Kevin and I are heading into the Unioverse!

So, it seems Kevin and I are at it again.

In my monthly “writing wrap-up” posts, I’ve been hinting about a couple of projects I — or Kevin and I — have been working on during these past several months. With NDAs in place and timing being everything so far as effectively rolling out announcements for new projects, we’ve had to wait (im)patiently for the respective Powers That Be to greenlight promotion efforts. One of those things Kevin and I have been working on together has been described in this space over the past few months thusly:

Unidentified Shared Universe Project – As mentioned in a previous blog post, Kevin and I received an invitation to participate in this effort. The editorial team loved our ideas and after incorporating the few notes they had for us, we got the go ahead to start writing our short story. We delivered our our manuscript on October 1st and we’re presently awaiting editorial feedback. We’re also standing by for an official announcement about the project and our involvement. Hopefully soon!”

So, what’s this for? I’m so glad you asked.

What is “the Unioverse?” The short version is it’s a new science fiction game setting being developed by a team of seriously top-shelf creators. They’re laying the groundwork for a truly massive setting which will allow stories to be experienced not just in a gaming space but across multiple media platforms.

And rather than just keeping it all to themselves, not only are they recruiting established creator talent from the realms of gaming, comics, novels, and film, but they also have plans to open things up to new voices and creators looking to get their foot in the door within those arenas. That alone is its own topic that could keep us talking for hours and rather than me stealing all their thunder, I’d really rather direct you to the Unioverse website to get a full deep dive on what they’ve accomplished so far as well as what they’re planning.

Which brings us to this:

BusinessWire.com: Hex Publishers to Expand the Unioverse with Tie-In Anthology and Comic Book Series

Josh Viola and Hex Publishers, with whom Kevin and I previously worked for the anthology It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers back in 2020, have been tapped to shepherd this new collection of short tales set in the ever-expanding Unioverse. I don’t know what possessed Josh to invite us to join in this new venture, but I’m grateful as it’s been an absolute blast getting to know this knew universe. Sorry. Unioverse!

Ours is just one of 27 Stories of the Reconvergence, which brings together writers representing various corners of genre fiction. This includes friends and colleagues Mario Acevedo, Kevin J. Anderson, and Tim Waggoner as well as Jane Yolen and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, both of whom I’m fortunate to know thanks to mutual friendships within the writing community. Meanwhile, I’ve read and enjoyed the writings of several other participants, and I’m as excited as anyone else to be introduced to those word-pushers who are new to me. It’s a pretty impressive line-up, so here’s hoping Kevin and I manage to pull our weight accordingly.

As I write this, Kevin and I are awaiting feedback from editor and his co-editor, Angie Hoddap, both of whom bring their own rather impressive street cred to the fray. Stories from the Reconvergence is currently slated for publication in the summer of 2023. More details as they’re made known, but for now you can read the read the official press release with all of the details by clicking on this linky-type thing right here.

And while we’re all waiting for the book to wind its way through the production life cycle, if this sounds like something you want to get in, either as a player of the forthcoming game or as a possible future contributor in some manner, be sure to check out any or all of the following:

Twitter | Unioverse Blog | Discord | Hex Publishers Antho Page
Hex Publishers Comics Page | Facebook | YouTube

Many thanks to Josh, Angie, and the rest of the Unioverse team for inviting us to play in their swank new sandbox!

New Star Trek: Discovery novel coming May 2023…from me!

FINALLY, IT CAN BE TOLD.

For a while now, those of you who read my little toy-filled corner of the internet have been reading about an “Untitled tie-in novel” that’s one of my current works-in-progress. Indeed, my monthly writing wrap-up posts usually had something annoyingly vague like this to say about the book:

There have been some rumors and such about what this is, but I can’t really say much as nothing’s been formally confirmed or announced. I can say that the placeholder title I’ve seen bandied about is not accurate. It’s what they stuck into my contract at the time, before I’d even written an outline. Suffice it to say there’s a different title on the pages I’m looking at right now.”

Then there were the mysterious listings on Simon & Schuster’s website, which offered little in the way of actual info, because a delay in publication (see below) meant they weren’t yet ready to share any details about the book until the time was right. For example, curious knowledge seekers checking out the latest happenings in Star Trek publishing land might’ve come across a listing with a cover image like the one shown here.

This along with what was essentially “template data” is what fed out to the various book retailer sites. Meanwhile, I didn’t say much, instead waiting for the publisher and Paramount to approve the public release of any promo info about the book, which is my cue to start yammering about it.

So, yammer I shall!

As of today, I can officially announce that my next novel will be Somewhere to Belong, a Star Trek: Discovery novel set between the show’s third and fourth seasons. What’s it about, you ask? Well, allow me:

Captain Michael Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery are finding that each day is a critical adjustment to their new lives and new missions in an Alpha Quadrant more than nine hundred years in the future. It’s here that Discovery is reconnecting with various worlds where the cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. There’s been precious little time for the crew to truly come to terms with their present reality, as their devotion to duty hides the emotional stress that could impact their effectiveness, and even threaten themselves or others.

After a successful journey to yet another planet cut off from the Federation, Discovery picks up a distress signal located in a nearby star system—a plea that harbors roots from their past lives in the 23rd century, and which may now lead to an entirely new crisis, plunging them all into mortal danger….

And there you go.

I actually delivered the manuscript back in April, but supply chain issues affecting the availability of paper and thereby forcing printer scheduling issues saw to it this book – originally slated for release in late 2022, was instead pushed into next year. Naturally, this affected the timetable of various things baked into the book’s development life cycle, including everything from when it was sent to a copyeditor to when I received galley (typeset) pages to when a cover might be commissioned. Also impacted by the rescheduling was the timeframe when I could actually announce and begin soft-promoting the thing. As it happens, today’s the day!

When I was asked to write the book and while talking with my editor as well as friend Kirsten Beyer, as my story ideas started to take shape I realized I wanted to spend at least some time with the characters in the aftermath of the Season Three events. Basically, Discovery and its crew arrived in the 32nd century and hit the ground running, with almost no time to acclimate to their new “home” let alone contemplate their place in it.

Star Trek: Discovery season four key art. This won’t be the cover, even though I think it fits the book’s overall theme very well. Stay tuned for that!

Once I learned there would be a time gap between those events and the start of Season Four, I started thinking about the crew’s reactions to the decision they made to jump with Michael Burnham to the future. How are they adjusting? Are they adjusting? Anybody having second thoughts, regrets, wondering if they made a terrible mistake or they simply feel homesick? Plus, there were a few interesting threads left dangling at the end of Season Three that lent themselves to playing in this space.

Along with this, I also just wanted to put these characters through something closer to a “traditional” Star Trek adventure. No crazy galactic crises or threats of war, but instead maybe a first contact situation and a chance to see how Burnham and her people can adapt to the way things like this are handled in the here and now of the year 3189 vs. 2258. Unlike Drastic Measures, which I wrote as a prequel set ten years before the events of Discovery‘s first season, here I was writing within a more strict set of parameters. As this story is set in that narrow gap between seasons, I had to work within the constraints that implies, but hey! Welcome to writing tie-in fiction for a show that is currently in active production. 🙂

As I write this, the book is scheduled for publication on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 and is currently up for pre-order from all the usual places. It’ll be available as a trade paperback and an eBook, as well as an unabridged audiobook. I encourage folks to patronize and support their local independent booksellers if at all possible, but if that’s not an option you can also find links here: Star Trek: Discovery – Somewhere to Belong.

Let’s fly, y’all!

The Double Trouble anthology Kickstarter is LIVE!

Last week, you may have read from me or one of the other contributing writers or even an interested fan about Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team Ups. Edited by Jonathan Maberry and Keith R.A. DeCandido and presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW), Double Trouble will be a collection of all-new stories featuring heroes of yesteryear who’ve entered the Public Domain along with a few colorful personalities from the annals of actual history!

“Everybody loves a team-up!

Batman and Superman. Alien and Predator. Zatoichi and Yojimbo. The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan. Hercules and Xena. Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Iron Man and Captain America. 

The popular-culture storytelling landscape is filled with team-ups. Now, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) presents a new anthology that takes a whole bunch of classic characters and pairs them up! (In some cases, triples them up…)

Want to see Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote paired with William Shakespeare’s Prospero? Dracula in a story with Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and John Henry? Jane Austen’s Lydia Bennet meeting John Polidori’s Lord Ruthven? The immortal Ayesha coming across the goddess Egungun-oya? Abraham Van Helsing encountering the Medusa and Athena?” 

Awwww yeah.

So, sound interesting? Want to see these and a bunch of other cool matchups?

As mentioned in my previous post, we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of gathering the modest funds necessary to support the costs of assembling the book, which will feature this roster of wily word pushers and the characters they plan to bring together for all sorts of chaos and mayhem:

Marion of Sherwood meets Annie Oakley by Rigel Ailur
Captain Nemo meets Frankenstein’s monster by Kevin J. Anderson
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde meet Dracula and John Henry by Derek Tyler Attico
Gulliver meets Sacajawea and Ernest Shackleton by Diana Botsford
Ace Harlem meets the Conjure-Man by Maurice Broaddus
Van Helsing meets Athena and the Medusa by Jennifer Brody
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die must survive the Night of the Living Dead by Greg Cox
Lord Ruthven meets Lydia Bennet by Delilah S. Dawson
Ayesha, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed, meets Egungun-oya by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Flaxman Low meets Mezzanotte by Nancy Holder & Alan Philipson
Prospero meets Don Quixote de la Mancha by David Mack
Dan Fowler meets Stinger Seave by James Reasoner
Bastet and Fenrir meet Quetzalcoatl by Ben H Rome
Dr. Moreau meets Audrey II by Scott Sigler
Captain Battle meets Blackout by Dayton Ward (Hey! That’s me!)

This is just what you get if the campaign makes its original fundraising goal. Stretch goals brings with them the chance to include stories by:

Jane Trent, Science Sleuth and Fantamah and Fury by Debbie Smith Daughetee
Tang Sanzang, a.k.a. Tripitaka, and Emperor Taizong by David A McIntee
Moon Man and The Man in Black by James A. Moore

If any of this sounds at all interesting an cool to you, then head over to Kickstarter and check out the project’s Kickstarter page. There, you’ll get the full low-down on what we’re doing as well as all the sweet perks available to enthusiastic backers.

On that subject, I’m throwing into the backer perk pot a new, yet-to-be-named collection of short fiction I’ve written over the years, including pieces previously available to very limited audiences. For example, “Texas Pride: A Tale of the Last World War” is a story I wrote years ago for the long defunct Amazon Shorts publishing program. Other than being offered as a perk for another Kickstarter campaign a few years ago, the story has lain dormant in my archives, wondering why I don’t get off my butt and leverage it along with other vagrant tales to maybe earn me the odd coin or two. My intention here is to make this new collection an exclusive “early release” for Double Trouble backers, and then offer it up to a wider audience in a year or so.

We’re gonna make some Double Trouble and want you to come along for the ride with us. Whaddaya say?

DOUBLE TROUBLE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF TWO-FISTED TEAM-UPS – Kickstarter Now Live!

Coming Soon: Kickstarter for new anthology DOUBLE TROUBLE!

If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ve likely at least seen a post or two where I talk about the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW). Basically, it’s an ever-growing group of writers who – like me – write various works that tie into other intellectual properties such as movie and TV franchises, video game or comic series, and so on. A bunch of us decided to band together so we could help elevate awareness and discourse about this often misunderstood field of writing, as well as correct certain pervasive misconceptions and just plain myths about how such works are created. Those of us who write them enjoy doing so, and indeed we take pride and satisfaction in the end result.

Turning the Tied, edited by Jean Rabe and Robert Greenberger, March 2021

Early last year, the IAMTW produced its first anthology, Turning the Tied. It’s a collection of short fiction written by IAMTW members and featuring all-new stories focusing on literary characters who’ve entered the Public Domain. Sherlock Holmes, John Carter, Dracula, Mulan, the Three Musketeers, and so on. Proceeds from sales of the book go toward the World Literacy Foundation, so feel free to click on that title up there and read about it, and if you’re of a mind to do so maybe consider buying a copy to support the cause.

Skip ahead to NOW: the IAMTW is once again developing an anthology of all-new tales that will feature heroes of yesteryear who’ve entered the Public Domain as well as a few colorful personalities from the annals of actual history! This time around, accomplished wordsmiths Jonathan Maberry and Keith R.A. DeCandido are taking on the truly monumental task of herding an all-new gaggle of cats for Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups.

To help realize this particular project, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign later this month. It’s hoped we can raise the modest funds necessary to support the costs of assembling the book, which will feature this roster of wily word pushers and the characters they plan to bring together for all sorts of chaos and mayhem:

Marion of Sherwood meets Annie Oakley by Rigel Ailur
Captain Nemo meets Frankenstein’s monster by Kevin J. Anderson
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde meet Dracula and John Henry by Derek Tyler Attico
Gulliver meets Sacajawea and Ernest Shackleton by Diana Botsford
Ace Harlem meets the Conjure-Man by Maurice Broaddus
Van Helsing meets Athena and the Medusa by Jennifer Brody
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die must survive the Night of the Living Dead by Greg Cox
Lord Ruthven meets Lydia Bennet by Delilah S. Dawson
Ayesha, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed, meets Egungun-oya by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Flaxman Low meets Mezzanotte by Nancy Holder & Alan Philipson
Prospero meets Don Quixote de la Mancha by David Mack
Dan Fowler meets Stinger Seave by James Reasoner
Bastet and Fenrir meet Quetzalcoatl by Ben H Rome
Dr. Moreau meets Audrey II by Scott Sigler
Captain Battle meets Blackout by Dayton Ward (Hey! That’s me!)

This is just what you get if the campaign makes its original fundraising goal. Stretch goals brings with them the chance to include stories by:

Jane Trent, Science Sleuth and Fantamah and Fury by Debbie Smith Daughetee
Tang Sanzang, a.k.a. Tripitaka, and Emperor Taizong by David A McIntee
Moon Man and The Man in Black by James A. Moore

If any of this sounds at all interesting an cool to you, then head over to Kickstarter and check out the project’s pre-launch page. Sign up to be notified when the campaign goes live as well as receive updates about backer rewards, opportunities to be “Tuckerized” (a character named for you in a story) and other goodies to be revealed when the time’s right.

So, who wants to make some Double Trouble with us?

Tuesday Trekkin’: Favorite “Behind-the-Scenes” Trek books!

Yep, it’s Tuesday.

A check of my blog tells me it’s been a little over a month or so since my last entry in this stuttering, staggering, “irregularly recurring” feature that’s little more than an excuse for me to babble on a bit about some bit or bob of Star Trek fandom. This usually translates me to waxing nostalgic as I recount a fondly remembered bit of oddball merchandise or collectible, anniversaries, “milestones,” or important dates in franchise history, convention memories, or whatever else tickles my fancy on any given day.

As for the “Tuesday Trekkin’” moniker, it’s a salute of sorts to Dan Davidson and Bill Smith aka “The Hosts of the TrekGeeks Podcast.” Their fan group over on Facebook, Camp Khitomer, is devoted to all things Trek where all are welcome to join in their positive vibes and community. Sometimes, they also like to push a #TrekTuesday hashtag over there, inviting members to share updates, links, and/or pictures celebrating their fandom, so this feature is definitely offered in that same spirit.

In an unreleated but welcome bit of synergy, today is also National Book Lovers Day, so now I’ve got a perfect excuse to roll out some fannish observations about a few of my personal favorite Star Trek books. For this exercise in full frontal nerdity, I’ve opted to take a look at a handful of my favorite “Behind the Scenes” from various corners of the Trek franchise. You can do that sort of thing when you’re an alleged adult. People dont even look at you weird when you check these out of the library or plonk them down on the counter at a bookstore. Go figure.

First up? The daddy of all such tomes devoted to the care and feeding of the Final Frontier: The Making of Star Trek. It doesn’t get any more “You Are There!” than this, written by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry and published in 1968 while the original series was still in production. It chronicles the show’s creation and development through its two pilot episodes and transition to weekly series, and recounts various production highlights through the conclusion of its second of three seasons. This very much makes it a time capsule from that period, not just as a Star Trek reference but also an insider’s look at just how a television series of the late 1960s was made.

Considered by fans as a companion piece to The Making of Star Trek, The Trouble With Tribbles is David Gerrold’s in-depth recounting of the development and production of one of the franchise’s most memorable episodes by the man who wrote it. Featuring initial concept notes, script drafts and revisions, as well as notes and insights as his story was put before the cameras, told from the unique perspective of someone who was there as it happened. This wonderful morsel of Star Trek production history is currently available in electronic format from Mr. Gerrold’s website, along with another book he wrote which is also a favorite of mine, The World of Star Trek. These books along with The Making of Star Trek, which I first encountered while still in elementary school, ignited an interest in the show’s production that fascinates me to this day.

Though written as a retrospective, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story still makes for a nice bookend with The Making of Star Trek to round out a history of the original series. This first-person tale recounts the show’s genesis, production, and enduring legacy, presented by two of the three men who were there from “Day 1,” Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman. Despite a few factual errors – likely misrembrances owing to the passage of more than 30 years from the show’s production to the book being written – the insights offered from people in the trenches makes Inside Star Trek is still one of the better entries in this category, and does its own bit of fueling my continued obsession with the production of the original series.

The most recent of the books I’m calling out here, Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Inside the Art and Visual Effects is an absolutely gorgeous, oversized coffee-table tome brought to us by authors Jeff Bond and Gene Koziki. Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the film’s theatrical release, the book takes a detailed look at the unleashed imaginations and artistic brainstorming of the numerous people who guided the first (and, arguably, still the most ambitious) Star Trek feature film from concept to reality. Of course I had my copy pre-ordered the nanosecond I heard about it, which ended up being about a year ahead of the book’s publication.

Sticking with the current theme, I have tip my hat to Chekov’s Enterprise: A Personal Journal of the Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Walter Koenig (who’s definitely no slouch as a writer, either) presents a very candid diary from the perspective of Lieutenant Chekov himself. Like The Making of Star Trek, there’s a definite “There on the set” vibe permeating the book’s every page, offering a lingering look at the daily grind of the film’s production. Mr. Koenig gives us welcome insight into the process of the cast “re-learning” how to do Star Trek after so many years away from their roles, along with the numerous obstacles face by Gene Roddenberry, director Robert Wise, and the entire crew to bring the film to fruition. It’s not all roses and unicorns, but you can’t beat the insider perspective Mr. Koening provides.

To close out this installment, I’m stepping away from the original series to salute not just one of the best Star Trek behind-the-scenes books but perhaps one of the best such books written about producing television, period. I refer to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, published in August 2000. Working from notes and interviews compiled as the series progressed from initial concept to its final episode, authors Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block offer us as complete a history of the series’ seven seasons as we’re ever likely to see. Worth the price of admission all on its own is the collection of anecdotes and interviews from the production staff, who give us a no-holds-barred look at the show, episode by episode and never shying away from telling us what they thought worked and — more interestingly — what they thought fell short….in some cases, very short. As a sort of companion to the Companion, Erdmann and Block along with DS9 visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel wrote The Magic of Tribbles, an e-Book exclusive which details the development and execution of “Trials and Tribble-ations,” the show’s wonderful 30th anniversary tribute episode to the original series.

Okay, I suppose that’s enough babbling for one day. There are, of course, numerous other titles I could’ve included in the mix, but then we’d be here all day. No, I didn’t forget your favorite but feel free to share it down in the comments. Happy #TrekTuesday, and Happy National Book Lovers Day!

(Note: Some of this material repurposed from an article I wrote for StarTrek.com in 2014.)

I AM LEGEND: One of “those” books.

“On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.

If he had been more analytical, he might have calculated the approximate time of their arrival; but he still used the lifetime habit of judging nightfall by the sky, and on cloudy days that method didn’t work. That was why he chose to stay near the house on those days.”

The opening lines from Richard Matheson’s classic novel I Am Legend, released on this date in 1954.

There are stories you encounter at a certain age – movies, TV shows, and most definitely books – that stay with you. As my good friend Kevin has described this phenomenon, this period of your life is something of your own personal “golden age” or “sweet spot,” usually your early teens or even before, where things encountered and enjoyed stick with you from that point forward. The love you have for this “thing” might be a fleeting sensation you revisit on occasion yet remember fondly each time that happens, or it might be something that remains with you, easily recalled with little or no provocation and never failing to bring a smile to your face.

For me, I Am Legend fits squarely in that latter category.

I first read the novel in 1979 at the age of 12 after stumbling across it at a local library. I was so enthralled with the story that I scoured bookstores for months until I found a copy to call my own. I haven’t been without at least one copy since.

In the decades since its original publication, the novel continues to provide inspiration. Pretty much the modern “zombie” subgenre of horror fiction – beginning with George A. Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead and spinning out from there – owes something to I Am Legend. As of this writing, Matheson’s book has itself been (officially) adapted for the screen three times: 1964’s The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price, The Omega Man from 1971 with Charlton Heston, and Will Smith’s 2007 film I Am Legend. This last one is currently being eyed for a sequel (or is it a prequel, or both?), and there was a time when I would’ve considered a follow-up to a film from more than just a few years after its predecessor an odd idea. Movies like Blade Runner 2049 and especially Top Gun: Maverick pretty much slapped that notion out of my head. Elsewhere, I long ago gave up trying to keep pace with the uncounted homages and flat out rip-offs of the original tale.

As for the book itself, I’ve turned hunting earlier editions of it into an idle passtime. In the early 1990s, Eclipse Comics published a 4-issue adaptation of the novel. I was lucky enough to find those at the time, and I enjoyed the graphic novel’s approach to slyly updating the story for the modern reader while remaining true to the original narrative. Years after Eclipse went under, IDW Publishing in 2003 produced a lavish hardcover edition of the adaptation. I missed it the first time around and after casually spending years hunting for it I finally landed a copy last year.

None of that compares to Matheson’s original novel, which 40+ years after I first read it remains one of my all-time favorite stories. I lost count ages ago how often I might pull it from the shelf, if not to reread it outright (it’s a short book) then simply to revisit favorite scenes and passages. When the 2007 film came along, a new audiobook edition of the novel was released, allowing me to enjoy the book in a whole new way.

I can quote passages from memory. Whenever I find myself driving around on an overcast day, I almost always consider the novel’s opening lines quoted above. I can’t drive past “Cimmaron Street” in my neighborhood without recalling that’s the street on which Robert Neville lived in the novel. Indeed, it was also the street on which Matheson lived while writing the book.

As I’m sure is the case with many other writers, the story itself along with Matheson’s superb crafting of such a memorable tale has influenced my own writing here and there. It’s just one of those titles that sticks with you, and I’m absolutely certain I’ve never assembled any sort of “Favorite Books” list that didn’t include it. For me, it’s most definitely one of “those books.”

When my oldest kid started taking an interest in reading supernatural horror and vampire stories in particular, I introduced them to Matheson and I Am Legend. They devoured the book in one sitting and immediately asked to read more by “this guy.”

#DadWin

Happy 68th Anniversary, I Am Legend.

Coming February 2023: High Noon on Proxima B!

Those of you who pay attention to my monthly writing wrap-ups have seen an entry where I mention one of the short stories Kevin and I worked on last year. For example:

Space Western Story – Kevin and I collaborated on this story for a new anthology that’s “coming soon.” Everything’s approved and signed off and we’ve been paid, but we’ve been informed that scheduling and supply chain issues have forced this book’s publication to spring 2023. We still don’t have any real info so far as an official announcement, author line-up, cover art, and various other details. Stay tuned for more info!

Well, I’m finally here with some of that “more info” stuff! The anthology’s contributors have finally been given the green light to share our participation in High Noon on Proxima B, a collection of all new “Weird Western” stories and the latest in a series of such tomes edited by David Boop. What’s it all about? Well, here’s what the back cover will (more or less) say:

It’s always high noon on Proxima B. All original stories about the final frontier.

YOU TELL ‘EM THE SPACE COWPOKES A’COMIN’ AND HELL IS COMIN’ WITH ‘EM!

Adventure! Danger! Revenge! And a mail-order robot gunslinger in a wedding dress? Only in the wildest parts of space could this happen. It’s time again to get in your ramshackle rocket ship and journey to the universe’s western territories with this follow-up to Gunfight on Europa Station.

Meet the employees of a space bordello as they’re drawn together to pull a con on a con. Or the crew filming a Western on a colony ship only to fight gravity and each other. Or a soldier on a backwater planet hiding from her past when it—and the military—finally tracks her down. Each voyage invokes the type of western yarns you’ve loved before, but with a science fiction upgrade you’ll get to enjoy anew.

Taking you on this ride are another set of astounding space opera authors such as Walter Jon Williams (Hardwired), Susan R. Matthews (Under Jurisdiction), Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek), Brenda Cooper (Project Earth), Milton Davis (Changa’s Safari), John E. Stith (Naught for Hire), and Peter J. Wacks (Caller of Lightning).

High Noon on Proxima B. Ten tales of the West . . . not as it was, but as it might be!


Sounds pretty cool, eh? And that line-up. The whole roster is solid, but I can’t help fanboying a little bit when I see Walter Jon Williams’ name on the cover. As in “Hardwired Walter Jon Williams? Metropolitan? The Accidental War?”

Yeah, that Walter Jon Williams.

As you can see, I’m pretty stoked.

Thanks very much to David Boop, whom we’ve known for many years after first meeting at the Starfest Convention in Denver way back when, for inviting us to participate in this project. It was David who recommended me to David Rozansky, who at the time was heading up Denver-based Flying Pen Press, to take the editorial reins for what became Space Grunts, the third of the Full-Throttle Space Tales anthology series which was published back in 2009.

For me and Kevin, this new anthology is one of several opportunities over the few years that have allowed us to experiment with some new ideas, including setting up characters and premises we’re keen to revisit in future stories as time and circumstances allow. The story we wrote for this anthology, “Past Sins,” is hopefully just the first tale of Myla Dynion, a woman who learns she can’t outrun her former life. It’s a little bit Spaghetti Western and a little bit Firefly with a dollop of cyberpunk tossed into the mix. We have thoughts and ideas about where to next take Myla, but I guess we should see how this first outing goes.

High Noon on Proxima B is currently slated for publication on February 7, 2023 by Baen Books, making it the first of several new titles with which I (or Kevin and I) are involved. At present, pre-order links are live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the trade paperback editions. These will be joined by e-Book options, as well as links to other outlets like Books-A-Million and (I hope) a portal to support local independent booksellers as we get closer to publication.

Saddle up, yo. It’s gonna get all sorts of weird and Western-y in here.

Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook

Return to the thrilling paradise of Jurassic World with this deluxe cookbook featuring recipes served throughout the park!

Take a taste of Isla Nublar home with you with this exclusive cookbook featuring the most popular dishes, drinks, and desserts of Jurassic World. Organized according to the park’s various regions and territories — Gyrosphere Valley, T. Rex Kingdom, Jurassic Lagoon, and more — this mouthwatering cookbook features over fifty delicious recipes, each one inspired by the flavors, environment, and culture of the island and the awe-inspiring dinosaurs that live there.

Filled with fascinating dinosaur facts, park guides, and gorgeous food photography, Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook is the ultimate souvenir for fans hoping to recreate some of the flavors of Isla Nublar in their own home.


It seems like forever ago (when considering pandemic-induced time dilation) that one of my editors at Insight Editions reached out to gauge my interest in collaborating on this project. As I was told at the time, they were looking for “an author who can write in a strong in-world voice,” and my previous work on the Vulcan and Klingon travel guides for Insight had apparently gone a long way toward demonstrating I could pull off that sort of thing.

Go me, amirite?

For this book, I was asked to create what my editor described as “flavor text.” Basically, everything that wasn’t going to be a recipe or other information related to the preparation of each of the more than 50 dishes the book would offer. In simpler terms, I was got to write about dinosaurs, Jurassic World itself along with Isla Nublar and the surrounding region, and so on.

Just as I did with the Star Trek travel guides, I presented all of that information from an “in-universe” perspective, in keeping with my editor’s original intention that the book read as if it existed in that world and as a souvenir you could purchase at one of the park’s gift shops.

To that end, my editor turned me loose, providing me a tremendous amount of latitude to mine the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World mythos. This evolved into writing about the theme park’s various areas and activities, excerpts from “field guides” about the different dinosaurs, and even bits of history about the Isla Nublar and the surrounding region as well as the backstory of John Hammond and his dream of creating the original Jurassic Park which eventually leads to the development of Jurassic World.

Holy moley, was this a lot of fun. I was already a fan of the films, but this gave me an excuse to jump back in and rewatch them as I searched for bits and nuggets of cool info to include in my notes. I even managed to sneak in a few references to Michael Crichton’s original Jurassic Park novel, which I hadn’t read since before the first movie came out in 1993. Let me know if you find any of those.

I actually completed my writing duties on this back in the late summer/early fall of 2020, with an eye toward the book being published in the summer of 2021 alongside the release of Jurassic World: Dominion to theaters. When the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with (among many other things) film release schedules, the movie was pushed out a year, and so too was this book. So, I’ve been waiting a long, looooooooong time for folks to see this thing.

And yes, it was very much a collaboration. In addition to my editor who provided her usual expertise and guidance, a book like this just doesn’t work unless you have someone who actually knows what they’re doing when it comes to the actual food and recipes aspects of a cookbook.

Enter Elena P. Craig, veteran recipe developer and food stylist who’s been doing her thing for about as long as I’ve been doing my thing. She’d already performed similar feats for Insight’s cookbooks devoted to Deadpool and Gilmore Girls. For this one she went all-out, creating over 50 recipes for dishes, snacks, cocktails, and other goodies designed to evoke the sort of cuisine to be found by visitors to the park.

Her awesome recipes and prep notes are enhanced by eye-popping photography that really help bring Elena’s creations to life, and luscious art and photos from the films enhances my “flavor text” about the island, the park, and the dinosaurs. The book itself is a gorgeous hardcover tome, and I’m just a little giddy to see it already popping up on a few “Best of” lists for Spring 2022 releases.

Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook is now officially on sale from Insight Editions and Simon & Schuster as well as the usual book haunts:

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Bookshop
IndieBound

My wife and sister area already planning on trying out some of the book’s recipes. If you end up doing the same, be sure to let me know in the comments below how things turned out!

Because lunch finds a way, yo.

Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Man from Atlantis!

Hey! Been a while since I traveled this road, huh?

For those of you who’ve joined our program already in progress, one of the “irregularly recurring features” I like to play around with here in the confines of this blog-type thing is something I like to call, “Tied Up With Tie-ins.” Basically, it’s when I decide to take a fond look back at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. Given my penchant for nostalgia and collecting old books, I figure this is a nice intersection for those two interests, which often means I’m revisiting something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood. That said, I’m certainly not above babbling about something newer if it tickles my fancy.

This time around, we’re heading back to the 1970s and taking a (not too) deep dive to pay a visit to Patrick Duffy, who before he was Bobby Ewing and the dad from Step By Step and Bobby Ewing again, was Mark Harris, the Man from Atlantis.

Continue reading “Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Man from Atlantis!”

My 2021 shameless holiday shopping suggestions guide.

It’s like this: I’m a freelance writer, which means I’m obligated at irregular yet all-too frequent intervals to throw myself on the mercy of a discerning populace and make my case for convincing you to part with some of your hard-earned spondoolicks in exchange for one or more of my collections of scribblings.

On the best of occasions, this takes the form of me standing behind a proud display of my works; tomes arrayed like little literary Stonehenges placed with Pythagorean precision while patrons browse the titles in search of something interesting. If the gods choose to smile upon me, I will trade many of these volumes for coin or notes, though there have been times when I departed the bazaar carrying the same burden with which I arrived.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic which continued to hound us throughout 2021, all but one of my scheduled convention appearances were cancelled. As I did in 2020 when this mess started, I completely understand and support each of the con promoters and their decisions to act out of concern for public safety. Likewise, I sympathize with those same promoters along with the vendors and creators who exhibit at these shows, for they all lost huge chunks of revenue they obviously count on to earn a living. As for me, it’s entirely possible someone might well have bought a book from me at one of these shows, with the intention of presenting said book to a friend or relative as a gift. Birthday present? Perhaps, but this time of the year it might well be an offering for the looming holiday season.

With that in mind, I figure I’m not at all above pointing potential buyers to some of my titles that I think make fun gifts for that reader and/or Star Trek fan on your shopping list. For the most part I’m steering away from my novels and focusing instead on those books with a better chance of appealing to the casual fan as well as the hardcore Trekkie.

Yeah, I lied in that last paragraph. I’m actually starting with a novel, but with good reason: It’s the first book of a massive trilogy I undertook with friends and fellow word pushers James Swallow and David Mack. Star Trek: Coda marks a turning point in the massive, interwoven continuity of Star Trek novels published for the past 20 years. As of November 30th, all three books are available in trade paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats. Follow the links below for more info:

Book I: Moments Asunder
Book II: The Ashes of Tomorrow
Book III: Oblivion’s Gate

Elsewhere within the Trek realm, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer up the closest thing I have to “evergreen titles” I think make fun gifts for the hardcore or even casual Trekkie on your shopping list.

First up? A pair of books to carry with you when you finally decide to blow off Vegas or Cancun and take a real vacation. Hop a transport to Vulcan or the Klingon homeworld, Qo’noS, and be sure to pack along a handy travel guide to your chosen destination. Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: Vulcan will give you all the info you need to make your way around Earth’s oldest interstellar ally and one of the Federation’s founding members. Check out the planet that gave us Spock, Sarek, Tuvok, T’Pol, and Michael Burhnam. The book even comes packed with helpful hints in the event you find yourself taking part in a Vulcan marriage ceremony or even becoming the unwilling recipient of a dying Vulcan’s living spirit. This book wouldn’t be half as good as it turned out if not for the artistic stylings of Livio Ramondelli and Peter Markowski.

Vulcan too laid back or even Lebowski for your tastes? Kick your vacation up a notch with Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire. In addition to giving you all the deets for visiting the homeworld, this guide also provides infobits about other planets within the Empire that are well worth a spot on your travel itinerary. Lots of tips from seasoned pros and welcoming locals, along with plenty of anecdotes from prominent Klingons as well insights into Klingon history and culture. Once again, my efforts are made all the better by the contributions of Livio and Peter, whose art graces nearly every page.

Looking for something to help someone get their craft on? A few ideas to appeal to that younger gift recipient who might like puzzles and models are the line of IncrediBuilds book-and-model sets.

There are dozens of options to choose from just by following that link, featuring kits tying into various entertainment properties as well as all manner of science-related topics. I’ve partnered with the IncrediBuilds team on five of these projects (so far?), including three Star Trek offerings: one each for the original U.S.S. Enterprise, the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the Klingon Bird-of-Prey seen in several Star Trek feature films and television series. The models consist of a laser-cut wood sheet with pieces that don’t require glue or other adhesive, and are very easy to assemble. My contribution to each of these was a booklet of history and information about each vessel. Each was a fun way to write for a younger audience than I’m used to addressing.

Moving away from Star Trek, I also did two of these IncrediBuilds projects tying into theToy Story franchise, with models based on Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody. As with the Star Trek sets, I provided a book for each model, this time telling different parts of the stories from the films as seen through each character’s eyes. Again, these presented an opportunity to write for a younger audience, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

My most recent collaboration with Insight Editions is also something I had a total blast writing: Star Trek: Kirk Fu. That’s right…we’re talking about the definitive guide to fighting like the one and only James Tiberius Kirk, famed captain of the Starship Enterprise, accomplished brawler of Klingons, Romulans, giant space lizards and imaginary Western black hat types. Artist Christian Cornia provides all of the art, including big, beautiful full-color splash pages along with step-by-step diagrams for each move. Be sure to stretch well before undertaking any of the moves illustrated in this handbook. Or, you could heed the warning and don’t try any of this at home because it’s all made up, yo.

Maybe somebody on your list likes role-playing games and Modiphius has you covered with Star Trek Adventures, fully-realized RPG set in the realm of the final frontier. I mean, sure…they DO have games based on a variety of premises, but right now we’re talking about Star Trek, all right? After helping game editor Jim Johnson and fellow writer Scott Pearson develop the game’s “Living Campaign” playtest storyline, I also managed to make some minor contributions to the game’s Core Rulebook. Next, last year I provided material that was included in 2020’s Klingon Empire Core Rulebook, which basically has everything you need to play Star Trek Adventures pretty much exclusively from the perspective of Klingon characters.

The most recent release is the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide, a massive book featuring a complete sandbox setting which greatly expands on information first created for the Living Campaign. I got to work with Jim and Scott as well as friends and writers Kelli Fitzpatrick and Derek Tyler Attico to develop a ton of all-new material to really flesh out what Scott and I started way back when. All sorts of other goodies are over there in the Modiphius shop, just waiting to help you make your STA experience a bold one.

The last couple of years have seen an uptick in my collaborative fiction output with by best friend and occasional writing partner, Kevin Dilmore. We had stories in two different anthologies last year and since then we’ve written three more such tales. with at least one more on the way.

For 2021, we were tapped by friend Robert Greenberger on behalf of Crazy 8 Press to contribute an all-new story to his anthology Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021. A follow-up to 2019’s Thrilling Adventure Yarns, this is yet another volume crammed to overflowing with 1940s-style pulp action-adventure tales. We get to hang out with some of our favorite writers and friends, and it’s always a gas when we get to work with Bob and the Crazy 8 gang.

If all goes to plan, Kevin and I will have new stories in at least two new anthologies during the coming year, and as I write this we’re tossing ideas back and forth for a project that’s recently popped up on our radar and we’ve decided it’s too cool to pass up at least submitting pitches.

But since we’re here and I’m still digging on this particular tome, I’m going to remind you of this fun little project to which we contributed and which also came out last year. The pandemic ate into a lot of the marketing and promo this one was supposed to enjoy, so I’m boosting the signal again. It Came From the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers, is an unabashed celebrations of 1980s horror movies, as well as Kevin’s and my first collaboration with the gang at Hex Publishers.

We had so much fun with this story that we decided the setting – the Vogue, an old-school single screen theater in the center of a small nondescript town in Anytown, USA – could more than lend itself to other tales told within those troubled walls. So, it’s entirely possible that may be something we do for goofs one of these days.

All right. I suppose that’s enough shameless promotion for one day. Obviously I’m hoping you’ll see fit to check out my various wares, and here’s hoping you find something either for yourself or that one particular name on your shopping list.