Weekly Update – February 26, 2019

I already posted this on social media yesterday, and in this week’s newsletter, and I’ll keep hammering at it throughout the week, but here it is again…

I have a birthday coming up this weekend, and I’m going to ask everyone for a particular gift: five minutes of your time to show my books some love.

As an independent author, one of my ongoing challenges is promoting my work. I have limited resources for advertising, so I rely heavily on positive word of mouth to introduce my books to potential new readers. Some of you have been extremely supportive in that regard and I can’t thank you enough for that. Now I’m hoping to mobilize the rest of you.

If you’ve read and enjoyed any of my books but you’ve never left a review, please take some time and leave one — preferably on Amazon and/or Goodreads, where they will do the most good (as well as Audible, if you’ve listened to either of my audiobooks). If you have left reviews, pick one of my books and share it on social media to spread the word.

Thanks in advance!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue EightCrawling from the Wreckage: Fully edited, waiting for cover art.

Well-Behaved Women: Book two is with my editor and a new draft of book three is almost done.

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: First draft in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins (audiobook): Review completed, final editing in progress.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Nothing currently scheduled.

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.

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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 – January 10, 2017

Arisia is this weekend!

For those of you in the Boston area this coming Friday through Monday, Arisia starts the fun on Friday night, and if you haven’t already registered online I’d strongly suggest you go do that right now. Then come visit me and fellow author J.M. Aucoin down in the merchant area. We’ll be there selling and signing books and talking about writing — and I’ll be talking about the craft more at four panel discussions over the long weekend (my full schedule is below).

I’ll be posting stuff all weekend long, and you can follow my shenanigans through my social media outlets.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Final drafts are done and formatted! Now all I need is my cover art and book six will be ready to go!

I am making a small number of advanced reader copies available, so if you’re interested, drop me a line and let me know. I can give you full details then, but I’m looking for people who have read the entire series to date (book six pulls heavily from other events in the series, especially book one), can read book six before it’s released to the public in late February/early March, and will post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or their own personal websites, so serious inquiries only, please. ARC readers will get a finished copy of the book when it’s released in their preferred format.

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

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft in progress. Got some more work in over the weekend. My goal is to get through the first draft, then tuck it aside and go develop something else for release later this year.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Rough plotting in progress.

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • Friday, January 13 – Monday, January 16: Arisia 2017 in Boston, MA. J.M. Aucoin will be in the dealers room at table A18 selling and signing books and talking about writing. I also have four panels on my schedule throughout the weekend.
  • February 17 – 19: Boskone at the Westin Waterfront Hotel, the same location as Arisia.
  • Saturday, September 16: The Connecticut Renaissance Faire in Lebanon, CT (time and exact location TBA).

MISC.

For those interested in my panel schedule at Arisia, here’s where I’ll be over the weekend and what I’ll be talking about:

Writing Swordfights, Knives, and Hand-to-Hand Combat

Saturday, 2:30 PM in Otis

Violent encounters are a good way to up the tension in your story. Our panel of martial artists will not only explain the phases of combat, what goes through their mind prior to ‘going at it’, and what makes a realistic swordfight, knife-fight, stick-fighting or hand-to-hand encounter, but they will also demonstrate a few basic moves, answer questions, and help one lucky attendee work out the mechanics of their work-in-progress.

Getting Into Character

Sunday, 1 PM in Faneuil

From the way you walk, to the way you talk, getting into character is key to making your cosplay shine. Our panel of performance-minded costumers share with you their secrets for bringing their costume to life.

Writing a Worthy Adversary

Sunday, 8:30 PM in Douglas

Nothing brings a story to life like a worthy antagonist, but how do you figure out the yang for your protagonist’s yin? What is your villain’s backstory? What are some of the ways they can twist, torment, and temper your main character? And how can a good antagonist act as your protagonist’s mirror? Boo! Hiss! Come learn how to write bad guys your audience will love to hate.

Imaginary Friends: Crafting Memorable Characters

Monday, 10 AM in Marina 3

Even the most gripping plot will fail if you don’t have memorable characters. How do you create a sympathetic protagonist? How much backstory should you give them? How do you develop interesting supporting characters to accompany them on their journey? There are many ‘tricks’ you can use to flesh out characters, as well as ways to juggle multiple character viewpoints. Come learn how to write characters so realistic your audience will be talking about them long after they finish your story.

Best Week Ever! Part Five

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00018]Time to bring the Best Week Ever to a close with a bang and the announcement you’ve all been waiting for: Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-Ups is officially available for the Kindle!

Here’s the official back cover blurb, so you all know what you’ll be in for…

The Hero Squad is finished.

Their friendships damaged in the wake of the King of Pain incident, perhaps beyond repair, the team go their separate ways to lick their wounds and figure out where their respective paths will take them…and if those paths will ever lead back to each other.

“Team-Ups” features a series of individual adventures that partner the Hero Squad with unexpected friends and pit them against some surprising foes. Sara finally learns the price of her betrayal; Matt and Nina Nitro go hunting for superhuman fugitives; Carrie gets a rematch with Manticore that takes a shocking turn; Stuart follows Dr. Enigma into Boston’s magical underworld in search of a powerful and dangerous artifact; Missy gets a lesson in taking names and kicking ass from the Entity; and it all leads to Carrie finally learning the truth behind her fantastic powers…but is she willing to pay their terrible cost?

There’s only one thing that could make this Best Week Ever even better for me: if I finally manage to crack a number one spot on Amazon with Team-Ups. All four Action Figures books have cracked the top ten and two titles — Secret Origins and Cruel Summer — reached number two.

I concede readily this is purely an ego thing. Snagging a number one spot on an Amazon best-seller list means bragging rights and nothing much in the way of practical gains, but dammit, I’d love me some braggin’ rights, so if you’re planning to pick up the book, do it today and push this baby to the top! And please don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thanks!

PS: I wrote this post yesterday afternoon, around three or so, immediately after the book went live. One reader has already blown through it and contacted me with some kind words about the story. That someone bought the book as soon as it came out and cranked through the whole thing in a matter of hours is one of the best compliments I could receive.

Who Wants A Free Bookmark?

Artwork and Copyright Tricia Lupien.
Artwork and Copyright Tricia Lupien.

The new bookmarks have arrived!

I’ll be making these available at my upcoming appearances, but I will mail one to you, for free, and all you have to do is ask for one.

No, that’s not exactly true; you have to work for it a little. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Click the “Contact Mike” tab at the top of the page
  2. Send me a mailing address
  3. Include a link to a review you’ve written about any of the Action Figures books on Amazon and/or Goodreads

And that’s it!

I’ll be returning from vacation on Friday, so get your request in now and I’ll put the first round in the mail on Monday.

Want A Free Signed Copy Of Book Three?

Thought that might get your attention.

Here’s the deal: the big push leading up to the release of Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect begins this week, starting with tomorrow’s three-day $1.99 sale on the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins. Next week Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women will go on-sale, and then book three hits Kindle on September 27 (and you can pre-order that right now).

I’ve decided to further goose the offerings with a special giveaway offer. Now, read the following bit closely, because there are conditions…Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]

This contest is open to people who:

  • Read Secret Origins and/or Black Magic Women;
  • Liked the book(s); and
  • Has not yet left a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads

Here’s all you have to do: leave a review, and e-mail the link to your review to mikeatinnsmouthlook@gmail.com (or use the contact form on this site to send the link). The prize is a signed copy of book three!

I’m not going to give away just one signed copy, however; I plan to give away one signed copy for every ten reviews I receive. Winners will be chosen at random from the entries received. I’d love to have at least 100 entries so I can roll my ridiculous d100 to pick winners, because I’m a dork like that.

I suppose some of you have some questions. I’ll answer them here.

What if I’ve already left a review?

Then share this blog post via your favorite social media outlet and help spread the word. Share it, get a screencap of your share, and e-mail that to me as a JPEG. I’ll consider that one entry, as if it were a review, for calculating the number of books I give away.

Why is it only open to people who liked the books?

Well, I don’t understand why someone who didn’t like them would want the next book, but frankly, part of the goal here is to encourage people to leave positive reviews — honestly positive reviews. I’ve sold a lot of copies, but only a tiny percentage of buyers have bothered to leave a review, and reviews are important to independent authors, hence this little incentive. If you didn’t like the books, please don’t bother to enter the contest.

What if I’m not comfortable writing reviews?

Got you covered. Go read this post, which provides some handy hints for writing reviews, then go give it a try. The quality of the review does NOT affect your chances of winning a copy. A star rating and a sincere sentence or two is good enough for me.

Yay Reviews!

Just a quick post today, but a happy one: Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins just received a very positive review from the good people (or person, more specifically) over at A Simple Taste For Reading. Go here to read the review, which the reviewer, Sierra Klein, kindly posted on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as on her blog and Facebook page.

It may seem like a small thing to an outsider, but as I’ve remarked before, positive reviews are vital to indie authors. If you’ve read either of the Action Figures novels and enjoyed them, please take five minutes to post a rating on Amazon, along with a quick review. You don’t need to write an epic essay; a sentence or two is all it takes!