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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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Today’s the day! MJ-12: Endgame is released into the wild!

This never gets old.

Super proud and excited to launch MJ-12: Endgame, the conclusion to the MAJESTIC-12 series of super-powered Cold War spy thrillers, to booksellers everywhere today. I’m very, very happy with how this series wrapped up, and I hope y’all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

If you want to know more about it, Tor.com has an excellent summary of the book in its monthly release roundup. I mean, I’m gonna steal this write-up whenever someone asks me for a description (with credit, of course). I also have some nifty guest posts coming this week, and I’ve done a couple interviews as well — I’ll be sure to post about them as they’re released.

Also, there’s a new review out! Obviously, I’m rather pleased with it. Otherwise, I’d just keep it to myself. But definitely check it out — it’s a great, thoughtful review from Michael Cook.

As for the inevitable question what are you doing next? (I mean, geez, this one came out today), I have a couple irons in the fire and just settled on a direction for the biggest one this weekend — on the flight to Atlanta for DragonCon, in fact. Given that this year was kinda crazy with the move to Los Angeles and the move and all, it’s highly likely that my release schedule will give 2019 a skip. But there’s cool stuff in the works, so stay tuned.

To all the folks who have enjoyed the MAJESTIC-12 series, thank you! For all of you who like to wait until a series is finished before picking up the books, y’all are on deck now. And if you’ve liked any of my books, reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and other places are deeply appreciated — they really do matter. Finally, of course, tell your friends! That also makes a huge difference.

MJ-12: Endgame is available today 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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MJ-12: Endgame acknowledgements

With all the insanity that was DragonCon this weekend (SO MUCH FUN), I just remembered today that I needed to continue my tradition of posting the acknowledgements to my latest book, MJ-12: Endgame, before it comes out tomorrow. I’m really glad I did, because the folks mentioned here — and so many others — have been integral to the success I’ve enjoyed. It means a lot to me that I have such people in my life.

So without further ado, here are the acknowledgements!

***

Now I’m six books into a career I didn’t really believe I’d have a decade ago, and there are so many excellent people who have helped make this a reality. Naming everyone who has made a positive impact on my career as an author would be an entire extra chapter of this book, and likely interesting only to me. So to all those fellow authors who have lifted me up and made me a part of an excellent, welcoming community within science fiction and fantasy, know that your generosity means more to me than I could ever say.
And to all of the people who have steadily bought my books, reviewed them, told others about them, came to conventions to see me and get books signed, interacted with me online and likewise helped lift me up, I see you and deeply appreciate your time and your enthusiasm.

As we wrap up the MAJESTIC-12 series, I want to thank everyone at Night Shade Books, former and current, who helped bring all my novels thus far to bookshelves. Cory Allyn has been my editor for five novels now, and has been an excellent editor and collaborator in making these works better than they would’ve been. Richard “Shecky” Shealy is still, and likely will always be, the best copyeditor an author could ask for, given that enforcing continuity over multiple books is exponentially more difficult than a single novel. Jason Katzman, Ross Lockhart, and Jeremy Lassen are also to thank for making all this a reality.

There are also plenty of family and friends and coworkers who have supported me throughout my authorial career, giving me the encouragement and support I need to keep going. I want to give a special thanks to Linda Johnson, the absolute best boss I’ve had in more than a quarter-century of being in the workforce. Her unwavering support at work — and in life — is a big reason why I can write books and you get to read them.

This book is dedicated to Sara Megibow (at long last!), my agent and my friend. She is a tireless advocate of my work, and greets my ideas with just the right mix of enthusiasm and grounding. I’m proud and humbled to have someone like her in my corner.

Finally, as always, none of this would be nearly as much fun without my wife, Kate, and daughter, Anna. Thank you both for all your love and support and patience.

Here’s to the next adventure.

***

As always, there are more people who have contributed to the success of this book, and all my books, that aren’t mentioned here. To all of you, yet again, thank you!

MJ-12: Endgame is available tomorrow from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionKobo BooksiTunesGoogle Play, and through your favorite neighborhood independent booksellers through Indie Bound!

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

I skipped DragonCon last year, but I’m really happy to be heading back to Atlanta this week to bask in the assembled geekery. This’ll be my fourth DragonCon in five years, and it remains one of my all-time favorites.

I’ll be flying in tomorrow, and have the following events on my schedule:

  • Friday, 5 p.m. – signing at The Missing Volume. Booth 1201, Americasmart building 2. Still not sure if they’ll have MJ-12: Endgame on hand since it technically doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but they’ll have the rest of my work on hand, and I can get my hands on some copies beforehand, I’ll bring Endgame as well.
  • Friday, 8:30 p.m. – Panel: Ahoy, Mateys! Pirates in Popular Culture. Sheraton, Athens room. Just like it says on the tin. We’ll be talking about all kinds of scurrilous scalawags, from Treasure Island to Treasure Planet. 
  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – Panel: Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller. Sheraton, Athens room. Is time travel theoretically possible? Depends who you ask. Does it make for great stories? Absolutely. We’ll be talking about all kinds of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff and how stories make good — and occasionally bad — use of it.
  • Sunday, 4 p.m. – Panel: Oops, I Sold My Novel. Now What? Hyatt, Embassy CD room. Getting your first book deal is absolutely amazing. But it’s just the beginning. We’ll be talking about how to make that debut as successful as possible, and what could happen after that.
  • Sunday, 7 p.m. – Panel: The Secret History of Spies. Sheraton, Athens room. Gee, who could’ve thought of this panel? Yes, we’re talking spies throughout history, from Sun Tzu to modern day, and how they’ve affected spy fiction — and vice versa!
  • Monday, 11:30 a.m. – Panel: Winding Down the Clock: A Time Travel Story Hour. Sheraton, Athens room. Now, this is gonna be intriguing. Your panel of authors — tired, drained, possibly hung over — will be spinning a few steampunk yarns, and then we’ll wind down the convention altogether by swapping war stories.

That’s a nice full weekend, and I’m super grateful to Doctor Q and the Alternate History Track for continuing to embrace authors the way they do — and the Writing Track as well for thinking of me.

I’m sure I’ll be out and about doing other things during the weekend, and if I show up somewhere, I’ll probably post to Twitter, so be sure to follow me there. (Twitter also feeds to my author page on Facebook, so that’s just as good if you don’t tweet.) And I may be bringing some books to give away, so keep your eyes peeled on social media.

See you in Atlanta!

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Revisiting politics in science fiction and fantasy, comments edition

I know, right? This thing’s been beaten to death, and I feel like I’ve said all I could say on the topic last time around. But I got a comment this week on that very post that got my brain engaged again, mostly because I disagreed with pretty much all of it. So instead of replying there, I thought it was enough to warrant another post.

Please note: None of this is done with malice toward the poster of the comment. He’s entitled to his own opinions. However, his ability to post them here is because I allowed it, as this is my house and my rules and my comment moderation. Further, I’m really not inviting debate. The commenter wasn’t owed a response, and I’m not sure he wanted one, but he got one. If you comment on this or on the original, it’s still my call whether we keep it going or not. Nobody owes anybody a response or a platform.

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