Well-Behaved Women – Awakening — Now Available!

Cover reveal time! Behold, the front and back covers for Well-Behaved Women – Awakening!

Cover design copyright 2018 Patricia Lupien. Photographs copyright 2018 Lauren Dubois.

That of course means the book is now available! It’s already up on Amazon and will be going up on Barnes & Noble and Kobo soon.

Now, let me tell you the story about how this cover came together.

I came up with a concept back in December 2017, inspired by the triptych covers from DC’s Trinity series.

Copyright DC. Art by Jim Lee.

Yeah, I wanted something cool like that. And my idea was to feature the three main characters — Rose, Julie, and Anne — in their modern and original incarnations (that will make sense once you read the book). This is what I sketched out as a concept rough:

Copyright and art (reluctantly) 2018 Michael Bailey.

I recruited models Jen MacPherson, Kateri Chambers, and Renee Sutherland to be my Rose, Julie, and Anne respectively, and we did a daylong photo shoot at my place (briefly documented here).

Tricia Lupien, my crack cover artist, took those photos and got to work.

This is when the first in a series of happy accidents began.

The first thing Tricia produced was a series of cameo-style graphics — the character’s profiles in silhouette — she’d originally intended to put on the spines somewhere. I took those and started toying around with some promotional graphic concepts, and came up with this series of images:

I had no idea how useful these would become.

Meanwhile, Tricia forged ahead with the covers and came up with this, which employed my color scheme and cameo:

Artwork copyright 2018 Patricia Lupien.

My original concept would have had Rose in her original incarnation, rendered as a painting or illustration, behind modern Rose. Tricia got as far as actually creating that version (at right) when she decided that the entire concept wasn’t working — and I had to agree. It all sounded fantastic on paper, but once we got into the actual creation process, we realized its flaws and made the tough decision to start over almost completely.

Almost.

Thanks to my experimentation with promo graphics, we actually had a promising basis for a totally new concept, so Tricia springboarded off of that, and within a day or two she had the brand-new and MUCH more awesome cover you saw at the top of this post.

Addendum: we love the illustrated version of Rose and don’t want her to go to waste, so she’ll be popping up on some promo materials down the road.

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Worcester (pronounced like the name of Hugh Laurie’s dim-witted socialite) with my awesomely talented wife Veronica, who runs a business called Storied Threads.

After 15 years with the Falmouth Enterprise, where I worked as a general and political reporter, blogger, and editor, I left the news industry to focus on my creative writing.

In addition to my novels (more on that in a minute) I’m a freelance writer, and I’ve produced scripts for Pastimes Entertainment of Revere, MA and the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

What Do I Write?

Action Figures is a YA superhero adventure series featuring a team of young superhumans who set out to make a name for themselves in the superhero world and quickly find themselves in over their heads. Fun, full of humor and action, populated with likable characters (including some of the villains), and suitable for teen readers and adults who still love superheroes. Oh, and no love triangles. Ever. The first book, Secret Origins, reached the #1 spot on two Amazon best-seller lists.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot is my response to all the overly serious fantasy novels out there that have forgotten how to have fun. The series follows two hard-luck adventurers for hire with a knack for biting off more than they can chew and their friends as they explore ancient ruins, fight deadly monsters, go on epic prophecy-driven quests for artifacts of great power hidden in highly inconvenient locations, and cross a lot of rickety rope bridges along the way. The first book, Scratching a Lich, received a gold medal for fantasy fiction from BellaOnline, a resource for women in writing, which also recognizes feminist writers and their work.

Cheap Thrills Digest is a short story collection featuring introductions to my two series, plus an original novelette-length horror story, Lost Souls, which is exclusive to CTD. If you’re curious about my writing, you can grab this for just $6 in print or 99 cents in e-book format.

Well Behaved Women is a planned urban fantasy trilogy now in the early stages. Book one is tentatively scheduled for a 2018 release.

What Will I See Here?

I post weekly updates that include progress reports on various projects, cover art reveals, new release announcements, a schedule of appearances and book-signings, the occasion essay on writing, and whatever random bits and pieces capture my attention.

Where Can You Find Me Online?

Official website

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

Instagram

Goodreads

Google +

LinkedIn

And don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter!

Weekly Update – November 28, 2017

All right, Nook owners, time to head on over to Barnes & Noble’s website and start spending!

The entire Action Figures series and Cheap Thrills Digest are now available on B&N, and December 9 is when the Nook editions of the entire Strongarm & Lightfoot series will drop.

Why December 10? Because the first book, Scratching a Lich, is still in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. December 9 is its last day of enrollment so I have to wait for that to expire to avoid getting in trouble with Amazon.

I’ll continue to add all my books to other platforms in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: Chipping away at the first draft of book two.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book four: First draft in progress. I’m jumping back and forth between this and WBW as the mood strikes me.

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

  • UPDATED! Friday, January 12 through Monday, January 15, 2018: Arisia at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I’ll be back selling books and, hopefully, speaking on several panels — detailed below!
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

All right, folks, here’s where you’ll find me at Arisia in January…

We Got Movie Sign! Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Saturday, 10:30 PM)

After a Kickstarter campaign that wound up becoming the most successful media-related effort in its history, Joel Hodgson brought his creation back to an audience starved for the opportunity to see puppets snark at bad movies. With new host Jonah Ray, the return of MST3K was an immediate success story for Netflix and precipitated a live tour. Join the discussion as we go over the new episodes, argue about the new cast, and speculate what a twelfth season might bring!

Stage Presentation: A Minute or Less to Impress (Sunday, 11:30 AM)

A minute can seem so short when trying to put together a masquerade presentation, but it can feel like an eternity on stage. How do you use the time allowed to both entertain the audience and wow the judges? Can it be done in less than 30 seconds?

Fight Science for Writers — Hands-On Demos (Sunday, 4 PM)

Have you ever wondered how your fight scene would look acted out in real life? Here’s your chance to play with some toy soldiers, see your fight scene acted out with authentic weapons, and listen to our panel of martial artists and authors SHOW you what works vs. doesn’t work in your or other writer’s fiction. Submit your 800 word fight scene to fights@arisia.org for a chance to have your scene incorporated into the discussion, or just come watch.

Next, 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. 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 – November 21, 2017

This week! The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich will be available for the Kindle for 99 cents from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. I expect this will be the last time the e-book version will be on sale through Amazon (read this if you don’t already know why).

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: Chipping away at the first draft of book two.

The Going Rate for Penance: The final draft is finished and is now in the hands of the editors of the upcoming New England Speculative Writers anthology, so now it’s time to stay busy with other projects so I’m not constantly checking e-mail for (hopefully) an acceptance letter.

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, hopefully, speaking on several panels.
  • 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 holding an open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. 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 – November 14, 2017

The process of bringing my e-books to the Nook continues. The first two Action Figures novels, Secret Origins and Black Magic Women are now available at Barnes & Noble. I hope to have the entire series available by Black Friday.

Speaking of which, The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich will be available for the Kindle for 99 cents from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. I expect this will be the last time the e-book version will be on sale through Amazon (read this if you don’t already know why).

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: Time to get back to work on this. It’s sat untouched a little too long.

The Going Rate for Penance: I’ve done three drafts of my short for the New England Speculative Writers anthology (more on that below) so it’s time to send it out to test readers.

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, hopefully, speaking on several panels.
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

The New England Speculative Writers group is holding an open call for its first anthology. If you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story. 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.

Thanksgiving Sale Ahoy!

As I’ve mentioned a few times recently, I am moving away from exclusivity on Amazon and making my e-book formats available on other platforms. I’ve already begun moving Action Figures over to Barnes & Noble, and once that’s done I’ll do the same with The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot.

One of the significant points here is that by removing my books from Kindle Direct Press Select, I won’t have the ability to put the books on sale or do free giveaways, so I am doing one last sales hurrah for Scratching a Lich during the post-Thanksgiving orgy of commercialism.

From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, Scratching a Lich will be available for the Kindle for just 99 cents on Amazon. If you haven’t given this series a try, now’s the time to do it. And if you are a fan, this is your opportunity to grab a copy as a holiday gift for a friend or family member. Spread the word!

Now on the Nook!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

As I mentioned previously, I’m moving away from Amazon exclusivity with my e-books and making them available on other platforms. As of today, I’ve officially expanded into Barnes & Noble, and Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is now available for the Nook! I’ll continue to add the Action Figures series to the B&N catalog over the coming days, and then add it to other venues as I find them.

Weekly Update – November 7, 2017

I want to put this right up front because this might be of interest to some people — especially those who are still trying to figure out your NaNoWriMo project.

The New England Speculative Writers group is holding an open call for its first anthology! Go here to get the details, but the short form is this: if you’re a New England-based writer, you’re eligible to submit a story.

I’m already working on mine, so maybe we’ll appear in the pages of this cool new project together.

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I wrapped up a second draft of book one and am trying to focus on book two, but I have some plot work yet to do before this will really get rolling. In the meantime, I’m continuing to lay out the groundwork for a cool cover photo shoot early next year. I’ll share details as they come.

The Going Rate for Penance: This is the working title of my NESW anthology submission. I am about 1,400 words in, so it’s off to a strong start.

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, hopefully, speaking on several panels.
  • Friday, February 16 through Sunday, February 18: Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel (tentative).

MISC.

I’m in the process of making some changes to how my books are distributed. This isn’t a big deal for you folks but it could be for me.

If you need more details, you can go read this post from Friday, but the TL;DR version is that I have pulled Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins from the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program and will be doing the same with The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich after the post-Thanksgiving weekend orgy of commercialism. The pros of being part of KDP Select no longer outweigh the drawbacks, so I am changing strategies that will, hopefully, benefit me in the long run.

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.

Changes Are Coming

Happy Friday, everyone!

Now, I know the headline might sound a little ominous, but it’s really not that big a deal — at least not to you, but it could mean some good things for me.

Last night the New England Speculative Writers group met to discuss ongoing and upcoming projects, and one of the subjects that came up was increasing one’s exposure. One of the specific points of discussion centered on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, and whether the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.

For those unfamiliar with KPD Select, the gist is that authors give Amazon exclusivity rights on e-books, i.e., I can’t sell e-books enrolled in the program through other retailers such as Barnes & Noble. In exchange, I get to periodically set up sales on Amazon that let me lower the price of my books without affecting how much I earn off each sale, and the e-books are included in the Kindle Unlimited program. Readers get to read unlimited e-books and I make my money there off each page read.

For a while this approach worked pretty well. I kept Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins and The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Scratching a Lich in KDP Select as feeder titles, figuring people would check them out and then go get the other books in the series, and I’d still make a decent payday off the KU reads.

For reasons far too complex to go into here, the amount authors make per KU page read has gone down a LOT over the past few years. That, coupled with other, better ways I’ve found to entice readers into giving my books a try, had me on the fence whether it was worth continuing on with KDP Select, and last night’s discussion helped me make up my mind that it was time to leave it behind and try other things.

As of today, Secret Origins is no longer a KDP Select title and is not available through KU. Scratching a Lich, however, will have one last hurrah and will go on sale for 99 cents from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. After that, it’s coming off KDP Select.

Aside from the fact these books will no longer be available as KU titles, what this means is they, along with all my other books, will soon start popping up through other retail venues. This will be a bit of a process as I will have to set up the books for delivery via these other means, but it will expand my books’ availability and give consumers an option other than Amazon.

Now, I know in some circles it’s fashionable to bash Amazon, and I won’t deny the company is in ways problematic — especially when it comes to indie authors — but it has in the big picture sense been perhaps the single greatest boon to independent and small press authors who would otherwise struggle to make a dent in the marketplace. Nevertheless, there are readers who absolutely do not want to spend their money with Amazon, and this step will help me reach some of them.

So keep an eye out here and in my newsletter as I announce new retailers for my books, and please spread the word of the Thanksgiving sale. Thanks!

Weekly Update – October 10, 2017

The 2017 Connecticut Renaissance Faire is done! It was a great run, one of the best ever at that show, but I’m glad it’s over because I’m kind of exhausted — and ready to get back to writing on the weekends. I’m just happy I found time to get The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory prepped so people weren’t waiting around for that release.

Speaking of which, book three in the Strongarm & Lightfoot series is now available in paperback at Amazon! I will be adding it to the website’s online store soon, and you can now grab the e-book version by clicking on the Buy Now link.

Before you order a print copy, you have a chance to win one of five signed print copies. Want to know how? Well, if you’re a newsletter subscriber you already know how. If you’re not a subscriber, click the link at the bottom of the page and join the fun!

And on the subject of free books…

I’ve teamed up with more than 20 other superhero fiction writers for a special month-long giveaway promotion. Jump over to our group page on Instafreebie and choose from several titles for all ages and tastes. Sign up for their newsletters and get a free e-book as a thank-you. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get a copy of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins! If you know anyone who might be interested in this promotion, please spread the word.

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: No progress since last week. Bah.

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

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Fourth draft finished, ready for editing.

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, hopefully, speaking on several panels.

MISC.

In case you missed the announcement last week, I’m the Sharon Public Library’s author of the month for October. Pop on over to read my interview, as well as past interviews with other local authors.

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.