Saturday book happenings.

An interesting day, book-wise, on a couple of fronts.

After handling some manly, chore-like endeavors around stately Ward Manor–which included a pair of trips to the local brush drop-off site in order to deposit two truck-loads of tree limbs and other stuff I’d cut from various trees, I got cleaned up and set out to run some errands. My first stop? Dog Eared Books, a local independent new & used bookstore. I’d been contacted earlier in the week by the store’s owner, asking if I had spare copies of any of my books or any related promotional items which I might be willing to donate so that they could be included in gift baskets the store prepares from time to time. The baskets are then raffled, with proceeds going to one of several local charities they support. The current promotion’s set of baskets were being put together with a SF/Fantasy theme in mind, with proceeds on this occasion to be donated to the store owner’s young granddaughter, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

I wrote back, asking how many copies they might want, or if they wanted anything in particular, and the reply was that I should offer up whatever I wanted to donate. As I had some extra copies of various titles sitting in a box doing nothing, I put together a care package with four copies each of The Last World War and Counterstrike, my Typhon Pact novel Paths of Disharmony, and Star Trek: Vanguard novels Open Secrets and the just-released What Judgments Come. The box was well-received when I arrived at the store this morning, and joined a rather large pile of books and other materials which already had been donated, including a whole bunch of books from another local author you may know, the redoubtable Jim Butcher.

That was a good way to start the day.

While running other errands, I decided to stop in the Barnes & Noble bookstore (which is adjacent to the AMC movie theater that was scheduled to show the newest Star Trek film on their IMAX-ish screen. It required supreme effort not to throw off the rest of the day’s schedule for that) just to see what was what, as I’d not been there in some time. While perusing the SF/Fantasy section, I noted, among other things, two copies of The Last World War. I checked their copyright page, and smiled upon noting that both copies were from what had to be a recent ninth printing of the book.

I love being surprised by stuff like that.

And finally, upon returning to the Manor, I was greeted by a package bearing a German postmark. It was from Cross Cult, and inside were two copies of the German-language translation of Star Trek: Vanguard – Declassifed, or Enthüllungen as it’s known on that side of the Atlantic. So, thanks very much to Markus and the Cross Cult gang for hooking me up!

Also in the mail? A royalty check from Yard Dog Press, with monies earned from sales of two anthologies featuring stories of mine (along with a lot of other, better stories), Houston! We’ve Got Bubbas, and A Bubba In Time Saves None.

So, all in all? A pretty good day, book-wise.

And on top of that? A company picnic thrown by my wife’s employer at a local entertainment venue. Food, go-karts, food, mini-golf, food, video game arcade, food, kids running around and playing and pausing only long enough to make and eat Smores, and…um, food.

Yep. A good day.

Oh, and it’s not over. Once I get done here? It’s back to reading the copyedited manuscript for That Which Divides. So…back to work for me.

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New interview at Unreality SF.

Cover for Paths of Disharmony
Jens Deffner over at Unreality SF has posted a new interview he conducted with me. I’m assuming I was the subject of this latest interview because Charlie Sheen isn’t returning any phone calls.

Anyway, during the course of our latest tête-à-tête, Jens manages to elicit from me new info about Paths of Disharmony, my recently-released novel for the Star Trek: Typhon Pact mini-series, as well as some juicy tidbits about my forthcoming contributions to the Star Trek: Vanguard series: a novella for the Declassified anthology, coming in June, and What Judgments Come, scheduled for October. We also cover a bit of ground about The Last World War and my sequel from last year, Counterstrike, and even my first foray into the world of editing.

Beware that the interview contains spoilers for Paths of Disharmony. If you’re wanting to read the interview and not be spoiled, Jens has set up a link which bypasses that part of the piece: Read the interview, and don’t F-ing spoil me!

Otherwise, you can read the whole thing HERE.

Thanks to Jens, Dan, and Unreality SF for taking the time to include me in their ongoing coverage of genre media tie-in products. If you’re a follower of such books, comics, and audio dramas for such properties as Star Trek, Doctor Who, Stargate, and so on, Unreality is the place you need to be checking out.

The crap you find when you clean out a filing cabinet.

Yep.

I was cleaning out the bottom drawer of the lateral filing cabinet in my home office earlier today. The drawer has become a sort of “catch-all” for this and that; various items which defy classification for storing elsewhere, or for stuff that I just want to “put away” to get it off my desk so that I can pretend I’m organized. One of the more interesting items I found was this:

What is it? Well, like it says, it’s an advance uncorrected proof, or advance reading copy, the sort of thing sent out to reviewers, magazines, etc. as part of the pre-publishing push for a book. Here, read all about ’em.

Pocket Books (in the person of my editor at the time, John Ordover) sent these out to various folks in the late summer of 2003. He sent me one, too, obviously, and indeed, it’s the only one I’ve ever received for any of my books to date. These days, the last time I see a book before publication is with galley or “first-pass” pages, which aren’t bound, but rather just a pile of typeset pages which I can write all over while making any final corrections.

Some people collect these things. I don’t happen to be one of those people, so this was just taking up space in an otherwise fine lateral file drawer. But, rather than pitching it in the recycle bin or being a pretentious dick by trying to sell or auction it, I figure I’d just give it away. But, as there’s only one, what to do….what to do?

Ah HAH! Crazy Caption contest.

The rules? Eh, they’re simple. Supply a funny caption for the following picture:

Pic behind the cut.

Counterstrike: The Last World War, Book II

lww2-coverWhen the alien war engulfing a distant planet spilled to Earth through a network of hidden “portals,” humankind was plunged into an apocalyptic, generations-old conflict between the Plysserians and the Chodrecai. Now, months after the world’s most powerful military forces formed a tenuous alliance with the Plysserians and countered a devastating, three-pronged Chodrecai offensive, alien survivors continue to wreak havoc on a shell-shocked Earth. Martial law and civil unrest run rampant. Resistance cells and pockets of Chodrecai sympathizers are gathering strength. And two U.S. Marines – Sergeant Major Simon DiCarlo and Sergeant Belinda Russell – remain trapped on the alient planet of Jontashreena.

Now, as human and Plysserian scientists and engineers race to unlock the intergalactic portals and harvest alien technology, Earth prepares for the most explosive battle for its existence. Joining the war effort are recruits like young colin Laney, who will advance from Marine boot camp to the forefront of a massive invasion on alien terrain – with the fate of two worlds hanging in the balance.

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Paths, counterstrikes, and other stuff.

Well, today was a pretty good day on the writing front.
Cover for Counterstrike

It started with me delivering the manuscript for Paths of Disharmony to editor Jaime Costas at Pocket. Now I wait to receive her feedback, revision notes, or threats for me never to work in this business again so long as breath remains in her body.

No sooner did that happen than UPS shows up. What did Brown do for me? Why, they delivered two advance copies of Counterstrike: The Last World War, Book II, fresh off the presses. And they even have that new car smell. The countdown is officially on, boys and girls!

Cover for Distant Early Warning
So, what’s next? First, we’ve got a couple of pieces to finish up for Star Trek Magazine, all on the quick-like, and I need to finish reviewing galley pages for our Star Trek: S.C.E. novella Distant Early Warning, which is set to be collected into the forthcoming Corps of Engineers trade paperback omnibus, What’s Past (coming in August). After that, I’ve got an outline for a tie-in project to get done within the month, and some Kevin and I have some serious discussions on tap for the tie-in project after that. I’d also like to turn some A-game attention to the outline for what I’d like to be a new original/non tie-in novel. There are a couple of other things hovering between back and front burners, but there’s not much I can say about them at this point.

So, I’ll throttle back a bit this weekend (though I will complete the next Wayback Trek Review!), then hit the gas again early next week.

ALIENS ON EARTH!

Because you figure somebody somewhere was clipping newspaper articles back when the original invasion happened, right? It’s not like they’d have anything better to do, like…you know…running for their damned lives or weird shit like that.

At least, that’s my theory.

(Stay tuned for more installments in this series.)

“Texas Pride,” redux.

So, I finished my first chapbook the other day.

Satisfied with the proof I made by hand, I took a digital copy and a fresh, unbound hardcopy of the book and its cover to a nearby FedEx Office. A few minutes dorking with their setup and deciding on paper for the inside pages as well as the cover, I went to work, and arrived with this:

The brightness of the pics wash out the color of the cover, which is sort of a light gray cardstock with blue flecks. I printed up my proof using a piece of gray “parchment” cardstock, but they didn’t have anything like that at the FedEx place.

I probably could’ve saved a few bucks by not going with a color cover, but what the hell.

Yes, the story is still available for sale at Amazon.com as an “Amazon Short,” but I figured this was a neat way to pimp Counterstrike. As such, I’ll be offering it as a “con exclusive” at next month’s Starfest convention in Denver. If I have any leftovers (a safe bet, I’d imagine), I may bring those to Shore Leave in July, but I’m still considering something different for that con.

Anyway, it was a fun little experiment. If it does well enough and if there’s sufficient demand, I may print up some more, but since the idea is to have something “special” for book signings, cons, and whatnot, I don’t think I’ll be setting up a printing press in the garage or anything.

Thanks once again to Allyn Gibson (tiggerallyn), who provided me with a kick-ass template, which I was able to customize a bit for my own use.