Tag Archives: Venusian Gambit

Only one more day to bid on signed copies of the Daedalus and MAJESTIC-12 books

Here’s your obligatory time-is-running-out notice: The charity auctions to benefit Con or Bust — an organization that sends lots of awesome people of color to SF/F conventions — end tomorrow at 4 p.m. EDT. That means you have a little more than a day to bid on stuff, including signed copies of all my books to date, including a never-before-seen advance copy of MJ-12: Shadows.

I have two lots in the auction. The first is all three Daedalus paperbacks — The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis and The Venusian Gambit — signed and sent to your door if you win. The other is a signed hardcover of MJ-12: Inception and, as previously mentioned, that signed advance copy of MJ-12: Shadows, which doesn’t come out until September.

So there you go. Click here to get bidding! As of this posting you have 24 hours — GO!

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Signed copies of all my books up for auction to benefit Con or Bust

Now you can get all my books — including an advance reader copy (ARC) of MJ-12: Shadows — via the charity auctions set up by Con or Bust starting today.

I’ve got two lots up for bid this year. The first consists of signed mass-market paperback copies of the full Daedalus trilogy — The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis and The Venusian Gambit — which you can bid on here. The second is a hardcover copy of MJ-12: Inception and the ARC of MJ-12: Shadows, which you can bid on here. And yes, I’ll sign every book.

This is the first time anywhere you can get your hands on MJ-12: Shadows. We haven’t even released the cover images yet — though stay tuned for that soon — so you can get a good jump-start on the series before Shadows comes out in September. And of course, I remain super proud of the Daedalus trilogy and the reception it’s received over the years.

This is the fourth year I’ve supported the Con or Bust auctions. Con or Bust provides free SF/F convention passes to people of color, which is a beautiful thing indeed. Science fiction and fantasy needs more voices and different perspectives, and this is a really solid way of bringing more people into the fold.

The bidding started this morning and will last until Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m. EDT. So you have some time. That said, the money goes to a most worthy cause, so bid early and often! There’s some super-cool stuff up for bid — lots of signed books, some manuscript critiques, jewelry, art, a signed Farscape script, delicious treats…just check it out. Support a great cause and maybe get some awesome SF/F swag!

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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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MJ-12: Shadows is with my editor

I am pleased — and relieved — to report that MJ-12: Shadows, the sequel to this year’s MJ-12: Inception, is now in the capable hands of super-editor Cory Allyn over at Night Shade Books.

Why relieved? This book kicked my ass.

MJ-12: Shadows will be my fifth novel, and it was the hardest one to draft. Part of that was due to the material, part of that was due to circumstances, and part of that was just…something else, that writerly thing where you gotta grab the story and drag it kicking and screaming into the light because it doesn’t wanna go.

The material was complex enough — there are two main storylines in the book, a couple of subplots and several POVs. It’s set in 1949, which was a very busy year for the Truman Administration, the U.S. intelligence community and the Middle East, where one of the storylines is set. One of the main historical characters from MJ-12: Inception died that year under mysterious circumstances, too.

So on the one hand, the history was an absolute blessing — you can’t make some of that stuff up. But there was a lot of juggling going on in writing MJ-12: Shadows. So there’s that.

Then there’s life. I was plowing through the drafting process while preparing for the launch of MJ-12: Inception and through the launch, which included events at DragonCon and in San Francisco, plus a ton of guest blogs, interviews, podcasts and assorted bits of marketing. I know some authors loathe the marketing stuff, but it’s kind of what I do for the day job, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it, so I don’t mind it. But it was all happening while trying to write MJ-12: Shadows, so I was moving between stuff quite a lot.

Oh, and I do have that day job, and I happened to have the busiest autumn in said job in my nine years here. It’s nice to be in demand and appreciated, of course, and let’s face it — the day job pays the bills. On Monday, I’m about to head off on my seventh business trip of the year, so yeah, they keep me busy.

And I do have a family, which takes precedence over…well, everything else, frankly. But it’s kind of unfair to list that here, because family isn’t a burden. To me, it’s a privilege.

But story and circumstance aside, this was just a tough nut to crack. Prior to MJ-12: Shadows, three of my past four novels kind of came together easily — as easily as a major project like a novel can happen. The Venusian Gambit, which I wrote in 2014, felt like a hot mess when I was writing it, but that was largely due to my mother’s passing that summer. Cory and the NSB gang were great about giving me extra time to wrap it up, and I had apparently done a better job than I thought in the end — Gambit got a starred review from Publishers Weekly. 

But MJ-12: Shadows was different than Gambit. Sometimes, the story is stubborn, and finding the right threads to follow and the right words simply takes longer. Getting the pieces in place and the characters lined up just took more out of me. It’s kind of hard to explain, really, other than it just took longer to get it right. 

With all that said, I’m happy with how MJ-12: Shadows came out. It’s got some mystery, some slow-burn intrigue, a bunch of cool action and the ending…the ending I’m rather proud of. It explores the nature of the Variants, the source of their power and the responsibility in using that power in the world.

And now? I’m holding off on getting the third book started until Cory finishes the edits on MJ-12: Shadows and we have a chat as to how best to approach the next one. But I have a few other things to work on….

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Thinking about how to define authorial success

What makes a book successful? What makes an author successful? What makes some books and/or authors more successful than others? All fair questions. I saw some discussion of this among my colleagues and friends on Twitter this past week, prompted by these thoughts from the amazingly talented Delilah S. Dawson. and it gave me some things to think about.

My first novel came out in 2013 — just three short years ago! I started writing it in 2010, got my agent in 2011, and nabbed a book deal in 2012. So I’ve been at it for six years now, and a published author for just half that time. My fourth book comes out Sept. 6 in hardcover.

Have I been successful? Abso-freakin-lutely. But that’s in terms of my vision of success. And I think it’s important to define your own measures for success going in — and to keep them realistic.

(This is a long-ish post. Get comfy. Go grab a beverage if you like. I’ll be here.)

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The Venusian Gambit launches today in mass market paperback!

As is now tradition, I went to a bookstore — this time, the Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue in Manhattan — to sign a new release: The Venusian Gambit, officially out today in mass-market paperback! Never really gets old to see one’s books in a store.

(In fact, there are signed copies of Gambit as well as The Daedalus Incident at that very store now, if you happen to be around midtown!)

The Venusian Gambit wraps up the Daedalus trilogy with an epic clash between the forces of the Martian warlord Althotas (and his dupe, Napoleon) and the combined efforts of now-Admiral Thomas Weatherby and Commander Shaila Jain. Plus, as you might discern from the cover, there are aliens and zombies and a mech.

You might also take note of the snippet of the starred review from Publishers Weekly, which was really very wonderful. It’s available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-A-Million,Kobo, iTunes, and Google Play.

In addition to getting Gambit in a less expensive and cumbersome format, you’ll also get a brand-new excerpt from MJ-12: Inception in the back. This one deals with a young woman named Maggie Dubinsky, a former schoolteacher whose sudden Enhancement became far too burdensome to bear. Yet despite her fears and scars, the agents of MAJESTIC-12 have nonetheless sought her out for recruitment….

Very excited to see Gambit out in the wilds again, and doubly so for everyone to read just a bit more about MJ-12: Inception. The new paranormal Cold War spy series kicks off Sept. 6 in hardcover; you can pre-order it at  from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Mysterious GalaxyBorderlands Books, Apple iBookstore and/or through your local bookstore via Indie Bound.

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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!

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