Weekly Update – August 15, 2017

Last week I joined a meetup event for the Massachusetts Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors group and saw quite a few familiar faces. It was supposed to be an informal get-together for coffee and shop talk, and it turned into a bit of a brainstorming/planning session for where the MASFFA is going and what it will be doing. I was pleasantly surprised and rather pleased to be part of the effort to lay some groundwork, and I’m looking forward to plotting and planning with some very cool people (and, of course, excellent writers).

Speaking of MASFFA…

We’re about halfway through the MASFFA group promotion going on through the end of the month. If you want to grab some free e-books (including a copy of Cheap Thrills Digest), go to the MASFFA website and sign up for the participating authors’ newsletters, and you’ll get free e-books as a thank-you!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I passed the 44,000 word threshold last week. The climax is shaping up in my head and I know the dots I need to connect to get to that approximate point, so hopefully I will have another productive week on this project.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: In the editing phase.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Fourth draft finished, ready for editing.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Second draft finished, and I am going to be working on a third draft since I have time a’plenty.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording is, for really real, almost done. My narrator is going to be uploading the files to ACX this month so I can review them and request retakes — which I hope I do not have to do, because I would like to finally wrap this project up.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC

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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 (spring 2018)

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage (spring 2019)

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

Weekly Update – August 8, 2017

Starting off this week with a reminder about the Massachusetts Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors group promotion going on through the end of the month. If you want to grab some free e-books (including a copy of Cheap Thrills Digest), go to the MASFFA website and sign up for the participating authors’ newsletters, and you’ll get free e-books as a thank-you!

Next, a big thank you to K.R. Conway for organizing and inviting me to participate in the Author Panel Night that capped off the Cape Cod Teen Writers Conference. More than 70 people, mostly (but not exclusively) teens, sat in on our rotating roster of discussion groups. Mine was “Heroes, Villains, and Lovable Losers,” and I had great co-panelists in Kim Savage, who is not what she seems (in-joke), and goth unicorn Hillary Monahan, who stepped into the role of moderator.

The Teen Author Night lineup.

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I passed the 36,000 word threshold over the weekend and hashed out most of the rest of the plot (I am a pantser by nature so things like plot points tend to come to me in fits and spurts).

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: In the editing phase, and I’m seeing some rough cover art coming in. It’ll be a fun image, reminiscent perhaps of old Dragon magazine covers.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: With WBW stuff still percolating in my brain, I used last week to go through Black End War again, and I now have a draft that is ready for editing! Obviously my editor has her hands full for a while, but once Blades of Glory is done, I’m shipping this right over to her so it will be good and ready for a late winter/early spring 2018 release.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Second draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC

Here’s your reminder that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Go click this link to sign up.

Station Identification Time

Who Am I?

I’m a writer originally from Falmouth, MA who now lives in Worcester (pronounced like the name of Hugh Laurie’s dim-witted socialite) 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 am a freelance writer, an occasional contributor to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 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.

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.

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.

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

Amazon author page

Facebook

Twitter

BookBub

Instagram

Goodreads

Google +

LinkedIn

Weekly Update – August 1, 2017

 

What’s this about? you might be asking yourself.

This is about a new group promotion the Massachusetts Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors group is running throughout August. If you want to grab some free e-books (including a copy of Cheap Thrills Digest), go to the MASFFA website and sign up for the participating authors’ newsletters, and you’ll get free e-books as a thank-you!

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: I got a LOT of work done on this last week. Draft one of book one is up to 29,000 words. I’m taking a little time to hash out some story issues and then I should be getting back into it soon enough.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I spent the weekend finishing up the latest draft and it is out to my editor Julie! I’ve also begun discussing cover art with Tricia, and we have a fun concept that might be getting a lot of mileage as a general promotional image as well as the book three cover.

So, what is book three about? Here’s the (draft) back cover text:

Adventurers Wanted!

Good pay for simple recovery job, payment to be rendered upon successful completion of contract. Interested parties please report to the Woeste City Council. Be ready to provide credentials upon request. No mercenaries, please.

***

Desperate for a little excitement and a big payday, Derek Strongarm and Felix Lightfoot and their companions respond to a call to adventure from the city-state of Woeste, recently victimized by a band of raiders who stole an ancient iron mask of historical significance but no intrinsic value — or so the city council claims.

Even though the council’s story doesn’t quite add up, it’s willing to pay good money for the mask’s return — and all the companions have to do is cross a cursed forest, search a lost necropolis, and recover the mask from a gang of armed bandits.

Easy.

But first they have to convince the council not to award the contract to a rival party, the legendary adventurers known as the Noble Blades.

That’s easier said than done when a sin from Felix’s past rears its head in an unexpected way — but if Derek, Felix, and their friends wanted easy lives, they’d go herd sheep or something.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory is the third book in the irreverent fantasy series by author Michael Bailey (Action Figures), a tale of bold heroes, dastardly villains, terrifying beasts, magical artifacts, dark pasts, mysterious circumstances, deceptive motives, atmospheric locales, and a healthy dose of sex and violence.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Second draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC

Just a reminder, I now have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Go click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – July 25, 2017

This coming weekend is a big one, in a sense, as it’s the last completely free weekend I have before I’m eyeball-deep in rehearsals for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. I’m returning as fight director and will be in the cast, on top of making a special split personality appearance as part of the Local Author Series (more on that below).

Fortunately, I started a new part-time job that actually gives me some more writing time during the week. The job involves short bursts of activity interspersed with long periods of sitting and waiting, and I’m free during the down times to read or write. On that note…

WRITING PROJECTS

Well Behaved Women: The first act is coming along nicely, and I had two days last week in which I banged out 2,500 to 3,000 words, which is a good day for me.

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Second draft of both the main story and the back-up short are finished. Heard back from another test-reader last week and I’m waiting on two others, and then I can get to work on the next draft. Sadly, chances are this won’t be ready for my day at CTRF but I do expect the book to be ready later this fall.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Second draft finished, third draft in process.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Second draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

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

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC

Just a reminder, I now have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Go 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 (spring 2018)

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage (spring 2019)

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