Here’s the cover for Available Light, my upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation novel!

I had to wait for StarTrek.com to do their big reveal, but now that they’ve done so (click on this link to go and see) free to show it here. Thanks to the artistic stylings of Doug Drexler and Ali Ries, I now have a cover for Available Light, my latest Star Trek: The Next Generation novel which is comin’ at ya in April 2019.

Behold, yo:

(Click to Biggie Size)

What’s it all about? Well I’m glad you asked:

The past comes back to haunt Captain Jean-Luc Picard in this brand new thriller set in the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Section 31, the covert organization which has operated without accountability in the shadows for more than two centuries, has been exposed. Throughout the Federation, the rogue group’s agents and leaders are being taken into custody as the sheer scope of its misdeeds comes to light. Now Starfleet Command must decide the consequences for numerous officers caught up in the scandal—including Admirals William Ross, Edward Jellico, Alynna Nechayev, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, along with many others, are implicated in the forced removal of a Federation president.

Meanwhile, deep in the distant, unexplored region of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must put aside personal feelings and political concerns as they investigate a massive mysterious spacecraft. Adrift for centuries in the void, the ship is vital to the survival of an endangered civilization which has spent generations searching for a world to sustain what remains of its people. Complicating matters is a band of marauders who have their own designs on the ancient ship, with only the Enterprise standing in their way….


While his collaborations with Ali adorn a few of my more recent offerings, Doug has been providing covers for a number of Star Trek novels for quite some time, now. I’ve definitely benefitted from the voodoo that he (and/or he and Ali) do so well. A couple of my all-time Star Trek novel covers just happen to be for books I wrote or co-wrote::

  

Available Light is due for publication on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in trade paperback, e-Book, and (I’m guessing) audiobook formats. Pre-order links are already live, so feel free to get a jump on your holiday shopping:

The book’s official landing page at Simon & Schuster
Trade Paperback or Kindle eBook from Amazon.com
Trade Paperback or Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble
Kobo eBook from Kobo.com

Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here. You know…trying to finish writing the thing…..

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Reading about writing about war.

Huh?

Yeah, I know. Bit of a tongue twister. I’m such a stinker, ain’t I?

Reading books on various military topics was something I started when I was a teenager, thanks to my uncle and his rather voluminous library. Later, when I was wearing my own uniform, the Commandant of the Marine Corps instituted a rank-specific reading list as part of our continuing “professional military education program. Today, such lists are commonplace across all branches of the service, and individual units even have their own additional lists to foster guided discussions and other education-related activities. They typically include titles focusing on history and leadership including biographies and memoirs, and other topics relevant to the profession of arms and the challenges our military faces, such as strategic and regional studies.

Continue reading “Reading about writing about war.”

The irregularly recurring tie-in writing wish list.

It’s a question for which I often receive some variation: “What film or TV property would you want to write for?”

While this sometimes means which actual films or television series for which I might think about writing scripts, in reality this usually refers to writing some kind of tie-in project such as a novel, comic, or whatever. While I’ve given occasional thought to the other thing, the simple truth is that A) scriptwriting is a wholly different skill set than writing prose fiction, and B) I ain’t moving to Hollywood or points adjacent. I mean….ever, and since that’s usually a requirement of the job, it means I’m out, yo.

Instead, I’m sticking – in large part, at any rate – with what I know, and what I know is prose. That means tie-ins, be they adaptations/novelizations, or original stories springing out from the creative springboard that is someone else’s intellectual property. For example, you know…Star Trek…which you may have noticed shows up from time to time on my writing resume.

Beyond the rather large sphere that is The Final Frontier, there are any number of properties for which I’d welcome with great enthusiasm the opportunity to contribute something. If you’d asked me this question 40 years ago, chances are good that I’d have answered with something like Planet of the Apes, The Six Million Dollar Man, or Space: 1999.

Welcome to a peek at my bookshelf, circa 1978. Who am I kidding? I still have these.

Come to think of it, those are all still valid answers now, which is good because 40 years ago I was 11 years old and my writing back then would’ve sucked something fierce.

(Yes, there’s an argument that age has not done anything for me in this regard. Shush, you.)

Luckily for me, modern entertainment is still held in the seemingly unbreakable grip of nostalgia, so it’s entirely possible that any or all of those aforementioned properties will be remade, rebooted, reimagined, or re-something else. A couple already have.

Okay, one has (Planet of the Apes), and another is supposedly doing so as I write this (The Six Million Dollar Man). Forget it. I’m rolling. Besides, the only thing more certain than a reboot is another reboot. So, hope springs eternal, and all that.

Anyway………….

Yes, I’ve already written for Planet of the Apes, in the form of a short story in the rather kick-ass anthology Tales from the Forbidden Zone, edited by Rich Handley and Jim Beard. They let me revisit the characters and situations from the 1974 live-action TV series, of which I’ve always been a fan, and I would love to go back and pick up where I left off with that story. As for Steve Austin the Bionic Man? With a new movie coming (we think) in 2020, there’s potential for there to be tie-ins not just for the film and its updating of the basic premise, but perhaps also a renewed interest in the classic series, and hey! Writing a movie novelization is still on my Bucket List, and this one would be a hell of a way to check that box. Just sayin’.

What else? Well, let’s see….Aliens? Sure thing. I’ve done a 24 novel, and if the rumors about a new series that’s a prequel to the original show are true, then yeah, I wouldn’t mind wading back into that particular pool. I certainly wouldn’t mind a crack at something tied to the revamped Lost In Space as seen with the new Netflix show, and just for the sheer insanity of it? Galaxy Quest and The Orville.

As for really pie in the sky stuff? Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or maybe something featuring Snake Plissken from Escape from New York. The likelihood of any of those happening is pretty slim, but a guy can dream.

And though the heyday of such books arguably is pretty much behind us, I still want to do some kind of “men’s adventure” tale like Mack Bolan or Remo Williams or Mark Stone the M.I.A. Hunter, writing under a house name and just going nuts with the sort of over-the-top action and mayhem for which such books are lovingly known. Maybe I should cut out the middleman and make up something of my own in that vein. Sounds like a plan, right?

Meawhile, I’ve got enough to keep me busy…for the time being, at least.

So, thoughts? For those of you who read my stuff and/or read these types of books, which property would you like to see me take a crack at?

Back cover copy and pre-order links for Available Light!

Those of you who weren’t around here back on Wednesday may have missed the announcement that Pocket Books has officially renewed its license to publish Star Trek novels, and the first of the books covered by that new agreement will start hitting shelves in early 2019.

Una McCormack is our lead-off hitter, and her Sylvia Tilly-focused Star Trek: Discovery novel The Way to the Stars will be out in January. Next up will be Greg Cox and his Original Series novel The Antares Maelstrom, out in March.

Then, there’s me, comin’ at ya in April with Available Light, in which I pick up Captain Picard and the rest of the Star Trek: The Next Generation gang from where I left things last summer with my previous TNG novel, Hearts and Minds.

In the wake of the announcement, now I can offer you Available Light‘s official, actual back cover copy, as well as a few pre-order links…because I know you’ll want to get on this as soon as possible, amirite?

Anyway, here we go:

Continue reading “Back cover copy and pre-order links for Available Light!”

Why, yes…I am indeed writing another Star Trek novel.

It’s been talked about, rumored about, and teased for lo these many moons.

It’s been a long road, getting from there to…..sorry. Accidental Star Trek: Enterprise reference. :: ahem ::

Anyway, at long last, Pocket Books, in the form of editor Ed Schlesinger who is spending this week out in Las Vegas for the ginormous Star Trek convention currently taking place there, announced yesterday that Pocket’s license to publish Star Trek novels was officially renewed, and also introduced the first three books which will lead off the 2019 line-up:

First up? The wonderful Una McCormack is back, this time to bring us an all-new Star Trek: Discovery tale:

The Way to the Stars, January:  Despite being an inexperienced Starfleet cadet, Sylvia Tilly became essential to the U.S.S. Discovery finding its way back home from the Mirror Universe. But how did she find that courage? From where did she get that steel? Who nurtured that spark of brilliance? The Way to the Stars recounts for fans everywhere the untold story of Tilly’s past.

It’s not easy being sixteen, especially when everyone expects great things from Tilly. It’s even harder when her mother and father are Federation luminaries, not to mention pressing her to attend one of the best schools that the Federation has to offer. Tilly wants to achieve great things — even though she hasn’t quite worked out how to do that or what it is she wants to do. But this year, everything will change for Tilly, as she about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime — an adventure that will take her ever closer to the stars…

Longtime Trek prose veteran Greg Cox is next at bat, with another Star Trek: The Original Series tale:

The Antares Maelstrom, March: Baldur-3 is an obscure planet just beyond the outer fringes of Federation space, until a group of struggling colonists discover vast quantities of the energy source pergium beneath the planet’s surface. An old-fashioned “gold rush” is now underway—a chaotic situation, as neighboring planets and space stations are vastly ill-equipped to deal with the flood of vessels and aliens competing to get to the planet in time to stake their claims. Although Baldur-3 isn’t technically under Federation jurisdiction, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are soon diverted to deal with the crisis . . . one which lies on the other side of the dangerous area of space known as the Antares Maelstrom.

Next? Why, that’d be Yours Truly, returning to the realm of Star Trek: The Next Generation and all the craziness you may have read about at the end of David Mack’s novel Control, and my own TNG tale from last year, Hearts and Minds:

Available Light, April: As fallout from the exposure of the “Control” AI security program and the unchecked crimes of Section 31 spans the entire Alpha Quadrant and ultimately reaches the halls of Starfleet Command, the admiralty must decide what the consequences will be for their own… including Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who helped bring down a Federation president and violated the principles of his oath. Meanwhile, deep in the unexplored section of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the Enterprise crew must put aside personal feelings on the matter and distant political concerns as they investigate the mystery a centuries-old massive spacecraft adrift in the void and under attack from marauders looking to claim the ship for themselves—and armed with weapons that are evenly matched with Starfleet’s finest…

(As you can see, I’m already rather busy with mine.)

Now, it’s worth noting that these are just the three books out of the chute. Rest assured more will be announced as deemed appropriate by The Powers That Be.

As for these three, expect more information as we get closer to the weekend, including pre-order links and actual/updated back cover copy descriptions, which are supposed to be fed out to the various book retailers/catalogs/etc. over the next couple of days.

So, for those of you who’ve been patiently waiting for news on this front along with those of you who…you know, haven’t…I for one appreciate you hanging in there with us as we all careened down this rather bumpy road to get to this point. Bring on 2019!

“Ten for Ward” #19 at StarTrek.com: 10 Star Trek Books That’d Make Good Movies

Once again, the good people over at StarTrek.com have taken leave of their senses and allowed me to sully their website with my inane babbling. For the first time in quite a while, I’ve saddled up for another edition of my irregularly recurring series for them, “Ten for Ward.”

For those of you who are recent additions to our merry band, it goes like this:  Every once in a while, I’m invited to provide a list of ten favorite (and hopefully interesting) Trek-related whatevers based on…well…whatever I can come up with at the time my editor reminds me of my blood debt to him and asks for a new column.

For this latest installment, I took to my Facebook page a while back and posed a question to my followers there: What Star Trek novel do you think would make a good movie? In the interests of modesty and (:: snicker ::) “professionalism,” I added as a condition of the survey that none of my own books could be suggested. The other limitation was that the suggestion had to be a standalone novel; no mini-series, trilogies, etc. As for the final twist? The person making the suggestion needed to keep in mind that their title of choice would be fodder for adaptation as a script for Chris Pine and the rest of the nu-Enterprise cast.

The answers provided included several titles I’d expect to make such a list, along with a few surprises and not-so common picks from among those who read these books. From there, along with some of my own suggestions, I fashioned the final list of ten. It wasn’t an easy task, given the multitude of suggestions as well as the quality of various novels and…yes…a healthy dose of nostalgia on my part as I considered several of the older titles.

For the whole list, check out my full article:

Ten for Ward #19: 10 Star Trek Books That’d Make Good Movies

I obviously didn’t set out to create anything resembling a “definitive list,” so feel free to offer up your own suggestions in the comments, either here or at the main article.

You can also check out all of my “Ten for Ward” columns just by clicking on this logo-ish looking thing right here:

Writing Star Trek? You need Star Trek references.

So, hey, here’s something you might not have known: I write Star Trek stuff.

A casual look over my CV reminds me I’ve written a lot of Star Trek stuff. An alarming amount, really. This might be an incurable disease, at this point.

Prior to conning people into actually paying me to write Star Trek, I was of course a huge fan. The first “reference” work I can remember buying was Franz Joseph’s Star Fleet Technical Manual, along with the set of blueprints for the Constitution-class starship he also created. In the mid 1970s, when there was precious little material aside from the original series reruns and the odd novel or comic book, a young, wide-eyed fan could pore over these publications, along with such books as The Making of Star Trek, David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek and The Trouble With Tribbles, and Bjo Trimble’s Star Trek Concordance and get their Star Trek fix.

Then 1979 arrived, and with it Star Trek: The Motion Picture along with a slew of new merchandise including Stan and Fred Goldstein’s Star Trek: Spaceflight Chronology, lavishly illustrated by the one and only Rick Sternbach, and we were off to the races.


(I remember begging my mother way back when for the money to buy one of David Gerrold’s books, pictured up top. I don’t remember which one. Hell, it may have been both.)

The years kept passing, we got new Star Trek movies and eventually new spin-off television series, and with all of that came more books! Along with the novels, there were more and more reference works. Blueprints, technical manuals, behind-the-scenes books, episode guides…you name it, it was out there. Holy crap, they were everywhere, and yeah, I bought them.

I’ve long been fascinated by the making of the original series in particular. You’d think at this point, nearly fifty years after the show was cancelled, there’d be little if anything left for me to read or find. The subject’s been pretty well covered in a variety of publications, most of which sit on one of my many overstuffed bookshelves. And yet, later this summer a new book, Star Trek: Lost Scenes, is coming at us.

Of course I’ve already pre-ordered the thing. I mean, duh.

(Don’t worry if you don’t see it pictured anywhere in these photos. Chances are good that whatever title you’re thinking of, I have it. I just had to stop at some point before this became somewhat pathological.)

And then, in an admittedly unlikely sequence of events, I morphed from simply being a Star Trek fan to someone who gets to write about it every so often. Now, I had a justifiable (and, as it happens, tax-deductible) reason to continue acquiring such books. Imagine my wife’s happiness upon hearing this news!

(“At least he wasn’t buying heroin,” she says.)

Now, in the age of the internet, one might think such references are all but obsolete, and in many cases one might be right. As a writer of Star Trek stuff, sites like Memory Alpha and Memory Beta are wonderful starting points when conducting any sort of Trek-related research. However, there are times when you need to dig deep…sometimes way, way deep, and the only way to do that is by pulling some dusty old tome off the shelf.

Of all the various references I’ve collected over the years, if I had to pick a single favorite, it’d have to be the Spaceflight Chronology. It came out at a time when I was always drooling over big, beautiful art books like Beyond Jupiter and other collections of Chesley Bonestell art, or the Terran Trade Authority art series. Man, I loved those books, and this one slotted right in with them, at least in my mind.

Though most of the “future history” it postulated has since been overwritten and superseded by later Star Trek productions (which later spawned its own “official” chronology book), Spaceflight Chronology is still a book I revisit every so often. I love to drop the occasional Easter egg from it into a story I’m writing, and many of the “historical anecdotes” it features make for great story fodder, themselves. So enamored are Kevin and I with this particular book that we even paid tribute to it several years ago in an issue of Star Trek Magazine, where we created several “update pages” for it. How’s that for nerdy?

But, I’m getting off the rails here, a bit.

Anyway….Star Trek reference books. Yeah, I have a bunch of them, but they’re for work, honey! Honest!

Klingon Travel Guide wins PubWest Gold Medal!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Look, by any reasonable measure, I’ve had a pretty good week. The highlights included Michi’s birthday and both kids doing awesome at the second meet of this year’s neighborhood swim league. On the work front, I have two new releases on store shelves, I was able to announce a new writing project, and just yesterday I was offered yet another one. What more do I need to make the week end on a high note?

BAM.

PubWest 2018 Book Design Awards!

What are we talking about? According to their website, “PubWest is a vibrant, dynamic trade association of small- and medium-sized book publishers, printers, editors, proofreaders, graphic designers, binderies, and related editorial and service companies. Established in 1977 as the Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association, PubWest is now dedicated to helping member book publishers succeed and has grown to include members in 31 states and 4 countries.”

As for their annual awards, which have been a thing for over 40 years, they “recognize industry innovators, those who have influenced publishing in the West, exemplary book design and production, and extraordinary service to PubWest and its membership.”

Sounds pretty cool, right?

Unbeknownst to me, the good folks at Insight Editions submitted Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire for this year’s award consideration. Specifically, it was submitted for the award program’s  “Guide and Travel Book” category.

I’m not even kidding.

And wouldn’t you know the book took the Gold Medal in this category? How insanely cool is that?

Now, what this means is that the artistic and design talents of everyone involved in the book – Elaine Quo, Alix Nicholaeff, Chrissy Kwasnik, Ashley Quackenbush, Livio Ramondelli, Peter Markowski, and my editor, Chris Prince – are all as kick-ass awesome as this very slick tome they helped create. This award recognizes their efforts in turning my pages of pithy descriptions and other blah blah blah text into an amazing book.

Take a bow, everyone. Each and every one of you deserves it, along with who knows how many people working behind the scenes that I’ve never had the chance to meet or thank for their hard work.

Everybody’s gonna be Kirk Fu fighting!

Awwwwww, yeah.

Though the adorably tenacious Trek Collective website first broke news about this, I was unable to say anything until an official announcement was made. Thankfully, the good folks at StarTrek.com saw fit to do just that, and so today we have an authorized sneak peek at one of the “unidentified tie-in projects” I’ve had going these past months. What are we talking about?

FIRST LOOK – Star Trek: Kirk Fu

Kirk_Arena

That’s right, kids! Star Trek: Kirk Fu – An Introduction to the Final Frontier’s Most Feared Martial Art is part How-to* and part loving tribute to the mighty Captain James Tiberius Kirk and the fighting moves that made him a Starfleet legend and hero to so many a fan.

Within the pages of Star Trek: Kirk Fu and in addition to “standard” punches and karate chops, you’ll also learn all about such classic moves as the Double Clutch, Rolling Thunder, and the Jimmy Wall Banger. I’d start limbering up now, if I were you.

Would you like to know more? Keep reading.


As captain of the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise, James T. Kirk engaged in his share of fisticuffs, besting opponents with a slick combination of moves and guile that remains unmatched. Is there anyone you’d rather have watching your back as you take on Klingons, alien gladiators, genetically engineered supermen, and even the occasional giant walking reptile?

Kirk Fu is a series of unarmed combat techniques developed by one of Starfleet’s most celebrated starship captains over several years of encounters with alien species on any number of strange new worlds. A blend of various fighting styles, Kirk Fu incorporates elements of several Earth-based martial arts forms as well as cruder methods employed in bars and back alleys on planets throughout the galaxy. It is as unorthodox in practice as it is unbelievable to behold. In unabashed celebration of James Kirk’s singular fighting skills, Star Trek: Kirk Fu – An Introduction to the Final Frontier’s Most Feared Martial Art is an easy-to-use training guide* for the new student, including excerpts from Kirk’s own notes and personal logs. With proper training and practice, every Starfleet cadet can become one with Kirk Fu.


I cannot begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had with this. I’ve had the basic idea for years, and after a couple of aborted attempts to entice a publisher, Fate saw fit to convince John Van Citters at CBS Consumer Products to recommend me to Insight Editions for the Vulcan travel guide. Only after I was finished with that project did I screw up enough courage to approach my editor,  Chris Prince, with this idea. He loved it from the outset, but there were some hurdles and obstacles that needed navigating before this one could get a green light by all of the interested parties.

(Insight kept me busy all during that time, of course, with the Klingon travel guide and the two Star Trek IncrediBuilds projects, so I ain’t complaining.)

Finally, though, the planets aligned, but Chris (and later Paul Ruditis, who ended up being my editor for this project), Insight, and CBS eventually gave me the thumbs-up and allowed me to roam free, totally off the chain as I pulled together this little tome of craziness.

Awwwwww, yeah.

Accompanying my pithy descriptions and other text will be the stylings of artist Christian Cornia, who has worked for Insight Editions on various projects in addition to creating all kinds of awesome stuff for other book and comic publishers, featuring such beloved characters as Scooby Doo, the Flintstones,  superheroes and more.

The book will feature color illustrations as well as black-and-white drawings that show how each “move” is executed. Want to see some concept art? This is what Christian is brewing up for us:

KirkFu-concept1

KirkFu-concept2

Star Trek: Kirk Fu is currently slated for publication on March 5th, 2019 from Insight Editions, and wouldn’t you know Amazon.com already has a pre-order link? Go figure.

All righty, then. Let’s get ready to learn some Kirk Fu!

KirkFu

* = Not really. Seriously. You try this shit on somebody and you’re just going to get your ass kicked. A bunch.

IncrediBuilds: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

IB_ST_TNG_Kit_Pkg_022118.inddStar Trek: The Next Generation

Get ready to boldly go where no one has gone before with this exciting Star Trek: The Next Generation wood model set. The 32-page softcover book is packed with information on the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, from its basic capabilities to its pivotal role in the Star Trek universe. Complete with stunning imagery and behind‑the‑scenes content, this book and model set is a must-have for any Star Trek fan. The wood model is easy to assemble and snaps together to form a dynamic, displayable 3D version of the Enterprise that fans will love.

Includes:
– Laser-cut, FSC®-certified wood sheet with easy-to-assemble pieces
– Step-by-step instructions
– Coloring and crafting ideas
– A U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D book

Skill Level: Advanced

Order directly from Insight Editions’ IncrediBuilds website!


This project, along with its original Star Trek series counterpart, was something of a departure for me, writing-wise. The book accompanying this nifty little model presents a bit of an overview of the Galaxy-class starships, with obvious emphasis on the Enterprise and its noteworthy adventures as chronicled on Star Trek: The Next Generation. That portion of the book is presented “inside the box,” as though the missions of the Enterprise really happened.

For the rest of the book, I took a step back and offer a brief history of the Enterprise‘s design for the series by Andrew Probert, the building and use of different filming miniatures, and even how they filmed the crash sequence that marks the end of the Enterprise-D’s service in Star Trek Generations.

And hey! The model that the book accompanies is pretty cool, you know.

Given that the IncrediBuilds kits are aimed at the 10+ age bracket, this along with the original series Enterprise was a fun way for me to bring a bit of Star Trek to a younger audience. If these first two kits do well, there may be others. I guess we’ll see!