So I’m thinking of doing a story collection and I want your thoughts. Yes, you!

As I’ve mentioned on the blog here before, I won’t have a new novel out in 2019. I’m working on one now, in point of fact, and the more it challenges me and kicks my ass, the more I love this book. But I’ll be lucky to have it written by summer. So 2019 is likely right out.

That said, I’m used to having a new something out in the world each year, even as I recognize just how privileged I am to even be able to say that. Six novels, one per year, since 2013 represents an immense amount of good fortune. But yes, I’ll really miss having new work out there.

Or will I?

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A belated welcome to 2019

I would love to sit here and say that I’ll be a better blogger in 2019, offering up far more interesting posts than last year. But I think we both know, reader, that this may not be the case. Regardless,  I do intend to at least try, and I’ll start with a bit of a roundup of what happened in 2018, and where things are presently.

Last year was pretty eventful, which is one reason I didn’t blog as much. As regular blog followers may remember, I took on a new role at work (yes, there’s a day job!). I’m now the marketing creative lead for my company’s biggest client segment, with annual sales measured in billions. In perfect honesty, I was rather content being a mere writer, but I can say that, after nine months in the job, I’m actually pretty good at it. Who knew? (My boss knew, of course. Or at least had an inkling.)

And in connection with that, we picked up and moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Just as the job has gone better than expected, I’ve found L.A. to be more amenable than I had thought it might be. It’s January and I’m typing this outside on a cool but lovely day, parked at one of my two go-to coffee shops in the area. My daughter is doing well at her new school, ninth-grade dramas notwithstanding, and Kate is absolutely loving it.

OK, so what about the writing? I mean, I figure that’s probably why y’all read this blog, what with the books and all. MJ-12: Endgame came out in September, thus wrapping up the MAJESTIC-12 trilogy. It received some great reviews and sold as well as trilogy third books can reasonably expect. I’m proud of the book and the series, and I hope folks enjoyed how things wrapped up.

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It’s Worldbuilders time! Bid on a critique (by me) on 25,000 words of your fictiony goodness.

It’s truly one of the best benefits of being a published author to be able to do stuff like this. Once again, I’m offering up a critique for auction to benefit Worldbuilders, one of the best charities around – and not just because it was founded by Pat Rothfuss and brings together so many great geeks. Though that helps.

For the fourth year running, I’m offering up a critique for bid, up to 25,000 words of your fiction. I’ll give it a good read and opine on everything I think might be useful, from the usual character/setting/plot stuff to word choice, voice, whatever jumps out at me. And I’m quite willing to entertain follow-up questions and generally make sure you get your money’s work. Because charity! Click here for my handy auction page. You have until Dec. 6 to bid.

For those of you who don’t know, the Worldbuilders campaign benefits Heifer International, an amazing charity that helps people become sustainable farmers all over the world. It answers a basic yet critical human need, and I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to help out.

If memory serves, my biggest single auction drew in about $450. Surely we can do better this year, right? RIGHT?

So if you’re in the market for some writing advice from a six-time published novelist (i.e., me), please consider putting in a bid. And if you’re not, well, go ahead and spread the word! Check out Worldbuilders’ other auctions, as well as the lottery and the store. Get signed books, swag, swords, jewelry, gaming dice, you name it.

All this stuff makes for great holiday gifts, by the way. (For real – one of my critiques was given as a gift to a teen writer who, as it happened, had some chops.) So get to clicking!

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What I did on my writing retreat, plus some new interviews

Arizona is hot. Like, it’s completely and utterly hot and unholy and I have no idea how people live there without spontaneously combusting on a regular basis. That said? The desert is beautiful and the nights are great, so I get it. To a point. So while I wouldn’t live there, I was happy to go to Scottsdale last weekend for a writing retreat sponsored by my agency, KT Literary.

And some writing got done! Not a lot, but I’ve been busy wrapping my head around a major change I needed to make on a project currently underway, and I cracked the case earlier this month on flights to and from DragonCon, then spent most of September getting the outline in order. (Y’all know how I like my outlines.) So while I was in Scottsdale, I managed to get this new version underway, and while I’m just getting warmed up, it’s already a better book than what I had going previously.

Of course, I was sick as a dog for much of the trip, having come down with a horrible cold/flu bug the night before I drove out there from L.A. So, strictly speaking, I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped I’d be. But it’s a start, and I can build on that. Plus, I got some excellent one-on-one time with super-agent Sara Megibow, and quality socializing with my fellow KT Literary authors, who are a fine bunch you should be reading on the regular.

I also did a podcast while there! Michael Haspil, author of Graveyard Shift, also has a nifty storytelling podcast called Quantum Froth Dispatches, and he interviewed a number of us while we were hiding inside from the deathly rays and rageful heat of the day-star. You can listen in right here, if you like, or check it out on YouTube or Spotify. (Mike is still working to get the podcast up on iTunes, so hang tight there.) We had a great chat, so check it out and please buy his book while you’re at it.

Speaking of interviews, I’ve been remiss in blogging about this great interview I did with Michael Cook of Thoroughly Modern Reviewer. (There are a lot of Michaels in this blog post. Go figure.) Mr. Cook and I went deep on MJ-12: Endgame and the entire MAJESTIC-12 series, and he had some excellent questions. Fair warning: There are spoilers in there, so forewarned is forearmed. But do give it a read – Michael really did a spiffy job there.

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Review roundup: MJ-12: Endgame does not suck!

Any time I put out a new book, I’m a little hesitant to learn what people think of it, especially reviewers for whom I have a lot of respect. So it’s nice to know that the reviews on MJ-12: Endgame are pretty darn solid.

Note: Some of these reviews contain mild spoilers. Just saying.

Paul Weimer over at Skiffy & Fanty:

Fortunately, as in the vast majority of the first two novels, it is what is going on this side of the Vortex, the lives and problems and challenges of the Variants, and the exploration and investigation of the Cold War and its consequences and hidden facets, that make this story, this novel, this series sing. I come away from this series, which ends here, educated, entertained and enthused for what the pen of the author will bring next.

To be fair, Paul wasn’t super enthused about how the origins of the vortex and the Variants’ powers played out, and you know what? That’s perfectly awesome. Heck, he makes some great points. The fact that he’s looking forward to the next work is very much an honor, exactly because Paul’s discerning and is probably one of the most knowledgeable and widely-read reviewers in the genre today.

Here’s Michael Cook at Thoroughly Modern Reviewer:

Martinez has a gift for these kinds of stories. He has a gift for creating diverse, fully formed characters with captivating backstories. He has a gift for building compelling universes that readers want to spend time in. And he has a gift for crafting interesting, well-paced narratives. His stories are able to appeal to a number of people. This is a spy novel, a superhero novel, an action/adventure novel, and a political drama. He writes for such a broad audience and the characters are so varied and diverse that it’s easy for a reader to find someone in the story they can identify with. MJ-12: Endgame is just a really good time and a really good way to end this series.

I really can’t add anything to that one other than some blushing. Thanks, Michael.

And finally, fellow scribe Luther M. Siler:

My only complaint?  I want more, and while Martinez doesn’t exactly tie the universe up with a bow on it the ending makes it clear that while there is definitely space for future books in this universe they will take place in an entirely different status quo.  That said, this series is radically different in tone and genre from the Daedalus series, Mike’s previous trilogy, and I genuinely can’t wait to see what he’s got coming next. All available stars; would read again; you should go read now.

Again, nothing much more to add there except my thanks.

Finally, if you or someone you know has read Endgame, or any of my books, I’d deeply appreciate you taking a moment to put your reviews up on Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews matter. They generate pageviews and put the books in front of more eyeballs, and make more clicks happen, and those clicks can turn into sales now and then. So yeah, you really can help your favorite writers make some bank, and whether it’s my work or someone else’s, please go forth and review!

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My Favorite Bit in MJ-12: Endgame, plus a new interview

A few more things today I’d like to point you to as MJ-12: Endgame soars through its debut week.

Once again, Mary Robinette Kowal — a fine writer and finer human — hosts me on her blog to talk about My Favorite Bit in MJ-12: Endgame. I have a lot of favorite bits in this book, but I chose a particular conversation between Frank and Maggie to illustrate the cost of the Enhancements the Variants carry with them.

Also today, the first interview I did for the new book went live over at Paul Semel’s site. Paul is a veteran pop culture journalist, and asked me some really great questions. Go check it out.

Yet again, thanks for all the support and love. I have fans, which will never cease to amaze me, and y’all have been great. I mean, look at this Instagram shot. It’s goddamn beautiful.

As always, MJ-12: Endgame is available in mass-market paperback and ebook from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionKobo BooksiTunesGoogle Play, and through your favorite neighborhood independent booksellers through Indie Bound!

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Terrible Whatever: A bearded burrito of guest posts today

First off, thank you everyone for all your retweets and shares and support for MJ-12: Endgame this week. I’m deeply appreciative of all my friends, colleagues and fans who took the time to spread the word. Y’all are awesome.

I have two guest posts going today, both of which take different hacks at the genesis of MJ-12: Endgame. First, at John Scalzi’s Whatever, I got to discuss the Big Idea behind the book and, really, the whole MAJESTIC-12 series. I won’t spoil it here, because I want you to click on over and read, and buy some Scalzi books while you’re at it. But I really think the post gets to the core of what I’m trying to do with the series.

Second, I’m also taking up digital real estate over at Terribleminds.com, the profanity-sprinkled awesome-blog belonging to Chuck Wendig, who called me a damn fine writer and reaffirmed my lifelong loyalty to his bearded self. There, I’m writing about the notion of “fan service” and, in creating popular works, how much fans need to be taken into account in the creative process. (Hint: It really helps to be a fan of your own work!)

It’s also worth noting that MJ-12: Endgame‘s release warranted a mention over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi Fantasy blog, as well as at Locus Magazine’s site. Finally, I would point you to a five-tweet take on MJ-12: Endgame by one of my favorite reviewers, Paul Weimer.

My thanks to John, Chuck, Paul and everyone else for all the support. And in the spirit of paying it forward, you’ll see on the lower right on this page that I also offer guest posts to creative folks to talk about their work on my site. I can’t give you the kind of traffic that Whatever and Terribleminds gets, but I hope I can help.

And as a reminder, MJ-12: Endgame is available in mass-market paperback and ebook from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionKobo BooksiTunesGoogle Play, and through your favorite neighborhood independent booksellers through Indie Bound!

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