happy 13th birthday, Articles of the Federation

On this day thirteen years ago, Simon & Schuster released a most unusual Star Trek novel.


It features very few familiar characters from the TV shows and movies, and the ones who do appear (Spock, the EMH, Janeway, etc.) only do so briefly. The main characters, instead, are politicians. The main character is the Federation President, and the novel chronicles her first year in office. Unusually for a Trek tale, the entirety of the novel consists of people sitting in rooms talking to each other.

I created the character of Nan Bacco for the TNG novel A Time for War, a Time for Peace a novel that chronicled (among many other things) a presidential election in the Federation.

Amazingly enough, of all the fictional presidents of the Federation that had been established onscreen or in ancillary fiction and/or games, Bacco was the first female. The various presidents had been a variety of species, but they were all dudes.

I changed that. I’m appalled that it took until 2004 for it to happen, but as we say on Earth, c’est la vie.

Bacco was based on several people, but the main inspiration was my great grandmother Grazia Silverio DeBacco. She was a great woman who sired ten kids (including my grandmother) and was the matriarch of a huge family. She died at the ripe old age of 98 in 2003, and I created Bacco in part as a tribute to her.

Thirteen years after Articles, the novel has continued to be hugely influential. President Bacco went on to appear in 16 more novels (only one of which was by me, A Singular Destiny), with another on the way (she will be in Kirsten Beyer’s upcoming Voyager novel), and the template for the Federation government that I set up has continued to be utilized in the tie-in fiction over the last dozen years. She’s been written by David Mack, William Leisner, Christopher L. Bennett, David R. George III, Dayton Ward, Una McCormack, and Beyer. She also was a major part of the backstory for the Star Trek Online game.

Happy birthday, Articles! Long may you reign! Or, uh, something.




more Super City Cops in 2019 and 2020


Today, I signed a contract with the fine folks at Falstaff Books for four new Super City Cops novellas.

I debuted the stories of the Super City Police Department — cops in a city filled with superheroes and the nightmares they have to deal with — in the 2011 novel The Case of the Claw from Crossroad Press. Did a couple more stories in the With Great Power and The Side of Good/The Side of Evil anthologies, then did three new novellas with Bastei eBooks in 2016 and 2017, Avenging Amethyst, Undercover Blues, and Secret Identities.

BE declined the option to do more novellas, so I was forced to move on, and John Hartness at Falstaff Books expressed great interest in the continuing the story of Detective Kristin Milewski, Detective Jorge Alvarado, Lieutenant Therese Zimmerman, Officer Trevor Baptiste, and the rest of the Super City Police Department as they deal with the craziness of a city in which the Superlative Six, the Terrific Trio, the Cowboy, and the rest run amok.

Look for those four new novellas to come out from Falstaff over the course of 2019 and 2020!


midweek music: “The Obvious Child”

Inspired by baseball writer Joe Sheehan mentioning that this is his favorite Paul Simon song, I present “The Obvious Child,” which is not my favorite, but definitely cracks my top ten of Simon tunes. I remember being blown away by the drums (by the African drum collective Grupo Cultural Olodum) when I first listened to The Rhythm of the Saints back in the fall of 1990. I was worried that Simon’s followup to Graceland wouldn’t live up to it (Graceland is one of the ten greatest rock and roll albums ever produced), but those drums made me a believer.


Tuesday’s dead


So I finally finished the tie-in novel I’ve been jamming on. Still can’t say what it is, but I can say that it’s 70,000 words that I’m actually quite proud of, and it’s a novel that I think fans of the franchise it’s part of will enjoy immensely.

Today I plan to spend dead for tax purposes, as I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, and shoving a wick in the center for good measure. What with this novel deadline, spring camp, the L.A. trip, and my usual karate teaching duties and the great superhero movie rewatch, I feel like I’ve been going nonstop for about a year this past month.

This weekend is Balticon (check my schedule here),  and I plan to spend the few days between now and it doing very little, save for some laundry, maybe a karate class or two, and this week’s great superhero movie rewatch (which will be Catwoman with Halle Berry). And Wrenn and I may take a museum trip somewhere in there.

After the convention, I need to write the short story that will go in the back of the new edition of Gryphon Precinct, I have a pseudonymous novelette to finish, some follow-up work to do related to the L.A. trip, and my Release the Virgins! story to write. Then it’s finally time to write Mermaid Precinct (only a year late!).

Some of that may get started this week, but not today. Today, I veg, maybe catch up on a few things that are taking up too much room on the DVR.


Release the Virgins! Kickstarter

There’s a delightful new anthology from the fine folks at Fantastic Books: Release the Virgins! The stories will cross genres, and the only thing they’ll have in common is the titular phrase. If you want the virgins released, you should totally back this Kickstarter.

Here’s the KS video:

The lineup includes:

  • David Gerrold
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans
  • Allen Steele
  • Jody Lynn Nye
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
  • Gail Z. Martin
  • Shariann N. Lewitt
  • Alex Shvartsman
  • Cecilia Tan
  • Daniel M. Kimmel
  • Patrick Thomas
  • Hildy Silverman

There may be more contributors, depending on how much support the Kickstarter gets. So go! Support it!



my Sunday feeling


Crazy busy. Writing stuff. Karate stuff. More writing stuff. Plus a birthday present from a friend yesterday that was a much needed oasis of silliness to preserve my sanity. Now back to more writing stuff.

I will say this, in response to the shootings in Santa Fe: anybody whose response to this rash of school shootings is anything other than much more fucking gun control, you can go fuck yourself in the face. One person put explosives in his shoe, and suddenly everyone has to take off their shoes off at airports. Second-hand smoke is proven to be as dangerous as first-hand smoke and suddenly nobody can smoke indoors. More people die when they don’t fasten their seat belts, and now everyone fastens their seat belts when they get in cars, which was not always the case.

Yet more and more mass shootings committed by people who have easy access to guns because apparently we fetishize guns in this country more than I realized — I honestly thought we fetishized our children more, but apparently not, because people’s desire to own a weapon of destruction is apparently more important than dead children.

One of the arguments, of course, is that you can’t legislate behavior. I just gave three examples that disprove that very handily, and all four notions — taking off shoes, fastening seat belts, smoking out of doors, and gun control — are all designed to save people’s lives.

Anyhow, back to writing…………..


4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Witchblade


In 2000, TNT produced a TV movie as a pilot for a Witchblade TV series. They got rid of the ridiculous costume from the comics, but sadly, they also got rid of anything else interesting, resulting in a bog-standard genre movie filmed on the cheap in Canada. The great superhero movie rewatch slogs through Witchblade.

An excerpt:

[Director] Ralph Hemecker evinces no sense of pacing, which we get at the very start where we get a simply endless sequence of Pezzini riding her motorcycle through the streets of Toronto, interspersed with second-unit shots of New York City to attempt and fail to make us think we’re there, as well as simply endless shots of statuary. Seriously, I’ve never seen a movie more obsessed with statues, mostly ones of vaguely religious imagery.