September writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsOctober? Already? How the hell did that happen?

Those of you who follow this blog with any regularity know that September was something of a hectic month for me, what with that whole “One door closes, another opens” thing with respect to my regular day job employment. If you missed me yammering about that, you can check it out here.

(So, hey! If you’re looking to hire a freelance writer, contact me on the DL, eh? :) )

Despite all the craziness surrounding my change in employment status, I still managed to do some of that writing stuff, including delivering the manuscript for the current novel in-progress (more on that below). I also managed to stay busy with a few other things, and now I’m ramping up for what I hope is a productive October.

So without further ado, here’s the September rundown:

Armageddon’s Arrow – A Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, set after the events of The Fall. I delivered the manuscript to my editor on September 19th, and received her initial notes/feedback earlier this week. I’m tending to those now and expect to return an updated file to her next Monday. The book’s publication date is set for Tuesday, May 26th, 2015. With any luck, pre-order links and related whatevers should be popping up soon. I’ve seen cover art and the copy for the back cover, so hopefully that will be showing up somewhere soon, as well.

When Dreams Meet Reality.” – My monthly contribution to the Novel Spaces blog, which was posted on September 16th. This time around, I recount something that happened a month or so earlier when I was e-Mailed by someone looking to publish a Star Trek novel. Though the answer I gave him likely wasn’t what he wanted to hear, we had a good dialogue and he came away motivated to keep working on his writing. So, that was time well spent, I think.

Article for StarTrek.com – The latest installment for my irregularly recurring series for them, “Ten for Ward.” I actually sent this to my editor late last night, and it should maybe go live on the site by the weekend. What’s it about, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. :)

Star Trek: Seekers #4 – Kevin and I have received, signed, and returned our contracts and even been paid the first portion of our advance, so this definitely will be our next project, once I’ve completed Armageddon’s Arrow. Mister Mack, our partner in crime, is set to start working on Book #3 once he finishes his current work in-progress, and Kevin and I will begin figuring out what our book will be about later this month and into early October. Our outline is due to our editor on or about October 13th, with a manuscript due in the spring. Unlike the first two books which will launch the series, Books 3 and 4 will each be standalone tales “starring,” respectively, the crews of the U.S.S. Sagittarius and Endeavour.

Essay – I was approached back in April about contributing another essay for another collection of such pieces by the good folks at Sequart, who are publishing the aforementioned New Life and New Civilizations this summer. The new book will be titled The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes. I’ll leave it to you to figure out its topic. Now that Armageddon’s Arrow has been delivered, I’ll be channeling some brain cells toward this, which is due to its editor on or before October 31st.

Tie-in novel – Back in May, I was approached by the editor of another tie-in line and offered an opportunity to write for them. I happily accepted that offer, and on August 1st I delivered an outline to my new editor, who has since told me that she’s cool with it and would be forwarding it on to the licensor for review. I’ve signed contracts, but I’m not authorized to release any details about this project yet, except to say that it’s a property for which I’ve never written, but about which I’m totally, totally, totally jazzed. As things stand now, my manuscript will be due in early April. More details will be posted once I get the all-clear to start babbling about it.

And another tie-in project – I actually need to get my butt in gear and get a pitch to the editor for this, as he already accepted my brief, couple-sentence elevator pitch for a story to be included in his forthcoming anthology. I’ve been swamped with…well…everything, but I’m reviewing some relevant material for the property before I send in what I’ve got cooking. This will be another one of those, “More details to come” updates, for now.

Other stuff in the pipeline:

Sequel to From History’s Shadow – I’ve had preliminary discussions with my editor about this, and we are a go. Contracts are on the way and as things stand now, this likely will be the novel I work on after I finish the as yet unnamed tie-in novel and Seekers #4. I’ve got a slew of notes, I’ve ordered a couple of new books to use for research, and so on. I still need to flesh things out and get everything ordered the way I want it for the outline, of course, which likely won’t be until later this fall.

Unnamed Star Trek novel – Along with History’s Shadow II, I also was asked about writing something after that. At this point, I don’t even know what it will be…that’s how nebulous things are this far out (we’re talking publication well into 2016, here). But, contracts are coming for that, too, so there obviously will be some serious thinking about it at some point soon.

Tie-in project – For who knows? Believe it or not, I actually got this thing to a point where I was comfortable handing it off to another party for review. Why? Because this project, assuming it goes forward, will entail collaborating with an artist. The person I hope will be that artist is currently looking over the material, and if he decides he wants to play, then we’ll get going on finalizing the pitch and putting it in front of the “right people.” This would be for someone with whom I’ve not worked before, so I’m not sure at this point what to expect, but, I’m definitely jazzed to get this in front of someone, because FUN.

The Adventures of Space Marshal Dylan McCade: There has been some preliminary talk about a follow-up to “The Terror of Entropia’s Ice Cannon!” That first story ended on something of a cliffhanger, setting up something I was calling “The Rampage of the Runaway Moon!” and even though that originally was meant as a tongue-in-cheek salute to Space: 1999, it’s looking like we may well go for developing this notion. The current plan is to collaborate on a story outline, and from there decide how best to proceed. In the meantime, the first adventure is still available for listening and reading at the Dylan McCade’s page on the SciFi Commons website, and it’s all free for your ears and eyes alike. So, if you haven’t yet sampled it, you need to be setting course thataway. I’ll wait.

“The Enterprise Job” – As 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the building of the original Enterprise model, and with recent news that it will soon be moved to a more prominent location within the Air & Space Museum as well as possibly receiving a new restoration effort, I told myself that I have to get off my ass and get this finished, formatted, and made available for public consumption and ridicule. This means figuring out how best to get it set up for one of the e-Book venues like Smashwords or whatever, as well as making it available for print-on-demand. I know, I know…”it’s coming.”

Short film script: Kevin and I hatched this notion back in December, as a matter of fact. 2014 also marks another milestone year in the annals of Star Trek history, and as we were talking about some other things we plan to be doing at the forthcoming Starfest convention in Denver, this other idea presented itself. Now that Kevin has experience writing scripts and access to people and resources looking and willing to film such things, we decided we may have the makings of a fun little project. I also have the idea pretty much written out, already, so it’ll largely be a matter of going in and rewriting/freshening up some bits, formatting a 10-15 minute screenplay from that, and then seeing what the next steps are. Mwuah-ah-hah.

Possible future projects:

Another tie-in project – Earlier in June, I was recommended to an editor who was just getting going on ramping up several tie-in efforts, all for properties that would be new to me, writing-wise. I was told earlier in August that the property for which I’d submitted a couple of short pitches has been “put on hold,” so I won’t be doing anything with those, at least for a while. I have no idea if anything will come of this, but the exercise has at least brought me to the attention of another editor who seems keen on putting me to work. So, I guess we’ll see.

And yet another tie-in project – For who knows? Kevin and I originally cooked up this notion while we were in Vegas last year. After some himming and hawing, we finally put together a pitch/outline and delivered it for review back in December. I thought the thing had gone dormant or died on the vine, but I was informed back in early summer that it has been passed up the ladder to the next party who needs to weigh in and either approve or reject it. So, who knows? We might have ourselves a ballgame, here.

Military SF story – A while back, I received a copy of a military SF short fiction anthology – the first in what is to be a recurring series of such books – along with a  handwritten note from its editor that read, “Volume 2 is done. Now send me something for Volume 3!” So, you know…I should probably do something about that. I’ve got a couple of ideas percolating; it’s just a matter of putting nose to the grindstone, etc.

Kid’s story book – Though my original idea (an illustrated story book for younger kids…5-8 range, etc.) might not end up going anywhere, a recent discussion has opened a door to possibly getting this going as part of another, larger project. This would be a licensed product, and things are still very nebulous at the moment as different parties weigh in on this or that, but you can be sure that if anything breaks, I’ll be one jazzed geek.

Original SF novel – Another idea that’s been picking up steam in recent weeks. I’ve revisited a file I had started a while back, refreshed some older notes and added some new ones. I think I may be onto something, and I plan to approach at least one editor with it later this summer, once I get a synopsis/proposal roughed out.

And there it is, as we plunge headlong into the fourth quarter of 2014. As the same goes, Time flies when you’re having fun. Or, as Groucho once said, “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”

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The Batcave Podcast, Episode 24!

It seems I’ve been remiss in my podcast pimping duties of late, owing to book deadlines, employment status changes, upgrading to a new laptop, and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, I totally missed pointing you all toward a brand-spankin’ new episode of The Batcave Podcast!

Host John S. Drew continues marching merrily onward with his review of the classic 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward, and for the second season’s sixth story (and 11th and 12th episodes), he’s joined by prolific wordsmith and podcaster Keith R.A. DeCandido for a discussion about the two-part story that adds the Clock King to the Caped Crusader’s Rogues Gallery, “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes” and “The Clock King Gets Crowned.”

From John’s write-up:

“The Clock King plans a well-timed crime spree that could go off without a hitch except for two things – Batman and Robin.”

You ever get the idea that John may have written capsule summaries for TV Guide in a past life?

Anyway, tune in to see what John and Keith thought of these episodes: “The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes/The Clock King Gets Crowned

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Bucs Blog! 2014 Season, Week 4.

For anyone who might’ve been waiting for me to post this, I apologize. I’m in the midst of setting up my new laptop and transferring files/etc. over from two older boxes, and there also was some quick writing work with deadlines to address over the weekend. Also? It took me some extra time to wrap my head around the fact that the Bucs won. Holy shit, the Bucs won, because holy shit!

:: Ahem ::

bucs-logo2014

Bucs 27 – Steelers 24

I have to admit I didn’t see this one coming. Even though the Steelers have been struggling lately, and even with the Bucs still smarting from the ass-hammering Atlanta gave them over a week ago and looking or a chance to redeem themselves, I figured Pittsburgh would at least be able to muster up enough…whatever…to keep Tampa at bay (see what I did there?).

I’m perfectly content to be wrong.

It wasn’t the most spectacular win in franchise history, but the Bucs did plenty of things right, and capitalized on the very long list of things the Steelers did wrong, to pull out a win late…very late…in the game. As Pittsburgh seemed bound and determined to invent ever new and better ways to trip themselves up, a very hungry Bucs defense seized several opportunities to quash Steeler scoring drives and generally harass quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who got slammed with five–count ‘em, five–sacks on the day. Tampa also recovered  Pittsburgh fumble and basically did just about everything you could ask to keep the game within reach and hand their offense numerous opportunities to put it away.

Tampa quarterback Mike Glennon–who I don’t think gets the credit he deserves for maintaining his poise and a level head even when he’s handed every flavor of shit sandwich the Bucs can offer–rallied the offense not once but twice to notch come-from-behind scores, including the go-ahead touchdown with just five seconds left in regulation. Elsewhere on offense, it was nice to see running back Doug Martin back in the lineup. He’s one of those guys I think can really do good things for the Bucs, if all of the other pieces can be fitted together the right way.

It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, of course. Penalties are once again an item of note in the early going this season, something that was a major concern at this point last year. Most of them were of the “You should damned-well know better” variety, and they at least were mitigated somewhat by the fact that Pittsburgh seemed hell-bent on outclassing the Bucs in that statistic, as well.

An ugly win is still a win, and in Tampa’s case a sorely needed victory. They improve their record to 1-3, tying them with New Orleans for last place in the NFC South Division. The Bucs play those same Saints this coming Sunday, so a win there is critical as we enter the season’s second quarter. As for the rest of the division, leader Carolina was handed their second consecutive loss thanks to Baltimore, and Atlanta got spanked by Minnesota. Both the Panthers and the Falcons face opponents next week who can hand them losses, so there’s a distinct possibility of the division seeing some reshuffling and things getting even more tight and contested in the finest NFC South tradition.

All Tampa has to do is its part, right?

It’s a Bucs life, yo.

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Ask Dayton #105 on the G and T Show: “Who Dares Talk About Vanguard?”

Hey! We’re back!

Well, to be fair, the G and T Show never really went anywhere. Hosts Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull, and Mike Medeiros kept on keeping on, doing their usual weekly bit of discussing all the various happenings across the “Star Trek Universe.” There was talk of latest movie news and rumors, developments with the ever-evolving Star Trek Online game, and of course some love was thrown toward the Star Trek novels, for which I’m grateful.

Meanwhile, I was busy dealing with wrapping up my employment as well as the manuscript for the latest novel project, so my days and nights were kinda busy there, for a while. Because of that, I asked for the show’s usual “Ask Dayton” segment to take a brief hiatus while I tended to those other items. Now that the decks have been cleared, more or less and for the time being, I was back in the saddle this week with an all new query. What’d we have for our newest question?

Dear Dayton,

When you, Kevin, and Dave were writing the Vanguard series, it seemed that it would be the last time we would be seeing many of the characters aboard the Endeavour and the Sagittarius. Many people died throughout Vanguard as a result of it. Now, with Seekers picking up where Vanguard left off, I wonder if there are any characters you could have saved for use in Seekers?

Thanks

Why the hell are we talking about Vanguard? Don’t we know we’re not supposed to be talking about Vanguard? What’s the First Rule of Vanguard, kids? That’s right. Say it with me: “You Do Not Talk About Vanguard.”

Admiral Nogura’s gonna be pissed at us if he finds out we’ve been talking about Vanguard. You know that, right?

Eh, fuck it. Let’s talk about Vanguard.

For those of you who aren’t dialed into the finer points of Star Trek novel geekery, Vanguard as created by editor Marco Palmieri and author David Mack is a series of books that served as a “literary spin-off” of the original Star Trek television series. No, not David Mack the Kabuki artist, but hey! He really, really loves it when you make that joke, because he’s never, ever heard it. Like ever, at least not in the last five minutes or so.

Anyway, Vanguard was set aboard a space station in a hotly contested area of space called “the Taurus Reach.” After Dave set events into motion with the series’ first book, Harbinger, Kevin Dilmore and I were invited aboard to help continue the story. Over the course of seven novels and a handful of novellas, the series’ cast of characters (and holy shit, were there a lot of them) dug up all sorts of trouble and generally pissed off some very powerful aliens who didn’t much like being dug up and pissed off.

As the story unfolded over those novels and novellas, several characters met tragic ends, and a couple got what they fuckin’ had comin’ to ‘em. At the time, those of us writing Vanguard stories didn’t think much of this, as we were marching to the endgame we more or less had plotted all along. I say “more or less” because while there was a sort of blueprint Dave set up at the beginning, we ended up adding a lot of additional ideas and whatnot as each new book was developed.

Because sometimes, new shit comes along that you like better than the other shit, that’s why.

Then, once Vanguard was over and done, wrapped and topped with a pretty little bow and with us thinking we all would move on to other things, we got the bright idea to take some of the leftover toys back out of the box and see if we couldn’t come up with a new game to play. The results of this freestyle, caffeine and alcohol-driven brainstorming is a little something we like to call Star Trek: Seekers.

So, now that we have our new little corner of the Star Trek sandbox in which to cavort, do we wish we hadn’t been quite so bloodthirsty in the Vanguard books, and perhaps spared some of our favorite characters who didn’t make it to the end of that series?

Speaking only for myself? Nope.

We did what we wanted to do with Star Trek Vanguard: Craft a sweeping tale with a defined beginning, middle, and ending, and once we were done, we wanted to place it on a proverbial shelf and be able to point to it and say, “Yeah, we did that, and we’re damned proud of it.” The characters who died, and those who survived and yet still paid heavy personal costs, did so in service to the story we wanted to tell. I won’t speak for Dave or Kevin, or Marco or Margaret Clark, but while I might think we could have done this or that thing better, I have no regrets about how it all ended up. As far as I’m concerned, the stories of Vanguard’s core cast have been told. Within the fictional construct of the Star Trek universe, their reward—and penance—for what happened over the course of those novels and novellas is to be consigned to obscurity; footnotes to a history about which few people ever will know the complete truth.

Out here in the real world, and while I certainly could come up with ideas for new stories for each of those characters, I have no immediate desire to do so. I know Dave and Kevin feel the same way, and we’ve all agreed to leave those characters be, while pledging to level basketball-sized stink-eyes on anyone else who dares to give it a go. Our self-imposed compromise for this is the crews of the Endeavour and the Sagittarius, who really were only supporting players in the Vanguard saga and now take center stage in Seekers. Any stories we choose to tell which might pull on a dangling Vanguard plot thread can—we believe—be handled by the characters from those ships, so that’s the way it’s going to be, at least so long as we have anything to say about it.

Okay, we’re done here. No more talking about Vanguard, because while I don’t know about you, I sure as shit don’t want Admiral Nogura coming to punch me in the junk.


This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #160 on September 28th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

And as always, many thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for continuing to make me a part of the fun.

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Your Moment of TrekZen*

Trek yourself, before you wreck yourself.

image

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

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And so it goes.

logan-lifeclock

I’ve been pretty busy the last several days, getting the novel in-progress whipped into something resembling a manuscript that won’t make my editor want to run in front of a bus. In and around all of that, there have been some other things happening. A close circle of friends knew ahead of time, but now we’re here and I figure I may as well share the news with the rest of you. After all, it certainly will affect things going forward, including what you might be seeing here…hopefully for the better.

Last Friday, my corporate life clock officially turned black, as it was my last day with my full-time employer. Basically, the account we had with our client came to an end, and my choices were to attempt to find a new position within the company, or receive a severance package as part of a “work force reduction.” After investigating the available opportunities and knowing that relocation was not a real option (you may recall that we just moved into a new house back in the spring), I chose Door #2.

Though my time with HP now has come to an end, I can honestly say that the experience of being let go has been about as decent and dignified as I think these things get. We were told months ago that this (likely) would happen, we were kept up to date as developments came about, and there have been all sorts of tools and such to aid with the transition. I actually had my first brush with a layoff back in 2003 while working for Sprint. That company had outsourced a lot of its IT work to two other firms, IBM and Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and I was one of the lucky ones who was hired (by EDS) to support that work. Later, when EDS was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2008, I once again was one of the fortunate folks to be carried over. One of the nice things that EDS did when they hired me was bridge my employment with Sprint, and HP did the same, giving me a cumulative total of 16 years for purposes of–among other things–vacation, retirement/401k contributions, and, at the end of it all, my severance package.

So, as none of this was a surprise, I (and the other people so affected) had plenty of time to plan. In addition to checking the postings within HP, I also was looking into employment alternatives with another company. However, as I scanned what jobs were available, crossing out those where I didn’t think my skill sets were a match or which required relocation, I started understanding that what was left either would pay much less than I was earning or just be something I simply didn’t want to do.

Then, I began to realize something else: I just didn’t want to do any of this shit anymore.

For one thing, I’ve been in IT for almost 30 years. Call it a midlife crisis, or a crisis of confidence that maybe I wouldn’t be able to find something where I was a good fit and would be able to make decent money, but the idea of starting over at or near the bottom of someone else’s corporate cubicle farm was disconcerting, to say the least.

Therefore, this week started with me in a position I’ve not known since I had my first job at age 16: Unemployed.

Well, not really.

After a couple of long discussions with She Who Is My Wife and My Rock, and with her actually and *actively* encouraging me to do so, I made a bold choice: I’m going into business for myself, kinda sorta. While I was checking out the IT job listings, I also was quietly making inquiries about the possibility of securing more freelance work. I’ve mentioned every so often that I’ve had to pass on projects because balancing my day job along with the writing I already had on my plate saw to it that I just didn’t have the time to commit to anything more. When I approached a few folks with news of my “increased availability,” the early feedback I got in a couple of cases was a variation of, “Where the hell have you been? I’ll put your ass to work right now,” which was gratifying.

One thing I seem to have in my favor that wasn’t necessarily the case a decade ago is that I’ve had a decade more to build a reputation as somebody worth hiring (I’m told) as well as a network of connections. With all of that apparently going for me–which includes the support over the years of a growing and loyal readership–along with that aforementioned severance package to cushion the landing, I’ve decided to pursue writing full-time.

As I write this, and after delivering the manuscript for my latest novel to its editor, I have signed contracts for two more novels (one solo, the other a collaboration with Kevin), and verbal agreements for two more after that, with the contracts on the way. There have been discussions about future books as well as other projects. I’m starting to get serious about an original SF concept that’s been percolating for a bit and which I hope to shop to publishers, and I’m even planning to dip my toe a bit deeper into the self-publishing pool. I like to think I’m pretty adaptable, and I’m willing to entertain anything that sounds interesting.

Have words, will write. And all that.

So, I’m gonna get a bit of my Hank Moody on for a while–hopefully without the endless train of bad decisions–and I guess we’ll see what we’ll see, right? I’m hopeful, excited, and a little scared…all at the same time.

And so it goes.

Posted in life, ramblings, work, writing | 37 Comments

“The Bionic Criminal” on Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast!

It looks like the 2014 Parsec Award-winning Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast is back in a regular groove kind of thing! Hosts John S. Drew and Paul K. Bisson are full speed ahead with their revisiting of The Six Million Dollar Man. Their review of the show’s third season continues, and for this latest installment, they’re joined by bionic guru Matt Hankinson as they take a new gander at the season’s ninth episode, “The Bionic Criminal.”

From John’s write-up:

“Oscar authorizes the reactivation of Barney Hiller (Miller) as an experiment to see if it is possible to activate and reactivate bionic units when needed. Steve objects, but it is too late.

For Barney, it’s an opportunity to get back on the race track as he’s lost his edge ever since his accident. When this doesn’t work, Barney lashes out in frustration at his potential sponsor nearly killing him. Barney is unaware that the man survived and is blackmailed by a former OSI scientist to commit crimes.

Can Steve find Barney without doing an “I told you so” dance for Oscar and Rudy? What’s the deal with the name change? And what’s the deal with Rudy?”

This episode marks the return of “The Seven Million Dollar Man” himself, Barney Hiller, who was introduced during the second season. Originally, the character was named “Barney Miller,” but the name was changed when ABC launched what ended up being one of the all-time classic sitcoms, Barney Miller.

Monte Markham, who plays Barney, was one of the actors considered for the part of Steve Austin before Lee Majors won the role, and rumor has it that Martin Caidin, author of the original Cyborg novel on which the series is based, actually preferred Markham over Majors.

Tune in to see what John, Paul, and Matt thought of the episode: Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast – “The Bionic Criminal”

Posted in cyborgs podcast, feelin' nostalgic, friends, nerdity, podcasts, tv | 1 Comment