Oh, hello there.

I suppose I should start by saying, to paraphrase Twain, reports of my demise from the Internet are greatly exaggerated. The 16-plus months of COVID have been extremely busy, somewhat strange and, personally, full of changes – the vast majority of which have been delightfully positive.

But one of the the things that has indeed slipped while locked down has been my blogging and “public” social media presence. (For friends and family, I’ve been much more active, as it’s really been a good way to keep in touch while the world churns.) I’m not going to try to give a massive update on all the things here, but I’ll at least recap some of the book-related happenings.

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See my pandemic hair, and also Worldbuilders is great

Been meaning to put this up in the blog for a while now, but there’s a replay of the interview I did with Mike and Zay of Worldbuilders as part of the #geeks4hope fundraiser, which blew past its goals and helped Project HOPE do a lot of good in the fight against COVID-19. So without further ado, here you go! Enjoy the big hair and fun discussion.

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Join me for a livestream interview this Sunday, and donate to fight COVID-19!

geeks bannerSo proud to be working with the amazing Worldbuilders crew on a new initiative, #geeks4hope, an effort to raise money to benefit Project HOPE in the fight against COVID-19. And you can help! Yes, YOU!

I’ll be online at geeks4hope.com this Sunday, April 26, at 4 p.m. PT to talk all things geeky, including some potential questions about…milkshakes? Not sure, but I do have opinions on them. And other things. And we’ll talk about books and writing and other matters no doubt. Plus, there will be a big honkin’ DONATE button there, just waiting for you to get clicking.

There’s all kinds of other cool stuff as well, including virtual book signings, other author interviews, and the amazing Pat Rothfuss doing his Twitch gaming thing. The whole schedule is at either of the above links, so please do check it out.

Project HOPE is an amazing charity that’s been around a long time, helping to fight health crises around the world. #geeks4hope will help raise money to supply front-line health workers in their efforts to treat COVID-19, helping save their lives as they work to save others.

So there you go. Get you some entertainment this coming week, and make with the donations to help the good people helping others. See you Sunday!


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Podcast reveal: What the heck have I been working on these days?

ktliterary-headphones-white-300x300As I mentioned last week, I’ve not been sitting on my hands, fiction-wise, over the past several months. I’ve been working on a few different things, but there’s one that’s heading toward the finish line – slowly, because COVID-19 and assorted nonsense.

But even though I’m not done yet and it’s not under contract, I couldn’t keep it under my hat any longer. Over at the kt literary podcast today, I talked with Renee Nyen about the project, tentatively called The King of What Remains.

What is it? Well, I’ll get into that in blog posts later on, but for now, I would urge you to give the podcast a listen. Renee is a great interviewer, and we had an excellent talk about not only this project, but also what it’s like to try and create while balancing work and family and dealing with, you know, a freakin’ pandemic. Click here to listen in, or download on your favorite podcasting platform. 

Also, as promised in the podcast, Stories and Spilled Tea remains on sale for 99 cents for the Kindle. So do check that out if you’re looking for a variety of short stories and some thoughts on writing and publishing.


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Stories and Spilled Tea on sale for 99 cents

cover1So…the world has changed quite a bit since I last blogged, hasn’t it? I suppose I should be a bit better about keeping things updated given all the spare time, but I’d hate to make promises at this point that I’ve shown little propensity for keeping.

However, I do have news! My collection of short stories and essays, Stories and Spilled Tea, is now on sale for just $0.99 in the Kindle Store on Amazon. So if you’re looking for a Whitman’s sampler of sci-fi and fantasy works, and some thoughts on writing and publishing, there you go. Please to enjoy.

In other news, well, it’s been quite a few months, hasn’t it? I’m entering week six of work-from-home, which has been quite the transition. My high-schooler is now distance learning, and will be celebrating her 16th birthday next week, which isn’t ideal but, hey, she has friends and school, I have a job, and we don’t have the coronavirus, so all of that is pretty amazing right there.

In with all the other emotions stemming from all this, I do feel grateful for the people in my life, my work, my books, all of it. That’s what really matters, after all, and I know I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to keep working, to have food (and toilet paper) and to keep my loved ones safe. Whatever stress and anxiety happens beyond that, well, at least the basics are covered.

As for my fiction, it proceeds…slowly. I’ve absolutely fallen off my usual pace, but I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. What I’ve been able to get down is very good, and I like where the current work is going. So there’s that.

And what is the current work? Well, there’s a few things coming up — podcasts and livestreams and more blogs — that will clue you into that. So stay tuned! And in the meantime, go ahead and grab the short story collection and enjoy!


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Guest post: Matthew W. Quinn on Battle for the Wastelands

Battle E-Book Cover 2.0 With Certain DimensionsHello, friends! I know it’s been a while since an update, but with the new year I’m hoping to do a little better blogging regularly. More on that later, though, because today I’m pleased to welcome Matthew W. Quinn back to the blog to talk about the Asian influences in his new novel, Battle for the Wastelands. Matthew, take it away.

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I’m heading to DragonCon! Here’s where I’ll be this year.

Of all the conventions I’ve attended as an author, DragonCon in Atlanta holds a place near and dear to my heart. The organizers are fantastic, especially on the Alternate History track, and I never suffer from a lack of things to do. They always keep me busy on panels and whatnot, and that gives me multiple wonderful opportunities to meet with fans and geek out over all our mutual interests.

Plus, a lot of my author friends head out there each year, which gives me the chance to hang out with lovely, lovely people who really understand what it takes to get all these books out there into the wild. There is revelry and merriment galore. It’s no wonder this will be my fifth DragonCon in the past six years!

So without further ado, here’s my schedule for this year’s DragonCon, starting tomorrow. If you’re there, I would absolutely love to see you. Here’s where to find me!

  • Friday, 4 p.m. — Reading. (Hyatt, Marietta room) — Let’s kick this off right with a reading! This year, I’ll likely read a story from Stories and Spilled Tea, my new collection (which is out now and which you can buy here). I’ll also have some copies of MJ-12: Endgame and perhaps a few other things as well for those who stop by. Let’s hang out!
  • Saturday, 5 p.m. — Bookstore signing at The Missing Volume. (AmericasMart vendor hall, booths #1201, 1203, 1300,1302) — It’s always a huge pleasure to spend time with the good people at The Missing Volume. As per usual, I expect they’ll have all my books on hand, so stop by and get one signed.
  • Saturday, 7 p.m. — Panel: “Ahoy, Mateys! Pirates in History & Pop Culture.” (Sheraton, Augusta room) — This is always a great panel, full of great historical and fantastical discussions about pirates and piracy in literature. Talking like a pirate is almost inevitable.
  • Sunday, 4 p.m. — Panel: “Gentleman Jack: A Fan Panel on the Facts & Fiction of Anne Lister.” (Sheraton, Macon room) — And now for something a little different. I’ve always worked hard to be inclusive in my work, and I’ve really enjoyed the HBO series Gentleman Jack. So what a great opportunity to talk about this amazing 19th century LGBTQ+ pioneer.
  • Sunday, 7 p.m. — Panel: “The Secret History of Spies.” (Sheraton, Macon room) — Obviously, I have things to say at this one. So let’s go talk about spycraft and espionage through the ages! This is also another mainstay, and we have a lot of fun.

So those are the biggies. I’ll likely be poking my head into other panels, taking photos and generally enjoying the heck out of everything. If I have books left over after the reading, I’ll likely be using Twitter to do periodic giveaways throughout the convention. So be sure to follow me (@mikemartinez72) and keep a look out.

See you in Atlanta!


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Stories and Spilled Tea is out today!

Hello! It’s been up for pre-order for a bit — and my deepest thanks to everyone who ordered it — but today marks the official debut of Stories and Spilled Tea, a collection of my short stories, along with a series of essays and commentary about how they came to be. It’s here, it’s ready, and it’s cheap at just $2.99.

This collection has nearly all my previously published works — I couldn’t get permission to re-publish my Vampire: The Masquerade story from the Endless Ages anthology, but the good people at Paizo were very kind in allowing my to reprint “Crisis of Faith” from the Pathfinder web fiction series. It also includes The Gravity of the Affaira full-length novella set in the universe of The Daedalus IncidentAnd it also has a couple of new, previously unpublished short stories to further sweeten the deal.

And in addition to the stories, there’s the spilled tea. The essays cover a wide variety of topics, from the nuances of writing humor and horror to the business side of publishing and how some of these stories got where they were. I hope that, as much as people enjoy the stories, the essays will be useful, or at least entertaining, for my fellow scribes.

So, my thanks to everyone who helped make this a reality — i.e., all the editors and publishers who liked and published these stories, and all the amazing people who helped me throughout this authorial journey. And of course, my thanks to all the readers out there. I deeply appreciate you!


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Stories and Spilled Tea is coming Aug. 27!

cover1Very excited to announce my first foray into true self-publishing — the collection Stories and Spilled Teacoming August 27 and available for pre-order now for the Amazon Kindle. And here’s the cover, which isn’t bad for an amateur like myself.

(To be fair, my amazingly talented daughter, Anna, did the art. I just managed the layout. Barely.)

So what’s in it? Pretty much everything I’ve had published, along with a couple of new pieces. Here’s the breakdown of stories inside:

  • “Form” (new)
  • “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” (from Unidentified Funny Objects 4)
  • “On a Kansas Plain” (from Cthulhu Fhtagn!)
  • “Mind Flight” (from Geeky Giving)
  • “Crisis of Faith” (from Paizo’s Pathfinder web fiction series)
  • “1-800-DEATH-RAY” (new)
  • The Gravity of the Affair (a previously published Daedalus novella)

In addition, I’ve written essays about how these stories came to be, the challenges in writing them, and some thoughts about the publishing business as well — basically, a little color around my career thus far as a fiction-slinger. I hope that fellow scribes find a little use in there, in addition to enjoying the stories.

As this is my first self-published work, I should probably caveat a few things. I think I managed the editing and layout well — it looks clean in the preview tools — but do let me know if I screw it up. Also, the cover was designed by yours truly, and I totally get that it’s probably not as slick as many others. If this does well, maybe I’ll hire someone to clean it up, especially if there’s demand for a print version.

And yes, this is only available on Kindle at the moment. That was a tough call, honestly. I firmly believe in competition and wanting to see Amazon challenged in…well, all of the areas where it operates. But this is very much an experiment for me, and like it or not, Amazon makes it incredibly easy to use their platform — and potentially lucrative if you stay in their sandbox. So for now, it’s a Kindle Select offering. Again, if there’s demand beyond that, I’m all ears.

So thanks, everyone, for helping me have a career that makes a collection like this possible. Go give it a pre-order if you like, and tell your friends!


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A much belated update on things


A little glimpse of what I’ve been up to since I last blogged. Y’all know this castle if you’re a fellow geek.

Hello, there! It is I, your very lackluster blogger, emerging from the wilds of Los Angeles and elsewhere to finally post something. It has been way too long, my friends, for which I apologize. So here’s an update on various and sundry things I’ve been up to.

Current work in progress: I’ve mentioned a book I’ve tentatively titled Big Dark, and the work on that continues. Without giving too much away, Big Dark is a very character-focused, straight science-fiction story set roughly 400 years in our future, at the dawn of faster-than-light travel and exoplanet exploration. And with that said, it’s probably the most emotional work I’ve attempted.

That said? It’s been slow going. For one, the work is challenging. Like, good challenging. I haven’t felt this way about a piece of writing since I first wrote The Daedalus Incident. For another, I took on a developmental edit this spring that, while a great gig and a nice bit of coin, took me away from the book. And the day job is more intense here than it was in New York — not longer hours, per se, but more intensely creative. So that bandwidth is lessened to a degree.

But the work continues. Note that I’m not under contract for this, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll see it before 2021. I need to write it, the inestimable Sara Megibow needs to give her notes, and then we gotta submit it to publishers.

Story collection: My last post here was about a short story collection, and that’s gone well. The title has changed to Stories and Spilled Tea, for reasons you’ll see when I do the cover reveal later on this week. It’ll include all of my previously published shorter works, including The Gravity of the Affair, my Daedalus novella, as well as two unpublished stories. It’ll also include essays on how those stories came to be, the creative process behind them and some publishing tidbits — the “spilled tea” of the title.

So that’ll be available for pre-order on Amazon very soon — if it’s not there already — and will launch on Tuesday, August 27. And that’s just in time for…

DragonCon!: Yes, I’m heading back to Atlanta! DragonCon is the one convention I really try not to miss each year. It’s a lot of fun, full of great fans, and invariably I fall in with a great group of fellow scribes. Once again, I’ll be doing a bunch of stuff with the Alternate and Historical Fiction track, and I’m hoping I’ll be on some of the writing track stuff as well. I’ll post a full schedule as the event gets closer, of course. If you’re heading to DragonCon over Labor Day weekend, I hope I see you there!

Life and travel: In general, I’m doing all right. It’s been a year this month since I moved to Los Angeles, and I have to say, I’ve adapted pretty well. There’s a good crew of local writers and geeks here, and my new role as a creative director at work is both challenging and rewarding. The kid is doing super well in school and has spent the summer doing an internship and making bank with some face painting work.

I’ve also traveled. I did my first solo trip in like 20 years, spending two weeks in Scotland to basically decompress and write loch-side. It was a resounding success, and not only did I make serious headway on Big Dark, but also saw so much of a really beautiful country and met some great people there.

And in about three weeks, Anna and I will be off to Spain for a week, which was a much more spontaneous thing. Kate was invited to a two-week writing workshop in Ireland, which meant Anna and I would be on our own. Now, I could just go to work and let her watch TV and freebase junk food (since her internship will be over by then), but that seemed less than productive. So I got on Kayak to see about some cheap flights somewhere fun, like maybe back east or something. Then I saw an eye-popping deal for Spain and pulled the trigger on that.

So that’s what’s up. I promise some more involved and informative updates on all of the above soon!


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