Monday, January 30, 2012

What's next for MASKS

Well, Masks is rapidly barreling toward a conclusion over on Pocket Coyote, I’m working on the ebook, and people are starting to come at me with that special glass-eyed stare and ask, “When is Volume 2 coming out?”

Yeah, okay, only two people have asked me that, but I hate conversation enough that I’m going to blog about it so I can refer people to this blog next time they ask. So this is a time-saver for me, and a sneak peek for you guys. Win-win, right?

(Don’t give me that hurt look. I like talking to all of you, I really do … it’s just that I have to curl up in a ball for an hour afterward. I used to get migraines from chocolate, too, and it didn’t stop me from loving it—or eating far too much.)

(There was going to be a point to that anecdote, I swear.)

So what’s next in the magical world of Masks? Well, without giving too much away, I can tell you that the current serial will end with Chapter 32, after seven months of weekly superheroic action. The main plot will be tied up at the end of the serial—we’ll find out Cobalt’s secret, the good will end happily and the bad unhappily (well, mostly; I have mentioned that I like to kill off characters, right?), and most of the trailing threads will be tied up. There will be a clearly identifiable ending, with just a bit of a teaser for future adventures. Then we’ll take a break. Just a short one.

No whining, now! How many TV shows produce 32 episodes in a single season? Or air one episode a week, without interruption, for seven months? This stuff takes time to produce, and I’m working three jobs, so there will be a little bit of a delay before the action picks up again. You’ll probably want a bit of a lie-down after Chapter 32 anyway, and if you’re absolutely desperate for more Masks, you can buy the Volume 1 paperback or the ebook (available soon!), each of which contains a previously unpublished 4,500-word short story, “The Missing,” that takes place after the end of the first serial and drops lovely little clues about the second one.

Oh, did I say second serial? Yes, there’s going to be one. I’m not getting as much traffic as I’d like (invite your friends, for God’s sake, it’s a free book!), but I’m getting some, so I’m planning a big Volume 2 launch. Just not yet.

I have to finish work on The Novel before I do anything else, and work on the ebook and a couple of videos, but I expect to start writing Volume 2 around the time Volume 1 wraps up on Pocket Coyote. To tide you over while you’re waiting (or recuperating), I’m planning my usual madness for Free Comic Book Day, a big free story that, er, doesn’t have a title yet but will be a complete rip-roaring adventure and also set up quite a bit of what happens in Volume 2. This story will expand the Masks universe by introducing three heroes who haven’t appeared in the series before—one of whom is the Black Mask. That’s right, the Black Mask will actually show up in person instead of in grainy video footage, he’ll bring two unlikely pals along with him, and you’ll get to find out at least one rather embarrassing secret of his. That story will hit the web—as a PDF, as a Pocket Coyote entry, and as a free download—on May 5, 2012. There will be pictures, although I’m not sure yet who will draw them.

Meanwhile on Pocket Coyote, there will be more news, regularly—the release of the ebook, at least two (maybe three!) videos, and lots of spoilers about Volume 2, which I hope to start up sometime in early July. I’ll be ramping up the advertising, too, and there will be opportunities for you guys to get involved in promoting the Masks universe.

Because I really do need your help, folks. Tell your friends and family, tell strangers, tell your Facebook buddies—this series is awesome, and you can read all of it (well, except the bonus features) for free! And because some of them will very sensibly point out that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and ask what I’m getting out of all this work, you can tell them that as long as they’re looking at the site, I’m getting exactly what I want—eyeballs. All I want is proof of concept; I want a bunch of people reading my stories each week so I can shove my raw traffic numbers in the faces of people who think nobody reads my stories. I want people to read my stories. You like to read my stories. You are people. Win-win.

As for what’s in Volume 2 … well, I can’t say too much without giving away the ending of Volume 1, but let me see how many hints I can drop. 

1. Dead people will turn up in unexpected places.

2. Romance will bloom in other, equally unexpected places.

3. Trevor’s foxhounds will catch up with him.

4. Rae will make a new friend and a new enemy, perhaps at the same time.

5. The secret cause of the superhero purge will be revealed.

6. There will be a truly ridiculous amount of running, punching, and stuff blowing up.

7. Trevor will get kissed and concussed again (probably in rapid succession).

8. Rae will wear leather pants, but not for the usual reasons.

9. The Masked Rider has a plan.

10. There will be a cute fuzzy animal in a prominent role. And Moon and Soleil will be in the story, too.

There, I think that’s enough spoiling for now, don’t you? I can’t wait to see what happens next …


  1. I'm eagerly looking forward to the eBook version of Volume I.

    By the way, you've kind of inspired me to start putting my own writing efforts on line for all the world to see (yikes!). If you're interested, you can check it out at I've only just started, and so far I've only posted the first part of one short story I've written. I only wish I could draw like you and add some illustrations to my stories.

    Anyway, only if you're interested. No pressure. :)

    1. I'm honored to be someone's inspiration! I'll definitely check it out sometime this week.

      As for illustrations, if you're an even worse artist than I am, you might consider using photographs (if you live in a place with the right kind of scenery and/or know some helpful cosplayers). Or you could bribe an artist pal to draw for you.

      Good luck with your writing!