So, that big honkin’ ginormous convention in Las Vegas last week sure was something.
Five full days of high-intensity, full frontal Trekkery jiggling itself right in front of your face. You’re welcome for that visual, by the way.
And that was just what *I* endured. Some folks were there longer, as if that’s even possible. My hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore flew out on Monday, July 31st, with members of his team from Hallmark so they could spend Tuesday setting up their booth space in the con’s exhibitor hall. Other people performing similar duties arrived on scene for their own setup. The good peeps from CBS Licensing had their hands full, constructing not one but two galleries containing props, pics, and other goodies to celebrate Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s pending 30th anniversary as well as the up and coming Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres on September 24th.
Me? I pretty much screwed around the whole time.
That’s not to say I didn’t have actual, scheduled activities calling for my participation. As I was attending the convention through the good graces of my publisher, Insight Editions, and promoting my recently released Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire, I was of course expected to be an adult, put on pants, and hit my marks at the designated times and places. Reports and handlers inform me that I didn’t screw up these obligations too badly.
At least I wasn’t alone! In addition to Kevin, I was joined by fellow Star Trek wordsmiths David Mack, Robb Pearlman, Ethan Siegel, Mike Johnson, and…of course…the one and only Kirsten Beyer. We even had a couple of editors on hand, Pocket’s Ed Schlesinger and IDW’s Sarah Gaydos, to lend an air of maturity and calm to the proceedings. Nobody went to the ER or jail, so I’d say it was a pretty successful weekend.
(Making sure you have the right con attire and flair is some serious business, y’all.)
My con highlights began right on Wednesday afternoon. I’d barely made it to the hotel before I found myself neck-deep in the thick of things. Dominating Wednesday’s activities in the main theater was a block of panel programming devoted to Star Trek: Discovery. Discussions included visiting with the show’s writers (including the aforementioned Ms. Beyer) as well as actors and other behind-the-scenes folks.
Finally, there was the panel that included Kirsten, Sarah, Ed, Mike, and Dave as they rolled out the first hints about upcoming novels and comics based on the new show. Included as part of the presentation was the reveal of the cover for the first Discovery novel, Desperate Hours, written by my brother from another mother, Mr. Mack. Also revealed was the cover for the first issue of the initial Discovery comics mini-series from IDW.
After talking about these new projects and the collaboration process between the show’s writers, Pocket Books, and IDW, for a bit, CBS decided the time was right to drop a small infobomb on the audience, in the form of me wandering out onto the stage:
Photo credit: Trekmovie.com correspondent Kayla Iacovino
So, yeah. That happened. Or rather, it’s kinda sorta still happening. Now you know the secret identity of one of those “Unidentified Tie-In Projects” I mentioned during my last writing wrap-up. I’ve been sitting on this news for about a year now. I wrote the novel back in the early part of the year, and I’m currently in the process of making revisions after having received feedback from my editor as well as Kirsten herself. It’s been amazing to watch the show’s gestation these past months, and I’m genuinely excited for what folks are going to see starting on September 24th.
On Thursday, my big activities involved a panel discussion and an autographing session. First up, CBS VP of Consumer Products John Van Citters moderated “Inside Trek: Star Trek Authors & Their Books,” which featured David Mack, Kevin, Ethan Siegel (author of the upcoming Treknology: The Science of Star Trek), Robb Pearlman (Fun with Kirk & Spock, The Redshirt’s Book of Doom), Ed Schlesinger, and myself. We talked about our various publications and the challenges and fun we face while writing them. It was a fun talk, and the audience provided a nice batch of awesome questions.Later in the day, I joined Kevin for a joint autograph session, where we signed copies of our various collaborations and I also scribbled in some of my solo titles, most notably the Vulcan and Klingon travel guides. Due to the presence of the Star Trek: Legacies trilogy in the vendor booth hosting our signing, Dave Mack stayed with us after his own signing so that we could promote and sign those books, as well. Interest in the travel guides was high, and I have to tip my hat to the marketing and promotion gurus who’ve helped me get the word out about this book. In addition to having me conduct a slew of interviews and even creating some kick-ass promotional artwork, Insight also produced a slew of giveaway pin sets featuring art from both the Vulcan and Klingon guides, which we were handing out left and right.
David Mack, me, and Kevin Dilmore. Team Vanguard is in the hizzouse!
On Friday, I got my own panel! Actually, it was a one-on-one interview with Jordan Hoffman, host of Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast, who was moderating panels and chats like mine all during the con. He spent thirty minutes grilling me about my work and the various Trek things I’ve done over the years, what it’s like working with Kevin, and so on. The StarTrek.com team was on hand as they were for pretty much everything else all weekend, and someone snapped a picture of me that quickly became its own meme.
Yeah, that one made me laugh.
After another autograph session with Kevin later that morning, my “official duties” so far as the convention’s scheduled were concluded, leaving me the rest of the weekend to hang out with friends, buy the odd bit of Trek nerdity, and basically just enjoy myself. I even managed to break away at one point for a brief reunion with an old Marine buddy, Joe Moreno, whom I hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years since we served together at Camp Pendleton in California. Joe was in town to celebrate his 50th birthday, and fate and the social media gods made sure we carved out a bit of time to relive some of the good old days.
Indeed, catching up with folks I see only rarely was a bit of a theme all weekend. There are people I only see once a year for these few short days, so catching up with them is always a highlight. Likewise, being able to put a face to a name encountered on social media is also something I enjoy. We had lots of that, too.
I offer my sincere thanks to the good folks at CBS Licensing and Insight Editions, as well as Ed Schlesinger at Pocket Books for everything they did that resulted in me having a fantastic con weekend. I also offer a virtual handshake, hug, fistbump, or thumbs up to all the friends with whom I was able to reconnect, and those new ones I made along the way. I don’t know if I’ll be back to Vegas next year, but here’s hoping!