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!

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.

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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.

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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!
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