Weekly Update – March 16, 2021

Good news, everyone!

After considering a dozen different narrators, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve selected Bethany Boles to handle narration duties for Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins!

In the end it came down to Bethany and one other narrator, both of whom gave me a great audition, but Bethany made some intriguing character choices in her reading that pushed her over the top.

As it so happens, Bethany is an old friend from the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, so I know first-hand how very talented and cool she is. I mean, how many people in the world can I make Robert Z’Dar references with? Damn few, and she’s one of them.

Fun fact: after moving out west, Bethany worked for The Jim Henson Company (super jealous!) and was a production assistant on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled that this project is back on track, but also that I get to collaborate with a friend again!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Recording underway, scheduled for mid-2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – March 9, 2021

I’m happy to report that the audition process for the Action Figures audiobook project has taken a turn for the better.

The first several auditions I received were disappointing as a whole. A couple had promise, but nothing wowed me — until last week, when I got a really exciting audition, and word from an old actor friend of mine she might be interested in the project. I’m hoping to wrap up auditions this week and move on to the recording phase.

On another note…

You may have heard that there is a consumer-led Amazon boycott this week, a call to refrain from buying anything from the retail giant, using their Alexa products in your home, viewing anything on Amazon Video, etc., to show support for workers whose efforts to unionize have been thwarted by the company.

To be clear: I support the unionization of Amazon workers and I support the boycott. Amazon is absolutely a problematic company, and consumers should take the action they deem necessary to send the message that Amazon needs to do better.

Now, whenever similar past initiatives have popped up, there’s often been a corresponding response among indie and small press authors begging consumers to make an exception when it comes to buying books. A lot of indie authors are able to make a living on their writing thanks to Amazon, so of course they’re going to be squirrelly about even a week’s worth of lost sales.

Further, Amazon is largely responsible for the rise of independent authorship by giving writers a truly national, even global sales platform. Fifteen, maybe even just ten years ago, an indie author couldn’t get their books on Barnes & Noble’s or Borders’ websites, but Amazon let them all in, and gave indie authors the tools to produce professional-quality products.

Amazon rightfully deserves a lot of the criticism it receives, but it deserves credit where it’s due as well.

Anyway, the immediate point I’m making is this: Amazon is a necessary evil for a lot of us, and it’s not easy to break away from the Zon and sustain our income levels. Some have done it, absolutely, but they’re what’s known as “the exception to the rule.” For every author who successfully “goes wide” — diversifies their retail outlets so they’re not selling solely through Amazon — there are several more who have tried and have never generated enough sales traffic to justify leaving Amazon, partially or entirely.

Consumers are a big part of the reason why so many of us can’t make a go through other retailers. For all their Amazon-bashing, they still turn to Amazon on a regular basis, and probably always will. And even when they say they’re going to spend their money elsewhere, they don’t do it — not to any appreciable degree.

After receiving a lot of feedback from readers, including people who wanted my books but didn’t want to give their money to Amazon, I tried going wide. My entire catalog was on B&N and Kobo for more than two years, and I saw a grand total of four sales between the two platforms in that time. I literally sold twice as many books through my website in that two-year period. I promoted these other retailers aggressively, told people directly at shows that they could buy my stuff through B&N, and they always said, “Oh, great, I’ll look that up when I get home!”

And yet, more than 95 percent of my total sales were through Amazon.

The hard, unfortunate reality is, a lot of indie authors, myself included, can’t survive without Amazon. We just can’t.

We’d love to, but we can’t.

And even if another viable platform popped up to challenge the mighty Zon, we wouldn’t be able to all jump ship and continue to make sales on-par with Amazon overnight. There would be a transitional period during which our sales would drop off, perhaps too sharply and for too long to keep us going until things leveled out again, so that would drive us to resist making that change.

We’ve all thought about this, a lot. I’d love to no longer be so beholden to Amazon, but I am. All I can do is make the best of it and be honest about my decisions — which, yes, are almost entirely financial. I’m in no position to take a moral stand and abandon Amazon as my primary retailer. I’ve gotten spoiled by having a home and food.

I may say that flippantly, but it’s true nevertheless.

Go ahead and boycott Amazon this week if that’s your thing. I certainly won’t hold it against you.

All I ask is that you don’t hold it against me when I go back to pushing book sales on Amazon when it’s all over.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021, currently auditioning narrators.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – March 2, 2021

This week’s big news is that I am working on getting the long-delayed Action Figures audiobook project back off the ground.

I’d initially started work on that in late 2017, but for multiple reasons I’ll simply call “behind the scenes issues,” it stalled out hard. My original narrator left the project amicably, and now I’m on the hunt for a new narrator to tackle not just book one, but the entire series.

The major challenge here will be to find someone who can tackle what has become a huge, diverse cast of characters. In writing up notes for whoever eventually gets the job, I realized I had more than fifty regular and recurring characters and countless incidental character who pop up over the course of the series. That’s a LOT of distinct voices to juggle.

I plan to take my time reviewing auditions and be ruthlessly picky about who I ultimately choose to take this on, but I hope to get the first — and maybe even the second — audiobook out this year, and maintain a two-audiobooks-per-year schedule until the series wraps in 2023.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021, currently auditioning narrators.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is past the halfway point.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – February 23, 2021

Bit of a slow week this week, but I am happy to report that Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology got off to a great start in its first week on sale, breaking the top ten on three Amazon best-seller lists! Reviews have also started coming in and it’s doing well there so far (four star average on Amazon, 4.5 on Goodreads). If you’ve already picked up the book, please remember to leave a review!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is past the halfway point.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – February 16, 2021

“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is here! Get it now for the Kindle or in print!

In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is close to halfway finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – February 9, 2021

“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is now available for preorder on Amazon! Grab this new collection of short stories for the Kindle for only 99 cents! Releases next Sunday — Valentine’s Day!

In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).

We’d love to get this collection off to a strong start right out of the gate, so here’s what you can do to help out and support this group of independent creators:

  • Buy the book, of course. Either preorder it or buy it on release day. Either way, it’ll give it a boost on Amazon’s sales charts and increase its exposure to other readers.
  • Once you’ve read the book, leave a review! Leaving one on Amazon is best, but a Goodreads review would also be helpful.
  • Spread the word to fellow readers who might like this anthology — such as by sharing this post, for example.
  • If you find an author you really like, consider checking out their other books, following their websites, subscribing to their newsletters, and/or following them on social media.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is well underway!

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology: In final production, scheduled for a February 14 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – February 2, 2021

It’s almost here!
“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is now available for preorder on Amazon! Grab this new collection of short stories for the Kindle for only 99 cents! Releases next Sunday — Valentine’s Day!
In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).
We’d love to get this collection off to a strong start right out of the gate, so here’s what you can do to help out and support this group of independent creators:
* Buy the book, of course. Either preorder it or buy it on release day. Either way, it’ll give it a boost on Amazon’s sales charts and increase its exposure to other readers.
* Once you’ve read the book, leave a review! Leaving one on Amazon is best, but a Goodreads review would also be helpful.
* Spread the word to fellow readers who might like this anthology — such as by sharing this post, for example.
* If you find an author you really like, consider checking out their other books, following their websites, subscribing to their newsletters, and/or following them on social media.
One another quick note, I finally bit the bullet and did some long-deferred website upgrades, which includes a more user-friendly Buy Now page. Go check it out, and remember, I’m still running my inventory clearance sale! Buy one full-length novel and you’ll get a free copy of Cheap Thrills Digest (while supplies last). Buy two novels and you’ll get a third free!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book five: First draft is well underway!

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology: In final production, scheduled for a February 14 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – January 26, 2021

NEW RELEASE ALERT!

“Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology” is now available for preorder on Amazon! Grab this new collection of short stories for the Kindle for only 99 cents! Releases on Sunday, February 14 — Valentine’s Day, appropriately!

In addition to my story “Like a Knife in the Heart,” you’ll get stories from Trish Heinrich, Jeremy Flagg, Lana Percherczyk, Jaimie Hawke, Christine Ragland, Nancy O’Toole, Karen Diem, Franklin Kendrick, and Angelique Anderson. Stories come in three spice levels: sweet, sexy, and erotic, and there will be something for all tastes (meaning straight and queer content).

We’d love to get this collection off to a strong start right out of the gate, so here’s what you can do to help out and support this group of independent creators:

* Buy the book, of course. Either preorder it or buy it on release day. Either way, it’ll give it a boost on Amazon’s sales charts and increase its exposure to other readers.

* Once you’ve read the book, leave a review! Leaving one on Amazon is best, but a Goodreads review would also be helpful.

* Spread the word to fellow readers who might like this anthology — such as by sharing this post, for example.

* If you find an author you really like, consider checking out their other books, following their websites, subscribing to their newsletters, and/or following them on social media.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology: In final production, scheduled for a February 14 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – January 19, 2021

After a necessary hiatus for the holidays and to recharge my brain, I’m back at it, and work on the sixth Strongarm & Lightfoot book has begun!

I hit the 10,000 word mark over the past week, which I consider a strong start after so many weeks of writing nothing. Taking these breaks, I’ve learned over the years, is necessary, but I hate taking them — especially during the pandemic.

Let me ‘splain.

Due to precautionary lockdowns and restrictions (all of which I support wholeheartedly, by the way), our lives have been disrupted in a big way — which I know is painfully obvious to everyone, but I’ve noticed that it’s hit my creative friends and colleagues especially hard. I know a lot of performers, and being unable to indulge their craft for so long has taken a toll. They’ve fallen into a creative, emotional, and mental stupor that’s deadened their creative spirit.

The problem within this problem, I’m very familiar with. Creative souls need to create, and when they don’t (or can’t) for too long, they can fall into emotional funks — which do nothing to spark creativity, so they continue to not create, which strengthens their depression, which continues to smother their creative energy…it’s an awful cycle to get stuck in, and can be very hard to break.

I experienced this cycle years ago, after an agent rejected what eventually became the first Action Figures novel. My high hopes for a career breakthrough had been thoroughly crushed, which caused me to stop writing for several months — the first such major dry spell I’d ever experienced. I eventually climbed back on my creative horse, but it was an imposing challenge. I’d become too comfortable not writing and had to force myself to get back to work — which did not result in quality material, which threatened to push me right back into my pit of artistic despair.

Obviously, I eventually got my creative life back on an even keel, but ever since, I’ve resisted taking any kind of planned, extended break from writing for fear I’d fall back into those old habits and mindsets. I know on a conscious level that I need to rest my brain every so often (The Oatmeal discussed this in its own inimitably, delightfully crass and goofy way) but subconsciously, I worry I’ll stop writing and never start back up again.

If I might end with some advice for those who might be dealing with this problem right now: stay creative. Force yourself, gently, to get back to doing what you do, in some form, even if that form is imperfect and far from ideal. Rest is good, resting necessary, but indefinite inertia is NOT resting; it’s slowly dying inside.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing and cover art in progress. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology: In final production, scheduled for a February 14 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • None 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 – January 12, 2021

Looks like we have an official release date for Beneath the Mask – A Superhero Romance Anthology, and it is, appropriately, Valentine’s Day!

There’s been no word yet on the full lineup of authors and stories, but I’ll throw all that your way as soon as I know, along with a preorder link so you can grab this collection when it drops and maybe help us score a number one position on Amazon’s best-seller list? It’d be a nice way to start off 2021 after what’s been — to put it very mildly — a rocky start.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook on hold until 2021.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: The current draft is off to my editor Julie so she can do her thing, and cover art notes have been sent to Tricia so she can do hers. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eleven: Draft one underway. Scheduled for a winter/spring 2022 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording is underway. Tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Third draft of book five is finished. Tentatively scheduled for a spring/summer 2021 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2021 – January 15 – 18, 2021: This year’s convention will be a virtual event, and I’ll be part of the event’s virtual dealers room, which is active now! And I’ll be appearing on the Muppets: Most Wanted! virtual panel on Monday, January 18 at 11:30 AM.

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.