Category Archives: Charity

2016 in review: Stuff I wrote

MJ-12-newcover2016 may not have been the best of years — thanks, Donald — but I’m pleased to say that I wrote some pretty good stuff this year, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about it, being in a somewhat reflective mood as the year spirals toward its fiery doom…er…wraps up and folks get blitzed on cheap champagne.

The biggie, obviously, was the hardcover release of my latest novel, MJ-12: Inception, first of the MAJESTIC-12 series of Cold War paranormal spy-fi thrillers. I was super-pleased with the reception, and chuffed to see folks embrace it. To all those readers out there, I thank you muchly for your enthusiasm and kind words.

Night Shade Books also released the Daedalus trilogy in mass-market paperback this year. It was fun to see those books get new life and new readers.

I also contributed a novelette, “Mind Flight,” to the Geeky Giving anthology effort, which benefits the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona. Barrow works to combat neurological disorders, and the theme of the anthology was to embrace that cutting-edge research. “Mind Flight” is the story of a pilot who links her brain to her fighter jet in order to help fend off an alien invasion — and what happens when the aliens figure out a terrible way to fight back. It’s my first hard SF work, and I’m proud to have it in there with so many other talented writers. All proceeds go to Barrow, so pick up a copy!

endlessagesFinally, I got another chance to embrace my geeky, misspent youth by contributing a short story to the Endless Ages anthology, which featured stories set in the Vampire: The Masquerade game setting. “Tiger” is the story of a young vampire caught up in the power games of her elders, with near-disastrous results. It was a total blast to revisit the setting and embrace my Gothic Punk side.

I also had an article published in the October issue of Writer’s Digest, talking about how I use Excel to outline my novels, which was pretty cool. Sadly, you’d need to get the magazine to read the actual piece, but I can point you to the online exclusive bit, wherein you can download part of my outline and see how the alleged magic happens.

As for 2017? MJ-12: Shadows, the follow-up to Inception, should be coming out some time in the late summer/early fall, and I believe plans are in the works for a paperback release of MJ-12: Inception before that. I also have a bit of a passion project I’m working up on the side, and I’m hopeful it finds a home. I also have a short story or two I’m noodling on, but the plate gets full fast, so we’ll see how it goes.

As of right now, I’m not sure what my con schedule will look like for 2017 quite yet. I like Phoenix Comicon and DragonCon a lot, but I’m wondering if it’d be worthwhile to mix it up this year. I don’t think I have the capacity to add to my schedule — I have a full-time job on top of all this fictioning, after all — and I’d be torn about missing out on two fantastic cons. But there are others that seem interesting, and have the benefit of not falling on two super-popular holiday weekends, so we’ll see.

Again, much thanks and gratitude to all the readers who picked up my work this year. You give me the fuel to keep at it, and I deeply appreciate it.

May you all enjoy a peaceful holiday season, and may we all have a better year ahead.

#SFWApro

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Fantastic independent bookstores for all your holiday gift-giving needs

Found by a friend at Powell's up in Oregon. One of many reasons indie bookstores rock.

Found by a friend at Powell’s up in Oregon. One of many reasons indie bookstores rock.

Let me start by saying that I realize Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the two big choices for book buying, and honestly, I have a lot of respect for both of them. Both companies have been good to me and my work, and I deeply appreciate that. I’m glad they’re there.

But you know what’s awesome? Independent bookstores. I love indie bookstores, man. They are an absolute labor of love for the people that own and run them, and they are vibrant and, dare I say, critical pieces of community life around the country. So this holiday season, I would encourage you to check out independent bookstores in your area for all your gift-giving needs.

Or maybe check out the ones I have listed here if you don’t have a local indie close to you. These are the independent bookstores that I’ve enjoyed visiting around the country, and if you’re in the market for books this holiday season — whether it’s my books or just any books — I would strongly encourage you to check them out. The vast majority of these offer online sales and shipping, and many offer ebook sales via Kobo, too.

I totally get that indie books are more expensive — they’re generally full list-price, plus shipping. And sure, Kobo is a little more expensive than Kindle or Nook. Given the huge impact a good bookstore has on its community, I would urge you to shop indie anyway, if you’re able to do so. It’s fantastic karma.

Finally, I’m highlighting the stores that are offering the Geeky Giving charity anthology, which I was proud to be a part of this year. There are some great stories in there, and proceeds go to the Barrow Neurological Institute. Buying it is a win all around, y’all.   Continue reading

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Nine hours to go on the Worldbuilders critique auction

UPDATE: The auction is over and the critique went for $340, which is incredibly awesome. Thank you to Worldbuilders for all they do, and thank you to all the bidders who jacked that price up!

That’s right — as of this posting, you have nine hours to bid on an opportunity to have yours truly read and critique up to 25,000 words of your fiction. Here’s the auction page. And it’s to benefit Worldbuilders, the fantastic charity that aids Heifer International in promoting sustainable living conditions for the world’s poorest. It’s good stuff.

So what’s the critique, exactly? Well, first off, you give me the words and I read ’em. I’ll mark up the text as I go, using comments in Word, with questions, concerns, encouragement, etc. I’ll also write up a fairly long review of the piece, separate from the text, in which I’ll go into the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

Oh, and if you wanna ping back with follow-ups, feel free. I’m happy to go back and forth a few times if it helps you. Just don’t, you know, camp out in my email. Or on my doorstep. Point is, let’s make sure you get your money’s worth.

Speaking of, as of this writing, the bidding is up to $255, which does my heart good. I have no doubt that the winner of this one, in addition to getting my opinion on their work, will reap untold karma points from whomever in the multiverse doles such things out.

One more thing: Tomorrow, I’ll be hanging out on Reddit r/Fantasy as part of their Worldbuilders charity week. It’s kind of an Ask Me Anything — because I’ll certainly answer questions and stuff — but I’m also taking the opportunity to ask the great r/Fantasy community a few things as well. And of course, we’ll be spreading the good word about Worldbuilders.

In fact, there’s still a bit more to come from me — each of my four novels will be up for grabs from Worldbuilders late this coming week. Signed, of course, which makes them the perfect Christmas presents. So stay tuned for that!

#SFWApro

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It’s Worldbuilders auction time! Bid on a critique, make the world better.

Here’s some unabashedly good news: The Worldbuilders auctions are live! There’s so much good stuff up for bid this year — and for the fourth year running, I’m offering a critique of your SF/F manuscript, up to 25,000 words to the winning bidder.

For those of you who don’t know, Worldbuilders is a fantastic charity created by the incomparable Patrick Rothfuss to support the good work of Heifer International. Worldbuilders does a bunch of stuff all year, but the end-of-year auction is the big one.

Since I started offering up stuff in 2013, and with your generous support, together we’ve raised about $1,500 through signed books, critiques and Tuckerizations just with Worldbuilders alone. (And another $500+ to Con or Bust, charity:water and Kids Need to Read, so yay!) And all because I had the damn fool notion in my head that I should write some novels, and because there are some lovely generous people out there. How cool is that?

The critique auction page is live, so if you’re in the market for some writing advice from a real, live novelist (i.e. me), check it out. You have until just after 8 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27, to get your bid in. And let me tell you — the bidding goes up quite a bit in those final hours, so if you want it, be prepared to hang out online Sunday.

The Worldbuilders crew also has signed copies of all my books — the three volumes of the Daedalus trilogy, and MJ-12: Inception in hardcover. They’re not up for bid yet, but stay tuned. I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re live.

And of course, there’s a veritable ton of other stuff up for bid too — jewelry, signed books, critiques from authors/editors/agents, gaming swag, and yes…even a freakin’ sword. (I totally want that sword.) The eBay page for Worldbuilders has all that and more, so check it out. There’s also a Worldbuilders lottery, where you pay $10 per entry for a shot at glorious prizes — here’s the page for that.

I’ve found the SF/F community of writers, publishers and fans to be incredibly giving and generous, and I know y’all will consider chipping in again to help Heifer in its important work around the world. Thank you in advance for your donations. And thanks to Pat, Maria and the whole Worldbuilders team for all the good work they do.

Go! Get bidding!

#SFWApro

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Back at DragonCon, plus all kinds of news

The-New-Dragon-Con-LogoThere are Jedi roaming the streets and wizards in line at Starbucks. Must be DragonCon!

The city of Atlanta seems to treat con-goers with good humor and patience. It’s a very friendly city to begin with — strangers strike up conversations with one another on the subway, customers are greeted more than a “NEXT!” and there’s a slightly languid pace about things, especially when compared to New York. If it weren’t for the heat and humidity…!

And there’s a bunch of stuff I want to share today, as it’s getting close to the launch of MJ-12: Inception on Tuesday and, after a slow summer, the news piles up:

  • Win my books on Tor.com! The lovely people over at Tor.com are doing a sweepstakes! First prize is a copy of MJ-12: Inception as well as all three books in the Daedalus trilogy. Four second place winners get MJ-12: Inception. All you gotta do is comment on this post to enter. You have until 12 p.m. on Sept. 6 to enter.
  • MJ-12: Inception made a couple fresh lists of September must-have books, which is delightful. Tor.com lists it in its monthly “genre blenders” roundup, and io9 has it in a post called “Add All 19 of These New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Your September Reading List.”
  • I was interviewed by fellow writer Amanda Faith for today’s edition of The Daily Dragon, DragonCon’s official news outlet. We talk about the con, the books, all kinds of things. Check it out!
  • I donated a signed copy of MJ-12: Inception to DragonCon’s annual charity auction, to benefit the Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency, so I hope folks go and bid! Details are here.
  • The Missing Volume as a ton of my books on hand for tomorrow’s signing at DragonCon’s vendor hall. I’ll be there at 1 p.m., so if you’re at the con, come say hi!

Phew. Lots of fun stuff here. Hope you enjoy, and have a great Labor Day weekend!

#SFWApro

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Pre-order the Geeky Giving anthology, coming August 9!

I was super proud to have a story in this charity effort, and super proud of the story I submitted for it. Now, you can get all the Geeky Giving stories in one handy-dandy publication: Geeky Giving: A SFF Charity Anthology, to benefit the Barrow Neurological Institute!

Geeky Giving is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo and iTunes in ebook — and print is coming! Love the cover, and honored to have my name on it. This is such a great anthology, full of very different stories all dealing with the mind, neurology and related ideas.

My own story, “Mind Flight,” is certainly my hardest hard-SF story, and I really loved writing it. Plus, bits are set in Iceland, which inspired my work quite a bit when I went there a few years ago.

You get a bunch of great stories from fantastic writers like Mary Robinette Kowal, K.B. Spangler, Shaun David Hutchison, Amanda Bonilla, Jeff Somers, Sierra Dean and more. And again, all the money goes to support the life-saving work of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona.

Get great fiction, feel good about doing it. What’s not to love? Go forth and pre-order!

 #SFWApro

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The post-Phoenix Comicon post

Short version: That was incredibly super fun. Will repeat.

But hey, I think we can do better, right?

Phoenix Comicon has one of the best author/books tracks of any major convention I’ve been to. So what makes it the best, you ask? For one, there are a ton of great authors writing a dizzying array of diverse works. Two, the topics of the panels are usually pretty interesting and thought-provoking. Third, the con puts our books on sale right next door to the panels, and the marketer in me loves that impulse-buy opportunity.

But mostly, it’s the fans. The folks in the audience at all of my panels were super-smart and incredibly engaged. Their questions were thoughtful and really kept us all on our toes. The resulting conversations were informative to me, and I hope they were to everyone who came.

The fans are the biggest reason I go, and y’all are really generous with your time and encouragement of my work, and I try to do the same with whatever you got going on, too. For the first time, I had someone in the audience at a panel actually reference parts of my books as an example that I didn’t even think of — and I didn’t even know who he was, let alone did I bribe him. So that was lovely.

And now some more highlights in now particular order!

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Last chance to bid on a signed MJ-12: Inception ARC to benefit Con or Bust

MJ12_FinalTime is running out! You have until 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday to bid on a signed advance reader copy of MJ-12: Inception. The auction is to benefit Con or Bust, which helps persons of color attend SF/F conventions if they can’t afford to go otherwise.

Like great books? Like helping others? Like having more diversity in fandom? Then check out the auctions. There’s a lot of great stuff up for bid, and it’s for a great cause. Get cool stuff and help others!

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It’s time for Phoenix Comicon! Here’s where I’ll be!

I had a blast at last year’s Phoenix Comicon, and I’m really looking forward to this year. I’ve got a lot of cool stuff going on, and if you’re going to be there, I hope you’ll get a chance to say hi.

Here’s my schedule of events for this year, which is also on my fancy-pants guest page. Chances are, I’ll have an ARC of MJ-12: Inception on me at any one of these, so keep an eye open for giveaways!

Panel/Event Schedule

Tonight, 7 p.m. — Elevengeddon at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale! I’ll be joined by something like 19 other authors for a mega-SF/F signing spectacle at one of the best independent bookstores in the country. Here’s the event listing and address. It’s the ultimate SF/F convergence. BE THERE.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. — Trope Talks: Comedy Relief, North 128B. This panel will discuss the role of the comedic sidekick in stories, and how they’re more than just the funny guy in the room. With Scott Sigler and Yvonne Navarro.

Friday, 3 p.m —  Building a Believable World: The Deets, North 129A. Let’s drill down into worldbuilding with some pretty awesome authors, including Bradley Beaulieu, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Shannon Messenger and Victoria V.E. Schwab.

Friday, 6 p.m. — The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi, North 128A. Why so serious? This panel takes a look at more optimistic views of the genre. With Alexandra Olivia, Greg van Eekhout, Howard Tayler, Jody Lynn Nye and Suzanne Young.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. — Crossing the Streams: Genre Splicing, North 128A. Obviously, this is kind of my sweet spot. Let’s put genres in a blender and see what happens. With Adam Christopher, Aprilynne Pike, Neo Edmund and Yvonne Navarro.

Saturday, 4 p.m. — Bioskeletons, Neurotransmitters, Synthesia: Medical Science in Sci-Fi, North 127C. Let’s talk about futuristic medicine in a panel organized by the fantastic folks at Geeky Giving!

Saturday, 6 p.m. — Drinks with Authors, North 120. Come see authors in their natural habitat, i.e. near the bar. This informal hangout is one of my favorite things, and there will be raffles to benefit Kids Need to Read. Come say hi, drink drinks and maybe win something — all for a great cause.

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. — World Building: Are We Still Talking About This? An interesting take on world-building with this panel; we’re being asked when it gets to be too much, or when it matters less. With Greg van Eekhout, John Peck/Jack Heckel and Sarah Remy.

Signing Schedule

And in addition to all these fun panels, I’ll be doing signings at the con as well. A bunch in fact. To wit:

Thursday, 3 p.m. — Signing Lounge, North 127AB. There’s a lounge? Are there drinks? I’m hanging out with Becky Chambers, Jamie Wyman, Jason Hough, Michael Kogge, Patrick Hemstreet, Sarah Remy and Yvonne Navarro.

Thursday, 6 p.m. — Exhibitor Hall Signing. There’s also the signings in the big hall, too. With Becky Chambers, Greg van Eekhout, Jason Hough, Michael Kogge, Patrick Hemstreet and Sarah Remy.

Friday, noon — Exhibitor Hall Signing. Once more, with feeling! With Alexandra Olivia, Austin Aslan, Michael Kogge and Shannon Messenger.

Friday, 4:30 p.m. — Signing Lounge, North 127AB. Lounging about, apparently, with Bradley Beaulieu, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Holly Jennings, Jason Hough, Michael Kogge, Shannon Messenger and Weston Ochse.

Saturday, noon — Signing Lounge, North 127AB. At this point, we’ll probably be crooning ’70s lounge music. And we’ll be doing it with Aprilynne Pike, Bradley Beaulieu, Christina Henry, Leanna Renee Hieber, Neo Edmund, Patrick Hemstreet, Sam Sykes, Sarah Remy and Victoria V.E. Schwab.

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. — Exhibitor Hall Signing. Really, you will not want for signing opportunities. With Alexandra Olivia, Neo Edmund and Jason Hough (who will likely be quite sick of me by this point).

Sunday, noon — Exhibitor Hall Signing. This will be your last chance to get something signed by me. Not that you haven’t had ample opportunity. With Alexandra Olivia, Alyssa Wong (whose short stories are amazing and wonderful), the incomparable Kevin Hearne and Patrick Hemstreet (who will also be sick of me by this point).

So yeah. Seriously, if you’re having trouble finding me, you’re obviously slacking something fierce.

You can also follow me on Twitter to see what I’m up to and, perchance, have another crack at free books. I’ll have the aforementioned MJ-12: Inception ARCs, but also a couple sets of the Daedalus trilogy to give away, and I’ll have a ton of bookmarkts for you too. Because I’m nice like that.

Hope to see you in Phoenix!

#SFWApro

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Con or Bust auctions now open! Bid to win a signed ARC of MJ-12: Inception!

MJ12_FinalWant a super-early copy of MJ-12: Inception, months before it releases? Want to help awesome people attend SF/F conventions when they might not otherwise be able to go? Now’s your chance.

The annual Con or Bust auctions open today, and I have an advance reader copy (ARC) of MJ-12: Inception  up for bid. (Signed, of course!) Bidding starts at $15, and you have until Sunday, June 5 at 4 p.m. EDT to place your bid.

Con or Bust is a wonderful organization that helps people of color attend cons around the globe. If you’ve been to some of the smaller SF/F conventions, you’ve probably noticed that there isn’t a heap of diversity. Charities like this help. SF/F is all about seeing the world through different perspectives, after all, and I firmly believe our cons should have different perspectives and a diversity of backgrounds represented as well.

This is my fourth year offering up my work for auction, and I hope you’ll consider bidding on MJ-12: Inception or any of the other fantastic auction items. Go forth and bid!

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