Tag Archives: DragonCon

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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Learn the secrets of my BBQ sauce recipe

Yeah, there’s a headline I’ve never written before! But it’s true.

I’ve been playing with BBQ sauce recipes for years now, starting off with a basic recipe — equal parts ketchup, mustard, molasses and apple cider vinegar —  refining and playing with it ever since. And today on Fran Wilde’s Book Bites, you get to enjoy the results of all that experimentation.

This sauce isn’t as thick as the stuff you buy in the stores, but store-bought uses thickeners and chemicals and corn syrup and all kinds of awful. If you’re a BBQ purist, you can use this sauce as a mop during smoking, then set it on top of the firebox to simmer and thicken throughout the day. (And if the words “mop” and “firebox” aren’t in your BBQ lexicon, well…that’s OK.)

My thanks to the luminous and crazy-talented Fran Wilde for having me on her Book Bites blog. She’s totally aces and you need to be reading her award-winning books, y’all. Plus, she’s a great human to hang out with at a con.

Speaking of cons, this is my last full day at DragonCon, which has been the usual excellent experience. There’s only a handful of copies of MJ-12: Inception left at the booksellers in the vendor hall, so get thee hence or wait until Tuesday when it hits bookstores. Of course, if you wait, those copies won’t be signed. Just saying.

Finally, here’s your regular reminder about Tuesday’s launch-day reading/signing at Borderlands Books in San Francisco at 6 p.m. If you’re in the area, come on by and say hello!

#SFWApro

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Back at DragonCon, plus all kinds of news

The-New-Dragon-Con-LogoThere are Jedi roaming the streets and wizards in line at Starbucks. Must be DragonCon!

The city of Atlanta seems to treat con-goers with good humor and patience. It’s a very friendly city to begin with — strangers strike up conversations with one another on the subway, customers are greeted more than a “NEXT!” and there’s a slightly languid pace about things, especially when compared to New York. If it weren’t for the heat and humidity…!

And there’s a bunch of stuff I want to share today, as it’s getting close to the launch of MJ-12: Inception on Tuesday and, after a slow summer, the news piles up:

  • Win my books on Tor.com! The lovely people over at Tor.com are doing a sweepstakes! First prize is a copy of MJ-12: Inception as well as all three books in the Daedalus trilogy. Four second place winners get MJ-12: Inception. All you gotta do is comment on this post to enter. You have until 12 p.m. on Sept. 6 to enter.
  • MJ-12: Inception made a couple fresh lists of September must-have books, which is delightful. Tor.com lists it in its monthly “genre blenders” roundup, and io9 has it in a post called “Add All 19 of These New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Your September Reading List.”
  • I was interviewed by fellow writer Amanda Faith for today’s edition of The Daily Dragon, DragonCon’s official news outlet. We talk about the con, the books, all kinds of things. Check it out!
  • I donated a signed copy of MJ-12: Inception to DragonCon’s annual charity auction, to benefit the Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency, so I hope folks go and bid! Details are here.
  • The Missing Volume as a ton of my books on hand for tomorrow’s signing at DragonCon’s vendor hall. I’ll be there at 1 p.m., so if you’re at the con, come say hi!

Phew. Lots of fun stuff here. Hope you enjoy, and have a great Labor Day weekend!

#SFWApro

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MJ-12: Inception in The Big Thrill, and a signing at DragonCon

Good morning! I’m about to swoop off to Atlanta for DragonCon! But first, I’m quite happy to report that I have an article in this month’s edition of The Big Thrill, the monthly magazine of the International Thriller Writers.

Readers may not that I don’t often opine on political matters, but when you write about government conspiracies, well, the topic is pretty relevant. So I talk about some of the political thinking behind MJ-12: Inception — the use of force, the importance of oversight, when boundaries may be overstepped. I mean, heck, I had a double major in English and government. Check out the article here.

(A big shout-out to J.H. Bogran and everyone at ITW that works hard on The Big Thrill and other efforts. Thank you!)

On another note of particular interest to DragonCon attendees, I’ll be doing a signing on Saturday at 1 p.m. at The Missing Volume, one of the vendors on the first floor of AmericasMart Building 2. As far as I know, The Missing Volume is the only place you can buy MJ-12: Inception in person prior to launch on Sept. 6. And of course, I’ll sign the heck out of it. Given that the book isn’t officially out yet, supplies are limited, so if you want a copy, better come early!

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Goodreads giveaway for MJ-12: Inception, now on io9’s fall must-read list

MJ-12-newcoverI’m back from Los Angeles and (mostly) recovered from jet lag…and I have news!

The official Goodreads giveaway for MJ-12: Inception is now live! Click here to enter! You must be a Goodreads member to enter, but it’s relatively quick and painless, I promise. We’re giving away ten freshly-printed hardcover copies, and you have until August 31 to sign up.

And why should you enter? Well, besides reading this and possibly being predisposed to liking my work, MJ-12: Inception has been listed among of io9’s “All the New Scifi and Fantasy Books You Absolutely Must Read This Fall.” I mean, that’s practically an imperative, right? So excited to be on a list with so many fantastic authors. Check it out.

If you don’t win the Goodreads thing, well, I hope you’re heading to DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, because that’s your next best bet. I’ll be there doing panels and readings and beer pairings (the latter by request only), and I’ll have a few copies to give away. There will also be limited quantities on sale in the vendor room, because we love DragonCon.

There may yet be another giveaway before the book launches Sept. 6, but since it’s not live yet, I can’t announce it. But it’s also cool.

Of course, if you can’t go to Atlanta and don’t want to leave things to chance, you can always pre-order MJ-12: Inception from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionMysterious GalaxyBorderlands Books, and/or through your local bookstore via Indie Bound. You can also order your KindleNookKobo, Google Play and Apple iBook editions, too.

Finally, if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, I hope you’ll come out and celebrate with me at Borderlands Books on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. I’ll be doing a reading and a talk and signing and all that good stuff. I may very well bring beer. Plus, you can support one of the best independent bookstores ever. Hope to see you there!

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It’s August! Time for an update!

Where does the time go? Already August, and there’s a heap of stuff happening in the coming weeks. I figured it was high time to start letting you know what’s up.

Obviously, the biggie is the release of MJ-12: Inception on Sept. 6. Night Shade Books went all out on the printing with this one — really cool interior design, spiffy hardcover, even some embossing on the jacket. Of course, the jacket also has blurbs from Harry Turtledove, Chris Roberson, Beth Cato and Mike Underwood, along with some reviews that haven’t hit yet. Overall, I’m very, very happy with the reaction thus far.

You’ll start to see a lot of reviews and guest posts and interviews crop up in the weeks ahead, especially as we get closer to Sept. 6. There’s a lot of gracious folks out there willing to have me show up in their digital space, and I’m very grateful for it. (And I pay it forward, too: If you’re a creative type, here’s how you get a guest post on this blog.)

And then there are events! Online and off! Here’s the three big ones I have coming up.

DragonCon: Yes, I’m heading down to Georgia for the third straight year, which means I love me some DragonCon. The people are great, the panels are top notch. I just got my preliminary schedule today and I’m pretty jazzed about what I’ll be doing. More to come on that, but you can certainly count on a reading at the con, some great panels and as many giveaways as I can stuff into my suitcase.

Launch night reading at Borderlands Books in San Francisco: After DragonCon, I go home for an evening, then promptly head off to San Francisco (after dropping my kid off for her first day at school, because priorities). On Sept. 6 at 6 p.m., I’ll be celebrating the launch of MJ-12: Inception at Borderlands Books in the Mission District. It’s such a great store and totally worthy of your business. If you’re in the area, I hope I’ll see you there.

Reddit r/Fantasy AMA: And on Sept. 13, I’ll be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything for the Reddit newbies) over on r/Fantasy. Bring your questions and I’ll bring my answers.

There’s more, of course. There’s always more. I’ll definitely keep you posted. In the meantime, you can pre-order MJ-12: Inception from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionMysterious GalaxyBorderlands Books, and/or through your local bookstore via Indie Bound. You can also order your KindleNookKobo and Apple iBook editions, too.

And if you’re among the few who’ve got your hands on it already, I’d ask that you give it an honest review over at Amazon and/or Goodreads. That sort of thing really does help, and it’s greatly appreciated.

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The calm before the storm

MJ12_FinalIt’s been quiet here on the blog because, well, there hasn’t been too much to report, really. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy — quite the contrary. You just haven’t seen the results yet.

MJ-12: Inception comes out in just over two months. (Have you pre-ordered it yet? It totally helps when you do. Check out Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Mysterious Galaxy,Borderlands Books, and Indie Bound.) So when I’m not day-jobbing, spending time with the family and writing the next MJ-12 book, I’m laying some serious groundwork for September.

What’s that entail? Well, we have some blurbs from fellow scribes that are pretty amazing and humbling and just wow, for starters. It’s always a little awkward to ask folks for a blurb, but always gratifying when they send you something lovely and thoughtful. So I’ve been gathering those. Also got some sneak-peeks at reviews, too, which are likewise gratifying. More on those soon.

Then there’s guest posts, interviews and podcasts and all that good stuff. Already have some stuff lined up in that regard, including a magazine piece that I’m pretty excited about. (Magazine as in newsstand, national circulation magazine, which is pretty sweet.) Lining that up takes some doing. I’m trying to schedule everything neatly so that A) I’m writing and/or saying something compelling, and B) I don’t unduly repeat myself.

Then there’s DragonCon! Yes, I’ll be attending again, because it’s just plain fun. But it’s also the weekend before launch, so we’re trying to pull out the stops and do some fun things. We’re working to have MJ-12: Inception available to the booksellers in the vendor hall so folks at the con can buy it before the Sept. 6 release date. I’ve been working with Doctor Q, the Alternate History track director, to come up with some nifty panel ideas, too. And there will be giveways and swag. It will be majestic. 

And finally, I’ve lined up a pretty nice launch night event. Since the venue hasn’t announced it yet, I’m holding my powder. But I’m pretty excited about it.

So yeah, that’s kind of what’s been going on. This is my fourth (oh wow fourth) release, and some of this has become standard operating procedure. But this is a new series, too, so we’re working really hard to make it something special. It’s kind of like making a first impression all over again. Fingers crossed!

Oh, and it’s most certainly worth mentioning that The Venusian Gambit lands next week in mass-market paperback, with a whole new MJ-12: Inception excerpt inside. And there’s a couple of short story announcements waiting in the wings too.

Wish I could say more; there’s some stuff coming that I can’t wait to tell you about. Soon!

#SFWApro

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