November writing wrap-up.

So, how about that November, huh?

We’re still kinda sorta in election limbo, even though it finally looks like reality is settling in and now all that’s left is to wait for the clock to run out…hopefully without anything crazy happening between now and then.

Thanksgiving at Ward Manor was a quiet affair…just the four of us along with the kids’ godparents, who like us have been doing their best to maintain our “pod” of people following guidelines in the age of COVID-19. There have been a few close calls in recent weeks as people we know have dealt with the virus to varying degrees, but so far anyone in our various orbits who’s been hit has come through with no real problems, for which I’m thankful.

Kids in our school district have returned to an all-virtual learning model after COVID cases started spiking. As we’d elected to keep our daughters at home back at the start of the school year, this doesn’t represent much of a disruption for them. They’ve both handled the unusual nature of learning in this fashion with great skill and adaptability, and each earned a spot on the principal’s honor roll for the first quarter. This is good, because I’m already at the point where helping them with their math assignments strikes terror directly into my heart.

Meanwhile, there’s work.

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Remember last month when I said it was “All Star Trek, All the Time around here?” That’s still true. I’m still doing my consulting thing for CBS, which continues to be an amazing experience. The TV shows are the big thing, of course, but there are also books, comics, games, and other efforts underway that keep my attention. As a lifelong fan of this stuff, it’s a rush to be in a place where I get to watch so many things come together on so many fronts. Nobody wake me up, because this is a hell of a dream I’m having.

Oh, and there was some writing done, too…albeit not quite so much as I would’ve liked. Still, I’m continuing to forge ahead with a few things. Here’s the November rundown:

Continue reading “November writing wrap-up.”

The way-late October writing wrap-up.

Well, maybe it’s not so late. I mean, the first week of November seems to be stretching into infinity as we wait for election results here in the States. That said, I’ve been so caught up in that and work and everything else that I let this little bit of business fall by the wayside, but worry not! The writing does continue apace.

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It’s “All Star Trek, All the Time” around here. My consulting duties for CBS continue, and things are hopping all over the ranch. Obviously the big deal is the different Star Trek series currently in some phase of production or pre-production. Watching it all come together on different fronts is a total blast. There are also other efforts such as books and comics and other ancillary projects. And in the midst of all that I’m still plugging ahead with my own writing. Here’s the October rundown:

Continue reading “The way-late October writing wrap-up.”

September writing wrap-up.

And just like that, we’re in the final lap of 2020.

That is, if you believe this is anything like a normal year and we’re not simply careening toward a massive temporal vortex which will fling us back in time to relive this insane year all over again. Given all that’s happened these past nine months, I wouldn’t be at all surprised by anything fate, aliens, Godzilla, Bigfoot, and the Legion of Doom might have in store for us.

Meanwhile, even with the hellscape that continues to be 2020, there’s still stuff demanding our attention. Gotta make the donuts. Gotta pay the bills. Gotta keep pushing, break on through to the other side, and all of that. For me, that means making with the words and such.

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The kids are “back to school” in the sense that they’re at home, learning through an “online academy.” Back in early August when the school district was planning for the new year, we had to commit to either a full-time virtual learning program or a “hybrid” model in which students would attend school in-person a couple of days a week and do virtual the rest of the time. We opted for Door #1, given the situation and COVID stats at that time. As things happened, the district began the year with all students in grades 4-12 remaining at home while K-3 attended in person (while observing all COVID guidelines, of course).

So far as I know, there have been no COVID issues or incidents at any of the elementary schools in our district, and just this week the decision was made to activate the hybrid model beginning Monday, October 5th. As we’re locked into the decision we made back in August, our daughters will remain at home in the full-time virtual model until at least the start of the second semester in mid-January. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out and the situation keeps improving so that all students can get back to learning in-person. Please, let there be no spikes in cases or other relapses or steps backward that sends everyone home again.

Meanwhile, I’m just a’workin’. My consulting duties for CBS continue. Things are fairly active at the moment, given the different Star Trek series currently in some phase of production or pre-production. Then there are things like books and comics and other ancillary projects. In and around all of this? Yep, there’s my own writing. What’s up with that? Let’s have a look at the September rundown:


“Helluloid” – A story Kevin and I wrote for It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers. Published by Hex Publishers, this anthology a celebration of ghost and horror stories as inspired by 1980s cheezy, low-budget B-movie awesomeness. The book officially went on sale in trade paperback and eBook formats on September 15th and so far has been getting some decent reviews. It was tremendous fun to write this story and Kevin and I have talked about other tales set at the location we created for “Helluloid,” a run-down theater on the “main street” of an as-yet unnamed small town. Hopefully we can get back there one of these days!

A new tie-in project – I began writing this during September, but I ended up moving it aside to work on projects of higher priority, but with October here I’m getting back to business. As I’ve previously hinted, this is a big one, requiring collaboration not just with my editor but also other writers with whom I’ll be working in tandem. This will likely be the major thing in and around “regular work” that keeps me busy throughout the remainder of the year. More info as I’m allowed to share.

Another new tie-in project – Another mystery project about which I’m not allowed to share much just now. After getting back editor’s notes on September 1st, I returned an updated manuscript on the 15th. I heard on the 28th that my updates were good-to-go and my editor was sending the package to the licensor for review. I expect there will be a few requested changes from the licensor as they’ve been pretty hands on throughout this process (And supportive? Oh, yeah. I was drowning in research material for this thing, ya’ll. It was fun.) I don’t know when I’ll be able to offer much in the way of information or details, but I suspect it won’t be until we’re much closer to the release of the property’s latest installment, which is likely getting pushed back thanks to COVID-related issues. I’ll let you know. 🙂

Short story for Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Volume 2 – Kevin and I were invited to participate in this “pulp adventure fiction” project, and we delivered our story to editor Bob Greenberger at Crazy 8 Press back on August 15th. Preliminary feedback indicates Bob doesn’t hate it, or us, and we’re currently waiting on more detailed editor notes. This past weekend we recorded a couple of videos to help support the project’s upcoming crowdfunding campaign. Both are the usual flavor of idiocy you’ve long ago come to expect whenever Kevin and I are asked to do something together. I’ll just leave you with that for the time being.

Short story for yet another anthology project – Another chance for me and Kevin to team up! The theme for this book is even more lighthearted in tone than the one we pitched to Bob for Thrilling Adventure Yarns, giving us wide latitude for how just much crazy shit we can jam into our concept. As with the previous entry, we made each other laugh pretty hard as we developed our pitch, and I suspect we’ll have a bit more fun with this one than might be healthy. This antho will also be published next year, but I don’t have any solid info on that front just yet. More later as I’m allowed to share.

New articles for StarTrek.com – I’ve been doing a regular feature-type thing for the website for while, trying to shine a little light on the various corners of Star Trek publishing be it novels, reference books, comics, and whatever else might celebrate the Final Frontier within its pages. My “publishing highlights” column for September was published back on the 8th. I sent the October edition to my editor on the 28th, and WHAM! It’s already up on the site as of October 1st. Unless something changes, I’ll be writing the November edition later this month.

Other stuff in the pipeline:

More fun with Star Trek Adventures – In addition to The Klingon Empire Core Rulebook, I was also asked by Star Trek Adventures line editor Jim Johnson to contribute material to another reference book devoted to the Shackleton Expanse, a region of space created for the game. Some of you may recall that back in 2016, I worked with Jim and Scott Pearson to develop a premise set in the Expanse as part of the game’s “living campaign.” We created a storyline we hoped other writers could use to create adventure modules and other material as needed to continue expanding the region and whatever players might find there. All of that is coming home to roost as the Expanse gets its own volume. In addition to the previously released modules, we’ve also created all new material including scenarios that will bring to a conclusion the story we started four years ago. I finished edits on content for this book back in March, and at present I’m awaiting editorial feedback. I suspect it’ll be early 2021 at the earliest before this one is released. More info as I get it.

Possible future projects:

Another tie-in project – I can’t really describe anything about this one without giving away hints as to what it might be. It’s definitely an interesting endeavor – one I’m pursuing with a friend and fellow writer. COVID-19 has impacted this one’s timetable, and I likely won’t know the full extent of that for a while, yet. We’re looking forward to locking things down and working with the client to fine-tune what they want. Until a formal announcement is made the only thing I can say is that this is a slice of pure fanboy fun. Stay tuned!

Original SF novel concept – Something I’d started a while back, refreshed some older notes and added some new ones. This one’s been on the back burner for a while because…well…look up at all that other stuff. I’d like to get it to a point that I feel comfortable approaching at least one editor with it. I guess we’ll see.

Original e-Book concept – I’ve been pondering an idea for a new series – something akin to the “men’s adventure” style books I loved back in the 80s and 90s. It would be a setting for which I could write shorter tales – novellas, likely – for e-Book distribution. It would be something of an SF-ish/action bent, with (I hope) lots of humor. Not quite campy, but definitely lighter in tone. This is still very rough at the moment, but it’s something I’d really like to get into once I get some free time (HAH! HAH AGAIN!).

Okay, folks. We’re in the home stretch. Pace yourselves…it’s gonna be a crazy ride.

August writing wrap-up.

Is it still 2020?

:: closes eyes, counts to ten, opens eyes ::

Yep. 2020.

Things being what they are, I did what I’ve been doing these past several months: Work. My largely isolated, work-at-home existence hasn’t changed from what it was before the pandemic. The kids’ “summer vacations” are rapidly drawing to a close with school slated to begin on September 8th as a virtual experience. That should prove interesting, but thankfully both kids are good students and rather adaptable so I expect they’ll be okay so long as my wife and I do our part to help them through any rough patches.

Meanwhile, my consulting duties continue apace. Some days are more frantic than others, but all in all I’m having a good bit of fun. In and all of that, a bit of writing still got done. Here’s the August rundown:

Continue reading “August writing wrap-up.”

July writing wrap-up.

If this were any other year, I’d say that with July in the can we’re officially on the downhill slide of things. But, this is 2020 so….you know.

Life goes on in most respects, at least in some fashion. As we have been for the past few months, we continue to observe COVID-19 recommendations and protocols when going out. Yes, we’ve cut back on all sorts of things, either by choice or because the venues we might normally frequent have been closed. I’ve resumed a more or less normal volunteer schedule at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which is open while following all the county and city guidelines for doing so under the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, the work marches merrily on.

Continue reading “July writing wrap-up.”

June writing wrap-up.

Congratulations, adventure seeker! You have survived June 2020.

WELCOME TO LEVEL 7 OF JUMANJI.

June was a lot like May so far as the home life situation. We continue to observe COVID-19 recommendations and protocols when going out…curtailed as such activities may be. I did take a couple of volunteer shifts at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, my first since early March, as the museum reopened to guests in early June. Our neighborhood pools are open – while following social distancing and occupancy guidelines, of course – which allows my kids to get out of the house and into some sun and exercise. We continue to see close friends, all of whom like us have been doing our best to “behave” with the current situation.

Oh yeah. And there was work, too.

Wearing my consulting hat means attracting more things to my desk. As this tends to be Star Trek in one form or another, I can’t really complain. My dreams are getting a little weird as the different Trek iterations start to blend together into this massive uber crossover event going on in my subconscious. There’s a lot happening within the Star Trek universe, with even more waiting in the wings.

There were a few writing things on the docket, as well.

Continue reading “June writing wrap-up.”

May writing wrap-up.

So, after the weirdness that was April, May took us right off the rails. We’ve watched with anger, sadness, and disbelief as the events of the past week have unfolded. It’s heartwrenching, all the more so because we as a nation seem to be so utterly rudderless, but it wasn’t unexpected. I don’t intend this to be a soapbox post (and I’m not looking for anyone to stake a claim to that sort of thing here, either), but I will say anyone who thinks this is a single action occurring in vacuum hasn’t been paying attention. To those people, I sincerely hope you’re paying attention now.

On the home front, Clan Ward continued to observe COVID-19 protocols so far as being out in public. Closer to home, we were able to spend time with friends while still observing social distancing. The people in our social circle were doing the same things we were, so we all felt comfortable enough to enjoy each other’s company. School’s out for the year, and both kids finished strong. This was the only year where I had wildly divergent bus schedules for each child; they’ll both be getting on and off the bus within minutes of each other from here on out.

“Until they start driving, Dayton.”

SHUT UP. THEY WERE JUST BORN LIKE FIVE MINUTES AGO.

:: Ahem. ::

In and around all of that, the work marched merrily on.

On the consulting side of things, I got to poke my nose into a fair bit of Star Trek stuff on different fronts, and it appears I’ll be doing even more of that in the months ahead. They’re keeping me busy but it’s a good kinda busy. It’d be easy to describe what I do as a fan’s dream job, but I truly do see it as quite a bit more than that. In the year or so I’ve been doing this, I’ve drawn upon not just Star Trek knowledge or even my writing background but also skills and expertise gleaned from my past corporate and even military life. It’s been an interesting year to say the least, and yes…there’s even more coming.

Oh, and there was writing stuff during May, too.

Continue reading “May writing wrap-up.”

April writing wrap-up.

So, how about that April, huh?

Yeah.

It was pretty much an extended version of the last half of March, in which I and the rest of Clan Ward stuck close to the house aside from occasional ventures to the grocery store and to pick up food from various locally owned and operated restaurants. Several of those places are family businesses and we’re trying to do our part to keep them going at least at some percentage of the traffic (and money) they’d ordinarily be pulling in. We definitely want them to still be around when this is over.

The kids are continuing to attend school via virtual means, and as my wife and I were already working at home that part of our lives hasn’t been disrupted too much. A few more conventions I’d planned to attend have either been postponed or cancelled for the year. While I miss the opportunity to catch up with friends I only see at conventions and such, we obviously understand the desire to keep safe everyone involved with putting on such events. We continue to do our small part to hopefully see this put behind us sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, the pushing of the words continues unabated.

For those who still care about such things, my work as a consultant to CBS Global Franchise Management also continued, mostly in the vein of reading and commenting on various things. As I said last month, even with most everyone working at home there’s still bunches of Star Trek stuff happening in various corners of the sandbox. As I also said and will continue to say: It’s definitely a fun time to be a fan. Stay tuned for updates as The Powers That Be decide such things can be talked about.

Meanwhile, here’s the writing run-down for April:

Continue reading “April writing wrap-up.”

March writing wrap-up.

Despite the insanity into which March rapidly descended, we here at Ward Manor have done our level best to maintain a sense of normalcy to the maximum possible extent. There have been the challenges we’re all facing as we adapt to an existence that necessitates our staying inside or close to the house.

I received email after email notifying me that movies and other events for which I had tickets or just plans to attend were cancelled and refunded. Our desire to hang out with our friends is set aside out of concern for those very same friends. I still catch myself thinking I’ll take a quick jaunt to some store, only to remind myself the store is closed or – if it’s a business deemed essential – whether my need to visit is essential. The kids are home and “attending” school via virtual means, while my wife and I continue to work from home as we were doing long before the current situation made it a necessity. With all of that said, we’re in a pretty good place as these things go, so none of what I just wrote is a complaint.

And with all of that, life and work continues.

The end of March brought with it the end of my first year as a consultant to CBS Global Franchise Management. What a ride that’s been, and 2020 is already shaping up to be interesting even with the current reality we’re all facing. Despite the slowdowns on various fronts, creators are still creating from their home offices and studios and that translates into material I get to review. There’s still a lot of Star Trek storytelling being conjured out there on various fronts. It’s a fun time to be a fan of this stuff, let me tell you. Keep watching the skies, and all that.

Elsewhere within my little realm, writing or things that somewhat resemble writing continue to gestate in fits and starts. March was a bit of a transition month as things wind down, wind up, or move into position in preparation for my giving them a lot more attention in the months to come. Here’s the rundown:

Continue reading “March writing wrap-up.”

The way late February writing wrap-up.

You’d think if you get an extra day during a month you could accomplish more.

Turns out? Not so much.

My consulting duties with CBS continue to keep me busy. Lots of review and commenting on various projects in their pipeline, including comics material from IDW Publishing, novels and such from Simon & Schuster, and a few very cool things beyond those platforms lurk on the horizon. There’s a lot of Star Trek storytelling going on (or it wants to be going on) out there. Pretty dang cool, if you ask me. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I still have illusions of being some kind of freelance writer, which means fussing about with this and that throughout the month. Here’s what happened in February:

Continue reading “The way late February writing wrap-up.”