We be Rushin’…..

Thanks to today’s mail delivery, it’s official: On July 9th, Michi and I will be taking the girls to their first real rock concert:


Michi and I have been going to Rush concerts since 1990’s Presto tour. We haven’t missed a tour since then, and we’ve even managed a twofer on occasion with a given tour.

Once the kids came along and they started hearing Rush music in the car or at home and taking a liking to it (Addy used to sing “Red Barchetta” at bedtime), we know that their first “real” concert had to be with Geddy, Alex, and Neil or else would would forever consider ourselves failures as proper parents.

Yes, there’s already been the odd Disney-related thing here and there, but once I heard rumblings about them wanting to go to a One Direction concert this summer, I started getting nervous. At that point, Rush had not announced plans for a tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary; something similar to what they’d done ten years ago when the Big 3-0 rolled around.

(Yes, Michi and I were there. See above.)

Thankfully, the boys must’ve heard about my plight, for they came through and announced not only a 40th anniversary tour, but with a date here in KC that gets them in here ahead of the 1D guys.

(:: insert sigh of relief here ::)

They also announced that this perhaps also will be the last large-scale tour they’ll do. Yes, time is beginning to catch up with the Trinity, and they’re starting to think that maybe they want to dial it back a bit. If that’s true, then I’m doubly happy the kids will get to see them live because let’s face it….this band puts on a hell of a show.

Okay, boys. Bring it on.


Posted in family, music, rush | Leave a comment

Happy 35th Anniversary, The Empire Strikes Back!

It is a dark time for the
Rebellion. Although the Death
Star has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have driven the
Rebel forces from their hidden
base and pursued them across
the galaxy.

Evading the dreaded Imperial
Starfleet, a group of freedom
fighters led by Luke Skywalker
has established a new secret
base on the remote ice world
of Hoth.

The evil lord Darth Vader,
obsessed with finding young
Skywalker, has dispatched
thousands of remote probes into
the far reaches of space….

It was a hot day in Tampa (aren’t they all?) on May 21st, 1980, when a couple of friends and I, after standing for four hours in the hot Florida sun finally were able to make our way into a theater that no longer exists, soaking up as much air conditioning, Coke, and popcorn as our bodies could absorb when after three long years of anticipation, these familiar words finally appeared on the screen….

And the audience went nuts.

Released 35 years ago today, The Empire Strikes Back (or, “Episode V” as some people insist on calling it) was that rare sequel that proceeded to top its predecessor. Working from a script by Leigh Brackett and the incomparable Lawrence Kasdan, director Irvin Kershner pulls and stretches on the mythology created by George Lucas. Empire amps up by several notches everything we loved about the original Star Wars while adding new characters and revelations as the journey of Luke Skywalker from backwater farm boy to potential savior of the rebellion against the Galactic Empire begins to take a darker turn.

We’ve got the evil emperor, who we see is the real power pulling Darth Vader’s strings. Then there’s that whole business with Han Solo and Princess Leia, and Boba Fett the super cool bounty hunter coming after Solo. And what about that conniving prick Lando Calrissian, or Yoda the annoying Jedi master? Oh, and did we mention that whole knowledge bomb Vader drops on Luke right after he chops off the dude’s hand?


Those who have only experienced “the original trilogy” via home video or (:: gasp! ::) after discovering Star Wars via one of the more recent films do have one thing going for them: they were spared the “agony” of having to wait three more years to see what would come next. On the other hand, I feel that those who’ve only watched the (at present) six Star Wars films in their “episode order” have been denied the true impact of the surprise twists presented in Empire (and later, Return of the Jedi).

Now that I’m a parent and once my kids started getting into Star Wars, I made sure to show them the films in their original release order. My oldest had been watching the Clone Wars cartoons, but the truth of Anakin Skywalker wasn’t revealed to her until we watched Empire and Return together, and I still laugh at the sounds she made when it all became clear to her.

(Proper indoctrination of offspring into Star Wars? Achievement Unlocked.)

For my money, The Empire Strikes Back remains the best of the Star Wars films, at least to date. Can The Force Awakens unseat it from the top of my heap? I was about to say, “It’s welcome to try,” but as Yoda would say: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Anyway, my kids and I will be there in December, ready to see for ourselves.

In the meantime? Happy 35th, Empire. You’re not scruffy-looking, at all.


Posted in fandom, feelin' nostalgic, movies, nerdity, star wars | 9 Comments

Book sightings!

armageddons-arrow-coverMy spies report from various fronts that copies of Armageddon’s Arrow are beginning to show up in the wild. As of this morning, I have two confirmed sightings.

The book’s “official” publication date is next Tuesday, May 26th, but since most mass-market paperbacks don’t have actual street dates, they can start turning up as much as a week or so ahead of time, depending on when a bookseller gets their stock out to the shelves.

Those of you who prefer e-Books to paper will have to actually wait for the 26th, though, as sellers use the “official” date for dropping the soft copies. If you’re already ordered the book for your e-Device du jour, you should be getting it at some point after midnight on Tuesday.

(What? You haven’t yet ordered yours? da hell, man?)

As I’ve mentioned before, the cover art for this one comes to us courtesy of the incomparable Doug Drexler, working in collaboration with Ali Ries, who provides those glorious backgrounds to accent the ship action. I think I’m going to have to work in a reference to a “Riesian Anomaly” in a future book.

All righty, then: Let me know when it starts showing up in your neck of the woods. We’ll call this the thread to log additional field reports for sightings. Bring us your blurry photos, shaky-cam videos, and eyewitness accounts of your encounters with this beast. Tread carefully, and always stay in pairs or groups, yo. Happy hunting!

Posted in books, trek, writing | Leave a comment

2015 Scribe nominees announced!

iamtwIt’s that time of year, again!

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) has announced their nominees for this year’s Scribe Awards, as well as the recipient of the 2015 “Faust” Grandmaster Award. I’m not going to steal any of the thunder from the formal announcements, but instead post the organization’s official press releases here. First up? The Scribe nominees, which includes a number of names familiar to me as well as several people I’m proud to call friends:

Continue reading

Posted in awards, books, friends, iamtw, writing | Leave a comment

Novel Spaces – “When Lightning Strikes…You Bottle that Stuff”

writerSo, hey! It’s the 16th, again, which means it’s my turn at bat over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This month, I offer up a “day in the writer’s life” tidbit that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. What happens when you’re not actually writing, but you get one of those “ZOMG! I HAVE TO WRITE THIS DOWN!” moments? Either it’s an idea for a new story, or it’s the solution to the story problem that’s been bugging you for days. These sort of epiphanies usually happen to me at the most inopportune moments. Case in point….

Novel Spaces – “When Lightning Strikes…You Bottle that Stuff”

So, what about you? Where does this “lightning” tend to strike, and how do you respond?

My Novel Spaces archive.

Posted in guest blogging, novel spaces, writing | 4 Comments

The Batcave Podcast, Episode 40!

Greetings, Bat-fans! It’s time for another scintillating installment of The Batcave Podcast!

That’s right, old chums: host John S. Drew marches merrily on with his continuing review of the classic 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West, Burt Ward, and cast of favorites. For the second season’s 21st story (and 43rd and 44th episodes overall), he’s joined by Gotham City 14 Miles editor Jim Beard as they discuss the return of the Riddler in “Batman’s Anniversary” and “A Riddling Controversy.”

From John’s write-up:

“The Riddler is back in town and he needs $3,000,000 in order to acquire a device that will give him absolute control over Gotham City. Can Batman and Robin solve his baffling clues in time? Will they realize the Riddler’s looking a little different this time around? The whole thing is heading for an explosive climax as John Astin takes on the role of the Prince of Puzzlers.”

As most folks probably know, John Astin had a pretty steady gig in the 1960s, portraying Gomez Addams in The Addams Family. Here, he dons the green tights due to a salary dispute between Frank Gorshin and the production. Gorshin would return for the series’ third season.

See what John and Jim think of these episodes: “Batman’s Anniversary/A Riddling Controversy

Posted in batcave podcast, feelin' nostalgic, friends, nerdity, podcasts, tv | Leave a comment

Tie me up.

Relax, gutterbrains.

For those who are even casual visitors, I think the secret’s out that I have this peculiar habit of writing Star Trek books every so often. Indeed, writing Star Trek fiction has done wonders for funding my kids’ future college tuitions, among other things. There are those who view the writing of such stories with disdain, or consider it a waste of time and energy, but here’s the deal: I have fun doing it, and people pay me to have that fun. Unless the naysayers are wanting to kick in for my mortgage or the food I put in my kids’ faces, I’m liable not to care much about their opinions on this topic.

Now, while Star Trek constitutes a rather large chunk of my writing credits, I’ve also got some original novels and shorts stories here and there (and with luck, more of that, sooner rather than later. Stay tuned). As for other tie-in properties, Kevin and I wrote that novel for the The 4400 some years back, and we’ve each contributed to other creator-owned or work-for-hire projects like a role-playing game or the ReDeus anthology), and of course I’m hip deep in writing that 24 novel for Tor.

the-bionicsEvery so often, I get asked if there’s a TV, film, or game property for which I like to write. I got an e-Mail posing just that sort of question today. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything but respond privately to such a query, but every so often I like to come here and turn the question around. It’s been at least a couple of years since I launched such an exercise, and when we consider the sorts of TV shows, movies, and games that have come along just in that brief span of time, there’s all sorts of things to consider that wasn’t on the menu, last time.

For example, we had recent news that there is to be a new take on The Six Million Dollar Man with a big budget film adaptation of the concept, starring Mark Wahlberg and (as of now) titled The Six Billion Dollar Man. Given my fondness for Colonel Steve Austin and his bionics, it goes without saying that I’d be keen to write something utilizing this premise. Such fanboy wish-listing also makes good fodder for well-played April Fool’s jokes, you know (see pic).

Anyway, now that I’ve answered the original question-poser via e-Mail, I figure I’ll once again put it to you all, assuming you’re a reader and fan of such books (and really…who isn’t? Tie-ins are like porn…nobody cops to them, but they keep selling. Odd, that.). For what properties would you like to see me write? It can be anything–TV show, film, game, whatever. It can be something for which novels or other tie-ins are currently being written, something new that doesn’t (yet?) have such books, or perhaps an older property that’s fallen by the wayside but still burns hot in your fanboy/fangirl heart.

The only rule for this little thought exercise is that it can’t be any flavor of Star Trek, even if it’s one of the shows/permutations for which I’ve not written. Otherwise? Everything’s fair game, and there are no “wrong” answers.

I’d also be interested in hearing why you think I’d make a good fit.

Hit me.

Posted in q&a, ramblings, writing | 19 Comments