Weekly Update – August 4, 2020

I wish I had some good news to report regarding the audiobook version of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glorybut unfortunately, ACX continues to be a pain.

When an author submits a project to ACX, it undergoes an audio quality review that is supposed to take up to ten business days. The review for Blades of Glory began on May 11 and ended last week when it was rejected because, somewhere within the audio, there was not at least five seconds of silence following the end of the narration for one or more chapters.

That’s how picky they are.

My narrator Heather fixed the problem that same day and the audibook has been resubmitted, along with a request to expedite the process so I’m not waiting another two and a half months for the thing to clear. Fingers crossed.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Undergoing second audio quality review, release date late summer/early fall 2020.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook recording has begun! Tentatively set for a fall 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse – Thursday, August 6, 7:30 PM. The next session in my ongoing free-form discussion via Zoom about writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. We welcome all experience levels, all writing interests, and all questions about any part of the writing and publishing process.

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 28, 2020

At last week’s Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse session, the topic of finding time to write came up, so I’m going to share some thoughts I shared with the group.

Fair warning, I’ve said this kind of thing before, so feel free to skip it if you don’t need me wagging my finger at you. Otherwise…

Whenever I chat with aspiring writers, I frequently meet people who have book ideas that they’re really excited about. They’ll go on at length about how the idea came to them, and how much they think about it, and what a great novel it would make — the enthusiasm for the idea is there.

These encounters frequently end with, “As soon as I find time to write it…” or some variation thereof.

I won’t belabor the point here. If this is you, the “I don’t have time to write” non-writer, I can pretty much guarantee that you DO have time to write and you’re simply choosing to do something else with that time.

Get past the mandatory time commitments — work, school, shopping, household chores, etc. — you have countless things taking up potential writing time: hobbies, working out, social time with family and friends (coronavirus notwithstanding), sleeping in…

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with spending your time on things you want to do, things that bring you happiness and relax you, but if that’s your choice, then you need to stop lying to yourself — and that is what you’re doing when you claim you have no time to write. You’re divesting yourself of all personal responsibility and shifting the blame onto life in general.

“I don’t have time to write” isn’t a reason; it’s an excuse.

“But I’m serious! I want to write!” you say. Well then, something’s got to give somewhere. Cut back on your daily gym time. Take a pass on the weekly game night with friends. Take a walk in the woods every other weekend instead of every weekend. Wake up an hour earlier each day.

Make time to write.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in final processing — still! Scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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 21, 2020

Another slow week, sad to say. ACX is STILL dragging its feet on the audiobook version of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs and shows no signs of changing, despite a second e-mail promising “we’ll look into it.”

On a more upbeat topic, I’m hosting another Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse session this week via Zoom, and we’ve had a request to discuss villain characters, which is always a favorite subject of mine. If you want to learn how to craft fantastic villains, join us Thursday evening at 7:30. Here’s the Facebook event page for more info.

As always, we’re open to other topics as well, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner with questions about the basics, a more experienced amateur getting ready to release a book, or a pro with expertise to share. Everyone is welcome!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Release date TBA.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in final processing — still! Scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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 14, 2020

Not a lot to report this week, as I’m still waiting for other people to finish up their end of the process on several projects. Last week was mostly about me plugging away at the next Strongarm & Lightfoot book.

I did (finally) get some print copies of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs in, so if you’re in the market for a signed copy (or that or of any of my other books), hit the Buy Now page. I’ll get it to you faster than Amazon gets them to me, promise.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Tentatively set for late summer release.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in final processing — still! Scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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.

Action Figures – A Series Overview

What’s it About?

The series focuses on Carrie Hauser, a 15-year-old girl who one summer experiences two life-changing events: her parents announce they’re getting divorced, and she gains superhuman abilities after encountering a dying extraterrestrial after he falls to Earth.

Her adventure begins after Carrie and her mother Christina move back to Christina’s childhood home town of Kingsport, Massachusetts, and Carrie meets four teens with powers of their own: superhero fanboy Matt Steiger, who owns a pair of magic gloves that can produce any object he can envision out of thin air, like a living cartoon character; Sara Danvers, a telepath and telekinetic who is afraid of her own abilities; the easygoing Stuart Lumley, who possesses superhuman strength; and Missy Hamill, an adorable motormouth with enhanced strength and reflexes.

The teens form a superhero team almost on a whim, but soon find themselves fighting for their lives against very real super-villains – much to the dismay of Kingsport’s hometown hero Concorde, leader of the super-team The Protectorate.

Who is this Series For?

Fans of superhero comics, TV shows, and movies in general, but particularly of titles featuring teen heroes such as Young Justice, Teen Titans, Young Avengers, and Champions.

The tone is generally lighter than a lot of YA books out there now. While there is drama and conflict, and some later stories deal with darker issues, I try to keep the series fun, upbeat, and optimistic.

Is it Suitable for Young Readers?

Action Figures is a PG-13 series that contains mild to moderate profanity, non-graphic violence, some mature themes, and later on in the series mild sexual content.

An added word about the violent content: while the violence is not graphic, the consequences are not downplayed. This isn’t sanitized Hollywood violence. People get hurt just as they would in real life and do not easily shrug off injuries, and in some cases the characters have to deal with the emotional trauma of their experiences.

What are the Books in the Series?

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret OriginsCarrie and her new friends in the Hero Squad (yes, they know their team name is awful) find themselves caught in the crossfire as the deadly mercenary Manticore comes to Kingsport, on the hunt for the rogue artificial intelligence known as Archimedes.

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women – The sorceress Black Betty threatens to raise hell – maybe literally – as she pursues her vendetta against the Protectorate’s resident paranormal expert Dr. Enigma.

 

Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect – Missy’s life is turned upside-down when she learns the truth about the source of her powers, and her connection to the bloodthirsty killer Buzzkill Joy.

 

Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel SummerSara finds herself in the crosshairs of the mysterious hero killer the King of Pain, but to save herself, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.

 

Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-UpsThe Hero Squad, still reeling from their devastating encounter with the King of Pain, get a little help picking up the pieces from their friends in the Protectorate and the Quantum Quintet.

 

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play – The Squad finds itself outnumbered and under-powered after one of their members goes missing – and at the worst possible time as foes from their past reappear, more dangerous than ever and ready to exact revenge.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War – On Earth, Carrie Hauser is a hero, but on the far side of the galaxy, she’s just another soldier on the front lines of an interplanetary war against the terrorists in the Black End.

 

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage – Carrie returns to Earth to reclaim her life, but life has moved on without her. Does she have a place with her team, her friends, or her family anymore?

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury – Black Betty is back, and ready to unleash Hell — literally, but can the Hero Squad trust Dr. Enigma to have their backs? Or does she have her own dark agenda?

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences – The Hero Squad learns that hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to elven books but might run one or two books longer. In any event, it will come to a firm end at some point and not run on indefinitely.

Where Can I Learn More?

Read can read sample chapters from Secret Origins, short stories set in the Action Figures world, buy signed copies, connect with me through social media, and get regular updates at my website: innsmouthlook.com

Weekly Update – July 7, 2020

Hey, fellow writers! I’m hosting another Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse this Thursday evening, so if you’d like to join us, check out the event page on Facebook for details.

This is open to writers of all skill levels, all interest types, and it doesn’t matter if you missed previous sessions. You can ask questions, share information, or just sit and listen — and if you do have something specific you’d like to discuss, you can post it on the event page and I’ll try to dig up some relevant information.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Tentatively set for late summer release.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in finaly processing — still! Scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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 – June 30, 2020

Still no movement on the ACX front, sad to say. The audiobook version of The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory remains in limbo for the present, despite my noodging.

On another note, my friend Lyndsey Luthor is taking the plunge into indie authorship and plans to release her first fantasy novel, Greencloak, soon-ish. Last week she launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the audiobook production, and she killed it right out of the gate. So, congratulations!

But there’s still a month or so to go in this campaign and she has some stretch goals she’d like to hit, so I’d like you all to go over to the Kickstarter project page, give it a look, and if you like what you see, contribute!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Tentatively set for late summer release.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in process, scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five in progress. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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 – June 23, 2020

Oh, ACX…

So, a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the audiobook creation process. It goes a little like this: I send an annotated (with pronunciations, mostly) “reading copy” of the novel to my narrator; she records the audio a chapter at a time; I review the “first draft” audio and send her any notes or corrections; she fixes the issues; I review it again; and once everything is up to snuff, I submit the whole thing to ACX so it meets their audio quality standards.

That very last part of the process is supposed to take six to ten business days.

The audio review for The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs has been in review since May 11, with no reason given for the delay.

I’ve contacted ACX to try and get this moving, but aside from one auto-response e-mail, it’s still stalled.

For those of you who’ve been waiting for this audiobook, sorry for the delay. Hopefully this will get resolved soon.

Also: I’m hosting another Online Writers’ Virtual Coffeehouse this Thursday. It’s open to all writers regardless of experience or interests. Check out the Facebook event page for details.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Tentatively set for late summer release.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in process, scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: First draft of book five is underway! Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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 – June 16, 2020

Draft one of Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences is done!

The first draft clocks in at 80,000+ words, making it a strong contender for the longest Action Figures novel, but I’m expecting to shave a LOT of material out in subsequent drafts. It always happens because of my tendency to greatly over-write in early drafts.

That comes later, though. I’m putting this project aside to cool off for a while and moving on to the first draft of the next Strongarm & Lightfoot book.

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Secret Origins: Audiobook recording continues with narrator Jennifer McPherson. Tentatively set for late summer release.

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences: First draft complete, tentatively set for a winter/spring 2021 release.

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: This collection of books one through three — Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect — with new cover art by Tricia Lupien and a foreward by Patrick Hodges (the James Madison series), is set for a mid-2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Audiobook in process, scheduled for summer 2020 release.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Elfish Motives: Book five is in the plotting stages. Tentatively scheduled for a late 2020 release.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • No events 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.

Action Figures – A Series Overview

What’s it About?

The series focuses on Carrie Hauser, a 15-year-old girl who one summer experiences two life-changing events: her parents announce they’re getting divorced, and she gains superhuman abilities after encountering a dying extraterrestrial after he falls to Earth.

Her adventure begins after Carrie and her mother Christina move back to Christina’s childhood home town of Kingsport, Massachusetts, and Carrie meets four teens with powers of their own: superhero fanboy Matt Steiger, who owns a pair of magic gloves that can produce any object he can envision out of thin air, like a living cartoon character; Sara Danvers, a telepath and telekinetic who is afraid of her own abilities; the easygoing Stuart Lumley, who possesses superhuman strength; and Missy Hamill, an adorable motormouth with enhanced strength and reflexes.

The teens form a superhero team almost on a whim, but soon find themselves fighting for their lives against very real super-villains – much to the dismay of Kingsport’s hometown hero Concorde, leader of the super-team The Protectorate.

Who is this Series For?

Fans of superhero comics, TV shows, and movies in general, but particularly of titles featuring teen heroes such as Young Justice, Teen Titans, Young Avengers, and Champions.

The tone is generally lighter than a lot of YA books out there now. While there is drama and conflict, and some later stories deal with darker issues, I try to keep the series fun, upbeat, and optimistic.

Is it Suitable for Young Readers?

Action Figures is a PG-13 series that contains mild to moderate profanity, non-graphic violence, some mature themes, and later on in the series mild sexual content.

An added word about the violent content: while the violence is not graphic, the consequences are not downplayed. This isn’t sanitized Hollywood violence. People get hurt just as they would in real life and do not easily shrug off injuries, and in some cases the characters have to deal with the emotional trauma of their experiences.

What are the Books in the Series?

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret OriginsCarrie and her new friends in the Hero Squad (yes, they know their team name is awful) find themselves caught in the crossfire as the deadly mercenary Manticore comes to Kingsport, on the hunt for the rogue artificial intelligence known as Archimedes.

Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women – The sorceress Black Betty threatens to raise hell – maybe literally – as she pursues her vendetta against the Protectorate’s resident paranormal expert Dr. Enigma.

 

Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect – Missy’s life is turned upside-down when she learns the truth about the source of her powers, and her connection to the bloodthirsty killer Buzzkill Joy.

 

Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel SummerSara finds herself in the crosshairs of the mysterious hero killer the King of Pain, but to save herself, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.

 

Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-UpsThe Hero Squad, still reeling from their devastating encounter with the King of Pain, get a little help picking up the pieces from their friends in the Protectorate and the Quantum Quintet.

 

Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play – The Squad finds itself outnumbered and under-powered after one of their members goes missing – and at the worst possible time as foes from their past reappear, more dangerous than ever and ready to exact revenge.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War – On Earth, Carrie Hauser is a hero, but on the far side of the galaxy, she’s just another soldier on the front lines of an interplanetary war against the terrorists in the Black End.

 

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage – Carrie returns to Earth to reclaim her life, but life has moved on without her. Does she have a place with her team, her friends, or her family anymore?

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury – Black Betty is back, and ready to unleash Hell — literally, but can the Hero Squad trust Dr. Enigma to have their backs? Or does she have her own dark agenda?

Action Figures – Issue Ten: Unintended Consequences – The Hero Squad learns that hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.

How Long Will the Series Run?

The series is plotted out to ten books but might run one or two books longer. In any event, it will come to a firm end at some point and not run on indefinitely.

Where Can I Learn More?

Read can read sample chapters from Secret Origins, short stories set in the Action Figures world, buy signed copies, connect with me through social media, and get regular updates at my website: innsmouthlook.com