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The long-awaited update! My San Diego schedule and more...

Friday, July 18, 2014

And... I'm back! No, it really wasn't my intention to go three months without a post here. But I was in lockdown writing Star Wars: A New Dawn and Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown — both of which are completed and with their respective publishers. There followed a week of unconsciousness — and now, I wake just in time for... San Diego Comic-Con?

It's been a busy year, to say the least. Which is why I have said the least, on the blog. My apologies!

But I can alert you to a variety of things. First of all, Del Rey has just made a free Sampler edition of its four upcoming Star Wars novels available for download. It features previews from my A New Dawn, James Luceno's Tarkin, Kevin Hearne's Heir to the Jedi, and Paul S. Kemp's Lords of the Sith.  I'll post links to additional services as I learn of them.

Since I last posted, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown has been completed and now has a preorder page up at Amazon. It was a blast to write, and I'll be sharing more details about it as time goes on.

Next up on my agenda is Comic-Con International: San Diego, where I will be signing all four days for Random House/Del Rey in the Star Wars pavilion in the main hall. I will also be appearing on the A New Hope panel with Lucasfilm and Del Rey's team, as well as Star Wars: Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni and voice actor Vanessa Marshall. I'll also be attending the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers' panel, where my last hardcover,  Star Wars: Kenobi, is up for a Scribe Award. The schedule:

Thursday, 12-1: Del Rey signing

Friday, 7:30: Star Wars Fan Breakfast
Friday, 2-3: A New Hope panel, Room 7AB
Friday, 4-5: Del Rey signing
Friday, 6-7: Scribe Awards, Room 23ABC

Saturday, 4-5: Del Rey signing

Sunday, 1-2: Del Rey signing

Now, those Del Rey signings offer a really cool bonus: a limited edition Advance Reader Edition of Star Wars: A New Dawn, in paperback. These are available only at the booth in San Diego; don't ask for 'em, because I won't have 'em! But I will be happy to sign yours.

That is it, for the moment — though there's more news in the works, and some of my fall events are coming together. Hopefully it won't be too long until the next posting!

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My secret Star Wars mission (and no Bothans died in the process!)

Friday, April 25, 2014

I like to keep my characters in motion as a writer -- but sometimes, the writers are the ones in motion. So it was in March, while I was finishing Star Wars: A New Dawn, my new novel for Random House. (Read more about it here.) The publisher asked me to make a fast trip out to Lucasfilm in California, to be part of their Expanded Universe appreciation video.


It was definitely something I wanted to do, but the complication was that I was already scheduled, after finishing the novel, to throw everything in the car to run down to Memphis, where I had a public library event and a full slate of panels at Midsouthcon. This situation involved more than a simple suitcase! It took some juggling, but we worked it out so I would fly to San Francisco first, then to Memphis. We shipped my supplies one direction, while I went another. I flew out in a howling Midwestern snowstorm: a few hours later, I was walking Union Square. One guess which had the better weather!

The day of the shoot, Timothy Zahn was already in the car when the driver picked me up. In pure fan mode, I promptly got him to autograph my copy of Heir to the Empire -- which still has its first-week-of-sale discount wraparound banner around it, and appears in the video. Tim said back then they weren't entirely sure how well the book would do, after such a long absence for Star Wars fiction: the wraparounds came off pretty quickly after a few days of sales.

Tim had never been to Lucasfilm before, but I had visited once in the summer of 2007, to read the script for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in advance of writing the comics adaptation. So I thought I knew my way around when we were dropped off at the complex. In fact, I promptly got us lost for half an hour, before Jennifer Heddle, Leland Chee, and Pablo Hidalgo rescued us.

I must invoke a different franchise in admitting "I'm a writer, not a guide!"

We had lunch with the team, shot our videos, and got the grand tour. I had seen some things before but it is always amazing: because of Lucasfilm's collection with ILM, there are artifacts commemorating dozens of films. Jennifer took a picture of us outside with the Yoda statue. (And believe me, I was looking for that statue in trying to find the place!) It was a great trip.

And then it was on to my regularly scheduled events. I couldn't say anything about where I'd just been, of course; I managed to make it through seven panels and multiple signings without collapsing. I was delighted to have been a part of it. My thanks to Random House and Lucasfilm for making it happen!

Stay updated on all my latest projects! You can follow me on Twitter at @jjmfaraway, on Facebook, and you can also sign up for my newsletter.

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My new novel: STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN rises at Random House!

http://bit.ly/SWNewDawn
The news is out! I can at last share the project I've been working on this fall and winter: STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN is my new hardcover adult novel release, set for release this September from Random House/Del Rey!

The novel (my first Star Wars work since Kenobi) is set several years after Star Wars: Episode III -- and several years before the upcoming animated television series Star Wars: Rebels. As you can see from the cover, two of the main characters of that series, Kanan and Hera, have major roles in the book. This is the first novel integrating input from the Lucasfilm Story Group, which manages story concepts across all media, and so in addition to working with Random House's team I both got inspiration and feedback from the series' executive producers, Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman, as well as Pablo Hidalgo, Jennifer Heddle, and Leland Chee.

A New Dawn is a rollicking adventure set in the darkest days of the galaxy, when even the thought of organized resistance to the Empire seems an impossible fantasy. But as our characters find, one doesn't always get to decide when the best time is to act. And set as it is during the Imperial period, A New Dawn gave me the opportunity to explore a variety of topics, including how the Empire manages to grow so quickly, injecting itself into all spheres of individual life. I really enjoyed writing it! And I love finally getting to work with Doug Wheatley, who did the cover!


As part of all this, Lucasfilm has an announcement about the future of the Expanded Universe—as well as a video piece about the EU past, present, and future. Lucasfilm and Random House secretly flew me and Timothy Zahn out to film it: more about that trip here.

Star Wars: A New Dawn will be available on September 2. The preorder pages are already live at several sites:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/SWNewDawnBN

If you're new to my writing, please take a look around the site. I have behind-the-scenes pages on all the works I've done (spoilers, beware!), for comics, games, and prose.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter at @jjmfaraway, on Facebook, and you can also sign up for my newsletter. May the Force be with you!

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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!

http://bit.ly/KOTOROmni3
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...

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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

Audio
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!

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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.

http://amzn.to/TrekTAEAs 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!

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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.

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