Hello, friends! I know it’s been a while since an update, but with the new year I’m hoping to do a little better blogging regularly. More on that later, though, because today I’m pleased to welcome Matthew W. Quinn back to the blog to talk about the Asian influences in his new novel, Battle for the Wastelands. Matthew, take it away.
Category Archives: Writing
Hello! It’s been up for pre-order for a bit — and my deepest thanks to everyone who ordered it — but today marks the official debut of Stories and Spilled Tea, a collection of my short stories, along with a series of essays and commentary about how they came to be. It’s here, it’s ready, and it’s cheap at just $2.99.
This collection has nearly all my previously published works — I couldn’t get permission to re-publish my Vampire: The Masquerade story from the Endless Ages anthology, but the good people at Paizo were very kind in allowing my to reprint “Crisis of Faith” from the Pathfinder web fiction series. It also includes The Gravity of the Affair, a full-length novella set in the universe of The Daedalus Incident. And it also has a couple of new, previously unpublished short stories to further sweeten the deal.
And in addition to the stories, there’s the spilled tea. The essays cover a wide variety of topics, from the nuances of writing humor and horror to the business side of publishing and how some of these stories got where they were. I hope that, as much as people enjoy the stories, the essays will be useful, or at least entertaining, for my fellow scribes.
So, my thanks to everyone who helped make this a reality — i.e., all the editors and publishers who liked and published these stories, and all the amazing people who helped me throughout this authorial journey. And of course, my thanks to all the readers out there. I deeply appreciate you!
Very excited to announce my first foray into true self-publishing — the collection Stories and Spilled Tea, coming August 27 and available for pre-order now for the Amazon Kindle. And here’s the cover, which isn’t bad for an amateur like myself.
(To be fair, my amazingly talented daughter, Anna, did the art. I just managed the layout. Barely.)
So what’s in it? Pretty much everything I’ve had published, along with a couple of new pieces. Here’s the breakdown of stories inside:
- “Form” (new)
- “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” (from Unidentified Funny Objects 4)
- “On a Kansas Plain” (from Cthulhu Fhtagn!)
- “Mind Flight” (from Geeky Giving)
- “Crisis of Faith” (from Paizo’s Pathfinder web fiction series)
- “1-800-DEATH-RAY” (new)
- The Gravity of the Affair (a previously published Daedalus novella)
In addition, I’ve written essays about how these stories came to be, the challenges in writing them, and some thoughts about the publishing business as well — basically, a little color around my career thus far as a fiction-slinger. I hope that fellow scribes find a little use in there, in addition to enjoying the stories.
As this is my first self-published work, I should probably caveat a few things. I think I managed the editing and layout well — it looks clean in the preview tools — but do let me know if I screw it up. Also, the cover was designed by yours truly, and I totally get that it’s probably not as slick as many others. If this does well, maybe I’ll hire someone to clean it up, especially if there’s demand for a print version.
And yes, this is only available on Kindle at the moment. That was a tough call, honestly. I firmly believe in competition and wanting to see Amazon challenged in…well, all of the areas where it operates. But this is very much an experiment for me, and like it or not, Amazon makes it incredibly easy to use their platform — and potentially lucrative if you stay in their sandbox. So for now, it’s a Kindle Select offering. Again, if there’s demand beyond that, I’m all ears.
So thanks, everyone, for helping me have a career that makes a collection like this possible. Go give it a pre-order if you like, and tell your friends!
As I’ve mentioned on the blog here before, I won’t have a new novel out in 2019. I’m working on one now, in point of fact, and the more it challenges me and kicks my ass, the more I love this book. But I’ll be lucky to have it written by summer. So 2019 is likely right out.
That said, I’m used to having a new something out in the world each year, even as I recognize just how privileged I am to even be able to say that. Six novels, one per year, since 2013 represents an immense amount of good fortune. But yes, I’ll really miss having new work out there.
Or will I?
I would love to sit here and say that I’ll be a better blogger in 2019, offering up far more interesting posts than last year. But I think we both know, reader, that this may not be the case. Regardless, I do intend to at least try, and I’ll start with a bit of a roundup of what happened in 2018, and where things are presently.
Last year was pretty eventful, which is one reason I didn’t blog as much. As regular blog followers may remember, I took on a new role at work (yes, there’s a day job!). I’m now the marketing creative lead for my company’s biggest client segment, with annual sales measured in billions. In perfect honesty, I was rather content being a mere writer, but I can say that, after nine months in the job, I’m actually pretty good at it. Who knew? (My boss knew, of course. Or at least had an inkling.)
And in connection with that, we picked up and moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Just as the job has gone better than expected, I’ve found L.A. to be more amenable than I had thought it might be. It’s January and I’m typing this outside on a cool but lovely day, parked at one of my two go-to coffee shops in the area. My daughter is doing well at her new school, ninth-grade dramas notwithstanding, and Kate is absolutely loving it.
OK, so what about the writing? I mean, I figure that’s probably why y’all read this blog, what with the books and all. MJ-12: Endgame came out in September, thus wrapping up the MAJESTIC-12 trilogy. It received some great reviews and sold as well as trilogy third books can reasonably expect. I’m proud of the book and the series, and I hope folks enjoyed how things wrapped up.
Arizona is hot. Like, it’s completely and utterly hot and unholy and I have no idea how people live there without spontaneously combusting on a regular basis. That said? The desert is beautiful and the nights are great, so I get it. To a point. So while I wouldn’t live there, I was happy to go to Scottsdale last weekend for a writing retreat sponsored by my agency, KT Literary.
And some writing got done! Not a lot, but I’ve been busy wrapping my head around a major change I needed to make on a project currently underway, and I cracked the case earlier this month on flights to and from DragonCon, then spent most of September getting the outline in order. (Y’all know how I like my outlines.) So while I was in Scottsdale, I managed to get this new version underway, and while I’m just getting warmed up, it’s already a better book than what I had going previously.
Of course, I was sick as a dog for much of the trip, having come down with a horrible cold/flu bug the night before I drove out there from L.A. So, strictly speaking, I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped I’d be. But it’s a start, and I can build on that. Plus, I got some excellent one-on-one time with super-agent Sara Megibow, and quality socializing with my fellow KT Literary authors, who are a fine bunch you should be reading on the regular.
I also did a podcast while there! Michael Haspil, author of Graveyard Shift, also has a nifty storytelling podcast called Quantum Froth Dispatches, and he interviewed a number of us while we were hiding inside from the deathly rays and rageful heat of the day-star. You can listen in right here, if you like, or check it out on YouTube or Spotify. (Mike is still working to get the podcast up on iTunes, so hang tight there.) We had a great chat, so check it out and please buy his book while you’re at it.
Speaking of interviews, I’ve been remiss in blogging about this great interview I did with Michael Cook of Thoroughly Modern Reviewer. (There are a lot of Michaels in this blog post. Go figure.) Mr. Cook and I went deep on MJ-12: Endgame and the entire MAJESTIC-12 series, and he had some excellent questions. Fair warning: There are spoilers in there, so forewarned is forearmed. But do give it a read – Michael really did a spiffy job there.
Any time I put out a new book, I’m a little hesitant to learn what people think of it, especially reviewers for whom I have a lot of respect. So it’s nice to know that the reviews on MJ-12: Endgame are pretty darn solid.
Note: Some of these reviews contain mild spoilers. Just saying.
Fortunately, as in the vast majority of the first two novels, it is what is going on this side of the Vortex, the lives and problems and challenges of the Variants, and the exploration and investigation of the Cold War and its consequences and hidden facets, that make this story, this novel, this series sing. I come away from this series, which ends here, educated, entertained and enthused for what the pen of the author will bring next.
To be fair, Paul wasn’t super enthused about how the origins of the vortex and the Variants’ powers played out, and you know what? That’s perfectly awesome. Heck, he makes some great points. The fact that he’s looking forward to the next work is very much an honor, exactly because Paul’s discerning and is probably one of the most knowledgeable and widely-read reviewers in the genre today.
Martinez has a gift for these kinds of stories. He has a gift for creating diverse, fully formed characters with captivating backstories. He has a gift for building compelling universes that readers want to spend time in. And he has a gift for crafting interesting, well-paced narratives. His stories are able to appeal to a number of people. This is a spy novel, a superhero novel, an action/adventure novel, and a political drama. He writes for such a broad audience and the characters are so varied and diverse that it’s easy for a reader to find someone in the story they can identify with. MJ-12: Endgame is just a really good time and a really good way to end this series.
I really can’t add anything to that one other than some blushing. Thanks, Michael.
And finally, fellow scribe Luther M. Siler:
My only complaint? I want more, and while Martinez doesn’t exactly tie the universe up with a bow on it the ending makes it clear that while there is definitely space for future books in this universe they will take place in an entirely different status quo. That said, this series is radically different in tone and genre from the Daedalus series, Mike’s previous trilogy, and I genuinely can’t wait to see what he’s got coming next. All available stars; would read again; you should go read now.
Again, nothing much more to add there except my thanks.
Finally, if you or someone you know has read Endgame, or any of my books, I’d deeply appreciate you taking a moment to put your reviews up on Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews matter. They generate pageviews and put the books in front of more eyeballs, and make more clicks happen, and those clicks can turn into sales now and then. So yeah, you really can help your favorite writers make some bank, and whether it’s my work or someone else’s, please go forth and review!