Tag Archives: Geeky Giving

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!

geekygiving

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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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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Back from vacation with tidbits of news

I’m back from the wilds of the Adirondack Mountains and once again ensconced in the day-to-day. We had a great time, and I even managed some intermediate trails on Gore Mountain (I’m typically a green-circle skier, so this was a nice thing for me). Took a bit of a spill on an icy patch and pulled a muscle in my chest, which has made for less-than-optimal sleeping, but it’s healing up. On the bright side, I sampled many fine beers and hung out with my family and other lovely people. Overall, it was a win.

And now that I’m back, I wanted to point out a few things:

After a short delay, The Gravity of the Affair is now free on Amazon as well as Google Play, iTunes and Kobo. (Due to arcane policies, it remains 99 cents at Barnes & Noble.) We’re going to keep it free for a while as part of a ploy to get people to check out the Daedalus series in paperback. So if you haven’t read it yet, please to enjoy!

I’m very OK with Barnes & Noble of late, despite the whole not-free thing, because The Daedalus Incident is on its list of “Alternate Realities – Alternate History” best sellers. And in some seriously fine company, too.

And hey, speaking of The Daedalus Incidentit’s on track for a March 15 release in mass-market paperback! And it’ll have the first chapter of MJ-12: Inception tucked in the back. The Enceladus Crisis follows in May, and The Venusian Gambit arrives in July, and they’ll both have different MJ-12: Inception excerpts as well. Collect them all, as they say.

Operation: DAEDALUS is still a going concern, and I’m excited to see all the love out there. As a reminder, if you leave reviews for The Daedalus Incident and/or use your social media superpowers to talk up the impending release, you’re entered to win a signed copy of the paperback and a preview copy of MJ-12: Inception. The more you review/post, the greater the odds of winning.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adding material to MJ-12.net for your enjoyment. As you may know, MAJESTIC-12 is the conspiracy theory surrounding the government’s involvement in capturing aliens and using their technology. My take in the MAJESTIC-12 spy-fi thrillers will be…very different. But pretty darn fun.

I also want to point out that Geeky Giving has released its first story bundle! You get four great short stories and novelettes for the low price of $5, which goes toward neurological research. I urge you to check it out and donate. My novelette, “Mind Flight,” is in the March bundle, so get ready for that, too.

Finally, I did a guest post over at kt literary, my literary agency, as part of its “Peace, Love, Books” series. In it, I talk about unexpected joys of having fans. Because, to my very great surprise and delight, I have some fans. And they’re all awesome.

And that’s it for now. I’m working on MJ-12: Inception edits and outlining MJ-12: Shadows, which coming out around autumn 2017. Next week, I go to Los Angeles for the day job and will likely have some killer ramen and excellent tacos. It’s good to keep busy, right?

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A little 2016 preview

MJ-12-logoimage

The new series comes out this year!

I think everyone should be well and truly recovered from the holidays and such, so I figured it was a good time to let you know what you can expect out of me in the coming year, words-wise. And it’s going to be pretty cool.

Obviously, the Big Thing™ will be the release of MJ-12: Inception in September. This is the very first volume in the MAJESTIC-12 series of fantastical Cold War spy thrillers, because that kind of genre-blending is how I roll.

Now, the conspiracy theory states that MAJESTIC-12 is a cabal of government honchos hiding proof of extraterrestrial life from the general populace in order to leverage alien technology on behalf of the United States military. I’m taking that historical theory and running with it, but in very, very different directions. So you’ll see a lot of action and adventure, some truly fantastical elements, a decent dollop of mystery and suspense, and a couple of big question marks in MJ-12: Inception that’ll hopefully have you coming back for more.

So that’s out in September in hardcover. Where do things stand with it now?  Continue reading

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Interview with Geeky Giving about…geeky giving. Duh.

A quick note: I’ve been interviewed by Geeky Giving about why I’m helping out with their fundraiser for the Barrow Neurological Institute. The short answer is, of course, that they asked. To read the longer one, and the rest of the interview, click here.

The Geeky Giving team is also doing its first giveaway next week, so be sure to check their site for all the cool details. As for my still-untitled story, it’s coming along nicely. We’re talking neurologically-linked computer systems, aerial combat, nanotechnology and possibly aliens. Because aliens, dammit. I’m super excited for it.

All the Geeky Giving short stories will be available early next year in bundled monthly installments, written by a spectacular group of writers. Well worth your donations, you guys. Also, I’ve heard rumors — mere rumors, mind you — of happenings around Phoenix Comicon next spring. Barrow is in Arizona after all. It makes sense.

Check out Geeky Giving, and please consider donating. Tell your friends. Tell everyone. Let’s make this a fantastic fundraiser.

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