Closing the door on 2022.

Well, at least 2022 was better than 2021, right?

I suppose it depends on where you land with various things. We celebrated successes, our own as well as those close to us. We enjoyed the company and love of family and friends. We endured heartache. We mourned.

Elsewhere, it seems people are starting to wake up to the fact that elections have consequences. We were warned, of course, but we wouldn’t pay attention. We were told to look three and four moves down the board and consider pesky things like Supreme Court nominees and gerrymandering and voting rights and women’s rights and civil rights. People seemed to wake up a little in response to some of the more egregious moves. Better late than never, I guess.

I try not to get too political in this space, but suffice it to say the midterms gave me only slight cause for hope as we – slowly – take steps to mitigate the damage that’s already been done. Here I am, with my fingers crossed that it’s a small but growing trend away from the insanity of the last several years and the utter chaos that certain segments of our elected leadership seem all to happy not just to egg on but indeed instigate or assist.

NOTE: If you’re reading this and taking issue with those previous paragraphs, I understand and respect it but I have absolutely no interest in discussing or debating it with you. I also respect that you might feel the desire or need to find the exit ramp from this little banal corner of the internet, and if that’s the case then I wish you well.

Still here? Cool.

Continue reading “Closing the door on 2022.”

Your Moment of TrekZen* – Classic Thanksgiving Edition!

We shall all sing songs of the Great Turkey Leg, on our way to the Stove O’ Kor.

Klingon Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here’s hoping you enjoy a restful holiday in the company of family and friends. For those unable to do so – servicemembers, first responders, doctors and nurses, and lots of other fine people answering a higher calling or simply having to work a job that precludes them from taking the day off – we thank you for your service and commitments and wish you a safe return home. And let’s not forget those who for whatever reason might be alone today, or who might need a helping hand.

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

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!

Scribe Awards 2022: THE WINNERS!

Earlier this afternoon out at San Diego Comi-Con, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) announced this year’s crop of Scribe Award winners. These awards celebrate excellence in the field of writing licensed works that tie into other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in these other formats, and which include every genre from mainstream police procedurals to science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance just to name a few of the heavier hitters.

The list of nominees and winners includes several people I’m proud to call friends and colleagues, so without further ado:

(Winner in each category boldly listed!)

Best Adapted Novel (novel based on a screenplay or teleplay)
Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay, by Pat Cadigan
Freshwater, by Julian Michael Carver
Halloween Kills, by Tim Waggoner

Best Audio Drama
Doctor Who: The Lost Resort, by A.K. Benedict
Doctor Who: The Third Doctor AdventuresThe Annihilators, by Nicholas Briggs
Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor AdventuresMonsters in Metropolis, by John Dorney
Doctor Who: Peladon – The Truth of Peladon, by Tim Foley
Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures – The Curse of Lady Macbeth, by Lizzie Hopley
Doctor Who: Girl Deconstructed, by Lisa McMullin

Best Graphic Novel
Missy: The Master Plan – A Doctor Who Graphic Novel, by Jody Houser
Star Wars: Darth Vader, Volume 2 – Into the Fire, by Greg Pak
Life Is Strange: Coming Home, by Emma Vieceli

Best Original Novel – General Fiction
Pandemic: Patient Zero, by Amanda Bridgeman
Caleb York: Shootout at Sugar Creek by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Murder, She Wrote: Debonair In Death, by Terrie Farley Moran

Best Original Novel – Speculative Fiction
Marvel Legends of Asgard: The Rebels of Vanaheim, by Richard Lee Byers
Legend of the Five Rings: To Chart the Clouds, by Evan Dicken
Marvel Untold: Witches Unleashed, by Carrie Harris
Star Trek: Coda, Book III – Oblivion’s Gate, by David Mack
Star Trek: Picard – Rogue Elements, by John Jackson Miller

Best Original Novel – Young Adult / Middle Grade
Battletech: Crimson Night, by Jennifer Brozek
Jessie Files: Friendship Feature, by Stacia Deutsch
The Flash: Crossover Crisis, Book Three – The Legends of Forever, by Barry Lyga
Marvel: Xavier’s Institute – First Team, by Robbie MacNiven
RWBY: Roman Holiday, by E.C. Myers
Svilland: The Bear King, by Steve Savile

Best Short Story
Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, “Bon Temps,” by Harlan James
Marvel: Xavier’s Institute – School of X, “Kid Omega Faces the Music,” by Neil Kleid
Arkham Horror: The Devourer Below, “All My Friends Are Monsters,” by Davide Mana
Renegade Legion: Voices of Varuna, “Distress Signals,” by Jean Rabe
Renegade Legion: Voices of Varuna, “Stepping Stones,” by Marsheila Rockwell

Also, friend, fellow word pusher and occasional partner in literary mischief David Mack was named as this year’s winner of the IAMTW’s Faust Award, adding him to the roster of impressive writers elevated to “Grandmaster” status within our little corner of the writing realm. So, be sure to find him on Facebook or Twitter and tell him he done good.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Shore Leave 42 schedule!

Con, ho!

With the past two years spent conducting our business in the virtual realm, Shore Leave – the actual, in-person, in-the-panel-rooms, in-the-bar-after-hours experience – is back! After pandemic-induced exile for the 2020 and 2021 shows, I am so very much looking forward to reconnecting with so many people I only get to see at this convention.

(Here’s hoping the gods overseeing air travel allow Kevin and me to make a successful transit there and back.)

So, yeah! Shore Leave is happening this weekend at the Delta Hotels Baltimore Hunt Valley Inn, and thanks to the wonder that is scheduled blog posting, I’m writing this on Monday, July 11th so that it can be posted the morning of Friday, July 15th, while I’m either sleeping or wandering around somewhere in the Baltimore area.

With only a couple of exceptions, I’ve been attending this con for nearly twenty years. Along with our annual jaunts to Denver for StarFest, this is my favorite con to attend. In addition to being a fan-driven show run by a dedicated group of volunteers rather than some corporate entity, I’m fairly certain it’s also the largest gathering of Star Trek writers of every sort. And as I’ve already said, it’s one of the few times even when we’re not dealing with pandemics that I get to see many of my friends and colleagues who call the East Coast (mostly New York and points nearby) home.

As is usually the case, the convention is boasting a pretty solid roster of media guests, including (as I write this…subject to change) Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Legends of Tomorrow), Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau from Firefly and Serenity, Gates McFadden (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Robert Duncan McNeill (Star Trek: Voyager), Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Jessie Usher (The Boys), and Eddie McLintock (Warehouse 13, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

There are also more author and science guests than you can shake a lightsaber at. Check out the con’s main Guests Page for all the details.

Meanwhile, you can for sure find this particular author guest at the following locations and times during the weekend. Plan your stalking accordingly:

Friday, July 15th

Small Screen Dominance – 7pm-8pm – Salon A
Star Wars and Star Trek have both had incredible new lives on the small screen, with multiple series thriving on TV. What does long-form storytelling enable that’s limited by two-hour movies? I’ll be joining Robert Greenberger, David Mack, and Laura Ware.

Meet the Pros – 10pm-Midnight – Hunt/Valley Foyer
The con’s annual mass author autographing event! Bring your books and whatever else you might want signed by any of the convention’s author guests. You should be able to track down a particular author throughout the weekend, but this is the main event. A local bookseller will also be on site all weekend, with plenty of new release and backlist titles from all the attending authors.

Saturday, July 16th

Worldbuilding and the Star Trek Universe – 12pm-1pm – Derby
Encompassing all of what’s new in Star Trek, from the shows to Star Trek Online to tie-in properties like comics, novels, this IP is expanding, with new creators and production designers bringing fresh perspectives. I’ll be on the panel with Derek Tyler Attico, Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Amy Imhoff.

What’s Coming in Star Trek Fiction – 3pm-4pm – Salon E
Pretty much what it says! For this panel, I’m hanging with Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, David Mack, and Scott Pearson.

Sunday, July 17th

Indy’s Back! – 11am-12pm – Derby
After changes of director and writers, Indiana Jones 5 is done shooting, in post-production, and due in theaters June 2023. What do we know about it, and are we excited about one last adventure—or dreading it? I’ll be cracking the whip with Rigel Ailur, Kevin Dilmore, T.J. Perkins, and Howard Weinstein.

In and around all of the scheduled activities going on all weekend, I’ll be checking in on other panels, checking out the vendors room, and hopefully spending some time chatting with people I don’t get to see nearly often enough. And after each day’s obligations are met? Be sure to find most if not all of us in the hotel bar. It’s not just tradition; it’s a moral imperative!

Maybe I’ll see you there!

shoreleave-logo

StarFest, here we come!

Thanks to the wonder that is scheduled posting here on the blog thing, by the time you read this my hetero life mate Kevin and I will be on our way to Denver for the annual StarFest Convention!

(Be sure to click on the link and check out the guest line-up. Terry Farrel. Michelle Hurd. Brent Spiner. Nick Creegan. Eddie McClintock. Zach McGowan. Dr. Erin MacDonald and Dr. Ken Carpenter along with a big ol’ gang of science speakers. Rick Sternbach! Authors! Artists! Me and Kevin! And many more! Not to mention, StarFest is also something of an “umbrella con,” with separate tracks/”mini-cons” for ArtFest, ComicFest, GameFest, HorrorFest, KlingonFest, ModelFest, and ScienceFest!)

COVID-19 saw to it the 2020 and 2021 cons were cancelled, so while this will be our 18th trip to Denver, 2022 marks our 20th anniversary of hanging out with the StarFest family as guests of the con. Regular readers know that this show and Shore Leave are my two favorite conventions to attend, and the two I make every effort not to miss. Indeed, I make sure to lock in my availability for these shows before committing to anything else. It will be wonderful to see all the faces we’ve missed since the 2019 show, while also being bittersweet. In addition to toasting absent friends, we’ll also be commemorating this, the final StarFest. It’s gonna get blubbery, y’all.

BUT! Not before we have a full weekend of great fun.

What’ll we be up to this weekend? The usual sorts of convention shenanigans. We’ll have our tables in the author/artists alley, of course. A curated selection from our backlist (a fancy way of saying, “Whatever we can cram into Kevin’s car) will be on hand, all ready for the autographing and such. Naturally, we’re also up for signing whatever you bring with you at no charge.

We’ll also be participating in programming, including the guest meet-n-greet on Friday night, followed by introducing for the HorrorFest crowd that absolute 1985 classic, The Return of the Living Dead! We normally help out with judging the big costume contest on Saturday evening, but this year the con has asked us to emcee the event. While we cannot possibly replace our dear friend Kevin Atkins, who sadly left us last year, we will do our very best to make him proud.

Beyond that? I’m sure we’ll find some kind of trouble to get into.

If you’re reading this and planning to attend the con, be sure to swing by and say hello!

So, 2021….or is it “2020 won?”

2021: Because apparently there was just too much 2020 to stuff into a single year.

It’s a year later than the last time I did this sort of post, and where are we? COVID is still a thing, albeit in something resembling an “evolved fashion.” Just like 2020 and despite the protestations of YouTube and TikTok mouth holes everywhere, I did what I’ve always done when it comes to health stuff: Trusted the advice of people who actually went to school to learn about this shit, and did what they suggested I do. Because that’s really all there was to it. It appears we may all well be turning a corner, even though many challenges remain (Did someone say, “Omicron?”). I guess we’ll have to see what the new year brings on multiple fronts. Here’s hoping.

On the home front, we’ve done our bit to keep on keeping on. Our daughters, now in 9th and 8th grades, were able to return to in-person learning at their respective schools. It occurs to me that these next few months mark the last time they will be on different school schedules, as they’ll both be at the same high school starting in the fall. How all of that time flew past remains a mystery. Our oldest daughter continues to pursue her interest in music. She’s playing or learning to play three different instruments: viola, piano, and guitar, and she plays the former for her school orchestra. She’s also got a thing for arts and crafts, namely painting and pottery, and she reads a lot. I mean a lot.

Meanwhile, our younger daughter continues to play volleyball, both for her school team as well as a private club out in town. She’s also into her own hobbies like puzzles and reading. Indeed, we got her a lavishly illustrated, leatherbound edition of The Princess Bride as a Christmas present. Oh, and a new laptop. Both girls continue to make the principal’s honor roll at school, so all is well on that front.

My wife is enjoying a bit of a well-earned work sabbatical. Taking advantage of this time, she’s picked up her own violin and resumed playing (she originally went to college on a music scholarship, you know) and is even attending lessons with our viola-playing daughter. She’s also taking guitar lessons. I get to listen to her and our daughter playing upstairs, which is kinda neat, I must say.

Then there’s me.

Work at home is a whole mood forever, now.

One personal item I haven’t mentioned – either at the time or since then – is that it’s coming up on a year since my father passed away. Outside of immediate family, it was news I shared only with a very small, very close circle of people (if you counted on one hand you’d have fingers left over). I didn’t have a lot to offer about it at the time and still don’t. To say that my relationship with him was “strained” — especially the last 15 years or so — is a pretty big understatement. His passing brought forth a lot of unresolved anger I’d been holding in for a long time, and while I think I’ve let most of it go I can’t deny there’s still a bit of it lurking around the fringes. I know there’s nothing to be done about it now, but I’m still working to a point where I can shove whatever’s left into a box and be done with it. There’s also the regrets about lost or wasted time, but choices were made, and so on.

In happier news, 2021 saw me continuing in my role as a consultant to ViacomCBS Global Franchise Management, and that arrangement has been renewed for 2022. What does this mean? Basically, I consult on various projects such as novels, comics, games, and other initiatives that help expand “the Star Trek brand” beyond just TV and film. To that end, I read a lot of proposals, outlines, scripts, manuscripts, and whatever else they want me to review and comment on so far as making sure everything stays consistent with what’s been established on screen. This primarily means efforts based on the newer Star Trek series, and we’ve had a bunch of those made available for your viewing pleasure since 2017.

It should surprise no one that this train is definitely continuing to roll. New seasons of existing shows in development? Yep. New series on the drawing board? Ayup. Other things here and there? You just never know. There’s also no shortage of material tying into the classic/”legacy” series, and I get pulled into some of that action, too. So, yeah….they’re finding all sorts of ways to keep me busy, which is good because there are standing orders that I’m not to be left unsupervised for any great length of time.

On the writing front, most of the buzz around my 2021 output has circled around the Star Trek: Coda trilogy, the project on which I worked with friends and fellow wordsmiths James Swallow and David Mack. The culmination of two years’ worth of on-again/off-again brainstorming, plotting, planning, and writing is now out there in the wild, bringing down the curtain on 20 years’ worth of storytelling and interconnected continuity spanning dozens of tales across multiple Star Trek series. It was a tremendous undertaking unlike anything I’ve ever attempted since starting this odd writing journey of mine. How we carried it off is ultimately up to each individual reader to decide, but — at least according to some of the email I received — anyone who thinks we didn’t take the job seriously or (worse) we approached it callously, cynically, or disdainfully is simply mistaken.

Elsewhere in the Star Trek universe, I was privileged once again to join a very talented team of writers for the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide, a comprehensive sourcebook for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game.

Under the guidance of the game’s project manager, Jim Johnson, I got to work alongside friends and fellow writers Derek Tyler Attico, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Scott Pearson as we put together a pretty fat portion of the book’s contents. This does not even include the material provided by other writers including Patrick Goodman, Rich Handley, John Kennedy, Ian Lemke, Fred Love, and Aaron Pollyea, to say nothing of the game designers, artists, and other creators Modiphius brought to the table. It is by far the most work for a single project on which I’ve worked for the game. I have no idea what the future holds for me and Star Trek Adventures, but I’ve learned to never say, “Never,” when it comes to this kind of thing.

Outside the Star Trek realm, Kevin and I got back together to write a few short stories. One of those, “Protocol 23,” was published in 2021 as just one of the tales comprising Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021. Edited by Bob Greenberger and published by the band at Crazy 8 Press, it was a bit of a departures from the usual sorts of things Kevin and I write together. What can I say…we made ourselves laugh, and it’s always a treat to work with Bob for any reason. I don’t know if we’ll dip our toes into a pond quite like that again, but I think the premise we came up with for this story lends itself to additional tales. I guess we’ll see.

We wrote two other stories during 2021, both for anthologies which will be out sometime in the coming year. The first is for The Four ???? of the Apocalypse, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido and Wrenn Sims through their small-press publishing house, Whysper Wude. A publication date hasn’t yet been set, but I’m sure Keith and Wrenn will let us know in due course.

The other story is another departure for us: a space western! It’s for a publisher with whom we haven’t previously worked, and for an editor who’s a friend but this is their first time inviting us to a project they’re shepherding. We had a lot of fun with it and it’s another concept we think lends itself to additional stories. Whether that happens depends on time, availability, and other factors, but we’re certainly keen to revisit the premise if the planets align.

Which brings us to 2022’s writing! Kevin and I are planning a pitch or two for anthologies we know will be opening to submissions in the near future. We’re also still yakking about things like revisiting the aforementioned space western setting as well as the Vogue Theater we created for our 2020 story “Helluloid” for the anthology It Came from the Multiplex from Hex Publishers. We’ll see how things shake out.

Elsewhere, the coming year will see publication of Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook from Insight Editions. This was another step outside my normal wheelhouse, but my editors at Insight were confident I could pull it off. I had a lot of fun with this one, especially working with food stylist Elena Craig, who created 50 recipes that evoke the fictional island of Isla Nublar and the cuisine of the equally fictitious Jurassic World resort and indeed the very real Costa Rica region where the island is supposedly located. That will be out in April.

Meanwhile, I’m toiling away on a new (as yet unannounced) project, with a due date in late February. I’m also considering what might be next after that and I have a few ideas I’d like to pursue. Of course, if someone comes knocking with another job offer, that’ll change my priorities, so I guess we’ll just have to see what we see.

I may even get to sleep a little this year.

Nah. Probably not.

Before all the moments go asunder…..

So, here we are. The eve of the official release date for Moments Asunder, the first book in the Star Trek: Coda trilogy.

Along with its two companions – James Swallow’s The Ashes of Tomorrow and Oblivion’s Gate by David Mack – this is the culmination of more than two years of planning, plotting, scheming, writing, sweating, agonizing, doubting, cursing, and maybe even a bit of crying. It was a difficult path to navigate for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the sense of responsibility and obligation the three of us felt as we developed the story and then went to our corners to write our books, reconvening as necessary to discuss some plot point or weird idea one of us conjured late some evening. Then came the reading each of our respective manuscripts, poring over page after page to ensure consistency. I’m abolutely certain there’s something in there somewhere missed by at least one of us, but I promise you it wasn’t for lack of trying.

All of that’s done, now, with nothing for us along with our editors to do but wait.

Oh, and perhaps also offer links to where you can pre-order each of the books: Follow the links below for each book in trade paperback, e-Book, and audiobook editions:

Book I: Moments Asunder by moi
Book II: The Ashes of Tomorrow by James Swallow
Book III: Oblivion’s Gate by David Mack

Continue reading “Before all the moments go asunder…..”

Come see us at Planet Comicon this weekend!

At long last, after traversing the odyssey that has dilated time beyond all ability to comprehend, Kevin and I are finally attending our first in-person convention in nearly two years. We’re emerging from our hidey-holes today and venturing into the (hopefully) warm and welcoming environs of Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City for this weekend’s Planet Comicon, the Midwest’s largest pop culture convention!

(No, they didn’t pay me to say that.)

What will be doing all weekend? Most of the time, we’ll be manning tables in the Artist/Creator Alley area of the con’s main exhibitor floor. If you’re attending the show, feel free to stop by booths 1639 and 1641 and say “Howdy.”

A number of our writing friends will also be in attendance, including our neighbors on our Artist Alley aisle, Jeni Frontera and Jason Arnett. Located elsewhere on the floor will be Kevin J. Anderson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and John Jackson Miller, with them and others setting up shop at the Bard’s Tower booth. And we can’t forget Elizabeth C. Bunce, Dennis Young, and the incomparable Timothy Zahn, who will have their own tables in the alley.

As I write this, Kevin and I are confirmed for at least one discussion panel: “My Search History Is Interesting.” Conjured and to be moderated by Jeni Frontera, this one promises to be informative and funny as hell as we recount the trials and tribulations of being a writer while conducting research by tunneling into the deepest, darkest corners of the internet. Elsewhere, during past Planet cons Kevin and I sometimes have gotten drafted into other activities such as playing announcer/host for trivia contests, costume contests, and the like. I have no idea if anything like that will happen this time around, but I’ve learned to never say, “Never.”

Other than that? Pushing books, and wandering the con seeing what’s what. I have one daughter who’s absolutely beside herself that members of the cast from the Supernatural TV series will be in attendance, and another who just loves the vibe of a good con.

For those of you traveling to Kansas City for the con, please note that our mayor has re-instated a mask mandate for all indoor public activities, and this certainly qualifies. Masks will be required for all attendees, including staff and guests. No worries, though. I’m ready to receive visitors.

Welcome to Kansas City, Earthlings.

Maybe we’ll see you there!

Shore Leave 41.6 panels via the Tube of You!

For those of you unable to join us during this past weekend’s Shore Leave 41.6 Convention, you probably know the whole thing was conducted virtually. One of the upsides of this online undertaking is that all of the panels were recorded, which makes them available for future viewing long after the con itself is over and we each meander back to our regular lives.

The fine folks involved with supporting the con this past weekend have done a whole truckload of extra good deeds by uploading videos from the various panels to the Shore Leave YouTube page. That’s right, folks! Come see what all we talked about. And there’s also bonus content with each video in the form of awkward pauses, scratched noses, extreme closeups of beverage consumption, wandering eyes as attentions are distracted by other screens, phones, pets, or family members moseying past cameras, and whatever else happens when you do these things live and leave everything to chance.

And although I suspect at least some of the various panelists participated in their respective discussions while not wearing pants, I was not one of them. Or, was I?

Speaking of my panels, here are links to each of the four discussions in which I took part:

“The New Age of Star Trek – Moderated by Keith R.A. DeCandido, and featuring fellow authors Derek Tyler Attico, Kirsten Beyer, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and David Mack.

“40+ Years Later: Is Star Trek: The Motion Picture Better Than We Recall?” – Moderated by Howard Weinstein, and featuring Derek Tyler Attico, T.A. Chafin, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack.

Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game Update” – Moderated by Jim Johnson, and featuring fellow STA contributors Derek Tyler Attico, Christopher L. Bennett, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Scott Pearson.

“What’s New In Star Trek Literature” – Moderated by Scott Pearson, and featuring Christopher L. Bennett, Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, John Jackson Miller, and James Swallow.

And of course there are so many other awesome panels featuring these amazing friends of mine along with so many other wonderful people I wish I’d gotten to see at some point over the weekend. Be sure to check out the Shore Leave YouTube page for all of those.

I can’t say it enough, but I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to Aaron Rosenberg, who helped wrangle me and other writer guests into little herds for our panels, Inge Heyer for doing her usual bout of heavy lifting to make sure we all got where we needed to be, and to the rest of the Shore Leave technical support team and other volunteers for all of their tremendous hard work over the weekend.

Here’s hoping we all get to gather next July in Hunt Valley and make up for all of this lost time!