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!

#SFWApro

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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!

#SFWApro

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A much belated update on things

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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!

#SFWApro

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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!

#SFWApro

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