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Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
Star Wars: KenobiStar Wars: Knight ErrantStar Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Mass EffectStar Wars: Lost Tribe of the SithOverdraftIron Man
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Double release day! Star Wars KOTOR Omnibus Vol. 3 and new Insider

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Double release day — and in fact, double Star Wars release day!
First off, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 3 hits stores today. The circle is now complete, as someone said: this edition includes KOTOR issues #38 through #50 and all of the War miniseries. (You can read my behind-the-scenes pages on the individual issues starting here.) It features art by Brian Ching, Dean Zachary, Andrea Mutti, Pierluigi Baldassini, Ron Chan, and more, with colors by Michael Atiyeh, letters by Michael Heisler, and edits by David Marshall and Freddye Lins.

This wraps up the KOTOR series from Dark Horse in three nice volumes; all will have been reprinted except for the KOTOR Handbook and the letters-page "holocrons" from the second year. It is also the last volume of my Star Wars material to come from Dark Horse: Knight Errant and Lost Tribe of the Sith came out too recently to be collected before Dark Horse passes the publishing reins to Marvel at the end of the year. (But the graphic novels for those series are still available.)

The Omnibus will be available also as a signed edition from me (as soon as I get them): check out my shop page. I should also have some at ComicFest in Denver the weekend of May 2. (I will be there all three days, and will have several panels on Sunday.)

Next, move over to the magazine aisle where you'll find Star Wars Insider #149, where I have the "Red Five" column this month, discussing favorite characters from the Expanded Universe. It's a fun one.

That's what I have for you today — though, as always, follow my Twitter for news as it's announced, or sign up for my newsletter using that box over there to the left. It's been another very busy work-month — and the home repair guys are outside pounding on the roof, making repairs after the rough winter. I'd better get back to writing, to pay for all this...


2014 Scribe Award Nominee list announced -- fortified with Kenobi!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers has named its nominees for the 2014 Scribe Awards, and I am pleased to report that Star Wars: Kenobi has been nominated in the category for best original novel set in a speculative tie-in universe. It's a great list of books and short stories by a wonderful slate of authors, and it's an honor to be included.

The 2014 Scribe Nominees (thanks to fellow nominee Dayton Ward for the full list):

Novel Adapted
47 Ronin by Joan D. Vinge
Man of Steel by Greg Cox
Pacific Rim
by Alex Irvine

General Novel Original
The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons by Michael A. Black
Leverage: The Bestseller Job by Greg Cox
Leverage: The Zoo Job by Keith R. A. DeCandido
Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad
Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder by Donald Bain
Speculative Novel Original
Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust
Star Trek: From History’s Shadow
by Dayton Ward
Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Supernatural: Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson
Supernatural: The Roads not Taken by Tim Waggoner

Short Stories
“The Dark Hollows of Memory” by David Annandale
“Locks and Keys” by Jennifer Brozek
“Mirror Image” by Christine M. Thompson
“Redemption” by Robert Greenberger
“Savior” by Michael Jan Friedman
“So Long, Chief” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
Young Adult
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 by Stacia Deutsch
The Croods by Tracey West
Kevin by Paul Kupperberg

Blake’s 7: The Armageddon Storm by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
Dark Shadows – 33. The Phantom Bride by Mark Thomas Passmore
Dark Shadows – 37. The Flip Side by Cody Quijano-Schell

This is my second nomination, following Star Wars: Knight Errant a couple of years ago—and it is, again, an honor to be included. The presentation is at Comic-Con International: San Diego this summer. Congrats to all the nominees!

In other news — did I just go the whole month of March with no blog posts? Yes, I did — although during the time since my last posting I worked by tail off on projects yet to be announced, ran down to Memphis for an event at the Hernando Public Library and Midsouthcon for a big slate of panels, and then this past weekend attended the anniversary celebration at Galaxy Comics, Games, and More in Wisconsin. Check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds for photos — and for news of what I have coming up, once it can be reported. I also hope to have notes up on Star Trek: Titan - Absent Enemies before too long.

In the meantime, back to work!


Star Trek: Titan - Absent Enemies available today!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Red alert! Star Trek: Titan - Absent Enemies is available for download today on all major digital platforms. An e-novella, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at iTunes, among other retailers. noted here earlier, the novella was a blast to write—and is a sequel, of sorts, to one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (You'll figure out which one as the story goes along!) Will Riker is now a rear admiral, as a result of the events of last year's "The Fall" storyline — and I wanted to confront him immediately with the sort of diplomatic mission that we often saw driving Captain Picard to distraction. (Insert your own Picard-facepalm joke.)

Riker knows well how these kinds of missions go — and makes every effort to not have his own attempt go the same way. But sinister forces are at work, drawing upon the legacy of the past — and Riker finds himself confronted with a much different kind of challenge. From the official description:

A thrilling e-novella based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, following the dramatic events as chronicled in the New York Times bestselling story arc The Fall! 

Newly promoted Admiral William Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are ordered to race to Garadius IV—a planet Riker knows all too well from an unsuccessful peace mission when he was still first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. But this time, he finds a mysterious new situation: one with the potential to imperil the entire Federation. One of the warring parties has simply vanished… 

Okay! A note for readers new to my work: I maintain a production notes and trivia page for every work I've ever done here at the site — look to the navigation tabs at the top of the page to see some. I usually wait some time to post it for the work to get out there — and also to gather any questions, which may be asked by commenting to this post, below.

Enjoy — and while you're waiting for my full-length Trek novel in 2015, be sure to take a look at Overdraft and some of my other science-fiction work. One to beam up!


Guest blogger Neve Maslakovic: "Pass on what you have learned"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

(Today's guest post is by fellow 47North author Neve Maslakovic of the Incident series, on quotations familiar to all...)

"Pass on What You Have Learned"
by Neve Maslakovic 

I don't exactly pepper my novels with famous quotes, but I do occasionally put them in. Sometimes it’s a shortcut, a handy way of making a point — "Brevity is the soul of wit, you might say" — rather than reinventing the wheel by taking up a whole paragraph explaining whatever it is. Other times the quote is there to emphasize an idea and give it depth, or to punch up a line of dialogue. I don’t go looking for something that fits the moment; if a quote pops into my mind as I'm writing, I put it in, and so it could be something from a book, a movie, even something I’ve seen on social media.

Which is why in Book 1 of my time travel series, The Far Time Incident (tagline: mystery, time travel and history), there's a tweet from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's the answer Julia Olsen, science dean’s assistant at St. Sunniva University and time-traveling-mystery solver, gives to those who walk into her office doubting NASA astronauts did land on the Moon. (Atop 3000 pounds of rocket fuel, where else do you think they were going?) All right, that one was in there mostly for fun.

In that book there was also a quote from the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam (The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all you Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.) I felt the quote, ever so more eloquently than I could, summed up a key time travel rule in the series — try as you will, you can’t change the past. Even if you go back in time, like Julia and Nate and their companions, it just cannot be done.

There’ve been Shakespeare quotes, too.

And then there's this, in The Runestone Incident, Book 2 of the series:

Pass on what you have learned.

I suppose it was inevitable that a Star Wars quote in particular would find its way into one of my books. In our small household (my husband, our 9-year-old, and me), we bandy movie quotes around all the time and a lot of them happen to be from Star Wars. Lines that come up often are Do... or do not. There is no try and These aren't the droids you're looking for. Also, oddly, It’s a trap! (I lean more toward Star Trek than Star Wars, but even I admit that Star Wars is way more quotable, though perhaps only because more people recognize May the force be with you than Engage! or Tea, Earl Grey, hot.)

So it was, when I needed a detail that defined a character named Jacob Jacobson, a graduate student in the Time Engineering Department, that Star Wars came to mind. I’m very fond of Jacob—in Book 1, he’s a first year grad student struggling to fit in and juggle his research and classes, but by Book 2, he’s found his footing, although Jacob himself doesn’t realize it yet. The young student is such a big fan of Star Wars that he travels to the fourteenth century with a Yoda-themed sleeping bag on his backpack. He also happens to be wearing a T-shirt with a very revealing quote, a snippet of something Yoda says just before he dies in Return of the Jedi: Pass on what you have learned. This helps Julia realize that Jacob will one day do just that, pass on the knowledge he has acquired, albeit in a non-Jedi, more mundane way — that is, he'll make an excellent professor.

As an aside, I’ve learned to double-check my quotes, as I tend to misremember them. I could have sworn that Yoda in the movie says “Always pass on what you have learned,” but in fact the always isn’t there at all and hardly even makes sense in the context, Yoda hinting to Luke about the one other Skywalker.

I am working on Book 3 now. I don’t know yet who will get a say in that one, because things change as you write and edit and the story comes together... Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.

Neve Maslakovic is the author of the Incident series (time-travel whodunits), as well as a stand-alone novel, Regarding Ducks and Universes. Before turning her hand to writing fiction, Neve earned her PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford University's STAR (Space, Telecommunications, and Radioscience) Lab. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Neve currently lives with her husband and son near Minneapolis/St. Paul, where she admits to enjoying the winters. Booklist called her debut novel, Regarding Ducks and Universes, "Inventive... a delight." She is currently working on Book 3 of the Incident series. Visit her website, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


More on Star Trek Titan: Absent Enemies -- and a new Trek novel for 2015!

Monday, January 27, 2014 2/13, with the Absent Enemies cover!) It's been as cold as Mars (or Hoth, or Rura Penthe, or whatever chilly world you care to imagine) in Wisconsin this winter, but it's been good weather for writing. As always, I have a number of different projects on the desktop, both original and licensed — and I'm now able to share one of them, just announced by Simon and Schuster editor Margaret Clark on today's Trek Collective podcast. Following my debut in the Star Trek universe with next month's Titan: Absent Enemies e-novella, I have a full-length Star Trek novel releasing in 2015!

It's as Margaret describes: I had a lot of fun writing the novella, and was struck with a great idea for a stand-alone adventure novel set in the 24th Century era. It turned out to fit in well with Pocket Books' plans to focus on missions of exploration, as Margaret describes in the podcast, so I'm pleased to be doing it. 

As she says in the interview, it involves the Aventine, the ship of Ezri Dax (who you may recall from Deep Space Nine and many fine Trek novels); there are also many characters familiar to viewers of The Next Generation with major roles. Far too early to say anything else, other than it should be a blast to read!

But — I can now share more about Absent Enemies, which releases February 24, as Simon and Schuster has posted the official description of the novella:

A thrilling e-novella based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, following the dramatic events as chronicled in the New York Times bestselling story arc The Fall! 

Newly promoted Admiral William Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are ordered to race to Garadius IV—a planet Riker knows all too well from an unsuccessful peace mission when he was still first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. But this time, he finds a mysterious new situation: one with the potential to imperil the entire Federation. One of the warring parties has simply vanished… 

That's right: we've got both TNG-series era Enterprise scenes in Absent Enemies as well as "present day" moments for recently-promoted Admiral Riker, in what really was an enjoyable story to write. I expect to be able to share the cover soon, but in the meantime, you can preorder Absent Enemies, which is e-book only, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at iTunes, among other retailers.

That's the news of the morning: now, back to work for me. It's already a busy year!


Star Wars comics return to Marvel

Friday, January 3, 2014

I'm sure you have seen the news today that Lucasfilm will be moving the Star Wars comics license from Dark Horse, where it has been for 22 years, back to Marvel, where it began back in 1977. The shift happens in 2015: Dark Horse's statement is here.

Star Wars #1 at Marvel was the first "grown-up" comic book I ever read and aggressively collected, and Marvel gave me my start as a professional comics writer in 2003 with Crimson Dynamo and Iron Man. Dark Horse gave me my start writing Star Wars comics not long after that -- and Dark Horse has published the majority of my comics work. My life wouldn't have been the same without Star Wars, or Marvel, or Dark Horse -- so the news prompts a variety of observations, both personally, and in the context of comics history. Horse's tenure as publisher, which began with Dark Empire #1,  is almost without parallel in the modern era of licensed comics: not simply for its duration, but also for the sheer number of releases. All of which were tightly coordinated with Lucasfilm, and several of which involved cooperative efforts with other licensors. Dark Horse helped make possible my own hybrid comics/prose series in Knight Errant and Lost Tribe of the Sith -- and my 2013 Kenobi novel for Random House even began as a graphic novel proposal for Dark Horse. And, of course, it gave me the title I'm most associated with, Knights of the Old Republic. Starting with the first page on planet Taris, we got to take a young hero on a grand tour of the Star Wars galaxy that lasted nearly five years; it's a rare thing in licensed comics for a writer to work on such a long series from start to finish, and I will forever be indebted to Dark Horse for both the opportunity and for the confidence they showed. Dark Horse's editorial team is top-notch, and they've every reason to be of the vast library of work they've created over the years.

Marvel, again, is a return for the license: as I have written at various times on my comics history site Comichron and in articles for various magazines and guides, the comics industry was in dire straits when Star Wars was released in 1977; Roy Thomas through great determination brought the title to Marvel, and it was a boon to both it and the comics business. The first issue, released well before the movie came out, was not only a million-copy seller, but according to my research, was the first book to reach that figure since 1960! The comics industry has rebounded in countless ways since then, of course -- and now Marvel has the chance to develop comics again for Lucasfilm, this time as a sister company of Disney. It's a new era, and I know everyone will be interested to see what Marvel has in store.

So as we all look with interest to the future, a fond salute to the past. Thank you again, Dark Horse, for lots of great comics. We'll always have Taris.


Overdraft short story in Apollo's Daughters Kickstarter anthology

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me talking about the Apollo's Daughter's anthology, an add-on to the Athena's Daughters Kickstarter. Athena's Daughters: Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy is an anthology featuring short speculative fiction by top female authors, including Mary Robinette Kowal, Janine Spendlove, Sherwood Smith and Gail Z. Martin, among many others. The Kickstarter did so well that the anthologists, Silence in the Library, added a companion volume by male authors about female protagonists: Apollo's Daughters includes stories by Michael Stackpole, Aaron Allston, David Mack, Bryan Young and many more.

I'd announced my participation a little in the anthology over the holidays, but I can now add that my contribution to Apollo's Daughters will be a Bridget Yang story from the Overdraft universe, as seen in Overdraft: The Orion Offensive and in Human Error. It was that latter Bridget short story in Baen's Armored anthology that kicked off the Overdraft world, so I'm pleased to have another one out there.

Like the companion volume, Apollo's Daughters is edited by Jean Rabe and is expected to release later this year. At the $31,000 funding level, it'll have a cover by Joe Corroney, who drew my first comic book, Crimson Dynamo. Small world!

There are still a few days left to support the Athena's Daughters Kickstarter; to get the Apollo's Daughters anthology, you simply need to do an "add-on" to the pledge for $5 for the e-book and $20 for the physical book. Folks who have already supported the Kickstarter can add the book to their purchase in the same way, by revising their bid. (That's as near as I understand it, anyway!) Thanks for your support!


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