Like gaming? Check out Adirondicon on October 14!

If you’re a fan of table-top gaming — board games, card games, strategy, RPGs, the whole bit — and if you’ll be around the Albany, N.Y., area on Saturday, October 14, I have a good idea of what you should be doing.

The first annual Adirondacon is taking place that day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — that’s right, twelve straight hours of gaming goodness. The event is sponsored by First Stall Productions and the Adirondack Tabletop Gamers and Game Developers, and it’ll cost you just $5 for adults and $2 for kids. The proceeds go to the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center.

So it’s for charity, which means you get to play games all damn day for a good cause. This does not suck.

The convention will have a number of organized games throughout the day, as well as open gaming and a large lending library full of games to play on your own. We’re talking Magic: The Gathering, Settlers of Catan, Star Trek Attack Wing, Pathfinder, Arcadia Quest and a bunch of stuff I ain’t even heard of. Plus, I hear tell of food and prizes and swag for sale, too.

Sadly, I won’t be able to make it, but games are awesome and charity is even more awesome. So check out the Adirondacon website to get your badges and sign up for games. (You can also just wander in if you’re not sure of your plans yet or you’re just, you know, lazy.) They also have a Twitter and Facebook presence if you want to reach out to them. It’ll be at the Elks Lodge in Queensbury, N.Y., right near Glens Falls and about an hour north of Albany.

Have fun!

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I’ve planted my flag on Facebook

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but I’ve found over the years that, at least on a personal level, I’ve missed out on some cool things friends and family were sharing and doing. So I finally bit the bullet and joined.

My primary use will indeed be personal, and I think at this point I’ve got my personal page locked down to just friends and family and people I’ve specifically requested. If you have my personal email — not the one on the site here, mind you — then chances are I like you enough to friend up.

If we don’t know each other well enough for that, well…it’s nothing personal. Literally. But since folks use Facebook to follow authors and get bookish news, I added a public-facing Author page as well. So if you’re a Facebook sort of person, please feel free to like and follow or whatever you do there. Honestly, I’m still figuring it out.

For now, the Facebook page will mirror this blog and my Twitter feed. (I’m actually on the fence about the Twitter feed, because there are days where I tweet a lot. Have to see what that looks like.) I’ll probably add some Facebook-only stuff to play catch-up and let folks know what I got going. And I’ve no doubt I’ll do some Facebook-only promotions down the road, just as soon as I figure it out.

So there you go. Book my face.

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Rebellion is our American birthright

The United States was born of rebellion against a distant crown. America fought a civil war to free slaves. So much of the progress made in our history stems from rebellion. Women rebelled to win the vote. African-Americans rebelled to end Jim Crow and win civil rights. Disobedience is woven into the fabric of our nation as surely as fifty stars are sewn into our flag.

So when the President calls on NFL players to be fired for taking a knee in protest, when the Interior Secretary says 30 percent of his staff is “not loyal to the flag,” when those protesting against racism and Nazism are equated with said racist Nazis – all this is utterly un-American.

The current administration would like us all to be loyal to the flag, but they have no idea what that truly means. They think that this means standing for the national anthem. They think it means accepting the word of the administration without question, hence the demonization of journalists. They think it means offering un-earned respect and, yes, subservience.

They’re wrong. So incredibly, egregiously wrong.

Protest is American. The Olympians raised a fist, the NFL takes a knee, the NBA opts to work for social change instead of kowtowing to a narcissist. Americans battled their brethren to preserve the Union and free slaves. Women marched for the vote. Rosa Parks refused to move. Dr. King told us his dream. Ferguson reminds us we have so much ground left to cover. Charlottesville reminds us that we must stand guard against the creeping danger of racism and Nazism.

But they don’t want that now. Not when they’re in power.

Our current President showed zero respect for his predecessor by insinuating – without evidence – that he was not American, a baldly racist ploy to trump up (pun intended) his own ambitions. Now in office, he demands the same respect he failed to give and, moreso, has failed to earn in office.

He accused Barack Obama of playing too much golf, but has spent at least a third of his time in office at his own properties, fully a quarter of his time at his golf resorts.

He accused Hillary Clinton of endangering the nation by using private emails for government work; at least five current and former Trump White House staffers, including members of his family, have used private emails for government work. No big deal, according to his spokesperson.

But we know this, of course. We know Trump’s word is about as trustworthy as a wooden nickel. All of this – his reaction to Charlottesville, his whole-cloth invention of the NFL controversy, his calls for patriotism and honor when he has neither – is just a façade, a show for the rubes whose patriotism is nothing more than sports fandom. He wants us all to care about which side we’re on, to divide us into winners and losers, rather than focusing on what it really means to love our country, to be patriots, to participate in our democracy.

Meanwhile, the GOP tries and tries to take millions of people off healthcare – thankfully, with little success, and due in no small part to Americans engaging in the time-honored, patriotic act of protest. They’re demonizing immigrants for taking jobs and committing crime, whereas our nation is near full employment and immigrant crime rates are lower than those of native-born Americans. They’re furthering an agenda that would continue to put more money in the pockets of the rich and cement a permanent American underclass, denying the American Dream to millions.

People in Puerto Rico – and yes, dear God, Puerto Ricans are American citizens – are suffering without food, potable water and electricity in the wake of hurricanes. The current President, though, focused on the flag and the anthem this weekend. He is Nero without even a fiddle to cover for his breathtaking inadequacies.

Just watch the reality show. Never mind the suffering of millions from lack of healthcare, hurricane relief, a living wage, the right to speak freely and to demand government transparency. Never mind all that. Just watch the dancing bear.

There’s a Russia segue in that, but honestly, this post is long enough as is.

The President and the GOP want to deny our very birthright – our right to rebel. More than a flag or a song, rebellion and protest is in our national DNA. If enough of us embrace that birthright, they know they’re screwed.

So rise up. Rebel. Protest. America is slowly turning into an oligarchy while they distract us with siren songs of false patriotism. Don’t let them. Call your reps. March. Donate. Support local politicians who remember our rebellious birthright. Throw out the bums in the Senate and House. Speak up.

For our country, and for my daughter…

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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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MJ-12: Shadows launches today with some sweet reviews

It’s here! MJ-12: Shadows, the second in the MAJESTIC-12 Cold War spy-fi thriller series, is now out in the wild and ready for you to make with the grabby hands. (Please pay first.)

And it just so happened that two new reviews hit the Internet today, both of which were extremely gratifying to read. The first was in Amazing Stories, courtesy of the Alternate Historian himself, Matt Mitrovich. A bit from that one:

Shadows was ultimately a satisfying sequel to Inception. Michael continues to be an excellent world-builder and can create believable characters…If you like superhuman operatives fighting the weird fight in the shadow of nuclear war, then go check out the Majestic-12 series.

You can see Matt’s entire review here. Fair warning, there’s a bit of a spoiler therein — nothing massive, but go in with eyes open. As always, thank you to Matt for a great and nuanced review.

And then there’s Michael Cook of Thoroughly Modern Reviewer, whose thoroughly modern review gave me some serious old-fashioned feels. To wit:

MJ-12: Shadows is an excellent book in every way you look at it. It’s gripping, entertaining, and suspenseful. Martinez expertly juggles the demands of the mysteries, the action scenes, and the character moments of the novel…Michael J. Martinez is definitely an author that everybody should be watching.

You can see Michael’s full review here. No spoilers in this one, but man…it was really amazing and humbling to read. Thanks, Michael!

And there were more lists, too! Lots of excellent authors have books out today, and I’m proud to have MJ-12: Shadows out there among them. So if you don’t mind abusing your credit cards or foregoing your groceries this week, check out Barnes & Noble, the Geekiverse and Locus for all kinds of great science-fiction and fantasy books you can buy.

Once again, thank you to everyone involved in getting this book out there, and to all the fantastic readers who keep buying the stuff I write. Y’all are awesome.

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

MJ-12: Inception (in case you need to play catch-up with the first one) — Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBoundBooks-A-Million Mysterious Galaxy

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