The return of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds!

Are you a previously unpublished writer (or a “nonprofessional,” in that you’ve not been paid for your writing at pro rates)? Do you have a hankering to write a Star Trek story and maybe see it published? Well, Pocket Books has a deal for you:


Yep! It’s a new version of the writing contest Pocket conducted each year from 1997-2007, which launched numerous writing careers including one for the guy whose blog you’re reading right this very second. For those of you unfamiliar with my secret origin, I entered stories in each of the first three Strange New Worlds contests, after which I was offered a contract to write a Star Trek novel for Pocket, and I’ve been working for them ever since. If I can do that, imagine how much someone with actual talent might accomplish?

snw1 snw2-cover snw3-cover Strange New Worlds Writing Contest – Official Rules

The contest has a few changes from those of old, though:

Notably, it’s only open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia (that means none of the territories or even overseas military installations).

Unlike the previous contests, you’re only allowed one entry per person, so if you’re going to do this, make sure you bring your A-game.

The submission period is much shorter, beginning today (October 8th) and ending on January 15th, 2016.

Up to ten (10) winners will be selected for publication in the resulting anthology, as opposed to the old 18-23 winners rule. One major change is that two winners will receive “first prize” packages that includes the opportunity to publish a non-Star Trek novel through Pocket’s self-publishing platform.

It appears the resulting anthology will be published as a “digital first” title. In English, that means e-Book, with a possible print edition later.

Assuming you’re thinking of taking on this challenge, be sure to read the complete rules before submitting an entry, and pay strict attention to the registration and editorial guidelines. You can find complete details here: Strange New Worlds Writing Contest – Official Rules

For those who opting to enter the contest, I’m happy to answer questions (assuming I have those answers, obviously), but let me state for the record that I am in no way affiliated with the contest and do not speak for Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, or anyone associated with the contest. Any answers or opinions I might provide will be strictly based on past experience and (if possible) info I can obtain from people connected to the contest. I can’t guarantee anything on that front, though.

Good luck!

Posted in contests, fandom, snw, trek, writing | 4 Comments

TV’s iconic fight scenes? VOTE NOW!

As I was listening to latest episode of Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast where we’re all talking about “The Secret of Bigfoot,” we get to the part where Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man himself, is going Mano a Sasquatcho against ol’ Bigfoot.

As part of the discussion, I say that this is it – the iconic moment for the episode and the one bit about the show that pretty much everyone knows about, whether or not they’re a fan or if they’ve even watched the series. I liken the scene to Kirk’s epic battle against the Gorn in the classic Star Trek episode “Arena,” which is wildly known and has been parodied so often it should probably have its own page on TV Tropes.


That got me thinking: Which of these memorable battles represent television’s greatest fight? Are either of them worthy of that distinction, or do we have to add others? Jack Bauer, my hero from 24, has had his share of onscreen fisticuffs, but one of my favorites comes at the end of the show’s second season, when he takes on one particularly skilled bad guy and ends up running up the side of the wall while twisting the other dude’s head enough to snap his neck. Tasty! And I suppose no discussion of TV fights can go without mentioning Alexis and Krystle Carrington and their various dust-ups during the run of the classic Dynasty series.

Alexis-Krystle fight

So, just for laughs, what say you? I’ve tossed these few examples into a poll just to get us started, but do you think one of these classic TV fights is worthy of the title “Iconic” or even “Best Ever,” or do you have your own nominee? Obviously this has no bearing on anything beyond the confines of my goofy little blog, but the hell.

NOTE: For purposes of this poll, we’re talking about various flavors of hand-to-hand, rather than gun fights or battles.

Also, if you do vote “Other,” be sure to mention it in the comments. 

Posted in fandom, nerdity, polls, tv | 12 Comments

“The Secret of Bigfoot, Part 1” on Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast!

Holy cow! How long’s it been since I got to do one of these?

We’re here, folks. This is it! The one episode of The Six Million Dollar Man that everybody knows, even if they’ve never seen the show. Some argue that this is where the series “jumped the shark,” but what those people say is unimportant, and we do not hear their words! What are we talking about?



Hosts John S. Drew and Paul K. Bisson bring us yet another scintillating edition of Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast, continuing their bi-weekly retrospective of The Six Million Dollar Man‘s third season. This installment was just too big to be shouldered by them and a single guest host, so this time John and Paul bring in three–count ’em, three–guests to fill up steve-bigfootthe roundtable. Along with my nerdy self, we’ve got bionic gurus Joe Burns (webmaster of The Six 1973) and Matt Hankinson (chief creative consultant for Time-Life’s definitive The Six Million Dollar Man DVD collection) on hand as we all discuss the first half of the classic two-part episode, “The Secret of Bigfoot.”

Does this story even need an introduction? Hell no. Steve Austin fights Bigfoot, and finds aliens living in the California mountains. What more do you need? Let’s just get on with it, amirite?

Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast – “The Secret of Bigfoot, Part 1”

Thanks as always to Paul and John for inviting me back to play. These podcasts are always a gas to do, and you know Part 2 has to be coming soon, right? We actually recorded both parts as one show, and even with Paul’s editing the first part still comes in over 1 hour and 45 minutes. That’s a lot of bionic babbling, right there, y’all. Stay tuned for news about the second part of “The Secret of Bigfoot!”

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

Bucs Blog! 2015 Season, Week 4.

Well, now. This just keeps getting better and better.


Panthers 37 – Bucs 23

It’s like this: Carolina has Tampa’s number. They’ve had it tattooed on their thigh for going on four years, now. That’s right: the Bucs haven’t won against the Panthers since the 2012-13 season. There was a time when both teams played each other toe-to-toe and every contest was an exhibition of smash-mouth, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners football.

Yeah. Not so much, these days.

It was a weird game in several respects: The Bucs won such statistical battles as total time of possession, first downs, and total offensive yards gained…the latter by a sizeable margin. Unfortunately, they also won a couple of less notable battles: turnovers, and penalties. Tampa rookie quarterback Jameis Winston coughed up the ball on the second play of the game, which Carolina converted to a quick field goal. Winston also was intercepted on his first throw of the day, which was returned for a touchdown and put Carolina up 10-0 less than five minutes into the game. Not a great way to start, folks. Winston was picked off three more times during the day, but he also threw for two TDs and hit a new high mark with 287 passing yards. To be honest, he’s really not that far off the trail Josh Freeman was traveling during his first year with the Bucs. Winston’s got some work to do, that’s for sure, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel on him just yet.

Besides, there’s so much other shit that’s wrong with this team. Example: Those aforementioned penalties. Tampa came into the game as the NFL leader in total accrued penalties, and they didn’t cede their crown today. That’s discipline and coaching falling short, right there, period. Kicker Kyle Brindza continued his struggles from last week, going 1-3 on field goal attempts. The defense had some spark and even managed to get to Carolina QB Cam Newton twice and even keep him somewhat contained, but it wasn’t enough when factoring in Tampa’s sputtering offense. Take away the missed field goals and the ten points given away on turnovers, though? On paper, at least, this thing was a lot closer than it ended up being.

:: sigh ::

The loss drops Tampa to 1-3 and three games behind the Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, who also won today. Both teams advance to 4-0 on the season, while New Orleans is getting set to play the Dallas Cowboys as I write this. Who the hell knows how that one’s going to end up. Next up for the Bucs? It’s another home game as they host the equally anemic Jacksonville Jaguars in a contest that’s sure to thrill hundreds of devoted spectators.

Bucs life, yo. Grr. Argh.

Posted in bucs, football | Leave a comment

So the Book Fairy paid me a visit….

He actually did this yesterday, but I only checked the mail this morning, and lookie what I found waiting for me in the parcel locker, all minty-fresh and whatnot:


Awwwwwww, yeah.

So, I’ve got mine, which means copies are or shortly will be en route to various retailers here and there. The book’s official publication date is still slated for October 27th, which means it’ll likely start showing up in stores as much as a week ahead of time, all depending on when a particular store’s staff gets around to cataloging and shelving them. Those of you of the e-Book persuasion will of course have to wait until the 27th.

Also, for those wondering what the Book Fairy might look like, I’m picturing something like this, so you should take up any issues you might have with his name directly with him:

Anyway, I’m thinking we’re about due for a scavenger hunt of sorts, aren’t we? What say you?

Posted in books, seekers, trek, writing | 3 Comments

September writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsHere we go, people: Into the home stretch of 2015. Final quarter, new fiscal year, and all that jazz. As of today, Halloween is thirty days away, and Christmas decorations went up at your local department store two weeks ago.

The struggle is real.

September was a lot of juggling of this and that, including edits and rewrites, outlines and contracts, phone calls and e-Mails as what I’ll be working on over the next few months starts to come into focus. Things will definitely be busy from here until the end of the year, but I think I’ve got things scheduled in such a way that I won’t go completely insane by Christmas.

Stop laughing.

Anyway, here’s the September rundown:

Continue reading

Posted in writing, writing wrap-up | 2 Comments

I’m gonna write a Planet of the Apes story, y’all!

Well, several people are, to be accurate. Still, I’m gonna be one of ’em!

The contract is signed and on its way to its editors, so I’m now officially cleared to announce that one of my near-future projects will be a short story for a prose anthology in which all of the tales will be set in the “classic” Planet of the Apes continuity. I will be joining a stellar lineup of writers to present a collection of all-new stories set on that world were man once stood supreme, yet is now ruled by the beasts.




Anybody who knows me knows I’m an unabashed fan of that crazy planet and its pesky apes. Love, love, love them I do, for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories of watching the original film when it was first broadcast on CBS back in 1973, which along with airings of the second and third movies set up the short-lived television series the following year. I was seven years old back then, and I had Planet of the Apes action figures, playsets, trading cards, coloring books, models, Halloween costumes, and all that stuff. Unlike so many of the films and television series I grew up with which don’t hold up to the passage of time, Apes along with the original Star Trek and The Six Million Dollar Man have never lost their luster, at least for me.

(Aside: Still looking for that SixMil novel license, if anybody’s listening.)

The as-yet unnamed anthology will be edited by fellow word pushers Jim Beard and Rich Handley for Titan Books, which currently holds a license to publish novels tying into the recent Apes reboot films. This will be Titan’s first foray into the classic era, and that Jim and Rich saw fit to include me in the author line-up they’ve assembled is awesome for at least a couple of reasons. First and foremost, this is a “Bucket List” kind of writing gig for me. It’s not a full-blown novel, but hey…we have to start somewhere, amirite? Second–and this is important–if this project had gone forward without me getting to play, you can be sure I’d have taken it a bit personally. I’m talking “Me=Terminator, Everyone Involved=Sarah Connor,” know what I’m sayin’? That’s right, people; I’d would have gleefully invoked a crossover event to exact the proper level of retribution for my satisfaction.

Thankfully, we’re going to be avoiding mass carnage, at least for the moment.

Anyway, there’s not much to tell yet so far as the anthology’s contents, who’s doing what and so on. In fact, I’m even going to play it safe and not yell out who I think are the people in the line-up, just in case there’s been a change that hasn’t yet been communicated. There’s a long way to go before this thing hits shelves, and much work to do between now and then, but it’s going to be fun. Fun, I say.

Planet of the Apes, y’all. Holy crap, am I stoked.

Posted in apes, friends, nerdity, writing | 5 Comments

RUSH: 2113 – Now available for pre-order!

Rush 2113 cover. Click me to Biggie SizeWe’ve taken care of everything…the words you read…and that other stuff, too.

So, at least some of you know that earlier this year I wrote a story for 2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush. A couple of months ago we got a tease of the cover art, and now there’s better imagery available as well as pre-order information, both from the publisher’s website as well as the usual online bookseller haunts. The book also has a scheduled publication date of April 12th, 2016.

(Aside: Hey, 2016 is shaping up to be a pub-heavy year for me. Just sayin’.)

Anyway, check out the jacket copy for 2113:

The music of Rush, one of the most successful bands in music history, is filled with fantastic stories, evocative images, thought-provoking futures and pasts. In this anthology, notable, bestselling, and award-winning writers each chose a Rush song as the spark for a new story, drawing inspiration from the visionary trio Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

From stark dystopian struggles to uplifting triumphs of the human spirit, the characters populating 2113 find strength while searching for hope in a world that is repressive, dangerous, or just debilitatingly bland. Most of these tales are science fiction, but some are fantasies, thrillers, even edgy mainstream. Many of Rush’s big hits are represented, as well as deeper cuts . . . with wonderful results. This anthology also includes the seminal stories that inspired the Rush classics “Red Barchetta” and “Roll the Bones,” as well as Kevin J. Anderson’s novella sequel to the groundbreaking Rush album 2112.

2113 contains stories by New York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Z. Williamson, David Alan Mack, David Farland, Dayton Ward, and Mercedes Lackey; award winners Fritz Leiber, John McFetridge, Steven Savile, Brad R. Torgersen, Ron Collins, David Niall Wilson, and Brian Hodge, as well as many other authors with their imaginations on fire.

Looking at that lineup makes me dizzy. So many awesome names gathered together, and then my dumb ass. How does that happen? Without embarrassing blackmail photos, I mean.

As I said upstairs, the book is available for pre-order at ECW’s site, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so go check it out.

Posted in books, friends, rush, writing | Leave a comment

Pangaea, edited by Michael Jan Friedman: Now Available!

pangaea-coverAfter a rather accelerated gestation cycle following its successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, Pangaea is now available!

Edited by veteran author and friend Michael Jan Friedman, Pangaea posits an alternate reality where Earth’s landmasses did not drift apart following their most recent joining, and humanity’s evolution differed in numerous ways. Some things are familiar, others are kind of familiar if you squint, and still others are colored in varying shades of “WTF?”

Today, editor Mike finally decreed that the book is officially “in the wild,” making said announcement over on his own website:

MichaelJanFriedman.Net: Pangaea Awaits!

Here’s the book’s back cover copy:

At least four times in Earth’s history, the continents have come sliding together to form a single mass—a super-continent. Geologists have dubbed the most recent such formation Pangaea.

Of course, Pangaea broke up a long time ago, and because it did, different portions of mankind developed in drastically different climes and circumstances. But what if we were living on one of the super-continents? What if all of humanity was confined to a single landmass . . . and had been so confined for all of our recorded history?

To explore this different world, we’ve harnessed the imaginations of some of science fiction’s most inventive writers—Michael A. Burstein, Adam-Troy Castro, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Kevin Dilmore, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Paul Kupperberg, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Geoffrey Thorne, and Dayton Ward.

So come with us . . . and discover a world like none you’ve seen before.

Discover Pangaea.

Pretty cool, right?

Take a look at that author line-up. That’s a pretty nifty roster, if you ask me. How I ended up there, I have no idea. Plus, get this: the story Kevin and I wrote, “The Ardent,” is actually the middle of a three-part arc that’s spread through the book, beginning with Mike’s lead-off story, “The Breaking,” and capped off by the tale that closes out the volume, Peter David’s “The Lying and the Dead.” Mike asked us to write that middle piece, so I for one was pretty damned flattered.

Sweetening the deal were a pair of Kickstarter backers, Lynda Martinez Foley and another fan who goes by the moniker “Revek.” They both pledged $100 each to be “Tuckerized,” or have their names used as characters in our story. That’s some serious commitment, right there.

The process was fast and furious, but also fun. It was the first time I got to work with Mike on anything, and he’s as benevolent an editor as rumors would have us believe. No, seriously. The whip marks on my back are healing rather nicely.

Anyway, for those of you who’d like to see how well we hold our own when straying from the familiar confines of the Star Trek sandbox, go give Pangaea a look-see:

Order Pangaea from Mike’s website

Posted in friends, kickstarter, my books, my stories, pangaea, writing | 1 Comment

Bucs Blog! 2015 Season, Week 3.

APPLY NOW: Kicker. Must be able to…you know…kick. Submit resume to One Buc Place, Tampa, Florida.


Texans 19 – Bucs 9

So, you know…things were looking okay if not great in the early going, but I figured it was a bad omen when the Bucs scored a touchdown after notching a field goal early in the second quarter, and Tampa kicker Kyle Brindza knocked the point-after attempt off the upright. It was a feeling that was reinforced as the rookie proceeded to miss not one and not two but three field goals, each of them well within his advertised range.

So, a PAT and three field goals. Ten points in all, left on the field. Hey, check out that final score.


You can’t put the whole thing on Brindza’s shoulders, though, as in a perfect word he’d only be out there to kick extra points following the bazillion touchdowns the offense should be racking up. We didn’t get those, though. Then there was the continuing issue of penalties incurred by the Tampa defense and their seemingly inexhaustible ability to allow the other team’s offense to keep running over them. Oh, and let’s not forget the wide receivers who left Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston hanging as they dropped several critical passes throughout the afternoon. Winston still managed to rack up some decent pass yardage along with the aforementioned TD, offset by an interception.

Despite the setbacks, you can definitely see a progression in the young QB’s game since Week 1. For those who understand that Winston is a work in progress and there’s an undeniable learning curve, this at least is encouraging. He still has a tendency to overthrow his receivers, but that too will improve as he continues to dial in his game. He just needs more help from his receiving corps and for that offensive line to keep providing protection. They didn’t allow a sack today, so that’s a mark in the plus column, but on the delta side we’ve still got a stagnant running game. 57 yards on the ground puts a lot of pressure on Winston, after all.

The loss drops Tampa to 1-2 and two games behind the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, both of whom won their games today and remain undefeated. New Orleans lost to those same Panthers, dropping the Saints to 0-3. Next up for the Bucs? It’s back to Tampa to host Carolina and hopefully give them their first loss of the year.

Yeah. It’s good to have goals.

Posted in bucs, football | Leave a comment