Production notes and trivia from my experiences on comic books, fiction, and games including
Star Wars: A New DawnStar Wars: Kenobi Star Wars: Knight Errant
Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith
Star TrekMass Effect Overdraft Iron Man & more!

Order the Star Trek Prey trilogy here!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Star Wars: Kenobi production notes online -- and a paperback release date!

Longtime readers of this website know that I maintain — or try to maintain — a notes page with trivia and production insights on every work I've written. That extends to all my comic books, prose, games, and non-fiction works. Some of the longer works have quite extensive ones — and now, at last, I can announce that the notes for Star Wars: Kenobi are now online. Click here to read them.

It is the longest notes section I've ever done and will likely never do one again this long; Kenobi is unique in my list for having taken so many years to reach readers, and so it has an interesting story or two behind it. Find out about how "The Kenobi Kid" (never the real title!) was sent to the sidelines by Indiana Jones; how "Monkey Jabba" made his appearance; and answers to some frequently asked questions, including ones posted earlier this year to the site.

As I always do, I caution readers who have not read the book against reading it: I try not to give away too many secrets, but it's impossible to discuss the evolution of some scenes without mentioning the scenes. Go read the book — it'll be here when you get back!

You can get Kenobi for yourself — or for those folks on your gift-giving list — in several ways. You can find the Kenobi hardcover here... AmazonBarnes and NobleIndieboundRandom House Things from Another World Kindle

...and the audiobook here: AmazonBarnes and NobleAudible

Some news, as well: It may be tentative, but it's on both Amazon and the Random House site that the Kenobi mass-market paperback has been tentatively slated for July 1, 2014, and can be preordered now. I, of course, think you should want the spiffy hardcover as well, since it's available now — oh, heck, buy both!

If you want to be alerted to releases like this when I get word of them — and also get a heads-up when I add content to the site here — please sign up for my newsletter using the form at upper left. I haven't ever done a newsletter before and can't say how often I'll do it, but when there's news, there'll be a newsletter, I'd imagine!

Finally, if you're looking for a last-minute gift of a signed book, I have small quantities on hand for that purpose. Here are the items, available signed at cover price in U.S. dollars:

• Star Wars: Kenobi (hardcover) — $27
• Star Wars: Kenobi (audiobook) — $45
• Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1 — $25
• Overdraft: The Orion Offensive (softcover) — $15 • Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith — $12
• Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral (comics TPB) — $20
• Star Wars: Knight Errant (novel) — $8

Any book selected above will be shipped separately in a U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope, with the exception of Knight Errant and the Kenobi audiobook which go in a Flat Rate Small Box (for almost exactly the same price as the padded envelopes). The post office has thankfully boiled things down to three simple rates for the Flat Rate envelopes:

U.S. addresses: Add $6 for each item
Canada addresses: Add $20 for each item
International (non-Canada) addresses: Add $24 for each item, plus $1 handling/transaction fee per order

So, for example, the Kenobi hardcover is $33 postpaid to the U.S., $47 postpaid to Canada, and $52 postpaid to other addresses.

Simply log into Paypal, click "Make a Payment," and enter the following address to send money to, along with a note about what you're ordering and any personalization instructions to me at the address at left.

(Alternatively, write me at that address and I'll send you an invoice.) Once payment clears, I'll send the books out as soon as I can. If ordering three or more copies, e-mail me for pricing as you may get a price break going up to the next size Flat Rate box.

http://amzn.to/overdraft1
Supplies are, as they say, limited!

And I don't have any for signing as yet, but don't forget that on Wednesday, the Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 2 arrives in comics shops. Check it out!

Finally, repeating Friday's news for Amazon Local users: my Overdraft: The Orion Offensive is one of 100 books that's available for 99 cents through January 9 with a coupon available through your Amazon Local app. The voucher must be clicked on by December 19 in order to apply it to your account; thereafter, the discount will be automatically applied to purchases until Jan. 9, as I understand it. The list of books in the program is here.

That's it. Happy reading!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Get Overdraft for 99 cents through Amazon Local!

A special treat for Amazon Local users: my Overdraft: The Orion Offensive is one of 100 books that's available for 99 cents through January 9 with a coupon available through your Amazon Local app. The voucher must be clicked on by December 19 in order to apply it to your account; thereafter, the discount will be automatically applied to purchases until Jan. 9, as I understand it.

The list of books in the program is here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My first Conan story — and free Overdraft!

Publication day for me, and I travel to a different sandbox — so to speak — with a desert tale of the Hyborian Age: my first Conan story, in Dark Horse's Robert E. Howard's Savage Sword #6!

"Sargasso of Sand" reteams me with Philip Tan, my artist on Iron Man #79-82, and it's a fun story of mythical mystery as Conan encounters a sailing ship situated far in the desert, a long way from any sea. It's my first toe in the water — er, sand — of Conan's world, but it was a lot of fun — and it gave me a chance to flex some different mental muscles. I haven't written much pure fantasy lately, but I'm expecting to try more.

I have also completed the production notes for Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, including trivia and notes for all eight serial episodes. And to celebrate, I have a special going on at Amazon: "Human Error," the prequel short story to Overdraft, is free through Friday, Nov. 29!

You can find Overdraft: The Orion Offensive in ebook form at Amazon, get the physical book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million's websites. You can also order the audiobook.

I have also brought up to date the Overdraft Glossary and the Overdraft Timeline.

I have a few blog posts up around the world: I speak about "The Evolution of Obi-Wan Kenobi" on the Kindlepost Blog, and I pay a return trip to Mark T. Barnes' blog with a guest post on one of my favorite writing themes.

Next up for the website will be the much-anticipated Kenobi notes, as soon as I finish them. Cross your fingers!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Guest blogger Mark T. Barnes: Star Wars and the Inspiration of the Classic Hero

(This month's guest post is from fellow 47North author Mark T. Barnes of the fantasy Echoes of Empire series. Read on, Star Wars fans!)

Star Wars and the Inspiration of the Classic Hero
By Mark T. Barnes

I remember sitting in a cold, cavernous cinema with one of my aunts and one of my brothers when the first refrains of John Williams’s score for A New Hope thundered out across the theatre. Speechless I sat, wide-eyed and rapt, and watched a film that helped put my feet on the path to becoming a storyteller.

It was 1977 and I was 10 years old, going on 11. And I wanted to be a Jedi Knight.

Jedi. Knight. The name strikes a chord, evocative of bravery, mystic powers, chivalry, justice . . . and lightsabers. A modern telling of a classic role, the hero with the magic sword, fueled by honour, virtue and the desire to do right in the world. Here were space-faring versions of Merlin and Gandalf in old Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mentor and guardian. There were glimpses of Galahad, and other young idealists in the destiny-driven Luke. And the antagonists! Who could forget the ominous shadow of Darth Vader, broken and driven to terrible purpose? Or the evil of Grand Moff Tarkin, so lean it seemed as if all the good had been leeched out of him. What of the anonymous facelessness of the stormtroopers, or the crushing might of the Star Destroyers, or the Death Star? These were enemies that seemed so much larger than life, so insurmountable, that they called for nothing less than a dauntless hero to topple them.

http://amzn.to/1c3GEjQ
There was an innocent and idealistic part of me that identified with Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, though I leaned more towards Obi Wan as I grew older. That idealistic part of me still exists to a great degree, as does the somewhat quixotic nature that goes with it. I identify more with classic heroes, rather than the anti-heroes that have become quite popular in speculative fiction in the last decade or so. That said, I do like my heroes flawed, but classic, and it is the upright though flawed characters that inspire me most. Characters with a cause to fight for, the strength to fight, and the integrity to fight for, or dedicate themselves to, something bigger than themselves. They make mistakes. They fail. They fall, but they pick themselves back up again because it’s in their nature not to surrender, and because others need them. Along the way they pay a terrible, personal price for doing the right thing, but they continue to do the right thing regardless of what it costs them. In Episodes IV, V, and VI we have Luke, and Obi-Wan—and the tales told by Yoda—that give us a glimpse of these mystic knights errant. We see them more clearly in Episodes I, II, and III, and come to understand the sacrifices they make, and the constant danger they place themselves in.

http://amzn.to/1aZopaB
When I did the initial world-building and plotting for The Echoes of Empire series, the idea of conflicted heroes who fought against impossible odds lay at the kernel of it all. Indris, my protagonist, is representative of force and thought, both warrior and wizard. He is a member of the Sēq Order of Scholars, themselves a much diminished order of mystic knights, leaders, and historians, fallen from glory through their own hubris. Indris, like Obi-Wan, Odysseus, and many heroes of the classic mould, has a background spotted with his triumphs and failures, joys and sorrows. He is burdened by guilt and secrets that remind him not only of why he is what he is, but why he must continue to be so.

The Jedi Knights are entrenched in our mythology now, and still hold a special place for me. I watch the Star Wars saga every year, the way I do The Lord of the Rings, and read Dune. There are some stories that stick with you. If somebody asked me today whether I’d still want to be a Jedi Knight, I’d have to say yes. But then again, I’m a sucker for heroes in their imperfect glory. It’s why I write them.

Mark Barnes lives in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of the epic fantasy Echoes of Empire series, published by 47North. The series includes The Garden of Stones and The Obsidian Heart. The Pillars of Sand is the third part of the series, and due for release in May 2014. You can find out more at www.marktbarnes.com, his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/marktbarnes.author, or follow Mark on Twitter at @MarkTBarnes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My WindyCon 2013 schedule

It's been incredibly busy this past month: I had Star Wars Reads Day followed by New York Comic Con followed by a great signing at Powers Comics in Green Bay, followed by my appearance at the big Star Wars event at the Kanawha Public Library in Charleston, W. Va. Whew!

Last weekend was the first time I saw my house — but I'm off again this weekend, to my first WindyCon in Chicago.

My schedule is as follows:
 
Saturday, 12-1: The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.  With Rachel Esler, Michael David Thomas, and Michi Trota. Lilac C room.

Saturday, 1-2: Autographing session. At the signing table.

Sunday, 12-1: John Jackson Miller reading. I'll be talking about my works to date in 2013, Star Wars: Kenobi, and my upcoming 2014 Star Trek project, Absent Enemies. Boardroom.

Sunday, 1-2: Superman at 75. With Carol Mitchell and Tom Trumpinski. Lilac C room.

WindyCon is being held in the Lombard suburb, in the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My New York Comic Con 2013 schedule

Scene from Star Wars Reads Day
About to return to New York for the first time in several years, but there's just enough time to share my schedule for Comic Con: I'll be signing at the Random House booth (#2205) Friday from 5-6 p.m. and Saturday from 11-noon. 

Also be sure to check the 47North booth two aisles over at #2022, publishers of my Overdraft book. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

And thanks much to the crew at Barnes & Noble in Madison and the local Rebel Legion and 501st outfits for a great Star Wars Reads Day last weekend! It was a great event — thanks to everyone for coming out!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Star Wars Reads Day 2013 events

The second Star Wars Reads Day promoting literacy is slated for Saturday, Oct. 5, and I will be participating in one live event and one online one.

First, you can begin participating now in the Goodreads chat for the day, by joining this group and asking questions. I will be answering questions along with Ryder Windham, Jason Fry, Chris Alexander, Hans Jennsen, Rich Chasemore, and Simon Beecroft. I expect to be answering questions in the morning and then again in the evening following my bookstore event.

And that bookstore event is at the Barnes & Noble at West Towne Mall in Madison, Wis.; the address is 7433 Mineral Point Road. Childrens' events will begin at 1, and I'll be speaking and signing at 2. The 501st will be in attendance, so bring your cameras!

You can find local events near you here.

I have also learned my schedule for New York Comicon: I'll be signing at the Random House booth (#2205) Friday from 5-6 p.m. and Saturday from 11-noon. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

There is one more podcast of note: the new Rebel Force Radio both has an interview with Jonathan Davis, narrator of the Kenobi audiobook, and a roundtable on the novel including Obi-Wan voice actor James Arnold Taylor and Erich Schoeneweiss from Del Rey.

Last update: There's an order page now for the Kindle edition of my Star Trek: Titan - Absent Enemies novella; the tentative release date is Feb. 24. More detail as it becomes available.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guest blogger Steve McHugh: "Han Shot First"

(Another guest post, this time out from fellow 47North author Steve McHugh of the Hellequin Chronicles series on a topic many have a view on...)

HAN SHOT FIRST
by Steve McHugh
This piece contains spoilers about the original Star Wars film. If you haven’t seen it yet… then I feel sorry for you. Go correct your mistake first.

I didn’t see the original Star Wars movie back in 1977, primarily because I wasn’t born until 1979, so it would have been difficult. I didn’t see Empire in 1980 either, nor Jedi in 1983, although that was because no one in their right mind wants to take a three-year-old to watch a two-hour film at the cinema. At least not a film that doesn’t contain singing cartoon animals.

My first exposure to Star Wars was in about 1987. I was about 8 and my parents had recently purchased a VHS player. We didn’t watch movies often, so when my dad rented a copy from whatever now-extinct video store existed back then, it was a bit of an event.

Star Wars grabbed me about the face and forced me to watch the second Vader stepped out. It’s something a lot of people have said over the years, the imposing, and to be fair, awesome, presence of the Sith Lord arriving on screen was a big deal. But for me, the movie didn’t get really interesting until the introduction of Han Solo.

To begin with I thought Han was a villain. I remember quite clearly assuming he was going to betray Luke the first chance he got. And then he shot Greedo. Poor stupid Greedo, who didn’t really stand a chance.

I’d never really seen anything like that before. Good-guys didn’t shoot first, they retaliated. And Greedo was very clearly the bad-guy in the situation. He threatened Han with his gun first, he told him he was going to kill him if he struggled, and he was obviously working for an even worse person in Jabba (whatever the hell that was). That made Han the good-guy by default.

In my eight-year-old mind (and now in my 34-year-old one too). I wanted to see what he’d do next, he lived that grey line, not a bad-guy, but not exactly a whiter-than-white good-guy either. It quickly became apparent that he did the right thing, so long as he didn’t think it was stupid, or he received a reward for it, or because his friends needed him, but he didn’t do it just because someone told him he had to. In one scene Han Solo went from a character who I wasn’t sure of, who was clearly secondary to Luke, to one I knew was going to be fantastic in any scene he was in.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but it would start my love of the characters who flaws and don’t always behave like the good-guys. They usually try to do the right thing, but they don’t always go about it in the ‘right’ way. Will Munny from Unforgiven, Wolverine, several characters in Skyrim (Ulfric for one), all fall into the category of characters who are willing to do things that most people wouldn’t. All for the sake of doing, what they consider to be, the right thing.

So, when it came to write my first book, Crimes Against Magic, a few years ago, I knew the main character, Nate Garrett, was going to straddle that line between good and bad. He did bad things, in some cases very bad things, but he did them because he felt they were the right thing to do. He killed, spied, blackmailed, or stole because he felt that these were the best things to do to ensure that overall, only the truly evil suffered.

The Hellequin books, of which Crimes Against Magic is the first and Born of Hatred the second, could have only come about in my head with a character that did things which many would consider questionable, but who does those things because he has to. Because people rely on him to be the person who straddles that grey area of morality.

So, while Star Wars has given me three movies, countless books and comics and a TV show worth of entertainment, it also gave the eight-year-old me the first glimpse at the types of characters I enjoy reading and writing about. The flawed heroes, who I think are more heroic than the any other kind.

Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games. Visit his site at http://stevejmchugh.wordpress.com, follow him on Twitter, and find more about the Hellquin Chronicles on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Star Wars: Kenobi Ask-Me-Anything (spoiler edition)

In advance of my posting of the production notes for Star Wars: Kenobi, I am following past practice on the blog by soliciting questions about the book from folks who've read it. Simply post your questions in the comments field below, and I will get to as many as I can in a series of later posts on here in the days and weeks to follow. This method also reminds me of things I've forgotten to address in the production notes.

Since folks will be asking about things that happened in the book, consider the comments section of this thread to have a spoiler warning, naturally! And note, obviously, that I won't be able to  speculate on Episode VII in this space. (Yeah, I know I said "Ask Me Anything," but not everything has answers yet!)

Also, a reminder that autographed copies of Kenobi are available in the e-signing just launched, as well as Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1 and some other new books. Click to find out how to claim one for your shelf!

For unsigned Kenobi copies, as usual, follow these links: 

Audiobook: AmazonBarnes & NobleAudible

Monday, September 16, 2013

E-signing: Autographed copies of Kenobi, KOTOR Omnibus Vol. 1 now available!

I have signings upcoming in several states over the next month, starting with Star Wars Reads Day in Madison, Wis. on October 5 and continuing with New York Comicon the following weekend. I'll also be appearing in Charleston, West Virginia at the end of the month. But if you're not in any of those places and are looking to get a signed copy of Star Wars: Kenobi or the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus edition, I now have small quantities on hand for that purpose. Here are the new items, available signed at cover price in U.S. dollars:

• Star Wars: Kenobi (hardcover) — $27
• Star Wars: Kenobi (audiobook) — $45
• Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1 — $25

...and here are the prices for the other three books that I try to keep on hand:

• Overdraft: The Orion Offensive (softcover) — $15
• Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith — $12
• Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral (comics TPB) — $20
• Star Wars: Knight Errant (novel) — $8

Any book selected above will be shipped separately in a U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope, with the exception of Knight Errant and the Kenobi audiobook which go in a Flat Rate Small Box (for almost exactly the same price as the padded envelopes). The post office has thankfully boiled things down to three simple rates for the Flat Rate envelopes:

U.S. addresses: Add $6 for each item
Canada addresses: Add $20 for each item
International (non-Canada) addresses: Add $24 for each item, plus $1 handling/transaction fee per order

So, for example, the Kenobi hardcover is $33 postpaid to the U.S., $47 postpaid to Canada, and $52 postpaid to other addresses.

Simply log into Paypal, click "Make a Payment," and enter the following address to send money to, along with a note about what you're ordering and any personalization instructions to me at this address:
(Alternatively, write me at that address and I'll send you an invoice.) Once payment clears, I'll send the books out as soon as I can. If ordering three or more copies, e-mail me for pricing as you may get a price break going up to the next size Flat Rate box.

And of course, remember that you can always get the books without my scrawl at your local bookseller. Here are some handy links for Kenobi:


 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kenobi hits the NYT bestseller list -- and a slew of interviews!

It's getting so I don't know when to update the website any more. There have been a slew of interviews, reviews, and podcasts released since Star Wars: Kenobi released a week ago, but there are more that are about to come out, and so I keep holding off. And then there's news, like yesterday's announcement that Kenobi will debut at #12 on the New York Times bestseller list. Busy time, but busy-good.

The best place to find these things is on my Twitter feed, which is where I'm heading now to get this info myself...

...ah, here. A list of the interviews in which I comment or appear, updated as I get the chance:

KENOBI INTERVIEWS (spoiler-free)
NEW! Moscow's Jedi Council (in Russian) 
• ElevenThirtyEight
Fangirlblog
Mashable
TheForce.Net

KENOBI PODCASTS (spoiler-free)
NEW! All Wings Report In
NEW! Jedi Journals on ForceCast
Coffee With Kenobi  
RoqooDepot
• Wisconsin Public Radio's Route 51 show

KENOBI SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL
• James Arnold Taylor reading on Entertainment Weekly
•  Map supplement

And for after you've read the book:

KENOBI PODCASTS (Spoiler Warning)
Roqoo Depot (part two)
Tosche Station

And then there are some reviews and discussions of the book by others. I have not read or listened to all these; I don't go seeking out reviews usually, but I have read some. (My thanks to RoqooDepot, from which I cribbed the start of the list.) Some are spoiler free, but read any header copy first to see:

KENOBI REVIEWS AND RELATED ESSAYS
Big Shiny Robot
Club Jade
Cory Clubb on Coffee with Kenobi
Dan Z on Coffee with Kenobi
EUCantina
Eleven-Thirty-Eight
New! The Examiner
FANgirl Blog
Jedi News
Knights Archive
Lightsaber Rattling
Lytherus
RebelForce Radio (starts at 01:04)
Roqoo Depot
Star Wars Action News (starts at :37)
Star Wars Report
Tor
• Tosche Station on Casting in Kenobi
Bria on Tosche Station
Brian on Tosche Station

There are more, of course, on TheForce.net and GoodReads and Amazon... but this should give you more than enough reading!

There are more interviews about to come out, including a couple with me and James Arnold Taylor, and also I have a Facebook chat in the works soon. Stay tuned.

Apart from all that, the next project for me — relative to this site — is to get the production notes and trivia going for the Kenobi page. This will take some time, as there is quite a bit to say, obviously...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guest blogger: Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. on Star Wars and steampunk

(Editor's note: I'm beyond busy this week between travel and the release of Star Wars: Kenobi -- thanks for the great response on that, more pictures and links to come! Here, I present my first Guest Blogger -- Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., one of my fellow authors at 47North and the creative mind behind Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders. Enjoy!)


THE STAR WARS AND STAR TREK IN MY STEAMPUNK
Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.


I am 50 years old. JFK is my birth President. To most of you reading this column, I am ancient. I am Obi-Wan Kenobi shuffling out of the desert. I don’t feel so old, but there you have it.

Being of this age, one of things that happened to me was the arrival of the first Star Wars  movie. I was 14 years old in the summer of 1977, ready to enter high school (in Canada) and a serious science-fiction nerd. It wasn’t so cool to be a sci-fi nerd then, but Star Wars would do a lot to change that. A steady diet of Star Trek reruns fueled my addiction to that point, along with plenty of books by Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Wells, Verne and LeGuin. Great stuff.  But Star Wars blew the lid off. On the weekend that Star Wars opened (it wasn’t a big deal yet) my family was on vacation, driving to a timeshare condo in Florida. I forced my parents to stop, marooning them and my sisters at a mall as I walked across the parking lot to the cinema where the movie was playing. 

Star Wars was it. It was the perfect science-fiction space opera with effects that blew the mind (and largely still hold up today). I saw the move 36 times in the theater, often sitting through two or three showings in a row with my friends. We would mumble the dialog before the characters said it, annoying other patrons. We developed out own set of dialog and inside jokes so we could make it through yet another viewing of the move. Crazy? Yes. George Lucas owned us. I waited for the next two films with a heightened anticipation which I have rarely felt with any other trilogy except Indiana Jones.

Star Wars did not replace Star Trek for me, but rather opened a new door in a different universe.  I still hold on tightly to Star Trek, to James T. Kirk and Spock, and that show will always be my first love as far as science fiction television goes.

Even today, as I write my steampunk adventure series, The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin (RomulusBuckle and the City of the Founders is the first installment), I can feel the influence of Star Trek and Star Wars flowing through my brain goo and oozing into my writing. When one is bred on such stuff dreams are made of it is impossible to escape, I guess. And that’s a good thing. My series follows the bridge crew of a zeppelin with characters you can easily draw Star Trek parallels to, including a somewhat stoic alien. The captain is a swashbuckler, a man created in the time-honored tradition of Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood, Han Solo, and Captain Kirk.

All hail the ancient archetypes we find brilliantly reborn in Star Trek and Star Wars. They explore what is best and worst in us.  And experiencing that journey through the self is what we read stories for.  And write them, too. 

I’d like to thank John for hosting me here on his blog and if you stuck with this post all the way to the end I thank you too!  You can follow my misadventures at http://richardellisprestonjr.com or on Twitter @RichardEPreston.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Star Wars: Kenobi wanders into town!

The wait is over... Star Wars: Kenobi goes on sale today at your local book retailer and online emporium!


I've been on a whirlwind tour of various podcasts and blogs -- not to mention this past weekend's appearance at Geek-Kon in Madison, which was a lot of fun. And here's a round-up of some of the other cool things we worked up:

James Arnold Taylor reads Kenobi! In an exclusive with Entertainment Weekly, voice actor James Arnold Taylor, who voices Obi-Wan in the Clone War animated series, reads one of the meditations from the new novel. It's a cool clip and I'm delighted he was able to do it. Click here to listen.

The World of Kenobi! Readers of Knight Errant and Lost Tribe of the Sith might have noticed my interest in the geography of the various worlds -- we published space sector maps for one and a couple of continental maps for the other. With the assistance of Lucasfilm and DK Press, I provided a map supplement on the official Star Wars blog that depicts all the major locations in Kenobi. Click to check it out!

Interviews! (Updated, 8/27) I don't have the links for everything at hand, but there have been plenty lately. Interviews are up at MashableFangirlblog, ElevenThirtyEight, and TheForce.Net as well as a podcast at Coffee With Kenobi and RoqooDepot. And my Wisconsin Public Radio hour is here.

For after you've read the book, more spoiler-y podcasts are up at Tosche Station and Roqoo Depot (part two).

 And a book! The early response to the book from the advance readers has been incredibly gratifying, but I guess it's time to let it do its thing. So here are the links you need:

 

That's it. Tonight, the 27th, I'll be appearing at the Booksellers at Laurelwood for the book launch event at 6. See you there!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus releases -- plus Geek-Kon schedule, and more!

Okay, I admit it — I've got a whole bunch going on right now, and it's impacted my ability to blog in any kind of a regular fashion. I just finished work on Star Trek: Titan - Absent Enemies — and went headlong into preparations for the release of Star Wars: Kenobi on August 27. I've already done a half-dozen podcasts, most yet to go online — and there are other events and surprises in the works.

So a quick recap of things:

KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC, TOGETHER AGAIN!

• The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1 is out today! That collects issues #0 through #18 of the original series in one compact edition. And preorders are already being taken for Volume 2, which contains the second third of the series. That's out in December. You can find Volume 1 now at your local comics shop.

• Just as I did with KOTOR on this blog years ago, I have been doing a Kenobi countdown all month on Twitter. Just search for the hashtag #KenobiCountdown and follow me to get the latest news.

BROADCAST NEWS

• I will be on Route 51 on Wisconsin Public Radio on Thursday from 10-11 a.m. You should be able to get the podcast if you're not in the area.

OVERDRAFT DRAWING

• I've launched a Goodreads drawing for several signed copies of Overdraft: The Orion Offensive. t runs until September 17 — be sure to put your name in the hat.

GEEK-KON SCHEDULE

• I will be at Geek-Kon at the Madison, Wis. Marriott West as a guest of honor this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'll be set up to sign at various times, but you can also catch me at these panels:

Friday 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. The Works of John Jackson Miller (Geneva)

Saturday 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Writing 101 with Monica Valentinelli (Wisconsin)

Saturday 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Use the Force: A Star Wars Discussion with Rob Weiland (Green Bay/Milwaukee)

Sunday 1:00 - 2:00 pm Turn Your Page and Cough: Health of the Comic Industry (Geneva)

BOOK SIGNING

• And then on Tuesday, the 27th, Kenobi releases. The release event is slated for The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis, Tennessee at 6 p.m.; that's at 387 Perkins Extended. We will have Krayt Dragon Calls, and the 501st, I am told, will have some representatives there.

This doesn't even get into the bunch of interviews, chats, and podcasts soon to go online — and a few surprises I can't mention yet. I'll do my best to get them linked here, but Twitter is usually your best bet to catch that stuff quickly from me. Whew!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Overdraft reaches Earth -- plus, an e-signing!

Another addition to the bookshelf!
And another addition to the bookshelf! The print edition of Overdraft: The Orion Offensive has arrived in my offices, and is now available. Amazon in the U.S. is shipping them right now, but they'll come online at other booksellers soon.

Overdraft, as discussed here, is set 125 years in the future, at a time in which Earth has joined the commercial network of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way. Naturally, we've brought along some of our bad habits — including Jamie Sturm, a conniving stock trader who accidentally bankrupts his expedition from the comfort of his computer terminal. But Bridget Yang and her team of mercenaries refuses to simply go into unemployment: instead, they return to the Solar System to draft Jamie into service as an interstellar trader. They'll be taking him to the most dangerous places they can find to trade, until he gets their money back!

The book was initially released as a Kindle Serial, and the full ebook can be obtained here. The trade paperback, at more than 400 pages, is now on sale — and preorders are also being taken for the audiobook, shipping in November. Be sure to check it out. You can also get the prequel short story here.

Lastly, Brilliance Audio is handling the library sales for the book (yes, even prose copies): librarians, order it for your library system here. The ISBN number is 978-1-4778-0752-1.

OVERDRAFT E-SIGNING: I am also offering an "e-signing", for as long as my supplies of the book last. If your mailing address is in the United States and you'd like a signed copy of the trade paperback, then e-mail me at the address at left; cost is $21 through Paypal (that's the $14.95 cover price plus USPS Priority Mail shipping, Paypal account is the same as the e-mail address). Be sure to include any personalization requested, as well as your return address, naturally!

Contact me about international sales — postage would be whatever the USPS charges, but after a certain point it may make more sense to just download the ebook! You can find other books available on my Shop page.

I've been told there'll be another book arriving tomorrow, so I expect to be back here soon... 

Monday, July 22, 2013

San Diego 2013 convention highlights -- guest-starring the Rebel Legion!

Thanks to Joseph Setele for the photo!
Back from San Diego, and quite a bit to round up here. In addition to being a great show, it was a trip book-ended on both sides with surprising Star Wars meetings.

On the flight from Minneapolis, first off, I met another author, John Flynn, whose name I recognized. It turns out that years ago he wrote the Fall of the Republic fan story treatment ostensibly for Star Wars Episode III — which I bought at a convention in 1985. The story of how I realized it wasn't the real movie treatment is something I had just written up in a little slice-of-life piece for an upcoming issue of The Gathering — and so it was wild to meet John in person. (He had written the treatise as a Christmas gift for friends one year, and somehow it got into circulation. Mystery solved!)

In San Diego, I met with lots of publisher friends and with fans, doing two signings with Del Rey. The publisher gave away Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith copies, as well as Star Wars: Kenobi posters and a very special item: the Kenobi Krayt Dragon Call keychain.

It's a version of an actual device found in Kenobi, and Leland Chee was able to locate the original sound file for the krayt in Episode IV for it. They were popular enough I could barely hold onto the things (and if you held too many too hard, you'd wind up with a hand that screamed like a wooly mammoth). Check out Leland's video of one here. As you can see at left, it's useful against Tuskens wherever they might be found!

Leland Chee moderated a panel with me and several other Star Wars authors: Vader's Little Princess author Jeffrey Brown, Crucible author Troy Denning, and J.W. Rinzler — who showed the Star Wars gag reel he'd unearthed. Del Rey's Frank Parisi and Lucasfilm's Jen Heddle rounded out the panel with news on upcoming projects.

I also did a number of interviews with various sites. Check out my video interviews with The Scoop and with ClubJade.net. RoqooDepot has all the Star Wars-related videos here.

And then there was another surprise at the Del Rey booth: I was inducted as an honorary member into the Rebel Legion, by Zayne Carrick, no less! (Actually, Lisa Curtis.)

This was very cool — my 501st induction had come back in 2009, so it was time to get signed up with the rebellion as well! James Floyd of ClubJade has the presentation video here. Clearly, I'm speechless!

I really do appreciate the kind gesture from the Legion. Now to figure out how to get both those badges onto my badge holder!

I also got to speak to a lot of friends in the business and in fandom — including attending the Star Wars Action News Fan Breakfast and the Random House party — and there were a number of only-at-Comicon moments. Visiting the Bongo Comics booth to talk Simpsons Comics, I looked up to see that none other than Matt Groening was there signing. The Springfield creator himself!

And then later, while hanging out with old friend and fellow Star Wars author Michael Stackpole (who was there to promote his latest World of Warcraft novel), Dork Tower creator and Apples to Apples illustrator John Kovalic dropped by to demonstrate his newest movie-themed card game, Double Feature, for us. Look for it — it's a winner!

Finally, on the flight out, Delta randomly seated me next to Star Wars Atlas co-author Daniel Wallace. We're crossing paths a lot: he also happens to be appearing at the Hernando, Mississippi library a week before I appear at the Kenobi release event at the Booksellers at Laurelwood in nearby Memphis on August 27.

That — and Geek-Kon in Madison the weekend before it — is my next slated travel, and I'll need the breather to work on my various projects (and to get caught up on sleep). But after 19 years of visits, San Diego continues to be a unique experience not to be missed lightly. My thanks to the team at Random House, the Rebel Legion, Star Wars Action News, and everyone who made it a memorable experience for me.

Also not to be missed: On Tuesday, the physical edition of Overdraft: The Orion Offensive releases. Be sure to get yours!

Monday, July 15, 2013

My San Diego Comic-Con 2013 schedule

Third Comic-Con International - San Diego in a row for me, and that's the first time since... maybe 1997-99? I can't remember. What I can remember to do is to post my schedule:

Friday, 12-1 p.m.: Star Wars Authors Panel, room 7AB: panelists include Troy Denning, Frank Parisi, Jen Heddle, Jonathan Rinzler, Leland Chee

Friday, 2-3 p.m.: Signing, Del Rey booth, #2913D in the Lucasfilm section of the main hall

Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Signing, Del Rey booth, #2913D in the Lucasfilm section of the main hall
The Del Rey booth will have their fiction sampler for giveaway, as well as posters and, while they last, copies of Lost Tribe of the Sith.

I will also be around the hall at various times from Wednesday to Saturday. Interview requests while on the show floor, tweet to me at @jjmfaraway on Twitter— can't guarantee I'll get it in a timely manner, but I'll try.

And away we go!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reporting for duty: Star Trek: Titan - Absent Enemies!

I mentioned with my Conan post yesterday that I'd been broadening my horizons this year with work in some other science fiction and fantasy sandboxes — and here is some quite fun news indeed that I've been sitting on for a while. I am delighted to report that I am writing a Star Trek: Titan novella for electronic release by Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books. Coming soon: Absent Enemies!

The Star Trek: Titan series tells of the adventures of my favorite and yours, William T. Riker, named captain of the Titan back in the final Next Generation movie. He's joined in the stories by a trusty crew including some familiar TV faces like wife Deanna and the former Voyager officer, Tuvok. There have been several works in the series, written by talented writers including Michael A. Martin, James Swallow, Christopher L. Bennett, Andy Mangels, and Geoffrey Thorne; Titan also appeared prominently in David Mack's Destiny trilogy.

My own Absent Enemies picks up in the "present day" of the post-NextGen literature timeline — and it is inspired by and in part picks up on the events of one of my favorite TNG episodes. I won't say which one yet, but for years, I had thought the episode held the potential for another story to be told — and I'm happy to get to do it here. Riker is my favorite character from what I still think of as the "new crew," and I've been greatly enjoying writing him.

I doubt anyone will be surprised that I've been a lifelong Trek fan (just as I've been a Wars fan, a Whovian, a Marvel Zombie, etc., etc.); in fact, as I've mentioned here on the site, the very first prose fiction pitch I had accepted was years ago for the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, back during my earliest days writing Star Wars comics. That line folded before the story could come to pass, and I ended up using one of the concepts in Pandemonium, the bonus novella in Lost Tribe of the Sith. Many years have disappeared since then, but not my interest; speaking both as a writer and a fan, I'm pleased to finally be writing a Trek novella after all. (And I'm pretty certain there are a lot more electronic readers out there today!) It doesn't even feel strange to commute between universes — I'm not even the first guy named J.J. to do so!

For you Trek fans visiting this site for the first time, welcome! While I continue to write the Star Wars material that I'm probably best known for — my Kenobi hardcover releases August 27 — I've written a lot of harder science fiction in the Mass Effect and Iron Man realms, and I have just released my first creator-owned SF project, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, which is now available in ebook and print editions. You can get a taste of the work with the "Human Error," the prequel short story, which is available for free download through Sunday. I have behind the scenes pages on my site for ever

There's no release date announced for Absent Enemies, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I can report also my San Diego Comic-Con signings have been set for the Del Rey booth in the Lucasfilm area: 2-3 on Friday and 11:30-12:30 on Saturday. And don't miss our Star Wars Writers panel at noon on Friday in room 7AB!
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