Tag Archives: UFO4

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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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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Happy release day to Unidentified Funny Objects 4!

Just a quick note and reminder: Unidentified Funny Objects 4 — the SF/F humor anthology featuring stories by Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Tim Pratt, Gini Koch and, well, me — is officially out today and ready for your money. I’ve read most of it by now, and let me tell you, it’s some fine, funny stuff.

The folks at Amazing Stories magazine agree, too. The reviewer said it may have missed the mark on the “dark humor” theme to a degree, but it also might just be the best of the series thus far, which is heartening. And said reviewer said my story, “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud,” was “filled with fun quirky and comic details.” Nice to be holding my own with the others in that book, let me tell you.

You can pick up UFO4 at Amazon and Kobo today. Go for it!

And by the way, it looks like I’ll be writing at least one new short story for 2016, and it’s for charity. More details when I have ’em…and, you know, when I finish the story.


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Unidentified Funny Objects 4 due out October 15!

Unleash the funny! Unidentified Funny Objects 4, featuring stories by Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Piers Anthony, Esther Freisner and — inexplicably — yours truly, will be available in print and ebook on October 15, wherever fine fiction is sold.

I’m excited that my humble story, “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud,” is there among so many excellent, hilarious stories from so many fantastic authors. And early reviews are pretty great; Tangent Online had a thorough review of all the stories. Regarding “Confessions,” reviewer C.D. Lewis wrote:

“Confessions of an Interplanetary Fraud” is a comic space opera about a human whose post-abduction life leaves him a weirdo outsider struggling to make it in a galaxy where his nestmates poke fun at his lifelong soft white larval form. Stereotype inversions and ironic reversals provide comic relief, and you probably had no idea how hard it can be on an Ill’illanthan to suffer Twinkie addiction. And, yeah: stuff on Earth has very different value and utility in the rest of the galaxy. The story takes a while to get to the interplanetary fraud, but there’s chuckles all along the way. I particularly enjoyed the lampshade provided for the star that miraculously had the exact same local name as assigned to it on Earth by English-speakers, and whose planet had breathable air. What are the odds? The fourth-wall-breaking comic twist conclusion makes a fine capstone to a fun space fantasy.

That’s a pretty great review for my first turn at comedy — and my third published short story, for that matter. I’m pretty chuffed, as my friends across the Atlantic might say.

UFO4 is available for pre-order at Amazon, with other vendors forthcoming. Go get yourself some funny!



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Fantasy-Faction interviews me, and I allude to stuff obliquely

TVG-cover-finalThere’s a new interview with me out today from Fantasy-Faction. I talked with the illustrious Dan Hanks — a stand-up guy if there ever was one — about The Venusian Gambit, finishing off the Daedalus series, and what comes next.

I’ve had to kind of tiptoe around that last bit in a number of interviews and such. I can safely say that there’s definitely a something next beyond short stories. In fact, I’m working on it now, and hopefully with out jinxing it, I think it’s some of my best writing. It’s not a continuation of the Daedalus series — that’s a completed story, in my mind, with no pressing need to go back to the setting. It’s new and different.

And that’s all I can say right about now. I’m hopeful there might be more about by September or so. In the interim, I’m gonna write, and you’ll have to hang tight. In the meantime, I do have a story in the Cthulhu Fhtagn! anthology out next month, and it looks like Unidentified Funny Objects 4, which has my “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” therein, is due out in the fall.

But that’s all I can say for now. Except for these, which probably doesn’t help unless you do the research to figure out what they are. (Hint!)


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Unexpected short story successes

I would absolutely love to say that the three short stories I have coming out over the next several months are part of an overarching career plan designed to slowly but inexorably claw my way to the top of the heap of science fiction and fantasy. Or that they represent just a fraction of the creativity spewing from my, er, creativity font.


Now, bear in mind: I could not be prouder of these three stories. The first, the Pathfinder story “Crisis of Faith,” will be serialized on Paizo.com in June/July, and it’s a nice dose of classic D&D-style fun. “On a Kansas Plain,” a very sparse, creepy story that I think hits pretty hard, will be in Cthulhu FhtagnI in August from Word Horde. Finally, “Confessions of an Intergalactic Art Fraud” will be in Unidentified Funny Objects 4 in November; this one is pretty antic and insane and, hopefully, funny. They are all very different from each other and from my novels. It would seem I have range as a writer.

But if you think I actually planned all this, that’s not the case. I already explained how “Crisis of Faith” came to be via Twitter, which was a very happy accident indeed. The other two were similarly unplanned, though at least more deliberate.

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I have a story in the forthcoming Unidentified Funny Objects 4 anthology!

image descriptionWell, here’s something new and different. I’m quite excited to announce I have a short story in the upcoming SF/F humor anthology Unidentified Funny Objects 4, edited by Alex Shvartsman and due out in November.

My story, “Confessions of an Intergalactic Art Fraud,” will join new original stories by the likes of Piers Anthony, Esther Friesner, Gini Koch, Tim Pratt and the prolific and indefatigable Mike Resnick, and a couple of classic stories by Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin.

Yep, somehow I’ve ended up in an anthology with Gaiman and Martin and so many other exceptionally talented writers. The mind, it boggles.

The cover by Tomasz Maronski is just perfect, isn’t it? Here’s the complete table of contents:  Continue reading


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