Weekly Update – April 13, 2021

First, I’d like to thank everyone who “attended” Saturday’s Quarancon panel on writing fight scenes. We had a great panel lineup and hit on a lot of topics — and we still only barely scratched the surface of this particular topic. If you missed it, you can watch the whole thing on the Quarancon YouTube page.

That panel might be my only productivity this week due to the fact I’m getting my first vaccination shot today (House Pfizer), and word from my already vaccinated friends is, it might kick my ass for a day or two. But that’s okay. I’ll be getting my vaccine, which is what matters — both in the big picture sense, and in the more immediate sense of helping to keep my wife safe. She’s already vaccinated, but she also has health issues that put her in a high-risk category, so knowing we’re both vaccinated will take a major source of stress off us both.

Everyone, getting vaccinated is a big step toward getting our lives back to some sense of normalcy. I know the process of getting an appointment is a pain in the ass — believe me, I KNOW — but it’s worth it.

And if you’re an anti-vaxxer reading this, save your fearmongering and pseudoscientific bullshit for someone who cares. I’ll be blunt here: if you try to post your nonsense and propaganda on this page, it’ll get deleted unread.

Finally, National Superhero Day 2021 is April 28, and I plan to make the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins free for the day! If you found me through one of my other series or one of the anthologies I’m featured in, that would be a great time to check out my flagship series.

And if you’re already a fan, why not share your love of the series and gift a copy to a friend? You know, give them a head start on catching up so they’ll be ready when book ten drops (which will be soon, promise!).

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, cover art is in progress. Tentatively set for an April 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 spring/summer 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 six: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Nothing 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 – April 6, 2021

Nothing much going on this week, but I do want to share a fun discovery I made over the weekend: my Action Figures series has its own page on the TV Tropes website! I don’t know how it wound up there, but the page is remarkably thorough.

Next item: National Superhero Day 2021 is April 28, and I plan to make the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins free for the day! If you found me through one of my other series or one of the anthologies I’m featured in, that would be a great time to check out my flagship series.

And if you’re already a fan, why not share your love of the series and gift a copy to a friend? You know, give them a head start on catching up so they’ll be ready when book ten drops (which will be soon, promise!).

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, cover art is in progress. Tentatively set for an April 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 spring/summer 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 six: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • NEW EVENT! Quarancon 2021 – April 8 – 12: This virtual convention is back for another year, and I’ll be sitting on a Zoom panel to discuss writing fight scenes, which is at 3 PM on Saturday, April 10.

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.

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Oxford, MA 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’m a freelance writer, 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, and the ninth book, Hell Hath No Fury, reached #1 on one Amazon best-seller list.

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. The first three books are available in audiobook format.

Beneath the Mask is an anthology of superhero romance stories. The collection, scheduled for a February 14, 2021 release, features ten stories, including my story Like a Knife in the Heart, starring a new character, the Sapphire Silhouette.

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.

The Final Summons is the first anthology from the New England Speculative Writers. The collection features 14 fantasy, horror, and science fiction stories by NESW members, including my story The Going Rate for Penance, which is set in the world of Strongarm & Lightfoot.

Freedom Winds is a mini-comic I wrote for Underdog Comics, and you can read it for free at any time here, here, or here.

Copyright 2018 Tessa Beatrice/Underdog Comics

Well-Behaved Women is an urban fantasy trilogy for feminist audiences. After returning to work following a near-fatal shooting, Sergeant Rose Booker encounters a woman claiming to be the reincarnation of Julie d’Aubigny, the infamous 17th Century French swordswoman. Things only get stranger from there as Rose and Julie cross paths with a crime boss with a knack for exacting bloody revenge on his enemies. This is more serious and mature than my other projects — not recommended for young readers. Book one, Awakening, is now available. Book two, Transition, was released in April 2019, and book three, Endtimes, was released August 2019. The entire trilogy is available in audiobook 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

Weekly newsletter

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

Instagram

Goodreads

LinkedIn

Weekly Update – March 30, 2021

I can’t speak for all authors, but I know I cycle through periods where I feel like I’m not getting anything done, and periods where I feel like I’m getting a ton accomplished.

I’m heading into one of those latter periods now, because I am currently waiting for my cover artist Tricia to work her magic for Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences, my editor Julie has The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives in hand, I’m close to finishing the first draft of the sixth S&L novel, and the first few chapters of the audiobook version of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins by my new narrator Bethany have come in and they’re sounding great.

Combine that with the arrival of spring, at long last, and the fact my wife and I were able to get out over the weekend and actually do something — a nature walk followed by visiting a local brewery and having a safe outdoor eating experience (our first time eating out since last February!) — and the fact my wife is now fully vaccinated, and you’ve got one reenergized writer.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, cover art is in progress. Tentatively set for an April 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 spring/summer 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 six: First draft is into the third act.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • NEW EVENT! Quarancon 2021 – April 8 – 12: This virtual convention is back for another year, and I’ll be sitting on a Zoom panel to discuss writing fight scenes, which is at 3 PM on Saturday, April 10.

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 23, 2021

The recording work for the audiobook version of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins is underway!

My new narrator, Bethany Boles, uploaded the first files late last week and everything is off to a great start. Her goal is to record two chapters per day, with weekends off for family time, and she stays on that schedule, the “first draft” audio will be done no later than mid-April. Allow another two weeks for pickups and editing and the audiobook should be ready for ACX review by the end of next month.

Here’s where it gets uncertain, because ACX’s efficiency when it comes to reviewing audiobook files has been, to put it kindly, lackluster over the past year. It should take ten business days but I and fellow indie authors were experiencing wait times ranging from several weeks to a few months. ACX claims it’s addressed the problem, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: Editing is finished, and final formatting and cover art are in progress! Tentatively set for an April 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 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.

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Oxford, MA 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’m a freelance writer, 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, and the ninth book, Hell Hath No Fury, reached #1 on one Amazon best-seller list.

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. The first three books are available in audiobook format.

Beneath the Mask is an anthology of superhero romance stories. The collection, scheduled for a February 14, 2021 release, features ten stories, including my story Like a Knife in the Heart, starring a new character, the Sapphire Silhouette.

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.

The Final Summons is the first anthology from the New England Speculative Writers. The collection features 14 fantasy, horror, and science fiction stories by NESW members, including my story The Going Rate for Penance, which is set in the world of Strongarm & Lightfoot.

Freedom Winds is a mini-comic I wrote for Underdog Comics, and you can read it for free at any time here, here, or here.

Copyright 2018 Tessa Beatrice/Underdog Comics

Well-Behaved Women is an urban fantasy trilogy for feminist audiences. After returning to work following a near-fatal shooting, Sergeant Rose Booker encounters a woman claiming to be the reincarnation of Julie d’Aubigny, the infamous 17th Century French swordswoman. Things only get stranger from there as Rose and Julie cross paths with a crime boss with a knack for exacting bloody revenge on his enemies. This is more serious and mature than my other projects — not recommended for young readers. Book one, Awakening, is now available. Book two, Transition, was released in April 2019, and book three, Endtimes, was released August 2019. The entire trilogy is available in audiobook 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

Weekly newsletter

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

Instagram

Goodreads

LinkedIn

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.