Strongarm & Lightfoot – Cover Reveal

Copyright 2017 Patricia Lupien

What great timing! Tomorrow is my day as the invited guest author at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, and I’ll be able to start talking up in earnest the next book in the Strongarm & Lightfoot series, because the cover art is finished!

Tricia Lupien, my ever-awesome cover artist, wrapped up her work yesterday, so now it’s just a matter of my editor Julie finishing up her side of things, and then it all comes back to me for final revisions and formatting. I’m hoping to have everything done so The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory is ready to go by mid-October.

And here is the final back cover blurb letting you know what this story is all about…

Adventurers Wanted!

Good pay for simple recovery job, payment to be rendered upon successful completion of contract. Interested parties please report to the Woeste City Council. Be ready to provide credentials upon request. No Hruks need apply.

Desperate for a little excitement and a big payday, Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot and their companions respond to a call to adventure from the city-state of Woeste, recently victimized by a band of raiders who stole an ancient iron mask of historical significance but no intrinsic value — or so the city council claims.

The council’s story doesn’t quite add up but it’s willing to pay good money for the mask’s return — and all the companions have to do is hike through a cursed forest, search a lost necropolis crawling with unspeakable horrors, and recover the mask from a gang of armed bandits.

Easy.

The greater challenge may lie in first convincing the council not to award the lucrative contract to a rival party, the legendary adventurers known as the Noble Blades — which is easier said than done when a sin from Felix’s past rears its head in an unexpected way.

But if Derek, Felix, and their friends wanted easy lives, they’d go herd sheep or something.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory is the third book in the irreverent fantasy series by author Michael Bailey (Action Figures), a tale of bold heroes, dastardly villains, terrifying beasts, magical artifacts, dark pasts, mysterious circumstances, deceptive motives, atmospheric locales, and gratuitous violence.

Blades of Glory includes a bonus short story: Companionship, Compassion, Restraint, and Other Things Erika Racewind Dislikes – A Strongarm & Lightfoot Side Quest.

If you dig the artwork, head on over to Tricia’s Redbubble shop, because you can get it on a variety of apparel and accessories.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – A Series Overview

What’s it About?

Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot are a pair of hard-luck adventurers for hire with an unfortunate knack for landing jobs that pay too little and threaten their lives too much. Erika Racewind is a hardened elven warrior who doesn’t like people, except maybe when she’s killing them. Winifred Graceword is a kindhearted elven priestess skilled in the healing arts. David is a young sorcerer on a path to discover who he really is – and whether that person has a last name, because going by just David is getting old fast.

Together these companions travel across the land of Asaches looking for adventure and the glory and riches that come with it. Mostly the riches, though, because you can’t buy food and beer with glory.

Who is this Series For?

Sword-and-sorcery fantasy fans looking for something a little lighter than most of the fare currently on the shelves. If you want heavy, dark, serious stories with lots of death, destruction, torture, rape, and political intrigue, go read something else because you won’t find it here.

What you will find is a fast-paced adventure filled with colorful characters, rip-roaring action, humor, and gentle jabs at the classic elements of fantasy fiction.

Which is not to say this series is a comedy or parody. There is still drama aplenty, but as a rule I don’t take things too seriously. You can read these books and not feel like you need a hug and a room full of puppies afterward.

Is it Suitable for Young Readers?

Not really. The series is a hard PG-13/light R for violence, language, and sexual content. It is suitable for older teens, but not for the YA crowd.

What are the Books in the Series?

Scratching a Lich: Derek and Felix find themselves entangled in an urgent quest to slay a legendary lich before he can trigger a world-ending apocalypse – as insane undead sorcerers are wont to do. Together with Erika Racewind, bodyguard for a mysterious young wizard named David, and Winifred Graceword, they head out to discover lost cities, recover long lost magical artifacts, and slay great evils in order to fulfill curiously specific prophecies – as mismatched, ragtag groups of adventurers are wont to do.

Assassins Brawl: The companions are hired to safeguard a spoiled brat of a princess targeted for death by the assassin Ruined Isys, but as is often the case, there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Now all they have to do is determine who is behind the plot before they get caught in the crossfire.

Blades of Glory (fall 2017): Derek, Felix, and company are up for a job that seems a little too simple for a payday that seems a little too generous – but unfortunately, so are the famed adventurers of fortune known as the Noble Blades. Which of them will be the first to find a stolen ceremonial mask that is absolutely positively completely normal and not at all some lost artifact possessed of dark power?

How Long Will the Series Run?

Unknown, but tentatively ten books.

Where Can I Learn More?

Read can read sample chapters from Scratching a Lich, buy signed copies, connect with me through social media, and get regular updates at my website: innsmouthlook.com

Cover Art Reveal – Assassins Brawl

It’s here! Tricia was an art machine over the last few days, but it was all worth it, because here is the finished art for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl, which hits Amazon in two weeks and is available for pre-order now!

Copyright 2016 Patricia Lupien
Copyright 2016 Patricia Lupien

Readers will of course recognize Derek and Erika, but if you want to know who the other figures are — especially that ominous one lurking in the background — you’ll have to pick up the book.

Or make an educated guess based on the back cover text, but I’d love it if you got the book.

I expect to see the finished art showing up on Tricia’s Redbubble store soon, so if you dig it, you’ll be able to go buy a print or some merchandise featuring this image, and you’ll be supporting an independent artist in the process!

Tricia’s going to take a well-deserved break for a few months before I send her notes for the next project (which, FYI, will be Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play).

September is Strongarm & Lightfoot Month!

Happy September, everyone – or as I’m calling it, Strongarm & Lightfoot Month!

Today I begin the process of making my final edits on The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl, and the goal is to have a final draft fully edited and formatted by the end of the weekend (preferably sooner, since I have a couple of other books that still need to be written).

Part of the Assassins Brawl cover, in progress. The little critter in the handbag may or may not appear in the final version. We'll see. Copyright Patricia Lupien.
Part of the Assassins Brawl cover, in progress. The little critter in the handbag may or may not appear in the final version. We’ll see. Copyright Patricia Lupien.

Meanwhile, my cover artist Tricia Lupien will be hard at work on the cover of Assassins Brawl, which riffs on the classic fantasy novel trope of the lusty princess at the feet of the mighty sword-wielding hero — which, in this case, is going to be Erika Racewind.

Tricia is drawing inspiration from the original Star Wars poster, with elements from classic John Carter – Warlord of Mars covers (both novel and comic), the Army of Darkness movie poster, and Legally Blonde, although that last one is more a joke that I cracked when Tricia sent me the WIP shot on the right.

If all goes well, the whole process will be wrapped up this weekend and the Kindle edition of Assassins Brawl will go up for pre-sale, and the final release date will be Tuesday, September 27.

SandA Ad SquareWhy September 27? To give people time to grab their free Kindle edition of book one, Scratching a Lich! The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot: Scratching a Lich will be available for free through Amazon from Monday, September 19 through Friday, September 23, so if you’re a fan of my Action Figures series but haven’t picked up Strongarm & Lightfoot yet, or you’re a brand-new reader, now’s your chance to check it out and get ready for Assassins Brawl.

To wrap up the first post of Strongarm & Lightfoot Month, here is the official synopsis/promotional blurb/back cover text from Assassins Brawl. Enjoy!

You’re invited to the wedding of the year! In lieu of gifts, the bride and groom humbly ask that you do not try to murder them.

After barely surviving Habbatarr the lich-lord and the Dead City of Hesre, Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot and their companions are ready for some well-deserved rest. All they want now is good food, cold beer, a warm bed, and maybe a few days without someone trying to kill them.

And then they encounter a damsel in distress and, well, so much for that idea.

The damsel in question is the Lady Alyssa Spendle, a spoiled noble promised to Lord Paradim as part of a brokered political marriage, and the distress comes in the form of a determined group of kidnappers looking to make a quick profit off Alyssa’s ransom.

Derek and Felix learn there’s much more to this plot, and the heroes soon find themselves entangled in a vast conspiracy that threatens to topple a kingdom and take them down in the process.

Get ready for another wild adventure with Strongarm and Lightfoot as they fight for their lives against backstabbing thieves, cutthroat mercenaries, the crime lords knows as the Seven Jewels, and the mysterious assassin Ruined Isys.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl is the second book in the irreverent fantasy series by author Michael Bailey (Action Figures), a tale filled with noble heroes, dastardly villains, a colorful secondary cast, mildly interesting background characters, a bunch of people who don’t even get names, political intrigue, thrilling action, and snarky asides that don’t advance the plot much but keep things from getting too serious.

What Am I Working On Now?

Well, as I indicated in my last post, I’m putting Action Figures – Book Five: Team-Ups on a very brief hiatus to do a final polish on The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, a fantasy adventure novel that I wrote a few years ago. I’m hoping to get that wrapped up this weekend and ship it off to my editor to be mercilessly scrutinized and dissected.

What’s this new book going to be about? Let me answer you with the text that’ll appear on the back cover…

In the land of Asaches, there are great men and women who have changed the course of history. Their adventures are honored in song, their names are spoken with a reverence normally reserved for the gods, their heroic deeds have elevated them to the status of living legends.

And then there are these guys…

Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot are two hard-luck adventurers for hire looking for their big break — or an excuse to retire before they get killed. Salvation appears in the form of Erika Racewind, a mysterious elven woman with a dark secret and lucrative job offer. Desperate and destitute, Derek and Felix agree to join Erika in escorting her young charge across Asaches.

Of course, nothing is ever so simple for Strongarm and Lightfoot.

The boy turns out to be no one less than the fabled Reaper, he who is destined to destroy the mad lich-lord Habbatarr and save the world from total destruction. The adventurers soon find themselves fighting off fanatical cultists, hordes of mindless undead, bestial Hruks with a taste for human flesh, and unspeakable subterranean horrors — and things only stand to get worse as they travel ever deeper into Habbatarr’s blighted domain.

The fate of the entire world hangs in the balance, and the only things standing in the way of a global apocalypse are a mild-mannered warrior, an occasionally good-hearted thief, an ill-tempered elf, and a Chosen One with a serious attitude problem.

Asaches is screwed.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, the new series from author Michael Bailey (Action Figures), is an irreverent take on the fantasy genre. Get ready for an epic tale filled with action, magic, monsters, quests, treasure, inconveniently located ancient artifacts of great power, curiously specific prophecies, and dangerously rickety rope bridges that someone really should have repaired a long time ago.

There you go!