Famous Monsters #286: In da house!

It had been a while since I’d last written anything for a magazine. Yes, I’ve done several articles for websites (namely StarTrek.com) in recent years, and a handful of essays for collections published by the Sequart Organization, but for a print magazine? We have to go back to early 2012 and my last couple of articles for Star Trek Magazine.

So, when the opportunity to write a couple of pieces for Famous Monsters of Filmland presented itself, Kevin and I were all about that, yo. As I previously mentioned, FMoF is one of those magazines for which I snatched up every issue I could find back when I was a kid. Along with such stalwart publications as Starlog and Fangoria, this was how fans got the latest scoop on all the happenings in SF, Horror, and Fantasy film and TV, along with juicy retrospectives on genre classics. Getting the chance to write for such a magazine is a dream come true.

And lookie what showed up in today’s mail! Ain’t they pretty?

FM286(Click to Biggie Size)

The new issue, #286, officially goes on sale on June 7th in both print and electronic formats, so these are very minty fresh and doused in that new car smell. Even without our little contributions, this has so much stuff packed between its covers that I’ll likely be flipping pages all evening.

Many thanks again to editor David Weiner and the good folks at Famous Monsters for letting us into their sandbox to play for a while. It was fun!




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Planet of the Apes anthology: Now up for pre-order!

AngryApeI found out today that the Planet of the Apes anthology, to which I contributed a short story and which will be published by Titan Books, has an actual publication date and pre-order links are now available? How about them ape-ples?

Yep! In rather subdued fashion, Amazon is now listing Classic Planet of the Apes: An Anthology for pre-order. I’ve been assured that the title is merely a placeholder and will be updated in due course, and we can also expect to see an unveiling of the book’s cover art in the not too distant future.

Edited by Jim Beard and Rich Handley, the anthology is due out on January 24th, 2017, priming the pump (so to speak) for what will likely be an awesome Apes summer when War for the Planet of the Apes hits theater screens. The third installment in the rebooted Apes mythology promises to blow the doors off the joint, in much the same way that 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes elevated the bar from its already impressive predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011.

Meanwhile, our little anthology will feature tales from all along the “classic continuity,” which is to say the original five films from the 1960s and 70s, as well as the two 70s-era Planet of the Apes television series, but not the 2001 remake film. The anthology will contain stories from this rather impressive line-up of word pushers:

Dan Abnett
Kevin J. Anderson
Jim Beard
Nancy A. Collins
Greg Cox
Drew Gaska
Robert Greenberger
Rich Handley
Gregory Keyes
Sam Knight
Paul Kupperberg
Jonathan Maberry
Bob Mayer
John Jackson Miller
Will Murray
Ty Templeton

Oh, and me. I get to play around a bit in one of my guilty fanboy pleasures, the world established by the 1974 live-action television series, and continue the adventures of astronauts Alan Virdon and Peter Burke and their chimpanzee ally, Galen, as they search for a way back to their own time while on the run from Security Chief Urko and his bands of gorilla soldiers.


Friend and fellow scribe Bob Greenberger is also contributing a tale tying into the TV series. Aside from a few short stories and comics published in a handful of hard-to-find publications scattered here and there, this is really the first time the TV show has been revisited in this manner since George Alec Effinger’s quartet of novelizations back in the 1970s, so I for one am pretty dang excited to be one of the people doing the revisiting.

I’m also intrigued to see what another of the writers does with a story set in the continuity of the 1975 animated series, Return to the Planet of the Apes because so far as I know and aside from a trio of novelizations, this will mark the first time that’s ever been done.


(Of course I have copies of all the books pictured. Remember who you’re talking to.)

Indeed, there has been a tragic dearth of original prose stories tying into the classic continuity, dating all the way back to the 1968 film, so this whole anthology is really kind of a big deal. Well, for us Apes fanboys, at any rate.

All right, Apes fans! Now’s your chance to get on board early. If you’re so inclined, visit your local independent book seller and have them pre-order you a copy of this Awesome Apes Anthology To Be Properly Named Later, or follow the link to pre-order the trade paperback or e-Book:

Classic Planet of the Apes: An Anthology
Edited by Jim Beard & Rich Handley, and featuring a cast of favorites

Yes, yes, yes…..go and get your stinkin’ paws on a copy, you damned dirty apes.

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Don’t panic, and carry a towel.

May 25th: Happy Towel Day! Did you remember yours?


“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Towel Day: Celebrating the Life and Work of Douglas Adams

don't panic

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Back on the air.

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:


Yeah, I’ve been busy of late. Overlapping projects and successive deadlines saw to it that much of the last month has been a blur. Other things like this space had to take a back seat while I tended to the Things That Pay Bills, but now I’m enjoying a brief–a very brief–respite before I start in on The Next Thing.

Today’s writing schedule is light: Tending to editor’s notes for Headlong Flight, which will be my next Star Trek: The Next Generation novel due for publication next spring, along with putting the final polish to another novel project. There’s also a bit of regular monthly client work. I may see editor feedback for the manuscript I delivered last Friday morning, for a project that hasn’t yet been announced, but that’ll likely happen later in the week.

Meanwhile, we have a few programming notes:

lindahall-Trek50Back on May 14th, my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and I were guests of the Linda Hall Library here in Kansas City. We participated in their “Second Saturday Conversation” program where we presented, “Of Tribbles and Technology: Star Trek at 50.” We talked about Star Trek‘s influence on science and technology, and how it’s inspired at least a couple of generations of people to go into those fields, and how those people now help to inspire writerly folk like us to ponder that age-old question: “What’s next?” It was a tremendous honor to be asked to speak at this library, and we can’t thank the staff enough for inviting us into their realm.

First, my latest contribution to the Novel Spaces blog went live on May 17th. “Hey! I’ve Got Favorite Writing Books, Too!” continues the blog’s theme for the month, in which the regular contributors all discuss their favorite writing-related books. These could be manuals or style guides, or something more of the memoir variety as penned by a favorite writer. My list of suggestions is a bit…eclectic.:)

Next up? Rick Schepis over at The Bronze Review conducted a brief interview with me about Elusive Salvation, my new Star Trek novel that’s been on shelves for about a month, now. You’ve got your copy, right? Anyway, you can read the review by clicking this.

And speaking of Elusive Salvation, Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther over at Trek.fm had me doing exactly that. The latest episode of their Literary Treks podcast includes a heaping helping of me yammering at length about the new book and various other related topics. FYI for those of you who may be wanting to listen to the podcast but haven’t yet read the book, beware that spoilers abound!

Elsewhere around the Wardiverse, my hetero life mate, Kevin, and I were guests at this past weekend’s Planet Comicon here in Kansas City. This show just gets bigger and better every year, people. I think it’s already able to stand on par with some of the bigger shows around the country, and I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that’s not all that far away from being one of those “destination” conventions that people mention in the same breath with stuff like San Diego, New York, Denver, etc. Many thanks to Chris Jackson, Will Binderup, and everyone else who worked so hard to put on such a terrific show.

I think that covers it all for now. We now return you to your lives, already in progress.

Posted in fandom, interviews, novel spaces, trek, writing | 2 Comments

The Women Writers Behind Pocket Books’ 1980s Star Trek Novel Line

It’s good to remember who plowed the road for us. Some of my all-time favorite Star Trek novels came from some of the ladies on this list.

STRAITENED CIRCUMSTANCES: Tim Hanley on Wonder Woman and Women in Comics

Surprising absolutely no one given my nerdy proclivities, I’m a big fan of Star Trek, and have been since I was 8 years old. I’ve seen all the shows and movies, have dozens of action figures, and every now and again I read a Star Trek novel. As such, I usually take a look at the Star Trek area of the sci-fi section whenever I’m in a used bookstore, and recently I found something surprising: A Star Trek novel written by a woman.

Women writers aren’t entirely unheard of in the world of modern Star Trek books; most recently, Kirsten Beyer has been writing the Voyager franchise. But they’re definitely in the minority, especially in the bigger original series and Next Generation lines. So when I saw a Star Trek book from the 1980s written by a woman, I decided to check it out.


The book is Star Trek:…

View original post 503 more words

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Star Trek: Legacies – Getting the audiobook treatment!

Hey! Come stick these in your ears!


We found out just this morning that Star Trek: Legacies, the trilogy of novels that is part of Pocket Books’ celebration of the original Star Trek series’ 50th anniversary, is going to be released in audiobook format as an “unabridged audio download,” in concert with the usual mass-market paperback and e-Book editions.

All three books will be read for you by actor Robert Petkoff. According to what we were told, Mr. Petkoff begins recording the first book, Captain to Captain by friend and fellow word pusher Greg Cox, tomorrow (May 11th). The process takes a few days, and I presume the recording sessions for Dave Mack’s Book 2 and mine and Kevin’s Book 3 will occur in short order.

This marks the first time Star Trek paperback novels have been adapted for audio since the 1990s. In the years since then, that treatment was reserved almost exclusively for hardcover Trek offerings. Pretty cool, huh?

EDIT #1: The above statement isn’t really true. I remembered that Cross Cult, the publisher that creates German-language translations of various Star Trek novels, has adapted several of those titles for audio, including the Star Trek Vanguard books. Yes, those are in German.:)

Is this start of a new trend? Hard to say, at this point, of course, but the obvious indicator that Simon & Shuster should continue with more Star Trek audio offerings is decent sales on the ones they do put out. So, you know…..rest is up to you kind people, amirite?:)

Personally, I’m pretty jazzed about this, as Purgatory’s Key will mark the first time a novel of mine or mine & Kevin’s has been adapted for audio. Further, it’ll come just a couple of months after the audio edition of 2113: Stories Inspired By the Music of Rush drops, which is the first time an anthology containing a short story of mine has received such treatment.

EDIT #2: See Edit #1 above. 

So, hey! Not a bad year on the writing front…at least to this point.

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The way, way late April writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsApril come. April go. Some of May go, too.


April was a blur, dominated as it was by my working to finish the novel in-progress. Meanwhile, other wheels turned in different directions here and there. Here’s what the month looked like, along with a bit of May because I figure after this long, I should at least include some info on that, too:

“Day to Day” – Short Story for 2113: Stories Inspired By the Music of Rush, edited by John McFetridge and Kevin J. Anderson for publisher ECW. As the anthology title implies, each of the stories it contains was inspired in some way by one of the songs in Rush’s extensive catalog. My story draws inspiration from the song “Red Sector A” from the band’s Grace Under Pressure album. The anthology apparently went on sale ahead of schedule, on April 1st, which fortunately coincided with the 40th anniversary of the release of Rush’s album 2112. The book is now available at major outlets all across the Solar Federation.

Elusive Salvation – A Star Trek original series novel that’s a sequel to From History’s Shadow. This one also went on sale last month, back on April 26th. Early response to the book has been very positive, I’m happy to say. Will there be more stories in this vein? I guess we’ll see….:)

Headlong Flight – A Star Trek: The Next Generation novel set after the events of Armageddon’s Arrow as well as a new trilogy coming at the end of 2016 from fellow scribe John Jackson Miller. This new tale will be another largely “standalone” story with an emphasis on exploring. I delivered the manuscript just this morning, and so now I await my editor’s notes and other comments. The book is currently scheduled for publication some time in 2017, though I don’t yet have its exact slot.

New Tie-in project: Earlier in February, I was approached about this project, and we’re now well into the manuscript stage. I had to set it aside to deal with some other work, but now that it and Headlong Flight is out of the way, this is my jam for the next few weeks. I can’t really say much about it at this point, except maybe that if you like what I did with __________, then you may like this, too.:)

Purgatory’s Key – Mine and Kevin’s contribution to Star Trek: Legacies, 2016’s novel trilogy that will help to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series. We returned our corrections to the 1st Pass/”galley” pages on May 2nd, so other than maybe answering some proofreader queries, the next time we see this one should be in late August when it starts hitting stores! The trilogy is slated to publish in July, August, and September of 2016, and you can now read the cover copy for all three books!

Star Trek articles for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine: We got invited to write for this renowned genre publication back in March, and Kevin and I delivered three pieces to our editor on April 18th. This was tremendous fun. They’ll be part of the magazine’s celebration of Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, which will be in issue #286 slated for publication on June 7th.

Planet of the Apes essay for Sequart – Those Sequart guys just never learn their lesson. This time, I wrote about the live-action Apes television series for a new collection of essays which will bear the rather snappy title Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos. I returned my copyedited essay to my editors on April 16th, so I think now we’re waiting on galley pages.

Passing the Baton…After A Fashion.” – My monthly contribution to the Novel Spaces blog, which was posted on April 17th. This time, I ruminated a bit about the winners of the recently rebooted Strange New Worlds writing contest, and the fact that I think I’m now officially old when it comes to writing for Star Trek.

Another tie-in project – Back around the middle of February, I was contacted by an editor with whom I’ve not previously worked, and asked about my interest in a special project they were putting together for later this year. Since working with this person was on my Bucket List, I immediately said yes right before roping in Kevin. One of the pitches we sent was accepted back in late March, and now we’re trying to hash out delivery dates and other logistical items. Stay tuned as things develop!

Other stuff in the pipeline:

Star Trek: The Next Generation novel for 2017 – I delivered an outline for this on February 10th, and received notes back on it the following week. Then (say it with me) a bunch of stuff happened and my writing for the second half of the month went in the crapper. So, this is another of those things on my still-pending “To Do List.” I need to address my editor’s notes and get this back to her so she can give it a thumbs up and send it on to CBS for approval. All I can say for now is that the events of this story will take place at a point after Headlong Flight…but there may be a twist or three…. :)

24: Trial by Fire – I returned my updated version of the copyedited manuscript to my editor on March 2nd. The next time I see it, we may well be talking typeset/galley pages. You’ve seen the cover, right? Publication is set for August 23rd, though it’s possible I may have a few advance reader copies with me at this summer’s Shore Leave convention. W00t!

Hidden Universe: Star Trek – A Travel Guide to Vulcan – An “inside the box” Star Trek book that mimics–more or less–something like the Lonely Planet series of travel guides. This will be published by Insight Editions, and contains what I think is some pretty fantastic illustrations by artists Peter Markowski and Livon Ramondelli. Everything’s still on track for a July 19th publication date.

Planet of the Apes short story – Yep, this one. I delivered my manuscript, which I’m currently calling, “Message In A Bottle,” to my editors on March 7th. They were able to get their notes and comments back to me later that same week, which I quickly addressed so that they could get on with putting together the entire anthology for delivery to the good folks at Titan Books. As it uses the characters from the 1974 live-action TV series (for which I confess to having a soft spot), I think it does a good job reintroducing that aspect of the Apes mythos and providing something you might well have seen on the show had it not been cancelled. We’re currently waiting to see what Titan–and, ultimately, Fox–thinks about the anthology. Stay tuned!

Texas Pride” – During last year’s Kickstarter for friend Mike Friedman’s Pangaea anthology, there were a handful of stretch goals built into the funding campaign. One was a story bundle giveaway, and I offered to Mike this short story of mine that’s set in the “universe” of my novels The Last World War and Counterstrike: The Last World War – Book II. I wrote the story in 2007 for Amazon’s now-defunct “Amazon Shorts” program, and if you didn’t get it back then, or caught me at a convention where I had one of a very limited number of “chapbook” editions of the story, it’s been unavailable. The story has since been formatted as an e-Book, complete with a snazzy new cover by friend Aaron Rosenberg. It’s going to be given to the Pangaea backers first, but I plan to offer it for general sale in the spring. Stay tuned!

“The Enterprise Job” – As 2014 marked 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. Of course, all of that news about the actual model made me rethink significant portions of my story. Once I address all of that, I still have to figure 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.”

Possible future projects:

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

Original e-Book concept – I’ve been pondering an idea for a new series – something akin to the “men’s adventure” style books I loved back in the 80s and 90s. It would be a setting for which I could write shorter tales – novellas, likely – for e-Book distribution. It would be something of an SF-ish/action bent, with (I hope) lots of humor. Not quite campy, but definitely lighter in tone. This is still very rough at the moment, but it’s something I’d really like to get into later this year.

I’d say “Howdy” to May, but hell…it’s already done gone and started without me.

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Trek’s 50th in Famous Monsters #286, and guess who?

:: Reviews Bucket List ::

:: Crosses out “Write for Famous Monsters magazine” ::

Awwwwwww, yeah.

When I was a kid, Famous Monsters of Filmland along with other classic magazines like Starlog, Fangoria, and Fantastic Films was where fans got all the coolest, happening news in the world of SF, fantasy, and horror film and TV. They along with other classic titles like Heavy Metal and Playboy Cinefantastique are an indelible part of my youth, and the idea of ever getting to write for such renowned publications is something that’s definitely teased me on occasion over the years.

Though it went dormant for awhile, FMoF has been back on the scene for the past several years, continuing to do what it did in such awesome fashion all those years ago. This summer, the magazine will tip its hat to Star Trek in honor of the original series’ 50th anniversary.

In addition to new interviews with John Cho (Sulu in the new Trek films) and a look at the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, Rod Roddenberry (son of the man who started this whole train a’rollin’ and an executive producer of the new Trek series coming in 2017), and Nichelle Nichols (the original Lieutenant Uhura herself), FMoF #286 will also feature a variety of tribute pieces, including three by Yours Truly and my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore. And, the whole chimichanga gets wrapped up in some truly gorgeous cover art by Rob Prior. Check it, y’all:

FamousMonsters286-Cover(Click to Biggie Size!)

I mean, daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayummm.

Get all the deets here: Famous Monsters #286 Preview

The new issue will be available in print and digital format beginning on June 7th, which just happens to be my birthday, so…you know: Go, me.

Many, many thanks to editor David Weiner for inviting us into the Famous Monsters sandbox to play for a bit. It was tremendous fun.

Meanwhile, I’m still gunning for Heavy Metal and Playboy Cinefantastique, yo.

Posted in fandom, nerdity, trek, writing | 2 Comments

2016 Edition! Marvel Movie Tip: Stay for the credits, yo.

All right, movie peeps! It’s almost time to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Now, after all these years, you’d think some of the basic protocols would be all but engrained into our collective consciousness, but we all know someone who’s going to drop the ball on this. Because of that, it’s a warning we need to repeat often:

“Stay through the credits.”

We last visited this topic when Ant-Man was hitting screens last year, so we’re definitely due for a look at the updated picture. Since 2008, we’ve been treated to:

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Avengers: Age of Ultron*
(yes, not an official MCU film but still here because fucking Deadpool, people)

And tomorrow (tonight, if you’re lucky enough to hit one of those early screenings), we get to add Captain America: Civil War to the list. After that, we’ll only have to wait six months for Doctor Strange, and this time next year we’ll all be jamming to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

What’s the one rule that applies for each of these movies? Say it with me:

“Stay for the credits.”

(* = Age of Ultron actually does not have a credits/post-credits scene)

And yet, you just know we’ll have people, following screenings of tonight’s Civil War early premiere, getting up and leaving as the credits roll, even though there’s not one but two–count ’em…two–scenes: One during the credits, and one just after.


Forgive them, Stan Lee, for they know not what they do.


You stay for the credits, people.


Friends don’t let friends leave a Marvel movie early.

If you’re catching these flicks for the first time at home with disc or digital download, then you fast forward if you have to, but the rule is the same: “Stay for the credits.”

With that in mind, I’ve instituted a checklist of tips to help Marvel moviegoers avoid missing out on the important stuff lurking in and around a given film’s end credits. Consider this a public service, movie nerds:

1. You stay for the credits.

2. You stay after the credits.

3. You stay until the lights come up.

4. You stay until they start the slide show between screenings, and you make sure you sit through the entire slide reel at least once.

5. And look on the back of your ticket and the underside of your popcorn. Just in case. (via Bernie Kopsho on Facebook)

6. Then run across the hall and sit through the credits of the non-Marvel movie. LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE.

7. Then run outside and look for skywriting, because who knows? (via Bernie)


In summation: “Stay for the credits.”


Okay, now we’re done. You can go home now.

Posted in fandom, movies, nerdity | 1 Comment

Take a peek inside my Vulcan Travel Guide!

VulcanTravelGuide-CoverWell, it seems StarTrek.com has been busy.

Yesterday, they published an exclusive first look inside my forthcoming Star Trek book Hidden Universe: Star Trek – A Travel Guide to Vulcan, complete with some examples of the book’s interior text and art. I had no idea this was in the offing, so it was a pleasant surprise this morning to see some folks posting and talking about it on Facebook.

I’m very pleased with how the book turned out, bolstered as it is by the artistic awesomeness of Peter Markowski and Livio Ramondelli. You’ll see breathtaking vistas, maps, and lots of smaller pieces accompanying various bits of text. There are also a few drawings deliberately designed to evoke public service announcements that gave me a chuckle, and at least one logo for a local establishment that made me laugh out loud. Hard.

Check out StarTrek.com’s inside look here: Inside A Travel Guide to Vulcan

As I’ve mentioned before, the book is intended to be very casual and “conversational” in its presentation, just as a real-world travel guide would be. I drew on several sources (along with just making up a bunch of stuff), so hardcore fans can expect to find any number of references, subtle nods, and Easter eggs from the Star Trek series, films, novels, role-playing games, and so on.

Hidden Universe: Star Trek – A Travel Guide to Vulcan will be published by Insight Editions on July 19th. For those you attending the Shore Leave convention the weekend prior, we are endeavoring to have copies on hand. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be a proper starving freelance writer if I didn’t pester you about possibly pre-ordering the thing. Feel free to visit your preferred indie bookseller to make such a request, but if that’s not an option, here are a couple of handy-dandy links:

Amazon.comBarnes & Noble – Books-A-Million

So, what are you doing for your summer vacation?

Posted in books, nerdity, trek, writing | 2 Comments