I’m heading to DragonCon! Here’s where I’ll be this weekend.

I skipped DragonCon last year, but I’m really happy to be heading back to Atlanta this week to bask in the assembled geekery. This’ll be my fourth DragonCon in five years, and it remains one of my all-time favorites.

I’ll be flying in tomorrow, and have the following events on my schedule:

  • Friday, 5 p.m. – signing at The Missing Volume. Booth 1201, Americasmart building 2. Still not sure if they’ll have MJ-12: Endgame on hand since it technically doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but they’ll have the rest of my work on hand, and I can get my hands on some copies beforehand, I’ll bring Endgame as well.
  • Friday, 8:30 p.m. – Panel: Ahoy, Mateys! Pirates in Popular Culture. Sheraton, Athens room. Just like it says on the tin. We’ll be talking about all kinds of scurrilous scalawags, from Treasure Island to Treasure Planet. 
  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – Panel: Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller. Sheraton, Athens room. Is time travel theoretically possible? Depends who you ask. Does it make for great stories? Absolutely. We’ll be talking about all kinds of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff and how stories make good — and occasionally bad — use of it.
  • Sunday, 4 p.m. – Panel: Oops, I Sold My Novel. Now What? Hyatt, Embassy CD room. Getting your first book deal is absolutely amazing. But it’s just the beginning. We’ll be talking about how to make that debut as successful as possible, and what could happen after that.
  • Sunday, 7 p.m. – Panel: The Secret History of Spies. Sheraton, Athens room. Gee, who could’ve thought of this panel? Yes, we’re talking spies throughout history, from Sun Tzu to modern day, and how they’ve affected spy fiction — and vice versa!
  • Monday, 11:30 a.m. – Panel: Winding Down the Clock: A Time Travel Story Hour. Sheraton, Athens room. Now, this is gonna be intriguing. Your panel of authors — tired, drained, possibly hung over — will be spinning a few steampunk yarns, and then we’ll wind down the convention altogether by swapping war stories.

That’s a nice full weekend, and I’m super grateful to Doctor Q and the Alternate History Track for continuing to embrace authors the way they do — and the Writing Track as well for thinking of me.

I’m sure I’ll be out and about doing other things during the weekend, and if I show up somewhere, I’ll probably post to Twitter, so be sure to follow me there. (Twitter also feeds to my author page on Facebook, so that’s just as good if you don’t tweet.) And I may be bringing some books to give away, so keep your eyes peeled on social media.

See you in Atlanta!

#SFWApro

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Revisiting politics in science fiction and fantasy, comments edition

I know, right? This thing’s been beaten to death, and I feel like I’ve said all I could say on the topic last time around. But I got a comment this week on that very post that got my brain engaged again, mostly because I disagreed with pretty much all of it. So instead of replying there, I thought it was enough to warrant another post.

Please note: None of this is done with malice toward the poster of the comment. He’s entitled to his own opinions. However, his ability to post them here is because I allowed it, as this is my house and my rules and my comment moderation. Further, I’m really not inviting debate. The commenter wasn’t owed a response, and I’m not sure he wanted one, but he got one. If you comment on this or on the original, it’s still my call whether we keep it going or not. Nobody owes anybody a response or a platform.

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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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MJ-12: Endgame spotted in the wild

Reviewer Michael Cook Jr. tweeted this last night.

Oh, yeah. This book just got real.

Nice to see MJ-12: Endgame out there, and I suppose this doubles as the cover reveal, so there you go. Obviously, the cover is of a piece with the series, but with some changes that I’ll leave to the reader as an exercise in spoiler-hunting.

Michael went on to write some lovely things about the MAJESTIC-12 series in his thread, which I deeply appreciate. And for other reviewers, it’s officially open season for your copies up on Edelweiss, Net Galley, etc. I’ll also be working to send out advance reader copies as well, so if you need one, ping me. (Reviewers only. There will be giveaways and such down the road for other folks, never fear.)

As of right now, and with the expectation of an extremely busy summer (more later on that), I don’t have a lot of stuff set up yet for the launch, other than a visit to DragonCon over Labor Day weekend. But as I get my act together, I’ll certainly keep everyone posted here.

MJ-12: Endgame hits shelves Sept. 4, and if you’re so inclined, you can pre-order it at the following: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | iTunes

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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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SUET the Card Game is funded! Check it out!

If you’ll recall, one of my oldest friends, John LeMaire, did a Kickstarter a while back for his game, SUET the Card Game. That didn’t get funded, but he’s made some changes to his business model and, lo and behold, this time it worked! So now that you know you’ll get a high-quality family game if you back it, I’m inviting you to give it some consideration.

You can read all about the game here in this handy guest post, but here’s the quick synopsis:

SUET is a card game where you play the role of an evil genius trying to gain entry into the Society of Ultimate Evil and Terror. The Society has declared that the first genius to construct their own unique doomsday device and blackmail the world will be allowed to join. You will play cards not only to help construct and defend your doomsday device, but also to thwart the efforts of your competitors on your quest to become a member of SUET.

Fun, right? This game has been demoed at a number of gaming conventions over the past few years, and it’s ready for prime time. I’ve already backed it, and I hope you’ll give it a go. Here’s the Kickstarter link. Go forth!

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