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!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A decade in fiction, observed

A personal anniversary: Ten years ago today, I was working, as usual, in the Krause Publications offices on the week before New Year's; I tended to do that a lot, because we always waited to do the Year-in-Review articles for Comics Buyer's Guide until the year was actually over. (A lot of major comics events had happened during that last week of the year, from DC's purchase of Wildstorm to Marvel's purchase of Heroes World Distribution; as CBG was a weekly back then, there was no problem in waiting to do the review features.)

I don't think I was actually there to write the article, that year, as I had been promoted and shifted that year to work on the Standard Catalog of Comic Books line — but for whatever reason, I was in the office to take a call from Marvel's Michael Doran — a colleague previously (and again now) at Newsarama. He conveyed an invite to pitch for Marvel's "new talent" line under the revived Epic brand. After getting permission from my superiors, I began work that night. By the end of the weekend, I'd finished the script for what would become (after many revisions) my first professional comics project: Crimson Dynamo #1. (Read the detailed story behind the story here.)

The comic book would release in early September 2003, and the entire line would fold almost immediately after our storyline concluded — but I had been bitten by the bug. I had already moved on to Iron Man, which led to Simpsons and Star Wars work. I continued moonlighting for several years, until I finally began writing full time in 2007.

With a release-filled 2012 of comics and prose work ending — and a busy 2013 on the horizon with Star Wars: Kenobi as well as some announcements to come — I am again working this week between Christmas and New Year's. But I have no complaints — and am glad I was in the office to take the call years earlier, on the Friday before New Year's. If I'd gone to Vegas, I might still be scribbling in sketchbooks. For this happenstance, I am thankful — and I am looking forward to more years writing for you fine folks. You are all appreciated!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral: The Kesh-crushing conclusion!

I've been living on Tatooine for the last couple of months, writing Star Wars: Kenobi — but the Sith will not be ignored! And so today sees the release of Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #5, the end of the Lord Dreypa arc and a comic book full of Sithy revenge and destruction.

It's the last release in a pretty busy year for me, which included...

• 15 Star Wars comics, including the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - War collection;
• the Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories prose release (which is now in its fifth printing);
• the Mass Effect: Invasion comics series and collected edition;
• a couple of Bart Simpson issues;
• and a short story in Baen's Armored collection.

Say, that bullet-pointed list looks almost indistinguishable from a holiday gift suggestion list, doesn't it? An amazing coincidence!
And, of course, I've been busy writing Kenobi, which has had me in the desert even when there's snow outside. There'll be more information about that, coming soon, as well as some announcements I'm looking forward to making. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

Well, back to the Hutt — er, hut. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bart Simpson goes comic crazy -- and Mass Effect gets DLC

Some fun stuff available this week!

First off, in comics shops today, is my latest Simpsons story, "For A Limited Time Only," appearing in Bart Simpson #77.

Bart and Milhouse, getting hold of a pile of tragically coverless comics, decide to answer all the ads that don't have expiration dates — and end up destabilizing the world economy! It's a rollicking story that touches on all kinds of comics ads past. (I also have a story in Bart #76, still available.)

This week also saw the release of Mass Effect: Omega, the downloadable content which is a direct sequel to the events of Mass Effect Invasion, the comics story I scripted and co-plotted with lead game designer Mac Walters.

It's fun to see General Petrovsky, who I named and helped develop characterization for, appearing here as the lead villain. You can get Mass Effect Invasion from your local comics shop, from Amazon, or from Things From Another World — and check out my notes on the project here.

Finally, I'm profiled in the new Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics — click here to check out an excerpt. Flattered by the attention!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lost Tribe of the Sith #4 preview now online

And as the headline says, you can now check out the preview for Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #4, which releases next Wednesday from Dark Horse Comics. Things go from worse to worst for the Sith of Kesh, as Lord Dreypa throws not only his weight around — but also that of a host of undying leviathans!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Operation Befuddle: My Election 2012 diary

This year, someone decided Wisconsin was a swing state — and targeted all the telephones they could find.

But as they — and readers of my Facebook page — learned this past month, I have my ways of dealing with unsolicited calls...

Thursday, Oct. 25 — As the phone continues to ring off the hook with political calls, I have decided to take my responses into the realm of performance art. 

Today, I shall be answering all calls as Donald, a 67-year-old single-issue voter who wants Wendy's to go back to using the old buns.

Friday, Oct. 26 — Pollsters and canvassers calling my home today will speak with Benjamin, an aspiring longshoreman whose collie is possessed by the ghost of Jerry Lewis

And yes, I know, but Benjamin doesn't, and please don't tell him.

Saturday, Oct. 27 — Canvassers calling my home today will find an enthusiastic respondent in Thom, a stay-at-home bachelor. Regardless of the caller's political party, Thom will announce with glee that not only does he support the caller's candidate, he's already voted for him — four times. Thom will then ask, "So where all do you want me to vote on Election Day?" and "How do you spell your name again?"

Sunday, Oct. 28 — Pollsters calling this day will hear the weeping of Klaus, an undecided voter still mourning the passing of crooner Andy Williams. He wants to see a return to the old standards.

Monday, Oct. 29 — With Hurricane Sandy on the way, it's unclear how many political folks will be calling today if some of the phonebanks are in the northeast. Those that do call my house today will speak with Jimmie. He is a Kiss Army veteran and he votes.

Tuesday, Oct. 30 — Every political call since yesterday morning has been a robocall, resulting in a temporary suspension of my campaign of befuddlement. Now we know where all the phone banks with live operators are, I suppose...

Wednesday, Oct. 31 — "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" The political calls to the house have started again, leaving me no choice but to return to my campaign of confusion. And so today, canvassers calling my home will speak with Garry. Hard of hearing and expecting a call from the local plumber, Garry will insist that before proceeding, any caller address what's wrong with the vent stack.

Thursday, Nov. 1 — Picking up the phone for pollsters' calls at Casa Miller today is Millard. A duck-decoy painter who last voted in 1976, Millard will be lobbying for an immediate end to the national 55-mile-an-hour speed limit.

Friday, Nov. 2 — Heading out for a convention today, but canvassers calling my home will not do so in vain. The honorable spouse will be answering in the name of Myrna, a yam sculptor of local renown. 

After asking for the campaign's position on the reintroduction of wolf-hunting in Wisconsin, Myrna will grow more and more agitated — until finally insisting that the caller's candidate stop hedging and pick a side in the vampire/werewolf war already.

Saturday, Nov. 3 — I'm in Iowa today, but my little girl will be answering political calls at the house. She will say her daddy is out campaigning for school board and can't come to the phone right now, and she will happily ask for the caller's support. 

When the caller declines for whatever reason, she has been instructed to squeal, "But I want you to vote for Daddeee!" — screaming crying jag to follow. 

That should keep things quiet until Monday.

Sunday, Nov. 4 — No such luck. So when the canvassers call asking for me this afternoon, my son will tell them I'm on the way to the phone — and in the meantime will regale them with details about his new model train layout, in which he intends to recreate the old Green Bay and Western line. He'll continue with a disquisition on how N-scale is better than HO-scale, and then describe how he's wiring the whole set-up. 

When the callers ask if I'm close to the phone yet, he'll say, "Oh, Dad? He's coming. From Iowa." 

Which is then his perfect segue into talking about his plans for the Transcontinental Railroad.

Sunday evening — Back from Iowa, and clinging to a fragment of a voice after a bunch of panels. And now my hoarse rasp should add color to my characters answering the phone for the last round of political canvasser calls to the house. 

For the remainder of the evening, I'll be Gerald, whose concerns about the secret government fluoridation of rainclouds are bound to enlighten and entertain.

Monday, Nov. 5With less than 24 hours to Election Day, I've brought in an all-star closer to answer political canvassers calling my home: Reginald

Reginald has lived on a houseboat in Lake Winnebago since 1996, when he declared it a sovereign nation; due to a faulty media strategy, absolutely no one noticed. Reginald will consider the call an attempt by the candidate's party to open diplomatic ties, and he will say he is open to a summit meeting on the dock, so long as a trusted third party is in attendance. 

He will suggest Cher.

Election Day, Nov. 6 — Outgoing message:
“Thank you for calling the Miller residence. Our phones are now closed for Election 2012.

“After consideration, Mr. Miller has decided to vote, as he always does, for Pat Paulsen. Mr. Paulsen first announced his candidacy in 1968 on the Smothers Brothers comedy program and has run strongly in many presidential elections since then. Despite the candidate's death in 1997, Mr. Miller believes this may at last be the year.

“We do thank you for your interest in this election. If you believe your candidate will win, please hang up now, and begin collecting your yard signs.

“If you believe your candidate will lose, please stay on the line to learn how to find grief counseling centers and all-night liquor stores in your area…”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My schedule for Iowa's ICON this weekend

I'll be appearing this weekend at Iowa's ICON science-fiction convention, and speaking on a number of panels:

Fri 6 p.m. - Writing Tie-Ins
Fri 9 p.m. - Social Media in Fandom

Sat 11 a.m. - New Author Bootcamp
Sat 1 p.m. - Producing a Comic Book
Sat 2 p.m. - Sci-Fi That Isn’t: SF Stories Time's Passed By
Sat 4 p.m. - The Star Wars Universe
Sat 6 p.m. - John Jackson Miller Reading/Signing

Sun 1 p.m. - History of Comics

The programming grid is here. Icon is at the Cedar Rapids Marriott, 1200 Collins Rd NE. See you there!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Disney buys Lucasfilm -- and Star Wars: Episode VII to come!

Robert Iger and George Lucas (Disney publicity photo)
Along with a storm, an earthquake — at least judging from my Twitter feed — in the science-fantasy firmament. As you've probably already read, Disney has agree to purchase Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. And with this announcement, Disney also announced that Star Wars: Episode VII is targeted for release in 2015!

It's a big deal, and not just financially. (Coincidentally, that's almost exactly the figure Disney announced it was purchasing Marvel for three years ago). The notion of episodes VII-IX, many may recall, first came from a 1980 Time magazine interview with Lucas — and even then were described very vaguely. But 2015 is just three years away!

I don't know more than anyone else — I'm just the piano player! — but you should definitely check out the post of Pablo Hidalgo, on the official Star Wars blog!

Star Wars is George Lucas' creation, and across the years, those of us who've produced licensed publications have worked hard to take good care of the cultural treasure he created. I'm sure the same will be true of Disney, as the stewards of his creation going forward; they're a class act. I'm as interested as everyone else in seeing the cool things they have planned!

Update: There is also Steve Sansweet's piece on the official blog — and Jonathan Rinzler's look into the history of Episodes VII-IX.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hit the beach with Zayne as KOTOR Vol. 10 hits shelves

Here's an October surprise of the apolitical nature! Originally slated for a Thanksgiving release, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 10 - War hits shelves today.

Drafted into his homeworld's militia, former padawan Zayne Carrick must survive on his own — which isn't easy, when the Mandalorians seize his unit and force him to fight as one of them. But there's another rogue Jedi with a plan who's running the show — a much different plan than the one cooked up by Zayne's corrupt former master. And this time, Zayne's not going to let him get away with it!

This page has links to the production notes for all the individual issues of the series. You can get the book from your favorite retailer, or from Amazon or TFAW.

I also have my first Simpsons story in many years, Bart Simpson #76, out today. Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

JJM returns to Springfield Wednesday in Bart Simpson #76

The website's still reverberating from the Kenobi novel news (the most-read post on the blog ever, in just a little over a week) — but the publishing schedule continues. And my third comic book of the month is much different from the others: Bart Simpson #76 from Bongo Comics!

As mentioned some time ago, my first Simpsons story was in #27 of that title, nearly eight years ago. I had intended to do more, but got busy in a galaxy far, far away. And while I'm still working in that realm, I'm pleased to have some more Simpsons stories coming up. John Delaney, Andrew Pepoy, and I have the lead story in #76, which also includes pieces by Eric Shanower, Peter Kuper, and Evan Dorkin.

As with most of my Simpsons stories, there's a real-life inspiration to "Fund-Razing." I was in an interminable fund-raising assembly in high school where a speaker was ticking off all the lame prizes that could be won for sales — and one of the guys in the audience yelled out "Ten thousand dollars in cash!" at the appropriate time, causing the assembly to collapse into laughter. That kid was likely punished — but his efforts go rewarded years later, as Bart pulls the same stunt with chaotic results!

Another story coming next month in Bart Simpson #77. Look for it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

My new hardcover for 2013: Star Wars: Kenobi!

With the conclusion of the latest round of Star Wars: Knight Errant comics on Wednesday, people have been asking for months what I had coming next. People have also been asking, after my long association with the Expanded Universe, when I would get around to writing heroes from the movies. I thank readers for their patience. I can say, that time is now!

At New York Comic-Con, Random House/Del Rey announced my next novel — and it’s big: Star Wars: Kenobi! It’s a hardcover release tentatively scheduled for late 2013. Check out the promo artwork here, by Chris Scalf!

Kenobi is a sweeping story that’s part epic western, part high-stakes drama, part romance — but it’s all Star Wars, taking place in the early days of Obi-Wan’s exile to Tatooine. I shouldn’t expand too much beyond what Random House said on its panel and Facebook page, but I can say this. I’ve been working on this concept for years — I’ll talk more about that process later on — and the basics are pretty simple. The greatest hero in the galaxy faces his toughest challenge yet: He must stop being Obi-Wan — and learn to live as Ben.

My other works are still in development, including my own novel and a fiction series — but as my first hardcover, this is a pretty big deal, and I thank everyone who helped make it come together. I have a landing page for the book now up here at the site, and will list preorder information when it’s available. (2013 update: And the book has been scheduled. Click to preorder!)

If you haven’t visited my website before, click the links above and around to find production notes and trivia on my other books, including the Star Wars: Knight Errant and Lost Tribe of the Sith books from Del Rey. And visit my Amazon Author page for more books.

That’s it! More news as I can share it -- be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE: I have added Iowa's SF convention, I-CON, to my schedule next month, Nov. 2-4.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Production note extravaganza! Lost Tribe: Collected Stories and more

Regular readers of this site know I keep production notes and trivia on just about everything I write. I've been posting them since I launched the site in 2003, not long after my first professional comic book was released. Normally, I like to get them done the same week a book comes out — but then I also like to wait until I get feedback and hear what questions people have. And...

...and then some years I get really, really busy — as was the case this year. I'd been meaning to take a day to get to everything — and finally, today was that day. So now there are, at long last, notes up for Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories — and a bunch more issues:

The Gathering #8
Mass Effect: Evolution #3
Mass Effect: Evolution #4
Mass Effect: Invasion #1
Mass Effect: Invasion #2
Mass Effect: Invasion #3
Mass Effect: Invasion #4
Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #1
Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #2

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #3
Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #5

And those last two bring us up to the present day! Happy reading.

So that gets the site cleaned up. Hmm. Makes one wonder if I'm expecting visitors, or something...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lost Tribe #3 on sale -- and Knight Errant - Escape concludes!

Three comics out this month — and the first two arrive tomorrow!

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #3 features Lord Dreypa going to town — and going to town on the Sith of Kesh, who he sees as far beneath the example of his time. It's a blast from the past — setting fire to the present! Click the link for a preview.

And the latest arc for Kerra Holt wraps up in Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #5. It's the biggest showdown of the series, and the sector will never be the same again. As if you couldn't tell from the cover! Click the link for a preview.

On top of that, in preparation for the final issue, I've finally gotten production notes online for Knight Errant Escape #2, #3, and #4. I hope to get caught up on the other books soon — and I'll try to get the #5 notes up quickly.

While there isn't another Knight Errant arc exactly five months down the road from this one (as there were the last couple of times), it is not necessarily the last of the era — as we saw with the new Wraith Squadron book, things happen in their own time. (No,  I'm not telegraphing a 14-year gap as in that case — but it's a great example that in this realm, there are always possibilities.) In the meantime, I encourage readers to enjoy the book at hand. I always have something cooking, somewhere — and what I have coming up next will definitely surprise you!
And before I forget, my thanks to the Roseville, Minn. Barnes & Noble for their great Star Wars Reads Day event. We had a huge crowd and it was great being able to answer folks' questions along with Daniel Wallace and Troy Denning. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Star Wars Reads Day event in Twin Cities

Saturday is the first Star Wars Reads day, a literacy event with participating locations all over. I'll be appearing in Minneapolis/St. Paul — my first signing there in several years — with fellow authors Troy Denning and Daniel Wallace. There'll be a panel, signings, drawings, you name it:

Roseville Barnes & Noble
HarMar Mall
2100 North Snelling Ave.
Roseville, MN 55113 651-639-9256

Here's the store page. That's 2 p.m. on Saturday.

You can also find out about more Del Rey author appearances here — and here to check out a map of all events. The main site is here.

Also, there's a lot of video interviews about Reads Day that were recorded at Celebration that are just now going online; mine hasn't been posted yet, but you can see interviews with Troy Denning, James Luceno, Jason Fry, Randy Stradley, and more at the Star Wars Youtube Channel. I'll post my video link when it's uploaded.

See you there!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

KOTOR Labor Pains, other Star Wars short stories again available!

Today sees the release of Pablo Hidalgo's excellent Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion from Random House/Del Rey. It's a massive tome which starts a long time ago with a certain group of location-challenged Sith and goes on from there, covering all the Star Wars fiction in print.

And now, some of that fiction is back in print, thanks to Del Rey, on its Suvudu site — including my very first Star Wars prose!

Star Wars: Labor Pains is a Knights of the Old Republic story that I had originally conceived of as a story for Star Wars Insider; Pablo bought the story for the Hyperspace service on instead. Set between issues #12-13 (or Volumes 2 and 3), it's told from Gryph's point of view and remains one of my favorites.

Read the story here — and then check out my notes on the story here.

My second story originally for Hyperspace, Star Wars: Interference, is an offbeat tale of a dialogue between — believe it or not — Gryph (and at one point, his brother) and Ko Sornell, from Knights of the Old Republic - War. Only neither knows it at the time, and neither did the readers of this story back when it was released almost exactly four years ago. It's a fun little tale of wartime propaganda — falling on really deaf ears.

Read the story here — and then check out my notes on the story here.

The coda to the Knights of the Old Republic comics series — The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol tells you what was going on behind the mask at a lot of different moments in the series. Major spoiler warnings are obviously in order.

Read the story here. And finally, some endnotes are now available on it here.

Star Wars: Knight Errant - Influx is the prequel story to Knight Errant: Aflame, and it appeared just before the release of the first issue of the comics series.

Read the story here — and then check out my notes for the story, posted for the first time, here.

And with Daniel Wallace and Jason Fry, I did a Knight Errant Essential Atlas Gazetteer, detailing some of what was to be found in the Grumani sector in the voice of Kerra's teacher, Vannar Treece. The text is now online again (though not the maps, yet).

Read the piece here. The version with maps can still be found on here. And when you're done, you can check out my notes on the piece here, just written.

Speaking of Daniel, I'll be appearing with him and Troy Denning this Saturday for Star Wars Reads Day in the Twin Cities. We'll be at the Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minn., at 2 p.m. See you there!

UPDATE #4! The production notes for Influx, the Atlas Update, and the Secret Journal have been added, at long last — and Interference has been posted.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two Sithy tales on sale!

Another two comic-book Wednesday again, as Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #4 and Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #2 go on sale!

LTOTS Spiral #2 has some big moments for Spinner and Takara, as they discover something that changes what they (and we) know about the history of Kesh forever. I'd always been planning to address a specific part of Keshiri mythology — and hinted at it in the Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories edition; now, find out how it all ties together! Spiral #2 also includes a bio of Parlan Spinner, from the files of the Keshiri constables...

And Knight Errant - Escape #4 is easily the most emotional chapter of the comics-novel series to date. Having gotten what he was hunting for, Odion threatens the entire universe — and Kerra Holt is helpless to stop him. And yet, things have a way of changing...

A few more radio show updates. My episode of Route 51 show on Wisconsin Public Radio is now archived and online here. My latest Fictional Frontiers interview is now archived here.

And my essay on the state of the comics business at the two-thirds point in the year can be found here.

More updates on the way soon!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bart sues the comics industry in Bart Simpson #77!

As mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm contributing stories to the Bongo Comics Simpsons line — and my latest story has been slated for Bart Simpson #77, shipping in November.

That's two issues in a row — Bart Simpson #76, which you can order now from your retailer or from Things From Another World, comes out on Halloween. (And no, it's not a Treehouse of Horror issue, despite the ship-date.)

Anyway, the just-announced issue #77 includes a story by Simpsons veteran Ian Boothby and my own "For A Limited Time Only." In my story, Bart teams up with a savvy lawyer to take the comics industry to court — in a tale longtime comics collectors should appreciate!

I'm just back from Star Wars Celebration, but there's still a lot going on — I'll be the guest Thursday on "Route 51" on Wisconsin Public Radio, airing from 4 to 5 p.m. and available later as a podcast.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Star Wars Celebration VI -- my mini-scrapbook

With the Intrepid Meredith along with her trusty camera, I actually managed to get some pictures this year. Check out my Facebook feed for some more -- the blog interface isn't much for displaying a lot of photos.

As you might notice, frequent Zayne costumer Peter White had some backup this year, with Deez Wallis as Jarael.

And Star Wars editor Dave Marshall got into the act, too, donning the cape of Lando Calrissian!

Later on, we had a Kerra Holt sighting. Always nice to see some comics characters! The timing of the event was fortuitous, as it hit just after the release of the Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith -The Collected Stories book and Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #1 comic book; we had a special limited edition of #1 at the show from

The signings were a lot of fun -- I signed with Timothy Zahn at the Barnes & Noble booth on Saturday, and then the whole Del Rey crew on Sunday. There were also great signings with Dark Horse and a couple of fun panels.

It was a blast -- ready now for Celebration VII!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Star Wars Celebration VI schedule

Here's my schedule for Star Wars Celebration VI (subject to change):

Thursday, August 23
1:30-2:30 p.m. 
PANEL: Dark Horse Comics Looks Ahead: 2013, Behind the Scenes Stage (W414 ABCD)

8 p.m.-Midnight
OPENING NIGHT PARTY: party, Wyndham Orlando Resort 8001 International Drive

Friday, August 24
5-6 p.m. 
SIGNING: Lost Tribe of the Sith/Knights of the Old Republic/Knight Errant with letterer Michael Heisler, Dark Horse Comics, Booth 839

Saturday, August 25
6-7 p.m.
SIGNING: Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories book signing at the Barnes & Noble booth, Booth 129

Sunday, August 26 
10:30-11:30 a.m.
PANEL: Creating Comics for the Star Wars Galaxy—Writers and Editors Roundtable Discussion, Star Wars University (W300)

11:30 a.m.-noon
SIGNING: Del Rey 2012 Star Wars Sampler Signing with Drew Karpyshyn, Tim Zahn, James Luceno, Aaron Alston, and Troy Denning (signing begins at 11), at Del Rey Books, Booth 910

2:30-3:30 p.m.
SIGNING: Lost Tribe of the Sith/Knights of the Old Republic/Knight Errrant at Dark Horse Comics, Booth 839 will be selling a Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #1 variant at the convention; it is limited to 1,000 copies. Dark Horse will also have a Lost Tribe mini-print available at my signings, and Del Rey will have its Sampler at its signing. As you might have noticed, I am at a panel for the first half of the Sampler signing on Sunday — but if you miss me at the opening you can catch me at the end or during the later Dark Horse signing later in the day.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter to keep up with any changes. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories heads for third printing

Given that some of the stories in Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories had been downloaded for free many thousands of times over the years, one might have wondered how the print edition would fare. I am pleased to report: pretty well. I have just been informed that the book has already gone through its second printing and that a third has been scheduled for later in the month!

I'm not too surprised, as the number one question people always had about the stories was "When's the print edition coming out?" I think a lot of people are like me: While I'm "platform agnostic" as a writer — I've written for print and online delivery, for magazines and books — I'm a bibliophile. I like to have the physical book on the shelf. Of course, it's available digitally, too — the collected edition is also available for Kindle and other devices. (For a second week, it's the #1 SF anthology on there.) But I'm glad we were able to have both digital and print formats — more choices are always good. I'm thrilled people are finding them.

As noted here, the Lost Tribe of the Sith comics series has just started in the last 24 hours. Great timing — and a good time to check out more of the Tribe's adventures!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The summer of George — and some novel news!

Two big comic books out Wednesday! Star Wars: Knight Errant – Escape #3 continues to carry Kerra Holt toward her greatest confrontation of all — it's a barn-burner featuring three armies, no waiting. And Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith – Spiral #1 picks up where Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith – The Collected Stories (available now!) left off, putting some faces to some familiar names!

On top of that, I have a Facebook chat on Del Rey’s Star Wars Facebook page Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST — and my first two events have just been announced for Star Wars Celebration, which I'll be attending in a couple of weeks. As they say on Seinfeld, it’s “the summer of George” … Lucas projects, that is!

It's been a pretty busy year overall, by my standards — by the time it ends, I’ll have had a prose anthology, several collected editions, and at least 19 comic books released. Fifteen of the comics are Star Wars issues, which, if not a record for the license, is definitely a bunch. And 2012 has also already included the publication of my first creator-owned prose story, in the Armored anthology from Baen.

And in a way, that last one (available here) is just as important to me, as it’s the first step in a direction I’ve been preparing to take for a long time. Now, as anyone who follows me knows, I love working in licensed fiction. I’m continuing to do more — make no mistake about that! There are a number of tie-in projects coming down the pike, including some that may surprise you. (Make that will!)

But some things I’ve had cooking on the back burner are finally bubbling — and so this has also been a very different sort of year when it comes to my writing output. “The year of John,” my overworked proofreader wife jokes. In addition to the licensed work, I've adjusted my schedule this year so I could finally devote serious time to some of these personal projects — including, I am pleased to say, my first original science-fiction novel, well underway. And that’s just one of several things moving ahead on that front!

What's that? Tell you more? Believe me, I’m bursting to — but I’ve talked with enough other authors to know things come out faster when you save the words for the page. So while I may not have to be as cagily vague as I am when discussing things in someone else’s sandbox, I’ll try to mind the “no snacking before dinner” rule here, too. While I wanted to share a little of the big picture now, the real fun’s in the details to come.

All right, then. For now: dropping by my Facebook chat tomorrow, two comic books to pick up, scheduling time to catch my Star Wars Celebration panels — and a couple of podcasts coming up for you to listen to. Boy, it sure seems like I’m giving you odd jobs, doesn’t it? See you there!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No Bothans were harmed in the marketing of this book

Great signing for the Lost Tribe of the Sith book release yesterday at the Barnes & Noble in Madison -- my thanks to everyone who came out.  Especially the Rebel Legion and 501st!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book release event: Find the Lost Tribe of Sith on Saturday in Madison!

What's a Saturday without Sith? You won't have to find out, as the book release event for the new Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories edition — as well as for the new Star Wars: Knight Errant comics series — is set for this weekend.

I'll be appearing at the Barnes & Noble West Towne Mall location in Madison, Wisc., at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The store is at 7433 Mineral Point Road. And there will be costumers, as well, from the 501st and the Rebel Legion — my thanks to them, as always.

Drop by and get a chance to get photos with them, as well as bookmarks and my own 501st card — seen at left — from me, along with a few clues about the new Lost Tribe of the Sith comics storyline.

(And if you're not able to make the signing, note that I do have a limited number of signed copies available for mailing to locations in the United States. Click here for details.)

It's been a great couple of days here with the book releasing — lots of great feedback, and a nifty five-star review from Lightsaber Rattling to start things off. There's at least two podcasts slated in the weeks to come, and I will also be doing a Facebook chat about the book for the Del Rey Star Wars Books Facebook page on August 8th at 3 p.m. Eastern, which is also the day the new comics series releases. If you need a reminder of the time and date, just follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories now on sale!

It's Tuesday already in the middle of the Atlantic — so it's only jumping the gun a little to declare that Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - The Collected Stories is now on sale! And there was much rejoicing! (Or terror and pain — this is the Sith we're talking about!)

The spiffy new trade paperback edition can be found at your local bookseller, as well as from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, from Things from Another World, and from Random House directly. The electronic version can also be downloaded for Kindle or from Barnes & Noble.

This edition includes the original eight novelettes released from 2009 to 2012, along with a new novella, "Pandemonium" — which gives you all the prose Lost Tribe stories to date. (The comics series starts two weeks later at Dark Horse.) It also includes my maps of the continents of Keshtah and Alanciar — we're doing the full Tolkien here!

If you have the eight e-books, you'll notice that there are a number of minor changes in this edition. As the stories were written over the course of several years, I took the opportunity to make some additional corrections and to address some minor continuity issues, most involving integration with the maps in this edition. The collected edition thus becomes the operative version of these stories, for continuity purposes. (And the individual e-books are digital collector's items at this point anyway. With the publication of this edition, the e-books are no longer available as single free downloads — the promotion they were part of, for the Fate of the Jedi novels, having concluded.)

The production notes for the "Pandemonium" section will be online later at the main page for the book — once I've heard some of the questions you folks have. Comments welcome in the thread below — and there will be some other opportunities coming up to talk about the book.

U.S. MARKET E-SIGNING: I am also offering an "e-signing", for as long as my limited supplies of the Lost Tribe of the Sith 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 $18 through Paypal (that's 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! You can find other books available on my Shop page. (I don't know that the edition is officially available for sale in all overseas markets yet, so I am holding off on overseas requests at this time until I find out.)

In the meantime, more news: I did a video interview with Big Shiny Robot that's now online -- that's what's left of me after several days of Comicon! I've also done an interview for the Wisconsin State Journal about the book, and about my upcoming signing at the Mineral Point Road Barnes & Noble, this Saturday at 3 p.m. The Rebel Legion and 501st will be represented!

Friday, July 20, 2012

On Colorado, comics, and communities

Horrified — just absolutely horrified — by the news coming from Aurora, Colorado, of a mass-shooting at a midnight theatrical showing of the new Batman film.

Typing, I feel almost reluctant to name the film — because the name of the film simply doesn't matter in something like this, although people will seek to draw connections. They always do. When the Columbine High School shootings happened in 1999, I was the editor of Comics & Games Retailer magazine — and worked also unofficially as an advocate for the comics and gaming hobbies. After the shootings — when the mass media were in a mad rush to connect the killers to comics, games, or some external motivator, I called all the local stores to find out whether the shooters had been customers, and what their background was.

What I heard didn't surprise me. I was told by their local hobby shop-owner that they used to visit often, but had dropped out of the scene. And I remember feeling at the time that that really meant something. Because comics, and games, and imaginative fiction of all kinds — they offer more than a simple escape. They offer a community. I've seen that community in comics shops and conventions, online and in real life. There's a support system, there.

We often hear people say that getting into comics — or games, or quilting, or model-building, etc. — saved their sanity. I think that in some cases, that's more than hyperbole. I think hobbies, and the communities that surround them, save lives.

It's when people cut themselves off from their communities that bad things happen.

My heart goes out to those who were affected by this sick, mad act.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

D'oh -- or d'oh not! JJM pens Simpsons comics

Back home from Comic-Con International: San Diego — and I am pleased to be able to share some news. I actually have three comic books coming out in October. In addition to two in a galaxy far, far away (Star Wars: Knight Errant #5 and Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #3), you'll see another from Springfield, U.S.A. — the first of several Simpsons stories I have coming up from Bongo Comics!

Longtime readers of the site may recall that I wrote a single story for Bongo nearly eight years ago; "No Purchase Necessary," drawn by Phil Ortiz and colored by Bongo stalwart Nathan Hamill (also a familiar name to Star Wars fans) appeared in Simpson Comics Presents Bart Simpson #27. The story has since been reprinted in the Big Brilliant Book of Bart Simpson, still available through Amazon. I loved writing the story and wanted to do more, but I was still moonlighting then and the Knights of the Old Republic comics launch and subsequent series took a lot of my time.

My first Simpsons story appears here.
But Bart will not be denied! So October sees the release of Bart Simpson #76 and my story "Fund-Razing," with art by John Delaney. Bart's antics cause a school fund-raising drive to go horribly, comically wrong — and hijinks naturally ensue. My next story after that is already slated – and there's more to come.

I'm thrilled to be back in Bongo's pages again. It's been the gold standard for humor comics for a long time, and it's allowed this fan of Carl Barks's Duck comics and Marge and John Stanley's Little Lulu to explore some truly wild schemes with that maddest of mayhem-makers, Bart Simpson!

Bart Simpson #76 will be in your retailer's catalog in August. I'll post order links for it soon.

Back to the convention: it was great, of course — one of the most positive San Diegos in recent memory, according to most attendees, and I concur. (I have posted some thoughts about the convention and the industry in general on my Comichron site.) It was great to see folks from my publishers at Dark Horse and Del Rey, as well as the Lucasfilm team; I did five hours of signings all told, including copies of the Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith book that releases July 24. It was my first chance to get a look at the book, and it's a great package. Get your orders in now!

And as always, it was great seeing my friends and colleagues out there — and also along the way. Fellow Star Wars author Troy Denning and I were on the flight together going out to San Diego — and I ended up giving neighbor and famed fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss a ride home from the airport after a missed connecting flight. It's a small, surreal world!

More posts coming soon — including more details on the July 28 Lost Tribe launch event at 3 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Madison, Wis. — the Rebel Legion will be in attendance! In the meantime, remember the words of Master Homer: D'oh — or d'oh not. There is no try!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Knight Errant - Escape #2 hits shelves Wednesday!

I'm in the middle of my own Escape to San Diego as this is posted — but you can find an escape of your own in your comics shop on Wednesday with Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #2!

Kerra's journey into Sith space continues, and we see a lot more about her personal history — and how it's been tied together with Odion's destiny from the beginning.

The issue will also be on sale from TFAW and from vendors in San Diego, where I will be signing every day — here's the schedule — and they'll also have the variant San Diego edition of #1 there, as well.

Covers for Knight Errant - Escape #5 and Lost Tribe of the Sith #3 also are now online — and my interview with Jedi News has just been posted. First one there in six years! And IO9 has news about Brian Wood's new Star Wars series, just announced.

More to come in the next few days!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My San Diego Comic-Con 2012 signing schedule

Comic-Con International: San Diego two years in a row! It's my eleventh time to go, but I don't think I've gone in back-to-back years since the six-in-a-row stretch in the 1990s.

I have a busy schedule of things I'm there to do — and for the first time I've got signing hours every single day of the con. Note that this year the Dark Horse variant edition from Diamond Comic Distributors is a special version of Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #1; this will be available from many retailers in the hall, and also can be preordered from TFAW.

Here are the signing times and locations: 

Wednesday, July 11
8:00-9:00 p.m. — Dark Horse Preview Night signing, Booth #2615. 

Thursday, July 12
11:00 a.m.-noon — Dark Horse booth signing with Mass Effect's Sylvia Feketekuty and Chris Helper, Booth #2615 

Friday, July 13
11:00 a.m.-noon — Dark Horse booth mega-signing with Mike Richardson (Crimson Empire), Dave Dorman (Crimson Empire, Darth Maul), Randy Stradley and Doug Wheatley (Dark Times), Dave Wilkins (Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison), Dan Parsons (Dawn of the Jedi),  Michael Atiyeh (colorist), Michael Heisler (letterer) and Tom Taylor (Darth Maul), Booth #2615 

Saturday, July 14
4:00-5:00 p.m. — Del Rey signing and drawing for the new Star Wars: Lost Tribe of Sith - The Collected Stories book, which releases July 24. Booth #2913D 

Sunday, July 15
11:00 a.m.-noon — Dark Horse booth signing with Mass Effect's Sylvia Feketekuty and Chris Helper, Booth #2615

Lucasfilm also has a panel on the future of Star Wars fiction and comics on Friday from 3-4 in Room 7AB — Lost Tribe is on the list of topics — and Dark Horse and the Bioware folks will be talking Mass Effect and other comics Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Room 24ABC.

Finally, on Friday from 5:00-6:00 p.m., author Kevin J. Anderson presents the Scribe Awards for tie-in fiction published in 2011 on behalf of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. Star Wars Knight Errant is one of five nominees for Best Science Fiction Novel, so I'll be there. That's in Room 23AB.

Follow my updates at the convention on Twitter — I'm @jjmfaraway. See you there!
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