It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers

Welcome to tonight’s feature presentation, brought to you by an unholy alliance of our spellcasters at Hex Publishers and movie-mages at the Colorado Festival of Horror. Please be advised that all emergency exits have been locked for this special nostalgia-curdled premiere of death. From crinkling celluloid to ferocious flesh—from the silver screen to your hammering heart—behold as a swarm of werewolves, serial killers, Satanists, Elder Gods, aliens, ghosts, and unclassifiable monsters are loosed upon your auditorium. Relax, and allow our ushers to help with your buckets of popcorn—and blood; your ticket stubs—and severed limbs; your comfort candy—and body bags. Kick back and scream as you settle into a fate worse than Hell. Tonight’s director’s cut is guaranteed to slash you apart.…”

And awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay we go!

Last year while attending the annual Starfest Convention in Denver, Kevin and I were delighted to receive an invitation from Josh Viola at Hex Publishers along with our good friend of many, many conventions Bret Smith to contribute a story to a new anthology Josh was cooking up.

Our challenge: write a story set in the 1980s, with our inspiration the sorts of horror films which were all over the place all through that fanficul decade. How in the underworld could we possibly say no? As we both came of age during that time, many of our favorite movies are from that era. So far as horror goes, Kevin is perhaps the most knowledgable dude I know when it comes to the Halloween movies. Meanwhile, I’m more a fan of the Friday the 13th flicks. On the other hand, our mutual love of such films as The Return of the Living DeadThe ThingHouse, Fright NightCreepshow, and so many others knows no bounds.

Writing something set during the 80s has long been a Bucket List item for both of us, so the idea to lean into that fondly remembered decade (at least so far as movies and some TV goes) was something we couldn’t refuse. The result of our endeavor is “Helluloid,” just one of 14 stories cramming the pages of It Came From the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers.

Kevin and I are thrilled to share a table of contents with this list of amazing word pushers:

Mario Acevedo
Kevin J. Anderson
Paul Campion
K. Nicole Davis
Sean Eads
Keith Ferrell
Orrin Grey
Warren Hammond
Angie Hoddap
Gary Jonas
Stephen Graham Jones
Betty Rocksteady
Bret & Jeannie Smith
Steve Rasnic Tem
Josh Viola
Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

In addition to having a total blast writing our story, Kevin and I realized the setting we created – the Vogue, a rundown and very haunted movie theater in a small town – was the perfect setting for all sorts of shenanigans which might unfold in future tales. We shall see!

Meanwhile, Kevin and I extend our sincere appreciation to Josh, Bret, and the crew at Hex for inviting us to come jam with them for a bit. Kevin and I had tremendous fun with this story and we hope to revisit the Vogue again one day, whether it’s with Hex or via other means.

You’re already buying copies for you and all your friends, right?

Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Alien Nation!

After managing a trio of entries over a fairly short time span, I allowed more than a month to go by without revisiting this inconsistently recurring “blog feature. ” One of these days, I’ll figure out to make this more of a regular thing, but until then? Surprise!

The basic idea is pretty simple: I present a nostalgic look at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. Usually this means something from Way Back When, but I’m also up for taking a look at more recent entries to the genre if inspiration strikes. To this point, previous installments have included looks back at novels based on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic WomanPlanet of the ApesSpace: 1999, and others. However, the Die Hard one was something of an odd duck that demanded a little attention. See? Unpredictable.

This time, I’ve decided to revisit a fondly remembered television series from the late 1980s/early 1990s as well as the film that spawned it, and in turn the novels it produced: Alien Nation.

This unlikely franchise began life as an oft-overlooked and underrated science fiction/noir/action flick that most people seemed to ignore when it was released to theaters in the fall of 1988. The story goes like this: in the “near future” of 1991, it’s three years after a giant spacecraft crashes in the Mojave Desert. We find out the ship was carrying 300,000 aliens, “Newcomers,” who end up settling in Los Angeles in a perhaps not-so subtle nod to the 1980 Mariel Boat Lift, during which more than 125,000 refugees fled from Cuba to Florida. After his partner is killed by a Newcomer during a robbery, Detective Matt Sykes teams with another alien who’s recently been promoted from uniformed cop to detective, and hijinks ensue. What follows is a fairly standard procedural with the added discussions and observations about racism, immigration, law and order, and civil rights all filtered through a science fiction-y lens thanks to the Newcomers being the marginalized group.

The film was written by Rockne S. O’Bannon, at that time formerly a story editor on the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone and still a few years away from giving us seaQuest DSV (the first season of which I will die defending and I remain convinced it would have been a better show throughout if he’d stayed with it) and the oh-so-amazing Farscape. So, right away genre fans should be thinking, “Okay, I’m listening.” The movie cast James Caan and Mandy Patinkin as its two leads and Terence Stamp as its main bad guy, so at this point you’re like, “Holy, shit! How can this not be awesome?”

While it wasn’t “awesome,” it was still a tight little SF/action hybrid. Caan as human detective Sykes and Patinkin as Sam/George Francisco make for an entertaining team in the best 1980s buddy cop tradition. Though it received mixed reviews from critics and enjoyed only a modest box office return, Alien Nation has since become something of a minor cult classic. Like many films of the 1970s and 1980s, Alien Nation received a novelization of its script from author Alan Dean Foster, who is pretty much a king of this particular corner of the tie-in writing field. It was thanks to this novel that I came to even know about the film, as I was stationed on Okinawa and so missed a lot of first-run American movies during this period. I scratched that itch with novelizations for several films and even a TV series or two which hit screens during the year I spent on “the Rock.” Indeed, my copy of Foster’s Alien Nation novelization still bears the stamp showing I purchased it in a Pacific Stars & Stripes bookstore.

What I don’t think many people were expecting was that the film would generate enough interest to inspire a television series, but that’s exactly what happened. Developed by TV veteran Kenneth Johnson — who’d already brought The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk and V to our television screens — Johnson took O’Bannon’s already juicy setup and characters and took them in directions the film itself didn’t have time or space or even money to do. Premiering on Fox during the fall of 1989, Alien Nation the TV series ever so slightly tweaks the film’s original premise to ease it into the weekly format. The heightened emphasis on the partnership between Matt Sikes (now played by Gary Graham and yes, they changed the spelling) and George Francisco (Eric Pierpoint) as well as the Francisco family allowed for further exploration of Newcomer (now known as “Tenctonese”) society and culture and a deeper look at prejudice, racism, rights, and all the other social issues the film hinted at but never got to really pick apart.

Despite being a critical and ratings success, Fox canceled the series after a single season (which ended on a pretty hefty cliffhanger!) due to financial issues larger than the show itself. However, fan support for the series remained high enough that it did return in 1994, in the form of what ultimately would be five television movies over the next three years, each reuniting the original series cast. The first film, Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, was a modified version of the storyline which would’ve served as the second season’s first episode, resolving the first season’s cliffhanger finale. This story in particular has its own odd history within the franchise. Hang on, we’re getting there!

Despite the series being cancelled in 1990, Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books imprint — which regular readers of this blog should recognize as a longtime publisher of Star Trek novels including several written by your blog host — began publishing novels based on the series. Eight novels were released between March 1993 and July 1995. The first of these, Day of Descent written by Judith and Garfield-Reeves Stevens, is arguably the strongest of the lot. A prequel to the film as well as the television series, the book reveals how the Newcomers came to Earth and what police sergeant Matt Sikes was doing as life changed not just for the citizens of Los Angeles but indeed people all over the world. It’s a meaty little tome and does a terrific job filling in a story hinted at yet never really examined throughout the TV series’ tragically short run.

The next three novels in the each draw on unproduced scripts for what would

have been Alien Nation‘s second television season. Dark Horizon by K.W. Jeter is particularly notable as it does a very effective job giving fans of the series what they so desperately wanted at that point in time: a conclusion to the cliffhanger season finale. In fact, Adventure Comics (an imprint of Malibu Comics), who’d begun publishing Alien Nation comics in 1990, beat Pocket to the punch with their own adaptation of this story. Likewise, Peter David’s Body and Soul gets a chance to examine the growing romance between Sikes and Newcomer Cathy Frankel, which had been hinted at during the series. These two stories would later form the basis for the first and second Alien Nation TV movies and while fans welcomed the return to television, there are those who prefer the prose version of the events depicted.

Meanwhile, The Change was the first of two Alien Nation novels written by renowned science fiction author Barry B. Longyear, a name genre readers should recognize for – among many other things – Enemy Mine, the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novella which was adapted into a cult classic film of its own. His next contribution to the series, Slag Like Me, is one of the line’s strongest entries. Inspired by journalist John Howard Griffin’s groundbreaking book from 1961, Black Like Me, Longyear places a human journalist undercover as a Newcomer to expose the systemic racism and discrimination endured by the aliens as they strive to assimilate to life on Earth. When the journalist is murdered, Sikes goes undercover as a Newcomer to find those responsible.

The series’ final entry, K. W. Jeter’s Cross of Blood, is also one of its high points. Whereas the romance between Sikes and Cathy Frankel had attracted scrutiny and varying flavors of commentary since its introduction during the TV series, Cross of Blood kicks things up several notches when Cathy becomes pregnant with Sikes’ child. The idea of such a child had already been the subject of Body and Soul but of course it’s a much bigger deal here as it involves main characters, and there’s much more focus on the social and political ramifications of humans conceiving children with members of an alien species. It’s the sort of thing at which Alien Nation excelled throughout its brief TV run and Cross of Blood honors the spirit of the show in fine fashion.

Like so many other book series that came and went during my formative years, the Alien Nation novels were over and done with long before I even entertained the crazy notion of entering the realm of professional writing. They suffered the same fate experienced by many such books based on television shows: once the parent property is no longer active on TV (or movie) screens, interest tends to dwindle as fans and readers move on to other things. There are exceptions to that unwritten rule of course; Star Trek is a prime example but let me tell you some time how novels based on Murder, She Wrote continue to be published two decades after that TV series ended.

But for the most part? Such books tend to have a pretty limited lifespan, which is a damned shame. Like many fans almost certainly did, I came up with a couple of ideas on how to revisit Alien Nation, either as a continuation of the series and character or else a sequel set years if not decades later. Don’t take me too seriously, though, as I’ve harbored similar notions and dreams for pretty much every science fiction TV series I’ve enjoyed for the past 40-odd years. It’s a sickness, I tell you!

Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of Alien Nation, particularly the series, and you’ve never sampled these novels, here are eight stories you may have missed which might feed your fannish fever.

Previous entries in this series:
Introductory Post
The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman
Planet of the Apes
Space: 1999
The “No-Frills” Books
Alan Dean Foster!

Die Hard

Talking Agents of Influence with the Captain’s Table podcast!

:: checks watch ::

So, hey! It’s been a minute since my last interview. Indeed, it’s been a bit since I last talked to someone about my most recent Star Trek novel, Agents of Influence, and I’ve rather enjoyed chatting up this one, so why not do it again?

Enter the Captain’s Table podcast.

It’s been an even longer, more stretched-out and interminable minute since I last spoke with show hosts and friends Michael Clark and Roslyn Scholarios, so this was definitely part interview and part catching up.

Sure, we spend a fair amount of time talking about the new book, but we also cover a lot of ground relating to adjacent subjects like the state of Star Trek with all these new shows coming at us. Part of the conversation focuses on what it’s like to write characters introduced more than 50 years ago with a modern sensibility while staying true to their original portrayals. We also talk a bit about my consulting duties for CBS, which tend to evolve pretty much with the changes in wind direction. No two days are the same, that’s for sure…but I ain’t complainin’.

It’s Star Trek, yo. Life is good.

Spoilers about Agents of Influence abound during the interview, so if you’ve not yet read the book but are planning to do so, proceed with caution. Otherwise? Head on over to the Captain’s Table and give the new interview a listen:

The Captain’s Table: Dayton Ward and Agents of Influence

Many thanks to Michael and Roslyn for having me on the show! We’ve already talked about return visits somewhere down the road. I guess we’ll see what we see. 🙂

Talking Star Trek novels with David Mack and the Inglorious Treksperts!

I admit it: While I’m always happy to talk Star Trek, I really do enjoy talking about Star Trek novels, particularly when they’re not the one I wrote and I’m trying to promote.

StarTrekBlish1Many if not most fans know – even if they’ve never read a single one – Star Trek novels enjoy a rich history, stretching all the way back to the days when the original television series was still in production. Star Trek, the first collection of original series episode adaptations written by noted science fiction author James Blish, was published by Bantam Books in January 1967. It would later be renamed Star Trek 1 once it was obvious that the program of translating the original series scripts to prose form would continue, and indeed it did for eleven more volumes. Blish would also pen one of the very first original Star Trek novels, 1970’s Spock Must Die! 

AgentsOfInfluence-CoverSince then, there has been at least one Star Trek novel or novelization (and in most cases, way, way more than one) published every year. In addition to novels and short stories based each of the spin-off television series and films, Captain Kirk and the crew of the original Starship Enterprise continue to have adventures on the printed page (book and comics!) decades after their televised exploits ended in 1969 (or 1974, if you’re counting the animated series, and we that here.). Indeed and as I write thist, the most recent novel to feature yet another tale set during the historic “five-year mission” Captain Kirk talks about in the show’s famous opening narration is my own Agents of Influence, published in June. Meanwhile, friend and fellow wordsmith David Mack is making sure the “rebooted” crew introduced in the 2009 Star Trek feature film is treated well in written form with his own new novel, More Beautiful Than Death, which was just published on August 11th.

MoreBeautifulThanDeath(Okay, I suppose a little shameless promotion is inevitable. My kids like to eat. Sue me.)

So, it seems fitting that Mr. Mack and myself recently were guests for a fun discussion about the topic of Star Trek novels with the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. Hosts Mark Altman and Daren Dochterman, both Hollywood veterans and acknowledged Star Trek gurus, gathered Dave and myself along with writer/producers Ashley E. Miller and Robert Meyer Burnett, the latter of whom may very well be an even bigger nerd for Star Trek novels than I am. It’s a distinction I’m not inclined to dispute, because for one thing this was a conversation he’d been wanting to have for a while and we ended up recording it pretty much as a birthday present for him. So, there’s no way I’m harshing that mellow.

SpockMessiahThe resulting discussion covers a lot of ground in just a little over an hour’s time, tracing our earliest encounters with Star Trek novels from those early gems of the late 1960s/early 1970s right up to the most recent publications. Our respective experiences with these books during our formative years are largely in step with one another, as we all came to Trek more or less within the same era: watching reruns of the original show in the 1970s and latching on to whatever Star Trek merchandise there might be here and there. Those early James Blish novelizations and the handful of original novels along with other publications like the Star Trek Poster Books was what kept us interested during those years before the first feature film came along and elevated the franchise to new heights of public awareness it enjoys to this day.

EntropyEffectOf course we had to discuss some of our early favorites, which for me include Vonda McIntyre’s The Entropy Effect, Ann Crispin’s Yesterday’s Son, Margaret Wander Bonanno’s Strangers from the Sky, and Diane Duane’s The Wounded Sky.

(I’m gonna stop there because seriously…I could do this all day.)

There is also plenty of discussion about how one actually goes about writing such books, both for shows like the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as novels based on the shows currently in production, Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.

Vanguard1Dave and I also get to take a bit of a trip down Memory Lane as we revisit our own past endeavours. This included the absolute blast that was, along with Kevin Dilmore and Marco Palmieri, writing the Star Trek Vanguard novels, which still rank as one of the most fun and creatively fulfulling Star Trek projects with which I’ve ever been involved. 

Star Trek novels have been around for over 50 years, and there’s no sign they’ll ever be stopping soon. I don’t know how many more I have in me or how much longer I’ll even be able to do so, but it’s been a privilege contributing to this wondrous little sandbox and to be a part of such an amazing publishing legacy. So, for those of you who await the next Star Trek novel to show up on bookstore shelves or your eReader device, spend an hour with us as we wax nostalgic about some of those that came before.


Inglorious Treksperts: “Book ’em Danno with Dayton Ward & David Mack

Many thanks, to Mark, Daren, Rob, and Ashley for having us on the show. It was tremendous fun!

Pangaea Book III: Redemption

PangaeaIII-coverThe super-continent Pangaea, on which mankind has lived its entire life as a species, has become a dangerous and unpredictable place. The ancient oppressors known as the Aristai are tearing civilization apart in order to rebuilt it in their image.

If the nations of the world are to weather the storm of death and destruction, they will need heroes–not just leaders and lawmen, but also saviors from the unlikeliest of places. A bodyguard who’s lost his way in the wilderness. A chef who knows the value of keeping everything in its place. A truck driver carrying more than what’s in his truck. A professor who’s unlocked the greatest secret of the super-continent.

To guide you on your journey through the lonely mountain peaks, the wide, wild plains, and the teeming seacoasts of Pangaea, we’ve enlisted the talents of a distinguished fellowship of science fiction luminaries–Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Ilsa J. Bick, Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Dan Hernandez, Paul Kupperberg, Ron Marz, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Geoffrey Thorne, Marie Vibbert, and Dayton Ward.

In this, the final volume of the Pangaea series, see who will rise, who will fall…and who will be left to pick up the pieces. Continue reading “Pangaea Book III: Redemption”

Happy 15th Birthday, Star Trek Vanguard.


Um, yep. I’m afraid it really has been that long.

Today, July 26th, marks the 15th anniversary for the official publication of Harbinger, the first novel in what would become “the saga of Star Trek Vanguard.”

vanguard-harbingerFor those of you who might not be familiar with these books, Vanguard as created by editor Marco Palmieri and author David Mack is a series of books that served as a “literary spin-off” of the original Star Trek television series. Running in parallel with the original show, Vanguard was set aboard a space station in a hotly contested area of space called “the Taurus Reach.”

Dave set events into motion with Harbinger, after which Kevin Dilmore and I were invited aboard to help continue the story. Over the course of seven novels and a handful of novellas, the series’ cast of characters found themselves in increasingly larger and more dire piles of shit as they learned more about the Shedai, the ancient race who once commanded the Taurus Reach, and generally were kinda sorta pissed that people were stomping around their old haunt like they owned the place.

And hilarity ensued.

I’m not going to ruin it all here with spoilers, but suffice it to say we got to have quite a bit of fun with those books. Spanning seven novels and a handful of novellas released over a period of seven years, Star Trek Vanguard, for whatever the hell my biased opinion is worth, remains one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of Pocket Books’ decades-long Star Trek publishing program. It also ranks as one of the most fun things I’ve ever done as a writer of Star Trek fiction. Being able to combine elements of my favorite incarnation of Star Trek with a serialized, epic storyline that unfolds over several books was like having – if you’ll pardon the Trekified expression – “the best of both worlds.”

(Note: Learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about Vanguard by clicking on this link-type thing right here: – Star Trek Vanguard)

Yeah, it was and remains something special, at least to those of us who worked on it. If you haven’t yet given the series a try…well…what are you waiting for? How do you look at this set of supremely kick-ass covers created by Doug Drexler and not even be a little curious about what’s wrapped inside them?


Which brings us back to…it’s been 15 damned years? Man, I feel old.

But, I’m certainly not so old that I can’t pimp the hell out of the series on behalf of people who haven’t yet had the chance to read it.  If you’re into Star Trek and you’re looking for something a tad different, have I got a treat for you in the form of the Complete Star Trek Vanguard Reading Guide:

Harbinger – Dave
Summon the Thunder – me & Kevin
Reap the Whirlwind – Dave
Open Secrets – me (story by me & Kevin)
Precipice – Dave
Declassified – stories by me, Kevin, Marco, and Dave
What Judgments Come – me & Kevin (story by me, Kevin, and Dave)
Storming Heaven – Dave (story by Dave, me & Kevin)

There also are a couple of additional stories which, while not essential to enjoying the main “saga,” might still be of interest:

Distant Early Warning – me & Kevin (a Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers story)
In Tempest’s Wake – me (sort of a coda to the Vanguard series)

The Black Flag” – James Swallow
(Included in the anthology Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Shards & Shadows)

Do I regret that the series ended, rather than continuing on? Not one bit. Vanguard was always envisioned as a story with a defined beginning and ending, and despite our various diversions and course corrections over the span of the stories we wrote, we ended up not too far afield from what Dave originally envisioned. We also got to end the series on our own terms, something not done before or since in Pocket’s Star Trek publishing program, and those eight books sit on my bookshelf as a testament to one of the most creatively rewarding projects in which I’ve ever taken part. I’m forever grateful to Marco and Dave for inviting me and Kevin to play in this wonderful little corner of the Star Trek sandbox.

Of course, Vanguard also begat Star Trek: Seekers, which allowed us to take a bunch of characters who only played supporting roles in the previous series and elevated them to stars of their own show, so to speak. Elsewhere, elements from the series have managed to find their way into other areas of the Star Trek “expanded universe,” but so far the three of us–Dave, Kevin, and myself–have held to our “pact” to refrain from revisiting Vanguard‘s core storyline or central characters. As I wrote more than a few years ago in response to a question about returning to the concept in some fashion:

As far as I’m concerned, the stories of Vanguard’s core cast have been told. Within the fictional construct of the Star Trek universe, their reward—and penance—for what happened over the course of those novels and novellas is to be consigned to obscurity; footnotes to a history about which few people ever will know the complete truth.”

Yep, I still feel that way. I remain immensely proud of the work we did, but I have no need to re-open that particular box. To borrow a bit of sports parlance, I think we left it all on the field. Better to leave it well enough alone, and move on to other challenges and opportunities.

So, Happy Birthday, Star Trek Vanguard. Here’s hoping you keep finding new fans.


Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Die Hard!

After resuscitating this infrequent and haphazardly recurring blog feature last month, here I am in an ongoing attempt to make it more of a “regular thing.” The basic idea is pretty simple: I present a nostalgic look at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books, often from days gone by but I’m not opposed to checking out more recent offerings. So far, previous installments of this wannabe regular column-like thing have included looks back at novels based on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, Planet of the Apes, V, and Space: 1999.

This time, I’m deviating from the established formula a bit and veering away from novels and such which tend to be novelizations of films or television episodes or instead original stories featuring a film or TV series’ established characters. For this latest installment, I’m adding in a dash of flavor as we take a look at novels or other source material that served as inspiration for the popular Die Hard film series, and we can’t do that unless we go all the way back to the very beginning with a book that really has nothing at all to do with any of the Bruce Willis films….

Continue reading “Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Die Hard!”

Talking about Agents of Influence with Literary Treks!

LiteraryTreks-LogoA new book means new interviews!

They vary in number from book to book, but one show you can pretty much always count on to reach out about an interview is’s Literary Treks podcast. I mean, talking about Star Trek books is baked right there into the name!

Those rascals, Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther, always manage to nab me for an hour or so in order to talk about my newest Star Trek publication. This time, our chat revolved around Agents of Influence, my Star Trek original series novel which was released back on June 9th.

To be honest, I always feel like I’m fumbling through these discussions because by the time I’m talking with people who are reading the book, it’s been at least several months since the last time I revisited the story, and there usually have been any number of things I’ve written or are in the midst of writing by the I start doing interviews for a newly published book. However, Bruce and Dan did a fine job hitting me with good questions and observations which made for a fun, thoughtful conversation. I some ways, chats like this allow me to enjoy a story I wrote all over again.

For those pondering having a listen but who haven’t yet read the book, please be aware that SPOILERS ABOUND IN THIS INTERVIEW. You’ve been warned.

Otherwise? Head on over to Literary Treks and stick this in your ears:

Literary Treks Podcast #306 – There’s Shag Carpet On This Ship Somewhere


Many thanks to Bruce and Dan for having me on again. I’m sure our paths will be crossing again somewhere down the road!

Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Alan Dean Foster!

After an irregular, infrequent attempt last year to kickstart this (hopefully) recurring feature here on the blog, here I am with the second installment in less than a month!

The idea is simple: I’m a tie-in writer. Before that, I was a tie-in reader. I still am, of course, but way back when? I had no idea reading such books would lead me to writing anything, let alone my own tie-in books. Weird how life works sometimes, right? And yet, here we are.

Now that I’m a regular to this somewhat misunderstood and oft-derided genre of writing, I like to look back at the works of those who preceded me; books I read as a kid and which in hindsight proved to be something of an inspiration to me. Previous installments of this feature/wannabe column have included looks back at novels based on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, Planet of the Apes, V, and Space: 1999.

You’ll note all of these are television series, and in the 1970s and 80s tie-ins to science fiction and fantasy shows were particularly commonplace, but we can’t forget about novelizations of popular genre films. I read a whole bunch of those during this same period, as well, and no conversation about the great film novelizations of this era can happen without some mention of the one and only Alan Dean Foster. Indeed, the man deserves his own conversation on this topic, which is…well…what I’m about to do here.

Continue reading “Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Alan Dean Foster!”

Agents of Influence

AgentsOfInfluence-CoverStar Trek: The Original Series

For years, Starfleet Intelligence agents have carried out undercover assignments deep within the Klingon Empire. Surgically altered and rigorously trained in Klingon culture, they operate in plain sight and without any direct support, while collecting information and infiltrating the highest levels of imperial power. Their actions have given Starfleet valuable insight into the inner workings of Klingon government and its relentless military apparatus.

After three of Starfleet’s longest serving agents fear exposure, they initiate emergency extraction procedures. Their planned rendezvous with the U.S.S. Endeavour goes awry, threatening to reveal their activities and the damaging intelligence they’ve collected during their mission. Tasked by Starfleet to salvage the botched rescue attempt, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must discover the truth behind a secret weapons experiment while avoiding an interstellar incident with the potential to ignite a new war between the Federation and one of its oldest adversaries.

Agents of Influence is my first Original Series novel since my 2016 collaboration with my bud Kevin, Purgatory’s Key. As I’ve recently said elsewhere, this era of Star Trek is my favorite, either while writing Kirk and the gang on the Enterprise or else other tales told in the same general time frame as we did with the Star Trek Vanguard and Star Trek: Seekers books. It’s always fun to return to this period, where Kirk and his crew are in their prime and out there exploring and seeking and boldly going.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is the 22nd Star Trek novel I’ve written and the eighteenth while working under the editorial guidance of Ed Schlesigner and/or Margaret Clark. For the better part of the past decade it’s been both of these folks. They tolerate my antics and my shenanigans and they keep calling me back to write more Star Trek, for which I am and will forever be grateful.

This is also my sixth Star Trek novel to receive an audiobook adaptation. As with the other five titles, this new book benefits from the vocal stylings of the wonderful Robert Petkoff. A self-professed Star Trek fan himself, Mr. Petkoff always brings enthusiasm and passion to these projects, and I simply love listening to him breathe life into my pithy little words.

Agents of Influence is now available at bookstores everywhere, in trade paperback, e-Book, and both digital and CD audiobook editions. If you’re still one of those folks who loves going to an actual store for your reading material, I humbly suggest patronizing your local independent bookseller. If that sort of thing isn’t feasible for whatever reason, then of course we have other options:

Simon & Schuster
Barnes & Noble

In addition to providing a permanent home for links to find and order the book, this blog entry also will serve as the book’s “official” Q&A thread. Those of you who want to chat about the book, feel free to post your questions/etc. to the comments section. For those of you who’ve found this page and perhaps not yet read the book, BEWARE SPOILERS ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.