me at ConnectiCon this weekend!


Thanks to the good graces of the fine folks at Bard’s Tower, I will be at ConnectiCon XVI in Hartford, CT this weekend. Most of my time will be at the BT table in the exhibit hall hawking my wares and selling books and things. Joining me will be fellow scribes Jason Fry, Dan Wells, Brian Lee Durfee, Dave Butler, and Kuta Marler.

I’m also doing two panels:


11.30am-12.30pm: “Excuse Me, I’m a Stranger Here: Writing in Other Creators’ Worlds,” w/Dan Wells and Dave Butler (Goliath CTCC MR 14)


4-5pm: “A Few of Our Favorite Things: Shows that are Binge-Worthy,” w/Dan Wells, Dave Butler, and Brian Lee Durfee (Goliath CTCC MR 14)


Looking forward to seeing folks there!



why today is a holiday

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” they said, “that all men are created equal.” Strange as it may seem, that was the first time in history that anyone had ever bothered to write that down.
—President Bartlet,
The West Wing


The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    • For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton


my review of Marvel’s Luke Cage season 2 episodes 5-8


Family, history, a strong supporting cast, forward movement of character arcs, and waaaaaaaaaaay too many repeated conversations. My take on the middle third of Marvel’s Luke Cage season 2.

An excerpt:

Overall, this season has been very grounded in history characters have with each other, from little things like Cage calling upon Foggy Nelson to represent him in Cockroach’s lawsuit against him—that’s who served him papers at the end of episode 4—to Shades sharing childhood memories with Comanche’s mother to Mariah opening up to Tilda about why she was sent away. Having Foggy show up is a joy, the kind of nice touch that the Netflix series need to do more of, not less. That’s the whole point of a shared universe, after all. It doesn’t hurt that Elden Henson is one of those actors who automatically has chemistry with everyone he stands next to. Him and Cage negotiating with Ben Donovan and with Piranha is superb, as is their banter together, and it’s really too bad that Henson’s only in the one episode. (“Is that Ghostface Killah?” “Yeah. And Method Man wrote a song about me. We kick it from time to time.” “I gotta get super-powers.”)

(Here’s a link to my review of episodes 1-4.)

Star Trek: Gateways for a buck each!


Amazon is having a sale on the Kindle editions of the Star Trek: Gateways novel crossover originally published by Simon & Schuster in 2001 — each book in the seven-book series is 99 cents each.

This crossover event featured the Iconian gateways introduced in the Next Generation episode “Contagion” and seen again in the Deep Space Nine episode “To the Death.” It was conceived by Robert Greenberger, who wrote the TNG part of the crossover, and it also established the device that flung the Enterprise hundreds of light-years away from a planet in “That Which Survives” on the original series as another different type of Iconian gateway.

Each of the four extant TV shows were covered (Enterprise debuted shortly after the series was published, and hadn’t yet been announced until we were well into writing the books), as were two novels-only series, Peter David’s New Frontier and Diane Carey’s Challenger. In fact Chainmail was the first standalone Challenger novel, and intended to launch the series, which spun out of the New Earth six-book series from 2000 that Carey wrote with Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kathy Oltion, Jerry Oltion, and L.A. Graf. It wound up not being continued for various reasons, but this was a nice look at what might have been. Meanwhile, Peter wrote this as the latest book in his hugely successful spinoff series that had debuted four years earlier in 1997 and would continue until 2015.

Meanwhile, the rest of us covered the original series, TNGDS9, and Voyager. Susan Wright wrote a sequel to “That Which Survives,” Bob did a nifty cooperative adventure coordinated by Picard and the Enterprise, I did a rescue operation spearheaded by the Deep Space 9 crew, and Christie Golden showed how Voyager dealt with the crisis over in the Delta Quadrant.

Each of the first six books ended with the captain character — Kirk, Keller, Picard, Kira, Janeway, and Calhoun & Shelby — each stepping through one of the gateways, not knowing what lay beyond. Book 7 was called What Lay Beyond, and had each of those characters dealing with an adventure on the other side of the gateway. That wound up being a bit disjointed, as some authors treated the Book 7 part as a separate novella from the previous book (me, Susan), some treated it as the end of the book, but focused just on the captain characters (Diane, Peter), and some just lopped off the last few chapters of their novel and stuck it in Book 7 (Bob, Christie). I blame a lack of clear editorial direction, and I suspect the editor in question would do likewise. *chuckle*

The most fun part of the crossover for me was coordinating with Bob and Peter. Our three books were taking place both in the same place and the same time, unlike the others which were removed by either time (Susan, Diane) or space (Christie). But the TNG, DS9, and NF portions were all in the Alpha Quadrant in the 24th century, so the three of us coordinated our efforts, including a holographic “conference call,” where we had captains from all over the quadrant linking their holodecks to each other so they could be in the same virtual room. So the three of us wrote the scene together, and then rejiggered it to fit each of our individual books, Bob from Picard’s POV, me from that of Commander Vaughn, and Peter from Calhoun’s perspective. It worked beautifully.

If you’re wondering who Vaughn is, well, my novel was also part of the post-finale DS9 fiction, as S&S was given permission to continue the story of DS9 past “What You Leave Behind.” Besides being Book 4 in the Star Trek: Gateways crossover, Demons of Air and Darkness was also Book 4 in the post-finale series following S.D. Perry’s two-book Avatar and David Weddle & Jeffrey Lang’s Section 31: Abyss. All these first five stories (Avatar, Abyss, Demons, and “H&I”) were also collected into an omnibus entitled Twist of Faith.

Anyhow, you can now check out this series — which, is still pretty cool 17 years later — for only a buck a book! So do so! You’ll be glad you did!


my Shore Leave 40 schedule


As I have been every year since the turn of the millennium, I shall be a guest at Shore Leave, now in its 40th year, at the Hunt Valley Inn in beautiful downtown Cockeysville, just north of Baltimore.

Here’s my schedule:


7-8pm: “Anthologies: Share the Love,” w/Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, Phil Giunta, Joshua Palmatier, Jenifer Rosenberg, and Richard C. White (Salon E)

9-10pm: Glenn Hauman’s wake, in honor of the release of They Keep Killing Glenn, as we all deliver eulogies, while the corpse will have thirty seconds for rebuttal (Hunt/Valley)

10pm-midnight: Meet the Pros, the usual autographing (Hunt/Valley corridor)



10-11am: Boogie Knights concert an hour earlier than usual! (Hunt/Valley)

2-3pm: “From Holmes to Sherlock,” w/Christopher L. Bennett, Mary Fan, T.J. Perkins, and Roberta Rogow (Salon F)

5-6pm: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 25th Anniversary Retrospective,” w/Derek Tyler Attico, John Coffren, Kim Headlee, Jim Johnson, and Marco Palmieri (Salon A)

6-8pm: Author Meet ‘n’ Greet (Frankie & Vinny’s)

during masquerade halftime: Boogie Knights concert (Hunt/Valley)



10-11am: “Kira Nerys: The Real Lead of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” w/Derek Tyler Attico, Russ Colchamiro, Amy Imhoff, and Marco Palmieri (Salon E)


Looking forward to seeing folks there!


irons in the fire update


Jesus, how the fuck is it July already?

*looks at weather app and sees the temperature approaching three figures*


Anyhow, here’s what’s on the writing docket…………….

Precinct books. All five extant books have been reissued by eSpec Books, with bonus stories in the back of each of the four novels — the three previous Kickstarter stories and also a new one I wrote for Gryphon Precinct entitled “Chaos Theory.” This is the week I hope to finally dive into Mermaid Precinct. In addition, there is another Flingaria story, albeit not featuring the Cliff’s End Castle Guard, called “The Fall of Iaron,” which has been accepted to Jonathan Maberry’s Kingdoms Fall anthology. That anthology, sadly, is in limbo right now, as the publisher folded, but Jonathan’s trying to find another home for it. In addition, my story for the upcoming Release the Virgins! anthology from Fantastic Books will be a Castle Guard tale entitled “A Discontented Midwinter.”

Super City Cops. I’m under contract to write four new novellas in this world for Falstaff Books.

Cassie Zukav. No current Cassie stories in the hopper, though I have ones in mind awaiting time and/or opportunity.

Tie-in project #1. I have one last revision to do on this that came from the licensor. Then, with luck, the editing and approving process will go quickly (since I believe the book is supposed to be out early next year).

Tie-in project #2. This is the one that had me spend a week in Los Angeles in May. These will be serialized stories, and I’ve written pitches for the first five stories. Waiting to hear back from the licensor.

18th Race. When Mermaid Precinct is done, I’ll be working on To Hell and Regroup, the third book in David Sherman’s 18th Race trilogy. I edited David’s first two books, and will be writing Book 3 off his very detailed notes.

Collaborative thrillers. After To Hell and Regroup, I have to write another collaborative thriller, following the one that my agent is currently shopping around to publishers. I also have an agreement with my collaborator to write three more books with him.

Bram Gold. Have to do another pass on the manuscript of A Furnace Sealed so it can go off to WordFire Press. Hoping to have this (and Mermaid Precinct) out by Dragon Con. In addition to the great superhero movie rewatch every Friday, I’m currently reviewing season two of Marvel’s Luke Cage for the site. In fact, when I finish this blog post, I’m off to watch episodes 5-8 that I may write about them.

Mystery. Looking at the above, I have no idea when I’d have time to write this, but Wrenn has been getting steady freelance work, so the possibility of carving out time to work on this might present itself. I really really want to write this damn thing in 2019, but I do have to squeeze it in amongst the collaborative thrillers, the next Bram book, the next Precinct book, and the Super City Cops novellas, not to mention any potential tie-in work that may come my way. Cha cha cha.

Mystery, urban fantasy. Still waiting to hear back from the publishers who asked to see these two proposals.

Shared-world anthology. This is something Wrenn and I have been batting around for two years now, based on something Wrenn was going to write for the Altered States of the Union anthology but never finished. While driving to a 4th of July party yesterday we started thinking about it again, and we may try to make it happen.

Patreon. Still trying to catch up from being behind thanks to the two tie-in projects above. The plan for July is to write the following pieces of new content on my Patreon over the course of the month: three movie reviews (The Incredibles 2, Ocean’s Eight, Ant Man & The Wasp), ten TV reviews (which will finally catch me up to my ostensibly weekly schedule), and a vignette featuring one of my original characters.

new on Patreon: NCIS, Dragon Precinct, and more


Up on Patreon in the second half of June:

I’ll have reviews of The Incredibles 2 and Ocean’s Eight soon (seen both, just have to write them up) for $1/month and up, and there’ll be a review of Ant-Man & the Wasp some time in mid-July. Still playing catch-up on the $5/month and up TV reviews: I’ve got plans to, by the end of July, talk about New Tricks seasons 7-9 and 10-12, Doctor Who‘s Zygon two-parter (plus two more Who stories beyond that), M*A*S*H season 7, and looks back at The Alienist, Black Lightning, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Deception.

And starting soon, both $7/month and up and $20/month and up will be getting excerpts from Mermaid Precinct!