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Two Years!

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.

Finding me at Shore Leave

Ah…another year, another Shore Leave at the Hunt Valley Inn outside Baltimore. My favorite con, hands down, and once again I have a really full plate. But if you’re going too, and you want to find me, and you’re not the one who put the tracking chip in my head, here’s my schedule next weekend to make things easier:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3:

8pm–9pm, Hunt Ballroom: Ray Bradbury: Author’s Retrospective
I join David Mack, Scott Pearson, Michael Jan Friedman, Steve Wilson, and Kathleen David to celebrate the work, influence, and legacy of one of the true giants of the genre.

10pm–Midnight, Hunt/Valley Corridor: Meet the Pros
All the attending authors and editors, together in one room at one time.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

11am–1pm, Concierge Room: Story Development Workshop
Two bestselling authors—David Mack and David R. George III—and I will strive to impart some of the fundamentals of the craft to aspiring writers. What could possibly go wrong?

1pm–2pm, Concierge Room: Editors: Forging Partnerships with Writers
Veteran editors Greg Cox, Scott Pearson, and I delve into the responsibilities editors and writers have to each other, and talk about the ways to make those relationships work.

2pm–3pm, Salon E: Kira Nerys: The Heart and Soul of DS9
David R. George III, Rigel Ailur, and I take a look back at one of my favorite Star Trek characters, her relevance to the mythos as a whole, and her unique place in SF television history.

4pm–5pm, Salon A: Star Trek Vanguard: The Finale
Join Dave Mack and me as we close the book on the Star Trek novel series we developed together eight years ago, and discuss hows and whys of bringing that saga to its ultimate conclusion.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5

11am–Noon, Salon A: Tor Books, New and Upcoming
Greg Cox and I, together with author guest Christopher L. Bennett, present highlights from Tor’s extensive list of original Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Cosplay at NYCC 2011

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!

Altair

Gamora and Nova

Zatanna, Batgirl, and Supergirl

Luke Cage

The original Silk Spectre

Jules Winnfield

Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man

OE: Year One

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.

Worldcon 2011: Renovation

I’m back from the 69th Annual World Science Fiction Convention, held this year in pleasantly arid Reno, Nevada. This was my first Worldcon, and I’m still coming down off the high of what was, for me, a really amazing week.  Some of the highlights:

• The Tor Party: This is a Worldcon tradition, and I was tasked with taking point when it came to  putting it together this year, though I had plenty of help from veterans of previous Tor parties, including editors Patrick Nielsen- HaydenTeresa Nielsen-HaydenSusan ChangLiz GorinskyDavid HartwellBeth MeachamMoshe Feder, and Jim Frankel, as well as our art director, Irene Gallo, and our punk-rock publicity director, the indispensible Patty Garcia. We had a great suite of three rooms for the occasion, which included a jacuzzi and two bathtubs suitable for filling with ice and a nice variety of fizzy libations. I got to spend a fair amount of time behind the bar greeting people and dispensing vine-based social lubricants, while writers, editors, artists, agents, and all manner of fans milled in and out over the next seven hours. At times the population density made the suite virtually unnavigable, and the heat unbearable, but going by the number of compliments I received as partygoers left for the evening, it seemed as if a great time was had by all. Not even a mishap involving a stick of soppressata, a very large knife, and my thumb (don’t ask) could mar the evening’s festivities, and I was finally able to lock up the suite just after four a.m. 

Me and Patty Garcia, tending bar at the Worldcon 2011 Tor Party. Photo by Irene Gallo.

Reconnecting with old friends, such as artist John Picacio, who was warm and gregarious and generous with his time as always; and Lou Anders, one of the earliest writers I worked with at Simon & Schuster, who won this year’s Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form.

Making new friends, such as author Paul Cornell, who rocked the house at the Masquerade with his half-time show; Editor-in-Chief Liza Groen Trombi of Locus Magazine and her bevy of interns, Francesca, Hannah, and Chloe; Fairwood Press founder Patrick Swenson; and the many authors, both established as aspiring, whose acquaintance it was my honor to make.

The Hugo Awards: a well-produced annual ceremony recognizing excellence in the genre, for which I was happy to wear a suit and tie.

* Fine dining: I’m not a casino guy, ao I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the local cuisine, especially in the variety of restaurants hosted by the Atlantis hotel, which included an amazing sushi joint, a great steakhouse, an excellent bistro, and an unbelievably authentic NYC style deli. 

All in all, Worlcon was a wonderful experience for me. Can’t wait for the next one!

Nerdity Alert: The Dauntless

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!


Getting the Band Back Together

I’m back from Shore Leave, where I had an utterly fantastic time, as usual. Kara Bain took this photo of Dayton Ward, me, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack our first night there. We may not be Ocean’s Eleven, but as Los Amigos de Vanguard, we do all right.

Final Bookwatch Winner!

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.

Shore Leave 33: Where’s Marco?

The annual Shore Leave F/SF media convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland is just a week away, and as most of my nerd brethren have already posted their preliminary programming schedules for that weekend, I figured it was time I did the same.

To my surprise, my name appears on more panels this year than in than any previous Shore Leave I’ve attended in the last decade.  So if you’re interested in where I’ll be, here’s the 4-1-1:

Friday, July 8

7pm-9pm, Hunt/Valley Room: The Third Annual Shore Leave Comedy Roast For Charity 

Benefitting the American Red Cross, this year my fellow roasters and I pile on my friend Bob Greenberger—all for a good cause, natch. You can find out more about it here.

10pm-Midnight, the Hunt/Valley corridor: Meet the Pros

Meet and chat with the Shore Leave author guests–including me! Previous years I was always here purely as an editor. This year I get to be an author as well, celebrating the publication of Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, which will be available for sale all weekend at the con. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, July 9

10am-11am, Chase Room: What Makes a Villain Great?

Insights and analysis of the ingredients that go into truly awesome antogonists. With David Mack and Alan Kistler

11am-Noon, Salon E: You Maniacs! The Enduring Appeal of Planet of the Apes.

All right, I admit it, I specifically requested this one. Beware the beast Man…and pass me the bananas. With Dayton Ward, Greg Cox, Dave Galanter, and Alan Kistler

1pm-2pm, Salon A: Star Trek Magazine

I join editor and Shore Leave virgin Paul Simpson, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Scott Pearson, and David George III as we talk about all the cool stuff that goes into the mag, what’s coming up, and why you should be reading it.

4pm-5pm, Belmont Room: Myriad Universes and Alternate Timelines

A book concept I launched in 2008 about Star Trek alternate realities recently published its third collection of novellas, and I reunite with several of the authors (Scott Pearson, David R. George III, and Bill Leisner) to talk about bending Trek history.

5pm-6pm, Derby Room: Bring Back Janeway

I’m not officially on this panel, but I volunteered to join my pal, acclaimed Star Trek: Voyager novelist Kirsten Beyer as she invites an open discussion of Pocket’s controversial decision to kill a canonical Star Trek captain, and what that means for Voyager fiction.

Sunday, July 10

11am-Noon, Salon F: The Making of a Reboot

What old show would you want to see updated?  We all have a favorite. Find which ones Kevin Dilmore, Bill Leisner, Scott Pearson, Paul Simpson, Amy Sisson and I think are rife with potential.

Noon-1pm, Derby Room: Writing for Cancelled Shows

Believe it or not, there really is an art to this, and it’s my honor to share this hour with some of the artists: Kirsten Beyer, Greg Cox, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, David Mack, and Dayton Ward.  

1pm-2pm, Derby Room: Star Trek Vanguard: Still Going Strong

Dave, Dayton, Kevin and I talk about our latest collaboration, Declassified, and the guys drop some hints about their next two novels in the series, What Judgments Come and Storming Heaven

Nerdcore art by Chris Whetzel

Another Bookwatch winner!

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 marco@otherworldeditorial.com.

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