Weekly Update – August 17, 2021

Alas, due to the threat of thunderstorms (which, of course, never materialized, because it’s New England), last weekend’s book fair was postponed. The organizers are looking at a Sunday in September to try again, so I’ll let you know when that’s been confirmed.

In other news — which, admittedly, might be less interesting to you than it is to me — renovations on my office are about to begin in earnest. I had to disrupt everything several weeks ago due to a plumbing leak, and I decided rather than put it all back as it was, I’d take advantage of the situation and give myself the office I really want.

That involved buying a few thousand dollars worth of materials, which was scary. Even scarier is the prospect of drywall repair, light electrical work, and miter cutting baseboard molding. I’ll post pictures of the progress, and hopefully I’ll have everything done before the holidays.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Production is about to begin on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a September release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Third draft finished, now with beta readers.

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 – August 10, 2021

Keeping an eye on the weather for this weekend’s Ashland, Hopkinton, and Framingham Public Libraries Local Author Book Fair. If you’re thinking of attending, you can learn more about the event and the other participating authors at the official Ashland town website or the Facebook event page. Hopefully, you won’t have to check either to see if we’ve been rained out. Fingers crossed.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Production is about to begin on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a September release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Third draft finished, now with beta readers.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

Saturday, August 14, 2PM to 5PM: The Ashland, Hopkinton, and Framingham Public Libraries Local Author Book Fair, at The Corner Spot – 1-19 Pleasant St., Ashland MA.

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 – August 3, 2021

Hey, folks. Slow week this week, not much to report, but I’d like to remind readers in the central Massachusetts area that the Ashland, Hopkinton, and Framingham Public Libraries Local Author Book Fair is currently still a go for next weekend. Of course, the recent surge of the Delta variant of Covid may impact this in some fashion, so keep an eye on my social media for updates.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Production is about to begin on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a September release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Third draft finished, now with beta readers.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

Saturday, August 14, 2PM to 5PM: The Ashland, Hopkinton, and Framingham Public Libraries Local Author Book Fair, at The Corner Spot – 1-19 Pleasant St., Ashland MA.

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 – July 27, 2021

If you’ve been waiting for the print edition of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives, wait no more!

Now, if you’re waiting for the audiobook version, it will be a while yet. My narrator, Heather, has finally gone back to work (yay!), which means she has a little less time for narrator work (boo!), so expect to see the audiobook ready some time in September.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Production is about to begin on the audiobook edition. Tentatively set for a September release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Third draft finished, now with beta readers.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

New event! The Ashland, Hopkinton, and Framingham Public Libraries Local Author Book Fair – Saturday, August 14, 2PM to 5PM: My first post-pandemic event! Sure, it’s a small local show, but I’ll take it! If you’re in the Central Mass. area that day, swing by and say hello!

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 – July 20, 2021

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives is here!

Tricia finished the cover art over the weekend, and as you can see, it’s another fantastic, eye-catching piece. As that was the final element I needed to wrap up this project, I did that on Sunday, and the Kindle edition became available Monday. The print edition is in the pipeline and should be ready very soon — and then, of course, I get to work on the audiobook edition!

Here’s the official synopsis to tease you further. Read it, and then go pick up the fifth book in the series!

***

After surviving an unforgiving winter in the northern city of Além, Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot are eager to lead their friends back to Ambride to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

That idea goes right out the window when the companions learn about a major gathering of the four elven clans in City Lyth — Winifred Graceword’s home. Ancient tradition demands that Winifred heed the sacred call of her people, and who is she to reject ancient tradition?

Winifred immediate regrets her decision upon returning to City Lyth and reuniting with her estranged parents, who have yet to forgive their black sheep daughter for rejecting her birthright to follow her own path.

Derek and Felix thought Além was cold and unforgiving, but that place has nothing on Winifred’s mother, General Rhian Godswrath.

The mother – daughter reunion proves uncomfortable for all involved, but Winifred’s plan to keep her visit short and sweet falls apart when she learns why the long-separated elven clans have reunited: they intend to launch an expedition to the long-lost city of Wihend, in which no elf has set foot for centuries.

Except for Winifred, that is.

This news is not well-received, to say the least, but the elven coalition recognizes a valuable asset when they see one, and Winifred and her friends are pressed into service as guides for the expedition. They know the city, they know the dangers lurking within, and they know how to handle themselves in a fight. What could go wrong?

Everything. Everything could go wrong.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives is the fifth book in the irreverent, award-winning* fantasy series by Michael C. Bailey (Action Figures, Well-Behaved Women). Brace yourself for an epic tale of secret cities, malevolent monsters, arcane artifacts, bloody battles, feuding families, and more mother issues than any elf has a right to.

(* = The 2016 Bella Online Ebook Awards, gold medal in fantasy fiction)

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: The Kindle edition is available, the print edition is coming soon, and work on the audiobook edition is about to begin!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

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.

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: 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?

Sworded Affairs: The company takes a job to dispose of a potentially dangerous magical artifact only to become snowbound in an isolated city besieged by flesh-hungry beasts — and under assault from within by a dark conspiracy.

Elfish Motives: Winifred Graceword is called home under mysterious circumstances, which lead to the company revisiting the lost even city of Wihend. But what do the four clans want with their long-abandoned ancestral home? Coming soon!

Untitled Sixth Book: The company finally returns home to Ambride, only to become immediately embroiled in a scandal threatening to consume the Ambride Academy of Magic. Scheduled for 2022 release.

How Long Will the Series Run?

Unknown, but tentatively ten books.

Are They Available As Audiobooks?

The first four books, narrated by Heather S. Auden, are currently available on Audible.

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

Weekly Update – July 13, 2021

The cover for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives is almost finished! Tricia is into the fine color work, which is when her pieces really come to life, as you can see at right.

Now, you might notice that the figure at center top — Rhian, Winifred’s mother — has undergone a significant change from the last draft. Tricia thought she wasn’t looking very prominent in the piece and needed to command more attention, which is perfectly in keeping with her character, so Tricia swapped out her formalwear and put her in armor.

There’s not much left to do but finish the color work and add the logos and text, and then we’ve got ourselves a brand-new Strongarm & Lightfoot adventure ready to go!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done, awaiting cover art. Tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

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 – July 6, 2021

Tricia continues to truck along on the cover for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives. As you can see, she’s into the preliminary color work, which is when her creations really start to come to life.

So, who are these people? Going clockwise from bottom left, we have our own Winifred Graceword, her parents Alastair, Rhian, and Everett, and her younger brother Matias — but that’s all I’m going to give you for now. I’ll be posting the back cover text soon enough!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done, awaiting cover art. Tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

None schedule.

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 – June 29, 2021

Ah, one of my favorite parts of the creation process is upon me! Tricia has started sending me teases of her cover for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives, including the bit to the right. I’ll tell you that the lady on the left is none other than Winifred, but the lack of her ever-present smile might have thrown you off. But who’s the smug jerk next to her? Is that why she looks less than thrilled to be there?

I guess you’ll just have to pick up the book when it drops, which should be later this summer!

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done, awaiting cover art. Tentatively scheduled for a summer release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

None schedule.

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 – June 22, 2021

Finally got a full writing day in over the weekend! The eleventh Action Figures book continues to take shape, though what its final form might be remains a mystery. The thrill of being a pantser.

On an amusing note, I received a two-star review recently. I know that doesn’t sound amusing, but go ahead and read it and tell me it doesn’t make you laugh.

Effective villains? Ramping up story tension? HOW DARE I?!

Negative reviews are inevitable in this job, and you eventually learn to ignore them (or stop reading them), but ones this laughable are worth relishing. The guy’s complaining that partway through the story — he didn’t even finish reading the book before posting! — the villains have the upper hand. I decided to skim some of his other reviews, and he’s left similar complaints about other books in which the antagonists at some point had the upper hand. This is apparently his bugaboo, which he’s certainly entitled to, but if you only enjoy stories in which the bad guy is Skeletor-level ineffectual, you’re going to hate a LOT of great stories.

WRITING PROJECTS

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

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

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Final draft is done. Tentatively scheduled for a summer/fall 2021 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – book six: First draft finished.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Convention of Heroes 2021 – Runs this week through June 25. Join superhero authors for a series of virtual panels on writing superhero fiction and related topics. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I won’t be able to make my panel on creating superhero characters, but you should still check it out.

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.