Best Week Ever! Part One

AF CoverGood morning and happy February, everyone!

And it is a happy February, because today begins the five-day free promotion for the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins. The full novel is available until the end of Friday, February 5, so if you’re a new reader or a current fan who wants to introduce a friend to the series, you can — respectively — pick it up for yourself or send a copy as a gift. Just head on over to Amazon to download it now.

For you readers who are all caught up on the series and have been chomping at the bit for Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-Ups, your patience is about to be rewarded. Tricia began sending me peeks at the cover-in-progress, which is through the preliminary color work stage. Here’s a sneak-peek of the front cover from earlier on in the process…

Copyright 2016 Patricia Lupien.
Copyright 2016 Patricia Lupien.

Yep, it’s a classic “heroes on a rooftop watching over the city they’ve sworn to watch over” shot. Fans of the series will probably recognize the faceless fellow as the Entity, and the hint of a foreground figure you see will be Missy “Kunoichi” Hamill. I’ve seen Tricia’s rough sketch of Missy’s new outfit and I can’t wait to see the finished version of her, and of one of my favorite characters to write, Nina Nitro, who will be on the back cover.

Cruel Summer – Print Edition! (And Other Stuff)

Art by Patricia Lupien
Art by Patricia Lupien

For those of you who have been waiting for the print edition of Action Figures – Cruel Summer, sorry for the delay, but the wait is at last over! The hard copy version is now available on Amazon, so go get it!

The Kindle edition has been flying off the metaphorical shelves since it dropped last week, and has been hovering near the top of two best-seller lists, which gives me plenty of incentive to keep cracking on book five, Team-Ups.

I’ve mentioned book five quite a few times in the past couple of months, so you might be wondering exactly what’s going to happen in the next installation. For starters, the book will be tonally more in-line with the first three books in the series. I make no apologies for running dark with book four — it wasn’t a story that could be told with my usual lighter touch — but believe me, I’m happy to get back to stories that are more on the fun side.

The big curve ball for readers in book five is that it will consist of a series of vignettes — self-contained stories each spotlighting a different member of the Hero Squad as they recover from the events of book four. Here’s a sampling of what’s coming…

  • The King of Pain deals one last blow against the Squad, and it could shatter the already fractured team forever.
  • Matt and Nina Nitro set out to apprehend two escapees from Byrne Penitentiary, but things don’t go as planned after local hero (and noted jerk) Deuce X. Machine lends an unwanted helping hand.
  • Carrie spends quality time with the Quantum Quintet.
  • Missy begins her formal training…with the Entity, but the mysterious vigilante has an ulterior motive.
  • Stuart follows Dr. Enigma into Boston’s underworld to recover a powerful magical artifact, but an old enemy stands in the way.

Book five will culminate in a major revelation as Carrie — and readers — finally learn exactly where her powers came from…and that her fantastic abilities come with a price.

Action Figures – Issue Two – An Introduction

Benchmark time! Draft four of Action Figures – Issue Two is done, and now it’s off to my editor-slash-sister-in-law Tori for a final review. That means it’s time to start chatting this thing up.

So, what happened in book one?

Well, you could always buy a copy and read it, but if you’re going to be that way…

In Action Figures – Issue One – Secret Origins, we met the Hero Squad, a group of aspiring super-heroes — Carrie “Lightstorm” Hauser, Matt “Captain Trenchcoat” Steiger, Sara “Psyche” Danvers, Stuart “Superbeast” Lumley, and Missy “Kunoichi” Hamill — as they embarked on their first adventure. The teens ran afoul of Archimedes, a renegade artificial intelligence; the deadly mercenary Manticore; the mysterious mastermind known simply as the Foreman; and local super-hero Concorde, leader of the Protectorate, who tried (and failed) to ground the fledgling super-team.

What’s book two about?

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women picks up a few days after the events of issue one. There’s no rest for the weary Squad as they find themselves in the middle of a feud between the necromancer Black Betty and Dr. Enigma, the Protectorate’s expert of all things magical and supernatural. The prize is the Libris Infernalis, a book of powerful dark magic — powerful enough to summon ancient demon-gods capable of laying waste to the planet.

What else happens?

The team learns more about their super-human capabilities thanks to Doc Quantum, leader of the Quantum Quintet and one of the world’s greatest minds; Missy undergoes some frightening changes; the Squad meets the Entity, the Protectorate’s mysterious fifth member; and Nina Nitro shows Carrie what it takes to play in the super-hero big leagues.

There’s also a little bit of romance in store for Carrie, but I would like to assure readers, there are and will continue to be NO LOVE TRIANGLES.

Hey, man, why the hate for love triangles?

One: they’re overdone. Every bloody YA series has a love triangle, it seems. Two: they’re a cheap, lazy way to generate tension in a story. There are better, more interesting ways to explore romance in a story than simply playing the Archie-Betty-Veronica card. Three: they can overwhelm the other, more important things going on in the story. In The Hunger Games series, the idea of a young girl being forced into government-sanctioned gladiatorial games gets overshadowed in media stories by the Katniss-Peeta-Gale triangle. Oh, yes, let’s focus on the cutesy romance instead, downplay the tragic death of hundreds of children over generations in the name of keeping the poor in their place.

But I digress…

Anything else I should know?

Make sure to read the acknowledgements in the back of the book, because I’ll be adding a little Easter egg for readers.

When will book two be available?

My goal is to have it out in March. That will depend in large part on how quickly my editor and my cover artist finish their respective jobs. I don’t like to be pushy or set hard deadlines on people who have other, more important responsibilities, so things will wrap up when they wrap up.

Will the book be available for the Kindle?

It will, although the e-book version will probably come out after the print edition. Formatting the manuscript for Kindle is a whole ‘nother project in itself.

Stay tuned for updates as they become available!