Weekly Update – October 4, 2022

Final edits and formatting on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day have begun! I started work on them yesterday at home, with some help by my newest assistant.

Everyone, meet Nadja, Mutt We Do In The Shadows.

As I mentioned several weeks back, my wife and I lost our bulldog Beatrix, who was part of our lives for almost 13 years. We honestly did not expect to want a new dog for a long while, but Veronica saw Nadja on Petfinder.com and fell in love.

Nadja and her five brothers — shar-pei/Doberman pinscher/Staffordshire bull terrier mixes — we born to a momma dog who was given up for adoption because her irresponsible owner never got her fixed and couldn’t handle the costs of caring for seven dogs.

Nadja was the most chill of all the puppies, and considering she’d be living in a home with four cats, we wanted a pup who wouldn’t be aggressive toward other pets. When we first brought her home Saturday she was absolutely terrified, but who could blame her? She’d just been fixed and now she was away from her littermates and mother. We expected she’d need a few days before she felt comfortable, but within two hours of being home, she was napping in our laps. She spent that night cuddling with us on the couch. The next morning, she was full of happy puppy energy and couldn’t wait to play with us.

Our home felt weirdly empty after we lost Beatrix. Nadja will never replace Beatrix and it’s not our desire to replace a truly once-in-a-lifetime dog, but our lives aren’t right if there’s not a dog in it, and Nadja is never going to lack for love.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Undergoing final edits. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 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 – September 27, 2022

This was going to be another “slow week, nothing to say” kind of post, but then I opened my inbox Sunday evening and found an edited manuscript waiting for me! Starting this week, I begin final edits and formatting on Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day!

I’ll also be waiting on cover art from Tricia, who, sadly, is going through one of those “Ah, the joys of being a homeowner” phases, so I’m going to remind folks that she sells a lot of her cover art, plus original pieces, on RedBubble, so jump over to the art store page for additional details, and then go support an indie artist in a time of need. Maybe get some holiday shopping out of the way?

Speaking of helping friends, my buddy Al Kholi — who, as I mentioned last week, recently released his debut novel, Blue Light, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords — pinged me for some advice regarding an invitation he received to participate in an upcoming authors expo. The expo seemed legit at first, but then Al mentioned a rather stiff price tag to get in and dropped the name of the company reaching out to him: ReadersMagnet.

Right now, there are indie authors reading this and cringing at the mere mention of the name.

ReadersMagnet promotes itself as a self-publishing service that also offers promotional services, which includes getting authors’ books into major shows and expos — for a fee, which, according to several firsthand accounts (like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one), is much higher than the fee if the author were to apply directly to the show in question.

Now, the company declares rather explicitly that it is NOT a scam — by which I mean, the website has a full page titled “ReadersMagnet is Not a Scam” that explains how non-scammy it is. Personally, I think if you have to put that much effort into telling people you’re legit, you almost certainly are not legit. That is generally a HUGE red flag, along with charging fees well above the going market rate for any service the company offers, grand promises that feel too good to be true, and dicey contract stipulations like requirements to purchase so many copies of your own book, claiming full rights to your work…

I’ve written about the differences between publishers, small presses, and vanity presses before, but if you ever need a more reputable source for determining whether anything you encounter is a scam, hit Writer Beware. They do an outstanding job of sniffing out the bad actors in the industry — and there are countless bad actors out there.

Always do your research before doing business with any company offering to work with you to promote your book, and don’t let your dreams of hitting it big overrule your gut instincts. If something smells off, you’re probably right.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 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 – September 20, 2022

I feel bad about so many empty posts, but that’s the nature of the writing beast: lots of something going on, followed by lots of nothing.

So this week, I’m going to give a longtime friend of mine a quick plug. Al Kholi, a very fine and hilariously funny gent I’ve known for 25+ years, recently released his debut novel, Blue Light, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. I’ve not had a chance to check it out myself, but don’t let that stop you from picking up a copy.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 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 – September 14, 2022

Sorry for missing the usual Tuesday post. I spent a long weekend in NY with my wife and her family so I wasn’t near my laptop until yesterday afternoon. Not that I have much to report. I’ve hashed out a good chunk of the plot for the next Strongarm & Lightfoot book, and I’m waiting for editor’s notes on the final Action Figures book, so same-old same-old.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

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

Alas, a slow week this week. I’m plugging away at the next Strongarm & Lightfoot book while I await editorial notes on the final Action Figures novel, and also while I rough-plot the first of the Action Figures sequel/spinoff books. The concept is already solidly in place and I know where the story is going, but it’s all about filling in the major blanks plotwise so I can stitch it all together when I’m ready to sit down and write it.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 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 – August 30, 2022

The 2023 convention season continues to develop. I’ve thrown my name in for consideration as a panelist for Boskone, which I’ve vended at several years but I’ve never sat on a panel there, and I’ve already confirmed my interest in returning to Arisia. Hopefully there will be no new plague spreading this winter to ruin things yet again.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Work has begun on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a 2022 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 – August 23, 2022

It’s still several months away, but Arisia 2023 is on the horizon! I received my notification that my spot in the dealers room from the 2022 event, which was cancelled at the last minute due to the Covid Omicron surge, has been rolled over to 2023, so that part is nailed down. Now it’s time to wait until I hear what panels I’ll be on.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

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

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 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 16, 2022

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Zero Day is with my editor Julie, as well as with my cover artist Tricia, who wanted to get an advanced look at the story for inspiration. Ideally everything will be ready to go by the fall.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women: Work on the audiobook edition has begun, with Bethany Boles returning as narrator.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft three is complete and the manuscript is with my editor. Scheduled for a mid-to-late 2022 release.

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

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 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