Category Archives: Events

DragonCon announces new Dragon Awards for science fiction and fantasy

The-New-Dragon-Con-LogoSo…I like this. Rather a lot.

I’m a big  fan of DragonCon — I’ve attended for the past two years and will take the pilgrim’s road (i.e. United) to Atlanta again this year. The DragonCon community is wonderful, and I’ve met a lot of fans, and made a lot of fans, by going.

This week, DragonCon launched the Dragon  Awards to showcase the best in science fiction and fantasy — books, comics, graphic novels, television, movies, video games, board games and table-top games. And I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Why so happy, you ask? Because DragonCon has a huge, well-informed fan base. There’s a great opportunity to bring together fans of different media to really look at a wide range of stuff. TV fans may find books they love. Book fans may find a great new table-top RPG. Gamers could discover new young-adult novels.

Yes, there are other fantastic awards for science fiction and fantasy literature, with long and storied traditions behind them. The Hugos and Nebulas will always have a place of pride, and they both honor areas of SF/F literature (smaller works in particular) that the Dragons don’t. So I don’t see the Dragons trying to replace them one bit. What I see is a great opportunity to cross-pollinate fans of SF/F and introduce new stuff to a huge, eager audience well disposed to check ’em out.

Is this perfect? No. I’d love to see short written works (short stories, novelettes, novellas, etc.) up for consideration as well. I’d love to see entire TV series nominated alongside individual episodes. But honestly, it’s pretty nifty.

Best part? You can nominate. Anybody can nominate. Anybody can vote. It’s as egalitarian as it gets. Given DragonCon’s fan base, any attempt to game this system — whether by a single would-be nominee or any sort of ideological slate — would be laughable.

So do it. Embrace the stuff you love. You can nominate right now through July 31. The categories are:

  • Best Science Fiction Novel
  • Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
  •  Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel
  • Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
  • Best Alternate History Novel
  • Best Apocalyptic Novel
  • Best Horror Novel
  • Best Comic Book
  • Best Graphic Novel
  • Best Episode in a Continuing Science Fiction or Fantasy Series, TV or Internet
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectable Card / Role-Playing Game

Go forth and nominate by filling out this form. Voting starts in early August and wraps up September 1st. Register to vote here while you’re at it — I already have. Seriously, this costs you nothing other than a few minutes and a few confirmation emails.

And while you’re at it, I might humbly suggest that The Venusian Gambit would indeed be eligible for a Dragon Award, likely in the Best Alternate History Novel category. If you’re so inclined, of course.

#SFWApro

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Your Friday grab-bag of updates

Just to make things easier, I thought I’d throw a bunch of little things into a single post. Here we go!

Operation: DAEDALUS: Robert Junker is the winner of Operation: DAEDALUS! There were over a hundred individuals who left reviews, posted to Facebook, Tweeted and otherwise used social media to get the word out about the paperback release of The Daedalus Incident, and I am hugely grateful to everyone who did so. Robert went all out across multiple platforms, multiple times over, and the law of averages was on his side. Thus, he gets a signed Daedalus paperback and a signed ARC of MJ-12: Inception later this spring. Congratulations, Robert!

More operations ahead: The Enceladus Crisis is coming out May 10, so stay tuned for details about Operation: ENCELADUSI may try something different there, in terms of the qualifying stuff. Or not. Again, I’ll keep you posted. And yes, there will be an Operation: GAMBIT this summer, too, and even possibly an Operation: INCEPTION. Because you’re all awesome…or just want free books. Either or, I’m good with that.

Lunacon!: As a reminder, if you’re in the greater New York City area and want to geek out with me, I’ll be haunting Lunacon this Saturday. My schedule is here. Come say hello!

MJ-12.net update: Now that The Daedalus Incident paperback is out — with an excerpt of MJ-12: Inception therein — I’ve updated MJ-12.net with a post about Frank Lodge, one of the first people we meet in the excerpt. So head on over to MJ-12 net and dive in to the mythology I’m building around the MAJESTIC-12 series.

#SFWApro

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I’m going to Lunacon!

Are you in the greater tri-state area, with those tri-states being New York, New Jersey and Connecticut? If not…are you up for a last-minute roadtrip? Of course you are!

I’m going to be at Lunacon — the 58th annual convention of the New York Science Fiction Society — this Saturday at the Westchester Hilton in Rye Brook, N.Y. This is my first time going, which is my bad considering this is very much my local con. I’m looking forward to rectifying this oversight and meeting lots of cool people in the process.

And what, you may ask, will I be doing there? Panels, of course. It’s what you do at cons. Here’s my schedule — all my panels are on Saturday, March 19.

  • Research for Historical & Fantasy Fiction (Noon, Westchester Ballroom D4): This is, of course, right up my alley, and I’m sharing the stage with many fine scribes, including Lunacon Guest of Honor Naomi Novik.
  • So I Just Finished My First Draft. Now what? (4 p.m., Maple Room): Seeing as I kind of wish I had gone to a panel like this after my first draft of my first novel, I figured I might help others avoid my mistakes!
  • SF and Social Justice Movements (5 p.m., Westchester Ballroom D5): I strongly believe that literature, including science fiction and fantasy, is at the forefront of social change. Really looking forward to tackling this one.

It’s highly likely that I’ll be bringing some swag with me, possibly including a copy of the new The Daedalus Incident paperback. So keep an eye on Twitter and see if you might catch me doing a giveaway.

If you’re planning to go, I hope to see you there. If not…gas is super cheap right now. Just saying. You can’t crash on my couch, though.

 #SFWApro

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A little 2016 preview

MJ-12-logoimage

The new series comes out this year!

I think everyone should be well and truly recovered from the holidays and such, so I figured it was a good time to let you know what you can expect out of me in the coming year, words-wise. And it’s going to be pretty cool.

Obviously, the Big Thing™ will be the release of MJ-12: Inception in September. This is the very first volume in the MAJESTIC-12 series of fantastical Cold War spy thrillers, because that kind of genre-blending is how I roll.

Now, the conspiracy theory states that MAJESTIC-12 is a cabal of government honchos hiding proof of extraterrestrial life from the general populace in order to leverage alien technology on behalf of the United States military. I’m taking that historical theory and running with it, but in very, very different directions. So you’ll see a lot of action and adventure, some truly fantastical elements, a decent dollop of mystery and suspense, and a couple of big question marks in MJ-12: Inception that’ll hopefully have you coming back for more.

So that’s out in September in hardcover. Where do things stand with it now?  Continue reading

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DragonCon: The last word

Going from DragonCon directly back to work is kind of jarring, but I managed to get through the day without mistaking colleagues for Wookies or superheroes, so I’ll chalk that up as a minor achievement. And with a touch of distance behind me, I can sum up my DragonCon experience a bit better.

I don’t go to too many cons each year, but I think DragonCon will be on my schedule for the foreseeable future. It’s big, but it’s also organized well. I like the topic tracks, and this year I did a panel on the Horror track (yay, Cthulhu!) as well as several on my “home” track, Alternate History.

The tracks are run by passionate volunteers who do such an awesome job. (Thank you, everyone who volunteered!) Because they’re run by fans who know the topics well, you definitely get the sense there’s a lot of heart that goes into it. It’s really great to see that.

My favorite panels this year were the ones on multicultural alt-history, which had some pretty intense and fruitful discussions, and the steampunk homebrewing/distilling panel, which had lovely drinks brought by really talented brewers. I have to figure out a way to bring my brews next year! The latter was also the first panel ever where I walked away somewhat unsteadily. (Two words: Lavender mead.)

I also let slip some details about the Secret Project during my reading and on some panels. The reception was most definitely encouraging.

Other highlights: Seeing such fantastic folk as Myke Cole, Richard Kadrey, Terra LeMay, Cherie Priest, Fran Wilde and my beard-bro Chuck Wendig, who was becoming a New York Times bestselling author right before our eyes thanks to Star Wars: Aftermath. I also met Bill Bridges, who developed Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Mage: The Ascension for White Wolf back in the day, which made me happy indeed. It’s folks like him who helped shape me into the writer you see before you now.

And of course, there was Tom Mison. I’m totally rooting for this guy now. I want him to win an Emmy and an Oscar and whatever else they got. Hell, I want him to play Thomas Weatherby in a Daedalus Incident movie. Hollywood, make this happen.

Finally, there were the fans, both old and new. Meeting you guys is like writer-fuel; you keep me going. I deeply appreciate the time you’ve spent with my work and the excitement you have for it. I hope I live up to all that goodness down the road.

I’ve got some hunkering down to do over the next several weeks in order to tackle a full slate at work along with the finishing touches on the Secret Project. This year’s NFL GeekPicks will kick off Thursday, but other than that and the occasional news tidbit, I’m probably gonna go light on this blog for a while. But October and November…that’s gonna be fun. There will be News. I can’t wait to share it with you.

#SFWApro

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Last day at DragonCon, and it’s been a blast!

Geez, mention Tom Mison on the blog and, boom — your highest-traffic day ever. So hello, new people. I write books. Check ’em out!

I don’t have anything official planned today here at DragonCon except a stint at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth in the Hyatt on the Exhibit level. I’m there from 10 a.m. to noon. I may also stop in at the Alt-History podcast wrapup at 2:30 p.m. at the Westin in the Augusta 1-2 room.

But after that, I head to the airport to catch my iron bird northward.

It’s been a fantastic con, and I’ve a lot to say about it, but right now I have to get my butt over to the Hyatt. I’ll blog more about it later this week. But for now, rest assured I’ll be back!

#SFWApro

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Tom Mison is a great guy, plus here’s my DragonCon schedule today

With some time to kill yesterday, I took a stroll through DragonCon‘s walk of fame, where celebrities have autograph and photo tables so the fans can meet them, gush awkwardly, etc. While there, I texted my wife Kate to say, “I’m standing 10 feet away from Tom Mison.”

Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane on the FOX show Sleepy Hollow. Both Kate and I love how the show is unapologetically over-the-top and fun, and I knew that she also had a little thing for Mr. Mison. I mean, heck, objectively he’s a handsome fellow and has that British-actor accent that has been proven to cause swooning in certain folks.

She quickly texted back to say I needed to get his autograph for her. This text was followed by: “And tell him your wife finds him hot.” “And that your wife’s name is Katrina.” “And that he put up with too much in that TV marriage :)” (For those who don’t follow the show, Katrina was the name of Crane’s wife, a good witch who later went bad.)

I normally don’t do the fanboy thing, but for Kate, I got in line. It took about 20 minutes to get to the front of the table, where I picked out a suitably smoldering head-shot for Tom to sign. Then it was my turn. We shook hands, chatted briefly about the show, then he asked to whom he should autograph the picture.

Saving myself the awkwardness of repeating all of Kate’s texts, I simply handed him my phone with a screen shot of the relevant information above. The dude starts smiling and laughing, calls one of his handlers over to read it, and I swear he may have blushed slightly. Then he looks up at me with this grin on his face and says. “Oh, that’s lovely! Do you think we can call her?”

Why yes, Tom. Yes we can.

After waiting what seemed like forever for her to pick up — with me standing there thinking Pick up! Pick up! Pick up! — Kate answers and Tom says, “Katrina…I’ve commandeered your husband’s phone.”

They chatted for a few minutes, and Tom even mentioned what a wonderful husband I was while giving me a thumbs-up and nodding in that universal guy way that says, “I got your back.” And after the call, he signed the photo and I thanked him profusely for all the relationship points I just earned. I would’ve given him a copy of The Daedalus Incident, but they were all gone, so I had to settle for giving him a bookmark.

I’ve interacted with some famous folk through the years as an author and journalist, and Tom Mison is one of the most genuine I’ve seen. He didn’t need to call. He didn’t even need to read the texts on my phone. But he did, and in doing so, earned two fans that will follow his career well beyond Sleepy Hollow. He’s a stand-up guy.

Plus, the whole thing was a great lesson in how to interact with fans. Fans are awesome — I’m lucky enough to say that my books have a few. And this is exactly how I hope I treat my own fans: with grace, kindness and gratitude.

(segue) And speaking of fans, it’s still DragonCon, and I have stuff going on! (/segue)

  • 2-4 p.m., Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth, Exhibit level, Hyatt. Sadly, I’m out of books — and in fact, I’m running out of bookmarks. But I’m still there, and happy to chat about my work, SFWA or anything, really. Plus, you can buy the SFWA 50th anniversary cookbook. Naturally, I have a beer essay in there.
  • 7 p.m., World Building: The Multicultural Universe panel, Westin, Augusta 3. A panel on the Alternate History track talking about the wide world of history beyond our own and England’s.

I hope to see you there. I’ll even be happy to call your spouse, but only on request, because otherwise…awkward.

#SFWApro

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The last of The Daedalus Incident giveaways at DragonCon, plus what I’m up to today

So here I am thinking that 100 copies of The Daedalus Incident would be enough of a substantial giveaway to last the entire weekend here at DragonCon.

Silly me. I’m gonna have to bring more of the Secret Project books next year…

…wait. I’ve said too much. Anyway.

The Daedalus Incident went fast yesterday — in fact, we burned through nearly our entire shipment at the SFWA booth, and it’s only the first day of the con! Thanks to everyone at DragonCon who showed such interest in the book. If you grabbed one and enjoyed it, I’d mightly appreciate it if you took the time to tell your friends and/or put up reviews on social media, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.

And of course, if you really liked it, I hope you’ll think about buying the second and third books!

If you didn’t get one at the SFWA booth, your last chance for a free copy will be today at 1 p.m. at the University room at the Hyatt. I’m doing a reading and I have two copies to give out there. After that, they’re gone.

Today’s another day, so here’s where I’ll be at DragonCon if you want to hunt me down…er…as in hunt me down to say hello, get a book signed or buy me beer. You know, no actual hunting.

  • 9-10 a.m., Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth, Exhibit level, Hyatt. Just doing my part for SFWA. Come learn about what the organization does, get free books from great authors like Naomi Novik and Jason M. Hough, and hey, there’s a cookbook for sale, too!
  • 1 p.m., Michael J. Martinez reading, University room, Conference level (one floor below the Art Show), Hyatt. I’ll read from The Venusian Gambit, possibly from Cthulhu Fhtagn! and maybe even talk about the Secret Project. Also, it’s your chance to grab those last two freebies.
  • 8:30 p.m., Alternate Armed Conflicts panel, Augusta 3, Westin. A look at the various wars and conflicts throughout history, seen through alt-history authors’ warped lenses.
  • 11:30 p.m., The Steampunk’s Guide to Home Brewing and Distilling panel, Augusta 1-2, Westin. Aww, yeah. Stay up late with us as we talk brewing and distilling for the Steampunk crowd.

#SFWApro

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What I’m up to Friday at DragonCon

It’s the first day of DragonCon where everyone is excited to be there and energized and still healthy and smelling good! And I’m all those things too. Here’s what I’m doing today:

  • 11:30 a.m. — The Beginner’s Guide to Alternate History, Steampunk & Other Subgenres, Augusta 1-2, Westin. Kicking off the Alt-History track with a refresher for the newbies.
  • 2-4 p.m. — Science Ficiton & Fantasy Writers of America booth, Exhibit level, Hyatt. I’m holding down the fort — and giving away copies of The Daedalus Incident. Come get a free book!
  • 7 p.m. — Cthulhu: New Spins on Old Mythos, Peachtree 1-2, Westin. Come get your Lovecraft on with us as we talk about fresh takes on the Great Old Ones.

If you’re in town, hope to see you there!

#SFWApro

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The big Daedalus Incident giveaway at DragonCon!

TDI-bigcoverThe Daedalus trilogy is all wrapped up, which means that if you haven’t started it yet, you can binge on all three books at once, like a Netflix marathon but in print. And to help get you started, the good folks at Night Shade Books and I have conspired to do a giveaway at DragonCon this weekend.

If you’re going to DragonCon, head on over to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth starting Friday to pick up a free copy of The Daedalus Incident, the first book in the trilogy. I’m told we have three boxes of books, but since there’s something like 60,000 fans, you may want to head over before too long.

Last year, the SFWA booth was just outside the Art Show and Comic Alley on the Exhibit level of the Hyatt. If that’s changed this year, I’ll update this post.

Also, I’m pulling shifts at the SFWA booth each day of the con, which I’ll post here as part of my daily schedule. So if you want that book signed, you can come find me then. I’m also happy to sign before or after — though, really not during — panels and such. I may also have some copies on me as I move about, and it’s always a good idea to watch my Twitter feed in case I get creative about a giveaway.

Why are we being so generous? Because DragonCon is awesome, for one, and free books are awesome as well. Of course, if you like Daedalus, my publisher and I would really quite like it if you bought the second and third books, too. But for this weekend at DragonCon, the first book is on us. Stop by and grab one!

#SFWApro

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