July writing wrap-up.

If this were any other year, I’d say that with July in the can we’re officially on the downhill slide of things. But, this is 2020 so….you know.

Life goes on in most respects, at least in some fashion. As we have been for the past few months, we continue to observe COVID-19 recommendations and protocols when going out. Yes, we’ve cut back on all sorts of things, either by choice or because the venues we might normally frequent have been closed. I’ve resumed a more or less normal volunteer schedule at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which is open while following all the county and city guidelines for doing so under the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, the work marches merrily on.

A new tie-in project! After signing a contract for this in late February and delivering an a final outline on June 8th, I heard on July 31st that this has been approved! As I’ve previously hinted, this is a big one, requiring collaboration not just with the editor but also other writers with whom I’ll be working in tandem. My current schedule calls for starting this around September 1st, after I (and Kevin and I, as it happens) knock out a few things on the Writing To Do List…which you can read about below. This one will likely be the major thing that keeps me busy throughout the remainder of the year. More info as I’m allowed to share.

Another new tie-in project – This is one of those things I’m finishing up between now and September. It unexpectedly came about late in March, and my collaborator and I delivered a manuscript on July 27th. At present we’re awaiting editorial feedback. I don’t know when I’ll be able to offer much in the way of information or details, but I suspect it won’t be until we’re much closer to the release of the property’s latest installment, which is a ways off. I’ll let you know. 🙂

Short story for Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Volume 2 – Kevin and I were invited to participate in this “pulp adventure fiction” project, and we are currently working to deliver our story to editor Bob Greenberger at Crazy 8 Press on or before its due date of August 15th. The coming week offers me a chance to hammer out the bulk of my portions of the story (unless I just jinxed it). Once we’re given the go-ahead, I can talk more about this one. What I can say is Kevin and I were able to crack each other up with our concept for this tale, so even if everybody else thinks it sucks, we’ll be entertained.

Short story for another anthology project – This one came along as a total surprise, if we’re being honest. It’s for a genre I’ve not yet really written for and I initially declined, but Thoughtful Editor persisted and golly! I couldn’t say no and I even managed to pull Kevin along for the ride. We’ll be setting to work on this after we finish our work for Thrilling Adventure Yarns, with a story that’s due on or before September 30th. As with the previous two anthos, this is scheduled for publication sometime next year; possibly in time for spring convention season…assuming there is such a thing. I will indeed share more info as I’m given the okay to do so.

Short story for yet another anthology project – As if four short story collaborations (so far) this year weren’t enough, here comes one more. The theme for this book is much more lighthearted in tone than the one we pitched to Bob for Thrilling Adventure Yarns, giving Kevin and me wide latitude for how much crazy shit we can jam into our concept. As with the previous entry, we made each other laugh pretty hard as we developed our pitch, and I suspect we’ll have a bit more fun with this one than might be healthy. This antho will also be published next year, but I don’t have any solid info on that front just yet. More later as I’m allowed to share.

Star Trek Adventures: The Klingon Empire Core Rulebook – Though I’d finished my contributions to this new rulebook late last year (I think?), there’d been no word on when the book might be released. However, during a virtual convention panel back on July 6th, the gang from Modiphius Entertainment who’ve been working so hard these past few years to bring fans the pretty amazing Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game dropped this surprise on everyone. The book is currently available in digital format, with a hardcover edition coming in the next couple of months. The book adds a fantastic new dimension to the game, allowing players to create characters and conduct campaigns entirely from the Klingon point of view. Fans are going to love it.

New article for StarTrek.com – I’ve been doing a regular feature-type thing for the website for while, trying to shine a little light on the various corners of Star Trek publishing be it novels, reference books, comics, and whatever else might celebrate the Final Frontier within its pages. My “publishing highlights” column for July was published back on the 8th, and I sent the August edition to my editor on July 28th. I’m currently waiting to see if she has any feedback or requested changes.

Other stuff in the pipeline:

Short story for Pangaea III, an upcoming science fiction anthology – Regular followers know that Kevin and I contributed a story to the first Pangaea anthology, and Kevin went solo for a story included in its sequel, Pangaea II: SuperContinent Boogalo (I may have that title wrong). The formula’s a bit different this time, as instead of us all writing separate tales we all will be feeding a larger narrative in something resembling a round-robin format…but with extra chaos sprinkled in for flavor. After getting an edited manuscript for our portions back from editor Michael Jan Friedman, we delivered our final revisions back on May 11th. The original plan was for the book to debut at the Shore Leave convention in July but that con’s been cancelled for this year, so I’m not exactly sure when this one will poke its head up.

More fun with Star Trek AdventuresIn addition to The Klingon Empire Core Rulebook, I was also asked by Star Trek Adventures line editor Jim Johnson to contribute material to another reference book devoted to the Shackleton Expanse, a region of space created for the game. Some of you may recall that back in 2016, I worked with Jim and Scott Pearson to develop a premise set in the Expanse as part of the game’s “living campaign.” We created a storyline we hoped other writers could use to create adventure modules and other material as needed to continue expanding the region and whatever players might find there. All of that is coming home to roost as the Expanse gets its own volume. In addition to the previously released modules, we’ve also created all new material including scenarios that will bring to a conclusion the story we started four years ago. I finished edits on content for this book back in March, and at present I’m awaiting editorial feedback. I suspect it’ll be early 2021 at the earliest before this one is released. More info as I get it.

Short story for upcoming horror anthology – A story Kevin and I wrote for It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers. To be published by Hex Publishers, this will be a celebration of ghost and horror stories as inspired by 1980s cheezy, low-budget B-movie awesomeness. The concept, which we ended up calling, “Helluloid,” sounded so insanely fun Kevin and I could not say no when we were invited to contribute. Didja see it? The book is scheduled for publication in September.

Another tie-in project – I can’t really describe anything about this one without giving away hints as to what it might be. It’s definitely an interesting endeavor – one I’m pursuing with a friend and fellow writer. COVID-19 has impacted this one’s timetable, and I likely won’t know the full extent of that for a while, yet. We’re looking forward to locking things down and working with the client to fine-tune what they want. Until a formal announcement is made the only thing I can say is that this is a slice of pure fanboy fun. Stay tuned!

Possible future projects:

Superhero novella project – As announced back on February 21st of last year, I’m teaming up with friends and fellow word pushers Russ Colchamiro, Mary Fan, and Aaron Rosenberg–they of Crazy 8 Press–to make with some superhero shenanigans. I suspect we may ramp up talks about this later in the summer, as the book’s publication is currently set for sometime in 2021. More details will be forthcoming as appropriate.

Original SF novel concept – Something I’d started a while back, refreshed some older notes and added some new ones. This one’s been on the back burner for a while because…well…look up at all that other stuff. I’d like to get it to a point that I feel comfortable approaching at least one editor with it. I guess we’ll see.

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 once I get some free time (HAH! HAH AGAIN!).

And with that? Howdy, August.

Lay it on me.

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