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.
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.