Writing Update

BattleTech

Classic BattleTech is a successful long time Role Playing Game that has a spawned a rich, deep and very complex universe spanning thousands of years. It’s been an enduring game system that has, like most other successful creations, spawned its own line of fiction.

Editor Loren Coleman has recently approved my writing a short story for a forthcoming collection, Ages of War: A Classic BattleTech Anthology , coming our in either late 2006 or early 2007. Loren deemed my story as “ambitious” and thanks to his crew; I think I have navigated the continuity minefields. I’ve been sifting through the tons of guidebooks and am about ready to actually start the writing. Since other pals I know are writing for this world, it seemed like a welcoming place to be.

I love the idea of writing in a new universe and look forward to this.

Star Trek: Corps of Engineers

The greatest problem publishers of series fiction have is that a successful series can sometimes grow so large as to be daunting to newcomers. For example, people have been telling me to read Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct books for years but I wasn’t sure where to start since I didn’t necessarily want to go back to the very first one.

It’s a happy problem in that the series has been around to accumulate so many chapters, books, entries, what-have-you.

That apparently has become the case with Pocket Books’ Star Trek: S.C.E. series of eBooks. Initially created in partnership with Microsoft, it was intended to help introduce people to the joys of eBooks and the Microsoft Reader software. The books have been more or less monthly and this year cracked the #50 mark.

After many months of decision making across a variety of departments, it was decided to continue the eBook program but with some modifications. The series would come to an end with #66 only to be relaunched with a new #1 and a slightly modified title, Star Trek: Corps of Engineers. We do this all the time in comics so it must work. The other change is a reduction in frequency from monthly to six times a year. To keep things fresh, the other six slots will be used with other Trek eBooks such as 40th Anniversary Star Trek: The Original Series stories.

Yesterday, eBook editor Keith DeCandido announced the first three ST: Corps of Engineers stories and “Troubleshooting,” number two, will be by yours truly. (Number one will be from my Midwest cronies Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and they better do a good job.) It’s a story that occurred to me in a bolt of inspiration in the spring of 2004. It was first submitted in June that year but given the aforementioned delays at the corporate level, it only got approved on Friday.

I like the cast of characters in this series a lot and look forward to my third visit with them. I also set myself a denser story than the last two and want to challenge myself and see if I can raise the level of writing a bit.

Other Stuff

The media tie-in pitch that met with lukewarm response last week festered with me. On the drive down to Maryland this weekend, a new notion hit me that the editor likes. I need to quickly whip this into a full outline and then cross my fingers.

The other new media tie-in novel proposal, I thought, was revised to my editor’s liking. But I showed it to a pal who is also writing in the line and he carefully articulated the plot’s second half problem that my editor couldn’t state as clearly. I have some work ahead of me but its not insurmountable.

I like the idea that all four of these projects are moving after a long period of inactivity but I am also suddenly feeling the press of time. Oh well, better this than the alternative.

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