Category Archives: Writing

Oh, hey. I’m moving to Los Angeles.

Yep, that’s a real thing right there. And you wonder why I’ve been slacking on the blog front this year. That’s a big reason why.

In about three weeks, I will be setting up house in Los Angeles, home of the Rams, movie stars, beach hipsters and some of the best and most creative cuisine around. (Yeah, that’s a real thing, too. Eating in L.A. is an absolute delight. Hugely underrated as a restaurant city.) I’m trading New Jersey for California, and it’s pretty exciting.

Why the move? Well, as some of you know, I do indeed have a day job, and the company is actually based in downtown Los Angeles. This year, they saw fit to promote me from senior writer to creative lead. That means I manage the creative aspects of our marketing efforts for a segment of our business. That segment is worth…well, a lot. I mean, it’s measured in billions of dollars in annual sales. And I’m leading a creative team tasked with figuring out what’s going to really work with that segment.

No pressure. None at all. 

Actually, I like the gig a lot. I’ve been in the role since March (another reason for the lack of blogging lately) and I’m rather pleased at how it’s going. We’ve had some wins. The team is coming together nicely. And when I’m finally out there with the rest of them — being just one of two people working out of our New York office presently — I think it’ll help even more.

The move is something we’ve been considering for years now, and between the new role and our daughter heading to high school in the fall, the timing was right. I’m proud to say that the kid got accepted to an exceptional high school arts program that’s going to give her opportunities I could only dream of growing up in Vermont. Plus, winter will become something that we now simply visit, rather than endure. I have friends and colleagues who will go skiing in the morning up in the mountains, and then end up on the beach in Santa Monica for dinner. This seems rather delightful and civilized.

What does this all mean for the writing career? In terms of my current work — nothing. MJ-12: Endgame is still coming out in September, and I’m still heading to DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend to celebrate. Believe me, spending several days geeking out, meeting fans and reconnecting with my fellow scribes is gonna be heavenly after this move is over and done with.

As for the future? I have an anthology project out on submission right now with another author, someone for whom I have a deep and abiding respect and who’s just a lovely person all around. If that sells, then that’s the big next thing and I’ll be sure to tell you about it. I also have two different novel projects now in advanced stages of development and drafting, but I readily admit to not having worked much on either in recent weeks. At the moment, I feel it’s likely that, for the first time since my debut in 2013, next year will not see a novel from me.

And that’s OK! I’ve had more success as a novelist than I expected thus far, and I will continue to tilt at that windmill for the foreseeable future; I’m half Spanish, after all. The various projects I have going are all very different from both the Daedalus and MAJESTIC-12 books, and that’s a very good thing. Taking some time to get the next thing right is perfectly acceptable. And even without a book out in 2019, I do plan to try to hit a few more conventions next year. The Nebulas, for example, are right in Los Angeles next year, which is terribly convenient. I’d be remiss if I didn’t go.

In terms of the city itself, I know what I’m getting into. I’ve been at my company since late 2007, and I’ve visited L.A. at least thirty times over the past decade. I’ve explored the city and I know the neighborhoods pretty well at this point. And because I’ve worked there for as long as I have, I’m fortunate enough to have a network of friends already in place, which makes things a lot easier. I wouldn’t be moving if I didn’t have a generally high opinion of the place, heat and earthquakes notwithstanding.

I’ll miss the Northeast. Not Jersey, in particular, though I will miss my Jersey friends. But I’m a Vermont boy at heart, and I have family and friends in upstate New York and Vermont whom I’ll miss, though there will undoubtedly be visits. This really isn’t good-bye to the Northeast, but more of a see-you-later thing.

So there you go. By the end of July, I’ll be firmly entrenched in Los Angeles and probably writing poolside. (Our new apartment complex does indeed have a pool — three, in fact. I mean, why live in L.A. and not have ready access to a swimming pool? Seems barbaric not to.) I’ll do my best to blog more once I’m there, but over the next three weeks, things may get slightly crazed as we head west. If you’d like to keep track, I’d suggest Twitter or my author page on Facebook, as I’ll likely update those a bit more regularly.

See you in L.A.!

#SFWApro

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Here’s a little MJ-12: Endgame teaser for you

Once again, the fantastic page designers at Night Shade Books have hit a home run with MJ-12: Endgame. I’ve enjoyed putting “found documents” into the books, and the team at NSB answers the call each and every time. This time, I asked them to come up with something that looks like an old State Department telegram, since there’s a fantastic cache of old documents on State’s website.

Here’s what they came up with:

Why yes, there are slight spoilers in there, perhaps, though nothing too much beyond what was in the write-up we provided to Amazon and other vendors for pre-order. But yes, our heroes are smack dab in the middle of Moscow for Josef Stalin’s funeral. And as you might imagine, placing American Variants in the heart of the Soviet Union during a time of turmoil is gonna result in some stuff happening.

And speaking of pre-orders, have you placed yours yet? Endgame is coming Sept. 4, and you can pre-order it at the following: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | iTunes

Remember, of course, that your local bookseller needs your support, so if you’re able, please pre-order it from them!

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Oh, right. I have a blog!

Apologies for not blogging sooner, but February turned out to be much busier than I expected going in — and I expected a lot. So let’s recap.

I spent a good chunk of the month out in Los Angeles for my day job, which was pretty great. I had the family with me, and after the week was up, I took my daughter to Disneyland for a full day — and I mean a FULL day — of fun and excitement. Say what you will about the Disney industrial complex, but they sure know how to create a fantastic experience. It really was a memory she and I will keep forever.

I also received and turned around my edits for MJ-12: Endgame, which is on track for its early September launch. My editor, the esteemed Cory Allyn, complimented how I handled the end, and I admit, I got some feels on reading how all the characters came out of it (or not, in a few cases). I’m really looking forward to seeing this one out there.

And I’ll be celebrating the end of the MAJESTIC-12 series at DragonCon over Labor Day weekend! Got the official confirmation a few weeks ago — I’ll be there and paneling, largely on the Alternate History track as usual. I had to miss last year, so I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone there again. It’s a great con. And of course, I’ll have books and goodies with me, so come find me if you’re there.

There’s also a few other projects in the works that I really want to talk about but shouldn’t. Suffice it to say, I’m not done writing novels just because I’ve wrapped up MAJESTIC-12. Nothing is sold yet — heck, nothing is fully drafted yet! But I’m working on it. I’m also doing another thing with an absolutely mind-blowing, fantastic bunch of people that I can’t tell you about, but it’s gonna be so good, you guys.

March will continue to be busy, including trips back to Los Angeles and a few other things. I’ll try to be better about blogging, but I make no promises. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter or my “official” Facebook page for more regular updates.

#SFWApro

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Politics is inseparable from science fiction and fantasy

So today, on that outrage machine known as Twitter, I saw that there’s a new consortium of science fiction and fantasy writers out looking for members, going so far as to dive into the mentions of an established author to get her to sign on. (No, I was not invited – and I’m really fine with that.)

Putting aside this very mild breach of Twitter etiquette, this group’s stated goal is to create an inclusive organization for all genre creators that steers away from “non-SF/F issues” and does not get bogged down in divisiveness over race, creed and politics.

When a respected agent chimed in with the belief that all art is political, the group’s Twitter scribe responded by saying that such an opinion was a “cancer” on science fiction and fantasy.

OK, full stop. Wut? No. (Rant ahead. You have been warned.) Continue reading

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MJ-12: Endgame available for pre-order

The third MAJESTIC-12 novel, MJ-12: Endgame, is out September 4, but if you really like to plan ahead, you can pre-order it today at any number of fine sites. And to whet your appetite for this next chapter in the story of our Variant spies, here’s a brand-new description:

Josef Stalin is dead. In the aftermath, the Soviet Union is thrown into crisis, giving former secret police chief Laverentiy Beria exactly the opening he needs. Beria’s plan is to secretly place his country’s Variants―ordinary people mysteriously embued with strange, superhuman powers―into the very highest levels of leadership, where he can use them to stage a government coup and seize control of the USSR.

America’s response comes from its intelligence communities, including the American Variants recruited for the top-secret MAJESTIC-12 program, who are suddenly thrown into their most dangerous and important assignment yet. From the halls of the Kremlin to the battlefields of Korea, superpowered covert agents face off to determine the future of the planet―a future their very existence may ultimately threaten.

Yes, we’ve fast-forwarded to 1953. It’s not that there isn’t great stories to tell between 1949 and 1953, of course, but rather this seemed like a natural way to close out this trilogy. (And yes, we’re closing it out. I mean, it’s called Endgame for a reason!) Of course, I never say never — there could be great stories ahead for MAJESTIC-12. But for now, I feel this is a good place to leave things be.

As of right now, Endgame is in the capable hands of my editor, Cory Allyn, and while we don’t have a cover yet, I’m very certain it’ll continue along the same theme. So we’re pretty much on track for September, which is exciting.

And now, here are your pre-order links, if you’re so inclined! (No links yet for Kobo or Google Play, but when I see ’em, I’ll post ’em.) As always, I encourage you to buy local and/or support independent bookstores whenever possible, because they’re awesome. And if you’re low on funds, put in a request at your local library, because libraries are awesome too.

MJ-12: Endgame: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | iTunes

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A less-than-fond farewell to 2017

I know I’m not the first one to say this, of course — 2017 was not fun, and for many people, that’s a monumental understatement. Personally, professionally, culturally, politically…this year was a godforsaken mess. I’m far less inclined to toast the year that was, but I’m quite ready to embrace the one coming down the pike, and I hope you are too.

So let’s start with the elephant in the room, which would be Trump and his coterie of destructive buffoons. I’m not going to go into his policies, or the rapacious GOP’s attempts to create a permanent, uneducated American underclass to serve the top 1%. But I know full well that the very presence of this looming threat to American values and democracy, and the utter barrage of weaponized fake outrage and falsehoods, has taken its toll on so many of us, myself included.

Now, let’s be quite clear in that I’m a straight, married, white male, so when I say “taken its toll,” the bill for me is extremely light compared to women, people of color, folks with chronic physical and/or mental conditions, our LBGTQ+ friends, etc. In fact, it feels slightly disingenuous to be bitching about things when my family and I are doing well, and may even see a tax cut next year.

But while my toll is far less, it’s there. 2017 has messed with my head. In so many areas of my life, I found myself waiting for something, waiting for change. Yes, I ramped up my contributions and I joined a protest at Trump Tower and I spoke out and all that good stuff. But the rest of it was kind of living in a defensive crouch in the corner, trying to go about my business and waiting, hoping, praying for the support to help all of us turn a corner.

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Support Worldbuilders! And let’s talk about beer at r/Fantasy today!

I’ve been involved with Worldbuilders now for…four years? Something like that. It’s an incredible charity that’s raised millions of dollars for Heifer International. And each year I offer up, among other things, a critique of your writing. This year, my critique is part of the Worldbuilders lottery, which means your $10 donation gives you a chance to win said critique, along with many other fantastic prizes.

Here’s the details on what I’m offering. Just click on the nice big DONATE button at the top right of the page to enter. And don’t be afraid to go for it — I’ve seen just about everything over the past four years, including a couple stories that pleasantly surprised me with their craft. Whether you’re starting out or just want another set of eyes, I’d be happy to help. And again, it goes to a great cause.

To help celebrate Worldbuilders, I’m participating in a “Ask You Anything” event over at Reddit’s r/Fantasy subreddit today. This is an opportunity for authors to ask YOU, the readers, what’s on your mind. And since this is me, I’m asking about beer and books. Here’s the thread — come say hello!

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