The Cupid Reconciliation launch!

Genrenauts 3 - The Cupid Reconciliation - small for KS

Today is the day! Genrenauts continues with the third episode:

Wounded Genrenaut Mallery York returns to active duty just in time for the team to deploy to the Romantic Comedy story region. But before they can fix the broken story, they have to find it. The team scours dating sites, cocktail bars, and jogging paths looking for the right pair of lovers to re-unite.

Mallery takes the lead, bringing her expertise to bear as the team plots a grand reunion between two estranged lovers, hacking social networks, running confidence games, and doing whatever it takes to make sure the story ends in Happily Ever After.

I think it’s the best Genrenauts story yet, and I’m very excited to share it with the world. You can buy the ebook at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

…and you can buy direct from me via Gumroad.

That’s right – direct. With the release of The Cupid Reconciliation, I have joined the proud ranks of hybrid authors, those publishing both with traditional houses and through self-publishing. Getting into self-publishing has been a long process of study and research, as well as consulting with friends and colleagues that have been blazing the hybrid paths for several years.

The next Genrenauts story, The Substitute Sleuth, is scheduled to publish on July 26th, 2016. Pre-order links are available here.

Here are some reviews of Episode 3:

“With the Genrenauts series, Underwood has crafted a wonderfully delightful series of novellas using the episodic structure of a TV show to tell his tale. This makes for a perfect bit of binge-reading, one that reminds of me shows I loved as a kid like Quantum Leap and the early seasons of Sliders. Think of it as Netflix for the mind.”
Michael Patrick Hicks

“Underwood has a good thing going here, and it’s just getting better. Fun, yet thoughtful; action-packed, but pretty restrained in use of force. A great balancing act that should inspire more to do this.”
Irresponsible Reader

“Mike has a breezy conversational way of writing that lends itself well to quips, wordgames, and great characterization. He’s able to pack in a lot of quirks and personalities into each of his characters, to really make them separate entities.”
Blackfish Reviews


 

A reminder – the Genrenauts Kickstarter has a week left, plenty of time to push for the audiobook stretch goals and to hit the whimsy goals, which will force me to to do marvelous and ridiculous feats for your entertainment!

Kickstarter update + BaltiCon Schedule

First up, I have some fun news to share if you haven’t seen it already:

Kickstarter funded

That’s right – the campaign has passed the original funding goal, and now we’re pushing on for the audiobook editions of Episodes 3 and beyond! There’s still time to check out the campaign and get involved. (I’ve added some whimsy-based goals, as well as a limited edition hardcover level).

 

Also, I will be at BaltiCon this weekend, and if the site is to be trusted, this is my schedule:

Friday May 27, 2016
5:00 PM
Readings: Michael Kangal, Gary L. Lester, Christie Meierz, Michael R. Underwood
Renaissance – St. George
Christie Meierz | Michael Kangal | Gary L. Lester | Michael R. Underwood
Reading 52 minutes

 

Saturday May 28, 2016

5:00 PM
Sarah Pinsker, Alex Shvartzman and Michael R. Underwood Autographing
Renaissance – Autograph Table 1
Sarah Pinsker  | Alex Shvartsman | Michael R. Underwood
Autographs 1 hour

 

Sunday May 29, 2016

11:00 AM
Dangerous Voices Variety Hour
Renaissance – Ballroom (MD Salons CD)
Michael Underwood | Sarah Pinsker | Peter S. Beagle | Fran Wilde | Jo Walton | John Picacio
Special Event 1 hour 30 minutes

Monday May 30, 2016

10:00AM
Monday Gimungous Autograph Session
Renaissance – Kent
Autographs 1 hour 30 minutes

12:00 PM
What’s Hot Short Fiction?
Renaissance – Parlor 8029
Sarah Pinsker  | Michael R. Underwood | Jean Marie Ward | Scott Edelman | Alex Shvartsman
Discussion Panel 50 minutes

 

Genrenauts Episode Three Cover Reveal

I’ve already revealed the cover for The Cupid Reconciliation – Genrenauts Episode Three to my Kickstarter backers, but now it’s time to share it with the world.

This cover was designed by Sean Glenn, with some assets graciously provided by Tor.com so that we could preserve the series style.

Are you ready? Then proceed below the fold…

Continue reading

Genrenauts Kickstarter!

The time has come! The Genrenauts Season One Collection Kickstarter is live, right here.

Kickstarter info card

 

Check out the campaign for information about the future of the series, backer rewards (including writing critiques and more), sneak peeks at upcoming episodes, and details about stretch goals!

I’ll be appearing on podcasts, giving interviews, and writing guest posts throughout the campaign.

The next chapter of the Genrenauts saga begins…now!

 

Genrenauts update

Hi everyone! I want to take a minute to talk about what’s next for Genrenauts.

Genrenauts Combined

I’ve been very happy to partner with Tor.com Publishing for the first two Genrenauts novellas – The Shootout Solution and The Absconded Ambassador. We’ve also got “There Will Always Be a Max,” a Genrenauts short story, coming April 6th for free on Tor.com.

There Will Always Be a Max cover (by Goñi Montes)

But honestly, I’m champing at the bit to get these stories out to readers. Genrenauts was designed to feel like a weekly TV show or a radio serial, and I want to increase the speed of release to fit that feel. In discussions with Lee Harris, my editor at Tor.com, I realized that they weren’t in a position to publish four more Genrenauts novellas in 2016 in order to get the whole season out this year, so we agreed that I’d go ahead and publish the rest of the season myself. They have been and remain very supportive of the series, which is great.

All six episodes of Season One are written. Episode 3 is already in copy-edits, and Episode 4 is with my developmental editor. I’m looking to have Episode 3 ready to publish by the end of April.

 

Here’s a preview of what’s coming in the rest of the season:

Episode 3 – The Cupid Reconciliation – Mallery returns to active duty and sparks fly as the team tracks down a story breach in the Rom-Com region.

Episode 4 – The Substitute Sleuth – A scouting mission becomes a scramble to solve a pair of nested mysteries in the Police Procedural region of Crime World.

Episode 5 & 6 – The Failed Fellowship – A two-part season finale where the team travels to Traditional Fantasy-land. Instead of overthrowing the dark lord, the prophesied hero dies before his moment of triumph, and now the Genrenauts have to find a new MacGuffin to defeat the Night-Lord before his arcane power brings about an eternal night of terror.

 

So that’s what’s coming for Leah and the team. And here’s how we’re going to get there.

The cost of publishing these novellas on my own, to the same standard as Tor.com Publishing has set, will be high. Therefore, I’ve decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Complete Season One Collection, including Episodes 1-6 and special extras. I’m shooting to launch the Kickstarter in May. And if it funds, there will be ebook and paperback editions of the complete first season. And with stretch goals, possibly even audiobooks for Episodes 3-6. The very flexible contract terms with Tor.com Publishing explicitly allow me to publish this collected edition, and I’m really excited to bring it to life.

I’ll have more information for you about the Kickstarter before it launches, but what I’d love to hear now is this: what extras would you like to see in the campaign? Character dossiers, Genrenauts patches, side mission short stories, playing cards, T-shirts? Your input will help me decide how to make the Kickstarter as awesome as possible.

And if you want to continue supporting Genrenauts right now, the best things to do include:

  • Buying the books.
  • Talking about the series to your book-reading friends.
  • Reviewing the books on retailers and/or Goodreads.
  • Lending the books to people you think might like them.

I’m very grateful for your support on the series so far. I’m really excited for what Episodes 3 and beyond will bring for the series, and to put years of studying indie/self-publishing into practice for myself.

 

Genrenauts: The Absconded Ambassador is here!

Today, Genrenauts continues with The Absconded Ambassador!

The Absconded Ambassador

 

The reader response to Genrenauts has been fantastic so far, so I’m really excited to continue the series. If you haven’t read The Shootout Solution, you’ll definitely want to start there – the series is designed like a serial-episodic TV show – readers will have the best experience starting from the beginning and reading in order.

In The Absconded Ambassador, the team heads to SF world to help salvage an interstellar alliance on the verge of collapse. You’ll get diplomacy, dogfights in a spaceship graveyard, weird alien species, shout-outs to some of my favorite sci-fi TV shows, and more about the mysterious Roman de Jager.

You can get The Absconded Ambassador in three formats:

Ebook: iBooks * Kindle * Kobo * Nook

Paperback: Amazon Barnes & Noble * Powell’s

Audio (coming on March 1st): Audible

Buying in the first week (or pre-ordering), is one of the absolute best ways to support a series you love.

Other great things you can do are to write reviews (Amazon, Goodreads, B&N), and, as always, talking about the book to your friends who like books.

But, you don’t have to take my word that Episode 2 will be good! (You can, if you want. That’s fine, too.) Here are some early reviews to give you other perspectives:

 

“The second episode in Michael R. Underwood’s Genrenauts delivers on the promise of Episode 1, and demonstrates that his special alchemy of Leverage + The Librarians + Quantum Leap + Thursday Next (just my current guess at his secret recipe) has legs — and will hopefully go a long time.”
– Irresponsible Reader

“…it’s a heck of a lot of fun the way Galaxy Quest is: a little goofy, a little serious but not taking itself too seriously, and filled with a fondness for the source material that gives it weight without weighing down the story.”
-Samantha Holloway, New York Journal of Books

As with the previous installment, Mike uses his love of genre to spin a story that would feel right at home in a modern day episode of Star Trek, ramping up quickly, doing it’s thing, and then resolving. And just like later season DS9, we get a set of plot threads that we have to tune in next week to see the progression of.
-Alex von der Linden, Blackfish Reviews

“My Genre-loving friends, get ready… we’re out of the saddle and back in the Saddle, but this time we’ve got alien politics, burgeoning alliances, mystery, and enough fast-paced Pew-Pew action to make me think I was in a golden age rocket ship, and indeed, that’s the point.”
Brad K. Horner

 

And coming on April 6th is “There Will Always Be a Max,” a Genrenauts short story. It will be available for free on Tor.com, and the ebook will be available for $.99.

There Will Always Be a Max cover (by Goñi Montes)

until then, happy reading!

The Shootout Solution Promonado Round-up: Week 2

The Shootout Solution is here, and the glorious Promonado, distributing promotion and love and geekdom all across the internet, has reached Category V. You can catch up on last week’s Promonado if you haven’t done so.

First, I celebrated the release itself.

The Shootout Solution Final

 

Serial Box had me over to their blog for an interview.

I sent my mailing list subscribers the password to my development diaries for The Shootout Solution.

Books

Barnes & Noble’s SF/F Blog gave me space to talk about genre-aware stories.

B&N also included the book in its weekly round-up of SF/F releases, repeating the kind review from a couple of months back.

Book Riot Podcast All The Books! Included The Shootout Solution in its longlist of releases. I’m a big Book Riot fan, so this was a treat.

At Tor.com, I talk about Leah as a Stand-up hero, and the three tries it took to get her stand-up routine right.

I gave away some copies on my friend and Speculate Co-host Gregory A. Wilson’s Twitch channel.

I geeked out with the fine folks of the Grim Tidings Podcast.

comics speech bubbles

Stephen Geigen-Miller interviewed me for his Breaking In series.

Library Freaking Journal reviewed The Shootout Solution, prompting joyful flail.

Author Jay Swanson and I talked about genre for writing and marketing on his Creative Mines video podcast.

I rambled about work/writing balance and more with Mahvesh Murad on Midnight in Karachi.

Mary Robinette Kowal gave me space to talk about My Favorite Bit from The Shootout Solution.

And the Audiobook edition came out today – performed by one of the best audiobook performers of our time, Mary Robinette Kowal.

If you haven’t seen them, Tor.com has been posting fun Genrenauts adventure prompts on their YouTube page:

So, that’s the state of the Promonado! Remember, if you buy The Shootout Solution – Genrenauts Episode 1 before November 23rd, you can enter to win a signed galley of Episode 2 – The Absconded Ambassador.

Genrenauts Combined

Library Journal review

Big news! The Shootout Solution has been reviewed by Library Journal – one of the major trade reviewers in the US. This is a big deal, not just because it’s a high-profile review, and more reviews = more people finding the book, but also because I’ve never had a major trade review for one of my books before (digital-only books don’t get much love along these lines).

Without further ado, here’s the review!

TSS Library Journal Review

 

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED (25G)

*happy dance*

Fist bump

A Book Birthday Message from Your Host

Hi folks.

Today is the release of my seventh book, The Shootout Solution. It’s the beginning of my Genrenauts series, and I think it’s my strongest work to date. It’s about a group of storytellers that travel between dimensions, each other world being the home of a story genre (Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, etc.). They find and fix broken stories in order to protect their Earth. Genrenauts lets me explore my thoughts about the social and psychological role of genres and storytelling. It’s also a chance for me to try to tell a big, dramatic story while staying optimistic.

It’s like Leverage meets Jasper Fforde, or Leverage for stories. It’s a great match for Ree Reyes fans, or for anyone that likes action/adventure or genre-bending SF/F.

Some of you have been with me since Geekomancy released in 2012, others are probably just now finding my work. Whoever you are, however you got here, thank you for completing the storytelling circuit. I write these books to communicate, to get my thoughts out into the world, and to entertain. Without you, without readers, I’m just talking to myself.

I’m incredibly excited about this series, as you have already seen. I’ve got a five-seasons planned for the series, and I’ve already written all six episodes of season 1. I want to take this one all the way.

Now, it’s up to you, the readers, to see if you like the book. Because if you do, there’s plenty more to come. Not just from me, but from the entire Tor.com Publishing imprint. They’ve got stand-alone novellas and series like mine across every corner of SF/F, from gritty revenge stories starring anthropomorphic animals to lyrical tales about outsider witches, stand-alone epic fantasy, and more.

If you’re here, it’s probably because you already know me from my books, from Twitter, from Angry Robot, or from a podcast. However you got here, welcome. I work from home, so a lot of my socializing happens through the internet – I thrive off of that interaction, and I appreciate having you here.

Like I said, it’s my book birthday, so here’s my wish: Please buy The Shootout Solution. And if you like it, tell your friends. Tell your co-workers. Find the people in your life that you think would enjoy the series, and share it with them. And then, consider trying some of the other novellas from Tor.com. We’re all in this boat together.

Every book that does well makes it more likely that Tor.com Publishing will succeed. Because I tell you what – Macmillan aren’t the only ones watching. You can guarantee that other publishers are watching what happens with Tor.com Publishing and deciding what to do about novellas, about innovative publishing strategies.

This entire imprint is an experiment by Macmillan, which does a perfectly good business in SF/F with their existing imprints (Tor Books is the largest North American publisher of SF/F, with many of the biggest writers in the genre). Macmillan is taking a big risk and investing a lot in trying to make this new model work, but it will only succeed if readers get as excited about novellas as the staff and writers for the imprint are.

I’ve found writing novellas to be incredibly rewarding – they’re long enough to establish an interesting world and tell a meaty story, but they don’t come with the expectations of a full-length novel. You can get in, tell your story, and get out, without the need to elongate the story with sub-plots and additional try-fail cycles. I still love writing novels, but this series has taught me to appreciate the versatility and beauty of the novella form. And for episodic storytelling in prose? Novellas are the place to be.

So if you’re excited about novellas, too – whether it’s from reading Genrenauts already, other novellas, or from any of the other Tor.com Publishing books, please spread the word. Recommend novellas to your friends, buy novellas as gifts for the holidays, and be sure to review the novellas you’ve read on retailer sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, as well as Goodreads.

So, here’s the take-away:

  1. Please buy The Shootout Solution – you can get it in paperbackebook, or audio (narrated by the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal, who narrated Celebromancy and Attack the Geek). The ebook edition is just $2.99, less than a latte, and just as energizing.
  2. Once you’ve read the book, please consider writing an honest review on retailer sites (Amazon, B&N, iTunes) and Goodreads. More reviews = more attention = more support from the publisher and from the retailers themselves. Especially on Amazon, the more reviews a book gets (especially right away upon release), the more it gets recommended through emails and so on. This is huge, especially for a digital-first book like The Shootout Solution.
  3. Spread the word. Talk about the book wherever you like to talk about books. This is really the most important thing. Maybe you can’t afford to buy too many books, or don’t have the time to read more than a handful a year. If you never buy one of my books and get them all on NetGalley or whatever, you can still make a huge difference by talking about the book. Anonymity is the kiss of death for creative work, so when someone cares about a work, cares enough to talk about it, that is magic.

P.S. If you buy the book before November 23rd, or if you’ve already pre-ordered, you can enter to win a signed & personalized print galley of The Absconded Ambassador, Genrenauts Episode 2. I’m doing this because early sales are a huge deal, I greatly appreciate them, and this is a way I can show that appreciation.

 

The way I see it, creative work succeeds when it makes an impact. Whether that’s just being a pleasant distraction during your commute or a way to focus during a flight, changing your mind or how you see the world, or providing a way to fill a lazy afternoon – however you partake, the fact that you care is the biggest magic of all.

Because it’s the beginning of what I hope to be a big, ambitious series, it’s really important for the first book to sell well. That’s why I’ve been running around the entire internet doing podcasts, written interviews, guest posts, videos, etc. I’ve been doing my best to spread the word and get people excited about it.

Thanks for coming this far, and I hope you’ll come back as Genrenauts continues February 23rd, 2016, with Episode 2 – The Absconded Ambassador.

Genrenauts Combined

 

Return of Promonado

We’re just 8 days from The Shootout Solution‘s release, and my Promonado has already begun. Here’s a quick round-up of reviews and appearances so far.

Reviews:

“The Shootout Solution is Genre blending fun.”
Fangirl Nation

“Snappy dialogue, twisting plot turns, and efficiently written action scenes combine with a strongly realized protagonist that reminds me of a old friend from my art school days, not a cardboard cut-out of the “strong female character” trope.”
Polychromantium

Podcasts:

Talking Genre with Daniel Benson on The Kingdoms of Evil.

Q&A at GenCon with James L. Sutter and Kameron Hurley for Writing Excuses.

 

And just in this very hour – the first of several videos we shot at Macmillan HQ about Genrenauts. This one is an introduction to the world and concept: