At the urging of Grant a few other fellows here via emails to my website, and after reading many of the posts here, I have decided to post this thread in the hopes that it gives additional information regarding the lost Zeppelins & Bombers source book and clears up some confusion that might exist.
First off, the information I know you probably care about the most: yes I do have the backup files of the manuscript and diagrams I turned into FASA back in 1999/2000 for Zeppelins & Bombers. I am working on trying to see how much (if any) I can release to the public via PDF. Keep in mind this manuscript is not in the final format that it would have been over at FASA. To explain why, allow me to segue into the back story for a moment.
I discovered Crimson Skies in 1998 in a comic shop. Having been a fan of all things FASA, I bought the box immediately, and was smitten with the concept of a free Republic of Texas. I enjoyed the game, became an active member of the forums under the handle Flamberge and decided I would like to write the Texas source book. I knew FASA accepted freelance proposals, and followed their instructions online. I mailed off the 5 page proposal for the Texas source book and waited several months. One day I received a letter from Ross Babcock saying my proposal was approved. He became my handler/liaison with FASA and we traded emails while I worked on the manuscript. I finished it several months later and turned in the rough draft. After awhile, a few weeks I think, I received the list of edits and changes they wanted me to make. I made the changes and sent them the "final draft". From there they did a few spot edits, formatted the pages and added the artwork, cover, etc, and mailed me a hard copy of the final version. This final version was printed in black and white on 8.5 x 11 standard paper, single sided, but otherwise it was exactly the way the final book was to appear once in print. About a month after that, I received a box in the mail with 6 author's copies of my book shrink-wrapped together, as well as a box or two of swag which mostly included Crimson Skies source books (which were all duplicates since I bought anything they released with a CS logo on it) and some Shadowrun/Battletech stuff.
While I was in the final draft stage of the Texas source book, I traded emails with Ross regarding a zeppelins & bombers book. They had already been considering it, and I had taken care in Pride of the Republic to mention the bombers and zeppelins Texas had in case the book was given the green light. He told me to get started on it once Pride was finished. I got to work on the rules, coming up with movement rules and construction rules for zeppelins and bombers both. Ross (and probably others behind the scenes at FASA) played a critical role with this stage, so I can't take all the credit for the rules themselves.
I'll have to look over my files, but basically the zeppelins had anchor points (nose and tail) that they moved (so one hex forward for both would be straight forward movement, a hex to the left or right with the opposite hex for the tail would be a turn, etc.) Bombers were built on a negative scale, so the largest ones were -8 or -10 or something. I know it sounds like I am being vague, but I haven't actually looked over the files in over a decade and since I have been fostering my writing career, it hasn't been something I've needed to look at. In other words the info is from memory.
So I wrote the rough draft, and like Pride, sent it off to Ross for the first round edits. He got back to me with the changes and I sent off the final draft to him. At this point I was invited to write a couple of chapters for an future source book and agreed to do it, though I never wrote a word of that material due to FASA's untimely demise. While waiting for the on paper final copy to be sent to me, I received a call (or email, I can't remember, but I think it was a call) from Ross saying FASA was "closing its doors" and best of luck to me. He said he would send more swag as a thank you for my hard work, and that was that.
Crimson Skies lived on with Microsoft/FASA Interactive, and I posted regularly on the MS/CS forums. I even traveled to Redmond in 2002 and met with Eric. I am glad to have written for FASA and proud of the Texas source book. It was my first legitimate paid writing gig and as detailed as they allowed me to be in regards to how Texas works, sees its neighbors, and is seen by its neighbors in 1937 Crimson Skies North America. I would have liked to have seen the Z&B book see the printers but I honestly don't think it ever happened. I have seen comments on this board saying German copies exist, English copies, etc, and I'm not calling those people liars, but I would be genuinely surprised if any legitimate official FASA copies survived and made it to print.
The reason being I never received the final "on paper" black and white print of the final version. Ross *did* say it was "at the printers" when FASA died, but if that is true, the books would have been recycled by the printing company or sent to FASA. If it had been sent to FASA, I believe I would have received copies because even after they were out of business, Ross still mailed me - from FASA's warehouse - a ton of FASA products. He told me it never saw the light of day. I have since lost contact with him, though I have a few other contacts from FASA and the "industry" from back then.
I would say the chances of an official printed version of my Zeppelins & Bombers book existing anywhere in the world would be slim to none. That said, if there WAS a copy, I can promise you that no one in the world would rather have it than me, since I wrote it, and never got to see how it looked, the artwork or cover they used, etc. (The cover you see on my website, on Amazon, etc, was a mock up). In fact, "Zeppelins & Bombers" was the working title, so that's not even what the book might have been called in the final version. Pride of the Republic was just called "the Texas source book" until I got the print out in the mail revealing the title. (Ross asked what I thought it should be called, but all of my ideas weren't as good as the title they ended up using.)
I can try to answer any questions anyone has on this as best as I can, and if I can get the blessing of those who hold the IP rights to the work (the status of which I won't go into here), then rest assured I will save the word docs and diagrams as PDFs and make them available.
One more thing: It is amazing to me that I still get emails, more than a decade later, regarding my Crimson Skies work. I am still a struggling writer and it has been pretty cool to see the comments here about how much anticipation Z&B had and that Pride is generally well received.
So thanks everyone!