Weekly Update – December 6

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: In the editing process, on-schedule for a winter/spring 2017 release.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: In the editing process, will be included as a bonus story with Power Play.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft in progress. Didn’t get anything done this past weekend because my wife and I were moving into a new place. On the upside, the routine of moving stuff between floors in the same building gave me plenty of time to figure out all the details of the climax.

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • otherwhere-promoTHIS WEEKEND! Saturday, December 10: The OtherWhere Market at Mill No. 5 in Lowell. I will be there, sharing space with my wife. This will be Storied Threads‘ last show for the foreseeable future, so come visit and grab some great holiday gifts from us.
  • 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.

MISC.

I’m talking to my cover artist Tricia for the front and back of Power Play. Going with a bold but simple concept for the front cover, but the back cover image might be the scene stealer.

 

Weekly Update – November 29

abs-displayI spent my Saturday at Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester, which hosted a small, low-yet, but fun Small Business Saturday event featuring local authors. There were readings, a lot of shop talk, and a few book sales, so I’d say a good time was had by all — certainly by me.

Thanks to Trisha Wooldridge, who put this event together, and fellow participants Jessie OlsonCameron GarriepyLisa Shea, Brian McKeown, and H.L. Dancler (in absentia).

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: In the editing process, on-schedule for a winter/spring 2017 release.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: In the editing process, will be included as a bonus story with Power Play.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft in progress. Got a little more work done over the weekend, despite the chaos of the holiday. I might not get a lot done this weekend because my wife and I are moving (not far, just to a new unit in the same condo complex), but that only motivates me more to get the move done and over with ASAP.

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • otherwhere-promoNEXT! Saturday, December 10: The OtherWhere Market at Mill No. 5 in Lowell. I will be there, sharing space with my wife. This will be Storied Threads‘ last show for the foreseeable future, so come visit and grab some great holiday gifts from us.
  • 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.

MISC.

Speaking of Arisia, I received my panel assignments last week, and I am quite happy with my schedule. Here’s where and when you’ll be able to hear me yammer on about writerly things (plus each panel’s official description):

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.

Weekly Update – November 22, 2016

I’m about to get a bit political here, so anyone who cares to respond I’ll tell you now: I welcome contrasting viewpoints and additional information, but if anyone goes off on a tangent or cannot keep their posts civil and based in verifiable fact, I won’t approve them.

As an independent author who relies on Amazon.com for the vast majority of my book sales, I am naturally concerned that the online retail giant has wound up on a list of businesses Americans are being urged to boycott because of its connections to our president-elect and his family.

What concerns me is why Amazon ended up on this list. It states that the company’s “business” with the Trumps is selling clothing and shoes with the family’s brand on it.

This, to me, seems like a bit of a reach. For starters, Amazon carries EVERYTHING. That it sells stuff with the Trump name attached is hardly surprising and doesn’t to me speak of a formal business partnership between the two entities in the same way Trump and Macy’s had a partnership — and note that I said “had,” because Macy’s dropped the Trump clothing line like a hot rock.

Now, could Amazon also purge all things Trump from its virtual shelves? It could, and there is precedent for Amazon removing items following a public outcry, but it wouldn’t necessarily be easy. A search of the site pulls up nearly 200,000 items with the Trump name attached to it in some way, from books to clothes to some amusing yet disturbing novelty items (the pen holder that allows you to insert your favorite writing implement in Trump’s ass, for example) — and only a tiny fraction of these items are in any way produced by a company with direct ties to the family, so it could take time to find and remove only those products. But I digress.

What I think is worth bearing in mind as you decide whether or not to participate in the boycott is that Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos are NOT on friendly terms whatsoever.

The Motley Fool has a lengthy piece about the relationship between the men, and it does not paint a picture of two guys who like each other, much less do business with each other. Trump has chastised Bezos for buying the Washington Post, which was very critical of Trump throughout the campaign, and the president-elect has talked about using the power of the federal government to investigate alleged (or perhaps, imagined) anti-trust law violations by Amazon.

After the election, Bezos tweeted, “Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump. I for one give him my most open mind and wish him great success in his service to the country.” Some have interpreted that as at least tepid support for the candidate — Fortune.com called it a “neutral” response — and used it to fire up their anti-Amazon sentiments because it wasn’t outright condemnation.

I’ll make it clear here: I did not support Trump, at all, and still don’t, and I would be delighted if Bezos took a principled stand and purged Amazon of all its Trumpernalia, but I doubt it’s going to happen — not without a powerful display of opposition from the public (I’ll get to that in a minute).

So the question becomes: how do you, the consumer, respond to all this? How do you support indie authors who rely heavily on Amazon’s reach in the American and global marketplace without necessarily supporting Amazon itself?

Well, for starters, I’d say don’t just stop spending money on Amazon. What I mean by that is, a boycott doesn’t work simply because people stop supporting a business; it works because they let the business know in no uncertain terms that reasons X, Y, and Z and WHY they aren’t spending money there anymore. There needs to be context, so I’d say the first thing to do is go to that boycott list I provided, use the contact information to make your voice heard, and let Amazon know directly and explicitly why you don’t want to give them your money anymore.

I’ll also note that as a rule I do believe in boycotts as a protest tool, but they need to be constructive, productive, focused, and come with two expectations: you might cause unintended collateral damage in the process; and that the entity being boycotted might not accede to your message.

And if the latter happens here and Amazon doesn’t dump all things Trump, what do you do? How do you keep indie authors alive without going through Amazon?

Again, you’ll need to put in some effort here. A lot of authors use Amazon exclusively, but not all of them. There are numerous other retail outlets available to indie authors so you can check them out, and the best way to find them (aside from the almighty Google) is to hit up your favorite authors via their websites, blog, and social media platforms. They’ll be happy to hook you up. Some might even sell directly through their website, such as I do (he said in a shamelessly self-serving way).

I encourage everyone to follow their conscience, regardless of which path it takes you down. If you choose to avoid Amazon like the plague and buy through other retailers, great. If you decide that boycotting Amazon would only hurt indie authors and don’t want to punish them in the process of making a statement? Also great.

Regardless of whatever decision you make, make it an informed decision and make sure your actions are clear in purpose.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: In the editing process, on-schedule for a winter/spring 2017 release.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: In the editing process, will be included as a bonus story with Power Play.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft in progress. Got a lot of work done on this over the weekend, so it’s safe to say I’m back on the Black End War groove.

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

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I hope to hear about my Arisia panel assignments soon. If I don’t at least get on the panel I suggested (about writing fight scenes) I’ll be rather unhappy.

Finally, I’ll say this again even though I’ve remarked on it recently, but it’s come up in some of the writing forums I belong to so I think it bears repeating.

If you’re an aspiring author on the hunt for a publisher, remember that money is supposed to flow toward the writer. If an outfit calls itself a publisher but requires you to pay for editing, formatting, distribution, promotions, cover art, etc., they are NOT a true publisher but a self-publishing platform. More specifically, they’re a vanity press — a self-publishing service that masquerades as a true publisher for the purpose of enticing writers to cough up significant sums of money for services that a legit traditional publisher is supposed to cover.

If you decide that’s the route you want to go because you need things like editing and cover art, that’s fine, but do your research first, because some vanity presses claim various rights to the author’s work, and losing control of your own novel is a nightmare you do not want to contend with.

Also bear in mind that many self-publishing platforms such as CreateSpace do charge for support services, but those services are purely optional. CreateSpace also doesn’t claim any rights to the author’s work.

Weekly Update – November 15, 2016

Another quiet week, but I’m back to a regular writing schedule this weekend. Woo!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: In the editing process.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: In the editing process.

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

Action Figures – Issue Eight: The only movement here is that I think I have a decent subtitle. Unless something better strikes me, book eight will be known henceforth as Crawling from the Wreckage.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

After chatting with a friend last week about murder mysteries, I remembered a spec script I wrote several years ago for a WWII-era murder mystery show (A Star-Spangled Murder) and took it out to see if it was still any good. It was, which was a pleasant surprise. If anyone happens to be in the market for a short, three-act show with interactive elements for a small cast, contact me.

Final thought for the week, inspired by posts I’ve seen on other writers’ various social media outlets: it doesn’t matter how many Facebook followers you have, it doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have, it doesn’t matter how many newsletters you send out each week, it doesn’t matter how many books you crank out, it doesn’t matter how many likes or shares or retweets you get. Success isn’t all about raw numbers. Stop worrying about quantity and focus on quality.

Weekly Update – October 25, 2016

Halloween, the best holiday of the year, is next Monday! I mention this because I’m going to be posting something special that day, so check back then — or click on that handy button on the right to follow this blog and get the post delivered right to your e-mail inbox.

Next I’d like to remind everyone that the Young Adult Book Heist has one more week left to run, so if you haven’t already entered, go take care of that now! Head over to the Facebook page to learn how you could win a Kindle, free print and e-books — including copies of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins — swag, and more, or go to the sign-up page now to enter.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: In the editing process.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: In the editing process.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War and Action Figures – Issue Eight: After focusing on book eight for so long, I jumped back to book seven this weekend. Book seven continues to be a challenge because I’m pushing out of my comfort zones a lot on this one so it was nice to make even a little bit of progress.

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

Speaking of the Annie’s Book Stop event, here’s a link to an interview I did to promote the day if you’d like to go check it out.

Weekly Update – April 5, 2016

WRITING PROJECTS

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00056]
Art and Copyright 2016 Patricia Lupien
Cheap Thrills Digest: This will be coming to my online store soon, so you’ll be able to grab a signed copy for only $6 plus shipping without having to hunt me down at an event.

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: I started writing the third act, and things are shaping up nicely. My watch list for inspiration has included Assault on Precinct 13 and The Raid: Redemption, and I am desperate to get my hands on a copy of Dredd — to give you a hint about the climax.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: About a quarter of the way through the first draft.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • Saturday, April 30: The spring OtherWhere Market at Mill No. 5 in Lowell. Runs from noon until 6 PM with an after-hours party to follow. This year’s event will be part of a larger, citywide steampunk weekend.
  • Sunday, October 2: The Connecticut Renaissance Faire’s 2016 Meet the Author series, which runs from 1 to 3 PM.
  • Saturday & Sunday, October 15 & 16: The fall New Bedford Bookfest. Times TBA.

MISC.

Looks like I’ll be returning to the Connecticut Renaissance Faire’s Robin Hood Springtime Festival after all. I hadn’t planned to for various reasons, like taking  care of our dog Beatrix, but things came together so I’ll be on cast again (and not just writing press releases for the show. Yay!).

 

Weekly Update – March 29, 2016

Finally shook off the late winter/early spring doldrums and got some stuff done!

WRITING PROJECTS

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00056]
Art and Copyright 2016 Patricia Lupien
Cheap Thrills Digest: Cover art is done! Tricia finished it up over the weekend, and here is the fully finished version. Fun!

This book will be available exclusively in print at live appearances and, eventually, through this website, but before it goes on general sale I do plan to make a limited number of copies available to current fans, so keep your eyes on this website for details on that.

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Had a very productive weekend working on this. I punched out a whopping thirty-six pages over the course of four days, and I’m primed and ready to launch into the third act, which promises to be intense.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: About a quarter of the way through the first draft.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

Last year I was fortunate enough to participate in a StoryBundle deal featuring indie superhero authors, and it was a great experience all around.

One of my fellow SB authors, Adam Oster (The Legend of Buddy Hero), a few days ago posted an excellent review of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins on his website. Thank you for that, sir! And readers, you should go thank him too by grabbing some of his stuff. And I should seriously make some time to read the other books in the bundle…and maybe some of the two dozen or so books in my to-be-read pile.

Weekly Update – March 22, 2016

Another slow week, but next week should be more interesting.

WRITING PROJECTS

Cheap Thrills Digest: Formatting is done, awaiting cover art.

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Pre-editing revisions are done, in the queue for editing.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: More than a third of the way through the first draft. Got a few new pages done over the weekend and I figured out the climax, including what should be a brutal fight scene between Erika and the main villain.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: About a quarter of the way through the first draft.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

 

MISC.

Not writing related, but significant. Our hot water heater started leaking sometime Sunday night/Monday morning and the water reached my comic book collection. Two garbage bags’ worth of comics were soaked beyond recovery. Fortunately some big-money items made it out okay, as did my coveted complete run of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Some related mini-series were not as fortunate but the main series was never touched.

Weekly Update – March 1, 2016

Starting today, I’m going to try something new to help cut down on the long stretches of nothing that sometimes inflict this website. Every Tuesday, I’m going to run a quick recap of my various projects so readers can keep tabs on where everything is in their respective processes.

And I’d like to remind everyone that visitors can comment on any content on this site, so if any of you have any questions or comments about anything, the Tuesday update post is as good a place as any to hit me up.

WRITING PROJECTS

Cheap Thrills Rough 1Cheap Thrills Digest: My editor, Julie Tremblay, turned in her edits on my upcoming collection of short stories on Sunday, and I’ve finished implementing the corrections and formatting the book. Now all that’s left is the cover art, which Tricia is working on now. We’re running with a concept that invokes old pulp adventure magazine covers, as you can see on the right.

Action Figures – An Adventure in Babysitting: My first AF short is part of the aforementioned shorts collection, so I took advantage of the fact Julie gave it a new polish and posted the revised edition on the website, where it originally appeared.

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play: I’m working on my final pre-editing stage revisions this week, but I’m not planning to send it off to Julie quite yet. I have to recoup some expenses from prepping Issue Five: Team-Ups (which is selling very well, I’m happy to report), and I’m hoping to get another project squared away first.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: This is that other project. My goal is to have the follow-up to Scratching a Lich finished in time for a fall release. I’m about a third of the way through the first draft, so we’ll see how it goes.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: About a quarter of the way through the first draft. I’m taking my time with this one because it’s a fairly radical departure from the series. No tentative release date set.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

I have three tentative and one confirmed book signings on my calendar. First, I’m on a short wait list for the New Bedford Bookfest this weekend. This is a new event that filled up very quickly, and the organizers are already planning a fall bookfest. With events like these there’s always a chance that another author might bow out and I’ll get a last-minute call to participate, so my fingers are crossed.

Next, I’m waiting to hear back from the organizers of the Worcester Local Authors Fair, hosted by the Worcester Public Library, and the spring OtherWhere Market at Mill No. 5 in Lowell. My applications are in and I expect to get into both, which are scheduled for the beginning and end of April, respectively.

Finally, I’ll be kicking off the 2016 Meet the Author series at the fall Connecticut Renaissance Faire. It’s the second year for this event, and I’m delighted the producers decided to make it an annual thing. I’ll be there on October 2, Sunday of the opening weekend, so come on by, say hello, and enjoy a great show.

MISC.

Fellow super-hero author and old friend Mark Aberdeen (the Dex Territory series) gave me a nice little shout-out during an interview with Rave Reviews with Nonnie Jules. Go give it a read!