Category Archives: Writing

Review! Podcast! Interview with other authors!

The march continues! There’s a few items that have hit the Internet over the past few days about MJ-12: Shadows, and naturally, I wanted to share.

First up: Dan Hanks over at Fantasy Faction reviews MJ-12: Shadows. Among the very nice things Dan said was this:

MJ-12: Shadows is a blast of a read. It takes a narrower plot focus than the first and strengthens our relationship with the main heroes, while simultaneously introducing a whole host of new characters and superpowers—and weaves it all through some fascinating, disturbing, but apparently pretty accurate moments in history. From beginning to end it’s a fun, inventive, action-packed exploration of super spies operating in the shadows of history, and an almost perfect sequel.

I will not argue with this one whit. Thanks, Dan!

Next up: I’m over at the Skiffy & Fanty “Signal Boost” podcast to talk about the book with Paul Weimer, and he’s always a good interviewer. You can check it out here, or download from your favorite podcast source. The podcast also includes a separate chat with fellow author Patrick Hester talking about Samantha Kane: Into the Fire, which you should totally check out as well.

Finally: Over at the KT Literary blog, I participated in a Three Authors in Thirty Seconds post with agency-siblings Don Allmon, author of The Glamour Thieves and Spencer Ellsworth, author of A Red Peace. It’s funny and awkward and everything you’d expect from three geeky guys geeking out. Also, their books are also awesome and worthy of your book-buying dollars.

MJ-12: Shadows — Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | Mysterious Galaxy

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A spoiler and some encouragement

It’s not easy to write a bunch of guest posts that don’t cover the same territory, but when folks of the caliber of Mary Robinette Kowal and Chuck Wendig lend you their virtual real estate, you gotta step up. I hope you’ll find that’s the case with the two posts that came out today.

First up, Mary Robinette Kowal — Hugo Award winner and all-around excellent person — graciously hosted me on her blog to discuss My Favorite Bit about MJ-12: Shadows, which is tied deeply into the history of CIA activity during the early Cold War and contains some slight spoilers for the book. This is definitely “fact stranger than fiction” territory, but it was too good to pass up. Check out the post for more, but you’ve been spoiler-warned. And my thanks to Mary for once again hosting me!

This is actually a good time to remind you kind and generous readers that Mary and I both had stories in the Geeky Giving charity anthology benefiting the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Not only is it an honor to be in the same book as a writer of Mary’s caliber, but it’s for a great freakin’ cause. You should totally check it out.

And then there’s Chuck. That guy. Delightfully profane, frighteningly gifted, possessed of a good heart and, dare I say it, a lustrous beard. He’s once again given me space at Terribleminds.com to talk about writing while everything around you goes to crap, i.e. America 2017. I’ve certainly felt drained by it all, and I know Chuck and many other writers have as well. So how does one manage? I don’t have the answers in a Moses-come-down-the-mountain kind of way, but I’m giving my take here. As always, thank you, Chuck. There Will Be Scotch.

Finally, I just want to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who’s been so awesome this week as MJ-12: Shadows hit the shelves, virtual or otherwise. I’ve been hosted by fantastic fellow authors, reviewed (positively!) by some very insightful critics and so many folks have reached out to let me know how excited they are to read it. I am very grateful and humbled by it all. Thank you.

MJ-12: Shadows — Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | Mysterious Galaxy

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A Big Idea, a new review, and some thoughts on promotion

Yes, it’s book-launch week, so there’s going to be a surfeit of stuff on the blog this week. Apologies in advance, but I really like writing books, and I’m hoping I get to keep doing so. Hence, book stuff.

Over on John Scalzi’s blog, I had the opportunity to discuss the Big Idea behind MJ-12: Shadows and, really, the whole MAJESTIC-12 series. In writing the post, I realized I hadn’t really talked about some of the core conceits behind the books, so this was kind of refreshing — and a great way to introduce readers to the series. Thank you, of course, to John for hosting and for all his work to promote the work of his fellow authors.

And there’s another review of MJ-12: Shadows that hit the Internet today, courtesy of Paul Weimer over at Skiffy & Fanty. I respect Paul’s work immensely; as I’ve said before, he has a breadth and depth of knowledge about the genre that’s pretty much unparalleled. So when he likes something I write, I’m immensely gratified. And here’s what he said:

Martinez mixes character motivations and actions, the historical event, and of course the high powered Variants action in a glorious meld…MJ-12 Shadows, like its predecessor, [is] a very personal set of stories, which is a strange thing to say for an cold war paranormal espionage thriller series, but that is what the author is achieving. I strongly look forward to the third novel in the series, and to seeing what and where in the Cold War he brings these characters, and brings this secret paranormal history.

So yeah, that’s pretty awesome. Thanks as always to Paul for the review. Read the whole thing here.

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One week until MJ-12: Shadows is out!

It’s been a busy summer, full of travel and work and writing the third MAJESTIC-12 novel, a trip to Wyoming for Launch Pad and, most recently, taking two 13-year-olds to see Lady Gaga in Queens. (The Storify here is mildly amusing, I’d like to think.)

So let’s kick autumn off in style with the release of MJ-12: Shadows next Tuesday! (OK, it’s still technically summer. Work with me.)

The second in a series seems to be a sweet spot for me. The groundwork and exposition is already laid, the plots can be furthered and character arcs…arced?…without worrying about aiming for the finish line quite yet. Plus, MJ-12: Shadows’ setting in 1949 Syria really lent itself to the MAJESTIC-12 concept. (More on that later…)

I’ve scattered some previews and such around the blog over the past few months. For your convenience, here’s everything on Shadows thus far:

There will be more, of course. I’ve got some guest posts, interviews and podcasts coming up in the weeks ahead, and likely more reviews as well. But hopefully this will get you started, along with the reminder that Shadows is available for pre-order. And if you haven’t caught up with the first novel in the series, MJ-12: Inception, the order links are below!

MJ-12: Shadows — Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | Mysterious Galaxy

MJ-12: Inception — Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBoundBooks-A-Million Mysterious Galaxy

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New review for MJ-12: Shadows with an awesome pull quote

…completely bananapants insane…

You know, I can live with that. Especially since Luther M. Siler, in his review of MJ-12: Shadows, meant this as a compliment, one among many he graciously wrote. The review was pretty darn positive, for which I am grateful and, if I’m being honest, relieved. It’s always weird to put a new book out there to see what people think, even a reviewer like Luther who’s been a fan of my stuff in the past. You just hope you don’t mess up all that goodwill, you know?

Here’s a bit more from what he had to say:

…we’ve got a great spy novel involving dueling world powers with superpowers against the specific setting of the CIA interfering with early independence movements in Syria and Lebanon, with a little stop in Kazakhstan along the way, and I’m not going to tell you what happened there because it counts as a spoiler if you don’t know the history.

Well, then. Luther also states that his favorite book of mine remains The Enceladus Crisis, but that MJ-12: Shadows may be the best one I’ve written. So yeah, that’s very cool. Thank you, Luther!

Oh, and the completely bananapants insane thing? There’s a spoiler involved if you want context on that. So click here to read the review, but You Have Been Spoiler Alerted. And as always, here are your handy pre-0rder links!

MJ-12: Shadows — Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | Mysterious Galaxy

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A excerpt from MJ-12: Shadows, on shelves next month!

Where does the time go? Actually, I know damn well where it goes — a summer full of hard work, home improvements, family time and various other things. Oh, and writing the third MAJESTIC-12 book in between. (Ha.)

But the second book in that superpowered Cold War spy series, MJ-12: Shadows, is out September 5, and it’s high time I begin letting you folks know what the heck’s going on with it. To be fair, I did give you a sneak peek at some of the cool faux documents we ginned up again — click here if you missed it. And if you want the basic synopsis, here you go:

It’s 1949, and the Cold War is heating up across the world. Operating in the shadows, the Variants–once ordinary US citizens, but now imbued with strange paranormal abilities and corralled into covert service by the government’s top secret MAJESTIC-12 program–find themselves on the front lines of an international crisis.

In Syria, Variant agents have been sent to support a coup by a pro-American army officer. In Washington, a shocking suicide has them fighting for their very freedom. And at Area 51, the operation’s headquarters, the strange interspatial phenomenon which originally granted Variants their abilities has yielded disturbing discoveries.

All the while, dangerous figures flit among the shadows, and it’s unclear whether they are threatening to expose the Variants for what they are . . . or completely destroy them. Are they working for the Soviet Union, or something far worse?

In addition, there’s a couple of reviews up on Goodreads — including one from the gloriously talented Beth Cato (preorder Call of Fire now, it’s really good and it’s out next week). I’m expecting some reviews to land soonish, probably after everyone gets back from WorldCon in Helsinki, which I didn’t get to go to this year, sadly. So far, I’m pleased with what I’m hearing from the people who’ve read it, and there’s a decent consensus going that it could very well be better than the first one, MJ-12: Inception.

But hey, you should judge for yourself. So here’s an excerpt of MJ-12: Shadows to whet your appetite.

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Back for now, off again soon

Yes, it’s been a week since I returned from the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop — during which time I turned 45, had a very full week of work, and then did up some Father’s Day fun. So there’s some catching up to do, for sure. Here we go.

Launch Pad was, in short, amazing. Mike Brotherton and Christian Ready assembled an amazing bunch of writers to head to the University of Wyoming and get a crash course on astronomy for a week. We learned everything from planetary science to cosmology, star formation to colliding galaxies. I came out with some great ideas around exoplanets that have been added to the (neverending and exponentially increasing) to-write list. Just an amazing week.

If you’re an established science fiction writer, I cannot recommend Launch Pad highly enough. Just be sure to hydrate and take it easy at altitude for the first few days. (I hit the gym Monday morning and spent the rest of the day with a massive headache. Learn from my errors.)

For those who haven’t yet read MJ-12: Inception, the good folks at Skyhorse Publishing — home to my imprint, Night Shade Books — are running a giveaway over on Goodreads. You have until Saturday to enter for your chance to win one of five free copies. Go forth and enter!

I’ll be in Los Angeles for work starting this Saturday and all through next week, so apologies in advance if I don’t keep up on the blogging. But definitely keep an eye out on Twitter, which has become my more immediate go-to for news and such. I imagine I might hit up a few bookstores here in New York, as well as in L.A., to sign the new MJ-12: Inception paperbacks, so definitely keep an eye out for that if you want one!

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