Tag Archives: Geeky Giving

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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2016 in review: Stuff I wrote

MJ-12-newcover2016 may not have been the best of years — thanks, Donald — but I’m pleased to say that I wrote some pretty good stuff this year, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about it, being in a somewhat reflective mood as the year spirals toward its fiery doom…er…wraps up and folks get blitzed on cheap champagne.

The biggie, obviously, was the hardcover release of my latest novel, MJ-12: Inception, first of the MAJESTIC-12 series of Cold War paranormal spy-fi thrillers. I was super-pleased with the reception, and chuffed to see folks embrace it. To all those readers out there, I thank you muchly for your enthusiasm and kind words.

Night Shade Books also released the Daedalus trilogy in mass-market paperback this year. It was fun to see those books get new life and new readers.

I also contributed a novelette, “Mind Flight,” to the Geeky Giving anthology effort, which benefits the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona. Barrow works to combat neurological disorders, and the theme of the anthology was to embrace that cutting-edge research. “Mind Flight” is the story of a pilot who links her brain to her fighter jet in order to help fend off an alien invasion — and what happens when the aliens figure out a terrible way to fight back. It’s my first hard SF work, and I’m proud to have it in there with so many other talented writers. All proceeds go to Barrow, so pick up a copy!

endlessagesFinally, I got another chance to embrace my geeky, misspent youth by contributing a short story to the Endless Ages anthology, which featured stories set in the Vampire: The Masquerade game setting. “Tiger” is the story of a young vampire caught up in the power games of her elders, with near-disastrous results. It was a total blast to revisit the setting and embrace my Gothic Punk side.

I also had an article published in the October issue of Writer’s Digest, talking about how I use Excel to outline my novels, which was pretty cool. Sadly, you’d need to get the magazine to read the actual piece, but I can point you to the online exclusive bit, wherein you can download part of my outline and see how the alleged magic happens.

As for 2017? MJ-12: Shadows, the follow-up to Inception, should be coming out some time in the late summer/early fall, and I believe plans are in the works for a paperback release of MJ-12: Inception before that. I also have a bit of a passion project I’m working up on the side, and I’m hopeful it finds a home. I also have a short story or two I’m noodling on, but the plate gets full fast, so we’ll see how it goes.

As of right now, I’m not sure what my con schedule will look like for 2017 quite yet. I like Phoenix Comicon and DragonCon a lot, but I’m wondering if it’d be worthwhile to mix it up this year. I don’t think I have the capacity to add to my schedule — I have a full-time job on top of all this fictioning, after all — and I’d be torn about missing out on two fantastic cons. But there are others that seem interesting, and have the benefit of not falling on two super-popular holiday weekends, so we’ll see.

Again, much thanks and gratitude to all the readers who picked up my work this year. You give me the fuel to keep at it, and I deeply appreciate it.

May you all enjoy a peaceful holiday season, and may we all have a better year ahead.


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Fantastic independent bookstores for all your holiday gift-giving needs

Found by a friend at Powell's up in Oregon. One of many reasons indie bookstores rock.

Found by a friend at Powell’s up in Oregon. One of many reasons indie bookstores rock.

Let me start by saying that I realize Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the two big choices for book buying, and honestly, I have a lot of respect for both of them. Both companies have been good to me and my work, and I deeply appreciate that. I’m glad they’re there.

But you know what’s awesome? Independent bookstores. I love indie bookstores, man. They are an absolute labor of love for the people that own and run them, and they are vibrant and, dare I say, critical pieces of community life around the country. So this holiday season, I would encourage you to check out independent bookstores in your area for all your gift-giving needs.

Or maybe check out the ones I have listed here if you don’t have a local indie close to you. These are the independent bookstores that I’ve enjoyed visiting around the country, and if you’re in the market for books this holiday season — whether it’s my books or just any books — I would strongly encourage you to check them out. The vast majority of these offer online sales and shipping, and many offer ebook sales via Kobo, too.

I totally get that indie books are more expensive — they’re generally full list-price, plus shipping. And sure, Kobo is a little more expensive than Kindle or Nook. Given the huge impact a good bookstore has on its community, I would urge you to shop indie anyway, if you’re able to do so. It’s fantastic karma.

Finally, I’m highlighting the stores that are offering the Geeky Giving charity anthology, which I was proud to be a part of this year. There are some great stories in there, and proceeds go to the Barrow Neurological Institute. Buying it is a win all around, y’all.   Continue reading

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Pre-order the Geeky Giving anthology, coming August 9!

I was super proud to have a story in this charity effort, and super proud of the story I submitted for it. Now, you can get all the Geeky Giving stories in one handy-dandy publication: Geeky Giving: A SFF Charity Anthology, to benefit the Barrow Neurological Institute!

Geeky Giving is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo and iTunes in ebook — and print is coming! Love the cover, and honored to have my name on it. This is such a great anthology, full of very different stories all dealing with the mind, neurology and related ideas.

My own story, “Mind Flight,” is certainly my hardest hard-SF story, and I really loved writing it. Plus, bits are set in Iceland, which inspired my work quite a bit when I went there a few years ago.

You get a bunch of great stories from fantastic writers like Mary Robinette Kowal, K.B. Spangler, Shaun David Hutchison, Amanda Bonilla, Jeff Somers, Sierra Dean and more. And again, all the money goes to support the life-saving work of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona.

Get great fiction, feel good about doing it. What’s not to love? Go forth and pre-order!


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The post-Phoenix Comicon post

Short version: That was incredibly super fun. Will repeat.

But hey, I think we can do better, right?

Phoenix Comicon has one of the best author/books tracks of any major convention I’ve been to. So what makes it the best, you ask? For one, there are a ton of great authors writing a dizzying array of diverse works. Two, the topics of the panels are usually pretty interesting and thought-provoking. Third, the con puts our books on sale right next door to the panels, and the marketer in me loves that impulse-buy opportunity.

But mostly, it’s the fans. The folks in the audience at all of my panels were super-smart and incredibly engaged. Their questions were thoughtful and really kept us all on our toes. The resulting conversations were informative to me, and I hope they were to everyone who came.

The fans are the biggest reason I go, and y’all are really generous with your time and encouragement of my work, and I try to do the same with whatever you got going on, too. For the first time, I had someone in the audience at a panel actually reference parts of my books as an example that I didn’t even think of — and I didn’t even know who he was, let alone did I bribe him. So that was lovely.

And now some more highlights in now particular order!

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It’s time for Phoenix Comicon! Here’s where I’ll be!

I had a blast at last year’s Phoenix Comicon, and I’m really looking forward to this year. I’ve got a lot of cool stuff going on, and if you’re going to be there, I hope you’ll get a chance to say hi.

Here’s my schedule of events for this year, which is also on my fancy-pants guest page. Chances are, I’ll have an ARC of MJ-12: Inception on me at any one of these, so keep an eye open for giveaways!

Panel/Event Schedule

Tonight, 7 p.m. — Elevengeddon at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale! I’ll be joined by something like 19 other authors for a mega-SF/F signing spectacle at one of the best independent bookstores in the country. Here’s the event listing and address. It’s the ultimate SF/F convergence. BE THERE.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. — Trope Talks: Comedy Relief, North 128B. This panel will discuss the role of the comedic sidekick in stories, and how they’re more than just the funny guy in the room. With Scott Sigler and Yvonne Navarro.

Friday, 3 p.m —  Building a Believable World: The Deets, North 129A. Let’s drill down into worldbuilding with some pretty awesome authors, including Bradley Beaulieu, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Shannon Messenger and Victoria V.E. Schwab.

Friday, 6 p.m. — The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi, North 128A. Why so serious? This panel takes a look at more optimistic views of the genre. With Alexandra Olivia, Greg van Eekhout, Howard Tayler, Jody Lynn Nye and Suzanne Young.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. — Crossing the Streams: Genre Splicing, North 128A. Obviously, this is kind of my sweet spot. Let’s put genres in a blender and see what happens. With Adam Christopher, Aprilynne Pike, Neo Edmund and Yvonne Navarro.

Saturday, 4 p.m. — Bioskeletons, Neurotransmitters, Synthesia: Medical Science in Sci-Fi, North 127C. Let’s talk about futuristic medicine in a panel organized by the fantastic folks at Geeky Giving!

Saturday, 6 p.m. — Drinks with Authors, North 120. Come see authors in their natural habitat, i.e. near the bar. This informal hangout is one of my favorite things, and there will be raffles to benefit Kids Need to Read. Come say hi, drink drinks and maybe win something — all for a great cause.

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. — World Building: Are We Still Talking About This? An interesting take on world-building with this panel; we’re being asked when it gets to be too much, or when it matters less. With Greg van Eekhout, John Peck/Jack Heckel and Sarah Remy.

Signing Schedule

And in addition to all these fun panels, I’ll be doing signings at the con as well. A bunch in fact. To wit:

Thursday, 3 p.m. — Signing Lounge, North 127AB. There’s a lounge? Are there drinks? I’m hanging out with Becky Chambers, Jamie Wyman, Jason Hough, Michael Kogge, Patrick Hemstreet, Sarah Remy and Yvonne Navarro.

Thursday, 6 p.m. — Exhibitor Hall Signing. There’s also the signings in the big hall, too. With Becky Chambers, Greg van Eekhout, Jason Hough, Michael Kogge, Patrick Hemstreet and Sarah Remy.

Friday, noon — Exhibitor Hall Signing. Once more, with feeling! With Alexandra Olivia, Austin Aslan, Michael Kogge and Shannon Messenger.

Friday, 4:30 p.m. — Signing Lounge, North 127AB. Lounging about, apparently, with Bradley Beaulieu, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Holly Jennings, Jason Hough, Michael Kogge, Shannon Messenger and Weston Ochse.

Saturday, noon — Signing Lounge, North 127AB. At this point, we’ll probably be crooning ’70s lounge music. And we’ll be doing it with Aprilynne Pike, Bradley Beaulieu, Christina Henry, Leanna Renee Hieber, Neo Edmund, Patrick Hemstreet, Sam Sykes, Sarah Remy and Victoria V.E. Schwab.

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. — Exhibitor Hall Signing. Really, you will not want for signing opportunities. With Alexandra Olivia, Neo Edmund and Jason Hough (who will likely be quite sick of me by this point).

Sunday, noon — Exhibitor Hall Signing. This will be your last chance to get something signed by me. Not that you haven’t had ample opportunity. With Alexandra Olivia, Alyssa Wong (whose short stories are amazing and wonderful), the incomparable Kevin Hearne and Patrick Hemstreet (who will also be sick of me by this point).

So yeah. Seriously, if you’re having trouble finding me, you’re obviously slacking something fierce.

You can also follow me on Twitter to see what I’m up to and, perchance, have another crack at free books. I’ll have the aforementioned MJ-12: Inception ARCs, but also a couple sets of the Daedalus trilogy to give away, and I’ll have a ton of bookmarkts for you too. Because I’m nice like that.

Hope to see you in Phoenix!


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The Enceladus Crisis comes out in paperback May 10!

TEC-cover-mmpgApril’s been a very busy month, and I haven’t given the blog it’s due. And I’ve been remiss in mentioning that The Enceladus Crisis will be released in mass-market paperback on May 10, which is super exciting for me and, hopefully, a new opportunity for readers to explore the Daedalus trilogy.

The Enceladus Crisis picks up where The Daedalus Incident left off — two years after the strange quakes on Mars that plagued our heroes in the 22nd century, and nearly twenty years after a young Lt. Thomas Weatherby unraveled the mysteries of Cagliostro’s insidious plot. There’s more twists and turns in this one, new and exotic locations, and the peril — oh, the peril! It’s not an easy time for anyone in this book.

The paperback release, in addition to being easier to carry around and cheaper (ebook prices have already started to come down), also includes a new excerpt from MJ-12: Inception, the first book in the MAJESTIC-12 series of paranormal Cold War spy thrillers out in hardcover this September.

The first excerpt, in The Daedalus Incident paperback, introduced readers to a young Army officer named Frank Lodge as he navigated a particularly harrowing situation in Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. The excerpt in Enceladus introduces Danny Wallace, a Navy man investigating something very unusual in Hiroshima three months after the city was leveled by the world’s first atomic weapon.

And yes, there will be a third, all-new excerpt of MJ-12: Inception released with The Venusian Gambit paperback in July.

I’m quite excited and very gratified at how The Daedalus Incident sold in paperback — thank you, readers! And the support the series has been getting on social media has been pretty awesome. I don’t have plans to run a contest for The Enceladus Crisis at the moment — there’s been too much other stuff to do — but any shout-outs on social media, and any reviews you care to place on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads and the like, is greatly appreciated.

MJ12_FinalAs for other things, I’m busy preparing to draft MJ-12: Shadows (working title), the second MAJESTIC-12 novel. It was a tougher nut to crack since the world of the Variants has expanded quite a bit, but I worked through a bunch of stuff this month and have the whole thing mapped out, as is my wont before I start the actual writing. It feels like I’m a bit behind in the process, likely because I’ve been busy with day-job things, but when I look at the calendar, I feel quite good about where I am.

Advance reader copies (ARCs) of MJ-12: Inception have been printed, and I’m eagerly awaiting my stash. The cover is beautiful, and the interior design is absolutely gorgeous. (I may have mentioned that before, but it bears repeating. Gorgeous.) I’ll also be getting digital ARCs soon for reviewers and the like. It’s a real thing that’s happening, and I’m pretty stoked.

I’m also getting excited for Phoenix Comicon during the first weekend of June. Not 100% sure on panels yet, though I know I’m doing something with Geeky Giving as well as a panel on humorous sidekicks, plus there’s the Elevengeddon signing at the Poisoned Pen and the Drinks with Authors charity thing. I’m bringing some MJ-12: Inception ARCs as well — if you’re going, watch my Twitter feed carefully if you want one.

So that’s what I got going on. I promise to be far more entertaining on the blog in May.



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Officially heading to Phoenix Comicon this June!

I loved being a guest at Phoenix Comicon last year. The panels were a huge amount of fun, I met a lot of fans, I had a blast hanging out with my fellow authors and more fans, and if I may be mercenary for a moment, I saw a lot of my books get sold.

So yeah, of course I asked to go back. And the most excellent folks at PHXCC agreed to invite me again. So look out Phoenix…I am coming for your tacos and craft beer once more, from June 2-5 to be exact.

Scheduling? Dunno yet. I’m sure there will be panels. No doubt there will be signings, and I’m hoping that the crew at Mysterious Galaxy will be there selling books again. I’ll certainly talk about the Daedalus trilogy, especially with The Enceladus Crisis out in paperback just weeks before the con.

I’ll also be talking about MAJESTIC-12 and MJ-12: Inception. And if all goes well, I’ll have some swag. I’m thinking pin-back buttons, but I’m open to suggestions. Maybe I’ll do a Twitter poll. Oh, and thanks to the good people at Night Shade Books, I’ll have a bunch of advance copies of MJ-12: Inception to give away to those I deem worthy. (I am not, in fact, super-picky on this front. Just be enthusiastic.)

And finally, I do believe the folks at Geeky Giving will be doing something interesting out there. Not sure what, but…I’d keep an eye out.

If you’re anywhere near Phoenix after Memorial Day — or simply enjoy a great road trip — I hope you’ll think about heading to the con. It’s pretty darn awesome. Hope to see you there!


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Two years later, Iceland still inspires

DSCF1050It’s been nearly two years since I visited Iceland, and out of all the places I’ve traveled, there’s something about it that stuck with me — so much so that the country itself has now shown up in my writing.

Back in April 2014, my wife Kate participated in the inaugural Iceland Writers Retreat, which is pretty fantastic in terms of writing workshops; folks like Susan Orlean and Andrew Evans were among the writers imparting wisdom. Now, this was Kate’s thing — my daughter and I went along for the ride because, hey, Iceland! Why not, right?

The cool thing was that we all got to participate in the cultural parts of the retreat — pretty much everything except the writing workshops themselves. So yes, we met the president of Iceland at a state reception at Bessastadir. We went on a tour of nearby landmarks and got a pretty great rundown on the nation’s history. We listed to Iceland’s foremost working author, Sjón, give a reading in the house of Haldór Laxness, Iceland’s Nobel laureate in literature.

When Kate was in her workshops, my kid and I explored. There were old Cold War bunkers set into the hillside overlooking the hotel and airstrip that led to hours of exploration. We explored a lot of Reykjavik, which is probably the most picturesque capital I’ve visited. There were world-famous Icelandic hot dogs, many tales of Vikings, architecture old and new, and super-friendly people. You know the snow that sort of floats about on Game of Thrones when they’re doing scenes at or beyond the Wall? I stood in that snow. I put a lot of fun stuff on Twitter.

And everywhere we went, we were reminded of Iceland’s love of the written word. The Icelandic sagas were, in many ways, some of the world’s first novels. There’s a literary history there that’s the pride of the Icelandic people; President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson went on for 20 minutes at the reception talking about his country’s literature — off the cuff, no notes, I might add.

I also wrote parts of The Venusian Gambit there, and found the environment particularly conducive to getting the work done. Now, two years later, I’m telling stories featuring Iceland.

My Geeky Giving story, “Mind Flight,” is largely set at an air base in Iceland and the protagonist, Rós Ragnarsdóttir, hails from there. Rós is a fighter pilot and one of the last defenders of Earth against the alien invaders called the Housh. In order to be effective against Housh technology, Rós has been given nanotech implants in her brain that allow her to control her fighter jet with her mind — the jet, essentially, becomes her body. But when the Housh come up with a new weapon against these fighters, Rós finds herself turning into a threat against her own people and her homeland.

I felt that the quiet strength and resiliency of Icelanders was a perfect fit for the story, and Rós as a character just kind of came to me, almost fully formed. She’s descended from Vikings, after all, so she’s already a bad-ass. And I thought Iceland itself — not as frigid and unwelcoming a geography as you might think, but pretty remote and not exactly balmy — was a fine place to set one of the last redoubts of humanity.

(I should note here that you can get “Mind Flight,” as well as stories from A.C. Wise, Robert Lowell Russell and Jeff Somers, for just $5, the proceeds of which benefit the Barrow Neurological Foundation. Click here to donate and get reading.)

IMG_3123And then there’s MJ-12: Inception, my paranormal Cold War spy-fi thriller coming out in hardcover this September. From the moment we discovered the decaying bunkers on Öskjuhlíð hill, I just sort of knew that Reykjavik would be in the book somehow. It’s not a huge chapter, but it was pretty fun. In fact, since I’m talking about it, here’s the first few paragraphs of that chapter, just because I can:

Brennivin was a beautiful, horrible thing.

Passed off to tourists as a kind of homemade liqueur with birch and licorice flavors, it was marketed as something that little Viking grandparents would have in little glasses before an early bedtime under the Northern Lights.

But among themselves, local Icelanders called it the “Black Death,” which was very typical of their dark-but-good natured humor. Brennivin went down with all the grace and subtlety as strong vodka.

The fisherman at the bar on Laugavegur Street was already several shots deep by 6 p.m.—although that wasn’t particularly noteworthy given that the sun was already down. In the few short months he’d been working on the Reykjavik waterfront, he’d become a regular, and one that his fellow patrons had grown to tolerate. He wasn’t from around there, and never would be; Iceland was a small country, you were either from Iceland, or you’d always be from somewhere else.

It didn’t hurt, though, that he had a biting wit, and an eagerness to smooth over ruffled feathers with alcohol. After the Black Death, it just didn’t seem all that important, and so the outsider grew to suit many of the locals just fine. They were fishermen and dockworkers, laborers and tradesmen, all hard workers who drank just as hard and smelled vaguely of salt and crud at the end of the day anyways.

The fisherman knew where he stood, and he’d worked hard to earn the locals’ respect, even if it was a rather begrudging one. So he was irritated, this particular evening, when two military men entered the bar. It wasn’t the first time the British and Americans ventured into local establishments like this one, but most saw the woolen-clad fishermen—and the distinct lack of women—and turned right around, or stayed for a single drink if they were feeling particularly polite or brave. It didn’t feel like these two were going to do either.

Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that the place rubbed off on me a bit. So thanks, Iceland. Have a shot of brennivin on me.



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My Geeky Giving novelette “Mind Flight” now available!


I like announcing new stuff. It’s even better when it’s for a good cause.

Today, the lovely people at Geeky Giving have released the March story bundle, which includes my novelette, “Mind Flight.” You can get it here for just $5, the proceeds of which goes to the Barrow Neurological Foundation, supporting cutting-edge neurological treatments that have the potential to help millions.

I’m particularly, perhaps even irrationally, proud of “Mind Flight.” It’s my first foray into straight-up science fiction — no historical elements, nothing paranormal. It’s set at the midpoint of this century, give or take, and given the beneficiary of Geeky Giving, I put a lot of thought and research into getting the neurology behind it right.

The story is about a young fighter pilot who’s part of Earth’s last line of defense against the alien invaders known as Housh. To better combat the Housh, scientists used advance nanotechnology and neurology to help pilots control their jets with just their thoughts, treating the aircraft as an extension of their own bodies. But when the Housh figure out a way to interrupt the signals going to and from the young pilot’s brain…things get difficult, shall we say.

In addition to my story, you also get fantastic fiction from A.C. Wise, Robert Lowell Russell and Jeff Somers. It’s a pretty fine deal for just $5. And if you pay $25, you get all six months’ worth of bundles, thus saving $5. Each purchase also enters you to win awesome prizes from Geeky Giving donors — lots of books and assorted swag. All this, and you get karma points on top of it.

So please head on over to Geeky Giving and check it out. Enjoy great stories, help science do more and better things. Wins all around, people. And if you could share all this great stuff about Geeky Giving with your friends, online and off, I’d greatly appreciate it!


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