Monthly Archives: January 2011

Challenger—25 Years Later

Published January 28, 2011 in Writing - 0 Comments

Today’s news has been dominated by the unrest in Egypt, but let us not forget that January 28 marks a very important anniversary for our country, our space program, and our future.  Twenty-five years ago, Commander Dick Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Ron McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and Judy Resnik, Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis, and the first civilian Teacher in Space Christa McAuliff boarded the space shuttle Challenger and launched on its final mission.

The Challenger accident was a seminal moment in our history, one of those profound experiences that changed all our lives.  Anyone old enough to be aware remembers where he or she was at the moment that terrible news came over the radio or television.

Yesterday, Jan 27, was the 44th anniversary of the disastrous fire aboard Apollo 1, which took the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.

Three days from now, Feb 1, is the 7th anniversary of the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia and crew Commander Dick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Payload Commander Michael Anderson, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, and Mission Specialists Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, and Laurel Clark.

When I was a kid, seven years old, I remember watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon.  Having been a science fiction fan even at that age, I had no doubts that our space program would continue to grow, and that by the time I was in college there would be hotels aboard space stations, colonies on the Moon, manned expeditions to Mars.  Didn’t happen.

This is a time to remember all those who have dedicated, and sometimes sacrificed, their lives to help the human race move forward, to develop materials, technology, and engineering methods that have improved our civilization.

For more than a decade, Rebecca and I have had the honor of working with June Scobee Rodgers, whose husband Dick Scobee was commander on the final flight of Challenger.  June helped create the Challenger Centers for Space Science Education to continue the mission of promoting interest in science and technology among young people.  Together, we have developed a series of novels for young readers, Star Challengers—which will encourage the next generation to see the importance of the space program.

The first two novels are currently available, Moonbase Crisis and Space Station Crisis, and a portion of the proceeds goes directly to the Challenger Centers.  You can order from, or signed copies are available from (Space Station Crisis has just arrived and will be on the site in the next week.)

Why We Write—from Tracy Hickman

Published January 26, 2011 in Writing - 0 Comments

At the recent Superstars Writing Seminar in Salt Lake City, bestselling fantasy author Tracy Hickman joined us  to sit in on some of the lectures. At the end of Friday, for a Q&A session with myself, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, and Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tracy asked me if he could have the microphone for ten minutes because he had something to say.  I didn’t know what he had in mind, but I was sure it would be something interesting.

He told one of the most moving stories I have ever experienced in my life.  I am incredibly glad we were recording it.

Tracy is an adventure writer who crafts extremely popular entertaining novels that are enjoyed by millions of readers.  No, his books don’t show up on Oprah’s Book Club; he doesn’t win the Pulitzer or the Nobel Prize in Literature.  But, as his story demonstrates, he has a profound impact on his readers, nevertheless.  That’s a writer’s job.

With Tracy’s permission, we have made the recording available.  You can hear Tracy’s 10-minute talk by going to the Superstars website; scroll down and click on “Tracy Hickman Story” in the middle of the page.  Tracy Hickman’s webpage is

Please take a few minutes to listen.

UK Tour for HELLHOLE next week

Published January 26, 2011 in Writing - 0 Comments

Heading off to England next week for the UK launch of my new novel with Brian Herbert, Hellhole.  Hellhole is an original science fiction epic, our first joint foray into a universe of our own creation.

In addition to many interviews and meetings with industry professionals, I will be giving a talk and booksigning at the Millenium Library at the Forum in Norwich on Wednesday Feb 2 at 6:30 PM.  Fans who can’t make the event can call the Norwich branch of Waterstones on 01603 767292 to reserve a personalised copy.  I will also be one of the author guests at the SFX Weekender 2011 on Friday Feb 4, where I’ll be autographing for Forbidden Planet, participating in panels, and being interviewed.

Hellhole is released next week by Simon & Schuster in the UK.  Release date for US publication is March 15.  I’ll also be doing a 13-city US tour to promote the book; details to follow.

Another great Superstars Writing Seminar

Published January 24, 2011 in Writing - 0 Comments

Superstars Writing Seminar 2011 is a wrap!  Three days of lectures, workshops, and networking in Salt Lake City with about fifty dedicated authors, some aspiring, some already published.  Five international bestselling authors—Kevin J. Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint, Rebecca Moesta, and David Farland were the main speakers.  Other guest speakers included major bestsellers Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tracy Hickman, graphic novelist Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary), and novelist and SFWA Vice President Mary Robinette Kowal.

Brandon Sanderson and Tracy Hickman

David Farland and Kevin J. Anderson

Mary Robinette Kowal

Eric Flint and Eric Farland

The full panel

Eric Flint, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Brandon Sanderson

David Farland and Eric Flint

Networking between sessions

Kevin J. Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, Tracy Hickman, David Farland

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Writers of the Future Contest winners & judges. Back row (L to R) Laurie Tom, Eric Flint, Brad Torgerson; Front row, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson, Eric James Stone, David Farland

More networking

After hours brews with Kevin J. Anderson and Eric Flint

The next Superstars Writing Seminar will be held in Las Vegas, NV in April 2012.  Substantial discounts for early signups.  See for further details.

Thanks to Brad Torgersen and Clancy Metzger for the photos!