Amazing Stories reviews MJ-12: Inception

Another review of MJ-12: Inception is out today, and I’m quite pleased to say it’s a good one. This is from Matt Mitrovich, proprietor of Alternate History Weekly Update, writing in Amazing Stories. His verdict:

On the whole I thought MJ-12: Inception was an enjoyable secret history. I liked how Martinez made a point to recognize the sacrifices made by those in the intelligence community to protect their nation. Although there are certainly heroic characters from stories about espionage, members of the spy agencies can just as easily be the bad guys or, at the very least, hinder the hero from doing the right thing. Plus, superheroes are usually meant for flashy, epic roles such as fighting giant monsters or stopping alien invasions. You don’t usually see them in the more subtle role of espionage … MJ-12: Inception was an enjoyable twist on the superhero genre and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

I’m in the midst of writing what happens next, which comes out next year. For now, I’m grateful to Matt and the Amazing Stories crew for the review! Click here to read the whole thing, and remember that you can pre-order MJ-12: Inception from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionMysterious GalaxyBorderlands Books, and/or through your local bookstore via Indie Bound. You can also order your KindleNookKobo, Google Play and Apple iBook editions.


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I’ll be at Borderlands Books in San Francisco one week from today!

MJ-12-newcoverBorderlands Books is awesome. Seriously, it’s one of the very best bookstores I’ve ever visited. Alan and Jude are fantastic people, and the staff is frighteningly knowledgeable and yet completely friendly and accessible. My wife did an article about their sponsorship model last summer, and I’m glad to report they’re still going strong.

So when I say I’m excited to launch MJ-12: Inception with a little reading and signing there, you know I mean it.

MJ-12: Inception launches next Tuesday, Sept. 6, in hardcover, and I’ll be at Borderlands starting at 6 p.m. to do stuff. If there’s a big audience, I’ll do a formal reading and Q&A, and if we’re small but mighty, I’ll do the same…with less formality? Whatever. I’ll bring beer. It’ll be fun. If you’re in the Bay Area, I totally hope to see you there.

And if you can’t make it, well, I’ll be signing whatever they have on hand, and you can give ’em a call and have them ship a signed copy directly to you. They’re awesome like that.

Also, if you’re in the Bay Area, or even if you’re not and just like the idea of helping out fantastic SF/F bookstores, I strongly urge you to consider becoming a Borderlands sponsor. You’ll be supporting a key piece of the SF/F community — not just in San Francisco, but throughout the country.

One more note: the Goodreads giveaway of MJ-12: Inception wraps up tomorrow night at midnight. So if you haven’t signed up yet, do it!


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DragonCon is next week! Here’s what I’m up to there.

The-New-Dragon-Con-LogoThis’ll be the third straight year I’ve done DragonCon, which is quite a lot of fun and you should go if you can. It’s an exuberantly geeky crowd, focused on the joy of whatever brings them joy. Gotta love it.

DragonCon will be one of the very first places you can pick up a copy of MJ-12: Inception, by the way. I’ll have a handful of copies on hand for giveaways, in case you don’t win the Goodreads giveaway, but the best thing you can do is head to the vendor hall. The booksellers there should have some on hand, but given that this is the weekend before launch, I expect supplies to be limited. Get there early.

And without further ado, here’s my schedule of stuff. Unlike the past several years, the Alternate History Track will be at the AmericasMart convention center, so don’t go looking for me at the Westin, unless it’s at the bar.  Continue reading

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Goodreads giveaway for MJ-12: Inception, now on io9’s fall must-read list

MJ-12-newcoverI’m back from Los Angeles and (mostly) recovered from jet lag…and I have news!

The official Goodreads giveaway for MJ-12: Inception is now live! Click here to enter! You must be a Goodreads member to enter, but it’s relatively quick and painless, I promise. We’re giving away ten freshly-printed hardcover copies, and you have until August 31 to sign up.

And why should you enter? Well, besides reading this and possibly being predisposed to liking my work, MJ-12: Inception has been listed among of io9’s “All the New Scifi and Fantasy Books You Absolutely Must Read This Fall.” I mean, that’s practically an imperative, right? So excited to be on a list with so many fantastic authors. Check it out.

If you don’t win the Goodreads thing, well, I hope you’re heading to DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, because that’s your next best bet. I’ll be there doing panels and readings and beer pairings (the latter by request only), and I’ll have a few copies to give away. There will also be limited quantities on sale in the vendor room, because we love DragonCon.

There may yet be another giveaway before the book launches Sept. 6, but since it’s not live yet, I can’t announce it. But it’s also cool.

Of course, if you can’t go to Atlanta and don’t want to leave things to chance, you can always pre-order MJ-12: Inception from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionMysterious GalaxyBorderlands Books, and/or through your local bookstore via Indie Bound. You can also order your KindleNookKobo, Google Play and Apple iBook editions, too.

Finally, if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, I hope you’ll come out and celebrate with me at Borderlands Books on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. I’ll be doing a reading and a talk and signing and all that good stuff. I may very well bring beer. Plus, you can support one of the best independent bookstores ever. Hope to see you there!


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Check out the Cuba Writers Program reading this Monday in New York

If you follow this blog, you generally like good writing, right? Of course you do! So here’s a great opportunity to attend a super-cool reading by attendees of the inaugural Cuba Writers Program this coming Monday in New York City.

The reading features Cuba Writers Program instructors and students, including Alden Jones, Donna Bolding, John Hill, Beatrice Hill, V. Hansmann and Katrina Woznicki. (Full disclosure: Katrina is my wife. She’s also a far better writer than I am.) They’ll be reading from their work, some of which came out of the program itself. And no doubt they’ll talk about the great program they had down in Cuba this past May.

The reading is Monday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Cornelia Street Cafe, which is at (unsurprisingly) 23 Cornelia St. in New York City, right by the West 4th subway station in the West Village. I’m told it’s a very cool space, and I’m looking forward to all the great writing and everyone talking about their experiences in Cuba.

So come out and support these great writers, have a snack, be entertained, feed your brain. See you there!


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Beer O’Clock: Tasting through the brewery

Occasionally, I’ll be at a brewery or brewpub with the chance to do some tasting flights. This tends to fill my Twitter feed with a variety of Untappd mentions, leaving the occasional follower to wonder….

Yeah…sorry about that. I’ll turn off the notifications when I’m settling down for a tasting flight.

For those unaware, a tasting flight is anywhere from four to six (or even eight) small tastes of various beers, usually 2-4 oz. each. They’re a little more expensive than a single pint, but there’s obvious benefit to tasting flights. Primarily, you can find beers you like, while avoiding paying for a full pint you end up hating. You get to see what’s on offer and even what might go well with the food you ordered.

Personally, I like getting tasting menus from breweries and brewpubs where all the beers come from the same place. Not only do you get to sample most or all of the beers from that brewery, but you get to see how a single brewer or brew team approaches the brewing process and how they see themselves in the bigger brewing world.

That sounds more pretentious than I wanted it to. Lemme explain.  Continue reading

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Pilgrimage: The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles

I’ve been in my current day job now for nearly nine years. In addition to the gig’s intellectual challenges, sturdy rewards and lovely people, it’s allowed me to visit Los Angeles at least…heck, 25 times or so? See, the New York office is actually the satellite, while the mothership is in the City of Angels. Hence the travel and the sturdy flow of frequent flier miles.

So here I am yet again, this time for a week and a half. My wife is with me (the child being at camp) and there are plans afoot. L.A. is a great city for warmth, sun, beaches and sightseeing. (The less said about traffic and smog, the better.) The food scene here is phenomenal — super creative, far less pretentious than New York, and surprisingly affordable. There are many fine craft breweries.

And there’s The Last Bookstore. I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t visited until today. This has been belatedly but duly rectified; it’s one of the coolest independent bookstores I’ve ever seen. Want proof? Here you go.


First off, it’s huge. The building used to be an old bank, so they have a couple of vaults and lots of smaller rooms in addition to this cavernous affair. The stage is perfect for readings and panels, and there are a few chairs around — though, to be fair, they don’t like folks loitering all day. They’re right in downtown L.A., so I get that.


Book sculptures! Paper art! The second floor in particular is a warren of very cool little nooks and crannies and oddities like the ones above.


And this bad boy towers above all of it. Someone put a lot of love into this store. There’s a massive collection of vintage, used and new books across every genre imaginable. You want self-help? YA? Biography? Classics? SF/F? Lit fic? It’s all there. Well, mostly all there. I suppose I could get nitpicky about authors of more recent vintage — they have the big names in most categories, but less so midlisters. But their used book selection more than makes up for it. I saw dozens of novels I read when I was a kid. It was a total memory lane thing.

So. The Last Bookstore is in downtown Los Angeles on 5th and Spring. It’s worth braving the city’s notorious traffic to spend an hour in book-lover bliss. I’m glad I went, and you should go too.



In other news, I’m happy to report that, as per usual, I crunched on a whole heap of words on my flight over here, and that the second MAJESTIC-12 book is coming along swimmingly. There was one particular historical event that really spurred the entire concept behind the book, and today was the day where I got to write my version of it. It’s one of those “you can’t make this stuff up” events, and I hope I did it justice.

All right. I’m off to find a good taco and a beer. Viva Los Angeles.


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