49 TRIPS AROUND THE SUN

As of today, I am forty-nine years old. I’m now comfortably—aches and pains that come with age aside—within the realm of middle-age. Today I will spend the day with wife watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, picking out the toy of my choice at Target (I’m old, but I’m still a kid), having lunch at my favorite restaurant, browsing through a book store, see comedian Patton Oswalt perform stand-up, and enjoy a baby-free night at a hotel while the grandparents watch Jean Louise. Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday.

But, I am also aware that I’m not getting any younger and I still have things to accomplish before I’m done with my laps around the sun. Don’t worry… This post isn’t about mortality and our precious little time hear on this plane of existence.

I’ve told the story before about how on my twenty-fifth birthday I met the great Ray Bradbury. I confessed to him then that as a would-be writer I was upset that I had not been published by the time that I had reached the age of twenty-five. Being the wise wizard of words that he was, the told me not to fret and wished me good luck with my writing. Well, in the last twenty-four years since that meeting I have had published a number of comic books (some self-published some paying gigs), a few short self-published short stories, a handful of paying copywriter gigs, I was paid for a low-budget screenplay that I was never produced, and just recently landed my first paying role-playing game writing gig. But, the one white whale that has sill managed to elude me is having published a novel.

Oh, I’ve made plenty of attempts, but have yet to write my great American novel, or even mediocre novella. I know we still have a dozen days or so to set our New Year’s resolutions for 2017, but I’m declaring that my 49th birthday resolution is to finally write that damn book before I turn fifty. In the computer age of self-publishing and e-readers it’s a bit easier nowadays to publish a novel. And, my plan it so fully take advantage of those electronic avenues to do so.

I might not write and publish a 175,000 word opus before December 19th of next year, but I will write and publish a novel, or more likely a novella, before then. I would like to start my 50th trip around the sun with at least one published book under my belt.

Oh! And speaking of Ray Bradbury…  The By Way of Ray project is still in the works and more will be announced in the coming year.

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TREKKING ONCE AGAIN

Perhaps the fondest memory I have from my days as editor at IDW Publishing was having the opportunity to work on one of my favorite all-time franchises… Star Trek. (Sorry, Transformers fans.) Having grown up a Trekkie since the age of about five, it was—for lack of a better cliché—a dream come true. After leaving IDW to try my luck at being more of a writer than an editor, I had hoped that I would continue to contribute to IDW’s Star Trek line of comics (as a writer this time around), but it was apparently not meant to be.

Then in July of 2016, Modiphius Entertainment announced that they were publishing a new official Star Trek roleplaying game. Well, my love of Star Trek and roleplaying games prompted me to contact Modiphius Entertainment’s publishing director Chris Birch, and an invitation was offered to join the crew of talented individuals they were recruiting help contribute to the all-new Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. Last week, the official press release hit the interwebs…

STAR TREK™ ADVENTURES LIVING PLAYTEST LAUNCHES WITH THOUSANDS OF GAMERS WORLDWIDE AND STELLAR WRITING LINE-UP LED BY NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR DAYTON WARD
Written and Developed By Famed Star Trek Novelists and Game Designers, Players Will Make Star Trek History as the Course is Plotted for Exploration and Adventure

LONDON, ENGLAND (December 1, 2016): Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of the Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Conan, Infinity and John Carter of Mars roleplaying games, announces the missions for the Star Trek Adventures™ living campaign playtest, to develop the first official Star Trek RPG in more than a decade, are now live with more than 5,000 players and counting. 

Thousands of players around the world will adventure through the Star Trek universe like never before in an epic storyline written by New York Times Bestselling Star Trek author Dayton Ward and Scott Pearson (Star Trek novellas: The More Things Change, Among the Clouds, Terra Tonight), developed by Nathan Dowdell (Black Crusade, Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, Corvus Belli’s Infinity: The Roleplaying Game and Robert E Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of) and lead writer David F Chapman (Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Roleplaying Game, Conspiracy X 2.0, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG). Joining them are an interstellar line-up including writers from all previous editions of the Star Trek roleplaying game, as well as big names from across the tabletop gaming industry including:

Shawn Merwin (Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition: War of Everlasting Darkness,Halls of Undermountain, Dungeon Delve), Jim Johnson (Lord of the Rings RPG, Mage: The Awakening, Shadowrun Augmentation), Jacob Ross (Legend of the Five Rings, Mongoose Traveller, Kaigaku), Patrick Goodman (Shadowrun: Fifth Edition, Shadowrun: Street Legends, Shadowrun: Storm Front), Ross Isaacs (Line Developer Star Trek RPG (Decipher) and Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game (Last Unicorn Games), Ian Lemke (Changeling: The Dreaming, White Wolf Publishing, Earth Down), John Snead (Mindjammer: Traveller, Eclipse Phase, Star Trek Next Generation RPG Last Unicorn Games.), Dan Taylor (IDW Publishing’s Star Trek comics), Bill Maxwell (Fading Suns, Star Trek Roleplaying Game, Mage: The Awakening), Tim Beach (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Red Steel, Maztica Campaign Set, Hail the Heroes, Dungeons of Mastery, City of Delights) and Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who, 7th Sea, Victoriana)

As well as Aaron Pollyea (Battletech), Oz Mills (Fantasy AGE Bestiary, Dragon Age: Faces of Thedas), Ade Smith (Mutants and Masterminds: Atlas of Earth Prime – Northern Europe, Rogue Gallery. Fainting Goat Games: Extreme Earth), Chris Huff (Mutants & Masterminds Freedom’s Most Wanted, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 1, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 2), John Kennedy (Ninja Crusade 2E, Infinity Tabletop Roleplaying Game, Myth Board Game), Kevin Mickelson (Mask of Death, A Learning Time, A Frightful Time, A Miraculous Time) and Ryan Schoon (Fragged Empire, Edara: The Steampunk Renaissance, Baby Bestiary), with many more still to be announced. 

The playtest gives fans of the legendary television series and films the opportunity to contribute to the development of the game; to sit in the captain’s chair, seek out new life and new civilizations, give all they’ve got to a warp core breach, or explore their own adventures in the Star Trek universe.

The living campaign begins with playtest missions and will continue with the release of the core rulebook in the summer of 2017. The living campaign takes place in the Shackleton Expanse, an area of space vastly unexplored by both the Federation and the Klingons. Starbase 364, Narendra Station, named after the battle of Narendra III where the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C was destroyed, serves as the keep on the borderlands for excursions out into the frontier of space.

As the crews of the U.S.S. Venture, U.S.S. Bellerophon, U.S.S. Thunderchild,explore strange anomalies and discover new life while uncovering an ancient civilization and mysterious technologies, those aboard the U.S.S. Lexington will shape historical events for those very ships.
So…that’s pretty nifty. I have sent in my first drafts of the work requested of me so far. Fingers crossed that it will lead to more. I will be sure to update my involvement withe Star Trek Adventures here.