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See my pandemic hair, and also Worldbuilders is great

Been meaning to put this up in the blog for a while now, but there’s a replay of the interview I did with Mike and Zay of Worldbuilders as part of the #geeks4hope fundraiser, which blew past its goals and helped Project HOPE do a lot of good in the fight against COVID-19. So without further ado, here you go! Enjoy the big hair and fun discussion.

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A much belated update on things


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all of my previously published shorter works, including The Gravity of the Affair, my Daedalus novella, as well as two unpublished stories.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!


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Terrible Whatever: A bearded burrito of guest posts today

First off, thank you everyone for all your retweets and shares and support for MJ-12: Endgame this week. I’m deeply appreciative of all my friends, colleagues and fans who took the time to spread the word. Y’all are awesome.

I have two guest posts going today, both of which take different hacks at the genesis of MJ-12: Endgame. First, at John Scalzi’s Whatever, I got to discuss the Big Idea behind the book and, really, the whole MAJESTIC-12 series. I won’t spoil it here, because I want you to click on over and read, and buy some Scalzi books while you’re at it. But I really think the post gets to the core of what I’m trying to do with the series.

Second, I’m also taking up digital real estate over at, the profanity-sprinkled awesome-blog belonging to Chuck Wendig, who called me a damn fine writer and reaffirmed my lifelong loyalty to his bearded self. There, I’m writing about the notion of “fan service” and, in creating popular works, how much fans need to be taken into account in the creative process. (Hint: It really helps to be a fan of your own work!)

It’s also worth noting that MJ-12: Endgame‘s release warranted a mention over at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi Fantasy blog, as well as at Locus Magazine’s site. Finally, I would point you to a five-tweet take on MJ-12: Endgame by one of my favorite reviewers, Paul Weimer.

My thanks to John, Chuck, Paul and everyone else for all the support. And in the spirit of paying it forward, you’ll see on the lower right on this page that I also offer guest posts to creative folks to talk about their work on my site. I can’t give you the kind of traffic that Whatever and Terribleminds gets, but I hope I can help.

And as a reminder, 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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Listen to the Skiffy & Fanty podcast where we destroy Battle Beyond the Stars

You know, if it wasn’t for the Skiffy & Fanty podcast, I’d be watching a much better class of movies.

But that said, it’s always fun to go on the podcast and obliterate a particularly egregious example of the cinematic arts. And this time, Jen Zink and Paul Weimer had me on to discuss Battle Beyond the Stars, which somehow roped Robert Vaughn and George Peppard into a horrible Seven Samurai knockoff set in space.

I won’t ruin the fun for you, because we really had a good time putting this movie out of our misery. (Not a typo, that.) The Skiffy & Fanty crew are always a joy to geek out with; my thanks to them for having me on again, though perhaps not for choosing this particular film.

You can check out the podcast page here, complete with embedded MP3, or download it from the podcast purveyor of your choice.

And if you happen to have 100 minutes of your life to waste…go pre-order MJ-12: Shadows if you haven’t already. But once you do that, you can watch the entire movie below, because nobody cared about the intellectual property rights to this one, apparently.


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Some news on the MAJESTIC-12 books: Launch dates, formats and more!

The pre-order pages are up and running, so it’s high time I updated folks on the next iterations of the MAJESTIC-12 books. And I’m really pleased with the direction we’re going.

First off, the mass-market paperback of MJ-12: Inception is scheduled to drop on June 6! And it’ll include a nice little excerpt from the second book in the series, MJ-12: Shadows. And of course, it’ll be far cheaper than the hardcover — like two-thirds or more cheaper — and I expect the e-book price to likewise fall. So that’s cool.

And then MJ-12: Shadows is out September 5! And that, too, is coming out in mass-market paperback, which I think is pretty awesome since it’ll be much more affordable.

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I’m doing an AMA on r/Fantasy today. Ask me anything!

Today I’m over at Reddit r/Fantasy doing an Ask-Me-Anything. If you have questions about MJ-12: Inception, the Daedalus trilogy, short stories, writing, publishing, beer or whatever, this is the place to go.

And as I did last year, I’m offering beer pairings for whatever you’re reading. Got a book and feeling thirsty? I’ll suggest a new beer for you to try as you read.

You need to be a registered Reddit user to post questions, but it’s super-easy to do, and r/Fantasy is a very cool community of readers, so you should totally do it. Looking forward to your questions!

UPDATE: AMA was a hoot. Thanks everyone for the questions!


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Guest Post: John LeMaire on SUET the Card Game!

SUET1It gives me great personal pleasure to introduce John LeMaire, an old friend of mine from back in the day. John’s an excellent artist, an avid gamer and a Good Person. We wiled away many an evening playing a variety of games back in college, and now he’s Kickstarting his very own game, SUET the Card Game.

Since I know John — and more importantly, I know what his devious mind is capable of — I backed that sucker. I can’t wait to play it, and I think many of you out there would enjoy it as well. So I invited him here to tell you all about SUET and the Evil Genius Goodness it contains.  You can also click on each image to get a better look at the art and cards.

Read on, IF YOU DARE. (Dun-dun-dunnnnn.)  Continue reading

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Talking about the Daedalus trilogy over at SF Signal

TVG-cover-finalSF Signal just published a rather extensive and detailed interview with yours truly, and if you’re a fan of the Daedalus trilogy, I humbly suggest it’s worth checking out.

Paul Weimer is probably the most well-informed reviewer and interviewer I’ve ever come across. The man knows his science fiction and fantasy like few others, and it’s truly a pleasure talking shop with him. He’s read every word of my novels and asked really smart questions.

(FYI, you’ll find an excerpt of Paul’s forthcoming SF Signal review on the back cover of The Venusian GambitHe likes my stuff, which makes him awesome in my eyes — but he was already awesome before that.)

If you’re interested in some of the thinking that went into the books, as well as some hints as to what I might be up to next, click here and read on. And a big thank you to Paul and everyone at the fantastic, Hugo-award winning SF Signal!



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A Merry Christmas to all!

christmas2014Just a quick note here to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, or alternatively, a pleasant winter holiday and a restful end to 2014. This year, we’re doing a quiet Christmas at home, followed by a weekend up in the Catskills to enjoy a bit of nature and recharge the batteries.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you enjoy the heck out of it, and I urge you to spare a thought (and ideally some money and/or time) for the less fortunate as well. Have a wonderful holiday!

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An update on The Venusian Gambit


So it’s not the best image, but it’s proof that The Venusian Gambit is a real thing that’s happening. The image you see up on IndieBound, BAMAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. (or not, depending on the vendor) is a placeholder, and doesn’t at all reflect what we have in mind for the cover, aside from this header.

What, then, will the cover look like? It’s not done, but Lauren Saint Onge is once again knocking the ball way out of the park. I’ve seen sketches and I’ve had input, which has been fun. I can’t wait to show it to you guys. It’s insanely awesome.

In other news, the editors are now busy looking at the manuscript, and we should have it whipped into shape in short order. I like the way this one turned out, not only as a book, but also as the capstone to a series I’ve been writing since 2010. I’m already a little sad about leaving Shaila and Weatherby behind, but I think the book is a fitting conclusion. I told the story I wanted to tell, and that’s a really good feeling.

The Venusian Gambit is due out May 5.


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