Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021: Now available for pre-order!

If you’ve been reading my monthly writing updates, you know that my frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, and I got back into our collaborator groove a bit last year, with short stories appearing in not one but two anthologies along with an essay in collection dedicated to the 1960s Batman TV series’ first season. One other thing we worked on is now on final approach to publication, that being a story for the upcoming Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021!

Like its predecessor from 2019, this latest collection of short stories draws inspiration from the tales that once filled pulp magazines from the 1930s to well into the 1960s. Stories of this sort run the gamut from Western to detective/noir to military, science fiction and everything in between. As with the first installment, this second anthology is coming at us via Crazy 8 Press and edited by our good friend, Bob Greenberger, who’s assembled a formidable roster of writers to give you a heapin’ helpin’ of pulpy writing goodness drawn (mostly) from those thrilling days of yesteryear:

Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Paige Daniels, Lester Dent, Mary Fan, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E. Hutsell, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, William Leisner, Jonathan Maberry, David Mack, Ron Marz, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Stuart Moore, Will Murray, Jody Lynn Nye, Scott Pearson, Aaron Rosenberg, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Richard C. White, and Sheri Cook Woosley!

(Psst: You see “Lester Dent” in the line-up, right? As in “the guy who created Doc Savage?” Yeah. That Lester Dent. There’s a never-before-seen story by him right here in this book, yo.)

Have a look at the cover, whydontcha?

Click to Biggie Size.

Oh, and did I mention each story has its own swank illustration? Bob covered those bases, too, with the artistic stylings of June Brigman, Kerry Callen, Gary Carbon, Mike Collins, Daerick Gross, Matt Haley, Karl Kesel, Peter Krause, Luke McDonell, Ron Randall, Dan Schkade, Bart Sears, Daniele Sera, Jeff Weigel, and Mark Wheatley. Because you can’t have a pulp adventure anthology without some tasty pulp adventure art.

As I write this, a Kindle eBook edition is available for pre-order just by clicking on this bit of highlighted text right here. This edition is set to go live on March 16th, and a trade paperback as well as a hardcover edition is also coming. More info on that as it becomes available. Stay tuned!

It’s gonna get all kinds of pulpy up in here, people.

Gone writin’.

Rather than just do my usual thing in which nothing appears in this space for days on end with no explanation, I figure I’ll post this bit of advisory info.

I’m racing toward the finish line on the current novel-in-progress, and I don’t know that I’ll have time to ponder anything new – let alone interesting* – to put here during that time. It’d likely serve only to distract me from my primary mission, anyway, and that probably won’t endear me to my editor. So, I’m taking preemptive action. Unless a cool announcement or other bit of “Breaking News” happens, it’ll likely be very quiet here the next couple of weeks.

Barring any of that? See you on the other side. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves while I’m gone.

*= Make whatever joke you feel is appropriate. I left it wide open for you. Knock yourself out.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is 65!

It started…for me, it started…last Thursday, in response to an urgent message from my nurse, I hurried home from a medical convention I’d been attending. At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn’t. Something evil had taken possession of the town.…”

Dr. Miles Bennell is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Continue reading “Invasion of the Body Snatchers is 65!”

Why am I “still” a Bucs fan?

So, those of you who follow football – and at least some of you who don’t – are probably aware that the Super Bowl is this weekend, with a match-up I’ve been anticipating for close to 30 years, now….ever since I, a native Floridian born and raised in Tampa, found myself relocated as a consequence of Uncle Sam’s whims to Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo credit: ESPN

Despite my Tampa heritage, the first seven years or so of my life were defined by frequent moves thanks to my father’s military service. Tampa to North Carolina, then on to Honolulu, Hawai’i (where my sister was born), and from there to Long Island, New York, before finally making our way back to Tampa. All of that happened before I completed the second grade, but Florida was where the family would remain. I would finish high school there before beginning my next little trek around the country and the world with my own time in the service, which eventually landed me here in KC.

Continue reading “Why am I “still” a Bucs fan?”

January writing wrap-up.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand BOOM. Just like that, 1/12th of 2021 is in the rearview mirror.

Unlike the century that was 2020, the first month of the new year screamed by so fast I’m sure I saw light bending. As one might reasonably expect, I found myself spending less time “doomscrolling” through social media. There remain a number of challenges to face, the ongoing COVID-19 situation chief among them, but I feel a bit better about how such problems might be tackled than I did – for example – six months ago. I guess we’ll see.

Those of you who know my backstory may be thinking my sports worlds are colliding, with the Kansas City Chiefs set to defend their Super Bowl title from last season against my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite living in the KC area for close to 30 years, I remain a Bucs fan as I have since the day the NFL announced the league was expanding and Tampa was getting a team. I always root for the Chiefs…unless they’re playing the Bucs. I’ve been with them from the very inauspicious beginning and ridden the waves through the highs and lows over the course of the past 45 years. You can be sure I’ll be cheering them on this Sunday. That said, should the Bucs fall to the Chiefs, I can’t honestly say I’ll be that upset.

Meanwhile, there’s that whole work and writing thing I supposedly have going on.

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Continue reading “January writing wrap-up.”

February 1st, 2003: Columbia.

Eighteen years ago this morning, the Space Shuttle Columbia, returning to Earth after a successful 16-day mission, broke apart during re-entry and disintegrated, killing its seven-member crew.

I spent the rest of that afternoon and the ensuing days watching the news coverage as new information came to light, and possible explanations and causes for the disaster began to emerge. To this day, it’s hard to believe something so seemingly simple as a few damaged heat tiles could wreak such unchecked destruction.

On the other hand, the tragedy served to reinforce the harsh reality of the incredible dangers inherent in crewed space flight, and nothing about it is “simple” or “routine.” I did and still believe our exploration of space is a worthy and necessary endeavor, and I hope the sacrifices made by men and women such as Columbia‘s crew will always be heeded when taking our next small steps and giant leaps.

Generations from now, when the reach of human civilization is extended throughout the solar system, people will still come to this place to learn about and pay their respects to our heroic Columbia astronauts. They will look at the astronauts’ memorial and then they will turn their gaze to the skies, their hearts filled with gratitude for these seven brave explorers who helped blaze our trail to the stars.

– Sean O’Keefe, NASA Administrator
Arlington National Cemetery, February 2nd, 2004

 (l-r, blue shirts): David Brown, William McCool, Michael Anderson.
(l-r, red shirts): Kalpana Chawla, Rick D. Husband, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Ilan Ramon

Where never lark or even eagle flew….

73 seconds after launch on a particularly cold Florida morning 35 years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing astronauts Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

On March 21st, 1987, a permanent marker paying tribute to the crew was placed at Arlington National Cemetery. The marker’s face features likenesses of the crew and the following dedication:

In Grateful
and Loving Tribute
To the Brave Crew
of the United States
Space Shuttle Challenger
28 January 1986

Inscribed on the back of the marker is this poem:

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings,
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
high in the sunlit silence hov’ring there.
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
my eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew
and while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space
put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

– John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

L-R: Ellison S. Onizuka, Michael J. Smith, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Francis R. Scobee, Gregory B. Jarvis, Ronald E. McNair, Judith A. Resnik

God speed to the crew of Apollo 1.

Each year, January 27th marks the beginning of a somber week of remembrance for NASA.

On the evening of this date in 1967 while conducting a routine test of their spacecraft’s power systems, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chafee were killed when a fire broke out inside the Apollo 1 capsule.

Grissom had been with NASA almost from the beginning, flying missions for both the Mercury and Gemini programs, and White also was a Gemini veteran. The Apollo 1 flight was to be Chaffee’s first space mission.

Their sacrifice, though tragic, ultimately played a monumental role in NASA’s effort toward bettering the machines which soon would fly to the Moon, and ensuring the safety of the men who would take them there.

(L-R: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee)




Star Trek books I wish I’d written.

Wow. New year. New me. New attitude. And yet, I keep forgetting I have this blog thing here, huh?

Nah, not really. It’s definitely more me than the machine.

I promise it’s not due to a lack of interest. It’s more that I’ve just been busy juggling various work things, and I’ve still got about a month to go before the craziness dials back to any significant degree. By the end of the day, I’m generally too fried to come up with something to write about here. When I do get an idea for a topic, I end up tabling it, then forgetting about it until it seems to lose its freshness. Rinse. Repeat.

Then there are times when a weird topic just sort of pops in, knocks crap off the table, and decides it wants attention. You know, like this one.

It began the other night, when I innocently answered a question posed by someone on Facebook: “Does anybody know what the best-selling Star Trek paperback novel of all time is?” They weren’t posing a trivia question. They really wanted to know.

Heck. Now I wanna know, too.

Continue reading “Star Trek books I wish I’d written.”

December writing wrap-up.

Bye-bye, 2020. If I haven’t yet said it enough already, you won’t be missed.

So, like the rest of the year, December took it upon itself to streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch into infinity in the wake of the presidential election. The insanity that unfolded in our nation’s capital as Congress worked to certify Joe Biden as the president-elect is like nothing I’ve ever seen before…at least, not in this country. Never did I imagine watching it happen here.

Closer to home, Christmas for Clan Ward, like Thanksiving back in November, was a quiet affair and New Year’s Eve even less so. We missed hanging out with friends as much as we normally would do this time of year, itself an extension of our limited interactions with those friends which plagued us for those many months beforehand.

Thanksgiving at Ward Manor was a quiet affair…just the four of us along with the kids’ godparents, who like us have been doing their best to maintain our “pod” of people following guidelines in the age of COVID-19. There have been a few close calls in recent weeks as people we know have dealt with the virus to varying degrees, but so far anyone in our various orbits who’s been hit has come through with no real problems, for which I’m thankful.

And then there’s that whole writing thing.

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Continue reading “December writing wrap-up.”