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 am a freelance writer, an occasional contributor to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 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 summer 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

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Worcester (pronounced like the name of Stephen Fry’s dry-witted butler) 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 am a freelance writer, an occasional contributor to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 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.

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

Weekly Update – May 23, 2017

Another slowish week. It was a three-day weekend at Robin Hood’s Faire, but damn, was it a good weekend. Well, except for the fact it ended with a contact lens sliding up into my head and refusing to come out until I was halfway home. Good times.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Got a little work in and I’m within arm’s reach of the 50,000 work mark.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Second draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

Copyright Gia Publications Inc.

I’d like to give a shout-out to my friend Allyssa Norton, who provided the art for a new children’s book, Momma, Buy Me a China Doll (First Steps in Music series) by author John M. Feierabend. Her work is truly beautiful and she’s already been tapped to provide the art for a second children’s book. Go check her stuff out! Now! Do it. Doooo iiiiiiit.

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Worcester (pronounced like the name of Stephen Fry’s dry-witted butler) 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 am a freelance writer, an occasional contributor to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 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 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.

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

Weekly Update – March 14, 2017

Secret Origins coverFirst, your brief reminder that the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins  is available for free this week. If you haven’t given it a try yet, now’s the time to check it out.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I passed the 34,000 word mark over the weekend and I’m now into the second act.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I want to send out a thank-you to Patrick Hodges of Young Adult Authors Rendezvous for including me via remote in the Tucson Festival of Books in Arizona over the weekend. Patrick asked if I’d send a couple copies of Secret Origins out to sell at the YAAR booth, so I did, and if you look closely at the photo on the right, you can see it sitting amidst the many other excellent titles that were available on that nice, bright, warm, sunny, snow-free weekend (he said without any bitterness as he watches the blizzard happening outside).

I end this week with a quick word of advice to indie writers as they set out to promote their work: be honest with yourself and, by extension, your readers.

I’ve seen a recent rash in indie authors presenting their achievements rather disingenuously lately, claiming “number one best-seller” status for topping an Amazon chart during a free giveaway campaign, employing such vague accolades as “acclaimed author,” or overstating their bibliography, as if their sheer quantity of their writing is somehow testament to the quality of their writing.

Granted, a lot of readers aren’t going to look too deeply into self-aggrandizing claims and take them at face value, but if you can’t back up the hype with a quality product, it’s going to backfire on you, so don’t spend so much energy on Barnum-esque self-promotion. Put that effort into writing the best story you can and let your work speak for itself.

 

Giveaway Week Begins!

Happy Monday, everyone. If there is such a thing.

Starting today and running through Friday, the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is free!

Now, chances are if you’re reading this post, you’re already a fan of the book and own it, but I’m hoping to bring in a lot of new readers, so this is what I’m asking of my fans: go buy a copy of the book (or several) and send it as a gift to a friend or family member who might enjoy it. Thanks!

Weekly Update – March 7, 2017

Secret Origins coverI open this week with a reminder that the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins will be available for free next week beginning Monday, but more importantly, I’m asking fans of the series to grab a copy for a friend or family member and send it to them as a gift. And remember, if they don’t own a Kindle, they can download a free app that allows them to read the e-book on any device.

 

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I hit the 32,000 work mark over the weekend, so I’m creeping up on the halfway point in the story. While I’m happy with the way the story’s developed so far, I know I’m going to need to massage it a bit in the second draft to really punch up its personality. The series stands out because of its irreverent tone and that’s a bit lacking in draft one.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I’m going to make the most of my March writing-wise, because next month my weekends go bye-bye because of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire’s Robin Hood Springtime Festival. Rehearsals begin in April and the show runs into May, so don’t be surprised if I don’t have much to say for several weeks.

That said, I’m always happy to hear from readers with questions about any of my books or about writing in general, so feel free to post a comment here on the blog.

Finally, I am working on a fun little side-project with my cover artist, Tricia, that will be of interest to Action Figures fans. More on that as it develops!

Weekly Update – February 28, 2017

Welcome to the “Happy Birthday to Me” edition of the blog.

In two days I turn 47, and this is what I’d like you — yes, you — to get me for my birthday. Don’t worry, these gifts won’t cost you anything except a few minutes of your time.

Your first option: if you’re a fan of my work and you have yet to leave a review for one (or more) of my books on Amazon or Goodreads, go do so. Reviews help entice new readers to try out books they’ve never heard of by authors they never heard of, and positive word-of-mouth is always the best publicity.

Your second option: if you’re a fan of the Action Figures series and you know someone who might enjoy the books, take advantage of the free giveaway for Secret Origins, which begins next Monday and runs all week, by buying a copy and gifting it to a friend. If they don’t own a Kindle, they can download a free app that allows them to read the e-book on any device.

af6-cover-ebook-editionNow that I’ve gotten all that out of the way: Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play is now officially available! The product pages for the Kindle and print editions might not be merged yet — chalk that up to idiosyncrasies within Amazon’s system — so for now go here for the Kindle version and here for the print version.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered the book and pushed it onto a couple of Amazon Top Ten lists during its pre-sale period.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Got a little more work in, and I’m taking a long weekend for my birthday this week so I’ll have a couple of extra writing days this week.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • NEW! Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, 11 AM to 4 PM: New Bedford Book Festival. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I probably would not be able to do the spring New Bedford Book Festival due to a scheduling conflict, but I will have a presence there after all. My wife has graciously volunteered to represent me at the event, so she’ll be there to push paper on my behalf. I’ll miss chatting with readers, but I’ll make sure there are plenty of signed copies of my books ready for patrons to buy.
  • Saturday, September 16: The Connecticut Renaissance Faire at the Lebanon Fairgrounds, Lebanon, CT.

MISC.

This last bit is aimed primarily at fellow indie authors, so feel free to skip this.

While my CTRF book signing is several months off, I’m spending the lead-in trying to think of ways to motivate the other invitees to talk up the event, because if the last two years are any indication, they don’t do much to promote it on their own. They simply showed up, set up, and tried to sell books, but they never put any effort into drawing attention to the faire in the days and weeks leading up to it.

When my wife was vending at faires, I saw that attitude a lot from her fellow merchants. Veronica talked up the show constantly on her blog and her social media outlets, as did a few diligent others, but so many vendors put no effort into spreading the word, and it’s no coincidence that they were usually the first to gripe when they had a crappy run.

I’ve seen that doing shows as an author as well. The authors think that by paying their fee, they’ve done their part and now it’s all on the host to promote the event.

No. No no no.

Why wouldn’t you talk up a public appearance? You have skin in this game, after all. The point is to connect to potential readers and make sales, right? Well, higher attendance equals greater potential for sales, so it is directly in your best interests to do whatever you can to increase an event’s exposure and entice people to come. Post about it online. Mention it in your newsletters. Mention it to people who talk to in your day-to-day life. Don’t just assume your host is going to magically reach every prospective guest, because they won’t. Even with an aggressive, far-reaching promotional campaign, they’ll miss people — people you could capture through your own modest efforts.

The work doesn’t end when you’re finished writing.

Weekly Update – February 21, 2017

af6-cover-ebook-editionFirst, I’d like to reiterate yesterday’s announcement that Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play is officially available for pre-order on Amazon. The Kindle version will be released next Tuesday, February 28, and the print edition should also be available on or around that date.

If you’re new to the Action Figures saga, or an AF fan who wants to introduce someone to the series, mark Monday, March 13 on your calendar, because that’s when Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins will be available on the Kindle for free. Actually it’ll be free all week (until Friday, March 17), so that gives you five days to grab a copy for yourself or gift one to a fellow reader.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I managed to sneak in a little work here and there but was mostly away from the laptop due to Boskone (more on that below).

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

Boskone is behind me, and while it was a decent weekend I’m doubtful whether I’ll try to go back in 2018.

The benefit of doing pop-culture-related conventions, especially cons like Arisia and Boskone, which tend to be more reader-oriented, is that you’re immersed in a target audience and the potential for sales and positive exposure is excellent. The drawback is that these shows can be very expensive. A table at Boskone is $70, plus they require people to basically buy an admission to the show (I personally despise that practice; I worked numerous comic cons with my wife and they didn’t hit vendors for a fee and then admission on top), and that almost doubles basic expenses. Then you add the unavoidable costs of parking, which can be considerable since they’re in Boston, and travel (gas and tolls). Even if you avoid superfluous expenses like food and lodging, you’re still dropping a couple hundred dollars just to be there.

In order to recoup those expenses, I have to sell at least 17 books at their convention price (I offer a small discount at shows to encourage sales), and that’s to barely break even. That might not sound like a huge number, but consider that there are several other authors there also selling their books, plus new and used book sellers, plus vendors selling non-book items. There’s a fair amount of competition for the patrons’ limited spending money.

The long and short of it is, Boskone did not provide a respectable ROI, and that is for me the deciding factor on whether to return to a given show. I’ve met several indie authors who do shows planning to lose money but do them anyway for the exposure, but I view this as a poor business model. Exposure is fine, but if it doesn’t lead to sales, it’s a waste of time, effort, and money — and the people I’ve spoken to admit they don’t know for sure that attending a con has directly resulted in later sales, and they certainly can’t connect any sales that do occur after a show to their appearance at said show. They might have correlation but they can’t prove causation.

 

Power Play – Available for Pre-Sale Now!

af6-cover-ebook-editionI’ll keep it short and sweet: Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play is up on Amazon for pre-sale! Buy it now for $3.99 and get it when it drops on Tuesday, February 28. The paperback edition should be available about the same time. Sorry I can’t be more specific but unlike the e-book version, I can’t specify when the print edition becomes available.