In today’s email: “How do I support my favorite authors?”

Spock-ReadingI get asked a variation of this question on a fairly regular basis, and so it was in today’s eMail:

Besides the obvious, which is buying the book, how else can readers support their favorite authors?

First, I obviously appreciate the support that comes from people buying my books, because hey! I like to eat, and as it happens, so do my wife and kids. Getting paid to write is a privilege, and it’s one I take seriously. A big part of that is respecting the people who put time and money into my books – editors, publishers, and readers – by doing my best to make them feel that such investments aren’t wasted. I’m fully aware that I don’t always hit that mark, but I can promise that it’ll never be due to a lack of effort or caring.

How else can one show their support? Reviews are a rather easy way to share your feelings on a particular book. Post them to sites like Goodreads.com, and – yes – online booksellers like Amazon, B&N, etc. I don’t typically solicit reviews for my own books, so this is offered as a general, “Yes, post reviews of a book you’ve read if you really feel the need to say something.”

As for me, I don’t personally begrudge those who choose not to do this, or if they decide a book didn’t work for them and opt to review it accordingly. You bought and/or took the time to read it (and hopefully not through shady means like a pirated eBook or something), and are therefore entitled to review it or not as you see fit, and to have your say, good or bad.

On that previous point: If you’re not able to buy a book, don’t support pirate sites that offer illegal copies of eBooks. People who provide or support content in this manner are parasites, and I wish nothing but clouds of mosquitoes to infest their genital regions for all eternity.

Instead, check with your local library, many of which are constantly expanding their inter-library loan programs and digital lending services in order to offer ever-greater selections of titles for checkout. Libraries pay publishers for the books they offer, and writers eventually get a piece of that action. Plus, you’re supporting your local library while also giving some love to your favorite authors. Everybody wins, right?

If you are a book buyer, I strongly encourage you to patronize your local/independent bookseller, if you have one, when seeking books by your favorite authors. I’m a big fan of such stores, and I’ve been stepping up my own efforts to show that love as I’m able, in the ongoing battle to keep Amazon from eating everything. If it’s in print, chances are the bookseller can order you a copy at no additional cost, and they’ll usually order one or two more for the shelf if they decide it’s something that might appeal to some of their other customers.

My bookstore of choice is Readers World in Lee’s Summit, MO. They have a great staff, and they’re very, very supportive of local writers. If you don’t know whether you have such a store in your neck of the woods, you can search for one near you through sites like IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/.

Most authors have some kind of social media platform, these days – a website or blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an Instagram page, and so on. If you’re into any or all of that, follow your favorite authors in those venues. If the author is doing the social media thing correctly, then you won’t be subjected to an endless barrage of sales pitches and “BUY MY BOOK!”-type posts. Instead, they’ll be…you know…social, but with the occasional sly marketing/shameless whoring post thrown in for flavor. Also, authors tend to follow other authors, so connecting with one may well introduce you to a whole slew of awesome word pushers you may not know, and then BAM! More cool shit for you to read.

It’s kind of contagious, that way.

These are just a few quick and easy tips, and I offer my thanks to the reader who posed the question in this morning’s eMail, simultaneously giving me food for thought while also providing fodder today’s blog post. 🙂

Posted in books, friends, writing | Leave a comment

It’s time for an “Ask Dayton Anything” thing. 

Why? Because I’m wrestling with updates to a novel outline and it’s making my brain and teeth hurt. I also have another outline that wants attention, and another one after that. 

Because outlines, I guess. 

Okay, here’s the deal: Ask me anything, if you’re so inclined, and I’ll do my best to provide a brief yet thoughtful answer. If I can’t conjure such a reply, you’ll instead receive a wise-assed comment, created just for you! It’s sort of like an “AMA” over on reddit, but without the requirement of me needing to shower afterward to get the reddit off of me.

Also, this little exercise shouldn’t be confused with the “Ask Dayton” bits that I do every so often over at the G&T Show. The guy who answers those queries is a rather surly dick who likes to growl and snap his way through whatever oddball questions the show’s listeners throw his way. While that guy looks like me, sounds like me, and has the same name as me, we’re two totally different people. Really.

Asker’s choice, so far as the topic goes. We can talk about writing, pop culture bullshit, deep thoughtful musings on the duality of man and the blurred line between good and evil, the tragedy of a show like Full House getting a Netflix renewal while Firefly fans are left sleeping in the wet spot, whatever.

I reserve the right not to answer anything I deem too personal or inappropriate for this particular venue, but this is a rule I’ve never actually had to invoke. Still, it never hurts to make such things clear up front.

Okey-dokey, then. Who’s got a question?

Posted in ask dayton, friends, q&a | 10 Comments

Talking Headlong Flight with Literary Treks!

headlongflight-coverSo, I’m babbling again. Hey, it happens. What’s weird is that people insist on recording these nonsensical streams of yammering, for later presentation.

This time, it’s hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson, with an assist from former host Matthew Rushing, from Literary Treks, the Trek.fm podcast that focuses on the realm of Star Trek novels and comics. The topic of our little gabfest? My recently released Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Headlong Flight.

Naturally, we cover the story’s setup, which I confess can be a bit confusing at the beginning, and having to juggle multiple sets of characters while attempting to explore the potential those characters hint at. We also talk a bit about the book’s ending, and how now that I’ve seen some reader reactions, that maybe I might have done some things differently if given the chance. Not to say I’m unhappy with the book’s ending, but that I do take notice when people give me some delicious food for thought.

NOTE: For those who might be thinking of listening to this podcast before finishing the novel, please be aware that spoiler discussion is all over the place here.

Otherwise? I hope you enjoy the conversation, as the Literary Treks gang gives good interview.

lit-treks180.jpg

Literary Treks #180: “Seeing Geordis In My Sleep”

Many thanks as always to Dan, Bruce, and Matt for inviting me on the show. I look forward to our paths crossing again somewhere down the line.

Posted in books, interviews, podcasts, trek, writing | Leave a comment

Announcing Maximum Velocity: The Best of Full-Throttle Space Tales!

Back in 2008 at the Starfest Convention, I was approached by editor David Rozansky of Flying Pen Press and writer/editor David Boop about editing a collection of short stories for the publisher’s series of pulp-style science fiction stories, Full-Throttle Space Tales. After soliciting stories from friends and other recommended authors, sifting through a veritable gushing fountain of awesome entries, I was able to whittle down the 100+ submissions I received into an offering of 18 stories. The results of my freshman editing effort became Space Grunts, the third installment of the FTST series, which was published in March of 2009.

spacegrunts-coverThere ultimately were six FTST anthologies, each with a different theme and a broad selection of stories to go with their respective book’s central premise:

Space Pirates – edited by David Lee Summers
Space Sirens – edited by Carol Hightshoe
Space Grunts – edited by moi
Space Horrors – edited by David Lee Summers
Space Tramps – edited by Jennifer Brozek
Space Battles – edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Flying Pen has since stopped publishing fiction. All of the original anthologies are out of print (and a couple are listed on sites like Amazon with some truly bizarre secondary market prices), and the rights to the individual stories have reverted back to their original authors.

Skip ahead to early 2014, when David Lee Summers first broached the idea of finding a way to reprint the original FTST anthologies, perhaps with an eye toward one day reviving the series. Though all of the editors were intrigued by the idea, it lay dormant for a while as we all tended to other things on our respective plates. Then, in the summer of 2015, I was at a convention with David and Jennifer Brozek, and revisit the notion. Finding a home for six collections of short stories seemed to be a rather daunting task, so the idea of creating a “Best of” anthology was hatched, while retaining the hope of this perhaps kick-starting a FTST revival.

David, with the help of the aforementioned David Boop, then took our idea to best-selling and award-winning author/editor Kevin J. Anderson, who happens to have his own independent publishing company, WordFire Press. Kevin was enthusiastic about hosting our little anthology, so with that in our pocket, we five editors got to work figuring out what would go in it.

The idea was simple: Each editor selected three to five stories from one of the anthologies for consideration by the other editors. To keep things as impartial as possible, we decided to reread the anthology that came before ours in the sequence (with David pulling double duty since he’d edited two). For example, I went through the stories collected in the second anthology, Space Sirens, and made my recommendations.

The result of our various email conversations, teeth gnashing, sword fighting, thumb wrestling, and so on?

maximum-velocity-front-cover

(Click to Biggie Size)

FULL SPEED AHEAD!

The Full-Throttle Space Tales series collected action-packed, high-octane, science fiction stories across the full potential of the genre. Here, the original editors have teamed up to pick the very best of Full-Throttle Space Tales, eighteen stories collected here for the first time.

Stories by David Boop • C.J. Henderson • W.A. Hoffman • Julia Phillips
David Lee Summers • Carol Hightshoe • Irene Radford • Bob Brown
Scott Pearson • Alan L. Lickiss • Danielle Ackley-McPhail • Dayton Ward
Anna Paradox • Ivan Ewert • Erik Scott de Bie • Shannon Page • Mark J. Ferrari
Gene Mederos • Jean Johnson • Mike Resnick •  Brad R. Torgersen

Buckle up, because we’re accelerating to
MAXIMUM VELOCITY!


Pretty cool, eh?

Maximum Velocity: The Best of Full-Throttle Space Tales, is currently set for publication in June. More details as they firm up, but it’s very possible I’ll have copies with me for the upcoming Shore Leave Convention. Stay tuned, folks, because we’re about to go Full-Throttle!

Posted in books, friends, space grunts, writing | 2 Comments

Your Moment of TrekZen*

Hold their beers, y’all. Shit just got real.

gorn-sleestak

Created by artist Vince Dorse. Be sure to check out his Tumblr and website!

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

Posted in trek, TrekZen | 3 Comments

The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project.

Every once in a while, my little blog here strives to be something more than a platform for the shameless whoring of myself and my various scribblings. There are the infrequent reminiscences and ruminations about favorite books, films, or TV shows. On rare occasions, I might see fit to delve into a current events topic. Rarer still are those entries where I try to offer meaningful writing advice, or at least a pithy anecdote gleaned from my time in “the trenches” of writing for a so-called living.

This is one of those pieces.

Early last year, faced with a deadline to have a post ready for the Novel Spaces writing blog, and also caught up in the grips of a Writing Project That Would Not Die, I came up with what follows after the cut.

Continue reading

Posted in jokes, writing, writing life | Leave a comment

January writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsSo, 2017 is off and running, eh?

Things are cruising along on a few fronts, but a common theme at the moment is that I can’t really talk about things currently in the pipeline. I’m hoping some official announcements will be coming, so that I can start blabbing about them. I guess we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep on keepin’ on. So, here’s a look back at what went down during January. Continue reading

Posted in writing, writing wrap-up | Leave a comment

Columbia: 14 years ago today.

On the morning of February 1st, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia, returning to Earth after a successful 16-day mission, broke apart during re-entry and disintegrated, killing its seven-member crew.

I spent the rest of that afternoon and the ensuing days watching the news coverage as new information came to light, and possible explanations and causes for the disaster began to emerge. To this day, it’s hard to believe that something so seemingly simple as a few damaged heat tiles could wreak such unchecked destruction.

On the other hand, the tragedy served to reinforce the harsh reality of the incredible dangers inherent in manned space flight, and that nothing about it is “simple” or “routine.” I did and still believe that our exploration of space is a worthy and necessary endeavor, and I hope that the sacrifices made by men and women such as Columbia‘s crew always will be heeded when taking our next small steps and giant leaps.

Generations from now, when the reach of human civilization is extended throughout the solar system, people will still come to this place to learn about and pay their respects to our heroic Columbia astronauts. They will look at the astronauts’ memorial and then they will turn their gaze to the skies, their hearts filled with gratitude for these seven brave explorers who helped blaze our trail to the stars.

– Sean O’Keefe, NASA Administrator, Arlington National Cemetery, February 2nd, 2004.

 (l-r, blue shirts): David Brown, William McCool, Michael Anderson.
(l-r, red shirts): Kalpana Chawla, Rick D. Husband, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Ilan Ramon

Posted in nasa, tributes | 1 Comment

Headlong Flight

headlongflight-coverStar Trek: The Next Generation

Surveying a nebula as part of their continuing exploration of the previously uncharted “Odyssean Pass,” Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise encounter a rogue planet. Life signs are detected on the barren world’s surface, and then a garbled message is received: a partial warning to stay away at all costs. Determined to render assistance, Picard dispatches Commander Worf and an away team to investigate, but their shuttlecraft is forced to make an emergency landing on the surface—moments before all contact is lost and the planet completely disappears….

Worf and his team learn that this mysterious world is locked into an unending succession of random jumps between dimensions, the result of an ambitious experiment gone awry. The Enterprise crewmembers and the alien scientists who created the technology behind this astonishing feat find themselves trapped, powerless to break the cycle. Meanwhile, as the planet continues to fade in and out of various planes of existence, other parties have now taken notice….


What was — albeit in much different form — originally intended as a component of what became Armageddon’s Arrow, gets spun out into its own novel. Why? The idea I had while plotting Arrow became a bit unwieldy, at least when coupled with everything else I had going on in that book, so I opted to pull that bit of plot stuff and file it away, perhaps for use another day. At the time I was writing Arrow, it was with a view that another author might be tasked with writing successive Star Trek: The Next Generation novels. Between that and the other stuff Pocket asks me to do from time to time, I had no idea when I might revisit Captain Picard and company.

Turns out, I didn’t have to wait all that long, at all.

It while I was working on Elusive Salvation that my editor came to me, asking about a new “standalone” TNG novel (as in not part of a series or mini-series or other multi-book project) for the 2017 schedule. Pressed for time and needing to come up with something just to satisfy a requirement for a 1 or 2-paragraph pitch, I gave her the very broad strokes of what became Headlong Flight, throwing in a couple of twists that weren’t in the original idea, and worked out the details later.

This is a very weird job, sometimes. 😀

At first, I worked under the impression that Headlong Flight would be the next TNG adventure following Armageddon’s Arrow. It was only as I was well into writing the new book that I was informed Picard and the gang would factor heavily into another project that was in development, John Jackson Miller’s Prey trilogy, which would come out before my book. So, a couple of things had to be retooled, but my marching orders were to keep to the trail I was already on: providing a largely standalone story featuring the Enterprise-E crew.

The book is now available at bookstores everywhere. If you’re still one of those folks who loves going to an actual store for your reading material, I humbly suggest patronizing your local independent bookseller. For me, that’s Reader’s World in bee-yootiful Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

If that sort of thing isn’t a feasible option for you, then of course we have online options:

Mass-Market Paperback, Kindle e-Book, or Audible Audio Edition from Amazon.com
Mass-Market Paperback or Nook e-Book from Barnes and Noble
Mass-Market Paperback, ePub format e-Book, or Digital Audiobook from Books-A-Million
Audiobook from iTunes

In addition to providing a permanent home for links to find and order the book, this blog entry also will serve as our book’s “official” Q&A thread. Those of you who want to chat about the book, feel free to post your questions/etc. to the comments section. For those of you who’ve found this page and perhaps not yet read the book, BEWARE THAT SPOILERS ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.

Posted in my books, q&a, trek, writing | 4 Comments

It’s the first interview about Headlong Flight!

Last week, I was contacted by a representative from Simon & Schuster’s publicity department. She was handling whatever duties in this regard might be required for the pending release of Headlong Flight, my new Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, which officially goes on sale tomorrow (January 31st). Apparently, she had received an interview request for me.

Now, I have to tell you that if you count the time spent submitting to the Strange New Worlds writing contests, my relationship with S&S stretches back to 1997. Wanna guess how many times the publisher has been contacted about interviewing me?

Put your fingers down. It’s zero.headlongflight-cover

Normally, people wanting interviews just reach out to me directly via that email thing, rather than bothering an overworked, understaffed publicity office who has real writers with BIG NAMES on the covers to worry about. Compared to them, I’m small fish.

I’m bait, really.

So, this was something of a pleasant surprise. I accepted the request and in short order was connected with Paul Semel, who writes news and reviews about TV and movies, books and comics, games, and all sorts of other pop culture shenanigans. For whatever reason, he took an interest in me and the new book, and the result of that is this new interview you can find only at Paul’s website, PaulSemel.com:

BEWARE! SPOILERS FOR THE NEW BOOK ABOUND!!!

Exclusive Interview: Headlong Flight Author Dayton Ward

BEWARE! SPOILERS FOR THE NEW BOOK ABOUND!!!

Oh, and hey! There are spoilers in that interview. Seriously. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Many thanks to Paul for reaching out, and to Hannah at S&S Publicity for setting it all up.

Posted in books, interviews, q&a, trek, writing | Leave a comment