Tag Archives: Cthulhu Fhtagn!

So I’m thinking of doing a story collection and I want your thoughts. Yes, you!

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?

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Where’d you come up with that?

Every story has a beginning — or at least, that’s what Hollywood tells us when they launch the umpteenth superhero reboot. Those aren’t really beginnings, though. They’re rethinkings, sometimes without much thought. The actual beginning of a story is that little flash of inspiration, the mini-epiphany that hits you and you say, “Dude, I could totally write a story about that.”

I’ve gotten into the inspiration behind The Daedalus Incident and it’s sequels more than a few times around the Internet — you can find the story here and here if you’re so inclined. It’s funny, though, because I had basically stuck with that one story idea for almost a decade before it finally got written — and then when it did, I found all these other ideas came to the fore, as if my idea-brain suddenly became unstuck.

Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. The notion behind MJ-12: Inception is perhaps only a couple years old at the moment, and I can honestly say I don’t remember where it came from. I do remember emailing the incomparable Paul Weimer about it a few years ago, before The Enceladus Crisis came out, asking if there had been other Cold War superpowered spy thrillers out there. (I ask Paul these things because his knowledge of SF/F is truly impressive and comprehensive.) He pointed me to a couple titles, but there was nothing that really mirrored what I wanted to do.

And so here we are; the first MAJESTIC-12 thriller comes out in September.

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Cthulhu Fhtagn! named anthology of the year by This Is Horror

Very excited to report that Cthulhu Fhtagn!, the anthology of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired stories edited by Ross Lockhart and published by Word Horde, was named anthology of the year by horror fan site This Is Horror.

And yes, that’s the one with my story, “On a Kansas Plain,” in it. Of course, there are many, many other talented writers featured as well — Molly Tanzer, Walter Greatshell and Laird Barron to name just a few — but at the very least, I’m glad my bit did its part.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Cthulhu Fhtagn! is a really great slice of Cthulhian goodness. Or badness, as the case may be. Congrats to Ross and all the other authors!


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For your consideration: Awesome editors!

There’s much ado of late about Hugo Awards and other such things, and while it’d certainly be lovely to have a bit of shine on my mantle — though I would need to purchase a mantle to hold it — I’d rather take this opportunity to talk about some very well deserving individuals for your consideration in the editorial categories.

Yes, these are editors I’ve worked with. Each one of them has contributed both to the quality of my work as well as my ever-ongoing education as a writer. They are also lovely humans, which goes a very long way with me.

Editor, Short Form

I had the distinct pleasure of working with three different editors this year on my short fiction, and I find each one of them deserving of whatever laurels can be bestowed upon them.

Alex Shvartsman, UFO Publishing: I worked with Alex on “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” for Unidentified Funny Objects 4. The story was accepted but certainly needed work, and Alex really helped me kick it up a notch or six. He’s a great editor who gets humor, which is a lot harder to write than it may seem.

Ross Lockhart, Word Horde: I remember thinking about submitting to Ross’ Tales of Jack the Ripper a few years ago, but found it hard to “go there” in terms of horror. Cthulhu Fhtagn! was much more up my alley, and my “On a Kansas Plain” was included in the anthology in August. Ross’ anthologies are always among the best in the genre. Give them a read.

Chris Carey, Paizo: “Crisis of Faith” was a bucket-list win for me, having grown up with D&D and owing so much to the multi-sided dice. Chris really helped me capture the nuances of Pathfinder and made the story so much fun to read in the end. I would write about clerics of beer gods any day if Chris was editing.

Editor, Long Form

Cory Allyn, Night Shade Books: This post was actually inspired by a conversation I had yesterday with Cory on MJ-12: Inception. We’ve done three novels together now, and Cory has made each of them far better than they were when I handed them in. He has a great way of pulling me out of the weeds and helping me see the story landscape from on high. Ideas and improvements just flow right out of me when we’re working on stuff. He edited The Venusian Gambit last year, and not only did a great job of it, but was incredibly supportive and encouraging at a time when I really needed it. Plus, he and Jason Katzman have really done a bang-up job reviving Night Shade. Just a great person to work with.

Ross Lockhart, Word Horde: No, I didn’t do a novel with Ross this year, though he was my editor for The Daedalus Incident and taught me so much in the short time we worked together. I’m including him because of his work with Molly Tanzer’s Vermilion, an excellent novel that, like The Daedalus Incident in 2013, was a SF/F Debut of the Month at Library Journal when it came out this year. Word Horde keeps putting out great books under Ross’ leadership and editorial purview. He’s one of the best editors out there, small-press or large.

So there you go. I would encourage you to check out all their books — not just the ones with me in ’em — and give them some consideration for a shiny rocket ship. If they don’t have mantles, we’ll do a Kickstarter or something.


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2015 in review: My year in writing

There are days when I still can’t quite believe that all this good authory stuff is happening. But it is, and apparently I’m not half-bad at it. And as it happened, 2015 was my most authory year yet.

Authory is totally a word. Back off, man…I’m a writer.

The following is a recap of the stuff that got published over the last year, and if there’s something that you haven’t read that piques your interest, by all means I’d encourage you to check it out. I suppose this is also my “awards consideration” post, and if you felt that anything below warranted that sort of recognition, then that’s pretty amazing and awesome. (Note: Don’t put me on a slate, no matter what the slate’s for. Just don’t. Thanks.)

TVG-cover-finalThe Venusian GambitThe Daedalus trilogy wrapped up in May with The Venusian Gambit, which got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and lots of love from lots of people. The reception this trilogy has received has been hugely encouraging to me as I’ve plotted my next steps as a burgeoning author. It’s been nearly a year since I wrote the last words of this series, but I know Weatherby and Jain will be with me for a very long time indeed.

“Crisis of Faith,” Pathfinder TalesMy first published short fiction of the year was the four-part Web series “Crisis of Faith” for the folks at Paizo, publishers of the Pathfinder RPG. Doing a Dungeons & Dragons-style piece was quite a lot of fun, and something of a bucket-list item for me. Plus, the story centers on a priest of the setting’s god of beer. So of course I had to write it. You can check it out for free at the link.

“On a Kansas Plain,” Cthulhu Fhtagn!Another big bucket-list piece, this time for Ross Lockhart’s Lovecraftian anthology for Word Horde. “On a Kansas Plain” is the story of what happens when one delves too deep into the shadowy cults waiting for the day when the Great Old One rises from the depths once more. I think this one is a little less weird than some of Lovecraft’s pulpy fiction, but it was still fun to revisit the Mythos.

“Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud,” Unidentified Funny Objects 4Yep, a horror story and a humor story in one year. This still amuses me to no end. In this one, an Earthling abducted by aliens at an early age grows up to find that his childhood drawings are the toast of the galactic art scene — until his muse ends up in Twinkie rehab and he steals cultural icons from another species to pass off as his own work. Hijinks ensue, as you might imagine.

A lot of people made all this stuff possible: awesome literary agent Sara Megibow, Night Shade Books editors Cory Allyn and Jason Katzman, Word Horde publisher Ross Lockhart, UFO4 publisher Alex Shvartsman, and Paizo editors Chris Carey and James L. Sutter. And then there’s my family, of couse, who continue to support and encourage me in this whole writing thing; none of this would be worth a darn without them.

And ultimately, all the folks who bought, read and enjoyed my work — none of this would be happening without your support. Thank you!

There will be more stuff in 2016, including an exclusive short story for Geeky Giving and the launch of the MAJESTIC-12 series with MJ-12: Inception in September. And…there’s a few other things that I’ll be telling you about in January, so stay tuned!


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New podcast interview: Hanging out with TJ Redig on Scrivener’s Soapbox

Just a quick note: I did a interview recently with author and podcaster TJ Redig, proprietor of the Scrivener’s Soapbox podcast, which is now live and available for your listening pleasure. In it, I discuss the Daedalus trilogy, my short fiction, and the upcoming MAJESTIC-12 series. We also talk about homebrewing, and I am duly chastened for not upgrading my brewery game beyond the basics.

It was a fun interview, and if you’re interested, there’s some new MAJESTIC-12 tidbits in there that haven’t been revealed anywhere else. I also had a cold when I did this one, so I apologize for coughing in your ear from time to time. If memory serves, there’s also an awkward pause where I had to hit mute so I could give my wife some money for our daughter’s lunch for the week.

Real life, man. Raw and unfiltered.

My thanks to TJ for having me on. You can listen to it right here on this site, surf on over to TJ’s site, or head to iTunes and download it.


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The last of The Daedalus Incident giveaways at DragonCon, plus what I’m up to today

So here I am thinking that 100 copies of The Daedalus Incident would be enough of a substantial giveaway to last the entire weekend here at DragonCon.

Silly me. I’m gonna have to bring more of the Secret Project books next year…

…wait. I’ve said too much. Anyway.

The Daedalus Incident went fast yesterday — in fact, we burned through nearly our entire shipment at the SFWA booth, and it’s only the first day of the con! Thanks to everyone at DragonCon who showed such interest in the book. If you grabbed one and enjoyed it, I’d mightly appreciate it if you took the time to tell your friends and/or put up reviews on social media, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.

And of course, if you really liked it, I hope you’ll think about buying the second and third books!

If you didn’t get one at the SFWA booth, your last chance for a free copy will be today at 1 p.m. at the University room at the Hyatt. I’m doing a reading and I have two copies to give out there. After that, they’re gone.

Today’s another day, so here’s where I’ll be at DragonCon if you want to hunt me down…er…as in hunt me down to say hello, get a book signed or buy me beer. You know, no actual hunting.

  • 9-10 a.m., Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth, Exhibit level, Hyatt. Just doing my part for SFWA. Come learn about what the organization does, get free books from great authors like Naomi Novik and Jason M. Hough, and hey, there’s a cookbook for sale, too!
  • 1 p.m., Michael J. Martinez reading, University room, Conference level (one floor below the Art Show), Hyatt. I’ll read from The Venusian Gambit, possibly from Cthulhu Fhtagn! and maybe even talk about the Secret Project. Also, it’s your chance to grab those last two freebies.
  • 8:30 p.m., Alternate Armed Conflicts panel, Augusta 3, Westin. A look at the various wars and conflicts throughout history, seen through alt-history authors’ warped lenses.
  • 11:30 p.m., The Steampunk’s Guide to Home Brewing and Distilling panel, Augusta 1-2, Westin. Aww, yeah. Stay up late with us as we talk brewing and distilling for the Steampunk crowd.


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What I’m up to Friday at DragonCon

It’s the first day of DragonCon where everyone is excited to be there and energized and still healthy and smelling good! And I’m all those things too. Here’s what I’m doing today:

  • 11:30 a.m. — The Beginner’s Guide to Alternate History, Steampunk & Other Subgenres, Augusta 1-2, Westin. Kicking off the Alt-History track with a refresher for the newbies.
  • 2-4 p.m. — Science Ficiton & Fantasy Writers of America booth, Exhibit level, Hyatt. I’m holding down the fort — and giving away copies of The Daedalus Incident. Come get a free book!
  • 7 p.m. — Cthulhu: New Spins on Old Mythos, Peachtree 1-2, Westin. Come get your Lovecraft on with us as we talk about fresh takes on the Great Old Ones.

If you’re in town, hope to see you there!


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My schedule for DragonCon

In just a few short weeks, I’ll be heading down to Atlanta for my second DragonCon. Last year was absolutely fantastic, and I’m looking forward to this year even more. Here’s my schedule, still tentative, for this year’s festivities.

Note: We’ve already had one update, with the brewing/distilling panel moved from Friday to Saturday night, as reflected below.

  • Beginner’s Guide to Alternate History, Steampunk & Other Subgenres panel, Friday Sept. 4, 11:30 a.m, Augusta 1-2, Westin — This will be a great intro to everything alt-history and historical fantasy have to offer.
  • Cthulhu: New Spins on Old Mythos panel, Friday Sept. 4, 7 p.m., Peachtree 1-2, Westin — Yay, Cthulhu! We’ll be talking about keeping the roots of the Cthulhu Mythos relevant for today’s audiences, and there’s some awesome folks with me on the panel.
  • Reading: Michael J. Martinez, Saturday Sept. 5, 1 p.m., University, Hyatt — This one’s all me, all the time. Well, for an hour at least. I’ll read from The Venusian Gambit and possibly from “On a Kansas Plain” from the Cthulhu Fhtagn! anthology or even my Secret Project. And y’all can ask me whatever you like. It’ll be fun!
  • Alternate Armed Conflicts panel, Saturday Sept. 5, 8:30 p.m., Augusta 3, Westin — Looking at various conflicts through the lens of alternate history. Eric Flint is with me on this one, and I’m stoked to meet him.
  • The Steampunk’s Guide to Home Brewing and Distilling panel, Saturday, Sept. 5, 11:30 p.m., Augusta 3, Westin — You know I had to do this one. Let’s talk about brewing and distilling and my great-grandmother’s Prohibition still.
  • World Building, Part 2: The Multicultural Multiverse panel, Sunday Sept. 6, 7 p.m., Augusta 1-2, Westin — This panel goes beyond Britannia to talk about alt-history in other times and places.

Other than that, I expect I’ll be hanging out at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth, where there very well may be a rather large-ish giveaway of my work. I’ll post more as the time gets closer on that. And when not doing that, I’ll be roaming and Tweeting and hanging out with fellow scribes. Hope to see you there!


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Greetings from San Francisco!

Just a quick note here. I’m working out of my company’s San Francisco office this week and part of next, and it’s pretty fantastic — killer views of the Ferry Building, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz…skyscrapers are awesome. And we got a HomeAway by Golden Gate Park, which is cool.

The reading at Borderlands Books on Sunday was great fun, and I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the stage with Taiyo Fujii, who’s a fine gentleman indeed; we even swapped signed books. I look forward to diving into my signed copy of Gene Mapper very soon — well, as soon as I get more words down on my next novel.

What next novel? Well, I’ve been leaving some breadcrumbs here and there — check out the Secret Project page for more, and this Tweet:

Sorry if you missed the reading, because I did let some things drop there. The business dealings on the project are dealt with; we’re merely waiting for the opportune moment to talk about it more. Soon, I promise.

In terms of other book stuff, I now have my tentative schedule for DragonCon, which I’ll probably blog about soon. Cthulhu Fhtagn! is out, and it’s awesome — go get a copy! And again, there’s other stuff I can’t quite talk about yet, but I’m super excited. Super. Excited.

Otherwise, we’re just enjoying our time here. Someone already offered me “sweet green buds” on the street in the Haight, and no fewer than four people have asked me for directions since I’ve been in town. Do I look like a San Franciscan? That would be cool, as it’s a fantastic city. The food is great, the beer is even better, and the sights are unparalleled.

Oh, and we were greeted early this morning with a mild earthquake that shook the apartment for a moment. At first, I just thought a big truck went by. Not so bad, but honestly, I’m good on earthquakes now, thanks.


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