Signed copies of all my books up for auction to benefit Con or Bust

Now you can get all my books — including an advance reader copy (ARC) of MJ-12: Shadows — via the charity auctions set up by Con or Bust starting today.

I’ve got two lots up for bid this year. The first consists of signed mass-market paperback copies of the full Daedalus trilogy — The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis and The Venusian Gambit — which you can bid on here. The second is a hardcover copy of MJ-12: Inception and the ARC of MJ-12: Shadows, which you can bid on here. And yes, I’ll sign every book.

This is the first time anywhere you can get your hands on MJ-12: Shadows. We haven’t even released the cover images yet — though stay tuned for that soon — so you can get a good jump-start on the series before Shadows comes out in September. And of course, I remain super proud of the Daedalus trilogy and the reception it’s received over the years.

This is the fourth year I’ve supported the Con or Bust auctions. Con or Bust provides free SF/F convention passes to people of color, which is a beautiful thing indeed. Science fiction and fantasy needs more voices and different perspectives, and this is a really solid way of bringing more people into the fold.

The bidding started this morning and will last until Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m. EDT. So you have some time. That said, the money goes to a most worthy cause, so bid early and often! There’s some super-cool stuff up for bid — lots of signed books, some manuscript critiques, jewelry, art, a signed Farscape script, delicious treats…just check it out. Support a great cause and maybe get some awesome SF/F swag!

#SFWApro

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Take a look at the glorious page design in MJ-12: Shadows

For those of you who have read MJ-12: Inception, you know that the good folks at Night Shade Books really did a fantastic job with the interior layout and design of the book, particularly with the realistic “found” documents inside.

I think MJ-12: Shadows is even better in that regard. They’ve really knocked it out of the park this time. In fact, I’m going to post four pages here to give you an inkling of what you’ll get when MJ-12: Shadows comes out Sept. 5.

Warning: There are very, very mild spoilers in the pages below. Honestly, if you’ve read the blurb up on Amazon and you’re up on your history, nothing should be too shocking. But for those who want things spoiler-free, go read this excellent essay on writing and age by Chuck Wendig and forget I ever posted this. Deal? Deal.

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Launch Pad! Nebulas! I’m going to places to do things!

Let’s not bury the lede, as we say in the news biz: I’ve been accepted to the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop this June in beautiful Laramie, Wyoming!

This is an incredible opportunity to really drill down on all things astronomical with some of the best and brightest astronomers around, and I’m humbled and stoked (humble-stoked) to have been accepted. As I weigh the various projects I want to do post-MAJESTIC-12, I have no doubt this workshop will inspire all kinds of neat ideas. Plus, I get to hang out with my fellow SF/F scribes, which is always a pleasure.

And speaking of my tribe, I’ll be heading to Pittsburgh next month to attend the SFWA Nebula Weekend conference and awards. I’m primarily going to learn and network and geek out over stuff, but I’ll be participating in the mass autograph signing, and they’ll have copies of both the Daedalus trilogy and MJ-12: Inception on sale at the venue. The signing is Friday, May 19, at 8 p.m. at the Marriott City Center in downtown Pittsburgh — if you’re around, come say hello!

Sadly, I won’t be attending Phoenix Comicon this year. PHXCC remains one of my favorite cons, and always attracts a great crowd of writers and fans. But I’ve got a full plate of stuff to write and a busy day-job on top of that, so no Taco Guild for me this time around. Don’t worry, though — I plan to be back there eventually!

#SFWApro

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Some news on the MAJESTIC-12 books: Launch dates, formats and more!

The pre-order pages are up and running, so it’s high time I updated folks on the next iterations of the MAJESTIC-12 books. And I’m really pleased with the direction we’re going.

First off, the mass-market paperback of MJ-12: Inception is scheduled to drop on June 6! And it’ll include a nice little excerpt from the second book in the series, MJ-12: Shadows. And of course, it’ll be far cheaper than the hardcover — like two-thirds or more cheaper — and I expect the e-book price to likewise fall. So that’s cool.

And then MJ-12: Shadows is out September 5! And that, too, is coming out in mass-market paperback, which I think is pretty awesome since it’ll be much more affordable.

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My favorite snippets from MJ-12: Shadows

I just wrapped up the copyedits on MJ-12: Shadows this weekend, and it’s looking more and more like a book. And I think it’s pretty fun, too — distance has made my heart grow much fonder of this one. I think it’s a worthy successor to MJ-12: Inception and I’m excited to see what you think of it.

So by way of giving you a little tease, I thought I’d give you some snippets of dialogue and action that stood out to me as I worked my way through the editing process. These were just the most fun bits I had, the parts that made me smile. There’s other stuff that I like, but honestly, you don’t get to see those until you buy the book. Spoilers, sweetie.

The first one here is in early 1949 in Damascus, at the home of Miles Copeland, just before things go sideways. Maggie, who can sense and manipulate emotions, is having a conversation with Cal, an African-American man with the power to harm or heal with a touch.  Continue reading

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This is what you get when folks vote against their own interests

Warning: Political rant incoming. Feel free to skip if you like, though I hope you won’t — especially if you think you might disagree. Different perspectives are fun. 

Nearly two months into the great Trump experiment in governmental self-destruction, I hope it’s becoming clear that the populist veneer of the Donald was just that — a veneer. A thin layer of formica made to look like marble, slapped onto plywood, rather like the furnishings in his casinos.

The GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act will result anywhere from 6 million to 10 million people losing health insurance coverage, according to the Standard & Poor’s rating agency (hardly a bastion of liberal socialism), while providing $600 billion in tax breaks to the richest 0.1% of Americans — roughly $200,000 per rich person. Let’s put it another way — that extra $600 billion is enough money to provide $50,000 in basic income for 12 million families of four for a year.

Now, I’m not so much a socialist liberal elitist or whatever to suggest that we do that. But I’m not so blind as to think that even a fraction those immensely rich folks are going to take their $200,000 and increase investment into industries and businesses that will help employ more Americans, as per the thoroughly discredited trickle-down economics the GOP seeks to cling to. No, chances are, that $200,000 will be rolled over into the market, or maybe go toward a really nice first-class vacation somewhere — just like the rest of us do with our tax refunds.

This is not populist. This is not any sort of salve to the middle class. This is a naked giveaway to the most wealthiest people on the planet. And it is shameful.

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Villainous motivations

Yeah, I’ve still got villains on the mind, probably because I’m preparing to write the third MAJESTIC-12 book and the bad guy is about to make his play. (And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.) Between that and yesterday’s post, I’ve got villainous motivation on the mind.

To reiterate: Villains are not evil for evil’s sake. Heck, they may not even be evil per se — just in opposition to the protagonists. With very few exceptions, villains don’t see themselves as evil, but rather they’re the heroes of their own stories. They have a goal, they believe it’s just and good to go get that goal, and they will do anything to attain that goal. They are, by and large, convinced of the rightness of their views and goals.

The difference, then, between the protagonists’ goals and the villains’ goals is primarily that they’re in opposition. Running a close second is methodology: Heroes tend to care about things like other people’s lives, collateral damage, hewing to generally accepted standards of morality, while villains tend not to be so diligent about these things.

So here’s a list, pretty much off the top of my head, of different villainous motivations. They’re drawn largely from my own experience in writing, as well as other books, movies, shows, etc. If you have others, throw them in the comments. Ready? Let’s go.  Continue reading

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