picking apart (while still being entertained by) substandard films. We’ll talk about our favorites, and what makes a movie ideal for this sort of treatment?

MISC.

The Final Summons is on pre-sale now through all major book retailers! Get your copy now and then go to TheFinalSummons.com to collect your free swag, including laptop wallpapers and a collection of short stories by the New England Speculative Writers group. You have a little over a month left to act before The Final Summons is released!

The New England Speculative Writers group if offering not one but two free books to new newsletter subscribers. Simply click on this link and sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll receive e-book versions of the two collections pictured here, featuring novel samples from NESW members. The fantasy collection includes the first two chapters of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich.

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 8, 2019

My first show of the year is this week!

If you’re in the Manchester, CT area — it’s in the Hartford area — come by the Army & Navy Club at 1090 Main St. between 6 and 9 PM to say hello, buy some books, and have your copy of Well-Behaved Women – Awakening signed by me and Jen MacPherson, who appears on the front and back covers!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well-Behaved Women: The current drafts of books two and three are done. Book two is ready for my editor and book three is ready for test-reading.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich: Audiobook in production.

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

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Final draft in process. Tentatively scheduled for a February/March 2019 release.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

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

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • THIS WEEK! Imagine Books and Brews – An Imagine Main Street Manchester Event – Multiple locations, Manchester, CT, January 10, beginning at 6 PM. The evening includes a writing workshop, bookmaking class, and vintage book display.
  • Arisia 2019 – Boston Park Plaza, Boston, MA, January 18 – 21. My panel schedule is as follows:
    • Over-the-Counter Culture: Kevin Smith and Clerks – Whittier, Friday, 5:30 PM: Twenty-five years ago, the no-budget B&W indie comedy Clerks was released theatrically and immediately catapulted writer/director Kevin Smith to the pantheon of Gen X icons. Hailed as an important new voice, Smith spent the next quarter century building and catering to a rabid fanbase. He’s still held up by the media as a nerd king, but some look at him today and see wasted potential. We’ll revisit the man and his work, figuring out why Clerks in particular inspired so many.
    • Creating Cover Art – Cabot, Saturday, 2:30 PM: We’re all told not to judge a book by its cover, but in reality, a cover’s artwork plays an important role in attracting new readers. Learn what goes into the design of these covers, including how artists are chosen and what they are given to work with so that they can design artwork that attracts interest, even though it is partially obscured.
    • Writing Fights That Matter – Newbury, Sunday, 1 PM: Fight scenes take many forms in speculative fiction–space battles with improbable physics, wizard duels, and your classic bar scene dust-up, but at heart, a fight is an argument fought without words. This panel will focus on convincing readers that no matter what form your battle takes, the stakes are clear, enormous, and compelling. How can a writer make every fight not just plausible, but memorable?
    • The Best Villains: Creating Satisfying Baddies – Cabot, Sunday, 8:30 PM: Abhor Sauron? Loathe Joffrey? Detest Fred? Speculative literature is filled with antagonists, villains, and scoundrels. How do writers create villains with understandable motivations without romanticizing their terrible deeds? Panelists will use examples from literature to discuss the techniques and challenges of writing memorable evil-doers.
    • Bad Movie Night – Cambridge, Sunday, 10 PM: Sometimes the most fun you can have with a movie is to laugh at it. It’s a longstanding tradition for many to spend a long evening enjoying the work of such production companies as Troma, Full Moon, and The Asylum. Online commentators like Allison Pregler and the folks at RedLetterMedia have made careers out of celebrating the experience of picking apart (while still being entertained by) substandard films. We’ll talk about our favorites, and what makes a movie ideal for this sort of treatment?

MISC.

The Final Summons is on pre-sale now through all major book retailers! Get your copy now and then go to TheFinalSummons.com to collect your free swag, including laptop wallpapers and a collection of short stories by the New England Speculative Writers group. You have a little over a month left to act before The Final Summons is released!

The New England Speculative Writers group if offering not one but two free books to new newsletter subscribers. Simply click on this link and sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll receive e-book versions of the two collections pictured here, featuring novel samples from NESW members. The fantasy collection includes the first two chapters of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich.

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.