September writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsHello, Autumn.

I’m not much of a pumpkin spice guy, so I won’t be partaking of that particular latter-day seasonal tradition, but we are entering my favorite time of the year. The temperatures begin to cool, the leaves start to turn, I don’t have to mow my damned lawn as often, and we’re soon to be approaching my favorite holiday of the year, Halloween.

Of course, this is also the time of year where editors seem hell-bent on making sure writers want to drink themselves into a coma as we all rush toward pre-holiday delivery dates.

But, enough of that.

September was active on a number of fronts, particularly with respect to positioning pieces on the game board that will be the year’s final quarter. I’m setting up to be busy as we rush toward Christmas, and I’m kinda sorta looking at November and the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge to perhaps keep me moving at a steady, rapid pace. I’m still mulling that over.

Meanwhile, here’s the rundown for September:

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. We’re almost there, folks! I received first-pass pages for review/corrections on September 8th, and returned my notes back to my editor on the 22nd. I expect to see a “final pass” set of pages later this month, and after that? The next time we see this thing will be when it hits store shelves toward the end of January. FYI, pre-order links are already available.

Hearts and Minds: Another Star Trek: The Next Generation novel for 2017: The current Novel In Progress. The events of this story take place at a point after Headlong Flight, but of course there’s a twist…or three. I delivered the manuscript for this on September 11th, and after a brief bout with some quick editor’s notes, sent back a revised version on the 25th. It has to go to the studio for approvals as well as receive a rigorous copyedit, and it’s possible I’ll see the results of that toward the end of the month. At last report, the book was scheduled for publication on or about Tuesday, May 30th, 2017. Stay tuned!

“The Menace of the Mechanitrons!”: Our story for the second issue of IDW Publishing’s Star Trek: Waypoint miniseries. As most of you should know by now, our story is a loving homage to the wonderfully wacky Gold Key Star Trek comics of yesteryear. A good bit of September was reviewing and offering feedback on the art as penciled and inked by the wonderful Gordon Purcell as well as the coloring provided by Jason Lewis. We had way, way too much fun working on this, so here’s hoping we’re not the only ones who think this is a thick slice of Awesome. Star Trek: Waypoint #2 is slated for November publication, so start bugging your local comics dealer. Go ahead; get ahead of the rush.

Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire: Just what you think it is. Even before the Vulcan travel guide was published, I was already developing a companion volume for this other oft-unappreciated vacation destination. Just as was done for the Vulcan book, expect to find lots of entries about places to visit, eat, spend the night, and drop your tourist cash at various locations around the home world and other worlds under imperial control. If you liked the casual and sometimes lighthearted nature of the first book, hopefully the same will hold true here. If not…well…sorry. We are at the art stage now, and earlier in September I drew up a set of crude (very crude…laughably crude) maps to aid the artists and graphic designer. I’m pleased to report that Livio Ramondelli and Peter Markowski, who provided all of those amazing illustrations for the Vulcan book, are back for a second round of shenanigans. More details on this as things start coming together!

Unidentified Tie-In Project: I was contacted out of the blue about a month ago about possibly writing a novel set in a franchise that’s new to me, but has its own groups of devoted followers. I’ve been working to get up to speed a bit so I can start pulling together an outline, but this should be fun. More on this if and when it all starts to move forward and I’m allowed to share details.

Another Unidentified Tie-In Project: This one’s a bit closer to “home,” but still a different type of writing than I’m used to doing. However, the person running the show is very enthusiastic and he seems excited to have me aboard, and I’m going to have the opportunity to expand my writing skill set into yet another area. I actually have a contract for this one that I need to sign and get sent back, and I’ve already started developing my first bits of content for my editor. More info as things firm up.

Other stuff in the pipeline:

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.

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. At last report, Fox had approved the book’s contents, and the book itself is now available for pre-order, with a scheduled publication date of January 24, 2017.

Predator short story: Writer/Editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt invited me to pen a tale set in the universe of the classic alien hunters introduced in 1987 with the awesome Arnold Schwarzenegger flick of the same name. Now it’s a full-blown franchise, of course, with a new movie coming next year. I delivered a story pitch to him on August 15th, and now we’re all waiting to hear back from folks at Titan Books and Fox. At last report, my story would e due around Spring 2017. Another fun thing I’m looking forward to tackling.🙂

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 was first given to the Pangaea backers, but I plan to offer it for general sale sometime in the coming months. Stay tuned!

“The Enterprise Job”: As 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the building of the original Enterprise model, and with the recent unveiling of the newly restored model to the Milestones of Flight gallery at the National Air & Space Museum, one would think my window for doing anything with this story has finally closed. That said, I’ve given thought to incorporating all of these recent developments into a new revision of the story. 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…. “one of these days.”

Possible future projects:

Tie-In Project: What happens when you reach out to an editor with whom you’ve not corresponded in a while, about a project you thought was dead? Well, sometimes, you find out that editor has left the publishing company you were hoping to work with, but your email is answered by another editor who’s excited to “meet” you and wants to talk about your supposedly dead project. Then a week goes by and you’ve written a one-page concept document for said project, and it’s being submitted to the licensor for consideration. Can’t say jack about this one…even to report that it’s actually going ahead, but the fact that it went from “Dead” to “Submitting to Licensor” in a week after being in limbo for almost two years? I’ll take it! Stay tuned as details become available.

Original SF novel – : 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.

Howdy, Fall. Tell my grass to stop growing.


Lay it on me.

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