Today is Otherworld Editorial‘s second anniversary! In the days ahead I hope to make some long overdue updates to the web site, but in the meantime it’s fitting that I take a moment to express my gratitude to all those who have supported OE the last couple of years.
To the family and friends who have had my back, to the professional associates and acquaintances who have recommended my services and sent referrals my way, and to the wonderful clients who have entrusted me with their words…I thank you. Your faith has meant the world to me.
Between a gratifyingly steady stream of OE work and the end of my self-impoosed six-month moratorium on reviewing submissions at Tor, I’ve found little spare time for things like updating my web site the last couple of months. But seeing as it’s the weekend before Hallowe’en, this seems like a good excuse to post the pictures I took of some of the costume players prowling this year’s New York Comic Con.
Now, admittedly, cosplay really isn’t my thing. But I’ve come to admire the the passion and workmanship that goes into genre-themed costumes, and the festive atmosphere of a convention seems to amplify my appreciation, particularly if the players manage to push my nostalgia buttons. So here are my favorites from among the images I captured at NYCC. Enjoy!
Today marks the first anniversary of Otherworld Editorial. Yes, really! Believe me when I say no one is more surprised that OE is still a going concern than I am. What started as a dubious experiment to formalize my freelance editing services during a dreary economy has easily exceeded my most optimistic expectations, not only in the number of authors who have sought me out and retained my services, but in the tremendous satisfaction I’ve taken from the work itself. And as anyone who knows me will attest, I’m a pretty optimistic guy to begin with.
Even so, I’m finding I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that Earth has made a complete circuit of sun since I launched OE.
Time speeds up subjectively as we get older. I first noticed this in my late teens. I realized that as one’s past gets longer, common temporal units of measure—months, years, decades—take up an increasingly smaller percentage of one’s total life experience, giving us the illusion of accelerating toward old age. But even though I understand intellectually that this momentum is all in my head, I now find myself taken completely off guard by how quickly this last year has gone by.
Partly this has to do with the inordinate number of career-related milestones I hit during this time. As interest in OE was gaining steam in late 2010, I made my TV debut as a featured participant in a Biography Channel special about the Captains of Star Trek; in late March 2011, I accepted a position on the editorial staff at Tor Books; in May I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a publishing professional; in June I mourned the death of Martin Harry Greenberg, who taught me the importance of giving unknowns a chance to shine; in July my first story in more than two decades was published; and in August I attended my first Worldcon, the premiere gathering of luminaries in science fiction literature, and the venue of the genre’s most prestigious award, the Hugo.
It was an eventful year. And throughout it all, Otherworld Editorial kept going and going, the proverbial Energizer lagomorph.
I’ve never been comfortable boasting of my accomplishments. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m unapologetically proud of OE: it’s allowed me to connect with some pretty amazing and passionate people whose enthusiasm and appreciation for the services I provided has been, to me, the highest measure of OE’s initial success. And as thrilled as I’ve been with the number of clients I’ve taken on over the last twelve months, being told time and again that I’ve made a positive difference to the craft of these aspiring writers has meant much more, validating my belief that helping storytellers is the work I was meant to do.
So a heartfelt thank-you goes out to everyone who entrusted me with their words this past year—those who took a chance on me when there were so many other editorial consultants out there to choose from. I’m humbled by your faith in me.
That was Year One. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Time for another lap around the sun.
A sizable portion of “The Ruins of Noble Men,” my novella in Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, is set nearly a decade prior to the current series continuity, when some of the characters served together aboard the Federation starship Dauntless. Because I wanted something to visualize while I was writing, I looked to the work of fan starship designer Masao Okazaki for inspiration.
Masao’s web site, the Starfleet Museum, is his personal interpretation of the design lineage for the ships that were first seen in the original Star Trek TV series. Because of the clear influence his work draws from Star Trek Production Designer Matt Jefferies, as well as the work of Franz Joseph Schnaubelt—the man behind the Star Trek Blueprints and the Star Fleet Technical Manual, two publications that fed my geek needs back in the early ’70s—I’m a longtime fan of Masao’s work. When David Mack and I developed the Vanguard series for Simon & Schuster, Masao was the guy I hired to design the space station, as well as the scoutship Sagittarius. Those interested in finding out more about Masao’s Vanguard work, as well as his aforementioned influences, Matt Jefferies and Franz Joseph, should be sure to check out Star Trek Magazine #35, which is out right now. In addition to containing features about those talented individuals, it also has some great articles by my friends and fellow Vanguard conspirators, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, and an excerpt from my story, “The Ruins of Noble Men.”
Which brings me back to my original reason for this post. To visualize the Dauntless while I was writing the story, I fixated on one of Masao’s designs from the Starfleet Museum, the Pyotr Velikiy. In addition to Masao’s various elevations, the ship page also had some great CG images, rendered by another fan artist, Thomas Pemberton. And when I was handed the honor of having my story previewed in Star Trek Magazine, I thought it would be fun to illustrate the excerpt with one of those renders, renamed and renumbered for the Dauntless. So I contacted Tom Pemberton, and to my complete surprise, he not only agreed to do it, he actually created an entirely new render of the ship from scratch, completely different from the ones on Masao’s site! How cool is that?
Star Trek Magazine published the image in monochrome to fit their overall design for the spread on which the excerpt appeared, but I wanted to share it here in all its original glory. Enjoy!
The third and final winner of the Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified Bookwatch is Julio Angel Ortiz, who sent me this photo from the Barnes & Noble book store in Salisbury, Maryland. Like the winners before him, Julio gets a free copy of Declassified signed by all the authors. Congratulations, Julio!
And to all the winners, I hope you enjoy the book.
Congrats go out to Tim Clarke, the second winner of the Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified Bookwatch! Tim snapped off this shot of himself picking up the book at the Borders Books, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
There’s still one more chance to win a free copy of Declassified signed by all four authors. Just go to your favorite bookstore, take a photograph of the book, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m not going to offer up a list of his many awards, honors, and editorial credits. If you don’t know who he is, I urge you to look him up. What I really want to say is that it was Marty, together with then-Bantam editor Robert Simpson, who bought my first story, back before I got my first job with a publisher. That was in the late ’80s, when I was just a grunt at the now-defunct 59th Street branch of Forbidden Planet in Manhattan. Marty visited New York City around that time, and I got to meet him in person. He even took me to lunch to discuss some editorial opportunities he had for me. To this day, I have no idea what he saw in me, but I never forgot his kindness. And when I became an editor myself, I always tried to pay it forward.
I remember Marty as a vibrant, enthusiastic gentleman with great patience and great vision, speaking with pride and excitement about his new baby daughter. I remember the chance he took on me, a novice, and I remember that he was one of the people who gave me my first big break in my chosen profession.
Marty’s passing makes the publication of my new story bittersweet. And when I start the new week at Tor on Monday morning, I’ll remember it was Marty who opened the first door.
The first winner of the Declassified Bookwatch is Joe Giannetti, who spotted copies of the new Star Trek Vanguard book on display at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Joe is the first person to send me a photo of the book for sale in a brick-and-mortar store, and for that, he wins a free copy of Declassified signed by me, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack.
There’s still two more chances to win, so get to your favorite bookshop, get clicking, and email those photos to email@example.com.
And congratulations to Joe!
Scored this on a visit to Simon & Schuster today.
Feeling very jazzed!
My good friend Paul Simpson has gotten the band back together from the now-defunct Dreamwatch magazine and TotalSciFi web site, and launched SciFiBulletin.com, an all-new site with news and reviews from the myriad worlds of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Check it out: http://www.scifibulletin.com
It’s June 2, the bound-book date for Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified! This means the initial run of the book has been printed and will shortly be shipping out to all points civilized. Over the next week or two, it may even start appearing on bookstore shelves in advance of it’s “official” June 28 street date.
So Vanguard fans, please take note: the Bookwatch begins now. The first three people to email me a photo showing Declassified available in a bookstore will each receive a free copy of the book signed by all four contributing authors: Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, David Mack, and myself. The winning photos will be posted on my blog and my Facebook wall, and the autographed books will be mailed out during the month of July.
Book photos should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t send me your mailing address unless I’ve notified you you’re one of the first three. Good luck!
I had intended to post an update sooner, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks. The new job has been great, my coworkers are awesome, and I even found a great place for gyoza. I also picked up two new OE clients during this time, celebrated my oldest son’s acceptance to the arts program of his first-choice high school, and joined my youngest for the start of his first season of little league. In summary, life is good.
Below are some shots I took of my new professional digs, the truly amazing Flatiron Building. The first shot is the building as seen from the Northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.
Below is what it looks like from the Southwest corner of of Fifth and and 22nd Street.
This last image shows the Broadway side.
Earlier this week, I accepted a position on the editorial team at Tor Books.
For those who may not know it, Tor is a leading publisher of speculative fiction and fantasy, headquartered in Manhattan’s landmark Flatiron Building. I’ll have the privilege of working with David G. Hartwell and Stacy Hague-Hill, two luminaries in the field. I start Monday.
I’m very excited. This is an incredible opportunity for me to broaden my horizons and grow as an editor, doing the work I love.
There’s an interesting conversation about self-publishing going on at The Practical Free Spirit, a blog by Amy Sundberg. Definitely worth checking out. I tend to agree with the comments made by my esteemed friend and colleague, author, small-press publisher, and all around Renaissance Man Lawrence M. Schoen, which he reposted on his blog. I’m curious to know what others think. What say you?
My deadlines for the week have been met, so I can go to LunaCon guilt-free. The difference this will make to my ability to enjoy myself and make the most of the con cannot be understated. Oh, I’ll still have plenty of work waiting for me come Monday, but it won’t weighing on my mind all weekend.
The con has published its programming schedule, and the selection of panels is every bit as interesting as I’d hoped. I’m focusing on two tracks: business and writing, with a couple of stopovers in literature. In between, I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends, and making new ones.
Back when I acquired and edited books on staff at Simon & Schuster, I was frequently struck by how different the reading experience was, going from manuscript to galley pages. Seeing the text designed and formatted, as it would look to paying readers, was always sobering. It crystallized the book, giving permanence to what had previously been fluid.
Flash forward to today, when I face the same experience, squared: The first-pass pages for Vanguard: Declassified are in, and here before me, currently spanning pages 187-277, is the story I wrote, The Ruins of Noble Men, as it will look when (hopefully) others read it.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my own words make this sort of journey. Yes, I’ve written plenty of back cover copy that was published, and every six weeks I still get to see the pieces I write for Star Trek Magazine make it into print. But this is different. Crafting fiction is an act of intimacy, and what comes of it is at once revelatory and misleading. Stories are reflections of their tellers, to varying degrees, but what readers may infer from one about the other is anyone’s guess.
But that’s not really what this is about. My thoughts as I revisit Ruins with fresh eyes have less to do with what the reactions to my novella may be than with managing my instinct to pick nits…and just how odd my story now looks.
In pages, Ruins suddenly seems both familiar and very strange. I know I wrote the words, but they’ve taken on new dimension. It’s a little like seeing my kids today and recalling what they were like when they were much younger, and realizing that while I take joy in how they’ve grown, part of me wonders if I’ve shaped them as well as I could have. Intellectually, I know those doubts are natural, and second-guessing my choices at this stage—well, that way lies madness. Still, I wonder.
Then again, maybe that’s the point. It’s not about what I may have done right or wrong in writing The Ruins of Noble Men, but how that experience has affected me. I’m the familiar stranger…standing on the other side the editorial divide with a renewed appreciation for what storytellers go through in trying to spin tales they’re proud to put their names on.
Strange things are afoot. I’ve picked up three clients in three days, and this development comes after a fairly busy January and February. But while it’s tempting to imagine this is the start of a trend, I know better than jump to any hasty conclusions. Still, the continued interest in OE is very gratifying, and I feel pleasantly energized by it.
The final cover of Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified has been, well, declassified!
As with the previous Vanguard covers, the art is by the awesome Doug Drexler. And yes, for those die-hard fans with long memories and a love for the work of the late great Franz Joseph, that is indeed a Ptolemy-class tug depicted in the foreground, as seen of FJ’s seminal Star Fleet Technical Manual from 1975. Specifically it’s the U.S.S. Al Rashid, alphabetically the first on FJ’s list of ships in that class.
The novellas included herein are:
Almost Tomorrow by Dayton Ward
Hard News by Kevin Dilmore
The Ruins of Noble Men by Marco Palmieri
The Stars Look Down by David Mack
And lest I forget to say it, it’s absolutely thrilling for me to see my name among those of talented authors who are not only close colleagues, but dear friends.
The preliminary list of author guests for Shore Leave #33 has been posted, and I’m on it!
Shore Leave is a fan-run science fiction convention held every July at Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn, just outside Baltimore. This year the con runs over the weekend of July 8-10.
I always have a great time at Shore Leave, and I’m looking forward to this one in particular because it’ll be my first as an author. The convention coincides roughly with the publication of Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, the book in which my novella, The Ruins of Noble Men, will appear. My hope, of course, is that the convention will have a bookvendor on hand with copies to sell. Historically that vendor is a team from a local chapter of Borders, but with the company having just filed for Chapter 11 and currently expected to close around 200 or more of its branches, it remains to be seen how that will affect their presence at Shore Leave, and what other arrangements the con can make, if it proves necessary. Hopefully it won’t be. The Borders people who come to Shore Leave are a great group, and I really hope they can weather the current storm.
Whatever happens, I still look forward to the annual round up of all the usual suspects, which this year will include my friend Paul from across the Pond, who is attending Shore Leave for the first time.
February 13, 1981: The day I first kissed the woman who became my high-school sweetheart and future wife.
February 13, 1991: The day I proposed to her.
February 13, 2011: The day I realized thirty wonderful years can go by in an eyeblink.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Babe.