Mars Attacks prezzies!

Hey, you remember last year when I got the chance to write a Mars Attacks novella, right? What? You forgot? How? I mean, I yammered about it to the point of being genuinely annoying, other than my usual state of just being merely annoying. 

The Armageddon Directive was commissioned as a “backer reward” for a Kickstarter campaign that Topps ran to crowdfund a new set of Mars Attacks trading cards. Being a fan of the property, of course I jumped at the chance to do it. Set in the 1960s, the novella I wrote serves as a prequel to the rebooted storyline that is told by the new Mars Attacks: Occupation cards and which unfolds in the “modern day.” It was tremendous fun to write. 

One of the things that made it so much fun was working with my editor, Adam Levine (no, not him), who made sure I had everything I needed to be up to date on all things Mars Attacks. He also saw to it that the novella even got a piece of kick-ass cover art, created by artist Steve Epting. 

BUT WAIT. THERE WAS MORE. 

Adam then told me the art would also serve as a bonus card in the new set. 

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Okay, enough recapping. Why are we here  today? Because of what arrived in today’s mail:

Awwwwww, yeah. 

Many thanks to Adam, who made sure I got a nice stack of these bad boys, and for inviting me to do the novella in the first place. Will there be more Mars Attacks stories? I have no idea, but, “Never say never,” is something of a mantra in this line of work, right?

Ack Ack Ack!

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The Armageddon Directive

img_0856Mars Attacks

August 1965: When he stumbles upon a Martian’s plot to ignite World War III, FBI agent Nate Tanner must defy orders to get to the truth.

Determined to stop a ruthless undercover invader from taking Earth to the brink of oblivion, Tanner engages in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse to unravel alien’s diabolical plans. With the help of a daring and beautiful reporter with secrets of her own, Nate will race against the clock to outwit a monster from outer space and save the world from total annihilation!

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Last fall, I was contacted by editor Rich Young over at Joe Books, who had partnered with the good folks over at Topps to do some fun stuff with that company’s venerable Mars Attacks property. The classic trading card set celebrated its 50th anniversary back in 2012, and that milestone came with all sorts of new products and even a “rebooted” storyline featured in a new set of cards that updates the classic alien invasion tale. I took a renewed interested in the property thanks to comics from IDW, as well as this epic little tome that showcases the original 1962 card set.

Though the “new” Mars Attacks storyline has reset the clock so that the invasion now takes place in the modern day, The Armageddon Directive is actually set during the 1960s, decades before the full-blown attack when the Martian Empire had “sleeper agents” running around on Earth, trying to make humanity dork things up enough so that the actual invasion will be met with limited or no resistance.

As I’ve told people, I imagined this story as something of a “spiritual cousin” to my Star Trek novel from 2013, From History’s Shadow. I definitely had the same kind of fun writing both stories.

This post will act as the novella’s official “Q&A” thread, so feel free to drop any questions in the comments section. Because of that, folks should be aware that spoilers are a definite possibility from this point forward. You’ve been warned!

Pre-order The Armageddon Directive, my Mars Attacks novella!

“Hey,” I can hear someone saying, “that guy Ward keeps yammering on about this Mars Attacks story he supposedly wrote last fall. When the heck is that stupid thing ever gonna get released? Is it vaporware, or what?”

How’s about some pre-order links to help with that?

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BOOM! There you go.

MarsAttacks-ArmageddonDirective-CardFront(Cover art by Steve Epting)

Mars Attacks: The Armageddon Directive is officially comin’ at ya on Tuesday, March 22nd. That’s just two short weeks from this very day, yo. And since it’s an e-Book, if you pre-order it now, it’ll drop to your device du jour right around midnight on the 22nd, while most of you are sleeping and others–perhaps like me–will still be up and watching John Wick or some such damned thing on late-night cable.

Oh, and did I tell you the art is getting its own trading card in an upcoming Mars Attacks set? I’m sure I’ve mentioned that fifteen or sixteen times, by now.

So, be sure to tune in and see if Agent Nate Tanner can save the world from Martian ass-whooping!

Check out “my” Mars Attacks card!

“Yes, Dayton. We know,” I can hear somebody saying. “You wrote a Mars Attacks story. And some guy did some awesome cover art. And they’re making a trading card with the art. Blah blah blah. We get it, dude. Shut the hell up about that, already.”

No.

Why? Because I’m still all ate up with the fanboy on this one. Besides, I’ve got new stuff to show you.

My editor for the story, Adam Levine, made sure I saw this picture he’d taken today and which shows a few samples of the cards that will be part of the Mars Attacks: Occupation set. Check it out, peeps:

mars-attacks-armageddon-card

That sound you heard was all the blood rushing from my brain to points south. TMI, right? I DON’T CARE.

Adam was also kind enough to let me know that he’s sending me a stack of these babies, so I guess I’ll have to device a way to distribute at least some of them to interested parties. You know, after I get done wall-papering my office, and shit. I wonder if I can carry one in my wallet in place of my driver’s license. Nah. Probably not a good idea. I’ll have to give that some thought.

The Occupation sets are in their final stages of preparation for delivery to the original Kickstarter backers. I’m guessing The Armageddon Directive will also be delivered to those same folks soon. After what I assume will be a period of exclusivity for those backers, the story is supposed to be made available for general sale. Stay tuned for news on that front. Meanwhile, feel free to bask in the glory that is Steve Epting‘s groovy art.

My Mars Attacks novella has its own trading card!

“Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

:: ahem ::

Regular readers of this space know that last fall, I wrote The Armageddon Directive, a Mars Attacks novella for Joe Books and Topps. It was commissioned as a “reward” for backers who supported a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund a whole new set of Mars Attacks trading cards. As I write this, the Mars Attacks: Occupation card set is being proofed and readied for printing and shipping. So, you know….W00t!

Back in the fall, I shared the novella’s “cover art,” as rendered by amazing artist Steve Epting. As the story I wrote is set during the 1960s, the idea was to evoke pulp novels of that era, and holy hell did Steve knock it completely out of the park, past the parking lot and right through the windshield of some car way out on the freeway.

But wait! It gets better.

I was also told that the art Steve provided would serve as one of the cards in the Occupation set. Not just that, but the complete cover and “back cover text” will make up the card’s front and back. Check it out:

I’ve already been told that I’ll be able to get extras of the cards for gloating purposes. So, I say again: “Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Mars Attacks: The Armageddon Directive will first be made available in e-Book form to the Occupation Kickstarter backers, after which it will be up for general sale at the regular e-Book haunts. Stay tuned for more details!

And as always, many thanks to the good folks at Joe Books and Topps for letting me play in their sandbox for a bit.

I’m writing a Mars Attacks novella!

Because HELL. YEAH. That’s why.

So, early last month, I was contacted by editor Rich Young over at Joe Books. It seems they’ve partnered with the good folks over at Topps to do some fun stuff with that company’s venerable Mars Attacks property. As you may or may not know, Mars Attacks celebrated the 50th anniversary of its original trading card series back in 2012, and that milestone came with all sorts of new products and even a “rebooted” storyline featured in a new set of cards that updates the classic alien invasion tale. I took a renewed interested in the property thanks to comics from IDW, as well as this epic little tome that showcases the original 1962 card set. Hell, I even had a Mars Attacks calendar on my wall, last year.

Therefore, when Rich came calling, inquiring as to my interest in perhaps writing a Mars Attacks novella for him, I jumped at the opportunity.

After pushing out a lengthy outline for approval by Rich and the Topps gurus, I was given a green light and a rush deadline: November 2nd. So, that’s what I’m working on these days, and holy shit, is it fun. Though the “new” Mars Attacks storyline has reset the clock so that the invasion now takes place in the modern day, my story is actually set during the 1960s, decades before the full-blown attack when the Martian Empire had “sleeper agents” running around on Earth, trying to make humanity dork things up enough so that the actual invasion will be met with limited or no resistance. Since the story has a definite 1960s vibe to it, that means it needs a kick-ass cover that evokes pulp novels of the era. Enter artist Steve Epting:

MarsAttacksNovellaCover-SteveEpting(Click the pic to visit Steve’s Tumblr.)

BOOM. Nailed it.

That sort of makes a lot of sense, though, considering Steve is a veteran comic artist with a career as long as my…well, it’s pretty damned long. Check out his Wikipedia page to get a peek at his creds. We’re talking Superman, Captain America, Avengers, people. Plus, he’s currently working on a cool series for Image Comics, Velvet.

As for the novella, the name of which hasn’t yet been announced, it will be offered as a perk when a Mars Attacks-related Kickstarter campaign is launched later this year. They’ve already had some success in this arena with a rather well-received board game and some other projects, so expectations are high that this latest venture will also help them to realize some new Mars Attacks goodness.

The best part of the deal for me–in addition to just being able to write a story like this–is that the cover art Steve created will be featured as one of the entries in a new trading card series, Mars Attacks: Occupation, which also is coming soon.

My own trading card (kinda sorta)? Achievement Unlocked. I’m probably going to want a billion of these things.

Anyway, now you know what I’m working on for the rest of this month.

Ack Ack! Ack AckAck Ack!